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

Mood Cardigan Knit A Long or should that be Knitalong?

KALs are something that are often dropped – like seasoning – into the chat of enthusiastic crafters. ‘Have you joined the so-and-so Knit A Long? Did you see the yarn what’s-her-face is giving away at the end of her Crochet A Long? Well for the uninitiated a KAL, MAL or CAL – Knit / Make / Crochet Along, depending on your preferred discipline – is basically an online crafting party where a group of like minded, nimble fingered makers work on the same pattern or selection of patterns, at the same time for a specified period. Sounds pretty straightforward doesn’t it? And it is. So why would you want to do one? Well it’s a good opportunity to support each other: you can inspire each other with yarn choices, swap tips when you get to any sticky bits of the pattern, post progress updates (or not, it’s your choice) and perhaps even ask the designer themselves how the pattern came to be. It’s a lovely way of keeping in touch with each other while making, something we’ll no doubt need more with Summer now officially over here in the UK, nights drawing in, the temperature dropping and the threat of another lockdown on the cards.

So I’m really REALLY excited to be hosting my first Knit Along – that’s right, MY FIRST – and oh my goodness am I starting my KAL-ing in some style. (Strictly speaking I’m not sure KAL-ing is actually a word but bear with me, I’m excited).

Together with Aimée Gille of La Bien Aimée and the gorgeous knitter and blogger extraordinaire (Bintou) Nappy Knitter I’ll be hosting a KAL for the Mood Cardigan from the Modern Daily Knitting Field Guide no 15: Open. This design has captured a lot of hearts on IG and also over on Ravelry, probably because its simple construction and generous shape make it flattering to pretty much any body shape. Oh and then there’s the fact that you can choose which way to wear it. Rib up, or rib down.

AND you can choose whether to work it as I designed it, in a light fingering weight yarn held double – in this case Aimée’s Helix in shade Yellow Brick Road – or in your favourite fingering weight yarn, used single. So very many choices to be made. Now you know how we came up with the concept of ‘open for the collection’. As if the prospect of knitting this design amongst friends isn’t enough there are giveaways too. Ah yes, thought that might catch your eye. *winks* More details of those to follow.

For now, just remember that the KAL begins September 30th and runs until December 30th 2020 so if you haven’t yet got your copy of Field Guide no 15: Open there’s still plenty of time to buy a copy from my online shop here. (Don’t forget you can also get your copy signed and gift wrapped at no extra cost)

Take care and see you soon,

J x.

‘A Portrait In Objects’ over at Modern Daily Knitting.com

Here’s a very quick post to share a little something I’ve written for Modern Daily Knitting. Entitled ‘A Portrait In Objects’ it’s a new series of profiles where designers and makers reveal the stories that lay behind a collection of personal or meaningful objects.

Well knowing how I love to ramble you can imagine how much I enjoyed writing this piece for Ann & Kay and, I’m even more flattered to be the first person featured.

Ladies, once again, thank you for inviting me to be a part of the beautiful creative world of MDK. To find out which items I chose head on over to the website to read the profile in full here

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

Making a Life: The Conversation with Melanie Falick, August 8, 2020

Join me this Saturday August 8, 2020, 18.00 – 19.00 BST (13.00 – 14.00 EDT) when I’ll be over on Zoom talking to Melanie Falick, author of Making A Life.

More of an intimate conversation than a formal interview we’ll be talking about making by hand as a pathway to wellness and fulfilment, diversity in the fibre arts community, and of course working together on MDK Field Guide 15: OPEN which launches tomorrow! (Cue Chaka Khan again)

This is a free event but does requires pre-registration which you can do by clicking here.

The nature of social media means it’s often easy to reveal too much about a project pre-launch so I’ve been very careful NOT to post any spoilers on Instagram. But, I do happen to know you can see all 5 of the projects I designed for #fieldguideno15 if you sneak on over to the Ravelry page here. But where would the surprise be if you did that?

You could just order a copy from the Jeanette Sloan website and wait for the surprise to hit the doormat when it comes through the post. Just sayin’.

To pre-order your copy of ‘Field Guide no 15: Open’ for Launch Day despatch (tomorrow Friday August 7th) click here

J x

Riley Stripe Wrap, The Knitter issue 122

IMG_4271There’s been a significant lack of knitting & designing going on in my life recently and rather than bang on about the reasons why I thought instead that I’d focus on something more positive. My latest design for issue 122 of The Knitter magazine which has just hit the shops.

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‘Riley Stripe’ is a design that’s partly inspired by the work of British painter Brigit Riley. Her signature Op Art paintings play with simple geometric shapes like squares, circles and rectangles to stunning optical effect. She began her first Op Art paintings in 1960 whilst on a part time teaching post at Hornsey College of Art initially choosing to work just in black and white and only cautiously introducing colour from around 1967. At this stage she began to explore the precise placement of colour, line and shape in addition to the grouping of colour in order to convey a feeling of movement in the paintings which led onto works like Cataract 3 below.

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Cataract 3 Bridget Riley

Anyway back to this design….

More generously proportioned than a simple scarf I’d call this more of a wrap as the size makes it perfect for draping around the shoulders to keep out the slightest chill and it’s lightweight enough for wearing whatever the season. Riley Stripe features two different stitch patterns, each made up of a combination of slip stitch blocks, single columns and garter stitch stripes. RileyStripe5JSloan

The first section of the wrap begins with a two colour cast on and a textured pattern with large blocks of slip stitch alternated with garter stitch stripes.  These square blocks create a series of attractive curves up the side edge of the piece that eventually become the bottom edge of the wrap once you’ve picked up from the other side edge to knit the longer section in the smaller scale pattern.

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This is really a design that explores contrasts; there’s both large and small scale pattern plus the ‘pick up and knit’ off the side edge of section one which places them at 90 degrees to each other. Then there’s the contrasting yarns which both come from the Isager yarn range. It might seem slightly odd to bring together Highland Wool (a 100% wool light fingering weight) with Viscolin (a 50% viscose 50% linen 4ply weight) but I really love the mix and actually it was playing with yarn combinations that inspired this particular match. As well as being beautifully lightweight the finished knitted fabric has a softness and warmth but there’s also a lovely bouncy quality due to the garter stitch. Once the finished wrap has been cast off (a two colour cast off to match the cast on of course) and given a gentle block and steam it also drapes like a dream.

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If you haven’t tried a two colour cast on before I’m planning to do a couple of video tutorials to demonstrate this and the two colour cast off so keep an eye out for a blog post when they’re done. There really aren’t any other tricky techniques to master other than that and once you’re set for alternating the yarns it’s a really enjoyable knit, especially if you’ve had enough of heavy winter projects.

Brigit Riley may well have used black & white to knit her version of Riley Stripe but as you know I’m very much from ‘the brighter the better’ school of thought so I chose to use Highland Wool in Rhubarb (shade 3) and Viscolin in shade 40. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating and knitting this design and really hope you like it too.

Happy knitting

J x

 

 

 

 

 

Changing times & tools

I’m loving my knitting at the moment. Now that may sound a little odd but when knitting is your day job  the joy of it can seem to go out the window when a deadline looms large and a million other things get in the way of what you actually should be doing. Happily though that’s not the case for me at the moment although I do have my hands full looking after Ma & Pa Trot. I’m currently working on a scarf design for The Knitter which is due for publication in the February issue and that’s why I’m keeping it under wraps rather than posting any pics of my progress online. Well, that would  spoil the surprise wouldn’t it?

I’ve chosen an unusual combination of yarns from the Isager range for the scarf and, mixed with garter stitch, the results are much nicer than I could have hoped in terms of colour, texture and drape. So I’m knitting away happily with that little excited knot in my stomach hoping that others will like this design as much as I do when it’s finally published. What has also occurred to me is that it’s been absolutely years since I worked on straight needles. Years ago, probably around 15 years when I ran a yarn shop in Edinburgh I fell in love with the feel and colour of Boye needles. So much so that, a bit like Victor Kiam who famously liked a razor so much he bought the company, I liked them so much I started stocking the range. Straights, circulars, crochet hooks and dpns I pretty much bought in the lot and worked on nothing else because they were light to handle, smooth to knit and oh so very purdy to look at.

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Fast forward to today and my tools of the trade have changed. Nowadays my ‘go to’ needles for knitting are Knit Pro Interchageables because whether I’m working in rows or rounds they’re light in the hands, will accommodate almost any size of project and wherever you are there’s no chance of jabbing innocent bystanders in the eye with the end of the needle whilst you work. So why am I back to the Boye’s for this project? It just felt like the right thing to do to be honest. Horses for courses as they say. The yarns I’ve chosen are quite fine and I’m finding the knitting is much quicker on straights especially as I can revert to shoving the left needle under my arm for stability… plus of course although the deadline isn’t exactly looming it’s for work so I need to get on. I wonder if any of you find your tools of the trade have changed over time? Do you look for the latest trend in needles/hooks and buy those or do you prefer to stick with your favourites? Or perhaps like me it depends or what you’re knitting?

I’m sure I’ll be back to my Knit Pros when this is finished but in the meantime what I can show you is how pretty my Boyes look with what I’m knitting today

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Oh yes and for those of you wondering who the hell Victor Kiam is click here 

J x

Camellia sweater for Erika Knight

*Before we start I should pre-warn you that there may be a bit of waywardness in this post

It’s been quite a whirlwind of a year, in fact that’s a bit of an understatement. I try not to look back too often and dwell in the past but as you’ll know if you (hopefully) read this blog regularly I occasionally have days when my brain doesn’t work as it should. Mind you whose brain does?

Mum often tells me that I don’t allow myself to recover properly when I’v been ill and to be honest she’s probably right. Since my craniotomy following the brain tumour diagnosis last May we’ve moved house (hooray), overseen a major renovation on the kitchen from hell (even more hoorays) and this Friday we’ll finally be moving my elderly parents from Essex to East Sussex so we can look after them. Understandably at ages 87 & 93 respectively  Mum and Dad are excited and more than a little anxious. They’ve lived in and around London since they came to England from Barbados at the end of the 1950’s and I think they’ve only visited Brighton on day trips to the seaside with the church…..a church they attended for the last time yesterday having been members of the congregation for over 35 years. So it’s fair to say there’s been a lot going on and somehow I’ve also managed to do what seems to be lot of design work. (More by luck than careful planning take my word for it).

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Camellia is the latest design to be published but the first I’m proud to say that I’ve designed for Erika Knight. As I mentioned in my previous post I met Erika at a yarn festival here in Brighton and we got on so well we’ve stayed in touch ever since. Erika has a very understated, modern design style and her eponymous yarn range focuses on the highest quality, natural fibre yarns produced (where possible) in Britain. To be asked to design in any of her yarns really is like being a kid in a sweet shop; from big fat Maxi Wool to the wonderfully hairy Fur Wool my creativity went into overdrive and I soon scrambled to sketch out more designs than I’d done in a long, long time.

Camellia sketch J Sloan

Oh yes, that brings us back to Camellia. Knitted in Erika’s Studio Linen it’s a long sleeve, scoop neck sweater with a very simple silhouette that allows the characteristics of the yarn to shine through.  Made from 85% recycled linen and 15% premium linen fibre this is an extremely special yarn and an absolute dream to knit with as it’s not only soft but has a wonderful slinky handle that means it drapes beautifully . I chose a really subtle rib stitch for the sleeves and yoke and contrasted it with good old stocking stitch for the body but just to make things a bit interesting added a small gather detail at the centre of the bust at the start of the rib section. I’ve used a long tail cast on for both body and sleeves to keep the edges nice and soft and there’s gentle ruffle on the cuffs where the stocking stitch gives way to the rib.

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It’s been a long process to get this design published as it was originally designed before my diagnosis and to be honest it was a bit of a struggle to get back into my pre-op headspace. Whilst I really enjoyed knitting the garment myself it was, at times, really frustrating that notes I’d made before no longer made sense to me. In fact even 14 months after my surgery it’s like looking at someone else’s work and I still can’t remember whether it was knitted before or after the op. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Erika and Bella for their patience and understanding, it wasn’t easy getting this done but I’m so pleased with the results and hopefully you knitters will be too.

The garment has been sized from S – XL oh yes and I should also thank Bronagh Miskelly for her brilliant tech editing skills, I really couldn’t have done this without her help.

You can buy the pattern for Camellia #camelliasweater from your nearest stockist of the Erika Knight range or from the Erika Knight Pattern Store over on Ravelry

Have a great week

J x

 

On meeting your heroes

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I’m not sure who it was that one said you should never meet your heroes. No doubt it’s because they often don’t live up to our far-too-high expectations and are therefore not worthy of the pedestal on which we’ve placed them. Or they’re just bloody rude. This is a case however where any expectations I had were far, far exceeded.

I first met Erika Knight in 2014 (I think) at the Unwind yarn festival here in Brighton and have to admit to being a little star struck. At the time I’d been trying in vain to get the Jeanette Sloan yarn range off the ground and was feeling more than a little jaded about my work and my place in the ‘knitting community’. So meeting someone whose work I’ve admired since being a design student was no small deal but I couldn’t have imagined where it would lead just a few years later. We chatted over the course of the show and did that ‘oh we should meet for coffee’ kind of thing, you know the one that normally never transpires. Thankfully though it did and we’ve met up on more than one occasion over coffee, gin and cake (not at the same time mind).

As someone who is incredibly modest she won’t thank me for talking about her in great detail so I won’t embarrass her by doing so. Instead I’ll simply say that she is a genuinely warm, funny, beautiful  and classy lady whose personality is reflected in her designs which are timeless whilst at the same time feeling current. (Right Erika, no more gushing I promise).

When I was asked by Erika to do a couple of designs using yarns from her own range you literally could have picked me up off the floor. In fact I was still pinching myself when I rushed home – again starry eyed – to tell Sam. Life however got in the way of our best laid plans and last year when I was diagnosed with the ‘brain squatters’ it meant that I couldn’t meet the original deadline set for the designs.

Fast forward around 14 months and thanks to a bit of re-jigging and a lot of patience from this incredible lady and her fantastic daughter Bella – her right hand woman – the designs have finally been published. (I’m planning to write a longer post to talk about the designs in more detail).

Erika you are definitely a design hero to me. I hadn’t really thought of exploring my yarn / design heroes before but I think it would make for some interesting blog posts as creatively we take influences and inspiration  from countless diverse sources.

Ms Knight, I owe you so much. Thank you…xxx

 

 

Garden sheds and curious finds

As you may know we’ve been undergoing some pretty major renovations in an effort to turn the kitchen-from-hell, inherited when we bought the house, into my kitchen-from-heaven. Now back in the early days of my recovery I swore last year that I was going to have a much less stressful life and take things at a more leisurely pace. Well that’s what I told myself (and my mother who’s turned worrying about me into a career). We’ve barely owned this house for a year and the kitchen-from-heaven is now a reality although there are still things like flooring to be laid and doors to be hung which is why there are no pictures yet. Well as one major upheaval comes to a close another is about to dawn on us with the moving of my elderly parents down from Essex to a new home in East Sussex. It’s a hell of a move for anyone who’s lived in and around London for over 50 years but at 87 and 93 realistically it’s the last move either Mum & Dad will make but it’s worth it to have them live just around the corner where we can keep and eye and look after them.

What this move also means of course that Sam and I are spending many hours at my parents’ bungalow rooting through long forgotten boxes trying to de-clutter prior to packing everything into boxes. Going through the garden shed we came across what you’d expect; 3 sets of secateurs, 3 forks, 2 hoes, enough lawn care products to see the Lawn Tennis Association through the Wimbledon fortnight and countless tins of paint. ‘It’s good paint’ my Dad protested when I told him we’d have to dump the lot. ‘Yes it is good paint Dad, but only if it’s the right colour’.

Digging towards the dusty, spider ridden corners of the shed what I didn’t expect to come across was a folder containing photos recording some of the first pieces of design work I produced as a freelance knitwear designer.

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Now back in the golden days of swatching I used to sell both machine & hand knitted, crochet and embroidery designs through a couple of agents that sold internationally to fashion companies like Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan & Etro. In those days the samples produced were really source pieces from which the companies could take a number of ideas that could then be put into production and this meant that sometimes the swatches were a bit over the top in terms of colour, texture and embellishment. I didn’t always find out where each swatch eventually ended up  and I wasn’t the most prolific designer (my friend Wendy H’s swatch count literally ran into the hundreds) but I’d like to think that even now someone, somewhere is wearing a beautiful piece of 90’s knitwear, crochet or embroidery that was at least inspired by one of my designs.

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Now before you go judging me on my colour and stitch choices every collection was based on a storyboard provided by the agent and this meant that I didn’t always love the colours I was working with. That’s just the job of a designer, to work to the brief you’re given.

As you can see, even back then I loved knitting intarsia…and vivid colour…oh and a bit of embellishment. In fact some of the designs didn’t sell because there was so much going on they were too expensive to manufacture. Ah, the mistakes of youth.

Thankfully my design ethos is much less ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ nowadays but these were a real blast from the past, in some cases I can remember every yarn used and where I bought it.

How have your creative tastes changed over the years, would you be embarrassed now by what you were knitting 30 years ago? Hopefully not!

J x