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The Knitting and Stitching Show 2019

Last week I was incredibly excited to attend my very first Knitting and Stitching Show. It is the ultimate event regarding all textile based crafts, and I have been desperate to see what it is all about for quite some time now.

I am very grateful to The Knitting and Stitching Show for supplying me with a Press Pass so that I could go and see for myself what the show is all about, and in turn I can now share with you a little of what I saw on the day that I visited.

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The show ran from 10th – 13th October this year and it was held at the beautiful Alexandra Palace in North London. I attended with my good friend Vena, and made arrangements to also meet up with a few more friends when inside.

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Beautiful London skyline

The show is an incredible mix of crafty demonstrations, advice, workshops, fashion shows, exhibitions and an enormous gathering of knitting and stitching related retailers for you to shop until you drop (which was almost the situation in our case)!

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The Palm Court Foyer

There is so much to see and take in, we really didn’t know where to start. I decided to travel in by train. By the time that I had then caught the Underground and jumped on the bus up to Ally Pally, most of the morning had gone, so on reflection next time I will probably drive down, as it would take me less than 2 hours, and I understand that there is free parking. Either that or set off MUCH earlier!

So we set off and started weaving up and down the aisles so as to try to not miss anything. It was really really busy, and initially I found it tricky to have a good look at anything just due to the crowds, but after lunchtime things seemed to settle down and it definitely became easier to wander around and see what there was to see.

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The Great Hall – overlooked by the beautiful ‘Rose Window’

If we had been a little more organised then we would have definitely considered taking a workshop. They’re a good excuse to have a short break from the shopping, rest your weary feet and learn a new skill. Workshops range from between 1-2 hours and run throughout the day teaching such skills as macrame, embroidery, knitting and needle felting to name just a few.

After a super short sit down for something to eat, we had a little time left to mooch around some more stands, but honestly, we didn’t get around everyone. Whilst we stopped for something to eat, a lady told us that she travelled down and stayed in a local hotel for a couple of nights so that she could attend the show over 2 or 3 days, and I can see why this would be a good idea if your finances/time off would allow. It was a brilliant but very tiring day out, and I can only imaging how the exhibitors must feel after 4 days – they must be exhausted!

Highlights of the day for me were meeting some of the people that I admire online. Particularly those that I have worked with on sewing projects but never actually met. I was so delighted to meet the lovely Lisa from The Avid Seamstress, as I have worked a little with her in the past and you all know how much I love ‘The Day Dress’ and ‘The Blouse’. Lovely Lisa is everything that I hoped she would be – warm, welcoming, friendly and a great hugger!

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Photo credit – The Avid Seamstress (regretfully my shyness prevented me from asking for a pic)

Also, this, what can I say. I was always going to wear my new Tilly and the Buttons Indigo Dress, and to meet Tilly was a real thrill. * Happy sigh*

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Thanks for taking and forwarding this pic to me Sheona! x

I was quite restrained with my shopping I think. The reason being that I had attended the ‘SewBrum’ meet up the previous week and had spent a fair bit on that day out.. but I did treat myself to a few goodies.

Firstly this starter kit from Happy Fabric. I have been desperate to try out their heat transfer vinyls since seeing them in action at the Sewisfaction Summer Party this year, and will now be embellishing everything in sight!

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This adorable Dropcloth Samplers pincushion kit which I picked up from Beyond Measure (her stall was amazing and it was almost impossible to pick just one treat from here)!

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Finally, some English Paper Piecing essentials from Barnyards. Not that exciting to look at but I needed some Bottom Line Superior Thread and a thimble for trying hand quilting with. I haven’t always got on with thimbles, but with something like hand quilting I need some protection for my poor sore needle pushing finger!

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More dates for Knitting and Stitching shows this year are – Dublin from 7th-10th November, and Harrogate from 28th Nov – 1st Dec.

Thank you so much to The Knitting and Stitching Show for such a great day out. What a show!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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My Pattydoo Milly reversible shopping bag

My love for all things Pattydoo continues. Not only do they have a super range of sewing patterns, some written in English and some in German only, but they also have some great free patterns and this is one of them! Fortunately this is one of the patterns that you can print out in English too, so it’s a winner all round.

 

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So, this free pattern is for a reversible grocery bag. It is available in a small (children’s) size, and a larger adult sized version and you can choose to make it with webbing handles or fabric throughout, as I did. Because it is reversible, it is effectively lined so this makes it nice and strong too.

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I’ve been on the lookout for a pretty shopping bag for a while, and wanted something different to a regular tote bag. I wanted a bag that I could carry in my hands or in the crook of my elbow (not a shoulder bag) rather like a regular 5p plastic carrier bag, and I also wanted it to be reasonably sized so that I could fill it with plenty of shopping.

I was totally taken with the shape of this bag, in particular the pleats, and I knew that I had some pretty quilting cotton in my stash that I had been saving for a project like this.

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I could tell from the images that I had seen on the internet that the handles were going to be a little bit too long for the style that I was after, so I shortened them by 7cm. As mentioned before I wanted it to be ‘carrier bag style’. I simply printed out the pattern, cut it out and shortened the handle by 7cm before cutting it out. The width of my fabric was quite narrow, and I didn’t follow the cutting layout that Pattydoo had suggested. I folded both my selvedge’s into the centre to give myself two folded edges, and jiggled the pieces to make it fit. It worked out fine though and I managed to get each bag cut out with no problems. Take care if you have a directional print to make sure that your pieces are laying in the correct direction before you cut it out.

Along with the inverted pleats which I think are so cute, I love the way the boxed corners are sewn. I think they’re really pretty and give an interesting finished result.

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There are no written instructions to make up this bag included in the PDF, instead you are directed to a great Video tutorial which takes you through the whole step-by-step process of making it. Although this is spoken in German (I don’t speak German), it is really good and clear and is a great way to follow along with the sewing process.

The fabric that I have used is a quilting cotton from a range by Tanya Whelan. It was purchased from a small independent fabric shop which is no longer in business, but I will leave a link here for one alternative source of this fabric from this range that I have found. It also gives you a good idea of the coordinating colours and designs available in this collection. I really recommend quilting cotton or something of similar weight/strength for this project as the finished result is a really strong and sturdy bag.

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It’s a quick sewing project, and I am so happy with how it turned out. I am definitely keeping this for myself, but it would make a great gift idea too I think. I have a little fabric left over and when I get a chance will make a small pouch to keep it tidy inside my handbag so that I have it with me at all times.

I am on the lookout to replace my big shopping bags sometime soon. You know the large jute shopping bags that look like this:

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Our jute bags are on their last legs and I would like to make a set of bags like this using upholstery fabric probably and webbing handles, but cannot seem to find a good sewing pattern (it doesn’t have to be free) that looks similar to this design. If anybody has any good pattern suggestions for something like this, I would love it if you could leave a comment below and I can check it out. Thank you so much!

Let me know if you have a go at the Pattydoo pattern, I would love to see your makes!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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A lovely day out at #sewbrum

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Saturday 28th October 2017 is a date that has been eagerly anticipated by a great deal of the sewing community in the U.K

It was the date of the annual ‘Sew Brum’ sewing meet-up organised by the wonderful Charlotte from English Girl At Home and as it’s name suggests it is a friendly gathering in Birmingham of sewing enthusiasts from all over the U.K  which consists of lots fabric shopping, tea drinking and chatter!

Our meet up point was at the John Lewis restaurant where everybody gathered between 10 and 11am. The restaurant quickly filled up with lots and lots of excited chatter and it was wonderful to meet up with old friends and make new friends too. I believe that over 130 people had signed up to attend and many had travelled a very long way to be there.

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The itinery was fairly relaxed. Charlotte had provided a list of suggested fabric retailers in the City and it was a case of deciding where to go during the morning before reconvening in Moseley Village at Guthrie & Ghani to meet for lunch and an afternoon at this wonderful fabric shop.

Myself and my group of friends decided to start off at the famous Birmingham Rag Market, and we were not disappointed. I purchased my first ever piece of African Wax fabric, and also some pretty navy floral jersey which will probably end up as another Agnes Top.

Next it was off to Barry’s Fabrics.

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Barry’s is a short walk from the City centre, but the weather was dry and it was totally worth it! It’s a small warehouse style fabric store and is packed from floor to ceiling with hundreds and hundreds of rolls of fabrics. Bliss!

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We spent quite some time here. So much fabric to look through! Hard to believe – I did not find anything that I wanted particularly and decided to save my pennies for a special fabric from Guthrie and Ghani later that afternoon.

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Outside Barry’s was this beautiful wall and I could not resist a pic of my ‘partners in crime’ for the day. In the middle is Kate  and on the right is Vena. We did not stop laughing all day. Such great girls.

No time to rest, and it was off to find the bus stop to take us on a 15 min journey to Moseley Village to tie up with the rest of the sewists at Guthrie and Ghani.  It was a bit of a squeeze in the shop, but great fun and we were made very very welcome by Lauren and all the team. We all bought raffle tickets and had a little browse around the shop. It’s so beautiful. It’s a pretty black and white timber framed building on the main through road and houses a great range of superb quality fabrics, patterns and haberdashery items downstairs and another room upstairs where a lovely range of workshops are normally held.

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I could not resist purchasing a super soft pink fleeceback jersey fabric, and I will share what I make with it here in the next couple of weeks or so.

A fabric and pattern swap was held at the shop, I took along a couple of pieces of fabric and two patterns that I didn’t want and swapped them for two patterns and two fabrics that I wanted from the swap table! Thank you to whoever donated these pieces – I am going to enjoy them very much!

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The raffle prizes were amazing. Fabric suppliers, pattern houses, sewing magazines and the like had generously donated some wonderful prizes and I understand that the outcome was that £431.50 was raised for The Eve Appeal and £80 to provide a toilet for a village in Africa who doesn’t have one. Pretty great I think.

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This is Lauren, the owner of Guthrie and Ghani selecting the raffle prizes, and Charlotte picking out the winning tickets!

The day was over in a flash. It really was disappointing when it was time to go, especially as I felt that I hadn’t had the chance to chat to everybody that I had wanted to. I know that everybody I spent time with said that they had enjoyed their day immensely, and it is so very generous of Charlotte to give so much of her time to organize such a great event. Thank you also to Lauren and all the team from Guthrie and Ghani for looking after us all in the afternoon.

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Sewing friends are the best friends don’t you think?

I feel I was quite restrained in my fabric purchases considering all the temptation of the day, but what I brought home I am thrilled with and am looking forward to sewing up.

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My fabric purchases on the day were: top – fleeceback jersey from Guthrie and Ghani, middle – jersey from the Rag Market and bottom – African Wax from the Rag Market.

After a tiring day it was time to say goodbye to all, I was especially sad to leave Vena and Kate, and hope it won’t be too long before we see each other again.

I, for one, am already looking forward to #sewbrum 2018!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Wonderful Day Out at ‘Fabric Meet Birmingham’

Yesterday was just lovely. Fabric shopping in Birmingham on a beautiful sunny day with lots of creative and inspiring sewists. What a perfect way to spend a day. Let me tell you more..

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About a month ago, Samantha from Create It Samantha and Bianca from Sleepless in Bavaria decided to host a fabric shopping trip and get-together in Birmingham. It sounded like too much fun to miss out on so I stuck my hand in the air straight away!

We were all meeting in John Lewis, which was perfect as I was arriving by train and John Lewis is on the doorstep! Samantha and Bianca had thoughtfully arranged for us to have use of a private dining area next to the restaurant which was so perfect as we could all grab ourselves some refreshments and get to know each other before we started.

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During this time we had a little pattern/fabric swap. I was delighted to pick up a Colette Patterns Peony dress pattern. Thank you to whoever donated this item, I am thrilled with it! Further more Samantha and Bianca handed out goody bags for everyone. I will pop a picture of all our goodies at the end of this post. Totally spoiled already and we had only been going an hour!

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Firstly we met June who works for John Lewis in their haberdashery department. We enjoyed a lovely demonstration on their range of sewing machines, and had the opportunity to give them a try ourselves. I enjoyed using a machine with no foot pedal for the first time – it has a start/stop button instead, and quickly made a little quilted square. Such fun!

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Forgive that it is a little wonky, it was cut without ruler or measuring and not pressed, but you get the idea!

After this, it was time to move outside into the sunshine and take a walk to the Rag Market. Plenty of bargains were bagged by us all as there were lots of fabric stalls inside and outside.

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One of the stalls inside the Rag Market

No rest for the wicked, it was then off to a much anticipated visit to Barry’s Fabrics. Boy! we weren’t disappointed. Packed to the rafters with rolls and rolls of fabrics, we had a wonderful time, like kids in a candy store.

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By this time I think we were all beginning to flag a little. Perfect time to break for lunch. Of course lovely Samantha and Bianca had already reserved tables at The Stable, so it was a quick walk back to the Bullring area to grab some lunch. Two long tables had been booked which was so perfect as we could all continue to chat together as large groups and didn’t need to separate up into smaller tables.

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After lunch we jumped into taxis and made the 10 minute journey to visit the Adam Ross warehouse. We were warmly greeted by Jas, Faisal, Saira and the team, and enjoyed refreshments whilst we learned about the company and how they work. Did you know that Adam Ross offer free postage on all orders, and always aim to get orders cut and dispatched on the same day. Very impressive. If you would like to check out their website you can do so here.

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Jas took us over to their cutting table to show us their newest range of fabrics. We wanted to buy all of them!

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Next came the moment we had all been waiting for. A good look around their warehouse. Two enormous floors worth of fabrics. I have never seen anything like it, we were given free rein to take our time and wander anywhere we liked and choose any fabric that we wanted to purchase.

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The welcome that we received from the team at Adam Ross was second to none, and just when I thought our day couldn’t get any better we were each given beautiful little notebooks which had been bound and covered with their fabrics. I picked a navy blue with star design.

Thank you so much to Bianca and Samantha for ensuring we all had the best day. Every little detail had been carefully planned, and not only was the fabric shopping amazing, the friendly company of such wonderful ladies and gent was a great experience. New friends have now been made and will be treasured.

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My fabric haul from the day. Top two from Adam Ross, middle from the Rag Market, bottom two from Barry’s Fabrics.

Finally let me show you the lot! As well as the fabrics I purchased, take a look at the beautiful fabric bound notebook and pen from Adam Ross, and the extremely generous gifts from Samantha and Bianca. Also the pattern I picked up from the pattern/fabric swap!

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I think if this wonderful event is ever repeated, it might be wise to follow Vena’s example and bring a suitcase on wheels. We all had a bit of trolley envy at the end of the day when we had to carry our bags home!

I hope you have enjoyed this little insight of my day out in Birmingham, it was lovely to meet so many new friends and hope to see more of you all in the future.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

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A Lovely Day out at the Leicester Dressmakers Meet-Up

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I was so chuffed when I heard that Sarah and Freya from Crafty Sew and So in Leicester were going to arrange a meet-up, I have been counting the sleeps! Leicester is my home turf so naturally I was all over it.

The day started with an informal gathering at Kai Kitchen Cafe in St Martins Square. This is very conveniently situated just over the way from the Crafty Sew and So shop. I’ll be honest, this was the most difficult and nerve wracking part of the day for me as I’m pretty shy, and walking through the door to meet a group of strangers was a little difficult for me to say the least.

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However I was very warmly greeted by Freya, and a large gathering of very friendly sewists, many of whom were also there on their own, and before long the room was buzzing with laughter and excited conversations. It was the perfect opportunity to break the ice and get to know some very lovely people. Delicious food and drinks were consumed, and after an hour or so we were ready to hit the fabric shops.

The weather was a little cold unfortunately, but never mind at least the rain held off. We headed off and were first shown The City Rooms where the upcoming Dressmakers Ball will be held in May. From there it is just a short walk to the market where our shopping began.

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Stuart’s Fabrics in Leicester market
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Ash Fabrics in Leicester market

Time to move on, and next we were taken through to Odeon Arcade which is the home to  Material Magic. Lots more purchases were made before wandering over to a lovely little haberdashery shop called Button Boutique, in Malcolm Arcade. This really is a great place to stock up on all your sewing notions and it has the best choice of loose buttons of anywhere I know.dressmakers-meetup-5

Finally it was time to move on and walk back round to St Martins Square and the warmth of the Crafty Sew and So shop. We were welcomed with tea and very delicious looking home made cakes (what a shame I’m on a diet), and given the chance to take advantage of a generous discount off all items in store.

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Such a welcoming window display

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This place really is a little Aladdin’s Cave of all things sewing. An extensive range of sewing supplies, fabulous range of independent sewing patterns, fabrics, machines, fabrics and a sewing workshop to boot. The team there were friendly and helpful and it really was a pleasant way to spend some time with your friends.

A little while later and it was time to gather to enjoy a talk by Charlotte from https://englishgirlathome.com/ What a delight! This was an informative and funny talk through the world of blogging and vlogging from Charlotte’s perspective and I really enjoyed it.

I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon. Many thanks to Sarah, Freya and all the team involved with arranging this get together. I was so happy to meet up with so many like-minded sewists and have the opportunity to chat about sewing to our hearts content all afternoon!

I may have made a few cheeky purchases, none of them needed of course, but, well you know…dressmakers-meetup-8

Thanks to all for a very lovely Saturday.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon.

Kathy x

 

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