Tuesday, 4 December 2012

All Systems Go - part 2

A little later than promised, here is the second installment, so, the last photo was the knits as they have come off the machine. They need washing to give the labmswool it's super soft finish, but I can't just throw it in with all those loose ends and the foxes in bits, so I sew the ends in, and the foxes up. Here they are before the wash...
When the knits come out of the wash, they are dried, then pressed, here they are on the ironing board ready for the pressing (aka ironing). I'm not fond of ironing, but don't mind pressing my knits. I definitely iron a lot more knitting than I do clothes...
So, what's next?!? More sewing, both hand and machine depending on the product. The foxes need eyes, noses and elastic for fastening, as well as a label of course!
The cushions are machine sewn before being stuffed and hand stitched to finish. Here are some cushions in progress...
And that's how it works, from yarn to finished product. There are lots of stages involved and a few different skills and techniques used along the way which keeps me on my toes. Now I've got some custom coloured glasses cases to knit which I'm looking forward to, as much as I love making the products as I've designed them, making them in a different colour or with a slightly custom design is always good fun!  

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

All systems GO!!!

Winter is the busiest time of year here at Knit and Destroy HQ, at the moment I am making stock for craft fairs and thought you might like to see how it works...

Everything here is made from lambswool yarn, here is part of my store,

Step 1...choose the yarn...

Step 2 - thread up the machine and knit...this is the body of a friendly foxxx fur scarf being knitted, you can see there are 2 cones of yarn, this is because I use double thickness in this product for an extra warm scarf!
Step 3: Sewing up; in this photo you can see the fox scaves are all in bits, these need sewing together before they are washed, also, the other knits need the ends sewing in so they don't all snag on each other and get tangled in the wash!
That is as far as I've got this week, check back next week for the following stages! 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Something wicked this way comes!

I really like halloween, the one time of the year when you can go out dressed up as ANYTHING and nobody bothers you! Thinking about it the other day I realised I have always been interested in magic, witches and the fantasy. When I was 9/10 this was my favourite book. I read and re-read it so many times..

When it was book week I did my poster of this book cover, painstakingly copying each detail and colouring it in pencil crayon, I wish i had kept that drawing.

Around the same time, there was Grotbags on TV who I loved, and was super lucky to see at a theater near home, I bought a ruler that just said 'grotbags the ruler' on it, I still have half of the ruler! Here she is having a 'hot flop'...


In my teens, I finally stopped reading pongwiffy, and grotbags wasn't on the TV any more but there were new witches on the block, oones that weren't green and were teenagers!!! There was Sabrina the teenage witch on TV, but even better than that there was The Craft. Three misfit teens who, when joined by a new girl from out of town form a coven.....

...just in case you haven't seen it (have you been living under a rock) I won't give too much away. But this film which I had on video filled the witchcraft void in my life for a few years of my teens.

I had stopped reading books at this stage, I only read things for school and wasn't interested in books, until my Mum started reading the Harry Potter series of books to my (then 7 yr old) little brother. She said I would like them, and they were about magic which I obviously liked..so I started reading, and stopped when I got to the end of the Goblet of Fire (no more books released yet) wow, I was hooked! Witches and wizards living alongside humans in the modern day but with their own schools and ministry and shops and currency. I couldn't wait for the next installment, and although the story revolves around a wizard there are plenty of amazing witches in these stories. Luna Lovegood is one of my absolute favourites. 

A year or so later, having discovered John Waters films and unearthed a whole world of awesome counter culture that I had been oblivious of I found Elvira...mistress of the dark. I'm not sure if I have watched Elvira as many times as I read Pongwiffy, but it was pretty much the ten years later equivilent!

Every year when Halloween approaches I think about knitting stuff inspired by all things halloween but never quite get round to it...this year...it might just happen...watch this space  

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

I get around....

So...my last post was about the in the loop conference and I didn't quite get to covering day 3. There was, of course lots of interesting and inspiring knitting talk but there was a highlight that over-rode all of that.
I saw a stylish lady wearing a pink bow shaped necklace that looked like one of my knitted ones. I instantly dismissed it thinking it would be the perspex tatty divine necklace of a similar design. Later, when we were having a tea n cake break i saw it closer up and realised it was one of my pieces, very exciting! I have been designing and making for 5 years and this is the first time I have bumped into a stranger wearing one of my designs. I don't approach her yet, it's busy and she's chatting to someone.
Later in the day, at the end of one set of talks, I approach her asking where she bought the necklace from because I made it. As she is telling me where it is from, I notice her name badge, it's Freddie Robins....only my top favourite knit artist, aahhhhh! The words get a bit muddled as my brain attempts to process the fact that this awesome artist liked one of my pieces enough to purchase and wear it. I do manage to ask if I can take a photograph of her wearing it, she is super-nice and asks me about my work and agrees to a photograph.
                                                                 What a great lady!
It just happened to be really nice weather for the duration of the in the loop conference, so I took every opportunity to get out into the sunshine and explore the tiny odd place that is Winchester.


That was Winchester, in a nutshell! The following week I went to another conference, this time in Cambridge, this time I was speaking at it. My presentation was about 'the language of knitting' it was the first time I had spoken at a conference, I was nervous, even more so with it being in Cambridge, in their centre for material texts, I don't DO big words! Anyway, I was well prepared and when I saw the room this put me at ease!

I'm sat down...can you spot my head?!

Also, Freddie was there, as was Linda Newington (the lady who organised In the loop) from the knitting reference library, I was getting to hang out with the celebs of the knitting world again! My talk was on the second day of the conference, so on the first day I listened to some presentations, and did some expolring.

There were bikes everywhere, I almost got run down by a bike on more than one occasion, it's like Amsterdam but with less space! The following day I gave my 20 minute presentation that I had spent months preparing for, and it went down well, even the cheap laughs I had slipped in were well received, phew.
Hanging out with the lady who spoke about 'knitting on the internet' before me. I enjoyed both conferences, learnt a lot and met a lot of talented and friendly people. Now back to actually knitting rather than just talking about it! 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

In the loop...day 2

Today was great, I learnt some things, but it was more discoverng and re-discovering interesting knitted objects and ideas than learning.

The day was started on the subject of knitting and wellbieng where topics ranged widely from knitting and introversion to knitting as rehabilitation. The first discovery was of the work of these two artists Miller and Shellabarger. The piece that was discussed was their 'pink tube' which they work on always together and always in public, it was described as a record of their relationship...

When looking at their work today, I found this project of theirs that I also really like, they have made a hole so they can join hands whilst in their 'graves'. Their work speaks of public unity, their performances always being together.
The next discovery was of the health benefits of knitting, and of the project Stitchlinks, a movement which utilises craft, in particular knitting to improve wellbieng. Thanks to their work, theraputic knitting and knitting groups are now being recognised for their benifits in mainstream healthcare which is an amazing feat, I am quite in awe of the great work they do.  
The next is a re-discovery of this film, Wool 100%. I own this film and really like it, but it hadn't entered my conciousness for a while. Anyone with an interesting in knitting, old ladies, hoarding or Japanese films should give it a watch.
The same presentation talked about the use of red yarn by artists, and showed this work of Lindsay Obermeyer which I have seen in books before, but today I saw it differently.

This inspired me to look into her work, an I'm glad I did.

This painted piece shows the diversity of her work, she uses knitting in her work but this is not her only media. This piece also reminds me of the work of Yayoi Kusama who I love.

Next was another re-discovery, this time of Shetland knitting. The last in the loop conference was held in Shetland and I was lucky enough to go there. I had forgotten how striking the patterns of the Shetland fairisle knitwear was, and how there were so many stories to be told around the history of Shetland knitwear.

This image is from the Shetland Museum and Archives website, where they have hundreds of great photographs of knitting! This young lady is Jean Jarmson, she is wearing a sleeveless Fair Isle rayon jumper. She won a 3rd prize in a Daily Mail Knitting and Needlework Contest in 1931 for this jumper, the 3rd prize being £10, the equivalent of about £500 today.

We also heard from an Australian criminologist with an interest in the legality of yarn bombing, which I think has crossed my mind before. Turns out it's not really legal, but no action is usually taken against it, nobody has been arrested for yarn bombing yet....long live that attitude!
This yarn bombed tank brings me onto the final discovery of the day which was of the awesome artist Adrienne Sloane who spoke about political knitting. Her passion for the subject really shone through in the presentation, her views, values and the work she showed were really interesting.
I hope you have enjoyed discovering some of the things that I discovered.....I have just realised, the venue we were at is called the discovery centre, wow!

After all that, I just couldn't stop discovering, so I tried some new foods, and guess what....I discovered...that spicy vegetable dim-sum and butternut squash curry are both delicious.

Kandy x

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Today I learnt...

I am writing this from a hotel in Wincester, drinking fruit tea after a day of listening and learning with like-minded knitters at the in the loop 3 conference.
I learnt..speedo made a swim suit where the fabric was like shark skin, it made swimmers SO fast it got banned, like steroids for the skin!


That before there were the olympics as we know them, there were other events called 'olympian games', one of the most famous of these in the UK was the Wenlock olympian games, started in 1850. At these games they had an 'old ladies race' where the prize was 1lb of tea...and they had knitting! Yes, that's right, knitting at the olympics. The medals were awarded for the 'quickes and best quality knitting'.

There was also talk of knitted bathing suits, and it was declared that they don't all go saggy in the water. I am inspired to try this theory out and knit one for myself! These designs from 1928 are particularly lovely.
There was also talk of machine knitting, and it was a relief to hear that there were other knitters who 'do both' and see them as one and the same, one stated "It's the same thing, just with different tools." which is exactly how I see it, glad I'm not the only one.
Excited to see what tomorrow holds!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

"A simple combination of sheer luck and more talented friends"

I am busy working on a really exciting but still top secret project....so, because I can't talk about what I'm doing, I figured that now is a perfect time to talk about what all my talented friends are doing! I often marvel at how talented my friends are and rather than keeping them all to myself, I thought I should share so here goes... 

Benjamin Cooney: Comic dude, Illustrator, Southpaw, Superstitious

Ben writes and draws comics and is an awesome illustrator.His designs have featured on skateboards and t-shirts that have been sold around the world. He is one talented dude!

This is one of my favourite pieces by Ben, see lots more on his website.

This is another fave and his most recent piece, printed in blue risograph, the detail in this is amazing. This along with other paper based treats can be found in his shop.

Seleena Laverne Daye : Artist, Craftster, Zinester & Dancer Extraordinaire!!!

Seleena is a super-stitcher, her weapons of choice are needle, thread and felt, she creates a whole world of wonders from felt, check out her website for more info and lots more pictures!  

Alison Erika Forde: painter extraordinare, lover of bears, curios and all things wooden.

Alison's world is full of paintings, illustrations and collages of all sorts of anxiety stricken characters often awaiting impending peril in their playful scenarios.  

This is one of my favourite paintings by her, see lots more on her website.

Also, Alison has recently opened a little online shop where you can buy all sorts of treats, like these postacrds...



Nickie is a super talented photographer, working solely in black and white Nickie's photography has a classic feel to it, she has a natural skill of capturing people's personalities in her photographs. She has snapped many a famous face...here's a couple 

Amanda Palmer

Diego Luna

To see more of Nickie's photography and to contact her, go here, there are loads more amazing photos!

I hope you have enjoyed the creativity of my friends as much as I do.

Kandy x

Monday, 13 August 2012

MANIC Monday....

For a whole year, I worked full time! I know this is totally normal for a lot of people, but it meant a completely different routine and a big step back from Knit and Destroy for the whole year, which was hard.

Living in chesterfield and travelling to Manchester for work (plus roller derby 1-2 evenings a week) meant very little time at home. I'm not the tidiest person at the best of times, but when I'm only swinging by home in the week, eating, sleeping and having a bit of sofa time was SO much more important than tidying! The feeling of leaving the house on a Monday morning with barely more organisation than there was at the end of the previous week wasn't good.

The year went quickly and I got to do things at work that I wouldn't have being part time, and now, finally, I have my Mondays back! My studio is almost back to an acceptable workspace, and I have been spending my time at home working on my still secret (sorry) Knit and Destroy project. I feel extremely lucky to have my Mondays and Tuesdays back, and have lots of making that I can't wait to get my teeth into! Also, I now have time to do such things as organise my coloured knitting needles... 

...and putting my 2 roller derby triumphs on the wall. 

It might seem a bit showy or like 'something parents might do for their kids', but pre-roller derby I was NEVER the person who got the award for anything so I'm super-proud of them!

I think what I am saying is....I'm happy that my Mondays are no longer Manic.