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  1. When I heard that DIY SOS were after someone to crochet a blanket I have to confess to feeling rather nervous. Anyone that has ever made anything handmade will know how time consuming it can be. Crocheted blankets are no exception. However, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to get involved and make a difference. 

    As I waited for an email to arrive containing details of both the build and the sort of blanket that the designer wanted  I took a moment to look at what I had going on over the next four weeks. It was time to call support to make sure I had as much time as possible to pull off this challenge.

    When everything arrived the mood board was amazing. It was full of colour and just the sort of thing that I would love myself. It was going to be a real pleasure to bring this blanket to life.

    My first task was to pull together yarn colours that fitted with the scheme and get these signed off by the very talented designer, Sophie Robinson. I played for ages and even dashed in to a workshop that was running at our Studio to gather opinion before putting my final thoughts forward. I was ecstatic when they were all signed off and then it was time to grab the yarn and get started. By this point there was just three weeks to go.

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    Reading Amanda's story was very inspiring and, given that my hubby is a keen cyclist, it definitely felt like something that could happen to any of us. The blanket wasn't just something to make a room look pretty but something that Amanda really needed. With the type of injury that she has sustained she can need help to regulate her body temperature and the blanket was an integral part of this.

    Fitting in around my work schedule I crocheted like mad for three weeks. During this time the DIY SOS film crew also visited our studio with Sophie and Amanda's two daughters. The professionals are all such lovely people and really put us at ease but it was still a little 'weird'!

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    All my hard work had been done away from the actual build so this was my chance to hear first hand about how hard life has been for the family. It was easy to understand how much of a difference the build was going to make. If I had needed a little bit of motivation, as I was starting to flag and my wrist beginning to ache, this was it. Amanda just wanted to be a 'mum' again.

    After three weeks of crocheting, managing some 60 hours of hook time around home and work, the blanket was finished and only just in time. It was required on site the day before the big reveal. It was absolutely pouring with rain when I arrived so it looked a little deserted but then this tall chap appeared out of nowhere.

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    I went back the following morning to meet some of the other people who had volunteered and I was overwhelmed by it all. Whilst her new home was being shown to Amanda and her family we gathered and chatted. I spoke to so many people who had spent days on site helping. Some knew the family but many were absolute strangers like myself. The single common theme was that people just wanted to help. Every day we all do things that help others and taking part in this process has meant so much to me. I've since read Amanda's book, the sky is not the limit. She is a very positive and inspiring lady and if you get chance to watch on Thursday 4th Jan at 8pm on BBC1 you'll see this for yourself. 

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  2. Let me introduce you to Aoife (very old gaelic for pleasant, beautiful and radiant).

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    She has been my distraction for the last couple of weeks and a lifetime to come.

    She's a sweetie and has made herself at home in the garden studio already. She has a snuggly den where she snoozes the morning whilst we all beaver away. If you pop in by all means say hello but don't forget that wonderul old saying... 'let sleeping dogs lie'.

  3. Our sewing retreat this November was even bigger and better than our February session and I am so excited to be scheduling more for 2018. We had lots of lovely new faces, some coming with friends and some without, and there was so so much achieved during such a short space of time.

    It's always a rush for us to get the room looking just right, and we really do like to make if look and feel nice and this time we were able to get in the night before. Thank goodness. Eager and enthusiastic ladies were waiting on the Saturday morning and from the moment the sewing room doors opened there were people waiting to get in and set up, just wanting to make the most of the weekend. 

    It being November there was a definitive festive theme to some of the sewing tables with Christmas projects and gifts being made. It was nice to show some fab quick projects in the helpful how to sessions, the perfect last minute christmas present makes.

    As always there was a lot of patchwork being undertaken but plenty of dressmaking too. It's always so exciting to see the projects unpacked on the Saturday morning, to see the expectations of the weekend. For some there may have been a tad of over packing, for others the realisation of how much you really can make if you get uninterrupted sewing time. 

    There was much hilarity and plenty of good food. Enough mid session snacks and treat to almost overshadow a gorgeous buffet lunch and three course dinner but I think we all did ourselves proud and enjoyed all of it. Who can say not to warm scones, jam and cream served mid afternoon! 

    My only apology for the weekend would have to be for boring everyone there about the immient arrival of our new puppy the following weekend. If anyone ever tells you a puppy is hard work do listen! I've been in a puppy workd bubble for the last two weeks. That said she is gorgeous and very well behaved.

    So spurred on by all the amazing feedback we have rebooked for November 2018 and are also sneaking in a cheeky non residential retreat in May. Rooms in May can be booked at the hotely direct or at any other local hotel but it allows us to keep the price affordable at this peak time of year.

    Stay tuned too for details of our crochet retreat for 2018... one job at a time with a puppy about!

     

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  4. Following the success of our first Sketchbook sessions we are running an evening session on Thursday 12th October. If you can't make the weekday sessions this is your chance to come and have a go. We'll be undertaking a lovely doodling spread.. something to get lost in. If you would like to know more click here

     

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