Monday, 24 November 2008

Harrogate Knitting and Stitching

Margaret and Paul came to stay this weekend, mostly so Margaret and I could go to the knitting and stitching show in Harrogate. On Saturday we got up promptly and left for Harrogate just after 9. After a short wait to get in the car park we parked and headed to the International Centre, arriving just after the doors opened at 10. The show was fantastic, as always. I'll probably share our purchases in a later post, but I have to confess we spent a fair amount! (but not as much on our recent shopping trip in Solihul!!).

We decided to head to the back of the halls and work towards the front, in an attempt to avoid the crowds. Lots of stalls caught out eyes - for me there was the cross stitching and lace making, Margret is a knitter, and between us we've had a go at many of the other crafts! As always, I drooled over the wonderful quilting patterns and fabrics (especially at Monkey Buttons), but showed a great deal of restraint as I've not used the stuff I bought last year yet! The Spellbound beading stall caught our eyes - and our wallets - so there's a new craft on the horizon! We drooled over knitting patterns, wools (loved the Wensleydale sheep stall, complete with cushion made from unprocessed shaggy wool!), embroidery kits of all types, braidmaking, oh, and the workbenches and storage furniture were amazing - once we buy a house (mansion??) big enough for a large sewing room....

We saw some great displays too - these really caught my eyes:

It's a crocheted coral reef, which is constantly evolving, to highlight the plight of coral reefs and the creatures who live on them. (Apologies for the poor photos - I left my camera at home, so took these with my not-so-high-tech phone!!). We stopped off at the Lace Guild stall and had a chat with Phyllis (my Sheffield mum and lace teacher - Margaret hadn't met her before, which seemed odd!), then we met Sonia and Pam (from the stitch and bitch group) for lunch, where we showed off our purchases and discovered we were doing better than them for stall visiting - we'd managed 1.5 halls out of 4, they'd just completed 1!! I've still not had chance to ask Sonia what they bought in the afternoon as we didn't see them again all day. We dashed back, and managed another 1.5 halls before needing another break. We stopped for coffee in the Royal Hall:

We were amazed that we might have missed such a stunning theatre the previous year - until we saw the display saying it had only reopened in April, after years of refurbishment. Well that expains it! We watched a fun Millinery fashion show while we drank our coffee - amazed at the skill of the students studying at local colleges - then hit the stalls again for one final fling. We only just managed to get through all 4 halls, then had a final mad dash back to a few places for last minute puchases and leaflet collecting before heading home for a well deserved break, and takeaway curry for tea!

More later...

Friday, 14 November 2008

Ornie stitching

I'm still here, still stitching, but as I'm focussing on ornies for exchanges and gifts I can't post any photos..yet! So far I've finished 3 and started my 4th - not bad at all!

Last weekend Ed and I went to Birmingham to see his parents. His Dad has vasular dementia (he's only 65), so we try and visit frequently to help as much as we can - usually I take Margaret out somewhere and Ed does something with Paul. Last weekend M and I hit the shops - having 2 sons she isn't used to epic, slow, girly shopping trips, so I've had to teach her. She's doing very well, and now understands that a nice lunch, plus at least one trip to a coffee shop, are an essential part of the day. As is browsing and having a laugh - the goal is to have fun, not just buy things (although that helps). She's learning well! We didn't do as well as last time, when we came home with a new TV, video/DVD recorder, iron, clothes etc etc. But we did pretty well, making a good start with Christmas shopping (very early for me), and getting lots of clothes and shoes. To be honest I've not had such a good clothes shop since I was a lot younger and a lot smaller - I'm very fussy and won't buy anything that doesn't fit well - difficult as a rather curvy size 20/22 (UK size)... clearly fat people shouldn't have waists... Anyway, I digress - we hit Monsoon (my favourite shop) where the clothes are beautiful, well made, FIT ME, and, erm, cost a fortune. We got there at 4.45 and paid just after they shut at 5.30... I bought jeans, a skirt, 2 blouses and a cardy... and I'd already got another cardy and some pjamas earlier on in the day! Luckily M decided she'd make a contribution, as my Christmas present. She did well too, getting new shoes, a jumper and some undies. We also got some books, and treated ourselves to Lush bath bombs. It was great fun.

A while ago I got Benjamin Bunny Birth Sampler framed, and gave it to Helene for Amelie, but I didn't share a photo. Here is is:

Sunday, 2 November 2008

What a difference a month makes...

...thanks to everyone over on the wagon for their encouragement and support during TW October - as anyone reading my (very few) posts this month will know, I took the opportunity to focus on Fantasy Triptych, and as of yesterday, I have finished the castle (complete with bs), all of the xs on the rocks, and done a fair amount of the trees - probably abut 1/4 of the infamous green! So here's a photo:

This month I also did a little more on Dracolair's Phoenix:

It's stitched on Stitches and Spice 28ct cashel 'tundra', which I really love.

All of this means that I met my two goals for October, particularly the goal of 'impressive progress' on FT - well, I am impressed!!

So, it being November now, I need to set goals:

1) stitch ornies for TWCOE, presents and (hopefully) my tree too...
2) continue with FT, especially on Mondays
3) make progress on Phoenix
4) pick up Las Vegas again...
5) don't go too mad at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show - there's only so much stitching time in one lifetime...

And speaking of shows, I never mentioned the Pudsey 'not just lace' show, which was 2 weeks ago. Most of our S**** & B**** group came along, even though not everone makes lace, and we met up with Phyllis. I was very proud that I didn't spend the most money (Sonia now owns a lovely Richard Gravestock workbox. If that means nothing to you then wait until December...). I did buy some lovely new bobbins (as I really don't own enough...):

I especially love the Phoenix one - had to buy it in honour of my current WIP! I also got 4 Gravestock bobbins, after all these will become rare objects once Richard retires in December (like workboxes...).

Best of all, I signed up for a lace weekend with Christine Springett (it's full, but I'm on the reserve list) and had a lovely chat with Stuart Johnson (it's worrying when a bobbin maker who you only see at fairs while buying bobbins greets you like an old friend - but I do like his bobbins best - his are the unspangled - ie non-beaded - bobbins at the top of the picture. The photo doesn't do them justice, and their best feature is that they feel wonderful...).