Sunday, 25 September 2016

Embroidery and the Great London Yarn Crawl

It's been a busy few weeks! It's my fourth week back at university and getting used to early mornings and commuting in the sardine cans known as the London Underground. The lectures have been very variable but really interesting. Needless to say, term time means less time for creativity so my knitted bunny has slowwly appeared with only one leg to go now and a bit of sewing together. One of my goals this academic year is to create a better work-life balance between revision and everything else. Fingers crossed. One website that has really helped me with this through learning how to organise my life better is It has great articles on being organised, formulating routines and prioritising the important things in life. It may not be relevant for everyone but it's been a great help so far.

On the creative side - I have been going to some great events. The first one was an embroidery refreshers afternoon with the London Craft Club.

Based in the back of a food and wares market, a small group of us gathered around a table covered in a rainbow of embroidery thread. We spent the first hour on colour theory, which is basically how to match colours for a project so it doesn't look like they've been chosen in the dark. It's a surprisingly interesting topic and after the class I have really begun to notice colour combinations used in advertising and patterns in Ravelry.

After that we got onto the pretty stuff. Embroidery! I think I went into sensory overload when I was told to pick just three colours out of the multitude on the table. Looking around the table at the others, I knew I wasn't alone. Sonia who was leading the class helped direct us to different shades of the colours we had chosen to make even more vibrant or pastel based groups. We then learnt how to place the fabric in the embroidery hoop and a few basic stitches. I've recently started following Sarah K Benning on Instagram so I drew a small cactus for my sample piece.

I'll post a finished photo so you can see how the rest of the cactus went :)

Then, very excitingly, I was a volunteer last Saturday at the Great London Yarn Crawl 2016 which was organized by the lovely ladies from Yarn In The City. It was so much fun! There were 12 teams of varying sizes all of whom went to three or four yarn shops around London. As a newbie volunteer I was given an easy route around three gorgeous shops in East London: Knit with Attitude, Fabrications and Wild and Woolly.

I started the Crawl at a little cafe in Stoke Newington called Chumleys so I had a central place for the yarn crawlers to meet up. All the tables were old school desks with the lifting lids and the walls were covered in posters. Not cheap but really good food for breakfast including bacon and pancakes covered in syrup. Yum! I had eight lovely women in my group all of whom were very keen knitters. As a beginner it was wonderful to be surrounded by experienced knitters who were more than happy to share their knowledge and hints and tips.

Each shop was very individual and really welcoming. Knit with Attitude was a mix of yarn, jewelllery and a few other items. From what I could understand the shop is shared between a few people which gave a mix of different mediums. As someone interested in just about everything and anything this was a great way to browse. I bought two skeins of 4 ply ‘scrumptious’ by Fyberspates in Charcoal (grey) and Oyster (pale gold).

Next stop was Fabrications based in Broadway Market. The owner, Barley, has been in Broadway Market for quite a while now and a lot of her products are based around her passion for up cycling and preventing waste. I particularly liked her cushions made from the inner tubing of bicycle tyres.  She very kindly let us sit and eat our lunch in the downstairs class space and made us tea. Thanks Barley! Fabrications run workshops in sewing and knitting which vary from beginner classes to different ways to upcycle clothing and other materials.

The wall of yarn at Wild and Woolly

Our final stop was Wild and Woolly. We arrived to find fresh tea and coffee and cake and biscuits made by Anna who owns the shop. It was lashing with rain by this point and we had ages between this shop visit and the after party. Was this a problem? Not at all - Anna invited us to sit and knit and natter for as long as we wanted and kept us topped up with hot drinks. She also gave us free reign over her ball winder which provided many minutes of fun. I wound my new skein I bought from Anna from The Wool Kitchen in Ziggy, it's amazing how different yarns can look in skein and ball form.

Image from Wild and Woolly

A fantastic day with lovely people and lots of yarny goodness! I cannot wait for next year with faces new and old and more importantly new shops to visit!

Shop links

Podcasts this week

Hey Sister Podcast

The Grocery Girls

A Playful Day

Friday, 2 September 2016

What's On in September

I was just rereading my last post and I realised the events list at the end only included two of the September events that I wanted to mention. So here is the updated list with links to the websites. I've added a comment or two to some of the ones I have been to before or have organised to go to this year. I hope this will be helpful! I have also created a Pinterest board for events in 2016 and another board for events in 2017. Feel free to look at these for inspiration and ideas of what to go to. I will add new pins as I discover more events. Enjoy :)

10th September Yarn in the City's Great London Yarn Crawl London
The Great London Yarn Crawl is like a pub crawl but for yarn! The event is split into different routes which consist of either 3 or 4 yarn shops with lunch halfway. You are guided around the route by volunteers and they end with an afterparty where you can meet people from all the routes and can compare all your yarny purchases. A great way to meet people and discover new places to buy yarn and other supplies.

8th - 10th September Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycraft Show Manchester

16th - 18th September Kirsty's Handmade Fair Hampton Court, London
A huge craft fair with two big tents full of stalls to wander around and plenty of workshops to try out throughout each day.

23rd - 25th September MADE Brighton Brighton
A fair for contempary designers and makers.

24th - 25th September Masham Sheep Fair Masham, Yorkshire
For the absolute woolly enthusiasts out there. This is a fair for sheep sales so of interest to wannabe sheep owners or those curious about sheep and where their wool comes from.

24th - 25th September Yarndale Skipton, Yorkshire
I would love to go this but can't make it this year. Yarndale takes place in a huge auction mart that is usually used to sell cattle and livestock based in Skipton, Yorkshire. Fantastic fun and over 180 stall holders. They also provide a wide range of workshops over the two days although these sell out very quickly so book soon! One of the organisers is the lovely Lucy from Attic24. If you can't make it, you can still knit or crochet a mini sheep that will be displayed around the event.

29th September - 2nd October Lochness Knit Festival Inverness, Scotland
Loads of workshops and full of beautiful fibre, wool and many other things. Although it has knitting in the title they do have weaving and spinning as well.