Friday, 30 May 2014

How the Woolly got it's 'Moo'

How it all started . . .

A few years ago (four when I checked!) I signed up with some friends, to take part in a charity walk to help raise funds for one of our local good causes, Willen HospiceThe Midnight Moo, as this walk is called, is a ten mile walk through Milton Keynes starting at midnight and running through the night - great fun with a group of friends and vital for raising funds for this amazing charity.

Instead of asking for sponsorship I decided to find another way to raise money for the Hospice, and so I started with a knitted cow - of course . . .

Bergere de France very kindly donated black and white wool so that our customers could create knitted and crocheted ‘patches’ to cover the creation of packing tubes, boxes and cardboard I had put together in vague resemblance of a cow. Everyone donated £1 per patch and Florence was born. After a couple of get togethers in the shop to assemble her we made a platform with wheels so that Flo could join us on the walk. She even had a coin slot in the top of her head so that donations could fall into a bucket underneath her udders - unfortunately some missed the bucket and she still has a bit of loose change rattling around inside!

As you can see, Florence rolled along on the walk with us and had a fabulous time. She managed five miles and was then taken to the finish line by a marshal. When I arrived (some time later) she looked mighty pleased with herself and was resplendent in her medal.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the Midnight Moo, but I wanted to do more to raise money for the Hospice and so I also decided to hold a day of mini workshops (including lunch, cake and afternoon tea of course). The Woolly Moo (as it is now fondly called) was such a success that we did it again the following year.

This year again sees us celebrating our Woolly Moo on Saturday June 14th and although I no longer walk the walk we still raise funds for Willen Hospice. Florence enjoys her day out, even though she is getting on a bit and is rather wobbly on her legs - maybe we'll try and give her a bit of tlc and a mini makeover before her big day . . .

If you're free on the 14th June, Flo would love to see you! You can find out all about the workshops, talks, and the first ever Chicken Raffle on the website but do remember that the workshops need to be booked in advance so please call the shop on 01908 586244. Come along and join us for what promises to be a fantastic woolly day!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Love Your Yarn Shop (and Cute Knitted Dogs) Day

Last Saturday saw the very first Love Your Yarn Shop Day - an initiative to encourage knitters to support and patronise their local yarn shops organised by Let's Knit Magazine. As the owner of a small knitting shop I was eager to take part in this national event, and with my latest book Knitted Dogs and Puppies almost ready to hit the shelves (due in June!), I thought I'd combine a sort of Love Your Yarn Shop and Cute Knitted Dogs Day . . .
To help us celebrate I designed a pattern for a Scottie Dog brooch which went down very well. As you can see from the pictures, there were quite a few by the end of the day! Tiny Scottie Dog measures approximately 6cm from nose to tail and is knit using double knitting yarn and as the pattern requires so little yarn it's an excellent stash buster. The collar can be made from any yarn - just find yourself out a little scrap of something brightly coloured and attach a tiny tinkly bell if you have one. He's knit in one piece from the tip of the tail to nose - his legs, head and ‘ears’ are just worked using increases and decreases. I used two 4mm black beads for his eyes but you could embroider the eyes instead. I also embroidered a nose using some of the black yarn.
Jo made hers into a bag charm which looks fab and added a small button as a bell on his collar. You could have lots of fun making these little Scotties into cute individual little characters and then add a safety pin to make it into a brooch as I did or make a whole pack and sit them amongst your stash!
While I was at the shop I dug out some fab black and brown eyelash yarn and made a cairn terrier to match our real dog Hector. When I had finished knitting him he just looked like a blob so I gave him a serious trim and he soon started to look more like a dog - so cute!
Tiny Scottie Dog is now up on Ravelry and is a FREE pattern. I'd love to see how your mini doggies turn out so please post pics of your finished pooches in the Group thread.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Inspirational Trunk Show

Last Saturday was a truly inspiring day at the shop as we hosted a trunk show with the very lovely Louise Zass-Bangham (Inspiration Knits). I was a bit frantic in the run up -  baking cakes and trying to organise everything, but it was so worthwhile - the day was a great success!

Louise came early and set about displaying all of her beautiful samples - shawls and cowls, fingerless gloves and scarves - a whole range of utterly gorgeous samples that we all oohed and aahed over. She had a selection of her patterns, beads and of course the delectable Whimzy Sokkusu O yarn in some delicious colours (I of course, couldn't resist!) and she even bought cake!

Almost as soon as we were ready, knitters started to pour through the door and the shop was soon full of expectant people. Louise was kept busy giving advice on selecting colour combinations for her most popular shawl pattern which turned out to be Stay Awhile - a lovely easy two colour striped knit with a pretty beaded picot edge, perfect for sitting and 'staying awhile' at knitnight or indeed, for a spot of knitting in the shop.

I started my own Stay Awhile in Cabaret and Spring Storm and Max (knitIam) brought her shawl which she had already begun and we very soon had a bit of a knitalong going on! You can see from the pictures that Max's is quite a bit further along than mine, and looking stunning in Sokkusu O Thistle and Squink. I have a feeling that she might finish hers before me, but we'll see . . !

Our mini Stay Awhile Knitalong

Louise in her finished Stay Awhile and me casting on!
If you missed Louise this time I'm sure we can tempt her to come back for another trunk show later in the year - I'm told she is easily persuaded with a nice slice of cake! But, in the meantime if you'd like to read all about her version of events then head over to Louise's Blog.