Workshops & community events

Exhibition of first year (Level 4) undergraduate knitted textile students’s work at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft.

To prepare for this design project, the students spent an afternoon at the museum in Ditchling, drawing from  the collection in the main galleries. They were also able to view the amazing archive of natural dyed woven textile samples by Ethel Mairet. These formed the core inspiration for a hand knitting project for the next 6 weeks. In this project they learned the basics, casting on, knit and purl stitches and binding off. Once these were mastered they moved onto ribs of various types, moss stitch and basketweave, cables, drop stitch and lace. In addition they learned how to dye using simple natural ingredients, and to hand spin. Its a great project that I love to lead.

Knitted samples and fashion sketches by: Sigita Kaleth, Charlee Singleton, Zoe Smith, Emily Powell, Georgia Conway, Melanie Valenzia, Lilian Sadeghi, Daisy Filani and Heather Acketts.

Natural Dyeing workshop, 8th September 2017

A really lovely day spent working with ‘kitchen’ natural dyes.

We used red cabbage, turmeric, avocado, onion skins and a lot of water and gas!Some people dyed wool yarns, I had some hand spun yarns and there was some fleece to test out in the dyebath. The avocados had been soaking for about 10 days in a mix of water and ammonia. I soaked the onions skins overnight in hot water. The red cabbage was chopped small and boiled for about an hour. All were brought to the simmer, but the avocados were not boiled. Yarn and fleece was mordanted overnight in 7% alum 8% cream of tartar, then rinsed before being put into the dyes. The red cabbage didn’t result in much by itself, a bluesy grey, but we split the bath into two pots. Adding ammonia to one brought out a wonderful warm green that stayed well after rinsing – we added a little salt to the dyebath to help this. To the other half we added vinegar, which resulted in a lovely. Lilac -pink tinged grey..By overdying the green from the red cabbage in the turmeric dyebath, we achieved a bright lettuce green. The finished hanks.. From top left, red cabbage/ammonia, turmeric, red cabbage/ammonia on hand spun yarn,blackberries with salt, onion skins on hand spun, red cabbage/ammonia, turmeric, blackberries (exhausted dyebath),red cabbage/ammonia/turmeric overdye, orange peel, turmeric, red cabbage/vinegar, turmeric, red cabbage/vinegar. onionskins.

Hand knitting student workshop with Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

Although a little late on reporting this, I want to tell you about a lovely workshop I facilitated last autumn, (and you will understand why I say this rather than ‘taught’ in a minute). The workshop was in collaboration with Ditching Museum of Art +Craft in Sussex, and held in the charming new building that houses the museum’s collection.

As you may have gathered, I teach at the University of Brighton in the Fashion Textiles department. During the Spring the knitted textile students had visited the museum and drawn inspiration from the collection to develop a series of hand knitted samples. This project formed part of their degree learning,  and focused on hand knitting skills.

In the weeks running up to the workshop their knitted design work was exhibited in the museum alongside the exhibition, Dyeing Now: Contemporary Makers Celebrate Ethel Mairet’s Legacy, inspired by the museum’s Ethel Mairet archive of natural dyed samples.

Read more about this exhibition and its legacy of yarns dyed to Ethel Mairet’s recipes:


The exhibition of student work at Ditching Museum of Art + Craft. Rachel Graham, Lily Rodgers, Molly O’Halloran, Lily Rodgers, Nell Downes, Maddy Sellers, Lucy Burgess.

The students were invited to organise a drop in one-day workshop to share their hand knitting skills with museum visitors. Hence I facilitated the day, but the students ran the workshop. It was a lovely day, and although raining outside the room shone with colour and was warmed by the chatter.

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Student-led workshop at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, October 2016

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Some of the lovely knitting inspired by the museum and surrounding countryside at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft.

The project ran again this academic year, and an exhibition of the work and an other workshop is planned for the Spring of 2018.

Over the years I have organised a variety of community events and workshops. Some of them are recorded in the photos on this page.
2006 Big Knit-in at Brighton. This event ran annually every June from 2005-2010
International Women’s Day 2007 – Knitting corner
Make-do-and-mend workshop, Brighton Science Festival 2010
A  ‘Smart’, weight sensitive shopping bag designed by the author. These were made by visitors in the workshop organised by the author during Brighton Science Festival 2010.
Laughinghens ‘Designing and calculating a garment pattern’, workshop, Sussex.  
Laughinghens ‘Sock knitting’ workshop, Sussex.