Solace cushion

Solace – in two versions

As you know it’s been a very difficult couple of months, but today the sun is shining and the sky is a cheery shade of blue.

I’m learning to take it one day at a time and while I’m certainly not back at my desk full time I’m popping in to write a quick post about the exclusive design I created to accompany my Knit Stars Season 6 Beaded Colourwork Masterclass. 

I’ve partnered with UK indie dyer Leila Bux of The Urban Purl to create an exclusive design that marries Leila’s exquisite eye for colour with my love of knitted bling. And given that we’ve all spent much more time in our homes over the last year I thought it would be nice to design a cushion that will bring a touch of glamour to your home. The name felt appropriate as I hope solace is precisely what it will bring to everyone who chooses to make it while the various techniques used really embrace the beauty of Beaded Colourwork. What’s more, it was a great way to collaborate with a hugely talented friend as I’ve been a longtime fan of Leila’s unique speckled colourways.

The pattern is only available as part of the Knit Stars Beaded Colourwork class handouts. So just to clarify, it won’t be available through any other platform or my Ravelry Pattern Store. Once you’ve completed the Masterclass you’re all set to cast on and bling your way to your own version of Solace.

Solace knitted in The Urban Purl Sporty

This delicious ‘Saquarra’ colourway is exclusive to Knit Stars and as it’s now sold out I thought you’d like to see how it looks in an alternate, commercially dyed, solid coloured yarn. The effect is perhaps more subtle but certainly just as beautiful and it’s a great example of how well the design works when you tweak the colours to suit different tastes.

Solace in knitting in Cascade 2020 Sport

This new sample is knitted in 220 Superwash Sport by Cascade Yarns. 

I’d like to say a huge thank you to endlessly thoughtful friends like fellow Knit Star Felix Ford aka Knitsonik who took photos of the Solace cushion, and Kate Davies and the team at Kate Davies Designs who liaised with Felix to test knit and finalise the pattern at what is still a very emotional and exhausting time for me. I appreciate it more than you can imagine.❤️❤️❤️

There’s still time to sign up for Knit Stars Season 6 but enrolment closes at midnight 4th November.

If you visit my website and sign up to my newsletter before midnight today 3rd November (UK time) you ‘ll get a special subscriber discount code to get $30 discount on Knit Stars Season 6. But be quick, enrolment closes November 4th.

Visit the Knit Stars website to sign up now.

In the meantime, stay well and happy knitting,

J x

I’m teaching at Knit Stars 6!

How has April been for you? I hope you’re keeping safe well and adapting to the ‘new normal’ we’re all having to navigate. Thankfully the sun has been shining brightly here in Hove, although the chilly wind is a constant reminder that we’re not yet ready to swap woollen sweaters and leggings for a lighter weight summer wardrobe. April has been a super busy month for me, and May is set to be even busier because the big BIG news I have to share with you is that I’m teaching at Knit Stars.

For those who haven’t yet heard of it, Knit Stars is a virtual learning conference for the fibre arts. But it’s also much more than that.

Created by Shelley Brander, owner of US-based local yarn store Loops it’s a lavish, thoughtfully curated program of workshops taught by some of the best instructors in the fibre community. There are 12 online workshops to choose from covering a wide range of topics. Each lasts 1 – 2 hours and is the equivalent of what you’d get in a 3 – hour, in-person class. Plus, you get access to them forever, which means you can learn at your own pace.  

You also get to peek behind the scenes into the Stars’ own homes wherever they’re based worldwide, and this year we cover Australia, the UK and the USA. Plus, there’s the chance to purchase kits and patterns created by the designers collaborating with specially chosen yarn partners, exclusively for Knit Stars!

this year sees the 6th season and the theme is ‘Live Colorfully’, so expect lots of courses inviting you to explore colour through both traditional and innovative techniques. 

I’m not going to spoil the fun and tell you everything, but as a subscriber to my Newsletter, you definitely get to find out first. So as a little teaser, I can tell you that I’ll be teaching Beaded Colorwork and am partnering with Leila Bux of The Urban Purl I’ve been an admirer of Leila’s work for some time now, and we’re creating an exclusive kit that can be purchased as an optional extra, once you’re a Knit Stars owner. (We’ll be collaborating on some sneak peeks in the next few days so make sure you’re following both @jeanettesloan and @theurbanpurl on Instagram).

The production quality of Knit Stars is jaw-dropping thanks to Shelley’s many years working in TV production; in fact, you’ll feel like you’re travelling the world without having to leave the comfort of your home. So no baggage allowance nightmares, early morning taxi transfers or airport queues to deal with.

To buy Knit Stars Season 6 CLICK HERE  or simply click either of the Knit Stars images above. 

Please note; this is an affiliate link, which means if you sign up, I’ll get a commission. It’s a great way to support me as an indie designer, so thank you in advance!

J x

Martha Stewart online

Thought I’d share this very quick post with you as it cheered up my Wednesday. I’m very happy to have been included in this feature ‘Knitting Artists You Should Be Following on Instagram’ – and I’m in very esteemed company.

Written by Caroline Biggs you can read the whole article ‘Knitting Artists You Should Be Following on Instagram’here

I was up till the wee hours editing a talk for this weekend’s virtual Perth Festival of Yarn so I’m having the tomanight off. See you soon.

J x

‘MDK Field Guide no 15: Open’ : The designs

It’s a very strange feeling to work for so many months on a project and with such intensity, that when it comes to a close, the deadline met and the projects sent off, there’s a slightly empty pause. I wouldn’t call it an anti climax exactly but it’s almost as though finally, there’s a chance to catch one’s breath before the next project comes along.

Well for me, working with Modern Daily Knitting on ‘Field Guide no 15: Open’ came just after the release of Warm Hands which I co-edited with Kate Davies. And, at the start of what was to have been a very busy year: visiting fibre events, teaching classes, promoting BIPOC in Fiber and travelling around the world. And then of course, along came Covid 19.

So it felt a little strange to finally get my hands on #FG15 when it finally launched last Friday and to be honest my feet haven’t touched the ground since. I knew it would be beautiful, after all this is MDK we’re talking about and together with Melanie Falick they are a formidable combination. The book is small in size but packs a bright, beautiful punch. Because despite following in the Field Guide series after the likes of stars such as Norah Gaughan. Kaffe Fassett, Julia Farwell Clay and Carol Feller they encourage each designer to leave their own design signature and that works magically within the guide’s house style. It means the guide is completely me, but it’s also MDK too.

When Ann and Kay first invited me to design for them we quickly established the technique would be lace but from there I was left to follow my own creative path as to the exact projects and whose yarn I”d like to use. And that’s a really exciting prospect. What you’ll find in the guide are four accessories – no surprise there, it’s me after all – and one garment. But it’s not quite as simple as that. There are little twists and turns that, as the theme suggests, invite you to be open. To be open in terms of creating airy fabrics with open textures, to playing with needle size, yarn weight, and open yourself up to learning a new technique. After all, lace really needn’t be scary. I firmly believe that if I can do it, you can too.

The 5 projects gradually grow in size and skill level from a skinny rib scarf with a two row repeat to a cardigan that can be worn either of two ways. There are little tweaks and details that made this collection such fun to design and should make them fun to make. So here’s a little taste of what’s inside.

I’m so tempted to tell you lots more but I’ll be writing much more about the inspiration and design process behind the guide over on the Modern Daily Knitting blog in a couple of weeks’ time. You can buy your copy of ‘Field Guide no 15: Open’ from the Jeanette Sloan Online Shop here

For now, enjoy the weekend

J x

MDK Field Guide no 15

Well this is something of a change in mood from my previous post. I didn’t realise it was so long since my last blog post or that I’d been in such a dark place when I wrote anything here on this precious space. Sorry that I’ve been away for so long but I needed to take that time away but I’m back and very happy to say that I’ve got some really exciting news.

Back in the days before Covid – remember those? When we could travel without face coverings, gather in large numbers and god forbid, actually hug the people we love! Anyway, it was way back in 2018 when I first met Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, the brilliant and very funny ladies behind Modern Daily Knitting. We were supposed to be having a fancy breakfast meeting before going to the 2018 Edinburgh Yarn Festival and I was already in fan girl overdrive when, after talking their arses off for 2 hours, they asked if I’d be interested in designing one of their Field Guides. Well after picking my jaw off the table for a second time I said “hell YES!”

Scroll forward 24+ months. To say that it’s been eventful would be something of an understatement. On a personal level I’ve had to come to terms with a serious decline in Mum’s cognition which has meant she and Dad now need more support than ever which has made keeping up with work very difficult. But on a positive note the fibre industry is finally tackling racism, not just within but globally, the BIPOC in Fiber website is live and the positive response to it has been amazing. So following in that spirit of positivity and excitement I can finally reveal that Field Guide no 15 – you know, the one the Queens of MDK asked me to design? – is due to launch on August 7th! (Cue the screams, popping corks and sounds of Chaka Khan’s ‘I’m Every Woman’ playing LOUD).

I’ll be writing a longer post about FG15 once it’s launched but just wanted to give you a little teaser to tide you over for now. Oh also to let you know that I’ll be stocking print copies of Field Guide no 15: Open over on the Jeanette Sloan Design website along with Warm Hands.

But for now I’ll just leave you with this ……

And yes, that is pink and orange packaging

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

 

North Point, The Knitter issue 134

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This design takes its name comes from the cliffs of North Point which can be found in the parish of St Lucy on the island of Barbados. Sitting at the northern post tip of the island it’s renowned for the powerful Atlantic Ocean waves that pound the rugged landscape throwing columns of sea spray upwards onto the limestone cliffs above. Whilst I was swatching for this design I was intrigued that moving the initial vertical lace pattern just one stitch in either direction on successive rows created arcs of pattern that reminded me of those constantly crashing Atlantic waves, hence the name. Standing on the cliff edge at North Point in the hot Bajan sun the sea views are both dramatic and uninterrupted, in fact you could literally be teetering on the edge of the world.

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Back in the slightly chillier UK I wanted this wrap to be your ‘go to’ cover up if, like me, you’re always cold. It’s a lace design but not in a traditional sense as it’s worked in Erika Knight’s Wild Wool, an Aran weight blend of 85% wool 15% nettle fibre (shown as viscose on the label). Knitted in two pieces grafted at the centre each piece begins with a provisional cast on. The main section of each piece is knitted in a broad vertical rib with single stitch decreases, slip stitches and eyelets defining where the knit columns meet the purl.

 

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As I mentioned previously the travelling arcs of lace are created by moving the pattern one stitch to the right on the first piece and one stitch to the left on the second piece and this produces a mirrored effect when the two sections are grafted together. The edges of the wrap are slipped which gives them a rounded finish and this look continues when the provisional cast on stitches are picked up and finished with an i-cord cast off. There are lots of reasons why I love this design; the stitch pattern is completely reversible, the yarn has the most incredible drape and given the mix of knit & purl and the gauge of the yarn, I think that may be the best seam I have EVER grafted.

I really hope you like it too. 

J x

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In a strange place

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This time last week I was one thousand miles away basking in the heat of the Corsican sun enjoying a much longed for holiday. Today however although I’m back home and on much more familiar turf, mentally I’m in a very strange place. I suppose it’s only natural to feel a little deflated when you come back off holiday but I’m really struggling to lift my mood, it could be the lack of sunshine…or heat….or that illuminated salt water swimming pool I’d got just a little to used to.

Alternatively it could simply be due to the fact that even 2 years after my op my post craniotomy brain dictates more than ever whether or not I can focus enough to work. This week it’s been ‘or not’. With a brief break for Tuesday night’s Stitch & Bitch I’ve been in a ‘pre migraine’ state since Monday morning which has made me touchy, anxious, achy and low. I’ve had to accept that the project I’d planned to knit on holiday just didn’t get done …..and you know what, that doesn’t matter. Instead I’m going to let myself off the spinning classes I didn’t do this week and allow my brain to do what it needs to come back to ‘normal’.

Whatever that is.

I’m hoping the re-set will happen by Monday as I’ve got quite a lot of knitting and writing to do. In the meantime I’ll chug along with the sock I’m knitting and catch up on some good drama on the iPlayer. Just as well it’s Slow Fashion October.

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Sorry for the whinge hope your week’s been better

J x

Something for me and something for you

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 08.52.00I think I first posted about working with this shade of Rowan’s Cotton Rope back in July last year and as is often the case, it’s been languishing in my stash for years before that. Although my memory is pretty shocking nowadays I clearly remember the day this yarn joined the realms of the Sloan Stash. I’d bought it as stock whilst running HKhandknit in Edinburgh and fell in love with the colour as soon as I clapped eyes on it. It sat, and sat and sat on the shelves for a whole summer (obviously at the time too bright for my Edinburgh customers) and when Rowan decided to discontinue it I felt it would be happiest and best appreciated in my possession. All 22 balls of it.

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So fast forward to today and I’ve finally cast off the cardigan that that precious, fantastic coloured yarn has finally become. It seems to have been a long road to get to this point but that may largely be due to the fact everything involving numbers, concentration and memory can often feel like pulling teeth if my brain isn’t playing ball. I vaguely remember first dragging the yarn out of the loft back in 2015 PreC (pre craniotomy) but didn’t start doodling on paper until July 2017 PostC (post craniotomy). It wasn’t until I tidied my office almost exactly 12 months later that I moved a hug pile of fabric I’d been using to make cushions and came across the abandoned wip squashed into the bottom of a basket with my ‘missing’ 6 mm Knit Pro tips and 80 cm cable. Since my surgery I’ve dreaded making discoveries like this. Not as you’d imagine, because of the guilt you normally feel because you haven’t finished yet another project. It’s trying to get back into the headspace I was in when I drew up those original sketches and made those initial calculations which is so much like reading the work of a stranger that it fills me with such dread it sometimes causes enough stress to bring on a migraine.

Thankfully though in this case I was so genuinely pleased to have found 1. the yarn again – I mean THAT COLOUR!!! –  and 2. those bloody 6mm tips (I thought they’d gone for good) that I just went right back to the drawing board. Bizarrely enough for a ‘me’ knit I’d actually made lots of helpfully detailed written notes about what I was thinking so it actually wasn’t as difficult as I thought to pick up where I’d left off . So, after making a couple of changes ( dropping the needle size to 5.50mm) I was soon up and running again. Ok there’s been a bit of frogging but the combination of this yarn, large needles and the deliciously textured purl twist stitch I used on Mrs T’s Mittens made this a really really enjoyable design to knit. Now it’s finally cast off I’m really pleased with the results.

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I wanted a relaxed, boxy knit that would be easy to wear in the summer when the sun’s gone down and it gets a bit chilly. Because of the chunky weight of the yarn I wanted very few seams so it’s actually worked in one piece on a long circular needle whilst slipped stitches on the wrong side of the garment give the appearance of a seam but without the bulk.

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There’s a wide panel of purl twist texture in the centre back which is matched by the front facing bands which are worked as you knit, rather than added on afterwards (again avoiding any joins) and these run on over the shoulders to join at the centre back of the neck. Ah yes, that join. There were a couple of issues with the neckband as I’d originally envisaged grafting it together but after a couple of failed attempts where it just didn’t look of feel right I plumped for casting off both sets of stitches off together which I’m much happier with.

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All in all I love the results.

Would  I knit it again? Definitely. Probably a winter version with sleeves.

Would I make any changes? Mmmm probably, after all there’s always something you could tweak to make improvements. But for now I’m happy that this keeps summer going just a little bit longer. That and the fact that we’re off to Corsica for a week on Saturday!

At my age I’m more excited than I should be about going on holiday but we’ve been through a lot since our last foreign break seven years ago so to celebrate I’m having a sale over on  Ravelry. There’s 25% off all patterns from now until the end of September – no code needed – so you could get a headstart on some of that C*#!+%?mas gift knitting whilst I head off to the sun. Sorry it’s just too early to use that particular ‘C word’.

You’ll find my Ravelry Pattern Store here. I’m off to pack

J x

 

 

Lorna Hamilton Brown knits the blues

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Very seldom have I met someone with as much energy as Lorna Hamilton Brown.

We were put in touch by the lovely Freddie Robins (who I used to work with back in my technician days) when Lorna was researching for her Royal College of Art MA dissertation ‘Myth: Black People Don’t Knit’. I was very happy to play just a tiny part in this brilliant piece of writing since me, Lorna, Gaye Glasspie, Natalie Warner, poorpockets (on Ravelry), Dana (@callmedwj on Instagram) and countless other black crafters not only knit but also crochet with both skill and style. (Honestly, don’t get me started). Anyway since meeting up and finding that we get on like a house on fire Lorna and I have stayed in touch and I’m really proud and privileged to call her one of my friends.

She is a rare soul who puts so much passion and energy into her work and shows that through knitting, teaching and performing her work can touch and improve the lives of  others, be they victims of domestic abuse or sufferers of mental illness. In fact I’d go so far as to describe her as a Design Hero #designheroes.

As her final MA project her film ‘Knitting The Blues’ is a fun, funny music video behind which there is a serious, pertinent message. Knitting offers a huge therapeutic benefit to mental wellbeing and as someone who has had to cope with a lot of physical illness over the years I can definitely say that it has helped me to both relax and recover.

You’ll find the video over on Lorna’s website here on follow this YouTube link. There are a number of cameo appearances in the video including Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably, oh yes and you may just spot someone else you recognise. (Coughs)

Congratulations Lorna on being awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ for your dissertation!  I really hope you enjoy your graduation today. You’ve worked hard and deserve it.

Sending much love to you.

J x