Friday, 31 July 2009

yarn forward

I have an article in the latest issue of Yarn Forward about my design process and it looks very lovely! I have tried to give an insight into how I came up with my Spring/Summer 2009 collection (last pattern will be published very, very soon, I promise!) and I have also provided a summery hat pattern from the very same collection. Hope you enjoy reading it.

Monday, 27 July 2009


Yesterday I was at the Kioskiosk selling my wares and teaching a load of unsuspecting tourists and daytripping families how to knit and crochet with my trusty sidekick Bee from Chain Creative. Here are a few shots of us in action:

Setting up

Bags and tees from Model Robot. Check out the website if you want one!

The fantastic view of Tower bridge from inside the kiosk

Workshops in full swing...

...and moving inside to shelter from the elements...British summertime, eh?!

A natural knitter and just eight years old, Olivia had never picked up the pins before but was a whizz!

More young knitters and crocheters with Bee; afterwards they treated themselves to a yummy Sugar Rose cupcake as a reward for their hard work... little knitted birdies couldn't resist the cakes either!
My favourite part of the day was when a little girl fell in love with one of my tiny aliens and went away with it, with a bright smile on her face. It was so nice to see that other look upon my characters as lovingly as I do.
I will be at the Kiosk again on the 27th August, so if you fancy popping by to say hi, to ask for advice with your knitting or crochet project or to get a copy of my latest book, please do, I would love to see you!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

busy bee

It has been a manic week preparing for the big day on Sunday. I cannot believe the date has crept up so soon, but I am really looking forward to the Kiosk this weekend. I shall be there, sandwiched between City Hall and Tower Bridge from about 10 am, along with the lovely Bee from Chain Creative, providing the passers by with free knitting, sewing and crochet help, while feeding and watering them.
These are some of the kits I have lovingly hand made....
...and here's a taster of some of the delicious wares I shall be selling...

...not to mention the mess I have made whilst creating it all. Let's just hope it doesn't rain...!
hope to see y'all there.

P.s. Model Robot will be there too, selling tees, bags an badges adorned with the typical fun and fabulous 'Robot style imagery.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

art in action

This weekend I was at Art in Action in Oxfordshire teaching some crochet workshops for West Dean College.
Art in Action is a showcase for artists to sell their work direct to the public while demonstrating their craft. I watched glass blowing, bronze casting, life modelling for sculptors and painters, egg tempera mixing and many more craftspeople at work, all of which was fascinating.
One of my favourite demonstrators was Roanna Wells, a young textiles artist who has just graduated from Manchester. She specialises in embroidery and creates spectacular, large pieces using textural marks formed with a needle and thread. I am glad others thought she was fab too, as she won the Best of the Best exhibition.

A very exciting exhibit was the Mexican tent, which was a riot of colour and texture. I loved the intricately cut tissue paper decorations that looked fantastic hung in a rainbow palette from the ceiling and the Frida Kahlo brooches printed on beer bottle tops.
My workshops were for crochet beginners and only lasted an hour and 30 minutes. I must admit to being a bit apprehensive as to how much the participants would acheive because the craft is very fiddly when just beginning and I usually let students practice a simple chain for at least half an hour just to get their hold and tension right. However, I was pleasantly surprised as many of the learners went home with a very basic flower. Perhaps it was the arts and craft bug seeping into them by osmosis through all the demonstations and workshops and creativity surrounding them!

The weather was a little changable to say the least, which reminded me that I really need to invest in some good quality wellies. However, aside from persistantly wet feet, it was an interesting weekend overall. I even managed to sell some work in the workshop teachers' tent, which is great, although that also means I am now going to have to work extra hard this week to fill up the Kiosk on Sunday...!
Don't forget to check out more of my classes at West Dean College, as well as the many other delights they have going on.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

tate trip

Yesterday I caught the Per Kirkeby exhibition at the Tate Modern. I have to admit that I had never heard of him, but I enjoyed the exhibition immensely. These pictures cannot do justice to the intense colours and beautiful lines of the largescale paintings, so I would recommend a trip down to see it if you can. The paintings are real 'growers'; the more you study them, the more interesting and beautiful they become.

I also caught the Futurism exhibition at the same time, which I was more familiar with, but it still turned up some unexpected fabulous works which I had never seen, including a leaflet in which knitting was represented and some stunning Wyndham Lewis paintings which I would gladly hang in my home.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

work in progress

I have been a busy little bee of late and so I thought I would give you a sneak preview of some of the bits and pieces I have been working on this week...

...ends, ends and more ends....

Oh how I detest weaving in ends, the only carrots which keep me going are the huge satisfaction of a neat and tidy project at the end of it and the gorgeous little nest of colour made by all the snipped scraps of yarn. Sometimes I have to photograph it; these little piles of joy are often almost as exciting to me as the project. Likewise the back of an embroidery, intarsia or Fair Isle piece.

My knitting - hands off!
These are some kits I have been sewing for the Kioskiosk day - 26th of July, don't forget!
I have a bit of a conveyor belt of these going, they are so fun and cute to do with the multicoloured embroidered words. I will be doing a few of my crochet kits too and they will include enough yarn and some needles/hooks to make a simple pattern, ideal for beginners. At the moment I am thinking there will be a baby's hat pattern, some floral corsages and perhaps some little fingerless gloves or mittens.

Finally, I have been knitting this jumper since way back in March, but other things have barred its progress. However, I did manage to finish it last week. It is a beautiful 4ply merino/cashmere mix and I have knitted the sleeves as a 4ply, but doubled the yarn for the aran body to make a dk weight as a contrast. It is for the long awaited Spring/Summer collection and therefore I am swiftily writing the pattern this week so I can release it into the world and create a whole s/s '09 booklet of patterns.
Then it will be straight onto the Autumn/Winter collection. Ah, a knitter's work is never done....

Saturday, 11 July 2009

spring/summer 2009

Finally I have managed to get the bulk of the project I have been working on for ages finished and on the website. I decided at the beginning of this year that a collection of my own monty patterns would be a perfect vehicle to present a more fashion forward, trend led collection of garments. Being an independent designer, working to my own deadlines, instead of that of a publisher, I can create high trend designs more quickly than when I write books. It is fair to say that even though we have vast amounts of beautiful, classic and contemporary knitting patterns around, there are fewer publications which cater for each traditional season of the fashion world. However, I have tried to keep the patterns wearable and classic, as nobody wants to spend time knitting a garment which is unwearable by the next season.

The patterns and inspiraton can be seen in full on my website, where they will be available to buy shortly. In the meantime, you can buy them from my montyknits shop on Ravelry.

If you don't knit, but want to own a one-off, bespoke garment, contact me and I shall be happy to hand make you the garment of your choice to your measurements.
I am hoping to have my timetable sorted sufficiently to have a new set of patterns based around the Autumn/Winter 2009/10 catwalks out by the beginning of October, so watch this space for an exciting capsule collection based around a British Countryside theme!

Monday, 6 July 2009

more action on the site

I have recently been working on new products, my website and some new pattern collections. More of all those soon. The most recent addition to the site are these pretty floral necklaces. I really enjoy making them; the extra fine lacy wool means the resulting necklace is exquisitely delicate and somehow more satisfying. The little crocheted flowers look somehow perfect, perhaps it is because they are so tiny, you can't see any faults!

Friday, 3 July 2009

kioskiosk launch

Yesterday was just too hot to work, so it was handy that I had the kioskiosk launch to go to on the Southbank. I met Wayne Hemmingway, the mastermind behind the idea, who gave me a tour of the kiosk and I was surprised at just how Tardis-like it is; big enough to fit a changing room and loads of shelving in and it was also really cool in there, which was fantastic on one of the hottest days in London this year. It was exciting to see the kiosk in the flesh and I begun planning how I will kit it out and also what a lovely 'tea party' feel I will be giving the workshops.

I have just confirmed that the free knitting and crochet clinic and workshops I will be running on the 26th July will also have some lovely handmade cup cakes by the talented Catherine of Sugar Rose. She will be also providing the cakes at my launch party for Easy Kids Knits, and I cannot wait, they are the lightest, most yummy cakes I have ever eaten. Here are a few of her inventive and beautiful creations. My favourites are the Russian Dolls; I have never seen anything like them and I have a real weakness for Matryoshka dolls. Catherine is still getting her website ready, so come along and try them at the workshop or launch and meet her in person.

After the launch, I decided to make the most of the weather, convincing myself it was just too warm to pick up the knitting needles and so I finally made it to the Liberty sale, where I bought five bolts of beautiful Liberty print cotton.
The one on the far left was not in the sale but I couldn't resist the print that I had seen in an APC dress, so I bought the same fabric to make a similar dress at a fraction of the cost. However, the rest of the fabrics were a bargain, and now I have enough fabric to make three tops and two dresses. I just hope my excitement for sewing continues long enough for me to make them all, or my bargainous shopping may not seem so thrifty!
My relaxing day in the sun ended at a restaurant I must really recommend for great value, ethics and fabulously fresh food. Wahaca bills itself as Mexican market eating and yet it sources most of its ingredients from the UK, using in season, free range products where possible. This fresh ethos really shines through in the food and I loved it, as you can see!