Sunday, 26 April 2015

A little more about Us

We got together on Friday to discuss this week’s blog and realised whilst chatting about our upcoming bag patterns that we have not really told you much about ourselves and why we knit and crochet.

So we thought you might like to find out a little more about us, here goes:

Helen is formally Mrs Helen Ardley and she started knitting when she was 12 years old after getting a set of red plastic knitting needles and a French knitting dolly and a lovely ball of 100% 'squeaky' acrylic yarn, after that there was no stooping her, she progressed from knitting Sindy doll clothes and scarves to a hat for herself. She even taught her dad to knit (a scarf for football).

Helen went on to study textile design at Huddersfield University, taking her knitting and crafting skills to the next level. After graduating with honours she went on to work in Newcastle for a knitwear company as an assistant designer, choosing yarn and designing new fabric panels for use in jumper patterns, she stayed there for six years.
These are a few of my designs from my first ever job up in Newcastle
  This jumper took me nearly a week to knit the panel but well worth it.

Her next job was a designer for a company that supplied knitted and crochet garments to the high street and catalogues. She stayed there for 7 years then her dream job came up !

Patons was the next company that Helen joined and was Head Designer for 6 years, were she learnt the skills to write patterns organise photo shoots and knit and crochet almost anything! This was an amazing career move which meant her travelling all over the world for photo shoots providing Helen with a job she loved and the opportunity to see some fabulous places. 

 The team on location in the hills of Cape Town.
 I never really got use to the fact that it was my designs that we were taking pictures of..and me who had to choose the models and locations, having the final say! Very important work, but it was so much fun.
 A beautiful house in South Africa that we went to for the day for our photo shoot.
 Me (sat down) and my assistant in our dressing room!...and below putting the finishing touches to the model.

It was during her time at Patons that she met and formed firm friendships with Martin Storey who worked for Jaeger at the time and also Kim Hargreaves. Helen still keeps in touch with them both and recalls the job with fondness and has many happy memories from her time there...
Me (nearly 8mths pregnant)  Kim and Martin.

Helen decided that it was time to start a family in 2004 and chose to be a stay at home mum as balancing work and home with a small baby was too much. But luck has always been with Helen and she was soon approached by Hamlyn books to write 2 crochet books. Cute crochet for tiny tots and Crocheted accessories there is also a how to knit book the last 2 are still available to purchase on Amazon.

From here Helen has gone on to design for many magazines and you are all probably familiar with something she has designed.  She has also designed for Rowan yarns and her patterns are available from their site. Just go to and use the pattern search by designer.

Who knows what the future holds but for now designing and blogging are what Helen is up to this space.

I am Mrs Sarah Daly and I was first taught how to knit by Mrs Curtis who was a parent helper at my infant school and I made a jumper for my teddy. I did not knit much at first but I do remember knitting my first garment which was a lemon tank top and I made it in a Wendy yarn, lemon wasn't my colour but the yarn was the right price. It had more holes than it should have but my mums excellent sewing up skills seemed to make them vanish, I wore that top with pride!

In high school my maths teacher Mrs. Heeson formed a knitting club and my enthusiasm for the craft was fired up, such beautiful yarns were becoming available in the early eighties, and I loved them. Jaeger being one of my luxury buys. The fact that my best friend Julie also knitted..and still does...helped.

I went on to work and did nothing creative, I went to a bank and then had a career break of eight years being a full time mum. My creativity came in useful for making children's clothes and I even did craft fairs selling my makes. I love creating, not just with wool but fabrics and clay too in fact anything crafty will do.

We raised lots of money for school with this Royal Wedding- a real team effort!
I went back to work and progressed to being a School Business Manager. After 14 years at the same school I left to follow a more creative path working as a freelance design consultant for Rowan Yarns based in John Lewis Trafford, my creativity was at last used to the fullest and I loved my time with them, meeting some fabulous people and making some great friends. It was so good to work with like minded people sharing my crafting knowledge and I learned so much from everyone too. 
Sarah gets way to giddy when she sees Yarn!
I was lucky enough to have a pattern published in the Rowan Jubilee on-line look book at  I was one of the lucky winners in a competition for Design Consultants it is a lovely book with free patterns based around the Golden Jubilee. Take a pattern is for a kindle cover.  

I eventually returned to office work which is where I am today. I also run a community Knitting Group at my local library which I enjoy hugely and of course writing this blog with Helen allows my creativity to have a channel. 

Well that's it from me this space for where I go next.

As we said in our very first post back in February 'We met at a local knitting group and have both been design consultants working for Rowan Yarns in the same store. We became good friends as our common ground is a passion for yarn and an ultimate goal to own and run the 'Perfect Wool Shop' where no enquiry would be too small and tea and a chat would always be waiting..... back in the real world we would like to share our knowledge, expertise and the odd pattern on this blog with you.'

We would both like to thank you for following our blog and we hope you enjoy our posts we have some great things coming up which we are working on so as we have said watch this space and take a look at our face book page too Hank,Skein & two Odd Balls.

Until next week its cheerio from us both and keep knitting/hooking!

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