Making it!

I had the great pleasure to be invited to spend World Wide Knit in Public Day at The Make It Shop in Chorlton, Manchester. You are much more likely to find me in a dedicated wool shop than a general craft shop, but this place was a treasure trove of interesting crafting supplies to tempt all but the strongest will. Fortunately I was distracted by the knitting all day otherwise I may well have come home with a significantly lighter wallet. As it was, the only thing that I did buy was a set of pompom makers… so expect bobble hats in the future. But just look at it…

I was delighted to visit Chorlton – a thriving town within Greater Manchester. The high street has lots of local shops, and spending the day sitting outside one of them, I came to realise that it is a thriving centre. I discovered that local shops are members  of a south Manchester loyalty card scheme called Tag and that there’s a very active traders’ association. All in all, a great model for supporting community.

I’ve written in the past about the importance of buying local and supporting producers and traders in your own area, but it’s worth saying again. According to the New Economics Foundation:

… every £1 spent with a local supplier is worth £1.76 to the local economy [compared to] only 36 pence if it is spent out of the area. That makes £1 spent locally worth almost 400 per cent more.

And that’s before you take into account the fact that shopping local is likely to support local  artisans, producers and crafts people, you can ask the retailer questions about the product and get advice, you can often try before you buy, you are enjoying a social experience and you are being part of a local community. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and support your local retailers and producers…. and if you are in Manchester, pop into the Make It Shop and say hello…. and perhaps give in to temptation.


Now isn’t that just inviting you to go in?



On the street where you knit

What did you do on Saturday? I spent the day on display outside a shop in Manchester encouraging passers-by to sit and knit with me. No, honestly. You see, it was World Wide Knit in Public (WWKIP) Day and I wanted to make an effort to do something very public this year, rather than simply taking my knitting out to lunch!

About six months ago, I made some new friends via Twitter, one of whom owns a craft shop. When she mentioned that she was going to run a WWKIP event this year at the shop, I commented that I would love to go, but that it’s a long way. Almost immediately, another friend who works in the shop invited me to go and stay for the weekend and very quickly arrangements were made.


The Make It Shop without WWKIP

So, Friday saw me driving across to Manchester, taking one of my nieces out for lunch and then struggling through rush-hour traffic to my friends (I like to fit in a variety of activities when I go on a trip!). On Saturday morning we headed over to The Make It Shop in Chorlton* to set up. There’s a wide pavement (sidewalk) outside the shop and the weather was good, so we took a table and some chairs outside, put out a selection of yarn and needles, plus some pompom makers (for those who couldn’t knit and didn’t want to learn) and waited for the crowds…


To begin with it was just me and the vaarks

And we weren’t disappointed. Some people came and spent the whole day with us, some just stayed long enough to knit a row or two. Some folks brought their own projects, whilst some contributed to our communal production of twiddlemuffs**. Two of the local councillors came – Sue Murphy who could knit and John Hacking who couldn’t. So Sue knitted and John learned… and both of them bought twiddlemuff kits to take home afterwards to knit up so that they could be donated it to a local dementia charity. We hosted a range of ages from four to over eighty. Several families came and the children made pompoms (a great addition to many knitted projects, including twiddlemuffs). In the afternoon we were joined by the lovely performer and activist Kate O’Donnell*** and her friend and costume designer Daniella Pearman. Kate knitted, although she hadn’t done so for many years it only took a quick demonstration before she was off, and Daniella made a pompom (which may appear on stage!!).

All in all we had a great day – full of community spirit. It only happens once a year, but I will certainly do my best to participate in WWKIP Day 2017!


* More on The Make It Shop in another post

** Twiddlemuffs are sensory sleeves made for stimulation and stress relief.
They have been found to provide comfort and pleasure for restless hands of people with advanced dementia

*** Kate has a show on at the Soho Theatre this week… too far for me to travel , unfortunately



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