Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A successful Craft Fair... and some sad news

Well! The Craft Fair at the Fairfield Halls did turn out to be a success. And I must thank the ladies of the Croydon knitting Group for showing their support. The weather was incredibly cold, but the turn-out was a little better than anticipated. We were slightly disappointed at the lack of crafty stalls - there were a lot of people selling things like light-up plastic stocking fillers, commercial beauty products and even shoes. But there were some really special stalls, too. Our stall was in the foyer because the Angora bunnies needed a good supply of fresh air (Skye came on Saturday and Misty on Sunday) and both of them behaved absolutely beautifully, even when Basil Brush came out and disturbed the peace! (Please excuse poor quality of photos - these were all taken with my phone in the poor light available)...

Ice rink on the forecourt

Pretty! Bright lights from the Ferris wheel
on the forecourt

Tess spinning Angora fluff at our stall

My good friend Roz was there with her friend Anne, selling the most beautiful hand-embroidered cards, Christmas decorations and hand-made gift tags. Everything of theirs is so incredibly intricate and beautifully made! I now have a beautiful star decoration for my tree, some even more beautiful cards and the perfect tags for my gifts!

Roz and Anne's stall with hand-embroidered cards,
decorations and hand-crafted gift tags

There was also a lady called Joanne selling the most incredible hand-crafted jewellery all made with semi-precious stones and Stirling silver. This picture does not do her craft any justice at all, but I was drawn to it again and again. Unfortunately, she doesn't have a website, but I will update this as soon as I hear that she does.

So, the snow threatened over the weekend but didn't arrive until Tuesday and everything ground to a halt. It took me over three hours to complete the 13 mile journey home from work and, to make matters even more complicated, I arrived home to a FREEZING house as the boiler had broken down. Typical! As I am neither elderly nor do I have have small children I was not a priority case and it wasn't until yesterday, 6 days after the breakdown, that the gas man was able to come and replace the broken valve. Incredibly, due, I'm sure, to the breakdown and subsequent start-up of the boiler, I now have a leaking radiator in the bathroom and have to call someone out to fix it. Ugh. At least, though, the house is starting to warm up!

Snowed in!

The bad weather which kept me indoors over the weekend did, however, allow me to sit in front of an electric fan heater with a hot water bottle and finish a couple of Christmas knitting projects... Photos will follow after the recipients have received them!

The sad news I mentioned is that of Alfie, a 5 month old Labrador/Greyhound cross with a fatal liver condition. He has had four homes in his short life, all of which have passed him on after learning of his illness. It is treatable, but the surgery will cost £3,500. He is currently living with the kind people at the Happy Endings animal shelter in East Sussex. In light of this, I will be updating my Etsy shop this week, and offering a 10% discount on all purchases (details to follow). All proceeds will go towards Alfie's plight. I will also enter everyone who purchases in to a prize draw and the winner will receive a FREE(!) skein of hand-painted, hand-spun yarn. Yay! Please check back and I will update the shop very shortly with all sorts of goodies for your winter spinning, felting and knitting needs!

Emma x

Thursday, 25 November 2010


...are well underway for the Christmas Extravaganza at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon! All the yarns and fibre are packed neatly in their bags, and other small bits to make the stall pretty are almost done. There will be a plethora of yarns to choose from, as well as some knitted winter woolies, unique tree decorations and learn-to-knit kits with needles, instructions and a choice of yarn. The weather looks like it may even play ball, what with the forecast of snow (snow!) in the area over the weekend!

I have a LOT of holiday knitting to do. Some of which are to wing their way overseas before Christmas, so I have a lot to be getting on with. My Etsy shop will close over the weekend for the Craft Fair, but shall re-open Monday, full of lots more goodies, and a special offer!


Thursday, 18 November 2010

Ding, dong merrily on high and stuff

Christmas is but 37 days ago. 37! That's barely enough time to prepare as it is! My handbag and my house and my desk are full (FULL!) of lists of presents to buy, cards to write, groceries, things to do... and on top I have a Christmas Craft Fair and Christmas Farmer's Market to prepare for! So, I also have lists of items I must take and things I must do in preparation. And that's all after my real job. Crazy!

But I love Christmas. I love the cold (when I'm indoors and toasty). I love the smells of baking and cinnamon and nutmeg and the pine needles. I love the unexpected visitors who I ply with mulled wine and fruit-filled pastries. I love the crinkling of paper and the sheen of ribbons; the happy Christmas carols playing in every store and, if you're lucky, sung by groups at the train station; the beautiful light displays adorning street lamps and shop windows like crowns and the twinkle of fairy lights and the coziness of chunky, winter knits and the beautiful glow that a room full of candles gives. The season imparts such a wonderful feeling for me, so to be able to be a part of some lovely events which will help others get in to the spirit is wonderful.

So, in preparation I have been dyeing and labelling and making up learn-to-knit kits for kids and knitting all manner of cozy items to keep people warm and, generally, preparing for a pretty, Christmassy stall!

I'm currently spinning up a second bobbin of some beautifully soft merino and cashmere. I'm yet to decide whether this will be a two- or a three-ply yarn but, whatever it will be, it has to keep the soft bounciness that this fibre has. Hopefully, it will make a lovely soft cowl. I am really hoping for some slightly better weather this weekend so that I can take some photos. It's so dark when I get home that photographing is impossible.

In the meantime, Schnarf is here to let you know what he thinks of all the festivities...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


Well! My exciting thing has materialised... My Etsy shop is now open!
Due to lack of light and, therefore, lack of pictures, the shop does not list a huge amount. It is a start, though! Hopefully, many more items will be listed there within the next few days. Wooo!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Exciting things!

Well, the last week has been full of busy-ness and rushing and photographing and all sorts for something very exciting and (almost!) imminent... Hopefully just a couple more days and I'll announce what I've been up to.

Secondly, one of my favourite bloggers ever, Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks, has her book published. Karen is an inspiration of epic proportions - from her beautiful photography to her poetic lilt, I am an avid reader. Her book, The Beauty of Different, is available from Bright Sky Press and also on Amazon. This is going to be the perfect Christmas present.

Monday, 11 October 2010

A SHEEPish update

Well, it was lovely to chat to Lesley of Devon Fine Fibres on Savile Row. I didn't realise that she is the main fleece supplier for the cloth weavers who supply the tailors of Savile Row. It shouldn't be a surprise, though - the fineness of her British rare breed Bowmont (Merino x Shetland) fleeces is second to none. At approximately 15 microns, the fibre is just beautiful. There was a woolsack full of the raw fleece which, I must say, looked very clean - it was just so beautifully soft.

This beautiful breed is has the Merino look, without the thick neck folds - and the finer facial structure of the Shetland. They all seemed plenty happy enough, munching on their hay and delighting the crowd with the hopping, skipping and jumping. "Spring is bustin' out all over" was playing in my mind. And in a small space like this it is easy to see how "sheep" as an adjective has come about. Where one went, the others followed all huddled together.

There was also a small flock of Exmoor Horn sheep - their fleece is significantly coarser, but still fine for knitwear. These guys seemed much more relaxed with all the crowds around, and this guy on the left looked as if he was having a real conversation.

These pictures aren't the best, as they were taken on my phone, but the trek across the City to see them was well worth it! Hopefully I'll get a chance to visit Lesley on her farm and see them in their 'natural' habitat. I would love to spin one of her fleeces but, it seems, there is just so much demand for them commercially - that would be why the Savile Row tailors are so exclusive!

Celebrating Wool Week

It's officially the start of Wool Week and I am so excited! I work in London and there, generally, isn't much in the way of fibre-y "stuff" to see and do. Today, however, Savile Row (lauded for its impeccable tailors) is being turfed over and a flock of brightly coloured sheep brought up by Lesley from her farm in Devon. Even better, Lyle and Scott are sponsoring a Sheep Parade in Covent Garden tomorrow, which is even closer to my office.

HRH Prince Charles is patron of the Campaign for Wool, a fantastic organisation which hopes to bring this wonderful resource to the forefront once more. british wool, and the cloth made from it was once the pride of the nation. Now, we are so consumed with cheap, throw-away fabric and our fantastic wool is burnt in huge piles as farmers cannot even cover the cost of shearing with the price that fleeces can muster. This versatile fibre can be used in all sorts - the finer, softer fleeces make wonderful knitwear while the coarser fleeces can make the most hard-wearing rugs and carpets. Or even building insulation! It seems heretical that such a resource is wasted year on year.

As a hand-spinner, I really appreciate a beautiful fleece. There is nothing more satisfying than knitting with yarn that I have spun, watching the project develop from raw (and often filthy!) fleece to a beautiful scarf or hat or sweater... one that I know will last an absolute lifetime.

Wool is wonderful... spread the word!!