Showing posts from November, 2011

Ask Jean Revisited 2

As the giving season approaches, why not consider the gift of teaching your little ones to knit? Sturdy, colourful needles parcelled up with fun yarn from your stash might at first seem like an unexciting gift, but the kids will soon find out what a gas it is to actually make something with it. So here's a question from my Ask Jean archive to help you get them  interested. 
Q  I’ve always loved knitting but neither of my daughters share my passion.  I now have a grand-daughter, Chloe, who’s nearly eight and would like to pass on the craft to her. Can you suggest projects which would be suitable for an eight-year-old? Charlotte Morris, Morecambe A  Make it fun, quick and attractive and I don’t think you’ll go far wrong.  Colourful, interesting fibres and quick and easy knits are what’s needed. Scarves, hats, beanbags, lavender bags, washcloths and simple toys, can all be made using plain or striped garter stitch, which has the bonus that the edges don’t roll.

Knitting rhymes are a fun …

Turn on the heat!

Much as I love the autumn with its glorious hues and lovely light, I can't help hankering after a dose of sun when the deep dark days of winter beckon. So last night I had another look at our Knit Morocco pics and hey presto was immediately transported back there in a flash. It was like sitting under a sun lamp and I felt instantly warmer - might have been the G&T but I prefer to think otherwise - a great non-alcoholic tonic!
There's so much design inspiration there it's a joke. The senses are constantly bombarded with one thing after another - Morocco is full of surprises, when you think there can't be any more, the next fabulous image hits the retina.  It's impossible for any camera to truly do it justice, but willynilly we all still try to capture some of the magic.  
I'm guessing that you all need warming up right now - at least if you're in the northern hemisphere - so here's a selection of snaps to carry you off to a warmer place. But if you&#…

Knitting and Stitching gems

Had an interesting if fleeting visit to the Harrogate Knitting & Stitching show yesterday.  The weather was awful, gusty winds, driving rain on the way from York, but this didn't stop the thousands of crafters who turned up.  Suffice it to say it was mega busy.  It's always good to see what's there, not much opportunity to chat to people though as so much business was happening - which is great!

Being the grandmother of three little girls, I always make a beeline for Bombay Stores, where I can stock up on glamorous and glitzy scarves for the dressing up box and be sure it won't break the bank.  There's so much to see that it's all a bit overwhelming and I'm sure I didn't see it all.  However, I loved the student work and the other exhibitions - Mary Sleigh's  gorgeous African Textiles & Beadwork was pure joy. Take a look at the link as there were too many people to get any decent photos.

Another interesting exhibition was Materialistics of S…

Sasha's dental nightmare!

Sasha's daughter, Tanya, had to go off to the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate on her own today, as for the past couple of days Sasha has been having an horrendous dental drama.  After having the work done on Monday in time to be feeling better for Harrogate, her tooth was feeling dreadful when they arrived on Tuesday night and it got progressively worse until this morning one side of her face was twice the size of the other and she had to be rushed off to the medical drop-in for the second time.

Yesterday she was told nothing could be done as she wasn't a York resident and anyway there was no dentist there, so she had to grin and bear it and struggle through the opening day of the show.  However this morning she managed to see someone who diagnosed an abscess and sinus infection and she's now been prescribed a course of anti-biotics.  Sasha looks as if she's done five rounds in the boxing ring with Mike Tyson, but she's being very stoic about it.  Poor …

Happy Thanksgiving!

Although we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in the UK, it's always a reminder to me to check out the things in life that I'm truly thankful for.  Grumbling is part of the human condition I fear, we all do it, but when I sit down and think of all the things I love which are a constant in my everyday life, it's a humbling exercise.  The list is endless, too embarrassing to print, so suffice it to say that I'm truly grateful for my family, loyal friends, an interesting and creative job, my guitar, my cats and my garden. But importantly, I'm very happy to be waking up every morning in a safe place, where freedom of speech is a given.  Wouldn't it be great if everyone in the world could say that?  Would be good to hear what you are thankful for.

The image is Arabesque, a true mobius scarf from Sweet Shawlettes.  I find myself revisiting the traditional fan and feather lace pattern over and over again, it's a real classic and can be interpreted in so many di…

Sasha Kagan Exhibition

Sasha arrived with her daughter Tanya last night and we had a lovely time over supper catching up.  They've gone off this morning to set up Sasha's travelling exhibition My Life in Textiles - an amazingfour decades of classic knitwear design!  The collection will be at the Harrogate Knitting & Stitching Show from this Thursday, 24th to Sunday 27th November.  I managed to get to the launch in Wales earlier this year, and I can tell you it's a must-see if you're anywhere within striking distance of Harrogate this weekend. Looking forward to having another look when I visit the show on Saturday.
For me knitting expos are a great place to see who and what's new on the knit scene, view student work,  catch up on new yarns, find wonderful beads, stock up on Xmas prezzies, and chat to other fibre folk. Unfortunately also there's often a lot of non-textile related stuff to sift through - a commercial necessity I suppose.  
I sometimes feel I'm becoming a bit o…

Lea Stein jewellery and business cards

Spent all day yesterday designing a new business card, battling with Photoshop which currently refuses to print anything and crashes everytime I ask it to. So fingers crossed that the pdf I've just sent off to the printers is OK when it comes back, hopefully by Friday.  The main reason for this flurry of activity is that the Harrogate Knitting & Stitching Show is looming and I only noticed a couple of days ago that I can't find a business card anywhere in the house.   So... after being told the artwork had to be at the printers by noon today, I franticly set to, first of all searching for relevant images from Sweet Shawlettes. I've always had a penchant for dramatic black, white and red - symbolising birth, life and death, the human condition and the cycle of life, so I quickly decided onPenumbra, a shadow knit cowl with hidden vertical zigzags crossing the horizontal stripes, from the Couture chapter. 
The brooch is by Lea Stein, from my collection of her Art Deco-st…

John Martyn

I feel a John Martyn moment coming on today - a musician who quit this world way too soon for my liking.  May You Never, Solid Air, Don't Want to Know, Go Down Easy, Couldn't love You More - the list of great songs is endless and the guitar playing always something else.  Boundlessly innovative, his first solo album,  Bless the Weather from way back in 1971 is still a favourite.  He leaves a large gap on the music map of my life.

Sweet Shawlettes Extract - Giveaway winner

Congratulations to Lydia - winner of In The Mood giveaway.  Please email me your postal address and I'll get it straight in the post to you.

In the run up to publication in January, I'll be posting some extracts from Sweet Shawlettes. The first one is Vamp from the Vintage chapter, a glamorous, easy-to-knit boa using Rowan Kid Silk Haze. Evoking the glamour of Hollywood film stars like Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, and Jean Harlow, this frothy concoction is guaranteed to lift your spirits as soon as you put it on! 

The two layers are knit in stocking stitch, ruched together down the centre, then threaded with silk ribbon.  This is a great project for beginner knitters - oodles of style from straightforward old knit and purl. I've chosen a soft lilac and dove colourway, but I've included lots of tips on other combos that will also work the look to get maximum impact.
Thoughts on Colour Whether used metaphorically in song, speech or in our homes, gardens or wardrobes, colour has…

Yarn songs

A couple of days ago I changed the name of the blog to More Yarn Will Do The Trick, largely to make it more stand-alone and give it more independence from my website.  You may wonder why I chose the name.  Well, it's the name of the title track on a CD I recorded with The Purly Kings some years - three songs with a textile twist.  So to celebrate the new name here are the lyrics and you can have a listen too!

MORE YARN WILL DO THE TRICK Cast off your cares and woes, set your needles free  come with me to doze and dream beneath the knitters' tree.  We'll spin ourselves a yarn that we've got stacks of cash to fill a gigantic barn with an ever-increasing stash.
Visit a local yarn store, for it's therapy if you're sick  Why pay shrinks and doctors when more yarn will do the trick? 
We'll knit ourselves a planet with a gauge of perfect order  every nation will be patterned with a wavy aran border.  We'll twist on moss stitch mountain and climb a cabled tree…

Friendships, fractals and panto!

Had a chilled evening with good friends Ilona and John last night - great food and much putting the world to rights - well our worlds anyway.  It was so good to catch up, especially as they'd just returned  from Greece, the Peloponese to be precise, one of my favourite places in the whole world.  The tzadziki dip hit just the right spot -  from the first taste I was transported to a Mani mountain covered with thyme, cyclamen and autumn crocus overlooking the sea.
Ilona is a ceramicist who makes large raku pots informed  by time spent living with women potters in Somalia.  The geometric designs are intricately decorated with fractal patterns. For those who aren't already fractal fans, these are fragmented geometric shapes that can be split into parts, each of which is a smaller copy of the whole.  Note for knitters - fractals provide endless design inspiration. Anyway just had to show you one of Ilona's fabulous pots - if you get the chance to see her latest installation at …

Golden Ball

Great evening at the Golden Ball pub last night - real ale (we drank Timothy Taylor and Tiger) and good time roots and rebel music from Moonshine Creek - have a listenTear it down by Moonshine Creek
Finished another shadow knit baby blanket last week and have been meaning to send it off to the latest new arrival in the extended family.  Why is it that things are easier to knit than to post?  There's always something else I've got to do when it comes to putting it in a bag and getting it to the post office.  Is it just me or is there a syndrome in there?  The little one will be six months old before he gets the blanket at this rate!

Thought I'd tempt you with a few more projects from In The Mood. The giveaway ends at midnight tomorrow (GMT) so don't be shy, leave a comment (on yesterday's page) and get in the draw. 

The hat and scarf combo is Skat, inspired by music  - I know, I know, in the States not a good title as it has other meanings (if you haven't come a…


I'm giving away a copy of my last book,In The Moodfifteen fashion-led knitting projects using Araucania yarns.  The designs are inspired by love (knit your hearts with an unslipping knot - Wm Shakespeare), food (anything is good if it's made of chocolate - Jo Brand) and music (playing live is like cooking fresh food and serving it hot - Ravi Shankar). Just leave a commentat the foot of this page before 12 midnight GMT or 7pm US Eastern time on Saturday, 19 November to go into the draw.  Winner to be announced Sunday 20th.

In The Mood was such an interesting project - Philip and I were involved in every aspect of production except the printing.  This was at first awe-inspiring, but at the same time fabulous for me to know that my vision for the designs would be seen through onto the printed page.  We had only ourselves to blame for errors, so we checked and double checked, although such is the nature of knitting patterns that I'm sure the odd one must have crept in under …