May's Maker of the Month

When I decided to have a year long focus on making, sourcing and documenting creative pursuits for The Maker's Year, celebrating those who are adding value to our creative community was at the forefront of my mind. I've decided to feature one Maker for an entire month on my sidebar to give visitors the chance to know who I'm being particularly inspired by. Whether that Maker skills people up, leads us to resources or adds a diverse voice that keeps our community rich with fresh inspiration, I want to share those stories. 

So this month, I would like you to spend some time getting to know Clare Devine of 'Knit Share Love'. I've been lucky enough to share time with Clare and was honoured when she asked me to shoot some of her work a few months ago. Clare has a mission to get everyone knitting and has just relaunched her website with this exact purpose. It seemed fitting to host her on the blog today and you will find her nestled on the side bar throughout the whole of May. 

(Maker of the Month is part of the sponsorship I offer for APD. If you'd like to be a part of this community, drop me a line and let's make that happen!)

Knit Share Love

I asked Clare to share what makes her tick as a maker and she blew me away with the answer. If you'd like to hear more from Clare, stay tuned for Season 2 of the podcast because she has a great story to tell.....

 

"Making things fills me with joy – they needn’t be complicated things or a grand undertaking – just the simple act of putting something together that I need to, or want to create is enough. I love the process, but what I love more is the sense of community I find as a “maker of things”. Using my hands to create something brings the strands of my life closer to the strands of others, both near and far. In a world so often connected by tiny snippets of information in this technological age I find a real sense of comfort in the slower process of creating with my hands and the connections it has formed in my life.

Knitting came to me slightly later on my life path – I do not have endless memories of knitting as a child but I do have so much to thank knitting for in my adult life.

Clare Devine

A year ago I was feeling a little overwhelmed, at a cross roads with multiple life decisions, nothing overly serious – just one of those moments when you have to stop and take a deep breath, ask yourself where you are going and why. I looked at what I had created around my passion for knitting and saw in it a warm and loving community who cared deeply for their craft and those they shared their love of fibre with.

I knew then that I wanted to continue sharing my knitting – that is what I love most. I started a knit-along and tagged it #knitsharelove, the core of what I felt in that moment. The response was just what I needed to guide me through the cross roads – the joy of people knitting, sharing their creations and finding support and love in the fibre community, it filled my heart with joy. I had found my space to share my passion - #knitsharelove.

The act of making needn’t be a grand one, the stitches don’t have to be complicated, sometimes the most soothing making is effortlessly simple, it is what making brings to our lives that is most important – the moments of joy, the friendships made, the skills learned, the comfort found. I am so grateful to be part of this community and love the sentiment behind #themakersyear. I have found sharing in the creative practices of others so rewarding and inspiring, everyone makes and creates so differently. Learning from each other is where the real beauty is."

knit share love

You can find Clare on most social media as @knitsharelove, join her hashtag #knitsharelove, and you can also visit her website:

 

 

NEW!

With Spring rapidly approaching and the start of a new month, it is fitting that today I am welcoming Alana Dakos as this month's blog and podcast sponsor! Today is an especially good day because it sees the long awaited release of Alana's latest Collection, 'Botanical Knits 2'!

'Forest Foliage', (c) Alana Dakos

Here's a teaser for those of you who can't wait:

'Continue to embrace the beauty of nature with Botanical Knits 2. In this follow up collection, traveling cables, organic textured stitches, and lacy stitch patterns make a reappearance, along with easy to read charts and written pattern instructions. From the cables of a heavy sweater coat to the delicate stitches of a lace shawl, the essence of plant life is worked into each of the 4 sweaters and 8 accessories included in this book'.

'Bare Branches', (c) Alana Dakos

Botanical Knits 2 is available as an ebook ($18) or to pre-order in print ($22 plus shipping). Everyone who pre-orders the book in print will receive a complimentary ebook to download right away. Those who pre-order will a;sp receive a botanically inspired gauge measuring bookmark as well as a new complimentary knitting pattern designed by Alana Dakos with their book shipment in June. To get your preorder, simply click on the button in the side bar. 

The Botanical Knits Ravelry Group has KALS for each of the designs which you can find here

'Thicket', (c) Alana Dakos

Want to find out more? I'll be featuring the latest Collection in the next podcast and you can win a copy. So join me on 16th March 2014 to celebrate Botanical Knits 2. I can't wait to share it with you!

Featured: New Sponsor, Inspiration Knits!

We have a new friend for the blog and podcast! Please welcome Louise, the designer behind Inspiration Knits. You can find lots of amazing accessory patterns that are just perfect for using up stash and playing with colour. What's more, we have a coupon code and who doesn't love one of those right?

Louise aka Inspiration Knits and her 'Trust Me' design

I asked Louise a few questions to help you get to know our Playful new friend...

What was your favourite childhood game?

I played a lot of different card games and board games when I was little. I used to play basketball competitively (read: very competitively). When I was a student, if I wasn't in the textiles studio you'd find me on a basketball court.

What is your favourite Munch or Schlurp?

Good chocolate, good coffee and good wine. Great food, in general. I'm a cliché. I prefer quality over quantity. Having said that, I probably wouldn't turn down cheap chocolate! I really am a dreadful coffee snob. I won't drink instant coffee unless I'm ambushed with the stuff. If I suspect I'm being offered instant, I'll always choose a cup of tea instead because it's harder to fake.

Do you have a current knitting crush (can be yarn crush)?

Hmmm. This is difficult. I have loads of things I want to knit, and loads of yarns I want to try. Pick any hot indy dyer and you'll probably find I want to try all their yarns - right now! I'm not into the big brands because it can feel a bit bland by comparison. Some of the character will have been squashed out by the corporation, or at least that's how it makes me feel, which isn't good for my creativity.

'Song of the Sea'

I have been slightly obsessed with Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico over the last year. Finally, I have it on my needles. I'm making an ombre version of Song of the Sea. It feels amazing - my kids keep cuddling it, which is terrifying when I've crammed the stitches onto slightly-too-short circulars. I am a card-carrying environmentalist at heart, so I always have my eye out for environmentally-responsible choices that don't involve sack-cloth and sandals. This yarn is undyed and is all-the-more spectacular for it.

Having said that, I'm also obsessed with Fyberspates' silk colours. Whether blended in Silk Twizzle or Faery Wings, or all on its own in 100% silk, the way the silk fibres take Jeni's colours is truly spectacular. That's my colour obsession right now.

What is your favourite ever FO?

I don't think I can choose one! I have a few things I do wear all the time though. I've a small triangle shawl in Handmaiden SeaSilk in Hemlock which is wrapped round my neck for half the winter. It's so soft and the colour is perfect. I'll take the fifth on the pattern I followed. Suffice to say, was a real eye-opener as to how full of errors a free pattern can be!

If I'm in a rush, I grab my Song of the Sea snug cowl instead because it's so easy to throw on under a coat. It's warm round my neck but not bulky. Mine is in Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply in a one-off colour called Sea Green, appropriately. I love that yarn.

With little kids, fingerless mitts are essential. I absolutely adore the pair of Blue Sky Alpaca mitts a lovely friend made for me last Christmas. They're soooo warm, and purple!

Midnight Ocean (c) Inspiration Knits

Midnight Ocean gets compliments whenever I wear it, so it makes me feel proud to have designed it. I wear it if I need to look presentable. The sparkle in the Fyberspates Sheila's Sock really lifts it. My grey Stay Awhile in Sokkusu O is my new alternative for dressing-up. Both of these are perfect day-to-evening. Their versatility is probably why I wear them so much. 

And finally...... Your knitting nemesis?

I hate badly written patterns, but that's more of a bete noir than a nemesis.

There is an individual who writes about knitting in a popular magazine. They're probably closer to a nemesis. My husband tries to stop me from reading their contributions because I get so angry about the poor quality of the writing and lack of basic grammar. I suppose reading these pieces does at least encourage me to knit…so that I can calm down! 

I think I am particularly sensitive to bad writing and long sentences because I try so hard to make my patterns clear. I confess that if I see a really long sentence I have to count the words. I know that's really geeky but I can't resist it if I see a possible new record. The writer I mentioned holds the current record with a 62-word sentence. Yes, unsurprisingly, it was completely incomprehensible. I know I break the rules when I write, but I do it knowingly and for effect; I just hope it comes across that way!

A big thank you to Louise for joining our Playful tribe and taking the time to answer these questions. Louise will be donating a pattern of the winner's choice to our Big Love along that will kick off at the end of the Ravellenics. What's more, she's offering 10% any of her patterns with the code playful at the Ravelry Checkout. Go forth and knit!

psssssttttt.....

I'm not really blogging. 

Honest

(c) Lisa Mutch


I just wanted to draw your attention to the fact that there is a rather fabulously chatty and yummy knitalong going on in the Playful Group. We're celebrating all things Lisa, our lovely NorthBound Knitting sponsor, by knitting her designs (or crafting with her yarns- they're rather yummy). 

(c) Lisa Mutch


There's even prizes and discount codes!

Come play....

To Monteray, With Love

I have blogged on more than one occassion about my best knit friend. She's adorable, she's a rock and she absolutely makes me smile all the time. I think that qualifies her as damn knit worthy but as I've blogged before, I always hesitate about what on earth to knit her.

This time I was determined that on her birthday, I was going to give her the perfect wrap. I'd yet to knit her a shawl or something similar and we discussed that we were bored of small triangular shawls for a while. She was leaning towards big and luxurious and possibly in strong neutral colours whenever we chatted about recent designs we liked. The challenge was set and I secretly started plotting. 

There were a few options but I went straight to my favourite designer and of course, returned there after looking around and realising that if you want classic, stylish and simple designs, you go to Lisa Mutch. Lisa is behind Northbound Knitting, a sponsor and adored friend. I think she's fab and what I like about her designs is her ability to think about long lines, pleasing contrasts and the soft unending appeal of garter stitch. I chose Eris and I think I got it right. 


Eris is a long, asymmetric shape that provides blocks of colours. I was convinced and I set about shopping in my stash to see what I could find. Three colours are tricky, especially when you're trying to match another friend's colouring. I chose two easily but the third? I hope I got it right: gun metal grey, a soft beige/ natural and a pop of red. 


I'll be reviewing the yarns in the next podcast but for now just wanted to share how much I enjoyed working on this pattern. I really hope it's worthy of my lovely friend.

New Sponsors

I made the decision to take on blog sponsors a few months ago as a way to support competitions, prizes, postage and packaging etc etc and I promised myself that I would think very carefully about who I invited to join the playful family. There's lots of great talent out there and I love the response I get from listeners and readers so I wanted to add a diverse bunch of indies that would appeal. 


This month I'm welcoming pom pom quarterly magazine to the fold and I'm so excited for them. pom pom is a quarterly publication based in London, UK for smart, creative types who like knitting patterns with a modern aesthetic, great photography, and interesting writing. They're also into lots of other types of crafts and music, fashion, art, food, and just generally making the world a little more beautiful with the things we make. That's something I can get behind.

Issue 2 has just been published ready for Fall and it's a goodie. Packed with beautiful colours, inspiration and fun, I was really taken with the smooth way they've handle the tricky 'follow up' that often comes after a stellar first hit like their premier issue. They nailed it quite frankly and I can't wait to see what the future holds for this pair. I'm sure you'll show your support to help keep the lights on here and enjoy a real fresh new way of presenting crafting. I love it.

Now with added friends...

.... I am so thrilled to be able to announce a new blog sponsor! Our playful tribe has extended to include the talents of Rose Beck. Rose is a fabulous designer who I have always admired and invited on the podcast as soon as I could! I felt that Rose would be a great addition to the blog sponsors as her creative spirit and tenacity are just what this blog and the podcast are all about. I really hope you are able to show your support too. 

(c) Wovenhand
Rose designs shawls and accessories that make my heart sing and I know many of you are fans too. Her recent publication, the 'Archi- Textural Collection' is typical of Rose's work: clean, elegant and full of interest for knitters. Rose has a real fondness for lace shawls, especially simple, elegant shawls that make the most of today’s gorgeous hand-dyed luxury yarns and each new design always has my fingers itching to cast on. 


Some of you may remember the 'Sugared Violets' shawl that I worked up in Uncommon Thread some time ago as well as the lovely test knit that I was lucky enough to complete. I've chatted about her patterns on the podcast quite a bit as a result and have always enjoyed the intuitive way that they are presented. To find out more about Rose and her crafty life, drop by her charming blog Rose.is.a.rose or check out all of her designs on her Ravelry designer page.

String of Pearls