Saturday, 5 April 2014

This little piggy...

...was made for the lovely Fleur.





She found the china pig and asked me to turn him into a pincushion. We traded: pincushion pig for some of Fleur's lovely buttons. The barter economy is a marvellous thing.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Knitting and Stitching Show ticket offer

Spring K&S is on at Olympia from 13–16 March: I'm teaching a couple of classes there and the organisers have come up with a ticket offer that we tutors can extend to anyone interested in coming along – you don't have to take a class!

You need to book a ticket online at www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/spring before midday 12th March, quoting discount code TEA14, and you can get a ticket for £11 (the normal on-line price is £12.50 or it's £15 on the door).

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Well, that was embarrassing...

So, way back when (October 17 last year, if we're going to be precise), I said:


...this WILL be the winter in which I make more clothes. I'm going to aim for one garment a month. Surely that's possible...


And that was the last I said on the matter. Actually, that was the last I said on this blog...

And I didn't make any clothes...

I did do a lot of other things, although almost all of them work-orientated. However, I'm not going to let my total failure to achieve almost my only non-work goal set me back any further than it already has. I'm going to wedge the most interesting bits of the last four months into a few posts and then, onwards and upwards...

It's a plan: you've got to start with a plan.

Before Christmas, Liberty ordered some more pincushions. Some of those that made the trip to the West End were...

The lovely Julie caught this rabbit for me to turn into a pincushion...

Sarah B, china-hunting supremo, found me a whole collection of shoes and boots...

Conjoined swans...

A present from Margate...
Hey, little donkey...
I have no idea what purpose this china basket originally served...


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Overlocker, schmoverlocker...

I've never been attracted by the idea of an overlocker/serger.

Partly because I've never wanted the clothes I make to look as though I bought them in a shop: I want them to look hand-made. Hopefully, they look beautifully hand-made, but certainly I don't want them to look factory-made.


Partly because I think that the seam finish an overlocker produces isn't attractive. Functional and efficient, yes, but not good-looking in the way a French seam or bound hem is.


Partly because I wriggle uncomfortably at a quick 'n' easy mentality that I have (unfairly, I admit, seeing as how they aren't sentient...) assigned to overlockers: as I've ranted before, what's wrong with making a bit of an effort? And why the hurry? Being a bit slow can be good.

Anyway, after being told by Tilly in no uncertain terms, but with great charm, that overlockers are excellently useful bits of kit, I booked on to a one-day 'how to use an overlocker' course at Morley College. And there I learned what most of you already know: that overlockers are indeed excellently useful bits of kit, and they are not as difficult to thread as I imagined.

Then I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace (as a punter rather than an exhibitor: I'm taking a year off), and Janome had a show offer on overlockers, and so...


...this arrived this morning.


In it was this.

So I am getting my patterns out, reviewing my stash, and this WILL be the winter in which I make more clothes. I'm going to aim for one garment a month. Surely that's possible...

Thursday, 10 October 2013

New book sneak peek + giveaway

Contrary to what you might think if you read this blog, I have spent a good deal of this year making things.

So how come I've shown so few photos of 'things'?

Because they have mainly been made for books, and the publishers – not unreasonably – prefer one not to wave the makes about on the web before they've been in the book.

But there comes a time when publication is due and one is off the hook, and that's now for The Knitted Alphabet.

I've done this book with knit guru and generally wonderful woman, Sarah Hazell (who needs to get a move on putting her website together so I can link to it...), and it really does do what it says on the tin: 250ish pages of charted letters and numbers in 26 different styles, plus punctuation and dingbats for emoticons, plus knitted samples, plus projects, plus techniques.

Everything you need to say it with knitting...

Self-striping yarn makes for excellent knitterish spray paint...

We had help knitting the samples (about 300 of them...), and the projects, from some wonderfully talented peeps: thank you Fiona, Jools, Luise, Sophia and Amanda. Without you we would still be knitting now...

Some of the alphabets have uppercase and lowercase letters. These impeccable samples were knitted by the lovely Luise.

There are ten knitted swatches with every alphabet – made using a variety of techniques including beading and embroidery as well as colour knitting – with (hopefully) helpful captions giving you ideas and tips on how you might work the letters for your own projects.
 
Fiona's staggeringly perfect knitting, plus captions telling you how the samples were made.


There's lots of variety of letter styles: retro, classic, modern, quirky, handwritten, typewritten... in different scales and, because Sarah and I are knitters, the charts are done on rectangular knitter's grid – not squares – so you can see what they will really look like when knitted up.

The charts are done on knitter's grid, not unrepresentative square grid...

Samples use different techniques and yarn combinations for lots of knitting choice...

Some of the alphabets have matching numerals...

And there are ten projects, each with notes on how you can adapt them to feature your own letter choices (so you don't have to be called Lucas, Ingrid, Max, Elvis... to knit one of them).

Bribed with Marmite, Vincent agreed to model with this scarf, even if it did have someone else's name on it... And isn't my new bedroom floor lovely?

I know that I would say this, wouldn't I, but I honestly think that The Knitted Alphabet is a really useful knitting resource: you can add a letter, a name, a motto, something obnoxious... to any project with enough stitches in it (the smallest letters are 11 stitches tall, the largest 57 stitches).

However, I have to confess that at the moment the book isn't available in the UK... There's a US edition (published by Barron's) and an Australian edition (published by Sally Milner), so I'm chuffed to have a copy to give away to a UK knitter. Follow me (via the little photos on the right – I like those – or Bloglovin) and leave me a comment on this post, and I'll pick a name out of something hattish and send a book to you on 21 October.













Tuesday, 17 September 2013

And the winner is...


Slightly belatedly (but picked out of a very lovely hat)...





Toots, send me your address and I'll send you your book. Hope you enjoy it.


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Podcast!!! + giveaway!!!

I was deeply flattered when Kelley Petkun of Knit Picks contacted me to say that she was enjoying my book The Knitter's Palette, and would I participate in a podcast with her.



A bit confusingly, in the UK this book is called Knit 400, but the insides are the same, apart from spellings...

 Yes! Of course! Always on for a new thing (well, almost always...).

So a phone time was booked, we chatted at some length, Kelley was lovely, I was excitable...

And now the podcast is up on the Knit Picks website: if you so desire, you can listen to my alarmingly deep, decidedly London accent enthusing about colour and knitting.

Although in speaking to Kelley, I was rather preaching to the converted: this is a lady who takes her knitting with her when going out to dinner, who gets knitting care packages sent to her when she's away, who really LOVES yarn.

It was a real pleasure talking to you, Kelley.

And I have a copy of the book, US or UK edition, to give away. If you'd like it, then follow me and leave me a comment telling me which edition you'd like. I'll pick a name out of something hat-shaped on Friday 13, and post the book anywhere in the world.