the little grey girl

It's Showtime

Gemma DudleyComment

Let's talk about 2017 yarn shows & planning for them

February brings the start of indie knitting shows. There’s nothing better than knitting show season. For me, they're a great way to meet new people and get introduced to new indie makers and dyers, as well as topping up my stock of yarns and accessories from my favs. Writing my shopping list and been lost in that thing thats soo beautiful you just have to have it... there's nothing quite like it.

I have applied for a number of shows this year - keep an eye on my Instagram and the TLGG Events page for details on where you can come and see me plus find some fab new fabrics and products.

2017 Shows

As usual for me, Yarn Season opens with Unravel (on my show wishlist for 2018). This is a show not to be missed, despite the fact I should be spending 3 days working on EYF prep! I will be sneaking there on Friday morning  to peruse and spend in a leisurely-ish time squeezing and petting yarn and other goodies.

Unravel – Farnham, 17-19 Feb

Friday hours have been added to make this a full 3 day show! Opening Fri 11-5,  Sat 10-5, Sun 10-4. Limited early bird £6/ Day ticket £7 in advance / £9 on the door. Beware there is no cash machine at the venue; most sellers will have card machines, I'm sure, make sure you don't miss out on that Perfect Skein because you've no cash... 

Unravel is a not-to-be-missed show full of indie dyers and makers. Be prepared to spend lots of money! I will be there on the Friday early on if you want to meet up… and if you spot me, please say hi.

Edinburgh Yarn Festival (aka EYF) - 10-11 March

Edinburgh Yarn Festival is the show of all shows! I adore EYF and that's why last year I applied to be in the Pop-Up Market. The amazing organisation and selection of stalls you get at EYF explains why advance tickets are sold out already this year. If you haven't been before, get it on your yarny bucket list list as you will not be disappointed. Great stalls, the Podcast Lounge, plenty of places to eat and knit and catch up with yarny pals... Perfect! The Asda next to the venue has a cash machine and most vendors will accept cards.

If you're coming to EYF, come and see me in the Main Room hanging out with Leona of Rusty Ferret at stall G4!

Shows coming up later in the year

  • Wonderwool Wales, Builth Wells, Powys, Wales - 22-23 April
  • Leeds Wool Festival, Armley Mills, Leeds - 3 June
  • Woolfest, Cockermouth, Cumbria - 23-24 June
  • British Wool Show, Thirsk, North Yorkshire 8-9 July
  • Yarningham, Stirchley Baths, Birmingham - 15-16 July
  • Fibre East, Ampthill, Bedfordshire - 29-30 July
  • Yarnfolk, Whitehead, Northern Ireland - 5 Aug
  • South West Wool Fest, Exeter University, Devon - 26-27 Aug
  • Yarndale, Skipton, Yorkshire - 23-24 Sept
  • Shetland Wool Week, Shetland Isles, Scotland - 23 Sept-1 Oct
  • Masham Sheep Fair, Masham, Yorkshire 30 Sept - 1 Oct
  • Loch Ness Knit Festival, Inverness, Scotland - 13-15 Oct
  • Bakewell Wool Gathering, Bakewell, Derbyshire - 14-15 Oct
  • Kendal Wool Gathering, Kendal, Cumbria - 28-29 Oct
  • Stitch Fest, South West Totnes, Devon date - 4-5 Nov
  • Festiwool, Hitchin, Hertfordshire - 11 Nov
  • Nottingham Yarn Expo - 11-12 Nov

Planning for Yarn Shows

Attending yarn shows mainly as an exhibitor these days means I have less shopping time. So I need to make another organised list for stalls I have to visit and things I must buy, as I've done for unravel... Being a vendor doesn't mean you can't splurge, but you don't want to go home feeling like you missed out either.

I think my 10+ years of being a PA (and now as a project manager in my day job) means I have always had to be organised to keep myself on track as well as who knows how many other people. I think that's why I'm such a planner nerd these days: if it's not planned and listed, I feel anxious and uneasy. 

The Little Grey Girl has added a whole new aspect of planning to my life now. All of my time is so precious as I have to split it between work, business and having some kind of life... So if it's not planned and scheduled, it won't get done. (Please tell me everyone's like this and it's not just me!) it only gets done or sorted if its on a list and scheduled.

So I decided to formalise the planner I use for visiting yarny events. I want to get the most out of my time and not miss all that yarny goodness and really get what I need ... Although who doesn't get overcome and carried away by yarn fumes, no matter how meticulously planned and organised you are?

So here's a treat for you all... If you'd like a copy of the list I use for planning shows (even as an exhibitor), you can download it below. 

If you see me at a show, please come and say hi! I won't bite and I love to see what other people have bought as well as have a good old chat.

Gem x


Gemma DudleyComment

... not sorry & shopping

Anyone else seem to be overwhelmed by the red hearts that are everywhere? Card shops, the supermarket, shops generally... I forgot that from early February, everything must be red, shiny and heart-shaped. 

If you are single, the run-up to Valentine's Day is never that great. As a very, very single girl, I've decided this year that, instead of moping that I don't have a valentine to give me (overpriced) flowers (that will die very soon after 14 February anyway) or a gift that I really didn't want, I'm going to buy myself something I really, really want and celebrate just being me and single. So I thought I'd share some ideas for brilliant presents we single ones can buy for ourselves or use as helpful, (maybe not so subtle) hints for a loved one to buy for us - and not just for Valentine's Day either! Because we're worth it all year round, right? Right! 

£10 and under

£20 and under

Over £20

Double Happiness from Travelknitter

Double Happiness from Travelknitter





No matter what your budget or marital status, I hope this list gives you something to treat yourself or to drop that subtle hint to the special person in your life.

Happy Valentines! 

Gem x

The End ...

Gemma DudleyComment
The end a reflection on 2016 .png

... of the first full year

Anyone else wonder where 2016 disappeared to? Isn't it weird how it seems to go by so fast - and yet you look back and you have done so much... But that to-do list and those New Year's resolutions still seem to not have been completed ... always the way, hey...

Does anyone else give themselves a tough time about what they've accomplished? Or think that what you have done is never enough? Dwell on what you haven't done over what you have? And somehow just not realise how much you have achieved? (Go on, hands up) ... well I do that to myself and, no matter what I seem to do, it's just never enough.

I have promised myself that I will look back favourably on what has been a pretty epic year; it may not have been perfect but hey whose has .... If yours has, please let me know how you managed this!

It's show time! 

Looking back, I wonder how or why I decided to go to Edinburgh Yarn Festival in the Pop Up Market for my first ever show. I remember applying with my press release and a few images and Jo &  Mica really took a chance on me after only being in business a few weeks (possibly even just days). Nothing prepares you for show prep, especially when your first show is one with an audience of over 4,000 people! What/how much should you take, how do you get it there ... hang on how do you lay out a stall?... can I have a yellow tree?... Well, it was very much a leap of faith and, despite how tired I was, I had a fantastic time.

November saw The Little Grey Girl reach its first birthday  and we celebrated in style at the Countess Ablaze Studio in Manchester, complete with prosecco and cake, and it was a great afternoon! I managed not to buy ALL of the yarn - well yes, ok, I might have bought some. I defy any knitter to spend an afternoon in the Countess' studio and buy nothing - even my non-knitter mum spent money. It was definitely an amazing way to mark the occasion - and who can have a birthday without exclusive products? Getting to work on a fabric design with Martine Ellis and a yarn with Leona of Rusty Ferret, both of which came out from a simple colour palette and a few images, was just amazing.

"A London show? a London show??" I hear you scream... I do love the Great London Yarn Crawl but as a Londoner, I feel cheeky taking a place from someone to get to enjoy something I can do anytime. To get to have a table top stall at Yarnporium run by the ladies behind the Great London Yarn Crawl was great: a show in London , where I live!! I could do to the event on the bus and sleep in my own bed. It was a fantastic event and great to see so many people there who were new to The Little Grey Girl as well as new to me. I very much enjoyed the guy who popped in and bought a cat bag during a break from classes; I did think he felt a little out of place.  

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Time to shop! 

Not only have I moved from letting you guys shop on Etsy to having my own online shop on my website this year - I even built the site myself in a fit of "sure, why not do that with no experience... just press go and keep your fingers crossed" - eeek! It's amazing what you can work out when you really want to do something!

As well as the shop location, the product selection has grown and evolved! What started out as one little small rectagular zipped project bag as a trial really has moved in this year. Zipped project bags in three sizes and the introduction of the pyramid bag into the range. The launch of my notion kits - an idea bandied about with Kate Ellis in her back garden over wine, meats, cheese and bread in the sunshine - finally came to fruition and launched at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, only to sell out across the two days! There have been amm kinds of fabrics, from spots to zebras to event exclusive fabrics, and that's even before we look at the range of stitch markers, that has just exploded!

...and next... 

The end of this year saw me being accepted as a vendor with the amazing Leona, the genius behind Rusty Ferret Yarns, for Edinburgh Yarn Festival for 2017, and in the main room too! I squee with joy and also recoil a little at the scariness of being there with those huge names in the knitting industry. I love this show; if you've never been, it's not to be missed! Of course, it being in Edinburgh, why not mix some knitting with some Scottish culture and sightseeing? 

Hang on, hang on, we are looking back not forward ....

This year really has been quite something for The Little Grey Girl and it truly has been worth all of that work in the evenings and weekends, the stress and the worry and excitement. When I started this as a way to do something creative and to share something with people, I could never has imagined this. The people I have met and friends I have made, the people I have worked with... it's all been fantastic and I can't wait to do it all again. They are right: knitters are just the most wonderful people.

It struck me in writing this blog post that I hadn't ever realised just how much I'd achieved on top of working a 50 hour+ full-time job in the City, and I hadn't really celebrated some of these things, or realised just how big they were. 

"So what is next for 2017, Gem, apart from celebrating more?", I hear you ask. Well, that'll be for next week (mainly 'cause I'm still working away on what that will look like) but I'm hoping to get my blog up, running and regular.

Right that's all for now - until next time!

G x