Exciting News

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Well I’m excited anyway.

You might remember I’d said I was up to something when I closed the shop?

Well I was and……

Drum roll please

Olann and

My very good friend Deirdre and I are happy to announce the upcoming lauch of ‘Olann and‘ an online fibre magazine focusing on the Irish market.

We’re busy working on the first issue at the moment and it’s due out the third week of November…. yippee!

Expect loads of fibre, yarn and crafty goodness and we’d love to hear your ideas too.

You can find us in the following places so far, with more to come soon, including a blog ūüôā

Instagram = @olannandmagazine

Pinterest = olannand 

Facebook = Olann and

Twitter = @olannand

We’d love to have as many of you on board, so be sure to come and join us.

Happy Fibre Crafting!

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Lets Talk Magazines Part 2

Knitting

So in the last post I covered 6 of the many knitting and crochet publications available in the UK and Ireland. ¬†I’ll have had a yarn shop for 10 years in August and my love of knitting magazines goes back further than that. ¬†I remember buying the first few issues of Knitting Magazine from The Guild of Master Craftsman Publishers when they first came out in 2003.

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Actually, thinking back I can remember looking through my mums copies of Golden Hands from the 70’s. ¬†Not strictly a knitting magazine, they covered lots of different crafts too like crochet and dressmaking. ¬†I’m now the keeper (yes I read fantasy) of 5 full binders of them and I occasionally pull them out to have a look through them for ideas or to reminisce.

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I digress, I’m here to talk current publications and Knitting Magazine seems like as good a place as any to begin with. ¬†Knitting, is one of my favourite publications, there’s a good mix of everything you want in a knitting magazine. ¬†More recently, Knitting has had a bit of a refresh and the new look magazine is even better. ¬†The patterns are laid out in sections now, so all the women’s garments are together, the men’s, children’s, accessories, etc. ¬†There’s often a ‘How To’ based on an unusual technique and there’s also the usual yarn and book reviews that you see in many of the other publications too. ¬†The magazine is very often pattern rich with an average number of 20 or so each month, but ‘bumper’ issues can have over 50¬†ūüíē One interesting thing to note – Knitting doesn’t have a web page as such to support the magazine.

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Next up is Simply Knitting, which in truth is actually very similar to Knitting, but doesn’t appeal to me quite as much. ¬†Perhaps it’s because the publishers, Immediate Media Ltd. produce another of my favourite mags – The Knitter. ¬†Simply Knitting can quite often seem a little ‘light’. ¬†It’s a personal thing I’m sure, there are still lots of lovely patterns, reviews and editorials, but I think it probably lost something when The Knitter came out.

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The Knitter on the other hand is usually so inspiring, it is the only knitting magazine deliberately aimed toward¬†ūüėȬ†The More Experienced Knitter ūüėȬ†Whilst not strictly true, the designs inside are more likely to contain lace or cable stitches, stranded or intarsia colour work, or be of a less than standard construction. ¬†There is usually a master class, book/yarn reviews and everything else you’d expect form your knitting magazine. ¬†As with most of the publications nowadays they can also be found on all sorts of digital platforms like Facebook and Ravelry too. ¬†The actual magazine is quite different to the other knitting ones, it seems to be printed to a higher quality and this is probably reflected in the price of ¬£5.99, I pay ‚ā¨9.16. ¬†It is a little pricey, but for me there have only been the odd month where I wouldn’t consider making any of the designs within. ¬†It’s usually quite the opposite if I’m honest, in the issue above (81) there are at least 5 patterns I could easily be persuaded into making and I’m in ‚ô•¬†love ‚ô•¬†with the extra free pattern for a Swedish Shawl by Donna Druchunas.

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Whilst the colours aren’t me, I absolutely love the concept. ¬†it’s the first in a new series from The Knitter, so I can’t wait for the next issue to see what it brings.

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Knitting & Crochet from Woman’s Weekly Home Series has turned into a monthly magazine after Time Inc (UK) decided to increase the number of issues from 4 to 12 per year. ¬†It is actually quite a good magazine and the one where you’re more likely to find licensed projects. ¬†By that I mean jumpers with Peppa Pig on them, or toys like Paddington Bear or Bob the Builder. ¬†Producing licensed patterns can be extremely expensive for companies now as there are all sorts of issues surrounding distribution rights, which is why you don’t see them so often now. ¬†The Woman’s Weekly has been around for as long as I can remember and many knitters will have used a pattern that they found in it.

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Knit Now from Practical Publishing International and edited by Kate Heppell is one of the newer magazines to join the family with the first issue dating back to 2011.  I can distinctly remember having a conversation with Dina when the magazine first came out, about how we wondered if it would continue to be new and innovative and in the main it has.  It has a much more independent feel to it, with far more designs worked in yarns from the smaller producers. The magazine is committed to supporting the British yarn industry and they promote British yarns, even dedicating one whole issue every year to them.  An important feature of the magazine is that the garments include sizes up to a 26.

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It just so happens that the latest issue was the British yarn Industry issue and it contained an exclusive pattern book of 25 baby knits with it. ¬†Lots of little babas bedecked in knitting to coo over, oops I mean lots of knitting¬†‚ėļÔłŹ

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Inside Crochet is one of two newish monthly crochet publications to hit the shelves, the other is Simply Crochet. ¬†As the names suggest they are dedicated crochet magazines, which cover all aspects of the craft so don’t be surprised to see projects using hairpin, broomstick or Tunisian crochet too. ¬†There are usually somewhere in the region of 20 projects in either mag, for anything from cardigans to dishcloths.

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Like it’s competitor Inside crochet is a bright, cheerful publication aimed at making crochet fun and accessible. ¬†There are much fewer single patterns designed by the big yarn houses like Sirdar and King Cole available, so both of these publications go some way towards dragging crochet into the 21st century. ¬†Credit where credit is due though, the big boys have been trying to develop more designs of late, probably in order to grab you pennies.

Both magazines have web pages but, Simply Crochet has an app too, The Granny Square app is an added bonus and it’s free on the apple operating system so anyone can use it. ¬†Android users can access the patterns by signing up for the monthly newsletters here.

For me, as a knitter in the main, I find there’s little between both magazines. ¬†I love to look at the pretty pictures and read about what’s new in the crochet world and have to confess to being inspired by the rainbow granny squares on more than one occasion too. ¬†Both Simply Crochet and Inside Crochet cost ¬£4.99/‚ā¨7.49 each making it even harder to separate the two.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that as I’ve covered 12 different magazines so far that, that must be it, except it’s not. ¬†There are magazines from America that have traditionally been quite difficult to purchase here, but are much more readily available now and then there are the ones that I subscribe to too.

Another post me thinks?

Happy knitting!

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Let’s Talk Magazines Part One

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At present there seems to be a real glut of knitting and crochet magazines available in the UK and Ireland, which could be seen as a good thing right? ¬†More Magazines equals more competition between the publications to get your custom therefore, you might expect magazines packed to the brim, full of up-to-date patterns and editorials, with reviews on the yarns and items you want to see. ¬†Sadly, I’ve noticed the opposite of late and in many of the magazines there seems to be a real thinning out of quality material.

As there are so many, this post could go on for ages, so I thought it best to split it into two, possibly more separate posts ūüôā

So which one should you buy?

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Lets begin with my least favourite and the most expensive – Knitting & Crochet for Baby published by Immediate Media Co. (top) contains 16 knitting and crochet patterns and came with 6 x 22g balls of double knit yarn, a set of 4mm knitting needles and a 4mm crochet hook for the princely sum of…. wait for it…… ‚ā¨13.74 ¬†ūüėĪ¬†ūüėĪ¬†ūüėĪ ¬†That’s the price of a book, seriously? ¬†Rest assured I would never usually buy such a publication but I felt it was a necessary purchase as research for this post. ¬†There is the argument that the knitting kit with the magazine is what your paying for and of course it’s part of it but you can purchase much better quality products for only a little more money, in colours you prefer and without the risk of ‘running out’. ¬†The patterns are OK, the odd one is even quite lovely but, it’s hard to look past the price even for someone like me, who has been known to pay silly money for the odd, out of print knitting book¬†ūüôä

‘Free gifts’¬†with knitting magazines are one of my pet hates, they’re anything but free. ¬†The price of the gift has been factored into the cover price and I for one would much prefer the option to purchase an issue without the free stitch markers, tape measure, cheap, and nasty knitting detritus ūüí©¬†

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Oops, it looks like I might have to reel it in a bit, but not before I talk about The Art of Knitting.

Again there was a pair of needles and 2 balls of wool free with issue 1, which I picked up for the bargain price of ‚ā¨1.50 in McCarthys in Midleton. ¬†The patterns are OK and there’s a KAL for a blanket, which is made up of squares you knit with the free wool, using the new weekly stitch pattern. ¬†Note I said weekly, that’s the problem there in a nutshell. ¬†Issue 1 was ‚ā¨1.50 and issue 2 was ‚ā¨3.50 but all subsequent issues will be ‚ā¨4.99 each, ‚ā¨4.99 per week and according to the website you will have enough squares to complete your throw in 90 issues.

I’m not going to lie to you all. ¬†I actually have the original part work sitting on a shelf in my office from when it was released previously. ¬†I bought it to have as part of the reference library I was trying to build for an idea I had for the shop, but under normal circumstances could anyone truly justify spending ‚ā¨444.12 on this? ¬†It’s an awful lot of money whatever way you look at it, don’t you think?

Most of the magazines are 50% more expensive in the Euro price when you compare it to the price in Sterling, so a magazine that sells for ¬£4.99 is likely to cost around ‚ā¨7.60 here.

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Next we have Knit Today, which also came with a free gift. ¬†I’d stopped buying Knit Today for the shop some months back, because I felt it was repetitive and dull, but I was pleasantly surprised by issue 109. ¬†I’m not sure if there’s been a change in the editorial department since I stopped reading it, or if it’s just a ‘good’ issue, either way it’s an interesting read once more. ¬†One extremely¬†positive thing to note is that the women’s¬†garment patterns in Knit Today are all sized to fit from 8 to 22 as a minimum.

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Love Crochet and Love Knitting For Babies aren’t so readily available in most shops. ¬†Produced by the same people that publish Knit Today, they’re bright, cheerful and pretty. ¬†Love Crochet is good for quick, cute projects, there’s a lot of frippery interspersed with the odd garment or blanket. ¬†Most, if not all of us are fond of pretty things, that are just that, they serve no other purpose than to be pretty and Love Crochet has loads of ideas to feed this need.

Love Knitting For Babies is just that, things for babies, cardi’s, hats, toys, etc. ¬†(I wouldn’t mind the odd dinosaur though, so what that says about me I’ll never know?). ¬†A lot of the patterns might seem familiar and that’s largely because they’re taken from the bigger mills like Sirdar, Patons and Wendy or from other books and publications.

2015-02-12 10.01.29Let’s Knit from Aceville Publications Ltd. ¬†is apparently the UK’s best selling knitting magazine and it’s easy to see why. ¬†First and foremost Let’s Knit feels young, vibrant and fresh faced, it contains a good mix of editorials, news, reviews and most importantly patterns. ¬†The magazine is backed up by a similarly looking web page¬†¬†complete with free patterns, a blog, how to videos and a craft forum to share in your hobby with similarly like minded people. There’s also a Facebook Page, Pinterest account and Twitter feed to soothe¬†all¬†your¬†‚ô•¬†knitty¬†‚ô•¬†needs. ¬†

Let’s Knit usually contains a good range of patterns with everything from toys through to garments, most of which could probably be best described as ‘modern’ rather than wardrobe staples (only my opinion). ¬†It’s a knitting magazine dedicated to knitting with the odd crochet patten thrown in for good measure.

Let’s Knit also champion the industry, from the little people like me, to the big boys like Rowan. ¬†They hold The British Knitting Awards every year and launched The Love Your Yarn Shop Campaign in 2014, which will I hope, continue to grow in popularity as Bricks and Mortar yarn shops are becoming even more of a rarity as the rise of internet shops increase. ¬†Without rent, rates and amenities¬†¬†these online businesses have minimal overheads which make it harder for us to compete very much like florists and supermarkets.

Have you seen any of these 6 publications, if so which do you favour? ¬†In the next post I’ll run through more of the available magazines, there are at least another 8 to look at.

Happy Knitting!

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Winter Edition of Knitty

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The Winter edition of Knitty was published in December and I’ve only just managed to spend some time reading through it now? ¬†I say reading through it but that doesn’t seem the right turn of phrase, maybe it should be ‘clicking’ through it? ¬†Anyway, as I settle down in front of my computer enrobed in as many woolly layers as possible – there’s a window in front of my desk, a big drafty one, but the view ¬†(above) is beautiful.

I love the individuality of Knitty, which isn’t as reliant on the ‘big boys’ within the industry purchasing advertising and promoting their own agenda because it’s online, rather than in print. ¬†Not that I’m against knitting magazines, far from it, a quick glance into my office would confirm that, it’s just that Knitty appeals to the more creative, experimental side of me I guess.

As usual it all makes for a good read and being the 50th issue it’s jammed packed with articles, reviews and patterns.

Cracking on then

In Cool Stuffs there are reviews for several of the most recently published knitting books and the good people of Knitty also have a look at the Double Pointed Knitting Needle Sorter and Gauge and the Eszee Twist Tool for Spinners.

Donna Druchunas Ethnic Knitting Adventures article on Fighting Prejudice in Knitting and in Life makes for an interesting read. ¬†I shan’t go into more detail here in order to encourage you to take 5 minutes to have a read yourselves. ¬†The piece works as a great introduction to The Slouchy Saami Hat designed by Donna’s friend Susan Santos which she created after a visit to the Nordiska museet — the Nordic Museum in Stockholm.

Saami

Susan took her inspiration from the exhibitions of Swedish folk art and fashion from¬†the Saami (or Sami), the Arctic indigenous people of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia. ¬†The traditional folk costumes of the Saami are often adorned with bright bands of weaving in geometric and floral designs, ¬†if you’re interested in knowing more, pop over to Roman K’s fantastic blog dedicated to folk costumes.

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Franklin Habit’s Stitches in Time column has a pair of vintage gloves for us in the 50th issue. ¬†Franklin has adapted the pattern from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, oh how I’d love even one of them. ¬†Knitted in 4ply yarn the gloves are sized to fit a man, however Franklin explains that simply shortening the fingers should make them a better fit for women as the ‘hand’ part of the glove is quite elastic.

Amongst my favourites in the pattern section are

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Alice by Juliett Turjoman Рa very unusual hat, knitted in aran weight yarn the hat is made in 3 seperate pieces. Juliett was took inspiration from Parisian designer Alice Bernard who was a successful couturière and hat designer during the Roaring Twenties

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Lean On Me¬†by¬†Anna Maltz – a dazzling, slim fit tank top which I adore. ¬†It’s worked in double knit and has steeks, but could prove so tempting that it has to be knitted :-0

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Smithfield Pullover by Amy Christoffes – a cosy, oversized, top down, aran weight jumper. ¬†No endorsment is needed as it obviously sells itself. ¬†My only problem would be making sure it didn’t wander off with ‚ô• Dina¬†‚ô•

Minetta

I also love Minetta by Kirsten Kapur but as beautiful as it is, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s knitted in 4ply (sob), one day…..

Last but not least in Knittyspin there are a couple of interesting articles well worth a look at including one on jar dyeing by Laurie Osbourne.

Why not pop over to Knitty if you haven’t already and have a look for yourself ūüôā

Happy Knitting!

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Yarn Shop Day – Saturday May 3rd

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It seems like I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks now what with computer and internet problems *sigh*

Anyway….

Yarn shop day (taking place on Saturday May 3rd) is all about you showing your love for local yarn shops.  It is also an important opportunity for bricks and mortar shops Рsuch as ourselves Рto remind our customers how valuable our personal experience and knowledge of all things wonderful and wooly really is.

Whilst the online yarn market is fantastic for those that cannot manage to get into a shop or can’t find something particular it is also unfortunately taking away from the tradition of local yarn shops. ¬†There is nothing better than going into your local yarn shop and having a good squidge and play with the wool, as well as getting hands on help and advice. ¬†Knitters and crocheters alike are an enthusiastic bunch and our shop has often played host to a number of excited discussions about new projects and ideas between strangers that have bonded over their love of the craft.

Yarn shops are fast becoming an endangered species and every week I will have someone come in and say how nice it is to have found a wool shop because they no longer have a local one.  A visit to the yarn shop was something I looked forward to as a child and even now I still get excited when I go to a new place and discover they have a yarn shop to explore.

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So in the spirit of all things woolly we are planning the following events, giveaways and special offers to celebrate Yarn Shop Day.

  • The first 15 customers to spend ‚ā¨25 or more receive a baby knits goody bag.
  • 11am – There will be a demonstration on how to use the amazing Clover Pom-Pom Makers.
  • 2-4pm – We are holding a competition to see who can knit a “Knit Happens” stocking the fastest.
  • There will be a woolly¬†raffle with prizes including Knit Pro needles, Scrumptious Yarn and a variety of books. ¬†(Details of the raffle will be posted here and on Facebook in the coming days.)
  • A free¬†Sparklemouse pattern will be sent to your via e-mail when you spend ‚ā¨5 or more.
  • Clearance packs of yarn and books will be available to buy throughout the day on our market stall outside at less than even Stash Dash Prices.

Throughout the week we will try (I stress the word try) to pop up photos of some of the items that will be  putting on the market stall and using as raffle prizes.

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Sparklemouse

Woolly Clearance

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The time has come to accept that my addiction for all things woolly might be getting a little out of hand. ¬†I know, I know, most of you had probably already spotted it some time ago now and for those of you that know me, you’ll know it’s not going to stop any time soon.

Facing the facts, I need to make space before I disappear into one of the stock rooms and never return -“suffocation from yarn, there are worse ways to go”.

After discussing it with friends, family and anyone who’ll listen, I’ve decided to give in and try an ecommerce site. ¬†My lovely customers have been asking me to do this for years now and I’m concerned they’ll think it’s so much more than it is (apologies in advance).

It is a clearance shop, with clearance prices.  The yarn will only be sold in packs of 10 balls and you can buy as many packs as you want at the much reduced prices.

I intend to work my way steadily through the boxes of Stash Dash yarn one at a time and will therefore be popping up new products on a weekly basis (I’m aiming for Tuesdays). ¬†The yarn will be from all the companies we stock and will include acrylics, wool, cotton, blends, etc, though once it’s gone it’s gone.

Postage here is still extremely expensive, with An Post the cheapest at this stage.

They’re prices are ¬†– ‚ā¨6.50 for 500g/1kg or ‚ā¨7.50 for 1.5kg/2kg

You can of course purchase your packs of yarn on the website and collect them from the shop, but I’d ask you to contact me to ensure I have it waiting for you at the shop for collection.

We’ll see how it works, maybe it will go so smoothly that I can be persuaded to look at running with a proper online shop at some stage.

For now this is where you’ll find us Online Clearance Shop

Please be patient with us, hopefully there won’t be too many teething problems ūüôā

Happy Knitting!

 

Guess What? It’s Stash Dash Time

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For those of you that have been before you’ll know what it’s all about, the rest of you would probably best to read this previous post here http://knitmidleton.com/2012/07/23/everybody-keeps-asking-me/

Basically, we cover up all the shelves and lay out as many tables as we can fit into the shop; on top of these we put all the yarn we‚Äôre discontinuing.¬† There could be whole ranges of yarn, shades of yarn and some you might not have seen before.¬† There will be odd balls, several balls and packs of balls, no matter what, all balls are¬†‚ā¨3 each. ¬†(All sales are final, no returns)

There are things to consider: you have to book your slot if you’re coming in before 1pm. ¬†You only have 20 minutes (you‚Äôre timed), you have to prepare, dig out the patterns, check your favourites on Ravelry, make sure you know how much double knit/aran/chunky you need. ¬†There is nothing else available to purchase on the day and there isn’t usually the time to help you calculate yarn amounts, suitability, etc. ¬†You get the most out of the day if you’ve already worked out what you’re looking for.

Have a look at the post linked above if you’re not sure and make sure you book your place for the morning if you want one, quickly before they all go.

This is what you should be expecting.

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Happy Knitting!

The Knitting Group’s Christmas Outing

Our Knitting Group Christmas Outing took place on Wednesday night.  The evening was spent indulging in a gorgeous 3 course meal at Rosies/The Pepperstack in Aghada.

The food was lovely, the portions were so big that I’m ashamed to admit I had to leave some.¬† Being a vegetarian I opted for the Tomato & Coconut soup, Thai Curry and Strawberry Pavlova – yummy!

However, that’s not what you want to hear about is it?

We exchanged our Secret Santa gifts which as always has to be a handmade Christmas Decoration.  You can see our attempts in the pics, the one I made was the Angel and Dina made the Russian Doll.

I’m thinking handmade Christmas Decorations are the way to go for the future, because by the time you get to my age you’re not really in need of anything (other than a Mark II Ford Escort).

Happy Knitting!

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Have A Crafty Christmas

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The latest edition of Reloved magazine was just winking at me from the shelf in Eason yesterday so I just couldn’t resist – and the robin on the cover promised lots of upcycling fun – 34 projects to be precise.

One of the things to note this time round is that the magazine will be out monthly from now on. Let’s hope this doesn’t mean Reloved’s standards will slip.

Back to our crafty Christmas – there are sooooo many lovely things to tempt your creativity.¬† There’s also Kirstie Allsopp’s Diary and the Creative Hub with its news and ideas for upcyclers.

Of the 34 projects I have to say I love the little robin on the cover and there’s also instructions to create a little nest for him too.¬† The Peacock Bag made from a pair of curtains is super cute too.¬† Sadly, there isn’t a pattern for the crochet flower but there are loads on Ravelry you could use instead.

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I also love the Pallet Coffee Table – I had one in England complete with fairy lights and a glass top (who knew I was already an upcycler? Thought I was just frugal).

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Not just for Christmas in my opinion, the Paper Christmas Baubles are lovely and easy to make and could be used for loads of occasions.¬† Change the paper and make them in different sizes to decorate rooms for weddings, communions or hang them in the garden for those summer barbecues (here’s hoping).

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The same can be said for the Fabric Fairy Lights. I think they’d also make a great gift for Christmas.¬† I know of at least one boy who’d probably overlook the ‘fairy light’ aspect if they were wrapped in comic pages or material with Minecraft Creepers on them.

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My number 5 favourite project, because it wouldn’t be fair to count the coffee table, is the Bauble Wreath.¬† Very cool, very shiny and very, very, very CHRISTMAS!

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I have a dear friend who’d love one of these, if I have the time to make one.¬† That will only happen if I get through my long list of gift knitting starting with said friend’s husband’s second size 11 sock.¬† I’ve turned the heel so I’m nearing the finishing line……..

Happy Knitting!

(or Christmas crafting)

Sadness

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I sat down today all prepared to begin typing up some of the many posts that I have notes written for in my little book. First though, I thought I’d have a quick scan over Ravelry for a little link to post up on the Facebook page.¬† Noticing the new issue of Petite Purls is out I went straight over to their site to have a look at all the yummy goodness in issue 16.

As per usual the cover alludes to much knitty joy, particularly as it’s the Upsize Issue.¬† On opening the magazine I clicked¬† straight on the ‘note from the editors’ link, which is where my sadness comes from.¬†Allegra Wermuth & Brandy Fortune have announced that issue 16 is their final issue of Petite Purls ūüė¶

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My absolute favourite from this issue is the Child – Teen Radiant Vest and the separate Adult Radiant Vest. ¬†It is split into two individual patterns to accommodate the vast range of sizes between the two patterns – six years to adult 54″ (wow!).¬† The sleeveless cardigan is knitted sideways in chunky yarn, with short row shaping to create the yoke.

It’s sad to see the end of Petite Purls but here’s hoping Allegra and Brandy move on to bigger and better things.¬† No doubt the resources from their time at Petite Purls will continue to delight knitters for years to come.

Happy Knitting!