Well, it's taken me a couple of weeks to get round to blogging - but I'm pleased to confirm that on 21 August we celebrated the tenth anniversary of Keep & Share with a fab party at London knitting hub Prick Your Finger.
The party incorporated a number of celebratory activities:
It was a lovely do - thanks to everyone who came! And a massive thank you to Rachael Matthews of Prick Your Finger for hosting the party and exhibition!
The exhibition will be up until Saturday 20 September, so you've still got a couple of weeks to check it out...
Yesterday I popped into knit mecca Prick Your Finger in Bethnal Green to firm up my exhibition-and-celebration plans with the lovely Rachael Matthews. We're celebrating ten years (to the day) of Keep & Share, with a party next Thursday. The exhibition will stay up for a month or so, including a range of pieces from the Keep & Share archive, plus a new work called The Backbone of Britain.
This work comes with a story.
It is made from a collection of twenty cardigans which my dad found stashed in a chest of drawers when he was clearing out my great aunt's house - hand knitted, seemingly unworn, all acrylic. Within the collection, there is a range of styles - although there are multiple versions of several patterns, knitted in different colours and sizes. We think my nana, Gladys (Auntie Alice's sister), knitted them - but can't be sure, as she died a few years before they were found. My nana was a prolific knitter, and taught me to knit when I was little, so this pile of cardigans felt emotionally significant, as well as representing a staggering amount of effort.
For obvious reasons, I ended up with this collection of cardigans. I didn't feel a desire to wear any of them - despite my cardigan fetish, I don't 'do' acrylic - but didn't feel I could get rid of them either. So, for years they were stashed away in a cupboard, and each time I saw them, I felt guilty.
Last autumn I reorganised the studio, and the cardigans re-emerged from the cupboard. Still, I didn't know what to do with them. The huge pile of knitting continued to lurk, as I shifted it from surface to surface in the studio. The cardigans needed to be resolved!
A little later in the autumn, I met my wonderful friend Celia Pym, told her about the cardigans and asked for her help. Celia - accompanied by Rachael - came to visit me in Hereford on a gloriously sunny day. We drank tea and ate cake and looked at the cardigans together... talked about them... played with them. As you will see in the photos, the weight of all this skill and time and effort weighed heavily on our shoulders for a while! (That's Celia with her head in her hands.) But as we talked and played, a plan began to emerge. The cardigans organised themselves into a new form which will be unveiled at Prick Your Finger in a week's time.
Nana, or whoever knitted these cardigans originally, made most of this work. I have just arranged it a little. Many, many thanks to Celia and Rachael for their help!
During the playing process, we were thinking about the amount of effort that women like my nana have put into catering (and over-catering) for their families' knitwear needs over the years. Rachael suggested that we might think of such effort as the Backbone of Britain - and the name stuck.
Please come and see! All are welcome at the tenth anniversary celebration on Thursday 21st August, 2014 at Prick Your Finger, 260 Globe Road, E2 0JD - join us to celebrate between 6pm and 9pm. I’ll be giving a slideshow talk – sharing my experiences of a decade in experimental slow fashion knitting – at 7pm.
In August, I’ll be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Keep & Share. Yes, that’s right – I’ve been exploring the possibilities of sustainable fashion, through the magical medium of knitting, for a whole decade! Doesn’t time fly…
I have a couple of exciting activities planned to mark the occasion: an exhibition and talk at London yarn mecca Prick Your Finger, and a print-and-online pamphlet telling the ever-evolving story of Keep & Share, in my own words.
It’ll be a busy summer, as we’ll also be popping up with the Keep & Share Knitting Tent at Latitude festival in July.
The talk and exhibition launch will take place on 21st August: ten years to the day since the first ever appearance of Keep & Share, at an independent fashion market in Manchester.
I’ll post further details nearer the time, but wanted to spread the word so you can get the date in your diaries. All are welcome – especially friends and customers of Keep & Share, past, present and future!
So, that’s Thursday 21st August, 2014 at Prick Your Finger, 260 Globe Road, E2 0JD - join us to celebrate between 6pm and 9pm. I’ll be giving a slideshow talk – sharing my experiences of a decade in experimental slow fashion knitting – at 7pm.
Many thanks to the wonderful Rachael Matthews of Prick Your Finger for inviting me – long live the knitting community!
I thought I would share the fun from a few recent workshops. First up was a crochet lesson in a tent, which formed part of the hen party celebrations for Lisa, organised by her sister Claire. None of the group had crocheted before, but in the two hour lesson they managed to produce enough pieces to create a stunning – and certainly unique – cushion cover panel!
Tomorrow I’m off to set up a exhibition of my work at London knitting mecca Prick Your Finger. I’m focusing on stitch-hacking and pattern-blagging, two techniques that I’ve developed over the last couple of years: