Tuesday, 31 December 2013

30 going on (20)13

Does that title make any sense?! I don't know.
What I do know is that in 2013 I turned 30! Anyone who knows me will know that I love saying, oh, it's just a number...birthdays are the best, and although I still firmly believe that, 30 was a bit different. I'd heard tales of people "turning 30 and becoming boring"..and throughout my 20s there's been a lot of "oh, just you wait, you'll get broody when you're 30", so I was more concerned than usual by this year and this age change! IT'S ALL OK THOUGH KIDS, being 30 can be AWESOME, I've not suddenly turned into a bore or started buying baby magazines, I have had lots of fun times and done things I never thought I would do. I am definitely more 30 going on 13 than I ever was the other way round. Here's a list of 13 things (in a sort of chronological order) that made this year memorable for me..
1. Formed Yiiikes! collective with Alison and Seleena, working on Art with friends is super-fun!
2. Roller Derby tattoo, I wanted one of these for a while but promised myself I had to make the A-team before I was allowed one. I first made the A-team in 2012, but got my tattoo booked in with one of my favourite tattoo artists for early 2013. Her helmet and the colours reminds me of quidditch too which I love!
3. I built a website, from scratch! I had made pages for my website in photoshop before but this year I learnt to use dreamweaver and made a whole website for the super talented Seleena!
4. Yiiikes! had our first exhibition, yeah, we mean business. We created a glowing world instillation exhibition at Islington Mill which was really fun to put together, and to see/hear people experience it.
5. I got to see the Breeders play live, I never thought I would get to see them, not only that, but they played Last Splash in its entirety, s-woooon!
6. MY KNITTING BOOK CAME OUT!!! The writing of the book mostly happened in 2012, this year was all about releasing the book to the world. It took about a month after it came out to sink in, I still have moments where the fact I wrote a book overwhelms me. The best thing about the book is hearing that people are enjoying it and seeing what people have knitted from my patterns!
7. Indietracks! We ran some awesome workshops, saw some great bands, discovered Martha, and Helen Love stole the show, but Indietracks, as always, was all about having a laugh with good friends. This was my face for most of the weekend...

 8. Another band, beginning with B, that I thought I'd never get to see..B52's, I saw them as an early birthday present, and they blew me away, SO good!

9. PARTY!!! One of the great things about turning a landmark number is having a party, for me this meant getting lots of friends together, setting up party games, putting on a spread and having a dance!


10. New York! For my birthday, I went on holiday to NYC, somewhere I have always fancied but never had a reason to go to. It was PERFECT, I got to spend some quality time with Ben, checking out the sights and discovering all the delicious food. On my birthday, my present was a trip to Coney Island where I got to be part of the freak show and pretend to be Cyndi Lauper on the wonder wheel.

11. Went to Shetland to speak at a conference in front of 3 of my knitting heroines, met Lisa Anne Auerbach..and made friends with her. I have been a fan of her work for years, she is great!

12. Became a regular Roller Derby coach. I might have done a bit last year, I can't remember, but this year I did a lot, and really enjoyed it. I was rewarded for my hard work by my team with my own stopwatch and whistle...watch out 2014, I'm gonna whip you into shape!  

13. Realised that I am, and continue to be massively inspired by the people around me, their creativity, talent, love and enthusiasm, keep it up you awesome bunch. Xxx    

Friday, 27 December 2013

Crafting for Christmas...cushion crazy!!!

Now that all the gifts have been given and opened, I can share what I was busy doing in the run up to Christmas! I have been encouraged to make presents from a young age, a swan tapestry (one of those easy wool ones) for my Grandma, a x-stitch pin cushion for my favourite teacher and always find it really rewarding so never stopped! 

I feel like I made more stuff than ever this year, and I really enjoyed it. Of course, there are a good few machine knitted things in here, but there's also some crochet and sewing, and as the title suggests, a good few cushions, here's what I made...

First, a black cat cushion for Katie customised to include the cat's name on the back, Katie's cat is called Oz, after the wizard so I styled the writing to suit the name.

I picked up this fabric a while ago, my Mum is an optician so when I saw it I knew I had to make something from this fabric for her. I decided on a set of 3 cushions for her practice (they're quick, easy and useful).

 Another machine knit cushion, this for Ben, based on Heisenberg from Breaking Bad. This is knitted using bamboo yarn, I've never machine knitted with it before so it didn't come out exactly how I expected but Ben was very happy with it! I chose blue for the blue meth that Heisenberg is known for cooking!

Log(cushion)s from my twin peaks collection, one for Seleena and one for Alison, I didn't do anything special with these because the fabric is already knitted, just made one a bit shorter.

For this cushion I chose crochet. I found a super chunky alpaca yarn in my sister's favourite colour so had to make her something from it. I crocheted this large square, which used all the yarn in the ball. I found the perfect cushion to attach it to in Wilko's and carefully stitched it on.

What...these aren't cushions! Yeah, I did make a few things that weren't cushions. These are sew-on patches that I made from a t-shirt I bought this summer. The t-shirt was covered with drawings of awesome women, and rather than keeping them all to myself, I made each woman into an individual patch, these are 3 that I kept, I forgot to photograph the ones I gave to people.
Last but not least, I made a jumper for Seleena. She already has a lot of cushions...a few of them are from me, but I never gave her an Elvira cushion, so I decided to put the design on a jumper instead! I had to enlarge the design a bit, mostly just added extra lines around her head, then work out how big the other pieces of the jumper needed to be and knitted them too. I used glow in the dark yarn on this jumper too for an extra special touch!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Kraft Korner - becoming a magazine contributor!

I love getting post, and this week I got some of the best post, two issues of Inside Line magazine with my craft projects in them! But why am I writing for this magazine? What is Inside Line? Well, here's some answers.

I have been co-writing Sugar Paper zine with the awesome talented Seleena Daye for over 5 years now, Sugar Paper is a craft zine with 20 things to make and do in every issue! It was last year when I was thinking about how Roller Derby started and it's D.I.Y roots that I decided to make my own Roller Derby zine.

 I really enjoyed putting the zine together, there is such a huge extended community within Roller Derby and I got a few great contributors for this issue. It featured interviews, exercise tips, recipes, tales of how Roller Derby changed lives and of course crafts!

Being known for being crafty, I was invited to run a workshop at Jason Ruffel's excellent exhibition of Roller Derby photography, and that's where I met Jessica Ali (aka Jessica Rammit), the brains behind (founder and Editor of) Inside Line magazine. I gave her a copy of my zine for something to keep her entertained on the journey home, the rest is herstory, ha. This is a lesson to anyone who is a bit shy with their work, you need to get it out there. If I hadn't given Jessica a zine, I would never have ended up writing for her magazine.  

Inside Line, if you hadn't guessed by now, is a Roller Derby magazine, founded by Jessica in 2010, it's now on it's 10th issue and having had a makeover on it's 9th issue, it now not only has excellent content spanning Roller Derby worldwide, articles on Men's and Junior derby, crafts, nutrition and more...it also looks great!

Here are the covers of issues 9 and 10 

   And these are my 2 craft projects that have been featured so far, the first shows you how to make your own toe guards, complete with a template for you to use. The second is all about keeping your kit fresh and takes you through making some stink savers using cat litter!

When I started Roller Derby in 2010, I said "I'll just go and skate, I'm not really bothered about the social side of it or doing it seriously"...how wrong was I?! I soon realised I liked the skating way too much to just go and skate, I wanted to learn, get good at it, skate more, and get to know these people who were teaching us and those who I was learning with. I really like being  a part of the Roller Derby community, and being involved in a project like Inside Line magazine reminds me why I love it all over again!

The passion from Jessica and from each contributor to this magazine is alive on the pages as you read it, everyone who puts work into this magazine does it for the love of it, and because of that, it reads like a zine, but it looks and feels like a high quality magazine, which it is! If you haven't read it, what are you waiting for, go get a copy, or if you're already into Roller Derby, you might as well get a subscription because you'll love it.

Now it's time for me to start thinking of my next Roller Derby craft project, oh, and to finish issue 2 of my 'zine!


Monday, 2 December 2013

Welcome to Twin Peaks!

The time has finally come, to reveal what I've been working on. It's a small, LIMITED EDITION collection inspired by Twin Peaks...

 I have really enjoyed working on this collection, taking direct inspiration from the TV series and designing knits based on some of my favourite bits.

I used a different machine to knit the log and the twin peaks, here is an insight into the process I used.  

This is a screen shot of the twin peaks design on the shima computer, quite like this colourway!
Before we could knit anything, the circuit board?! (I don't know about electronics, I just know this was playing up) wanted some attention, there was a loose connection or something, I took the opportunity to get a snap of all that clever electronic stuff that makes the machine go!
Here is the machine itself, knitting out a few fronts for the twin peaks cushions, clever thing! I used my Passap E6000 machine at home to knit the patterned fabric for the back of these cushions, here are the 2 pieces together before they were united.
I am really pleased with how this, and the log below turned out. The log lady is such an important character in Twin Peaks and of course, one of my favourites, I couldn't do this collection and not make a log!

One of the first ideas I had when designing this collection was the 'red room' scarf, it took a few trials and some alterations but I got there in the end and am really happy with this representation of the 'red room' in this scarf 

If you are familiar with my work you might have noticed another difference...the photographs! I spend so much time and effort on developing the products, I thought it would be good to get some decent photos for once. I roped in a talented pal of mine, Jason Ruffell who is known for his Roller Derby photography and he did a great job.    
There's a piece dedicated to Agent Dale Cooper in the collection, and one to Audrey Horne of course, as well as the owls! Click HERE to browse the collection on my shop.