Tag Archives: Cheese at Fourpence

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.

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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.

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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?

Where am I? instalment 1

How cryptic…I guess this is a double-edged post so I’ll write in two parts: firstly, I’ll explain my quietness over the last few months and lead you neatly to instalment 2…

After such great intentions about writing a blog, I haven’t managed to achieve what I aspired to – which was regular and entertaining or informative posts. I’d love to pretend I was totally on top of my social media output and that it was a breeze to keep up. But in fact, being of a generation who’ve had to sort of get used to this sort of stuff, I’ve found it’s slipped to the bottom of the task pile some days when in fact it should have been at the top. So, I’m going to try and be better. I’ve also been having something of a business re-jig: I participated in a couple of craft markets in September and when I displayed my knitted wares, I thought that something was missing….couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I wasn’t happy with how things looked. Luckily for me, my dear friend Jacqueline Curry was visiting me from Australia at the time, and she was kind enough to agree to give me a brutal and honest critique. Jacky is a really talented woven textile designer for InStyle textiles in Sydney: she comes over for London Design Festival and totally has her finger on the pulse. You can see her discussing some of her designs here.

So, we went along my display and literally did “yes/no” for each product. With Jacky’s help, I agreed to jettison some items that are not as current, and we were left with a much more coherent range of colours and pieces. My next task was to create a display for the foyer at my studio complex – here it is: do you think it looks like a ‘together’ range now?

Here is a little collage of my display at the Chocolate Factory's foyer (I am usually only to be found upstairs!) during October 2015.

Here is a little collage of my display at the Chocolate Factory’s foyer (I am usually only to be found upstairs!) during October 2015.

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You might notice I’ve got some natty new green boxes now, as well. They are from a brilliant company called SelfPackaging who are based in Barcelona, but their service is so speedy they might as well be based down the road! They have an amazing range of flat-packed boxes available to choose from, so do check them out if you need to create interesting packages for your own goods or for gifts.

IMG_0972 IMG_0956  IMG_0967IMG_0966 IMG_0969IMG_0968 IMG_0975   sale colours!!

So now that I have had something of a purge, I have also been able to make a big sale section in my Etsy shops: I’ve almost finished listing the sale pieces in Cheese at Fourpence, and Lord and Taft will follow next. These pieces are all perfect (unless stated as “samples”) so it’s a good time to get a pre-Christmas bargain (oh no, I went and said it, didn’t I?)

Right – if you want to know what’s come next, then stay tuned for instalment 2, coming next…

In praise of purple

Purple has always figured large in my family. It’s been my favourite colour since I was a child, and my maternal grandmother was completely obsessed with it. So much so that she would go to her weekly bingo nights dressed in an extravagant range of hues from lilac to deep violet (occasionally bordering on gaudy) but we loved her for her refusal to dress like an old lady, something she kept up until she was very old indeed. By the way, she never won at the bingo, due to her refusal to admit she needed to wear her hearing aid….

Last week would have been her birthday. I have a ritual of buying purple flowers for her on the day; they were in short supply this year for some reason, but I managed to find a sweet-scented hyacinth. She would have liked that. And I love coming into the living room in the morning and inhaling the soft perfume.

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As I’ve got older, I still treasure purple. But I’ve refined my preferences to a particular area of the purple spectrum: towards blue rather then red, with my absolute favourite being that almost Yves Klein [link takes you to Tate website] violet/ultramarine hue. Funnily enough I don’t often wear purple, but I just love looking  at it.

According to the colour theorist and psychologist Faber Birren, in his work Colour and Human Response [1978], to show a preference for purple as your favourite colour indicates that you are “sensitive and have above-average taste. While vanity may be involved, the purple lovers have unusual endowments, are fond of all the arts, of philosophy, the ballet, symphony, and other such refined pursuits. They may be temperamental, but easy to live with if one is accepted by them. They carefully avoid the mores sordid and vulgar aspects of life and have high ideas for themselves and for everyone else- but to their standards.” Now, I’m not going to pretend that either my grandmother or myself spent a lot of time engaging in “the ballet” or “symphony and other such refined pursuits”. But I’ll take some of the other insights!

On the other hand, Birren says that to dislike purple indicates “difficulty separating spiritual qualities in others from that which is wordly” and people who dislike purple are “enemies of pretense [sic], vanity, conceit, and will readily disparage things cultural, which to them may be purely artificial”. I’d prefer to view Birren’s analyses of colour preference as something to be taken with a pinch of salt (as indeed, he also seems to) – but it’s nice to hear that purple is associated with the arts, at any rate!

Did you know that the origin of the word purple is Purpura, a mollusc that was used to dye purple cloth in ancient times, and one whose dye was very highly valued.

Purple is one of the few colours that has a similar message across many cultures: purple does tend to signify royalty, richness and empire, and sometimes piety. It has absolutely no sense of frugality or restraint about it. It’s associated with silks, satins, velvets and tulles. If you want a rustic hairshirt, look elsewhere.

There’s probably never been a time when I didn’t use violet or purple in my work, and I have to actually restrain myself from always gravitating towards it in a yarn shop. Here are some recent impulse purchases – notice a theme?

 

sized for toddlers age 1 to 3, all cotton

from top: sized for 6-12 months, 0-6 months, 1 to 3 years, all cotton: from my Cheese at Fourpence Etsy shop

So I was very happy to see that British Vogue are touting purple as one of their key trends for spring summer 2015. The perfect excuse to indulge myself in working with my favourite! Here are a few recent pieces I’ve made that are influenced by this trend and also the trend for geisha/kimono designs. I’m in the process of adding them to my online shops and I’ll be at craft fairs with them in the next few months, details to come soon.

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I think my dog shares my love of purple: she singled this skein of yarn out for some naughty play when I was out recently…

Oh yes, one last violet indulgence for you: if you want the complete violet experience, seek out Penhaligons’ Violetta perfume, which is the absolute essence of Parma Violets.  Some might call it “a bit old lady” but when I think about the particular old lady it reminds me of, I’m proud to wear it.