Crochet Weekend · Review · Uncategorized

April Crochet Sanctuary

“Such fun” as Miranda of Miranda fame would say.

I am, of course, talking about the April Crochet Sanctuary .

I’ve been home two weeks and a smile still creeps across my face when I think of the fun we had.

If you haven’t been yet then you really must. Who can say “No” to unlimited yarn, unlimited tea, coffee, snacks, breakfast, lunch and a three course dinner, a workshop by a fabulous designer, plus extra treats and projects and best of all simply fabulous company!

When I checked into my room at Cranage Hall at 3pm I considered going for a swim in their amazing swimming pool. However, I had brought my  Changing Tides blanket with me and as it was day one of the cal I couldn’t wait to get started. So I quickly unpacked, made myself a coffee and settled down to some crocheting.

Just before 5pm I headed down to reception to wait for the doors to the sanctuary to open. Most of the other ladies (we do get the odd men coming. Not that they’re ‘odd’ if you know what I mean!) had already arrived and I was so excited to see some people I knew from previous weekends.

Entering the sanctuary room is like entering paradise. It’s so relaxing. However I was a bit giddy as I’d seen a sneaky photo that revealed our goody bags were actually plastic shopping baskets. I have dreamed of laying my hands on one of these. Swoon………..

Goody Bag
Our goody bag was this fabulous basket!

After a brief ice breaker introduction we were presented with our Friday night project. We each had a Hoooked handbag to make using stretchy t-shirt yarn. And hey presto it’s actually finished! I can see me making more things using this yarn. It’s actually fab!

‘Hoooked’ t-shirt yarn bag

Just look how big the Cranage Hall Estate’s portion of fish and chips is! Needless to say I did not manage to eat it all. It was exceedingly tasty though!

Friday night Fish and Chips

Saturday morning arrived and the sun was still shining for our morning workshop. This is always a unique crochet pattern written by Lynda-Rose and Lisa, our fabulous hosts of the Crochet Sanctuary and this month it was a very practical, but stylish crochet hook roll. One of these has been on my wish list for years so I was over the moon to be finally making one. This too is now a completed project and I suspect I will be making another one before too long. The theme for this weekend was spring, hence the bumble bee charm and honeycomb decoration.

It’s all go and after a delicious lunch in the restaurant, it was time to settle down ready for the guest designer’s afternoon workshop. I had met the lovely Alison Holloway before, whilst on a workshop at Wool Couture, so I was very much looking forward to discovering what she had planned for us this weekend. I’ll be honest, I’m not a massive amigurumi fan, but I always make an exception for Alison’s designs. There were so many ooh’s and aah’s travelling round the room when Alison revealed this little beauty, Lottie the Ladybird!

Another fantastic meal in the restaurant almost brought the day to an end, because as always we couldn’t resist popping back to the sanctuary for a couple more hours of crocheting. It’s such luxury to just sit and crochet without any of the interruptions one would normally get whilst at home. It’s also nice to just sit and chat, as everyone at the Sanctuary is happy to talk about yarn until the cows come home!

So what happens on Sunday I hear you ask. Well, there are no prizes for guessing that after breakfast we all head back to the Sanctuary room to do more chatting and crocheting! We generally use Sundays for finishing wips, or at least continuing with them. Finishing them isn’t always possible at the Sanctuary, but that’s what I love. We get to take our projects home and the magic continues for just a while longer.

Thanks for stopping by!

Amanda aka Mrs G x

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I’ve been to crochet heaven and I like it…..

This time last week I was hastily packing the last few things into my suitcase so that I could set off for my relaxing weekend at the Crochet Sanctuary.  Unfortunately in my excitement I completely forgot to pack my toothbrush and toothpaste!!  What a forgetful ninny I am.  Thankfully the wonderful receptionist at Cranage Hall Estate came to my rescue.  They have a secret stash available to people who may have a brain like a sieve, just like me!

 

I am a big fan of these weekends, fabulously hosted by Lynda (of Lynda’s Craft Room) and Lisa (of Wee House of Crochet) and may have been once or twice before…..!  It is an absolute joy to spend the entire weekend with likeminded individuals, doing little more than chatting, crocheting, drinking coffee and eating.  Of course, if you feel so inclined you can always take advantage of the hotel’s amazing swimming pool facilities, where they even have GDH hair straighteners in the changing rooms!  I have to confess I have yet to wake up early enough to take advantage of a morning dip, as I just love the novelty of having the enormous bed all to myself.  It is pure bliss.

 

It’s worth noting that everything is included in the price (apart from alcoholic/soft drinks with your lunch and evening meals).  Water is always provided during mealtimes so there really is no need to spend another penny the whole weekend.  There is always coffee/tea/juice/water available at the sanctuary and a constant supply of cookies and pastries too!  Handy when you’re ready to stretch your legs during the mammoth crocheting sessions!

 

We were allocated a different room in the hotel for the sanctuary on this occasion, but I have to say I did rather like it.  It was very bright and airy and we had a fantastic view of one of the weddings taking place outside on the Saturday.

 

As a child life seemed to be full of surprises, but those magical moments become few and far between once you’re an adult with ‘grown up’ responsibilities.  However, for me that all changes when I step inside the Crochet Sanctuary.  We never know what projects have been lined up for us and diving into our goody bags is like Christmas morning!

 

20180915_182808September’s Goody Bag

 

At the September Crochet Sanctuary our main project was Mabel bunny using the gorgeous yarn from Wool Couture and pattern from petalscraftsandme.  Oh my what a luxurious treat.  In our goody bag we found a hot water bottle.  Hmm a little strange I thought.  But it all made sense on Saturday morning when we were presented with patterns and a choice of yarns to crochet a hot water bottle cover!!  There was also a pattern, yarn (Knitcraft Shiny Dancer) and dried lavender to make a scented lavender pillow.  PLUS everything else you can see in the photo above.  Can you understand now why I love the goody bags so much?

 

After a delicious lunch in the hotel restaurant, we headed back to the sanctuary for an afternoon workshop with the super talented designer Heather aka Keep Calm and Crochet On UK and one half of the Dear Ewe company.  Her surprise project for us was to make our very own ‘Relaxing Ralph’ cat with his very own hammock.  There was much talk all afternoon of attaching little ‘suckers’ to the hammock so that we could have ‘Ralph’ relaxing in the back of our cars!  We gave all our ‘Ralph’s’ different names, and I decided to call mine Julian.  His legs and arms were protruding at different angles and he vaguely resembled Julian Clary…… or so I thought!  Here is Julian relaxing in my craft room.

20180921_204211

Sunday was spent with everyone chatting to old friends and new whilst working on the project of their choice.  Most of us spent the morning finishing our Relaxing Ralph whilst others worked on their Mabel bunny.  All too soon it was time to say goodbye and take some photographs of our projects (just to prove we didn’t spend the entire weekend talking and eating!)  As always we all left laden with new projects and a few extra balls of yarn to add to our stash at home.

 

What more can say, other than…… Roll on November!  As yes, I’m booked on that one too!  Here are a few more photographs from a fantastic weekend.  xx

 

 

 

 

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It’s been how long…..??

It’s been a whirlwind of a summer and this has been my first week of some kind of ‘normality’ where I’m not gearing up to go on holiday or weekend away. Don’t get me wrong it’s been a fabulous summer, but I am a homebird and was definitely ready for my familiar routine.

I’ve also been nursing a broken toe and cracked rib so it’s certainly been an interesting summer!

But now I’m so looking forward to autumn. I love getting wrapped up in scarves and pulling on my boots so much more than wearing shorts and t shirts. I always joke that I just don’t have the body for summer!

I have a weekend at the September Crochet Sanctuary to look forward to and also a workshop at the new Wool Couture store with my daughter and prospective future daughter in law. It will be a proper family day out. I’m also looking forward to catching up with Lisa and Lynda from the Crochet sanctuary as they too have booked onto the same workshop!

I was so pleased to complete a CAL I had been making from the Let’s Get Crafting magazine. It’s heading off to a hospice in Kent that the crafting group I belong to have been supporting. It certainly looks bright and cheery don’t you think? I used my stash instead of the yarn supplied with the magazine as I’m not always entirely happy with the quality of the yarn and I wanted this to be super soft and snuggly.

Talking of stash we are nearing the end of Eleonora’s Coastal Crochet seaside stash busting blanket. I have just taken delivery of the yarn I ordered specifically for the border. I decided to opt for blue as I wanted to do a wavy style and thought that would be the best colour to go for. Fingers crossed it works as planned!!

Thanks for stopping by ❤️

Mrs G x

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Today’s the day!

It’s finally here. My weekend of utter bliss. Yes, it’s Crochet Sanctuary time!!

Over the last couple of weeks there have been birthday celebrations for my husband and son (my baby is 18, how did that happen??!); my daughter has been away on holiday without me for the first time ever; plus a very fun, but late night, going to see Gary Barlow in concert (swoon). Some men really do improve with age!! So right now I’m definitely ready for some downtime with just my hook, yarn and fabulous company……. oh yes, I almost forgot, we have the small matter of my daughter’s three monthly botox injections this morning before I can set off on my adventure!

Who knew that botox could work wonders for people with cerebral palsy? Relaxing those muscles that are constantly fighting to do their own thing. My daughter first had botox around 10 years ago, with mixed results, but for over a year now these 3 monthly injections (at least 5, directly into her muscles, my goodness she is so brave) have transformed her life. She can now hold a bag in her left hand and fastened a zip for the first time in her life. But even better, her left arm isn’t causing her pain anymore. Isn’t that just fantastic?

So in between all this I have managed a little bit of crocheting! My Coastal Crochet cal is pretty much up to date and my pile of hexagons for my Watergarden cal is getting bigger. I feel that progress is being made on my wips.

But all that will change this weekend and my wips list will be longer after starting new and as yet unknown projects at this months crochet sanctuary. I cannot wait!

Here’s a few photos from the last couple of weeks starting with a mini staycation in Wales celebrating Mr G’s birthday. I surprised him with booking him a session on the world’s fastest zip wire! As an adrenalin junkie he loved it. But it’s not my idea of fun so I enjoyed an hour or so with my book and a frothy coffee!

Next, my mad family came up from down south to celebrate my son’s 18th birthday……..

I relived my youth by introducing my daughter to the joy that is Mr Gary Barlow…….

And then finally I got up-to-date with my favourite blanket. All in all a fabulous couple of weeks x

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Surely I’m not the only one?

Social media and TV is littered with reports on how knitting (and obviously crocheting!) is good for our health. It’s relaxing….. apparently. I agree to a certain extent as that was the theory behind me picking up my needles and hooks after a hiatus of almost 20 years.

Ah yes, I remember those evenings so well. My husband watching his tv programmes whilst I snuggled next to him, unwinding with simply a ball of yarn and a hook after a busy day. Oh for those sunny, innocent days…..

These days I have an ever increasing pile of unfinished projects. All very much works in progress….. but which one to prioritise is a daily dilemma. Then to top it all social media throws more ideas in my direction. Lures me with the latest yarn colours, new CAL’s, the latest crafting magazine, workshops to learn new skills (apparently there are other hobbies that don’t involve yarn??!!)

So what very much started out as a relaxing evening hobby has turned into something far from relaxing as I struggle daily to decide which project to pick up. Some days I decide to spend a little time on several wips. Knocking away a round or two, little and often. You get my thinking, right? But in reality, I choose a project. Touch the yarn. Marvel at the colours, then spend the entire night working on that one because I fall straight back in love with it all over again…… and that’s the point when I may start to relax. But then I glance back at my project pile and my hearts sinks, just a little.

I have come to the conclusion that I am lost in that world of a serial wip-er. Forever.

Roll on the next Crochet Sanctuary!  The theme for that one is ‘Mindfulness’ and I, for one, can’t wait!

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Have you ever…..?

Have you ever met up with someone in ‘real life’ who’s become a friend through social media? I did just that this week. Let me explain…..

What you may not know about me is that I’m an ‘official’ knitter for Knitted Knockers UK . Yes I’m a knitter of knockers. A knocker knitter. A ‘knockerette’. We are known by many names! We provide knitted prosthesis for women who have undergone a mastecomy or lumpectomy. Our knockers are all made to order, completely free of charge and are sent all around the world, not just the UK. Our ladies can choose the colour, even whether to have a nipple or no nipple! Many ladies find them so much more comfortable than the prosthesis provided by the NHS which can be so heavy. We even have aqua knockers for swimming!!

As you can see they come in every size imagineable.

Knockerettes are dotted all over the country and this week I met up with a lady who lives about 20 miles away from me. We met in IKEA and had a lovely catch up. It was so nice to get to know a fellow knockerette and share tips!

So after our coffee we had a wander around IKEA and of course I took the opportunity to pick up some more storage solutions for Mr G to assemble ♥️ I think I’m almost ‘there’ with storage for my crafting attic space and now I just need to titivate it with some pictures and crafty art.

As you can see, one of my cats (Cookie) has taken a fancy to my new storage!

I’ve also had my eye on this handy board for a while now. Eventually it will probably be wall mounted but for now I rather like it attached to the bannister as it is very accessible for when I’m sewing. It’s a handy place to keep all the ribbon I use on the mastectomy pillows I make for Jen’s Friends.

No prizes for guessing that my favourite colour is red!

So for me it was a very positive experience meeting up with a fellow knockerette and we will definitely be doing it again!

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My space

It was a crazy busy start to the year and we had tradesmen invading our home for five weeks instead of the scheduled three. They were lovely but oh my goodness the dust and noise was beginning to drive me potty.

In the middle of all this chaos I had the bright idea to rearrange our attic room and create my very own crafting space! Why had I not thought of this before?? No longer would all my paraphernalia be squirrelled away in various parts of the house; I would have my very own space to escape to and craft to my heart’s content.

Once I’ve made a decision I have to get things moving straight away. I can’t dilly dally. Work commenced with sorting boxes for charity and selling other bits and pieces. I had a mountain of equipment from my days of running a cake business so logic told me that if I sold those items I could use that money to purchase the new furniture for my crafting space. What a result!

Mr G was very accommodating. He accompanied me to Ikea to hunt out the best storage solutions and three visits later I had just about everything I needed. I can certainly recommend 5pm on a Monday evening as a very good time to visit IKEA!

Things were moving on well and planning my craft space was a great distraction from the disruption of having workmen around. Just prior to nipping off to The Crochet Sanctuary weekend in February I had managed to assemble my work table and Mr G had put together my fabulous storage trolley. But there were still big boxes downstairs waiting for the Ikea fairies to work their magic.

You can imagine my delight upon returning from my fabulous yarny weekend to discover that Mr G had finished assembling all the furniture for me and all I had to do was move my yarn and crafting items into their new home. It was like a dream come true.

So most evenings now you’ll find me sat in my red chair doing a spot of crocheting. Sometimes I confess I just sit and enjoy the peace and quiet for a few minutes, still having to pinch myself that I actually have my very own crafty attic. It’s very much a work in progress but it’s just such a luxury to have a designated space for all my yarn!!

Now here’s my dilemma…….. If men have a ‘man cave’ does this mean that I have a ‘lady cave’….. ? Somehow that sounds very wrong indeed! Friends keep saying I should have a name for this space…… any ideas?