It’s a dreary and wet Saturday morning and the March issue of Knitting Magazine has just hit my doorstep. Great you may think, a perfect excuse to hunker down with a(nother) cuppa and linger over the designs, articles and reviews held within the covers. But this issue is a little different for me as it marks the end of an era ….my last Ask Jeanette column.
I was very privileged to have been asked by Knitting’s previous editor to take over the column from Jean Moss and I can’t believe that was something like 10 years ago. Within that time I also took on other features including the yarn reviews and truly enjoyed all the drooling, petting, swatching and writing about yarn for ‘work’. It’s truly been one of the best jobs in the world. But, as you’ll know if you read this blog regularly life has taken a few unexpected turns in the last couple of years with the diagnosis of my brain tumours. Although mercifully they were both successfully removed in 2016 the surgery has left me quite a different person and no doubt along with getting older, has left me with a number of difficulties. This may sound odd but I no longer feel ‘present’ in much of what I do so on a good day I’ll write something – much of it back to front or spelt incorrectly (thank god for autocorrect) – but without a great deal of focus or concentration which means constant reading and re-reading in order to try and get it to penetrate my brain. Even then I may come back to it 24 hours later and it feels like reading someone else’s work. Alternatively on a bad day there are the migraines which I’d hoped to have seen the back of after the craniotomy. Fellow migraine sufferers will know how debilitating these can be and despite being caffeine free for over 5 years and trying to avoid cheese (boo!) & red wine (boo hoo!), getting lots of rest and drinking lots of water they still rear their ugly heads.
Unfortunately all this this has meant that trying to meet deadlines has become increasingly more difficult along with trying to juggle looking after my elderly parents day to day. I felt that something had to and has to change. So I took the difficult decision to bring to an end most of my work for Knitting Magazine. You’ll find my final column on page 44 but you won’t be getting rid of me entirely as I’ll still be responsible for the A to Z of Techniques along with the occasional design. As for who will replace me I’m very happy to say that the reigns will be very ably taken over by the wonderful, and hugely talented Sarah Hazell who I was fortunate to meet only last year at Ally Pally and will hopefully see a bit more this coming year.
Thank you for letting me into your favourite knitting magazine. It’s been an absolute pleasure to write for you. I hope you’ve enjoyed picking my brains over the last 10 years…it’s just time to put less stress on what’s left of them.
So we’ve reached June 21st and thousands have spent the night at Stonehenge to mark the Summer Solstice. Time is a weird thing don’t you think? Perhaps it’s my age. On the one hand this year is flying by, I mean we’re almost through the month of June already, and yet on the other hand there aren’t enough hours in the day to tick off every item on my ‘to do’ list. I think a lot of it has to do with working for a magazine where you’re always working months in advance.
A huge amount of planning goes into each issue of Knitting and in order to keep all the contributors in check we all receive deadline dates for our work from Deputy Ed Katy. Normally these are beautifully paced to fit in with our other work commitments so I can be working on an Ask Jeanette one week, followed by a Yarn Review the week after. This week however I find myself working on one Ask Jeanette, two Yarn Reviews and a Gallery Garment techniques which goes some way to explaining the chaos on my desk that you can see in the photo above. We’re currently working on the Autumn / September issues and whilst it’s normally quite perverse to be knitting swatches of heavy Winter yarns in the middle of June the current UK ‘Summer’ we’re having means it’s actually been quite nice to wrap myself up in a blankie (that was blankie not snuggie, things aren’t THAT bad) and knit to keep warm. It’s also ironic that whilst doing all this work for a magazine called Knitting aside from reviewing yarns I haven’t had a chance to pick up my needles to knit for pleasure this week. Not to worry, there’s always next week.
In the mean time can I ask you to knit a few rows for me? Before you do read this piece by Franklin Habit in the latest issue of Twist Collective. Called Process This it’ll make you wonder which camp you fall into – ‘Process Knitter’ or ‘Product Knitter’. Have a wee think about the project you’re holding in your hands and it’ll tell you….
Having had a pretty anxious build up over a number of weeks Unravel took place over the weekend and was…… simply brilliant. It was great to meet up with old friends like Suzie from The Wool Sanctuary & Fiona from High Fibre as well as putting faces to online names from both Twitter and Ravelry.
I had a great space up in the Tannery which was complete with grand piano (no I wasn’t taking requests) and having set up on Friday afternoon I had plenty of time to work up the nerves for my first live ‘Ask Jeanette’ session on Saturday afternoon. I’m not sure if it’s possible to O/D on Rescue Remedy but as they were 3 for 2 at Boots the previous week I thought I’d have a go… to cope with my nerves. I needn’t have bothered. Thanks to the support of Amy, Lynsey & Fiona at Farnham Maltings plus the lovely ladies who attended, the hour not only went quickly but I REALLY enjoyed it. It was wonderful to answer queries and exchange ideas in a live format with like minded knitters who simply love the craft so ‘thank you’ to all who were in attendance. I soon calmed down and it all went smoothly though I should apologise for my slightly rambling description of a toe up sock – the Rescue Remedy had obviously started to wear off by that stage.
Back in the Tannery I loved hearing the oohs and aahs from visitors as they felt their way through my yarn range. I think the Chunky Baby Alpaca got the most comments of ‘it’s SOOO soft’ whilst the Uppandoon Scarf was a great hit both in pattern and kit form.
Despite promising myself that I’d get in early before the show opened to have a proper look around (and more importantly shop) my only purchase was from Jeni Barnett whose needle felted creatures were so exquisite I couldn’t resist buying a kit as a gift (can’t say who it was for, she may be reading this).
Elsewhere in the Tannery there was Helen from Woolly Chic selling British wool kits for knitting & crochet, Eliza Conway and her vintage knitting finds and my next door neighbour Ruth from Rock & Purl (plus lovely hubby Brian) who had designs AND tea on tap.
Over the whole weekend I was very happy to see the legendary Sasha Kagan, the lovely Jennie Atkinson, Sarah from The Undercover Owl, Anna from OneHandKnits and twitterers @pompommag, @artesanojen, @fiona_cw, @julietbernard, @jenacknitwear, @veuftricot, @katestwirl and just when I was starting to flag on Saturday afternoon I got the hug of my life from bigbagmomma1. It was well timed, thanks.
If you didn’t get to Unravel enjoy the pictures, I’m sorry there aren’t more but it went so quickly. I hope to see you there next year
I can’t believe that the past few weeks have gone so quickly. One minute I was about to post about the great time I had at Knit Nation, and the next thing I know it’s been 3 weeks since it finished! I had a brilliant time over the weekend, thanks to Cookie, Alice and everyone else who not only made it possible but so very, very enjoyable. I don’t tend to do shows and so was very nervous about taking part in an event with such a big reputation. BUT it was truly wonderful to meet so many lovely knitters and make new friends or catch up with old ones amongst the other exhibitors. I was joined on the Saturday by my lovely friend, the very talented Georgie Troon who helped me out on Saturday. I should at this point say particular thank you’s to John and his lovely partner Roy from www.easyknitter.co.uk and Andi from Renaissance Dyer ( thanks for the stories by the way ) who kept an eye on me and made sure that I could sneak out for tea & coffee breaks when necessary.
Since KN I’ve been finishing off another bag design for Knitting magazine and giving the website an overhaul. I’ve steered clear of shopping cart websites up until now but I’ve found the current website doesn’t make it simple or clear enough to order from overseas with regards to adding shipping costs. In addition to this there are now paper versions of some patterns available and I’ll be adding these to the new web shop which will hopefully not only process the orders but also fulfil delivery of the pdf patterns. (Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the technology works). All this should be up and running before the end of the week as there are 2 exciting and very soft additions to ‘Jeanette Sloan’ that after months of anticipation will finally arrive tomorrow by courier ( I’m crossing everything I have here ).
In the meantime the September issue of ‘Knitting’ is on sale and as promised in Ask Jeanette I’ve uploaded a video of the long tail cast on method here
Huge apologies to readers of ‘Knitting’ magazine who may have been trying in vain to find the new ‘Ask Jeanette’ tab promised in the March issue. The scheduled publication went slightly awry but it’s here now. I thought it would be a good thing to add to the blog as it’ll be handy for giving additional information that won’t fit into the magazine.
Last year I was asked to become the new host of the letters page in ‘Knitting’ magazine, taking over from Jean Moss, the previous host and as well as being flatterd, frankly I dreaded having to fill such large shoes. I’ve been doing it for a while now and hopefully have helped to solve the knitting dilemmas of the magazine’s readers half as well as Jean. In this month’s issue I was asked about methods for knitting i-cords and though there are a few knitting mills on the market you may prefer to do it ‘old school’ with a pair of dpns, here’s how . . .(you’ll have to excuse the quality of the video, I’m no Ridley Scott)