And in other news … a vintage knitting book!

And in other news … a vintage knitting book!

Well I feel utterly privileged to be saying these words … I’ve written a book. Can you guess what it’s about? Well it ain’t neuro-surgery that’s for sure. It’s my favourite subject in the world, the one I could talk about for hours (via a few ranty tangents) but thankfully in this instance I had to try to limit my rambling to 176 pages. Yes, it’s a book about vintage knitting patterns. Or more specifically, how to adapt them, plus a little bit about fashion history, yarn choices and techniques. And there’s more! The second half of the book takes a different approach and looks at how to take modern patterns and customise them with your own vintage elements.

The project came as a result of those excellent people at Rotovision last year … it’s been a while in the production line – the book itself only took a few months to write and knit but then there was a flurry of photography, editing and layout design, and I’m happy to say it will be coming out on Search Press in the UK  at the beginning of 2013 (you can pre-order on Amazon here) and on Interweave in the US in March 2013.

The project has filled me with renewed vigour for the subject and the potential inspiration it can offer other knitters. In order to adapt these original garments you end up deconstructing the pattern, which in turn can give knitters the confidence to go off piste with other patterns and add their own touches, and this for me is the essence of taking knitting forwards into the future – a new generation of confident and experimental knitters.

Knitting means so many things to so many different people, and it can provide a great way to switch off and relax, a restful hobby whose benefit is in the lack of stress it provides. But increasingly there are those knitters who want more of a challenge from their projects, a chance to further their techniques and knowledge, and hopefully the book will provide just that. It focuses on sweater adaptation as that’s the foundation for so many knitwear garments and is, of course, full of lovely pictures of vintage knits (taken by that excellent photographer Ivan Jones). There is also a plethora of stunning pattern images, mostly courtesy of those amazing people at Sirdar whose designs left me breathless as I sat browsing their archive one rainy day in Wakefield. I owe them an enormous thank you for their generosity, and also to Thomas B.Ramsden for their kind help.

Unfortunately this has meant I haven’t been able to spend so much time on the website and the pattern sales section has been sadly neglected of late. This has always been a labour of love for me and I’ve spent many hours over the last 3 years scanning the patterns, writing descriptions, processing orders. I haven’t always got it right and the free ecommerce software I use can be somewhat flaky which hasn’t always meant a smooth process. The income from the pattern sales barely covers my site hosting fees let alone the time I put into it, so I’m afraid I’m going to close down that side of things to concentrate on organising workshops and, hopefully, writing for other projects. I’m so grateful to all my customers and the enthusiastic queries and comments I’ve received. I’ll continue to blog (more often I promise!) and a site re-design is on the cards which will focus entirely on knitting and workshops.

I do have a tremendous amount of vintage patterns, magazines and books in my collection now, close to a thousand or more. They’re all neatly organised in folders and form a library in my studio in Lewes – I welcome visits from anyone who’d like to come and have a look through them, so feel free to contact me to arrange a time. Please let me know too if you’re interested in attending the vintage knit design workshops I’ve got planned for next year. Initially they’ll be around the Lewes and Brighton area, but I’m open to suggestions!

In the meantime, hope to see you around!

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