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Contemporary Art Fair

Congratulations to the designers, knitters and artists who exhibited on the jelly stand at the 3rd Reading Contemporary Art Fair this weekend. It was a fabulous event which just gets better every year. Here are a few images for those that missed it.

These beautiful crochet pieces above by Alison Friday were delicate and ethereal. How perfect, I thought, for the wardrobe of eerie Miss Havisham in Great Expectations.

Sue Clarke’s miniature boxes with figure, pebble and twig all dressed in finely knitted ‘cosies’. I love the play with scale and purity. The wool just adds to the warmth with the gentlest touch of human nurturing. See more on her blog at

Ella Austin was exhibiting two of her newly designed knitting kits for Intrepid Fox and Tawny Owl. These cute little characters can be made with the contents of the kits containing hand-dyed yarn, buttons and stuffing. Click here  more details on Etsy.

© 2012. Photographs courtesy of Lisa-Marie Gibbs of Patchwork Butterfly.

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The Big Knit 2010

The BIg Knit 2011

Dust off your needles for the return of Innocent’s Big Knit campaign for 2011. This year they are planning some shiny new little hat patterns for their innocent drinks – all in aid of inspiring even greater involvement to raise money for Age Concern.

Image courtesy of Innocent Drinks, Big Knit 2010

For full details, patterns and great galleries go to

The deadline for sending hats to Innocent is 14th October and little hats will start to appear on Innocent drinks in Sainsburys and Boots from 16th November.

Happy knitting …

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The Ultimate Festival of Knitting

Just a quick post to remind everyone that the ultimate festival of knitting is taking place in London this weekend. KNIT NATION is on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 at Imperial College London (South Kensington Campus), with a special preview evening on Friday 15. There’ll be a heady concoction of yarns and knick-knacks in the marketplace, and an impressive line-up of designers showcasing their work/talking/teaching.

Some of the Outcasts will be working with Skein Queen in the marketplace. Come and say hello!

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Medicinal knit

Medicinal knit

What do you like to watch on tv/dvd when you’re curled up in bed ill? Do you remember The Clangers? – the friendly little pink creatures that conversed in whistles and lived a peaceful existence on a blue moon, creating wonderful machines from salvaged objects and welcoming all manner of strange creatures to be their friends? Along with Bagpuss in the early 70s, The Clangers were nourishment for my little mind and soul back then – and ever since (just like tomato soup which I don’t normally eat anymore) they are never more craved than when I am feeling really ill!

Well, I’ve had a slightly scary episode of illness this weekend but now thankfully recovering at home and the tomato soup is lined up. But where are The Clangers?

Well Small Clanger, Tiny or maybe Granny Clanger will be joining me very shortly as I’m propped up in bed with my knitting bag, scraps of pink wool (a little hard to find in my house but my amazing DH did a grand job of hunting through my stash without complaining!) and … THE CLANGERS KNITTING PATTERN that I found here! … slight squeeeeeee of childlike excitement

They’ll be a screening of my favourite Clangers episodes later too – my girls love it! so there’s still a lot to be said for shoestring-budget arts and good storytelling … I’m feeling so much better already.

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Most wanted sweater

Most wanted sweater

I have been absolutely hooked on Danish drama series ‘The Killing‘ on BBC4. My obsession even extends to the gorgeous Nordic sweater worn day in, day out, by Sara Lund (actress Sofie Gråbøl).

Apart from being a great design, I think it’s because of the ease and comfort with which it’s worn and it makes me long to have a classic wool sweater again. My last one originally belonged to my Dad but I commandeered it in my student days to wear to college. Like a faithful, loyal old friend, ‘sweater’ and me survived art college, starting up a new home and through those first daunting years of motherhood – twice. The many colours of paint embedded in the stitchwork and cables could tell you the very minutiae of my life between the ages of 17–30. At that point, wearing thin and unravelling, I am ashamed to say that I finally binned it. So, I’m on a mission now – to replace that beloved old sweater. This time it will be different though. This time it will be hand-made by me.

I’m really thankful to my Dad though for loaning me his sweater. It’s like he never left my side throughout those years and I think the same can be said for gifting someone a personally hand-made sweater. If you would like to learn to knit there are lots of helpful knitting groups in and around Reading. Contact us if you’d like more details.

Other links for knitting patterns and support if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford the original Sara Lund sweater

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Knit stools and Startitus

We’ve got a new space to fill at home so I’ve been drawn to inspiring ideas for the home. An article in Guardian a few weeks ago ticked a lot of the boxes for me (I was going to show you a peek here but I suspect it’s already lining the bottom of the rabbit hutch) – it showed bold, design-led knitted home accessories. At a price though, so maybe not ticking every box! That led me discover Knit Stools designed by Claire-anne O’Brien. Wouldn’t you just love to park your bun or tired feet on one of these?

Knit Stools, Claire-Anne O'Brien. Website:

I love the scale and construction of the knitted seatpads. They are reminiscent of hard cold iron chains and cables yet look amazingly tactile, squishy and inviting. Please can we have these at Jelly for knit nights.

Also, just wondering, is it just me or is Startitis a seasonal affliction? I’ll confess to what’s in my knitty basket for January … if you’ll tell me what’s yours and why ; )

New Year Startitis

1. The Knit-Night-Socks, requires no thinking. Round and round and round it goes … perfectly compliments tea-drinking, cake-eating and talking-with-hands.
2. The Meditative-Knit-Alone-Shawl, requires peace, concentration and repetition of the lace charts. I swear that THAT COLOUR lifts my spirits on the darkest of Winter nights.
3. The New-Two-at-a-time-Socks, because I’m susceptible to 2nd Sock Syndrome as well – as Startitis!
4. The Back-Burner-Cardigan, hibernating after home renovations, a trapped nerve and then Christmas gifts knitting finally destroyed all hope of me ever wearing this on Christmas Day.

There’s a few new yarn purchases in there too! (I have had a birthday so I’m allowed) They’re all begging to be wound … or just petted occasionally.

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Wool e-motion

If last weeks spending cuts have brought a chill to your bones, this may be a comforting little antidote. Take a look at this beautiful stop-motion animation of wool spreading it’s cosy warmth around a home. I love the water from the shower running through the fingers.

I made the girls watch it this morning and after much amazed cooing they decided to try making one of their own. Here’s their animation effort, with myself supplying the knitting.

Not a bad way to spend a wet half-term morning but makes you begin to realise the sheer number of hours that must have gone in to crafting just a few seconds of aesthetic pleasure. The original version of course was filmed by frogging the fully knitted articles and then running the film backwards. I can think of a few projects I’d gladly frog for the making of a film but not this one.

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