I am super excited because this week I shall be in Harrogate at the UK Knitting & Stitching Show selling my book on the Tall Yarns’n Tales stand. I will be working with two of my favourite comrades: Linda and Andrea. I love these wonderful women who create beautiful designs for wearing and for making and who seem to do everything in a generous creative spirit.
We have had some very happy days together this summer talking about clothes and colours and workwear.
I especially love the aesthetic and politics of their beautiful pinnies, aprons and tabards as these are practical and comfortable garments; they are made in the UK out of natural fibres; and they dignify and celebrate the labour involved in working with textiles. To my mind they are the perfect garment in which to knit stranded colourwork or in which to celebrate the triumphant completion of a swatch.
I first discovered Tall Yarns’n Tales at WOOLFEST in 2012. Loads of women there seemed to be wearing amazing pinnies and smocks over their wellies, and I wondered where they were all getting their swishy-yet-practical garb. I thought the construction and aesthetic was just marvelous. Big deep pockets, sturdy linen fabric, yet with lines that flatter and swathe! I generally try to buy second hand clothes or make my own but must confess that when I got my first paycheck from Oxford Brookes during my year-long contract there, I could not resist treatingmyself to one of the fantastically enabling, UK-made, Tall Yarns’n Tales signature garments: a 100% linen spinning pinny. Here I am in it, demonstrating the sounds of Shetland sheep playing through a speaker covered in Shetland wool.
I love my red pinny but, as I am a serious WOOLFAN, I kept thinking of a beauteous bolt of pure wool fabric left to me by my wonderful Godmother, Aunty Hilary. Hilary always wore bright purples and pinks, and if you have read the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook you will know she was also a superlative fruitcake baker.
Here she is in a tweed outfit of her own creation cutting up a rich fruity Christmas cake. The boys in the photo are two of my cousins – both older and taller than me now!
It seemed to me that Hilary’s tweed would be a superlative tabard or smock and so this summer, I asked Linda and Andrea whether it might be possible to have a bespoke garment made from this fabric in time for winter. To my delight they agreed. With their customary verve they breathed life into Hilary’s tweed turning it into a striking tabard which I wear all the time. Andrea had the brilliant idea to use the selvedge as a decorative edging, and I love that this detail nods to the woven construction of the wool and its life on the loom.
As well as creating the lovely tabard, Andrea and Linda have been hugely supportive of my book, encouraging the whole premise from the outset and helping me to style the fingerless mitts in ways that feel really me. I love the combination of the Tall Yarns’n Tales brown linen smock with the fingerless mitts which I designed for the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook; it seems like the perfect practical garment to wear for a spot of DIY soldering or weeding, paired with task-appropriate knitwear!
I’m so looking forward to spending time on the Tall Yarns’n Tales stall in Harrogate this weekend with Linda and Andrea and comrades Helen and Bev who I am yet to meet! I really hope you will come up and say hi. You will find us on stand TG570. Tall Yarns’n Tales will have their whole range of goodies on sale whilst I shall be signing and selling copies of the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook.
There are no prizes for guessing what I will be wearing!
Huge thanks to Fergus Ford who has made Tall Yarns’n Tales and KNITSONIK look great with his amazing photography skills!