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.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Phew, back online!

What a nightmare, suddenly losing access to email and then the laptop breaking down. You'd have thought that the end of the world was nigh in my house. Rosie couldn't purchase anything on Ebay or spend hours on Facebook, Ru couldn't play Moshi Monsters online and I couldn't deal with any enquiries, bill payments or do any blogging! Goodness me, we all had to read books and have grown up conversations! And how lovely it was. I was able to catch up on who was doing what in sixth form, what was going on in the payground in year 5 etc.

Now we're all back to normal and I had to fight Rosie for the laptop so that I could post this and have a quick catch up on the blogs that I follow.

We had a busy week in the shop last week; classes galore, childrens parties, knit and natter, visits from reps, customers in and out, new yarns turning up.

Check out the applique that was produced at the 'Applique for Beginners' class - its was a real buzz of activity and everyone really enjoyed themselves...

And look at the appliqued self portraits that the children made at a party on Saturday afternoon...

They're great aren't they?

This week there is more to come: knitting, crochet and patchwork. Can't wait x

Monday, 12 September 2011

Something New for WInter

Hi all,
Although its my day off from the shop, I popped in there this morning to give it a spring clean and get ready for the first class of the new season, which starts this evening. I'm expecting 5 ladies for 'knitting for beginners' so it should be good fun. As  I was busy dusting, the post man knocked on the door with a large box labelled 'Designer Yarns'. It's always exciting getting new stock....

One of my best selling yarns is Baby Cashmerino, by Debbie Bliss. The colour range is enormous and it is a great yarn to crochet with. Lots of my regular customers use it to make gorgeous blankets and crocheted goodies. These are three new colours which are yummy and I can't wait to use them.

I can't seem to rotate the pic, but you can see the gorgeous colours!

In addition to the above, there is a new yarn, Paloma, which is a super chunky yarn, made with merino and alpaca. It's a gorgeous replacement for the discontinued Como.

A selection of some of the colours available
To support the yarn there is a new book with nine patterns, all of which are perfect for keeping you warm and toastie during the winter months.

One of the designs from the new book, a super chunky scarf with long fringing.
Since I had all this new yarn, I decided to rearrange the shelves, a job which I do regularly so that yarn is rotated. It's very satisfying seeing all the shelves chocka with colour and texture. It's like walking into a patisserie and beholding an array of cakes and pastries - you feel as if you want them all but know that this being greedy...

better than cake!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

stash busting

Hi all,
well we have all been a busy bunch this week using up our stash to make stuff for the forthcoming vintage fair. So take a look and see what you think so far....

These cutesy hats were made with left over bits of Rooster DK. The centre hat was made with one ball of Katia, Marathon Plus

Meet Maud and Claud, gorgeous crocheted rabbits made by  Mad Jen, using Sirdar's Recycled Cotton.
The pattern was taken from Nicki Trench's book, Cute and Easy Crochet. Click on the side bar to visit her blog.
Crocheted booties, using scraps of Rooster DK, in Strawberry Cream, taken from a pattern by Erika Night. Click on the side bar to visit her blog.

Crocheted cherry brooches, taken from Cute and Easy Crochet, by Nicki Trench

Last Night at knit and natter, Jenny brought in her gorgeous dress that she has just finished. Taken from Vintage Crochet, by Susan Cropper of Loop, Jenny crocheted the dress in a gorgeous Debbie
Bliss cotton aran. It's simply gorgeous and we are all extremely jealous!

look at the gorgeous flower panels on the lower half of the dress!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Quick catch up

Hi all
Summer holidays racing to an end and its all systems go for September when the classes begin. We have been having summer fun at Roses and Rue.

The Thursday knit and natter ladies organised a visit to a local open garden, where we enjoyed the hospitality of the lovely Ray, who raises money on behalf of the National Garden Society. We enjoyed wandering round the beautiul garden, with all its multi-layered gorgeousness and hidden treasures. And then there was a lovely cream tea. Ray makes a fabulous selection of homemade jams, chutneys and conserves, so we all went home with an assortment of goodies. The afternoon raised a total of £155 for charities, so well done ladies!

Lovely Cathy is the hairdresser from next door and she has a habit of taking on challenging projects. A few months ago she decided she wanted to have a go at a gorgeous cabled cardigan, taken from a Bergere De France pattern book. Said cardigan caused no end of problems - the pattern was at times difficult to decipher and it was one of the projects that didn't want to run smoothly. There was  a lot of undoing and redoing but eventually the work was finished and oh boy what a fabulous result! Cathy, you are a star because you never give up, even when you want to throw things in the sea!

the finished article - a confection of cables!

We have just received some new Moda Fabrics, which are well worth a mention.

The 'Oops a Daisy' collection is a colourful range of florals and ginghams in zingy limes, reds and whites and  my particular fave is a ladybird design which I can't wait to get my hands on.

I know its not Christmas yet but you just have to take a look at the new 'Countdown to Christmas' range. I'm not generally a lover of cheesy Christmas fabrics so imagine my pleasure when I unwrapped these lovelies -

I can't wait to make some Christmas bunting and other goodies.....

Friday, 12 August 2011

Friday show and tell

Another Friday here and the shop is taking shape and I'm really pleased with it. In fact I like Ricks table so much he's building me another slimmer version for further down the shop so that there is even more work space. I found a lovely fruity oilcloth to cover the table and its just the job!

Lara popped in to show us her adorable little dollies that she has finished making. Lara is one of our lovelies who has done lots of courses in the shop and has become something of an expert in pretty much all she has a go at. Some people just have that knack, lucky lady! Anyway, take a look at the dollies as it will give you an idea of the sorts of things that we are going to be making over the next few months in the classes.

Hello, Millie, Esme and Honey!

Why not come and have a go, I promise that its really good fun and you'll want to come back for more xx

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Getting ready for the new courses

I have been pondering for a while on how to improve the work space in the shop, so that we can increase the number of people we can have on each course. After humming and haahing for quite a while, I finally got my act together and with the help of my lovely friend Rick we have managed to change things around.

After moving furniture around and painting over walls that needed touching up, Rick made me a fantastic work table which seats eight people comfortably. It just needs a lick of paint and a nice oil cloth on it and we are up and running.

One thing that made me laugh..... Rick's 'box of tricks', which he reckons contains just about everything and anything that you may ever need. Personally, I prefer my box of buttons, which are less useful but oh so beautiful to feel and touch...

Box of tricks or box of buttons? I know what I'd rather have...

So now I'm getting excited about the courses. I'm preparing for the 'learn to knit' class, since that is the first one I'm teaching. Lisa is taking care of all things 'fabric' and sewing. Sue is at the ready with her hook for some hooktastic fun!!!! Can't wait xx

PS, the 'followers' button should now be working on the blog so dont forget to sign up and be in with a chance of getting those wrist warmers!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Oh so quiet.....

A few days have passed since last I blogged and everything has ambled along at a very leisurely pace.  I have managed to knit a bag in a couple of balls of Sirdar Indie, left over from a dye lot. It was a nice and simple design done in a chunky moss stitch- if anyone's interested I can post the instructions. I have just received a delivery of five different colours in Indie; it's a popular yarn amongst my regular customers and knits on large needles, producing quick results and with good pattern support.

A few dates to mention for the next few weeks. The next Vintage fair at Leigh Community Centre is on 17th Sept and together with Mimi & Cakes, Roses & Rue will be there.

I will also be giving a talk, entitled 'The knitting Revival' on Wednesday 14th September, for the Essex Handicrafts Association. If anyone is interested. please contact Beryl Burn on 01702 479622 for more details.

PS there seems to be a problem at the moment which is preventing people from becoming followers of the blog. It appears to be a problem with Blogger, so please keep trying and hopefully the problem will resolve itself. I'll keep you posted xx

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Bag Lady

What a scorcher! There was a time when I would have laid out in this heat and toasted myself but these days I find myself hiding in the shade. Still, with a nice view out onto the garden, I have been sitting at the Bernina making a bag.

I appliqued a nice heart on using the lining fabric I chose and then tried a little bit of free stitching to add some swirly designs which echoed the fabric.

Then I put the bag together, lining it with the lovely green fabric I found in a little shop - a snip at £2.99 a metre.

Finally, some bag handles and hey presto a nice green bag to put my stash in.......

I really am taking advantage of the children being away. I'm off out with my dear friend Debbie, for a glass of wine and some tapas. A perfect opportunity to use my new bag x

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Getting through the pile of 'to do's' (and I don't mean housework)

Hi all,
So pleased with my latest finished project, which I started about three weeks ago, in amongst everything else I had started. I found the pattern in the August edition of 'Knitting' magazine, designed by Marie Wallin. I used a similar yarn to that used in the book but am still pleased with the end result....

The squares were really easy to do and the flowery bits in the middle were made from chains linked by slip stitches into the ring. My little chick Ru even managed to have a go at a simpler version, which I have attached to a hairband for her.

So it's on to the next project on the waiting list: two pairs of childrens socks for a customer's little girl, Violet (what a gorgeous name). I always use two circular needles for my socks and have created this pattern from an adult pattern, which I have scaled down. I have tried them on Violet as I've been going and they have a really cutesy slouchy effect, perfect for wearing with converse or boots. The second pair are going to be longer with deep cuffs so that they can be turned over, a la festival chic!

It's very quiet in the shop so, I'm going to get stuck in and get as much done as I can. It stops me from missing the children who are all away at the moment; Syd's off travelling around Europe with his girlfriend Paj, and the girls have gone to Jersey with their father for a camping holiday. I always try to see these annual holidays as a chance to do something for myself, but inevitably end up pining for them and waiting for them to come home. It's just not the same; Rosie is not here to make a mess and badger me for lifts here there and everywhere and Ru's not here to play Lego with or sew with. How sad am I?????

Monday, 1 August 2011

Move over Poppy Treffry

Writing this a few days after the event but just have to tell you about what a fab day I had on Saturday in the shop with Ros and a couple of sewing machines. A few weeks back, Ros lent me the book by Poppy Treffry, 'Free and Easy Stitch Style', and since then I have been dying to have a go at some freehand embroidery. 

I braved it and worked without a foot, as I didn't have an embroidery foot to hand. Poppy Treffry recommends being very careful, as you can get your finger rather too close to the needle but I had so much freedom to move the fabric that I'm going to stick to no foot.

So, having read through the book and with machine at the ready, I started with a little bit of scribble, just to get the hang of moving the fabric around. It took a bit of courage and a different mindset as I very quickly learned that its totally different to sewing normally. It was actually quite emancipating being able to move the fabric about and use the needle as a kind of pencil.

  Moving from scribble, I then managed to gain more control and 'drew' a little house.

Note the 'filling' in the door, produced by a simple backwards and forwards motion
I wanted to then have a go at creating an appliqued picture and decided that it had to be something that was simple, without too many circular shapes involved as I wasn't terribly confident that I could manage them successfully. Ros had an example on a placemat that her mother had brought back from America and so I used this as my inspiration.

The first bit was relatively simple, placing the main piece of the house onto the backing fabric. I had a slight problem putting the circular 'window' on the fabric as I used some felt and it puckered a bit as I was moving the needle around. Poppy Treffry recommends using an embroidery hoop and placing the fabric inside it to get a taut piece of fabric but I couldn't quite master moving the hoop round. It felt more natural to use my fingers, but I will try again as I gain more confidence. 

A Little bit of puckering and a wobbly bit of stitching!

A bit more confidence and I was able to machine the rest on quite successfully, adding a few leaves and some embroidered birds.

Ros's sampler and my version, almost done.
And finally I was pleased with the final result, given that it was my first go. I attached the piece to a cushion cover that I had knocking around and hey presto - my first piece of free-hand embroidery and applique!

 So, I'm ready set go for some more 'freehanding'. Watch this space.

My guide to free stitching, Poppy Treffry.
 For more information, try checking out Poppy Treffry's website and blog http://www.poppytreffy.co.uk/

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Poor Lisa! Technophobic Friends, Who needs them??????

Poor Lisa has just spent the last two hours, yes two hours, updating my website, because I have a morbid fear of technology. Any mention of updating classes, information etc sends me into a frenzy and I have to eat cake. I can just about manage the blog, and lets face it, I'm none to regular with it, although I am getting better! Now its done, please, please, please, check out the website and see whats going on in the shop over the next few months. We are also planning plenty more, so that means another session of hell for poor Lisa. Anyway, I'm off to the florists to buy her some flowers.......bribery gets you everywhere x 

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Quick catch-up

Mid July, England 2011

It's been a week since me and the baby chick came back from Latitude, very wet and bedraggled and to be honest I've been on a bit of a go-slow as far as making goes. I have managed to complete my circular crocheted cushion (pattern purchased from The Royal Sisters, on Etsy). Apart from that it's been a week of planning classes for the new season. We have loads lined up; hopefully something for everyone. Next job is to get them all listed on the website and posters out advertising 'whats on'. Hopefully, we'll get a good response. In fact people are already asking, so fingers crossed we'll be busy come September...

All I need now is a cushion pad

Thursday, 14 July 2011

knit and Natter goes mad!

Today started as a noisy, knitting/crochet fest, as the girls (and I use that term loosely) were all on splendid form. We had an oustanding 'show and tell' performance today from some of the ladies, amidst plenty of tea, coffee and homemade carrot cake. What more could one ask for?

Cecilia and her pink elephant; a gift for her grandaughter Lola
Lisa (Mimi and Cakes) and her gorgeous new bag design

 Knit and natter truly lifts my mood, it is chicken soup for the soul and I heartily recommend it. I've made such friends and we are planning lots of fun over the next two months. In August we are off to an 'open garden' for the afternoon where we will be able to knit and natter, wander round the beautiful gardens and enjoy a delicious cream tea, all to raise funds for a local charity. In October of course we have our annual outing to the Ally Pally for the knit and stitch show, where Jen and I will be competing to see who can buy the most gorgeous trimmings, beads, buttons and fabrics etc.
My favourite 'show and tell' from Lara - a darling dress which was actually made for Brian Adams' baby. Fancy that!

homemade carrot cake - scrumptious!
Anyway, tis the festival season which means me and my baby are off to Latitude for the weekend. Despite weather forecasts we are going to have a fab time. And any way, if it rains I can always sit in a tent and get my crochet out to keep me cheerful! Happy weekend everyone x

Monday, 11 July 2011

Too many balls in the air

Sometimes I wonder why I can't seem to do one job at a time, get it finished and then move on to the next. Is it the way my brain is wired? Or is it the old chestnut of 'gender socialisation'? Are we conditioned to multi-task, as women? Does it hamper our progress, or have a negative impact on our identity?...........Woah, for a minute there I thought I was back in the classroom, teaching A level sociology!
Whatever... once a multi tasker, always a multi tasker! And there will always be at least half a dozen projects that need finishing...........

Planning for the launch of the new webshop

Where's my hair?
A cushion without stuffing!

Flowers for a lampshade

Squares that need joining

At least the children get their projects finished!