resting-hounds-sleds

Cotton Orchard’s Sian Nunn completes the journey of a lifetime

This April, Sian Nunn of Cotton Orchard successfully completed a 260km husky sled journey across the Arctic to raise more than £8,500 for Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice.

In our previous blog about Sian’s fundraising adventure, we heard that she wanted to complete this challenge to support her close friend Helen whose young daughter Elsie was cared for by Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice when she had leukaemia.

And so it was that, on Saturday 7th April 2018, Sian left Exeter for the Arctic. She and Helen were accompanied by Nicky from Noah’s Ark.

There were 10 people taking part in the challenge in addition to the team’s Arctic survival guide (a Norwegian ex-Navy Seal), the team leader and three workers who had the unenviable job of rounding up the huskies, clearing up dog poo, and providing support.

Each team member had their own sled pulled by a team of huskies. Sian’s first day was challenging because her sled was carrying 50kg of dog food in addition to her supplies, which was a struggle for just five dogs. Sian spent a lot of the day pushing the sled to help the husky team. The addition of a sixth husky for the rest of the week made life a lot easier!

As might be expected, an adventure of this kind comes with challenges. For Sian, it wasn’t the physical aspect of the trek, although she says perhaps she should have practiced scooting as sledding uses the same muscles!

Sian wasn’t even fazed by the -25 temperatures. As a mum to four boys, she’s a seasoned camper and came prepared for the weather. She smiled her way through putting up and taking down the frozen tents, digging snow holes and trenches, collecting and then boiling water on a primus stove, dritech food, frozen sandwiches and 14-hour days.

Her practical, unflappable attitude is probably why Helen dubbed Sian the ‘Bear Grylls’ of the group.

For Sian, the biggest challenge came when her husky-pulled sled hit a curve too fast, throwing her off and slamming her shoulder against the sled anchor. She needed painkillers for the rest of the trip having torn the acromioclavicular joint in her shoulder.

Sian says her lasting memory will be the sheer scale and beauty of the landscape. “There is white as far as the eye can see, and with 20-30ft between each sled, it felt like perfect solitude.

“A journey like that strips you down to the most basic of needs: food, shelter and warmth. Everything else just drops away. I saw something very few people will ever see first-hand.

“It gives you a confidence. You realise you can achieve anything. Everyone should do a trip like that at least once in their life if they can.”

Sian will have a display in the foyer of the Makit LQ&N Fair on Sunday 13th May so you can see pictures of her incredible trip. There will also be a donation bucket if you have any spare change that you would like to donate towards her fundraising total.

East of England Arena

Visitors from all corners of the UK are heading to the Makit LQ&N Fair in Peterborough

One of the reasons we always pick the East of England Arena in Peterborough as the venue for our annual Makit LQ&N Fair is its central location. This year, we have visitors to the Fair from as far a field as the very far north of Scotland, West Cornwall, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It’s such a complement to the fair and all the traders who take part to know that there are visitors willing to travel the length and breadth of the country to be with us.

It’s always been important to us to be more than a regional fair. Visitors are able to buy textile craft tools, fabrics, threads, kits and accessories from specialist suppliers that are otherwise only available online.

inside the East of England arena with lots of stalls and visitors

Our visitors love the energy and friendly atmosphere of the Makit Fairs. Each one is a great social occasion for fellow textile crafters and packed full of inspiration for the next creative project.

Peterborough can be easily reached from A1 and A47. The East of England Arena is a 12-minute taxi journey from Peterborough station, which is located on the East Coast Main Line that runs from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh. Buses and coaches regularly run between Peterborough bus station and the East of England Arena.

As a reminder the Makit Fair is at the East of England Arena in Peterborough from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 13th May 2018.

There’s still time to order tickets online for collection until tomorrow evening (Friday 11th May) at https://www.makitfairs.com/shop/ or you can purchase tickets on the door on the day.

meadow flowers and hare kantha work

Complete a Kantha paisley piece with Angela Daymond

Angela Daymond has always stitched. Her mum and grandma were both passionate crafters and as Angela grew up she forever had a needle in her hand, working on her latest project. It ignited a passion that has shaped her life.

Initially, Angela qualified as a teacher but after having her son and returning to teaching part-time, she began to consider how she could build on her needlecraft skills. This led her to complete three different City and Guilds qualifications where she was introduced to Kantha and natural dyeing techniques.

Kantha (meaning ‘patched cloth’ or ‘rags’) refers to both the tradition of producing quilted blankets, usually from discarded but beautiful pieces of fabric, as well as the craft and stitch itself, which is a small, straight running stitch in Bengali embroidery.

With her new qualifications under her belt, Angela initially split her time between teaching and running needlecraft classes. Her experience and techniques were soon in such demand that she gave up the classroom and began teaching needlecraft full-time.

About three years ago, Angela decided it was time to explore different ways of reaching people who wanted to learn from her. So many people were getting in touch saying that they couldn’t attend her classes but would love a kit or instructions that they could follow unaided.

This led Angela to release Kantha Stitching, her first book of Kantha patterns and stitch diagrams, and kits that people could complete at home. The following year, she released a DVD about natural dyeing.

hare-prancing-in-a-meadow

 

Since 2015, Angela has produced four books and rolls out new kits and patterns every year. Her first book has been reprinted four times and she has just released her fourth book, A Drove of Hares in Stitches, containing quilting, Kantha and applique projects that focus on the hares that roam the Fenlands where Angela lives.

Angela will be bringing her books, Kantha kits, natural dyeing starter kits, patterns, threads and fabrics to the Makit LQ&N Fair on Sunday 13th May. We are also looking forward to her joining us at the Makit Fenland Fair on 6th October 2018 in St. Ives.

Make & Take with Angela Daymond

Paisley is a traditional Indian motif often found in Kantha work.

Drop in to Angela’s Make & Take to learn how to adapt a paisley design using different types of running stitch to create a simple but stunning piece of Kantha. Angela will be on hand to get you up and running.

Kantha is ideal for all experience levels – whether you’re a life-long needlecrafter or you struggle to tell one end of a needle from the other. The size of the stitch isn’t relevant – the variations add interest, tell a story and just go to show that people aren’t robots!

Angela will also have examples of natural dyeing techniques to hand if you’d like to find out more.

Want to know more about Angela Daymond? You can find her at:

Angela also appears on Hochanda every 6-8 weeks (approx.). Hochanda is on Freeview channel 85, Sky 663 and Freesat 817. Or you can watch on their website (including catch up).