Save the future of creativity in schools

Why is this not in the news more!
The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) threatens the very future of creative subjects - like Music, Art, Design & Technology, Drama and Dance. By missing them off its list of core areas children must study, the Government is undermining their place at the heart of learning. Here below I have copied the template letter from You can copy this letter into a word processor document, print it, and then post it to your local MP. Be sure to remember to fill in the text in the red areas. I’m going to draw a letter and send it off!

{name of MP}
House of Commons

{name of MP},

Please include creative subjects in the English Baccalaureate
I am deeply concerned by the omission of creative subjects from the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) league table and ‘full EBacc’ certificate.
As it stands at the moment, the EBacc places significant pressure on schools to focus on just five ‘pillars’ of study: maths, English, sciences, languages (including Ancient Greek and Latin) and humanities (defined as just history and geography).
These are important, but the omission of creative subjects threatens a broad and balanced education (the International Baccalaureate for example includes a sixth creative pillar).
It also puts our creative economy and the creation of jobs in that sector at risk.
This is why the CBI and Creative Industries Council have expressed concern at the absence of any creative subject from the five pillars.
This is why over 40 organisations from across the creative sector are supporting the Bacc for the Future campaign which advocates a sixth pillar of creative subjects for the EBacc.
Please could you raise these concerns with the Secretary of State for Education and - if the EBacc reforms do go ahead - secure the place of creative industry relevant subjects in a sixth pillar of study such as ‘art and design, dance, drama, design technology, film studies and music.’ This is what the Government’s own Henley Review recommended.
I look forward to your reply.
Yours sincerely,
{your name}


“An exhibition of contemporary art to capture the energy, excitement and sentiment of the Olympic Games coming to London. 11 artists have created a unique art collection for the London Borough of Haringey, using a variety of media. Each artist has created a piece of their own work and another in collaboration with local school children.”
As a direct, literal interpretation, I created 4 of the 5 rings to reflect the Olympic values. Through the process of knitting, once initial stitches are established, it is not complicated to produce, but like a marathon: determination and perseverance are needed to keep going to reach the end, improving on a personal best. I have stripped the same 5 colours together within each ring to show integration, different patterns to show diversity, and yet also equality as all the rings are the same. At Earlham Primary School in Wood Green, I worked with two classes of thirty pupils to create the situation of a Knitting Circle, a gathering of knitters, and with these groups, to foster the growth of friendships and a greater collective skill set. Like a relay race, my passing on my knitting skills to these classes of children, they are taking on the Olympic values as they develop their own hand crafts, each making a stitch, a line, or even a whole square of knitting, at their own personal best to contribute to make as a collaborative effort, the last of the 5 knitted rings.

The exhibition will run from the 25th July to 23rd September 2012 at Bruce Castle Museum, Tottenham. 
OOOOOH Art is part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
Photo by Roelof Bakker.

Made At Morley

I have been practicing Experimental Machine Knitting at Morley College for a while, and now it’s our turn (with the other textile courses’ students) to show off our work in the Morley Gallery. I’m looking forward to the private view to see everyone’s work up! We have a very creative, talented group, and it will also be interesting to see what’s happening in the other textile courses too, I wish I had the time and money to do all of the courses! Made At Morley opens on 15th till 29th March 2012.

Black Metal

A few weeks back I visited to the V&A to look at their display of wrought iron structures for inspiration. I was most drawn to the strong geometric shapes of triangles within circles repeated in multiple forms, and from this I created a fairisle knitting pattern. Around the same time went to Harrogate for a wedding which had a strong gothic influence, and went to a Metal gig, the first band Soror Dolorosa sounded stunning and their artwork styled on klimt caught my attention. All of this influenced my final pieces, to be worn as jewellery, playing with scale and shape, these large pendants with the stitches forming ornate patterns in miniature, evoke a sense of the ironworks and the gothic.

Fashion In Motion

Yesterday, I was at the V&A with my fellow machine knitters, looking at the iron works for some inspiration for a new up coming project. This must be one of the few times I’ve gone there not to look at fashion or textiles directly, but I can totally see why the iron works were suggested, gates with intricate lattices looked just like knitted lace.
Anyway after photos and sketches done, followed by obligatory tea and scones in the amazing cafe, I stayed in the shop a little longer after the others left, inspired by beautifully designed accessories and spotting a couple of floral wood blocks for printing (I will buy these another time). Finally I went to leave, calling it a day, which was full of inspiration, shapes, pattern and design, when I was handed a free ticket to a fashion show/performance that was just about to begin....
Sat near the back, I still had a great spot to capture the models as they appeared out on the catwalk. “Models at Work” was a performance piece by Paris based museum director, curator and performer Olivier Saillard, featuring five famous french models: Axelle Doue, Claudia Huidobro, Anne Rohart, Violeta sanchez and Amalia Vairelli. The performance was in five parts and rather than showing off clothing, it was more about the models gestures and the idea of dressing and design and the elements involved in clothing shown on the catwalk: Black sheaths, An exercise in style around the white tunic. Catwalk without clothes. Modelled in calico. Shadow garments. IMG_0591IMG_0609IMG_0587
It was really exciting to be sat in the Raphael Gallery along side some very fashion looking people, journalist and dear I say, hipsters. I love this sort of thing and I want to be more a part of it!

Hat of 2011

So this hat nearly took me a whole year to complete although it only took a week to knit! I started it in January 2011, but it was too small for even my pea sized head, it has since taken me the rest of the year to get around to unraveling it, and re-knitting, but I finished it today just in time before this year is out! Happy New Year all!

Ghosts Of Gone Birds

Most of the time Facebook is a time waster, but sometimes it shows its worth, I discovered this exhibition posted up through two different unrelated friends that I hadn’t seen in ages, Ed Kluz and Anita Bruce who were both exhibiting in it. I could have easily missed Ghosts Of Gone Birds, but managed to see the show the day before it ended in Shoreditch, when I was on my way to the Hoxton Knitting group. The show was overwhelming, I wish I had more time to see everything, a whole room of Ralph Steadman drawings, and recently I had discovered the work of Felt Mistress through twitter, who has worked in collaboration with Jon Burgerman to make illustrations into stuffed felt creatures! By chance I managed to catch up with Anita, invigilating the show, whilst knitting her hummingbirds in wire. Her knitting patterns and sketchbooks as complex and amazing as her finished pieces.
Felt Mistress

Ed Kluz

Anita Bruce

Morley College Winter Fair

Winter Fair e-flyer
Since September I have been attending Morley College, learning how to use a domestic knitting machine. This coming weekend, on Sunday 4th December, I will be showcasing and selling some of the items I have learnt to make, along side my course mates on a stall at the Winter Fair. I do hope you can come down and see what we have been up to. Below is a headscarf and scarf set I made the other week!

The Tea Rooms

Over the last few months, I have taken on leading new knitting & crochet classes at The Tea Rooms, in Stoke Newington’s Church Street.
When I used to live very near by, I would go for their fantastic cream teas, and thought how nice it would be to hang out there more often. Now I get to have a lovely pot of tea whilst helping people learn new textile skills! The class is aimed at complete newbies and mixed ability in crochet and knitting, I have hooks, needles, yarns to get you started, and ideas for your projects!
Keep an eye on their facebook page for details of when I will be there.

Back To The Knitting Machine

Last year I started my journey into machine knitting, I didn’t get too far. I kept getting frustrated and stressed with casting on and off and panicking whenever I dropped stitches. It’s so very different from hand knitting. But I still want to learn how to use the domestic machine, not as a replacement and speedier technique to hand knit, but to explore it as a new way of working. I’ve taken it up again and to my delight, I can (on most occasions) cast on, knit and cast off with no problems. Now I need to work out what to do with it! Which yarns and fibres, what thicknesses and tension, what patterns and techniques of hand tooling? It really is a whole new visual/craft language and I am trying to find my voice from within it...

Knitting & Stitching Show 2011

I was back at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Ally Pally again this year, helping Liz Cooper to install some of the art exhibits in the show. Our main task was to install the major Beryl Dean retrospective, of intricately stitched Gold work on Bishop’s gowns, some huge colour embroideries on big panels, and numerous framed drawings of her design work, all of which was incredible.

Some other pieces that caught my eye, once the show had opened were these knitted pieces by
Yoshimi Kihara. I didn’t get to meet her till the end of the show, when I asked her if I could take this photo, and it turned out that we both went to the same school in Kyoto: Kawashima School of Textiles about 10 years ago! How fantastic that I’m still making connections from a very brief, but most influential time of my art / textile schooling.

There was some interesting, knitting/performance art, but it seemed a bit lost and out of place to the crowded mass of shoppers in the main hall!
And lastly to note, the fun knitted bunting in the Palm Court, made by readers of Woman’s Weekly magazine!


Wool Modern

On Friday I went to the Wool Modern exhibition at La Galleria, in Pall Mall. I was planning on getting to see this anyway, but I ended up going as part of a group with my machine knitting course, which made it so much more enjoyable to share our excitement over knit structures, and to get our tutor Jo, to give us an insight to how some of the more technical pieces had been made. Here are some images of my favourite pieces in the show. The first being a punchcard fairisle machine knit outfit: Knit Monster by Sibling.

50's Vintage Knit & Chat

On the 13th & 15th August, I lead workshops at Hornsey Library and Bruce Castle Museum with the theme of Vintage Knitting. Inspiration was taken from the 1950’s to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Festival of Britain, which took place at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank of London, with activities also taking place in North London’s borough of Haringey. Although my part was to facilitate the workshops, to help and teach people how to knit and crochet, I found the importance through what individual participants brought with them, together as a group. Sharing knitting experiences, memories and stories from a time gone past. Alison brought some fantastic original patterns with her, and a lifetime’s wealth of British knitting knowledge. I’m only sorry that my photography is rather shaky and blurred from my mobile phone, time to invest in a new camera!

Knit With Attitude

Over this Summer’s month of August, you can find me 3 days a week at Knit With Attitude. I’ll be there to help you with your knitting needs, in between stroking the gorgeous stock of eco yarns! 228B Northwold Road, Stoke Newington, London N16 6XT.

Tuesdays 12noon - 5pm
Fridays 12 noon - 5pm
Saturdays 2pm - 6pm


Dog Tooth for Dog Ear

I wanted to submit a piece to DOG EAR, but thought it would be more appropriate for their site and format to just give a written knitting pattern rather than a finished piece. Taking on the theme of Dogear, I have taken the pattern of dogtooth to create this bookmark. See below! If you want the full pattern of how to make this, then please go to DOGEAR.

On your marks...get set...GO!

Oooooh Art Collection

Knitted Felted Sheep

On the last couple of days now of working on the Mirabilia Domestica exhibition. It will be sad to take it down, its provided an inspiring space to work within, to create new textile ideas and Solveigh has been full advice and stories! Today I had a closer look at fellow assistant and Textile Artist Alex’s shrunken felted cardy, which is so cool! I have been trying to follow it stitch by stitch, to draw out the sheep pattern on graph paper, to knit up at a later date sometime...

Keep & Share

These foxy slippers on my mantlepiece were a lovely leaving present from an old job, a few years back. I’m keeping these!
This is a square I knitted at Latitude festival...
I’m going to share this with the others.
Keep & Share

Crafty Little Entrepreneur

Jennifer is one of the girls who comes along to my after school knitting group. I think she’s about 8/9 years old ( I’ll have to check when I see her next week). Anyway today she told me that she is going to start up a business were she knits things and then people buy them. I said that this was a sweet idea, then she quickly pointed out to me that this wasn’t just an idea, that she had already made £5 selling the scarf she had only just learnt to knit a few weeks back!!
(This is the one Jennifer was working on today).

Creative Stitches & Scotch Eggs

Last week I was invited to go down to Brighton for the day to help out on the UK Hand Knit Association’s stand at the Creative Stitches show at the Brighton Centre. Most of it was not so much to my taste, mainly hobbyist card making and tacky lower end commercial craft, which is a good thing as I wasn’t tempted to buy anything! However it was massively busy, and I was rushed off my feet with a que of mainly elder ladies wanting me to teach them how to crochet! So after a day full of slipknots, hooks and chains, and yarning over, I went for a quiet walk along the seafront to take in the waves before heading back to London. Getting on the train I spotted a musician, who I only recognized from some gigs I had been to in the last few months, where he was featuring with his band Drum Eyes. Dj Scotch Egg joined me for the journey home. We had a lovely chat about noisy music, before I left him on his way onward to Leicester...

DJ Scotch Egg - Scotch Chicken

Nothing To See Here | MySpace Music Videos

Jitterbug Fingers

I few months ago I bought this Jitterbug yarn at the iknit weekender. I’ve been wanting some hand warmers so I picked up my 5 needles and made up these as I went along! I hope you like them. Here’s the pattern if you fancy making your own pair, mine are rather small and snug, so you may wish to add a few extra stitches, but I’m sure they will stretch with a bit of wear. This is the first pattern I have written up for others so it may not read well or seem a bit awkward. Don’t feel obliged to follow it note for note just as long as the second hand matches the first!

5x 5.5mm double ended knitting needles
I used Jitterbug yarn but doubled up more like a DK weight.

Cast on 40 stitches, then split between 4 needles and join in the round.
1-6: knit in the round
7-29: rib stitch (knit 2, purl 2)
30: knit 2, purl 2tog
31-43: rib stitch (knit 2, purl 1)
44: knit 2, purl 1, make1
45-54: rib: knit 2, purl 2
55: cast off 10 stitches at start of round to make thumb hole, continue to rib(k2, p2) rest of round
56-64: at start of round now purl 4 above thumb hole opening, then continue to rib knit 2, purl 2
66: knit 1, make 1, knit 1, purl 2tog
67: knit 1, purl 1
68: purl 1, knit 1
69: knit 1, purl 1
70: last row cast off.

The Knitting & Stitching Show

As some of you know I have a crochet group on Saturday mornings, this week we thought we'd meet up at the Knitting and Stitching show. If you are already going it would be great to see you there! Tickets are available on the door for £12.00, so I believe.

Before going into the show we are going to have our usual Saturday morning crochet and knit meet up.
If you want to join us we will be meeting up on:

Saturday 10th October, at 11am. Outside The Phoenix pub, next to the main entrance of the Palm Court of Ally Pally.

This meet up is free to attend and anyone can come! - you don't even have to go into the show!

I will also be going to the show on Friday 9th if anyone wants to meet up! Hope to see you all there!

Maybe I should stick to crochet...



I am knitting a letter ‘S’ for the Poetry Society. They want lots of knitted letters which will be sewn together to make up a secret poem, to be revealed in October. I wonder what its gonna be?

Wools & Crafts

I discovered this amazing little shop today on Blackstock Road, in Finsbury Park. Some of the ladies in my crochet group had mentioned it in passing, but I had no idea just how much stock they have! It was really hard to leave empty handed. I managed to only buy two items, some matching purple cotton to finish off my treble crochet granny square!

UFO Project Administration Service

Rachael and Louise at Prick Your Finger are, for the next couple of months, becoming the administration service for a UFO project, which will result in an exhibition at the Jerwood Space. UFO being - Un Finished Object! This is aimed at all those knitting and crochet items that were once started then forgotten, another chance for these to have a lease of life. It sounded like a great project for me to get stuck into, so for the next couple of weeks I have put on hold my crochet and knits to finish off someone else’s UFO, and at the same time handing over a piece I had given up on.
This is a hat I started a while back, then used it as sample to practice my cable stitch on. It then got too tight for my head, and I got fed up of it. I wonder how it will turn out?

Green Knit Graffiti

Today I had to go to the Southbank Centre for a meeting, and had a sudden idea before leaving my flat this morning, grabbed an old sample of knit that I did about a year ago - finally! I think I have found a use for it!!

After leaving the Royal Festival Hall, I headed over to the Skater Park to find the new home for my square of green knitting...

I was a bit nervy at first and thought someone was gonna come over and tell me off for doing stuff there, but no one did, I wish my whole bag full of yarn to string up there, with those pillars, I could do some installations like my previous work.
Anyway here’s what i got up to...

This piece is far too small for this amazing pillar.

Knitting resting on wall whilst i look for a better location.

I found a railing - perfect!

Tied on with a bit of pink yarn.

Looking out to the Thames.

Tricot Machine

i came across this animation and think this is so amazing, the Canadian band’s name Tricot Machine translates as knitting machine, they have some other really lovely tunes and videos too. This also reminds me, i have half the pieces of a knitting machine tucked away in a box waiting to be complete and to be used!!

Tricot Machine || Les peaux de lièvres from Dare To Care Records on Vimeo.