Monthly Archives: September 2016

What a great weekend that was!

9 days on and I’m just about recovered from a very exciting working week – and thought I ought to let you know about it all.


On Friday 9th September I was lucky enough to spend the evening with the fabulous Erika Knight and Arabella from her team! They came to do a pop-up shop at Fringe, where I teach my workshops and generally sort out the knitty things. We had such a lovely time – we invited our regular knitting fans, and people from the twice-monthly Meet and Make group. There were sample garments to adore, gorgeous yarns to squish and lovely books to leaf through. Erika and Arabella are just so interesting and fun to be with, everyone loved talking with them. AND – [drum roll] – as they really love Edna, and Erika is working on some dog sweater designs, I think she has her first modelling gig! She was not entirely with the program about this, but I’m sure she will get into the swing of it once she is being fussed at their studio. So watch this space, she may become a diva.

Then, after a hectic day of the pop-up shop the following day, I headed up to Avenue Mews where my studio now is. It was the annual MewsFest, a really fun event that’s organised by  Jet from Can’t Buy Me Love, and Ruth and Meghan from ChaChaCha Vintage. There’s music, food, vintage clothes and cocktails, all with a cool retro vibe inspired by the little news community. Open studios were planned, and at Lavender White, my next door neighbours, they had book readings organised. Can’t Buy Me Love had a DJ and old-school decks, and a mojito bar.


By 5.30 it was absolutely chucking it down with rain, so my ever-patient partner put up my gazebo in the wet, and we tried to set up my little stall of wares out on the mews. It was extremely soggy, and I was soaking and bedraggled. I felt like packing up. All around me others were setting up food and vintage stalls, and the valiant musicians were starting to tune up. By about 7.30pm the rain finally cleared, JUST as I’d got to the point of thinking I might give up and go home – and suddenly, within a few minutes, the tiny mews was packed with people. The mojitos were flowing, the ukulele band got going, tasty food smells started wafting about and we all got much more into the party vibe.

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by 11.00 I’d had more than a few mojitos, I’d sold lots of things, met new customers who want to come to commission pieces and have lessons, seen brave friends who came to support me (thanks Kelly, Monica, Nic, John and Jude!) and generally had a really great time. Dismantling our stall was a lot quicker than putting it up had been, and we trundled off home in a very good mood indeed. I’m already planning how we can do a Christmas version – Phil Spector anyone?


A new venue and a fresh start


In January 2016, I was determined I would maintain a routine with the virtual world; I’d get a grip on Instagram (check!) keep up with Facebook (ummmm) and write regular blog posts (#fail). What actually happened is that a flood at my studio set off a practical crisis and a subsequent crisis of confidence, all of which dragged on for many months. I didn’t feel like writing, let alone designing, and I buried myself in the production and orders I had, ignoring the looking necessity to move forward.
Briefly, a botched maintenance job  at my old studio  resulted in a fairly serious flood, that damaged a lot of my equipment and materials. Luckily, my finished pieces were higher up and they were unaffected. But the subsequent battle (ongoing) to extract compensation has been draining, and it’s been a lesson in naivety on my part. I was left feeling soured, badly treated and unable to feel happy working in that environment any more. Thankfully, I have friends with their ears to the ground, and someone told me about a little studio that was about to become available in Muswell Hill, right where we live. It’s on a tiny mews street that houses some very cool little vintage shops, and is something of a hidden gem in the area. The studio was housed above one of the vintage shops, and is let by actual lovely human beings, rather than a corporation. I went to see it straight away, and although it’s tiny, it felt absolutely right, like home. I knew other people had viewed it, and were about to view it, so I had to move fast, and also might not be chosen as the new occupant.

Then, after chatting with the shop proprietor, I discovered I knew the previous tenant a little. So that made it feel even more right. But THEN, when I was lucky enough to be offered the lease, the landlady told me that she’d looked at this blog and realised that many years ago, an old friend of hers (who is an old work colleague of mine!) had bought her one of my little pixie hats for her son. So she had seen that I still made them, and felt it was meant to be. How serendipitous is that?

Fast forward to now. I spent 4 months extricating myself from my previous studio, but am now happily settled in Avenue Mews. I had a purge of stuff I didn’t need, stuck the excess in the garden shed, and set up my machine knitting kit and my shop stock. Edna has her little spot on her blanket, there’s a cute roof terrace to sit out on and have a cuppa, and jolly bunting waves at me from all along the street. The bakery opposite wafts in tempting smells, I have my favourite radio station on all day, and at some point in the afternoon, Edna and I stroll along to La Dinette for a canele or a financier. Plus, every time I come in, there are new fabulous things in the shop downstairs, inspiring me onwards!

I’m going to pretend it’s January now, and reset my intentions. I’ve got new designs to share with you, events to invite you to, and endless silly dog photos. If you’ve had the patience to read this far, it’s the least I owe you to try and make this worth a visit! A bientot, mes amis!