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

Still in the spotlight


saturdayspotlightjeanettesloanIt’s so hot here! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining this is, after all, why Sam and I moved down from Scotland 6……no I think it must be 7 years ago now. I’m loving this hot weather, its been like this for over a week with no prospect of it changing for the next week so I’m a very happy (if every so-slight-sweaty) bunny. Plus of course the novelty of being so close to the beach still hasn’t worn off.

Anyway hot weather aside, a couple of weeks ago I was very happy to be featured in Gaye Glasspie’s Saturday Spotlight over on her blog which you’ll find on her website If you haven’t heard of Gaye before she is a woman consumed by her passion for knitting and yarn, yarn & more yarn. In fact she describes herself as ‘a yarnho’ which still makes me laugh, us Brits just don’t say stuff like that do we? Gaye is also obsessed with the colour orange which is another reason I like her so much, I really wish I had her energy. Every week she shines her spotlight on a different crafter, dyer, fibre producer, yarn shop or designer and having met online through Lorna Hamilton Brown who I blogged about yesterday she got in touch to ask if she could feature me. Gaye has a warmth and enthusiasm which is really infectious you can follow here over on Instagram where she’s @ggmadeit.

Anyway this post is a couple of weeks late but you can still read the interview here


Black people DO knit

I can’t be the only one who finds themselves scanning social media when they really should be doing something else….and it’s usually something that has a deadline attached to it.

Despite having a  very VERY heavy head on Friday I’ve actually been surprisingly organised and productive over the last week having delivered 2 magazine submissions (keeping my fingers crossed for them) and 2 more designs for a lovely project that’s a bit hush-hush at the mo.  I’ll let you know more when I can.

During one of my many Instagram visits last week I noticed that I’d been tagged in a post by Lorna Hamilton Brown (@lhamiltonbrown). She’s a black artist based just down the road from me in St Leonards on Sea and she’s currently studying for an MA in Textiles specialising in Knit at the Royal College of Art. Lorna’s knitting and illustrative work is diverse to say the least; from protesting Helen Titchener’s innocence when on trial for attempted murder in Radio 4’s The Archers to knitting life-size artworks that encourage us to reflect on the way that our youth  are portrayed in the light of the 2011 London Riots.  She’s produced a film called  ‘Knitting ain’t Wack’ that’s a rap video based on a traditional knitting rhyme that was recently selected for The Craft Council’s ‘Real to Reel Film Festival, has been referred to by  Deadly Knitshade  as the ‘Banksy of knitting’ and on top of that was awarded an MBE for services to her local community.

Lorna with the knitting legends Kaffe Fassett & Brandon Mably

Now I don’t normally refer to people in terms of their skin colour but the fact that both Lorna and I are black is key to how we came to be in touch. For her MA dissertation Lorna is examining the myth that ‘black people don’t knit’ and one of her RCA tutors, the lovely Freddie Robins with whom I used to work suggested she get in touch with me.

I have to admit that when I ran a yarn shop in Edinburgh I’d hear ‘no one knits now’ daily (which was infuriating given that I was running a business based on that fact that people did and do knit) much more often than ‘black people don’t knit’. It’s one of those sweeping generalisations – a bit like ‘men don’t knit’ –  that’s worth examining in much more detail. Thankfully Lorna’s dissertation has set out to do just that and I was really pleased to be able to answer a few questions for her and hopefully have contributed in some small way to her thesis. It was submitted last week which must be a huge relief and I look forward to reading it when it’s made public. I haven’t met Lorna in person but given that she’s just up the road I’m hoping that we’ll meet up this Summer. In the meantime – again by the magic of social media – I’ve found Gaye Glasspie (what a great name) also known as GG whose blog Confession of a Yarn Ho can be found here. Well what do you know? One minute ‘black people don’t knit’ and the next thing you know there’s me, Lorna, GG, the great Shirley Paden…….ok you know where I’m going with this.

GG came to knitting later in life but this hasn’t diminished her infectious enthusiasm for creative knitting and all things yarnie. She’s extremely active on Facebook, in fact she puts me to shame, and has been generous enough to be promoting my work to the followers of her Facebook page here. You’ll find her knitting patterns, ready made accessories and her wide range of witty Yarnho products over on the blog which also gets a heads up in the latest issue of Knitscene magazine. I particularly like her ‘we knit too’ and ‘natural knitter’ mugs


Now just in case you read this and are thinking that this is a ‘race thing’ it really, truly isn’t.  I genuinely don’t judge anyone or their crafting habits on the basis of skin colour, race, religion or sexuality. I don’t care if you prefer knit over crochet, hand knit over machine knitting or whether you hold the yarn the Scottish way or Continental style. But ask me to knit something in high bulk acrylic and we may have a problem.
Have  lovely day and as the great Jerry Springer used to say. Please take care of yourselves… and each other.
J x

Just thought I’d share . . . .

this knitting blog Mad about Yarn written by lovely Heike G.   Otherwise known as Knitsister Heike works as a design consultant for Rowan Yarns which is where our paths first crossed and also teaches workshops here in the UK and abroad. Read about her recent jolly to last weekend’s Ravelry Weekender in Germany with all time Knitting Diva Sharon Brant by clicking here