Today on the blog I am thrilled to have my first Advent guest. Joy of The Knitting Goddess is here chatting about her Christmas traditions, making decorations and her new found love of screen printing which has led to a fabulously sheepish tree decoration kit which she is selling to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Society, MIND and The Stroke Association.
I have worked closely with Joy on a number of projects this year and we have more lined up for 2016. Each year The Knitting Goddess raises funds for charities chosen by her Ravelry group and this years in particular are very close to my heart. My Grandad is suffering from dementia and it has been an incredibly tough year for him and indeed my Mum, Uncle and the rest of the family as we have tried to get him a proper diagnosis and then worked to make sure he is settled and comfortable with access to the most suitable care available to him. The Alzheimer’s Society have been a source of much welcomed advice during the past 12 months or so and it is a pleasure to be able to support the fundraiser and give a little something back.
Over to Joy with an insight into how these baa-rilliant kits came about and step-by-step instructions of how to put the decorations together…
For me Christmas is all about tradition. Making our cake earlier in the year and feeding it each week. Catching up with people I don’t see often enough. Good things.
There’s something very special about Christmas decorations. The ones which come of storage each year. The ones which hold memories. The ones which are like old friends. The ones which are bought as souvenirs of trips or events. The ones which are given as presents.
Handmade decorations are my idea of perfection. They’re a step away from the commercial tat which fills the shops at this time of year. Taking time to make things for yourself is a treat as well as a sanity preserver, and if you pick your craft well you might even be able to combine it with tea and cake!
Last year I made glass icicles for our tree.
This year I made sheep.
Variety can be a good thing.
As anyone who follows the blog will know I’ve been doing lots of screen printing recently, and turning the results into bags. So Christmas decorations seemed like a fairly logical step.
When I did screen printing summer school my tutor Kirstie Williams watched me sketch some knitting and pointed out that I could use a piece of actual knitting to create an image on a screen. As I can knit better than I can draw this was excellent news. It’s made me look at knitting (and crochet) in a different way – you don’t see 3 dimensional texture in a screen print, but you do get differences in areas which are denser.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on different swatches. I’d seen a gorgeous crochet texture on Rachel Atkinson’s Trienne shawl in Pompom magazine and wanted to turn that into a print. I’m about to finish knitting Aptenodytes cardigan by Anna Maltz and Kristin Blom from Anna’s utterly gorgeous Penguin book. The stitch pattern on this was developed by Kristin Blom, and features an interesting daisy stitch. So I sent off a couple of emails asking for permission to make up samples to turn into prints, and got knitting and crocheting again. I also sketched lots of sheep until I got to one I was happy with.
Then came the trickiest part of the whole thing for me – trying to get photoshop to do what I wanted…
Top to bottom and left to right the stitch patterns are:
1. Trienne shawl by Rachel Atkinson
2. Crochet mesh
3. Aptenodytes by Anna Maltz and Kristen Blom. Stitch pattern design by Kirsten Blom
4. Stocking stitch
5. Knitted mesh
6. Feather and fan
This image was then turned into a screen…
Then I got to play with gold ink. Gold because – well Golden Fleece. And because it’s almost Christmas. And because it looked like fun!
The sheep were cut out – I used circles but you could easily get more creative.
Then there was some very basic embroidery, and stuffing…
A hanging loop was added…
If you’d like to make your own flock of sheep the kits will go on sale via The Knitting Goddess shop at 19.00 on Friday 4th December. Each kit costs £8 and will contain 2 panels of 6 sheep and embroidery thread for sewing up. All of the proceeds from the sale of these kits will be split between the three charities that we have supported this year.
Thank you so much Joy for a fascinating insight into your screen-printing adventures and for sharing these wonderful sheep with us.
All images © Joy McMillan (The Knitting Goddess) and used here with permission.