The Crafties – I’ve been nominated!

The Crafties 2019 - Vote for me

 

Yes I’m still here, I bet you thought I’d forgotten about this wee blog. To be honest there’s been so happening since I started talking and writing about the lack of BIPOC representation in the fibre community that the last 12 months have literally flown past.

Now having successfully Crowfunded for BIPOC in Fiber (thank you to everyone who gave their support) work on the website can begin and along with the rest of the team we can continue promoting the work of black, indigenous and people of colour whatever their craft discipline. Way back in 2018 (it seems much further back than just last year) this really wasn’t what I’d envisaged when I created the POC Designers & Crafter List. I just wanted to do something that would have a positive effect on an industry and community that needed to be more truly representative of all and, as it as just a list, it seemed simple enough to do. Fast forward a year and it turns out what I originally saw as a small gesture has had a positive effect along with the work of many other BIPOC voices. At last we’re now seeing a greater BIPOC presence designing, vending, writing and teaching in magazines, online publications and at fibre festivals. Along with my other writing and designs (I think people sometimes forget I’m also a designer)  the work I’ve been doing has got me nominated for a blog award.

The Crafties are LoveCrafts’ Blogger Awards and I’ve been nominated in the  Noteworthy Knitter Blog Award, 2019. If you regularly read this blog or follow me on Instagram you’ll know I’m not someone who tends to pat themselves on the back. You’ll also know I don’t post as often as I’d like but I am passionate about what I’m currently doing as it helps to focus more attention on the work of BIPOC in the fibre industry. And for that I’m happy to be nominated…. but of course I’d be even happier to win.

If you’d like to, you can vote for me by popping over to the LoveCrafts blog where you’ll find more details of how to cast your vote. You’ll find the page here.

Voting opens 1st November 2019 at 17:00 GMT / 10:00 PST / 13:00 EST

Voting closes 18th November 2019 at 17:00 GMT / 10:00 PST /13:00 EST

The winners will be announced 2nd December at 17:00 GMT / 10:00 PST / 13:00 EST

Wish me luck

J x

A bit late but remember Perth Festival of Yarn?

To my utter shame it’s almost 2 weeks since I travelled up to Scotland for this year’s much anticipated Perth Festival of Yarn. So much has happened over the 11 months since I was first contacted by festival organiser Eva Christie who invited me to be this year’s Keynote Speaker. And, to be honest, I had no idea how nervous I would be undertaking that role but – notes in hand – I travelled up the motorway to the Dewars Centre in Perth for a weekend that flew by far too quickly. Here’s a little taster, sorry for not providing a more detailed record. But, having spent so much time on social media recently,  it was really liberating to NOT constantly post updates about the festival on Instagram.

So here’s a little taster of everyone setting up. The venue had a lovely feeling of space which meant you could browse and shop quite happily without feeling restricted in any way. There was also plenty of accessible space between the stands.

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It was great to meet Hutch and Barry of Dye Candy @dyecandy who came over from Belfast for the show. Of course being from Northern Ireland they had lots to chat over with Sam and were sweet enough to gift me a hanks of yarn – I’ll post a pic of that later.

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Here’s a shot of some questionable interior decoration at The Lovat Hotel although this particular De La Soul single caught my eye.

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Loved meeting @gailmadebyme and @mrsgooner5776 although to be honest they were very quiet when they said hello and despite following them both on IG I didn’t recognise them. Ladies I loved seeing you, thank you so much for coming to hear me speak. Be bolder next time!

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This lady was kicking it in this amazing shade of red but I’m so sorry I’ve forgotten your name on IG!

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Sara from @yarningham pitched up with a batch of her freshly baked chocolate and sesame cupcakes. Yes I know I ‘poo pooed’ them too but they were so delicious I ate most of what you see in this picture. And loved every mouthful.

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Got to spend Saturday at the Gala Dinner talking all things BIPOC in Fiber whilst sitting next to these two incredible women – Felicity Ford @knitsonik and Alyson Chu @alysonhere the brains behind the BIPOC in Fiber website and who I only met the day before.

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And having worked for the The Knitter for more years than I care to mention I finally got to meet Kirsty McLeod @kirstie.mcleod and Ali Johnson @iamalijohnson

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On Sunday I taught my Dipped Stitches class (which I”ll be teaching at Vogue Knitting Live in Columbus & Austin next month) and here are some of my happy students

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The rest of the week was spent catching up with friends from when we lived in Edinburgh and trying to get some rest because the pre Perth build up and the preparing the BIPOC in Fiber Crowdfunder has genuinely been so exhausting.

Now I’ve been back at home for a week I’m not exactly rested (in fact I’m actually coming down with a cold) but I’m even more excited about the upcoming projects and collaborations for the next year or so. There’s lots more teaching, the new website, more designing and so much more to come.

So expect another blog post before the week is out.

J x

 

What now?

What now

 

I’ve been a bit quiet of late. Like many I’m feeling the exhaustion of the last couple of weeks and as I’m a grown up I’ll of course admit to my own stupidity in reposting something that caused hurt to many. For that I’m truly sorry.

I didn’t take the time to truly process the content of the post in full and for someone trying to be more mindful, the sad irony of NOT being mindful in this particular case isn’t lost on me. But rather than do a post mortem of the situation and potentially cause more harm please be assured; I have learned from my hasty reposting and will never make that mistake again. 

My IG account was started as a simple way to connect with people, talk a bit about my work, and share any other random parts of my life (hence all the food posts). What it’s turned into is a platform from which I still share those things along with what I’ve become passionate about over the last year; mainly the lack of BIPOC representation in OUR fibre community. 

I don’t claim to speak for all BIPOC. When I speak, I do so for the only BIPOC whose opinion I know better than any other – myself. But it’s important that every BIPOC working in the fibre community is recognised, valued and celebrated as much as their white peers so I’ll continue to do this both from a personal perspective with my @jeanettesloan account, and more widely as @bipocinfiber. 

I’ve done a lot of reflecting over the last week or so and realise I need to make a number of changes in my life, both on and offline. Part of what I’ve missed on IG is some of the lighter, funny content I feel we all need in order to bear the weight of the intense, painful, dreary, shitty stuff that life throws at us day to day. This may seem trivial to some but I feel there needs to be both light and shade to achieve some kind of balance in my life. 

So moving forward and inspired by my friend @ateliermajesta here’s what you can expect from me:

I’ll always treat people with respect and kindness because that’s how I was raised and would appreciate that everyone does the same when leaving comments here or on Instagram. Because if anger and confrontation are the baseline from which everyone in this community chooses to behave how are we meant to communicate, learn, interact and grow?

I’ll be much more mindful of what I repost and won’t do so unless it’s on behalf of or connected to someone with whom I have a personal or professional relationship or about a social / health issue which has affected me personally.  If in any doubt I will not repost.

I’ll continue to celebrate the work of people I admire and of course I’ll always promote the work of BIPOC in our community as it’s long overdue and very important. 

I don’t tolerate racist views or behaviour, will never condone them and will call them out when needed.

As a BIPOC designer I always think carefully about those with whom I collaborate and whose products I use for my work. I don’t work with anyone without first establishing a relationship of trust and respect.

Expect to see more posts about food I’ve cooked, exhibitions I’ve visited and generally anything that brings joy to my life. I’ve missed it and I need it.

I have caring responsibilities and health issues which mean I sometimes have to take breaks from social media. Please bear these in mind if I don’t immediately respond to your comments or DM. I will get back to you. 

 

J x

Yarningham 2019

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This weekend Birmingham’s very own fibre festival is back for it’s 4th year.

It takes place in the Uffculme Centre, a former home to the famous Cadbury chocolate family located in between the areas of Moseley and Kings Heath.

As well as the the usual opportunities to learn new skills from renowned tutors like Karie Westermann who’s teaching ‘Knitting the Landscape’ there’s also a chance to ‘Stitch Your Own Notebook’ with local designer maker Helen Wilson. If you’ve missed out on tickets for either of these classes don’t worry there’s plenty of other ways to feed your fibre addiction.

The marketplace is where you’ll find lots of stalls to spend your hard earned cash, it’s ticketed but you’ll find more details on the website (details below). While you’re there check out the Yarningham merchandise – love the Donald and Boris badges – and the official brochure which includes exclusive designs by Jiminez Joseph (a BIPOC designer)  and Rebecca Milton.

There’ll be demonstrations of various fibre crafts by the Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, a knitting surgery run by the Knitting & Crochet Guild for anyone with a knitting dilemma and a raffle in aid of local charity RSVP (Rape and Sexual Violence Project). They work with survivors of sexual violence and abuse, aiming to help victims cope with trauma and rebuild wellbeing, confidence and hopefulness so it’s an amazing cause and the prizes are fantastic. And, should all that learning and yarn stash enhancement get too much there are refreshments too; including lots of cake, just in case you need a sugar hit.

I don’t routinely write about yarn festivals but in the light of the work I’m doing to highlight BIPOC working in the fibre community this one is particularly relevant. 

Co-founded four years ago by Sara Fowles – a woman of colour – and Helen Winnicott it’s the only fibre festival, of which I’m aware, that’s had a BIPOC influence from the outset. This makes it particularly important, unusual and ahead of many others in it’s awareness and efforts to be welcoming and inclusive to BIPOC visitors as well as, of course, to non BIPOC attending their show. Curated and run by Sara, Helen and the Stitches & Hos crew they are very keen not to subscribe to the snobbery of knitting being the superior craft with all types of crafts being celebrated and are inclusive in their selection of vendors and accessibility both in terms of venue and transport links. 

I really wish I could have made it along to the show this weekend but unfortunately I’ll miss out but you never know, perhaps next year….

Sara, Helen, Venetia, Lilith and the rest of the team – I’m sending my love, have an amazing show. 

And if you you’re visiting show have the best time and spread some love while you’re there.

J x 

For more information visit the website www.yarningham.co.uk

Designer of the Month at Stephen & Penelope, Amsterdam

S&P Designer of the monthYou go for months without so much as a word from me and then you can’t shut me up.

Ok so maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement but there will definitely be a few blogs posts coming up in pretty quick succession over the next week or so as a number of things are revealed.

Today’s reveal is that throughout June I have the absolute pleasure of being featured as Designer of the Month at the Stephen & Penelope store in  Amsterdam. If you haven’t heard of them – how could you not? Owned by the amazing Stephen West and the gorgeous Malia Mae Joseph the store is a real h(e)aven where you’ll find yarns from all over the world, most recently stocking yarns from UK based indie dyer The Urban Purl.

The shop will be home for the next month to four of my lace designs: Dionne, Diamond Corner, Naomi and No1 Skeete Road. Earlier this year I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with Stephen & Penelope’s own yarn brand West Wool and knowing that I’d be featured this month I thought it was the perfect excuse to re-knit two of these designs in Bicycle which is the brand’s fingering weight.

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I’m not usually a sucker for grey but decided when re-working Naomi to choose Dutch Sky for the main shade with the bobble edge knitted in Citroen which is the BEST acidic yellow I’ve ever laid eyes on. If that colour doesn’t lift your heart, I really don’t know what will.

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And of course if you’ve seen the previous post about No1 Skeete Road you’ll know that I reverted to type and went for the spicy orange warmth of Kardemumma when having that one re-knitted. Thanks again to my friend Mary Alderton for putting your skilful fingers to work and knitting it so beautifully and so quickly too.

All four designs are available as PDFs in my Ravelry Pattern Store and for the first time they’re also now available through yarn stores signed up to Ravelry’s Instore Pattern Sales. If you’re heading to Amsterdam you’ll find the store at Nieuwe Hoogstraat 29, 1011HD Amsterdam, The Netherlands  if not their website is www.stephenandpenelope.com

I am so, so happy to be featured, thank you so much Emily, Malia and all at Stephen & Penelope for featuring my work in your amazing store.

 

J x

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No1 Skeete Road

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How did we suddenly get to June already?! This year is absolutely raging past and whilst I haven’t been committed to regularly posting here on the blog I have been busy pretty much everywhere else so I’ll be doing a series of quick blog posts just to keep you up to date with what’s been happening.

Today I just wanted to let you know that my design No1 Skeete Road is now available in my Pattern Store on Ravelry. Originally knitted in John Arbon’s now discontinued Alpaca Delight it was first published in the December issue of Knitting (no 188) but the pattern has been updated to include full instructions in both written and charted form which should make it more accessible to both chart lovers and chart haters. Oh and what’s that amazing yarn you’re asking? This new version was knitted (by my lovely friend Mary Alderton) in West Wool Bicycle. It’s a fingering weight blend of 90% Falkand Merino 10% Texel which comes in a really uplifting palette of colours and includes eye popping brights as well as cool greys but of course I went for this shade of spicy orange called Kardemumma.

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I can’t really decide whether this design is best described as a shawl or a scarf but I guess it depends on how you wear it. However you style it you’ll find the pattern for No1 Skeete Road here

J x

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Perth Festival of Yarn 7 & 8th September 2019

 

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There’s been a lot of anticipation and excitement but finally the tickets for this year’s Perth Festival of Yarn are now on sale. I’ve known a lot about the classes, events and vendors on offer for some time but now all the secrets are finally out of the bag so you’d better be quick if you don’t want to miss out. 

I’ve never been to PFY before but I’m making up for that by taking on two very important roles. First and perhaps most nerve wrackingly I’ll be there as Keynote Speaker to talk about BIPOC representation in the knitting community; why it’s important and how the community needs to change to make it more truly diverse. The website describes this as a lecture but I hate the idea of ‘lecturing’ people although having been married to me for years my husband Sam would no doubt disagree. 

‘BIPOC and the need for representation in the Knitting Community’ at 1:15pm on 7 September at the Dewars Centre. For more details click here

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I’ll also going be teaching a class where you can learn the technique of ‘dipped stitches’. This is a really interesting and unusual technique that explores working through the knitting to create dense, squishy fabric textures with exciting surface effects. As a designer I’m excited by any technique that makes me question how it might done so I’m really looking forward to teaching this class. In it you’ll learn the basics, learn how to read dipped stitch charts and start to create your own dipped stitches. 

You’ll nee to bring along a few basic materials such as 4.00 mm needles, a could of balls of DK weight yarn and small amounts of DK / fingering weight in contrasting colours as well as scissors, notebook and pen.

Dive Into Dipped Stitches  2:30pm – 5:30pm on 8 September in the Methven Room, The Station Hotel, 1 Leonard Street, PH2 8HE. For more details click here

I’m not going to list everything else that’s happening as you really should visit the website for all the details but I will just add that as well as me the other tutors are Francoise Danoy, Steve Malcolm, Beverley Dott, Karina Westermann, André de Castro, Julie Dubreux  and Lyndsey Roberts. There’s also a Gin Flight Night (I think tickets may have sold out for that, oops) plus a fantastic marketplace full of incredible vendors including the amazing Lady Dye Yarns from Boston, MA USA who I worked with earlier this year for one of their Craft Club Collaborations.

One of the major issues in the continuing conversations about lack of BIPOC representation, diversity and racism in the knitting community was the call for organisers of fibre festivals to step up and be much more intentionally inclusive when planning their events. Well having contacted me back in October last year Festival Director Eva Christie was already ahead of the curve when the discussion set social media alight at the beginning of January this year. Having had the pleasure of getting to know Eva over the last 5 months I know how carefully she’s curated this event and the lineup of tutors and vendors shows how diversity can be thoughtfully realised when it’s always at the heart of what you do and not simply a just knee jerk reaction. 

Roll on September!

J x