What excites you, makes you really jump for joy?
Learning new skills and techniques, colour, making something usable all bring me joy. I also love teaching people – the moment you see someone ‘get it’ is incredibly rewarding.
What brings you down to a dark place?
Personally, like everyone else, work/home stress can kick my feet from underneath me. In the creative sphere, it’s online spats, pettiness and attempts by unscrupulous people to defraud fibre folk.
Where is your favourite knitting nook?
Currently I’ve got a lovely chair set up in the conservatory and my whole family calls it my nest / the mum-ex. I love sitting in the light and being able to hear the birds. Unfortunately the heating in there is not the best, so I will return to the lounge in due course. Lucky really as my daughter will be claiming the chair when she moves bedrooms.
What is your food obsession?
Custard slices, Veda loaf, Lincolnshire plum loaf and I still yearn for the caramel apple doughnuts that I used to buy when I worked in Leeds in the 1990s.
Knitting, obviously, but what are your other favourite makes?
Knitting has been the most long lived of my hobbies due to both its portability and its functional products. For the past 2 years or so I’ve also become obsessed by spinning and have just started to venture into weaving.
How would you describe your aesthetics?
I’m not sure how to answer this, as it’s not something I have really considered, but I suppose my style could be summarised as low key comfort. Clothes for me have to be quite simple and I usually go for neutrals with something colourful,particularly with accessories such as shawls / socks. Interiors are pretty much the same in most of my house, but there is definitely more pattern, colour and clashing happening in my nest. I’m not particularly design oriented – I like that look when I see it, but I’m a working woman too busy to create/maintain that in a family home.
Who or what gives you inspiration?
Whew – that’s a big one! Things I see online, particularly in social media are stimulating, but I’m most inspired by my friends at Loughborough Knitting and in the spinning guilds I’m a member of – the Guild of Long Draw Spinners and the Leicestershire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers – as well as everyone at the Alpaca Spinner’s woolly days
What is your crafting history?
I’ve always made things and can remember making plasticine room models when I was about 5. I loved sewing when I was a teenager in the 80s, but hated knitting as my mum was heavily into it, sourcing Italian wools and making willow pattern design jumpers as was the vogue then.
I carried on sewing, but taught myself to knit from a book in the mid 90s. My first project was a horizontally colour blocked/striped adult jumper with both cables and bobbles. I seamed it by backstitching and oversewing as I knew no better, but I wore that jumper with pride and even took it on honeymoon to Canada. My husband knew what he was getting into by this point as for our wedding I made my bridesmaid dresses, invitations and had silk flowers that I arranged myself. I am probably the only person who took a blackwork embroidery on honeymoon for something to do on the long flights. We’ll ignore that I bought my first quilting supplies and taught myself to crochet from a book while in Vancouver….
I came back from honeymoon pregnant, so I had a short dalliance with baby makes, but became entranced by patchwork and quilting for a number of years. I tried temari making and then suddenly, rapidly fell into the papercrafts world. I never totally got on with scrapbooking, but I loved altered art, ATCs, decos and cardmaking. My passion was rubber stamps and I had thousands.
Then Ravelry happened. Tucked in my e mails somewhere is a personal invite from Frecklegirl when she was drumming up interest in her new site. It took me a long time to even bother to look at it. A new yarn shop opened in a village near to me (oh Blackberry Yarns, I still miss you!) and as I was writing for the village magazine, I went to interview the owner. I had such a visceral reaction to the yarns I wanted to smell if not eat them! The seed was planted and I slowly started to explore the idea of knitting. I started with socks and I still have and wear them, complete with twisted and dropped stitches. From there I was hooked and became passionate when I discovered circular needles and continental combined knitting.
Our knitting group formed and I was exposed to the world of indie dyers and designers through our members in those fields. I had a fling with silversmithing and had a couple of shawl pins commissioned. The papercrafts were left to gather dust until I passed them on many years later. I went to a few fibre festivals and despite my husband’s assertions, I wasn’t interested in spinning, I tried a drop spindle just in case – it wasn’t for me. Then, to perk up a friend who is a master spinner, I asked her to teach me spindling and at the same time made a new friend who was also a spinner. 100g later, I bought my Sonata and never looked back. The following year I started visiting guilds and this year I tried weaving and loved it.
What strengths you have?
I’m always keen to try new crafts / skills and have a learning attitude. I love talking to people and I think I’m easy to get on with, but I do have quite sensitive antennae for bad apples!
What are the social media you are comfortable with using?
I’ve had blogs on blogger for years and I’m very comfortable with Facebook, Ravelry and pinterest. I’ve just started exploring Instagram and Tumblr. I’ve used twitter in the past.
What skill or talent that you don’t possess would you like to have?
I’d love to be able to sing, play a musical instrument, whistle or draw