Sunday, 19 November 2017

And the winners are...

Boy, it's been a long, tiring and fun weekend! I went up to Newcastle to stay with my brother Neil and his girlfriend, along with Ben, my sister and her boyfriend and we headed into Durham for the Lumiere festival which was fun -SO busy. According to Katy's Fitbit though, we did almost 24,000 steps on Saturday, so I think I need a holiday from my weekend! 

But on to the important announcement - congratulations to Dani Graves, Angie Woods, Helen Legrys, Elizabeth Geldart and Carole Cliffe - you luck ladies are heading to The Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate later this week! I have sent you all an email to let you know the happy news, so grab a friend, let me know what day you are heading down, and I will get you on the guest list :)

Big thanks to the show for letting me host this giveaway online, and I wish I was making it there myself this weekend, but it's not to be - have lots of fun knitting, sewing, crocheting and more on me! :)

Now, to sleep...

Sunday, 12 November 2017

today Matthew, I'm bringing you - a giveaway!

Good Sunday evening to you dear readers - I do hope your week and weekend have been lovely, and like me you are relaxing at home with homemade cookies, watching QI, and looking forward to the notion of a week at work without a short publishing deadline looming over your head. Last week was mentally busy for me at work, coming up to the final sprint of a run of 4 very short deadlines which resulted in me and my colleagues doing 5 month's of work in 4 effectively (phew) - so in  order to celebrate this wonderful news, I'm spreading the news with a fabulous free giveaway for you guys, for tickets to The Knitting & Stitch Show in Harrogate!
The show organisers approached me and asked if I would like to offer my readers the chance to win one of a pair of 5 tickets to the show, which takes place 23rd-26th November at Harrogate Convention centre - yes yes I know you all appreciate the opportunity to win :) I was also offered an absolutely marvellous ticket to head to the show myself, but it breaks my heart to say I am busy that very same weekend and can't go - but if you want to get a feel for how splendid I think this show is, check out my blog post all about my visit to the show a couple of years ago. I also was at the London show last month and it too was spot on. 
Shopping, workshops, knitting, dressmaking, crochet, and hundreds and hundreds of lovely like-minded crafters make for such a wonderful day, and I am so pleased that I can offer you guys the chance to win tickets today!
Scroll down to enter the giveaway, which I am running via Rafflecopter - click for one entry, comment for 2 more, and follow me on Facebook for 2 more entries - you could have your name in the pot 5 times, how brilliant! I will pick winners on Sunday evening when the competition closes - winner's will be contacted via email immediately so make sure to leave your contact details with me, and I will pop their names up online following the competition close :) 
Show opening times: 
Thursday 23rd Nov - 10:00am-7.00pm
Friday 24th Nov - 10:00am-5.30pm
Saturday 25th Nov - 10:00am-5.30pm **
Sunday 26th Nov - 10:00am-5:00pm

Enter below before Sunday 19 November - ** please note that winning tickets (10 in total for 5 winners) cannot be used on Saturday - the winner's details will be added to the show guest list and will be allowed to enter the show, with a friend, on their chosen day. If you can't wait, tickets are available now from the show website

Use the discount code GEEKYKNITTER at the show website here to get £2.50  off adult advance tickets (£12 instead of £14.50) and a £1 off advance concessions (£12 instead of £13)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for entering, and watch this space for lots of exciting things happening in the world of the geeky knitter, AKA me, which include a published article, a knitting pattern (with 2 more) in the pipeline available to buy in shops (!!!) and of course a round-up of my fab trip to London Comic Con a few weekends ago. Happy knitting chaps!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

#EnchantedCottageKAL Part 6

Last weekend, I traveled down to London to head to The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace with Mary and Sacha, and because I'm trying to save money / I've outgrown my discount railcard (finally, so sad - but have you heard of the 'millennial' railcard? Score!) I traveled there and back on the coach. Although surprisingly comfortable, a journey that would normally take 2-3 hours, took in fact 6-7 hours so I would like to avoid doing that again. On the plus side, it meant a LOT of knitting (and watching The Legend of Korra) time. 

And so, it may have taken a coach ride to London to make me do it, but I am finally knitting the Knit Now #EnchantedCottagKAL again! Part 6, halfway there - wow! I mean I am very very behind with what has been available at this point, but still getting there. 

The squares for part 6 focus on slip stitch colourwork, creating this beautiful mosaic effect. My first square was a little bunched up and tight, because I wasn't used to slipping so many stitches along with colourwork, but by the second square my tension had levelled out considerably. Unfortunately you can see above that my colour changes up the sides aren't as neat as the could be, but fortunately once the blanket is all sewn together it should hide it pretty well - well, that's my story and I am sticking to it. I haven't blocked these all too well which is a shame, but again this shouuuuuld be hidden in the  larger blanket itself (oh gosh I hope so!)

I love piling my squares up all together, and it's nice to see some pops of colour in there. I think it will overall end up being quite a dark blanket, but with the lilacs and pinks popping out which should lift the whole thing. 

After I finish this, I have a lot of Christmas knitting to really try and get a head start on (argh!) and I also have some sewing that needs to be done, so I imagine this might take a back seat again, buuut I am going to Comic Con in London next weekend (on the train, thank goodness!) so perhaps some train knitting will finish up with part 7 all completed. 

Are you taking part in the #EnchantedCottageKAL? I hope you aren't as behind as I am! :) 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Edward's Crochet Doll Emporium

You may recall a little while ago, at the beginning of this year, that I wrote a review for Pavilion Books' rather quietly racy book Nudinits, which I was very happy to do, and still to this day will chuckle when Nudinits continue to show up with seasonally appropriate inappropriate jokes over on Facebook. So when I was again asked if I would like a copy of their new book, I was more than happy to jump on board to share my thoughts!

Edward's Crochet Doll Emporium is the brand new book from TOFT's Kerry Lord, who also wrote the fantastic Edward's Menagerie, and the book that has featured in a few makes on this blog, Edward's Imaginarium. In the same vain as Imaginarium, the Doll's Emporium is also a fun flip book, in which you can mix and match the pattern pieces  from head to toe, with different basic doll shapes and hundreds upon hundreds of costume and hair combinations.

Here you can see the opening page - already I want to just start hooking a superhero doll!

As a test, I just flicked through the pages to see what sort of combinations you can make, and you can see immediately I fell on a winner - a punk ballerina? Don't mind if I do!

Don't worry about there being too much choice though, there are plenty of suggestions and inspiration in the book to get you started! Towards the back of the book there are pages and pages of inspiration for different dolls, and I am always impressed by Kerry's creativity when it comes to this sort of thing. There's a bearded merman...

A classic superhero...


That's not everything though, oh no! The idea of the book is you can use it to combine the costumes and hair etc to create your very own dolls, inspired by your kids, your friend's, your family, and really tailor the dolls to each person you want to make it for. I've already got a pretty good idea as to what I could make for my brother for Christmas (bless his patience, I keep making things and I wonder what he does with them all!). 

You will also find at the back lots of clear and easy-to-read step-by-steps on the basic crochet stitches, so if you are relatively new to crochet, or you want to give this as a gift to someone who isn't sure about crochet, Doll's Emporium would be a really good choice. 

I'm having a lot of fun simply flicking through the book and wondering what I should make next - I would have already started a doll for this review, had I not already a million other WIPs on the go! Give it a week perhaps...I might have almost finished something which is excuse enough to cast on many many new items... but nevertheless, I can't wait to get started on something soon! I mean, just look at all the possibilities in one book - just one!

Edward's Crochet Doll Emporium, by Kerry Lord - £16.99 (Pavilion Books) is available to buy now!

Thanks to Frida at Pavilion Books for sending me a copy to review for the blog. All thoughts and opinions and sequels of excitement are my own. 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

oh, what a wonderful Yarndale

Last year was my first trip to the (in)famous yarn extravaganza called Yarndale, and as soon as it was over I just couldn't wait to get back there, particularly after a year in my job with more experience, yarn-y connections, and the confidence to talk to new people about all things knitted.

Unsurprisingly, the show (on Saturday) was busy! Just take a moment to absorb that queue. This was the first year that the show organisers had introduced bag searches, and while I appreciate their thoroughness and attempts to keep everyone as safe as possible, I mean, come on....Yarndale... I went for the day with Kate (Knit Now - oh, incidentally, the Knitter of the Year competition is open again, go and enter!!!) and Amy (Crochet Now) and we had a great little road trip down, a fun day which we split up with a picnic in the car, and a tired drive home. Oh, such a tired drive home.

The creativity of the show organisers, the people who attend, and the show volunteers is just so outstanding and inspiring, you can't help but walk around the show with a smile on your face while you attempt to absorb everything. Outside the show, they had the same, or similar, mandala's hanging in the tree over the knitted river, and on the grass on the other side of the path into the show they had a lovely knitted mini-forest and pasture motif, with adorable details such as these gorgeous little hedgehogs. As you enter the show it's easy to lose time while you admire the hundreds, if not thousands, of hand crocheted bunting strung up in the entrance hall, and it's a lot of fun to try and hunt them down in the show and on the stands throughout the day. In the Knit and Natter lounge, which was hosted by Wool Warehouse and Lucy from Attic 24, we also found and said hello to Christine (Winwick Mum, who I met on my day out to Sirdar about 18 months ago) who had organised the Yarndale Sock Line, and had them all strung up around the area and it was so impressive. 

There was, of course, yummy scrummy yarn as far as the eyes could see - it really looks like glittery, sparkly yarn is on the up this year, and of course you could see yarn cakes at every turn which was to be expected with how Caron Cakes exploded the popularity of these very lovely things. I also spotted this group of lovely smiley ladies with fascinating, matching hats! I was told they were knitted by Ann, the lady on the far left, so that they wouldn't lose each other at the show - and that she does this every year to coincide with a theme - how AWESOME is that?

And, let's face it, what yarn-event would be complete with the outrageously quirky side of things? The, ah, 'on-the-nose' notion bags you see above are from the eclectic The Knitting Goddess, and directly above is the new jumper knitting patterns from Sincerely Louise, using her new 100% wool which I am VERY excited to get my hands on as soon as I can! :) Unfortunately, being at the end of the month, this event was out of budget for me...I will save better next year! I did however manage to buy 6 balls of 100% British wool from Blacker Yarns in scrumptious colours, ready for a little stripy top-down jumper I don't doubt!

I loved the trip to Yarndale so much, that I have even written a 2-page report for the magazine next month - keep your eye's peeled! :) If you haven't made  your way to Yarndale before, and you are based local-ish (I'm willing to travel the 1 and half hour journey after all!) you have no excuse, you have to get to Yarndale!! Next year, the show takes places 29 and 30 September 2018 ( week before my wedding...ARGH!) so let me know if you will be going as I am sure I will be, if I'm not mega stressed that is - and we can meet in real life! :)

Did you go to Yarndale this year? What was your favourite part of the show?

Sunday, 17 September 2017

hello, stranger

We'll get right to it - I've been a stranger these past couple of months and I'm sorry, shall we start a new for autumn, the best season in the year? Run up to Christmas, such such excuses to stay inside and knit with hot chocolate and wine, mm mm mmmmmm (not necessarily at the same time). 
It's been, as ever, busy busy busy in work and in life! Work's going fabulously - we've had a run of short print deadlines, and the run will continue for another couple of months, which when in the thick of it, is incredibly stressful, but I find I am thriving on the challenge and loving every second, even when I feel like I can't possibly finish everything. But I can and I do and I love it - it feels so good to say I love my job, I and hope you all can say the same, or will manage to one day soon if you are looking. I will also have a sock knitting pattern (my first sock pattern!!) publishing in Knit Now before Christmas too, how terrifically exciting I can't wait! Don't worry, I will let you know as soon as it is available.

Not only has work been hectic, but we have big big plans in the pipeline too - we're finally getting married! We've set the date for next year, booked many a things that needed to be booked, the honeymoon deposit is down - It. Is. HAPPENING and I couldn't be more excited! I have plans to hand-make a lot of the bits for the wedding, from decorations to, wait for it, the dress itself! I'm going to sew my own dress and I can't wait to share some updates with you when that ball starts to pick up speed, but don't worry it won't all be sewing - I plan to knit a wedding shawl (be prepared, it WILL include Wonder Woman) and crochet many a bits and pieces for centre pieces, because let's face it, it wouldn't be my wedding if it wasn't at least partially covered in yarn and video games. 

That's my quick update-how-do-you-do-its-been-too-long-lets-catch-up - how about you? What have you been up to since I've been gone? In between all this of course, much knitting has occurred, including a hoodie for Ben, sewing is also taking place such as for London MCM Comic Con next month, and crochet aplenty - including the little chap I want to show you today as a little welcome back to the geeky knitter. 

Longhoh is a Pocket Monster from Sabrina Somer's new book Pocket Monsters which, let's face it, might be heavily influenced by a certain video game/mobile game/TV show/Japanese cult phenomenon, but I don't want to pry! Longnoh's pattern is featured in issue 19 of Crochet Now as well, which is the other magazine I work on (and love!) and as soon as I saw this pattern for the magazine I knew I had to make him!. 
A bit like a baby Charizard, Longnoh is designed to be made with a red 4-ply cotton and small hook, so he should be no more than 10cm high and fit, literally, in your pocket. I however am partial to a larger toy so I upped my yarn choice to an aran wool-acrylic blend and 5mm hook. I used Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool in shade Peppermint - mmmmm, I have enough to make a jumper that I haven't started yet, but having seen how gorgeous the colour looks worked up I know I will cast on as soon as I finish Ben's jumper.

The pattern was easy to follow and he is so full of character and looks so adorable with his big felt eyes, I'm rather tempted to make more from the book and have a little collection. I think he is so cute, and he now sits with me at work.

Gosh, I do always forget what a pleasure it really is to bash out a blog post and say hello to you lovely people! Rest assured I will do my best to keep you informed more regularly, if nothing more than I am waaayyy behind on the #EnchantedCottageKAL and we are nearing the end of it, and I want that blanket gosh-darnit! Tell me what you've been up to since I've been gone, and let's keep in better touch!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

#EnchantedCottagKAL Part 5

In case you hadn't noticed, I am a touch behind on my knit-along squares, or at least I am a little behind in keeping the blog up-to-date. In fairness to me, today I am bringing you part 5 in the #enchantedcottagekal and part 6 has only just gone on sale this time last week, but of course at work I've see sneak-peeks as far as part 9 so I feeeel behind, but perhaps we can agree to disagree.
Anyway! Here we are at part 5 - lace knitting. Man, I have to tell you the Hyacinth square was a difficult one, undoubtedly feeling more so after I cruised along last month with the crochet whirligig. At some points in this pattern, you had to p3togtbl (what an acronym) - purl 3 together through the back loop - after already yarning over and p3tog and doing a handstand...I did have to rip back my first attempt, and it took several pattern repeats before you could even see the pattern. But, as usual, once it took shape it looked rather good. Perhaps not my favourite square to knit (nothing on the galaxy spiral still!) now that I have it finished, I really have come to like it.

I'm pretty eager to start part 6 as soon as I can / finish one of the 5 other things I'm knitting - it is mosaic knitting, which I have never tried, and it will finally get some much needed pink into the rather earthy looking blanket so far :)

Sunday, 25 June 2017

a handmade wedding outfit

No beating about the bush with this blog post title - I made a wedding outfit for my pals' wedding this month, and I'm finally getting round to bragging, ba boom. Oh, mildy unrelated brag too, I am know deputy editor on Knit Now and Crochet Now, and Ben and I are looking for wedding venues, so I'm quite pleased with June 2017 thus far! Back to the craft-and-grind though.

This year, I've actually become rather obssessed with dressmaking and I am really developing a love for it. I might even go so far as to put it on par with knitting, if only because as soon as I finish a dress I'm ready to start another; I actually finished one last night, planning to cut out the next one later. Back on track - I had this crazy idea that I really wanted to make a dress for the wedding, and then, well, here we are!

I opted for a dress pattern from an older issue of Love Sewing magazine - another title I worked on as editorial assistant (until recently!) which is just my idea of perfect, loose with no sleeves and an elasticated waist which allows more room for eating, drinking and dancing at events. After making a practice dress with some cheaper cotton (I found out I needed to shorten the bodice for a less-bulky top) I set about making the dress proper with some beautiful John Kaldor satin from Minerva Crafts. Satin is difficult to sew with (I am still very much a beginner, though I can lean towards advanced) and there are plenty of errors in the dress, but I love it SEW (#punalert) much! It was such a lovely fit, so comfy all day long, and plenty of people commented on it.

image taken on a phone, not our best but we look gooooooooood - shoes from New Look if interested

Once I decided that a dress was to be made, in true why-not-take-on-as-much-crafting-as-possible fashion (every, damn, Christmas) I wanted to knit the jacket to go with the dress! For my birthday just gone, Ben bought me all the Rowan Softyak I needed to knit a jacket that I had my eye on for a couple of years actually, but just didn't have the excuse to spend that much. A birthday is definitely a good enough excuse.

Softyak, a yak hair (I know, right?!) and cotton blend, is a chainette yarn that is an absolute dream to knit with, and so so comfy and soft to wear! If I were to knit the jacket again I would possible go up one size as I like my cardigans to have more positive ease. But it is definitely the smartest thing I've ever knitted, and I suppose for a wedding this is the aim. The design of the jacket was beautiful in it's simple design that really allowed the yarn to shine in the knitting. I've not knitted drop-sleeves before but they are something I will knit again: lovely and easy to insert, not too much shaping, great for knitting while watching TV or walking to work.

The dress was completed 2 nights before the event, and the jacket? Ahem - in the taxi on the way (yes, I did have a crochet hook and pair of snips in my bag all day). But I loved the result and process so much, that I will be making another dress (different style), and aiming to complete another cardigan (that I started 2 years ago ...) for another wedding at the end of July - quite excited again!

And I do plan to show off the rest of my dresses on the blog soon, but as you read earlier it's been an excellently busy and exciting month! Here's to more of the same, and I really hope you are having a lovely summer guys :)