Yes I know what you’re thinking. That you normally have to wait for what seems like YEARS to see any of my pictures after I’ve been to a festival. But oh no, not this time.
I’ve attended the Unravel festival several times both as speaker and vendor but this year was slightly different as it was my first year teaching and also exhibiting as part of BIPOC in Fiber. It was lovely to be able to catch up with lots of old friends, make new ones, share my love of Beaded Colourwork and of course my passion for the BIPOC in Fiber project alongside the rest of the team. I won’t go into too much detail about BiF here as there’ll be a blog on the website when it launches (which is so very, very soon) but as you can see we had a great time.
Thanks to everyone who came along to my class on Sunday and to everyone who stopped by the BiF stand.
Keeping this post short as I’m off to see the Old Folk
Popped over to see Cross & Woods
Sorry I can’t remember whose stand this was
Midwinter Yarns in all their glory
Of course I couldn’t pass by the sparkle here at Mad Scientist Yarns
Who had a rather fantastic yarny sign
More Mad Scientist yarn porn
These are project bags are h=just so beautiful made
And they’re the work of Sarah of Woolly originals who also back the BiF project.
A bit later than I’d hoped (ok 3 weeks actually) I’ve finally found the time to blog about a project that consumed much of my 2019.
Warm Hands is a collection of 15 fresh glove, mitten and fingerless mitt designs which I co-edited with Kate Davies. The patterns have been created by a global collective of 15 designers and each use either Milarrochy Tweed or Ard Thir from Kate’s own range of yarns.
Although I’ve written four books before this it was the first time I’d collaborated with anyone on a publishing project and of course because everything produced by KDD.com is done to such exacting standards, I knew the results would be good. I just didn’t know how good. Or how much I’d enjoy working on it with Kate and the KDD team.
In this, my first-time role as co-editor, I had creative input right from the beginning. This book is special because it brings together a mix of newbie designers (who were invited to submit designs in an open call on Instagram and Ravelry) as well as more well known designers. With the work of BIPOC in Fiber always in mind it was important to me that new BIPOC designers (black, indigenous and people of colour) felt encouraged to submit and, having creative input into the look of the book, I felt it was essential that they be represented in our choice of models too.
Trying to curate a collection of designs that Kate and I felt was balanced in terms of technique, style and skill level meant going through a pretty rigorous selection process. From over 100 submissions it meant looking and re-looking at each design and evaluating them in isolation, then how each would or wouldn’t fit in with the other design submissions. At this early stage I only knew of a couple of the designers and kept losing track of which design belonged to whom so as we gradually whittled them down to the final 15 I found that drawing the designs helped my shockingly poor memory. What I didn’t foresee was that when it came to the final layout these sketches would actually find a home in the introduction pages of the book.
Toasty Cosy is my own design contribution to Warm Hands. Like the majority of the patterns in the book it’s knitted in the Fingering weight Milarrochy Tweed but of course, being me I chose to use it held double rather than single. The back of the design is worked in columns of two colour calliper cables which, in the doubled yarn produces a really dense, warm fabric with a slightly ribbed texture. This is contrasted by a subtle slip stitch texture in stripes that echo the colour changes of the cables but this time on both the palm and thumb.
As I’d never previously worked with any of Kate’s yarns there was of course swatching to be done. I know many of you roll your eyes when I talk about swatching and tension but I find it a really enjoyable and necessary part of my design process. In this case I knew I wanted to make a mitten and fingerless mitten option and whilst the combination of Cranachan and Buckthorn immediately worked for the mittens the first combination I chose for the mitts – Cowslip and Garth – really didn’t work at all. It looked sludgy and sad so I ended up replacing Garth with Hirst and the results are much fresher.
Oh and why the name? Well Toasty Cosy is the term my best friend Margo uses to describe when she’s just perfectly warm. Seems appropriate don’t you think?
I hope you’ll enjoy Warm Hands. Aside from being the brightest book KDD has ever produced (yes, my work is done) a lot of thought has gone into how the finished collection looks. Kate and I pooled ideas – and clothing – to style the designs with a contemporary feel in order that you could see yourself (or your loved ones) wearing each of them. Those ideas were captured and brought to life by the fantastic photography of Tom Barr (Kate’s husband) and it was his invaluable local knowledge that kicked off the ‘in your face’ vibe for the location shots . As well as regular KDD models Fenella and Jane it was a pleasure to work with new models Samira and Mimi for whom this was their first job but who behaved like absolute professionals – even when I was trying to get them to relax on command while art directing the photoshoot. And lastly what brings all of that together so beautifully is Tom’s skilful graphic design that ties all the designs together but at the same time gives each one space and allows it to shine.
Warm Hands 15 fresh designs edited by Jeanette Sloan & Kate Davies
Format: Print copy
Each print copy comes with a download code for the ebook on Ravelry.
To order your print copy visit the website by clicking here
With Storm Denis on its way to the UK tomorrow I’m wishing you a weekend of Warm Hands and even warmer hearts
Since arriving home from New York week over a week ago I’ve been battling a combination of jet lag and the dreaded lurgey. It’s meant the excited re-telling of all the amazing things I did at Vogue Knitting Live, all the wonderful people I met, the inspiring work I saw and the delicious yarns I drooled over won’t now happen. Why? Because sadly my head is full of snot and my body so achey it makes long periods of concentration nigh on impossible. Somehow – and I know how ridiculous this sounds – despite all the life threatening illnesses I’ve been through, the common cold is the thing that floors me most.
So before January gives way to February (yes as you can see since it is now February I even failed there) and these pictures languish unloved in a forgotten corner of my MacBook here are some of my Vogue Knitting Live 2020 highlights. More to come.
I’m off to blow my nose. Again
I travelled over to the States with (most of) my dream team of Felicity Ford @knitsonik, Lorna Hamilton Brown @lhamiltonbrown and Alyson Chu @alysonhere. Sadly the last member of BIPOC in Fiber Juliet Bernard @julietbernard couldn’t join us as she was in India with Knit For Peace.
I’m really proud to a member of Vogue Knitting’s Diversity Advisory Council and over the last 9 months we’ve worked really hard to make the Knitting Live! events and publications much more inclusive and welcoming. As we’re spread across the globe much of this involves long conference calls so it was great to finally meet as a full council to help celebrate 10 years of VKL. Just in case you’re wondering the full council shown above are;