Monday, November 3, 2014

it's the OMC y'all

'Sup my crochet crew! It's been a while since I've actually shown any of my crochet (going to events and yarn travels seems to be taking over my life), so here's something small I've knocked up recently.

'Oh maaaan, what's he up to now?'...well I'm just keepin it real!!! But seriously, I thought I'd make some crochet jewellery to help me 'represent'. I've found that at some of the various events I've been attending my social awkwardness can sometimes hold me back a bit, so maybe clearly advertising who I am will help me counter that and encourage people to approach me (rather than just looking like the scary guy standing in the corner).

It's made with embroidery cotton and a tiny tiny hook (0.75mm), stiffened with a PVA solution. But if this isn't your kinda thing, I've got various other projects on the go. Two of them are big projects that are gonna take me a while - especially this one:

Yep, more squares....lots of them. I'm working on another large wall hanging made out of just the first rounds of granny squares. It's kind of my 'travel' project, when I'm on the train or away for the weekend I can just take a ball of wool and hook and churn these out.

That's all for now. Peace out mutha-hookers!!! Boooooooom!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Big Knitathon Cardiff

Hi all. This Saturday myself and Emma from Lemonade Yarns teamed up to organise the Big Knitathon Cardiff in order to raise funds for the Big Issue Foundation.

I saw an advert in the Big Issue one week asking people to host these events to raise money for the foundation, and knew straight away that this is something I needed to do. I whole-heartedly believe that The Big Issue is an incredibly important and commendable organisation. I've talked to many people about 'The Issue' and it's amazing how little some people know about it, this year is the 23rd anniversary and as part of this they wrote a piece explaining and dispelling the most common myths about the organisation and sellers - if you don't know much about The Big Issue I suggest you give this article a quick peek here. Anyway, more about our knitathon.

We asked knitters and crocheters to come join us at 'Shot in the Dark' on City Road in Cardiff, to come and help us make as many squares as possible. We also encouraged any beginners to come along too and we would teach them how to get started. We had a really fun day and we had various people popping in throughout the day.

So far we've only made a small amount of money from the day, by selling a few little bits and bobs that Emma and myself had made beforehand to sell and from donations....but we anticipated this. We tried to focus our efforts on the day on getting as many squares made as possible (and as you can see we've got a fair few). The plan is that at over the next two weeks we will be sewing these squares together to make scarfs. We will be selling half of these scarfs to raise money, and the other half we will be donating to Big Issue vendors to keep them warn throughout these cold winter months. If you are interested in helping us by buying a scarf, please keep an eye on our twitters (onemancrochet twitter and lemonade yarns twitter) and we will be announcing soon how to buy them.

I want to say a massive thanks to Emma (pictured above) for helping me to organise this event, and obviously a huge thank you to all the lovely ladies that turned up to help us out on the day.

You can still help us, please click here to donate to our cause. Or at very least, buy a Big Issue from a vendor, it's a brilliant magazine and over the years it's got better and better and is a really good read. Don't be afraid to talk to your local vendors too - they're still people, the same as you and me. They're  just in a tough spot, and homelessness and vulnerability is something that can affect people from all walks of life. Thanks for reading and thanks for all your support

Monday, October 20, 2014

Knitted Textile Awards Round-Up @AllyPally

Hi blog-fans

So I'm back from big ol' London town, after showing my work at the 'UKHKA Knitted Textile Awards' at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.

I finished making another crochet t-shirt (that I'm wearing in the picture above) to wear especially to the show. I knew the show was gonna be big, but I was still surprised by the scale of it, the place is massive!!! Saying that the Textile Awards stand was in a prime location and my work was being displayed on one of the aisles so plenty of people got to see it.

The awards had (well can see it all again at Harrogate in November) a great mix of work, something to cater for everybody really. I got loads of nice comments and positive feedback, mostly along the lines that everyone loved how colourful my work is. The awards are split into two, graduate and open categories. All of the ladies showing their work (yes I was the only bloke) were all super nice and friendly, and everyone's work really impressed me. Here's a slideshow of the work but you can also find out more about each of the artists over on the UKHKA website.


The winners of the awards aren't announced until the Harrogate show, but either way that's not important, taking part in this show has already proved to be a very fruitful and rewarding experience. Here's me with all the other competitors (not exactly hard to spot am I)

Anyway, more about the whole event. There's so many stall's at the K&S show it's ridiculous. I had to try and be a bit restrained with my spending...but I could easily have spent hundreds in seconds if I'd wanted to. As well as all the shopping opportunities, there was also a massive amount of textile art on display. I decided I would pick one artist that impressed me the most to write about, as you could write a whole book if you wanted to write about them all. It was the embroidery work of Hanny Newton that instantly got my attention. I walked past the stall which had her work on display, and then had to go back to look again. Initially I thought it was just a load of rocks on shelves, then thought to myself, 'no that can't be right'. I went back and she explained to me that they were all made from layers and layers of felt sewn together, with bits of glass and copper weaved in.

So you may be interested in the select few items I bought from the show, well here's the usual pic of my haul:

What you can see there is some woven silk yarn, some beaded yarn, some neon twine, ring and triangle sequins, an airplane button, some jewelled ribbon, some sparkly things to stick on things (I don't really know how to describe them), some yellow cotton (that I got for £1!!!) and some more yarn. I also got this, which is a bit special -

Its a magnetic rabbit, which not only looks cool as hell but is also great for holding onto your needles during sewing projects - which is good for me as I'm always dropping them on the floor and losing them, only to find them when you sit on them at a later date.

So that's my write-up of Ally Pally. I had an amazing time and can't wait for Harrogate

Sunday, October 5, 2014

more magazines

Hi all. Just a quick post as I'm busy getting ready for the Knitting & Stitching show at Ally Pally this week. My moody bearded face has been getting all over the crochet magazines this week.

Firstly, the well known 'Inside Crochet' magazine approached me and asked me to do an interview for them as part of their 'our favourite blogger' section. They did a really good job of laying out the interview and arranging the photo's - I'm very happy with it!

And not content with being in one magazine this month, the 'Knitting and Crochet' magazine by the 'Lets Get Crafting' people also gave me a nice mention in their 'best on the web' section in their feature about male knitters/crocheters.

So big thanks to both these magazines, it's really encouraging to be asked to do this type of thing and means a lot to me. That's all for now peeps, more coming reallllllll soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Handmade Fair

So as well as my yarn travels in London, I also went to 'The Handmade Fair'at Hampton Court, something I'd been looking forward to for a while.

It was a day packed full of all things craft!!! We went on the Sunday which was the last day of it, but it was still all good! The theme for this first years Handmade Fair was 'World Pomination' an attempt to break a record with pompoms for charity, here's just a few of them that I found near the entrance.

There were two huge tents chock full of stalls, so plenty to browse and buy. It catered to all sorts of crafts so there was a huge mix of stalls and sellers. One in particular that I thought was amazing was 'chachoulie'. They are a company that make jewellery using traditional fabrics and embroidery from Palestine. Their work was gorgeous and the lady at the stall was very knowledgeable and interesting to talk to.

Of course there was a fair few stalls selling wool and yarns, so I bought a few things to add to the stash. As well as the shopping aspect of the fair, you also got to participate in workshops. I went to one on macrame lampshade making (run by a guy from out of the dark), which was very interesting and something that I might have to try again. The lovely wife went to a 'no sew cushion' workshop run by Stuart Hillard (or Great British Sewing Bee fame), which she thoroughly enjoyed.

There was also various talks from craft celebs to attend - this was my main reason for wanting to go! The talk we attended was by one of my idols - I've raved about him before, the one and only Kaffe Fassett!!!

The talk was fantastic, Kaffe is a really inspiring man and he talked to the crowd with ease. It was really interesting hearing him talk about his processes and about details of creating his fabrics. I even got to ask him a question (I asked if he ever has ideas that don't quite work when he actually starts making them, for example with colour combinations). 

Kaffe was undoubtedly a highlight of the day, but overall the event was fantastic. I was a bit restrained with my purchases but here's what I got. I some bargain wool from one stall and a nice ball of Pixie DIY wool as well, some patterned washi tape, some neon yellow ribbon, a wooden cat necklace for the lovely wife (I bought it secretly and gave it to her at the end of the day), and a wooden Ron Swanson brooch for myself.

But I can't end this post without talking about some of the people I met. I had the chance to talk to the lovely Lara and Charlie from the Mollie Makes team, both of whom were super nice. I also accosted the fine gentleman known as Mr X Stitch and introduced myself. We went and had a nice long chat and he was really encouraging and offered me a lot of great advice. That's all for now folks, I'll leave you with a pic of me and the man himself.

yarn travels: London

Hi all. Hope you're ready for a super-long blog post, cos I've been off to London! Here's what I found on my travels.

The first stop was 'Loop' yarn store. I'd heard a lot about this shop so it was the first stop on our list. In a very trendy area (Camden Passage), Loop is an interesting shop. The shop has two floors, and they have a very large selection of nice yarns and big names.

They also have a couple of cabinets on the downstairs floor selling all sorts of retro knit and crochet trinkets, and a fair amount of pattern books. Overall a very nice shop, but possibly a little bit on the pricey side in my opinion - but that's sometimes what you get with nice yarn. Either way it's very nice, worth the visit. Anyway, onto the next stop.

Up near the Finsbury Park area, you can find 'The Handweavers Studio'. What I'd read about this place had got me intrigued, and I wasn't disappointed. Although more targeted at weavers than knitters/crocheters, this shop is a goldmine!!!

When you first enter, you'll see endless shelves of cones of yarn and threads, as well as a massive book selection (and really interesting books too - I bought one on traditional Peruvian weaving). As you walk through to the back of the shop you encounter loads of looms, and on the day we visited there were people working on them which is always good to see. They had a few sale baskets too, so I also bought some multi-coloured thread which was a bit of a bargain. Right, next one -

Over in the Stoke Newington area you can find 'Knit with Attitude'. As we were walking around the area we spotted quite a few fabric and haberdashery shops, so it seems a good place for us crafty folk.

Knit with Attitude is an awesome little shop. It has a great range of wool and a good range of brands. It stocks lots of hooks/needles/accessories and generally has a little bit of everything.

As well as all the wool and crafty things, it has a lot of cards, prints and handmade jewellery too, which makes this shop great to just browse around.

I also had a bit of a chat with the ladies who were working there and they were really nice, so this place gets a big thumbs up from me. I also got some bargain wool while I was there so left very happy. So, lets carry on our journey shall we?

Tucked away near Bethnal Green tube is 'Prick Your Finger'. It's a shop that pretty much exclusively stocks eco/natural yarns and I think they dye a lot of it themselves - so not many of your big brand names here.

I would say this is an interesting shop. The owner is really nice and friendly, and they have a lot of different types of yarn (as well as a fair amount of old pattern books). I would say it's the sort of place I would go if I had a big project in mind, as it had a big range of solid colours. In the end I bought some very fine Angora wool. Again, I'd highly recommend stopping by this place as it's certainly different from your usual stores.

Next was another store I'd heard a lot about, 'I Knit London'. I was particularly interested when I found out they also have a license to sell alcohol! I would have liked to have stopped and had a beer but I was pretty tired by this point and there was a knitting group in there, so I gave the drink a miss. But the store itself was very good. They stock a wide range of well known yarns, lots of books, lots of hooks etc, pretty much everything you could want.

I found some super fluorescent wool that I just had to buy here, and the guy at the counter was very friendly as well (a recurring theme - I like how wool shop folk are usually friendly!). It's just around the corner from Waterloo station so very easy to get too. The next and final stop on our wool tour was.....

...'Liberty' of course. The lovely wife really wanted to go here and I was very interested in their haberdashers section. Of course, they only really stock Rowan wool, but it's a good selection.

I bought some nice pink skeins and some lovely fabric, and we had a good look around everything else too (although I don't recommend going with a large backpack, I was very paranoid that I was going to knock and break something!). So, those were my yarn travels in London....but now I'm going to show you somewhere else I went to. It's not wool related, but maybe somewhere that isn't your usual tourist hotspot.

Yep, you saw that right, 'Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium'. Ohhhh, it's a shop selling cat themed items I bet you're thinking.....

....well you'd be wrong. It's a cafe.....with cats!!!! Lots of cats!!! You need to book ahead as they only let a certain amount of people in (so as not to scare the cats). You can have some coffee/cake while the cats are hanging out, and if you're lucky they might come and let you give them a stroke. It's an interesting concept and they clearly look after and care for the cats, but you're not guaranteed that a cat will want to curl up on your lap....they kind of just do their own thing while you watch! Either way, you can still be perked up by a 'Cattucino'.

So there you go, that was my London experience (although not entirely, another separate blog post with what else I did coming up next). I guess you want to see my haul....well I bought a fair bit, as well as a 'My Neighbour Totorro' t-shirt I got from Spitalfields market. Hope you've enjoyed!