Jonah’s Hands

Screenshot 2018-11-17 at 10.25.29One of the many beautiful things to have come out of my continued search for names to  to add to the POC Designers & Crafters list is that I’m always discovering something or someone new. In particular what I love about Instagram is that I don’t always have to actively search for a name, sometimes a comment or a tag on a post in my feed is all I need before I’m off looking at new work, podcasts, video channels or blogs. 

 

This is how I came across the work of Jonah whose account @jonahhands is on Instagram. He began teaching himself to crochet around aged 5 and now aged 10 he’s started creating his own designs but not content with just churning out granny square after granny square Jonah likes to mix it up when it comes to yarn weights and size of hook. From simple pot stands and mega chunky baskets to colourful afghans so big you can barely see his beautiful face behind them to say this young man is prolific would be something of an understatement. Oh and you should see the speed at which his hands work – he crochets like lightning. I asked Jonah to tell me how he got started and I thought it would be nice to use his own words to tell his story.

“When I was 5 years old my Aunt gave me and my siblings a bag of unwanted craft items from her basement.  In it was a crochet hook and knitting needles. I asked mom what to do with them and she told me you made pretty things out of yarn with them.  She doesn’t know how to knit or crochet so she told me to go online and find a video. And I did. I started with knitting and made a long tail winter hat. Then I used a crochet hook to make mom a winter ear warmer. Crocheting was easier for me. It was hard to hold the knitting needles when I was five. I will try again some day.  

I liked the feeling it gave me when I crocheted. I felt calm. My mind is very busy and it made me focus.  I made many items and then mom put them in the county fair. I won 4 ribbons (and I was against the grandmas- not the kids). So, I kept on watching videos and making things for people. Everyone loved my gifts. When I was in grade school I wasn’t very well behaved because I was bored. I am very advanced in math … I’m 10 now and take high school classes. When I was misbehaved last year in 5th grade my teacher let me crochet when I was done with my work.  I didn’t get any more behaviour slips at school! I even taught other kids.

People think I will get teased or bullied but I don’t. Because I crochet fast and they think it’s cool. My big brother even likes my crocheting. My grandma crochets but lives far away. When I do see her I go to the bottom drawer of her dresser and take out all the doilies she’s made. So nice. She shares patterns with me and give me new hooks”.

You can tell from the beaming look on his face that Jonah lives to crochet often making things for his Mum (who must be hugely proud of her son) or making items to sell using the money he makes to either donate, invest, save for college – remember he’s 10 years old –  …or buy more yarn. I really admire that as a young black boy he’s confident enough in his creativity to share his skills with other kids at his school and has a generous heart that makes him want to gift what he produces to other people. Interestingly the fact that crochet also helps him to feel calm, and to still his ‘over busy’ mind makes me think that Jonah is probably pretty advanced for his age. I’m so glad to have found him and absolutely love what he’s doing particularly when he posts using the hashtags #guyswhocrochet, #adoptionrocks #kidscrochet #menstitchtoo  and #jonahlovestocrochet  in fact I think he’s a genius….. we should keep an eye on him. 

You can keep up to date with what young Jonah is up to by following his Instagram account @jonahshands here

J x

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No 1 Skeete Road, Knitting issue 188

No1SkeeteRdGMCNo 1 Skeete Road is a lace design worked on a 4.50 mm needle and for those of you who love a stashbuster project – and let’s face it who doesn’t – it takes just one hank of 4ply / fingering weight yarn. This design came about through me falling in love with a yarn back when I wrote the Yarn Reviews for Knitting Magazine. As someone who’s a bit of a sucker for an alpaca yarn I knew from the moment I unwound the hank of John Arbon’s Alpaca Delight that knitting a sample swatch wasn’t going to be enough, somehow I had to keep hold of the rest of the yarn. Promising to create a design that would take just one hank meant that not only could I hold onto it for just a bit longer but I could also scratch my creative itch too. 

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This triangular shaped shawl / scarf is worked from the top down with a rectangular panel of lace forming a central spine. In it a 28 row repeating pattern produces pentagon shaped lacy motifs whilst the wings of the piece are worked in a simple 2 row stitch that produces contrasting columns of lace on either side. Pointed edges give this design a fun feminine finish and as you can see when blocking it’s worth taking a bit of time to accentuate each of these points with pins.

This design gets it’s name from a road in the St Michael parish on the island of Barbados (where my parents were born) which lies in the south western part of the island near the capital Bridgetown. The original Skeete Rd is split into two parts – Nos 1 & 2 – and whilst developing the central lace pattern I thought it would be interesting to explore this same central lace motif in three (rather than just two) different shaped projects and thus design, No 1, is the first of this collection. I’ll be developing the others over the next few months and releasing all three together when the rights for this design revert back to me in 6 months time. 

IMG_5952It’s always interesting to see how my designs are styled in magazines and Christine Boggis Knitting’s editor has gone for a classic feminine look in the current issue whilst I’m more likely to wear it wrapped back to front around my neck as a scarf. And as Alpaca Delight is a deliciously soft blend of 70% Superfine Alpaca / 30% Organically farmed Falklands Merino it’s guaranteed to keep me warm without that irritating tickle. In terms of colour the 7 pastel shades available in Alpaca Delight are all very delicate so if for example Raspberry which I’ve used here isn’t your style, why not search through your stash and dig out 100g of fingering weight yarn in a much bolder colour? I’d love to see the results.

You’ll find the pattern for No 1 Skeete Road in the current issue (no 188) of Knitting Magazine

For the print edition click here 

For the digital edition click here

To subscribe to Knitting click here

To see the full range John Arbon Alpaca Delight colours click here 

 Enjoy

J x

When you’re done rocking the Kasbah

I know it’s been a while since I Iast posted here (sorry about that) and there are both good and bad reasons for that. Sam & I popped over to Morocco for a friends wedding which took place in the grounds of a casbah up in the Atlas mountains.

The venue was stunning and the weather couldn’t have been better: 26ºc during the day with blazing sunshine  and cold mountain air with dark starry skies at night. As it was a particularly special wedding I wanted to put a lot of effort into my outfit and thought it would be nice to pair one of my accessory designs the Tribal Tote with a bright lemon sleeveless dress from Boden and a pair of oh so comfortable sandals from Ten Points Footwear. The pattern for the bag was first published in the November 2011 issue of Knitting magazine but I updated it by adding a bright yellow oilskin lining with a flash of contrast ribbon to echo the colour of the dress. The lining not only added a lovely weight to the feel of the bag but also gave it a much more finished look. As you can see I took advantage of the beautiful decor in our room to shoot the whole outfit and absolutely loved the results, what do you think?

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Sadly though when I got back home I managed to develop a disgusting flu like bug that laid me so low for the past week I genuinely thought I had another lump growing inside my head. Because of this I’ve been trying to keep away from screens, sleeping a lot, popping lots of painkillers and dosing myself up on Night Nurse – though not at the same time obviously – which means that thankfully I’m definitely now on the mend.  There were great plans afoot for blog posts and IG callouts but once again my body took charge and, as I’ve had to remember (not easy when you have the memory of a …erm…what was it called again) I just had to rest up until I recovered. 

So here I am and this is just a little post to say ‘hi’ I”m still around, see how you’re doing and assure you that the normally erratic blog posting service is back in business. There are some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks and months. Firstly there’s my latest design which has just been released in Knitting magazine, the first issue of new e-zine Yarnpeople  which aims to redress the lack of diversity in the fibre world, newly discovered talents to add to the POC Designers & Crafters list, upcoming callouts for new additions to the list from other people of colour AND new pattern releases for some of my designs where the rights have reverted back to me. Phew! Surely that’s enough to keep us all going? 

In fact it’s made me feel quite knackered just thinking about it….

J x