I have been spotting interviews and reviews for the book popping up all over the place over the past couple of weeks - it's brilliant! I want to put together a proper press page for the website eventually, but in the meantime here is a quick roundup:
Last week the multi-talented Katie Allen (author of Just Sew Stories, writer for Mollie Makes, The Simple Things and Cloth, AND web editor for The Bookseller/We Love This Book - quite a list!) interviewed me about my book and all things crafty - you can read two lovely write ups on her blog (above) and on the We Love This Book website (the little sister of The Bookseller - below).
Katie was really sweet and fun to talk to - not at all how I imagine most journalists to be! I had a click around We Love This Book after our chat and if you are a bit of a bookworm like me (albeit a time-poor one), I really recommend taking a look as they review masses of books and you will find lots to add to your must-read list.
I also have an interview on the LoveCrafts website (above) - it's not really about the book at all, but then I personally find interviews about people's random interests and inspirations more enjoyable than the official stuff anyway, so if that sort of thing floats your boat too it is well worth a look. You can also read more about two of my fellow authors at Collins & Brown, whom I had occasion to meet at a London Book Fair party a few months ago: the lovely Vicky Eames (aka Wife of Brian) - author of "Knit Your Own Moustache" (she makes knitted beard patterns too, and you know how much I love beards!); and Eline Oftedal (of By Eline) - knitting pro and author of "Knit Nordic" which comes out next month.
I have also been lucky enough to receive a handful of wonderful book reviews from some very kind customers/bloggers - thank you all for the lovely comments! Many of the following reviews contain sneaky peaks of the book's contents too, so if you have been teetering on the edge of buying the book, they may help you decide:
Thank you so much if you are one of the people who has taken the time to review the book - I am so happy that it has been well received. If I have missed anybody out please fogive me - these are just the ones I have seen, but if you come across anything else please do send it to me as I would love to see it.
Hot on the heels of my Hoop workshop I will be running a new course on Saturday 3rd August (that's the weekend after next), this time at the fabric paradise that is The Village Haberdashery in London. So if Kent was a bit too far away you have another chance to come and stitch with me!
If you haven't heard of The Village Haberdashery before, it is basically a crafter's heaven. It launched online in February 2012 and opened its bricks and mortar location in West Hampstead last December, stocking a colourful range of modern supplies for knitting, stitching and patchwork alongside a range of classes to complement the lovely products.They have plenty of clothing patterns too, so I fear I will not be able to leave empty handed when I visit (I spy an Elisalex dress in my very near future). Owner Annie Barker also runs a great blog, The Daily Stitch, where she recently interviewed me about my business and what to expect from the course - you can find that here.
Suitable for complete beginners and improving stitchers, the class will run from 2-5pm and aims to set you up with everything you need to become a super-stitcher: the ultimate package. My plan is to teach you everything you need to be able to tackle any pattern you want in the future. I will explain all about different fabrics and threads, pattern reading and stitching technique, and then you will put your new skills into practice by trying your hand at one of my new personalised folk letter* designs.
Materials and equipment are provided so you don't need to bring anything, and you will take home an exclusive goody bag full of bits and bobs to help you finish off and frame your folk letter and carry on stitching up a storm after the lesson: a wooden hoop, needles, patterns to try at home, and best of all the bag itself… one of my exclusive stitchable canvas bags that you can use to store all your paraphernalia. A few hours with me and you will have a new (or improved) addiction!
To find out more and book your place visit The Village Haberdashery website.
But the best thing of all is that I have one place on the course to give away for free! The Village Haberdashery are offering one of my lovely readers the chance to come and join in the fun absolutely gratis - thanks Annie! Anybody can enter but you need to be free on Saturday 3rd August and be able to get yourself to The Village Haberdashery's London shop by 2pm.
To be in with a chance of winning, simply leave a comment below telling me your favourite song of the moment - it needn't be cool, or even new; you just have to love it. (Rather random I know, but I like nothing more than discovering new things to listen to).
Entries close at midnight on Monday 29th July and I will pick a winner at random the following day.
* I have been asked a lot about these folk letters - I shall be putting the patterns into the shop in a couple of weeks time so you will have a chance to stitch them for yourself at home if you like them. I will post on the blog when they are ready to go.
The past week has been a particularly jam-packed one; mostly full of excellent things. I want to try and keep track of everything here on the blog, partly because some of you might be interested to know what it is like to be in the early(ish) days of building your own craft business, but also because I don't want to forget it - things are happening so quickly these days that I sometimes forget to enjoy them; this way I will be able to look back later and remember what I was doing for all these weeks and months and years. So in the absence of a diary, please bear with me as I ramble...
The weekend saw my trip down to Hoop in Kent to celebrate the launch of the book and it was so much fun. It is something I never would have been brave enough to do on my own, and I was so glad that Vanessa invited me and gave me the opportunity to celebrate everything I have been working on for such a long time. I was really touched to meet the ladies who made the trip to meet me and get their books signed, especially because I am such a new author. However when I got home I realised that in all the excitement I had clean forgotten about the little gifts I brought along to give away to my earlybird visitors! I have managed to track down most, but there is one lady I don't have any contact details for: your name is Beverley if I remember correctly (and if I have that wrong, I definitely remember that you have a daughter called Sophie who works in a fabric shop and that you passed your driving test last year...) - so please get in touch if you read this, as I have something for you.
The workshop was really good fun (see the photo above - that's me in the middle) and I so enjoyed getting out of the studio for a change and meeting some other crafters in person - Antje, Lorraine, Lucy, Hannah, Mary and of course Vanessa: it was a pleasure. All in all an excellent way to spend an afternoon and I very much hope to have occasion to return to Hoop in the future; it is a charming place to while away a few hours. It made me wish even harder that we had a similar place in my little corner of Norfolk, as the shop had a whole community growing around it and I would love to have somewhere similar nearby to run (and attend) workshops and hold regular evening stitching groups. If only I had more hours in the day I would open one myself...
Photo courtesy of Vanessa Lingwood from Hoop Haberdashery.
Evening all. Just a quick hello to let you know that I have put a few new bag kits in the shop. Do you remember me telling you forever ago that I had stitched a coral one? Well here it finally is in all its sunny glory and you can find it in the shop here. I have also added a couple of different colours in the stag wreath design (olive and grey), though I don't have photos of those yet.
Is there any food better than that which is free? I don't think so. Mum's garden is producing strawberries faster than we can eat them at the moment and the hens are laying like there is no tomorrow, so I whipped up a quick batch of strawberry and white chocolate muffins to try and use up some ingredients.
I initially planned to make jam, but since I hardly get any time to cook or bake these days I just didn't have the heart to risk a potential disaster in trying something new. So I opted for a version of my fail-safe muffin recipe instead, and just substituted the fruit for chopped strawberries. I am so glad I did because these are YUM. I took a few to my family and some to a friend and had one for breakfast and now they are all gone. Already. The fruit content makes them almost a health food though... Hmm.
You can find the recipe here - just chop about 200g of strawberries into chunks instead of using blueberries. The berries were a little tart which actually made the muffins taste even better I think because the contrast between the super-sweet white chocolate and sharp strawberry all wrapped in vanilla was so good. They taste like summer.
Oh my. I have been meaning to post since last week; now it is Wednesday. Again. How does this happen?
If you follow me on Facebook you have probably already seen the pictures above - Vanessa at Hoop has made the most beautiful window display with some of my projects from the book. Less than two weeks until my trip down there now and when I saw this my excitement reached an almost embarrassing level. I can't wait to see it in person. Will I be seeing any of you there? I hope so. You can find out more about the event here. LoveCrafts are also running a competition to win a place on the workshop together with a copy of the book - it's open until 4pm this Friday so you still have a few days left to enter if you want to try your luck.
I would like to say another big thank you to all of you who have bought copies of the book and been in touch with me to let me know what you think - I was so nervous about how it would be received because I know it is a little unusual (like me), so to hear all the positive feedback has been so wonderful. Thank you. It really makes all the hard work worth it. Also, the new batch of owl kit bundles sold out pretty much overnight again so I am going to make some more, but I have to wait for supplies to arrive first. Sorry if you are waiting for one; I had no idea they would be so popular. I will post here and on Facebook/Twitter again when they are back in stock.
I decided to take Sunday off completely as a treat to celebrate the book's official publication, and I had the most wonderful day with my family. We wandered around beautiful Lavenham (above), picked strawberries, had a barbecue. Basically a day of just doing things that normal people do at the weekend. Completely foreign to me; it was bliss. And as a result I felt so good on Monday that so far this has been one of my most productive weeks for an age. I think I should try and take time off more often.
This week I have mostly been working on updating all of my patterns to include more information and customisation options, and making them look much prettier in the process. It is a massive job as I am basically redesigning them all from scratch, but I am getting there one at a time. If you have placed an order in the last couple of days you may have noticed that some patterns look different from others - they will eventually all look the same but I am only part way through at the moment. The actual charts are all the same as before, but the new format is much easier to read and contains all sorts of little extras to help you out. If you want to update the patterns you already have to the new versions, you will be able to do so for free once they have all been redesigned; I shall let you know and provide further details when they are ready.
I am working on about a million other things too, but I have rambled on for so long already that I think I should actually go and do some of them instead of just talking about it! Exciting times ahead.