Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Christmas at WildCat Designs

Where there's cold weather, there's knitwear. If you're looking for something cosy to give as a gift for a loved one, or even just a little handmade treat for yourself, look no further!

WildCat Designs has lots of colourful scarves and other woolly warm things for winter. You'll find more information on my website: www.wildcat-designs.co.uk or visit one of my online shops here: wildcatdesigns.etsy.com & wildcatdesigns.folksy.com.

Below are my order deadlines for Christmas:

Last order dates for December 2015

Africa & Middle East - Thurs 3rd
Asia, Eastern Europe & Cyprus - Sun 6th
Central & South America, Caribbean - Mon 7th
Australia, New Zealand & Greece - Tues 8th
Germany, Italy & Poland - Sun 13th
USA, Canada, Sweden & Finland - Mon 14th
Austria, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain - Tues 15th
France - Wed 16th
Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Slovakia & Switzerland - Thurs 17th
UK - Sun 20th

Please note that custom and made to order items will usually take a minimum of a week to be completed and so may not be ready in time for Christmas.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Woolly Wovember

Have you heard of Wovember?

Well, as you might have guessed, it takes place in November and it's a collaborative celebration of my favourite fleece, wool!

There are retailers out there who use a pitiful quantity of wool in a garment (say 5%) and somehow feel they can still justify calling it woollen or misleadingly marketing it as "wool". Wovember hopes to reconnect consumers with *real* wool, its beauty and rather marvellous properties, as well as educating them on the process behind creating different woollen yarns and fabrics, from fleece to finished product.

Image via Wikimedia

How can we support Wovember? It's really simple, actually! You can wear woolly things - and believe me, I have been... there's a definite chill in the air and what better way to stay cosy really. Also by spreading the word and generally helping to raise awareness of the wonders of wool.

If you've read my blog before, you will probably know just how passionate I am about wool. As a knitter, consumer and textile designer, I would definitely feel cheated if a piece of clothing (or yarn, for that matter!) was sold to me as wool but had little to none of the real deal off of an actual sheep's back in it.

Almost everything I make for my WildCat Designs label is made from wool. The majority of my accessories are handmade by me from gorgeous 100% bona fide Merino wool, which I carefully sourced from a UK woollen mill. One thing I wasn't willing to comprimise on was quality.

One of the reasons I love wool, as I'm sure I've probably said many times before, is its versatility. The folks at Wovember are celebrating wool in all its glory and variety by hosting an Instagram competition this year - you can join in the fun and submit your woolly pics using the #WOVEMBER2015 hashtag. You could even win a wool-themed prize if you're lucky!

Find out more about Wovember and how to support the campaign on the wovember.com website.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Happy Knitting Week!

Wishing all my readers a happy Knitting Week! Perfect timing for starting on a cosy autumn project, don't you think?!

Doesn't that little mouse just look so cosy! It certainly made me smile at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival earlier this year :)

I didn't have the chance to share these pictures at the time, but it was a really great day out in March with some fellow fibre enthusiasts. Below are a few of my highlights.

I also have a few woolly links up my sleeve...

As it's also Wool Week, I recommend checking out the Campaign for Wool website - lots of lovely events going on all over the UK this week!

"How wool got cool" - a Guardian article on the weird and wonderful things us crafters get up to these days.

The UK Hand Knitting Association's website has had a bit of a makeover - well worth a look, it has plenty of ideas to help you get started or find out more about the world of knitting.

Friday, 25 September 2015

A new routine

Hello, dear reader!

You might have noticed things being a little quiet around here lately... I've been moving house, changed jobs and started working in another city! So needless to say, things have been a little chaotic at times.

I recently returned from a rather lovely holiday to Florida with my partner - quite a change of scenery and climate, and just what the doctor ordered in fact! We stayed in Orlando at the StaySky Suites just off International Drive and used it as a base for exploring several of the theme parks in the area. So we had a lot of fun, as you can imagine! (more on that later)

I'm back at work and settling into what's still a relatively new routine, now that I've moved in with my boyfriend of many years (in Edinburgh) and am doing a daily commute by train to Glasgow. This is not too bad, as I can easily get to the train station, pick up a weekly copy of the Stylist or read a book and listen to some music. Much better than driving on the motorway twice a day and ending up exhausted. It's quite nice to have access to the best of both cities too - Edinburgh will always feel more like home but I did enjoy living in Glasgow last year.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Fabric Friday

#FabricFriday is back!

My first/last Fabric Friday post was back in January, so I thought it's about time I did another.

As is often the case, one afternoon I was looking for some stitchy inspiration (it may even have been initially for my still-ongoing possible-quilt/quilting project) and had a gander at what Pinterest had to offer. As usual, it did not disappoint.

I love the idea of using something entirely non-traditional as a "canvas" or "fabric" to stich on or embellish a project with and found this really gorgeous mixed media piece (below) by Claudia Orengo, aka Stitch the World. It's such a beautiful way of using a lovely vintage postcard whilst simultaneously breathing new life into it.

During the same search for fabric and textile-related ideas, I also came across the work of Hella van 't Hof. She operates at a fascinating intersection between traditional sampler-style embroidery and old photographs imbued with wistful memories.

Her works have an added tactile element as the images have been printed onto canvas, providing the ideal surface to stitch onto.

I like the way these embellishments add a three dimensional aspect and often take an organic form, complementing the original photograph and giving the evoked memories a feeling of tangibility.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Colour Lovers

Do you love colour? Then you just might like this blog post!

Keukenhof view

I promised a while ago (back in May!) that I would blog about the rest of my visit to the floral heaven that is Keukenhof, because I just couldn't quite cram all that gorgeous colour into one post... well here you go - enjoy!

Possibly the cutest dog ever - it was almost as if it was posing for the picture!

We saw a stunning variety of different types of tulip (as well as other flowers) and a staggering spectrum of colours. It truly was a feast for the eyes!

Of course, you can't expect to visit Holland without seeing a few clogs...

...and we also saw the beautiful flower fields too!

I was really blown away by the sheer intensity 
of the red tulips as they were incredibly striking.

From the edges of the Keukenhof boundary you could even see groups of tourists on little boat trips along the canals running around the borders of the flower fields.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Day Four: Bags of Fun - 6KCBWDAY4

I've been knitting since about 2001, and by anyone's measure, that's a lot of time to accrue (read: hoard!) quite a collection of crafty bits and pieces. So it's really no surprise that I have rather a lot of yarn, bits of knitting and notions.

In this post from the second Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, I talked in a general way about how my collection was "organised" - this time I've decided to focus on my two favourites which have served me well over the years.

First up is my knitting bag - it's black and white, features polka dots (always a good thing in my book!) and a pretty printed design with dressmaker's dummy silouette illustrations. It kind of "winked" at me in the shop I was working in at the time (I was the Rowan Design Consultant for the Coats Crafts concession in Edinburgh's well-known and historic department store, Jenners) and I knew I had to have it. I love the detailing, measuring tape print along the top and its sturdy wooden handles.

It's perfect for carrying any work-in-progress pieces of knitting around - there's ample space for two or three projects, and it is currently home to my snowflake cardi WIP (in hibernation...!), one of my knitting needle rolls, some twinkly teal yarn and a bag full of 4ply in assorted colours which is a lovely blend of merino wool, microfibre and a touch of cashmere.

The other crafting companion I'm very fond of is this little number:

I constructed it much like a large pencil case, so it's really just a large, lined zippered pouch. First time I'd made something like it so I was pretty pleased and it has served me well ever since as a perfect place for storing my smaller tools and notions.

Here's what's inside it at the moment:

Essentially it's anything I might need while working on a project. I think the only thing missing there really is my measuring tape and/or a ruler of some sort. This oversized purse style bag is sometimes unceremoniously tipped out and the contents can be replaced with a smallish work in progress - ideal as a wee project bag for travel!

[Please note, I'm a bit behind schedule, so the post for Day 3 is coming later!]

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Day Two: It’s All About You - KCBWDAY2

Well, today I'm writing about myself - which for some reason always feels a bit strange. I can't tell you how long it took me to compose and publish the "Bio" page on my blog, for example!


When I'm not crafting, I can often be found doing other creative things. I have been working as a Web and Graphic Designer for a few years now - you can even take a look at my online portfolio at www.catcodes.co.uk if you like. I also love drawing and painting in one of my sketchbooks or writing letters when I have time - yep, good old snail mail. I suppose you could say I like being creative in the kitchen too, as I do like to cook and bake if I have the energy and ingredients handy!


Some of my readers may already be familiar with WildCat Designs, the knitwear accessories label I started after finishing my degree in Textile Design - I run an Etsy shop under that name and a "sister" label, WildKittens, too.

My new camera :)

When I'm out and about (I like to walk or cycle around Edinburgh, the city I live in - it's good excercise, especially as it's not at all flat!), I enjoy taking my camera or my cameraphone and recording things which catch my eye. I confess to being somewhat addicted to Instagram!

Avec le flash!

I'm a big fan of traditional old-school "analogue" film-based photography too, and have been known to mess about in darkrooms, not to mention experiment with my vintage Cosina or Diana F+ toy camera (hello, double exposures!).

Hong Meow

When I was younger I spent some time living in Europe so I got to see lots of wonderful places as a child, something which has fuelled my love of travel and learning about different cultures. I even learned to speak fluent German, pretty good French and even a wee bit of Flemish!

To see more posts on today's theme, just search for #6KCBWDAY2 on twitter or google 6KCBWDAY2.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week 2015 is here!

Welcome to this year's Knitting & Crocket Blog Week!
Year 6, can you believe it?! If you haven't come across the event before, and want to find out more (or even take part!), read this blog post.

Day One (Monday 11th May): If You Were Yarn.

I've been musing over this topic for a few days now and it's quite difficult to choose! If I had to choose a yarn to represent my personality, there would definitely have to be some wool in there though.

I love being cosy and it's one of my absolute favourite fibres to work with because of its versatility, the fact it's natural and takes colour incredibly well if you dye it. My boyfriend sometimes jokingly refers to my head as being "full of wool" so it seems fitting that I'd go for a woolly yarn!

Crafting 365 Day 50: All wound up

I think the texture of it would have to be a good balance of having enough twist that it didn't split easily or look like roving but not so much that the handle of the yarn was compromised. It's go to be nice and soft! ...I'm a big softie at heart ♥

Noro Iro

Finally, I reckon if I was a yarn, it'd have to be a colourful one - maybe a nice variegated style with rich jewel tones of deep purple, teal, blue and turquoise blending into each other. Oh and as for weight... probably a useful DK!

Search for #6KCBWDAY1 on twitter or google 6KCBWDAY1 to find more blogs taking part in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2015.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Tulip Time!

I recently returned from a trip to Keukenhof in Lisse, a town which lies southwest of the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It's a place I have wanted to visit ever since hearing about it - in case you haven't, it's a world-reknowned spring garden featuring a staggering variety of flowers.

It features over 7 million flowers but is best known for its beautiful displays of tulips, Holland's national flower. The gardens showcase a whopping 800 varieties of tulip!

If I actually had a "bucket list" this would most definitely have been on it! As someone who adores tulips and loves colour, it was just such a marvellous feast for the eyes - not to mention the beautiful perfume of delicately scented hyacinth and narcissi flowers.

I really loved this vibrant stripe effect that was created with rows of different colours of tulips and hyacinths.

There were so many lovely things to see around every corner and I must have taken over a hundred pictures...

This year Keukenhof had special displays in tribute to Vincent van Gogh, one of the most famous Dutch painters.

The artist inspired some interesting displays in one of the Keukenhof flower shows.

If you ever get the chance to visit, I cannot recommend it enough, especially if you are a flower fan. Find out more on the website: www.keukenhof.nl.

Stay tuned for more floral loveliness, including pictures of the stunning commercial flower fields!