09 Saturday Nov 2013
09 Saturday Nov 2013
16 Wednesday Oct 2013
Posted knitting, life in a Northern town, patterns, shopping, yarnin
Well, this post is
just a little bit ridiculously late, so I do apologise.
I’ve been rather poorly. The chest infection I had at the beginning of the year has been back with a vengeance and it’s floored me. 10 days of antibiotics didn’t shift it…I’m currently on a dose of steroids. Not thrilled by them but at least I can breathe a little easier than I could. Although the cough sounds like I’ve smoked 60 Woodbines a day since I was 3!
I was coughing on the day we went to Yarndale, but, like the trouper I am I put on my big girl panties and set off for a yarny adventure. 😉
The sun shone and whilst we’d heard tales of traffic chaos and huge crowds on the Saturday, for our Sunday visit we swung straight into a lovely parking space and walked into the venue to be greeted by the sweetest woolly faces.
Now at this point I’ll ask you to excuse the crappy smartphone pictures and focus on that wee adorable face. I tried desperately to get my
partners in crime travelling companions to agree to a shared ownership of an alpaca, in much the same way as you’d share a racehorse, but with built in lawn mowing and yarn.
They weren’t buying it.
And as the deeds for our house limit livestock to chickens and goats, neither did I.
Nor did we smuggle this beauty out in our handbags!
But enough of the cute and fluffies…I suspect what you’d like to know is “how good an event was Yarndale?”
I have to tell you it was amazing! I haven’t been to Woolfest so I can’t compare, but I have been to the Twisted Thread extravaganzas at Harrogate and Alexandra Palace, and I’ve been to The Festival of Quilts. Yarndale is by far my favourite event.
Yes it’s smaller, but we still managed to spend the whole day meandering in and out of stalls, stroking yarn, coveting spinning wheels and looms, and generally squeaking and swooning at all the loveliness.
I also feel it’s far better curated than the bigger shows. Less tat! More of the good stuff. This is a Very Good Thing.
I cannot tell you how much yarn I nearly bought. I had set myself a limit of some sock yarn for The Husband, some yarn for Aislinn v2.0 and nothing else.
Yeah…that really worked! As it was I bought:
And that was restrained. There were a couple of patterns too. And maybe some dpns. But that was the yarn.
It was hard though. The crocheted Alpaca blankets were calling my name.
I could have bought my body weight in beautiful patterns.
And the yarns were, if you’ll excuse the pun, to die for! Titus from Baa Ram Ewe, anyone!
Yarndale is a knitters and crocheters paradise. I made sure to buy a programme, which has a list of all exhibitors, for future reference. 😉
For sure there needs to be some improvements for next year. The tea and coffee arrangements were nothing short of hopeless. It took at least 15 minutes for Lara Croft to buy 3 cups of tea…and, as is always the case at these things, the lack of seating caused some people to lose all sense of how to behave in polite company.
But it was their first rodeo, and they did an amazing job. I’m not in any hurry to go back to the big shows, but I’m already looking forward to next year’s Yarndale.
And, I’m hoping they’ll keep the bunting and it will become their trademark. Because its really beautiful, and kind of sums up this lovely, homespun but delightfully yarny event.
06 Friday Sep 2013
Posted fabric, giveaways, patterns, shoppingin
Life chez Stitches hasn’t reached the point of routine yet. Between odd school hours and trying to catch up on six weeks of abandoning the house in favour of family time, I’ve been so busy and tired I have hardly knit a stitch this week, let alone do any sewing.
I have however had time sitting around waiting for kids when I’ve been able to browse the interwebs and have found some new lovelies that I thought I’d share.
First up is a new indie pattern company, Named,
a Finnish clothing pattern label founded by sisters Saara and Laura Huhta…Named garments are a combination of Scandinavian clean-lined simplicity and interesting details. The aim of the collections is to bring a new perspective to making one’s own clothes and to support ethical and ecological consuming in contrast to a clothing industry focused on fast fashion.
The clothes are really cool…crisp, clean, modern lines. Although I’m not sewing much for myself at the moment whilst the CrossFit does it’s work, I do have some Named patterns in my crosshairs:
Just click on any image for a bigger picture.
Named has also put out a full Fall/Winter collection of patterns which is a great idea, I think. It’s a cohesive collection too. I’m happy that there is a slightly edgier pattern company out there. I love retro styling, but I’d also like some more modern pieces in my wardrobe too, something that has been lacking for home sewists.
Saying that I like retro styling, thanks to the gorgeous Roisin (who got engaged to her handsome man last week…congratulations!) I’ve discovered another new pattern line, Pauline Alice. Her first pattern, a vintagey shirt dress, is gorgeous.
Roisin has made a really cute version (you’d expect nothing less):
I am all over shirtdresses at the moment. This one’s on my list too!
It’s fabulous that the indie pattern scene is so healthy. Not only does it give designers, who are usually women, an opportunity to express their creativity and support themselves outside of the normal corporate template, but it gives home sewists an every growing and increasingly diverse range of styles to choose from. It’s just a “win-win” for everyone. Long may it continue.
Up till now, however, this opportunity has really been limited to pattern designers, but at last, we have an indie fabric designer too…20th Century Cloth:
the home of new retro inspired fabrics…designed in London and printed in the UK
At £14 per half metre these are not cheap…but you are paying for the craftsmanship that goes into these amazing designs and, I’m hoping, a good quality fabric. Although, really, you need a couple of metres for a dress, plus notions, so you’re still a damn site cheaper than some nasty High Street tat that’s made in a sweat shop in Bangladesh.
To be fair, though, you won’t need need to justify a purchase…just look at these gorgeous fabrics:
I would so love this as a wiggle dress for Christmas parties (I know, I said the C word, but I did buy my first C present this week…).
And I know I swore off black, but really, I think I could make a happy exception for this.
And whilst we’re heading into autumn here in the UK, this print is perfect for you southern hemisphere gals, just heading into spring.
Now that I’ve encouraged you to bust the sewing budget this month, don’t forget that my lovely Simplicity giveaway closes tonight. Free patterns…woot.
I’ve got a crazy busy weekend (lots of activities with kids and dog, I need to clear the sewing room ready for my next project…box cushions for Lara Croft’s ma…and the pattern to set on the front of Aislinn). So if I don’t get to pick the winners until Monday, please don’t worry…I won’t forget.
Hope you have a fabulous weekend too.
31 Saturday Aug 2013
Posted life in a Northern town, shoppingin
Today we had to go and look for a new fridge freezer.
Ahhhhh, the glamour.
I can think of a bajillionty things I’d rather do on a Saturday, but our old one has been on the blink for ages and is finally giving up the ghost and leaking like a sieve.
We’d already looked them up on line but I wanted to check it out “in person” before parting with The Husband’s hard earned cash, so we headed off to the local retail park. Thankfully it wasn’t too busy, and a decision on the fridge freezer was quickly made.
A few doors down from the electrical store is a TK Maxx. It’s a store that I normally avoid like the plague as it’s a bit too jumble sale-y for my taste, but we decided to pop in to see if we could get some cheap workout gear. They didn’t have any, but what they did have was these two beauties:
I couldn’t resist!
And yes…they really are Osprey!
With 60% off the retail price it would have been rude not to.
So I didn’t.
09 Thursday Feb 2012
Yesterday I ordered a little thank you gift for a friend from Loop.
Along with Brownberry yarns these are my go-to gals for delicious gifty loveliness.
I’ve got to tell you that with this order the Loop ladies excelled themselves.
They rang me three times yesterday before I noticed that I’d inadvertently switched off the ringer on my phone. When I rang back it was to find that they were concerned as a couple of people who had purchased the yarn had commented that it leeched colour whilst knitting. As it’s dyed with indigo I kinda expected this and the colour was too perfect for the intended recipient to worry about this. It will stop after a wash or two.
I thought this was pretty brilliant, especially as they offered me a discount which made the postage costs more palatable.
Even more amazing was that even though it was gone 3pm when I finally spoke with them, the gift arrived in today’s delivery. They had packed it up and got it ready for last night’s post collection.
In my book, that’s how you do it.
Ladies from Loop, thank you so much.
31 Tuesday Jan 2012
Before Christmas I bought some fabric from an eBay seller fabricexpressonline. This is the eBay store of Narang Wholesalers in Bradford.
When the fabric arrived we had sick folk and Christmas and I put the fabric in the sewing room until things had calmed and I could get back to it.
When I did open the package I found two of the three pieces I’d ordered to be faulty. And one of them was a good 1/2 meter short!
So I wrote to the seller who agreed that if I sent all pieces back they’d refund me the full amount for the fabric, plus initial shipping costs, plus return costs.
Today I received the payment for the original fabric cost and the original shipping costs, less £1.20 PayPal charges, because they sent the money as a payment for goods I’d sold them, rather than a refund for shoddy goods they’d sold me and I’d returned. It was also light £4.41 for return shipping costs.
I queried it.
They told me they weren’t now refunding the return shipping costs as I should have contacted them earlier, and they weren’t refunding the fees either.
Now, I’ll admit that I should have checked this sooner, but frankly, shoddy goods are shoddy goods and if you’re selling online your stuff should be as advertised. And if you email me to say you’ll refund all my money, well….do it.
It’s not a great deal of money at all. That’s not the point. The very poor levels of customer service are the point.
I won’t be buying from them again. They have a good star rating. But I can’t leave feedback on their shop! I wonder how many other dissatisfied customers find they’re unable to do so.
It’s up to you whether you want to risk it.
Vogue Patterns, on the other hand, win my Gold Star of the day for exceptional customer service.
I want to make this top again, this time the version with the tie neckline:
On the weekend I pulled out the fabric and the pattern and laid them all out.
I checked for the instruction sheet.
I turned the sewing loft upside down and inside out.
I suspect the sticky fingers of small people!
Or possibly my inability to find anything up there.
Either way I really wanted to double check them. So I dropped Vogue Patterns a quick email today explaining my predicament and asking if there was any way they could help.
Within 5 minutes I had a response. Including the instructions.
I swear it takes me longer than that to actually open an email, never mind read it, find the required information, attach said required information and press the send button.
So, this is a shout out to Meg at Vogue Patterns, who today restored my faith in human nature.
And that some companies do actually give a crap about their customers.
I’m seriously impressed. And I definitely will be buying Vogue Patterns again.
23 Thursday Apr 2009
We English are terribly restrained when it comes to celebrating St George’s day ; but, really, we should be proud of our country and our heritage.
It’s therefore appropriate the the fabulous Angela’s (Traill and Thompson) have chosen today to launch their new website English Relics.
Not only are their products sublimely beautiful (all pictures courtesy of English Relics):
they celebrate our heritage and history in a unique and original way. They are all hand made and original
So whether your taste turns to Tudor, or runs to Roman, I’m sure you’ll find something to delight and intrigue in this amazing collection of modern day reincarnations.
So, happy St Georges day and happy shopping.