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Easter Bunnies

This is my first blog this month as I’ve been away on holiday with my family. We had lots of fun in the snow and arrived home totally exhausted!!

Now we are home winter is on the way out (almost) and, as we are rapidly heading towards Easter, I decided to dig out a project I  created a couple of years ago.

It’s a little gift bag (it holds a couple of Cadburys cream eggs) and I think they look very seasonal just sitting around with the eggs inside waiting to be discovered!! If you’re having an Easter egg hunt then you could maybe hide some special eggs inside just to add to the fun.

They are quick to knit and you can use any oddments of yarn you like really. I have used about 25g of dk for mine but you could definitely experiment with different yarns. If you made them using some really chunky yarn then you might even get a full sized Easter egg in there!! We have blogged about this project before when I had given my friend the knitting bug and she re-discovered the joys of knitting after a break of many many years.  Although Karen is very clever, I do think the fact that she was able to knit her own bunny after such a long time away from the craft, shows that it is a project for all levels of knitters. I am also very pleased to say that she has kept on knitting and this week proudly showed me her very first hand-knitted sock 🙂

If you love easter and chocolate and knitting and would like to make your own little bag then I have added this pattern to my website for you and it won’t cost you anything to download it. If you do then I would be thrilled to see photos of the finished results and share them on my social media.

Happy Knitting x

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Sunshine in February

At the beginning of April 2015 I wrote a blog about my MASSIVE cushion which I had knitted for our garden bench.

This cushion really is enormous and probably not what anyone else would want to knit (although if you do get in touch and I’ll sell you a copy of the pattern!!).

However I have made some smaller versions which will make a bright and bold statement in any room. Here they are sitting on the much larger original cushion which now has an indoor home in addition to it’s outdoor one!!

If you would like to make your own ‘Sunshine’ cushion, I have produced 2 knitting kits which contain all the yarn you will need to make a 16″ square cushion OR a 14″ square cushion, and 4 gorgeous buttons to finish it off. You will also receive the pattern which I have written for either a 14″ or 16″ cushion. You will need a pair each of 3mm and 2.75mm needles.

This pattern is suitable for an experience knitter or someone with a little experience who would like to practise and learn the intarsia technique.

I’ve been finishing off a bit more  embroidery this last week. Not sure what it’s going to be yet but it’s been fun!!

It was a finishing off projects kind of week as I also completed this baby blanket which is going to be a gift as soon as the little one arrives 🙂

 

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Our Day Out

I am on a bit of a mission at the moment to explore, and learn from experiencing, new techniques and different crafts. I am calling it a ‘gap year’ and combining it with celebrating #my50thyear!! This week, my mission found myself and my lovely friend Karen (who came occasionally to the shop in Tadcaster to run workshops) enjoying a workshop at Blacksmith Shop Crafts which is in the little village of Foggathorpe near York.

The workshops take place in the home of Anna who was a very friendly host. There was a small group of us and the morning began with a welcome coffee or tea as we admired the creations of Linda Hoyle our tutor for the day.

Linda makes beautiful wire sculptures and we were all going to make our own wire hares.

The process was reasonably straight forward which was great because none of us had ever worked like this with wire before. Linda was a calm and patient teacher and explained each individual step as we went along. This is how things took shape…

This workshop was made extra special by having a break for a delicious home-made lunch in Anna’s gorgeous kitchen.

It is obvious that Anna takes great pleasure in providing a quality experience for her guests, in her own words ‘It is so wonderful to be with people who love making things or at least are prepared to have a go of making things! I love the company too and find it definitely makes my life more interesting’ which is a sentiment I can totally agree and identify with.

There was so much about this day that I found completely inspiring – the setting was so pleasant, Anna and Linda were both fab, we were enjoying experiencing something different,  plus it was so very nice to spend the day with Karen as we don’t ever get to spend so much time together.

We are very pleased with and proud of our hares.

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Crazy Lazy Daisy Cats

Just thought I would share something I did last week.

This little project has been hanging around since the summer when I did some insane embroidery whilst on holiday.

I was in need of a new make-up bag so decided to make one for myself.

Having routed out some suitable contrasting fabrics and a zip I was ready for action.

 

It didn’t take long to construct a little zipped bag which I lined with the cheerful pink and green fabric in what looks like a roof-tile design. I have 2 bags now…one to keep my embroidery projects in and one to store make-up 🙂

The finished embroidered design is definitely more than slightly over the top, but I am pleased to have put it to good use. I am always underwhelmed with my zip fitting skills and this occasion is no different. The zip is fitted and it works fine and it looks ok, but could most certainly have been done much better. Therefore I have booked myself a day out to learn how to do it properly at York School of Sewing. I’ll let you know how I get on!!

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Exciting News

Now that seven months have gone by since we closed the shop in Tadcaster, it might be time for me to be thinking about doing something new!! I have promised myself a gap year and believe me a gap year is what I am having. I am using this time to do the things I enjoy and to try out new things. Last week, for example, as mentioned on this blog, I tried out basket making. I have also tried fused glass making and created my own fairy lights.

I am having lots of trips out and walks in the countryside as well as spending time with my family.

Another very important part of this gap year is completing my City and Guilds knit design course, of which I am on the last leg (I hope).

However, yesterday I did achieve a significant step with regards to what I might do with myself once this ‘gap year’ is over. With a lot of  help from my husband, who is much cleverer at these things than I am, I now have an online shop on this website!!

It’s not a very big shop, there is only one product at the moment, a kit to knit the cushion seen above, but it will grow.

I chose one of my knitting kits to be the first item available. Indeed this was the first knitting pattern that I ever wrote. I was inspired by a lady who came into the shop looking for something to knit during a hospital stay. I think I remember correctly that she hadn’t done any knitting for a while but as she knew that she was going to be needing to fill her time, she had a desire for a cable knit cushion cover. We had no patterns available at that stage, as it was very early days and we hadn’t built up our stock, so I came up with this one.

I have blogged about this pattern before. Some people are a bit frightened of cable knitting, but it really is easier than it looks and very satisfying. This cushion is a brilliant introduction to cable knitting and can be tackled by novice or experienced cable knitters. One of my customers in Tadcaster knitted several of this design as unique and stylish wedding gifts.

The kit contains 4 balls of Sirdar Chunky Crofter, 3 coconut buttons and the pattern and costs £12 plus postage.You will need 5.5mm, 6.5mm needles and a cable needle. The finished cushion will fit a 14″square cushion pad.

More knitting kits and patterns to come!!

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Workshops Past and Present

Before Christmas I came across some photographs from workshops that we ran from the shop in previous years.

This was one of my favourite things to do in the shop. Although they took a lot of planning and organisation, it  was always a great buzz to have a room full of people all getting creative together and producing something to take home they could be proud of.

These are a few of my favourites from past Christmases.

Looking through these photos reminded me, not only of all the fun we had, but also that one of the projects which I’d started making was a Christmas stocking which still needed to be finished off. I dug out the project, which I’d packed away with all the bits I needed to finish it off, and spent a pleasant and satisfying few hours getting it finally completed.

This was a very nice way to pass a bit of time quietly by myself, as was a workshop I attended this week at Dragon Willow  this time with my sister. A completely different craft and something which I’d never tried before, we made our very own baskets.

The location for the workshop was in a Yurt located in a fruit orchard in North Yorkshire and it was fabulous.  As it was just the two of us we had lots of attention from Leilah, who was extremely calm and patient throughout. Such a relaxing way to spend some time together, plenty of refreshments were available to us with a snacks to graze on and a variety of hot or cold drinks, and we came away each the proud owner of a fantastic willow baskets.

If you fancy trying something out there is a good range of courses available to try, some in the Yurt and others at different venues.

I would really really like to have one of these in my little garden!!

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Not a very good picture I’m afraid but hopefully you can see that it’s a brilliant Peacock!!

I have lots of friends who love taking time out for a pamper day, and I know that they find this to be marvellous way to relax and wind down, but give me some quality time making something totally unique and learning about crafts new and old any day. That’s my kind of relaxation!

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Fun and Festive Knitting

My last blog was about the lovely Knitted Bible which came to our local church. I came away from my visit with a pattern for a knitted angel ,which people were being invited to make and donate to a collection at local churches. I thought I would contribute a few to the collection and enjoyed knitting up the simple pattern in some lovely soft Sublime Alpaca yarn.

img_3124I gave them to my Mum to take to the Methodist church and I am told that the angels were handed out to people who visited during the Christmas Tree Festival that was held in December. Hopefully people have enjoyed having these knitted angels in their homes.

I also spotted a bit of knitting on display in Wetherby which is always nice to see. I do like a knitted nativity!!

img_3159I like it because of the story it’s telling and the fact that you can create a tradition of taking the display out every year and I like the blissfulness of someone using their love of knitting to produce something which will bring pleasure to others.

In this case, it may have been a group effort and I like that too, how sociable to get together and do your knitting.

I shared this picture on twitter and a few days ago I got a tweet from Julie Wilcox who obviously likes a knitted nativity as much as I do. She was very lucky to find one in a charity shop. I wonder if someone donated it because it was unwanted? or maybe they knitted it specially for the shop to sell. It seems a bit sad to think it could have been unwanted, but I know that it is now being truly loved by someone who appreciates it. Whoever knitted it almost certainly enjoyed the process of creating it and now it’s bringing joy to someone else. Who says knitting is dull, boring and out of date?

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Knitted Bible comes to town!

There has been a display in our local church today showing 33 bible stories that have all been knitted!! This is the work of the congregation of St Georges URC Hartlepool and it goes on tour around the country.

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It was like the whole inside of the church had been yarnbombed!

They were happy for me to take photos and share them on here so here you are hope you enjoy.

this camel was lovely
this camel was lovely

This is such an impressive achievement and on several levels.

A brilliant way of depicting these stories and also a celebration of talent and imagination on the part of the knitters. All beautifully presented. Thank you to all those involved I know you have given joy to many.

I also came away with a pattern to knit an angel as part of a plan to ‘angel bomb’ the village!!!

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Thirsk Yarnbombing

I have had an inspiring experience this week when I visited the town of Thirsk to see the work of their yarn bombers. I had seen them on youtube  and knew I just needed to pay a visit if I possibly could. The ladies in the tourist information office were very helpful in advising me how to get to the 2 churches which had been decorated with thousands of knitted poppies. Walking toward the church I spotted this shop which seems to be housing some of the previous yarn bombings.

There were poppies everywhere.

The way that the church had been decorated was stunningly dramatic.

This was all very impressive and there was more to come. A short walk back into town and out again to Sowerby showed that many business and individuals had got involved with this amazing project.

So then I reached another church beautifully decorated with so many knitted and crocheted poppies.

The number of poppies that have been created is so impressive and the impact of the way they have been displayed was glorious, especially in the November sunshine. When you got up close the poppies were glistening with water droplets and you could see so much individuality had been put into the work with different stitches, types of yarns and poppies of all sizes.

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All coming together to create such a marvellous display. There were lots of people walking about admiring this work, I got chatting to a couple of ladies and we wondered what is going to happen to it all when the remembrance period ends and the display is removed? We hoped it was going to be re-used!! They say it will be on display for a couple of weeks so you may have time to see this fabulous work if you’re quick!!

Finally here are a few more displays that I spotted on my way back to the car.

 

 

 

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Fantastic Fairy Lights

This week I have been back to the lovely little farm shop and campsite at Colton near York, which was where I attended the Indigo workshop recently. This time the workshop took place over a couple of evenings and was run by designer maker Joanna Coupland who showed us how to make some pretty fairy light decorations. The first evening was about constructing some wire shapes and covering them with tissue paper using wallpaper paste. Joanna brought some of her beautiful creations along to show us, click on the link above to see her website.

The second evening was all about decorating our lights. We used acrylic inks and paints and then went wild with glitter and embellishments. As you can see from the pictures below we all let our imaginations run away with us. The finished items were attached to a string of standard fairy lights which definitely did not look ‘standard’ when we’d finished with them!!!

Both of these evenings were massively good fun with a great teacher and once again a very friendly group of ladies. These are some of our finished items.