Thursday, 12 February 2015

Colourwork Knitting at the Yarn Barn

Undaunted by the recent snow my intrepid bunch of knitters arrived brisk and early for a colourwork workshop at the Yarn Barn in Milnrow. My lovely group enthusiastically got stuck into mosaic (slipstitch) colourwork knitting, Fairisle and even knitting continental-style with a yarn in either hand :-)

With Judith as our lovely hostess (and her lovely, spacious shop to be tempted by!), some lovely wristlets and wristwarmers were produced...

Thanks for a lovely day ladies :-)

Oh, nearly forgot -  I'll be doing more workshops for Judith throughout the year, including beginner's crochet, knitting in the round, socks, illusion knits and more, so be sure to check the programme for details :-)

Monday, 9 February 2015

Workshop news! - Blockprinting on Card and Fabric

Fancy a creative Friday workshop blockprinting? I'll be showing you how to make a lovely tote and cards using these beautiful Indian stamps at The Make It! shop in Chorlton. It's fantastically simple and you can create great effects with just basic acrylic and textile paints - and best of all, no drawing or painting skills required!

 Here are some simple examples I printed up on card and fabric.

And here's my finished cotton tote.... fun, fast and easy!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

New year new book! - 250 Knitting Stitches by Debbie Tomkies

A couple of weeks ago a very special parcel dropped through the letterbox - even more exciting than yarn! (I know, how is that even possible?).

My latest book has been published!

Working on this latest title has been a real adventure. You might think that compiling 250 different stitches would be a challenge but the real challenge was keeping to 250 and reluctantly leaving some out!

Nonetheless, I hope I have included something for everyone. There are the essentials for newer knitters, as well as more challenging stitches for more experienced knitters, historical traditional stitches from around the world and exciting new stitches from my design portfolio.

My personal favourite aspect of the book is that every stitch has both charted and written instructions. As someone who flits between both I find this approach particularly useful and if you're a confirmed chart/written knitter you'll be able to follow the patterns using your preferred method.

 You can pre-order a copy of 250 Knitting Stitches from us here in the UK (published by Search Press). Readers outside the UK will find it in all good stores stocking Interweave publications where it has the slightly different title, Knit Stitch Dictionary. On which subject, the publishers have used UK terminology in the Search Press edition and US terminology in the Interweave edition so you should always be working with familiar terms and symbols :-)

Friday, 23 January 2015

The No-choc Yule Log Challenge

Last year Pete gave up chocolate. This presented a few challenges, not least when it came to filling up the Christmas stocking - out went the maltesers and 2-foot jaffa cake tubes :-( but we did replace those with yummy handmade fudge from the Christmas markets so not all bad.

Somewhat trickier was the obligatory - in our house at any rate - yule log. I'm no domestic goddess in the kitchen department and, whilst I do have shelves of cookery books, most of them have accumulated more dust than Miss Havisham's wedding dress.

So I was quite relieved when presented with "the alternative yule log" - a very impressive affair comprising a vanilla swiss-roll style sponge heavily encrusted in soft buttercream. At least I was until I read the instructions. Now I can manage a basic sponge - it might not make GBBO but it's edible and the chaps like it. But a swiss roll? This requires more than just dolloping mix into tins and slapping two halves of cake together. Hmmmm...

This is where a cake-savvy friend comes in very handy (especially one who can be bribed with yarn). And this is how we did it (I use the term we loosely - my input was mostly of the moral support variety).

The mix for the cake (yes, 5 eggs!)

Only fair to have a pic of the person who did most of the work so here's Julia hard at work...

The roll (the tea towel was part of the instructions)

And cake 2 - for the crumbly coating (I cannot tell a lie -there may have been "a bit" more extra cake than we strictly needed here. But don't worry, it didn't go to waste).

And - ta dah! - the cake (yes, it's sitting in a garlic bread dish - it was a bit liable to rolling)

The lovely jammy, buttercream interior...

And a slice to show it off in its full glory...

With grateful thanks from the Tomkies family to the Telegraph's Rose Prince for the recipe and to Julia for culinary expertise. Yule will never be the same again :-) 

Friday, 12 December 2014

New workshops! Felting at the Make It shop

I've been having some fun with needle felting recently - it's a fab way to make quick and easy gifts and decorations without needing lots of expensive materials or equipment. And of course, it wouldn't be fair to keep all the fun to myself so I've been running some workshops, too :-)

It's always lovely when a new crafty venture opens but especially lovely when it's a friend's latest adventure! Danielle of Rubbish Revamped fame has just opened a great new shop in Chorlton. The Make It! Shop is packed with craft supplies and there is an exciting timetable of craft workshops and taster sessions if you fancy a couple of hours trying a new skill or making something special.

Last week we were making cute needlefelted robins and gorgeous Christmas ornaments. I'm afraid my camera was having a bit of a meltdown so the photos aren't great, but I thought you might still like to see some of the lovely pieces the groups made.

I'll be running another needlefelting workshop in January - join me at the Make It! Shop on 10th January and make one of these cute owls and a stylish brooch/corsage.

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