About Me

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Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, United Kingdom
Hello there, my name is Sharon and I live in Westcliff on Sea with my two daughters, Rosie Matilda and Rumer Valentine and, when he's home from uni, my son Sydney. I opened my shop Roses & Rue in July 2009 and this has been a long held dream realised. I have recently given up teaching so that I can focus on building the business. As well as being fanatical about knitting, I love to crochet, sew and generally have a go at all things crafty. Hopefully you will take a little time out now and then to visit the blog and find out whats been going on in my busy world.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Hi all, I know I keep promising to blog more frequently but at the moment I just don't seem to find the time to do anything other than work work work. Not that I'm complaining too much. The shop is quieter than I expected for the time of year, in terms of people buying yarn and fabric etc but then half term is always weird and things are very slow. That said, we seem to have orders coming out of our ears, for our 'made to order' service and are struggling to keep up. What I want to know is...why are people less keen to make things for themselves and more inclined to want 'made to order' stuff? Where's the satisfaction in that? Call me old fashioned, but isn't the idea of making things and being creative more exciting???? Or am I part of a dying breed?
Anyway, pleased to report that the Christmas Special Ideal Home mag has now been published and within the first week I have had several orders for the 'Easy Stocking Kit', as featured in the mag,which would appear to contradict what I have said above, I know. Maybe its a geographical thing. I've noticed that the orders have come from the Midlands, Home Counties and oop North generally. So is it that people in Leigh on Sea don't have the time? Or the inclination? Any ideas? Let me know what you think............ PS dont forget to get your copy of the mag, its great!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Catching Up

Hi all

So sorry that I haven't blogged for a while. Things have been more hectic than ever and I just haven't found the time to sit still and think. Just wanted to show you some pics taken from Village Green, which was a cold but fun day. We managed to raise some money for the orphanage and also we have had squares pouring in from all sorts of lovely people, for which we are very grateful. Jo and I are about to embark on a major sewing campaign, in order to have the blankets ready for mid October.
We are thinking ahead to Christmas which is actually only about 80 days away, apparently. Sue, Mad J, Pat and Annette are hard at it making lots of things for customers and for the Christmas Window display. I'm trying to do my bit but its proving difficult. We are also thinking about doing a Christmas Craft Fair at the Leigh Community Centre in November, although I haven't thought it through properly yet and I'm not sure I can squeeze too much more into a day.

Life in the in the shop is busy. Last week at Knit and Natter we had about twenty ladies turn up and what a job we had fitting everyone in. I had to borrow chairs from another shop and the noise levels could have sunk a ship. But it was great to see so many people enjoying each others company. Classes are busy - Sue, Jen and Jane are all hard at it and we are getting fantastic feedback from people who have done a class. We are also very busy with childrens parties, which Sue and I have been doing (with a little extra help from Jo on occasion).

This Friday we are all off to the Ally Pally for the Knit and Stitch exhibition. We are so excited, like kids about to be let loose in a sweet shop, and talk has been about what we are going to purchase etc. With 23 of us on the coach, I can only offer my apologies to anyone else who is on there with us, for the noise, which is a dead cert!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

These boots were made for cuties!

Just wanted to show you these oh so cute booties that Annette and I have made recently for Village Green. Made using scraps, the Green shoes are made from a pattern downloaded from a site:

The yellow crocheted slippers are taken from a book by Erica Knight, but can't remember which one off hand. I'll try and find it and add it to the page.

Busy Busy Bees

Spent the weekend in Deal, my favourite hideaway ( I have a 10 year plan to retire there!). Much relaxing and eating and drinking was the order of the day. I seriously did not want to come back and face the piles of work waiting for me. It was maybe a little silly to go away when I have Village Green coming up - but sometimes you just have to follow your heart.

Whilst having lunch in the Black Douglas, a quirky and lovely bistro type place, I found this lovely mosaic on a wall made from crockery. It has given me some ideas for my garden.

Rather unbelievably, I have recently and very tragically lost another friend, Laura, and it has taken my breath away. I am now determined to try and find time to relax as well as fit in all the hectic things that fill my day. I will stretch that 24 hours and make it longer...

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Childrens Party

Saturday was incredibly busy with 8 ladies in to do 'Patchwork for Beginners' and then our very first childrens party in the afternoon. The party was a great success and the children made some brilliant sock creatures, as you can see. Sue and I really enjoyed it, although we both agreed we were very tired at the end of the day.

Later that evening we went to a 70's birthday party for Emma's 4oth. Don't ask me why but we decided to visit the pub first dressed in some very strange 70's attire. There just happened to be a load of rugby players in there, also celebrating a 40th. I haven't got any pictures to show you but someone thought we were 'fortune tellers'!!!!! I thought we looked very fetching, especially Sue in her 'Margot' wig. I must find some photos to post so you can see....

Friday, 10 September 2010

Beautiful bunting

Last night I had a 'winter preview' evening in the shop, which was well attended and a great success. Customers were able to see the new winter yarns, patterns and other bits and bobs, as well as receive a 10% discount on anything purchased. There was wine aflow and delicious nibbles, provided by Jen.....cor fanx blud!
Talking of mad, I mean Jen, Fridays always make me smile, even when the last few days have been particularly tough. Jen and her army of workers - Sue, Annette and Lilian - all helped me to put up the new bunting, (beautifully made by Ros, thanks Ros).

Suffice it to say the whole event was one big pant wetting laugh from start to finish. Nails were hammered into the wall with varying levels of skill and accuracy, tables were moved, bodies were precariously balanced and finally the bunting was up. Annette commented that if a man had been there they would have measured, marked, planned and levelled before putting the bunting up. All I can say is, good job we're not men, it wouldn't have been half as much fun.....

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Fancy Nancy!

Last night marked the return of 'knit & natter' in its full glory and it was lovely to see the 'old' ladies as well as some new ladies. It made everything seem as if Autumn is here, although officially its not time yet. Everyone's attention has turned to their winter projects and ideas abound. New yarn is arriving in the shop and there are some fantastic new books with gorgeous patterns. There seems to be a real 40's revival as well as a 'folky' theme going on with some gorgeous tweedie yarns and lots of sludgy shades of green and taupe and grey. Yum!
Nancy brought with her an absolutely divine crocheted blanket that she has just finished. It was crocheted in 'granny square' rows and lookes really effective in a delicious colour palette, (which I think was mainly Rooster yarn). The edging is a real triumph and sets the whole blanket off.

Monday, 6 September 2010

knitting squares for blankets

Hi all

well I'm back at college, and so far have managed to survive (early days). I should be preparing resources for lessons but decided that blogging is far more fun, so here I am.

I just wanted to remind everyone that we are still knitting and crocheting squares ready to put together as blankets which are being sent out to the orphanage in Mozambique. So if you have any spare stash, make some squares (6inches x 6inches) and drop them into the shop. It would be most apreciated.

We are also going to be making squares at the Village Green so do come along and support us, tell your friends, family, neighbours, anyone that will listen, as its sure to be a great day again. Any money that we can raise on the day will be given to Coco's Foundation so that we can support the continued development of the Orphanage.

Special thanks to Barbara and Lisa. Barbara made the blanket in the picture and Lisa made the soft toys, which will be gratefully received by the children.
PS I'm back to patchworking tonight and I can't wait....bliss!

Monday, 30 August 2010


I was very kindly lent a book by Ros, called Blogging for Bliss, which has inspired me to set about improving the blog. It is a really useful and user friendly book full of excellent tips and ideas and there are some great examples of blogs to take a look at. So I have begun to change things in the hope that I will make the blog as eyecatching and interesting as possible. I would be grateful for any comments. What do you think of the design so far?

Back to work tomorrow - the end of the summer holidays. Back to routine and academia, deadlines and targets. I now have to think philosophy instead of crochet, religious art instead of patchwork. Im hoping that this will be the last year that I have to rely on my income as a teacher and that the shop will start paying me a wage. I think Im getting there, things seem to be picking up and Ive been thinking of ways to promote the shop, the classes etc. I have lots to look forward to over the coming months and I hope that I can balance the challenges of two jobs, three children and all the obligations that come with those roles. I'm going to think positive, set myself realistic goals and try and keep calm................

Friday, 13 August 2010

Life is so precious

Today has been tinged with sadness as I said farewell to one of my oldest friends, Brian, who passed away last week. Many of Brian's, and indeed my, oldest friends turned up to celebrate his life and support his wife Bev and son Josh.

I won't go on at length but I wanted to share this with you because I want to say the obvious. Life is too short, so live, love and laugh often. Tell those nearest to you how much you appreciate them and forget whatever it is that niggles you about them.

I took a picture of the 'boys' for posterity and because we don't see enough of each other. The grey hair and bald patches are there but we're still smiling and healthy.

As Brian used to always say, 'Bless Yer' bruv, until we meet again...now where's my cup of coffee...

Footnote: Lawrence is wearing my glasses because he refuses to accept that old age has got the better of him and he needs his own!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

village green

What a horrid day, rain rain and more rain. Typical school holiday weather really. The window cleaner, who fancies himself as a meteorologist, duped me and told me that it was going to be really warm and sunny throughout the summer and I fell for it. Should have known better.

It's been quiet in the shop today, nice and peaceful and I had time to do a bit of knitting. We are getting ready for Village Green in September, which promises to be a fantastic event again, weather permitting of course. So I thought I'd show you some of the brooches that Annette has been making and part finished handwarmers which I started this morning. We have got loads more to make before we are ready but at least we've started...

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

It's been a while

Hi all,
It's been a while since last I blogged. As usual life flies by at a fast pace and I have lots to tell you. Firstly, one reason for my lack of blogging is because I have been working on an exciting commission. I was asked to provide a range of items for a photo shoot for the Christmas edition of Ideal Home. How exciting! My brief was to create a range of homemade articles in shades of Nordic red and white. So along with my trusty team of helpers we have been knitting, crocheting, sewing and patchworking like the clappers to meet the deadline. The results were fantastic and the shoot is taking place over the next few days in a beautiful house in the Oxfordshire countryside. Hopefully some of our bits will feature in the mag when it is published. I cant wait to see it. A big thanks goes to Annette, Mad Jen, Lilian, Sue, Jane and especially Lara and Debbie, who made it all possible.
Anyway, this has prompted me to finally get to work on adding an online shop to the website (you never know, we might get some orders once the mag is published). Oh but what a nightmare for someone who has a pathological dislike of computers and anything technical. Lets just say, so far I've thought about what I will include in the shop. As for actually getting it done......aaaaggghhhhhhh. Watch this space!

Friday, 16 July 2010

I'm such a square

I've been asking myself why I like squares so much. Is it a sad reflection of my personality? I've always been a hearts and flowers kind of girl but recently I find myself hankering for all things square - patchwork squares, crocheted granny squares, square shaped jumpers, square cushions. There is just so much to inspire!

Had a great weekend last week. I went to Guilfest, the must-visit festival for the Eighties Chick (I told you I was square!). Took my little Rock Chick baby, spent an absolute fortune, had a fantastic time watching Kid Creole and the Coconuts ("Mum...why are they singing no more casual sex????"), the Human League, Status Quo and others. Spent two nights in a tent with 6 children and had the biggest laugh ever. What a tonic!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

What a scorcher of a day. It was busy in the shop this morning. Crochet club was on so Mad Jen was in making us laugh. She brought with her the most gorgeous baby blanket that her mum had made. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic so I cant show you but I'll try and get one - it really is truly scrumptious. Jen's sister Amy, who created the granny square blanket which features on my website and logo, made another one for me because a) I don't have the time and b) she is the neatest crocheter ever!
Jen has also been busy crocheting some gorgeous amigurumi animals for the shop, which are sitting in the window, (I love Pickles the Pup, even when he is trying to pee up the side of the teepee!).
Anyway, I wanted to thank them, so I made them each a button jar with a pin cushion lid. They are easy to make and look really lovely sitting on a shelf, full of gorgeous buttons. I managed, thanks to Lara, to find some etched glass preserving jars on a website called Barnitts and they are perfect for the job because the centre of the lid comes out so that you can sit the pin cushion bit in the top. Anyway, take a look and let me know what you think.....

The afternoon was really quiet. I think everyone was too hot to come out shopping. I closed the shop early, picked my baby up from school with her friends and headed to Rossi's for an icecream which we sat and ate on the beach. Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.....

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Sew Sew Lovely

Since joining the patchwork group, I've found myself becoming more and more puritanical about what I do. I've discovered that there is nothing to compare to hand stitching. I have always thought that using a sewing machine is the best course of action because it is quick, neat and even. But how wrong can one be!
There is something deeply satisfying about sitting around a table with a group of lovely people, drinking tea, chatting and sewing. I even like tacking! And equally satisfying is seeing something take shape that is completely hand made without the assistance of anything other than ones own steam. When I'm about to explode after a day at school, or shopping in Tesco (yuck) I can sit down with my sewing on my lap and take pleasure in a line of small and perfectly formed stitches (well almost perfect; I am still learning). And I can fondle the fabric as I go! (perhaps I need to get out more).
Having said all of this, it's early days and I haven't attempted the quilting yet (that's on next week's agenda). And would I like to make curtains by hand? Oh no, I don't think so..........

Friday, 25 June 2010

Monday Nights

Hi all
I know its been 10 days since last I blogged but I have been so busy that I have found it almost impossible to keep up to date with anything. My students have returned from exam leave and we have started A2 with them. Bless their little cotton socks, they don't know what's hit them. They are having to get used to the idea of working again and considering not many of them mastered the art of it (work) at As level I dont hold out much hope for the A2 year. How negative!!!! How tired I must be....

Despite being busy I have managed to join a patchwork class and am already completely hooked. Jane (who runs the workshops in the shop) runs classes from her lovely house and its a real treat to go there for two hours on a Monday evening and indulge in some witty conversation (Steven, Lisa Sue and Jane!) and cake, as well as learning to patchwork and quilt. There is nothing machine stitched about what Jane does. Her work is fab-u-lous and I am so excited about learning all the different techniques. So excited, that when I got home last Monday evening, I went on to Amazon and in a complete 'creative' frenzy spent a small fortune on some quilting books. My favourite is 'Material Obsession'. What a feast of fantastic ideas. If only I had more time to spend doing it.... Oh for a windfall....

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Leigh Art Trail

Anne Vaughan - Leigh Art Trail

It's the Leigh Art Trail week and everyone is out enjoying the weather and viewing the fantastic work of local artists. We have the pleasure of acting as a venue for the work of Anne Vaughan and this has meant a busy time in the shop. I have managed to do most of the trail this morning and I have to say how lucky we are in Leigh on Sea to have access to such fantastic community projects. I never stop appreciating that I live in a lovely place, by the sea with plenty to do and see. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else......

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

more cushion covers

Still on a 'cushion' theme, I thought I'd share this pic with you. It's a fab cushion made by Lara for her daughters bedroom and we've called it the 'Hepburn' because of its sophisticated simplicity. I think it looks stunning with the black flower, a perfect little black number!

Looking forward to getting back in to the shop tomorrow. The rep from Moda fabrics is coming.... I sense a shopping spree coming on. I will try and restrain myself and be choosy about the fabrics I buy.

And the K&N ladies are in. The cake's ready, the postman has been warned.............

Monday, 7 June 2010

cushion covers

Hi there,

I'm getting back in to the swing of work, following a lovely half term break. The shop has been busy with people who seem to be in a 'fabric' kind of mood, as opposed to a 'yarn' kind of mood. And who can blame them with all the lovely moda fabrics available. I have so many favourites it would be very easy to go mad and buy the lot, which would defeat the object of selling them to customers!

I've been busy making cushion covers for customers and thought that it would be a good idea to add a tutorial on simple envelope style cushion covers which are easy enough for beginners. So watch this space and I will add the tutorial very soon (when I've worked out how to do it!)

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Knit & Natter

It's been a relatively quiet morning at K & N, which is quite nice because it gives the girls a chance to have a proper chat. On a busy day it gets a bit loud and sometimes quite manic. Either way we always have a lovely time. This morning lovely Lara brought us some 'melting moments'. Being new to this blogging lark, it only occurred to me to take a picture of these delicious treats after they had all been eaten!
Anyway, a bit of background....

The K & N group has been going for nearly a year now and it is one of the highlights of my week. There are two groups which run on Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings and we are an eclectic bunch of ladies, ranging in age and taste and with varied skills and talents. One of the things I like most is the way that the more experienced ladies are so willing to help the beginners. And, of course, seeing all the fantastic fruits of our labours is a big bonus. The only down side to all of this is that I never receive my post on Thursday's because the postman is a little scared of coming in to the shop when the ladies are there!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Gorgeous wrist warmers

Simple moss stitch wrist warmers, these make lovely little gifts and knit up ever so quickly. This pattern can be found on a beautiful blog: creativeyarn.blogspot.com. Just search under free patterns.

Please note that you should read the disclaimer about how to use the free patterns. Thanks.

Enjoy!! (Oh, and I'd love to see photos of the finished articles to post on the site).

Hello.... look we're blogging!

Wow, get me! I've finally dragged myself into the 21st century to do a bit of blogging. I thought this would be a great place to update all of you on the comings and goings at the shop. In particular, what's new - yarns, patterns, courses... plus we would like to add some free patterns and give a little bit of advice along the way!

I'd love your feedback.