We’ve got the whole world in our hands

Saturday the 9th June was Worldwide Knitting in Public Day, and in thousands of locations globally crafters were taking up their projects and joining in.

Belfast Stitch and Bitch was no exception. This year our event was in the Dock, an honesty box cafe in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. We are regulars there and it’s our second home after Starbucks. It was a special year as the group is celebrating its 10th anniversary and the celebratory pattern book was to be distributed and sold.

Nikki was our organiser and as the day got closer we were tempted with images of ballot prizes and promises of lemon drizzle buns. The event was due to start at 12.00, but a number of us were so excited we were beating the door down at 11.00.

After a frantic 20 minutes of moving tables, labelling prizes, setting up the book stand and launching up our brand new pop up we were ready for business.

It was a great day with over 20 crafters and their children ranging from 3 months to 16 years around the table. Crafts ranged from knitting, crochet and embroidery to spinning. The book was admired and purchased and us canny folk who had preordered even got a goodie bag and a badge.  We love a badge!

The buzz around the table was great and before too long, patterns, yarn, stories, Sharon’s magic dip and the lemon buns were being passed around. The unlikely hit of the afternoon was the raffle / ballot / tombola? Nikki had gathered a wide variety of prizes and we all had our eye on something special (number 16 – merino baby kit). With the odds at a one in five chance we were all keen to take part. After a slow start with only a few prizes won we all felt our chances had improved and a veritable frenzy resulted. Speaking personally my children will be living on beans all week due to my determination to win number 16 (which I eventually did). Helen won the coveted ball winder and Ruth got vouchers for no one but two yarn bundles.

Eventually the afternoon drew to a close and old friends and new drifted away and WWKIP day was over for another year. We left tired, but very happy and our minds turing to where our yarn adventures will take us next….

A big weekend

This Saturday is a big weekend for crafters everywhere – its World Wide Knitting in Public Day! While last years WWKIPD was all kinds of funs, this year we thought we’d do something different.

This years event is a double whammy! On one hand, its all about the knitting and crocheting and on the other, its all about Knit 10 Together –  yup, we’re combining WWKIPD and a book launch!

eurpoeThis Saturday we’ll all be heading to The Dock Café for lots of tea and crafting from 12 -5 so even if you can drop in for a few minutes we’d love to meet up with you.

 

 

As for this mysterious book launch, its taken on a life of its own (my fault really, lol)  You can get yourself a copy on the day for the princely sum of £10  Here’s a sneaky peek at the cover . If you’ve preordered your copy then yours will be ready and w18879881_10154737594523727_618194383318686984_oaiting for you 🙂

As well as all this, we’ve put together quite an excellent raffle/tombola type thing – pay your money and pull out  a raffle ticket. If your ticket corresponds to a number on a prize then you win. Simples.

So what have we? Well…. we have yarny and non yarny prizes from the following kind folks:

Parlour Yarns, Dye Candy, Mina Loves Designs, Secret Stash, Mourne Archery Centre, NI Big Sock  and Ewe Momma Knits to name but a few.

I’ll be showcasing the prizes every day this week on facebook so go check out the Event Page!

Knitting together for 10

The buzz in Belfast city centre was not all about the marathon today.  It also marked the 10th anniversary of Belfast Stitch and Bitch.  We returned to our usual haunt of the Victoria Square Starbucks and were spoiled by the staff with sandwiches, cake and lots and lots of tea.

Never a group to do things by half, a plan was launched several months ago to mark the anniversary in style with the creation of our very first pattern book. Patterns from a range of knitters and crocheters, Nikki, Sharon, Anja, Nicky, Suin and Jaele are included and there is something for everyone. So if a bunneh is your thing or your more of a gauntlet kind of gal get on to Nikki to order your book and goodie bag (ropeadope_ie@yahoo.com).

The book costs a very competitive £10 and the book with goodie bag is only £15. They will be available for collection on our holy day 10th June (worldwide knitting in public day) or they can be posted for a small fee.

But Belfast SNB is much more than high days and holidays – the last ten years have been filled with fibre, fellowship and fun.  This powerful group of (mainly) women have supported each other through births, deaths and marriages, as well as divorce, unspeakable bosses, unreasonable landlords and much much more. Members know that on a Wednesday there will be a listening ear and a sympathetic shoulder as well as a willing audience to share the more lighthearted events of week. Sometimes it’s just enough to pitch up and craft quietly knowing that there are good friends around you. My mother once noted (not entirely ironically) that I had knit my way out of two nervous breakdowns!

So if you are looking for a haven from the hustle and bustle of the world and a forum to share your most outrageous stories (nothing is off the table at SNB), come along and join us for the next 10 years.

Snowballs

Something is coming.

Excitement is in the air.

The anticipation is building.

something_awesome_is_coming

Facebook group members are being bombarded with silly pictures of excited things, a bit like the above really, but this is  because we are celebrating our 10th birthday. Yes, 10 years ago this month a few friends met up to knit, and it snowballed from there.

10 years is pretty huge, I mean, who would have thought that we’d still be going strong!We’ve had plenty of people through our doors, some came for a night and some came and stayed forever. Its not a group of knitters anymore, it’s a family meet up every week.

And this family is a little bit crazy.

Back in January….or February, we were having one of our excited “what if” chatting sessions and talking about our birthday.  “What if we did something special”, “what if we designed a pattern for our birthday”, “what if we ALL designed a pattern” and this is where it snowballed.

Quick as a flash, we had a core group of designers (new and old hands) and a bunch of testers working furiously on the designs. Whatsapp was red hot with a dedicated chat just for this crazy idea, Jaele was being bombarded with emails with patterns in them that she had to format, meetings were held and the deadline was looming.

Because, ladies and gentlemen, we decided that the best way to celebrate our special birthday was to publish our very own pattern book.  Yes, you read that right, a book!!

We’ve put together a collection of patterns that we hope will appeal to a range of crafters –  we’ve got crocheted and knitted patterns, with colourwork, beads and the cutest toys.

I have to say that, even though I may have contributed to it, I’m EXTREMELY proud of what our little crafting community has managed to put together, not just for us but for the whole of the Belfast Stitch and Bitch community. You may not have been able to join us on a Wednesday or a weekend knitting session, but your presence in the Facebook and Ravelry groups means a lot.

 

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I hope I’ve managed to whet your appetite!

We’ll be hosting a Preliminary Viewing of the book and its contents:

Date: 1 May 2017

Time: 11-3

Where: Starbucks Victoria Square

Come and join us for a spot of crafting time and see what we’ve put together! At the viewing we’ll be taking pre-orders so you’ll be guaranteed a copy. You’ll also have the option of paying a little bit more for a goodie bag if you wish.

More information will be coming out on Facebook over the next few days….have to keep you all keen!  (But if you can’t make the preview and want to get a your hands on a copy, just email me: ropeadope_ie@yahoo.com and I’ll add you to the list)

Today I wrestled an octopus

Well, not quite, but that’s what it feels like.

A few weeks ago I went to visit my friend in Munich (as I have told everybody who wants to listen and quite a few who don’t).  Being a good friend she had organised a tour of local yarn emporia.  In one shop I spied a large cone of the jersey material used for making baskets and similar.  I had previously fondled this ‘yarn’ in the Glen Gallery and said that when I lost two stone I would buy one as a reward.  Well pants to that, at the rate I am shedding pounds the yarn would have decomposed before I even got to buy it.

So having given up the straight path and narrow gate I grabbed a beguiling blue cone of the yarn and took it to the till.  I then realised I needed a hook, so I entered into a lengthy pantomime of waving and shouting at the poor shop assistant.  My German accent would not have been out of place in an episode of ‘Allo Allo’. Eventually the shopkeeper correctly interpreted my dance macabre and solemnly handed me a size 12 hook.

I carried my prizes back to Ireland where, like many previous skeins it sat on the shelf for a number of weeks until last night.  I had visions of rapidly whipping up a few baskets to house mother’s day presents.  Humph! The combination of the comedy size hook and the very bouncy yarn meant I got myself into a terrible muddle. Instead of a tasteful artisan receptacle waiting to be filled with goodies, I am in possession of a shambolic blue net which would not be out of place on a trawler catching the now endangered hake.

However, I will not be giving up, otherwise I will have to lose that two stone in order to buy the next skein I have my eye on!

 

 

 

It’s all a little bit crazy

Is it just me, or has everyone and everything gone a little bit crazy this year?

I know its only the start of March, but I’m sitting here thinking about the things the knitters are doing this year….and the things we’ve done in the past. It seems that we can’t sit for 10 minutes without thinking of a new adventure to embark on.

Take me for example. Last year I knitted a lace shawl. I don’t knit lace. I don’t knit shawls. Yet I somehow managed to combine the two last year for a wedding….then left it languishing in the back of the car because it needs tweaked.20160812_091855_LLS.jpg

And now this year, I’ve been to a crochet class! I actually think I did ok, just need to remember that corners exist in the world of crochet and they’re important so the square doesn’t become a circle!

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See! Things I wouldn’t normally do, I’m doing them!  Don’t tell anyone, but I quite liked the crochet (except for the pesky corners) and reckon I could manage a cushion cover or something.

So, besides crossing over to the dark side of the craft, we’re in the process of planning activities to celebrate our 10th birthday in April.  So far we’ve a group heading to Newcastle for some archery, we’re organising a wee retreat and a Dublin day – all the things knitters love.

Knitters also love yarn….and this weekend a whole bunch are heading off to Edinburgh to spend a ton of money on beautiful yarns, accessories and drop spindles. Those of us left behind will just have to cry into our stash…..or buy a new one.

On Saturday I will down at the Odyssey/SSE Airticity Arena for the Dock Market. I will have lots of pretty hand dyed yarn with me, and there will also be pretty project bags – treat yourself!!!!

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It’s a funny old month

February is a strange month, really quite hard to pin down its character.  December is simple, feverish gift knitting and a growing hysteria. January is more reflective with promises of cold sheeping and cooing over the yarn received in the Christmas swap.

But February? On a positive note, the mornings are getting lighter, payday is just around the corner and there are plenty of knitty events to look forward to.  However for those on the sheep the grim reality of being on a yarn diet is really starting to bite and with Easter still many weeks away we have no clear focus for our efforts.

So how does a wiley crafter respond?

Some go stark staring mad and take on the challenge of casting on a project for each day of the month.  Not for the faint hearted but it certainly staves off the boredom.

Others dive into their stash a get creative with their hoard – Sharon’s rainbow jacket is an amazing response to the siren call of yarn already purchased.

The weaker willed among us (that would be me) allege that they do not have ANYTHING of use in their stash and continue to purchase and even plan pilgrimages to yarn shops in foreign cities.

So, halfway through this troublesome month we plough on with our projects and dream of Edinburgh, the Dock Market and a Very Big Sock!

The eve of mania

Its hard to believe that its February tomorrow. We’ve just barely recovered from the frantic crafting that December brings and now its time for another crazy venture…Cast on Mania.
The premise for this one is simple – try to cast on something new for every day in February. So by 1 March you should have 28 brand new projects on the needles.
According to the rules I read on Ravelry, there aren’t really any rules! You can cast on as many things (or as few) as you like during the 28 days.
You may want to start that blanket you’ve been putting off for years and this could be the spur you need. Or you have half a dozen single socks lying around just waiting on their mate….then now’s the time.
It’s meant to be fun so don’t be stressing yourself out if you only manage a hat.
As for us…well as usual we have the aspiration for greatness. We’re going to knit ALL THE THINGS! There’s baby knits, hats, crochet ponchos and jumpers…. And then there’s me who will manage a single pair of socks.
I unofficially had my Cast on Mania in January…I just got twitchy fingers. I keep making hats which, while they will keep someone warm eventually, aren’t on my immediate to do list. I’ve baby things to knit by March for work and so far I just have a sleeveless cardigan to show for my efforts.
Preparation is key. Take time today to rummage through your Ravelry queue, your pattern books and magazines for the patterns you want to start. Gather the yarn, needles and notions for each project and stick them in a project bag. Write a list so you can keep track of whats been started.
So far I’ve managed to write a short list and printed some patterns. My C.O.M will consist of knitting though the living room stash (with a few additions from the main stash) and am determined to knit sleeves, a blanket (pram sized thankfully) and some wee hats (and finish the socks in progress too)
You don’t have to finish everything in February, just get the projects started!
Need moral support? We’ll be in the Dock café on Saturday from 12 if you want to Cast on with us!

Merry Christmas 

Merry Christmas crafters,  we hope Santa has brought you lots of crafting goodies. 

Share your Christmas haul with us in the comments section below,  ho ho ho!

Squeaaaaaaaaallllllll

Every year our group does a Christmas swap and this year we decided to take it on location. Anya kindly organised the Titanic Afternoon Tea and on Sunday afternoon we all pitched up ready for an afternoon of fun and friendship.

I don’t know if the genteel halls of the Olympic Suite were quite ready for us – and our outlandish demands to sit together! But eventually we all got settled and the business of the afternoon could begin. Kenny the waiter even impaled himself on some panelling in order to take our picture. A few friends could not make the event and there had been some very furtive pre event gift delivering in undisclosed locations.

Following a strict rotation each knitter received their box of delights. The oohs and ahhs escalated into squeals and gasps as each present was gradually revealed.  It is a testament to the strength of our friendship that all the creations were so personal and thoughtful. Crafters had haunted wish lists, eavesdropped on conversations and in Anya’s case listened to my repeated plaintive plea, ‘I love those gloves’ (I love them so much that I am wearing them now as I type, and may never take them off!) in order to create the perfect gift.

We were treated to a journey round the world, a trip over a rainbow, a escapade in the labyrinth of double knitting and much much more.  Just as the excitement was beginning to subside the food arrived.  What a feast! Even then we couldn’t resist swapping as salmon balls were traded for panacotta and scones.

When even Helen had run out of tea we slipped into a post prandial reverie and our thoughts turned once again to our beautiful gifts. I put on my ‘tar ra ra’ Stephanie delved into her fireside basket and Sharon and Heather explored the possibilities of actually knitting your own rainbow.

The formal section of the afternoon ended with the obligatory photograph on the staircase taken by yet another very obliging waiter and then we started to drift away.  Some people went home, others to the pub and several simply to a quiet corner to stare at their gift and stroke their yarn.

Sitting at home later in the evening, wearing my beautiful gloves, sparkly birds singing from my Christmas tree and a box of violets by my side I consider myself very lucky to be part of such a special group.

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