How was your weekend?

“So what did you do this weekend?”

“Oh I went shopping in London with 50 strangers off the Internet and we took over a Lebenese restaurant. What did you do?”

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I want to say that this weekend’s meetup in London was so tremendous that I’m finding it hard to describe. I tried to summarise proceedings in an email to my brother and pretty sure I didn’t convey how amazing it was (plus I know I missed bits out).

So forgive me if I opt out from trying to do it justice. If you were there, well you know. If you weren’t, our delightful host Rachel and many of the FIFTY other attendees will do a much better job than I.

Instead of a full round up I wanted to hone in some of my highlights of the day.

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A big highlight for me was how much more confident I felt at my second meet up than my first, especially given the scare factor of such a huge gathering. I think this was partly down to seeing lovely familiar faces. Rachel makes you feel like you’ve known her years. Marie is such a sweetheart, she always makes me laugh. Roisin is like a fantastic whirlwind and didn’t stay long but made a point to catch up with me. And it was lovely to chat with Catherine again (I had a feeling she’d pick my sparkly jersey from the swap).

Another highlight was meeting so many new people – people I’ve admired and read their blogs from afar and people that write wonderful blogs I’d not heard of before. Sitting with Camilla, Jo and Janene for lunch was great because they were all so chatty and funny. Finally meeting Sallie and confirming my suspicions of her Yorkshire roots was ace. And of course meeting LIZZY! Our international attendee. She really is so so friendly in real life. I felt a bit star struck to be honest; I didn’t get a photo of us together and I felt like I didn’t convey how grateful I was that she brought over for me!

The V&A is so spectacular I can’t believe I’ve never been before! I’m definitely going again.

Goldhawk Road was kind of a revelation. It was so neat to see all the fabric shops along one road where we could bounce in and out of them all hunting for bargains. Now some of you may have noticed my desperate desire to find horse print fabric. And since Goldhawk Road is famous for getting end rolls from commercial fashion companies I felt optimistic.

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I wasn’t disappointed. I also picked up some other delights. Not much mind you as I’d already spent all my money in Birmingham. My swap freebies included this amazing bird print rayon from Lizzy, and a printed silk plus a cute simplicity sundress pattern from a mystery source.

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Finally, I was amazed by the generosity of Minerva Fabrics and Abakhans. These two companies effectively sponsored our day out. I can’t even begin to convey the amount of fabric, notions and trims Abakhans supplied to the swap. And Minerva gave everyone goodie bags they’d thoughtfully put together – see the awesome felted wool knitted fabric I was given (above). I always thought the blogging community was surpisingly separate from the sewing supply companies but lately my eyes have been opened.

* Meet up photos by Digpal Singh

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Smile for the birdie button-back blouse and the giveaway winner announced!

First up my giveaway!

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Let’s announce this bad boy. Random number generator has chosen…..

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Congratulations!! Send your postal address to me at almondrock.wordpress@gmail.com and I’ll arrange delivery.

Moving on. My love affair with New Look 6808 continues.

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I cooked up the idea of adapting it to use buttons at the back quite a while ago but couldn’t wrap my brain around the logistics of the conversion.

I finally figured it out last week and realised I’d been so silly over thinking it!

To adapt the back bodice pattern piece I traced a copy, then extended the fold line by about three inches. Then I added the marks for my buttonholes where the original fold line had been, marked a new fold line and I was all set. I also did away with the darts as they would have messed with the fabric pattern.

I used a gorgeously soft, grey rayon I bought at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show. It has lines of different bird cages with birds on it! It is rather see through though.

I didn’t line it other than the sleeves which is a feature of NL 6808 I love.

This top uses 8 buttons. It felt like a lot! I made contrast covered buttons from a black twill I had in my stash. It needed to be twill because the white of my button base kept sewing through. Can you get black ones?

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The first time I wore it a giant German Shepherd dog slobbered on it so I know it’s popular with the animal kingdom!

What do you think? Hope you like it!

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The Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate

Well you can all guess where I’ve been today!

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Thanks to a facebook competition from Fabrications I won a free ticket to the Knitting and Stitching Show. It was recently in London and Dublin and now in lovely Harrogate for the weekend.

For those who don’t know the show covers knitting and stitching but way way more; felt-making, toy-making, shibori dyeing, jewellery-making, card-making, and mixed media. The HIC who are hosting said they expected around 10,000 people each day!!

I took the day off work as I thought it would be better to go on a weekday; foolishly thinking it should be less busy than a weekend day. Yeesh, if it was “quiet” then I dread to think how busy tomorrow or Sunday will be.

But it was fantastic to see so many people there eager to check out the stalls and exhibits.

Sadly I didn’t get to spot any sewing celebrities like Karen did but I got to see lots of beautiful embroidery, knitting and quilting displays. Most had *NO PHOTOGRAPHY* signs on which was a shame but I got a couple of photos from displays that didn’t.

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I also managed to curb my spending as I am technically on financial lockdown while we save for the new house.

I let myself get 1m of this gorgeous slate grey rayon with birdcage print. It feels so soft and delicious.

I also got this cute vintage blouse pattern with neckline variation and an air disappearing fabric marker.

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I should TOTALLY have bought this kid’s pattern and am now kicking myself over it. Who cares that I don’t have any children to make this for. Heck I could frame this bad boy to hang in my living room it’s that cool!

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I also chatted for a while with the lovely ladies promoting the Yorkshire School of Sewing. Gillian Hargreaves is a former City and Guilds teacher and she has opened up a sewing centre in Roundhay. I got a booklet about her courses and am interested in some of the pattern drafting courses available, the Chanel jacket class and the LBD session with couture techniques.

Again because of financial lockdown, I’ve entered a prize draw for a course of my choice and have put gift vouchers on my xmas list. If neither of those work out I’ll look into treating myself. I don’t think there’s much of a website yet but you can contact Gillian for details.

I saw plenty of cool exhibits. The Quilters Olympics Quilt (see the Synchronised Stitching block above), a man who embroidered whimsical maps of local areas, knitted armour, The Unfinishable project which was a tent made of incomplete garments (I could have contributed a lot to this one) and last but definitely not least a knitted town.

The town was awesome and therefore popular. I got two quick shots of the fire house and a church wedding. There was a farm complete with knitted vegetable patches and farmyard animals, a school, houses, cars, etc.

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I definitely recommend going to the show. There are some additional displays on Sunday and I’m sure the stalls won’t have sold out of much before then. It takes much longer to go around the 6 halls than you think so leave yourself plenty of time.

And let me know if you enjoyed it!

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