Monday, 30 November 2009

2010 Hand-dyeing workshops now booking!

Just up on the website are the new classes for 2010. As well as the regulars, kool aid and procion dyeing, dyeing with natural dye extracts and indigo & woad dyeing, this year, by popular request, I've introduced a one-day course on dyeing self-patterning yarns using our blank canvas sock blanks.

I'm really excited about this new course, as the feedback from courses I've done this year at Summer School and at Baa Ram Ewe in Leeds, was really good and I think the lovely dyed blanks show how effective this fun technique can be. These are some of the blanks dyed by the students on my course at Summer School. If you'd like to see more, there are lots more pics here.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Hippy Chick Headband now available as download


I am gradually working my way through my design portfolio and making all my patterns available as downloads. My Hippy Chick Headband is the latest addition and is also available as a Dye-It-Yourself Kool Aid project kit.

So far, downloads have to be done through Ravelry but eventually they'll be available direct from the website. Patterns are £2.50 each. If you see a pattern you'd like, you can always email me and I can send you a printed copy in the post (same price, no P&P). Payment can be by all the normal methods, paypal, card etc.

Never mess with a knitter....


...if she is a witch that is.

I forgot this photo which I took on our holiday in Cornwall. It was in the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle. I was genuinely surprised to see it as I'd never heard of knitting being used for spell-casting before. (And no, I don't own any glass knitting needles in case you were wondering).

Monday, 23 November 2009

November clubs all done!

Just a quickie update to say that clubs are all dyed and ready to post. Just need to get the labelling done and brave the elements to the post office. Am very grateful that the rains here have been relatively moderate and my heart goes out to all those who have been flooded out.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Why we craft....

The Crafts Council are asking people to help them promote crafting. They can say it better than me, so here is the text from their website.

"If craft is important to you, we want you to let us know. The Crafts Council believes that Craft Matters and we want to show that it matters to thousands of people across the UK as much as it does to us. The government’s own data tells us that “17% of the population took part in a craft activity in 2008/09” – we want to show what that statistic looks like in real support so that everyone can see that craft is highly valued. So, sign up today and pass this email on to friends and colleagues. Together, we will show how much Craft Matters".

It would be great if you could all go along and let the world know how many of us crafters there really are out there - and please pass on the link to as many people as you can, too.....

(Oh, and if you are a teacher/know a teacher/have kids of school age or are interested in getting kids into crafts, there is a great new initiative to help get crafts into schools - well worth checking out : ))

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Beautiful Blues - Indigo & Woad Workshop

Now the observant among you will have notice that this is not blue....


But when I tell you that the above murky spaghetti became this.....

and this.....

you'll understand why I think that dyeing with indigo and woad is so magical.

Last Saturday was Indigo and Woad dyeing at the hut and I had a lovely day despite having a yucky cold. Vicky and Emily were very patient with my snufflings, (thank you girls!), and produced some fantastic yarns, fibres and fabrics.

I particularly liked the ingenious pan-balancing structure which was set up to do some dip-dyeing ....

(nice work there - I may have to borrow that idea!) and I'll be looking forward to seeing the free range knitting and felting (no pressure!).

That was the last of this year's dyeing courses, however, you can still catch me for a fabulous day learning all you need to know about beaded knitting at Skeins, the lovely Carole's, workshop in Glossop in December. I have some lovely patterns and projects planned and all materials, including beads and yarn, are provided. Which reminds me, I must go and order some more yummy beads and organise next year's workshop dates.....

Monday, 9 November 2009

Domestic (sewing) goddess

After 2 years prevaricating I finally took the plunge and shortened my bedroom curtains this weekend. They look lovely in summer as they are a full-length, deep red velvet affair and frame the window very nicely, but in the winter they completely cover the radiator unless they are bunched up on the windowsill (not very attractive and they get a bit soggy with condensation).

So on Sunday I grabbed my big sewing shears, pins and ruler and trotted off to do some measuring, pinning and snipping. Thankfully, these curtains are not new (they were a stop-gap when we moved into our house first time round, so over 12 years old already!). Nonetheless, I am quite attached to them and making that first cut was a bit scary.

With pins in place, I dusted off my trusty Bernina 1090, dug out the instruction book and set about blind-hemming the edges. Having never done this before (straight stitch and a bit of zig-zag is about as technical as it gets for me), I was a bit nervous, but Bernina's are just so fab they practically do the job for you. And by tea-time I had finished! One pair of properly hemmed curtains, re-hung and just the right length. I don't know who was more surprised, Pete or me ; )

Of course, now I have no excuse for not doing the three sets of living room curtains.....I hope this wasn't beginner's luck....

Friday, 6 November 2009

Textiles in Sussex weekend


Had a fab two days in Lewes at the East Sussex Guild's biennial textile exhibition, even if I did lose my voice by the end of day two and come back home with a stinker of a cold : (

The drive this time seemed much easier than last time (it's about 400 miles each way). Could this have been to do with the copious amounts of sandwiches, snacks, treats and cake packed by my lovely Mum, I wonder?

We met up with lots of friends, old and new and it was nice to get the chance to speak to people we haven't seen for ages. I would like to say I was very noble and resisted temptation but I did manage to sneak off and buy a lovely fleece, a gorgeous selection of buttons and clasps from the textile garden , and a handmade handbag frame from WitzEnd. I already have plans for these in new designs so watch this space.

As we didn't get off the stall, we sent our roving reporters (aka the inlaws) out on a photo-mission so you can see how pretty Lewes is. I kept expecting to turn a corner and bump into a Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple!

A big thank you to all the lovely ladies and gents of East Sussex Guild for all their help with loading, unloading, teas, biscuits, cakes (mmmm!), and for inviting us along : )
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