Friday, 19 December 2008

a vintage year

I came across this very festive issue of stitchcraft and had to share it with you, it is the holiday season, after all! dontcha just love vintage patterns....?

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

ding dong the bells are gonna chime!

It was fitting day this weekend for the bridesmaids shrugs, very nervewracking for me, especially as I have fallen behind in the making, but I think it went well.
The maids looked just gorgeous in their dresses and the shrugs actually fit!
I am now on a shrugfest to get them all done by the 3rd of January, only two more to go, and then all the edgings, so it is achievable, and it was great to see them on, it gave me an added incentive to get them finished, as I can't wait to see the full line up with all five bonny bridesmaids lined up in them.
Thank you to the models for my pics, the lovely Caomha and Clare, chief bridesmaids, who had to dodge needles and use their imaginations a lot when trying on!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

let's knit again....

The latest issue of Let's Knit dropped through my letterbox this week and I have another pattern in it, a bright lacy shrug ready for the party season. It is a similar pattern to the bridesmaids' shrugs I have been knitting (two and a half more to go...!) so if you admired them, go out and buy this issue.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

deck the halls...

Its starting to feel very festive around and about with the frosty weather and my Christmas tree going up. I couldn't wait to decorate it with the intricately cut paper decoration designed by Rob Ryan which Selvedge sent out as their birthday invite. Unfortunately I couldn't attend, but the invite is so lovely, I had to use it on the tree, along with the glass robots, sparkly baubles and my own handmade angel. Ah, bring on the mulled wine and mince pies....

Sunday, 30 November 2008

taking pictures

The last shoots for the book proved that I have some very beautiful and talented young people in my family! I recruited my nephews, cousins and family friends to wear my knits as they are so gorgeous. Here are Taylor and Eoin playing with Finley, instead of getting down to work. The final shots look amazing, I will post some as soon as I can.

mini treats...

Cecile and I were very pleasantly surprised when we were treated to some gorgeous tiny cup cakes this weekend by a very generous customer in loop. They are in an egg carton so you can see how tiny they were, but they were extremely yummy....thank you so much for the lovely treat, and let me stress that gifts are always welcome in loop.....!!!!

Friday, 14 November 2008

yarn forward

I have been incredibly busy recently trying to finish my new book by the deadlines, so haven't had much time to sleep, let alone write new posts, but I had to pop up a quick note to say that I was mightily cheered by a glimpse at the new Yarn Forward today. One of my designs has made the cover! It is a very cute little fairisle tank, even if I do say so myself. After a brief thumb through at a quiet moment in loop, I feel that I must say that the magazine is going from strength to strength. The articles and patterns this month are really great, I am going to have to pencil in an hour or two to read it properly.......!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

dazzling dresses

Couldn't resist posting this photo my friend Katherine took at a wedding recently. I love the colours of the dresses, who knew we would coordinate so would think we planned it! I am the one with my hand in my pocket, as per usual. I do love a pocket, it stops my hands fidgeting when there is no knitting nearby...well, it would be rude to at a wedding......wouldn't it.......?!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

childs play...

A word of warning, if you are babysitting nieces and nephews do not expect to get any knitting done. This is what happened when Taylor and Finley got hold of my yarn and needles.....

....and then they begged me to knit for their pokemon, as they were cold without clothes on.....

So much for the new book knitting, but the boys are so adorable that it was worth the unwelcome break!

Monday, 20 October 2008

crafting by the river

On a misty, atmospheric autumn evening last week I visited the Origin fair by the Thames. The moon was large and bright, Sommerset House and the surrounding London buildings were as beautiful as ever and I had a lovely evening. There were some gorgeous offerings at the fair, lots of lovely jewelry and some great textiles. Highlights were, as ever, Ruth Tomlinson, who had some stunning new multi-stranded necklaces, also Naori Priestly, a lady who does some very eccentic things with textiles, who makes hilarious pin cushions, some of which you can see here.
Anybody who missed it should try their hardest to visit at least one of the two exhibition weeks next year to support all these talented designer makers.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

oh - sew - hip!

I was delighted to see my old chum Rabbit hitting the big time and making it onto the front cover of glossy new magazine Sew Hip. He really knows how to put himself out there. I am jealous; it will be the runways of New York and Milan next! Joking aside, the magazine is lovely, it is nice to see a new sewing magazine with some contemporary patterns in it. For all you folk who have taken a liking to Mr Rabbit, I am hoping to squish the designing of a bunny pattern into my hectic schedule to feature in a future issue of Sew Hip, so I will let you know when it is in the shops.
Meanwhile, the first issue hits the newstands on the 31st October, I hope Mr Rabbit's ego can handle it...!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

christmas is coming....

Christmas started very early for me this year, as I was knitting a fairisle stocking in June, ready for this month's issue of Let's Knit. Then again, I don't really need an excuse to get into the holiday spirit, but hopefully this pattern will get everbody else in the mood - I think I will be knitting myself one in extra, extra large so Father Christmas can fit all my lovely pressies in!

ally pally

Well, this weekend it was that time of year again - stitching and knitting at ally pally, and it was lovely to be living practically on the doorstep this year. However, it did lead to me buying silly amounts of coned yarn and some lovely coloured leather knowing it wasn't far to lug it home....dangerous! I also purchased a wonderful bernina sewing machine from the lovely Malcolm at Sewfine, something I have been after for ages...will post some pictures of the lovely toys I intend to make on it soon. I also want to make some bags from the leather....if I ever get round to it.....anybody else impulse buy this weekend?!!

Friday, 3 October 2008

shooting the book

In exciting news #3, I was shooting the first installments for Easy Kids Knits last week. Archie was a pro, working hard for almost three hours solid, luckily the location had lots of clockwork toys and robots to play with.
The house was beautiful, a great setting and from what I have seen, the pictures are looking great. I have high hopes for the book being really lovely when finished, my favourite one yet - only one problem - I just have to finish the knitting for it; just 12 items to go...better get started.....!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

it's here!

Onto exciting news #2...the first copy of my new book has arrived!

It was a lot of work and compromises were made aplenty, but it is finally in print; a real book! my favourite parts are the sections on the design process, as I had initially envisaged the book as more of a knitting companion than a pattern book, ideal for inspiring the knitter, due to its gorgeous images and design tips. it has finally emerged as a hybrid of the two, which is nice.

For those of you who like the socks in a previous post, this is the book the pattern appears in. As do the scrummy mittens which have been featured on the side of this blog for months now, probably my favourite pattern and picture in the book. Other highlights are the wonderful steeked Norweigan style jumper and an ocean inspired seacell and wool wrap.

Yarn palette is out in October, so check it out in all good book shops....although I am not yet sure how available it will be in the UK - it is published by Readers Digest - hence the American-style cover and spelling. The UK distributors are A&C Black and there is always amazon....!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

london fashion week

I haven't posted in a while as I have had such a busy time doing some very exciting things that have left me exhausted, but even so I am going to try to fill you in on some of these things over the next few days. So first things first: a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Basso and Brooke Spring/Summer 09 show at London Fashion Week.

This year, the show was in the wonderful Science Museum, and the collection was fabulous dahhling! The fluid fabric of the dresses draped and moved beautifully, printed with a stunning explosion of colourful designs based on modern Japan. I just cannot tell you how much I loved each and every one, and would love to have them all in my wardrobe, although I think I would have to save up for quite a while just to own one!
I managed to see another of their shows a few years ago, but this is far and away my favourite of their collections so far. Even the accessories were astounding, with fabulously humourous huge scale kirby grips and hair pins sticking out of the models' squared off hair dos and towering platform heels adorned with flowers. I loved the belts; wide, printed and folded bow shapes....perhaps I could afford one of day....!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

let's knit....

I had a nice surprise when I ventured into my local newsagents today, as a design of my very own was on the front cover of the latest issue of Let's Knit magazine. Here is a sneaky peek of the project if you don't have a copy....

...more patterns to come in the next few issues, so keep an eye out for the party pink shrug and a christmas stocking.....

Sunday, 7 September 2008

iknit fair

Along with about a million other knitters (or so it seemed!) I was down at the Royal Horticultural halls for the iknit fair this weekend, which was really good fun, if very tiring, as I was there to work at the loop stall.
Now would be a great opportunity to post pictures of the fantastic hall's windows, the HUGE angora rabbit which looked more like a fur ball at the Silkwood Yarns stall next to us and the colourful fair with beautiful yarns, fashion shows, books and people knitting everywhere. However, you guessed it, I forgot my camera - thats what happens when you get up at 6.30am on a saturday to rush down there. So, I cant explain the loveliness of it all unless you were one of the squillions that turned up.
To try to make up for it, here are some of the pretty things I managed to buy in the few quiet times; sweet pastel antique needles fom loop and vintage pattern greetings cards from knitonthenet.

And some really rubbish snaps from my mobile phone, so at least you can try to imagine the size of the giant rabbit! It produces the most wonderful angora yarns, I heartily recommend the Silkwood site.... is the very colourful and pretty (I'm biased of course!) loop stand.

I heartily recommend next year's fair to anyone that could not make it on Saturday, but be prepared to be tempted - you may have to clear out your stash to make room for all the new yarns you will aquire!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

making the music video

It was fantastic recently to be at the filming of a music video for which I handmade the two lead roles! The video is for a Paul Steel ep and I have been working in conjunction with the animation company Model Robot. The song is called 'April' and is a boy meets girl story with a twist, so I made the puppet versions of April and Paul in a rag doll style, and I love them! The video so far is really fun with a huge dash of Model Robot's humour. There are ten animators working on different short films through Passion Pictures for this project, so it should produce some exciting and eclectic animation - keep an eye out for it in October!

Friday, 22 August 2008

new book

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, what a perfect day to begin work on my new book! Although today, I use the word 'work' loosely as drawing, picking yarn shades and swatching in the bright sunshine of a rare British summer day feels much more fun than work should be. It is days like this that I realise how lucky I am to be doing something I love and that satisfies my creative side as my career....however, check back in about 3 months time, after I have been knitting like a maniac for weeks on end, when I have back ache and RSI-induced tennis elbow and it is blowing a gale outside - I may tell a different story!

look out for Easy Kids Knits - the follow up to Easy Baby Knits in the middle of next year, I will keep you up to date with its progress.

(p.s. I am mighty proud of my sunflowers - it's nice to get a chance to sit out and enjoy them!)

Sunday, 10 August 2008

knitting workshops in france

Recently I had the exciting task of booking some dates for a workshop with Les Soeurs Anglaises in the South of France. What a fantastic setting for some relaxing knitting! Check out the dates in my class list and dont forget to look at the website to get the details not only for my class, but also to check out the other talented artists and designers that run courses at the maison de maƮtre.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

superman knitted jumper

Vintage patterns are a favourite source of inspiration and projects for me and in my search, I recently found this fab wonder woman jumper on practical polly's blog. I was inspired to put up some pictures of my own past efforts to inject a little comic book heroism into my knitting. This pattern, adapted from a vintage leaflet, as with polly's, took forever to knit, as I knitted it a few rows at a time during other design projects.

The jumper also needed a dismantling and a reknit after it was finished as I underestimated the size of superman's 'muscles'. but after almost a year, it was finally finished in time for superman to brave the massive new york blizzard of many lives were saved due to superman not freezing in the snow thanks to the ultra warm blue sky alpaca it was knitted in!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

wedding knits

Here is a picture of some work in progress. The brief is to make some warm yet pretty cover ups for bridesmaids at a chilly January wedding. Their dresses are strapless, so I have suggested lacy shrugs just to warm the arms and prevent the beautiful ladies from becoming the 'something blue'! The yarn is a silk and wool blend, which will knit with a beautifully understated sheen whilst providing great warmth. The only problem is that there are five bridesmaids in all.....better get knitting....!

The recipe for the shrugs, along with other Monty knitting patterns will be on sale from my website and all good LYS very soon hopefully! Look out for pictures of the finished garments and wedding in the new year.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

i love knitstable

I visited Whitstable on a rainy Monday but it was definitely not miserable! I had unfortunately just missed the biennale, which was celebrated with many interesting exhibitions and events, but the hangover was evident, mostly in the many knitted and yarn based objects or 'graffiti' dotted around the streets.

my favourite was this pomflower, which I almost walked straight past.....!

The real reason for visiting was to see the shops on harbour st; frank and seaside sadie. Frank is a great little shop showcasing new and exciting designers with products such as handmade books, jewellery and artworks. Well worth a look at the shop or website.

Seaside Sadie is a small but perfectly formed
yarn shop owned by the lovely Claudia, an expert knitter and feltmaker, who I met on my degree course. If you fancy felt-making workshops, handmade felted goods, the beautiful Kentish Aragon Yarns and more, head on over. Sadie is relatively new, so the website isn't up yet, but if you want to contact Claudia, email her;
(Keep an eye out here for news of my latest design in the aragon yarn......)

Love, love, love Colinette Jitterbug yarn.....

Monday, 30 June 2008

tidying up

trying hard to prevent my yarns and knitting from taking over my whole life, but I don't think it is working.....although, I have organised the cones in a rainbow, so at least it looks nice.....!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

viktor and rolf

On Monday I went to the Viktor and Rolf exhibition at the Barbican museum. It was fabulous, I really recommend it. The centerpiece was a huge 3 storey dolls house containing exquisite porcelain dolls wearing intricately made miniture replicas of each full size outfit in the exhibition. Of course, the dolls were the icing on the cake for me - beautiful yet slightly eerie.
Before this exhibition, I had never fully appreciated the stunning and technically perfect collections of this duo, assuming that the conceptual side of their work was just gimmicky. It isn't. The Art concepts are well thought through and add to the work, not detract from it. And they have a beautiful website too, check it out....

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

can't stop lookin at my feet....

This week I started wearing the first pair of socks I have knitted and I must say I love them! They fit perfectly and are so comfortable. The gorgeous, vibrant Colinette Jitterbug yarn is such a stunning colour that I can't keep my eyes off them. I wanted to make use of the space dyed colours, so knitted them in a slip stitch pattern which holds stiches over a few rows. The flecks of dark colour, I feel, make the spikey nature of the stitch more prominent, which fits in with the tropical theme I had in mind. If you fancy knitting them yourself, the pattern will be in my forthcoming book, Knitters Palette.
Only trouble with them is, now I am addicted. I have since knitted one and a half pairs, both gifts, and have another two pairs planned for myself. When will I get any work done......?!