Coming up for air

Well, famous last words, eh? I hope this will have been worth the wait…

Firstly, I won’t keep you in suspense any further! We have opened a craft shop in Whiting Bay, which is the next village down from us - Bay Wool & Crafts. We sell the full range of Katsock Crafts knitted items and Scenes of Arran canvases, but also items from about 18 other crafters from the island, including jewellery, stained glass and mosaics, felters, woodworkers, soaps and candles, plus others. We opened in November last year and have survived a winter (we also sell wool and a small selection of haberdashery). Now that the summer season is in full swing, I’m very proud to be able to report that our crafters are doing very well.

Steve’s brewing is also due advance to the next stage. A brew shed is to be erected shortly, and all brewing equipment will be migrating out there from the kitchen - including a new brew kettle and several fridges. He also plans to investigate commercial production this year.

We have already run two craft fairs this year, and have six in total planned for the year - April to August inclusive and an extra one at Christmas. Not all are fully subscribed as yet, but tables do fill as dates come up. Since I’m in the shop on the Saturdays when the craft fairs run, Steve has been on hand to drum up footfall - which is working well.

And last but not least! - We have had a visit from Trading Standards. I reported last time that all my soft toys are CE compliant. They have now also been tested by Trading Standards’ own laboratory, and I’m very proud and relieved to be able to say that a Test Report with all passes is on display in the shop!

On that happy note, I’ll leave you for now. I make no promises this time, but reserve my intentions, and we’ll see what the next month or two brings…

Still Alive and Kicking

Forgive me people for I have been very lax in my updates; it's been 10 months since I last made contact.  I will try harder in future...

I do not know if the phrase 'may you live in interesting times' was supposed to be a curse or a blessing.  But we've had one or the other wished upon us, for these are exciting times indeed!  One development is still in the pipeline, but I can bring you up to date on what else has been going on for us here on our beautiful island.

Steve and I have both briefly had other jobs, me in the local Co-op and him in the local brewery.  When you work for yourself, there are sometimes quiet times, and then everything has a habit of happening at the same time - so we had to leave them both to concentrate on the engineering business once again.  Steve's time in the Brewery was a very useful learning curve, as his own brewing efforts are doing very well.  He has progressed from the kitchen stove and several demijohns, to three fast-fermenters and a Hopcat brewing machine.

We took some of Steve's beers to Belgium with us on our Christmas 2017 trip, and they were very well received by people we hugely respect, who also gave him some useful and constructive advice.  This has been taken on board and some new experimental brews have grown out of that. He has also received confirmation that he has passed the test for a personal licence.

As of March this year, I am able to state that my soft toys are legally proven to be safe as toys, as we went through the ordeal that was CE Testing.  It's quite traumatic to see your makes with heavy weights hung from their limbs and attachments, and then to have to attempt to set fire to them! Not only that, but they then have to be washed, and go through the whole process again :(  All six of my range passed with flying colours however, and I am now proud to be able to display the CE logo on all of them.  Any new additions to the range would have to go through the whole process again, and for the moment I don't think I'm up to the challenge, which is why I tend to turn down requests for new characters.

Steve has also been exhibiting his photographs and canvasses - as Scenes of Arran.  He has an informal display at a local restaurant, and has confirmed exhibition space in the library for next May.  We hope to have them on display in other places soon.  He is offering free delivery and a 'try before you buy' service throughout the island - search for Scenes of Arran on the internet, or for Scenes of Arran on Facebook.

I organised my first major craft fair in July, as part of the Lochranza Gala.  This came about because the Gala this year was Viking-themed and at an early meeting, yours truly opened her big mouth and asked if there was to be a craft fair - and promptly talked herself into organising it!  All crafters involved were kind enough to say that I'd done a great job, and many have signed on for my next one.

I had of course already organised a small fair for last year's Santa's Sparkle Arran (which I mentioned in the last entry).  This went well and gave me the confidence to organise the Gala fair.  I'm organising the fair again for this year's Sparkle, and have potentially gathered enough interest to fill all tables (confirmation of spaces pending).  We expect this year's event to be bigger and better than last year - especially since it will, for the first time, be held entirely inside - so it doesn't matter what the weather does! 

Steve and I have applied for a market trader's licence for Brodick Hall, and our first craft fair there will be on 29th Sept, with all spaces already sold.  A Christmas fair is to be announced very shortly, and if they both go well, we hope to confirm a series of them into 2019, and beyond.

Crafting on Arran seems to be going through something of a small transition.  Some ventures are not continuing, some are moving focus, some may be moving entirely (a great opportunity for all), and there may also be one or two new additions in the coming months.  We have several plans in the pipeline, which involve developing Katsock Crafts, Scenes of Arran, and Seagate Brewery even further.   All other developments are either someone else's baby, or not far enough down the road to be able to announce yet, so watch this space - and I will try to make another update within a month or two (instead of 10!)

Enjoying Island Life

I'm really spoiling you with only a month between posts!  To be honest, I've been put to shame by the efforts of my good friend Karen Bell of Karebell Designs and I thought I'd better pull my finger out.

The Isle of Arran continues to be good to us.  After 5 months here, we've made a lot of friends, and the two knit clubs on the island have been very kind to say that they can't believe we've only been here less than half a year.  Also, an fb page has been set up to encourage easier communication between crafters and event organisers.  Unfortunately, one of the outlets that I'm in is due to close soon, which is a huge pity for Lisa, but I guess times change and you have to move with them.  Who knows?  Hopefully this marks an exciting and productive new time for Lisa.  We certainly wish her all the best.  The other two outlets continue to do well for us and the two Karens (!) are lovely ladies to deal with.  

Steve has also been busy with our regular engineering business, but also getting involved with the Arran Vikings - which involved taking part in a 5-day 4-village Viking Festival Raid earlier in the year, where they got repelled by the local school children throwing water bombs!

One large event that's fast becoming an island tradition is Arran's Santa's Sparkle, held at the end of November.  The major sponsors are no longer involved, so it's up to the island folk this year to make sure it goes ahead.  We recently held a Belgian Beer Tasting event in one of the local hotels, which was attended by 20 people and was greatly enjoyed by all - and raised £200 for the event.  Lots of other fundraising has been going on over the island, so I'm very much looking forward to our first experience of Arran's Santa's Sparkle.  Island folk have spoken very enthusiastically about it, being a great family day to let our collective hair down and celebrate the start of festivities now that the tourists have departed (mostly!) for another season.

So that was a quick update for the month, but I'm looking forward to having more to say next month, as tourists diminish and the island starts planning for Christmas.  With two crafts fairs, two girlie pamper sessions and Arran's Santa's Sparkle already arranged - all before we disappear to Bruges for Christmas! - I'm looking forward to giving a longer update next time.

Busy, Busy, Busy...

What a difference 5 months can make!

We are now happily ensconced in Scotland, in the house that we’ve been dreaming of for the last two-plus years, and couldn’t be happier.  Our second buyer managed in the end to complete within a matter of weeks.  We even slotted in a sneaky two days in Belgium, before a mad overnight drive north.  Well it all adds to the adventure!  Once we arrived, crafting corner was the first thing to be set up in the new house, of course 😊

Beautiful Katsock Craft knits can now be bought in two outlets in Lamlash (our new home town): Made in Arran, and a smaller selection in Tan Trix – both of which are on the main street.  As of later this week, I’m very excited to be able to reveal that we will also have a display and outlet in the Charisma Lane Craft Gift Shop!  And even better, since it’s also a coffee shop, you can have coffee and cake while you browse.  There are lots of lovely crafters’ wares on display in Auchrannie Road, Brodick, so if you’re on the island I can recommend a visit.  Their cakes are yummy too!

I have also been exhibiting at the monthly craft fayre in Whiting Bay, which is organised by the lovely and very talented girls at Crafts and Company.

Since moving, Katsock Crafts has been even more successful than when in Essex, with all outlets performing well for us, and several commissions having been received – not all of them from island residents!

I now take part in three knit and natter groups – one in the south of the island and another just over the road from the house.  The third is when I Skype with my Essex group once a week, since we couldn’t bear to be parted from each other.  I’m very much looking forward to seeing them again in a few weeks’ time, when we shall be popping back to Essex for a long weekend – and a few of us are also attending the Alexandra Palace stitching show. 

As if all that were not enough – we feel as though we have the most luxurious hide in the world as our sitting room sits right on the edge of the seafront.  We have watched a family of swans (with seven cygnets!) grow up right in front of us, plus what we can only assume is a family of herons.  We are also regularly visited by cormorants, gannets, oystercatchers, curlew – even otters if we’re quick enough to spot them!  Half a mile from the house, seals often climb onto the rocks as the tide turns, too.  Too many photos to pick favourites, but do check out the flickr site, and also Stevie's new photo website

So, life continues to be very happy and productive.  Now all that remains is to try to post a little more often…

Not Quite According to Plan

,After the euphoria of my last post, the bad news is that our first buyer fell through :( but the good news is, we have a new buyer :)  Our new buyer seems as keen to move as we are, and our dream home in Scotland is still within our grasp, so the worst that's happened is that plans have been put back slightly.

In other good news, Katsock Crafts is now part of SJS Technical Services Limited, which means in effect that nothing changes for all you lovely people, but it will bring cost efficiencies to both entities so it's all steam ahead. 

After the madness of knitting puppies and elephants of the last few months, I have returned to baby clothes, and have completed a stripy cable sweater and a yellow sparkly dress.  The former was knitted in new variegated yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners, which is really snuggly - pictures of both are in the gallery.  I seem to have gone a bit nuts for sparkly yarn in the last couple of months, and am currently working on a purple sparkle bolero cardigan (which would look gorgeous with a party dress) - as Ihave the same yarn in green, blue, mauve, grey, pink and mustard yellow, let me know if you have a favourite colour!  Pictures to follow...

Now that spring is here and the days are lengthening, and the weather is slowly improving, we've been taking more walks around the local nature reserves.  We've seen egrets, herons, cormorants, reed warblers - and even a wren, but she was too elusive for the camera.  We're keeping our eyes out for the local red kites too, which have been getting closer.  It would be great to get a really clear close-up before we move.

In Transition

Well here we are in Hertfordshire as promised.  Clobbs Yard went on the market just before we left for our Christmas break, and it sold within 8 days, to the perfect (for us) buyer.  We are almost ready to complete and move out!  Exciting times :)

We had a quick walk round the fields surrounding our temporary cottage and already have seen horses, sheep (albeit these all belong to the cottage owner), kites and a peahen!  I hope to bring you more pictures over the coming days and weeks.

I have added another line to the Katsock Crafts repertoire, as I've been making cushion covers: ostensibly so far for our new home, but they've already garnered interest.  I have also obtained some knitting pattern software that enables me to convert pictures to a knitting chart, so if anyone would like their logo or a simple picture rendered as a cushion cover (or similar), I can have some fun with that.



All Change!

You'll be glad to hear that, even though it's been five months since I last posted, what a busy five months they have been...

We went to Italy for two weeks at the beginning of September, and I have just finished writing the postcard of our trip, so that will be up very soon, I just have to add in the pictures.  We had a fantastic time, some very busy days, others a little more relaxing.  While we were there, we had some great news about our move to Scotland - the offer we had submitted for our house just before we left was accepted!  The terms are a little out of the ordinary, suffice it to say we have until April to come up with the balance of monies.  So we have been spending much of our time since returning from Italy, readying Clobbs Yard (the current Crafting Cottage) for sale.  But, more of that later and as time goes on.

On the crafting front, we have been back to Covent Garden market several times; we've had good days, we've had not so good days, but on the whole I still love attending markets, meeting people, bantering with other stallholders.  Unfortunately, that has now come to an end for the foreseeable future: last Sunday was our last day at Covent Garden and I have yet to find a similar set up on the Isle of Arran.

All is not lost for Katsock Crafts however; in the long term, there is one outlet on Arran that has agreed to take the older babies' items (as they already have a supplier for newborn clothing), and one more establishment that I have to approach.  Of course, I only started knitting stuffed animals since the last time we visited Arran (in June), so they both may be willing to take those too.

In the mid-term, we are upping sticks to Hertfordshire for a short while in the New Year, to give us time to properly get Clobbs Yard in order and to leave it in a good condition for viewings.  While there, we will only have minimal possessions around us, so I will be concentrating on building the repertoire of animals (currently, I am happy with how the puppy, kitten, penguin and elephant turn out - let me know if you'd like one.  But not until after Christmas!)

In the much shorter term, I am going to be extremely busy!  I have orders for 15 stuffed animals before Christmas (and we leave for the continent the week before Christmas!), so 5 weeks at 2-3 per week is going to be a challenge.  In between all that, there is the engineering business to administer, and a house move to manage.  I think it's fair to say that the Katsock Crafts Christmas order book is definitely full!  Huge thanks to Heidi and to Tarnya however, for their continued belief and support, it means a lot.

To finish, you will (hopefully) have noticed from the fb page that I am offering a five pound discount on all items (hats and booties excepted, unless taken as a set) until Christmas.  Please do avail yourselves in the run-up, for Christmas pressies for your favourite little ones - I will post regular updates as items get snapped up.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well it's tomorrow actually... but I couldn't resist!

Thank you for looking in on my latest post.  You may have noticed that I've also updated knit photos so head on over to the Latest Knits section to see what's new.  I already have a new commission for the black and silver dress - but it is lovely.  My favourite recent knit however is the red swing dress, it's really pretty and falls beautifully.

Two exciting new things to tell you about!  Firstly, I now have an Etsy store - head over to and look for KatsockCrafts.  Everything on there is on a commission basis because, as you know, all stock is at present a one-off.  Though of course if someone wants the size specified, I can dispatch immediately.

Secondly, I can now accept card payments!  I have a brand new card machine thanks to PayPal Here.  Its first outing is to be at Covent Garden, this Sunday.  I'm looking forward to spending part of my birthday weekend at the market :)  After this Sunday, our next visit to Covent Garden will be on 10th July, as we have a couple of trips coming up - but more of that to follow.

In the meantime, the weather looks like it's going to pick up towards the end of Half Term Week so I hope you get plenty of opportunity to enjoy it!

Hello Spring :)

There have been ups and downs at Katsock Cottage over the end of winter and beginning of spring.  Regular visitors will notice that I no longer mention my jewellery making activities.  This is because we passed this on to the lovely and creative Amber-Lee Mussell recently.  Amber has been making beautiful beadwork jewellery for some time, and is better qualified to take this side of things forward, especially since we are now concentrating on markets rather than craft fairs - where we can only exhibit the baby knits.

Mentioning markets, we have exhibited 4 times on Sundays at Jubilee Market, the weekend art and craft market at Covent Garden.  We have a month off due to other commitments - and to replenish stock! - and will be back there again on Sunday 8th May (see the calendar pages for more info).  So far, we have had a great time, customers and stall-holders alike have been welcoming and made some very kind comments.

There should be a new photography/postcard entry in a month or two as we have a couple of big trips coming up, and I also expect to be able to announce some big news soon - so keep watching this space!

Happy 2016!!

OK, so things didn't turn out quite the way we'd planned in my last post!  But things have been rather hectic here at Katsock Cottage since October!  Let me explain...

I am no longer actively searching for new positions - though I am open to agency calls/offers - as we have started a new venture, SJS Technical Services.  As you can imagine, this has been the main thing that has been taking up our time recently!  The company 'went live' at the beginning of the year so I now have a little more time again for crafting.  New photos are due to be posted soon (unfortunately I've had something of a technical glitch with my card reader :( )

I have also just this week confirmed a whole range of dates at Covent Garden's Jubilee Market - the first one being 28th February.  All dates are in the calendar section.  This doesn't mean that I've abandoned Greenwich - far from it! - but different markets operate in different ways and Covent Garden needed me to make a firm commitment.

I'm also unsure where the jewellery section of the crafts is currently going - any suggestions welcome.  More news on that when I've had a chance to ruminate and make a decision!

On the social/personal front, we had a wonderful Christmas in Brugge again, this time for a slightly extended stay.  With the new business not tying us to a physical location we have decided to spend 3 weeks there at the end of this year!  It's all booked up already (it's a very popular town, year-round), and is just one of many upcoming events and trips that we have to look forward to this year.

I hope 2016 proves to be exciting and stimulating as ours is turning out to be, and it would be wonderful to see you at either Greenwich or Covent Garden some time during the year.  Greenwich dates will be announced on Facebook first, so please do keep checking back there too.

Happy 2016 to you all!! 

Gainfully Employed?

Having takena (hopefully short) break from my day job, I've been spending some time visiting friends and family, attending interviews (!) - and getting busy with the knitting needles!  The fruits of my labours can be seen already in the gallery section - highlights are the most adorable romper suits, one in green and white which doubles as a cute pyjama romper, and a summer weight one in orange shorts; also a popular commission staple, a blue and white single-button swing cardi.  I've also had several commissions to complete during the period.  So I've been far from idle!

The two weekend craft fairs were a bit of a mixed bag: happily, one more than made up for the other, and a couple of one-day fairs were very good to us.  We hope to return to Greenwich within the next month or two - the plan is to get there at least twice before Christmas.  I will post the details on the Katsock Crafts Facebook page as soon as the dates are definite, so please do keep checking.

We had a fantastic anniversary weekend in September in Barcelona.  It was lovely to get away for a few days, as the weather had started to turn by then, and it was still beautifully warm in Spain.  It was our third visit to this amazing city and we spent some time in some of our favourite places (a few of which we'd last visited on honeymoon, which made it all the more special), but also managed to discover some new places to visit next time we go. 

But I've saved the best news to last :)  A couple of very good friends of mine also have crafting businesses.  One is trading under Woollen It Be Lovely and also knits, but mainly crochets.  The other goes by Lilypuds (a very clever play on her name!) and bakes yummy Christmas puddings.  Please do look out for them at Craft Fairs in the south east of England, and also on Facebook.

Busy 6 Months

Yes I'm still here and all is going well, despite the continued radio silence for some months.

We've had some interesting times at craft fairs, and Greenwich in particular has been very good to us.  Now that the weather is improving, lots of people seem to be expecting new additions to their families, so spread the word, I'd love to produce something special for their little ones!

All the current knit stock is now up on the gallery page, so do go and take a look, as there are some lovely new pieces that you won't have seen yet.  In particular, a lovely snuggly cable blanket.  This is about the fifth blanket in this style that I've knitted so far - as a friend of mine has commissioned some from me, with the baby's names knitted into the blanket in a contrast colour.  They do look very effective, even if I do say so myself!  Do get in touch if that sounds like something you'd be interested in.

I'll be in Swindon in a couple of weeks, and I'll be taking the jewellery with me as well this time - on a double stall, so am very much looking forward to that, especially as Steve's cufflinks have been doing so well.  I'm especially looking forward to this one, as it means I can spend some time with my mother as well over the weekend.

We also have two weekend fairs coming up, both in the Essex area - it'll be nice to do some fairs on home turf!  And both of these will include the jewellery also.  The first is at the Mill Beach public house in Heybridge, and is over 15th to 17th July - kicking off with a gig from one of Steve's bands on the Friday night.  I'm expecting a great family weekend with lots of laughs and camaraderie - do please come along and be a part of it all.

The second two-day fair is the first weekend in August, at Thames Chase Park in Upminster.  This is with a Craft Fair organising company that I've done a couple of fairs with recently and they're a friendly and well organised outfit, so it should be a great weekend and again, I'm really looking forward to it.

I hope to see you at a Craft Fair soon, and will try to start adding updates more frequently again!

Happy Belated New Year

Just when  you thought I'd forgotten all about you, here I am again.

December was a busy month in one way and another and before we know it, here we are in 2015.  Our first Saturday at Greenwich was lots of fun, and we had a lovely craft fair in Braintree at the beginning of December - then I had to go into hospital; only a minor operation but it left me out of action for much of December, until we went away to Bruges just after Christmas.  I didn't even take very many photos, so I can't even upload any pictures!

However, I have been quite busy since then, culminating in a great day in Greenwich Market at the end of January.  I also picked up a couple of interesting commissions from friends and from Braintree, so that I haven't had a chance to replenish knitting stock.  We're going away at the end of February, so have decided to give Greenwich a miss in February in order to give myself time to catch up to myself!  It was especially nice to have a repeat customer in Greenwich, a very nice lady who has had both the cute little waistcoats off me.  Some more of those are definitely on the list to be re-knitted!

I will be loading some more knits pictures in the next few days; I notice that the Recent Knits gallery is looking very depleted.  I had got quite busy with the knitting but a few items were just too cute and sold before I could take a picture - but I do still have some new items that I can show you.  Watch this space!

I've also just been asked to knit a baby blanket for a very lovely friend of mine, and have just sourced the yarn for this, so I should be able to get started on that this coming week.  It's a lovely pattern and one I've knitted before so I'm looking forward to making it again, with a small adaption, just to make things interesting!

I already mentioned we're going away at the end of February; we're driving straight up to Aran after a musical night at the pub.  So new photos will be loaded before you know it!  As we're self-catering again, I may even manage this while we're still away...




Well I bet you weren’t expecting another update so quickly after the last one… !

We had a great time at Great Dunmow, thanks to everyone who came along, visited, gave such great feedback and bought something!  That fair also brought me my first independent commission, which is now almost finished: a beautiful little girl and her delightful mother – who has been a pleasure to deal with over the last week or two.

The pram blankets have proved to be an excellent idea, they’re still getting some great feedback and I also recently completed a commission for one, from a colleague in the US.  She’s been showing it off to other colleagues, who’ve also contacted me full of compliments :)

I can reveal that my first Saturday at Greenwich market is confirmed for 29th November, with further dates in 2015 agreed for the last Saturday of each month.  Full details are on the website.  We plan to try Chelmsford market again on 6th December, so we’re far from slowing down in the run-up to Christmas!

We’re dusting off the jewellery again for the fair at The Warren, Maldon on 30th November, and will definitely be bringing the new cufflinks and fob watches with us – though it’s months since I revealed they were available!

New dates for 2015 are starting to get confirmed, so don’t forget to come along and say hello.

Good news / Bad news

Wow, 6 weeks: how time flies!

I've been knitting like a demon over the last few weeks, and also fitted in long weekends in Loch Lomond and Dublin (though I took only a handful of photos on both occasions).

Several new pieces are now finished and ready for our next fair (of which, more to follow...); new pictures are up in the image section.  I am currently working on a new addition to the knitwear, which was suggested by a very good friend of mine: pram blankets!  As she said, these are generally kept as keepsakes by the children who used them to keep cosy in the first place - and so tend to have a much longer life than other knitwear.  I'm finding they're a considerably longer time in the knitting however!  Once that's finished, I'll be running up some cute little bootees and warm winter caps to fill up a knitwear-only stall.

We were in the end not able to make it to Chelmsford market as planned, due to circumstances beyond our control, but we do very much still plan to do so in the coming months, and at least once before Christmas.  Again, keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates, as they'll be much more frequent.

Also, due to its being cancelled by the organiser, the October craft fair in Colchester is also not going ahead.  This was a real shame as I was really looking forward to it... but these things happen.  Instead, the great news is that I'll be at the fair in Cliffs Pavilion Southend on 1st November, and of course back to Colchester Townhall on 8th November.  Both of those being knitwear only, the next combined stall with jewellery will be at Maldon on 30th November.

But!  Ahead of both those dates, I have left the really exciting news to last!  I have managed to secure a trial day at Greenwich Market on October 29th!  This is a Wednesday, so I appreciate it's not ideal for many people to come and visit, but it would really help me secure a pitch for my preferred market day of Saturday if I do see some friendly faces!  I can't tell you how excited I am; in order to fulfill the requirements of the market, we've made some changes to the stall: arranged a banner; come up with a small display in the middle of the stall; refreshed our coverings and drapes.  Please do come down and check it all out if you're at all able to on the day, I'd be even more pleased to see you than normally!!

Apart from all that, some new dates are being set up for 2015 already, with one 2-day event already confirmed in the diary.  All details on the website very soon; do stop by and check it out.

Summer Hiatus

I'm having a bit of a break this week after a flurry of activity behind the scenes - I had several commissions to fulfil and since they were paid in advance I didn't want them hanging around for too long. If people have paid me money, I like them to see a return fairly quickly. 

Since I still haven't done anything with the photos from our trip to Arran, I wanted to make that the focus for this week before I start work again on building up stock for forthcoming fairs in the autumn. Photos should be up on the Flicker site within the next few days. I've also recently completed a shoot for a new Southern rock style band that's starting up in the Essex area. I was very pleased with how the photos came out and their feedback has been positive, so its good to know people like my work. 

I can also reveal the new product lines I mentioned in the last post: cufflinks and pocket watches!  While I didn't think I'd have any of the latter ready for October, now the decision has been made, there's no reason why not. Both are very exciting and will involve a slight rethink on stall layout but these are things that can only truly be decided 'live'. We have a few ideas how we can display them all, it's now just a matter of trial and error on the day. 

We've also had a bit of a rethink on our strategy for 2015, which is to aim the combined stall at smaller city centre one-day craft fairs, but take a larger stock of knitwear only to some two-day events. We also want to try our hand at regular markets - Chelmsford and Brighton are looking most likely at present and we hope to be at one of those as early as September!  Watch this space and Facebook for updates on when and where. 

Is Anybody Here

Sorry all for the protracted silence. Quite a bit has been happening since I last wrote, but things will quieten down again over the summer, so it may be even longer after this before I have anything worthwhile to tell you about - though I will of course periodically be adding photos of finished knits - I'll just be keeping my head down and knitting like a demon until October. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

First things first, we've had a couple of weeks off at Katsock Craft Cottage. The first one was to refurbish the kitchen, which has needed attention since we moved in - can't believe it was nearly 15 years ago!  Still not quite finished as the Chief Adviser has unfortunately put his back out, but we hope to have it all done within the next few weeks. A major push planned for this weekend will see us well on the way. 

Our second break was to Aran (the Grand Plan is taking shape!) and I even got some knitting done while we were there. Not too much, as the weather was glorious so we spent a lot of time out and about, and the Head Crafter had a birthday during the week so some celebrating was to be done. I also managed to pick up some leather strips, and already have an idea what to do with them but... more on that later :)

Marlborough Town Hall craft fair was last weekend and a very enjoyable day it turned out to be, even if not that successful. We suspect the weather forecast (very changeable) and various sporting events (football, tennis - especially since Andy Murray was playing) conspired against us. The new stands looked good however and I was very pleased with the look of the stall as a whole. I also had another lovely compliment: 'have you always been so good at matching colours together?' :)

We are looking at adding a couple of product lines to the stock. One of them is still very much in the research stage, so only a small chance that this will be ready for October. The other however has advanced as far as testing! :) and we'll definitely be bringing some to Colchester in October. I'm very excited and can't wait to hear what people think. Hopefully we can post a teaser on Facebook in the coming weeks, so please keep checking there too!

Speaking of Facebook, if you're keeping track you'll have noticed a very cute newborn jacket in pale green and cream that was finished a few days ago. Well the very exciting news is that I've already picked up two commissions on the back of that, which is lovely. I'm very glad that my plans in April to get knitting furiously then, means I don't have to panic about fulfilling commissions rather than building up stock, now!


Well over a month has gone by since I last posted anything, and what a month it’s been…

Dartford was great fun, met some very interesting people and we had a great fair I was tired but very pleased at the end of the day. Dursley was a little disappointing in contrast, but that’s the way the cards fall sometimes: you win some, you lose some. Again, all the people I met were lovely to a fault and it was in no way down to the organiser – it’s just how it goes on the day.

Next fair is at the end of next month, in Marlborough Town Hall. I’ve been knitting furiously as you can imagine, and have finished the cargo pants (just in time for Dursley after a marathon late night the very night before, and a lot of advice from my Mum, as I was trying another new technique out. It must have worked as they got some very favourable comments!) and a gorgeous sparkly grey and pink cardi. Hopefully someone’s attending a wedding soon with an adorable one-year old little girl: it’ll be perfect! I’ve also started a larger size of the cute red waistcoat, in two tones of blue. That one gets so many comments I thought it was worth knitting a larger size, just in case. Despite the cabling, it knits up really quickly and is very attractive and rewarding. Once that’s finished – hopefully by the end of next week – I have another project all lined up! I bought some gorgeous shades of Aran a week or two ago and am itching to knit something with it :)

Which all means that I’m well overdue loading some photos. I’ll have to try and get those done at the weekend…

Seeing how lovely the necklaces look on the miniature display busts, I had a bit of a necklace-making spree and bought some new display busts to set them out on. I then thought that they only look lovely if they can actually be seen – so bought some three-tier display stands too. We had a bit of a dry run and I like the overall effect, so am looking forward to giving it all a maiden voyage in Marlborough.

Last but by no means least – I’m meeting up with some friends at the weekend, who run a craft bakers in Yorkshire. They have an idea they want to run past me, so watch this space – I may have some news shortly…

Dartford Here I Come


Apr 9 at 4:54 PM

I've just had confirmation details of the next fair near Dartford on Sunday, so it's starting to get exciting!

I've been spending some time trying to find a pattern book for double knitting weight yarn, similar to the marvellous recent purchase for 3- and 4-ply.  Between the internet, North Yorkshire, Canterbury and Southend, I think I've cracked it, albeit in three smaller books :)  I also found some lovely colours of Aran in the Southend shop and can't believe I didn't buy any... oh well, what a great excuse to return!

As you can see, we've been travelling extensively over the last few weeks and had some great times, but the knitting continues regardless!  The dress I'd started in my last entry is now finished, as is a cosy little green and black jacket which I think is in Fisherman's Rib for the most part, although the method is slightly different to the one I'm used to.  My next project is a pair of cargo pants in sand and a light denim colour, I'm about half-way through them and have high hopes for how they'll look when finished.

I joined a knitting circle last week!  We meet on Wednesdays in a very pretty shop in the middle of Chelmsford, but slightly off the beaten track which I had no idea was there before.  The ladies in the circle are lovely, very welcoming, down to earth and good fun.  I will definitely be going back - but not this week as we're off out somewhere else tonight...

Our trip to Canterbury was to visit the Craft in Focus fair that took place over 5th and 6th April.  I've been considering trying my hand at two-day fairs next year and wanted to do some research to see what the fit would be.  We decided that the baby knits should do fine - we may have to expand the display space and I'll need to get knitting frantically! - but it would be better to focus on one craft at these events, and keep the jewellery for more low-key affairs.

So, exciting times for the future but for now, we're concentrating on Dartford this weekend.

Stepping Up a Gear

Lavenham was great fun, once again I met some lovely people and we had a ball, despite the inevitable 'lunchtime lull' (that seems to be a traditional crafting expression by the way; I heard several people using the phrase, independently of each other.  Nice to know I'm learning the lingo!)

In the stream of customers, it was really good to see some familiar faces - some of which I'm not going to see as often any more, because they're off on new adventures of their own.  But other friends have promised to pop along and check out the more local fairs that I've got lined up this year.

The berets did well but for now I'm concentrating on building up stock for fairs later in the year, especially as I'm not able to take jewellery to one of them.  Work put in now hopefully means I can afford not to panic later... we shall see!

I'm half way through a cute little dusky pink pinafore dress, using the first of that lovely new wool I picked up in Cardiff.  Which means I have several new knit pictures to put up soon, so watch this space...

We're taking ourselves off for a day trip to the capital on Saturday morning, so a trip to Beadworks in Great Tower Street is on the cards, I'm really looking forward to it.  I'm hoping to be able to pick up somenew pendant ideas, hopefully in Murano glass or metal/ceramics.

And it's no time to be sitting back and relaxing just because the first fair is behind me... only four weeks until the next one.  So if anyone's in the general location of Dartford on 13th April, it would be lovely to see you.