Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Unwind with Jeanette Sloan

Jeanette will be joining Unwind as a vendor so I asked her to answer a few questions and share some of her crafting experiences with us...

Please introduce yourself and your business in 2-3 sentences.
Hi I’m Jeanette and my range of luxury alpaca based yarns was launched 3 years ago. My aim was to source offer the highest quality fibres in a concise range of weights dyed in a delicious palette of shades. The range is complimented by a selection of accessory designs which are available both individually and as part of a kit.

Diamond Lace Shawl © Jeanette Sloan 2014

What treats can we look forward to seeing at your stand during Unwind?
As well as bringing all the Jeanette Sloan yarns which, of course, must be squished, I’m looking forward to launching a couple of new kits including the Diamond Corner Shawl and Skinny Winnie a simple crochet scarf.

Skinny Winnie scarf © Jeanette Sloan 2014

You teach both hand knitting and machine knitting, do you have a favourite?
To be honest it really can depend on the design I’m working on or even my mood. 15 years ago I was machine knitting 90% of the time producing accessories for my duppdupp label and now I hand knit most of the time for the yarn range. I definitely find hand knitting more intuitive and relaxing

Describe your design process.
I often start by browsing through one of my many stitch dictionaries for inspiration although an idea may be sparked by the bold patterning of African textiles (as for my Tribal Tote) or in the case of my Mrs T’s Mittens it was an Aran dress knitted by my Mum back in the 1960’s. I don’t often create moodboards, I’m more of a sketchbook fan and use them to scribble down ideas, sketches and notes which continue to develop as I swatch. Once I’m happy with the knitting I’ll work out the pattern, usually in graph form, and write the full pattern once it’s complete.

You have a passion for accessories when you design, why?
I love the fact that they’re portable projects so you can generally sneak in a few rows whilst you’re on the go. They’re the perfect vehicle for luxury yarns as they require less yarn than garments plus they’re versatile and always make great gifts whether you’re giving them as kits or when they’re completed.

What is your work space like?
It’s a small room in our Brighton home so it has to be well organised. There’s a bookcase full of inspiration and reference books from the full set of Barbara J Walkers to a 70’s copy of How To Improve Your Crochet Techniques plus sketchbooks and files full of patterns and notes. My desk is usually covered with needles  and graph paper and as you might expect there’s also rather a lot of yarn which helps to inspire me as I find strong colours uplifiting. Oh and the radio is always on, I can’t work in silence.

Baby Alpaca DK © Jeanette Sloan 2014

You’ve developed your own yarn ranges, how did that start?
I was running a yarn shop in Edinburgh when I fell in love with the softness of Baby Alpaca and having met John Hewitt from AC Wood Speciality Fibres, who I’d been buying yarn from, we decided to put our talents together to develop the yarn range. I knew from experience how difficult it can be for independent shops to stock large yarn ranges with countless shades so made a conscious decision to keep both the number of yarns and colours small.

Baby Alpaca / silk 4ply © Jeanette Sloan 2014

What are you looking forward to the most about Unwind?
It’s almost 3 years since I moved to Brighton so I’m really looking forward to a new yarn show in my new home! I love seeing old customers, meeting new ones and enjoying the buzz of excitement and creativity that Unwind is bound to create.

A big thank you to Jeanette for taking the time to share some insight into her knitting world. You can find Jeanette’s website by visiting www.jeanettesloandesign.com . To keep up to date with all of the latest news, keep an eye on Twitter @jeanettesloan, Instagram jeanettesloan Facebook Jeanette Sloan Design and the blog

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