After a break from blogging - due to being busy relocating from Hereford to Leeds (read more) - I'm back with another childhood making-related gem!
This time, it's my doll Betty (notable for her problem hair) and bear Beary (notable for his imaginative name) - and their awesome garter stitch knitwear. Betty's jumpsuit was definitely made by my mum... and the provenance of Beary's jumper is lost in the mists of time, though I, for one, would rather like to recreate its graphic simplicity in adult size.
In other news: PhD amendments approved, so I am all done! I've put the thesis abstract and some excerpts from the conclusion - including my key insights - on the website, here. If you'd like to read the full document, please contact me for a download link!
In my last post, I mentioned lots of exciting post-PhD stuff coming up in 2014. I wasn’t kidding - I officially started the biggest, most exciting thing right away on 1st January! I have a new role as Research Fellow in the School of Design at the University of Leeds, working on a 3-year AHRC-funded project looking at design strategies for revitalising local and traditional craft processes and products.
It’s a really exciting project, and I’m delighted to have found an opportunity to continue researching so soon after finishing my PhD. But - you may be thinking - what about Keep & Share? That’s a good question, so I’ve put together a handy FAQ post to answer it (and explain to myself what the heck I’m doing, too).
Q. Will Keep & Share continue?
A. Of course! Keep & Share is basically the umbrella name for all of my knit-related activities - so whatever I’m doing, that’s what Keep & Share is doing. Keep & Share has evolved and changed over the years (I’ll be celebrating the ten year anniversary in August!) so this is just a new chapter in the story.
Q. But will you still be making and selling knitwear?
A. Yes! However - I’ll be shifting to only making pieces to commission, via the atelier. I won’t be keeping ready-to-wear items in stock any more. This is partly because I’m really enjoying revisiting designs from my archive, making pieces to individual customers’ requests - and also to save space.
Q. What do you mean, save space? You can’t be moving from the Keep & Share HQ?
A. Yes I am! The unthinkable is happening. We’ve had eight and a half fantastic years at Lugwardine Court, but the time has come to move on. It’s no good having a fantastic studio in Hereford, if you live in Leeds!
Q. What, so you’re moving right away?
A. Ah, no. I’m keeping the studio for a while, to soften the blow of moving and to give me some time to figure out how to downsize the mountains of stuff in there at the moment.
Q. And what about the knitting workshops?
A. Well, I’ve scheduled one last round of workshops, taking place at the studio between March and June this year - you can see dates on the workshops pages.
Q. And after that?
A. Because I’m now working in research full-time, I won’t have time to keep running lots of workshops any more. However, all is not lost! The plan is that my lovely friend and colleague Marissa Harmon, who will be running the beginners’ machine knitting workshops for me this spring, will take over the mantle. And maybe I’ll find the time to run the odd one, here and there - watch this space!
Q. And what about events - the Travelling Store and Knitting Tent?
A. Well, I won't have as much time to devote to zooming around the country, setting up shop, so I'll be just selling via the website for the foreseeable future. But I'm hoping to squeeze in fun stuff, like the Knitting Tent at festivals - I'll see how it goes.
Q. It sounds like you won’t be doing that much making. Won’t you get itchy fingers?
A. Don't worry! The middle phase of the new research project will involve lots of designing and making. And I’ve got lots of things on my list of things to make for myself, in my new hyper-amateur maker mode - mostly experimenting with the re-knitting techniques I have developed, playing around with them to rework the items in my wardrobe and create new pieces for exhibition.
Q. Hm, interesting. Can you tell me more about your new research project?
A. It’s all very new, so I’ll wait until we’ve got the project website up and running before I try to explain any more...
Well, it's taken me a couple of weeks to getting round to posting this, but thought I should say: I passed my PhD viva! Here I am, celebrating being a doctor of knitting, wearing my thesis cardi (and homemade dress, of course).
(For the academic folk - I was very pleased to pass with minor corrections/amendments - hurrah!)
It's a little bit crazy to think that I only started writing up my thesis on 1st January... and now, at the end of the year, I'm looking forward to getting stuck in to lots of exciting new post-PhD stuff in 2014.
More on that... soon!