Spring Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia London

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Are you making a New Year’s resolution to start an exciting textile craft project, learn a new skill or buy your very first sewing machine? Then The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show is the place to start and tickets are on sale now.  The Spring show opens its doors to thousands of crafters at Olympia London from 1st to 4th March 2018. From embroidery to dressmaking, needle felting to crochet, there are over 200 workshops and free demonstrations hosted by expert tutors, covering every textile craft imaginable. Whether you’re a complete beginner, an expert seamstress or somewhere in between, there’s something for everyone and with nine workshop classrooms, it’s the biggest Spring show programme ever.  Workshops are bookable in advance on the show website from mid-December.  Prices start at £15 for one hour, including all materials needed. Places sell out quickly so early booking is recommended. You’ll find plenty of opportunity to indulge in a little retail therapy with more than 150 specialist retailers under one roof.  From yarn and fabric, buttons and beads to the latest sewing machines and gadgets, you won’t go home empty-handed. Galleries by leading textile artists, graduates and groups are sure to inspire, with exhibitions by Kate Whitehead (Not From The Stork), Anne Kelly (Folk Tales), Dionne Swift and her students from around the world (Collective Stitches), City Lit (Making), The Quilters Guild (Commemorating World War 1) and SAQA (Concrete & Grassland). Contemporary cross stitch kingpin, Mr X Stitch (Jamie Chalmers) will be hosting The Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch, featuring new work by artists pushing the boundaries of the genre, plus cross stitch and canvas work from the Royal School of Needlework archives. Tickets cost £13.50 in advance (concessions £12.50, children aged 5-18 £6.00).  A wide selection of options is available from www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/spring or by calling 0844 581 1319 or +44 0121 796 6165 from outside the UK.

The Woven Skirt

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Marianne Henio’s Woven Skirt is a great addition to your wardrobe and you can match it with existing jackets to create some snazzy suits! Why not jazz up your office wear! It’s knitted on a standard gauge punchcard machine and the yarn used is a 4-ply Bramwell Artistic Crepe with a mix of bouclé yarns to create the woven effect. You can use quite thick yarns for the weaving, even though it’s a standard gauge machine. The skirt is knitted sideways and this stops it from curling, as the outer edges don’t curl in knit-weave. The curl is actually sewn into the side seams, so the whole skirt lies flat. Prefect! This could be a great little project to use up some yarns in your stash, so why not mix some acrylics and fancy yarns and see what amazing fabric you can make. All those mixtures of colours mean the skirt will go with everything and it’s really fun to do, If you’d like to add The Woven Skirt to your wardrobe, click here!

Don’t miss out!

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The Makery Advent Calendar treat for Day 2 is 50% off all workshops in Bath and London for 24 hours! This was such a popular offer when they ran it in the summer, so don’t miss out if you’re not on Facebook or Instagram. Just add code Advent50 at the checkout. The offer ends at midday on Sunday 3rd December. Remember, too, the Bath Christmas Market and folk are loving the Personalised Christmas Baubles!

Workshops in Bath and John Lewis, Oxford Street

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There are  some exciting new workshops scheduled at The Makery in Bath and John Lewis, Oxford Street. First up is Make your own Moccasin Slippers – a warm and cosy take on the hugely successful Espadrilles workshop. For all unicorn fans there’s a Make a Unicorn Head workshop and for kids and teens there’s a Unicorn Cushion. Look out for a new Geometric Coasters workshop and a new tutor for Photography & Styling – blogger and writer extraordinaire Lottie Storey. This is great for Instagram, small business owners and anyone who wants to learn how to style their photographs beautifully. You can Make an Oilcloth Washbag workshop in Bath – perfect for all those gorgeous Fat Quarters and why not add a workshop or Makery gift voucher to your Christmas wish list – you deserve it!

Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

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The Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair’s Christmas edition returns to Altrincham Town Hall on Sunday 3rd December 2017. Browse and buy work from 40 selected, top UK designer-makers and artists.  It’s a perfect opportunity to buy thoughtful gifts and individual presents for Christmas such as unique precious jewellery, fashion design and accessories and lovingly crafted pieces for the home. Opening times are from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm and the entrance fee of £3 on the door includes mulled wine. Why not make a day of it and also visit Altrincham’s award-winning festive market for fabulous food and artisan shopping. All proceeds from the LNCCF help to subsidise new makers at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair,


Fatal Attraction

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Hi Anne
December is another great issue, but one of the letters on the Dear Anne page has me worried. While the idea of using magnets as closures for cardigans is great, if you have a pacemaker it could seriously interfere with the heart rhythm. Before 2000, I was working for a GP and at one of our Christmas parties I wore a little Christmas tree brooch with lights powered by a battery. I thought I looked very festive but the doctor and his wife, who was a nurse, were very concerned. They asked me to remove the brooch – not just switch it off, remove it. The doctor then gave me a really good reason why I needed to remove it. It was fairly close to my heart and it seems it could affect my very healthy heart rate. Needless to say I took it off straight away. Neodymium magnets are very strong. I have a craft stamping platform which uses two to keep the card in place while stamping. I accidentally put them close together with a bit of skin in between. A huge ouch! They’re strong and very difficult to pull apart. If you use them instead of buttons on a cardigan please, please be careful where you put them and here’s an article you might like to read for the full story.
Magnetic Jewelry May Have Fatal Attraction

Best wishes, Katy

Karin spotted this and wrote to say:

Hi Anne
Yes, the usual safeguards for magnets apply. They come with a warning about such things as pacemakers and other electronic devices. Like all magnets, don’t put them near magnetic data carriers such as credit cards or they might wreck havoc with the stored data! The magnets need to be pretty strong so they can work through two layers of knitting and still be quite small. But since they are coated in plastic, at least it’s difficult to put a bit of skin between them. Without that plastic cover, it would be very hard to pull them apart by hand when joined, as they really are strong. Since no one near me has a pacemaker, I didn’t think about it much. But to your readers it might be highly important, so please give my thanks to Katy for reminding us. Best wishes, Karin

Meet Tamay and try on jackets

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Bristol Textile Quarter :  Come and Chatter with Tamay

The date is 22nd November from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm . You’ll drink tea (Tamay’s is green tea) and find just the right jacket for you. Bring your embroidery to share or interesting textile pieces you’ve made or treasure. Contact Hannah to book an appointment (these will be limited)

Email me@tamayandme.com 

Tel 07725696984 

Evening at the Forge

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Red Dzao culture, their textiles and sustainability at the Forge in Bristol

As part of Tamay’s first visit to the UK, enjoy an evening at the Forge on 29th November from 6.30 to 9.00 pm. Tamay tells her story: her culture, the textiles, the future. This will be an engaging visual feast, to take you travelling to the North Vietnamese mountains to discuss indigo, embroidery, living sustainably the Dzao way, ethical fashion and the importance of artisans in that conversation. The evening also includes a Pho, noodle soup and light supper with handmade fresh Vietnamese spring roll. Tickets can be booked by following the eventbrite link

Follow Tamay & Me on Instagram and Facebook @tamayandme
Twitter @me_tamay

Countdown to crafting

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The Knitting & Stitching Show, opens two weeks today in Harrogate. The Harrogate show attracts thousands of visitors and there is no better place to get great ideas, learn new skills and meet like-minded people.  The show hosts Textile Galleries featuring work by world-leading artists and groups, competition-winning quilts from The Festival of Quilts and a showcase of work by leading textile graduates.  Weavers, spinners, embroiderers, lace and braid makers will be demonstrating their skills and there will be textile artists at work in a live studio environment (Artists in Action, in association with Art Van Go).

Expert tutors will be teaching over 230 workshops (in association with Groves) and classes, from rag rugging to up-cycling, embroidery to dressmaking, and there’s something for everyone, from complete beginners to seasoned stitchers.  For those planning a homemade, hand-stitched Christmas, festive makes include delicate book folded angels made from recycled books, needle-felted robins, decoupage baubles and patchwork Christmas stockings, plus hundreds of handmade textile gift ideas like cushions, scarves, bags, underwear and jewellery.  For the crafter in your life (or an early Christmas treat for yourself), there’s plenty of opportunity for Christmas craft shopping, with hundreds of fabric retailers, yarn companies and specialist suppliers under one roof.

‘Yarn Doctors’ from UK Hand Knitting will be teaching knitting and crochet at their Drop-in clinic, and are inviting crafters to stitch and decorate stockings for their annual Christmas Stocking Appeal.  Stockings will be transformed into decorations which are being sold at the show in aid of mental health charity Mind and donated to care homes and hospices.   Free stocking patterns are available on the UKHK website and finished stockings can be donated at the Harrogate show or sent (with maker’s name and address) to: UKHK, 60 Bridge Road East, Welwyn Garden City, Herts AL7 1JU.

The show has teamed up with world-famous Betty’s tea room to hold The Knitted Tea Room competition.  From cakes to tea cosies, cups and saucers to sandwiches, the show organisers are looking for a sumptuous spread of knitted or crocheted tea room items.  Entries will be displayed throughout the show and the judges will be looking for innovative and beautifully made pieces.  Judging takes place on Sunday 26th November and the winner will receive a Betty’s Christmas Hat Box worth £75, packed full of Betty’s festive delicacies.  Items should be sent before 15th November to: The Knitted Tea Room competition, twistedthread, 58 White Lion St, London N1 9PP, or brought along to the show before Sunday 26th November.  Tea cosy and cupcake patterns can be found on the show’s competition website.

Dressmakers and sewing bees can enjoy a dedicated workshop programme in the Dressmaking Studio (in association with Vlieseline Freudenberg) and expert advice about working with patterns at The Sew Today Pattern classroom (in association with the McCall Pattern Company).  For those keen to show off their handmade vintage handiwork, the glamorous McCall Pattern Company Cocktail Party in aid of the Eve Appeal is the place to be seen.  

The Harrogate show will be collecting stitched signatures for an embroidered petition by the Campaign for Creativity, a campaign by leading textile artists, designers and craftspeople to protect creative and craft subjects in education.  The stitched petition will be presented to the Education Secretary later this year.

Tickets for The Knitting & Stitching Show Harrogate cost £14.50 in advance (concessions £13) with a wide selection of options available at www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/harrogate/ or by calling 0844 581 1319 (+44 0121 796 6100 from outside the UK).