New on Strikk

I've been lucky in that Strikk Hand Knit Moss Stitch cushions have proven to be quite a hit - I keep meaning to make one for myself, but somehow that never happens.
I have also been looking for colour inspirations - some interior ideas and how to mix up the yarns and colours, and came across this lovely home (excuse the page photograph).
I loved the use of both a very neutral colour, but then different fabrics (the leather cushion looks fabulous) as well as the photograph cushion, all neatly pulled together with the gorgeous knits.

So, having rummaged through my yarn, I found some lovely lavendar and got inspired to knit a rather large (50x50cm this time) moss stitch cushion which would fit absolutely perfectly in such a home.

And there you go.  Wait, there's more inspiration from where that comes from, usually the massive pile of interior magazines in the bathroom......

You find the lavender cushion here .


A quick Spotted to round off the week.
I love seeing traditional-type crafts redone all modern-like and I have to say, I'm a little fascinated by cross stitch too, only because I never have the time to sit down and do one and for me it seems like such a romantic past-time (the days when you played gin rummy, or just had gin...oh wait, that's still the same today!).
But having said all that, here's a collection from the Spanish rug company, Gan-Rugs.
Happy Weekend.

Here, there and everywhere

Lest you should think I have completely and utterly gone to ground (and this presupposes that anyone is interested), um, I'm around, doing stuff, going places.
Went home for a wedding.
Then went to Milan for my birthday.
And then went for a walk just 30 minutes from my flat.

In between, there's been some knitting (as always) with new colours, yarns, and patterns.  
Good to be back in the thick of things again, missed y'all.


Haven't done a Spotted in a while, not because I haven't been spotting things, but just life and all that.  But these series of photos of South African artist Mary Sibande thought was worth sharing.  The images are striking, maybe controversial, definitely beautiful, but for me (and alas, it always comes down to this) was the use of yarn and a spot of knitting that made me want to share this.
(photos via The Guardian)
By far my favourite - love the serenity in her face looking at her needles, but still a powerful statement.
I could, of course, be interpreting this all wrong, what do you think?


Whilst I get my life organised (you know, find somewhere to live, move in, buy furniture, get bicycle, figure out the nearest bottlestore), I've been mooching around the city (knitting in tow as always and must say no matter where in the world, when you knit in public, you always, always get comments or knowing smiles) and came across a bicycle fair, so at the risk of boring all those who don't love cycling, here's a few pics.
And yes, there really is nothing better than a man and his bicycle....
We'll be back to all things knitting sharpish, I promise.

New city, new you.

Writing this whilst sick - flu - awful.  I blame my new home, far too much fresh air, clean and clear water and the beer is way too strong!  Yip, I've moved to Zurich and got sick.
Moving countries and starting a new job all in the last two weeks was more stress inducing than I thought, and on top of that still trying to knit orders (which are very far behind, alas).  So whilst I sit and recover and knit away, some first impressions of my new city.
Oh, and this photo, thought it looked really effective to crochet the photos together.

So far woolshops seem a little thin on the ground, but hopefully we'll spot some soon else there may be a hefty Ebay shipping bill on the horizon.

Ha! We've been featured...

Just in case, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, just moved countries and it all went a bit manic and hectic and stressful and in between still trying to knit orders which probably kept me calm (believe it or not) - but on Tuesday we left London to start a new job (and life?) in Zurich, so expect lots of talk about chocolate, fresh air, neutrality, freezing cold and chocolate.
But before that, was very excited to be on the Big Cartel featured product list.  A very unexpected honour indeed.
Right, best I get back to knitting. 

About that "Quit Your Day Job".

I've seen it, you've seen it, fabulous photographs of shiny, lovely people sitting in wonderful studios surrounded by their creative-ness and craft, telling us how it all started for them and then one day, hey, they just Quit Their Day Job, didn't really have to prepare, it all "just happened" and now they're continually surrounded by their beautiful craft and wonderfulness.

Can you tell I'm jealous?

I've been asked a few times about what I think of making a living from knitting (my craft of choice) and yes, it seems by looking at some sites that there are some big-hitter knitters out there that make a living just from knitting, but the reality for me was a little different and I thought I'd share my story (briefly, of course).

Last year I was retrenched from my job in an investment bank in the City of London (I always called this my part-time job where my real job involved needles and some yarn) - perfect, I thought, I'll finally be able to live my dream of knitting day in and day out with the cushion (see what I did there?) of a retrenchment package to keep me warm and cosy.
The reality was a litte different.  The first couple of months were great - especially not having to worry about cash - I was blogging a lot, tweeting (I have a lot to say sometimes), knitting, taking photographs, knitting some more, watching highbrow Japanese films and listenign to more Radio 4 than I dare to admit to, working on business plans, putting together creative stuff, and knitting.  But that all changed when cash began to dry up (ok, an extended trip back to Cape Town didn't help), and I started to panic.  Can I really make a living from some needles and yarn?

Panic led to self-doubt which had a knock-on effect.  It seemed the more I stressed, the less I was able to feel free and be creative.  Knitting, as you know, is a tricky discipline.  It takes time and time is ultimately what you get paid for, but yet, you cannot be priced out the market.  Always a balancing act.  And really, even though I now had all the time in the world, I really didn't have much time at all to do everything.

So the cash finally ran out.  I almost made my rent a few times just from my knitting sales, but it would have meant having to forego the extra glass of champagne and eventually I was forced back into the corporate world (I have a law degree for trade, but am a knitter by heart - sorry, couldn't resist that), but a funny thing has happened, now that I'm not stressed about where my rent is going to be paid, I'm the busiest knit-wise I have ever been (yay!).

I've learnt loads of things and I don't regret my experience at all.  A few things I can say though:

  • Consider what success means to you and from there, work out what works for you to realise it.
  • Do the sums.  Yip, do the sums.
  • If you've done all the preparation, don't panic when things look a little tough.  Keep going until it really isn't feasible to go any further.
  • Luck.  Yip, pretty much without luck, hard work really only goes so far.  The two are not mutually exclusive.
These really are only a few points.  Don't want to bore you as there are so many articles, posts, advisers , naysayers, yaysayers on this very topic.  But I just wanted to share my experiences so far.  Currently, Strikk is exactly where I want it to be and I'm loving the steady stream of orders and the time to offer custom pieces.  There are some changes ahead, but for the moment, this is exactly perfect.

If you have some ideas or comments or experiences, I would love to hear them.  


Haven't done a "spotted" for a while, and these were great, woven pattern in what looks like plastic.  Fabulous! From Neo.

The woven bowls are also great.

New on Strikk

For a while I've been toying with the idea of knitting more home-related items (other than cushions) - every time I'm in a room I'm always thinking about what knitted things can be added (I know, I do have a life, I promise) and dining rooms are deifnitely one of them.  
So in celebration of, err, summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought I would play around with a placemat pattern I spotted, but using different yarn (thicker) and obviously bigger needles - and here is the result. 
The aran weight yarn definitely does the trick as it makes for a more substantial mat rather than just a flimsy material feel and of course, it's all machine washable (is there any other way?).
So there, we go, bring on the summer, the alfresco dining, the picnics, or simple everyday living.  Will be adding some more colour combinations soon, although maybe you have some ideas that might work, my colour-combining is lacking a little bit of inspiration at the moment.
And on a different note, keep a lookout during next week, we're starting a little column on all things craft / small business and legal (I know, riveting combination, but someone has to do it) - so drawing from my experience as a small business, crafting type, together with my legal knowledge and hopefully there'll be something for everyone.
Oh, and our placemats are available here, here and here.
Happy weekend :-)

All systems green

Another chance trip to Paris in the last few days, and my what a difference a month makes.  Paris is blooming, it's so unbelievably green and so so pretty.
Well, with a little bit of pink and purple too.

All my best friends are illustrators

One thing I cannot do is draw.  Alas, try as I might, the best I can do is a stick man and loads and loads of palm trees with yachts (I know, not sure where that comes from either), but I have some talented friends who are talented illustrators, one of whom is my dear friend Tanja Wilmot.   Tanja has a gorgeous blog over here with some beautiful, beautiful work.
 In fact, I'm sure Tanja won't mind me saying so, but she recently got married and the below illustration was the one she used for her wedding invitation.  There's a lovely story as to how it all came about here

So we had a little celebration for the newly weds and I thought I would rather give a handmade wedding present - and knowing Tanja's love of all things white, decided on a large, chunky cable knit all in white.
I used the Elle Pure Gold Yarn as I usually do, this time in chunky, although I hear through the grapevine that Elle will no longer be producing their chunky yarn which is a pity as it's a great yarn to knit huge projects with - and the fact that it's completely machine wash, well, can't argue with that.
So in case you wanted one of these cushions for yourself, they're available in the usual spots here, here and here.