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This third instalment of the 2016 Festive Gift Guide has been split into two parts. This - the first - features stunning silver jewellery for yarn-lovers. In a separate post (to follow) there is a wrist ruler which will suit crafts people of all persuasions. Each of these posts includes a fantastic giveaway! Read on for an exclusive Crafts from the Cwtch discount and to enter the giveaway. 

I first came across Marna Gilligan's beautiful handmade jewellery (and buttons) at Yarnporium. Marna sells various gifts for knitters, silver shawl pins, button jewellery, stitch markers and stitch marker jewellery which she lovingly handmakes here in the UK, under the name An Caitín Beag which is Irish for The Little Small Cat.

Chunky Stitch Marker Bangle, £65

Marna's jewellery is made from sterling silver (larger silver items are hallmarked, but some of the smaller items are below the weight limit) and it all comes packaged in a lovely box tied with a ribbon, and includes an anti-tarnish tab to keep it shiny for longer. The collection is full of gorgeous things which you can explore here. I've picked out my three favourites *just in case*.

The collection includes many pieces which are as beautiful as they are practical. The chunky stitch marker bracelet (£65) above is a particular favourite of mine - there is also an option for a thinner bangle (£45)) if your giftee would prefer something more subtle. What knitter could resist a silver needle gauge or a shawl pin with a semi-precious stone (not pictured, you can find them here)?

Needle Gauge Pendant, £90

The items aren't just for knitters - in addition to the stitch markers and gauges, you will also find tiny crochet hook pendantsbutton earrings, and lovely drop spindle pendants for the spinner in your life. At Yarnporium, these traditionally styled penannular pins were incredibly popular and I love that they are in one piece (less to lose!). You can see a little video showing how to use them here

Little Silver Pennanular Pin, £30

All readers can get an exclusive 10% discount on any of the products in the An Caitín Beag store - simply order before the end of the month, using the code CRAFTCWTCH. One lucky reader will be able to win one of these pins as a gift from Marna! To enter the draw simply leave a comment below telling us which craft you enjoy the most. Include your Ravelry or Instagram name, or another way to contact you if you are randomly selected as the winner on Wednesday 7th December 2016. Good luck! 

Festive Gift Guide 2016, Part 3a: Silver (for Yarnies)

This third instalment of the 2016 Festive Gift Guide has been split into two parts. This - the first - features stunning silver jewellery for yarn-lovers. In a separate post (to follow) there is a wrist ruler which will suit crafts people of all persuasions. Each of these posts includes a fantastic giveaway! Read on for an exclusive Crafts from the Cwtch discount and to enter the giveaway. 

I first came across Marna Gilligan's beautiful handmade jewellery (and buttons) at Yarnporium. Marna sells various gifts for knitters, silver shawl pins, button jewellery, stitch markers and stitch marker jewellery which she lovingly handmakes here in the UK, under the name An Caitín Beag which is Irish for The Little Small Cat.

Chunky Stitch Marker Bangle, £65

Marna's jewellery is made from sterling silver (larger silver items are hallmarked, but some of the smaller items are below the weight limit) and it all comes packaged in a lovely box tied with a ribbon, and includes an anti-tarnish tab to keep it shiny for longer. The collection is full of gorgeous things which you can explore here. I've picked out my three favourites *just in case*.

The collection includes many pieces which are as beautiful as they are practical. The chunky stitch marker bracelet (£65) above is a particular favourite of mine - there is also an option for a thinner bangle (£45)) if your giftee would prefer something more subtle. What knitter could resist a silver needle gauge or a shawl pin with a semi-precious stone (not pictured, you can find them here)?

Needle Gauge Pendant, £90

The items aren't just for knitters - in addition to the stitch markers and gauges, you will also find tiny crochet hook pendantsbutton earrings, and lovely drop spindle pendants for the spinner in your life. At Yarnporium, these traditionally styled penannular pins were incredibly popular and I love that they are in one piece (less to lose!). You can see a little video showing how to use them here

Little Silver Pennanular Pin, £30

All readers can get an exclusive 10% discount on any of the products in the An Caitín Beag store - simply order before the end of the month, using the code CRAFTCWTCH. One lucky reader will be able to win one of these pins as a gift from Marna! To enter the draw simply leave a comment below telling us which craft you enjoy the most. Include your Ravelry or Instagram name, or another way to contact you if you are randomly selected as the winner on Wednesday 7th December 2016. Good luck! 
In what felt like perfect timing, the last 'secret' yarn I'd been keeping quiet about was launched just in time for my recent visit to Scheepjes* and coincidentally, it is great for travel knitting. Let me explain. 

Following Spirit and Secret GardenStardust is the latest 'premium blend' yarn to be released by the Dutch yarn company. Any one of the five variegated shades can make a beautiful project on its own or can be combined with one (or more) of nine solid colourways.  The composition is designed to be soft and gentle against the skin, with just a little fluff and a subtle sparkle. It is comprised of 11% mohair, 11% wool, 75% acrylic, and 3% polyester metallic. Each colour is named after a different star constellation, and as a teal lover, this one is a personal favourite...

Stardust in Sagittarius, colour 662
One of the things that Scheepjes do really well is to balance luxury and practicality in their 'white label' yarns which are all lovely to work with, contain luxe fibres, and are marketed at very competitive prices (see below for stockist and pricing info). This one is no exception - it feels great thanks to the soft acrylic and hint of mohair used in the blend. If you're reticent about using acrylic blends, this might be the one to change your mind, especially when you see the other colours in the range. 


Stardust should be hand washed at 30℃, worth remembering if you like to throw things in the machine, or are gifting to someone who may not be used to caring for delicate fabrics.

If you're a Scheepjes aficionado it's also worth mentioning that Stardust doesn't have the 'easy start' tab common to the other white label yarns. I strongly suspect this is to keep the price as competitive as possible - although I'm someone who is prepared to pay a bit extra for added convenience, and would prefer to have the tab on ALL yarns - I may have mentioned this a few times on my most recent visit ;)

Stardust comes in generous 100g / 540m balls which means there is enough to knit a shawl from just the one ball - and that's exactly what I'm doing. In preparation for my long return journey by train and plane I cast on a really simple triangle shawl, changing the stitch when the colours change. I love projects where the yarn does all the work and I can relax without following a pattern, so this was perfect for travelling - no stress, no changing yarns, no pattern to follow - just lots of lovely relaxing knitting.

Knitting scheepjes stardust

Using 3.5mm needles, it's producing a soft tactile fabric with a slight glimmer when the light hits. I'm thinking of this shawl as a great big swatch. The stripes in the multi-coloured balls alternate between a semi-solid long repeat, and a multi-coloured shorter repeat which makes for an interesting effect which I will be able to show you when I've knit a bit more.

I brought a multi-colour and solid back with me from the Netherlands and am already planning some designs - there's no better way to get to know a yarn than to knit up an entire ball and listen to all the things it would like to become. I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, you can order Stardust from selected Scheepjes stockists (see below for direct affillaite links), but be quick - I predict these are going to be snapped up in no time! 
- Order now for £5.80 per 100g at Deramores UK / US $6.59 at Deramores US / AU $8.19 Deramores AU.
- Coming soon to Wool Warehouse.

*This sample was supplied by Scheepjes for review purposes - all opinions are my own. Stockist affiliate links are included - thank you for using them and supporting Crafts from the Cwtch. 

A Sprinkle of Stardust (New Yarn, New Project)

In what felt like perfect timing, the last 'secret' yarn I'd been keeping quiet about was launched just in time for my recent visit to Scheepjes* and coincidentally, it is great for travel knitting. Let me explain. 

Following Spirit and Secret GardenStardust is the latest 'premium blend' yarn to be released by the Dutch yarn company. Any one of the five variegated shades can make a beautiful project on its own or can be combined with one (or more) of nine solid colourways.  The composition is designed to be soft and gentle against the skin, with just a little fluff and a subtle sparkle. It is comprised of 11% mohair, 11% wool, 75% acrylic, and 3% polyester metallic. Each colour is named after a different star constellation, and as a teal lover, this one is a personal favourite...

Stardust in Sagittarius, colour 662
One of the things that Scheepjes do really well is to balance luxury and practicality in their 'white label' yarns which are all lovely to work with, contain luxe fibres, and are marketed at very competitive prices (see below for stockist and pricing info). This one is no exception - it feels great thanks to the soft acrylic and hint of mohair used in the blend. If you're reticent about using acrylic blends, this might be the one to change your mind, especially when you see the other colours in the range. 


Stardust should be hand washed at 30℃, worth remembering if you like to throw things in the machine, or are gifting to someone who may not be used to caring for delicate fabrics.

If you're a Scheepjes aficionado it's also worth mentioning that Stardust doesn't have the 'easy start' tab common to the other white label yarns. I strongly suspect this is to keep the price as competitive as possible - although I'm someone who is prepared to pay a bit extra for added convenience, and would prefer to have the tab on ALL yarns - I may have mentioned this a few times on my most recent visit ;)

Stardust comes in generous 100g / 540m balls which means there is enough to knit a shawl from just the one ball - and that's exactly what I'm doing. In preparation for my long return journey by train and plane I cast on a really simple triangle shawl, changing the stitch when the colours change. I love projects where the yarn does all the work and I can relax without following a pattern, so this was perfect for travelling - no stress, no changing yarns, no pattern to follow - just lots of lovely relaxing knitting.

Knitting scheepjes stardust

Using 3.5mm needles, it's producing a soft tactile fabric with a slight glimmer when the light hits. I'm thinking of this shawl as a great big swatch. The stripes in the multi-coloured balls alternate between a semi-solid long repeat, and a multi-coloured shorter repeat which makes for an interesting effect which I will be able to show you when I've knit a bit more.

I brought a multi-colour and solid back with me from the Netherlands and am already planning some designs - there's no better way to get to know a yarn than to knit up an entire ball and listen to all the things it would like to become. I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, you can order Stardust from selected Scheepjes stockists (see below for direct affillaite links), but be quick - I predict these are going to be snapped up in no time! 
- Order now for £5.80 per 100g at Deramores UK / US $6.59 at Deramores US / AU $8.19 Deramores AU.
- Coming soon to Wool Warehouse.

*This sample was supplied by Scheepjes for review purposes - all opinions are my own. Stockist affiliate links are included - thank you for using them and supporting Crafts from the Cwtch. 
One thing I've learned over the last few years is that my natural verbosity is lost through emotion - when I'm really happy or sad, the ability to string words together just..... disappears. For the last three hours I've been sat at my computer wondering how to tell you about my trip to the Scheepjes Bloggers Group Meet-up in the Netherlands this weekend. The fact is, I'm not even sure where to start.


Practicing layouts in Kate's photography workshop, photo © Dedri Uys

Maybe I should begin by telling you about my good friend Dedri who travelled an extra few hours just so we could spend the 'airport' time together? Or Tatiana who waited for us to arrive in Holland so we could all travel and dine together the night before our meetings? Or the gorgeous Nerissa, Kirsten and Esther who acted as our personal guides, taxis and late-night winetasting companions? Maybe I should focus on how lovely it was to see Carmen again?


Some of the 'dream team': Nerissa, Dedri, Kirsten, Carmen, Tatiana and Esther

Or perhaps I should just skip all that and tell you about the reason we met up with lots of other friends (bloggers and designers, full list below) at Scheepjes HQ. How Scheepjes hosted a mini-conference including a photography workshop from Kate (A Playful Day), and then spoiled us (again!) with their incredible hospitality, expertly arranged by Simy Somer who somehow manages to avoid any cameras unless she's the one pressing the button.

Perhaps I should tell you how Saturday was filled with INCREDIBLE surprises which had me - and a few others - holding back tears of joy and overwhelm. (Oh boy, I can't wait to share some of the secrets!)


Photo by me, 'Namaqualand' shawl by Dedri Uys - pattern coming soon! 

The problem with all these approaches is that words are not enough to convey the sense of sisterhood and how I feel nurtured, supported and understood by this eclectic mix of women. People often ask why I collaborate so much with one company, and as an astute observer, Kate pretty much nailed it in her own summary of the weekend


Bernadette's hands produce so much beautiful crochet and knitting, incredibly quickly!

Detailing the things we did can't possibly convey all this. The Scheepjes team, and the group they have put together, have become an important part of my professional life and support network as well as bringing interesting opportunities my way. Above all, they make me feel appreciated - something that shouldn't be underestimated.

The links below the group photo will take you to the other bloggers' websites, pop over and say hello if you get the chance - I'm sure they'll tell you more about the weekend and share lots more photos. I have more pictures to share too, so keep an eye on my Instagram feed and 'stories' throughout the week.


Back row, L to R: Job aka Mr Scheepjes, Dedri, (Video) Esther, & Bernadette / 3rd row: Kirsten, Susan, Maria, NerissaJellina
2nd row: (Red) Esther, Christa, Atty, Me / Front: Tatiana and Carmen 
Stay tuned over the next few days for information about a new pattern release as part of 'YARN - The After Party' (it's something I designed for Scheepjes a while ago and which is being published as a printed pattern booklet and a PDF), and I'll also have more from the Festive Gift Guide, including another giveaway.  

Where do I begin?

One thing I've learned over the last few years is that my natural verbosity is lost through emotion - when I'm really happy or sad, the ability to string words together just..... disappears. For the last three hours I've been sat at my computer wondering how to tell you about my trip to the Scheepjes Bloggers Group Meet-up in the Netherlands this weekend. The fact is, I'm not even sure where to start.


Practicing layouts in Kate's photography workshop, photo © Dedri Uys

Maybe I should begin by telling you about my good friend Dedri who travelled an extra few hours just so we could spend the 'airport' time together? Or Tatiana who waited for us to arrive in Holland so we could all travel and dine together the night before our meetings? Or the gorgeous Nerissa, Kirsten and Esther who acted as our personal guides, taxis and late-night winetasting companions? Maybe I should focus on how lovely it was to see Carmen again?


Some of the 'dream team': Nerissa, Dedri, Kirsten, Carmen, Tatiana and Esther

Or perhaps I should just skip all that and tell you about the reason we met up with lots of other friends (bloggers and designers, full list below) at Scheepjes HQ. How Scheepjes hosted a mini-conference including a photography workshop from Kate (A Playful Day), and then spoiled us (again!) with their incredible hospitality, expertly arranged by Simy Somer who somehow manages to avoid any cameras unless she's the one pressing the button.

Perhaps I should tell you how Saturday was filled with INCREDIBLE surprises which had me - and a few others - holding back tears of joy and overwhelm. (Oh boy, I can't wait to share some of the secrets!)


Photo by me, 'Namaqualand' shawl by Dedri Uys - pattern coming soon! 

The problem with all these approaches is that words are not enough to convey the sense of sisterhood and how I feel nurtured, supported and understood by this eclectic mix of women. People often ask why I collaborate so much with one company, and as an astute observer, Kate pretty much nailed it in her own summary of the weekend


Bernadette's hands produce so much beautiful crochet and knitting, incredibly quickly!

Detailing the things we did can't possibly convey all this. The Scheepjes team, and the group they have put together, have become an important part of my professional life and support network as well as bringing interesting opportunities my way. Above all, they make me feel appreciated - something that shouldn't be underestimated.

The links below the group photo will take you to the other bloggers' websites, pop over and say hello if you get the chance - I'm sure they'll tell you more about the weekend and share lots more photos. I have more pictures to share too, so keep an eye on my Instagram feed and 'stories' throughout the week.


Back row, L to R: Job aka Mr Scheepjes, Dedri, (Video) Esther, & Bernadette / 3rd row: Kirsten, Susan, Maria, NerissaJellina
2nd row: (Red) Esther, Christa, Atty, Me / Front: Tatiana and Carmen 
Stay tuned over the next few days for information about a new pattern release as part of 'YARN - The After Party' (it's something I designed for Scheepjes a while ago and which is being published as a printed pattern booklet and a PDF), and I'll also have more from the Festive Gift Guide, including another giveaway.  
I recently came across Mia Tui, a brand whose tagline is "because life's too short for endless bag rummaging!".  If you've been here a while, you'll know I'm a bag lady and love bags which look good while helping me to stay organised. (Targeted advertising on social media clearly does work!) When I started researching this brand, I couldn't resist ordering what turned out to be a fantastic product backed by great service. I got in touch to say I'd be including Mia Tui bags (for all budgets) in the 2016 Festive Gift Guide and was kindly offered a 20% reader discount and the chance for one of you to win an Emma bag like mine (pictured). Read on for details...
Emma, available in a wide selection of colours, photo © Mia Tui

Mia Tui is a small company set up in 2010 by Charlotte, a busy mother who was frustrated when she couldn't find an ideal bag to suit her lifestyle. She wanted something with a bright interior and lots of pockets so she could find things easily, while still looking stylish. As a result, Charlotte set up the Mia Tui brand and started designing her ideal bags.  Charlotte was living in Vietnam at the time, and now she is back in the UK, her friend runs the Vietnamese factory where each bag is handmade by skilled craftspeople using quality materials. (All seams and furnishings are beautifully finished and the fabrics used are lightweight, durable and practical.) Charlotte aims to stand apart from the bigger brands she is competing with by providing exceptional service as well as great products, and after placing three orders myself already, I'd say she is succeeding by building a loyal customer base who love the bags as much as she does. Multiple awards seem to confirm this. 

Charlotte and her children, photo © Mia Tui
The Mia Tui designs - in varying shapes and sizes - share common features such as a bright waterproof lining, various pockets and a removable clutch bag and accessories pouch (in the larger bags). I chose Emma, a large tote which can also be worn across the body, thanks to an adjustable and comfortably-wide detachable strap. 

The Emma bag could have been designed for me. I either travel very light (when it's just me and I'm popping out on the school run, or to the shop) or I carry everything but the kitchen sink (when I have the kids with me on a day out, if I'm travelling long-distance, or if there is the slightest chance I will have time to knit, in which case there's at least one project in there). The Emma bag does it all. It's a huge tote with plenty of sizable internal pockets (and one on the outside), plus a matching clutch bag (also with two strap options) and a clear zippered pouch. With all of life's essentials safely compartmentalised, there is still a very large main space for your projects and crafting paraphernalia. 
Typical inner, showing phone and pen pockets, two insulated pockets, clutch bag & accessories pouch, © Mia Tui
Since getting my bag several weeks ago, I've used it constantly. I particularly love that my money, phone and keys can be in the clutch (across my body or in the main bag) and that I don't have to carry everything unless I need to. So the tote  - aka kitchen sink - can stay in the boot of my car, in the hotel or at home and I still have the essentials with me. The clear pouch is handy for carrying liquids through customs or to the gym - and also makes a great notions case.


On our recent half term mini-break, I carried my huge shawl project as well as everything else, with room to spare. In fact, my only caveat about this bag is that it would be easy to carry too much in it! The bag itself isn't very heavy, but if you fill it to the brim it could be.

Emma is one of the most expensive bags in the Mia Tui range and retails at £55, arriving in a bright pink (re-useable) tote bag. Using the 20% discount code below you will pay just £44. That's a whole lot of bag(s) for your money. 

Hotel room knitting! (Incidentally, this picture is the closest representation of the outer fabric in normal light.)

With several vegans in our family, I know how hard it can be to find nice gifts that are suitable. (It's also why I like to source nice cotton and acrylic yarns!) I wanted to point out that Mia Tui bags do not use any animal based products are completely vegan-friendly as well as being attractive and functional. I'm not a vegan and before the bag arrived, I admit to being a bit worried that it might look like 'cheap plastic' when used with my black leather jacket, but my worries were unfounded - the PU is lovely as well as being much lighter to carry than most of my leather bags. I've had lots of compliments on it.

I mentioned bags for different budgets and there are plenty of other designs to choose from, including the Mia Tui Eco Shopper bag (in various patterned fabrics) which folds up small enough to fit in the clutch with your essentials, is very sturdy, and has three sections formed with a zippered central section. It's great for general trips when you might want carry a mix of fresh produce and other things you need to keep dry. At only £5 each (£4, if using the discount) these make a great stocking filler.


After using the black clutch so much (and because I like 'matchy matchy' things and have red boots), I also ordered a Lily Clutch in Berry.  Lily also comes with a wrist strap and long detachable strap and has a built-in key clip. There is a 'phone' pocket inside - much too small for my iPhone 7 Plus but perfect for business cards and lipstick. Under £10 each (and 20% cheaper still, with the exclusive discount below) these would also be a great gift.


Lily Clutch in Berry, © Mia Tui

So those are the three bags I've tried and tested and can personally recommend. There are lots more to choose from, with a wide range of prices - you should find plenty of gift inspiration on the Mia Tui website. If you place an order using the code CWTCH20 you will get 20% off the retail price of any bags. 

As if that wasn't enough, Charlotte has offered one lucky reader an Emma bag! She will ship anywhere in the world so this giveaway is open to all readers. To be in with a chance to win, simply take a look at the full range of colours and leave a comment on this blog post with your favourite colour AND your Ravelry name, Instagram name, or an alternative way to contact you if you are the winner. (While you're visiting the website, remember to use CWTCH20 for your gift purchases.) The winner will be randomly selected next Wednesday 30th November 2016. Good luck!

Reminder: there is still time to enter last week's giveaway as the draw will be made on Sunday 27/11/16. Find the details here

Festive Gift Guide 2016, Part 2: Mia Tui Bags

I recently came across Mia Tui, a brand whose tagline is "because life's too short for endless bag rummaging!".  If you've been here a while, you'll know I'm a bag lady and love bags which look good while helping me to stay organised. (Targeted advertising on social media clearly does work!) When I started researching this brand, I couldn't resist ordering what turned out to be a fantastic product backed by great service. I got in touch to say I'd be including Mia Tui bags (for all budgets) in the 2016 Festive Gift Guide and was kindly offered a 20% reader discount and the chance for one of you to win an Emma bag like mine (pictured). Read on for details...
Emma, available in a wide selection of colours, photo © Mia Tui

Mia Tui is a small company set up in 2010 by Charlotte, a busy mother who was frustrated when she couldn't find an ideal bag to suit her lifestyle. She wanted something with a bright interior and lots of pockets so she could find things easily, while still looking stylish. As a result, Charlotte set up the Mia Tui brand and started designing her ideal bags.  Charlotte was living in Vietnam at the time, and now she is back in the UK, her friend runs the Vietnamese factory where each bag is handmade by skilled craftspeople using quality materials. (All seams and furnishings are beautifully finished and the fabrics used are lightweight, durable and practical.) Charlotte aims to stand apart from the bigger brands she is competing with by providing exceptional service as well as great products, and after placing three orders myself already, I'd say she is succeeding by building a loyal customer base who love the bags as much as she does. Multiple awards seem to confirm this. 

Charlotte and her children, photo © Mia Tui
The Mia Tui designs - in varying shapes and sizes - share common features such as a bright waterproof lining, various pockets and a removable clutch bag and accessories pouch (in the larger bags). I chose Emma, a large tote which can also be worn across the body, thanks to an adjustable and comfortably-wide detachable strap. 

The Emma bag could have been designed for me. I either travel very light (when it's just me and I'm popping out on the school run, or to the shop) or I carry everything but the kitchen sink (when I have the kids with me on a day out, if I'm travelling long-distance, or if there is the slightest chance I will have time to knit, in which case there's at least one project in there). The Emma bag does it all. It's a huge tote with plenty of sizable internal pockets (and one on the outside), plus a matching clutch bag (also with two strap options) and a clear zippered pouch. With all of life's essentials safely compartmentalised, there is still a very large main space for your projects and crafting paraphernalia. 
Typical inner, showing phone and pen pockets, two insulated pockets, clutch bag & accessories pouch, © Mia Tui
Since getting my bag several weeks ago, I've used it constantly. I particularly love that my money, phone and keys can be in the clutch (across my body or in the main bag) and that I don't have to carry everything unless I need to. So the tote  - aka kitchen sink - can stay in the boot of my car, in the hotel or at home and I still have the essentials with me. The clear pouch is handy for carrying liquids through customs or to the gym - and also makes a great notions case.


On our recent half term mini-break, I carried my huge shawl project as well as everything else, with room to spare. In fact, my only caveat about this bag is that it would be easy to carry too much in it! The bag itself isn't very heavy, but if you fill it to the brim it could be.

Emma is one of the most expensive bags in the Mia Tui range and retails at £55, arriving in a bright pink (re-useable) tote bag. Using the 20% discount code below you will pay just £44. That's a whole lot of bag(s) for your money. 

Hotel room knitting! (Incidentally, this picture is the closest representation of the outer fabric in normal light.)

With several vegans in our family, I know how hard it can be to find nice gifts that are suitable. (It's also why I like to source nice cotton and acrylic yarns!) I wanted to point out that Mia Tui bags do not use any animal based products are completely vegan-friendly as well as being attractive and functional. I'm not a vegan and before the bag arrived, I admit to being a bit worried that it might look like 'cheap plastic' when used with my black leather jacket, but my worries were unfounded - the PU is lovely as well as being much lighter to carry than most of my leather bags. I've had lots of compliments on it.

I mentioned bags for different budgets and there are plenty of other designs to choose from, including the Mia Tui Eco Shopper bag (in various patterned fabrics) which folds up small enough to fit in the clutch with your essentials, is very sturdy, and has three sections formed with a zippered central section. It's great for general trips when you might want carry a mix of fresh produce and other things you need to keep dry. At only £5 each (£4, if using the discount) these make a great stocking filler.


After using the black clutch so much (and because I like 'matchy matchy' things and have red boots), I also ordered a Lily Clutch in Berry.  Lily also comes with a wrist strap and long detachable strap and has a built-in key clip. There is a 'phone' pocket inside - much too small for my iPhone 7 Plus but perfect for business cards and lipstick. Under £10 each (and 20% cheaper still, with the exclusive discount below) these would also be a great gift.


Lily Clutch in Berry, © Mia Tui

So those are the three bags I've tried and tested and can personally recommend. There are lots more to choose from, with a wide range of prices - you should find plenty of gift inspiration on the Mia Tui website. If you place an order using the code CWTCH20 you will get 20% off the retail price of any bags. 

As if that wasn't enough, Charlotte has offered one lucky reader an Emma bag! She will ship anywhere in the world so this giveaway is open to all readers. To be in with a chance to win, simply take a look at the full range of colours and leave a comment on this blog post with your favourite colour AND your Ravelry name, Instagram name, or an alternative way to contact you if you are the winner. (While you're visiting the website, remember to use CWTCH20 for your gift purchases.) The winner will be randomly selected next Wednesday 30th November 2016. Good luck!

Reminder: there is still time to enter last week's giveaway as the draw will be made on Sunday 27/11/16. Find the details here
Sloe Mitts, photo © Kat Goldin
What better way to kick off the Festive Gift Guide 2016 than with a new collection of patterns from one of my favourite indie brands - The Crochet Project. Kat and Joanne launched The Warmer Project at Yarnporium a couple of weeks ago, and it went down a storm. The designs are all quick and easy to make - perfect if you would like to give a handmade gift - and 'project in a box' kits are available if you're looking for something special for a maker.

Kat (left) and Joanne (right) at Yarnporium
Each pattern in The Warmer Project collection is designed for DK weight yarn and the samples are made from Fyberspates Vivacious DK, a high twist multi-tonal merino yarn which produces great texture.

Fronds Shawl, photo © Kat Goldin
If you looking for a gift for a crocheter (or you'd like one of these for yourself) kits are available for each of the designs and in a selection of colourways. The Sloe Mitts and Kelpie Hat take just one skein of yarn and are priced at £18 per kit. Fronds Shawl and Selkie Cowl take two skeins and are priced at £32. The kits contain everything needed to make the projects, including pattern, hook, and yarn. If you're new to TCP patterns I can confirm that they are always clearly written and very easy to follow, so they are great for beginners as well as more experienced crocheters.

Selkie Cowl, photo © Kat Goldin
To mark the start of the Festive Gift Guide, Joanne and Kat are offering one reader the chance to pick any single individual pattern from their growing list (not just the new collection). Leave a comment on this post with the name of your favourite pattern (see them all here) and your Ravelry username - a winner will be randomly drawn on Sunday 27th November 2016 and the PDF pattern will be sent to your account. The draw has now been made, congratulations to VioletSprite!

Kelpie Hat, photo © Kat Goldin

In the meantime, you can order The Warmer Project patterns individually or as a discounted bundle for all four patterns as PDFs from Ravelry or as printed patterns on Etsy*. The kits are also available on Etsy*.

Find The Crochet Project on their website, on Instagram, Facebook and (sometimes) on Twitter. I'll be back with the next installment of the FGG soon - there are lots more lovely things to share with you and more giveaways - don't forget to enter! Good luck!

*Etsy affiliate. 

Festive Gift Guide 2016, Part 1: The Warmer Project

Sloe Mitts, photo © Kat Goldin
What better way to kick off the Festive Gift Guide 2016 than with a new collection of patterns from one of my favourite indie brands - The Crochet Project. Kat and Joanne launched The Warmer Project at Yarnporium a couple of weeks ago, and it went down a storm. The designs are all quick and easy to make - perfect if you would like to give a handmade gift - and 'project in a box' kits are available if you're looking for something special for a maker.

Kat (left) and Joanne (right) at Yarnporium
Each pattern in The Warmer Project collection is designed for DK weight yarn and the samples are made from Fyberspates Vivacious DK, a high twist multi-tonal merino yarn which produces great texture.

Fronds Shawl, photo © Kat Goldin
If you looking for a gift for a crocheter (or you'd like one of these for yourself) kits are available for each of the designs and in a selection of colourways. The Sloe Mitts and Kelpie Hat take just one skein of yarn and are priced at £18 per kit. Fronds Shawl and Selkie Cowl take two skeins and are priced at £32. The kits contain everything needed to make the projects, including pattern, hook, and yarn. If you're new to TCP patterns I can confirm that they are always clearly written and very easy to follow, so they are great for beginners as well as more experienced crocheters.

Selkie Cowl, photo © Kat Goldin
To mark the start of the Festive Gift Guide, Joanne and Kat are offering one reader the chance to pick any single individual pattern from their growing list (not just the new collection). Leave a comment on this post with the name of your favourite pattern (see them all here) and your Ravelry username - a winner will be randomly drawn on Sunday 27th November 2016 and the PDF pattern will be sent to your account. The draw has now been made, congratulations to VioletSprite!

Kelpie Hat, photo © Kat Goldin

In the meantime, you can order The Warmer Project patterns individually or as a discounted bundle for all four patterns as PDFs from Ravelry or as printed patterns on Etsy*. The kits are also available on Etsy*.

Find The Crochet Project on their website, on Instagram, Facebook and (sometimes) on Twitter. I'll be back with the next installment of the FGG soon - there are lots more lovely things to share with you and more giveaways - don't forget to enter! Good luck!

*Etsy affiliate. 

Exciting things are like buses - none for ages, and then they all come at once. The last few weeks have flown by in a whirl, and it feels there is so much to catch up on - so here's a round up of what's been going on over the last few weeks and also a preview of what's planned at Crafts from the Cwtch before Christmas. 

 Lonely Tree Shawl by Sylvia McFadden, knit in 2012 and still a favourite. Find the 'Ta-dah' post here

On November 5th I had the absolute pleasure of taking over the Yarn in the City Instagram feed for Yarnporium - a brand spanking new yarn festival which included over 40 exhibitors, eight workshops (with TOP names!) and various 'meet the designer' opportunities. The two-day event in central London attracted over 800 yarn-lovers, exceeding expectations of show organisers Allison Thistlewood and Rachel Brown from Yarn in the City.

Allison said “The response we’ve received to the Yarnporium has been overwhelming. Our guests have told us that they loved finding all of their favourite makers in one place and that their time at the Yarnporium felt like getting together with their friends for a slightly larger knit and natter.”

Rachel Brown (left) and Allison Thistlewood - co-founders of Yarn in the City

Rachel added “we wanted our guests to feel excited and inspired, like you would in an old-fashioned sweet shoppe or haberdashery. We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to share some of our favourite UK makers with such a wide audience.” They certainly succeeded, creating a friendly and intimate atmosphere despite a constant stream of visitors. 

The pair are currently planning next year's Great London Yarn Crawl (Saturday 9th September 2017) and have said they are already thinking about a follow-up Yarnporium event - date TBC. I'll keep you posted on that, in the meantime you can see ALL the photos tagged #Yarnporium here

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one weekend, on the same Saturday, LoveKnitting invited many designers and bloggers to a party at their central London offices to launch The Flock ambassador programme. We got to sip bubbles, try out lots of different yarns and hear about the latest developments with their store and the LoveKnitting App (iPhone edition coming VERY soon!!!!). Of course, there was also a lot of laughter, chatter and general merriment. I think it's safe to say a fun time was had by all.  

Image: (C) LoveKnitting, photographed by Tracey Chau  - see more on their Facebook page here

Next week I'm off to the Netherlands to visit Scheepjes HQ for some blogger/designer workshops and I'll hopefully be sampling some of the new yarns they are planning for the next year! It'll be my third trip to visit my favourite yarn brand and now that I know most of the other bloggers/designers who are going too, I'm just as excited about seeing my friends, as the 'official stuff'. Expect lots of photos of yarn, buttons and bikes to appear on my Instagram feed.


Before I go away, I'll be putting the finishing touches to my new pattern (by popular request, after my FO post) - it goes out to test knitters this week. For those who have been asking already, the pattern uses 10 balls of Secret Garden yarn* and 4.5mm needles on the longest cable you can find! Expect the pattern to be launched within the next few weeks - I still need to come up with a name for it so suggestions are welcome. 

Finally, I'm reviewing products like crazy for the annual Festive Gift Guide. I have found some great things which I think will be really popular, and will be able to offer some discount codes and giveaways - so far I've managed to source things mostly from small family-run or independent businesses (there are a few exceptions, mostly books or stationery). I can't wait to start sharing them with you, so stay tuned. 

If you don't want to miss a post, you can subscribe to posts (in the sidebar to the right on a computer, or below on a mobile device) so that they arrive in your inbox or your Bloglovin' feed shortly after being published. 

*Wool Warehouse affiliate link. 

Rounding up (events and plans)


Exciting things are like buses - none for ages, and then they all come at once. The last few weeks have flown by in a whirl, and it feels there is so much to catch up on - so here's a round up of what's been going on over the last few weeks and also a preview of what's planned at Crafts from the Cwtch before Christmas. 

 Lonely Tree Shawl by Sylvia McFadden, knit in 2012 and still a favourite. Find the 'Ta-dah' post here

On November 5th I had the absolute pleasure of taking over the Yarn in the City Instagram feed for Yarnporium - a brand spanking new yarn festival which included over 40 exhibitors, eight workshops (with TOP names!) and various 'meet the designer' opportunities. The two-day event in central London attracted over 800 yarn-lovers, exceeding expectations of show organisers Allison Thistlewood and Rachel Brown from Yarn in the City.

Allison said “The response we’ve received to the Yarnporium has been overwhelming. Our guests have told us that they loved finding all of their favourite makers in one place and that their time at the Yarnporium felt like getting together with their friends for a slightly larger knit and natter.”

Rachel Brown (left) and Allison Thistlewood - co-founders of Yarn in the City

Rachel added “we wanted our guests to feel excited and inspired, like you would in an old-fashioned sweet shoppe or haberdashery. We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to share some of our favourite UK makers with such a wide audience.” They certainly succeeded, creating a friendly and intimate atmosphere despite a constant stream of visitors. 

The pair are currently planning next year's Great London Yarn Crawl (Saturday 9th September 2017) and have said they are already thinking about a follow-up Yarnporium event - date TBC. I'll keep you posted on that, in the meantime you can see ALL the photos tagged #Yarnporium here

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one weekend, on the same Saturday, LoveKnitting invited many designers and bloggers to a party at their central London offices to launch The Flock ambassador programme. We got to sip bubbles, try out lots of different yarns and hear about the latest developments with their store and the LoveKnitting App (iPhone edition coming VERY soon!!!!). Of course, there was also a lot of laughter, chatter and general merriment. I think it's safe to say a fun time was had by all.  

Image: (C) LoveKnitting, photographed by Tracey Chau  - see more on their Facebook page here

Next week I'm off to the Netherlands to visit Scheepjes HQ for some blogger/designer workshops and I'll hopefully be sampling some of the new yarns they are planning for the next year! It'll be my third trip to visit my favourite yarn brand and now that I know most of the other bloggers/designers who are going too, I'm just as excited about seeing my friends, as the 'official stuff'. Expect lots of photos of yarn, buttons and bikes to appear on my Instagram feed.


Before I go away, I'll be putting the finishing touches to my new pattern (by popular request, after my FO post) - it goes out to test knitters this week. For those who have been asking already, the pattern uses 10 balls of Secret Garden yarn* and 4.5mm needles on the longest cable you can find! Expect the pattern to be launched within the next few weeks - I still need to come up with a name for it so suggestions are welcome. 

Finally, I'm reviewing products like crazy for the annual Festive Gift Guide. I have found some great things which I think will be really popular, and will be able to offer some discount codes and giveaways - so far I've managed to source things mostly from small family-run or independent businesses (there are a few exceptions, mostly books or stationery). I can't wait to start sharing them with you, so stay tuned. 

If you don't want to miss a post, you can subscribe to posts (in the sidebar to the right on a computer, or below on a mobile device) so that they arrive in your inbox or your Bloglovin' feed shortly after being published. 

*Wool Warehouse affiliate link. 

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