Knit Surgery, Sat 15th Oct, Cardiff

Can’t kitchener? Confused by cables? You need a Knit Surgery!

Knitting teacher and designer Karen Wessel aka Quesselchen is holding another knit surgery in return for donations to p/hop. Pop along to Big Knitters on Wellfield Rd in Cardiff from 11am to 2pm on Saturday 15th October where Karen will help solve your knitting problems. In return it’s the usual p/hop ethos, make a donation based on how much pleasure/perseverance/persistence/insert p-word of choice you gained from your new skill.

Knit Surgery in Cardiff

Last Saturday, my rather fully packed backpack and I made our way to my local yarn store (Big Knitters) here in Cardiff. I was a little apprehensive and quite nervous. This was going to be my first ever Knit Surgery and I wanted it to be good.

Anna (the wonderful shop owner) had already set out her board with all the information for the event a good week before and I had tried to spread to word by leaving posters and flyers in many of the cafes in the area as well.

The first thing we did was to set up a little information corner right by the door so people could not miss it. And I promptly forgot to take a picture. Sorry. Next time, I promise! And then we settled down to see what would happen – having done our best to spread the word, it was now down to the knitters and customers to come and ask questions.

Sadly, for some unfathomable reason (the rugby? The weather? The end of the first week of school? We still have no idea.), it was an incredibly quiet day for the shop (and many of the other shops in the area, so the turnout of help-needing knitters wasn’t great. When finally a lady came through the door with her question in tow, I was promptly at a loss as how to help her – but I shall learn how to cast on a moebius in the round rather soon. As the lady wasn’t set on knitting the pattern she had brought in, we solved that problem by suggesting that she knit a rectangle and then sew it up while twisting on end of it. Not the ideal solution but she was quite happy with it as she could now “get on with the knitting”. During the day we also provided some extensive help with choosing patterns for a mother and daughter (not that Anna wouldn’t have done that anyway, but they got my opinion as well 😉 ). They were really lovely and it was wonderful to see the mother taking so much care about what to knit for her daughter who was very much appreciative of the effort.

Despite the poor turnout for the surgery we still managed to raise 60 pounds thanks to the help several avid collectors (long standing customers and friends with their children) who took it upon themselves to stand outside with the collection baskets to raise awareness, pass out information (MSF leaflets and p-hop postcards) and collect donations from other shoppers. And quite a few of the people who did come to the shop to browse or just quickly by some yarn also left donations before leaving. A very big and heartfelt “Thank you!” goes to all of you for helping and donating! And of course the money has already been passed on to p-hop. Wouldn’t want to waste time there.

Copyright Karen Wessel

And while we had hoped for a better turnout for the Knit Surgery, I had a very good time just watching and helping where I could and I think that, in retrospect, the quietness and low volume of people through the door was nice for the first try. I say first try because both Anna and I have already decided that there will be a repeat. We haven’t settled on a date just yet but the next Knit Surgery in Cardiff will likely be held in late October and we are aiming for at least another one before the end of the year.

If you would like to hold a Knit Surgery for p-hop in your town or city, please do! It’s fun and doesn’t take a lot of preparation and I’m more than happy to share the poster file I made to spread the word around the area.

Christmas in Cardiff

The air is getting colder, the mornings crisper and the evenings are drawing in. All a sure sign that Christmas is getting close. My children have written their Christmas lists; the nine year old has been quite frugal this year, only requesting six gifts and all at very reasonable prices. My six year old, not yet having learned the words ‘modest’, ‘frugal’ or ‘reasonable’ has a list three pages long, and appears to be a word for word copy of a toy catalogue which hit our doormat last week. And so the fun begins!

As a crafter, Christmas has probably been in my thoughts for a little longer than those of other people. I had completed at least two of my main presents before the kids went back to school in September, although I seem to have become complacent, resting on my laurels after this early start and now I’m wondering how I’ll manage to get everything done in time. I think that maybe many of my outstanding gifts will be foodie ones; I have some mint liqueur and orange brandy maturing in the kitchen, as well as a lovely recipe for onion marmalade which I’m quite sure will go down very well with the in-laws. Add in a couple of boxes of chocolate truffles and everyone will be happy.

Of course, Christmas music is playing in all the shops, and the decorations are getting more and more plentiful. On November 10th, together with my husband and children, I headed into Cardiff to see the Christmas lights being switched on. Doctor Who and his companions would be doing the honours, so my two fanboy children were very eager to go and stand in the cold for an hour to see them. We turned up reasonably ahead of time, but were still later than many hundreds of people who had obviously decided to brave the cold for far longer! Although, with so many people there, and packed in tightly together, it wasn’t actually that cold. We pushed and wriggled our way towards the front, to try to get a good view of the stage. We got within about fifty feet when we had to give up and make the best of where we were. Cardiff Council had erected two giant screens so that those of us a fair way from the stage still had half a chance of seeing anything. However, I am only 5’3″ tall, and my husband is a scant couple of inches taller than that so we really didn’t stand much of a chance.

Undeterred, we hoisted the boys on our shoulders (have you tried carrying nine and six year olds for any length of time? Who needs to go to the gym for weight work?) who then had a wonderful view of everything which was happening. Unfortunately, my six year old isn’t so hot with the camera, so I didn’t get any pictures of the switch-on. But then there was a fireworks display which made up for the poor view and the aching shoulders, so I felt much happier!

I love taking pictures of fireworks; they always look so dramatic. Anyway, once the Christmas lights were switched on, the event was over and the crowd dispersed. On the way back to the car park, I captured a couple of photos of Cardiff’s Christmas decorations;

They’ve gone for a blue theme again this year. It looks very lovely, but always makes me feel even colder! I’m looking forward to when they go back to red and green and gold. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to decorating for Christmas!

Thank you for blogging with us Jensta79. To read more from Jensta click here.

The blog-a-long officially finished last week but like all the best parties is going on into the small hours. You can read all the guest blogger posts here.

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