Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Can't blog, am on vacation.

 Lace on a plane!

Lace in a coffee shop!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What Else Would Madame DeFarge Knit?

An excellent question indeed....

image courtesy Wikipedia
Madame Thérèse Defarge is a character in the Dickens book A Tale of Two Cities. She is a knitter, sitting by the gallows with her needles always close, through personal and political upheaval chaos during the French  revolution.

Brilliant designer, teacher, podcaster and all-around clever person and good egg, Heather Ordover, of CraftLit, published What Would Madame DeFarge Knit a couple of years ago. A genius blend of craft and literature, the book provides patterns inspired by great characters and books of literature. It's one of those knitting books that you can keep beside your bed, and read like a novel.

I loved the book when it came out, and was thrilled when Heather asked me to contribute to the second volume, What Else Would Madame DeFarge Knit?

It’s more than just a pattern book — it’s a treasure of links, essays, and designs to entertain your hands AND your mind. In its 200+ pages, you’ll find more than 25 knitting patterns (and one weaving pattern!) designed to delight your inner bibliophile.

There was no question which book, and indeed, which character, I was going to choose... Can you guess?

Book available for preorder here, it's shipping next month.

If you're interested in the book, sign up for the newsletter here. Even if you're not, sign up anyway! Free patterns! Free pattern for a really lovely pair of mittens, which apparently we'll need forever now, because summer is never coming.

Monday, March 18, 2013

On the Road Again: Waterloo Classes and then a Holiday

This weekend I'm loading up my car with Nutella muffins and heading to see my friends at Shall We Knit in Waterloo.

I've got four classes on the slate:
Continental Knitting: Knit faster! Master 2-handed colorwork! Rest your strained hands!
Intro to Lace Knitting: Yarnovers, lifelines and blocking - oh my! Suitable for adventurous newer knitters, or knitters looking to expand their repertoire, I'll introduce you to the joy and wonder of lace knitting. We'll learn how to read and work lace patterns (including charts), and I'll share tips and tricks with you for successfully working lace projects, and producing shawls and scarves you're proud to wear.
Top Down Socks 101: A very good place to start if you've never made socks before. Suitable for knitters who are confident with knit and purl - experience knitting in the round preferred but not mandatory. Also good if you live in the land of the toe-up, and want to broaden your horizons. Adventurous sock knitters like to go both ways, you know!
Fixing Mistakes: Because Knit Happens. Suitable for knitters of all levels - come and learn how to save your work. You'd be amazed about what we can fix without undoing - and if you do have to undo, I'll show you ways to make it painless and safe.

And as a bonus, the very wonderful Kim McBrien of indigodragonfly is going to be there at the same time - she is teaching a few classes, and running a yarn tasting! She'll also have a special pop-up shop with lots of delicious yarns.

And then after that, we're jumping on a plane to the UK for a bit of a holiday, and a wedding. Planned highlights include: the Kaffe Fasset exhibit at the Fashion and Textile Museum, the David Bowie Exhibit at the V&A, and an Argi Bhaji sandwich or three.

Delicious. Seriously.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Awesome Things: Y is for Yarn; Fantastic x 2

I'm beyond thrilled with two things that have come my way recently.

The first is a write up about me and my second book in the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of Vogue Knitting.

 I blush... "followed her fantastic first book... with an equally fantastic second"... Wow.

The second is a postcard sent by my brother T. from the Manchester Art Gallery.

"Y is for Yarn"
To business men in Manchester
The Yarn is daily bread,
They talk of hanks and mules and counts,
And throstle-frames and thread,
As did their grandsires long ago
Who now, of course, are dead.
It's from "Manchester Alphabet", 1906, by Roger Oldham. This book of comic drawings and verse was ostensibly created as a child's alphabet, but clearly was designed for the fun of the adults. The book contained drawings of the then very gritty and industrial city, delicately drawn and coloured, with dry verse to accompany. 

I was born in the environs of Manchester, and my mother's family goes back a long way in the area. My Mum remembers well this industrial past, and the phrase "trouble at' mill" is not just a Monty Python punchline.

More detail on the publication here.