Chapter Seven is now written

I completed the seventh chapter last night. Yippee. Photos all labelled and neatly filed with the captions. Now I have to go back and correct the earlier chapters from the proofreader copies I have received back from my generous and ind proofreaders. I have already spotted one image in the wrong place! Off to reknit a sample now.

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Preparing for a forthcoming natural dye workshop. 

This morning I have spent a happy hour picking and scouring some fleece I harvested off bushes whilst walking beautiful around beautiful Cwm Pennant in Snowdonia.  What a delightful experience that was this summer. 

The wool is not brilliant, but will be fine to play with to see what colours we can achieve. I may get time to spin some up before the workshop, but people have already got their yarn organised, so no sweat. 

I’m also chopping avocado pits and skins to make two dye baths – one redder, one orangey. They will sit and develop over the next week or so. I will stop them going mouldy by re-boiling every couple of days. 

Starting the dyebath

Chopping avocado pits

Chopping avocado skins

Next will be prepping the marigolds, but not until nearer the time. Then the yarns and fleece must be mordanted. 

A copper and iron modifier have been steeping for ages already in the shed.

It’s all in the preparation! 

I must buy some ammonia for the avocado bath the deepen the red. 

The plan is to experiment with red cabbage, turmeric and madder as well. I am considering an indigo bath, but will probably chicken out this time. 

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Link to my interview on clothing size. BBC Radio 4, More or Less.

Listen or download from BBC iPlayer

Download the podcast from iTunes (no 62)


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Exhibiting at Brighton Science Festival

Brighton Science Festival is in early September. The exhibition ‘Scratch That’, about the prevalence of Scabies in care homes aimed at raising awareness is on Saturday 9th September 12-6pm in the old Police Cells in Brighton, under the Town Hall. Come along and see the results of research from Sussex Medical School, interactively engage with how it feels to have Scabies through my textile developments and see collaborative art/science research in action.

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A perfectly fitting sleevehead is a pleasure to behold, and hard to explain.  

I have spent ages writing how to calculate the perfect set-sleevhead. It’s looking good, and my proofreader has applauded the clarity of my explanation, so those hours were not wasted. 

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BBC Radio 4 ‘More or Less’ programme Friday 25th August, 16.30.

Earlier in the summer I was approached by the BBC to give an interview to about the history of clothing sizing. I was really keen to do this and try to put the problems so many of us have with this issue into some context.

It was a sweltering day, and it was a relief to avoid travelling and being able to take part in the interview in the BBC Brighton studio. If you ask me now what I talked about, I can’t remember, so it will be a nice surprise for me as well to listen on Friday at 4.30pm.

If you miss it, don’t forget to catch up on iPlayer.



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Photoshoot for my latest book today. 

Today has been all about lighting and getting knitting to lie flat. Every knitter knows how annoying the stocking stitch roll can be, and we are resorting to the tricks and tips the lovely photographer I worked with on The Knitting Book taught me. So far have managed to get some nice clear shots. I am loving daylight bulbs, as it's a bit cloudy today. 

This morning's photos were mostly about shaping and tension swatches.   This afternoon it's colour techniques. 

Chapter Nine is nearly finished. One particular section on shaping calculation has been knotty. It's been proofread now and apparently I have made it really clear. Let's hope so, sleepless nights pondering how to describe sleeve head shaping seem to have paid off! 

Back to the shoot now, but before I go, here's a camera-eye view of today's efforts. 

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Cutting fabric strips for research garment

I have just spent ages cutting nylon tulle into 1/2 inch strips. I tried tearing them, but the edges roll and become too smooth for my purpose.

Luckily I could use a powered rotary cutter, but even so the tulle fought back and slithered around. 

The strips are to be woven into machine knit fabric to create a scratchy surface. Yes normally one is striving for a soft surface, but this garment is going to emulate for the wearer the feeling of having a skin disorder. 
Sampling so far has found that nylon tulle on a Lycra base knit can be quite irritating. When the nylon is slightly melted it becomes even more irritating. So that’s the plan. 
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Peg loom

Ross has built me a peg loom. This is the only photo so far but more will follow. We found helpful instructions on the Internet and the finished one has three rows of pegs of different sizes spaces differently. 

I want to make some rugs and although I am part way through hooking  one I also want to make a loosely woven fleece one to felt and I haveJacob’s fleece that will do the job nicely. 

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‘plein air’ knitting

Caravanning and knitting. Sitting in a field whilst dinner is cooking on the BBQ. Knitting baby boots for Katie’s baby. 

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