A woodland photography shoot

Sorry that you’ve not heard from me for a few weeks….I’ve been busy photographing and laying out my third book…I’ll give you a sneaky preview shortly! I’m so excited about my new collection, it’s all crochet (with a bit of knit!), very feminine, beautiful and summery!

I’ve also been busy art directing a couple of photography shoots for Rowan, so I thought I would give you a taster of the shoot…

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The ethereal Beacon Hill Country Park

I decided to shoot one of the collections for Rowan Mag 58 at the stunning Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire. Some of you may know that I’m lucky to live in a beautiful part of the country, in rural Leicestershire. This county is a fabulous secret, not many people know about the wonderful rolling farmland and pretty villages, typical of the English countryside. We also have the most spectacular woodland and Beacon Hill Country Park is a fine example.

Beacon Hill Country Park is a part of the Charnwood Forest in the North West of Leicestershire. The park has over 335 acres of mixed woodland, grassland, wild flower meadows as well as adjoining farmland. Beacon Hill is the second highest point in the county, once the site of a Bronze Age fort and affords great views of the surrounding countryside. It is also the site of one of the many beacons across the country that are lit at special occasions such as the Queen’s jubilee.

Here are a few photographs I took on the shoot…I just love the fairytale fungi that was prevalent everywhere!

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Amazing skies

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Not sure what this fungus is?

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A fairytale woodland…

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Fly Agaric

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Peter and Liam hard at work!

On the second day of the shoot, Mark (my husband) brought our dogs, Norah and Nelly, to the woods. They were models for the day and you’ll be able to see them in the magazine when it’s published! Here’s a photo of them that Liam took…looking very proud with their day’s work!

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Nelly and Norah…my lovely girls!

 

My grandad

To commemorate the centenary of the start of WWI and to remember the 96th anniversary of the end of the war, I thought I would tell you about my grandfather, Ellis Greenhalgh. 

Grandad was like many others, an ordinary man who did his duty and fought in WWI, but to myself and my family he was a hero. Unfortunately I never really knew him as he died when I was a little girl and I only have a few fond memories of him. 

Ellis joined the 9th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment when war broke out in 1914. A year later he managed to get 72 hours leave to marry my grandmother, Hannah on the 15th May 1915.

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Grandad and grandma on their engagement

Ellis served as an acting Quartermaster Sergeant in the 25th Division. He wrote many postcards and letters to my grandmother during the war but never described the horrors of what he must have experienced. In March 1918, his division was wiped out but he was lucky and escaped with only a light wound. In April it was wiped out again at Armentiers but was re-formed again. In May it was wiped out again at the Battle of the Marne but this time Ellis was shot through the jaw. After that the division was disbanded and Ellis and a few other survivors were transferred to the 1st Fifth Loyals. My grandad was demobbed in 1919 and went back to his job as a spinner at one of the many cotton mills in Bolton, he retired when he was 70!

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I can’t begin to imagine what he witnessed during the war and he never spoke of what he saw. He was a very brave man, one amongst the many who I thank for the freedom and relative safety we all now enjoy in our everyday lives.

Thank you Grandad, God bless and we’ll never forget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My new beaded design in Vogue Knitting

Today I was sent the images for my lovely beaded sweater design featured in the new issue of Vogue Knitting – Holiday 2014. I’m rather pleased with this design and how it has turned out as I actually never saw it when it was finished! I was in Tuscany at the time holding a workshop week at the beautiful Watermill in Posara (you can read about this in my earlier blog post about the trip), so my knitter (the wonderful Karen Evans) had to send it direct to Vogue Knitting for me. As you can see she did a super job.

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Beaded scoop neck tee – not my description!

The design is knitted using Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Anchor Artiste Metallic. The beads (from Debbie Abrahams Beads) are used in the chest panel on the front and back. 

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The main stitch used in the design is a simple chevron stripe using 3 colours – Wicked 599 and Steel 664 in Kidsilk Haze and Silver 301 in the Anchor Artiste Metallic.

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I’m afraid I’m not sure where you can buy Vogue Knitting in the UK but hopefully we will see it on the shelves in the main magazine shops soon.

Christmas ideas workshop

I’ve just made my ‘Christmas Ideas’ workshop on Saturday 29th November available to book online via my website, so I thought I would show you more images of the projects…hope you like them!

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Christmas Hot Water Bottle Cover

The main project is this Scandinavian inspired fairisle hot water bottle cover. The aim of the workshop is to learn or improve your skills in fairisle knitting. I will be teaching the normal fairisle method, holding both colours in the right hand (or left, for those of you that are left handed) and the two handed method, where you hold the main colour in one hand and the pattern colour in the other. The yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed in Clay and Peony.

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The drawstring is actually a length of double crochet, decorated with a simple crochet flower motif. If you prefer you could knit i-cord for the drawstring and add pom poms instead of the crochet motif as decoration.

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With the yarn left over from the hot water bottle cover, you can make these great fingerless mittens…..

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Christmas Mittens

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I love the little ladies!

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And with the yarn left over from these, you can make this fab Christmas bauble….

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Christmas Bauble

The bauble has a crochet snowflake motif as decoration and a crochet loop for hanging.

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Hope to see some of you at the workshop,  if you wish to book a place then please go to my website.

 

 

Wool Interiors exhibition review

Last Tuesday and Wednesday I was lucky to be invited to spend some time at the Wool Interiors exhibition at Southwark Cathedral. This fabulous exhibition was a celebration of wool to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the start of the Campaign for Wool.

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A ‘sheepy’ welcome to the exhibition

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The walk down to the exhibition

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A view of Southwark Cathedral

The exhibition was the showcase for some 50 beautiful wool items for interiors and lifestyle, bringing together products from the textile industry and retail brands. The collection ranged from fabrics, furnishings, flooring and art from the High Street, Designer, Bespoke and Commercial sectors including my Sage Throw! The Wool Collection also hosted a small and exciting Wool Fringe featuring art, innovation and student led work that showed the endless versatility and potential of wool. This part of the exhibition featured two designs from two of my students from Nottingham Trent University who completed my 3D knitting project I did with them in February and March this year….another post will follow shortly showing you the results of this exciting project.

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My ‘Sage Throw’ – pattern is available on my website. In the background are some fun ‘Seating Balls’ by Mary Goodman

Here are some of my favourite pieces on show…

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Ptolemy Mann’s ‘Gelim’ rug and sofa in collaboration with Rug Maker

Naomi Paul lampshades

Naomi Paul crochet lampshades

Folklore fabric kit kemp for Christopher Farr cloth

Kit Kemp’s ‘Folkloric’ fabric for Christopher Farr

Heals Orwell Wing chair

‘Orwell Wing Chair’ by Heals

Anthropolie rose de borman zoology oval rug

Rose de Borman ‘Zoology Oval Rug’ for Anthropologie – I love this!

christopher farr el ultimo grito rug

The wonderful ‘El Ultimo Grito’ Rug by Christopher Farr

asira vase by aurelie tu at ligne roset

The felted ‘Asira Vase’ by Aurelie tu et Ligne Roset

Margo Selby Fairisle Runner

Margo Selby’s amazing ‘Fairisle Runner’ – I want this as well!

pentreath & hall fine cell work cushions

‘Tumbling Blocks’ woven cushion by Pentreath & Hall

Solva Mill Waffle cushion

‘Waffle Cushion’ by Solva Mill

the rug company alexander mcqueen poppy night aubosson wallpaper

The amazing ‘Poppy Night Wallhanging’ by Alexander McQueen in collaboration with The Rug Company

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‘This Way That Way Beanbag’ by SCP

Wallace Sewell LU150 fabric

‘LC150′ fabric by Wallace Sewell, designed to celebrate 150 years of the London Underground

Maud designs tuft limited edition floor cushions

Floor cushion by Maud Designs

The Wool Fringe part of the exhibition showcased the following fabulous work…

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Caty Palmer’s wall hanging

Wall hanging by Caty Palmer

A close up of Caty’s wonderful design

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Kendall Baker’s stool and Justine Thornton’s cushion from Nottingham Trent University

 Some fun items…

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‘Milly the Sheep’ knit kit by MillaMia

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‘Sheep’ stool by The Wool Room – I love his eyes!

If you had chance to visit this fantastic exhibition then I really do hope you enjoyed it and that it has inspired you to include items of wool in your own home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free workshop – Christmas Mittens

I’ve just finished the project for the free workshop I’m holding at the Wool Interiors exhibition at Southwark Cathedral tomorrow at 10am. If you’re in London, come along and learn how to knit fairisle or if you’re a more experienced knitter, learn how to knit two stranded fairisle. To book a place email: MeetTheMaker@campaignforwool.org. The mittens are knitted in my favourite Rowan yarn – Felted Tweed and all the yarn and needles will be provided…..hope to see you there.

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Christmas Mittens finished!

 

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If this workshop is full then I’m also holding a free fun workshop on 3D knitting on Wednesday at 10am also at the exhibition. Using Rowan Cocoon, have a go at folded fabric and knots and twists! Again, all Rowan yarn and needles are provided. Both workshops finish around 12.30 – 1pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sage Throw on exhibition.

As mentioned in my last post, I was very flattered to be invited by the Campaign for Wool to design and make a hand knitted throw inspired by ‘Sage’ from my Windswept book. The finished design will be exhibited at the Wool Interiors exhibition at Southwark Cathedral from 5th Oct to 12th Oct.  The pattern is now available to download from the pattern section of my website and shortly I will be offering this throw as made to order via my website…so if you don’t feel like knitting it yourself, we can make it for you!

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Sage from Windswept

The throw has turned out even better than I thought and I’m so grateful to one of my wonderful knitters, Gwynneth Allen, for knitting it so quickly and so well.

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The finished throw

The fairisle design is the same as the Sage tunic except for the snowflake section. I had to change this slightly so that the whole design can be knitted by repeating one pattern.

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Pattern detail

The borders are the same striped design as on the original tunic. The bottom welt is worked at the start and the top welt at the end. The two sides borders can be worked either by picking up stitches along the side edges or knitted separately and stitched neatly in place with mattress stitch.

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Close up of the border

Here are some more images of this lovely throw. I hope you like it as much as I do! 

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The throw is large enough to cover a double bed!

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I’ll be posting about the exhibition next week. If you are in London please come along and see the show as I’m sure it will be well worth while going. I’m actually doing two workshops in the mornings of Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th Oct, one on fairisle knitting and the other on 3D Knitting…maybe I’ll see you there.

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Sheep cushions!

Ever fancied having a couple of knitted sheep cushions gracing your sofa? Well now you can, the Campaign for Wool is offering free patterns for two sheep cushions (both designed by myself), one with a head of a Herdwick Sheep and the other with a head of a Bluefaced Leicester Sheep! 

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Herdwick Sheep cushion

After the success of the PicKnit Blanket last year, the Campaign for Wool commissioned me to design and knit a cushion to celebrate Wool Week 2014. I firstly designed the Herdwick Sheep cushion back in May (just before my heart attack!) They loved it and asked me to design a second to go with it….hence the Bluefaced Leicester version.

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Bluefaced Leicester Sheep cushion

Both cushions are knitted using Rowan Fine Tweed and are quite detailed as you can see, but actually surprisingly simple to knit using the intarsia technique! My main tips would be to use long lengths of yarn (instead of winding yarn onto bobbins) so that you can easily untangle yarn by just pulling the colour you want to knit through the other threads. Secondly I would either enlarge the chart of each pattern and print it out in sections or do as my knitter, Karen Evans, did and work from her iPad and enlarged it on there.

I’m a huge supporter of the Campaign for Wool and British Wool in particular, sadly Rowan Fine Tweed is not made using British wool but it’s spun in Yorkshire, so the next best thing! There are lots of events happening during Wool Week (6th – 12th October), check out the Campaign’s website to see if there is an event near you. I’m really excited this year as I was asked to design and make a piece for the Wool Interiors Exhibition at Southwark Cathedral (5th – 12th Oct). I’ll be writing about the design in the next few days…and I’m sure you will love it!

In the mean time I hope you enjoy the sheep cushions and remember that the free patterns can be downloaded from the Campaign for Wool PicKnit website and please do enjoy Wool Week!

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Close up of the Herdwick cushion

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Close up of the Bluefaced Leicester cushion

 

 

 

Crochet Cowl workshop

I’m holding a crochet workshop on Saturday 22nd November at the village hall in Hoby (my home village). The project is this beautiful crochet cowl……

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It’s made using 7 autumnal Rowan Felted Tweed colours and comprises of just two quite basic motifs. One motif is 4 colour worked in 8 different colour combinations, the second motif is a diamond shape in one colour. The motifs are simple in themselves, only using the basic crochet stitches – chain, double crochet and trebles. Once all the motifs have been worked they are then joined together using free-form crochet.

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Two motifs of each of the 8 multi coloured motifs are worked, making a total of 16 motifs and then just 8 of the single colour diamond motif. The motifs are then joined using the contrast colour.

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For more information about the workshop and to book a place then please visit my website.  Here are some more images of the cowl being worn …guess who is the model!

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Sorry it’s been a while!

Firstly, I want to apologise for the lack of blog posts and Facebook entries over the last couple of months. I’ve been busy finishing my seasonal work with Rowan and I was 50 at the end of August and so I’ve been on holiday!

 Secondly, I want to thank you for your concern over my health, all your lovely comments and your best wishes. I can now report that I’ve been ‘signed off’ from the hospital having had my follow up appointments and all my cardiac rehab sessions. Everyone seems to be very pleased with my progress. I honestly feel so much better than I did and it’s only now that I can say how rubbish I felt after I first came out of hospital!

 We went to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales for my birthday and spent a week walking through some glorious countryside. I wanted to spend my birthday on my favourite walk – Keld to Muker in Swaledale via the summit of Kidson Hill. The view from the top across Swaledale is simply fantastic. Despite the howling gale that was blowing, we managed it and had a wee sip of champagne to celebrate! I was pleased with myself as I managed to do all the walks we had planned, all be it, a bit slower than normal! One of the main drawbacks of suffering a heart attack and being on all these drugs is that my muscles feel quite weak at times and I find that I just don’t have the energy I once had. However, I suppose it’s a small price to pay and I must admit that I’ve been lucky to come off this well!

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The view down Swaledale from Kisdon Hill

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The beautiful landscape around Keld in Swaledale

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Descending into Muker from Kisdon Hill

The recent health scare has meant that I’ve had the time to think and put a lot of my life in perspective. Consequently I’m now doing a lot less for Rowan, I’m no longer responsible for the Rowan magazine and now just contribute with designs, art directing a few shoots and a bit of writing. This now means that I can concentrate on developing my business, which I’m really excited about! So hopefully over the coming weeks and months you will be seeing more blog posts, more Facebooking and Twittering from me! As always I appreciate all your comments and I hope that you enjoy what you see and what you read.

Here is a pic of Norah and Nelly, which my lovely friend Moy Williams took at my house on Tuesday. We where photographing some student designs from Nottingham Trent University for this year’s Wool Week, (it’s for a look book on the Rowan website).

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My lovely girls! Nelly at the front, Norah at the back.

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