Sometimes less is not more

I know that many knitters don't like to sew & hate even joining up their almost finished projects. I am not one of them. Every since I can remember I have loved to work with needle & thread. 


I had a really wonderful opportunity this past month thanks to my good friend Bonnie (this sweater is named for her), when she invited me to join her at a mini symposium. The lectures were given by Dr Susan Kay-Williams of the Royal School of Needlework (London UK). It was the first time a presentation of this kind had been given in Canada (AND it was held just 10 mins walk from my home). The RSN is very well respected and has set the gold standard for preserving the tradition of centuries old stitch-work and at the same time training embroiders who are involved in some very contemporary work...such as the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding gown. For that particular project they worked with the House of McQueen - which, for those of you who know me know, I'm a big fan of. 


The whole day was fantastic and it served not only to educate but also to renew my love of embroidery and hand work embellishments.


I remember being given craft kits as birthday or Christmas gifts and being totally thrilled as I opened them. Often times I would toss the instructions to one side and just start playing with the raw materials contained in the kit. Later I moved on to learning traditional embroidery techniques. I have dabbled with many of them over the years, but I don't profess to be an expert in any.


As I transitioned into working exclusively with knitted fabric (rather than woven) I found that I had to make modifications to some of the techniques in order to adapt them to the particular properties of knitting - mostly the elasticity of it. I spent several years designing for ready-to wear fashion many of which included elaborate embellishment techniques. Even though it's not my own personal aesthetic (I'm a black on black simple line kind of gal) I found it super fun to play with abandon, designing sweaters to celebrate seasonal holidays and so on.


When I discovered that in the hand knit world sewing and embellishment are considered a foreign land I was a little disappointed. Happily on the other hand  I have found knitters who love to do this type of work as much as I do.  I have taught many of them in my "Hand Embellishment for Knitwear" class most recently at the Toronto Knitter's Guild Frolic. Along the way I have taken it on as a challenge to come up with ways in which to entice those knitters for whom a sewing needle brings them out in a cold sweat. Recently I have noticed that there is a trend towards not only embellishment techniques but also non concealed, even fancy, visible mending making a big statement. Creative Knitting magazine devoted their whole Spring 2016 issue to embellishments, which featured two of my designs.


Over the last year I have experimented with hand work that I hope appeals to knitters who, like me, enjoy a less is more kind of look and have ended up developed a technique that I feel is more closely related to knitting than sewing. You can read more about it here and here.


So, dear knitter (or non knitter), why not give it a try...add a little duplicate stitch to a project or embroider a flower or two. It's fun to just play and see what you come up with. 


On-line, On-nine
Monthly post on the 9th of each month! 
On-line, On-nine  June 9th 2016

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I hope that you enjoy the photos - this month I've focused on examples of embellishment that I hope might inspire you.


Please check back next month to find out what my latest fascination is.

See you next month      
Fiona xxxx

                                         unleash the power of inspiration...