Saturday, 27 October 2012

Janet Smith Can't Knit

I had to give this book a post all of its own. 

I came across this at the Knitting and Stitching Show and my eye was caught by 2 little aliens sitting on the Rowan stand.

The book is called Janet Smith Can't Knit and it is the work of Suzie Johnson (owner of The Wool Sanctuary), who has created 12 handknit designs that are becoming my favourite things of the year so far.

I feel like I could be Janet Smith.  She is the sister of author Suzie Johnson, and she does not knit.  Suzie even goes so far as to describe her as the “worst knitter ever”.  My sister knits, really well, and although I can knit in straight lines, I will never win any awards, or manage to knit a scarf with my name in it, or knit my child’s entire wardrobe (for which in 20 years you will not be thanked for).  But after buying this book (for my sister), I might try and knit a Janet Smith (also an alien).

The knitting patterns in this book are must-have.  There are 12 in total and they are all quirky, fun and exciting patterns.  There is a hat and scarf and cushion and blanket, but they are really great patterns.  The designs are new and fresh and funny, and feature big eyes (which remind me of Mikey in Monsters Inc), and fruit and bright colours.  The book is printed on excellent cardstock throughout, which (trying not to be shallow about these things), I could have bought for this alone.  The photography is very modern and stylish.  And it is good for the budding knitter, in that the stitches don’t get more complicated than stocking stitch, reverse stocking stitch and garter stitch.  Which I think even I could manage. 

So now I am sorry I told my sister I had bought this book for her. I am even more sorry that I got Suzie to sign it with HER name on it!!! But I am stalling getting to the Post Office [cue evil laughter]...
It would be a perfect Christmas present (in the case of my sister, for NEXT year), and Suzie Johnson was a lovely sweet person, so I am spreading the word to as many people as I can.  After all, who doesn't want a Janet Smith (also v cute alien) of their own?


Knitting and Stitching Show

It's hard to believe that it was a whole 2 weeks since the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.  I went with Paula Watkins and her friend Moira, although I did keep losing them whilst looking round all the lovely stalls.  I also met up with Maggie Grey and her grand-daughter Lauren, although my other Workshop on the Web friend Fiona sadly couldn't make it.

There were plenty of things to see, and I wanted to post a few pictures of my favourite things there.

First were some unusual pieces in the Mr X-Stitch stand.  He was there in person talking about the pieces he had got together. My favourites were these.  First, the embroidered doors:

Both were drilled with holes and then stitched through.  Pretty amazing stitching.

Also found were a series of pieces by Rosie James called City Streets, using stitch, applique and printing (looks like screen printing).  I loved this series.

I met a few interesting people on my way around.

First I met Jane E Hall and her husband Neil.  I was familiar with Jane's first book, The Embroidery of Jane Hall, having read it when it came out and loved it.  Jane creates wonderfully detailed observations of nature that must require endless patience, good eyesight and an abundance of talent.

These are some of the pictures I took, and I can hardly believe how perfect they are.  The stitching is exquisite!

This butterfly is so perfect it looks real.  It is hand stitched!

These cobwebs were made by hand from woven silk thread and silk fibres painstakingly glued on.  In real life they are so delicate and beautiful. 

Jane has a new book out, called The Art of Butterflies.  I am reviewing it for December WOW, but it was fantastic to then read the book after seeing these photos as you can really appreciate the work and detail.  I also was given a copy of An Interview With Jane E Hall to review and it is a perfect accompaniment to the book.

I took a few pictures, but these don't do justice to the work done.

Another exciting find for me was new work by Jean Littlejohn:


Widows Weeds
I loved the top piece.  It was so delicate.

I had a great day and didn't spend too much (only on essentials...).

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Crochet and flowers

I found my little 'so far' crochet circles and here they are.  I am not anywhere near putting everything together yet, but I am going with the 'slowly, slowly, catch your monkey' methodology.  Quite what the monkey thinks, I'm not sure.

I also hunted for pictures of my melted flowers but couldn't find any.  Which probably means I forgot to take them.  So I have taken some fresh ones here!

The colour is good here apart from the shadow.  It was just too sunny 5 minutes ago (cloudy now).

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Back from my post post summer lull

Oh dear, time seems to be flying at the moment.  I am currently working on reviews for the December issue of Workshop on the Web, and I'm very excited to be working with a selection of Wonderfil threads, Brusho sprays, transfer paper and some fabulous Aarti J trims.  You will find them under products.  I won't be able to put my pictures on the blog though!

Aside from that though, I have been doing a few of my own lovely things.  Taking inspiration from Paula Watkins and her fantastic Herts Open Studios that were on recently, I have decided to revisit the felt panel that I made in Paula's felt class in June (seems like yesterday) and get on with it.

I painted my background with a coral silk paint (my most favourite colour) and then stencilled a flower design using a Crafter's Workshop stencil. Then I melted it away with the heat gun, and left a lovely pattern.  I need to find where my piccie of the melted piece is.  It might be in the Hard Drive of Horror (my computer files).
I also painted some coral coloured cotton that I have.  I loved this and will need to do a bit of stitching to make it even more wonderful.  But my favourite bit was the back (not something I usually big up as there's usually a mass of threads and it's the place where I hide my mistakes!).  The paint had embossed the fabric. Now I'm not sure what to sew and what to hide....

My other exciting news is that I have some new threads for crocheting!  My lovely brother bought them for me.  I have done a few bits with them (their purchase in turn necessitated some new tiny crochet hooks).
They are Lisbeth Cordonnet Threads size 20.  I saw a pattern for a necklace in the Vogue Crochet 2012 magazine and found some in the UK.  Hurrah!  Will take some pictures of what I've done and post those.  See a theme emerging for this post on colour?? They are also all coral or coral related...