Tuesday, 6 August 2013

And so... it's done!

So two years to the day since we first opened our doors in Suite 5 - we have reopened them in Unit 3! So you have only moved a few hundred yards I hear you say! Well we think we have moved much further than that! This day two years ago was the culmination of 7 months of hard work - from the first glimmer of an idea over Julie's kitchen table in February 2011, to opening the doors to Bee Crafty on 6th August. And we thought that was the hard part!
Since then it has been an emotional rollercoaster - and harder work than we ever thought possible, but now here we are... 2 years on with a terrific business, amazing staff and a whole bunch of fabulous customers who have shared the journey. And now we are ready to move on to the next phase. These new bigger premises will give us the opportunity to grow the business even more - with a greater selection of workshops and groups, as well as more space to just have fun!
We have loads of ideas that we will share with you as the future of Bee Crafty unfolds - and we promise that it will be as interesting as the past 2 years have been! So watch this space - and see where we go next!

Thank you for joining us so far!

Sarah & Julie!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Textiles In Focus

Well Textile in Focus is over for another year, we have packed up the stall and brought the remaining treasures back to the shop, and we LOVED it!

This is how the Bee Crafty stand looked at the beginning of the show... it lookked a lot different by the end of the weekend!

Textiles in Focus is an intimate show - with about 20 carefully selected traders invited each year. What this means for the visitor is that there is plenty of lovely space to move around in. None of that 'shin bashing' or 'elbow knocking' that has become the norm for many of the larger shows at the NEC and the like. Here you have wide isles to stroll down as you admire all of the textile loveliness on show! It really is a tribute to the hard work of Pauline Verrinder who, with the help of her family, work so hard to make this show a success.
As well as a lovely selection of stalls (of which we were but one) there were 29 2-hour workshops on offer thoughout the weekend. There were a fascinating selection of skills to try - and I'm not just saying that because 2 of those workshops were put on by yours truly! There was a whole raft of things I would have happily signed up to if I hadn't have been working.
There were also some fabulous exhibitions put on by Anglia Textile Works, Fen Edge Textiles, Fibre Fusion and the Cambridgeshire Embroiderers Guild. These left me somewhere between 'hugely inspired' and 'terrified out of my mind' because I would never be as good as these ladies obviously are. A thrill for me was to see the work of Pam Tasker who teachs in our shop, but who's work I never usually get to see. This was tailoring taken to a whole new level and would make any woman look fabulous! They asked us not to take pictures so there is notheing to see here... but take a trip over to their websites for a bit of a look around!
You will be pleased to know that I wasn't too terrified in the end. I bought some stunning space dyed fabrics from 21st Century Threads, coupled them with some delica beads from Spangles and some hand dyed threads from own own stall and got back to a bit of hand stitching with a passion!
So if you saw us there, dropped by to say hello, or simply plan to get over next year, then you are truely welcome!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


We all keep hearing about the rising levels of youth unemployment, and we at Bee Crafty are hoping to do our small part to help - as well as have someone help us!

So we are looking for some young vibrant, talented youngsters out there to apply to work with us and gain a qualification in Retail through Peterborough College! So if you know any young people who are interested, then please let them know. Please note that the deadling is Friday 15th February so if it sounds like you, you will need to get your skates on!

Here's some of the details you will need!

Apprentice Sales & Admin Apprentice

We are looking to recruit a Sales & Admin Assistant to assist in the day to day running of a busy craft retail shop and workshops. The successful candidate will be interacting with customers and providing advice on craft needs from patchwork, knitting and crochet, beading to personalised crafting kits. 
The position would ideally be suited to a candidate with a keen interest in creative arts with a passion to meet a diverse range of customers that visit the venue.
In-house training will also be provided, allowing you to gain craft skills from cutting and measuring fabrics, sewing, embroidery, knitting to handbag making and using photo-fabric.
With close mentoring support, there will be opportunities to facilitate workshops to even personally planning and delivering projects aimed at young craft enthusiasts.  
Typical tasks will include:
·         Administratively support the team as required from diary and event bookings to accounts and filing tasks.
·         Operation of till for customer transactions within the shop.
·         Assisting the team in maintaining the craft shop and workshop areas to be tidy and clean.
·         Assisting in deliveries unpacking/ pricing as required.
·         Moving and handling craft materials and sewing equipment.
·         Assisting with stock checks.
·         Ensure good customer service is demonstrated to all customers visiting the venue – the company attracts a diverse range of visitors from teenagers, senior citizens to young families and adults with supported learning needs and disabilities. 
·         To develop good knowledge of stock and the types of craft workshops available
·         Under close supervision, to be confident in cutting fabric materials to a customer’s brief.
·         To assist the team in liaising with suppliers and with the point of sale merchandising of craft products and services. 
·         Deal with day to day customer queries face to face, by phone or email.
·         Work as part of a team with other centre staff with any other duties required.
·         IT skills – updating the company website from uploading pictures onto the workshop events web-page to refreshing the social media Blog.
·         Support the team with marketing  and PR activity to create the awareness of the business.
         Ensure all Health & Safety procedures are effectively carried out and reporting any concerns to the team.
·         To be a team player in setting up exhibition stands and meeting new people at craft trade shows.
·         Work as part of a team with the other members of team.
·         To assist as required with any other tasks requested by the employer.

Working week:
  • 4 days in the workplace – Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am-5pm or 9am-5:30pm (working hours depend on the time of year)
  • College day release - NVQ/Apprenticeship in Retail through Peterborough College
  • 2 days off
If you are interested or require further information about this Apprenticeship please send your CV to Judith Gough : Judith@dgauk.com or contact her on 0844 225 2131.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

City & Guilds here at Bee Crafty

We are absolutely delighted to announce that we will be hosting 3 City & Guilds Level 1 classes here at Bee Crafty from April 2013.
If it has been on your New Year’s Resolution list to get yourself a crafting qualification, improve your skills, or just enjoy a day a month being your fabulous crafty self then this could well be for you!
These workshops are aimed at complete beginners, anyone who wants to gain a recognised qualification or those who want to enter into a structured course of learning and who may wish to gain teaching qualifications in their chosen subject.
Each course consists of 2 units;
  • Unit 1 introducing simple design ideas using colour, line and texture.
  • Unit 2 involves the production of a portfolio of samples and a folder of notes.

Each course is divided into 6 lessons of 5 hours and some individual work is required.
We will be offering the following 3 courses at Bee Crafty; City & Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Design & Craft Courses, Machine Embroidery, Hand Embroidery and Patchwork & Quilting.
We will be having a "meet and greet" in the shop on Saturday 9th March 10am - 2pm where you will get the chance to meet the teacher Bev Mayo, view samples and discuss what is involved in the course. If you are even remotely interested it would be worth coming along to take a look and have a cuppa and a chat!

Machine embroidery - City & Guilds level 1 Certificate in Design and Craft 7716-18

Teacher Bev Mayo Course cost £249

You will learn to create simple designs and create a portfolio of machine embroidery samples, including free stitching and textural samples as well as using automatic stitches and tension adjustments. You will learn how to adjust a sewing machine to produce new stitch patterns and textures using a variety of needles, threads, and lowering the machine feed to allow free stitching.
Course dates:  
April 4th
May 2nd
June 6th
July 4th
September 5th
October 3rd

Hand embroidery - City & Guilds level 1 Certificate in Design and Craft 7716-06

Teacher Bev Mayo Course cost £249

You will learn to create simple designs and create a portfolio of hand embroidery samples,  During the course you will experiment with a range of stitches, threads and needles. and explore different embroidery techniques,
Course dates:
April 11th
May 9th
June 13th
July 11th
September 12th
October 10th


Patchwork & Quilting - City & Guilds level 1 Certificate in Design & Craft 7716-09 Teacher Bev Mayo Course cost £249

You will learn to create simple designs and create a portfolio of patchwork and quilting samples. You will produce your own templates and blocks as well as working on traditional techniques. During the course you will explore the use of some fabric colouring mediums, as well as using commercially available fabrics.
Course dates:
April 18th
May 16th
June 20th
July 18th
September 19th
October 17th
Bev Mayo Profile
I have been working with textiles since a young girl starting with kits and magazines. In the 80’s I started designing hand knitted aran garments which were sold though craft fairs through out the country. On moving to Peterborough I began designing cross stitch patterns for national magazines. This led me to the City & Guilds courses and I completed what is now the certificate and diploma Creative Embroidery courses in the early 1990’s. I have recently completed the City & Guilds Patchwork and Quilting Certificate under the guidance of Barbara Weeks.
I have worked in local Primary and Secondary schools as an Artist in Residence and as a textile teacher, helping several schools achieve their Art Mark.
I have been an active member of the Embroiderers Guild since the early 90’s and joined the Quilters Guild 3 years ago.
I have had work exhibited both locally and further afield, I was a finalist in the Charles Henry Foyle Award twice with my work being exhibited at the Needle Forge Museum in Redditch.

For more information contact Bev Mayo, rmcreativestitches@hotmail.com Tel: 07840 543 899 follow her on Facebook at Roemayo Creative Stitches

BEV MAYO of RoeMayo Creative Stitches is a Micro Centre of Link2Create Ltd


Friday, 2 November 2012

When someone else's work is so amazing it makes you want to weep...! Introducing Pam McDonald

It is shocking how long it has been since my last post, but we have been very busy in the shop, as those of you who receive the newsletter or follow us on Facebook will know. 

I 'go through all the details now, suffice to say that I am making a November resolution to be more attentive to this poor old blog! Today I have decided to share a piece of work by one of our customers (who also happens to be teaching at the shop in a few weeks) - Pam McDonald.

I would usually put pictures of customer's work up on the Facebook page with a few sentences to describe it, but I think this one needs a little more room than that!

This piece of work is called Sylvia's workbox and is a very personal piece of work as it was created from the sewing box given to Pam when her friend Sylvia passed away.

Sylvia was a teacher, a mother and a prolific sewing, and Pam has used elements from that work box to capture those elements of Sylvia's life and character on canvas. I have to say that when Pam bought it into the shop on Wednesday that it brought the place to a standstill. We all stood around in open-mouthed wonder at this piece of art and the sheer ingenuity of what went into it.
 The attention to detail is astounding - I loved the use of the of old needles in the centre of the flowers,  as well as the rows of pins. So imaginative!

The layers of work, and of meaning, encourages you to look deep into the canvas as well as deep into a life.
 The more you looked - the more you see!

This piece of work was recently exhibited at the Embroiderers Guild exhibition in Peterborough - and I am sure it caused quite a stir! It will eventually be given to Sylvia's son - and very lucky he will be!

 If you want to see more about Pam, you can visit her blog which I am a big fan of (as you probably guessed!) or join her here at Bee Crafty on Friday 9th November to have a go at making some stunning embroidered buttons.



Sunday, 22 April 2012

Tutorial - Laptop or Camera case

This weekend I have been on a "make-fest" - enjoying the opportunity to make some useful bits and pieces! Paul wanted something to put his camera in, and my netbook was looking a little dull! So I got the sewing machine out and came up with these goodies and we are both delighted.

So being a helpful little Bee I thought I would share them with you!

This pattern can be used to make a case for a camera, a netbook or a laptop. This is not strictly a sleeve, because they tend to be much larger than they need to be in order to accommodate the depth of your tech!

It is also reversible if you don't add a fastening!


A piece of wadding,
one piece of fabric for the inside
one piece of fabric for the outside of your bag (measurements dependant on what you are 'bagging')
co-ordinating thread

sewing machine
iron and ironing board
sewing kit

Step 1 - measuring your fabric

Whatever you are planning to 'bag up', you will need to measure the contents to work out how much fabric you need. Measure all three dimensions - height (H), width (W) and depth (D). Make sure that you measure to the widest part, for example you would measure the depth to the end of the lens on a camera.

This next bit sounds complicated, but it ensures that your fabric goes around your item completely plus a bit for the flap!


My camera  measured 4inches wide (W), 3inches high (H) and 2inches deep (D), You will need to cut the width of your fabric to W + 1 inch wide (so mine was 5inches wide).

The length of the fabric should go all your tech and overlap at the front. The length of the fabric needs to be 2.5 x H plus 2 x D plus 1inch seams allowance. So mine was 2.5 x 3 + 2 x 2 + 1 (12.5 inches).

So my piece was 5x12.5 inches.

Step 2 - preparing the outside of the bag

You will need to cut 1 piece of wadding to the exact measurements calculated in step 1. The finished piece looks better if the flap has a nice curve, so fold your wadding in half lengthwise and use something round to draw around and cut out your curve - I use my favourite Dr Who coffee mug!

Cut your two pieces of fabric so that they are slightly larger than the wadding. Place your two pieces of fabric right side together and place the wadding on top as shown below:

Sew all the way around the wadding using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving a gap in the stitching along one side so that you can turn the whole thing inside out later.

Trim the fabric to the same size as the wadding. Snip the fabric around the curve ensuring you don't cut through the stitching. This will make the fabric lie flat once it is turned inside out.

Pull the fabric through the gap you left open.

 Turn the opening in and press flat.
Over sew all the way around as close to the edge as you dare using a coordinating thread. This will close the opening and gives a neat and professional finish.
Now that's the outside of your bag completed.

Now your tech is not flat, so we need to add sides to our bag.

Step 3 - create edges

Return to your earlier measurements and cut 2 pieces from each fabric that measure H plus 1/2 inch by D plus 1/2 inch. So mine was 3.5inches by 2.5 inches. Curve the bottoms of each piece.

Place one of each fabric right sides together and sew almost all of the way around, leaving a gap to pull it the right side out after snipping the curve and trimming the corners. Once it is turned the right way out, press flat and repeat until you have 2 sides.

Step 4 - sew it all together

You have a choice here - you can pin the sides in place and slip stitch it to the sides:
or you can be a little more adventurous and sew it with your machine.

The sewing machine method works better without pins! Sew from the top of the bag and follow the line of your previous top stitch. Slowly feed the two pieces through the sewing machine turning it carefully as you go.

Repeat for both sides and then press.

The netbook case did not need a fastener, but a smaller bag like the camera case would probably benefit from the addition of a popper or a simple Velcro fastener!

Step 5 - show off!

Now admire your new tech bag and make sure everyone else gets the chance to admire it!

Best wishes


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

We love to shop!

Well we have had a very busy weekend with 2 days at the Craft Hobby & Stitch trade show at the NEC. As we are unable to resist a bargain, we managed to blow twice our budget and thoroughly enjoyed doing it!

There is no danger of us keeping quiet about our purchases once they arrive here in Ellington, but I don't want to let the cat out of the bag quite yet, except to tease you with the following... Julie was completely bowled over by some french vintage fabric from (you've guessed it) France so we bought 6 in a red and 6 in a blue colourway. I also got to play by ordering our first range of Delica Beads which will be here within the next few weeks and I have to say that I am hoping from one foot to the other with excitement!

I cant wait to get to get my hands on them and come up with some classes. We are also increasing our range of seed beads, especially as our seed bead classes are increasing in popularity!

So we can make room, we have also decided to run a Sweet Deal - with a range of fabric for £7 a metre. Just the ticket for a backing or something to add to your stash.

So now we have fed our need to shop, we can let you feed yours! We will share more as they arrive and feel free to drop by and take a look!

Best wishes