Birthday competition – win tickets to The Handmade Fair

I started blogging to fill a void in my life – I had a job that I didn’t really enjoy and wanted to explore my joint passions of craft and writing.

And now I’ve been blogging for two years! I can’t believe how quickly that time has flown by. Over the past year, I’ve changed my job to one I love which is great but sadly I’m finding I have less time and energy to put into my little blog.  I want to keep crafting and learning new skills, so I’ve decided that in my third year as a blogger I will blog a little less but try to keep to a regular schedule, leaving my spare time for messing around with wool and fabric.

One of the things I love to do when I have the time is to visit craft fairs, usually with my mum. We love mooching around the stalls, trying new crafts and of course spending too much on wool that we’re not quite sure what we’re going to make with it but hey, it’s a great colour.

The newest craft fair on the block is Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair which is on in Hampton Court Palace this year from 19th – 21st September www.thehandmadefair.com  .

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I’m thrilled to be able to giveaway two pairs of tickets for entry to the fair, worth £25 per pair, courtesy of brand new gift website Connell & Todd. www.connellandtodd.com.  Connell & Todd hand select gifts that evoke special memories of your special places. From vintage travel posters, antique travel guides and maps to original works of art, books, films, even food and drink. I particularly love their range of prints from Devon and Cornwall.

The lovely people at Connell & Todd will also throw in a £50 gift voucher to spend on their stand at the fair.

So what are you waiting for? To be in with a chance of winning, you need to do two things;

  1. Follow my blog
  2. Leave a comment and tell me who you’d like to take with you to the Fair and why
  3. Pop over to the Connell & Todd facebook page and follow them too https://www.facebook.com/ConnellandTodd

Good luck! Winners will be announced on the blog on Friday 12th September.

Some quick terms and conditions:

  • The winners will be selected at random by Knit Stitch Sew, all decisions are final
  • The tickets are for general entry to the Fair and do not include the ‘full experience’ or ‘VIP’ experience activities 
  • Winners will have to make their own way to and from Hampton Court Palace

 

Craft around the world – Part 1 in an occasional series…

Firstly – some excuses. The summer sun has tempted me away from my blog. Oh and the first couple of weeks at a new job. And, we’ve been on a family holiday to Turkey, on the beautiful Aegean Sea. I decided to leave my little hexipuffs at home and have a couple of weeks away from craft….well of course that didn’t happen!

On our second day we took a stroll into the market town of Turgetries on the Bodrum Peninsula. Despite the searing heat, we decided it would be a good idea to have a look around the Saturday market, handily labelled ‘Fakes’ on our tourist map. Nestled in amongst the fake Gucci bags, Converse trainers and Hollister hoodies were amazing textiles, delicate crochet and locally made soft furnishings. I couldn’t believe my luck.

Little old ladies ( and some not quite so little or old) were crocheting with the teensiest, tiniest crochet hooks and threads, making some really beautiful, delicate work. Glasses holders, edging on hankies and headscarves, necklaces and more were on sale and being crafted whilst we watched.

turkey crochet

It looked incredibly tricky to work, the thread was no more than that – thread, as oppose to the old 4 ply or DK I’ve been crocheting with. I can’t imagine the hook was more than a number 1 either. I’ve been using a number 4 for all my projects. When I get home I’ll be digging out a tiny hook and using some embroidery floss to see how tricky this is.

Turkey

One lady was beading a black dress, the kind of chiffon dress you throw on over your swimming costume to mooch over to the bar, her hands were so quick you could barely see the needle picking up the beads as she sewed. Of course I couldn’t leave the market without buying a little something, so purchased a couple of metres of fabric to make into little bags when I get home.

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Just down the road, there was a beautiful food market. Quite touristy on the edge with spice and Turkish Delight traders but packed full of amazing looking fruit, veg and flowers.

food market

So, this is Part 1 in what I hope will be a little crafty tour around the world. With my new job, I’m going to be lucky enough to do some international travel to the Asia Pacific region –  I think I’m off to Singapore in November so will try to squeeze in a shopping day to track down anything crafty. I’ve seen lots on blogs and Pinterest recently about Japanese sewing books so this, combined with my holiday, has inspired me to see what I can find when I’m off on my travels.

The disappointment of craft fairs

craft fair sign

I popped along to a newly advertised craft fair, in Bristol, on Sunday. It was billed as a Craft and Make It Fair and it sounded great. Buy things made by others or come and stock up on your stash with wools, fabrics and haberdashery…

The reality was very different. And a bit sad. There were around 15 stalls and stands which varied from ‘OK’ to ‘really bloody awful’. Maybe my expectations are too high? Because I’m a crafter, am I expecting to much? I don’t want to buy other crafters makes but I love getting inspiration from them and chatting to like-minded people. I want to buy things to craft with and enjoy the buzz of a market/fair at the same time.

My ideal craft fair is a mixture of unusual, pretty, fun, vintage things to buy – that might be things made by local crafters or reclaimed, recycled, per-loved furniture, textiles, books, haberdashery etc. The Bath Market I went to recently was a great example of this. A cross between a craft fair, a jumble sale and a car boot sale.

There were a few stalls which had some nice handmade bits, too much bunting (do people make much money from selling this? They seem to be everywhere! ) and a couple of stands selling wool and second-hand tapestry and cross stitch kits. But the majority were awful – weird carved wood ornaments, 70’s style crochet pram blankets in the colour of Parma Violets and slight creepy looking cat doorstops.

I’ve been thinking for a while now about having my own stall but would I want to be in this company? Would anyone turn up if they knew creepy cat door stops were the best they could expect?

All this made me think, what would I sell at my craft stall, if I ever had one? My idea of the perfect craft stall would be a mix of things; some of my makes – crochet, stitching, sewing and also a book (photo album maybe?) to show blankets and bespoke things that can be made to order. Books. I’ve been collecting second-hand craft books for years now and think there could be some money to made from these. Haberdashery items – old knitting needles, crochet hooks, wool, thread, maybe some fabric remnants.

I’m a bit fan of supporting local businesses and, of course, craft is an area I have a massive interest in. So, what can I do to get a good craft fair going in my local area? Anyone local (Somerset, North Somerset, North East Somerset) fancy getting together with me to pull together a craft market for buyers and crafters alike? Drop me a line at knitstitchsew@gmail.com…

More on machine embroidery…

Hot on the heels of my last post on Poppy Treffry’s Freehand Machine Embroidery book here’s a quick post about my latest crafty discovery – machine embroidery! I went to the South West Creative Stitches Show yesterday (Sunday) at The Bath & West Showground and booked myself onto an hour-long machine embroidery taster session. It was fab.

Run by talented crafter Jan Tillet, http://www.jantillett.co.uk/ , the course gave a quick intro into the world of drawing with the machine. So what did I learn from my crash course?

1. Sewing in a straight line isn’t as easy as Jan made it look

2.  Fast foot, slow hands… the machine embroiderer’s mantra

3. Use a wooden coffee stirrer to hold down any little bits of applique – great tip to save fingers and machines

4. I need to upgrade my machine. I used a Janome CXL301 which made my £45 Tesco own machine look very sad and old

5. I love machine embroidery – it’s addictive!

Here’s my one hour work of art… watch this space for more on this craft as soon as I sort my machine out.

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