Sidwell Street and I go way back. Give it a few months and it will be twenty years ago that I lived and worked there. It’s at the grubby, top end of Exeter High street and even twenty years ago it was grim. But it was home for a couple of years whilst I was in my second and third year of uni. Me and my two flatmates, Tim and Fiona lived above Kent’s, an antique jewelry shop. Mr Kent was our landlord and he ran his dusty old shop down stairs and we had the wonky flat upstairs. The flat wasn’t separate from the shop so if Mr Kent wanted he could just stop in for a chat. Rather kindly, he always hollered up the stairs first. And usually only did it if we hadn’t paid our rent.
Our home was literally falling part. The floor of each room was concave, the windows didn’t fit in their frames and the door of my bedroom once fell off in my hands, I used to lift it into place every night. It was the oldest part of Sidwell Street, I think it used to be a farm building (but I could be making that up, can’t really remember). Kent’s hasn’t been there for a while and I assume Mr Kent is no longer with us as he was pretty musty even then. It now looks like it was knocked down and rebuilt, the brick work is all new and the windows aren’t on the wonk.
It was a few doors down from the Odeon. I worked at the Odeon for about five years. It was my job while I was at uni and a couple more years beyond that as well. It’s a proper original Odeon, built in 1937. There’s some great original features behind the scenes. Sometimes we would go and explore but normally that was frowned upon, especially when we got found out.
I’d wash my clothes at the launderette, go to the pub on the corner, buy my tobacco and cheap wine from Alldays and stuff my face with KFC and Dominoes pizza because they were all on the doorstep. So yeah, Sidwell Street and I know each other well.
A couple of months ago I saw a post on Facebook asking for local artists who were interested in an opportunity to display their work. More and more vacant shops have been appearing up that end of town, so it started to look not just a bit shabby, but really run down. Then along came Adam who could see the potential for something a bit different. He works at Eat the Bird, a restaurant sandwiched between empty shops. From what I understand he contacted the owners of the buildings who agreed to letting people like me display their stuff free of charge. I thought it was a marvellous idea so I got in touch.
Last Saturday I took a crate load of crochet into town and chucked it in the shop window of the old Halfords. Sort of. I actually knew exactly how I wanted it displayed, I even drew a picture. As soon as I heard that I’d been chosen to have my crochet go in a window, I got myself down to Ikea and also did a hasty order on Amazon. (If it had been this weekend, I doubt I’d have been able to do that, Ikea has shut its doors now).
The night before, the boys helped to put together the Ikea bits and we got going with some spray paint (it was so much fun, I think I might become a Grafitti artist next… ). My budget was small, I spent £17 on the Ikea bits and about the same on the paint and tape that was needed.
Then I packed up all my crochet samples and spare blankets. I thought I was taking way too much but actually ended up using it all. Most of it is probably being permanently sacrificed to the Crochet Gods, I don’t think it’ll survive four months in a shop window. It’s unlikely to come out looking exactly like when it went in. It’s a sacrifice worth making, no? I can just crochet it all again if I want to! I just hope people see it now.
Social distancing and the closure of the shops and restaurants that were still thriving means that the foot fall will have dramatically decreased. That’s OK. Even if some people don’t get to see it, at least I can say I have achieved a major thing in my crafting career. I’m dead proud and hopefully those that do see it will be cheered by the sight of lots of colourful woolly bits. I’ve got crochet on the high street, that’s awesome!
It’s there until July. There are also other shop windows with artist’s work on display so if it is at all possible, perhaps on a quiet day, go and check it out.
I’ll post some pics below. First, lots of photos of the space and then the crochet goodness. Let me know what you think! Cheers. x
Hi, podcast time again! Sometimes I get confused as it doesn’t feel like two whole weeks could possibly have gone by. But they always have… So here we are, another crochet fest for you. Links to all added below but if you think I’ve missed something out, give us a shout. Pop over to the episode by clicking on the picture above or go to YouTube HERE for the whole shebang. Cheers. x
Another new pattern! Some crochet wrist warmers (or mitts, if you prefer, which I do when having to type it over and over)! Hurray!! Sorry to bombard you but I’m on a roll at the minute and I’ve learned that if I stop, I don’t start again. It’s probably a good idea to take advantage of any enthusiasm for sitting at a computer and typing stuff when the mood strikes.
Let’s get the important stuff out the way first. Please pop over to Ravelry or Etsy if you’d like to get yourself a copy of the pattern. There will be 20% off until the end of the month. OK, that’s the important bit, now for goss…
I don’t know if I should tell you this but I’m going to anyway… The design for this pattern has been around for a good couple of years but never really got off the ground. I came up with the idea when I was a PomPom Quartely subscriber (I got a year’s subscription for Christmas two or three years ago). After four issues of the magazine and only one crochet pattern amongst them, I was pissed off. I wrote to PomPom to suggest that they removed the word Crochet from the front of their magazine as it was false advertising. I got a response that the reason there were so few crochet patterns was because they didn’t get any ideas submitted. So I submitted these. Meh, they were not chosen but at least I gave it a shot (and a few more shots after that…). I get it, not every one fits all brands and that’s OK. And recently there have been some stunning crochet designs published in PomPom. There just needs to be more! More! I won’t buy the mag if there is only one crochet pattern in it. Oooh, shall we all write to them and ask for a crochet special!?? Anyway, tangent….
Back to the mitts. Every so often I had an inkling that I should give them another chance. I didn’t do much about it though until this year. A few months ago my sister told me that the Unravel festival had a design competition. Enter your design for a chance at having your pattern in the festival brochure. Everyone attending would get a copy. Such a terrific idea. I entered these mitts / wrist warmers as I thought they fit the brief. It made me revisit the pattern, tweak it a bit and make it even better. I think these mitts are ace but sadly, Unravel didn’t agree. I hope they’re not cursed! Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree but I really like them. I’m wearing them right now!
Anyway, Both experiences have highlighted that crochet still ain’t getting equal lime light on the yarny scene. It’s an ongoing story and one which I shall revisit. I’m pretty sure it’s not just me and my mitts. Whatever, moving on…..
It’s a very adaptable pattern and can be sized up or down by adding or subtracting the multiples. You can add more rows if you desired or take them away. Do what you want. I have made longer ones, but not mega long. If they were super long then that’s another design entirely because you’d have to do some wrist shaping.
I wanted dainty so these are made with 4ply / fingering weight yarn. I’m not sure I’d like them in a fatter wool. They’re spring-like and floaty light. The puff stitches are like little flower buds, and therefore perfect for this time of year when all the blossoms are beginning to burst into bloom. Boop [alliteration is my friend].
I weighed them and each one weighs 23 grams. The contrasting colours are made with just a few metres of leftovers (no, I didn’t measure exactly, sorry). In the written pattern I don’t state which yarn I used, I can tell you here that the hot pink is a mini I bought at EYF from Vicki Brown Designs and the orange is leftover from my Road to Nowhere shawl. I got it from Siobahn’s Crafts at Stitch Fest Southwest in November last year. The main colour is a beautiful blue, I ordered it from Somerset Yarns because there was a sale.
If you make some, please do tell me, I would love to see. I hope you like them more than the others did! ;p
I recently became a King Cole brand ambassador. Pretty nifty, hey?! I get to play around with yarn and come up with new designs; my two favourite things! Being an ambassador means I get to try out new yarns that I wouldn’t otherwise consider. I know I’m not going to like everything they send me but hopefully it will push me out of my comfort zone and I’ll discover new, exciting things to fall in love with.
I’m not sure if this is technically an ad or not, I don’t think so because I don’t get paid. I get free yarn in exchange for giving King Cole a shout out. I don’t know how the relationship will pan out, I’ve never been an ambassador before! Let’s just see how things go…
This corner to corner crochet blanket, I’m calling it Striped Out, is the first thing I’ve made. Whilst C2C isn’t exactly nudging me out of any place of comfort, it is yarn I’d not normally choose and colours I wouldn’t ordinarily go for. However, it turns out that Paradise Beaches is a ridiculously soft DK and perfect for baby projects. I know some people who are having babies right now, so it’s great timing!
With the six balls I chose to use (there are two other colours in the solid colour range), I could easily make two baby blankets with a bit of juggling of the colour order. That means, if I tinkered with the chart, I could make a larger version. Not going to right now though, but I could if I wanted! Clarisabeth from Crochet Cakes suggested a black, white & grey version, which sounds totally awesome!
Anyway, I said I wasn’t going to do this anymore, well, not very often…. buuut I’m putting the chart here for free in case you’d like to make your own. The difference now is that I have also added a downloadable PDF download on Ravelry and Etsy that you can buy (20% off until the end of the month!). If you would like a seven page pattern with all the deets, you know what to do.
I thought it was a nice idea to have the opportunity for a freebie because everyone is stuck inside at the minute and might want something to do! 🙂
The Crochet Society subscription box. What I didn’t say was that it’s part of an affiliate thingy. With the code ZEENS10 you get 10% off purchases from the Crochet Society shop. I didn’t tell you in the podcast because I didn’t read the email properly, I just thought I was getting a free box to review! So it’s a bit more than that, in that I get a percentage of sales if you choose to buy one or more of the boxes. I don’t think it’s for subscriptions themselves though. I’ll tell you more next episode because I don’t want to look like a trickster! Use this link if you’re interested (cheers. x): http://go.www.crochetsociety.co.uk/Zeens10 You might need to leave it a day or two to set up because I only just sorted this (when I should have sorted it a week ago!)
Alyson from the KCACY podcast was heading up the BIPOC in Fibre stand when I was at Unravel. Check out the podcast she co-hosts with her mum, I do enjoy stopping by to listen to them chat about their current woolly projects. And please take a look at Alyson’s gorgeous design, the Tweel cowl.
All other yarn dyers I bought from at Unravel: Baa Ram Ewe, The Knitting Shed, Spectrum Fibre, Needle & Fred, Rainbow Heirloom, Qing Fibre.
And I didn’t buy from Folkestone Harbour Yarn but I did go and have a chat with Suzy. It was her naturally dyed yarn that I used for the Granny cowl, which was on the front cover of Mollie Makes last year (spot it below!). I have to say that her stall was beautiful. I only took three photos at the festival and two of them were of her stall. I’m sorry I didn’t mention it in the episode.
That two weeks went fast!! Here, as promised on Insta the other day, is my ranty episode. I missed some things for sure but I can always come back to it at a later date to moan and complain some more (I love having a good rant!). And also, it isn’t a full on raging rant, I don’t want to you to think I’m nuts!
Go HERE to YouTubeto see what’s on my channel. Or click on the pic above to go to the episode (I forgot to name this one so it’s just 68). Cheers. x