Bella Knitting Wed, 01 Dec 2021 10:13:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bella Knitting 32 32 Australian fashion has a problem when it comes to sourcing raw materials Wed, 01 Dec 2021 04:06:10 +0000

For every brand making a sustainability claim, there is a tremendous amount of offshoring happening behind the scenes.

Earlier this year, the Australian Fashion Council released its 2021 Fashion Industry Report. Beyond reflections on the devastating effects of COVID on the local industry, and a bit of posturing about the significant financial and cultural contributions of Australian fashion, I noticed a rather disturbing statistic languishing among the colorful graphics and quotes. bold: the fact that only 29 percent of our local businesses source at least some of their raw materials from local suppliers.

“The EY 2021 Australian Fashion and Textile Industry Survey found that 88% of companies design their products in Australia, but only 29% have sourced some of their materials from local suppliers,” details the report. “There is a major opportunity for greater domestic supply. Every million dollars of industrial production potentially relocated to Australia – if this is commercially viable – could generate an economic return of around $ 1.2 million.

For more fashion news, shoots, articles and reports, visit our Fashion section.

Besides the obvious economic benefits of offshoring our raw materials and manufacturing industries, there is also a huge sustainability benefit in such a move – after all, air cargo and transportation pollution adds a sustainability cost to the economy. companies that are desperately trying to improve their green credentials.

So, can we really talk about sustainable local fashion in a credible way, when only 29% of the raw materials come from Australia? There are many challenges for local brands when it comes to sourcing local raw materials and sustainable fibers. As customers increasingly demand that their products be made in Australia, the answer isn’t as simple as “Okay, let’s do more of our fabrics here”. For small brands in particular, the issues are complex and varied.

What are the obstacles to the local supply of raw materials?

“The obstacle would be to be able to allow me to stock up on what I want”, explains Suzan Dlouhy, founder of SZN, a small label based in Melbourne.A lot of times I find something really good, and these companies don’t necessarily want to work with me because I’m too small. Their minimum order quantity can take me out of the game altogether.

During our conversation, Suzan tells me a story of trying to buy a small amount of knitting from a local mill, who told her that they need a minimum order of 1000 yards. This is the reason why many local manufacturers turn to overseas suppliers, as they often do not impose such onerous minimum order requirements.

Even the possibility of participating in a big order with other small manufacturers gets complicated – if you order something unique, do you really want five other Melbourne designers to make similar items from the same knit, over the course of? the same season?

It is clear that Australia has gaping holes in the raw materials processing industry. Maybe some cotton isn’t made here, but the resulting organic cotton fabric is. Or maybe local manufacturers can’t source a certain type of textile locally and have to look to overseas suppliers. This is a problem that often also complicates the highly regarded “Australian made” label – a label that does not necessarily guarantee that 100% of the processes have been completed in Australia.

For starters, the current code is confusing at best – there are six groups of representations, each with their own criteria for compliance, including the most frequently used terms Product of Australia, Made in Australia, Grown in Australia and Made in Australia.

It’s fair to say that the average consumer wouldn’t know the subtle differences between the six groups – and even within these specific groups, the criteria never require that 100% of the product adhere to the label, only “virtually all”. “Or” “significant components.

Support the onhoring cycle

So while even ‘Australian Made’ certification does not guarantee 100% of products made in Australia, how are consumers supposed to support a local industry that appears to be struggling to survive?

“The biggest opportunity is local manufacturing and supporting smart offshoring,” says Elle Roseby, CEO of Country Road. “80% of our customers want to support Australian manufacturing. We send cotton and wool to Vietnam and China to be spun and woven when it could be done here. We all talk about reducing emissions but the current commodity model conflicts with that, we have to support the offshoring cycle.

“For the industry to thrive and be more sustainable, we need to invest in creating jobs in local manufacturing, as well as in technology and sustainability. We have to treat it as a serious industry if we are really going to attract the brightest minds and spur real innovation, ”she explains.

“Australia has a very small old-fashioned industry of making its own fabric,” says Kalaurie Karl-Crooks, creative director and designer of local brand Kalaurie. There are only a handful of knitting factories and weaving factories. It is actually quite difficult to source the tissue grown and ground in Australia. What we are still doing here is very basic.

Bringing the conversation back to sustainability is key to reviving the local raw materials and manufacturing industry here in Australia – especially given the huge shift in momentum we’ve seen in the industry towards labeling and packaging. sustainable marketing. However, transparency continues to be the key to achieving this and consumers should be careful when looking for products made in Australia.

“The fiber is made into yarn, the yarn into fabric and the fabric into clothing – that can literally be the number of times it crosses the ocean,” says Suzan. “So if you buy ‘Australian cotton’ from, say, Kmart, there is no guarantee how many times it has crossed the ocean. It’s not very clear – it’s not the transparency that people want in the supply chain.

Suzan’s point echoes my recent call for blockchain technology to help with tracking and transparency in the fashion industry. Going even further than ethical manufacturing tracing or raw material sourcing, blockchain could also potentially provide industry with an automated sustainability calculator.

Imagine being able to scan two competing garments via a QR code on a tag, and see the relative carbon footprint of both at the same time, calculated automatically by an algorithm running in the background.

Unfortunately, this kind of technology seems far away – after all, historically the fashion industry has not been good at integrating into the tech world, despite the huge opportunity for blockchain to respond to all of these. pressing ethical issues with far fewer resources. – in a heavy way.

“When we decided in the late ’80s and mid’ 90s to source more clothing from overseas and our industries were shutting down, that’s when I think we have limited our technological progress in fashion, ”explains Suzan. “Because if you are a manufacturing company, you are constantly improving yourself with your profits. You can get the next best machine… Our manufacturing has stalled.

So what is the answer to our raw material supply and sustainability issues?

Can we just invest the money in up-to-date technology and training, and hope for the best? “Personally, I think the industry could be revived through grassroots movements, job creation in the sector and awareness,” Kalaurie says.

“A lot of people don’t realize that Australia barely makes fabric and that although the raw materials are grown here, the fabric isn’t actually produced here. Relaunching jobs in this textile industry would be huge to pass the knowledge on to the next generation of fabric technicians to continue transforming Australian raw materials into fabrics made in Australia and then into products made in Australia.

“[But] I don’t think there is anything sustainable about the continued production of products. For me, sustainability is about making do with what you have to create something desirable with as little impact as possible, ”she notes.

This is something Courtney Holm, founder of circular label A.BCH, is also passionate about: the idea that the fashion industry needs to look at its production and start there, if it is to be taken seriously when it comes to sustainability. As part of the community she has built locally, she resells raw materials to other small manufacturers when large quantities of orders would otherwise deprive them of the market.

Interestingly, at the same time, she’s working with the community center and production house, The Social Studio, on a fascinating new project that could change the game of local raw materials.

“They’re doing a big study right now in Victoria on the raw materials that are in people’s warehouses – it’s more like a surplus material situation. We’ve been working on this idea of ​​how to move some of this material forward and actually help with this minimum orders problem.

“There are so many good raw materials made in Australia – hundreds of thousands of meters – that sit in warehouses unused. It’s a really crazy problem that people don’t really know about. There are so many ways that there could be better solutions for small business because they are either lower priced or minimum order quantity to make these really good and big steps in sustainability.

Ultimately, the approach will have to be multidimensional. While investing in our raw materials and local manufacturing capabilities may reduce the impacts of transportation on our sustainability goals, it is a short-term solution that only considers part of a circular environmental impact chain.

“It’s very difficult, and unless you’re totally circular, I don’t think you can claim to be sustainable,” says Kalaurie. “No brand is perfect, there is always room to grow – but doing the best you can is important.”

Learn more about circular fashion here.

Robin Stroot: Random Thoughts on Crafting | Opinion Sat, 27 Nov 2021 00:32:00 +0000

Update on my plants and roller coaster fiasco a few weeks ago. (This is where my watered plant, which I thought was drained, ended up draining all the way through my little bookshelf in my craft room.) The little drip plate under the planter didn’t did the job so I got an old ice cream bucket as a drainer. Problem solved. The recovered coaster (the one that was stuck, pinned between the wall and the washing machine) is now washed, dried and put back into service.

Does anyone know where I can find my scissors? They’re never where I thought I left them. Most of the time, I end up piling my pattern instructions, pieces of fabric and / or newspaper articles on the scissors. Then it’s tapping on that pile or pile of stuff. I found them where I left them, under the fourth pile of stuff. Now if only I can find my cup of coffee.

Lots of stuff is the bane of my existence, especially at this time of year. I’m in finishing mode for a few donation and charity projects. I finished a knit baby set for a friend, which consists of a hat, sweater and a little afghan. The ends of the thread are woven and the set has been washed and dried, ready to ship. A Christmas stocking is on the needles and going well. I finished a pocket shawl for a gift except that I have to buy more yarn to make the pockets that go to the ends of the shawl. I hope I can escape the store by buying only one skein of yarn. There is still a charity project vest to finish along the shoulders and the last Afghan grandchild ready to be assembled. I will be spending a lot of time weaving scraps of yarn to complete these projects. No actual deadline except for the Christmas stocking, but I want to finish these projects so I have room in my craft room to work on new projects.

I often like to read the Family Circus comic, but last Saturday’s cartoon, which featured the grandmother working on a craft, made me heave a big sigh along with a palm of my hand. The granddaughter, Dolly, said she didn’t know you could use chopsticks to sew. In all of my years of sewing, I can honestly say that I have never used chopsticks to sew items together. I use a sewing machine or sew the item by hand using a sewing needle. If you watch the cartoon, the grandmother is working on a knitting project, ergo using “two sticks” to knit. You can, however, use chopsticks to make a knitting project, but sewing is not one of those crafts for chopsticks or knitting needles. I’m sure Family Circus will get a lot of feedback from knitting and sewing craftsmen about this cartoon.

Visiting Expo 2020 Dubai this weekend is a cinch, with adventure, crafts, shows and free food for the little ones Fri, 26 Nov 2021 04:28:14 +0000

The list of outlets includes Veg’d, Farrago Express, XSYT and Mudra in the Sustainability Pavilion; Alif Café by farm2table and Farrago in the Mobility Pavilion; Gastro Roots of Hungary in the Hungarian pavilion; Canvas of Coffee Culture in the Opportunity pavilion; and Garden on 1 – Sports Bar, Kojaki, Baron, The National, Scarpetta, Adrift Burger Bar, Kutir, Long Chim, Bread Ahead Bakery & School, Café Milano, Alkebulan the African Dining Hall and Rising Flavors.

Sprout is also offering a combined Golden Jubilee meal for parents and children to celebrate the UAE’s 50th anniversary.e anniversary, including a main course, side dish and fruit ice cream, all for 50 AED, available anytime. And if you’re at Expo 2020 on Friday, November 26, stop by the Arabian Tea House restaurant from 1000 GST to meet its colorful mascot, Umm Maryam, or head to the Grenada pavilion on Friday, 1700. to 1900 GST for a hot chocolate tasting with one of the best producers in the country.

Arts, culture and science

Arts and crafts showings abound at the Expo this weekend. Discover Hammour House, the experiential art installation and community project to raise awareness of endangered coral ecosystems, with its tapestry made by students representing marine life. Doors open from 1000 to 1800 GST on Saturdays for a week-long drop-in knitting class, with artists teaching techniques for knitting your own sea creatures.

Or head to the Saudi Arabia Pavilion for its “Al Qatt Al Asiri & Tiles Painting” classes on Friday or Saturday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm GST. Described as a family-friendly, educational, interactive and demonstrative workshop, the colors and patterns represent much more than the creations themselves, with this ancient art form listed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity .

Visit the Chinese pavilion to meet Youyou, the panda robot, who can perform tai chi movements, hold a pen, and act as a general guide. If you are outside the pavilion in the evening at 2000 or 2100 GST, you can witness the light and drone show, with the exterior and its LEDs providing a fantastic display.

To find out what other country pavilions have to offer children, download one of the Expo’s interactive tours. The Press Play visitor route is ideally suited for curious young minds, including animals from Tonga, video games from Belarus and Monaco, traditional games from Ethiopia and innovative playground from Bulgaria – which converts the children’s kinetic game in light. It also includes other kid-focused attractions, such as Rashid’s Playground.

Live shows

There are a lot of stages around the Expo site, offering live music and dance performances, but something very geared towards babies, toddlers, older children and families is Kinder Musik on the Earth Stage, which takes place Friday and Saturday starting at 2:10 pm Instructors use the piano and percussion to entertain toddlers and take them on a journey of musical development.

So who could visit the Expo and miss a show at Al Wasl Dome – the world’s largest 360-degree projection surface? Children will appreciate for sure Become a Guardian of Al Wasl, airs Friday at 1805 GST and Saturday at 2045 GST, featuring Expo mascots Rashid and Latifa.

Children’s winter camp

Want your kids to see jugglers, waders and magicians, have their faces painted or make a canvas themselves? Then Expo 2020 Kids Winter Camp from December 15 is for you. Other activities include sand art, picture frame design, painting, and paper flower crafts.

A range of tickets for Expo 2020 Dubai are on sale now at, and entry for those under 18 is free.


© Press release 2021

Where To Find Crafts And Markets For Small Businesses The 21st show Wed, 24 Nov 2021 15:17:00 +0000

While some small businesses have only closed their doors temporarily during the lockdown months – taking a hard hit along the way – many businesses, particularly in Illinois, have closed permanently. On the flip side, long lockouts and enduring quarantines offered a lot of extra free time that they never thought they would have and with that, a chance to start new hobbies and creative pursuits. For many, the pandemic has been a window into craftsmanship and ultimately the start of a small business making jewelry, knitting, woodcarving and more. For others, it meant making sure the vendors had their own homes to sell their handicrafts and local products. We spoke about running a small business during the pandemic with three small business owners from central Illinois.


Andre Ware

Artist and owner of an In and Out store in Northwoods Mall, Peoria

Rhonda Green

Owner of Shard of Rhonda

Taylor hudson

Owner of Unique products

Prepared for the Web by Owen Henderson

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12 of the best poncho patterns Thu, 18 Nov 2021 14:25:00 +0000


Colder days are here to stay, so if you’re looking for a new knitting project, why not consider a poncho?

Hailing from South America, this timeless garment is made from a square or rectangular piece of fabric and features unstitched sides and a hole in the center for a person’s head. Inherently versatile, this easy-to-wear garment is ideal for layering when the temperature drops and, with its loose fit, it is also extremely flattering.

Designers who have included ponchos in their fall / winter 2021 collections include Burberry, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chloé, and Missoni, so you’ll be in great company.

Wear it at home or while walking the dog for a comfortable extra layer or, for a more directional look, tighten the waist with a belt or accessorize it with a trendy hat or knee-high boots.

Emily Platt, knitcraft brand manager at Hobbycraft, said Prima: “Knit ponchos are the perfect gift for friends and family this Christmas, as they provide a snug, comfy fit for the winter months. There are many models to choose from depending on your style.

“If you’re short on time, an oversized poncho in heavy yarn will knit quickly, or if you prefer something more patterned, there are many Fair Isle patterns to choose from. If you’re new to knitting, ponchos can be a good move if you have mastered your first scarf but are not quite ready to knit your first garment.

Here is our selection of the best models of ponchos to stay warm and stylish this winter.

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Wholesale Hayfield Women’s Poncho Knitting Pattern with Wool (7810P) PDF


£ 2.75

We loved the classic and chunky design of this poncho, its square shape and pom poms, which would be a great addition to any stylish wardrobe. The bold purple tone would also add a welcome splash of color to a gray winter day.


Sirdar Color Block Poncho Knitting Pattern


£ 3.49

For a more luxurious outfit, experienced knitters should try their hand at creating this super soft poncho in cashmere merino silk. With a ribbed stand-up collar, this garment is knitted in reverse jersey and features a Western-inspired color-block intarsia pattern.


Wintertide poncho

Blue polka dot sewing patterns

£ 5.54

The Wintertide poncho features a cowl neck, open sides and contrasting bands. Available in sizes XS-XL, instructions are fully illustrated and feature red stitching lines for clarity. It is a great pattern for beginners or those new to knitting.


50 X 50 Chunky Mousse Stitch Pdf Pattern Knit Poncho | Etsy


US $ 5.95

Based on the number 50, this pattern features rhombuses with 50 stitches on each side and 50 decreases, as well as side panels of 50 stitches x 50 crests.

Requiring a thick yarn garter stitch, it is available as a digital download. Customers who completed the pattern described it as “easy”, making it a good option for beginners to knit.


King Cole 5179 Knitting Pattern Womens Easy Knit Ponchos in Timeless Chunky

King Cole

£ 3.74

This collection includes two models: a boat neck poncho and a cowl neck poncho. We liked the chunky knit of this pair of clothes, but we were especially drawn to the stripes on the lower half of the boat neck poncho.


Fair Isle Knit Children’s Poncho

Creative hobbies

£ 2.00

Suitable for intermediate knitters, this charming children’s poncho would be a nice gift for a little one. Designed for children aged 3 to 12, this delightful arrangement uses aran thread.


Bernat – Asymmetric Striped Poncho

Wool warehouse

With monochrome stripes, fringes and a cowl neck, this bold design would be a striking addition to any stylish wardrobe. It is also available for free download.


Rowan Christie Women’s Poncho Digital Pattern

Rowan tree

£ 4.00

This longer poncho features a cable collar and a ribbed outer trim. Available in sizes S-XXL, this garment requires aran yarn and is suitable for all ages.


Vintage 1970s Easy UK Knitting Pattern

This easy 1970s vintage pattern will allow you to create an elegant one-piece knitted poncho. Made with thick yarn, this elegant garment transcends time.


Ponchos in Stylecraft Special XL and Special XL Tweed (9884)


£ 2.79

Featuring two poncho designs – a cowl neck and a v-neck – this could be a great winter project that will result in a comfy new piece of clothing for you and a wonderful gift for a loved one.


Ponchos at King Cole Homespun DK (5793)

King Cole

£ 2.99

This easy-to-knit design uses stockinette stitch and garter stitch to produce a minimalist garment that’s easy to dress or dress up.


Ponchos and Cape in Stylecraft Charm (9879)


£ 2.79

An excellent model offering not one, but three styles, including a square asymmetrical poncho, a diagonal pattern poncho and a cape. We love the multicolored design of these clothes – perfect for a pop of color on gray winter days.

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Five models to create your own evening dress Wed, 17 Nov 2021 12:25:22 +0000

We’re officially entering the holiday season, and if you’re short on clothes and don’t want to shop for fast fashion, Sew Over It has the solution.

The UK’s leading tailoring community shared five designs with Prima, so you can join the millions of others in the UK who love to make their own clothes.

Founder Lisa Comfort, who launched the brand in 2011, said, “I wanted to convey my passion for sewing through Sew Over It and encourage more people around the world to choose needle and thread.

We’re big fans of sewing here in the Prima office because it’s fun and durable. Creating your own capsule wardrobe of timeless classics that you will wear over and over again is so rewarding, and by creating bespoke pieces you can be sure to get the best fit.

Why not try doing the following over the next few weeks:

First motif: the Georgie dress

This model is a long-sleeved knit dress that features a flattering wrap-around bodice with the choice of a hoop skirt (ideal for thicker knits) or a ruched skirt (ideal for more jersey fabrics. light).

Sew on

Second motif: the Betty dress

Super flattering for any figure, this dress pinches you at the waist and flares into a circular skirt. Get Betty ready for a winter party by getting the add-on pack which includes ¾ sleeves and two neckline options.

Third motif: the Grace dress

Grace is a fabulous evening gown that has an optional waist tie that can be tied in a bow at the front or back. You can do it sleeveless or with cap sleeves, and the model includes pockets!

Pattern four: bow tie blouse

If you prefer separate pieces, this top can be crafted in silk or sheer fabric to elevate that classic blouse to a party outfit. Wear it loose over tailored pants for a casual look, or tuck it into a pencil skirt for the office.

sew your own top

Sew on

Fifth motif: the Roxy sweater

Crafted in a shimmering fabric, this sweater can make any outfit festive. Wear it with jeans for an understated Christmas get-together or slip it over your favorite dress to stay comfy at any party.

And if you’re in the market for a new sewing machine or want to invest in your first one, keep an eye out for the Black Friday sewing machine deals currently on the market.

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Seattle DIY School for Adults Teaches Crafts and Self-Confidence Mon, 15 Nov 2021 18:45:08 +0000 If you’ve ever watched NBC’s craft competition show, “Making It” and thought you could never do it, then you’d be wrong. At least that’s what Kiya Schnorr says. She is one of the teachers of Seattle works – an adult craft school that provides the tools and expert know-how to learn something new and come away with something to cherish.

During a recent mini crown making class, Schnorr said she has never seen a creation go sideways. “People always ask me, ‘You mean you’ve never seen ugly crowns? And I say, ‘No, I didn’t.’ “

Granted, Schnorr has said that working with imperfect supplies found in nature is more forgiving than other craft materials, but in his eyes every wreath that leaves the store is a work of art.

Kiya Schnorr shows off her wreath-making skills.

Jeffrey Totey

Other teachers, like Robin, echo the same sentiment. Robin teaches the basics of bulk greeting card printing and when attendees find errors in their finished prints, she is quick to point out any flaws found in some of the store’s display items and tell attendees how. she’d rather see a few “mistakes” here and there instead of a perfect greeting card found in a card store. It’s all part of the manufacturing experience.

All of The Works teachers offer clear advice on how to create the task at hand without micromanaging participants. And it only takes a few minutes to see how dedicated they are to empowering others because they believe that art and fellowship not only go hand in hand, but it is this shared experience that is important.

Robin to explain the process of bulk printing greeting cards.

Robin to explain the process of bulk printing greeting cards.

Jeffrey Totey

Kellie Phelan founded The Works and settled down about three years ago. She told SeattlePI that initially she taught stripping and knitting classes. Phelan is a lot busier now, but she still manages to find time to teach her specialties every now and then. Today, the store offers a greater variety of classes with a strong team of creative people teaching cooking tips, flower arrangement methods, and crafts.

“People have said to me, ‘I feel like I just got into Pinterest,’” says Phelan. And she is not wrong. Unlike a cluttered craft business, The Works is a bright, bright and welcoming space where the sky is the limit for creativity.

The DIY school is a business owned and operated by women and, unsurprisingly, most of the clientele are too. Even so, most men will feel right at home here. The place is meant to serve as a creative outlet for adults, but children are not off limits. In fact, Phelan says everyone is always welcome, bar none.

Kellie Phelan, Founder of The Works Seattle.

Kellie Phelan, Founder of The Works Seattle.

The works

The Works was just barely catching its pace when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. And like so many other local businesses, Phelan and company had to learn how to pivot. If the students could no longer come to The Works, the teachers would only have to go to the students. Instead of thinking outside the box, they turned the concept inward by thinking inside the box and creating DIY home kits.

DIY Boxes, which can be shipped anywhere in the country, contain some amazing kits that look deceptively small, but are actually packed with good stuff. For example, the cookie decorating kit contains piping bags, tips, cookie cutter, meringue powder, food coloring, baking paper, and step-by-step instructions. Each box also provides access to an online video tutorial, recipes (for yourself to use after mastering the dozen cookies), and even a playlist of personalized cookie kits to inspire you.

The Works Cookie Decorating Kit.

The Works Cookie Decorating Kit.

Jeffrey Totey

The kits, which range in price from $ 30 to $ 60, offer essentially the same experience as the classes offered inside the store. But now that The Works has started welcoming guests for in-person classes, artisans have a choice.

The Works Seattle is located at 151 12th Ave. To learn more or to schedule a class, visit their website or call 206-475-5974.

PHOTOS: Regional artisans bring unique crafts and treats to Casper Sat, 13 Nov 2021 09:29:53 +0000

CASPER, Wyo. – Over 200 vendors are set up this weekend at what is billed as “Wyoming’s Greatest Craft Fair.” This is the 30th annual Community Recreation Foundation event, according to Joy Lammers of the Casper Recreation Division.

The craft fair continues Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Proceeds from the $ 3 admission go towards scholarships for senior children and families for access to facilities and classes through the city’s recreational division.

(Grégoire Hirst)

There are also vendor gift bags for raffles, which go towards next year’s operating costs.

There is something for everyone, including men, said Lammers: “It’s not just about knitting and sewing.

One example would be Ron Roemmich’s metal recreations of the vehicles that populate the oilfield, which he began building after withdrawing from the rigs. His wife Steph said it kept him busy and out of the kitchen.

Ron and Steph Roemmich (Gregory Hirst)

Lammers said artisan foods are popular choices and his favorite part of the craft fair. There’s fudge, peanut crisp, cheesecake, flavored peanut butter, bread, and local honey infused with spices.

There are also plenty of hand-sewn functional clothing, decorations, and tote bags that people can buy to start crossing people off their holiday shopping lists. Some had this intention, but ended up finding things on their own.

Casper’s mother-daughter team Heather and Saybin Corra are avowed lovers of the ‘strange’, and their concrete planters fashioned into skulls and coffins are proof of that.

The concrete planters of Heather and Saybin Corra (Gregory Hirst)

It was Heather’s husband who suggested they could sell more containers if they were filled with plants. Of course, the brain cactus does the trick.

“Succulents love concrete,” Heather said.

Community Recreation Foundation 30th Annual Craft Fair (Gregory Hirst)

Other items available include pottery, turned wood items, sheet metal painting, candles, gemstones, hand-sewn items, essential oils, jewelry, crochet and knit items, wares baked goods, candy and even items from a few home businesses such as Scentsy Toys and Discovery.

12 free knitting patterns for Christmas gift ideas Tue, 09 Nov 2021 10:13:00 +0000

Dragonfly_flyGetty Images

We are pretty excited in the Prima office today because we just realized that there are only a few weeks left until Christmas!

To celebrate this, and the fact that it’s also the start of London Craft Week, LoveCrafts has brought you 12 free templates for some great gift ideas to give to your family and friends this Christmas.

London Craft Week celebrates the ‘magical combination of imagination, individuality, passion and skill found in the best things made’, so what better time to channel that creativity into gift-making Christmas for a loved one?

Edward Griffith, CEO and Founder of LoveCrafts, says, “We truly believe that craftsmanship makes the world a better place. Science has proven the positive impact of craftsmanship on our physical and mental well-being, and there are hidden benefits too!

“Being part of a global community and making new friends through a shared passion. Selfless opportunities, using your craft for good by knitting or crocheting for charity. And of course there is the joy of keeping things alive. centuries-old traditions, to pass on skills down through the generations. “

Here are the top three ideas to get you started, and we’ll update you every week with a new idea – so be sure to come back next Monday!

Week 1: Comfortable socks

craft ideas


A pair of cashmere slippers is a nice gift for someone you love. Knitted flat, as an easy-to-lay garter, these slippers can be assembled in the blink of an eye. Garter stitch keeps all that gorgeous warmth inside, with a deep ribbed cuff to fold up at the ankle. When they’re so quick to knit, you’ll want to make several pairs to give away this winter.

Second week: embroidery designs

craft ideas


There is nothing sweeter than a hand-sewn gift and this bumper pattern pack, designed by Thread Honey for Paintbox Crafts, will have you personalizing cute gifts in no time. Sew them onto a t-shirt or a set of linen napkins. Or if you want to go the extra mile, why not sew a simple tote bag or pencil case for the ultimate handmade gift.

Third week: Afghan crochet blanket

craft ideas


The Snugly Fall Afghan Paintbox is a perfect cozy blanket in fall colors. It’s crocheted in squares that are stitched together using single crochet stitches and makes the perfect blanket for snuggling up on the sofa or taking with you on adventures around a campfire under the stars. Whoever the lucky recipient is, one thing is for sure, it’s a blanket that will be cherished year after year.

Fourth week: Patchwork Cushion

patchword cushion


We love this colorful patchwork cushion. Use your fabric scraps or choose a fabulously festive material to sew this gorgeous piece in no time! If you are a newbie to quilting crafts, this is the perfect first project to put your skills to the test..

Week Five: Crochet Hat

free DIY patterns

Love Crafts

If you’re a newbie crocheter or looking for quick, satisfying projects to tick everyone off your gift list, then this hat is for you! There’s a helpful step-by-step video from Jess Coppom of Make & Do Crew that will teach you how to make this gorgeous knit beanie topped with a cute pom pom! We would go for soft, warm colors like rust, mustard, and faded blues.

Sixth week: Knitted headband

Arts and crafts

Love Crafts

Comfortable cables are a winter wardrobe staple, and these headbands are perfect for filling in stockings! Read the handy cable knitting guide before you start. Grab a hot chocolate, your knitting needles, and snuggle up in it. There is also a helpful video for more instruction before downloading the free cable knitting pattern.

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Emotional Toolkit, Veterans Day, Assabet Craft Fair, and Free Art Mon, 08 Nov 2021 08:00:00 +0000

through beth to November 8, 2021

Above: Highlights this week include the annual Veterans Day parade and ceremony. (Photo by Beth Melo)

Here are the highlights of what’s happening around town this week.

Monday, November 8, 2021

  • Youth writing club (3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.) @ zoom: Southborough Library is home to this virtual creative writing club for ages 10-18. Zoom sessions are a fun and encouraging space to get creative and develop skills with peers. For more details see dedicated post.
  • Wellness series: emotional toolkit (7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.) @ zoom: The free wellness series for ages 12 and up is offered by Southborough Library and Jill Vroman Fitness & Wellness. This session, discover your emotions and how they can impact your health. Pre-register by sending an email to For more details, see the dedicated article.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

  • Bodybuilding classes for seniors (8:30 am) @ zoom: Pre-registration required. For more details on semi-weekly classes, see the newsletter.
  • Advanced Tai Chi for Seniors (9.45am) @ zoom: Pre-registration required. For more details on semi-weekly classes, see the newsletter.
  • Preschool Story Time (10:30 am – 11:15 am) @ Southborough Library Children’s Room: Join Miss Kim for stories and crafts based on a weekly theme. No registration required.
  • Senior singers (11:00 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: Weekly singing group rehearsal open to all seniors in the area, regardless of singing ability. For more details see dedicated post..
  • Bridge (12:30 p.m.) @ Southborough Senior Center: A weekly card group, welcoming new participants. For more details, contact the Seniors Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Knitting club (1:00 p.m.) @ Southborough Senior Center: Knitters, welcoming new members. For more details, contact the Seniors Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Tech Time Tuesday (4:00 PM – 5:00 PM) @ Southborough Library Teen Room: Need help with tech? Library staff and teen volunteers will go out of their way to help you. Bring questions about eBooks and eBooks. This is a downside event; no registration required. Sessions are limited to 1 hour maximum.

Wednesday 10 November 2021

  • Elder law advice (10:00 am – 10:45 am) @zoom: A lawyer specializing in elder law will offer Southborough seniors free personalized legal advice in scheduled remote sessions. To register, call the Seniors Center at (508) 229-4453 to reserve a time slot. For more details, see the bulletin.
  • Beginnings of the young STEM scientist (10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.) @ zoom: this is a free weekly virtual series for children aged 3 to 6 to learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts through hands-on activities , story time and simple experiences. This is provided by the YMCA of Central MA but hosted by the Southborough Library. To register, email Kim Ivers at or call 508-485-5031.

Veterans Day – Thursday 11 November 2021

  • Federal holiday: No public school today. The buildings of the city are closed (Town Hall, Library, Seniors Center.)
  • Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony (10:45 am) @ All Wars Memorial: After a short parade from the community house, veterans will lead the town’s annual ceremony, featuring readings and patriotic music. For more details, see the dedicated article.

Friday 12 November 2021

  • Canasta (10:00 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: A weekly card group. For more details, contact the Seniors Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Billiards (8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) @ Southborough Senior Center: Weekly walk-in game. For more details, contact the Seniors Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Dull Men’s Club (10h00) @ zoom: Relaxed social club for senior men. New members are always welcome. To be added to zoom mailing lists, contact the Seniors Center at 508-229-4453.

Saturday 13 November 2021

  • Assabet Valley Crafts Fair (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) @ Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, 215 Fitchburg St, Marlborough: AVRTHS invites the community to join them for its annual Craft Fair featuring a variety of artisans, vendors, food dealerships and a raffle. For more details see dedicated post.
  • Drop in art (10:30 am – 12 noon) @ Southborough Library: The Southborough Library is hosting this free art session for children ages 5 and up. Children will make a paper “thank you tree” to show what they are grateful for. No registration required. Sponsored by the Friends of the Southborough Library.