Yesterday my friend Sarah from knitting and I went to Yarndale, a festival of all things woolly, in the pretty little town of Skipton on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Here is the front cover of the show guide – how cute is that sheep!

Yarndale 15 brochure
Skipton is worth a visit at any time as the town and the countryside are lovely and as the weather was beautiful we had a great journey there.

Sarah is a very talented knitter, crocheter and designer and she has some beautiful patterns here on her blog Wessenden Woollies and on Ravelry. She is working on some new designs and wanted to source wool for these.

I am being very good at the moment and not buying anything else (until the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show) so just went for the chance to see some woolly loveliness.

And it was there in abundance! This is Yarndale’s second year and it is held in the animal auctions sheds in Skipton so the whole place smells of sheep and the pens are ready to welcome new visitors such as these cute alpacas who had come to model their gorgeous fleeces.

Yarndale 1 Alpaca

Yarndale 2 Alpaca

There were some old favourites there such as Oliver Twists who do such beautiful threads and some lovely new things.

Yarndale 4 Oliver Twist

One of my favourites was Susan Crawford Vintage  who designs garments based on patterns from the 1920s to 1950s, published as A Stitch in Time , I do like that name :-).

Yarndale 10-vintage knits

As well as wool there were textile artists. Two that I particularly liked were Marmalade Rose  with gorgeous felted pictures (and some fab vintage linens re-used on her blog) and Anne Brooke with stunning stitched textile pieces.

There were also very original display ideas on the stalls and this was one of my favourites.

Yarndale 8 tray

Yarndale 9 tray

I think it is an old printer’s drawer but thought something like this would be an excellent decoration for my craft room, loved all the little balls of wool and buttons!

The hall was decorated with strings of bunting made for last year’s Yarndale and over 1000 mandalas made for this year’s event by readers of Lucy’s Attic 24 blog. They had been sent from 48 different countries after she asked for help from her bloggy friends – don’t you just love the power of the internet!

Yarndale 6 Bunting

Yarndale 7 Bunting

Yarndale 3 Mandalas

These were a few of the ones laid out on the table for closer inspection, love the sheep buttons on that top one and the bike charms (you may remember Yorkshire hosted the start of the Tour de France earlier this summer).

Yarndale 11 - mandala close up

Yarndale 12 mandala close up

Yarndale 13 mandala close up

There was also a display of crochet flowers.

Yarndale 5 Flower garden
And look at this cute button jug! Might have to add that to my Christmas list as that would look really good in my craft room.

Yarndale 14 button jug

Speaking of buttons I was very good and all I bought at the event were these few buttons. I am using them for more of my flower brooches and made this denim one last night.

Yarndale 18 big pretty buttons

Yarndale 19 Denim flower

Earlier on in the week I ordered some very similar buttons from a supplier I found on Ebay (was looking for holly buttons but got distracted!). They are from Bluebell Craft Supplies  and were very good value as there are 80 small 15mm buttons in a packet for £1.69 plus postage.

arndale 17 pretty buttons

Also bought some Christmas ones – these have got some very cute vintage designs on them.

Yarndale xmas buttons

Have found a supplier of the larger ones on Ebay at Willow Tree Mill  as well so might be tempted to go back for more (only once I have used all these up though!)

I also signed up for a subscription to Simply Crochet, as well as improving my quilting this year I would like to learn to crochet as keep seeing wonderful things that I want to make (got to have something to keep me busy over the off-season apart from work and kit making!)

Since I have had a very busy first week of term and it is a dull day I am going to stay snuggled under my fleecy blanket and make more brooches and Xmas ornaments today.

Don’t forget to like my last post for the giveaway to celebrate 400 posts (thanks to all of you who have already done so) I will be choosing the winner next Sunday. Hope you have had a nice week whatever you have been doing and thanks for visiting.

On top of the world

Hello there

Hope you are all well and happy, thank you for your lovely comments on my new things.

I have been busy this weekend adding to the stock as I have made a couple of new items, these are phone covers. The top one I am going to keep as I made a bit of an error with the lining ;-(

Phone cover 3

Phone cover 2

Phone cover 1

The crochet on that one is from a large piece which contains about 30 of these flower motifs – I used some of a similar design and different colour last year to make a handbag which I blogged about here. So I have plenty more to make other items.

The other phone case used one of  the smaller motifs from the tablecloth that I have used for the hearts and the Kindle cover I made. I think I have got about 6 items out of that tablecloth already and still have loads of motifs left.

I acquired a new tablecloth this weekend, this one is cross stitched so I am looking forward to making some bigger items from that – I am thinking maybe toilet bags.

Cross stitch table cloth Feb 1

Cross stitch table cloth Feb 2

I am feeling very well at the moment – touch wood my dodgy back is behaving itself and I went on a really lovely strenuous walk yesterday literally to the top of my little world. It was a glorious day, very blustery and still icy as you can see from the foliage pictures below.

Binn Moor walk 1

Binn Moor walk 2

Binn Moor walk 3

Binn Moor walk 4

Binn Moor walk 5

It was wonderful to be up so high looking down on the reservoirs.My house is just at the bottom right of this view.

I have just finished a stitch for the Winter Exchange – more will be revealed when it has reached its destination and nearly finished another version of the variegated wool hat. Have so many lovely projects I would like to do next don’t know where to start 🙂

Right am off and now for a wander and when I come back more crafting – what a lovely life!

Thanks for visiting.

Happy Mothers’ Day – cupcakes, vintage crochet and knitting

Hello and a very Happy Mothers’ Day to you if you live in the UK. If you don’t Happy first Sunday in April and I hope that you are having a lovely day anyway! I would like to dedicate this post to all of my lovely friends who are mums both in real life and blogland as a celebration of your fabulousness. And of course to my wonderful Mum who has always been a brilliant friend as well as a mum.

Being a mum is fantastic and I am very thankful that I have such lovely kids who have once again bought me very thoughtful presents and cards.I had a bracelet and  Mackintosh pattern box last week and today as a surprise I got this!

Elm creek book
Sylvia's Bridal Sampler Quilt Book

I have wanted this book  for ages and I was very impressed as normally the kids don’t buy me crafting books from my wish list (they think I have enough already – as if such a thing exists) So thanks very, very much!

I have lots of friends who have in the last few years become new mums and one of the things I value most about the internet is being able to keep in touch with them, to see pics of the kids and to be able to offer support through the power of a nice comment or two when they may be feeling a bit overwhelmed or the kids are poorly, teething etc. I am very lucky to have had a great group of local friends who I met through a Mother and Toddler group and we have kept each other going through the years and are now supporting through teenage and University issues and the joys of having more time to ourselves now we are becoming empty nesters!

I am always impressed by the mums who run their own businesses both ones I know in real life and through blogging. I have mentioned my very talented friend Kat lots of times before and her medieval headdresses and costume business Kats Hats . I would also like to introduce another friend to you who has recently set up her own business, Simply Yummy Cupcakes, which as you can probably tell is a cake business! The link is from Facebook so you might have to be logged in to see it. Now I know a lot of people do cupcakes but these are something very special – I hope she won’t mind me sharing a couple of pics with you of her work – look how  talented she is!

Laura's cakes 1
These are obviously very topical for today!
Laura's cakes 2
These 'bouquets' are made out of cupcakes decorated like roses!

 Laura also makes cupcakes to order for birthdays, weddings and other special events including some very unusual ‘cake pops’ that you can use as wedding favours – she is based in Newport , South Wales in the UK so if you need special cakes go and have a look at her creations.I am planning to do a little baking later on this afternoon for Jake – some chocolate orange cupcakes with chocolate frosting which I tried out on him last week and they got the seal of approval but they are not as wonderful as Laura’s.

Taking inspiration from another very talented mum, Hen House, I went to a Vintage Fair in town yesterday held in a little Victorian Arcade where my friend Lydia has her wool shop Spun. Hen makes the most wonderful things out of her vintage embroidery finds – adding them to quilts and cushions so look what I picked up.

Vintage crochet 2
Two crochet runners and a linen tablecloth


Vintage crochet 1
Look at those lovely flowers!

I have tried to learn to crochet but no luck so far but the little flowers on these two pieces are lovely and I thought that I could turn them into something nice with some denim that I have in my stash and some of the fabric that I bought from Lydia not long ago. Lovely daughter Ellie is home from University in May so hopefully we will be able to spend lots of time crafting and I thought she might like these. The tablecloth I plan to incorporate into a quilted throw for my lounge that I have some beautiful medieval prints for which I bought last year. Quite when I will get around to starting these projects I don’t know as I already have several WIPs to complete but it help to have all the stash handy for when the right time arrives doesn’t it!

I have done very well on my current projects – have nearly finished the stitched exchange piece. It has been a tricky stitch, not so much the pattern but the combination of the fabric I chose and the silk thread and the fact that the count is very small so I have to use the magnifying glass and it has been slow going. As I wanted something a bit more mindless to work on this weekend (we were watching a film where I needed concentrate!) and I needed something new for knitting group I have cast on for a baby cardi in my favourite Sublime yarn – this time a dusky pink. I could not get a good pic of the pattern (Blossom from Let’s Knit magazine  August 2010) so apologies but it is a tie front cardi with an eyelet detail in the body (which I have not tried before) and lacy diamond pattern sleeves.

Pink ballet cardi
WIP on the back showing eyelet details

Knitting with the Sublime yarn is wonderful after using the Marble Chunky for my hat. It was quick to knit but not as easy to see the stitch pattern at all whereas with Sublime you can see exactly what you are doing. I am going to Spain again next week (lucky, lucky me – it is my Mum’s 70th birthday in a couple of weeks so we are celebrating out there) so this will be my holiday project along with the JBW pudding ornie.

Speaking of the red chunky hat here it is modelled by me this morning (thanks Jake for taking the pic!) I think it works very well as a slouchy beret and will use the rest of the ball to cast on for a scarf in the same pattern later in the year – not as much need for scarves here in Yorkshire now hurrah!

Red chunky hat modelled
I really like the colour changes in the yarn that give it the stripes and the lacy rib pattern

Well am now off to spend the rest of the day doing my favourite things – lucky me! Hope that you are all having a lovely day wherever you are and thank you very much for visiting.

Simple things

I have been having a relatively quiet week enjoying the simple things in life as my back has still been a bit sore. Have enjoyed long soaks in a nice hot bubble bath and the relief of getting home after a day’s teaching to lie on the sofa with my knitting. My lovely students bought me a big bunch of flowers as a get well present – aren’t they kind?

Especially welcome as they are so bright - a contrast to the dull weather

I have taken delivery of a new edition of one of my recent magazine subscriptions this week so I thought I would share this with you. The magazine is called Piecework  and it comes from the USA. I subscribed a few months ago as I liked the fact that the magazine is a blend of the history of all sorts of crafts and ideas for making new items.

Piecework magazine cover 1
The Nov/Dec issue

Each magazine contains articles and then a project and covers embroidery, knitting, crochet, weaving etc so is perfect for me. I probably won’t get around to making any of the projects anytime soon (due to life interrupting the serious business of playing with textiles!) but love reading them. My favourite from this issue was the article on one woman’s grandmother’s crocheted pillow edgings.

Piecework article 1
The work of Mary Rebecca Spagnola who died in 1944

As regular readers know I  love the social history behind textiles and this was a really interesting article with a crochet pattern to go with it – I wish I could crochet but even if I could I think this would be beyond me!

Piecework article 2
A crocheted fan edging for a pillow

Last edition was all about the links between literature and textiles and include an article on one of my favourite subjects. I have been re-watching Little House on the Prairie and reading lots about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life after the books ended and there was an article about her daughter Rose Wilder Lane.

Piecework magazine 2
The literature issue


Piecework  article 2
Rose Wilder Lane article

My friend Kath lent me two books about Rose’s childhood which I read on my recent holiday in Spain. She had a very similar upbringing to her mother in small rural communities but ended up becoming a journalist and travelling all over the world and writing about women’s needlework as well as travel and  industrial change. It was she who encouraged her mother to write all the Little House books. I find their stories fascinating as a record of how the roles of women changed so much in that era. I have one of Rose’s books on my wish list for Xmas – the ‘Women’s Day Book of American Needlework’  and if no-one buys it for me I will treat myself in Jan!

I am getting on well with my quilted Xmas wall hanging and my lace pattern scarf – no finishes to show you yet but they will be done soon! The lace scarf is a real labour of love as it has a 12 row pattern which takes lots of concentration but I am nearly there!

I do have a pic of the latest baby cardigan in Sublime with its recipient. Here is Anna – Mae with her parcel and wearing the cardigan – doesn’t she look lovely! I am so glad that it fits.

Anna Mae 2
She is now nearly 18 months old - isn't she adorable!

Well I am going to be very busy this week with work but am really looking forward to my trip to the Harrogate Knitting and Stiching Show at the end of the week – I have my shopping list and there may well be Xmas fabric on it (as well as lots of stuff to make lovely quilts after Xmas – have been browsing the Makower  site for ideas!)

Thanks for visiting.

It’s a miracle!

Two very good things have happened this week. Firstly there has been sun – real sun in Yorkshire and blue sky! January is nearly over (hurrah) and I nearly got into the garden for a tidy up this week – though by the time I had finished the work I needed to do it had clouded over and started raining but hey there was sun and this is the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Of course I know by posting this that we will have a very cold wet weekend but I am hopeful that Spring is on its way. My honeysuckle has buds on and the poor garden looks like it is recovering from the cold. Have lots of frost damage to sort and tidying up to do but it is looking lots better. 

The other good thing is that I have learnt to crochet (sort of!) helped by Arianwen at Knit and Natter this week. On Tuesday I had a trip to Leeds for work so decided to treat myself to a crafty mag and saw this in the news agents – 

crochet mag
Look at that cute cupcake!

It came with lovely silky wool and a hook and promised simple instructions – well it did have pictures but wasn’t entirely sure so read the mag on the train and then Arianwen demonstrated and I can now just about do chain stitch and double crochet – just don’t look too closely at the neatness of the small sample below – 

Look at all that pretty wool for making flowers

Will work on this in the odd moments in between finishing the teddy and bag – bag is more or less done,  just the stitching up to do so will be casting on for teddy this weekend. 

Am going to have a very lovely weekend as tomorrow I am running an embroidery workshop for the girls from my medieval group. They are coming to spend the day and we will be doing a project each – probably goldwork – that we can all take to shows this year and work on so that the public can see us in action. Have just been sorting through my stash and my (quite extensive!) library of reference books. We shall have a lovely day stitching and I will take pics of their projects for you. 

I have just completed and posted my Valentine Exchange pice for ASOE – a new finish for me but obviously can’t post till Maggee in the US has received it. 

While in Leeds on Tuesday I indulged in a tiny bit of retail therapy and went to a fab bead shop that is located in Thornton’s Arcade in Leeds city centre. Yum Yum beads have got a wonderful selection – I was very good though and only treated myself to these little sleigh charms. 

xmas charms
Little charms for the 2010 ornies

These are perfect for the design that I found the other day for my Xmas ornies for the my friends here in Yorkshire and they were half price! I usually start ornie stitching early in the year as they are great little projects to take away on holiday or on the many re-enactment train journeys we do. 

Yum Yum Beads also have an online store here

Yum Yum Beads
Pretty beads!

I will leave you with a better pic of the Noro beret – taking pics has been a challenge this week as I have been out early and back late and it has been so dark! Roll on the lighter days and warmer weather! Next weekend we are going to a local festival, Imbolc  in Marsden, that celebrates the end of winter with a fire festival so that will be fun. 

Noro beret
The moss stitch Noro wool beret showing the beautiful colour variations

Thank you once again for visiting and I hope you have a lovely weekend.