Knitting and Stitching Show 2014 – Alexandra Palace

knitting_and_stitching_show_bannerWelcome back to the highlight of this years’s Wool Week! The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace took place during Wool Week this year, and was my personal finale of the week.  My friend Sarah from Nottingham Knitter came to visit so we could spend the day at Ally Pally together, and boy did we have fun!

Our first stop was the LoveKnitting/Rowan Yarns stall. We said Hi to designers Sarah Hatton and Jem Weston before heading off into the depths of the exhibition. Rowan has designed a variety of beautiful ponchos just for Wool Week – I’ve wanted a Poncho for a while now. Just which colourway to choose.. help?

Off we were to  the famous Black Sheep Wools‘ Yarn Dive (which shall not be pictured here – things do get a bit… passionate there sometimes). I managed to pull away from the pile without buying anything for the first year ever, but I was on a budget and there was so much more to see. After all, our biggest interest was yarn, Yarn and more YARN. I was searching for Fyberspates Sparkle Sock Yarn, only to find out it had been discontinued (sad).

Fyberspates

Fyberspates

I had seen Millamia Yarns at the show before and was seriously tempted to buy their new book Winter Knits, but sadly my budget didn’t stretch far enough. It’s on top of my Christmas wishlist though. *hint hint*

MillaMia Sweden

Millamia

Eden Cottage Yarns had some of the softest, fluffiest Baby Alpaca Yarn I’ve ever felt. And such delicious colours too!

Eden Cottage Yarns

Eden Cottage Yarns

But there were of course also lots of finished projects and patterns to be admired. Purl Alpaca Designs are one of my favourite stalls every year, their designs are just so incredibly flattering and I can’t stress enough how much I love their Alpaca Yarns in natural shades.

Purl Alpaca Designs

Purl Alpaca Designs

Mrs Moon‘s stunning Super Giant Granny Square blanket first caught my eye at the Handmade Fair a few weeks ago, I was delighted to see it again at Ally Pally. Another future project for sure, and their pastel colours are just so pretty!

Mrs Moon Crochet Blanket

Mrs Moon

The crochet work on display at Jane Crowfoot‘s stall was just breathtaking, I need to join one of her CAL’s one of these days.

Jane Crowfoot Stall

Jane Crowfoot

And while we’re talking KAL’s – don’t you just love Debbie Abrahams Beneath The Sea blanket? I mean come on, it has mermaids and seahorses and glitzy things, how much better does it get? I was gutted when I found out that the patterns are only available for one year for members of her Mystery Blanket Club.

Beneath the Sea

Debbie Abrahams – Beneath the Sea

Sue Stratford had some pretty cool Knitting Kits. I loved the chickens, Sarah really liked the Monster Cat.

Sue Straford Kits

Sue Stratford Kits

These Hedgehog Hats win my personal ‘Wacky Knit of the Day’ award.

Hedgehog Hats

Gillian Gladrag had the cutest peacock bag felting kit, sadly I missed out on this one.

Gillian Gladrag Felting Kits

Gillian Gladrag Felting Kits

And then there was this incredible exhibition called ‘Black Sheep – The Darker Side of Felt’. Mind. Blown. Check out the amazing dresses, and the felted skulls! And those alien guys – they are the 7 Deadly Sins.

 

But in my last post I promised you the story of how I lost my heart at Ally Pally, so here it goes.
Sarah and I were on our way home, and just wanted to stop quickly at the Toft Alpaca Shop before leaving. Everybody loves the cute crochet animals from Edward’s Menagerie and we are no exception. But when we arrived at the stall, there was THIS guy.

Teddy.

Teddy.

Isn’t he just the cutest, fluffiest, best Teddy you’ve ever seen? And once I had given him a good hug there was no way I could leave him behind. NO WAY. The Toft guys probably thought I was a bit weird. But I don’t care. All I know is that Mr Fox said Teddy could come home with us. And that made me one happy Snowfox.
iamsnowfox_teddy_toftalpacashop
THE END

Wool Week – Day 4: Knitting is the new Rock ‘n’ Roll

As I am writing this, Wool Week 2013 draws to a close. It’s been a wonderful week full of  inspiration, shared creativity and  fun.
I tried to go to as many events and workshops as time would allow. On schedule for thursday was the Rowan Yarns workshop at John Lewis Oxford Street. The classes were all booked out, so I decided to just drop into one of their open sessions, which also allowed me to check out the progress of the wool window.
People have been hard at work all week, and by now you can view the finished room in the side streets off Oxford Street. Just as a reminder, we started out with this on monday…

Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas

By Thursday, things were looking rather different. A majority of the originally white interior is now covered in colourful stitches.. they don’t even stop at the afternoon tea.


Those who still think knitting is for old ladies only, think again. Knitting is the new Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Knitting is the new  Rock 'n' Roll

After saying Hi to the busy people in the window, I headed up the First Floor for the Rowan workshop. Upon arriving I noticed models of the snoods they were teaching to people – 3 different variations, all knit in wonderfully soft and chunky Big Wool. I borrowed a pair of needles, and one of the design consultants who work at John Lewis attempted to teach me to knit English Style (I’m normally a continental knitter). I started working on this cabled cowl and will definitely be making a few of these as Christmas presents.
 Cabled Cowl


Stuart Hillard from the Great British Sewing Bee having fun knitting a purple scarf.

Stuart Hillard Knitting

After a good two hours during which I more or less successfully attempted fair isle knitting with one colour in each hand, it was time for another class. This one was fully booked, and even reality TV star Oliver Proudlock joined the group to learn how to knit. Since the pop-up store was getting really crowded, I packed what I had made into my already too-full bag and headed over to Liberty’s, where the Awards ceremony for the winner of Wool Week 2013 Hand Knit & Crochet Award was taking place.
The Awards are a collaboration between Rowan Yarns, The Campaign for Wool, Liberty’s and The Royal College of Arts. To learn more about the awards, head over to the Campaign for Wool’s website. I got a chance to talk to the winners and Rowan brand manager Kate Buller and designer Marie Wallin, who are both very passionate about the competition, and who knows – they might even be recruiting some of those fresh talents to work with on future collections. Marie Wallin (wearing her own design Anatolia from Rowan Mag 54) then presented the awards and prizes to the winners and told the audience a little more about the designs and the creative minds behind them.


I am a bit sad that Wool Week 2013 is now nearly over, but am sure that Wool Week 2014 is already being planned as we speak, and will have many more inspiring exhibitions and events in store for all of us. I’m signing off now to work on my knitting :)

Wool Week ‘Knit Nation’ – Day 1

This year’s wool week has finally arrived! I kicked off the week by joining Toft Alpaca Shop for some live Yarn Bombing in a window display at John Lewis in Oxford Street. The idea is to start out with a completely white space, and gradually cover it in colourful stitches during the week. Lots of different artists are joining the fun, and there will be stints of live knitting and crocheting every day. 
John Lewis is also hosting FREE knitting workshops every day, for more information and class schedules check the Campaign for Wool’s website
We spent the afternoon covering the sofa in what will be a fitted throw by the end of the week, and were joined by Dan from Sheperd’s delight. Check out his pictures of Daisy Lowe opening Wool Week on tumblr.

After finishing the crochet session in the window I joined WOOL AND THE GANG for a free knitting class in the women’s fashion department. They had been doing some live knitting in the window earlier and were now busy teaching knitting chunky hats and scarves to anyone who dropped in.

I had so much fun and can’t wait to be back on thursday to check out the progress of the wooly window and join Rowan Yarns for free workshops during the day. Follow me on facebook for some live updates!

Toadstool Kami

Did I mention that I have a bit of an obsession with mushrooms of all shapes and sizes? Me and mushrooms go back a long way, to a little me who helped her parents gather chanterelles in the mountains in summer and who had more books about mushrooms and tickets to the mushroom museum (yes, there is such a thing as a mushroom museum..  only in Austria) than other kids my age had marbles in their pockets. 20 years later I still love mushrooms, be it as dinner or design object. It is about time the Kamis showed some colour. They like mushrooms too. They actually live in them, I’ve heard. They definitely like dressing up as one. See for yourself ;)

If you like Toadstool Kami, you can find him in my Etsy Shop.

Toadstool Kami Troll doll IMG_0189_sml IMG_0194_sml

Out with the old..

That was quite a bit of radio silence.. My cold got (once again) the better of me and I had to lie low and try to finally get all those evil flu monsters out of my system. I spoke to my doctor and he and I both agreed that I would need lots of rest, lots of fresh air (but don’t overdo it) and an extra dose of TLC. So I did the only reasonable thing: I went to Austria, to the small town in the mountains where my grandma lives. Mountain air, hot springs, grandma’s cooking and home remedies finally seemed to make a difference and I am, for the first time this year, feeling almost like the usual me. Not difficult when the first thing you see when you open the windows in the morning is pretty white snow and mountain cabins.

Snowy Garden Austria

Room with a view

As much as I love winter, if you live in a country where there isn’t a lot of snow and the world is just grey and cold and wet for a long time, winter gets to even the toughest cookies. Being ill for such a long time drained me of my usual energy and enthusiasm and left me feeling bland and lacking motivation. Being back home in the mountain house I’ve loved all my life was the necessary boost I needed to get me back on track, and it didn’t take long for me to start working on things again. It’s a time of quite a few big changes in my personal life, and sometimes we forget to look at the bigger picture and get carried away worrying about the little things. It’s in times of change that I try to remember that at the end of the day all it takes to ground us is doing things we love and feel passionate about. Like crafting. Or a walk in the snow.

Snow covered lake

Snow covered lake

So as soon as I returned home (bags heavy with new things I made while recovering), the light box was set up and pictures taken, and there will be an update in my shop very soon. To give you an idea about what’s coming, here’s a sneak peak of some new trolls I made. Since plants have been so present in my life in the past few weeks, it’s no wonder they’ve been creeping into my creations as well :)

Amigurumi troll doll Kami

Sneak-a-peak

Valentine’s Kami Troll

Here’s a little something I’ve been working on recently. Hmm, strawberries.. I hope it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy!

Strawberry Kami Amigurumi Troll Doll

Husky Kami

In my last post I already mentioned how much I like working with natural materials. That doesn’t only apply to my crochet creatures, but to pretty much all of my creative ventures. Be it decorations for the house, gifts or things that just come in handy, I always think it is best to look to nature to provide us with materials, as they will last, are sustainable and usually have a unique beauty. 

I have been sick at home for a few days now, which gave me some time to work on new projects and finish old ones (though my pile of WIPs is still considerable..), and make some more stock for my shop. Husky Kami is easily my most popular troll at this point, and what’s not to love?

Husky Kami White Amigurumi Troll

He’s made from organic sheep’s wool (Bluefaced Leicester to be precise) which is wonderfully soft to the touch and fluffy up nicely when brushed. When I first came up with the trolls I thought of forest creatures, subdued hues, nothing too bright. What a surprise it was when this one just wasn’t having it. He was cute with brown eyes, but something was missing. I handpaint all my doll eyes, so usually have a variety of colours lying around somewhere, and I thought: Why not.. And that’s how he became what he is today.

Trolls in trees

My evil cold that’s been plaguing me for a few weeks now has flared up again, so I thought I’d post some happy pictures to cheer everyone up on this cold and grey day. I love making these little chaps. They are such happy mischiefous creatures, and they come in so many variations. All my trolls are made from pure wool, unless specifically requested otherwise. I have made vegan versions, but personally I always prefer natural fibers over artifical ones. Whenever I travel to a new place, my path always leads me to the yarn shops, farmers markets and little independent artists. I have recently taken up spinning myself and am saving up for a wheel of my own, there is so much to learn.. I have a passion for handcrafted things, and I love being in nature and working with what I find during my walks in the woodlands behind our house. The yarn used for this troll is Rowan Colourscape Chunky, which has a lovely handspun look and check out how pretty the colours blend on this guy’s tummy.

 Kami crochet amigurumi doll

Pingu the Amigurumi penguin

When I was a little kid I used to watch a show on TV called ‘Pingu’. I was completely smitten with the way he honked at his friends and curled up in a ball to roll away. The hours spent trying to imitate ‘penguin sounds’ surely had to pay off someday. Alas, I didn’t become the world’s first penguin interpreter, but my childhood hero did at least inspire me to make my own wool version of him, complete with a little collar and bell because I like the tiny tinkling sound it makes. Pingu himself couldn’t look cuter! Did you know there are penguins who live in South Africa? These cute little birds nest on a beach in Cape Town called Boulder’s Beach. They dig holes in the sand to lay their eggs, and when it gets too warm they sometimes sneak into people’s gardens to swim in the pool. Would you mind sharing your pool with one of these guys?

Pingu Amigurumi crochet doll

Moss Slippers for Mr Fox

England is not necessarily known as a cold country. We do however get a few weeks of frost, and recently have also been blessed with small but nevertheless delightful amounts of snow. Our home is on the edge of woodland, which means there are hardly any buildings to shelter the house from the cold and wind, and therefore it gets very cold at night. Both me and Mr Fox were struck down by a terrible cold and spent both Christmas and NYE in bed. We did try to go out for a little bit on the 31st, but I fell asleep on our friends’ couch halfway through the party.

Unfortunately, we live above stingy people who don’t heat their flat at all and consequently our floor is very cold despite the carpet. As a result, we constantly suffer from cold feet. One of my new year’s resolutions was to create more this year, and to take better care of me and mine, so I ventured out in the snow yesterday to get some wool for a pair of crochet slippers for Mr Fox. Rowan has a wonderful range of chunky Yarn called Big Wool that I love working with. I found some pretty wooden buttons that I think will look amazing with the green hues I’ve chosen. I will post a picture of the slippers as soon as they are finished, and I might even write up a pattern, so check back soon.

Rowan Yarn for Moss Slippers with wooden buttons

Rowan Big Wool and wooden buttons