Inspiration, Knitting & Crochet

Arm & Finger Knitting Book Review

I first started knitting in 2010 using the basic knit, purl, increase, decrease and to be honest I haven’t stretched my knitting skills since then. So imagine my excitement when I was asked to review Laura Strutt’s latest book Arm & Finger Knitting. What a perfect way to expand on my knitting skills, plus I love reading Laura’s blog and always admire her knitted creations.

30. BookI have to admit I was slightly nervous about trying this new approach to knitting but my mind was put at ease as soon as I saw the ‘useful terms & abbreviations’ list. I don’t know about you but I am so often put off by this list in some books, but in this case there were just 9 things listed and I was fairly sure I knew what they all meant. Phew!

Before picking up the yarn I enjoyed an evening of reading through the book and admiring the different projects. The book is neatly set out with arm and finger knitting projects for both the home and to wear. I am particularly fond of the knits for home. The projects will add warmth, texture and colour to any home. As someone currently planning a trip, the travel blanket on page 51 really caught my eye. I love the concept of the pocket that allows for the blanket to be folded away whilst at the same time making a comfy pillow.

This book is a real pleasure to follow with clear instructions and a natural flowing commentary throughout. The ‘Make it yours’ and ‘Tip’ sections make it feel as though Laura is personally willing you on as you knit. This book is ideal for the avid knitter looking to try a new technique to the absolute beginner, it really is the perfect gift for any keen crafter.

Arm & Finger Knitting (CICO Books) is available from all major book sellers including Amazon

Please also make sure that you check out Made Peachy at  Twitter and Facebook 

30. Book Tour Poster


#craftblogclub Secret Santa


It’s that time of year again and we are SO very excited here @craftblogclub! If you took part last year I am certain you will want to be involved again. For those of you uncertain of how it all works here are the rules:

If you want to take part please email me at and include your name, twitter name, email address and postal address. Please email me by 8pm on Tuesday 11th November. I will then email everyone back with the name and address of the person you are making a gift for.

You then make that person a Christmas gift – this can be anything you like and made from any craft. It would be lovely for everyone to receive their gift in time for Christmas, therefore we have set a deadline of 20th December. Make sure you include a note revealing who you are.

Then the real excitement begins. We all receive a special handmade Christmas gift from our Secret Santa! You can then write a blog post about the wonderful gift you receive and about the gift you made.

I hope you are all as excited about this challenge as I am. I can’t tell you how giddy I was to receive my Secret Santa last year.

I look forward to receiving your email by 8pm Tuesday 11th Nov. Enjoy making and receiving your special #craftblogclub gift.

My amazing 2013 Secret Santa gift from @teenagebabushka

My amazing 2013 Secret Santa gift from @teenagebabushka


Inspiration, Sewing

Craft Shop Favourite – Exeter Sewing Machine Company

As part of my Craft Shop Favourite series I would like to introduce the Exeter Sewing Machine Company. As well as selling fabrics and hosting a variety of classes, they also sell and repair sewing machines. I would love visiting the shop when I lived in sunny Devon. I have remained in contact with shop manager Jenna and I am delighted to share this interview with you. There is also an amazing giveaway!

What Sewing Machine could you not live without?

My new Brother Innovis VQ2. Sewing machines are often designed with a particular craft in mind and the Brother VQ2 is for the quilters. It has a 11 1/4″ long arm and fantastic lighting system.

Brother Innovis VQ2

Brother Innovis VQ2

What are your top 5 tips for Sewing Machine Maintenance?

1. Check if your machine needs oiling – many modern computerised machines don’t and oiling can actually damage them. Generally speaking the computerised machines with a top-loading horizontal bobbin do not need oiling, but check your manual to be sure.

2. Gently clean the surface of your machine with a damp cloth and wipe it again with a dry cloth. Remember to unplug the machine before doing this.

3. Clean the bobbin case. Dust and lint gathers here. Use the cleaning brush supplied with the machine to remove any lint and dust.

4. Use the best needle for the job, remember to change your needle often. This help prevent possible damage.

5. One of the best things you can do for your machine is to use a good quality thread. Poor quality threads, or those actually intended for overlockers will shed more lint and break more easily which will clog up your tension discs.

What is your favourite item that you sell?

There are so many essential sewing tools available now and we are always seeking to stock new and exciting products! My current favourite has to be Aurifil thread. I first heard about it on social media and knew it was creating quite a buzz in the quilting world – so I had to find out more. Since using Aurifil I haven’t used any other thread for my quilting projects. What makes it so special is the superior quality and reliability of the thread, combined with strength. We’ve started stocking the finest weight, which is perfect for applique and piecing as well as quilting.

Check out all this thread!

Check out all this thread!

We are happy to give one lucky Katie Gets Crafty reader a pack of Aurifil threads as a giveaway. The pack contains five reels of thread!

Win me!

Win me!

To enter simply:

  1. Like Katie Gets Crafty facebook page and leave a comment on the giveaway post letting me know you would like to enter.
  2. and/or send me a tweet @katiegetscrafty and use #KGCgiveaway

Here’s the important stuff: The giveaway will close on Friday 8th August at 6pm and the winner will be picked at random. I will announce the winner on Saturday 9th August. Sorry but this giveaway is only open to UK residents.

A BIG THANK YOU to Jenna for her tips and advice and especially for the FANTASTIC Aurifil giveaway. If you find yourself in Exeter then you MUST visit the shop. Also please make sure you visit and follow @exetersewing and

Inspiration, Knitting & Crochet, Sewing

#craftblogclub – What’s your favourite online craft tutorial?


For tonight’s #craftblogclub chat we shared our favourite online tutorials. Tutorials are a great way to learn a new skill or for a quick refresh. Below I have listed some of the suggestions from tonight’s chat. Here you will find tutorials for crochet, paper crafts, sewing, jewellery making and lots more. I hope you find something that will inspire you to get crafty!


For all things #crochet you MUST visit – Lucy’s blog inspired me to learn to hook!

Lucy’s blog is so colourful and inspiring. So good to see her popping up in various craft mags now :-)

Also for a weekly dose of craft tutorials check out @craftsonsea #pintorials loads of things to do plus you can link up too!

Here’s one of my most popular tutorials – lots of traffic via @Pinterest!

Really my best suggestion would be to go to Pinterest – there are tutorials for EVERYTHING!



I quite like Crafts Tuts Plus 

Crafts Unleashed do some good tutorials

And there are some good jewellery tutorials on Flamingo Toes



Our latest tutorial shows how to make a wire bead cage – 

My favourite DIY of Erin’s so far is these photo coasters:



I used this tutorial for my first sewing machine make. Simple and clear instructions for an easy cushion cover 

I watched this earlier and am inspired to make a skirt. She makes it look so easy



For papercraft I like stamping, gelli plate and brayer techniques



My favorite tutorial is @thezenofmaking on English paper piecing. I’m addicted now!



I still love @MS_Living tutorials they are so simple and inspiring



@EmmaRuthJones also has some ace tutorials on blog!



And the winner is…

We had so many entries for our latest giveaway with lots of fab ideas. We had cushions, upcycling a toy box and lampshade and much more. But there can only be one winner. Drum roll please…

I am pleased to announce that the lucky winner of a metre of beautiful insect fabric is…

Jenny Riley!

Congratulations  Jenny! Please email me at within 48 hours with the address you would like this posting too.

Thanks to everyone who entered and a BIG thank you to Sam, Catherine, Lynda and Becky over at Wheeler Fabrics. If you missed out this time don’t worry. We have another fantastic giveaway for later this month. Watch this space!


Inspiration, Sewing

Fabric Giveaway!

Win me - what would you make with a metre of this beautiful insect fabric?

Win me – what would you make with a metre of this beautiful insect fabric?

I hope you have seen my interview with Sam – shop owner of the wonderful Wheeler Fabrics. Sam and his team have kindly offered a metre of their favourite fabric as a giveaway to one lucky Katie Gets Crafty reader! Sam will post the fabric to the lucky winner.

Here is a reminder of how you can enter:

  1. Leave a comment below sharing what you would make with insect fabric.
  2. Send me a tweet @katiegetscrafty and use the hashtag #KGCgiveaway
  3. Like Katie Gets Crafty Facebook page and leave a comment on the giveaway post letting me know you would like to enter the giveaway.

Here’s the important stuff: The giveaway will close on Tuesday 1st July at 6pm and the winner will be picked at random. I will announce the winner on Wednesday 2nd July.

Sorry but this giveaway is only open to UK residents.


#craftblogclub – Summer Crafts


With the Summer holiday’s upon us tonight’s #craftblogclub topic was ‘Summer Crafts’. We shared our ideas for portable projects to take on holiday, plus projects to entertain the rest of the family. Here is a little summary of some of tonight’s tweets. Hope it give you some ideas!

@hugsarefun – yay! I’m excited to be able to catch my first #craftblogclub

@fizzijayne – When I go on holiday I’ll be taking crochet with me as it is so portable #craftblogclub

@youngonesfive – I’m learning to crochet and inturn teaching my youngones. loving it and so therputic #craftblogclub

@CarolineGsbM – I’m taking my hexie patchwork I think.  #CraftBlogClub

@eyrea – I’m with Elizabeth Zimmermann – summer is perfect for small items like socks, and for piecework.

@craftypremed – For my little cousins, it seems to be washi tape crafts! #craftblogclub

@craftsonsea – washi tape is ace! I’ve got a pinterest board over here :)

@CarolineGsbM – I’m planning on telling my boys to play on the Xbox or in the garden so I can craft in peace. 

@craftblogclub – I love this tutorial from @ChlorisBoris I think this is a perfect Summer make

Happy Summer Crafts everyone! See you next Tuesday for another #craftblogclub (don’t forget the chocolate!)

Inspiration, Sewing

Craft Shop Favourite – Wheeler Fabrics

Last month I found myself in the beautiful town of Machynlleth, Wales. A place I have visited several times. On this particular visit I stumbled across Wheeler Fabrics. It was during my visit to the shop that I decided to post about my favourite craft shops (old and new). And so, I am pleased to introduce my first interview with Sam – owner of Wheeler Fabrics.

How long has Wheeler Fabrics been open? My parents and sister opened the shop 20 years ago. I have worked here since I was 16 and took over the business in 2006. My partner, Catherine joined me in 2011. We have two wonderful shop staff – Lynda and Becky.

Wheeler Fabrics

What’s the best thing about working in and owning Wheeler Fabrics? It’s great to have a job that is also a creative outlet. Lynda was previously a florist, so has a great eye for colour and design. Becky teaches sewing, so is able to draw on her wealth of knowledge. We love seeing what customers make with their fabric and encourage them to share pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We also love that we get to bring our dog Bo to work with us!

What’s your favourite item in the shop? It has to be our woven grey and white insect fabric. I’ve used it to upholster a couple of pieces of furniture and Catherine has made some cushions with it. Everything about it just works – it’s a good weight and colour, plus the proportions of the design and the pattern repeat aren’t too huge making it very usable. We are happy to offer a metre of this wonderful fabric as a giveway to one lucky reader. Please read on to find out how you can enter!

£16.95 per metre – win me!

What’s your most popular request and/or item sold? What we sell varies a lot. We have a great range of PVC oilcloth table covers that sell like crazy every March/April. I think it’s when we have the first sunny day and people want to brighten up their patio tables! Our most popular design is ‘Birdcage and Butterfly’.

Birdcage and Butterfly -£4.95 per metre

Birdcage and Butterfly -£4.95 per metre

As for made-to-measure items, we’ve noticed a huge increase in the popularity of Roman blinds over the last couple of years. In fact, they seem to be just as popular as curtains with our local customers. This is probably because in Mid-Wales we all live in old houses with 3′ thick walls and deep window recesses.

So if you ever find yourself in Machynlleth, please come and say Hello! If you can’t get to the shop then please website

You can also stay in touch by:

I would like to say a big thank you to Sam, Catherine, Lynda and Becky. You are all super lovely :) Especially as you have offered a giveaway to one lucky Katie Gets Crafty reader! You could win a metre of Sam’s favourite fabric by taking part in the following:

  1. Leave a comment below sharing what you would make with the insect fabric.
  2. Send me a tweet @katiegetscrafty and use the hashtag #KGCgiveaway
  3. Like Katie Gets Crafty Facebook page and leave a comment on the giveaway post letting me know you would like to enter.
Win me - what would you make with a metre of this beautiful insect fabric?

Win me! What would you make with this beautiful fabric?

Here’s the important stuff: The giveaway will close on Tuesday 1st July at 6pm and the winner will be picked at random. I will announce the winner on Wednesday 2nd July. Sorry but this giveaway is only open to UK residents.

Inspiration, Sewing

My beloved sewing machine

I have been the very proud owner of a Janome DXL 603 for 3 years now. I saved up for almost two years to get it. I wanted a machine that I could get to grips with as a beginner but one that would grow with me. For years I researched my perfect machine online, but when the time came for me to finally purchase my machine I sought the advice of the Exeter Sewing Machine Company. I had spoken with a number of my crafty friends for their advice and Janome kept coming up time and time again. The staff at the Exeter Sewing Machine Company were, as always, very welcoming and spent a lot of time with me talking through my requirements and the machines on offer. At the time of my purchase Janome had a special offer on, so I also got a free quilting kit.

17 - Janome

Sewing machines can be a huge investment, I try to do the following as often as I can.

  1. Dust my machine
  2. Open up and dust inside the bobbin case
  3. Change the needle – I have heard mixed things about this. One friend said they change their needle after every project. I probably change mine every 3 projects. I think it depends on fabric thickness etc.
  4. Have your machine serviced. This isn’t always cheap but I believe if you have invested in your machine then it is worth looking after it to ensure it lasts a lifetime.

So if you are looking at buying your first sewing machine I would suggest the following:

  • Research online
  • Talk to sewing friends – find out what machine they use and the pros and cons
  • Visit your local store and ask for demos on various machines

I hope these little tips help and I hope you love your machine as much as I love mine!