Monday, 23 May 2011

Embroiderer's Guild Meeting @ Lutterworth 21st May 2011!

On Saturday Briege, from the Coventry Sewing Centre, and myself visited the Festival of Stitch with the Lutterworth Embroiderer's Guild at Lutterworth College. As you can see it was a busy day! And the guest speaker was Jean Littlejohn..... can it get any better!!! The event included two sales and demonstration rooms, with Coventry Sewing Centre exhibiting Janome Sewing Machines and lots of other gorgeous stalls offering silks, threads, wools, and anything you'd need for your embroidery work.

The Janome FM725 embellisher was a hot favourite.... and everyone admired my red flower and vine scarf made with water soluble fabric and knitting yarn on the embellisher.

Briege was demonstrating the Janome Horizon, ideal for free machine embroidery with a extra big sewing space and super fast speed and strength. The DXL603 is an ideal light weight machine to carry to classes and workshops.

Three very happy Janome customers... who own between them two 350e, embroidery machines, a MC9700 and an Horizon! They also have the Janome embroidery software and arranged to do some training back at Coventry Sewing Centre later in the year.

The Embroiderer's Guild Competition was, as always, spectacular. The theme was "Celebration" and included some wonderful work.

Creative Bumble Bee had some gorgeous hand felted items.... I just love this scarf / necklace!

They had lots of felting supplies for sale, and also offer workshops to learn the technique, check out their website for more information.

Mulberry Silks is one of my favorite fabric suppliers, the quality and colour range is stunning.

For more information on Coventry Sewing Centre, go to their website. They sell the full range of Janome sewing, embroidery and overlock machines. They also run regular patchwork, quilting, dressmaking and sewing clubs, and you can often find special events with Jenni Raymond there!

For more information about finding an Embroiderer's Guild near you, go to their Website.

Embellisher Workshops @ Creative Stitches at Aintree Racecourse were a great success!!

Debbie, from the Sewing and Knitting Centre in Southport ran daily embellisher workshops in the "Quick and Easy" area at Aintree Creative Stitches show this weekend. Debbie and her husband Ivan, also run regular embellisher workshops in Southport as well. Every workshop was buzzing with excitement... and people loved the quickness of producing gorgeous textures on the Janome embellisher.

Most hadn't used the embellisher before and loved it so much... they had to take advantage of the Janome Spring Promotion and order a machine there and then!

Embellishing or felting machines are a great way of using all your scrap fabrics and odd balls of knitting yarns that you have saved for years... you can recycle of woolly jumpers, bed blankets, chiffon scarves... and even add sweety wrapper and plastic vegetable mesh bags to add interesting textures. Debbie, and her husband Ivan, love to spin their own yarns which they then incorporate into their embellisher pieces. Find their yarn in their Folksy Shop Gardeners Rest and you can find them on Facebook
In the Quick and Easy embellisher workshop, everyone created a gorgeous ipod / mobile phone cover... and everyone was unique!

For more information on the Janome embellisher the FM725, have a look at Janome's website, and for more information on the Sewing Centre in Southport, embellisher and other workshops they run (including patchwork and quilting) check out their website HERE.

Creative Stitches and Hobbycraft @ Aintree Racecourse...Wendy Dolan.

I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy for the first time on Friday at the Aintree Show, and what a pleasure it was too. When Wendy was setting up her stand on Thursday evening, she realised she had left at home her most important item for her to demonstrate with.... her sewing machine! Fortunately, Sue from the Sewing and Knitting Centre in Southport who was exhibiting Janome at the Show, had a spare Janome XL601 for Wendy to borrow. And, as you can see from the big smile below... she got on with her replacement machine just fine.
Wendy's is a wonderful textile artist, and her work is simply stunning. She trained in Art and Textiles while studying for a B.Ed. Degree in Brighton. Following a Diploma in Creative Stitched Textiles a few years later, she began to exhibit widely and sell her work through Craft Shows and Exhibitions.

Specialising in free machine embroidery and creative textiles, her work is delicate and detailed.

She runs regular workshops, courses and lectures in her local area of Sussex, and, is happy to travel further afield to teach.... and even offers a week long course in Spain!

Check out Wendy's website for more information on her work, workshops and courses. Wendy Dolan

Friday, 20 May 2011

Fancy a day out at the Races?? Or rather, Creative Stitches at Aintree Racecourse!

This morning we opened the Aintree Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts to queues of eager ladies (and a few gents).... wanting to find the latest sewing gadget, the best quilting and dress fabric, and of course have a little look at the Janome sewing and overlock machines! There are also lots of stall for bead work and card making... and anything crafty. Sue, from The Sewing and Knitting Centre in Southport is exhibiting the Janome machines, along with her daughter Debbie and Son in Law Ivon are on hand to help with all your sewing needs. They are also running daily embellish er workshops in the "Quick and Easy" area... come and check out stand D15 for more details.

They also have a selection of threads, sari yarns, and gorgeous fibres from Oliver Twists to tempt you and inspire some fabulous sewing projects!!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Fancy learning to Knit or Crochet? Find a club / workshop in your area....

Knitting and Crochet are a very popular hobby, and although many of the traditional wool shops have closed down in the past few years, the best ones are still going strong, and there is a new style of wool shop opening in many city centres!!
My Mum first taught me to knit and crochet when I was about 5, although, I have to confess, I only managed a simple scarf and a crochet square blanket. But, I have to say, some of the gorgeous yarns are tempting me back to give it another try!Knitting and Crochet Clubs are a great way to learn, meet up with other people who love the hobby, and have a good natter, cuppa and cake at the same time! When I'm travelling around visiting my Janome Stockists, many of which sell wool and host weekly Knitting Clubs.... there's always so much laughter and giggles... I have to go and have a look and see what all the fun is about!

The Chesterfield Sewing Centre, who sells a fabulous range of knitting yarns (and Janome sewing machines), holds a Knitting Club twice a week on a Tuesday and Thursday 2pm - 4pm, at £2.50 per session including tea and biscuits and lots of help and advice, and also discount on wool after 10 sessions. Contact Carol (on the right) in the shop on 01246 232176 for more information.The Complete Knit (sister shop of Heirs and Graces Patchwork and Quilting in Darley Dale) in Matlock, is a specialist knitting shop and their Knitting Club meets every Tuesday and Thursday 10.30 - 1pm, from beginners to advanced, everyone's welcome... and of course enjoy and cuppa and a biscuit or two while your there! Call them on 01629 593700 for more information.
Knit Nottingham opened in September 2010. Eleanor and Liese, the shop owners, are devoted knitters, and wanted a yarn shop in the city centre that stocked a wide range of affordable yarn, provided a cheerful environment for experienced and beginning knitters, and gave local spinners, dyers, designers and craftspeople a venue for selling their goods. They run regular knitting clubs and workshops, so check out their website for more information. Or why not follow them on Facebook?.... they even have regular knitting meeting down the local pub.. can it get any better??
Another group that meets in the local pub is Knit & Knatter every Monday at The Royal Hotel in Bolton le-sands, 6.30 - 8pm. The pub lets them have the room for free so they all just buy a drink or two. (Now, there's a reason to have a glass of wine) With about 30 members, who don't all turn up every week, there's always someone to offer help and advice. You can take knitting, crochet and some ladies even do patchwork. It has a fabulous atmosphere and all the ladies have such a giggle. Knit and Knatter is organised by Helen from Etty-Lilly in Bolton le Sands, the most gorgeous craft, knitting and sewing shop, she also runs sewing workshops at the shop (and sells Janome sewing machines), so why not check her website for more information?

If you know of any knitting clubs in your area, please drop a comment below and we can add it to the blog!

Happy Knitting!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Would you like to make a Kate Middleton Bridal Gown??

Now, I'm sure all of you must have seen the wedding dress that everyones talking about??
Even people who I have chatted to, who didn't intend to watch the wedding of the decade... did... and more to the point... enjoyed it!Kate, or Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge wore the most gorgeous lace dress designed by Sarah Burton. The style was Grace Kelly esk, and after I did some research on Google, I found the lace was all made in the UK. One company based only a few miles from my home, Cluny Lace in Ilkeston, Nottingham still make Nottingham lace on old lace looms to old designs and patterns, click here to read more about Cluny Lace. Much of the lace on the dress was made by The Royal School of Needlework based at Hampton Court. Click here to read more about their involvement.
So, now we have read a little about Kate's dress.... would you like to make your own wedding dress? (of course, handmade lace from Hampton Court is optional!)
Alison Victoria from the School of Sewing in Ashby de la Zouch runs Bridal Dressmaking workshops several times a year.
Their most recent course was only a few weeks after the Royal Wedding, and knowing that the Royal Wedding would be such an influence on future Brides, Alison made a sample gown similar to Kate's dress to show some of the techniques used.

Alison's unique three day workshop teaches you all you need to know about the bridal business and the making of bridal wear, whether it be on a personal or professional level. The construction of the gown will be discussed in detail and samples will be made that relate to interlined couture boned bodices with a draped overlay, netted skirts, concealed zips, hemlines and much more.

No longer will the dress have wrinkly bodices or droopy skirts. You will also produce samples that relate to veils, and bridal favours. Information will be given regarding stockists and suppliers and pricing your gowns. This workshop is a must for all of those planning a wedding or those in the bridal business.

If you would like more information on Alison's dressmaking courses, please see her website for full information, or why not follow them on Facebook?

Why not have a look at the Cluny Lace website too?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Grimsby Sewing & Knitting Centre win Retailer Award!

Congratulations to Linda and Paul @ Grimsby Sewing and Knitting Centre for winning


A few words from The Lincolnshire Telegraph....
"Throughout the year, the Directors at Lincolnshire & South Yorkshire Telegraph select organisations that have best demonstrated a proven ability to go that extra mile in not only meeting but exceeding the needs of their clients. Therefore, in line with this philosophy, it gives us pleasure to announce Grimsby Sewing & Knitting has been selected to receive the BA AWARD FOR HOBBY CRAFT RETAILER 2011.

Based in the centre of Grimsby, Grimsby Sewing and Knitting are your one stop shop for all of your creative needs providing quality sewing machines, services and repair and a wide selection of fabrics and accessories.
The shop has been on site for over 27 years, we took over 3 years ago and expanded the
shop in August 2010, we are specialists in sewing machines and offer service and repairs
on most makes. We are the main stockist for the renowned Janome sewing machines in Grimsby and the North East Lincolnshire area.
We aim to be offering various courses + workshops on a wide range of craft and sewing activities – these will be happening later this year. Grimsby Sewing and Knitting pride themselves on providing an excellent high quality service to all customers both from their store and online via their eBay shop which can be found at

Complementing their range of sewing machines, the company stock an excellent range of haberdashery items, knitting patterns and yarns, an extensive range of dance and stage fabrics, patchwork and quilting fabrics and lots of quilting accessories. In addition to this Grimsby Sewing & Knitting provide quality crafts and accessories such as furs, felts, fabrics, knitting machines (to order), buttons, threads, zips and more. Whether you’re looking to take up a new hobby and unleash your creative flair or simply are looking for a quality provider for
your creative needs then Grimsby Sewing & Knitting are just what you have been looking for.
Having been singled out to receive the BA AWARD FOR Hobby Craft Retailer 2011 serves as a distinguishing factor that ranks Grimsby Sewing & Knitting amongst the best in its field, as well as acting as a seal of approval to prospective clients. "

For more information visit or find them on Facebook.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Embellisher Workshops @ Creative Stitches at Aintree Racecourse!

Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts visits Aintree Racecourse 20th - 22nd May, and have lots to offer crafters of all types. Sue, the Janome stockist from Southport, (The Sewing and Knitting Centre, London Street, Southport) will be exhibiting Janome sewing machines and also running Quick and Easy workshops on our embellisher, the Janome FM725.

They will be running daily at the show at 12.30 opposite Sue's stand at the back of the hall.

With Debbie Nixon and Ivan Lee
Never used an embellisher before, then come along and let Debbie and Ivan from Sewing & Knitting Centre, show you how and make a mobile phone/ MP3 player cover –great for your holidays!

Sue, Debbie and Ivan have been busy making samples and preparing kits at the shop... and we can see one of the projects here half made... and look at all those gorgeous knitting yarns in the back ground as well!

For more information on the Sewing Centre, have a look at their website and pop onto the stand at Aintree and say hello!

The Living Threads Embroidery Group exhibit in Nottingham...

The Living Threads is a textile group whose aims are to produce exciting and innovative work using fibres, threads, yarns, fabrics and beads in a variety of techniques.
The Living Threads Group was formed in 1982. It has evolved into a group of 65 artists.
An exhibition of members work is staged at Trent College, Long Eaton, Nottingham every two years.
Many of their artists pass on their enthusiasm, knowledge and skills through workshops which are held twice a year.
Last week I visited the exhibition at Trent College, and the range of work on display is simply stunning. Although, I wasn't allowed to take general photographs of the work on display, a couple of members gave me permission to take a few snaps for my blog.
Beverley Beatie, loves all things woolly! From knitting, wet felting and embellishing, and her textured work is gorgeous. Bev's love of wool, sparked her online business Knitting 4 Fun, where she also sells our felting machine the FM725. ... she also has a great Facebook page to keep up with the latest news and products.

Carol Hampton, who kindly spent a few minutes with me to tell me about the group and it's history, likes to work with textured fabrics and free machine embroidery.

And Marie Meacham, enjoys the machine embroidery to create the most wonderful wall hangings.

Much of the work on display is available to buy, and would be a great addition to any house.

For more information on the Living threads Group, click HERE to see their website.

The exhibition is running from 22nd - 30th April at Trent College in Long Eaton, Nottingham.

Fabulous Fabrics & School of Sewing Celebrate the Royal Wedding!!

Did you enjoy the fabulous Royal wedding on Friday of William and Kate? I have to admit, I watched it all from about 8.30am.... and I had a tear in my eye several times during the day!I visited Alison Smith in Ashby de la Zouch on Thursday, and I just have to show you their wonderful wedding celebration window display! Union Jack fabric for the bunting....

with flowing red, white and blue satin ribbons and flowers...

and a stunning mock up wedding dress made from fabrics they sell in the shop.
and I managed to catch a quick photograph of Alison standing outside the shop while we enjoyed the summer sun!

Alison runs a Bridal Workshop which teaches you profession dressmaking skills to make your dress look gorgeous and stunning. Ideal if you are thinking of making your own bridal gown, or even a bridal dressmaker wanted to learn new ideas.

For more information on Alison Smith, click the link to The School of Sewing and Fabulous Fabrics, or why not follow them on Facebook.

Make It @ Glagow

A couple of weeks ago, during my routine visit to Glasgow, I met up with the lovely Ashley who is the creator and owner of Make It. You may have heard about them in the sewing press, Ashley, who has always loved to create and make, set up her sewing cafe and workshops... and generally very gorgeous studio space towards the end of 2010, and it has gone from strength to strength. Behind this door, is a wonderful space to be inspired and support to help you with your ideas and projects.

Ashley, seen here, has always loved sewing and crafts, and says "but found it time-consuming and uncomfortable to cut patterns and fabric on the living room floor. We figured other budding stitches might have exactly the same problem so we set up a space to work on your own projects and have some fantastic coffee and cake at the same time." and Make It was born!

You can't help, but feel at home the minute you walk in. There is a big working table for cutting out projects and clean and tidy sewing machine area (with of course Janome machines)...

and a comfortable sofa area to enjoy a cuppa and cake, or do a bit of hand stitching or knitting.

You can hire an area to work on your own projects, they charge £5 for one hour, £7.50 for two or £10 for three including use of the cutting space, dress forms, press and the other bits and pieces of sewing equipment. They have sharp cutting scissors, pins, coloured thread and chalk available too. If sewing's not your thing, there's also have a Singer double bed knitting machine and an Ashford Traveller spinning wheel on site too.

If your not ready to work on your own projects, Make It also run regular sewing workshops and classes, from Basic Sewing Techniques, Learn to Knit & crochet to making a skirt or apron.

To find out more information on Make It, using their sewing cafe or workshops, check out their website, or why not follow them on Facebook and Twitter.