Tag Archives: Hexham

Ever Felt Better?

Last week was another busy one at Woolaballoo Hexham… We welcomed the exceptionally talented Lena Archibold of Lena’s Creations to host an Introduction to wet felting class for absolute beginners.  It was so inspiring and tremendous fun was had by all.  It is astonishing how a skein of Merino Tops can go from this…


to this (in such a short space of time)

2013-04-25 10.45.18

and ultimately… ta dah! The final flat felted piece incorporated scraps of silk, fabric, neps and various oddments of yarn to create a gorgeous textured surface.

2013-04-25 12.10.14

In the afternoon, the participants excelled themselves and created these beautiful 3D vessels. I think this could get very addictive…

2013-04-25 14.16.51

We are now planning lots more workshops in the near future to extend our skills. If you are inspired and would like to take part in the next beginners workshop then give us a call on 0191 580 0103 or sign up online and reserve your place today. We look forward to welcoming you to Woolaballoo very soon. x


The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, Olympia

Once again Woolaballoo took to the road this week and we were delighted to be making an appearance at the newly branded Spring Knitting and Stitching Show (formerly Stitch and Craft) at London’s Olympia.

The Show took place from Thursday 14th through to Sunday 17th March in the newly renovated Olympia Two and West Hall a fabulous new light and airy space and hosted over 150 exhibitors from knitting brands and haberdashery suppliers to niche stores and bead stockists. The theme of the Show centred around the concept of ‘Making’ and many of the workshops encouraged visitors to try their hand at a new craft and learn a new skill.  Twisted Thread , the event organisers had worked hard to provide a good mix of craft stands to cater for everyone and there really was a myriad of inspiring fabrics, textiles and yarn as well as ‘how to’ courses to help every visitor find the perfect craft project for them.
Olympia F64
We were delighted to be joined on our Stand by the fabulous Erika Knight who was showcasing her latest design gem – a six project poster pattern – Knit for Baby.  We particularly love the simple sweater layered up with a fur gilet for the little people in your life.  I also have the gorgeous garter stitch blanket on my needles knit up in the lusciously soft British Blue yarn.  I have chosen to trim it in French and knit the main section in the chalky pink shade aptly named pretty. All of Erika’s latest yarns are available to purchase in our Hexham store along with the poster pattern.
Erika Knight British Blue Yarn
This supersoft gorgeous yarn knits up to standard DK tension and the poster pattern features six stunning designs including a fur gilet, a pair of leg warmers for baby, a simple jumper, a moss stitch cardi, a cute striped hat and a simple garter stitch blanket. Some of these items also feature in Erika’s Nursery Knits Collection and here is a sneaky peak at a couple of the yummy yarns knit up into mini garments for baby.
Erika Knight Super cute knits for baby
So a huge thanks must be extended to the fabulous Erika Knight who is a true inspiration to knitters across the land.  Her straight forward instructions and classic designs are a pleasure to have on the needles.  The hardest decision is which shade to cast on next!
Erika Knight Collection

Grand Designs

The last couple of weeks have seen a real flurry of activity here at Woolaballoo. We have redesigned the workspace and are now taking bookings for pop up shops and workshops that other crafters would like to host throughout the summer months.  We have also been up to our eyes in fabulous new marketing material and re-branding our beautiful woolly wonderland ahead of the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show which takes place in London next week. I will add some more detail about the workspace@woolaballoo very soon and in the meatime here is a sneak preview of the gorgeous new publicity.


We have got a whole heap of these lovely business cards winging their way to us as we speak and a lush rollerbanner which will inject a real splash of colour into our Stand F64 at Olympia from 13-17 March 2013.  Here’s a little peak at the banner advertising…

woolaballoo banner final

I am so loving the new look and can’t wait to take delivery of these lovely items! Everything is just about ready for the show next week too and we have some gorgeous new lines to showcase. In the meantime why not pop into the Hexham store in the Market Place and take a look at some of the yummy yarn that has found its way to our door. This is just the tip of the iceberg and we have lots more fabulous plans to unveil in the weeks to come. Keep an eye on the blog and we hope to see you very soon. x

What goes around comes around

Hello again! It has been about a fortnight since I last posted and so much has happened since then that I am going to make a real effort from now on to update you on my adventures in Woolly Wonderland on a weekly basis.  We have had lots of lovely new arrivals land on our doorstep and we have been busy hosting a series of Spring workshops to add some sparkle to these chilly, wintery days.

The first amazing event took place at the end of January when Woolaballoo ran our very first Magic Loop Knitting Workshop.  This was really well attended and in fact, the demand was so high that we are now repeating it in a couple of weeks time.  There were a series of fantastic project ideas that were undertaken during the class including a set of fingerless mitts and and a child’s beanie with cute pompoms adorning it.  Subsequently, participants have tried out more ambitious projects and have experimented with making an adult sized floppy beanie – once knitting in the round and using miles of cable became second nature to them!

Below is my prototype being constructed in time for the class, knit from the bottom up, but we have now developed a top down version which means that you can adapt it to fit most head shapes and sizes.  It is a great project to stash bust and use up all those odds and ends that you thought you would have no use for.

The images below illustrate how to knit up the child’s size pompom hat should you wish to have a go at home. I cast on 100 stitches using the Magic Loop method.  You can watch numerous demonstrations on YouTube if you are unfamiliar with this technique. It seems a little strange at first but once you get the hang of it you will soon discover how versatile knitting in the round can be, plus there is always the added bonus of no stitching up at the end!

I then proceeded as follows: knit one round, purl one round (repeat 3 times). The next section is just plain garter stitch for 12 rounds followed by another knit one round, purl one round (repeat 3 times) section.

2013-01-20 18.30.47

Very quickly the hat begins to take shape and you can adapt the pattern to fit smaller or larger heads by adjusting the number of rounds of plain garter stitch knitting you do above the second ridge.  I did 16 rounds in this example before I started my decreases.

2013-01-22 19.48.28

To decrease I simply knit 8 stitches, k2 together for the first round.  Next I knit a plain garter stitch round.  Continuing to decrease, I knit 7 stitches and k2 together, then completed another plain garter stitch round. This was followed by knitting 6 stitches and then k2 tog and a further plain garter stitch round.  Continue in this way until 10 stitches remain.  Knit 2 together for the final round then break off the yarn and pull the thread through the remaining 5 stitches and tie off tightly. As you can see from the image below the decreases should form a series of spokes radiating out from the top.

2013-01-24 14.45.35

To complete the look it is fun to add a couple of small pompoms to the top of the hat which can be made with the remaining yarn.  I made this hat with one ball of Knitcol which can be purchased in our Hexham store or online by clicking on the link above.

Great fun was had by all at the Magic Loop Workshop and one of the participants made a fabulous pair of fingerless mitts again using a single ball of the knitcol. Below you can see the finished article.

Ruth Hawkin Magic Loop Mitts

If you can knit and you can purl but you want to learn a new skill then this is the workshop for you. Give us a call, book online or pop in to the Hexham store to find out more about this truly magical trick of the trade!

Total Whiteout

It’s been a funny old week up North – last weekend’s massive snowfall meant that we sadly had to postpone our first Learn to Crochet Workshop of 2013 but it has now been rescheduled for early February.

2013-01-17 12.40.39

In fact, the snow was so deep that on Monday with further downfalls forecast that we had to do the unthinkable and close the Hexham store for the day. Whilst, this was a disaster for those that had braved the elements to come and see us, it did afford me some much needed knitting time and I was able to crack on with a few of my numerous unfinished objects much to my husband’s delight.  For those of you that know me (and those who will get to know my knitting habits via this blog), I have a hundred and one things on the needles at any given moment and a stash of yarn to rival any store’s inventory. In all seriousness, the UFOs must be into double figures and one of my resolutions for 2013 is to complete as many as possible and remove them from their various unsuitable resting places around our home. One example, would be the gorgeous little Debbie Bliss Striped Baby Cardigan, which has been housed in a vase in our living room (don’t ask me why) for at least the last six months awaiting buttons to be stitched on to complete it!

I have used my time wisely and this week I have taught myself a new skill… the magic loop cast on which has truly changed my life.  Why have I not discovered this top tip before now? I have made a lovely beanie using the fabulous knitcol yarn and we are now hoping that the snow stays away tomorrow so that others can benefit from this new found knowledge at the Magic Loop Class that we are hosting at the shop. Here are a couple of snaps of my hat taking shape…

2013-01-20 18.30.47

All cast on and starting to take shape.  This hat was made with a child in mind and can be comfortably knitted with a single ball of self striping knitcol yarn. This is an aerial view of the finished article!

2013-01-24 14.45.35

In the weeks to come I will be sharing some of Woolaballoo‘s pattern ideas with you and helping you to master some new skills.  The Magic Loop Cast On is a great technique to have in your knitting bag of tricks, however, as with a little confidence you can even start to design your own patterns with a variety of yarns.  You will be able to confidently knit projects from the top down, knit fingerless mitts two at a time and even make garments with no stitching required!

So fingers crossed, tomorrow’s class will go ahead as planned and things may finally get back to somewhere near normal once this snow finally starts to melt away …


Erika Knight Meet & Greet – Saturday 8 September

On Saturday 8 September, Erika Knight was in store at Woolaballoo, doing a meet and greet, book signing and showcasing her latest yarn collection. Well known in craft circles, Erika is a true inspiration and had us addicted to all things woolly in no time!


Erika’s Knight’s new yarn collection is spun and dyed in Yorkshire from 100% British wool. The beautiful palette of muted shades have been specially selected by Erika. Among her designs are various quick knits with easy to follow patterns in Fat Fur Wool, Super Chunky Maxi WoolVintage Aran and British Blue DK Wool weights for beginners and advanced knitters alike.


Erika was also signing copies of her best-selling book “Keep Calm and Cast On” which makes an ideal Christmas gift for the knitters in your life. This is a delightful pocket book full of quotes, quips and wit plus expert troubleshooting tips and techniques to keep the contemporary knitter calm in the face of a dropped stitch. The wise and often amusing quotes are compiled from a myriad of sources, including historical and contemporary essays, poems and fiction. Also included is a selection of previously unpublished quotes from contributors such as Kaffe Fassett, Jared Flood, Brandon Mably, Pip Lincolne and other luminaries of the knitting world.

Knitting’s calming properties are well documented, and interesting facts concerning the therapeutic benefits of practising this craft are interspersed amongst the quotes and technical tips, ensuring that this book is not just informative and humorous but also good for your well-being. Alongside the witticisms and fascinating facts is solid, practical advice designed to keep the knitter sane while all around them is unravelling. Erika Knight shares her foolproof tips for making sure you don’t get yourself into a tangle and that your knitting will go that much smoother.