Tuesday, 30 June 2009

new/old patterns

Recently I have been trying to tidy up my life. I have far too many things on the go at once to be disorganised, but unfortunately I am. Very. So, I suddenly realised that the exclusive copyright to a few patterns I submitted to some magazines has been finished for a while, meaning I can self publish them.
This is a great practice the magazines are trying to do to help out knit designers, as the compensation in relation to the time put in to this sort of work is generally rather poor. So, I have been busily sorting out layouts for new patterns to sell on Ravelry and have posted two up there today; Violet hat and a Christmas stocking, which you may recall in different guises from earlier posts. The whole process is really rather exciting to me, however, the next step is to get ordered enough to sell them over my own website, too.
(Wow, this pattern seems really incongruous in the middle of a summer heatwave, but I guess if you are well prepared person, now is the time to knit for Christmas...
I'm definitely not that organised!)

Monday, 29 June 2009

young designers

This evening was the Royal College of Art Textiles MA private view. I hadn't managed to get to any other shows this year, but I always try to go to this one, as it is the course I graduated from five years ago (where does the time go?!)

There is some really lovely work this year. I noticed that there was a strong hand drawn theme, with lots of naive illustration type prints and mixed media pieces. I of course enjoyed this, being a lover of a strong line drawing and it also meant that much work had a one-off, obviously non mass-produced quality. Keeping to this theme, my stand out favourite of the whole RCA grad show wasn't a textiles designer but a communications student. Haruka Shinji's work has a strong humourous aspect and truly beautifully executed drawings and cut out pieces.

I also noted that almost every student had a blog or website, almost unheard of in my day all those many moons ago. It is great for the graduates to have such a space to showcase their work, and a true sign of the internet age. It also means I can share my favourite textiles students much more fully with you, as you can check out their sites.
Tiffany Ong entitled her display Entomological Knits, and displayed lots of brightly coloured knitted samples like specimens or moths in wooden frames. This lent a very traditional feel to her contemporary work, a juxtaposition I cannot resist.
Wendy Marchbanks calls herself a printed textiles designer and illustrator, and her love of drawing is shown in her beautiful printed wallpapers (left).
Finally Rebecca Lucraft is a mixed media graduate who had a stunning space filled with golden coated bird cages and fairy tale trees housing laser cut wooden birds and monkeys. Her shapes, colours and drawing are beautifully naive and magical.

The show is on until the 5th July, so if you are in the area get in and see the work, it is free admission and well worth a look. There are some very promising designers of the future here.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

easy kids knits

It feels like I have been waiting for bloomin' ages for this book to arrive, but at last it is here! The first preview copy of Easy Kids Knits was delivered today. This time it is being released just in paperback, although you will be glad to hear that it still has the same feel as Easy Kids Knits, with sumptuous photos and simple yet beautiful knits. I tried to also keep the projects really wearable, an important factor when knitting for fussy children who can now decide what they do and do not wear!
The launch date is in the first week of August and I am going to have a big launch party at loop with fizz and birthday cake, as I will also be turning 21 again, so even more of a reason to come along and help me celebrate. I am working on other exciting elements of the launch, which I will let you in on as soon as I have them finalised. Hope you can come along, browse through the book, partake in some of the events and help me drink all those sparkles!

Monday, 22 June 2009


New moo business cards have arrived and very lovely they are indeed. Also got some mini cards to use as tags at the kiosk.

My favourite is little mr rabbit, what's yours?

Thursday, 18 June 2009


This summer I shall be lugging all my lovely handmade wares down to the Southbank to take part in a collaboratory exhibition with Wayne Hemmingway Design and the Design Museum. They have set up a Kiosk by the Mayor's fab building with a view to supporting young British designers. It is a great idea and I recommend you all head down there at least once over the summer to support the innovative design and participate in some workshops.
I shall be there giving free workshops and knitting advice to all levels of knitter and selling starter kits for the few people left out there who can't yet knit! My workshop day is Sunday 26th July and I will also be around on the 26th and 27th August, till late in the lovely summers evening if the weather permits, so please drop by and say hi, I would love to see you!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


New sketches up on the website.
Just got the patterns left to upload now...when I have finished writing and checking them!
Then I guess it will be all change again as I still want to have an online shop.

One step at a time...

Sunday, 14 June 2009

sew happy!

I have just finished a top and just had to tell you all; I made this!

(Just don't look too closely at the neck - wonky cover stitching - and ignore the creases, I wanted to show you striaght away, so no time to iron!)

Everyone who follows this blog knows that I love to craft beautiful things with my hands, and that I am trying to eschew fast fashion. You may also recall from one of my very first posts that I have been trying to teach myself to dressmake. I can sew (just about!) but the things I sew are ususally knitted garments which I sew by hand, or little mixed media creatures, which have even more character when wonky! To be honest, I struggle with the sewing machine - straight lines are just not me. However, miracle of miracles, I have finished my first sewing project! Unfortunately it is not the dress I had started way back in my first post, but one that I started a few weeks ago after I was deeply inspired by the wonderful projects by verypurpleperson, especially this dress.
I wisely decided to start with something much simpler, even though I desperately want a white dress like hers.
That is where this very simple t-shirt came in, which I made from a folded over, shaped rectangle of jersey with a slit for your head. I wanted to do it properly, as I think most of my failures come from rushing into projects, so I drew out my own pattern on spot and cross paper and pinned it to the fabric, instead of just guessing where I needed to cut, like I have done in the past! I cover stitched the hems at the college where I work after realising I had access to so many fabulous resources that I was not using, and was amazed that I could control such a big, industrial, beautiful machine.

I finished it off on my lovely sewing machine, which so far has seen very little action. That will change now I hope! I have bought Burda sewing magazine as I thought winging it on the pattern front may have just been a lucky first try, and I have been enjoying looking at some of the creations on the burdastyle website, where I found apurpleperson's blog.
Crossed fingers and toes, I am now hoping to make loads more of my own clothes, to support my new crafting ethos, to save money and to ensure I have some original, interesting pieces in my wardrobe, and not just mass produced fashion. I think I will try a Liberty print summer dress next, as I am inspired by all their collaborations with big designers. You never know, it might be ready for next summer...!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

city lit knit

I finished what I thought was a very successful class at the City Lit College in Covent Garden last week. It was an improvers knitting class, but most of my learners were more advanced than improvers, so we ended up progressing onto designing patterns, which was fun, if stressful! (I thought designing one pattern at a time was hard...try helping with six at once!)

The talented knitters on the class let their creativity fly really quickly and produced some very pretty samples - I wish I had taken some more pictures. I think the three lots of five hour sessions just allowed them to sit and only concentrate on knitting, which I know it is really hard to do at home in between work and when the ironing and housework are calling you. I can't wait to see the results of the very imaginative first designs, I have set up a ravelry group for this very reason and hope to see some finished products soon.
This slightly creepy but fab piece was knitted not in the class, but by one of the students who is also a sculptor and attends Camberwell college of art, I am hoping to get down to see her show later this month. This piece is a latex cast of her body which she has cut up and knitted - weirdly wonderful!

City Lit is offers a great variety of courses, academic and recreational, get over there and have a look, you may find something you really want to try. I am leading a course in Hairpin Lace in July, with more beginners, experimental and improver knitting classes in the next academic year. After that I shall be planning more different classes, so if you have any ideas of something you may want to come along to, let me know. I have already had requests for recycling and customising classes, as well as a pure designing patterns class, so keep them coming!

Friday, 5 June 2009

let's knit a hat

Check out my new hat pattern in Let's Knit's current issue.

Inspired by the 20s style cloche shape.
Flippy, girly, pretty and knitted in hemp, which was a bit of a pain to work with, but gives a lovely summery, straw-like finish.
You could also use cotton if you can't find any hemp, or any other new tough plant fibre you can find.