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Archived posts from December 2006 to December 2008 are missing their photos. Key posts will be updated as soon as I have time!

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Tuesday
Feb172015

Knitted Pleats

I've been thinking about knitted pleats a lot lately. As I've been preparing my older patterns for the new layout (less than a fifth of them to go, nearly done!) I've had illustrations created for those techniques that I don't already have illustrated - and the one I'm working on this week is knitted pleats, for my Pleated Beret pattern.

The Pleated Beret was published 8 years ago, and it never fails to amaze me when I look back at what I was doing back then - using pleats to create a crown shaping is something I'd still enjoy playing with now.

To aid the illustrations I've put together a photo tutorial PDF. The illustrations will only be available in the paid pattern (previous customers will get the update when it's done) or in future designs that use the technique (ideas are starting to form around pleats for Turning Heads) - the PDF photo tutorial will remain free and available for download from here :)

 

 

 

Like the recent free patterns, I'll park this here until the new website is finished - there's no need to be adding to or creating new pages here only to do it all again over there.

And while I'm on the subject of the free patterns and tutorials - for the new site I'm thinking of grouping them together on fewer pages... it'll be much easier for me to manage. The free patterns don't need to have their own page each - the thumbnail photo with yarn weight/gauge & pattern sizes with a download link should be sufficient. And the tutorials can be grouped similarly - I'd be interested to hear thoughts on this. It may well make the pages longer, but it's one click less to find them, and it's many less pages for me to build and maintain.

That's not going to be ready next week, though ;)

Hope you find the tutorial useful.

Tuesday
Feb102015

On the subject of Art, Craft and Design

<rant>

I'll preface this by saying:

I have a Ba (Hons) in Fine Art Textiles from Goldsmiths' College (depending on your perspective, it's either a really progressive art college or entirely up it's own backside)

I've a Post Grad in Art Education (a PGCE (also from Goldsmiths). These are often seen as the runt of the post grad family, which is unfair, as it's one of the most intensive and insightful years you could ever experience.)

I was an Art & Design teacher for 6 years. 

My specialism is in Textiles, specifically Textile Sculpture.

I often think about exhibiting again, but don't because I can't be arsed with all the elitist wank that goes on in the industry. I'd rather get on and do my own thing and avoid the battle of the egos.

 

Now, here are a few things that have often been said to me, or that have been overheard in conversations. Textiles is one of those mediums that transcends the boundaries between art, craft and design and it invariably confuses people. Or rather, it reveals their inner snob.

 

  • "It can't be art if you wear it"
  • "I'd consider that craft, which is completely different"
  • "How can it be art if you're teaching people how to recreate it?"
  • "form over function. If it's functional, it's not art"
  • "but you're making money from it - aren't all artists supposed to be starving?" 

And all of these are complete and utter bollocks.

 

It doesn't matter what the material is, or what the end purpose is - if someone has put their imagination and creativity and yes, even skill, into making something, then surely it's all cut ('scuse the pun) from the same cloth? Art can be craft and design; just as craft can be art and design, and design both art and craft. The execution and expression of ideas, whether it be a political or moral message, or simply the want to explore shape and form and material and even technique, are all creative pursuits. They all come from that same place that drives us to do it, the same want to push our own boundaries. It's an inner itch that can't be ignored. 

To label one thing as craft (because, I dunno, it involves techniques that are often associated with domesticity and/or women) and another as art (perhaps because it can hang on a wall and look pretty/edgy) is elitism, pure and simple. 

Creativity is creativity, end of. It's self indulgent and it doesn't care what you want to make, it just cares that you do.

</rant> 

Saturday
Feb072015

Scrappy Flapper & My Dear Stalker

There are a few of my older patterns that, for a variety of reasons, won't be carried forward and revised or updated and hence won't be part of the new catalogue. Rather than have these patterns disappear, I thought I'd make them free :). They are in the new layout, but otherwise haven't changed.

If you've previously purchased either of these patterns, look out for an email update from me in the next few days containing a coupon code. If you purchased them as part of the 'Chullo Collection' bundle, you'll receive a combined value coupon. These patterns have been unavailable for sometime (almost a year?), which was intentional as I didn't want anyone buying them then being told a week later they'd be free.

I'll park these here for the time being, and update the Ravelry links to this post too. When the new website is (finally, finally!) built, they'll have their own page again. Until then, the old pages have been disabled.

As with all my free patterns, all support is handled via my Ravelry forum - any questions, even about delivery or older versions, please pop them over there. 

Firstly, here's Scrappy Flapper!

 

Scrappy Flapper

 

 

 

And here's My Dear Stalker!

My Dear Stalker

 

 

(Mr Tom hated modelling for these Hats... you can tell, can't you....)

Friday
Feb062015

Headcase

I mean, a Hat is a head case, yes? As in, it's a case for a head?


 

Here's Aran doing his best teenager impression.

 

 

This Hat was my sanity knitting whilst I had my surgery last autumn. After what felt like a ridiculously long wait for my general anaesthetic, I then had to try and be horizontal for at least a few days by way of recovery (I failed. I'm a bad patient). And it took all of that time to knit this Hat.


 

I'd wanted to post this as a free pattern sooner, except I couldn't find my notes, and then the Hat disappeared. Thankfully it reappeared so I could glean everything I needed to know, and here it is.


 

Enjoy!

 ps/ don't forget that Bedragonned is on special for £2 until 11th February only!

Wednesday
Feb042015

Introducing Bedragonned

I'm on a bit of a roll this week - meet my new design, Bedragonned!

 

 

My favourite part of this new Hat is the brim, so I'll start there!

It's created using a series of very tight tucks, and although fiddly, I feel it's very much worth the effort. It's not an overly stretchy brim, comfortaably snug I'd say, and there are 6 sizes included to ensure the perfect fit. Following advice from one of my test knitters extra tips were included to aid the creation of the tucks, especially the first one, and of course it has illustrated tutorials included in the pattern for the key techniques.

 

 

From the brim this beret uses a gentle textured stitch whit highlights the variegated yarn so well. The body is a pleasant knit, with a repeat of 4 rows/4 sts, which feeds very nicely into the classic crown. The overall effect is elegant, and would work just as well in a plain or semi solid yarn.

 

 

Our model for this Hat is an old school friend of Ann Kingstone, and she was wonderful to work with! Doesn't she suit the Hat so well?

The pattern has been fully test knitted AND tech edited, as all of my patterns are. An interesting discussion cropped up on Twitter yesterday about testers vs editors and I really do feel, for lots of reasons, that both are relevant. I'll talk more about that another time, as I'm here to talk about this Hat now!

 

 

 

And finally - you want to know about the yarn, yes?

This is 'Socka' from SparkleDuck in colourway 'Here Be Dragons'. It's especially beautiful in the skein and insisted it came home with me from Brighton Unwind... I had no idea then what it wanted to be but it soon made it's intentions known. At first I thought this Hat would be part of the new 'Painted Woolly Toppers' collection, yet it soon became clear that it needed to stand alone, as an individual, and so here it is.

 

 

Bedragonned is on special offer until 11th February for a mere £2!

Whenever a new pattern is published the mailing list subscribers usually receive a discount coupon exclusive to them. However, the coupon system isn't quite working yet for the Rav/LK set up for cross-border EU sales, and so I decided that rather than offer a restricted coupon whereby my EU customers lose out, I'd make the promotion open to all - this way there are no losers :)

The pattern is also available through Ravelry In-store, so why not ask your LYS about it? It'll be going off to print wholesale shortly, too.

After talking this through with the testers for this pattern and some of the moderators for my Ravelry group, we thought a KAL would be a great idea, especially to help folk through the brim construction. We're aiming to cast on 1st March, so why not order that perfect skein of hand-dyed sock yarn (or maybe you have some already?), check your gauge, and we'll see you over there for a knit-a-long?

Enjoy!