SnB does Yarnfolk

August is going to be an exciting month for Northern Ireland! This year, we will host the first ever fibre festival in the North. On August 5th, Yarnfolk will be launched in Whitehead, home of Lighthouse Yarns. And SnB will be there!

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At the @BelfastSnB stand we’ll be doing a mini trunk show of our book, Knit 10 Together, celebrating 10 years of community crafting. (I talk about the book here, and Nikki covers our successful book launch here!) We’ll also have samples by our knitters, crocheters and stitchers so you can see what we’ve been up to.

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We’ll have two sessions where we’ll do a trunk show of the samples from the book, and talk about techniques used in the book. Then we’ll do live demos, where you can try out and learn something new.

11am – Crochet technique. We’ll teach you a great crochet technique: Magic Circle. This is a handy way to start crochet projects such as the cute stuffed “Chemistry Set” by Nicky Young, and “Bunneh” by Sharon Clark.

3:15pm – Knitting technique: Learn colourwork skills used in the book for the “Heatwave” hot water bottle cover by Siún Carden, and the “Hearts & Butterflies Cowl” by Jaele Rollins-McColgan. We’ll give you advice about how to make sure your colours pop, and how to handle two colours.

If you’d like to know more about the beading technique used in “A Very Hearty Hat” by Nikki Hagan, check out the beading class with Anja Szepan (who also designed the “Twisted Heart” cabled mitts in the book).

Come along to our cosy corner at the SnB stand at any time to knit and natter, or stitch and b*tch if you prefer! 😉

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Frozen Fever

… has had a tight grip on me, too, for quite some time now. It appears, though, that this especially shows when prompted by others.

But let’s start at the beginning…

About a year ago, as talks and planning of our annual pilgrimage to the Dublin Knitting & Stitching Show slowly began to take shape, the lovely Terri of A Fine Fish Yarns was looking for willing sample knitters. It was, I believe, her first time at the show (she’ll be back this year, one hears…) and she wanted a variety of garments and accessories to display her beautiful colorways.

I jumped at the chance. Duh. I was Hermione Granger when Snape asks those random questions. My hand was so far up in the air it touched the ceiling.

To get rid of me (I am convinced that’s why), Terri gave me a lovely skein in her Frozen-inspired colorway “Anna’s Frozen Heart”, and asked me to knit a pair of finger-less mitts.

Off I went to Ravelry, but, alas, I could not find a pattern that suited. They were all either so plain they would have been absolutely boring, or way too intricate. I was looking for something simple, yet with an interesting touch, that still managed to show off the yarn.

What do we do when we can’t find what we’re looking for? That’s right, we make something up. Thus, “Twisted Heart” was born.

 

Now, this is the first pattern I designed myself. That I wrote down, anyway.

The name was Nikki’s idea.I just agreed.

I have since made a second pair, in order to retrace my steps and weed out mistakes. Tweaked the thumb gusset a bit. Put it into a readable set of instructions. It has been test knit and deemed appropriate for publication, but I have yet to find the heart to do so. I guess I should probably do so before the Dublin Show this year, right?

Right?

What to do…

… on the first weekend you have to yourself after a two-week vacation with your parents?

Why, Dye-Workshop, of course!

Throw a few friends into the mix, a couple of strangers, A Fine Fish Yarns‘ gloriously gorgeous (just like her yarns) Terri, and the lovely ladies of Framewerk Belfast, and you’ll end up with a lovely morning/early afternoon.

And some pretty yarn.

BEHOLD:

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WWKIP Day 2016!

It’s that time of year again, when we grab our balls, sharpen our needles, and – wait, what did you think I was talking about? I’m talking about World Wide Knitting in Public Day!

This year we joined up with the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum on the 18th of June and hosted a brilliant day of knitting, crochet, spinning, yarn dyeing, weaving, and all sorts. The Ulster Guild of Spinner, Weavers and Dyers were there, as well as a few of the museum’s other talented craftspeople, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful mock village of Ballycultra.

Our group arrived early to set up: we knit and crocheted several wee things to hide amongst the bushes and trees for the kids to find, and then we positioned ourselves scattered throughout so that people ran into us everywhere. It was like a knit attack!

 

We made several new friends, and many more from our Facebook group joined us. The Top Floor Art Craft Circle were there, and Pamela from NI Big Sock even joined us for a few rows despite being up to her ears in patchwork hexagons! (Thanks, Pamela!) And some of us were just excited just to get out for the day.

In addition to free entry to the museum if you brought your knitting, The Wool Shop in Bangor was kind enough to donate 50 free goody bags for the first 50 knitters/crocheters in the door! We got a sneak peak at what was inside:

The museum’s willow weaver also made a special display, just for the occasion! (This proved to be quite popular, as you can, um, see. Ahem.)

All in all it was a brilliant day. Nikki made us knitting bingo worksheets and a knitting related word search, in case we needed something besides out current wip to pass the time! There was plenty to keep us busy though. We watched Kay dyeing some gorgeous yarn specimens, and the Guild of Machine Knitters were there too offering a demo. Amazing stuff!

We had great weather for it, and had a picnic in the sun for lunch so we could all meet up and chat, because knitting in our respective places (The Bank House, the school, the cottage on Tea Lane, the draper’s, and the Ballydugan house) was hungry work!

 

So there you have it. I tell ya, when we plan something, we don’t do it by halves. Nikki, my partner in crime, and I are dangerous when we put our minds to it! And of course I had help from my wee fella too! Much thanks to them both, for without them this wouldn’t have been half as fun! And huge thanks to everyone who knit/crocheted wee animals for hiding and who came out to join us for the day!

 

Happy crafting!

Our Crafting Demo Day

Recently we held a crafting demo day for Voluntary Arts Week (6 – 15 May). We wanted to create an opportunity to allow people to experience craft as a relaxing pastime, an escape from the stressors of everyday life or as a way of pleasantly passing the time should they suffer from health issues that might otherwise inhibit them.

We met at 11am at the Dock Cafe in the Titanic Quarter, knitting needles and yarn swifts at the ready! I even made cookies for the occasion.

So what kinds of crafts were we demonstrating? Pretty much everything! Knitting, spinning, crochet, sewing, embroidery – if we could carry it, we brought it.

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We even had Sharon on duty sewing hexagons for NI Big sock!

We definitely attracted attention and had a brilliant day introducing future crafters to new hobbies, and exposing hardened crafters to new ideas. Next year we’ll hopefully engage more people, but then we did happen to accidentally coincide with Comic Con! Regardless, it was a lovely day and we hope to be seeing a local surge in craft soon!

Don’t we all just love a KAL??!

A KAL, for those who don’t know, is a ‘knit along’… Where knitters from all over our wee world (sometimes as wee as a Starbucks!) knit the same pattern, or with the same yarn, or any pattern by a specific designer.. (You get the gist!) At the same time.. Usually with a start and end date, sometimes with prizes!
Some of us might be a wee bit.. Umm.. Addicted to KAL’s!
Especially the mysterious ones! So an MKAL is a mystery KAL, where the pattern is released as a series of clues.. (So it’s a good idea to like/trust the designer before you start! ;-))
I (hangs head in shame) have not one but two unfinished Boo MKAL’s on the needles at the minute.. ‘be with you‘ and ‘voodoo‘ both of which will be lovely.. If I could stop casting on!
Although.. Most of the time a KAL can help you focus, there’s support if you get stuck and you can fly though a pattern! I recently finished waiting for rain (townhouse yarns, fade st in carnage)
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But at the minute.. As well as my two Boo’s.. I am knitting I believe as part of a KAL (which has finished.. But its for my Mother in laws birthday next week!) a ripplets as part of the 2nd annual any shawl by Melanie Berg, which finishes June 12th..
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And I might just have signed up for the through the loops MKAL starting June 1st!! Ok.. It looks much worse written down! Better get knitting.. And winding..
Like I said.. Some of us have a problem..

Crafting resolutions

Well crafters… It’s all over for another year! I kinda epically failed at Christmas, I gave my one and only handmade gift to my stepdaughter on
the 28th…

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Tofty

She loved it and wore it into the city the same day! I will admit to giving the air a wee mini fist pump when she was gone! 😉
It got me thinking that the joy of knitting and the pride I felt when she loved it were the most enjoyable parts of Christmas for me this year! (apart from playing santa of course! ;-)) I’m sure a lot of you guys have figured this out already! It definitely trumps battling the queues and the wind and the rain to spend money just for the sake of it!
So I guess my main resolution is to be more organised.. Maybe between each selfish project I could add something to the Christmas pile.. Only for the knit-worthy of course!
My poor husband has been waiting since November 2014 for his cowl, and I was finally on the verge of having it ready for Christmas this year.. Until I finished the first skein and couldn’t find the second! :-\

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Garfunkel

Such a wonderful pattern in delicious yarn too (malabrigo mecha-candombe).. So yeah.. More organisation across the board really! Wish me luck! And happy new year! 😉

Knitting and Stitching.. Missed trains and enhanced stashes!

Friday morning saw us set out on our annual excursion to Dublin for ‘the knitting and stitching show’.. Although it didn’t begin well for my 5 month old and I.. We missed the train (technically we were on the right train but we got off.. I blame mislabelled tickets and a lack of caffeine..) and we had to wait two hours for the next one! But.. A knitter is never bored!

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Doodling at the train station

Things got infinitely better when the cold drove us to leave the station and we wandered into a wee café across the road.. ‘the atlas café’.. I was gutted to learn that they didn’t have a card machine but they were so pleasant and lovely, they gave me a free cup of tea! I mean.. They had no idea what a crappy start to the morning I’d had.. To them it was just a cup of tea.. But to me it was a hug and fist bump.. Just what I needed to get on with it! So if there’s ever an opportunity for you to perform a ‘RAK’ (random act of kindness) grab it, you could literally ‘make someone’s day’! Thank you ‘atlas café’.. I’ll see you soon!

Anyway.. Getting off topic.. Oh yeah.. Yarn! 😉

So once my son and I finally made it to Dublin.. The Belfast SnB’ers were there waiting for us! What dolls! 🙂 We visited a gorgeous yarn store ‘This is knit’ .. Which stocks sumptuous goodies from hedgehog fibres, malibrigo, juniper moon and dublin dye company to name a few! The staff were lovely.. They caked skeins and stashed the pram so we could chill upstairs and knit! They should open a branch in Belfast! 😉

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After that we visited another lovely store called ‘the constant knitter’, they have lush stock too.. Including pretties from LITLG, schoppel wolle and west Yorkshire spinners.

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Photo courtesy of http://nearlythere.com

We were encouraged to take a load off.. And were given everything we needed to make tea! Awesome customer service!

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After a lovely chilled evening in the hotel (knitting of course!) we were well rested and ready for a full day at the knitting and stitching show the next day! 🙂
We arrived nice and early so we had a great morning wandering through the stalls and admiring the immense talent on display.

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Knitted fish stall! Photo by http://nearlythere.com

Some of us zig-zagged so we wouldn’t miss a thing, some of us had a list and knew exactly where we were going first (after a quick glance at the map!) and some of us drifted aimlessly but one things for sure.. We all had fun and most if us blew our budgets.. Some of us our second and third budgets too! 😉

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Yarn colour wheel! Photo by nikki

Around lunch time it began to get almost unbearably busy though, it was getting quite difficult to navigate with a pram! But thankfully I’d spent enough! 😉
A few of us took a class called ‘Celtic stained glass’ by Paula Rafferty which involved the use of fabrics, bondaweb, bias tape and (shock horror!) an iron. (No.. No glass!!) And although we didn’t have enough time to finish sewing it down we still learned a bit about a craft we’d never heard of before! (And it was good value.. And a welcome respite from the crowds!) I’ll definitely do a class again!

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I just have to get creative with the sewing machine now..

After that we were positively beat! Another chilled evening in the hotel knitting and admiring each others gorgeous purchases, and it was back to real life the next morning! Thank you K&S show, it’s been fun, see ye next year! 😉

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