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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Winter Warmer

There are not many things that will stop us making stuff together but this latest spell of cold weather very nearly did!
Anyone who has paid a visit to Halfpenny Home during the winter months (which last year seemed to run from October 2009 to May 2010!) will vouch for the fact that it can get pretty chilly there at times. In the past we have persevered, gritted our teeth and just got on with it but this year we have teamed up with Jane the landlady of the Rampant Horse Inn.
I first approached Jane with the proposal that the group of us who knit together on a Wednesday morning come to the pub for coffee and cake and she agreed to take us in! Platters of cakes and fresh coffee was laid on and everyone seemed to enjoy it, the regulars found it amusing when they popped in for their lunchtime pints!
Jane has also let us take over the restaurant on Monday evenings so the Sew and Crow ladies also get to craft in comfort and it's so close to HH headquarters (you can just about see our sign on the wall from the pub) which makes it the perfect alternative venue as we can just nip back to the shop for supplies!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Swedish Market

The day of the Swedish Market dawned, and with it a beautiful dusting of snow with further flurries during the morning - thank goodness we didn't have to travel far! We set up in the barn along with the other stallholders - helped along with mugs of tea and Swedish Christmas carols playing in the background.

The market opened at a very civilised 11am but we feared the weather may put people off! In fact, it seemed to do the opposite and people were queueing to get in! Just after we opened, Ulfie appeared with trays of 'fresh from the oven' cinnamon buns. The aroma was sooooo enticing.....we couldn't resist.

An added aroma, and very welcome winter warmer was the vodka infused gluh wein, also prepared by the Swedish chefs. It really hit the spot and I have to say, it was the best I have ever tasted. Guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit!

We thought the red gingham tablecloth would add an extra cheery touch to our display.

Alex, of The Natural Selection had a grand display of working timber kit machines which are really different - as well as a host of other lovely stocking fillers. You can check out her website at

The wooden painted reindeer and Christmas Trees proved popular - we just love the gorgeous green velvet ribbon adorning the reindeer along with their tinkly bells.

There were vintage items for sale too!

And Pat made this absolutely stunning scandanavian inspired bird and leaf garland - taking the idea from "Scandinavian Needlecraft" by Claire Youngs (CICO books). There are 10 birds, each hand embroidered in the centre with a different design. Just beautiful.

We had a lovely, busy day and after packing up our wares, managed to get home just before the sun was setting.

Hope you've had an enjoyable, if wintry, weekend.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Vote in the People's Millions!

Call and vote for The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts!
08716268803 btween 9am and midnight on 25th November
You can vote up to 10 times from any single landline phone and it will only cost you 10p each time.
Thank you, Nic x

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sweden comes to Suffolk!

Hot on the heels of the Swish last week, next Saturday we're back at Creeting House to take part in their Swedish weekend! Between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 27th November, Creeting House are hosting a Swedish Mini Market. There'll be Swedish Christmas decorations and gifts, speciality Craft stalls, Reclaimed & new gift items. There will also be gluhwein (mulled wine), mince pies and roasted chestnuts. We're also promised the opportunity to meet the Swedish Chefs Lars, Ture and Ulfie, who are travelling over especially from Sweden to provide swedish culinary goodies for the event. They will also be busy preparing authentic culinary feasts on the Friday and Saturday evenings at Creeting House.
It promises to be a really great weekend and something really different. With the promise of Gluhwein we couldn't resist so we will be taking a little bit of Halfpenny Home to Creeting House for the day.

If you're able to come along - we'd love to see you!
For directions to Creeting House, see the website at

Jacqui x

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Swish Report

Our swish preparations went well, with all of our swishers bringing really lovely clothes and accessories to swap. We had new clothes still with their tags on and all sorts of really good labels including Fenn Wright Manson and Jaegar as well as good high street names like Coast, Laura Ashley and Monsoon. We also had a vintage clothes rail including this beautiful beaded dress below.

However, with the swish just a couple of hours away, disaster struck - a power cut! We therefore had to hastily reschedule for the following Monday - everyone was great and thankfully most could make the rescheduled date. With everyone gathered in the grand hall at Creeting House, canapes made by Ali at the Barn Cafe were devoured, washed down with babycham, a very retro touch! Thankfully no problems with power cuts the second time around!

A fashion show followed with our models wearing items brought to the swish. Linzi wears a beautiful bottle green silk blouse and black trousers.

And Glynis looks fab in her mother of the bride outfit - bringing together an array of items brought to the swish.

Then, with our swishers champing at the bit, we let them loose to swish! Here they are in full swing!

We had a whole room dedicated to accessories ranging from gorgeous costume jewellery, shoes, scarves, hats and bags.

At the end of the swish, everyone collected the items they had bagged - I got some brand new black boots which I'm very pleased with.

There was very little left on the rails so, judging by this, everyone went away with something new to them and in the knowledge that they'd done their bit for the planet! As well as having a great evening we also raised a fantastic sum for the EACH Treehouse Appeal. We raised £755 on the night, which was rounded up to £800 by an anonymous donor the following day.

Before leaving Creeting House we enjoyed a celebratory drink of Lisa's homemade elderflower champagne to finish off the evening!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Standby for Point 5!

This was the sight that greeted me this morning when I rolled up to Halfpenny Home on my bike! The big Colinette order that we've all been looking forward comes in great big boxes and still tied in hanks not skeins. It's always very exciting to open up the bags and see the fantastic handyed wools straight from Wales.
Jitterbug sock yarn in Vatican Pie and Rio!
Point Five in fifteen shades - I got a little bit carried away with this order but who could blame me?
Look at all those colours! My favourites (so far) are Elephants Daydream and Lavender Lil but I've got a way to go before I've been through them all. I haven't even got out the new yarn from Colinette - Hullabaloo, it's amazing an Aran yarn that is made by spinning black fleece with the white so that when it's dyed only the white takes the colour, the finished yarn is delicious!
Only another 158 to go! Nic x

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A Jumbled up Post!

This lovely patterned floor is laid out just like a patchwork quilt! We aren't obsessed with all things textile but it does change the way you see the world ...this floor is in Creeting House which was the venue for last weeks and this weeks Swish Up event - a whole post on this to follow shortly!
Halfpenny Home was there or a very small part of it was!
It's tricky to show people who have never visited HH HQ just what it is like and what goes on there but I think that we managed it this week. The good wives of Sew and Crow don't like to waste a single second so they all brought their knitting and crochet along to Creeting House with them.
We also had a visit from Laura who makes the most wonderful soap, has helped us with the book and will be running soap making workshops at Halfpenny Home next Spring and Summer. I wasted no time at all in getting that delivery of delicious smelling soap installed on a cake stand!
There will be some of Laura's soap available at the Humble Jumble up at The Ark on King William Street in Needham Market on Saturday 20th November - it's starting earlier this month 10 am - 3 pm.
Flossie is proudly sporting a HJ poster along with one of our hand dyed silk scarves and a skirt by Polly's Textiles.
Floss stood in for me (I'm shy!) to show off my new cardigan wrap thing that is so snuggly and warm, here it is wrapped up...
and here it is worn down!
Cheers Floss! Hope to see you all up the jumble on Saturday, Nic x

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Hats Off!

Finally - the hat which will be featuring in my Autumn/Winter collection. Along with my really long scarf and my big mittens it will keep me warm when I'm riding my bike!
I love the Knit Collage yarn that we have at HH and have been eager to get on with fashioning myself a hat in it. Just choosing the colour was hard enough as they are all so yummy...

I decided to go for Raspberry Sunset as it goes perfectly with this Fandango yarn from Colinette. I finished it this morning just in time for my trip down to the allotment to let out the chickens - before that I managed (with difficulty) to get a couple of pics. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out! The Fandango covers my ears and is really soft and snuggly, the Knit Collage is so chunky that it's made a lovely warm hat.

With the help of my lovely mum I have finished my jacket/cardigan/wrap thing that has been on the go since last Summer.
It's knitted in chunky Tweedy by Sirdar and was supposed to be finished in time for last Winter. I had nearly finished but when I did the sleeves I didn't like them so it's been folded up and sat on a stool next to my sewing machine all this time. I couldn't face starting the sleeves again so when mum said she fancied doing a bit of knitting I had it all ready for her!

She knitted them up in a flash and I couldn't wait to sew it all together and show it off! It has these long sides that waterfall down like this...

I'll have to get a snap of Floss wearing it so you can see it in all it's glory!
Now I can get back to making Christmas presents, Nic x

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Every other Thursday evening Sam and I meet up with some other knitters at The Brewery Tap in Ipswich, we have a great time and the Tap does brilliant food as well as having Aspall Cyder on tap - what more could you want? Although already familiar with the fabulous homemade sausage rolls this week I was tempted by a scotch egg. It's like a Halfpenny Home from home as the Tap displays their homemade goodies on cakestands just like we do at the studio!
We didn't stay out too late as the next day I was expecting a visit from a very special person, Tracy from the Gedgrave Flock was coming over to deliver some of her beautiful yarns that are produced from her flock of Wensledales.

After meeting up with Tracy at HH, we left the art group upstairs to lock up and made our way down to The Barn Cafe at Alder Carr Farm. As we were passing we dropped into The Old Piggery Pottery and spied the next batch of mugs destined for HH. These ones are still waiting for their handles!

These mugs are waiting to be handpainted with chickens, hares and blackbirds!
If you've ever paid a visit to the studio you will have seen or enjoyed a cuppa from one of Helen's mugs, the ones we use are specially made for us and have Halfpenny flowers on them. This next batch will be in Halfpenny colours - red and blue and we can't wait to see them!

This is the new lot of yarns that Tracy was delivering, she's dyed the skeins - you can see the photos on her blog here. It's perfect for socks!

I've been so looking forward to seeing this yarn - we love Knit Collage yarn and inspired by this Tracy sent a photo to her spinner and asked if she could do something similiar...

This is the result, she's spun in strands of pinky purple and turquoise silk along with the chunky Wensleydale wool and isn't it stunning?

What can we make with it? Nic x

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Halfpenny Home visits the Hitcham After Seven's!

Sitting here at my kitchen table I am remembering the evening we spent in the company of the Hitcham After Seven's. These ladies started to meet up every fortnight 35 years ago and the current Chairperson Sadie is one of the clubs founder members. They have a guest speaker every time that they meet up and always have a splendid time!
We were invited along after a few of 'The After Seven's' had visited Halfpenny Home and being a crafty lot they knew that we would be able to organize a quick make that they could all enjoy...
We packed up our wicker hamper with goodies and treats from HH...

The china chicken that you usually see on the big table at the studio came along and made itself useful ferrying threads from table to table...
Decorating haircombs, brooches and hairbands with Suffolk puffs, buttons and colourful feathers kept us all busy until coffee time!
Rosina, seen here sitting to the right of the picture is the events co-ordinator and works hard to make sure that the diary is full and that the ladies are always entertained.
I even had a little time to start on a little something for myself, I've wanted to use this lovely brown spotted fabric for ages and then when this gorgeous rose print poplin arrived I couldn't wait any longer!
I'll post the results when I have finished, Nic x