Sunday 23 February 2014

Inside my Studio

While it's (relatively!) tidy I thought I'd show you around my studio, so welcome, come on in!

I've been at Cuckoo Farm Studios for five and a half years now and I've changed studio a few times as my work has grown. I'm now settled and I've been resident in studio 22 for two and a half years. It's a light and bright little room, upstairs in what was a bedroom in the farm workers cottage (Cuckoo Farm was once a Pig Farm). 

I'm not a very tidy person but it's a working space and it works very well for me. Although I don't get to spend as much time here as I'd like, it does really help me to have a dedicated working space away from the distractions of home and I enjoy being part of an artist community (there are thirty other artists working here in the converted farm buildings). 

 Here's a little look around!

My desk is an old school desk left by a previous tenant, complete with graffiti in the drawers! 

My knitting Machine, a Brother model KH890 Punchcard machine. 

I've just started making a blind for my window and I'll show you when it's done!

Sunday 16 February 2014

Adventures with Fair Isle part 2

My adventures in learning Fair Isle have continued today, in a beautifully sunny studio (seeing the sun makes everything that much better!). 

Following on from my last post, I'm at the starting point of developing a new collection. I'm not sure what direction this project is going to take me in at the moment- all I know is that my ultimate goal is to produce a new jewellery collection. Also, although I'd like Fair Isle to be the main focus, I would like it to be a little different. So today I've been experimenting and recycling! I've cut fabric strips from an old lace skirt, jersey fabric from an old tunic top and strips of blue mock silk scarves that a friend kindly donated to my cause and used these to knit in Fair Isle patterns. Here are the results!

Ok, so the first attempt at the seed stitch using the lace and the scarf fabric wasn't a great success, but I love the way the lace has knitted up

This is a seed stitch pattern that alternates two coloured strands across the rows- really liking this effect. I need to try this with more contrasting colours and fabrics so the effect stands out much more

A three coloured pattern- I will experiment with using different fabrics in this way to highlight the pattern more clearly

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Adventures with Fair Isle

 I've always wanted to try Fair Isle knitting, so I'm now teaching myself with a view to creating a Fair Isle themed jewellery collection at some point later this year. Although I've got a punch card knitting machine that allows me to create similar pieces, I wanted to know how it's done by hand, so I can then decide what direction to take the collection.

 These samples were my first attempts- I did get myself tied up in knots a bit at first and they're not the neatest pieces at the moment, but I am enjoying it- I find stranding the yarns quite therapeutic! I set myself the goal of challenging myself and also learning new skills this year, so this is my start on that!

Sunday 9 February 2014

How To... Embellish an old jumper

If you're anything like me, you'll have clothes you haven't worn for a while hidden away in a drawer, or perhaps something you bought on impulse but have never worn and it's taking up space in your wardrobe. Well, this year I've decided to get more use from what I already have- I can't always afford new things and I'm also conscious of waste, so they'll be lots of customizing and re-inventing of my wardrobe from now on!
This is a quick D.I.Y way to update an old jumper...

1). You will need...

An old jumper, beads/gems/ other embellishment materials of your choice, thread to match your jumper, sewing needles, scissors

2). Stitch beads around the neckline

Choose your arrangement of beads and stitch around the neckline of your jumper. I've decided to up-cycle the plastic pearls from a broken necklace. This is a really versatile project- you could use what you have in your beads/buttons/bits and bobs stash, or you could buy new embellishments from a craft store.

 Just three or four stitches through each bead should be enough to secure them in place. Here I've just added one row of beads, but add as many as you like, or make a pattern! The world is your oyster here.

3). Add your gems

If you don't have any gems to hand or you'd prefer to use something else, you could use buttons or large beads, or any other embellishments that would go with your theme. There are no hard and fast rules, you're going to wear it so go for what you like! I've chosen these lovely star sew on gems

4). And you're done!

It really is as simple as that- one jumper saved from a life at the back of a drawer and a fun and cheap update to your wardrobe!