Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Spinning (or, rather, not spinning!)

The observant among you will have noticed that I mentioned dusting off my spinning wheel in an earlier post. In case you thought I was kidding, here is my wheel just as it came out of the spare bedroom.... (!!)

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Stitches International Birmingham

We recently went to the Stitches International trade fair in Birmingham. It was our first visit there and it was a real change to attend a show as a visitor and to be able to mooch round looking at everyone else's exciting goodies for sale! The hard bit was keeping my credit card firmly stashed away in my bag!

Although we didn't see lots of yarn, we did see some interesting organic yarn and it was lovely to meet up with Tom from Artesano. I was very tempted by their new Manos del Uruguay range. Each skein is handspun and signed by the maker - how cool is that? There were some fantastic accessories so I have plans for lots of new projects with wonderfully exotic beads and embellishments. There were some fab handbag clasps, fasteners etc. too so I can feel some interesting bags and the like coming along soon. (This might not seem terribly exciting, but it's the little things like clasps and straps that really set bags apart for me and give them the designer look).

We signed up for a Search Press account so we'll soon be stocking lots of their gorgeous titles. What was a bit embarrassing was looking through the catalogue and realising how many of their books I already own in my crafty "library"! (Didn't tell Pete this so mum's the word).

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Spinning and Yorkshire buttons

Our spinning guild is my favourite place to go and relax and spend a whole "me" day. So I try to take along something that has nothing to do with DT Crafts but is just me spoiling myself. This is usually when my spinning wheel is dusted off and dragged out of the back of the spare bedroom and I can enjoy a few hours of peaceful spinning. However, it's also a fab place to learn new things (and re-learn things I've forgotten!).

At the last meeting we had a talk and hands-on session on Yorkshire buttons. Being a good Yorkshire lass I was surprised I'd never heard of these and a quick canvass of my Yorkshire relatives produced only blank looks and shrugs. So I was intrigued.....

The talk was most interesting and it transpires that Yorkshire had a thriving button industry, alongside Dorset and Leek. Buttons were handmade and a sign of prosperity and wealth. This, apparently, is why many old garments have buttons which are purely decorative - they were essentially a status symbol, the "bling" of its day!

Making the buttons was really fun if a bit fiddly. It's hard to believe that people spent all day making these things, they are so intricate. I made just one and here it is....

Although they take a little while, I can see myself making these for special pieces, dyeing the thread to match the yarn/fabric. They'd be great on bags and coats. Oh rats, back to DT Crafts again....
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