About Me

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I am a gypsy! having been born and raised in Yorkshire, England I left at 21 and lived in many places including Germany for 5 years. This resulted in my always striving to move on to the next level of my life. The one thing that remained constant is my need to create. Eventually I went back to university and graduated with a first class honours degree in fashion and textiles majoring in knitwear design. I am now back in Yorkshire and a professional in-house hand knit designer for a well known UK pattern and yarn company.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


For 3 weeks at the end of November, following the Knitting and Stitching show at Harrogate (I'll be in the Textile Gallery) I will be exhibiting some of my work at 'The Barn Acre' gallery in Henley-on Thames. Kirsten Jones runs this gallery and has fabulous works, including printing. She likes my work so much that to wear at the opening evening party she has commissioned a ruffle long sleeved cardigan, roughly based on the 'After Dolly' vintage competition dress previously blogged (Pattern will be available in 'Knitting magazine' approx. May 2010)
She also loved my 'Poppy Rose' dress which consisted of neon pink and acid green combined with crochet flowers, and my idea of shoe revamping......So to wear with her cardigan on opening night, she commissioned these shoes. The original shoe was black patent, slight platform with a slingback. The other revamped shoes so far (See Christmas exhibition at The National Needlework Archive, starting on Tuesday) have always been wedged and so this gave me a new challenge. Covering shoes is not as easy as it would first appear, sealing (Finishing), wearbility practicality and fixing the knit to the shoe are all very important considerations.
The base of the shoe was treated with a 'Astrakhan' Stitch and plain doubles, with circle discs to emphasize the heel.
Kirsten wanted the shoes to be OTT, a bit mad! So I embellished with several crochet flower patterns (Available in kit form, hopefully at both Harrogate and Barn Acre) Even the 'Last' (Instep) shape was covered to allow for that flash of underneath of the shoe, the viewer gets when the wearer is walking.
Loose crochet discs were finally attached to the strap which will give movement.

Thursday, 29 October 2009


Unusual for me, this post is not about my knitwear but about the power of love...Love comes in all shapes and forms, love of our partner, our children, parents, our friends and love for the life we share with our chosen pet.....who else in our lives do we get to choose? Most love relationships either 'just' happen or are blood related. This last week has tested my love....
These are my drawings from a few years ago of my very much beloved 'Asian Burmilla' cats, who were my babies before my babies were my babies. Asian Burmillas are unusual quite rare cats, which originally the breed came about as an accident between a Burmese and a Chinchilla cat, but the kittens were so beautiful with enormous Jade green eyes and had such soft loving and intelligent characters that it was decided they should be a breed themselves...it turned out that this designer cat was excellent for people with allergies as their skin/fur oils are less irritant. My little girls dad was the very first grand champion of this breed and has his own obituary website due to his fame.

Around 16 years ago I left Germany for the first time and went to live in Northern Ireland before the seize fire...Gotta say I was not brave and quite scared so on the trip over via Yorkshire and the need for some love reassurance, we hunted high and low for rescue kittens but was told kittens were out of season! So we found some kittens in Yellow pages and went to see them. This is when we first met! Tiny mink coloured kittens with white/cream bellies and the biggest green eyes you ever saw surrounded by eyeliner! One girl was the ring leader, chasing round causing havoc and leading her brother and sister into chaos, another wee girl decided to cuddle me and curled up for a purr and love on my knee. The chaos became my Tara and the sweetness my Tikka, full names Tikka Seraphim and Taragon Cherubim.....named after curries and the 2 cherubs found on the bottom of a very famous Caravaggio painting...what can I say they were my little cherubs! So we all moved to Northern Ireland and in the next 16 years they became my main stay; my closest best friends through thick and thin, always loving, gentle funny and never judging. Lets face it there are not many cats who sit and watch, whilst sharing girly treats the full 2 1/2 hours of the original film,'That darn cat' is there?! Who like to wear pink plastic shopping bag dresses and jump from German schranks on to a christmas buffet into the cheesecake, in quest of the Tuna and Salmon! Or when your heart is breaking put both arms around you in a full on hug.
So 16 years pass in a blink of an eye and many stories of the comedy duo..until this last week not one single day of illness, full set of teeth, full health and springing around like kittens.....Then on the last day of my recent exhibition at Alexandra Palace my little Tikka became ill....It was a long day that last exhibition day, knowing I had had to leave her despite good friends going round to check on her.
The initial sickness lead to an other wise previous food obsessed cat (other wise known as lumpy) to stop eating completely and despite the vets and mine intervention she developed 'Fatty Liver disease' otherwise leading to feline Anorexia. Apparently this is very hard to treat especially in old cats and this last Tuesday after several procedures I left the vets with a sachet of, home to be made saline fluid, as palliative care and an appointment all pet owners fear for the next day. My heart was breaking, 16 years of knowing my feelings and loving me beyond reason and her body was eating away at itself .....so I made a split second choice when I placed her carry basket down on the hallway floor, either fall to pieces and begin my grieving or do what she would do and fight no matter what, no matter her age and that's what I did (I did what I knew she would do for me and that is fight the seemingly inevitable).....
Every half an hour I force fed her saline fluid and every 1 hour force fed her liquidised prescription cat food via a pipette, she is so gentle and placid that this was not a problem because she loves and trusts me beyond reason, so it was easy to do. By mid morning my worse fears were coming true and she was slipping away, I thought putting my previous nursing experience into practise for my beloved cat was too late......
but then a miracle happened and I think this is the miracle of belief and true love...she started to wake up and by teatime she had eaten just a little of real food from my hand not bad for a diagnosed Anorexic........Every hour throughout the night I carried on the feed and re hydration therapy and by the time the most dreaded Vets appointment came she was 'speaking' to me again...the vets and nurses were so happy and said she had turned a corner....very unusual for a cat thought not needed to be put back on a saline drip as it was too late....
So now 3 days later she is sat cleaning and purring happily away as if the last week was a bad dream...I have now got her back onto wet food and am down to 2 water pipettes a day and Tara is no longer avoiding the cat who smelt of death and scared her so, and is helping to heal her too..so I guess the moral of this is...it's amazing what love and 24 little hours can do if you set your mind to it...she may be 16 and may be on borrowed time but I so did not want such a beautiful soul to go in such a horrid way and now she is happy again and enjoying family life, running around causing chaos as her sister did all those years ago!
I am making this post because I was not aware this could happen suddenely to cats and have never seen a leaflet about it, so I wanted to make all cat lovers aware...it works like this; cat gets upset ,could be underlying or just a change in environment, cat stops eating, if does not eat within 48 hours and is slightly over weight the fat breaks down and sticks to the liver, the liver then stops all digestive reactions and the cat will not eat (Vicious circle) so the body starts to close down and poison itself and once beyond a point is progressive and untreatable especially in the elderly.

Saturday, 24 October 2009


This is my selection of items which are now at The National Needlework Archive, which has just moved from Southampton to Newbury. U.K. I was asked by The NNA at the knitting and stitching show if I would like to exhibit at the upcoming 'Christmas' exhibition. Entitled ‘Felicitations and Decorations’ it runs from 3rd November to the 12th December. The directions to the exhibition can be found at the following website address...(http://www.nationalneedleworkarchive.org.uk/html/whats_on.html)
These images were quickly taken at home, more will be taken at the exhibition, as the shoes will be placed on a plinth. Hopefully I will have the time! to make more of my flower kits which will be available to buy from the Needlework Archive shop. The following explains a little about the idea behind my work and as well as future workshops the shoes are able to be commissioned.
“A play on a Christmas Flower...”
As a Christmas theme, the humble well known Poinsettia was a fabulous inspiration point for hand knitted brooches, with crochet detailing. However this is not a stagmentation.....the basic flowers have a plethora of combinations, making each individual make a one-off. The flower patterns can be used in a multitude of ways...from the decoration of the said shoes, to humble brooches and bag or clothing decorations.....Other unusual idea and inspirations are given via workshops including alternative fibre uses of Ecological ideal themes.
Back view of the shoe featuring a knitted Holly.
Comparison between the old and the new!
“Story of the unloved...”
“Women all over the world love us; we create joy and fulfil a basic female need. But I was once one of the few; the unloved shoe, bought, never worn and left under a bed with my soles kept clean. Then like the ugly Duckling to the Swan I was rescued and given an on-trend Christmas vibe, ‘make over’ and so here I am to show myself off with feathers preened in pride.”
Over loved and worn out or unloved, shoes/boots/sandals, you name it; can be given a fun revamp using basic knit and crochet techniques. This can be basic & simple or OTT, the choice is yours....workshops involve techniques and advice on how to produce ‘Quirky party shoes’ from scruffy old shoes. Inspiration is given on the use of Eco-fibres and ‘Make do & mend’ ethos.

Friday, 23 October 2009


Ode to Alison! During the Knitting and Stitching show I demonstrated the art of free-form crochet using yarn left overs. It resulted in this cute very wearable on -trend dress, which I have named after my lovely friend Alison Friday (knitsandpearls blogspot) This is because she is an expert at free-form and the colours I thought were very her. Funnily enough at the same time she has created a number of items in these said colours...go check her out.
Close up of some free-form style patterns within the skirt...question is can I ever be truly free-form? Since when working on this I used my dictionary of patterns I have collated over the years in my head! So can it only be free-form if it is random stitches and not pre-documented patterns even if this is from memory?
Making use of the patterns as a window to frame the other side of the skirt of the dress, where the photography focuses on the inside of the dress.
Side view showing how the thicker crochet pattern emphasizes the bust and waist.
The dress used mainly Acrylic and Mohair yarn left overs, which were put together to graduate in colour, the cross over between colours was formed by mixing more than one yarn strand at a time.
The dress is quite full at the hem, so it billows out and is longer at the back than front. It is ideal to wear over a top and leggings/jeans/coloured tights.
The front fastening made use of some of my pre-made brooches since I finished this dress on my stand at Alexandra Palace. (More brooch kits will be available at the Harrogate Knit and Stitch show) I was quite cold in the first few days but while sat making this dress I was much warmer.
The back has cross over strap detailing.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Solution to comfort at the Knitting and Stitching show. This little pink cushion ended up being a godsend whilst I was working/demonstrating at my stand. A long time ago (aged 21!) I decided it was a really good idea to jump off a 30-40ft cliff in Negril, Jamaica, despite a sign saying 'Cliff jumping can cause serious and permanent damage. Result was damaged nerves in my back.....
so if I have been on a knitting marathon to complete a project this old injury starts to ache and hurt. I have a planned furniture project for my apartment next year of creating a huge scale chaise longue covered in big scaled cable. So this was an excellent opportunity to create something to ease my back and test drive some cable patterns.
The cable used a twisted bobble version with a heart motif set into the middle...
For some reason the first motif stitch count was not quite right but I managed to camouflage this with some crochet flowers (at least the colour scheme matched my stand) shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh don't tell anybody!
What I didn't expect was the amount of visitors commenting on my little cushion which was not really intended to be a example of my work!
I created the cover by forming a T shape which was then sewn into place.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


So when I was offered a free T-shirt to match my business cards, my mind was thinking 'mmmmm possible walking advertisement at the knitting and stitching show!' What I didn't expect was it to arrive 2 days before the show in size large instead of the size small I needed!
Results are a quick think on my feet alteration. The sides had to be over locked chopping off half a t-shirt! but as with any alteration job it's just not that simple......
...with too big width comes too big shoulders, sleeves and neckline. Solution: shaped chopped sleeves, pleated shoulders and pleated folded over neckline.
To add a little quirkiness! I used one of my sample crochet flower brooches to one of the shoulders.
I teamed it with a Eco-linen skirt which is a different version of one of my dress skirts. It also features crochet textured flowers in yarn remnants.
The T-shirt has a bigger than I expected 'Quirky Little Knits' motif which was a good thing...I was a self walking advertisement. One of the nicest things a visitor said was 'You are the loveliest thing I have seen all day'

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


Firstly let me thank all those I met at the Twisted Thread show...it was lovely to meet you and very nice to hear such positive comments....It felt good to be told you had seen me either on here or on my website before hand...at least I know my web footprint is working.
At last! Sorry for taking so long to blog...the intention was to blog daily after each show at Alexandra Palace but it was such a long haul home each night it was a matter of food, wash , sleep and back to the exhibition. Setting up was fun! on my own......it's a good job I am a lot stronger than I look.
The stand looked as I envisaged albeit very bijou! Each night I covered my work just for in case of flood, earthquake or other impending disaster!....The show turned into a fabulous way to make contacts and I have many opportunities lined up. My favourite part of the stand was my look-book with visitors comments section....a lovely reminder.
As I was in the resource centre I worked on 2 dresses during the show, one of which is this Thai silk wedding dress, at the end I managed to complete the corset top and lots of the picot skirt edging. The highlight for me was having Nicky Epstein introduce herself to me and tell me my work was so cute! I also made fabulous contacts to hold many a workshop and work with some yarn companies amongst the many networking opportunities were also talks about having some patterns included in books (My dream!) so all in all well worth all the effort.
There will I think be some changes to the stand for the Harrogate show and some more garment and idea additions. I so need to make more brooch kits since they sold out.
The other garment I completed was this little Eco dress made from project left overs, it was fastened with some of my brooches and was very warm. Lol sorry about the hair! (It was tied up during morning set up before the show opened)
My most immediate project from my networking is a exhibition for the national needlework archive which is a Christmas related exhibition to be held in Newbury. Since the revamped crochet shoes were so popular this is to be my starting point for another pair but with a Christmas twist. The aim of the exhibition will be to display works by artists who will then go on to teach workshops. The exhibition will last approx. from the end of October until Christmas. I will blog as I progress with my pieces. Funny how small the world is but the crochet lawn I made from 2006 for 'the worlds first life-sized knitted garden' project will also, when it eventually finishes touring will end up at the national needlework archive.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


Finally this summer my favourite pair of wedge gold sandals came to the stage of needing to meet the big shoemaker in the sky. We had been together through many adventures including Tomb and Pyramid exploring in Egypt and hiking in Spain....they don't look that comfortable I know! but they are....may sound crazy but these are my comfortable good walking shoes! I have strange feet...trainers and walking boots can cause havoc with my feet but these have been fabulous, but since the leather straps stretched to within an inch of their life...they became too big for me...hence my reluctance to say goodbye

...and hey presto NEW SHOES! my main aim to solve the problem of the too big straps...cover them and they become tighter.

I covered the main straps in a chain crochet, wrap around recycled mohair. the centre point problem was solved with flower detailing...

The wedge bit ( Funny but loved the gold bits but was never too keen on the cork sides) was treated to crochet texture....

Top front view showing how the fastening has been left untreated to allow for easy fastening still....

...close up view of the 'Astrakhan' stitch crochet sides.

These shoes have inspired me to feature these at my exhibition this week at Alexandra Palace, London, offering a 'love old shoe' revamp service...just wish I had time to get dad to build an art plinth to display them on...oh well maybe at the Harrogate show in November...!!!

Friday, 2 October 2009


Proto-type Santa Amigurumi! 'The Makery' Bath, U.K. runs workshops as bite-size learn how to make ethos. This is one of my beginning of an idea for the upcoming season. Kate from the Makery asked me to start to develop some Christmas items for both the workshops and the shop products (Being for display and in kit form) I have managed to get this little crochet snowman made in time to get some kind of feedback at the Knitting and stitching show next week.
He comes complete with matching hat and scarf and beaded eyes and 'coal' mouth. Other ideas are for Christmas puddings and Angels as baubles, key rings and mobile phone jewellery.
This is another finished Eco-bracelet (see previous blogs) It is in oatmeal linen yarn and I liked the photography of using it as a view finder. This bracelet was created making a cut along a recycled cardboard tube to allow the knit to stretch over the hand (Hence the little bump that can be seen)

New ideas...mobile phone covers..this one is from my endless stock of multi-yarn which used to be a cardigan!....The tiny spheres have inspired other phone cover ideas (To follow) ..I am thinking emoticons!