All posts by Nic Rudd

Guest Blog: Diane from Eco-Stitch

Today sees the first in a number of upcoming guest blogs linked to the Cheshire Fibre Festival. Without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Diane
Hi,

My name is Diane and I’m the founder of Eco-stitch, based in Cheshire in the UK.

We source top-quality linen yarn from just across the Channel, where you can find the best flax-growing area in the world, which results from ideal climate conditions and centuries of know-how in flax cultivation and linen production.

We hand-dye this beautiful fibre using low-impact, non-toxic dyes and transform it from this:

Diane 1

into this:
diane 2 Diane 3

Knitting has been my hobby for years, and I recently took up crochet again. I love natural fibres, but I only discovered linen about 18 months ago, and I just fell in love with this beautiful, ancient fibre with so many natural qualities. It is also a very eco-friendly yarn which can be used in many different crafts, hence the name “eco-stitch”. I felt that linen yarn was really quite under-represented in the UK and wanted to promote its wonderful natural qualities, which you can read about in more detail on our website, www.eco-stitch.co.uk.

I will be attending the Cheshire Fibre Festival on October 1st with our hand-dyed linen yarn. You will be able to see all the different colours and skeins in real life.

CFF logo

In the meantime, you can take a look at what we have to offer on our website shop.

Hope to see you soon at the event,     Diane.

 

Thank Diane. I have to admit I have mainly used linen in weaving, where I love the fabric it creates. I can’t wait to see the line of products at CFF in October.

Cheshire Fibre Festival

Saturday 1st October 2016

10am-4pm

The Hall at Marthall

Sandlebridge Lane

Marthall

Knutsford

WA16 7SB

Free entry and parking

Refreshments available (proceeds to Bloodwise)

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Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble…

I swear, when those dye pots start going, I cannot stop myself stooping over, wringing my hands and cackling like one of Macbeth’s witches. I just want to show you a peek here of some grey yarn.

Ok, so the picture isn’t that fantastic, but can you see the sparkles?! This is a new base, 96% Falkland merino and 4% Lurex, which is giving it the sparkle factor. It is a UK spun DK, with 240m approx. in 100g. I haven’t yet got a name for this little beauty, although some lovely people on Facebook have made suggestions. So this is your chance! All bar one of my yarn bases are names after Cheshire place names, so what should this one be? I’m thinking the sparkle suggests some glamour, so have at it people! make some suggestions!

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Cheshire Fibre Festival!

Well, I mentioned this back in March, but we are now exactly three months away from this:

CFF logoWoo hoo! I have to say I’m delighted with our logo and that is entirely down to the fabulous Little Grey Girl. Thanks Gemma!

In earlier posts I mentioned both Crafts From The Dungeon and Jenny Barnett Needlefelt will be there. In addition to Agrarian Artisan Designs and myself, we will also be joined by Eco-Stitch, who dyes linen in the most beautiful colours. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be shining a spotlight on each of the vendors in turn, so keep an eye out on the blog.

I am so looking forward to this event, partly because there will be cake!!!!! We are not charging an entry fee, but will be taking donations to Bloodwise for refreshments, which visitors will be able to enjoy in the Knit and Natter area. Obviously, don’t feel you have to restrict your social crafting to just knitting – bring your hooks, spindles, palm looms… I would say though, you’re probably better off leaving your spinning wheel at home…

Both Valerie of Agrarian Artisan Designs and Jenny will be running workshops during the day. Valerie’s are Crochet Blankets – Squares or Stripes? and Magical Mandalas. Each 2 hour workshop costs £25 and includes yarn, and both require knowledge of basic crochet stitches. Jenny’s workshop is Needlefelt a Badger. It’s a 3 hour workshop, costs £25 including materials and is suitable for age 12+. No experience is necessary. All workshops need to be booked in advance, directly with the tutor involved Email Valerie on  agrarianartisan (at) supanet.com and Jenny on jennyneedlefelt (at) gmail.com.

Cheshire Fibre Festival

Saturday 1st October 2016

10am-4pm

The Hall at Marthall

Sandlebridge Lane

Marthall

Knutsford

WA16 7SB

Free entry and parking

Refreshments available (proceeds to Bloodwise)

 

 

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Recent Developments…

Anyone who has known me a while or been a long-time listener of the podcast will know that I view knitting as a gateway drug. I was only going to knit a baby blanket, which quickly became wrestling with DPNs to make a whole Christmas full of hats, which leapt to a shocking sock addiction, which in turn lead to revisiting crochet, which then meandered into learning to spin, which became dyeing that perfect shade, which then developed into weaving on a rigid heddle loom, which in turn lead to multi-shaft weaving, a college course and total change in direction career-wise. The irony is that as much as I love it, I’ve knit very little so far this year. All my time has been spent weaving for college or crocheting samples. But I am delighted to be able to show you the fruits of those crochet labours now. My trip to Fluph saw the hard launch of the first in a series of crochet kits that have come about as a collaboration between Valerie Bracegirdle of Agrarian Artisan Designs and myself.

The first was Autumn Beaches, in Mobberley DK, offered in both a single colourway and a two-colour option.

The tow options in Autumn Beaches.
The two options in Autumn Beaches.

It works up very quickly; in fact I worked up the purple and green sample within five evenings, dipping in and out of other jobs at the same time.

Second up is the glorious Swirling Seas.

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Swirling Seas
Swirling Seas

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The kit is currently available in shades of green, but I am working on a blue option too. (I actually didn’t work this sample up, but I am loving my blue one so far!). This is using Knutsford, a new base yarn comprising 80% Organically farmed Falkland merino and 20% silk.The green sample has been blocked hard and consequently is gloriously lacy and has the most fabulous drape.

Finally we have Sigrun’s Scarf.

IMG_7395v1

This is worked up in 15 colours of Stanley Sock. Stanley is a well loved favourite here, 100% Organically farmed Falkland merino, but is a finer yarn than Stanley Sport (formally Stanley 4ply) at 400m per 00g (as opposed to Sport at 333m per 100g). Even at the finer weight, Stanley has a lovely plump squooshiness to it and it absorbs the colour so well!

IMG_7446v1

All three kits are available now in the Kit section of the shop, so please go over and have a look.

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More Vendors!

Remember I told you last week about how Agrarian Artisan and I are working together to host the Cheshire Fibre Festival on Saturday 1st October at The Hall at Marthall? Well I’m delighted to announce that Jenny Barnett, Feltmaker is joining us. She will have a stall and also run a workshop in the afternoon. We’re so excited to have Jenny with us; I hope you are too!

©Jenny Barnett Needlefelt
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Showtime!

It’s that time of year again, when the replies for the show applications start to come in. I’m thrilled to be returning to two shows that I attended last year; the Pop Up Wool Show in August and Kendal Wool Gathering in October.

This year sees a change of location for the Pop Up Wool Show, from the Bebbington Oval to Hulme Hall at Port Sunlight. This is a venue I’ve never been to before, so I look forward to it. I’m very fond of the Pop Up Wool Show as it saw the first real discussions between the powerhouse of world domination that is Jo Shiny Bees and myself about the idea of Yarns From The Plain attending shows. Last year was also a wonderful opportunity to meet with some podcast listeners.

YFTP at The Pop Up Wool Show 2015 at the Bebbington Oval.
YFTP at The Pop Up Wool Show 2015 at the Bebbington Oval.
YFTP at The Pop Up Wool Show 2015 at the Bebbington Oval.
YFTP at The Pop Up Wool Show 2015 at the Bebbington Oval.

The Pop Up Wool Show is at Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight on Saturday 20th August from 10am to 4pm. Entry costs £3.

The Kendal Wool Gathering takes place on the last weekend of October, in a variety of units in the K Shopping Village, and this year is expanding into a local school as well. It was created as a way to promote Kendal’s woolly heritage and that is something very close to my heart. I met some lovely people last year and had a great time demonstrating the Dizzy Sheep spinner. They flew off the shelf like hot cakes on the Saturday!

YFTP at Kendal Wool Gathering
YFTP at Kendal Wool Gathering
Can you see Dizzy?
Can you see Dizzy?

The Kendal Wool Gathering takes place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 3oth October, 10am to 5pm on the Saturday and 10am to 4pm on the Sunday. Free entry.

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Save The Date!

Recently my co-conspirator Valerie, aka Agrarian Artisan, pointed me in the direction of this Facebook page: The North West Fibre Arts Trail.

NWFAT

The aim of the Trail is “to help NW fibre artists and small producers to promote their work to the public via exhibitions, sales, demonstrations, workshops etc. 30th Sept – 14th Oct”. Well, what’s not to like? I hit the “Like” button and began to ponder how I could get involved. Suggestions on the page included having a pop-up shop (but where?) or an Open Studio (have you SEEN the state of my house?) and to begin with I was a bit stumped. The idea of an Open Studio sounds so wonderful and a couple of my friends have done it in the past but to be honest I live at the bottom of a very long cul-de-sac in a rabbit warren estate, so parking is not ideal and my house is just not suited to a stream of visitors. Oh, who am I trying to kid? There’s nothing wrong with my house, it’s just my lifestyle that doesn’t lend itself to it!

Anyway, while I was deliberating and had come to the conclusion that the only possible way was a Pop Up in a local yarn store (and to be honest the number of ones with space available in my immediate locale is dropping…), Valerie dropped me an email. She hosts a regular crochet workshop which falls within the fortnight, but a Monday might not be the best day and her venue has limited parking. While pondering the use of another venue, she had realised that there was a lovely village hall nearby, but the cost of the hall hire was prohibitive on her own – would I be interested in sharing the costs? Within a very short time, we’d bounced ideas around and I can now proudly announce that Saturday 1st October sees the very first Cheshire Fibre Festival, at the Hall at Marthall, just off the A537 Knutsford to Macclesfield Road. Valerie will be offering a range of crochet workshops and selling her patterns, I will have my yarns and fibres for sale and we have also approached a number of other Cheshire based Fibre Artisits to see if they would like to be involved. I’m delighted to announce that Crafts From The Dungeon is one of our vendors.

Right now I’m wobbling between excitement and terror (but hey ho, what else is new, lol!) Keep the date free and keep your eyes peeled as we release more details…

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Squeeeeeee!!!!

2016-03-17 09.28.30-2

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