Saturday, 30 November 2013

Moths and More

I am very proud to be part of the Moths and More Exhibition at the Greenstede Gallery in the Chequermead Arts Centre,  East Grinstead. With ceramics, textiles, jewellery, and paper cuts on display, the gallery looks beautiful.

Work by Emma Vining, Jane White, Jackie O'Malley and Brenda Parsons
My layered paper cuts are hand cut using a scalpel. Each piece is made up of several layers and mounted so that the depth of the work is enhanced by shadows. The centre three studies are hand cut layered paper combined with ink drawings.

My Horseshoe Lake layered paper cuts were inspired by the trees in the Mammoth Lakes Area in California.

Horseshoe Lake Tree Slice 1 by Emma Vining
Horseshoe Lake Tree Slice 2 by Emma Vining
A View of London is inspired by a photo montage of views from the South bank towards St Pauls.

A View of London by Emma Vining

My hand knitted Kagome Cardigan has recently been on display at the Knitting and Stitching Shows in Harrogate and Alexandra Palace as part of the UK Hand Knitting Association's Knitted Textile Awards. It looks great next to Jackie's Kimono and alongside Jane's ceramics!

The work in the exhibition by the Moths and More artists is very beautiful and varied. Alex Duncan works with stitching and mixed media to make the beautiful landscapes shown here.

work by Alex Duncan
Brenda Parsons is inspired by urban landscapes, the natural environment and the richness of international cultures. 

work by Brenda Parsons
work by Brenda Parsons
Jackie O'Malley's gorgeous obi belts look fantastic on the woodland inspired backgrounds and the kimono on the wall is stunning.

work by Jackie O'Malley
Jane White makes hand built and burnished ceramics which derive their colours and patterns from firing with organic material in a large open pit. Each piece that emerges from the ashes is totally unique.

Work by Jane White
Work by Jane White
Work by Jane White
The Moths and More Exhibition is on from Friday 29th November until Wednesday 4th December (closed Sunday).

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Harrogate Knitting & Stitching Show

A huge thank you to all the really friendly people I met in Harrogate at the Knitting & Stitching Show! From the other Finalists on the UKHKA Knitted Textile Award stand to the Exhibitors and all the visitors to the show, every person I talked to made my trip to Harrogate a great experience. 

My Kagome Cardigan at the Harrogate Knitting & Stitching Show

We were very busy throughout all four days of the Show. The comments about my Kagome cardigan were really nice and lots of people will be looking out for the pattern in The Knitter Magazine when it is published next year. 

It has been great being surrounded by so much amazing talent in the Knitted Textile Awards Open Category. Very inspiring! The Gold Award winning Random Acts of Kindness by Sally Spinks were hanging next to Linda Doran's gorgeous knitted artworks with their stunning texture and perspective.

Work by Emma Vining, Linda Doran and Sally Spinks
Textile Art by Linda Doran
Random Acts of Kindness by Sally Spinks
Random Acts of Kindness by Sally Spinks
Nicky Barfoot's beautiful and elegant Silver Award winning knitted life drawings were hanging next to Amanda Puleston's stunning knitted photographs (that no-one could believe were knitted in one piece!).

Nicky and Amanda's Work
Knitted Life Drawing by Nicky Barfoot
Knitted Photographs by Amanda Puleston
The reception in the Royal Hall on Thursday evening was a lovely way to end the first day and see Sally, Nicky and Judith Watson be presented with their certificates. 
Front doors to the Royal Hall

The Knitted Nativity inside the Royal Hall
I did get a chance to look around Harrogate and found some lovely shops and very nice restaurants. I'm looking forward to using my purchases from Duttons for Buttons. 

The tea at Betty's was lovely and I enjoyed my fish and chips too!

The dates for next year's Knitting and Stitching Shows are already set and in the diary!
Alexandra Palace, London 9th to 12th October 2014
RDS, Dublin, 30th October to 2nd November 2014
Harrogate International Centre, 20th to 23rd November 2014

Monday, 18 November 2013

Sugar Kelp Sweater in the Pro Guide to Knitting

My Sugar Kelp Sweater pattern has been published in the Pro Guide to Knitting. I am delighted my design has been included in this lovely publication for knitters who would like to learn new techniques. Inspired by a walk on the beach, the Sugar Kelp cable is based on the beautiful seaweed fronds washed ashore. I have used cabling, increasing and decreasing to form a lattice on a reverse stocking stitch background. The pattern makes up the central panel and a small cable motif at the cuffs.

Image courtesy of Future Publishing

Image courtesy of Future Publishing
The pattern was first published in the Knitter Magazine, Issue 55, January 2013. My previous blog post can be viewed by clicking here and other Sugar Kelp sweater projects can be viewed on Ravelry.

Information about the Pro Guide from Future Publishing:

"Aimed at knitters who are already comfortable with the basics and want to learn more, the Pro Guide has 162 pages packed with step-by-step guides and beautiful patterns to help you master new techniques. We've gathered a wealth of expertise on subjects as diverse as cables, colourwork, cast on and embroidery to help you take your knitting to the next level. Our step-by-step guides are clear and easy to follow with photographs to show you exactly what to do. And, so that you can hone your new skills, we've selected 14 beautiful patterns from The Knitter magazine, created by some of the most talented names in knitting. Each project is guaranteed to give you hours of crafting pleasure. If you're inspired by everything you learn and itching to get creative, we've even got a section about how to go about creating your own designs. And a final chapter, Materials and Tools, helps with practicalities such as substituting yarns and choosing the best needles for your project."
Contents Include:
  • Casting on and off
  • Shaping techniques
  • Knit in rounds
  • Lace knitting
  • Cable knitting
  • Colour knitting
  • Embellishing your knits
  • Finishing knits
  • Discovering designing
  • Materials and tools

The Pro Guide to Knitting costs £9.99 and is on sale now in the UK in WH Smith and leading newsagents, or by mail order through the website My Favourite Magazines It's also available to everyone anywhere in the world as a digital version to read on iPads, phones and other devices. Go to to download the free app within which you can purchase the digital Pro Guide.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Knitting History Forum Conference 2013

There was an excellent line up of speakers at the Knitting History Forum Conference on Saturday 9th November. Subjects ranging from Aran knits to costumes for film and tv, were presented alongside knitted archeology and the origins of crochet.

The conference began with a presentation by V&A curator, Susan North. Whilst researching linen fabrics through published inventories, Susan had come across interesting information about knitting in Great Britain pre 1800. Susan looked at who was making the tools for knitting, who was selling them and how households managed their knitted garment needs. My favourite example was the 27 pure silk knitted stockings purchased by Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland between 1585 and 1587! 

Amanda Mason, Historian at The Imperial War Museum talked to us about knitting during the Second World War. Amanda was interviewed for the BBC4 programme, the Fabric of Britain, discussing some of the IWM collection of knitwear made by Prisoners Of War. On the home front, Amanda showed us a typical scene of knitting for the Forces, represented in Eleanor Dunbar's The Knitting Party. Substantial contracts were taken on by The WI and the WRVS, producing socks, sweaters and carrying out approximately 3 million mends. In 2015, uniforms, clothes rations and make do and mend will be the subjects of the IWM Exhibition, Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style.

The Knitting Party by Eleanor Dunbar
Costume designer Maria Price has made use of the IWM collection for her research when working on costumes for productions such as Foyle's War. Her other projects include Victoria and Albert and Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies. Maria uses Angels Costumiers to source much of the period clothing as well as occasionally commissioning knitted garments. She told us that the texture of a garment is very important, but that this attention to detail can be undone if, for example the director chooses subdued lighting. As an example of working within budget constraints, Maria told us that sometimes modern socks are used with a period knitted cuff added to the top!

Honeysuckle Weeks in Foyle's War
Rachael Matthews talk was an amazing journey through her creative process. By the end of her wonderful presentation, I felt that I had travelled all over the UK and through time too! In particular, I loved her knitted accounts based on her shop spreadsheets, her knitted relics and archaeological finds and her beautiful 'bed jumper' with darning. Her shop in Bethnal Green is Prick Your Finger.

Relics by Rachael Matthews
Matteo Molinari, phd candidate at London College of Fashion, also took us on a journey. This time to discover new insights into the origins of crochet. He presented his research findings on the history of crochet and its similarity to other techniques such as afghan crochet, netting, sprang, nalbinding and tambour. His fascinating profile of Nano Nagle included her role in the development of fine Irish crochet. 

Barbara Smith, the publications curator of the Knitting and Crochet guild talked to us about the Evolution of Aran Style. The myths associated with the origins of Aran sweaters were looked at in turn and Barbara had found interesting reference points to show when Aran terminology appeared in knitting pattern books in the UK and the USA. Aran patterns became more standardised in the 1960s and Barbara told us about a possible link to the Clancy Brothers and their USA tour. When a harsh winter was predicted for New York, Mrs Clancy sent over 4 Aran sweaters to keep them warm. The sweaters became their widely publicised trademark image!

Many thanks to the Chair of the Knitting History Forum, Professor Sandy Black for hosting this excellent conference at London College Of Fashion.