Thanks to Xanthe for sending me the most marvellous link for Blogger tips and tricks - I know now not to use Dynamic Views and everything seems immediately brighter - whew!
Sunday morning and I feel fit for nothing. After sleepless night, half spent wandering around in the cold looking for our mischievous five-month-old kitten who'd gone walkabout. Of course Arlo walked back in this morning oblivious, none the worse for his first cold night out on the tiles. I know, I know, that's what cats do, but it's just he doesn't usually go out and stay out, maybe it's his hormones kicking in! Maine Coons are notorious for their love of water and I thought I'd share with you Arlo's two favourite places - the loo cistern and the washing machine - if they're unavailable he'll sit in the sink!
I haven't revisited my Ask Jean archive for more than a year... where does the time go? So here are a couple of useful frequently-asked questions, first one about hand felting and the second about keeping your stash safe from the dreaded clothes moth.
I'm not a big fan of felted objects as I have a thing about the billiard board handle, but I often use felt as a detail for hats, in fact my fave hat which I wear all the time sports a felted flower.
Having said that on our recent knitters' tour to Ireland, I fell in love with a fabulous felted shawl. I was teaching a workshop at Powerscourt in Dublin. This is no ordinary shopping mall, but a real centre of excellence for fashion, arts, crafts and interiors and also home to This is Knit,atop-class wool shop. As I was leaving after my workshop I noticed a gaggle of my students in the nearby craft collective. They were all excitedly raving about a rail of felted shawls, each one crying out to be bought with its vibrant yet subt…
I recently picked up my needles again for the first time in more than a year. I've tried to knit before, but found it so stressful it was counterproductive. Not for me the calming effect it has on most knitters. The hypnotic smooth repetition of rows, the colours, textures and stitches combining as if by magic to form an unfolding work of art before one's eyes. Strange as it may sound to those who knit for pleasure, I associate knitting with deadlines for books and magazines. It was even worse when I did production and two collections a year for both myself and other large design houses. Deadlines were ever-looming, forcing me to push myself to the limit to create my signature knits, featuring both technical interest and classic, timeless style. In the past I've tied myself in knots over the years making sure the patterns were as near to perfect as could be, sometimes bringing on excruciating bouts of sciatica.
So.. all this stopped couple of years ago when I was diagnosed…
Rowan has been a part of the fabric of my knitting life for thirty years now, and the mill has been a place for several personal milestones. I did my first ever workshop there, after Stephen Sheard started to feature my designs in the early 80s and my first TV appearance was at the mill when Selina Scott brought The Clothes Show to Rowan and they filmed my workshop for the programme.
I almost feel Rowan yarns run in my blood - when I use it I feel inexplicably confident that the pattern will work. It's not just the gorgeous colours and fabulous yarn qualities, it's the way that the company has always blazed an exciting trail. In the beginning you could almost see the rank and file of the staid and stolid Northern woollen mills wagging their fingers and predicting Rowan's demise - a flash in the pan, their new-fangled ideas gone with them.
Well I'm glad to say the fibre fishwife faction were completely wrong and in fact Rowan have prevailed and sadly it's the mil…