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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What I Bought, The Big Bling and Cats

Well, I promised to show what I bought and then realised that I can't show much because a lot of it is for presents or stocking fillers.

I can show you these vintage earrings I bought for £1 a pair.

As you can see the top ones are handpainted on silk by Elsa and the ones at the bottom are vintage Liberty ones handmade by Sandra Duvall. What attracted me to these the most was who they were owned by (a local artist called Joan now deceased). She was a real character and was still painting and doing all sorts of creative things right up to her death in her nineties. She was definitely Bohemian and, I was told, was hippy before hippy was invented. She always did her own thing and wore what she liked despite convention. Some of the jewellery was very unusual and exotic and was given to her as gifts on her travels around the world including Egypt.

Knitting-wise, as well as knitting that has to remain secret for the time being, I had massive guilt pangs about my UFOs. So, I decided that I'll finish them one at a time alongside anything else I'm knitting. Let's see if I can keep to my resolve! The one pictured below is the Louisa Harding Button Wrap.

Now I'm wondering whatever possessed me to ever knit this as I now dislike it intensely and will never wear it! As if that wasn't enough, I'm personally finding it the most mind-deadingly boring thing to knit! Ugh! I'm hoping someone will fall in love with it when it's finished and accept a little gift from me.

Knitz & Glitz is coming along nicely and I'll be really glad of my new site when it's ready as I've used up all the items and categories that I'm allowed for the package I have with 1and1 which means that every time I want to add new items, I have to delete existing ones to make way for them!

Here are some items which I've added this morning.

Here we have Big Bling handcrafted birch knitting needles studded with rhinestone crystals in a choice of four colours and some Cats handcrafted birch knitting needles with little rhinestones for eyes and on their collars. There are better photos of them individually here (click on handcrafted knitting needles in the Product Overview). Watch out also for the handcrafted buttons that will be appearing on the site in due course!

Sorry, I've got a bit behind on keeping up with others' blogs which I'm now about to remedy. Things are so busy at the moment with various commitments that I've decided I need a house elf like Harry Potter's Dobby.

Unfortunately, all that was available to be bought at the Craft Fayre was a Terry Pratchett Nac MacFeegle lookalike!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Craft Fayre Photos!

(Warning - photo heavy +++)!
Well, here goes! Unfortunately, some of the photos were spoilt as I took the camera without the case and the switch moved to a different setting in Chris's pocket which went unnoticed! So, here are the best of what we have!

At present, I'm still feeling a bit exhausted (think I'm coming down with a cold or something) so I hope you won't mind if I just let the photos tell their own story just adding a few words here or there. If you want to see more detail, please click on the photos as you go.

Approaching the Tithe Barn.

Close up of the duck pond which had been fenced off to make it childsafe.

The other side of the Barn with a bit of the Church in view.

The Barn Entrance (and, by the way, barns are cold places!)

Some shots of the stall and Chris's homemade display stand complete with sign just after final set up and before we were descended upon by the throngs.

There were so many knitted items that we had to attach strings to the beams so that we could hang some of them up.

A colorful display of curly whirlies . . .

. . . and the most amazing array of knitted toys!

The dogwood "Xmas tree" decorated with tiny knitted stockings with lollypops inside for the children.

On this table were lots of handmade goodies we could buy without even moving from where we stood such as lavender bags, wheat cushions, lace bookmarks, bundles of cinnamon sticks, mulled wine sachets, etc, all at ridiculously low prices.

It was great, too, to meet Ruth (Woolly Wormhead) at last and we got chance for a brief chat before the proceedings (certainly long enough for me to nab some of her lovely hand-dyed yarn which I'll show in my next post along with other gorgeous items I bought). Here's a photo of Ruth's stall when she'd set it up looking gloriously colourful after all that hard work she'd done dyeing the yarn especially for the day!

And here she is spinning on her beloved hitchhiker spinning wheel.

I couldn't believe just how cute and diddy this wheel was in reality having only seen it in photos previously!

So, then Jan arrived to help and the Mayor turned up and opened the proceedings.

And, after that it was just a whirlwind of activity until 1pm when it quietened down somewhat. Having done her stint, Jan then left, and it was only then we realised that we hadn't had a second to even think about taking any photos after opening.

Mary-Lou then arrived to help with Holly and Emily. We were much quieter by then and had promised Ruth, who was on her own to relieve her for breaks, so Mary-Lou went to help Ruth and Emily decided she wanted to be my 'bag lady'. In other words, she assisted by putting the stuff that people bought into carrier bags for them. Holly bought herself one of Ruth's wonderful knitted hats that she'd kindly donated. You can see her wearing it here.

Later, Mary-Lou found time to do some shopping. Here she is contemplating buying a vintage wool winder.

And there was a box full of interesting knitting books which I think she may be looking through here!

Sue also helped on the stall for an hour and purchased some of the sari silk which I can't wait to see what she does with as she's so creative!

This photo, taken looking down the barn, gives you an idea of the atmosphere of the place.

And here are a few of the other stalls which I didn't get around to looking at but which Chris took photos of. Firstly, the handmade glass and silver fusion jewellery stall.

And, secondly, the stall selling handmade ceramic and pottery items amongst other things.

There was also a stall selling the most wonderful felted items but, unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have taken a photo of that.

There was a program of live musicians performing throughout the day and the folk music towards the end I found particularly soothing and mellow. By this time, I think we were all feeling very cold. Did I mention that barns are cold?!! The Morris Dancers did their bit, too.

Chris asked if there was any particular reason why the men's faces were blackened and was told it was because, historically, they did this as they danced in other people's fields and didn't want the owners to recognise them.

Well, as I said, at the end of the day, we had raised £667. The actual amount was £666 but, Chris, being of a nervous disposition, decided he didn't like that number and added another pound! LOL To everyone who donated and helped, I can't thank you enough!

So, that's it for now! I'd love to show you what I bought but not only am I wiped out with all the blogging but Blogger is bound to get temperamental very soon after uploading all those photos so it'll have to wait for another post.

Craft Fayre Update

Just a short post to say that the Craft Fayre on Saturday was a great success. By the time we got home though we were so cold and tired that, for me, it was a hot bath, a glass of wine and zzzzzzzzzzzzz! Yesterday was very busy and today is going to be the same so pics will be up this evening. I will say, though, that our stall managed to raise a whopping £667 and I heard from Sharon yesterday that the event, as a whole, raised somewhere in the region of £6000 (the money hadn't all been counted at that stage). So another big thanks to everyone who donated and I'll be back later to tell all!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Busy, Busy!!!!

Busy with preparations for the Craft Fair.

The stand is made (by DH)

Lots of hooks and rails to hang scarves on and even a piece of wood hanging in place to use as a sign. Besides the stand, we've also been allocated a whole bay to ourselves with three trestles!

The cakes are baked.

That's just my quota. Sharon has baked loads and loads and the rest of us have done a couple each.

The knits were strewn all over the bed about three layers thick (king size one so you can get an idea of how many knits there are) just so as I could get them all in one place . . .

. . . and they are now priced. Besides these which have all been donated by us Maidstone Knitters and knitting bloggers, there is one villager who has been making knitted toys and another who has been making baby clothes so the stall should be brimming with knits!

Maidstone Knitters met on Saturday and discussed changing our venue. A couple of us checked out Ethos after the meeting which has a nice ambience . . .

. . . and Chris and I thought we'd better sample some of the food and drink . . .

. . . which got a definite thumbs up!

Last minute preparations at the Tithe Barn on Friday and then the big day on Saturday! I'm now beginning to get excited!

What's more, Ruth is going to be there selling her handspun so I'm really looking forward to having the chance of admiring some of that Woolly Wormhead yarn in reality instead of drooling over it via my computer monitor and I'm especially looking forward to offering some of it a home!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Hats from America!

Knitted goodies are still coming in for the Cancer Charities Craft Fair - this time it was hats from the US from Katy who blogs here! Thanks again, Katy!

They're made from lovely squidgy yarn and will be so cosy for the lucky people who will buy them!

Tomorrow is the Maidstone Knitters' meeting and I've been given a whole load of flyers advertising the Craft Fair to hand out in the pub where we meet!

I have lists of stuff I need to do towards the Craft Fair leading up to the big day which includes, leaflet dropping and cake baking. On Friday, I'll be going to the Tithe Barn to help set everything up like stringing fairy lights, pumping up balloons, setting out the trestles and so on. Then, it's just a case of getting everything into the car on Saturday morning, displaying it to its best advantage and hoping it all sells. Chris is getting on with the display stand in the evenings and at weekends and we're going to pick up a cheval mirror which we're borrowing from MIL for the day. That's so that people can preen themselves in the hats, scarves, etc, before deciding whether to buy or not.

Knitz & Glitz is chugging along really well. I've already 'grown out' of my current website and have someone looking at building me a proper 'grown up' site that will actually allow me to have graphics and so on. There are lots of new things in the pipeline and I'm planning on selling other crafters/artists items, too. Watch out for the special knitters' greeting cards/notelets that should be appearing soon from a talented young artist who has agreed to design them.

So, that's me for now. Catch you all, later!

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Well, I finally got around to blocking the Japanese Feather scarf in the Mariel's Crystals. I blocked it exactly as recommended by Tilli Tomas (thank you, Luciana, for making the enquiry for me!) I pinned it out on a towel, covered it with another towel, lightly steam blocked it and then left it to dry. The lace pattern was opened up and the wavy edges well defined.

However, the weight of the crystals combined with the already heavy drape that silk naturally has means that, when worn, the whole thing is pulled down causing both the edge and pattern definition to be lost to an extent which is a bit of a disappointment.

At the moment, I haven't the heart for it but I think later on I may unravel it and make a shoulder wrap instead. This way, I think most of the drape will lie in a different direction to the knitting so the weight may not be such a problem.

Other than the scarf, I finished the itty bitty little 16" chest jumper for our gardener's new baby.

The pattern is Wills from RY Classic Babies Book Four. I'm also knitting something else to my own design which I'll tell you more about later.

There are now only two weeks to go before the Cancer Charities Craft Fair. Preparations are proceeding apace and the event will be opened by the Mayor. Kate Hunter from Cancer Research is also expected to be present. If you're in the area, don't miss it! It's going to be held in the lovely 14th century Tithe Barn at Lenham . . .

. . . and there will be a variety of craft stalls selling mainly unique items including pottery and ceramics, handmade felt items, glass and silver fusion jewellery, handspun yarn from someone we all know and love (but I'll let her tell you about that) and, of course, the stall with handknitted items where I will be working my socks off selling the lovely items that everyone has donated! There is loads to sell - lots of scarves and boas, shawls, the beaded lace jacket that I designed, hats, sari silk yarn donated by Hipknits and even an entire handknitted aran outfit including sweater and skirt . . .

. . . snood and fingerless gloves donated by Sue of Maidstone Knitters!

Isn't it amazing! Very toasty to wear I would think! The hats and mittens that are also in the photo were donated by Jackie also of our Maidstone Knitters' group.

Items are still being made for donation such as the fun and funky knitted jewellery which you can see if you go to Jan's blog. She's also made some crocheted paperchains to decorate the handknitted items stall!

On Monday, I'll be visiting the Tithe Barn with the others and then going on to Sharon's for the final Committee meeting before the event. Chris has got involved, too, and has been busy making a stand so that all of the items are displayed at their best.

I'm really looking forward to the event as there will be LOTS going on. Entertainment will be on a rolling basis throughout the day and includes a volunteer cast of local musicians with interests encompassing close harmony, jazz and folk music (including Irish). There will also be Morris Dancing, special entertainment for the children and a silent auction as well as a good quality raffle and tombola.

A range of homemade food will be available throughout the day starting with early morning coffee, then lunch and finishing with afternoon tea and cakes. The food is all being provided by Sharon who is the organiser of the event and also the owner of a first rate catering company called Orchids. I can vouch for her culinary skills as she did the food for Chris's 50th birthday party and it was excellent! 50% of the funds generated will go specifically to Breast Cancer and the other 50% will go to Cancer Research.

I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone who has donated items to the Craft Fair. You all know who you are and you're the best! Some of those who've donated will be there on the day and, for those who can't make it, there'll be lots of piccies, I promise!!