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Woolfest 2016

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since we closed the shop and this weekend we’re wizzing off on holiday but I just wanted to write something about my trip to Woolfest the other week. It was the day before the shop was due to close and the morning of the surprising Brexit result so it was a very welcome distraction to escape to the wonderful world of Woolfest for a few hours. I’ve read a few blogs about this years show. Kailyard Knitter has written a very detailed account of her visit and Liz Reed wrote about her experience of being a stall holder.

I love going to Woolfest, I first visited in 2010 and have gone back as often as possible since then.

It was nice to see a couple of people from my City and Guilds course, Debra Kobasa has written in her blog about her fantastic experience after being awarded the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers award and Nicola was there with her sister on their own little stand. Take a look at the gorgeous girls dress kits which combine knitting and sewing.

It was quite crowded when I arrived but after some lunch I was able to get a few photos.

Then I got down to the serious business of choosing colours and making purchases.

I really like the mini-skeins of yarn which mean you can have more colours to play with when making swatches.

I can’t wait to get experimenting with my new aquisitions but first I need my little holiday in the sun and then I have to knit a Fashion Accessory for module 10 on my City and Guilds course!!

 

 

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Cables with Coffee

Not long after we opened our shop in Tadcaster, a customer came in looking for a pattern for a cable knit cushion. At the time we didn’t have anything like that so I decided to write one. The result was a chunky knit cushion in a heart cable which fastens at the back with rustic coconut buttons.

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I’ve knitted a few versions of this cushion over the years in various yarns. The original one is done in Sirdar Escape and I bought lots of different shade of this yarn, selling kits for customers to make their own cushions. The kits proved very popular, containing the knitting pattern, the yarn and the buttons.

Some customers wanted to use a different yarn so, if they bought the yarn from us, we would let them have the pattern for free!!

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Today I met my friend Karen and her 3-year-old daughter for coffee at Moo Café in Boston Spa and look at these cushions they had, I was so excited when I spied them through the window!!

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They are surely knitted from my pattern and it was such a thrill to see them.

I asked the lady, who served us with our delicious coffee and cake, where they had got them from and she said they had come from a charity shop!!

This got me wondering who had knitted them and how they had ended up in a charity shop. Also racking my brains to see if I could remember who might have bought this pretty heather shade of chunky yarn (which looks great with the tartan blankets that Moo already had) from me.

Whoever they are has certainly put some time into knitting them up beautifully and added their own interpretation as, instead of  sewing them up so that the 2 heart cables sit at the front of the cushion as I do, they’ve put just one single heart in the centre which looks different but I like it!!

Do you know who knitted these cushions? Do they know what home they’ve found? They look like they were meant to be there!!!

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New Needlecase – New Start

For the past 6 years, Needlecase has been a family owned knitting supplies shop, based in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire. We stocked a wide range of hand and crochet knitting wools and knitting yarns.

As well as stocking the products we also offered friendly, fortnightly knitting circles, knitting workshops and crochet courses. The aim was for Needlecase to be somewhere you could come and relax and learn new skills over a coffee and biscuit.

We loved to promote all kinds of different and creative knitting, and crocheting crafts, in order to encourage more people to learn and develop their skills. Friendly service and willingness to share expertise with everyone, whatever your age or ability were very important to us.

At the end of June 2016 Needlecase will close it’s doors in Tadcaster, when the lease on our shop comes to an end, and we move on to new adventures.

The purpose of this website is still very much sharing the joy. I will share with you things that Inspire me, and I will share Ideas and Information which I find as I follow my passion for knitting and knit design.

Keep coming back for more information in the coming months

Thanks

Judith

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More Can Crochet will Crochet

My Mum Jean has been reminiscing about learning to knit and crochet.

My interest in yarns and things knitted and crocheted goes back longer than I can remember. I was born during WW2 when most things were scarce, including toys and books. My mother had a hard-back book with pictures of people wearing all kinds of garments which had been knitted or crocheted. I still have that book bearing my early scribbling. It has patterns for garments made mostly from 3 and 4 ply wool and things crocheted from fine cotton in lacy designs.

When I was a bit older I would play with her sewing box, investigating all the tins of pins and reels of cotton contained in it. The button box was a real treasure trove and buttons could be laid out in many different formations and perform all kinds of manoeuvres, each type of button taking on its own character. Then, somehow, I learnt to knit. I can’t exactly remember those first few stitches and whether it was my Mum, or Nanny and Auntie Cissie, or Mrs Appleby, next door but one, who started me off. I remember my friend Kathleen was also starting off at the same time. Mr Appleby was a bit of a comedian and used to say he could hear us dropping stitches!

Anyway, that was the start of my knitting career which has stood me in good stead over the years. Several times I have tried to teach myself to crochet, and even succeeded in producing a few items, but it never took hold of me in the same way that knitting did until last year when Helen Jordan was doing an improvers’ crochet course here in Tadcaster. She got us to make a scarf using Jawoll sock yarn, which in itself is gorgeous, and using a chevron pattern. I found it really addictive and when the scarf was finished it was just the right present for a friend who was moving on. So I made another using some West Yorkshire Spinners’ printed 4ply Blue Faced Leicester, and when that was finished it became a Christmas present for someone. I’ve been trying my hand at other things and gaining more experience, but I think I feel the urge coming on to make another chevron scarf!

This is a similar scarf done by Helen in a chunky yarn but it would look lovely in something like Sirdar Heart and Sole sock yarn, Sirdar Hush or Debbie Bliss Angel.

My latest crochet project which I’m trying out at the minute is a Hayfield pattern (7257) for a blanket made of Flower Motif squares. I’ve put a section together to display in the shop but I think I’ll carry on with it and see how big it becomes.

 

I’ve used Country Style Double Knitting wool in greens, blues, and pinks. The pattern says use a 5mm crochet hook but I think I would use a 4.5mm because the squares have turned out just a little bit larger. When I saw the pattern at first I thought the design was too open but now I think it would make a lovely warm throw or a bedspread.

The next Beginners Crochet class at Needlecase is on 16th May. If you would be interested in another ‘next steps’ class where Jean learnt to make the chevron scarf, we would be happy to book Helen to come along and run it again. Let us know and we’ll set a date!!

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We Want Woolly Bunting

Now that Yarn Shop Day is over our thoughts are turning to our next woolly adventure (actually I should be diligently counting stock for our year end but hey ho).

In August we will be at the British Wool Show in York. We’ve been to this show before when it was called the British Wool Weekend and it was in Harrogate. We’re really looking forward to the new location and my head is full with planning our stand.

The organiser of the show is asking for donations of woolly bunting to decorate the venue and we thought this would make fun project for our knitting circle.

The bunting is to be put to good use after the show when it will be joined together and made into blankets to be donated to a charity. June is asking for suggestions of suitable charities.

We will be starting this coming Saturday to knit and crochet our bunting and I can’t wait to get creative. If you would like to join us please do come along at about 1.30pm this Saturday and 23rd May. If you’re not able to join us but would like to get involved then there is a pattern on the Wool Show website or you can just do you’re own thing as there is no specific size required. Please feel free to let us have your bunting and we’ll send it off to the wool show before the event.

We have come up with our own suggested knitting pattern which we will be trying out on Saturday and then making available through our website.

I’ve mentioned on here before that I am quite an amateur at crochet so I thought I might use this project as a good opportunity to practice some crochet. I found a pattern in a book that someone kindly gave us and made this little granny ‘square’ triangle as a trial run.

It was so quick to do and I really like it although I’m not keen on having too many ends to sew in so might try a different version next.

More to come on all of this next week. In the meantime happy knitting and crocheting!

 

 

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Love Your Yarn Shop Day

Well Yarn Shop Day has been and gone.

We’d planned to both be here for the day but Mum was ill so people had to put up with me all by myself.

We had a quiet morning, just a few customers, most of whom were surprised to learn it was Yarn Shop Day. It was a nice surprise because it meant they got 10% discount when they bought yarn.

It was lovely to see regular knitting circle ladies at 1pm. We were joined by a couple of ladies who don’t usually come along and we had a nice sociable afternoon knitting and chatting.

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…and eating some of the cake mountain I’d produced the day before!!

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I didn’t get very much knitting done as I was kept busy making cups of tea and serving customers in the shop I did manage to eat some cake and my boys were thrilled that there was some left over for me to take home.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and I was so proud of 12 year old Megan and her very first Intarsia knitting.

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I provided all the ladies with some swatches of knitting along the theme of ‘love hearts’ and the instructions to make their own samples. The idea was to look at what I’d come up with and put your own interpretation on it. Everyone chose from the selection of yarns provided and we had a range of Intarsia knitting, bobbles and lace produced.

All the ideas can be used in your own personal knitting to make some lovingly created unique items.

At the end of the afternoon I had an important job for the 2 youngest members of the group. If you follow us on facebook, you’ll know we’ve been running a competition coincide with Yarn Shop Day and I asked the girls to draw out the winning name.

A fantastic ball of Sirdar Kasha will be winging it’s way to lucky winner Kim later today.

I would like to thank the ladies for supporting this event which has the aim of highlighting the presence of our little shop and demonstrating the opportunities available to local people who would like to take part in the crafts of knitting, crocheting and sewing which we passionately love and have the desire to share.

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Kasha

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Yarn Shop Day will be here at the weekend. There’s plenty going on here so do call and see us if you can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I will be getting ready for the workshop I’ll be running in the afternoon by preparing some instructions for people to experiment with putting some love into their knitting using heart motifs and I will also be doing ALOT of baking on Friday to feed those hungry knitters.

In the run up to Yarn Shop Day we have been running a prize draw on facebook. It’s quite simple, you need to ‘like’ our facebook page, then you need to ‘share’ one of the competition posts we’ve been doing. There’ll be one every day this week so shouldn’t be too hard to spot one! Finally if you comment on the post you’ve share with the word ‘KASHA’ then I’ll put you into the prize draw and announce the winner on Saturday.

The prize is a fantastic ball of Sirdar Kasha yarn. Kasha is a beautifully soft slubby, textured yarn. The  blend of 78% acrylic, 12% mohair and 10% polyester makes it wonderfully warm and totally snuggly. It comes in a range of opulent colours, including both fashion shades and neutrals. Each massive 300g ball of Kasha comes with a free pattern for a throw on the ball band, it is perfect for generous wraps and scarves too!

We have a choice of 3 colours and this weekend I finished off knitting up a sample of the free throw pattern which comes with it. I seem to have had a weekend of finishing off things. On Friday I almost completed a sewing project which I began some time ago at Sew It’s Friday and I also finished sewing up and adding buttons to a cushion at the weekend to go with my giant cushion made earlier this year for my garden bench.

It’s very satisfying to get things properly finished off isn’t it and it also means that something new can be started. Doesn’t it? Watch this space!!

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Summer Fun with Sew It’s Friday

On Friday evening we held the first in our series of 3 Sew It’s Friday sessions in which we will be doing some summery stitching.

The idea is to make a co-ordinated set of items, similar to those shown in this picture, beginning with the book cover.

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We were a small group this time but we had a very pleasant evening with an unexpected result.

Whilst Karen had produced this fun design for the set, we are also keen to encourage creativity and developing your own ideas. During the introduction Karen suggested alternative ways of decorating the bookcover such as embroidery and using different motifs. She had a little dog shape with her which she was thinking of using herself. All the ladies loved the dog so much that they all decided to applique him onto their books instead of the flip flops!!

The finished books looked great and each one very individual even though they had all gone for the same motif.

I was very restrained and decided not to make a book cover as I tend to spend so much time throughout the evening making drinks for people I seem to end up with lots of unfinished projects. Instead I dug out one of those incomplete items and did some more work on it. It was  a lovely felt heart which I had only sewn the letter onto. I now have it all sewn together. Just some stuffing, a ribbon to hang it and some buttons to decorate and it’s ready to hang up in the shop.

Who knows maybe I’ll get it done ready for Yarn Shop Day this Saturday?

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We’d love more people to join us for the next couple of sessions when we will be making a beach bag and a sunglasses case. You can use Karens design or apply your own ideas. My husband wants the sunglasses case so need to find out what he would like me to put on it!!

 

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My Crochet world with Helen Jordan

We are really looking forward to our next Beginners Crochet class in May with Helen Jordan.

Helen visits Needlecase regularly to deliver fun and lively classes, usually with beginners but occasionally we offer ‘next steps’ sessions for those who would like to learn more.

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I recently met up with Helen at the P-lush show and asked her some questions about her passion for the wonderful craft of crochet. Her answer were, typically of Helen, both amusing and knowledgeable

Who taught you to crochet and when?

My cousin Jan showed me how to work a granny square – I think it was in the summer holiday at the end of the Lower VIth (now Year12) school year.

In 1988, I started the (now) International Diploma in Crochet, founded and managed by Pauline Turner of Crochet Design, who was for many years running the only solely crochet business in the UK.  That has really opened my eyes to the amazing breadth and depth of the incredible craft of crochet.

What was the first thing that you made?

I used up all of Mum’s spare yarn from knitting sweaters and slipovers for my Dad, to create a large granny square to form one side of the cover for a floor cushion.  The subdued tweedy colours were ideal for the floor side.  The other side was made up of sixteen squares from a pattern in one of the weekly women’s magazine.  I think I taught myself to follow the pattern.

What is your favourite thing that you have crocheted?

I’m torn between the ‘seascape’ that was a runner up in the International Crochet Awards in 1999 – I think – (see photo) and an approximately life-sized parrot that I made for a dear old friend (sadly now deceased) who had to have a leg amputated – he absolutely roared with laughter when he received it!

What do you love most about the craft?

Where do I start?  Its versatility; creativity; relaxing and paradoxically stimulating nature.

Where is your favourite crocheting spot?

Anywhere and everywhere!  My favourite armchair is probably the place where I do most of my crafting.  Although to be fair, our local Wetherspoon’s has seen a fair bit of ‘hooky action’ on Wednesday evenings over the past five years or so.

Do you have a crochet ambition which you haven’t yet fulfilled?

To complete Part III of the aforementioned Diploma course.  I’ve opted to work on a foolishly large scale, so it’s a bigger commitment than it need be.  I’m interpreting Edward Lear’s poem ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’.  My Bong Tree (see photo) is based on a garden parasol.

 

  • What do you think is the most important piece of advice for someone learning to crochet?

Remember that the learning process takes time and that little, tiny steps are necessary – you’ll be at pre-school or kindergarten to start with and you won’t be able to jump in at ‘post-graduate’ level.  Get to a course or workshop if you can – it’s a lot easier than trying to learn from a book, blog, website or U-Tube – oh, and do remember to make sure if you’re looking at instructions in UK or USA terminology!

Who do you most admire in the world of crochet and why?

There are loads – just a few of the most inspiring are…

Pauline Turner who has written dozens of crochet books over several decades and has inspired students at workshops, seminars and through her distance learning course for over thirty years.

The late, great, Sylvia Cosh and her crochet partner James Walters – if you look at their website www.crochet.nu you’ll be able to download their fabulous worksheets, which were very innovative in their time and are still full of inspiration.

Prudence Mapstone is an amazingly talented exponent of the lively art of freeform crochet.

Jennifer Hansen aka Stitch Diva, because she has designed some beautiful garments in hairpin crochet (my favourite technique).

All the wonderful crocheters (and knitters) I’ve met over the years, especially the yarn shop owners who have allowed me to run workshops for their customers.

The incredibly helpful folks at the Knitting and Crochet Guild.  Their knowledge and willingness to share information is breath-taking.

Who/what inspires you when you are designing?

‘All of the above’, it can be a stitch in a pattern, the wonderful qualities of yarns, shapes, you name it.

Have you ever had a big crochet disaster?

Far too many to count!  Using scratchy Lurex-type yarn for the bikini in which I strutted my stuff on the sheepwalk at the 2014 Wonderwool Wales show was a big, uncomfortable mistake!

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Do you have a favourite yarn or fibre to use in your work?

I have a real soft spot for mohair, especially blended with silk.  Rowan’s Kid Silk Haze and its variants is lovely.  Knitwitches’ Absolutely Gorgeous is another stunner!

Thank you Helen for answering my questions so brilliantly and for allowing me to use these marvellous pictures.

If you are interested in joining us at Needlecase to learn to crochet you can book a place right now through our website.

 

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Yarn Shop Day 2nd May 2015

logo2It’s not long now until the second ever Yarn Shop Day organised by Let’s Knit magazine.

I really like the concept because it highlights that need to support us little shops who are here to help you and show you how to do the things you’re not sure about. Buying yarn online is very useful and we love it when that people all over the country can buy from us. I think this is especially useful when a yarn has been discontinued and someone is trying to hunt down that certain something and they don’t have to be just down the road but they can get just what they want by using the internet and ordering from our little shop. Of course not everyone is able to get out or may be at work when we are open, and about and online shopping is fantastic for them as well.

I will always feel that there is absolutely no substitute for being able to see, feel, smell and generally interact with a yarn before you buy it. Visiting a physical yarn shop is such a treat and should be enjoyed, savoured and appreciated. It is so inspiring to be able to see garments knitted or crocheted in the yarn you are going to purchase or chat with the staff in the store about your next project or how to overcome a certain difficulty or just share your love of yarn with a like minded person.

That is why I like the Yarns Shop Day slogan ‘love your yarn shop so much’ because really you must. Wherever it is you need to love it because one day it might not be there!logo1

Last week I re-dressed our window to let everyone passing by know that yarn shop day is on the way and what we will be up to on the day. I got out the bike that our knitting circle ‘yarn bombed’ last summer for the Tour de France and decorated it with my own ‘love your yarn shop’ banner. I thought it was especially appropriate to use the bike for this as besides being a very fun example of knitting it celebrates the fact that on the same weekend the cyclists will be back here in Yorkshire for the first ever Tour de Yorkshire. I am very pleased with the look of it. What do you think?

What will we be doing on Yarn Shop Day?

Well you can actually get involved right now. Visit our facebook page and you will find some posts about our competition to win a ball of Sirdar Kasha. This is a chunky yarn which can be used with any chunky pattern. The ball of yarn is an enormous 300g and comes with a pattern to knit your own lovely snuggly throw. I have been working on knitting one up but it’s not quite finished yet!

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The yarn is very fluffy with 12% mohair and comes in a nice range of colours as you can see above. If you like our facebook page and then share one of the competition posts putting a comment below using the word ‘KASHA’ you will be entered into a prize draw which will be drawn on the 2nd May 2015. Good luck.

We will be having a workshop from 1-3.30pm on the day on the theme of ‘hearts’. This was inspired by the ‘love your yarn shop’ logo and I have been doing some experimentation around the idea of including heart symbols in your knitting. This is what I have come up with so far.

I spoke about knitting hearts back in February when thinking about Valentines Day and I think there is such a strong link here. After all we often knit for loved ones and when you are knitting that item you are putting something of yourself into your work and maybe thinking about the person you are knitting for. When they are using or wearing the finished article I do hope that they can feel the love that has gone into it anyway but if there is a heart on it somewhere then it is almost like throwing your arms around them and just saying ‘I love you’. Only the other day a lady bought a pattern for one of my cushions with a cable heart on the front to knit as a wedding gift which I thought was very appropriate.

If you would like to come along to our workshop and have a play around with knitting your own hearts please visit our website and book yourself a free place so that I know how many cakes to bake!

If you’d rather not do the workshop that’s fine but please do call in and see us on Yarn Shop Day as you can still have tea and cake and 10% discount on any full price yarns bought throughout the day.