Professional Finishing fun at Liberty

Professional finishing techniques is the workshop that I teach the most often and although it is always good fun there are rarely any photo opportunities unless you want to see a lovely example of mattress-stitched squares. But yesterday at Liberty, with a select group of only 4, the opportunity finally came. Here is Carol who was worried about the light levels.
One of the other ladies was visiting from Japan and while she did not speak very much English, the common language of knitting prevailed and I think she really enjoyed herself. We agreed that she is super brave as none of us would ever dare to go on a knitting workshops we were in Japan!
Rather than a picture of the knitting, I took a pic of the 4 of them as we had had such a lovely day. Here is Jill, Claire, Fumiko and Carol. Thanks for a fantastic Saturday at the most special place to knit in the world!
Happy knitting.

Cushions, Skirts and Steeking!

At this time of year my workshop schedule is really busy so I have been hoarding pictures of the beautiful finished things for a few weeks. I have visited Black Sheep Wools for the first time; it won’t be the last! It is Fantastic. A wonderful workshop room with top notch sewing machines, tons of space and endless tea, coffee and cake. We were making cushions and here they are:



Sadly, I left having spent a brilliant day with the 5 ladies, sure that I would remember whose cushion was whose and have now forgotten :(



























Having been so rubbish on that occasion, I actually made notes on my phone for my skirt workshop at Guthrie and Ghani on Friday. Fabric envy is rife on any workshop I do here because Lauren has such a yummy range. I inevitably end up wanting the fabric someone has chosen. This time it was Nicky’s. While I didn’t buy the same fabric, I did succumb to some mustard jersey to make another Coco dress.


And everyone had fabric envy of Lucy’s wool and cotton tweed. A great choice for autumn.








Then there was Rachel who was channelling Orla Kielyesque stems and Sarah who had set her heart on the Tula Pink fabric before she even arrived!








Knitting wise we had fun at The Knitting Parlour doing magic loop fairisle and some steeking. Here is Karynne chopping into her knitting and Penny with a before and after shot.
After all that I am going to do some sewing today, maybe make the mustard dress, maybe not…
Happy sewing!

Skirts and dresses

Last weekend I taught 2 days of A-line skirt workshops, one at Guthrie and Ghani and one at Liberty. As ever I loved how everyone’s skirts turned out differently just due to their fabric choice and whether they planned their skirt to sit on their hips or waist which affects the amount of A-lining that happens. Here are some of the finishers at Guthrie and Ghani:



The last time I was at Lauren’s shop I purchased some aubergine jersey to make the Coco dress by Tilly and the Buttons. I had made a stripey one already from some stash fabric but I am beyond pleased with this version.

It seems a bit boring to make the same thing again and again but I am thinking of making a striped one for my summer holiday.

On the knitting front the finishing streak is still going strong, surprisingly. I have resisted starting anything new for quite a few weeks now but I did buy some yarn from Oxford Yarn Store on Saturday because a customer came in to show off their finished socks and the yarn was just beautiful and there were only 2 balls left so I had to get it. Besides I only have one pair of unfinished socks at the moment which is very good for me.

House of Fraser in Worcester have started a Knit and Chat every fortnight on Monday morning 11am-1pm. I went this morning and met lots of lovely ladies knitting a real mixture of projects. Even though I started going as a Rowan support person I think I will carry on going anyway as it’s ages since I went to a knitting club and I really enjoyed it! The next one is on Monday 14th.

Happy knitting and sewing!

Spring at last!

I ventured into the garden for the first time today (I am strictly a fair weather gardener) and ripped up a lot of weeds ready to grass the bottom part of the garden. I had had a very lazy morning watching the London Marathon trying to spot my friend Kate in the crowds so I did need to get off my arse and do something as it is such a nice day. Although it was a good excuse to knit all morning, I didn’t manage to see Kate.

One of my current knitting projects is Sailor from Rowan Magazine 55, with Softknit Cotton. It’s knitted in the round and is looking great so far. I have just got to the striped yoke so it won’t be long before it’s finished. It is so exciting waiting to start the stripes, I highly recommend it.


As it’s the Easter holidays now I have done my last workshops for a couple of weeks. I had a great time teaching Learn to Crochet at John Lewis in Milton Keynes. It was a very successful day!


This week I was at Guthrie and Ghani in Moseley teaching another great bunch of ladies how to make an A-line skirt from their own measurements. It has proved so popular that we have added yet another date so if you are thinking about learning to dressmake it would be lovely to see you there in June.

I think I deserve a huge glass of wine after my gardening efforts.

Happy knitting and sewing!

Pockets and puddings

Friday was my first visit of 2014 to Guthrie and Ghani in Birmingham. I think it is the third time I have taught a workshop there for making the Rowan Secret Pocket Bag.
There were four ladies all of whom were great at sewing already and were there to learn a couple of new techniques and have a lovely day out, of course.


So left to right is Sinitta, Sharon, Lindsay and Lisa. All the bags turned out great and we had a brilliant day.

I have just got back from my annual visit to The Pudding Club. I only managed 5 puds this year which is a bit poor. The best on our table was 7 from Claire and Zoe -7 is the target. Maybe the portions were bigger than last year…

skirts, bags and ripples

Workshop season is in full flow! I’ve done two great workshops at Guthrie & Ghani in Birmingham over the past couple of weeks. We made a secret pocket bag…

and today we did the first EVER Rowan ‘Make an A-line skirt’ where everyone made their own pattern. It was brilliant! Unfortunately everyone finished at different times so I don’t have a finale picture of everyone but I do have Caroline and Katie who loved their day so much they didn’t want it to end…

and I have been to Milton Keynes where everyone seems to be called Vicki apart from Julie, Charlotte and Karen and we had a lovely day doing ripple crochet. It was meant to be a more varied workshop than just rippling but everyone had a bit of an affinity with rippling so it sort of took over the day.

I managed to fit in a visit to Yarndale last weekend but will blog about that next time.

Happy knitting and sewing!


sock fever

On Tuesday 9th July I’m hosting a drop-in sock session at John Lewis in Milton Keynes. I’m really excited because I love knitting socks and it will be a treat to be on the shop floor sharing the sock love with everyone!

As you may have seen, I knitted my first skein of Rowan Fine Art into a Hitchhiker scarf. I love it but it left me wanting for a pair of socks in that yarn, as had been intended. The colour distracted me. That is the only explanation I can think of in hindsight. Anyway, I have since procured a skein each of the dark purple and the green.

The purple one has been turned, so far, into one vanilla sock with a reinforced heel. The toe is ungrafted for demonstration purposes ( she says :-) and the green skein is on its was to being Bunting socks from the Rowan Fine Art book.

So if you are in the Milton Keynes area on Tuesday come and have a mooch at the socks, have a go if you like, learn something new – maybe magic loop, all for free!

Happy Sock Knitting!

Aprons Galore!

On Saturday I taught a Rowan Learn to Sew workshop at Guthrie and Ghani in Moseley Village, Birmingham. The shop has just been open a week and is delicious! There is a huge choice of fabrics, trimmings and haberdashery as well as a fine selection of yarn and an in-house barista to make you a coffee while you browse.
The workshop space on the first floor is full of light , spacious and well-equipped. I had 7 ladies who came to learn how to sew on a machine by making a vintage style apron. It was a brilliant day, everyone made a fantastic apron with no disasters that a bit of unpicking didn’t resolve!


Here’s Jennifer gathering the top of thee apron skirt.


Here are Melanie and Sue looking professional.


Dorothy (who travelled from North Wales specially!) was the first to finish but unfortunately had to leave to catch her train before the finale…


Look at the fantastic finished aprons! Well done Andrea, Rachel, Sue, Melanie, Jennifer and Becky. They all used the same pattern but it is amazing how the fabric choice makes them all unique.

I am just in the process of booking a few more workshop dates with Lauren so look out on my workshop page for more details. I can’t wait to go there again!

Learn to Sew Workshop

This Saturday I’m teaching a Rowan Learn to Sew workshop at a new fabric, yarn and haberdashery store in Moseley Village, Birmingham. It’s called ‘Guthrie and Ghani‘ and is owned by Lauren who was in the final of ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’! We’ll be making this vintage style apron.


There is a huge workshop programme and they have a great range of fabrics and trimmings. I can’t wait to explore!