Sunday, 23 October 2011


In typical 'me' fashion I decided to learn a new craft the day before I needed present couple of thank-you gifts.  However, they both went down well, and I now have a new project to take up what little spare time I have left :-)

I used this handy little tutorial as my basis with some frames purchased from museum collection.

They looked so cute until I tried, in my heavy handed and rather clumsy fashion, to glue one of  the finished purses into the frame.

I was pretty close to just running to the high street to find  'store bought' replacements, but with a litlte care (and acetone free nail polish remover) I got the (relative) success I was looking for...

They look like change purses, but they are actually clutch size :-)
But, seeing as I am less than graceful with a tube of Uhu, I think I may attempt the hammering technique in the future...

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Knitting & Stitching Show 2011

If you live any where in or close to London, and you love to craft, then you need - and I mean NEED - to get yourself to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace this weekend.  This show has everything from knitting stations to a stall selling handmade chocolate (yes, I said handmade chocolates!)
(Too delicious!)

If you feel as though you've hit a wall in relation to what projects to work on next, this is definitely the place to go to gain a wealth of inspiration - my head was absolutely buzzing with ideas within minutes of my arrival.  I've always been more of a crochet gal than a knitter, but this show has really given me the knitting bug!  And I can absolutely guarantee that no-one can spend any time at this show without feeling the need to quilt something - blanket, wall hanging, cushion; decisions, decisions.... (Actually our local WI has a quilting workshop planned for the next meeting - roll on October 27th!)

Speaking of quilting, the Festival oF Quilts competition winners (stand G15) is an absolute must for anyone with even a passing interest in textile or visual art.  The quality of the artistry is truly beyond stunning.  The interesting thing to note (and this may be a trait confined to my own peculiar psyche) is that textile art, unlike many other visual arts,  has an effect of spurring on the creative urge: so, even when a piece is far beyond the reach of the viewer's ability, there remains that desire to attempt to reach that standard, and enjoy whatever progress can be made along the way.
Knit1 Hook1 - Pass it on

And that feeling of diving in to projects without external judgement really does characterize the atmosphere of this show: the feeling is that everybody should be comfortable whilst finding their own creative voice - which creates such a pleasant atmosphere that it's easy to feel as though this part of London has been transported to a place and time where daily 'competition' did not hold sway.

There are also workshops galore until 3.30 pm each day with a repertoire that ranges from the basics of utilizing a sewing machine to bead-weaving master-classes.  Be sure to check at the information desk as these classes are very popular and can sell out rather quickly.
The ULTIMATE embroidery machine

If up-cycling is more your thing then why not bring along a piece of clothing, or two, to the Upcycling Academy to learn how to refashion items that may have been languishing at the back of the wardrobe, rather than simply purchasing something new from a high street chain store.  Twisted Thread have teamed up with Traid to ensure that people have a full understanding of the journey our high street clothes make before being sold at, often, 'knock down' prices in in conglomerate stores.
(Make do and mend)

But, if you are just looking for some fabulous bargains, there's all that too!  There is so much in the way of yarn, material, thread, embroidery floss, beads, and buttons: and that is alongside all the amazing sewing machines (Janome, how I yearn for thee), crafting supplies and bespoke artwork. I really had to reign in my desires in order to ensure that I didn't spend half my salary on 'gorgeous things'!   (I did, however, indulge in some lovely fabric, which will be turned into a skirt, or two, in the very near future: watch this space...)
Wool Fish


But there is even more!  In the general foyer there are more stalls and exhibits (be sure to check out the circuit board!) and please take the time to view the Battle Of  Prestonpans Tapestry which is displayed along the corridor that leads to the main hall.  

There are also books and patterns galore - some of which are rare or antiquated, and Sew Today (stand H44) have out of print patterns from giants such as Vogue and McCall at discounted prices.

The show runs until Sunday the 9th of October and is an absolutely fabulous day out for all crafters and artisans!

P.S.  If getting to London really is an impossibility, there are two more shows coming up before the end of the year - one in Dublin from the 10th to the 13th of November, and one in Harrogate from the 24th to the 27th of November: check the Twisted Thread website for more details.