I'm thrilled to have been nominated for the Super Sweet Blogger Award by Linda Marveng! All I have to do to accept it, is to nominate 12 other Super Sweet Blogs and answer 5 simple questions about myself:
1. Cookies or cake? Sadly, as I'm currently on the candida diet till further notice, neither of these have passed my lips since January. That's not to say that I don't look forward to to time when I can eat puddings again with impunity, so I would have to say cake, cake, cake for me, especially chocolate, carrot and lemon drizzle cakes, the only biscuits I'm really keen on are McVitie's plain digestives.
2. Chocolate or vanilla? For flavourings I ♥ chocolate and I ♥ vanilla, and most times it's horses for courses, depending on the recipe. But if I absolutely had to choose, it has to be chocolate. Only the dark stuff mind, with a high cocoa content. I've never had a really sweet tooth, so it's the chocolate hit that does it for me, as opposed to some milk chocolates that just taste of sugar. Also as far as I know you can't make a drink from vanilla.
3. Favorite sweet treat? Gotta be Betty's handmade truffles made with rare wild cocoa beans from Bolivia.
4. When do you get hit with cravings? Having been on this evil diet for the past five months, one good thing is I rarely get cravings. But if I do, it's when I'm deep into pattern-writing and there's something I'm having a problem with - then my mind starts to wander to food. I usually find a quick foray in the kitchen clears the brain and helps solve the issue.
5. Sweet Nickname? My four small grandchildren call me Gigi, which is the sweetest name I can think of.
And so to my 12 nominations, in no particular order:
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…