Sunday, 29 September 2013

Year of Projects: Everybody say "Bo"!

It's been a while since the last update, but my Year of Projects* continues to make steady progress. By the end of September there will be two more finished skeins of spindled yarn to add to the growing list, I will be casting on a 'proper' handspun project next week for the SAL/KAL, and this weekend I'm working on a little YoP stash-buster...

It's Bo Peep Scarf from the book Woodland Knits - a cute design and very easy - knit and purl stitches and some simple shaping. The yarn is Drops Fabel (106) held double with the Nimu Kidsy from my first visit to Unravel. These have both been lingering in the stash for quite some time and are working up beautifully together - the hand-dyed kidsy has a subtle variegation and so adds depth and character to the plain single-coloured (and very inexpensive) sock yarn as well as a beautiful halo and sheen. It's going to be so soft and floppy it'll need some severe blocking when it's finished. After casting on Friday evening, this has been a perfect 'handbag' project for the weekend, and knitting it when out and about meant I got chatting to some local knitters I hadn't met before, which is always lovely.
*You can catch up with the other YoP-ers on the Ravelry group, and see my full list of projects here.

If you are UK based, keep an eye out for the next CftC giveaway which is a pair of tickets to one of the MAJOR craft shows of the year - it's coming up very soon!
Friday, 27 September 2013

Crafty Creatures and a little Ta-dah!

The latest issue of Mollie Makes landed on my doormat yesterday (thankfully Archie wasn't nearby to chew it) and I immediately had to make the little Polka Dot Dreams fox brooch from the kit attached to the cover. (Actually the brooch backs had been bent in the post, but I had some here). As usual, my stitching is terrible, but I like it anyway...
I definitely see more felt creatures in my near future, and thankfully there is a lot of inspiration (and various suitable templates) in the new Jane Bull book, Crafty Creatures (the projects are also available on Kindle for £2.99). Since the book arrived for review, the children have been asking me to make various things from it and I'm sure we shall. There are all sorts of projects made from yarn, felt and fabric - all pretty easy to make and very effective. Older children would certainly be able to make some with minimal supervision, and I think 4 year old Little Miss would be capable of quite a few too. Perhaps as festive gifts for her friends and teachers.

Some of my favourite sewing projects are Jolly the Giraffe, Dog's Best Friend and Doodlephant (all pictured below) which, in the right fabrics, would definitely have a Charlie and Lola vibe.
Crafty Creatures by Jane Bull - book review on Crafts from the Cwtch blog
The photos are great, and the simple instructions and bright pages will appeal to crafters of all ages - a lovely little book.

Following on from last week's FO, the winner of the sock yarn giveaway will be getting a message very soon - so if you entered the draw, keep a look out at around midday (London time). One prize from the ticket giveaway is still unclaimed, so if you entered that it might be worth double-checking your messages too!
Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Books & WIPs... and something for the Archie fans

Naturally, the past week has been all about Archie. In case you missed him, here's our newest family member. Don't be fooled by the cuteness, he was attacking the rabbit, not cuddling it! 
It will come as no surprise that I've been reading more dog books including Clicker Training For Dogs: A Beginner's Guide (he has now learned 'sit'), a wonderful book by Bruce Fogle (highly recommended!) and dipping into various others.

I also finished reading The Light Between OceansAs I mentioned last week, this was for our book club and in the hurry to finish it on time, I listened to the second half of the book. Wow! I wasn't initially gripped by the first quarter of the story, most likely because of the doggy-prep distractions, but I will admit that last Wednesday afternoon, while folding the laundry and listening to the end, I was in floods of tears. I am not often moved in this way, and suspect the quality of the writing may have been intensified by headphones - there was no escaping or looking away. I felt emotionally bereft and exhausted afterwards - it was all too easy to empathise with all of the characters in this tragic tale. If you haven't heard of the book already, I don't want to spoil it by giving too much away except to say there is an inevitability throughout that reminded me a lot of the Hardy novels I read at school. This has been touted as one of the top books of the year, and I'd have to agree. I couldn't pick up another novel for a few days so for some light relief I've just started reading Where'd You Go, Bernadette which is fun so far. 

So what I have been working on? Some spinning for the Age of Brass & Steam SAL/KAL I'm taking part in (blogged yesterday) and I'm still trying to decide on some yarn to cast on a project from Woodland Knits. I also need to start the next pair of socks - perhaps Exotic Whirlpool in some stash yarn. It looks like a fun construction. And talking of socks, there are just 48 hours until the yarn giveaway draw - don't forget to enter!
Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Spinning Show & Tell

Lots of 'spinners' have been busy in our village - almost every tree, bush and street sign was heavily adorned in this morning's dew. I'm not an arachnid fan, but it was quite spectacular.
 Web watch
I've done some spinning this week too, but nothing quite so intricate. AYLM's spin-along knit-along officially started yesterday, although I made a slight head-start because I'm spinning on a drop spindle and many others are using a wheel. You've seen this fibre before but the label is in the photo if you want to know what it is.  It is lovely to spin, although I'm not sure it'll actually turn out as a DK weight which the pattern calls for, I'm just spinning it thicker than I would for a fingering weight. Is there a good way of calculating these things? Something more scientific? What do you do? 
Spinning show and tell - Sept 24th
For the first time I controlled the urge to haphazardly 'spin and guess', and the fibre was weighed and then split into (approximately) equal sized lengths before spinning. As a result I can tell you that the first 50g is very nearly done and didn't take very long at all.

As this is was the last of my meagre fibre stash, some pretty punis have arrived from Eaden Yarns, and I'm trying to resist getting side-tracked by them.
Spinning show and tell - Sept 24th
So that's my spinning/fibre update. If you'd like to leave yours, add a link to the Mister Linky below. Finally a little reminder of the yarn giveaway - the draw is on Friday! 
Monday, 23 September 2013

Along came Archie!

There is always a worry that highly anticipated events will not meet expectations. Since we announced to the children that we were getting a pup, we have done a lot of preparation - reading books, watching TV programmes/ training videos and learning about dog awareness. There has been much excitement, and also a couple of concerns - mainly from Little Miss. I'd also been conscious of the possible effect on family dynamics, how a pup would cope in our (noisy) household and how much work would be involved in housetraining. As it happens, I needn't have worried about any of these things.

D and I made the trip to Essex on Saturday morning, and came back with ..... ARCHIE! 
He is an 8 week old Miniature Schnauzer, small in size but big in personality. I can honestly say that he has already stolen all our hearts. He's still sleeping for much of the day....
Archie - Mini Schnauzer
He loves his cuddly pheasant and his comfy bed, although he didn't like where I'd put it (convenient spot, not at all in the way) and chose instead to prefer sleeping in front of the washing machine! That aside, we couldn't have asked for a better start. Thanks to an experienced breeder and a lovely mum, he is already housetrained - asking to go out whenever he needs to - and last night he slept through from 11pm until I woke him at 5.45 this morning to let him out. He is very confident and independent and will happily do his own thing while we are all busy, but playtimes are a lot of fun...
I've seen various things about the health-benefits of dog-ownership - how dog-owners have less stress and depression, lower blood pressure, recover more quickly from surgery, live longer, how stroking dogs can release the feel-good hormones and so on - but I think I'd forgotten how good it feels to have a dog. What I'm saying is that I didn't quite realise there was a dog-shaped hole in our family until he came along and filled it.

Expect more pictures. LOTS more pictures!!! (If you can't wait, there is an Instagram tag #archieschnauzer.) I'll be back tomorrow with some spinning (you should have seen Archie's face when my drop spindle was going!!!) 
Friday, 20 September 2013

Impossible-to-photograph Socks! (...and a yarn giveaway!)

What a wonderful day - the sun is shining here in West Sussex, there is just ONE more sleep until we get our puppy and I have something to share with FO Friday!
Impossible-to-photograph Socks!
I absolutely LOVE these socks although they are, as the title suggests, completely impossible to photograph. The camera can not correctly capture the orange, red, pink and brown - so you have to take my word that they are gorgeous! 

This is my usual 'vanilla' sock - a personalised pattern based on Wendy B Johnson's Gusset Heel Basic Socks, with additional shaping over the widest part of my foot, a longer ribbed section for the leg and knit two-at-a-time on a single circular needle (find my tutorial here). I particularly like this heel as I tend to wear a lot of clogs with my handknit socks and this is very neat. 

The self-patterning yarn is Regia Snowflake Color (shade 7712). I have made several pairs of socks with Regia and am never disappointed. It knits up really nicely and wears and washes well, plus there are some beautiful colours to choose from. Black Sheep Wools have kindly offered another ball of the same colourway I used here for a lucky reader. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me which is your favourite way to knit a sock - toe-up/cuff-down, and type of heel (or which you plan to start with, if you haven't tried socks yet). I'll randomly select a winner next Friday (27th Sept) - please remember to leave your Ravelry name or email address so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!   Congratulations to Ruth who is the lucky winner!!! 
Wednesday, 18 September 2013

WIPs & 'Woodland Knits' Review!

So far this week I've managed a little spinning, and have almost finished my vanilla socks - just the last bit of ribbing and they'll be off the needles. (If you like the look of them, come back on Friday for the ta-dah post, when I'll be giving away 100g of the same yarn!) I've also been reading The Light Between Oceans for our local book club - we meet tomorrow and as I'm only 60% through I've downloaded the audiobook to speed things up. I'm not going to tell you about that today, as there is another book I think you'll be much more interested in... 
WIPs and books Sept 18th 2013
Regular readers will already know that Stephanie Dosen is top of my 'knitting heroines' list. I first discovered Stephanie via the Beekeeper's Quilt video (over two years ago!) and love her knitting and her music. Her whimsical style totally appeals to me - in reality I might be a mum-of-two-rapidly-approaching-40, but in my mind at least, I am sufficiently young and beautiful to skip through the woods dressed as a faery - her designs completely encapsulate this. I can't tell you how happy I was to receive a review copy of Stephanie's brand new book through the post!

Woodland Knits is a collection of the most popular and iconic Tiny Owl Knits patterns plus some new designs that haven't been previously published - there are 21 in total. Small projects include legwarmers, a seedpod purse, a crown and fairy wings (!) plus a few different mitts. There are a several different hats and hoods (with varying degrees of whimsy), scarves of differing lengths and larger projects include a poncho, jumper, and hooded capelet. These are a few of my favourites...
Tiny Owl Knits "Woodland Knits" collection.
As you might expect, there are lots of flowers, vines, woodland creatures (butterflies, bears, foxes etc) and a whole heap of inspiration. The pictures are just beautiful and with an RRP of £14.99 it costs about the same as buying just 3 individual patterns online!* I can't tell you which are my favourites because there are so many that I LOVE - as soon as this blog post is finished, I'll be looking through my stash to see what I can cast on. If you like Stephanie's style then I'd say this is a 'must have' for your craft library.

*Woodland Knits is available to order now from and for considerably less than the RRP. You can find Stephanie's individual patterns on her website and on Ravelry at around $5.50 per pattern.
Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Spinning Show & Tell: The Acronym post - aka AYLM SAL KAL

This week I want to tell you about the Spin-along Knit-along (SAL KAL) that Tanya aka 'A Yarn Loving Mama' (AYLM) is hosting on her blog and which starts on Monday 23rd September. To take part, all you need to do is to spin approximately 240 yards of DK weight yarn, and then cast on the Age of Brass and Steam shawlette which, if you don't know of it, is an incredibly popular free pattern available on Ravelry.  
There is no fixed end date, which is good as I have no idea how long it will take me to do this, but I'm going to give it a go! If you fancy joining in, you can find out more on the AYLM blog, Ravelry group and Facebook page. Updates will be tagged on social media sites as #salkalageofbrass. All I need to do now, is find some lovely fibre.... maybe something red-ish... any suggestions? 

If you'd like to add your spinning or fibre posts from the last week, please use the Mister Linky below, and don't forget to tell your spinning friends about it by posting a link on your blog/website too. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Forward planning (What's On part 2!)

Since the recent "What's On" post, I've been thinking a lot about the next 'Unravel'. If you don't know what it is, you may like to read my review of Unravel 2013 before you read on.  It's still five months away but I'm already thinking about making a weekend of it and using it as a way of getting together with even more friends. With this in mind, I thought it might be worth getting the dates out there for anyone who is thinking of making the trip from further afield. 

Unravel 2014 will take place on Friday 21 February (5pm-8pm), Sat 22 February (10am-5pm) and Sun 23 February (10am-4pm). I'm planning to be there on the Saturday (all day) and Sunday (morning) and would love to meet up with readers who are attending. Last year was a little chaotic, so I'm going to see if we can pre-plan a meeting place for a 'Cwtchy Knit & Natter', or something like that. I'll speak with the organisers before the event, and will let you know of any plans nearer the time. 

As so many of you made it to Unravel 2013, I thought you might also be interested in two more upcoming events  at Farnham Maltings, which you can book now

October 19th & 20th - 17th annual Festival of Crafts
Festival of crafts brings together over 80 leading designer-makers and offers a great opportunity for visitors to buy bespoke craft pieces and gain inspiration from skilled professionals. Contemporary crafts on show and for sale include ceramics, textiles, glass, metal, jewellery and wood. Established designers will showcase their work alongside the best of the UK’s emerging makers.

Festival-goers will be able to participate in workshops and demonstrations from members of the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen and Maltings makers textile network, plus resident artists Sarah Dodd of Lotus Blossom and Laura Rose textiles.

This year’s festival of crafts falls within a celebration of crafts in Farnham throughout the month of October. Farnham Craft Town Month will feature participatory demonstrations and events in retailers and businesses across the town. 

Sunday 3rd November - Thread, Festival of Textiles 
This latest addition to the Maltings’ busy craft and festivals programme follows the success of Unravel, an international festival of knitting, and is a showcase for the many and varied textile notions.

Festival-goers will be able to hear expert talks, attend a range of workshops and see inspiring demonstrations and exhibitions of contemporary textile work. Visitors are invited to show off their sewing skills by entering the Best in Sew competition, sponsored by Mollie Makes Magazine, which will be judged by Farnham Maltings resident sewing tutors and authors of Sewing for Kids, Alice and Ginny.

Highlights include the marketplace featuring artisan fabrics, dressmaking patterns and haberdashery items, a masterclass for emerging makers from textile artist and Manchester Metropolitan Research Fellow Alice Kettle, and a showcase of the latest work of artist and illustrator Lou Gardiner.

I'll be back next week with another yarn giveaway, a finished pair of socks (hopefully), and perhaps even a little progress with my handspun - have a great weekend!  
Thursday, 12 September 2013

Upcycling a dog bed - the easy way!

Over the last few weeks I've been trying to decide how to make an upcycled dog bed, especially after cleaning out cupboards and discovering loads of old towels, blankets and bedding we don't use, but that I didn't really want to throw away. Following an online discovery, it turned out to be much easier, and more attractive, than I had hoped. Better yet it involved no sewing*!

The answer came in the form of a Molly Mutt  duvet (bed) - I ordered my 'Stuff Sack' and 'Duvet' set from the UK Stockist on Monday night and it arrived on Wednesday and in just a few minutes, this happened....
Molly Mutt dog duvet.  Molly Mutt dog duvet.
The Stuff Sack keeps the stuffing in place within the 'duvet'. I've placed a load of towels and blankets in a fairly neat pile, but the photos on the packaging suggest a more random placement - an experiment may be necessary when Archie is here, to see which is the most comfortable. 
Molly Mutt dog duvet.
And that's it! One cute dog bed which smells of our washing, can be easily taken apart when it needs cleaning/changing etc. At 22" x 27", this is the smallest of the three options and it folds down to the size of a 100g ball of DK. As it can be filled with anything, including spare pillows and blankets, it would make a great portable bed when staying away from home. I love it so much I've ordered another - in green - which will live in the Cwtch.

This is the last thing on my list for Archie - I now have everything but the dog (9 sleeps!) - so I'm starting to plan my next project which is a make-over of the playroom (new flooring and sofabed, perhaps a little decorating) and a few final touches in the Cwtch. I'll keep you posted!
*I considered sewing something myself but for the price (on sale at £16.99, which included both parts and postage, and advertised at $25 in the US) it was a no-brainer!
Wednesday, 11 September 2013

On a mission!

Between a weekend of (re-)startitis and the continuing puppy preparations (10 days!) there's a lot happening around here but not much knitting getting done. I have no fewer than six works in progress (there are a few more in hibernation too)... 
WIPs & Books: Out of control
...the only thing I've actually been working on? The socks, of course! So simple, portable and relaxing. If you haven't tried 2-at-a-time on one circular yet, you might like my recent picture tutorial.

As for the other things I'm working on, the imminent arrival of our new family member has meant lots of reading (my favourites arThe Perfect Puppy and How to Train a Superpup both by Gwen Bailey) and watching videos with the children so they will understand more about dog-ownership. It has also sparked a major clear-out. Cupboards have been emptied to make space for all the things that should no longer be left out - outgrown shoes have been sold or recycled, clothes have been sorted (some are being 'upcycled' but I'm saving that for another day!) and there are lots of things heading to a local charity bookshop. The kids can look out because the toys are next - I'm on a mission!
Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Show & Tell: Getting Started with 2-at-a-Time Socks

There is no new spinning to show you and as several people have asked how to start two (toe-up) socks at a time on a single circular needle, I thought it would be a good opportunity for a 'knitting show & tell' today instead. If you're here to add your spinning link, please do so below - I'll be back with more spinning next week.
Knitting show & tell: casting on 2 at a time toe up socks
I first tried "2-at-a-time" for our sock knitalong in February, and since then I have made various pairs of socks and "multi-puffs" this way, preventing 'second sock syndrome' and ensuring socks match without having to count rows. If you'd like to give it a go, but have the impression it's complicated, please grab some yarn and needles and give it a try with these step-by-step instructions. Click on the small images if you want to see full size pictures.

You will need:
- a toe-up sock pattern of choice
- a long circular needle in the correct size, I prefer 100cm but 80cm is fine too 
- two balls of yarn, I always wind mine into centre-pull balls so they don't roll about and get tangled together. If the yarn is self-striping or patterned, and you want the socks to match perfectly, then you will need to ensure the balls are wound in such a way that the same part of the pattern can be used to cast on each sock, and that the pattern is going in the same direction.

Using one of the balls of yarn, and Judy's Magic Cast On, cast on the correct number of stitches for one sock, then push those stitches to the back of the needles and use the second ball of yarn to cast on the second sock....
Knitting show & tell: casting on 2 at a time toe up socks   Knitting show & tell: casting on 2 at a time toe up socks
You will now have cast on two socks with two different balls of yarn. 
Knitting show & tell: casting on 2 at a time toe up socks
Whenever using multiple balls of yarn there is a risk that they could become tangled. To prevent this, I secure the balls separately (for example in a bag with poppers which can be used to guide the yarn) so that the working yarn is kept apart, and they are less likely to tangle. I also alternate the way that the work is turned (clockwise after the first side, which puts a twist in the two yarns, and anti-clockwise after the second side, to untwist them). With the yarn balls separated, it's time to start knitting the first side (the top) of the first sock... 
Knitting show & tell: casting on 2 at a time toe up socks   Knitting show and tell
There is no need to think about the second sock whilst doing this, except to ensure that the correct ball of yarn is being used, so keep it to the back of the needles (or on the cable if your needles are short). Using a long cable ensures there is a big loop at either side, and plenty of room to manoeuvre and work. This type of circular knitting is the "magic loop" method.   
Knitting show and tell
After knitting the first side of sock one (above), switch yarn and knit the first side of sock two.  
Knitting show and tell
Turn the work clockwise, ensure that the purl 'bumps' are to the top, and then readjust the needles so that the long cable is on the back needle and the stitches on the front needle, to knit across sock two (NB for the first row, remember to knit into the back of the stitch when using JMCO, to prevent twisted stitches). When sock two is done, change yarns to knit along the second side of sock one.
Knitting show and tell   Knitting show and tell
You have now completed one 'round' and should turn the work anti-clockwise to continue knitting. If you forget to alternate the turns clockwise and anti-clockwise, don't worry, it should be easy enough to get rid of the resulting twists if your yarns are separated.

It may seem a lot to remember when broken down into each stage like this, but once you give it a try, you'll see that it's surprisingly easy (and logical) to do, and in my opinion it's much less fuss than using two circulars or DPNs. If you give it a try, let me know how you get on! 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Trend-spotting (good news for cable fans)

Autumn/Winter temptation
Because I don't read women's fashion magazines, watch 'light entertainment' shows, or spend much time in high street shops, most "trends" completely pass me by. However it's that time of year when my postman hauls multiple clothing catalogues up the path each day (no escaping the marketeers!), tempting me with the new season's offerings and I am exposed to "fashion" (on a middle-aged, middle-England scale, at least).

As a knitter, Autumn/Winter clothes are of much more interest to me than any others, and in today's catalogues (Joules, Mini Boden and Plümo) I noticed a few 'retro' styles creeping back in. When I say 'retro' I am mostly referring to some of the things I wore as a child and teen in the late 70s/80s, namely cables and Aztec prints. Surely the cables are great news for knitters with fashion-conscious teens and husbands to knit for. I know my Nan would have been delighted if she were still with us - a cable sweater for each member of the family was an annual ritual begun in the New Year, although perhaps not always appreciated.  There are bazillions of cable patterns to choose from just about everywhere.

A quick look online tells me that Aztec patterns are not so widespread - I found this poncho with llamas and a matching earflap hat, but think I'll be giving it a miss   and whilst cables are a classic worth spending the time (and money) to handknit, I personally think that adding the Aztec influence may be best done via smaller statement pieces. 

I found some great inexpensive pieces including earrings, leggings, and several pairs of subtle Aztec-inspired boots as well as a nice bag (in the sale at Plümo!) which should be enough to be 'on trend' without investing too much money or time making my own. I've started adding a few things to this Pinterest board if you'd like to see more.

So the question is, which trends have you spotted and will you be incorporating them into your A/W wardrobe? Or are there any trends you'll be avoiding at all costs? 
Sunday, 8 September 2013

'Go-to' knitting.

Socks: Regia Snowflake Color (Sleigh)
Following my last post, I put aside the  things which were not going to plan, and started these. Plain vanilla socks, fun self patterning yarn (Regia) - a case of sitting back, and zoning out to the simple pleasure of 2mm (ChiaoGoo) needles between the fingers. It turns out that simple mindless knitting was exactly what I needed. 

A pair of vanilla socks on my favourite needles has become my 'go to' project. No need to think about tension, following a pattern or anything else - I could probably make these with my eyes closed. Perfect relaxation... and a step closer to having a whole week's worth of handknit socks before the cold weather returns. 

Do you have a 'go-to' pattern? 
Saturday, 7 September 2013

'Tension', or 'A most serious case of Re-Startitis'

I have issues. Tension issues. It started with the 'haircoloured handspun hat' a few nights ago - which came out enormous and had to be re-started two sizes smaller (child sized, although I don't have a small head). I'm now worried that following these instructions will result in a hat that's too small for me and that no one else will wear due to the rustic nature of this handspun*, so hopefully it'll be third time lucky.

Then I cast on the beautiful Rural Idyll ** and after knitting on it for a couple of hours - following the size that should fit my chest - it's clear that this would be big enough to house a small family! It's a garment knit in pieces from the bottom-up and I really wish it were top down in one-piece so it could be tried on as I go along. As it is, I'm going to have to cast on again in a smaller size and hope for the best as my gauge appears way off (although with this yarn it's difficult to get an exact measure - unless there is a trick I am unaware of?). I don't really want to alter the needle size very much, as I like the way the fabric is knitting up. 

I'm sure the smarty-pants knitters among you are feeling smug right now, and may even go as far as to leave a comment that I should have swatched and checked gauge before starting either of these, and I have no doubt you're right. You are absolutely spot on... but how can possibly 'waste' time on swatching when I have so many new things to cast on... like another pair of vanilla socks in the yummy yarn (Regia Snowflake Color 7712) that arrived this morning - at least there's no guessing with vanilla socks.

So if it's a little quiet around here it's because I am mostly knitting, undoing, and re-knitting. Let's hope there is some actual progress to show you by Wednesday.
* from handspun Welsh Mountain Black
** using King Cole Opium in Glacier 
Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Snippets: Good things

So it's happened. Little Miss is officially a school girl and My Boy has started Key Stage 2 - that's "The Juniors" in old money. I am happy and proud that they are developing into confident, independent little people who love the social and educational opportunities that school provides. They both had a great day and came home eager to report on the things they had done - new teachers, friends, lessons. Until an agressive wasp came along this evening, leaving MB with his most painful injury to date, it was a great day for them.

Their childhoods are moving apace and for this moment at least, it seems they are leaving "me" behind. By which I mean the "me" that has been all about them. It's a strange time for a woman who has been defined by her (paid) work and then by being a mother, and I can totally see how some in my situation resort to having another child to fill that gap (definitely not me!!!). I'm very thankful that we have a puppy coming home in just over two weeks, and I have my crafts and this blog! Amidst the unfamiliarity of this new phase in our family life, there is a spark of excitement - of new things to come. Do you feel it too?
Tuesday, 3 September 2013

What's on this Autumn/Winter?

It's that time of year again... my inbox is chockablock with details of different craft shows and festivals taking place in the run up to Christmas. Below is a brief summary of the main events coming across the UK this Autumn/Winter.

September 12th - 14th, Manchester***- This popular show has lots of exhibitors, free workshops/talks/demonstrations (everything from mixed media to quilting, paper crafts to lucet braiding) plus lots of special features including costumes from My Fair Lady and a life-sized knitted garden! A valid ticket to Creative Stitches & Hobby Crafts also grants access to the Women's Weekly Live show. Find out more/ book tickets here.

September 26th to 29th, Exeter***- over 180 exhibitors will be showcasing the latest products and gadgets at Stitch, Sew and Hobbycrafts and there will be plenty of experts on hand who aim to inspire your own creativity. You'll see an exhibit of giant textile books, walk through a knitted aquarium and view a selection of costumes from the Les Miserables film. There is also a 'Handbags & Gladrags' exhibit and the lovely Ruth and Belinda will be showcasing their latest projects too. Lots more details and ticket reservations can be found here.

September 28th & 29th, Skipton - This year sees the launch of Yarndale festival of craft and creativity. If you follow Attic 24, you will know about this event, but here's the low-down for those who haven't heard about it yet:
Held at Skipton Auction Mart, Yarndale is an exciting new venture which aims to celebrate the beauty and diversity of wool, cotton, linen and silk fibres in all their forms. The event will bring together an inspiring mix of retailers, manufacturers, craft workers and artisans from all over the country who are passionate about beautiful yarns, threads and textile treasures. 

Find out more at the Yarndale website and Facebook Page.

October 10th to 13th, London / 31st October to 3rd November, Dublin / November 21st to 24th, Harrogate - The Knitting & Stitching show is very well known and  widely regarded as one of the premier textile and craft events in the UK and Ireland. It takes place in London, Dublin and Harrogate and there are a huge number of exhibitors and galleries showcasing various crafts. My personal advice is to go on a weekday if you can as it gets incredibly busy at weekends - I was unable to get close enough to some of the stalls I wanted to visit last time I went but there are some wonderful things to see and lots of vendors including some great yarn stores. You can find out more and book tickets at the Twisted Thread website and the facebook page

October 26th & 27th, Birmingham - Fibre Flurry is a fibre-arts based business which hosts this fabulous annual event. There are some really great exhibitors and tutors this year and a whole list of workshops including just about everything you could possibly want to learn about knitting and spinning - and I really mean it when I say just about anything - Norwegian purling, steeking, cables, spinning silk, beaded knitting and even digital camera secrets for knitters! You can book tickets here.   

October 24th - 27th, Glasgow*** / November 7th - 10th, Birmingham***- With over 200 exhibitors displaying their festive wares and gift ideas at Crafts for Christmas and Hobbycrafts, you will be sure to get into the Christmas spirit here! The exhibits include crafts, food and drink, gift wrapping and plenty of workshops as well as the Scandinavian Christmas market, which is a real treat. I heard some great feedback from last years show from some friends who absolutely LOVED it! You can find the full list of exhibitors and book your tickets here.

EDITED: For additional events in October and November and forward planning for Unravel 2014, please see What's On Part 2

The giveaway is now closed - check your inbox if you entered! 
ICHF Events who organise the events marked with *** have kindly offered FIVE readers the chance to win a PAIR of tickets to the event of your choice. To be in with a chance to win, simply leave a comment, stating which (OF THOSE FOUR EVENTS) you would prefer to attend if you win. Be sure to leave your email or Ravelry name so I can contact you if you are lucky enough to get a pair of tickets - the draw will take place on Sunday evening, 8th September. Good luck!

Spinning Show & Tell: Decisions, decisions

Spinning Show & Tell September 3rd
It's been another quiet weekend for crafting, but I've started spinning the rest of my fibre from Hannah's Mum's alpacas and finished plying the singles that have been on my DIY Lazy Kate for some time. Today I'll get it washed and dried and added to my growing stash!

Talking of which, it's definitely time to cast on some of this lovely handspun (making it AND knitting it is part of my Year of Projects goal list) and I've narrowed the choices down to a few patterns - the first two have been in my queue almost since I started knitting but Carina Spencer's patterns are so lovely, I am leaning towards the third  - what do you think?  

Capucine by Adela Illichmanova - source: Ravelry

The Hudson Hat by Lyndsey Baker - source: Ravelry

Fae Folk Hat by Carina Spencer - source: Ravelry

I'm planning to cast on one of these later, once the school uniforms are labelled (uncharacteristically slapdash and last minute, but that's how I roll these last few weeks.) As usual, you're welcome to link to your fibre/spinning posts too. Please use the linky below and link back to this post. 

Oh and the yarn giveaway winner has yet to claim her prize, so if you are reading this Sarah_L_N, please drop me a message with your address ! 
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DISCLAIMER: Crafts from the Cwtch is part of the Deramores, Craftsy, Etsy, Creativebug and Amazon Affiliate programmes and works with a few carefully selected sponsors. Where posts or projects are sponsored, the opinions will always be entirely my own. You can find out more about affiliate links and blog sponsorship here.

Hello and welcome. If it's your first visit you may like to start with my most popular tips & tutorials, or the patterns. You can read more about me on the 'Hello' page and you may also like the CftC pages on Ravelry, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Etsy. I hope you enjoy your visit! Sarah

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