Thursday, 5 November 2015

More off-line than on

Yes, its been a very busy period for me these last 2 months. Not had much time on line, to chat to friends or to blog to you all. My off-line knitting life seems to have taken over.

A few months ago, I finally found a knitting group that meets up every week in my local village Slaithwaite in the heart of Yorkshire. The joys of having like minded crafty people to talk to, show off your knitting to and ask for advise and guidance, its overwhelming. It's the one thing I have been missing since I started knitting again a few years back. The "girls" are a wonderful diverse group of people, ranging from colourful & wacky to calm & classic and everything in between.  I have attended knitting workshops with them and gone on trips out to Yarn festivals and massive yarn shops. I am the one that always says I won't be buying yarn this time and then I come home with bags full of the stuff.  

Then if that's not enough, I have found a lovely crafty shop again in my village that is now selling some of my finished home decorations as well as knitting kits I have developed specially for the shop (they are available on-line to). The knitting kits feature our local Stylecraft yarn. 

Myself and the shop owner Amy decided that it was a good idea to bring selling the yarn back into the village, as the last local yarn shop that sold Stylecraft yarns closed down some 20-30 years ago. Hopefully its something that was missed by the local people and they will come flocking back to Amy's shop - 'The Yorkshire Makery' bringing a new generation of people to buy the local yarn.

'The Yorkshire Makery' is also hosting textile workshops of which I will be one of the knitting tutors. Amy has already started tutoring some of her customers in the art of crochet and I will be following suit with knitting courses. Aimed at the Beginner -> Intermediate I will cover the basic skills plus colour work, cabling and lace work to start with. 
 knitting workshops

And then, have you seen my move in to the published magazines? One of my knitting patterns was published in last months supplementary addition to Simply Knitting" !!!!! 

and I have another 3 patterns lined up to be published over the next few months. Woop!, so excited. If you see them, let me know what you think in the comments below.

Stylecraft yarn. This used to be spun at the Spa Mills @ Spectrum Yarns in Slaithwaite. Spectrum yarns have just launched a new yarn range called Yarn Stories. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Update to the Tree Breeze blanket and planning my 1st cable workshop

I finally received the photo from Michelle that shows the 'Tree Breeze' blanket in all it's glory. Those cabled trees look stunning and the colours she has chosen are just perfect.

She says she snuggles up with it on the settee on an evening, wrapping it all around her. I think it's great when you can hold your own creation so close.

And see how Billie , her rescued Jack Russel just had to get in on the photo. She always seems to be there when the camera comes out, lol.

Remember how I featured the work in progress photos here -

This beautiful blanket is helping me in designing my very 1st cabling workshop that is it to take place at The Yorkshire Makery (part of the Emporium in Slaithwaite, Huddersfield). It's only going to be a couple of hours long so it will be simply an introduction to cabling, covering some basic and then more unusual cable patterns. Working in squares, clients can potentially sew them together to make cushions (maybe blankets are a little too ambitious at this stage). I plan to cover reading cabling charts and written instructions too. All in a couple of hours ! 

The 1st session will be Sunday the 11th October from 1:30 - 3:30.  I'm still working up the detail and trying to establish a price! If you are interested just let me know and then I can keep you informed.



PS . I've joined in the hand made Monday link up today  

why don't you take a read 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Fair Isle Headband / Hat

One of the things I do when I'm starting work using a new technique is to develop little prototypes. Something I can use to ensure my stitching, colour work and shaping is all OK.

Well this time I was going to work in fair isle stitch , combining 2 and sometimes 3 colours together in colourful designs.

I had done some fair isle work before, but always chickened out when it came to knitting in the round. I wasn't sure I could control the pattern when it came to the point where the round joined and so steered well away from it. But recently I had been to a fair isle work shop with my new knitting group, here we had learned all about steeking (I'm sure I'll cover this in a later post) and the lady running the workshop had shown us some of her lovely fair isle knits that had been worked in the round. I couldn't for the life of my see where the round started and finished so I took my trust in this technique and decided to give it a go.

Last week I knit a fair isle headband. I liked the pattern I had designed on paper and loved the colours I had chosen. The stitching work was ok, but not brilliant BUT the headband , even though I measured it when I started) was too small:( . 

I quickly sussed out the problem , I had worked on the wrong needle size, picking up the incorrect circular needles to use (why don't they have the size on the needles?)

This had caused both the stitches to be a little tight and the size of the headband to be too small.

Today I set to, to create yet another prototype. This time working on the right size needles (just 0.25mm bigger) I set off working in the same pattern. I finished the headband off, tried it on and then realised I had created it too wide ! 

Golly gosh , why don't I put my brain in gear sometime!

Ha ha , so my headband is now a hat ! I used my experience of knitting hats for the Wool and Gang and shaped the top of the headband / hat as I went along. 

I think it's rather cute, don't you?

Monday, 10 August 2015

The final stages of the "Tree Breeze" Blanket

My daughter Michelle has been working on her knitted blanket for what seems an age. When I asked her this last weekend, she reckoned 3 maybe 3 1/2 years. Well it has been sat in her craft box waiting for an opportunity for me to help her decide the best way of sewing all the square blocks up. She didn't want to spoil it right at the very end. 

The blanket itself has been knit in squares, 20 in total I think. She had used the "Tree Breeze" pattern out of Nicky Epstein's "Knitting Block By Block" book , taking her time knitting each block in the lovely Sublime yarn she had chosen. 

This last weekend we got together and embarked on the sewing up project. She sat out in the garden, our lovely German Shepherd Dog Cain at her side.

 It's not quite finished! , but when it is I'm sure I'll be showing yo the finished result.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Etsy team collaboration

This week launches an exciting collaboration between Steph from Perran Yarns and myself. Myself and Steph met on Etsy the on-line selling site for all things handmade. 

She hand dyes and then sells beautiful scrumptious yarns that knit up gorgeously!

I was utterly surprised when she approached me to ask if I was prepared to knit up and re-work one of my new patterns in some of her hand dyed yarn.  Her idea was to sell the patterns at craft fairs and in brick and mortar shops alongside some of her yarns. We also discussed the possibility of selling the pattern and yarn in kit form via her Etsy shop. 
Above you can see the transformation from the Noro yarn I chose to show off the lovely flower pattern to one of Stephs yarn , a lovely Knit in Perran Yarns (50% baby alpaca, 25% linen, 25% silk) in sweet pea shade. You can buy the finished scarf here if you don't fancy the knit. 
Well the kits are ready folks! All for £20. Of course you can buy the knitting pattern and yarn on its own but there is a saving if you purchase in kit form.

Its a lovely knit for a christmas gift or just for you.
We are hoping to get together in the near future to bring you more exciting collaborations. 
See you soon from Steph and I

Friday, 3 July 2015

A traditional Christmas with Craft Britannia

Craft Britannia Christmas in July feature

Today I'm bringing you some of Craft Britannia's more traditional crafty goods, well traditional in the way that they include Christmas trees and Santa Clause in the traditional Christmassy Colours.

Buying handmade Christmas goods in July gives you buyers the chance the to purchase these sometimes one off crafty goods at a discounted price. You will have piece of mind that the decorations, gifts, kits and packaging are with you in plenty of time for the great day!

Merry Christmas x

Craft Britannia Christmas in July

These are the shops taking part in the Craft Britannia Christmas In July promo:-

All participating shops have set up the coupon code ‘ETSYCIJ15’ and the following discounts can be applied to their shops when going through checkout… – 20% off all items – 20% off purchases over £7.50 – 10% off all items – 10% off all items – 15% off purchases over £5 – 20% off purchases over £15 – 10 % off purchases over £5 – 20% off all items – 15% off all items – 10% off all items – 30% off all items – 10% off all items – 10% off all items – 10% off – Use code ‘CIJUK2015’ – 15% off all items – 10% off all items

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Get ready for Christmas proper with Craft Britannia Supplies and Patterns via Christmas In July Promo

**  It's never too early to get your supplies for making those Christmas gifts **

My friends in the Etsy Craft Britannia team have joined forces to give you an extra special glimpse in to what we have to offer you. 

Whether its special had dyed or spun yarns, patterns for making Christmas decorations, Christmas cushions or beautiful scarves we have it for you. We also supply patterns for making wonderful children's penny rugs and Christmas charms for hanging on absolutely anything. Take a wander round the shops, look for inspiration for your Christmas gifts and be ready to be delighted with your purchases.

These are the shops taking part in the Craft Britannia Christmas In July promo:-

All participating shops have set up the coupon code ‘ETSYCIJ15’ and the following discounts can be applied to their shops when going through checkout… – 20% off all items – 20% off purchases over £7.50 – 10% off all items – 10% off all items – 15% off purchases over £5 – 20% off purchases over £15 – 10 % off purchases over £5 – 20% off all items – 15% off all items – 10% off all items – 30% off all items – 10% off all items – 10% off all items – 10% off – Use code ‘CIJUK2015’ – 15% off all items – 10% off all items

Thursday, 28 May 2015

My first 2 patterns featured in a Knitting Mag ! Knit Now !

I'm feeling rather pleased today, the fact that I can share something that I have been keeping quiet for so long, has given me a few goosebumps.

You see, today is the day that TWO of my knitting designs have made it ! published in a UK knitting magazine ! 
It’s issue 48, and my designs are on pages 20-21, the mustardseed shawl (you must just get the issue just to find out why it was named that) and on pages 44-45, the sandown stole. I don’t have my hands on a paper copy yet!  but will be going a shopping later on today to see if I can get my hands on a few copies. 
A smaller version of one of my designs has also appeared on a page that explains "how to work cables", so if any of you readers need to know, well the info is there! 
Hard copies can be ordered here: 
Digital editions are available via our app:

As I sort of explained in an earlier blog posting, its been a long hard few months for someone that has not been through the process before. From submitting my ideas, helping to choose the correct yarn, knitting up my design, writing up the pattern, double, sorry quadruple checking the pattern for spelling and mathematical errors and then finally seeing the pattern and photos in draft mode a week before the magazine was published its been quite a journey. 
And I'm really thrilled that one of my patterns made it on to the cover page, although on an earlier draft version I saw them both there :(

happy bunny :)

Monday, 25 May 2015

Bank Holiday Creation time

Hey you crafty people !
Have you taken a look at CreativeBug yet?  Well now is your FREE chance!

As part of the affiliate program I'm in, any of you can get a one month free pass and ALSO one class that you can keep forever . Use the code SUMMER2015.
Don't miss out

Oh and I would love to hear your thoughts if you have given it a go
Just click on the image below

Creativity is Contagious - 1 month free

Still unsure ? read this great review here

What is a KnitWear Designer?

In the next few days, 2 of my knitwear designs will be published in the UK Knitting magazine KnitNow. Whilst I'm super super excited about this, at the moment I can't tell you much about what the patterns are. :(

In the meantime I thought I'd share with you my thoughts about "what is a Knitwear designer" . I have no qualifications in this area, no training as such, so does this make my designs just a one off, just a bit of luck or is this the start of my designing career?

I  (and have been doing for a few years now) design and develop knitted clothing, accessories and soft furnishings which I sell in my Etsy shop and my own web site, so I already have the background skills and experience necessary to become a fully fledged designer haven't I?
Stole Sketch

To get a knitting magazine to like my ideas up front I had to send in my initial thoughts. 

This included sketching my designs, swatching (ie knitting a small piece of the design), coming up with ideas on which yarns (thickness , qualities etc) to use and writing a piece on how the idea fitted the theme the magazine had chosen for that issue. 

I think a knitting magazine will be looking for certain qualities, something that shows them that this idea will come to fruition. I think they will be looking for someone who 

  • Has an interest in fashion and trends
  • Has a creative eye
  • Pays attention to detail
  • Has an appreciation of shape, proportion and human anatomy
  • Draws and show design ideas effectively
  • Has skills and experience in knitting in general
  • Has a good knowledge of yarn qualities and types 
And its not all plain sailing. Just because you are good at designing doesn't mean your designs are going to be immediately picked up by a magazine and used.  Your design will have to fit in with the theme of the magazine and will have to feel right alongside the other patterns, features and articles in the magazine. 

So, do you think I have what it takes to be a KnitWear Designer? Will you see my knits in more magazines? ...........

come back and see what happens

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

With a little mosaic magic

I have transformed what was a plain, but still pretty knitted peg bag in to something quite magically. I'm still quite taken aback by how the simple mosaic knitting / slip stitch knitting can make so much of a difference.

These peg bags were knit using one of my own patterns , the cotton clothes hanger peg bag, but instead of just knitting the K3, P1 stitch I had used in the pattern I chose one of the mosaic patterns out of Barbara Walkers book "Mosaic Knitting" which I reviewed a few months back. 

What a transformation, something that you all need to try. 

Friday, 24 April 2015

Join the Campaign for Fashion Revolution Day

I'm never too happy about having my photo taken and posted all over the Internet so imagine my trepidation when Wool and the Gang asked me to take a snap holding one of the "I made your clothes" posters for Fashion Revolution Day.

Well I read up about it on and changed my mind immediately, of course I would join in the campaign on the day. 

I knit for Wool and the Gang, I have done for the last few months, a few woolly beanies and scarves made out of their crazy sexy wool. I also design and knit for my own web site and Etsy shop. Little accessories such as gloves, scarves, boleros and cardigans.

I only do a little bit of the process, the end result, knitting the pieces you wear and sewing the bits together and in the whole scheme of things I only create a tiny wee fraction of the clothes that are made for you!

But it's got me thinking more about the whole process, from start to finish, who helps bring the lambs in to the world, who shears the sheep, who dyes and spins the wool that I then knit in to something for you.

Check out Wool and the Gangs fabricated tales which tells the whole story of their recycled T shirt yarn. Their Crazy Sexy Wool (which I knit with) comes from happy sheep in the Peruvia Andes, sources with consideration so as to reduce impact on the environment. 

So I need to find out more about the wool, mohair and cotton yarns I knit with. This will be my challenge for the year, so next year when its fashion revolution day I have more of an idea as to where the yarn I knit with comes from and I can share that with you.

And I'm going to be thinking, Who made my clothes? next time I go shopping. Will you?


On 24 April 2013, 1133 people died in the Rana Plaza catastrophe in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A further 2500 were injured. They were killed while working for familiar fashion brands in one of the many ‘accidents’ that plague the garment industry.

As an aside Etsy met up with Wool and The Gang a few weeks ago. Here's the story. on the Etsy UK Blog  
We’re very happy to inform you that Wool and the Gang are offering all Etsy UK blog readers the following code to use for 15% off at checkout: PARTY-KQAGM3

Wool and the Gang

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

I show off my latest craze in a video

My latest craze is Mosaic knitting, I'm sure you will have realised that from my numerous postings about the subject , whether its me showing off my latest cushions, letting you know of my freebie dish cloth pattern or writing about the "Mosaic Knitting" book I had recently ordered. All in All the last few weeks have been a steep but very pleasant learning curve for me.

It was very nice to see the culmination of my efforts, the final flourish of activity before I can say that my new range of summer cotton cushions is finally launched!

I have launched the range with a bang (the loudest I can do without spending loads of money on adverts). After developing The Craft Britannia Wedding Promotional Video I decided that I would make a video for the launch of the cushions. It should have been a fairly simple little thing, I was only going to show off 3 cushions! (and the knitting patterns for them).

Well just take a look at the video and you'll see how mad I have gone, with a little photo editing I have changed green grass to pink, changed a pink flower on a cushion to blue and now have a number of different coloured cushions (I didn't knit all those, honest). There are summer flowers flying everywhere and photos twisting and turning all over the place. Go on take a look. I'm even admitting to myself that it looks a bit wacky but I'm loving it too!

I'm hoping that it gets the message across that these are meant for fun, for fun in the summer sun 

Sandra x

Monday, 20 April 2015

Addicted to creating mosaic charts

Well I am truly addicted to creating these little mosaic charts. There is a certain knack, which took me a time to crack but now I have I am away.  There are designs that are impossible to recreate with mosaics due to its limitations. For example I tried to create a "heart" design a few weeks ago and gave up after a few hours of tearing my hair out. But now I think I have it sussed, learning to work with its limits and to use them as benefits.

Anyway with a lot of practise I came up with 3 new mosaic charts, all of them inspired by nature and the yarn colours I had bought specially for this project.

All of the charts are available in my newest pattern , yes 3 patterns in one!

Buy it on Ravelry here

Flower Power was inspired by the Fuschia colourway, I wanted something pretty, feminine and flowery. Flowers are difficult with mosaic work as it doesn't tend to work with flowery curves. Bit I think these funky square flowers are ace! 

Honey Pot was named after I knit this design, it reminded me of bees bussing round the honey pots.

Leafy Greens was developed to portray a leafy shape, the pine tree just emerged by accident! that's the joy of mosaic work, you just don't know what's going to emerge sometime.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Free Mosaic Pattern for a scrummy cotton dish cloth

This is the first time I have tried knitting a cotton dish cloth but seeing as though I had a little spare cotton yarn and I wanted to try out my newest mosaic pattern , I decided to give it a go. I loved the finished result and because its an easy knit and I want all you knitters to love mosaic knitting as much as me here are the charted instructions. 


The finished dishcloth is 8" x 9". If you are wanting a larger cloth then increase the number of repeats (each repeat is 16 stitches x 32 rows).

Yarn: Rico Creative Cotton Aran in Mustard and Nature.
Needles : 4.5mm / US 7 / UK 7

1. Cast on 39 stitches in Nature using the cable cast on technique (gives a neater edge I think). 39 stitches is for 3 knit stitches + (16 stitches for the mosaic pattern x 2) +1 extra stitch to make the pattern neat + another 3 knit stitches.

2. Knit 3 rows.

3. Start Mosaic pattern. Knit 3 stitches at the beginning and end of each and every row. The mosaic pattern is worked in stocking stitch.

4. Knit the mosaic pattern twice (64 rows).

5. Knit 3 rows in Nature.

6. Bind off.

7. Weave in ends.

8. Block the work (this spreads out the mosaic, taking out all the kinks).

Mosaic pattern

The charts are fairly simple but different to other colourwork charts such as fairisle. 

If you have never used these charts then please read through the instructions below

1. You will only ever knit one colour at at a time.
2. You will work the mosaic in stocking stitch, knitting the right side and purling the wrong.
3. The chart legend at the right hand side, with black and white square, indicates which color yarn (MC or CC) you should be knitting with on the next 2 rows. Black indicates the mustard cotton yarn, white indicates the cream cotton yarn.
4. You will knit the stitches as charted , knitting the colour according to the legend and slipping the other stitches. The slipped stitches should be taken at the back of the row (the purl side).
5. You will repeat the same row once, this time in purl
The other yarn just sits quietly at the start, waiting for its turn, so you don’t need to carry it along, and there are no floats like in fairisle work. If you come to a stitch that has been slipped twice already (it will look stretched) and you think the chart says you need to slip it again, count and make sure you are following the chart correctly. You will never slip any stitch more than two rows at a time for mosaic stitches.

This pattern is great for border work

or for a full blown mosaic

so please use it as you wish , most of all have fun x

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Launch of the 1st Craft Britannia Promotional Video

Today I'm launching the 1st of the Craft Britannia's team videos.  We talked about it in one of my earlier blog postings here.

This is a collaboration by the Craft Britannia Etsy Team to show some of the things we offer that can make your wedding day extra special. 

To find each item shown in the video, go to or find the team at

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Resources for promoting your Etsy shop online

This is not me being clever , I found these very useful links to help you promote your Etsy shop on another site. I needed a place to keep them safe (for me to refer back to) and I thought they would be useful for my Etsy shop readers too.

Resources for Promoting your Etsy Shop Online:

Whats Your Social Media Personality Type?:

Social Media Tips from an Etsy Expert:

How to Promote Your Etsy Shop with Pinterest:

8 Pinterest Marketing Tips for the Holiday Season (that can be applied year-round):

How to Market Your Shop with Instagram:

Etsy's Guide to Facebook:

Etsy's Guide to Twitter:

3 Clever Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Business:

3 Ways to Make the Most of Promoted Listings:

How to Find Teams to Help Grow Your Etsy Shop:

happy reading and promoting   xx

Monday, 13 April 2015

Craft Britannia Team Love

I just had to share this great comic strip with you. It just sums up really well what its like to be in the Craft Briatannia team on Etsy. It was taken from the Etsy UK Captain Summit 2015.

More information can be found here on the Craft Britannia blog.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Craft Britannia Wedding Video (Demo)

Yesterday I read the the latest Etsy Preneurship announcement with interest , that about Crowd promoting and I thought as a UK based crafty team the Etsy Craft Britannia team should be able to do something to pull in the crowds, get new customers (and existing ones) to come a looking at our little Etsy shops. 

My mind was humming with activity , how could we pull in the crowds? what could we do that was a little different to everyone else? what could we do that might have the potential to go viral? what could we do to get more sales?

I chatted to the team, to see what interest I would get , a plan was formulating in my mind. 

A few weeks ago, I had a video made, just a simple little thing based on my etsy shop, that showed off a few of my products mixed in with some words. I had paid (just a fiverr) for it being made. At first I was pleased , then not so sure about the quality so I looked around the Internet for bits of software that I could use to develop my own. Well I found a few  and had planned at some stage about compiling a video showing off a new range of products. 

Could I use this technique to show off Craft Britannia products, in a way that a treasury or a blog posting couldn't do. The more I thought about it and the more research I did, the more I thought that this was the way to go. Seems that both Twitter and Face book are now entrenched in displaying little video clips, seems that watching people make a fool of themselves is the way that these things go viral. Oh well, I won't be producing something that funny!, but I will be able to produce something that will display the BEST of Craft Britannia in one small video clip.

The team seemed to be on board, they agreed that the idea was good, bringing in a little humour was even better. The idea of developing a video story was born, one to music (created by a Craft Britannia team member). This would take time of course......

So in the meantime, back to my thinking, could I develop a video based on just my products? wouldn't that be a bit boring? No, not if I used similar products from other team members, not if I developed a video that showed off our glorious wedding products. Excitement set in, and the wedding video demo was developed, just to establish whether the concept would work.

I planned on letting potential candidates for the video know about my plans, to ensure that they agreed that their product photos could be used in this way and to find out if they would help with the crowd promoting. 

Here is a preview of some of the potential candidates

So once , the video was finally made could I rely on the Craft Britannia team to make it go viral (as viral as possible), would they post and share on all the different social media channels? would they twitter about it? would they share with friends and family? would they drool over the photos with their beloved? would they pass on to their favourite wedding planner? would they share with their newly engaged friend?

Please let me have your comments ..... 

PS Here is the final version of the video, impressed?

Quick View of Woolly Goodies available on my web site

Quick View of Woolly Goodies available on my web site
Click on photo above to see detail / to purchase