Festiwool Magazine

Festiwool is pleased to announce the launch of a magazine - Festiwool Magazine. It will be published once a year, to coincide with Festiwool's Hitchin Event.

Festiwool Magazine 2017 features articles by Beaker Buttons, exclusive patterns - including our very own Festibear, Spotlight on Workshop providers, and an account of why Hitchin was chosen as the venue for the first Festiwool, in 2014.

Festiwool Magazine will be available mid-September.

If you can't wait to learn more about the medieval market town of Hitchin, you can purchase a new DVD by Hitchin TV in the Heritage Video Focus Series - A very personal view of the history of Hitchin by the Curator of the British Schools' Museum.

Copies of the DVD can be purchased for £10 from Hitchin Initiative, The British Schools' Museum, and Hitchin TV's Facebook page.

Competition Time

Have you visited the Art Installation in St. Mary's Churchyard?


This is a taste of last year's Exhibition., courtesy of Hitchin TV.


Come and see what's in store this year, throughout the month of July. If you come along on the morning of Friday 14th, you will find members of Hitchin Stitchin, Woolly Chic, and Festiwool knitting and taking tea together.  Why not join us?

Post a picture of your favourite item from the Installation on Twitter. Use the hashtag #moreteavicarFestiwool and you could win a copy of the very first edition of Festiwool Magazine (to be published in September)


Woolly Chic at Hitchin Festival

Helen has been busy, mounting her exhibits at the More Tea Vicar, in St Mary's Churchyard. 

Woolly Chic, Hitchin Stitchin, Hitchin Girls' School, and Festiwool, will be adding more items to the Art Installation throughout the month. 

Helen will also be attending Festiwool 2017 as an exhibitor. She has contributed one of her knitted bag patterns, available to anyone who buys a ticket for the event on 11th November. 

Hitchin Festival

Festiwool, Hitchin Stitchin, and Hitchin Girls' School, added more items to the Art Installation in St Mary's Churchyard. Among them was this fabulous Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

Hitchin Festival launches this evening with a Street Food Event.

Why not come along and wander through the Churchyard to see if you can spot any more teatime treats? Post pictures of your favourite to Twitter with the hashtag #moreteavicarFestiwool

More Tea Vicar?

Festiwool and Woolly Chic

are back at St Mary's Churchyard Hitchin,  with More Tea Vicar. 

This year, Festiwool is working with pupils from local schools. Hitchin Girls' School kicked off the festival with some sweet treats. There will be more treats installed all through Hitchin's Festival month from Woolly Chic, Festiwool and Hitchin Stitchin.

Anyone for donuts? More tea, Vicar?

Festiwool at the Festival

Festiwool will, once again, be taking part in the HitchinFestival.

This year's theme is The Tea Party. There will be sweet confections on view that are too good to eat, and creative contributions from Woolly Chic, Louise Shotton, ChrissCrossCraft, and members of Hitchin Stitchin' and Ival Knits.

Come and see the fantastical creations from the imaginations of  pupils from Hitchin Girls' School and Biggleswade Academy. The fun begins on 31st June and continues throughout the month of July. 

Want to join the Vicar of St Mary's and his wife for a spot of knitting at the Tea Party? Watch this space for confirmation of dates.

Spotlight on

The Studio at Number 30

Kaye McGown

The love of sewing and all things handmade is something that Kaye had from a very early age. Even as a small child her favourite toy was her Mum's old button tin! She grew up in a very creative family. With her three sisters she would spend many happy hours making clothes for their dolls, creating costumes and putting on shows for their parents. Her Grandmother was a seamstress and a milliner and at the age of 5 she taught Kaye how to use a sewing machine, a simple hand-powered Singer, which she still uses today and features in her logo.

Kaye's love of dressmaking grew and she made clothes for herself, wedding dresses for friends and a christening gown for her godson. Years later, having trained as a lecturer, travelled the world and had two children of her own, she is still happiest when she is making or crafting something.

Kaye will be presenting  workshop at Festiwool for the second year running. This year, she invites you to Make an Orla Keily Washbag.


Crafting as a business

British Fibre Art Magazine's Rainy Williamson will be talking about setting up a business at Festiwool this year. Why not book a ticket and get some insider tips.

In the meantime, here is some excellent advice from

© BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour

Knitting and embroidery are crafts that have traditionally been done at home by women for centuries, but are still hugely popular today. Hannah Hill and Louise Walker are two young women who have taken these disciplines and applied a modern twist of their own.

if you want to sell your crafts - how is the best way to go about it? Amy Phipps gives some top tips.

Know your own worth

“If you want it to be a money-making full-time business, you have to break it down into what you want to earn a year - and then work backwards,” says Amy Phipps, who runs Women Who Create UK and craft business Super+Super.

Be prepared to spend most of your time NOT doing the one thing that you love

Think you’re going to be sewing / spinning / weaving all day to your heart’s content? Think again!

“I love knitting and I love making,” says Louise Walker, who launched a business selling Taxidermy-inspired knitting kits, Sincerely Louise. “But during my daytime at the office I have to do everything else; social media, the post, every little thing that makes up that business. There's very little time left to do that thing that you loved in the beginning.”

You should also expect that workload to change with the seasons too.

“Nearer Christmas you're making stuff constantly and sorting out posting and packing,” says Amy. “But at the start of the year it's probably more planning and admin, bookkeeping - so you have to be able to be a jack of all trades.”

Get yourself on social media (and be authentic)

“A lot of us work on our own at home, but you have to stay connected,” says Amy, who believes social media is key for finding your tribe, flogging your wares and letting customers see behind the scenes.

“Being on Instagram and really making use of social media is so important for selling, and building those relationships. I think people want to see the real person behind the business, as that’s what you don’t get from mass-produced products. 

Louise even used social to help her win Etsy’s £10,000 People’s Choice Award.

“I thought, ‘if I win this it will just change my life’,” she says. “So I spent two weeks canvassing for votes, getting in contact with followers, doing posts – I even made a video, knitting a kit from start to finish and it got thousands of views.” Et voila.


But don’t forget to make yourself part of a REAL LIFE community too

There’s no substitute for getting out there, so google local groups or use the online marketplace Etsy to connect with people in your area – and then leave the house.

“In Brighton I had a huge community from running a studio,” says Amy. “Fantastic people would come to workshops, and I go to as many things as I can.”

Markets – such as the Independent Ceramics Market, Crafty Fox or BUST Craftacular - are also a top place for networking,

“Google the kind of markets that are in your area and just go and buy something,” says Tallie Maughan, who runs ceramics studio Turning Earth.

“Just by going and buying or selling work you're joining the community, you're going to be surrounded by other artists and that's when you're going to answer questions like how much should this be sold for?.”

Get skilled up and get organised

Draw on all the free resources that you can, from the Design Trust to the government’s Start Up Loan scheme, which offers free training from business advisors.

“They did the business forecasting for me, and with me,” says Talle, “so I learned how to do spreadsheets, which are still the foundation for my business, and that was free.”

Amy adds: “Keep all your receipts really well organised and your finances in order from the very beginning.

“I would honestly cry over piles of receipts, that was the biggest stress for me. I've started using a cloud accounting assistant and that's amazing, and I’ve got an app so I can scan my receipts and it imports all of my transactions.”

Get yourself a ‘business bestie’

“Having that physical group to go to is fantastic, but maybe find one person who you trust who can be your ‘business bestie’,” is Amy’s genius advice.

“Meet up once a month just for a check in, and they can hold you accountable for the goals and steps you said you were going to do last month.

“That's so important. My cat's not going to tell me to do my accounts. I have somebody that I go to for a coffee and they say, ‘right, how are you getting on with this?’.

“No one can really be accountable to their own deadlines,” adds Tallie.

Say goodbye to the 9-5

When it comes to running your own craft business, it’s NOT a job, it’s a lifestyle.

“Be prepared to be super driven. It's not like a 9 to 5 that you can just switch on and off when you want, it's really all consuming,” says Amy.

“But you do it because you love it and you’re passionate about it,” adds Louise.

“I wouldn’t work this hard for anyone else – and any other maker, artist, crafter would say the same thing. But you’re doing it for you, and you’re on your own terms.”