The National Trust recruits a ninja-knitter army

Killerton National Trust estate near Exeter, Devon has gone global in recruiting an army of guerrilla knitters for an ambitious yarn-bombing operation ahead of their cider and apple festival in October.

The estate is targeting a 12ft high ‘retired’ apple tree that stands at the entrance of Killerton’s orchard.

Retired apple tree

Charlotte Eddington, Assistant Costume Creator said “Sadly, this apple tree no longer bears fruit but our yarn-bomb will burst it back to life for the festival using ammunition of wool and natural fibres. The idea is inspired by Killerton’s 2014 costume exhibition ‘The nature of fashion’, which explores textiles and garments made from raw materials”.

Killerton’s festival organiser, Helen Trebble said: “We have had a fantastic response so far – including Brownies, groups and knitters from the States who have cottoned on to our yarn-bomb and are shipping pieces over”.

The Killerton yarn-bomb has also attracted the attention of Exeter-based yarn-bombing expert, Lisa Tricoteuse of The Knitting Tent. Lisa’s yarn-bombs have been found all over the country from cities to seasides and she’s delighted to be joining forces with Killerton.

Lisa said: “A good yarn-bomb causes a reaction – be that interaction with the community or raising a smile from the public. Most of all we want to provoke people to stop, take notice, and look at this apple tree in a new way.”

Charlotte added: “We need leaves of all sizes to cover the entire tree and offer free knitting patterns for woolly wildlife. You don’t have to be a knitter to join up. We are also harnessing the power of the pompom to create a towering piece of textile art and urge volunteers of all ages to get in touch”.

Knits and pompoms are sought ahead of the event by 10 October. The apple tree yarn-bomb will be on display throughout Killerton’s cider and apple festival on 18 and 19 October. Contact Charlotte Eddington on 01392 881345 or charlotte.eddington@nationaltrust.org.uk.

I’ll be joining in and adding my little contribution to the yarn bombed apple tree. My in-laws live just down the road so hopefully we’ll be able to go and try to find our creations on the tree.

Update – My Big Bedroom Blanket

This blanket inspired by Sandra over at Cherry Heart http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/giant-granny-patches.html is taking me FOR EVER!!

I’ve not been as disciplined to crochet a square everyday and now, 6 months into the project I am half way there. A month ago I decided to give myself a boost by stitching the squares together, it was a bit dull crocheting more and more squares and not being able to see how well the colours worked together.

Seeing all of the little squares sitting next to each other looks great and has spurred me on to complete the other half. I’m desperate to get onto the boarders!

I’m using Stylecraft DK in a colour combination inspired by Orla Kiely’s multi stem wallpaper.

What do you think? Just those pesky ends to tie in/cut off….

 

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Bedroom Blanket Update

Quick update on the Big Bedroom Blanket.

Number of squares crocheted to date: 190 (13 blue, 40 green, 16 grey, 58 red, 33 copper, 30 peach)

Squares left to crochet: 110

Balls of wool used: 7

Months spent: 3

I’m getting there! Need to up the blues and greys and am now thinking about boarders. I think Granny Square edges have an unfinished quality to them so am now pondering what boarders to give my lovely blanket once I’ve sewn all those little squares together. Pinterest has some lovely crochet blankets for inspiration!

I’m quite keen to finish with a bobble or popcorn stitch but am also quite taken with a little shell or clam stitch. I will definitely do a couple of rounds of a basic double crochet boarder to begin.

What do you think?

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My crafty round up of 2013

I’ve been looking at lots of other blogs whilst eating and drinking way too much over this Christmas period and everyone seems to be doing a review of the year, so here is my little KSS review to add to the blogosphere.

MOST IMPROVED

My crochet skills have come on leaps and bounds in 2013, culminating in this Retro Rainbow Granny Square blanket made for my niece back in early 2012. Since then, I have managed some crochet bunting, a toy, a little amigurumi and some placements and pot holders, courtesy of Kat Goldin’s on-line, summer crochet camp.

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BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT 

Another Ava make, this time a cute ‘all in one’ cardigan. This baby cardigan was my first completed knitted item of clothing. Although it took quite a while to finish, I was really pleased with the result and the professional finish. Just need Ava to get big enough to wear it now!

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QUICKEST MAKE 

Cross stitch is always a quick an impressive way to add a touch of home-made handiwork to a gift and this make was no exception. I had an evening to make a baby gift for my husband’s work colleague so stitched some star motifs onto this cashmere mix baby blanket, using soluble canvas.

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FAVOURITE MAKE 

The Sew in my Knit Stitch Sew blog title gets constantly overlooked in favour for crafts that come more naturally to me. So sewing some make-up bags using a tutorial I found on Pinterest was a highlight for me. Once I’d mastered inserting a zip and correct measuring of corners, I managed to make these cute little bags which went down a storm this Christmas.

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BEST COMMERCIAL MAKE 

I was commissioned to stitch these keepsake vests in the summer for a friend’s children. Such a simple project but a great end result. 2013 was a great year for me making for others, including multiple baby blankets knitted to order and a felt cuddly toy.

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BIGGEST HEADACHE

I’m struggling even to type the words… ROMAN BLIND.. but no doubt this was my biggest craft induced headache of 2013. Having taken on the challenge to make a roman blind for my very wide kitchen window, I wouldn’t be beaten! After making it once and realising it wasn’t working, I had to unpick, re-stitch and use every ounce of my crafty willpower to get this one finished.

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STARTED BUT NOT FINISHED

Taking me into 2014, there are two things I’ve started but for one reason or another, am way off finishing. My Tunnocks Tea Cake stitched picture – a combination of stitching on evenweave and a multitude of red threads means that this is something which has fallen to the bottom of my craft bag.  The other, my black slouchy, knitted cardigan using an Erica Knight pattern, is progressing S-L-O-W-L-Y! I’m finding it tough to do if i’m not wide awake and un-distracted… kind of difficult to snatch any moments like this in my house!

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Little Things

I love a big craft project. The slow and steady click clack of the needles, a project which is picked up and put down at will, filling many a happy evening in front of the TV. I’ve just cast on a pattern by Erika Knight called Edge to Edge Cardigan, which I’m knitting in black..( I love the hand drawn illustration on the pattern)

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I’ve also got a huge cross stitch project on the go – remember that amazing Tunnocks Teacake project from Cross Stitcher Magazine in the Spring? A million different shades of red combined with evenweave means it’s currently nestled at the bottom of my craft basket.

I will finish these projects at some point but I know they will take an AGE so I’m constantly on the hunt for a quick craft fix. It could be any medium but on days like this I’m looking for something which is easy to pick up and start, finishes quickly and looks nice enough for a gift.

Crochet has been my go to quick craft but lately I’ve been making up those little free kits you get with the likes of Crafty,  Mollie Makes and Cross Stitch Magazine. I’ve stashed loads of them over the past year from all of the magazines I buy (that’s a whole other blog post). I like the fact that they are a project in a pack – all ready and waiting to take on a train, a car journey or to accompany a night in front of the TV.

I’m just about to finish a Mollie Makes cross stitch project by designer Eline Pellinkhof, which has been really fun to do and only taken a couple of hours to complete. My need to craft has been satisfied, combined with a great sense of achievement at having finished something AND adding it to my pile of ad hoc gifts for friends and family. It’s a win win situation!

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Top of my list to complete from my collection of kits are;

1. Funky Felt Owl Keyring from issue 270 of Cross Stitcher Magazine

2. Jane Foster Sausage Dog from Mollie Makes

3. Mirror pouch stitch kit (not sure where that one is from. Eeek! Publishers please print the magazine and issue number on the kits!)

4.Felt Bird Keyring from issue 26 of Mollie Makes

There are also a couple of Christmas ones I’m going to try to get done this year. Here’s my stash of freebie craft kits… think I maybe buy a few to many magazines…

Magazine kits

What do you do with your freebie kits?

Happy 1st Bloggy Birthday To Me

It’s my first birthday!

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It’s gone by so quickly I almost missed it. It really has been a whirlwind 12 months for me, in addition to starting my blog we’ve sold and bought a house, I’ve changed jobs and generally been all over the place.

I can truly say that I don’t know what I did before I launched Knit Stitch Sew. Watch too much TV probably. The blog was on my list of things to do for yonks before I actually took the plunge and wrote my first post back in late August 2012. I don’t know why it took me so long – a combination of time and focus but more overwhelmingly, the worry that people would think ‘what IS she doing? Knitting? Cross Stitch? WHAT???’.

My liking of craft has always been bubbling away in the background, never something to admit to but with the launch of various craft magazines and my journey into the world of blogs as a reader my liking reached obsession status and the blog was born.

So what were my aims when I started? I wanted to connect with like-minded bloggers and crafters. I wanted to try to make my mark in the UK craft scene (not as a crafter as much as a writer/commentator – I can only follow patters, I can’t write them!). I also wanted to add a focus to my crafting – by telling others what I was doing, I’d have to do it. Right?!

And what have I learnt?

1. I love blogging. It really has added focus to my crafting adventures and its great to have a record of the work I’ve done over the past year

2. Bloggers are a friendly lot. I joined the bloggy community with the aim of connecting with like-minded people. And boy, did that work! Tick! Craft bloggers are a lovely lot. I’ve been to a blogging conference (TOTS100 in Bristol), taken part in numerous Twitter chats and parties, attended exhibitions and generally had the most lovely reception on and off-line from the bloggers I’ve met. Thank you.

3. I’m still a bloggy baby. Blogging is hard work. It takes time to build your page, your followers and it’s a cliché, but you really can only do it for you. If you’re blogging to make money forget it. I’ve been lucky and have already received invites to press events, been included on PR media lists so I receive press releases and have been sent crafty product to trial BUT there has been no money changing hands…. ah well, maybe next year… 😉

4. It’s a great learning experience.  Writing my blog has motivated me to try out some new crafts – crochet which I LOVE LOVE LOVE, machine embroidery and paper craft

5. It’s opened up the world of commissions. Far from being laughed out of the park with my revelation of being a craft addict, I have been commissioned – yes people have actually paid me money – to craft for them. WOW. This is something I never, ever thought would happen. I’ve knitted wedding shrugs, embroidered new-born baby memory keepers, crocheted baby blankets – amazing.

I hope my second year brings more brilliant crafty things. Watch this space! Here’s a quick pictorial round-up of my favourite makes from this year.

round up of the first year

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.

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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.

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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.

Crochet Camp – Part 3

Apologies, I have been neglecting my blog of late. A house move, starting a new job and an impending two week holiday have kind of gotten in the way of blogging. Very inconvenient let me tell you! Crafting has also, sadly, taken a bit of a back seat.

All I have been able to do, in between cleaning, unpacking, packing, trying to stay awake as my body adjusts to some crazy early starts with my new job, is to keep my commitment to Crochet Camp, over on Slugs On The Refrigerator blog.

This weekend, it was time for Part 3 of Crochet Camp. And time to excise some demons and try a magic loop. Kat has posted a great little pattern of a crochet flower, which I absoltely loved. It’s a fab stash buster and has now got me hooking flowers of all shapes, colour and sizes! I’m thinking brooches, hair slides, handbag decoration… what else could you do with some cute crochet flowers?

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There’s still time to get involved and give it a go – find all the patterns and chat on the Crochet Camp Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/677155465633893/?hc_location=stream or pop over to Kat Goldin’s blog http://slugsontherefrigerator.com/pattern-beginner-flower/.

Oh, I have also started a knitted cargi/jacket for myself and knitted my first ever hexipiuff – I’ve given in to the Beekeepers Quilt!

Crochet Camp

In my quest to develop my crochet skills, I’ve joined a virtual crochet camp this summer. Hosted by Kat Goldin over at Slugs On The Refrigerator. Crochet Camp is a group of people who, like me, are keen to learn more about crochet.

Kat Goldin is a designer and photographer who also happens to be a great crafter. As you’d expect Kat’s blog is full of amazing photos and also some really good tutorials for knitters and crocheters (is that the right word?).

The first task is to crochet a pretty potholder, the Cherry Delicious Pot Holder, and here’s my attempt…

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Not bad!

The round little cherries where the hardest part, I need more practice with these little suckers. But all in all it’s not too bad.

I’ll be posting all of my little Crochet Camp projects this summer. If you want to join in, just sign up on the blog or Kat’s dedicated Facebook page called – wait for it- Crochet Camp 2013. There are kits and patterns available to buy, but you can also use up your stash as Kat is posting each pattern on the Facebook page as the weeks progress.

Crochet Bunny Comforter

I found this cute crochet comforter tutorial from www.thestitchinmommy.com , via Pinterest the other day… cute huh?

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It was too cute to file away for another day, so I had a look through my yarn stash and got started straight away.  It was very quick to do and probably took me about 5 hours in total. I made a few amends with the colour as my niece at the ‘dribble and put everything in my mouth’ stage so thought the beautiful white in the picture might not be such a great idea.

It was my first attempt at anything close to amigurumi and it was surprisingly easy!

What do you think? Ava loves it!

crochet comforter

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