Saturday, 20 May 2017

PaisleyMake at London Craft Week 2017

As I was deciding which demonstrations and events to attend during this year's London Craft Week (LCW), one theme became clear and I was delighted to get places on LCW events hosted by PaisleyMake. My previous work with Norwich Shawls had introduced me to the world of Norwich, Edinburgh and Paisley Pattern and I was keen to learn more. 

My Paisley Pin Designs from the LCW Workshop
The town of Paisley is currently bidding to become U.K. City of Culture in 2021. Last September there were a series of exciting events in Paisley and the organisers had brought this enthusiasm to London for LCW. On Wednesday 3rd May I attended an evening reception at the Scotland Office in Westminster where several exciting announcements were made. The official Paisley 2021 bid had just been launched and Penny Martin, editor in chief of the Gentlewoman Magazine gave an excellent speech in support. Penny had contributed many ideas and is a great promoter of all elements of the bid. 

Knitwear company Pringle of Scotland followed Penny's speech by announcing details of their AW17 collection. This new collection was developed with the Paisley Museum archive and will feature designs originating from Paisley. The company explored printing on knitwear for this collection and I can't wait to see the garments in store from August 2017.

A few weeks ago I visited the Paisley Museum in Paisley and discovered that it will close next year for a multi-million pound refurbishment. The new museum will put much more emphasis on the weaving looms that are currently located towards the back of the museum. The archive of stunning shawls and designs for the shawls will also play a prominent role. It was therefore a delight to talk to Dr Dan Coughlan, the curator of the museum on Wednesday evening. He is the driving force behind the restoration of the weaving looms and his knowledge of the looms is second to none. He told us how he had rebuilt many of them in order to have working looms at the Museum. Hearing about the huge archive was amazing and as well as original Paisley pattern sample books, there is even a Norwich Shawls pattern book in the collection!

A section of a Paisley Shawl from the Paisley Museum
on display at G F Smith
PaisleyMake also supports new designers and emerging talent. I was delighted to be introduced to two creative businesses through workshops on Thursday 4th May at the G F Smith Showspace. G F Smith is a paper merchant supplying a wide range of papers to industry and individuals. Their Showspace provided a fantastic location for PaisleyMake to highlight the designers involved in the project.

The G F Smith Wall of paper
Misty Concepts is run by the talented designer Melissa Watt. Her speciality is origami and one of her stunning paper folded lampshades was on display at the ShowSpace. Mel's workshop explored the origami skills she uses in her business and we all enjoyed making folded cranes and a lily too. I will also be looking out for Mel's folded lampshade workshops in Paisley and London. 

Origami Lampshade by Misty Concepts
During a recent visit to The Lighthouse in Glasgow, I spotted a display by Paisley Pins. This creative business uses the famous Paisley teardrop design as the basis for beautiful brooches and jewellery. The afternoon's Paisley pattern workshop explored some of these designs. There were amazing pattern books, pens, pencils and more for us to experiment with. Andrea and Laura were really great tutors and we were all excited when they photographed our drawings and told us they will make one of them into a laser cut pin for each of us. Mine has just arrived and I love it!

I hope that my two blog posts have given you a taste of events and talks than happen as part of London Craft Week. I'm already looking forward to next year (9th to 13th May 2018) and can't wait to see what is included in the programme! Look out for updates on the LCW website.

Friday, 19 May 2017

London Craft Week 2017

This annual celebration of high quality craft is a great opportunity to discover more about the extremely talented makers and designers behind many well known brands and new creative businesses. This year's programme was absolutely packed! A huge range of skills were featured including those as diverse as marquetry, ceramics, origami and of course, knitting. The London Craft Week (LCW) team go to a great deal of trouble to ensure a broad range of crafts are represented during the Week and the number of events has grown from 60 to 250! I visited events and demonstrations on Wednesday 3rd May and Thursday 4th May and have decided to write about them in two posts as there is so much to say.

Art by Hazel Thorn on display in the V&A Museum Silver Galleries

My London Craft Week visits began on Wednesday at the V&A Museum. It was a delight to talk to silversmith Hazel Thorn in the V&A Sliver Galleries. Hazel was demonstrating how she creates her stunning work. We chatted about how design can be transferable between different disciplines. Hazel's work involves combining different metals by fusing them together, then in some designs cutting them up to create new shapes and patterns. Hazel can control the fusing process to create the alignment of lines that she wants. I was really struck by the similarities to weaving and knitting and I loved the beautiful pieces she had brought along.

Fused and Cut Sample by Hazel Thorn

A visit to Liberty London first thing on Thursday morning allowed me to have a close look at designer Jonathan Anderson's Loewe "This Is Home" Collection. Jonathan Anderson is collaborating with the Workshop of Robert Thompson, known as The Mouseman, for some of the items in the collection. Several years ago, I visited The Mouseman Workshop in Yorkshire with my family and we loved seeing how each piece of handmade furniture has a tiny mouse carved into it. Jonathan Anderson promotes high quality craft within his businesses and these skills are clearly important to him. In celebration of the Mouseman, Loewe have commissioned a selection of little mouse charms, made in both leather and wood. 

Loewe Mouse Charm selection at Liberty London

Loewe Wooden Mouse Keychain at Liberty London
The Loewe hand knitted cushions and wall art were fabulous. Each portrait cushion cover had leather backing with signature Loewe stitching. The hand knitted standing figures were very dramatic and Jenny from Loewe told me that they are also designed to be worn as scarves!

Hand Knitted Cushion Cover by Loewe This Is Home

Hand Knitted Cushion Cover by Loewe This Is Home

Hand Knitted Standing Figures by Loewe This Is Home

London Craft week runs during the first week of May. There is a mix of free and paying events that are open to anyone. Some require advance booking and others are open displays and demonstrations. All provide an excellent insight into the world of high quality craft and all are extremely inspiring! 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Selsey Cardigan in the Knitter Issue 110

My new Selsey cardigan design is on the cover of The Knitter Magazine! I have used multiple stitch patterns for lots of contrast in this design.

Selsey by Emma Vining on the cover of
The Knitter Magazine Issue 110
The lower borders and cuffs are worked in a textured slip stitch mosaic pattern. Using shades of light and dark blue creates a fascinating optical illusion. The shades reverse half way through the border. 

Selsey by Emma Vining
Image from The Knitter Magazine
The main body is knitted in two colours and has a garter stitch ridge stripe in the dark blue shade. The sleeves have a mosaic stitch cuff and are then knitted in stocking stitch in the light blue shade. 

Selsey by Emma Vining
Image from The Knitter Magazine
The lovely yarn, Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool, is soft and lightweight. The Riviera and Indigo shades show off the contrasting stitch patterns really well. You can read more about Selsey and all the other beautiful designs in this issue on The Yarn Loop Website or on Ravelry

Monday, 10 April 2017

A New Pattern and New Visits!

My Chrysler sweater design is in The Knitter Magazine, Issue 109! This textured lace pattern changes scale from cast on to cast off, giving the appearance of layers of arches. The beautiful yarn is Fyberspates Vivacious DK is shade Deep Aqua. I love the subtle colour variation throughout the sweater.

Chrysler Sweater by Emma Vining
Photo from The Knitter Magazine
Chrysler Sweater by Emma Vining
Photo from The Knitter Magazine
The multiple scales of the arches are based on a short Fibonacci sequence of 3, 5 and 8. In a Fibonacci sequence, the next number in the sequence is the sum of the two previous numbers. The first arches in my design have three rows of eyelets, the next set have five and final elongated arches have eight rows of eyelets.

As well as working on commissions I have been to some great events over the last few weeks.

At the beginning of March, I represented the Knitting & Crochet Guild on their stand at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. If you were there, you will know what a fantastic event it was and if you didn't make it this year, I really recommend a visit! There was an amazing atmosphere. Everyone was there because of a love of all things relating to yarn, knitting, crochet and creative crafts. You could feel the excitement, enthusiasm and goodwill all around. There were a very large number of visitors, from the UK and from all over the World.

Bohus Sweater from the Knitting & Crochet Guild Collection
Photo by Emma Vining
The Guild's stand had a beautiful display of Bohus knitting from the Guild's Collection. Visitors were fascinated by this textured stranded knitting and we had many insightful conversations. A highlight was chatting to Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed about the Guild's Bohus accessories. Jared had taken a close look at the Bohus gloves on display and it was a real pleasure to discuss this with him.

Also in March, I went on a great V&A Member's visit to The School of Historical Dress. I first heard of the amazing work done by Jenny Tiramani and her colleagues at a talk by the V&A Curator, Susan North. Susan and Jenny co-edited an excellent book on Seventeenth Century Women's Dress Patterns. This collaboration between the V&A and The School of Historical Dress drew on the in-depth studies of the late Janet Arnold. Janet Arnold's books, Patterns of Fashion, are a detailed historical record of Englishwomen's dress, full of beautiful illustrations. You can read more about Janet Arnold on the School of Historical Dress Website here.

Image from The School of Historical Dress website

Our group was the very first to visit the School in their new home opposite the Imperial War Museum in London and we were made extremely welcome! Jenny, Claire and Nicky were wonderful hosts and we loved hearing about their exciting work with the Globe Theatre and Mark Rylance.  Our visit was full of amazing insights into historical garment construction and re-construction. The afternoon concluded with a look at some of Janet Arnorld's original illustrations. An absolutely amazing finale to a fantastic afternoon!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Yarn Stories Heritage Collection

The new Yarn Stories Heritage Collection has just been released! The beautiful photographs for the collection were all taken at the Yarn Stories Yorkshire spinning mill. The collection theme is all about the tradition of the mill and the new designs have also been named to reflect the theme. I'm delighted that my new sweater design, Winder, is in this gorgeous collection. Winder is knitted in Yarn Stories 4ply and the stunning shade is Cobalt

Winder Sweater by Emma Vining
Image by Yarn Stories
My design was inspired by a simple leaf shape with an Art Deco twist. A single row of leaves form the lower border of the sweater. These leaves are joined to the upper body pattern using long lines of wide rib. The upper body has rows of leaves extending from shoulder to shoulder. Each leaf is filled with moss stitch texture. The wide rib has a background stitch of reverse stocking stitch giving the pattern an embossed, raised look. 

Winder Sweater by Emma Vining
Image by Yarn Stories

The Heritage Collection has six stunning designs. All the designs except Winder, are knitted in Fine Merino DK. Bobbin by Charlotte Johnson is a two colour cardigan with interlinking chevrons knitted  in shades blackberry and thistle. Reel, a cardigan designed by Katya Frankel is knitted in shade Iced Teal and features a beautiful delicate leaf and cable pattern. Roving by Amanda Crawford is knitted in  shade bottle and has a lovely cabled diamond pattern on the back. Twist, also designed by Amanda Crawford is an elegant jumper with a scoop neck, knitted with cables and eyelets in shade Fuchsia. Yarn Stories have also included a new version of my Feldspar sweater. Version II has longer sleeves and a longer body and has been reknitted in shade fuchsia. 

All these beautiful designs, including my Winder pattern are available to buy on the Yarn Stories website or through Ravelry.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Patterns in Magazines

Three of my patterns are in magazines this month! My new cowl design is in Simply Knitting Magazine and two of my designs from the Knitter Magazine have been translated into German and have been published in "The Knitter Deutschland".

The Knitter Deutschland 29/2017
with Little Paisley Cardigan on the cover
First published in The Knitter Magazine, Issue 95, my Little Paisley Cardigan is knitted in Cascade 220 yarn. I love "Paisley Pattern" and in this cardigan the Paisley motifs make up the front and back panels. There is a single Paisley motif at the cuff too. The motifs are made using cables and twisted stitches with moss stitch texture in the centre.

This issue of The Knitter Deutschland also features my Diamond Kites Sweater. The design uses twisted stitches to make a panel of kites with long tails on the front and back of the sweater. Diamond Kites was first published in the Knitter Issue 92.

Diamond Kites Sweater by Emma Vining
Image from The Knitter Magazine

I'm really delighted to see my new soft and cuddly Twists & Turn cowl in Simply Knitting Issue 156. I love exploring structure in knitting and this giant cable stitch creates big folds in the knitted fabric. This 'quick knit" cowl is knitted in Stylecraft Alpaca Chunky, shade Orchid.

Image from Simply Knitting Magazine 156
Cowl by Emma Vining

Friday, 27 January 2017

Josef Frank: Patterns - Furniture - Paintings

Josef Frank: Patterns - Furniture - Paintings has just opened at the Fashion & Textile Museum (FTM) in London. Attending the opening curator talk was the perfect introduction to this lovely exhibition about Josef Frank as architect, designer and artist. 

Tulpaner 1943-45
Josef Frank at the FTM
Josef Frank was born in Vienna in 1885. In 1925 he founded the design and furnishing company Haus & Garten. In 1933, due to growing anti-semitism, he went to live in Stockholm with his Swedish wife Anna and he gained Swedish citizenship in 1939. In 1932, he was approached by Estrid Ericson to design for Svenskt Tenn (Swedish Pewter). This was the start of a creative partnership that lasted almost 30 years. 

Our introduction to the exhibition began with an excellent talk by Onita Wass, the director of Millesgarden Museum, located just outside Stockholm. The museum collaborated with Josef Frank's family to create an exhibition bringing together Josef Frank's recently discovered watercolour paintings with his distinctive textile designs. The exhibition was held between March and October 2016. Having predicted around 43,000 visitors, the actual numbers were 85,000, clearly showing the popularity of Josef Frank!

Beth Ojari, the FTM exhibition designer told us that the FTM wanted to keep the same feel of the exhibition as had been achieved by Millesgarden. However, to introduce Josef Frank to a British audience who may be less familiar with his work, they decided to increase the prominence of some of the exhibition features. In particular, a distinctive room set by Svenskt Ten is one of the first displays as you enter the exhibition.

Svenskt Tenn Room Set
Josef Frank Exhibition at the FTM 
Svenskt Tenn Room Set
Josef Frank Exhibition at the FTM
Another aspect featured at the FTM is the influence of William Morris. Through a previous collaboration with Walker Greenback PLC, the parent company of Sanderson and Morris & Co, the FTM are able to display two distinctive William Morris designs, Seaweed and Fruit. Josef Frank's Miracle design was inspired by Morris's Seaweed and it is fascinating to see the designs in the same exhibition. 

Josef Frank's Mirakel design from the 1920s has been influenced by 
William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. 

The watercolour paintings displayed upstairs were recently discovered by Josef Frank's family and they now number around 400! In some of the paintings you can see a resemblance to the textile patterns. Many of them feature buildings. Josef Frank's architectural background shows in his attention to the detail of the buildings. There is a beautiful accompanying book, written by Ulrica von Schwerin Sievert, that is illustrated with the paintings and tells Josef Frank's Story through five women in his life.

Josef Frank Watercolours

Josef Frank Watercolours

My favourite aspect of this exhibition as learning about how Josef Frank took inspiration from many diverse sources and then created new and original work. Although you can see the influences, Josef Frank has added so many new dimensions that his work also becomes an inspirational source for other designers. The FTM has included some of the inspirational references in the descriptions and I really enjoyed reading these! Here are a few of my favourites. There are many more to see in the exhibition. 

Anakreon 1938 was designed in Stockholm for Svenskt Tenn. The bird motif was inspired by a 3500 year old fresco in the palace of Knossos on Crete. 

Anakreon by Josef Frank

For Vegetable Tree 1943-45, Josef Frank's inspiration was from an Indian Palampore featuring the tree of life theme. 

Vegetable Tree by Joseph Frank

In Rox & Fix for Svenskt Tenn, Joseph Frank used little hills from his landscape drawings in the style, form and colour of Chinese ink paintings. 

Rox and Fix by Josef Frank

The exhibition has just opened and will be on until 7th May 2017. This bright and colourful "feel good" exhibition is so inspiring! There are lots of talks, workshops and events scheduled and every Wednesday and Friday at 1pm there is a curator tour of the exhibition (free with exhibition ticket).