Hello! Welcome!

I'm Heather McGarrigle and this is my blog - a colourful celebration of culture, crafting and creativity in Northern Ireland and beyond.

Knit addicted, I could quit any time...

Knit addicted, I could quit any time...

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I am the hand that holds The Patchwork Quill. And I ... have a knitting problem.I spent two glorious Saturdays (last Saturday and Saturday 23 August) learning to knit, courtesy of the wonderful Emma Whiteside of Top Floor Art and now I am well and truly hooked. (If it'd been crochet, that would have been a wonderfully nerdy pun.)

Emma hosted a range of workshops in her studios during Craft NI's August Craft Month, including classes in crochet, tepee decoration (yes, really!) and also her personal speciality, making map butterflies.

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We were taught by Jaele, who, on the first week, patiently took us through the basics of casting on, knitting and purling stitches, and finally, got us started on knitting from patterns.

We used yarn and needles from Lighthouse Yarns - and got to take them home as part of the price of the class... bargain! Such lovely colours, and really great quality - this could be yet another craft shop I disappear into for hours on end!

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I was working to a pattern for bunting flags and I'm really pleased with how they turned out! Aren't they cute? These are seriously addictive and fairly quick and easy to make once you get the hang of the pattern.

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I missed the second week of classes as I was busy wrecking myself at Walk Ten for Marie Curie, so the other girls were way ahead of me when I made it back for the third workshop at the weekend.

Clara (pictured above, right of Jaele) was halfway through a rather beautiful multi-coloured glove, and Emma was click-clacking away confidently through a beanie hat!

However, I caught up (just about) and am a whole three rows into a beanie hat of my own. I've already ripped it out and started again three times, so we'll see how long attempt number four lasts...

As well as kickstarting a new craft addiction, these workshops have been a lovely insight into the community of crafters in Northern Ireland - in particular, those who sell their products at the ever-beloved St George's Market.

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It's a warm, welcoming circle of creative people and, Northern Ireland being the size it is, everyone who crafts seems to know everyone else who does!

It really feels like a proper community and I'm slowly but surely starting to feel part of it, by going to workshops like this one to improve my skills and meet likeminded souls, and also by starting a little group of my own soon. But that's for another post...

The St George's traders hold a tea cosy competition every year, and this year they are going purple to raise funds for the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice. Full details are below and you can download a pdf of the entry form to print - get yours in before Friday 26 September!

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I'm... a FINALIST!?

I'm... a FINALIST!?

Visiting Hours: Razz My Berries Rockabilly Bash!

Visiting Hours: Razz My Berries Rockabilly Bash!