Friday, 13 July 2012

Meet the Designer: Debbie Abrahams

On Saturday we had a Knit up your own Stash Workshop with designer Debbie Abrahams.  There was such an ecclectic mix of ideas and colour palettes and we spent the day experimenting with exciting techniques such as intarsia and beading.

We learned that those long-forgotten leftovers and odd balls from our stash can be combined to create beautiful accessories or items for the home, and Debbie brought lots of samples from her books to inspire us.
We also did a little interview with Debbie to find out a little more about her...

1. How did you learn to knit?
From my Grandmother, my Mother and my Auntie.  It was when I was six years old.  They used to save their oddments in a bag for me to practise with.

2. How did you make knitting your career?  Do you still enjoy it as much now that it's your job?
It started in O-Level and A-Level art class.  When others were drawing, I would knit.  After that I did my knitwear degree and then became a Rowan Consultant in 1995.  I like knitting even more now!

One of Debbie's Mystery Blankets
3. Describe a typical day.
When I'm not doing workshops, I spend about 3 hours in the morning answering emails and processing orders.  My P.A. helps, but I do a lot of the work personally.  After lunch, I do some design work, like working on squares for my Mystery Blanket Club.
4. Where do you find your inspiration?
I collect things.  In college I used to collect Kaffe Fassett magazines and cuttings.  Now I collect greetings cards and ceramics.  I even collect fabric that I know I'll never use, but it's a great source of inspiration for colour palettes.

5. Do you have a favourite yarn?
I love the Rowan Cotton Glace - it comes in such a lovely range of shades, and I also like the Rowan Wool Cotton.  Those would be my two favourites.

6. What is the best thing you've ever knitted?  And the worst?
My favourite thing I have knitted was the first garment I ever completed.  I was 13 and I still remember the excitement and sense of achievement.  It was a denim style jacket with pockets and button detail and it was knitted in Rowan Handknit Cotton shade 254 Flame.
As for the worst, there isn't really one thing, though I am not as keen on lace knitting - especially when it goes wrong!

7. How many projects have you got on the pins right now?
I split my knitting into two groups - leisure and work.  The leisure is knitting for myself or for presents.  They tend to be from patterns rather than design work so that I can just relax and don't have to think too much!  I have about 10 things in my leisure pile.  I've got plenty of things on the go in the work category too though.

8. What's next for you?
I've just joined up with designer Jayne Crowfoot and we've self-published a knitting and crochet book that will be released in Spring of 2013, which is very exciting.

9. What is the best knitting tip you've picked up over the years?
If you are beading and you don't have a needle and thread to add the beads to your yarn, dip the tip of your yarn in nail varnish.  Once it dries, it will be stiff enough to thread through the beads.

10. What would you be if this wasn't your job?
When I was at school I wanted to be a vet so that I could work with animals, but I'm not very good with blood.  I also wanted to be a fashion designer but I hated sewing, so knitwear designer is a good alternative.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Puzzle the Monkey

Hello everyone,

My name is Puzzle the Monkey.  I am called Puzzle because Hannah says I am a bit squint and I always have a puzzled look on my face.

I am the first monkey that she has ever made, and I think she really enjoyed knitting me.  Especially when I got sewn together and I started to come to life.  She called me "So cute" so many times I thought that might be my name!

 I am made from Sirdar Click DK Cobble (129) which although it looks brown is actually lots of lovely colours.   My muzzle, hands, feet, tail and ears are shade Downy (144).  I am lovely to cuddle and if I fall in a puddle can go in the big machine to be washed.  Although not too fast or I might get dizzy!

At the moment I am settling into my new home with Baby Boy.  Hannah says she will post me nice things on my Birthday & Christmas, like bananas and pyjamas.

If you would like to knit a friend like me you can find me in Sarah Keen's book Knitted Wild Animals: A Collection of Adorable Animals to Create from Scratch or on Ravelry.

Puzzle The Monkey (& Hannah too)