Fashion Fridays: #HandmadeMay Days 2-8

by Natalie on May 8, 2015

Week 1 of Handmade May is done! For the most part this wasn’t too bad, but I did start to struggle with my self imposed rule of only 1 non-handmade item by the end of the week. I had been including coats and jackets into this rule, expecting that most of the month would be nice enough to get away with a sweater anyway, but then it went and got damp and cold and a bit miserable and I’ve had to wear some sort of jacket everyday! So today I adjusted my rule and let myself wear a pair of jeans as well as my jacket. Next year I’m going to have to make some outerwear, I’ve been dreaming of a Rigel Bomber anyway!

I’m looking forward to week 2. The weather is going to improve I think, which makes dresses even easier. I’m going to try to do a wearable muslin of a shirt this week as well, since I have about zero sewn tops. If I get it to an okay point I can get my mom to help me with the last of the fittings and then use her serger to finish the seams!

Day 2


Dress: Hawthorne by Colette Patterns in Liberty of London (sewn by my mom)
Sweater: Beulah Cardigan by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark in Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label
Cowl: Grand Central Cowl in Indigodragonfly MCN
Bag: Jenna Rose
Jacket: Danier
Shoes: No Brand

Day 3


Dress: Pattern drafted by mom, sewn by me, fabric is Catnap by Lizzy House
Cardigan: Pomme De Pin in Madelinetosh Sock
Cowl: Grand Central Cowl in Indigodragonfly MCN
Jacket: Oasis
Shoes: Keds
Bag: Jenna Rose


Day 4



Top: Bonny by Tincanknits in Kalinka Linen
Skirt: Kelly Skirt in Lizzy House constellations
Backpack: Market Shopper from Good Ordering
Jacket: Oasis
Shoes: Keds

Day 5


Top:  Waterlily by Meghan Fernandes in Kettle Yarn Co. Islington
Skirt: Self-drafted in a woodgrain quilting cotton
Sweater: Self-designed in Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label
Project Bag: Lined Drawstring Pouch by Jeni Baker
Backpack: Market Shopper from Good Ordering
Jacket: Oasis
Boots: Vintage

Day 6


Dress: Liberty of London (sewn by my mom)
Sweater: Beulah Cardigan by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark in Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label
Shawl: Giant handspun crochet granny-triangle
Backpack: Market Shopper from Good Ordering
Socks: Handknit
Jacket: Anthropologie
Shoes: Fly London


Day 7


Dress: Reglisse Dress by Deer & Doe in Robert Kaufman Champbray and Liberty
Sweater: Beulah Cardigan by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark in Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label
Backpack: Market Shopper from Good Ordering
Jacket: Danier
Shoes: Keds

Day 8


Top: Waterlily by Meghan Fernandes in Kettle Yarn Co. Islington
Sweater: Self-designed in Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label
Jeans: Gap
Jacket: Oasis
Shoes: Keds

What are you wearing this week?

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Happy Yarn Shop Day!

by Natalie on May 3, 2015

Yarn Shop Day is a great idea. What could be better than hanging out at your local shop, or popping into a few over the day as a yarn crawl.

I spent the day at Knit With Attitude in Stoke-Newington. I’ve been working there helping out behind the scenes during the week as well. I spent Saturday afternoon hanging out and helping knitters with pattern questions. The shop shares a space with a print and gift shop called Of Cabbages and Kings as well. It means that there are always exciting treasures and pretty things to catch your eye! Also, there was cake!

Where did you spend Yarn Shop Day?

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Fashion Fridays: Handmade May, Day 1

by Natalie on May 1, 2015

How perfect is it that my first Fashion Friday post in ages also happens to be May 1st and the first day of #memademay?! Well, part of that is that I am planning on properly doing the challenge this year, and a lucky coincidence that it is also a Friday.

I have been thinking a lot about my wardrobe, and making. Not that this is any surprise, it’s a big part of my life! I’ve decided to put my own spin on #memademay for a few reasons. The first is that I’m not calling it Me Made May at all after this moment. For me Handmade May is more important. First off, I haven’t made all my own clothes, my mom is a big contributor to my wardrobe. She sews me a few dresses a year*, which is more than I usually manage.

The second thing is that I believe a lot in other makers contributing to my wardrobe as well. Now, full disclosure, I don’t actually have any pieces of clothing in my wardrobe that weren’t made by someone that shares my DNA, but I do have some accessories, like the Jenna Rose bag that I am using today. I’m open to the idea of buying handmade from other makers.

So my goal for the month is going to be to wear only one non-handmade item each day, excluding underwear, tights and shoes. I’m just not at that point yet. I don’t think that it will be that hard, but for an added challenge, we are going to be travelling to Toronto and San Francisco for the last two weeks of the month, so we’ll see how well I do with my packing. I’ll try to take a picture every day and let you all know how I do, maybe in a once a week Fashion Friday round up. This will also be a good opportunity to show off some knits that I’ve finished in the last year and not blogged about!

Is anyone else planning on participating in the challenge? What are you working on and wearing?

Handmade May Day 1

Dress: Moneta, made by mom in Liberty of London Jersey

Cowl: Grand Central Cowl in Indigodragonfly MCN

Sweater: Pomme de Pin in Madelinetosh Sock Composition Book Grey

Bag: Jenna Rose

Socks: Silver Birch in Woolen Rabit Yarn Pearl in Pumpkin Patch

Boots: Frye

*I knit for her, we have a symbiotic relationship when it comes to clothing.


Knitsonik Class with Yarn In The City

by Natalie on March 30, 2015

My last post seems a bit down on the knitting community, which I apologize for, sometimes you have a down moment. One of the things I want to focus on from here on is people who are inspiring me, who are doing cool projects that cross crafts and push boundaries.

One of the reasons I moved to the UK was to meet and learn from some of the amazing people here. It seems that 2015 has been the year of making that happen. On Thursday I got to spend an evening with Felicity Ford, aka Knitsonik, and her amazing Quotidian Colourwork class.

Felicity brought 75 of the 90 available shades of Jamieson’s Shetland yarn. We each brought an object to inspire our colourwork adventure. I started with a Leone tin, which you can see in the top right of the photo below. We got to use all yarns that our hearts desired as we got started. I definitely ended up with lots of the purples!


Jamiesons yarn

It was a great evening, with a fantastic teacher. I would thoroughly recommend taking a class with Felix if you can. It was such a different and new way of thinking of colour and designing. Felix has a very free attitude towards creating the swatches, but within a rigid framework. The big thing to take away from it really was to play and experiment with the swatches, as you don’t know what will work, and that it is easier to make mistakes in the swatch than in a finished item. Myself and another woman in the class both experienced situations where there were colours we were using together that we didn’t think would work, they didn’t have enough contrast. We both knit on anyway, thinking might as well just get past it, and in the end the colours, while subtle, did play on each other in interesting ways that we didn’t expect. If we hadn’t given it a shot we wouldn’t have known! I am looking forward to continue to crack on with my swatch, the ones that were shown as samples were artworks in their own right.


If you have a chance to take a class with Felix, go for it! The yarn porn photos from the class were worth it alone! Or, she wrote the Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook which explains her theories and gives you those guidelines so that you can make your own amazing designs. Thanks to Yarn in the City for organizing it!

P.S. I updated my own teaching schedule in London on my Events page. Nothing as exciting as this class, but some good ones nonetheless!



by Natalie on February 3, 2015

Last week I went to the Craftivists #wellMAKING Garden event in London. I had such a great time making flowers and talking to makers from around the country.

There was an afternoon event where makers were invited to make flowers to add to the already impressive collection of flowers that were stored in drawers and on a table under a gazebo in the back of the room. It was very interesting to talk to to some of the organizers and hear about the idea behind the project, and to talk to other creative industry people who were at the event.

The Craftivists Garden was sponsored by the University of Falmouth, in conjunction with an organization called Arts for Health Cornwall, a group that provides craft and art workshops as a part of healthcare support. They decided to look into more concrete statistics on the effects of making and mental health. We’re always told that making is good for our mental health, it’s the new yoga!, but this was an academic look into what that actually meant. What they focused on was a World Health Organization recommendation that  recommends that part of wellbeing as ‘contributing to society’, they organized flower making workshops where the participants were encouraged to talk about their efforts to contribute to society and how they could work to be their best selves. They worked with groups that were affected by mental health in some way, directly and indirectly. This fostered debate and discussion of wider social issues locally and nationally.


In the evening their was a series of talks. Individuals from a variety of organizations that had supported the project spoke about what they are doing to promote social awareness and crafts/making. It was so inspiring to hear from people in the academic and arts community talking about making in this way. I think that I have recently been finding that knitting can be a bit of a closed community in some ways. Don’t get me wrong, I think that it is a vibrant, rich and amazing community. Certainly within that community there are people who take inspiration and who influence, engage and collaborate with industries and movements outside of knitting. But as a whole community not as much.  We often think that non-knitters ‘don’t get it’. It can rub the wrong way when people try to change or affect what we hold dear. But by holding things dear we can also be pushing people away. Knitting events can be too niche sometimes. There are so many resources online that it can be overwhelming to even find where to start.

Knitting sits in an odd place in the greater making community. Is it too connected to the home, to function rather than form? Quilting certainly holds very similar ‘granny’ stereotypes to the outside community, but also has a rich history of art quilts that are displayed in art museums. I wonder if I am getting very frustrated and defensive with the ‘aw, a knitter!’ comments that I get when I tell people that I am a knitter and that I work in the knitting industry. When I have voiced this frustration to friends I have occasionally been told that I should lie, that I should say that I work in fashion. It’s only a twist of the truth anyway they say, it is an industry of making clothes. But being a knitter is more than making clothes. It is as much about the process, about making them for yourself, as it is about the finished product. I did once impress a stranger by telling them that I was a ‘handknit technician’, but that was as far as I got.

Maybe I’m just really out of it as well. Please send me lots of links if you know of interesting projects and makers around the world! This year my mantra is going to be ‘learn all the things’. I am already working on my knitting course, plus taking some shorter courses over the year. I am teaching more as well, to help others learn all the things as well. I guess that this is where I am for my wellness contribution to society.

What are you learning in your making practice this year? Are you learning about yourself as a maker, or honing your practice?