Out and About

Out and About

We get out and about visiting events, exhibitions and crafty workshops around the country or sampling them from the comfort of our own homes

Festive Willow Workshop with Cathy Hayden at the Garter Lane Arts Centre

Having already attended a workshop with basket maker Cathy Hayden, I jumped at the opportunity to spend a little more time in her company.

The evening workshop was a ‘taster’ event and at the time of booking we weren’t too sure what it would entail, except that there would be Willow.  Happily, it transpired that we were going to be making a Willow Wreath or which Cathy had brought lots of lovely supplies, including Willow in two gorgeous colours.

Using lengths of darker Willow to begin with, we wove and shaped our wreaths into a basic circle, building up with extra Willow as we went.  This helped to strengthen the wreath and interlock each branch securely into each other.  Once we were happy with the shape and style of our wreaths, we were then able to weave some of the bright orange Willow in and around the base, which highlighted the beautiful colours of the wood.

Secateurs were available, so we could trim the branches and make our wreaths more ‘traditional’, before adding some greenery to them.  However, I absolutely loved the way the branches swoop around my wreath and decided to only do the bare minimum of a trim, just to even up the lengths a little.

There was also no way I was going to hide the beauty of the Willow behind lots of Holly and other greenery.  Instead II opted for the smallest amount of Ivy, more as a way of acknowledging that the Wreath is for the holidays (for now at least).

Cathy and the Garter Lane Arts Centre in Waterford City, host different events and workshops throughout the year, so be sure to follow them on Facebook so as not to miss what’s happening.  You’ll find Cathy’s Facebook Page here and the Garter Lane Arts Centre here.

Nottingham Yarn Expo

Having scheduled a trip to Manchester for the weekend to soak up the atmosphere at the Christmas Markets, it would have been rude not to try to get to the Nottingham Yarn Expo.  Te journey from our hotel to the Conference Centre was a little over an hour and a half via the main roads, but we decided to take the scenic route through the Peak District, stopping for a late lunch in Matlock on the way.  It’s one of my favourite places in the UK, otherwise I wouldn’t have willingly wasted valuable yarn fondling time.

In it’s first year, the Nottingham Yarn Expo is one of the latest fibre events added to the annual UK calendar, it was held in the Nottingham Conference Centre at the Nottingham University, across two days, the 11th and 12th of November.

Having found the university via Google Maps, we struggled a little to find parking and only then realised Google Maps had brought us to the wrong entrance.  My woolly radar was up though, and we spotted a group of ladies carrying yarn filled shopping bags, so we asked them for directions. Out of the cold and into the warm Conference Centre we set about chatting to as many of the vendors as possible.  My ever-suffering husband has been to so many fibre festivals with me now, that he’s become a dab hand at pointing out things I’ve missed and keeping me on track.  Although he did have to remind me that the Expo was closing at 5pm on at least a couple of occasions.

The stalls were extremely well spaced out across two floors around what I can only think of as a foyer.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t a floor plan available which did make it a little difficult to navigate and I relied on the kindness of some of the stall holders, to ensure I didn’t miss anything.

Arriving mid-afternoon as I had, I was conscious of my limited time and tried to chat with as many people as possible.  Indie dyers, designers and artisans had taken stands at the Expo, so there was no shortage of goodies to tempt.  Classes and lectures were held throughout the weekend and I did spot Nathan aka Sockmatician, bedecked in one of his beautiful creations, whilst I was mid conversation with a stall holder.  I also managed to catch up with good friend Fay, the designer of the Criss Cross Shawl in this issue, she was there with her Knit it – Hook it – Craft it shop.

Catching up with Derek and Bernie, who had travelled over from Northern Ireland with their Bear in Sheep’s Clothing was great, even though it was extremely difficult not to keep looking at their yarn.  I was also thrilled to meet Ellie from the Craft House Magic Podcast and can confirm that she is a genuinely lovely person, who exudes fun and laughter.  I’m hoping that the next time we run into each other, we’ll have more time to spend together.

The Expo provided the perfect opportunity to see in real life, some of the yarns and products I’ve been cooing over on Instagram and I loved finding several ‘new to me’ indie dyers.  Conscious as I am, about my ever expanding yarn stash, my purchases were limited though.  I couldn’t resist bringing home a couple of items though, one of which rather hilariously was from Bear in Sheep’s Clothing.  I go all the way to Nottingham just to buy yarn from an Irish indie dyer???

The Knitting and Stitching Show, Dublin

The Knitting and Stitching Show took place over the weekend of the 8th to the 11th of November 2017. The show is typically packed full of exhibitors from all areas of the knitting and stitching world. This popular event attracts attendees from all over the country. This year we heard from knitwear designer Albina McLaughlin who looked at the event from an exhibitor’s perspective, giving us an insight into the inner workings of the show.

You can read all about Albina’s experience over on our blog.