31 December 2015

End of the Year - Q&A style

Hey hey folks. Well it's time for the obligatory 'end of the year' post. 2015 certainly was an interesting one, but rather than looking back at what I got up to over the past year, I figured I'd try something a little different for me.

I generally try and keep a degree of separation between my personal life and what I write about on my blog. I think to a degree everyone does this and creates a persona that they want to project (normally focusing on the more positive aspects of their life or personality). So with this in mind I thought I would try and answer some of the more common questions that I get asked about myself and my crochet, to give you a little glimpse of the man behind the hook. I'll try to be honest, but sometimes being completely honest can mean it can't all be positive. I'm fully aware that whilst some of you might find this interesting or revelatory, others might see it as narcissistic self-indulgent hog-wash...if you're the latter then don't worry, I'll go back to my usual crochet ramblings soon enough. Here's a picture of me at work before the mass of text.

Anyway, let's give it a go.

1. How are you?
Standard answer: Not too bad thanks
People rarely want to hear the real answer, it's something we ask as a greeting rather than a question. Throughout 2015 I've struggled with this most basic of questions, as the year has been an emotional roller-coaster. The year started off with one of the hardest experiences of my life. I'm not going to say what it was, as I don't want this to turn into a 'poor me' sympathy post, but it was something that broke me. I've had to learn how to carry on, had to reassess my life and who I am, and had to know when to ask for help. Throughout this, crochet and my creativity has helped keep me going forward, and the support I get has been the encouragement and affirmation that I've needed. In my lowest moments there have been comments or emails that I've received just at the right time to pick me back up. Crochet has been a real driving force for me this year, and although it's been a hard year I've achieved many personal milestones.

2. Why aren't you on instagram/facebook/pinterest/whatever else is popular nowadays?
Standard answer: Because I'm a grumpy man, not a teenage girl!
That standard answer is a joke by the way. I've got nothing against social media/networking when it's used in the right way...it's just personally, I'd rather be crocheting. This is also connected to the reason I don't post as often as other bloggers. As much as the internet is an incredibly useful and valuable part of modern life, I also view it as somewhat of a time burglar. I try and set myself time periods for going online and blogging, as I know it's important but I prefer to minimise my distractions and focus on my craft. I succumbed and joined twitter as I find it a very good way of making connections and that initial point of contact, but as a blogger I don't personally see the need to be on every single kind of social media platform. You know where I am if you want to find me - right here! This is just my personal view on things, and of course that may change.

3. Do you sell your crochet/how do you make your money?
Standard answer: Not really, at least not for now anyway
This is a very tricky question to answer. The question of do I sell what I make...well the real answer is 'not yet'. It's been clear in my mind from day one that I didn't want to end up making the same thing over and over again, which is why the whole Etsy thing isn't something I do at the moment. I really respect those that can do it, but I'm too fickle for it. I like to explore my ideas, then move on to the next thing. Pattern writing fits well into this, and it also appeals to the perfectionist and creative sides of my personality. But the ultimate dream is to progress with the idea of being a crochet artist. I've mentioned many times that I'm working on a collection of crochet artworks at the moment, and maybe in the next year there will come a point where I put a price tag on them...but making a living off art is always going to be difficult. So, how do I pay the bills? Well I work a 9-5 like most people in an office admin job....BUT, change is in the future. This job will be ending at some point in the next year, so I will have to reassess how I make my living. There are a couple of options, I'm aware that I could take the risk and up my freelance work, but I do like the security that having a full time job brings (as much as it bites into my crochet time). The logical thing would be to get a job that makes use of my skills and is in the creative sector, but I need to put some work in to make that happen. Either way something's gotta happen. New year, new challenges!

4. I like that thing you made, do you have a pattern for it?
Standard answer: No sorry, haven't got around to writing it up
I make so many things, and I hardly ever follow patterns anymore, but I rarely get around to writing my own patterns down. At the moment I'm trying to keep my focus and get those arty pieces completed, but once they're done I plan on getting around to writing up patterns for a couple of things that I've had on the back burner. When I make something new or come up with an idea, I always keep notes in my sketchbook. This is not only so that if I make a mistake I can go back rather than starting from scratch, but also so that if I ever want to make it again I've got something to reference. If I'm going to make a pattern I want it (a) to be unique and (b) to be absolutely perfect, and I think this is what holds me back when actually completing and publishing them. Pattern writing is however something that I thoroughly enjoy and want to do more of. I'm in awe of crochet designers that seem to churn out fresh and interesting designs on a regular basis. So what I'm saying is, more to come. Who knows, that thing you liked might become a pattern eventually, it might take years but it's all in the sketchbook!

5. What does the future hold/what do you want to do?
Standard answer: *shrugs shoulders* I dunno
As you've probably gathered from my previous answers, I kind of feel like I'm at the edge of a cross roads. It's clear that crochet is my passion, but where I go from here is a little unknown. When I started crocheting I had no idea that it would become such a prominent part of my life, so trying to guess what it will lead to now is kinda hard. I know I want to do more with it. I have so many ideas, some aren't even possible at the moment, but I''m going to keep trying. As I've said, the dream is to pursue crochet art and that's what I'm really pushing at right now. Hopefully I will complete my work and we'll see how well I can do with it in the next year. What I do know is that the positive comments I get from you guys really helps me (even if I often don't reply). Whenever someone tells me that they've been inspired by my crochet, or even just that it made them smile, I know that it was all worthwhile.

So there you go, five answers to five questions you never knew you asked. Maybe you feel you know me a little better now, maybe you feel like I've wasted your time....all I know is I've got some crochet to do!

Peace out everyone, and have a great new year :)

03 December 2015

OMC on TV (with a crocheted tree)

Hello you lot. Well.... did you see it? On Tuesday I had my TV debut on 'Kirstie's Handmade Christmas' On Channel 4. If you missed it, you can catch up on All4

Screenshot from Kirsties Handmade Christmas/Channel 4/RTRP
Perhaps wisely, in the edit there wasn't a whole lot of me talking (probably cos of my low mumbly voice and the way I cover my mouth when I'm nervous), so I figured you might like to know a bit more about my tree decorations and how this came about.

The production company (Raise the Roof Productions) contacted me a few months ago after seeing some of my images on twitter, asking if I'd like to take part in any of their Christmas competitions. Initially, I turned them down - I was worried that the deadline was too short for me to complete something I'd be happy with. But they didn't give up on me, they sent me a really lovely encouraging email saying how much they'd love to see what I could do. And that was it, I changed my mind, and now had a two-week deadline to make enough decorations for a 5 foot tree (which maybe explains my comment on the show of how I crocheted for 15 hours straight to get it finished - I have a full time job and only really had two weekends to get this all done).

We were informed that the tree decorating would be judged on wow factor, originality, design, composition and individual decorations. But even with this in mind, it was only ever going to be completely made out of crochet. Now, here's the truth that didn't get aired (and with good reason) - I'm not a big fan of Christmas!!! I hate the cheap plastic tat that ends up on most people's trees, I hate the way people annually buy this tat for one months usage only to put it up in the attic then end up breaking or losing it and so then they end up buying more tat again next year, and I hate being restricted to those standard red, green and white Christmas colours. So I thought, why not cover that tat with crochet? Why not make something vibrant and colourful? Why not make decorations that aren't restricted to being used once a year? I came up with the idea of covering normal spherical baubles with crochet and transforming them into droplet style shapes, and once I'd made a few I decided to change the colours in layers up the tree.

When thinking about lights (obviously important on any Christmas tree), I wanted something bold and constant, but without that seizure inducing brightness. I came up with the idea of covering a rope light, as this would allow me to spiral it around the tree (and as it's already safely encased in plastic, less of  a fire hazard). Just to make my work even harder, the rope lights I had had some big plastic bits on the end, so rather than making a tube I had to make one long crochet piece and sew it around the lights at the end. One downside of filming during the day is that you didn't really get the full effect of the lights - but luckily for you I've taken a shot of them in the dark.

My tree topper was a bit of a last minute addition, I didn't want to go for the usual star on top (or even an angel - no chance of that happening). I had some nice neon yellow chunky yarn, some red glittery twine type thread, a plastic hoop and some wire, so knocked up a quick gold ring.

So, I managed to get everything done....just in time! And then before you know it, it was time for filming. I arrived at 'Christmas HQ' early in the morning, was introduced to the many members of the production team (who were all absolutely brilliant, so supportive and accommodating), and told of our schedule for the day. I got to meet the three girls (Sara, Rika and Jess) that were to be my competition, and I couldn't have asked for a nicer group. We spent most of the day laughing and generally supporting each other.

Screenshot from Kirstie's Handmade Christmas/Channel 4/RTRP
We were given a fair amount of time to prepare our trees, but as all of my decorations were pre-made it didn't take me long to get it set up. The downside of this is maybe that I ended up faffing with it a bit too much, the perfectionist in me wished I'd taken a spirit level as I struggled to get all the baubles perfectly in line. But overall I was happy with the way it looked, this was of course the first time I'd seen everything together on an actual tree.

As you'd imagine, they film A LOT more than you end up seeing on screen, and this was where the geek in me came out. I loved seeing all the cameras and technical bits. Being filmed overhead by the drone camera was particularly exciting (even if it did sound like a giant swarm of bees about to attack you).

Screenshot from Kirstie's Handmade Christmas/Channel 4/RTRP
We did some shooting with Kirstie during the morning as we were setting up the trees, and were then treated to a bit of lunch (gotta say they had an EXCELLENT catering crew). We had a little more time to add finishing touches and then it was time for the judging.

We were whisked off to a room where we couldn't hear what was being said as to keep the result a secret. Now, honestly, I never expected for a second to even be considered as the winner. I knew my tree was abstract, unconventional, would divide opinion, would defiantly not be what a large proportion of people would want in their home. But that wasn't why I made my tree the way I did - this was my tree, I made what I would want in my home, crochet is my passion and this is what I do! I got this into my head so much so that I tried to push out even the slightest thought that I could be in with a chance of winning - and really, I'm not a competitive person. This wasn't about winning, it was about having my craft and ideas appreciated, it was about fun and the challenge of it, and if I'm really honest, it was about exposure.

So the moment that our judge (designer Sue Timney) said my name and declared me the winner, I nearly choked, but this meant the camera got a good genuine shot of my reaction. After all that I was done for the day, time to go back to normality and keep that secret win hidden until it went out on TV. Since the show aired I have had so many nice positive comments about my tree and my crochet, from old friends and new. I know that what I did might not be to everyones taste, but if it inspired just one person to take up or try something new with crochet then it was worth it. And my response to any negativity about what I did - "It's easy to hate, but it takes hard work to create".

I hope all of my followers enjoyed the show, and hello to any new people that found my blog through it. You'll be hearing more from me soon, until then - peace out x

Screenshot from Kirstie's Handmade Christmas/Channel 4/RTRP

29 November 2015

The Handmade Christmas Fair

Hey hey hey. So last weekend we hopped in the car, and travelled up north to Manchester for Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Christmas Fair.

After visiting the Handmade Fair in September at Hampton Court, I was intrigued to see how different the fair would be in a new location and with a Christmas twist. Set in the Manchester Central exhibition centre, we got there early and booked ourselves onto some talks and workshops and got ready to enjoy a craft filled day out.

First of all we went to the super-theatre for a Q&A style talk between Kirstie and Lucy of Attic 24. Out of all the talks being held this was the one I wanted to go to most. I've briefly met Lucy before, and seeing as she's undoubtedly one of the most popular UK crochet bloggers I wanted to hear what she had to say. Lucy talked about her passion for crochet and colour, how and why she started blogging, and the way that crochet and being a blogger has changed her life. A few of her comments really resonated with me, such as "the more colours the better, I generally go for odd numbers" and "I'm quite a selfish creator, I do it for pleasure". Overall it was a really entertaining talk, and it was nice to see a few people say that Lucy was the reason they started crocheting during the questions from the audience.

After the talk, we headed into the shopping village area to check out the stalls.

Here was (in my opinion) the biggest difference from the Hampton Court Fair. The Manchester Central venue provided so much more space, so there was less pushing and shoving to get to the stalls, making it a far nicer shopping experience. But the downside was that maybe there weren't quite as many stalls as the London event. There were a lot of quality makers and sellers, but I thought that it was a little lacking in the craft supplies department. That said, I managed to find some nice washi tape and a few little bits and bobs. There was one stall that really caught my eye though.

Before going to the fair I kept hearing about geo-fleur online, and when we saw their stall I kinda knew that I'd end up buying something off them. They had a really nice collection of plants in nice design-orientated pots, and I ended up getting a small one as a late birthday present for my sister. Both the ladies on the stall were really nice and had a long chat with us (something I really appreciate from sellers, I'm far more likely to buy off someone who's friendly and passionate about their products than off someone that just delivers a sales pitch)

After shopping and a coffee, we headed back into the super theatre for the Mollie Makes Mashup.

I've never managed to go to the mashups at the previous fairs so I was intrigued to see what they were like. The one we went to on the Saturday was Christmas wreath making with Ellie Jarvis and Lisa Comfort (hosted by Mollie Makes editor Lara Watson). The mashup was really fun to watch, and Lara did a really good job of keeping it relaxed and making sure it flowed well whilst the ladies were making the wreaths. It made me regret not going to some of the Mashup sessions that were on in September.

After watching others being creative, it was time for us to take part in a workshop. I'd booked us onto an embroidery necklace workshop run by Katy Fenner of Pixie Craft. 

She showed us how to make tiny snowflake embroidery to go in a small embroidery hoop which fits onto a necklace. Me and the lovely wife had a lot of fun (even if she did get hers in a massive knot), and I refrained from finishing mine as I fancy trying to embroider something a little more complicated.

After that our day was done, and overall it was a nice day out. In some respects there were both positives and negatives which clearly related to it being the first Christmas version of the fair, but I hope they carry on with it as it was a lot of fun and I think it has a lot of potential.


'Kirstie's Handmade Christmas' show starts at 8pm on Tuesday 1st December on Channel 4. You may want to watch it....you might just see a beardy crochet man :)

07 November 2015

My introduction to weaving

Ahoy hoy. So it's about time I showed you some of my recent makes. Well, my crochet's going verrrrrry slowly at the moment. I'm trying to knuckle down and carry on with making my large scale crochet artwork collection that I eventually want to show in galleries etc. The thing is, it takes a lot of time to make each of them, and as it's lots of geometric panels they're not great blog content until it's all finished.

But recently, you'll remember, I bought a loom (of the Rigid Heddle variety). I got it from the Bristol Wool Fair, and it's made by a company called Ashford Wheels and Looms. A few weeks back I started playing with it, and I just so happened to have a week off work where I mostly just tried to learn the basics of how to use my loom. Fortunately, the Ashford website has some really great videos of how to get started setting up your loom, which is good as it's quite fiddly. But once you're all set up and ready to go, it's nothing but fun!

Doing your basic plain weave is the obvious place to start, it's a good way to learn basic weaving techniques and is pretty relaxing at the same time.

The basic premise of a loom is that you have the warp (the vertical threads attached and wound onto the loom at the start) and the weft (the horizontal threads that you weave across/in and out of the warp). For my first project I used some brown and blue variegated yarn that came with the loom, and I switched between blocks of colour on the warp so you get these stripes going down the length of the work. Then I just switched colours occasionally on the weft and that's how it gets this kinda checkered stripe look. If you were more mathematical about it and used more solid colours this is (in principle) how you would get plaid type effects.

So, first piece of weaving done. What I love about all crafts is that whatever you make, it's all good experience as you learn from your mistakes. With this one I learnt how to control my tension a bit better and that you need to be careful with your edges - too tight or too slack and the work will stretch in or out. But mostly, just spending time watching the way the threads move and how the loom acts is how you kinda figure it out and suddenly it starts to make a lot more sense.

Onto the second piece. I enjoyed the blocks of colours on the first piece but wanted to try and develop a bit from plain weave.

I took a look at a few videos on YouTube and decided I would try making something using pick-up sticks. Pick-up sticks are basically a bit of wood (or a long knitting needle) that you put under certain warp threads so that not every thread is covered/worked by the horizontal weft threads. I went through my wool stash and picked out some nice soft variegated yarns that were of the same weight, and got cracking. After a bit of weaving, I noticed how these warp threads that I was 'picking up' were making the grey warp threads visible on top of the work, which was interesting but not what I thought was going to happen. Then I looked at the underside of the work...

...which looks much cooler. On the back of the work I was effectively making what I later found out were called 'floats'. As I liked this effect I carried on going with it......but then, oh no, I ran out of yarn. Despite learning from my first piece of weaving where I made the warp threads too short, this time I made them long enough but didn't have enough weft yarn to get to the end of it. Unfortunately it was too short to be the scarf I wanted it to be, so it'll just have to be a table runner or something (who am I kidding, it'll probably just end up being put away in the wardrobe).

Right, what to do next. Although YouTube can be a great resource, it only goes so far. I decided that really I ought to get a book so I could learn more techniques. I decided to get the Weavers Idea Book as it's specifically written for the Rigid Heddle loom. Just flicking through the book gave me loads of ideas, but I decided I needed to keep to simpler weaves to start off with (I still can't work out how the diagrams for lots of patterns in the book work, need to study it a bit more). I decided to try some pattern work with weft-faced weaves, and, as shocking as this may be to traditional weavers, I used some acrylic blended with a small amount of wool. I mostly did this because, as you'll know, I'm a big fan of acrylic and I wanted to see what it would look like when only a minimal (if any) felting/shrinkage is possible.

Personally, I love it. It really reminds me of Native American weaving, even though that was completely unintentional. As my second scarf was too short, I went the other way with this one, it's ridiculously long! I made it for one of my best friends who just got married, so I guess if I wanted to be sappy I could say its a scarf long enough for two. But if we're being sensible, it's one of those sort of wide long scarves that you can wrap around multiple times to get that big cosy scarf look. As for using acrylic, well as I thought it didn't felt or tighten up much, but as I'd been quite tight with the weave it didn't really matter much. I gave it a wash with some wool softener to try and make it a bit more comfortable, then packaged it up in some dinosaur themed wrapping paper (most appropriate), and handed it over at the wedding.

So that's my weaving so far. I thoroughly enjoy it - whereas the lovely wife thinks it just looks like a massive headache, I personally love the challenge of it. I've got a long way to go to advance from being a beginner, but I'm gonna keep at it (not that it'll ever overtake my love for crochet).

That's all for now, I'll have some crochet for you soon...promise x

01 November 2015

Made by Hand Cardiff

So this weekend, craft came to Cardiff. I went to this event last year (but didn't blog about it cos I was being lazy). But this year I took my camera and a wallet full o' cash, and headed to the Made by Hand fair.

The fair takes place in City Hall.....which probably says it all really, this is high end stuff! I love going to craft fairs of all types and all sizes, but I really enjoy this sort of fair as its great too see what's being made at the high end of the craft market (even if I can't afford a lot of it).

So in we go. Basically the fair's split across two floors, with workshops and other stuff held in the commons chambers. Most of the workshops were either sold out or for children only when we went on the Saturday. But that wasn't too much of a big deal, there's still plenty to see and one of the great things about this fair is the makers are often demonstrating how they make their items at their stalls.

Anyway, one of the first things that drew me in this year was a little haberdashery stand (I didn't recall seeing this at last years event). The stand was a joint effort between Bunyip beads and buttons and Ottons Haberdashery.

They had a wide range of beads and buttons, but what made them great in my eyes was that they had a very well chosen selection, lots of interesting beads that you don't see every day. I obviously couldn't resist these geometric beads so bought some of them with a few other bits and bobs.

Ceramics plays a big part at these sort of fairs, and Made by Hand doesn't disappoint in that respect. On entering the first hall you are greeted by some huge pots, they're too rich for my blood, but that doesn't mean that the artistry behind them can't impress the hell out of me.

There was in fact so much ceramic work on display, and all of such high quality, it's almost hard to pick a favourite. These ceramic lamps by Alison Graham Ceramics were particularly impressive, I love the effect the lights have on the colours of the glazes.

But, if I had to pick my favourite ceramicist of the fair, it has to be the lovely people of Snail Pottery

When I first saw their work, I had to double take. I asked how on earth they manage to make such intricate pottery with so many holes without them breaking constantly? The answer, a lot of practice, and even then it's 50-50 if it comes out of the kiln intact. The couple on the stall were both lovely and took the time to engage properly in conversation with me. I was so impressed with their work I just had to go back and buy a small piece at the end of the day. Below is the one I got.

What next, let's have something completely different, how about some animals by tea party at the zoo?

Now, I'm a bit of a sucker for anything laser-cut, laser-cut animals even more so. The maker Hannah Lago was really pleasant to meet. I just asked her a quick question of if it was ok for me to take photos and from there we went on to have a good ol' chat. Seriously, go check out her lobster comb - THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID LOBSTER COMB!!! And this was my only other purchase of the day, who doesn't love a crocodile necklace?!

Ok ok, I hear you, "come on one man crochet, show us some textiles!!". Well don't you worry, there was plenty of that at the fair too, and of course, all top notch high end stuff!

There must have been at least a good 4 or 5 stands with weavers on them, a couple even had their looms present. I particularly enjoyed the colour combinations on display at the stand by Pick One (and by a dude as well, big you up sir!).

I spotted these little pieces of crochet that were being displayed by Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre.

Now although it was being displayed by the Arts Centre, I'm not exactly sure who it is that had made them, I couldn't see much information about the display, and it seemed to be a combination of crochet combined with ceramics...but what I do know is, crochet + Roald Dahl = win.

So that's crochet and weaving, better get some knitting in there too then. This years 'Made by Hand Craft Excellence Award' went to Sian O'Doherty....and I can see why.

Her knitted lampshades are beautiful. Her work is machine knitted and she had her machine their with a sampler on it...always good to see (I'm tempted to have a try on a knitting machine one day, but I have a feeling we wouldn't get on).

Their were a few machine knitters at the fair, but Sian's work definitely stood out in my opinion, she's got some brilliant pattern and colours going on.

But hey wait, there's more. Off down the corridors of city hall, you could also find the 'International Cambrian Wool Challenge Exhibition'

Challenging designers and makers to use one type of pure wool, there were certainly some interesting pieces to see. This large wool canvas with digital print on it by Allistair Covell certainly stood out.

But it wasn't all big pieces, this necklace by Kimberley Jones was a nice well crafted piece in my opinion.

But this woven rug by Nicola Gates was my favourite of the exhibition, I love the slightly trippy pattern, and with the white wool pillows around it it really commanded your attention.

So that's pretty much it, a damn good day out in my opinion.

Coming up next, some stuff I made recently *shock horror*. Yeah I know I haven't posted much of my own making for a while, but it doesn't mean it hasn't been happening.

Laters x

28 October 2015

yarn travels: Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show Exteter

Ahoy hoy. Soooooooooo, it may now be nearly a month ago, but after the otters and the luxury camping, we also popped along to the ICHF Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show in Exteter.

It was a bit of a last minute decision to go to this event, I was just looking for stuff to do in the Exeter/Devon area and stumbled across it. I've been to a fair few of these types of shows before, but they're always good for a day out and to pick up some crafty supplies.

One of the first things we came across was this amazing display of embroidered birds. Every single one was of brilliant quality, and there were loads of them.

They were made by a lady called Carole Checketts in the 60's and 70's!!! (how she kept them all in such perfect condition for over 4/5 decades is beyond me). The birds were donated to the National Needlework Archives which now displays them at shows such as this.

This jeweled toad on knitted rocks was particularly good. I think the thing that impressed me most with this work was the fact that everything appeared to be anatomically correct (or at least giving that impression), and if you've ever tried sculpture of any kind you'll know how difficult that can be to achieve.

After marveling at this display for quite some time we moved on, but there was still more crafty artworks to see.

This quilting work by Jill Packer on the Contemporary Quilt stand was right up my street. I love the colours she used as well as the aboriginal style to the work.

And this piece of needle embroidery was pretty amazing too. I can't remember exactly which stand it was on, but there were some ladies there doing this style of cotton embroidery - they must have the eyes of hawks to be able to do such tiny and intricate works.

So they're my highlights of the artwork on display, on with the show. Now I knew before going that this was going to be predominantly a stitching and sewing show, so it was mostly catering to that kind of crowd. If I'm totally honest, I found a lot of the stalls there kinda 'twee' and a little bit boring - lots of 'cross-stitch some cats in a basket' kits, that sort of thing. But saying that, there was plenty of other good stuff to be had.

There was a fair few wool stands about, mostly your usual traders at these sort of shows but still a good choice of yarns. I picked up a few bits and bobs, but there was one other craft that this show excelled in....

BEADS!!! I'm not joking, there were loads of bead stands, and most of them were of really good quality with good prices.

What really impressed me was the fact that most of the beads/jewellery stands also had a really good selection of clasps/chains/findings that you would want for beading projects. I picked up a good amount of memory wire and various chains to add to my stash.

I know that a lot of this stuff is the sort of thing you can get online, but I'm the kinda person that likes to see what I'm buying, which is why I love going to shows like this and stocking up. For example, I managed to find some neon seed beads on one stall, but people and the internets definition of 'neon' can vary, so not only can I be sure exactly of what colours I'm buying, but it also means the lovely stall holder can show me a pack of them that I hadn't seen which cost nearly a fiver less. Obligatory haul picture coming up.

So overall, a pretty good show. If you're after more woolly stuff you'd probably be better heading to one of the various knitting and stitching shows, but for general crafty goodness this doesn't disappoint.

That's all for now, peace out x