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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.

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Finding Treasures

This week I have been trying to get on with a job which I keep putting off but really is necessary. I very much need to sort out our loft so that we can finally get on with a much needed extension but the job can be a bit daunting. I’ve already cleared out alot of things that were no longer needed so the next job is trying to get what’s left a little better organised.

Basically I am left with a pile of Christmas decorations, a pile of ski equipment, a pile of knitting and sewing supplies and a pile containing various other items I cannot part with. I decided to go through all my stitchery goodies first. This has uncovered all kinds of forgotten treasures, the most interesting of which were…

This kit to make a necklace with all kinds of different beads.

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Maybe one day I’ll sit down and make it but I don’t even remember buying it so it was a total surprise find!!

Then I came across my shoes from my long ago wedding day, along with the silk flowers from my bouquet and some fabric from my wedding dress.

With my new found love of machine embroidery, these were not only treasure but totally full of inspiration and potential projects for certain will be coming from this direction.

Two unfinished projects very much caught my attention.

So there we go I now have at least 4 more projects, some forgotten and others new, whizzing round in my head with all the others.

 

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Photography Lessons

For a while I’ve been wishing I could get more use out of our camera, instead of just relying on my mobile to take photographs. A few weeks ago I asked the very lovely Andrea of Andrea Thornton Photography to help me out with a bit of tuition. There are 2 main reasons that I felt it was important to do this. Firstly so that I can take better photographs of my work and secondly so that I can take better photos for use as inspiration for my work.

After spending a little time with Andrea I feel more confident and have made a start on creating some better quality images.

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Cable knit cushion in West Yorkshire Spinners Jacob Aran yarn with gorgeous chunky buttons.

I have lots of knitted cushions to play about with!!

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This is a scarf I design recently using Sublime Alpaca DK

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Looking for inspiration I went into the garden on a sunny September day.

And there was more than enough on a sunny day in Barcelona last week!!!

Now that I’m back from Barcelona it’s time to photograph the rest of my cushions and hopefully do some work on the website so that some of my knitting kits should be available to buy online very soon 🙂

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Free Motion Embroidery Class

Having really loved the last class I attended at York School of Sewing where I learnt the basics of patchwork and quilting, I decided it would surely be a good idea to try out the Free Motion Embroidery day that was on offer last Friday.

Free motion embroidery is basically making pictures using your sewing machine, and you can create your own works of art. My Pinterest is filling up with ideas and inspiration for this craft.

All I can say about the day is I loved it!

Heather was a brilliant tutor and we all got to try out the techniques needed to get started. We tried out different methods, to see what suited us best and generally had a play around.

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This is one of my practice pieces.

 

We were all to make a cushion using shapes cut from different coloured fabrics provided, from which we could make up our own flower shapes. We started by all stitching the same big flower using some lovely variegated embroidery thread and then built our own designs up from there.

 

Here are some works in progress!

 

I am thrilled to have learned how to do this and am already planning all the projects that I’m going to tackle. Ideas are flying around in my head like mad.I’ve already started sketching out some ideas but first of all I need to buy the correct foot for my sewing machine and gather all my fabrics together,  then there’ll be no stopping me!!

Here are the finished projects. Although we were all provided with the same resources, they are far from identical.

Don’t they all look so lovely?

 

 

 

 

 

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Loving Indigo

I have to say I had a great day out on Monday at Tricia Hutchinson’s Indigo workshop, a description of which you can read on her blog. The workshop was fantastic fun, the group of ladies were all really friendly, the setting was gorgeous and Tricia was extremely knowledgeable.

We’d had some information beforehand about how to prepare the fabrics if we wanted to do some of the traditional Shibori stitching techniques as these are a bit time consuming. We all brought along our own pieces of cloth to die and, after some explanation from Tricia were able to play about with folding the cloth, attaching pegs or wrapping with string or thread and tying in marbles, corks, screws, pebbles and anything else we could find!!!

Then it was time to be dipping the cloth into the big vat of indigo dye and leaving it draped along the fences of the farm we were at before dipping again if we wanted to make a darker colour.  All the time Tricia was on hand to help and advise.

I think the effects produced are fantastic.

I had pre-stitched this piece using a technique called ‘Mokume’ in Japanese, which is supposed to give a woodgrain effect. I didn’t undo the stitching until the following day when it had had chance to dry a little – forgot to take a ‘before’ photograph but you get the idea!

 

The piece of cloth I used for this was from a once white, square table cloth in quite a heavy-weight cotton, which I think was given to me by my mother-in-law (and possibly given to her by hers!). The last time I used it was on a stand I had at a wool show and it got a bit grubby and passed it’s best. I washed it, cut it into 4 and now it looks like this…

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I’ve always been a bit of an up-cycler so am thrilled that my table cloth now has the potential to be something new and useful. Think I’ll play about with a bit of embroidery on these pieces first though!!

I also have a few pieces of calico which I dyed so plenty to keep me busy for several months to come. Happy Days 🙂