Monday, 28 February 2011

10 Minutes on the Couch with the Allusive Fastener…

Have you heard of Banksy? Yes. We’ve managed to track down the Fastener who is part of a team who are the equivalent of Banksy on the knitting world. Crafting knitting pieces to adorn public places, it’s called graffiti knitting, read more to find out how it happens…

Why are you called the Fastener?
The Fastener is my graffiti tag name, I use a lot of buttons, beads and embellishments and fasten it all together on the urban landscape.
 
How did you get into graffiti knitting?
My friend told me about it and I loved the idea. At the time it was early days for her group, Knit in the City, but the operated a strict closed door policy. So, I went off and did it on my own. Finally they asked me to join them, I was really pleased and now I’m part of knit in the city, it’s good because we all have very different styles!

Where have you graffiti in London?
I started in Twickenham, but I’ve graffiti all around London, at the Royal Opera House, Aldwych tube station, London Bridge and many more places. We’ve got the Knit in the City book coming out in March, which shows many more places.
Aldwych tube station


Do you have many fans?
We have a very large fan base around the world, graffiti knitting is really popular in Germany and Switzerland, we’ve chosen to launch our book in Germany. We’ve also had a few camera crews travel over from Brazil to film us, which has been cool.  National Wool Week last year, was a very busy time for us, we appeared on the sofa on This Morning and we also worked with Stitch London to create a knitting shop display for John Smedley to represent key times or places in their history.
John Smedley
 What’s next?
If I told you I’d have to kill you! But it will be connected to the book launch in Berlin in March.

Do you teach knitting?
Not at the moment, sometimes I help out at the free stitch London learner classes, but I may teach more in the future.

What else do you have planned for the future?
I also create original pieces of jewellery which I’m going to sell online, check out the website; www.emmatoft.co.uk

For more details about graffiti knitting and Knit in the City check out the Fastener’s blog http://thefastener.wordpress.com/ or tweet the Fastener at @TheFastener

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

10 minutes on the Couch with local Photographer, Charlie Round-Turner….

I recently attended a local networking event and met Charlie, a local photographer based in Balham. Personally I find it hard selecting a photographer, unless they come recommended, I’m always scared I’ll get someone who doesn’t listen to what I’d like or gives me a lovely radiant mist around the boarder of the photo, keeping with the 1960/70’s era were they are stuck . But when I checked out Charlie’s work I thought it was too good not to share on the blog, here is Charlie’s 10 minutes….

Charlie, how did you get into Photography?
I think I’d always been interested in photography, but got the chance to really get into it when I started teaching English in Japan. I was first based at an arts-specialist school that had a well-equipped darkroom and photography teachers. I was also inspired to take photos of the culture & scenery of Japan and other parts of Asia.

Do you use a standard SLR or a digital SLR?
I started using a film SLR but now I use a digital SLR, which is much easier. Firstly there’s no dark room processing involved and it’s much easier to make copies and touch up the photos.

I’ve checked out your website and it has some really beautiful photographs, what makes your pictures unique?
Obviously all photographers consider light and composition, these are really important to me, but I think what makes my photos unique are that I also try to show the emotion of the people I’m photographing.

What do you most enjoy about your job?
Simply, creating great images, but I also really enjoy meeting and interacting with people from different walks of life.

Have you ever thought about teaching photography?
Yes, I have a teaching background, but it is just finding the time to plan good courses and schedule them in.

What advise would you give to someone wanting to start a career in photography?
It’s tough, practice as much as you can, do some introductory courses. As well as learning photography, if you’d like this to be your career I’d suggest also learn the ins and outs of business and marketing, important skills if you’d like to get your work out there. It is also really important to network and try to get some on the job experience with an established photographer.

You’ve chosen your 3 best photos of the moment, can you describe why you pick these photos?
Married couple on Millennium Bridge. My current favourite, but this changes frequently! I like the graphic shapes of the modern architecture and the drama of the couple against the sky
I am a particular fan of black & white photos, but when the colours are great… I like the introspective look on this little girl's face, too.
I managed to catch a split second moment when the boy was in mid-air as he played around the lovely classic architecture of Dubrovnik, Croatia
**OFFER**
Charlie is offering any SW Craft Club reader a free gift worth £50 if you mention SW Craft Club when you contact him.

Check out Charlie’s website at: www.charlieroundturner.com for more info. 
He can also be contacted on Tel: 07814106561 or via twitter @charlieRTphoto

If you'd like to do a photography course, Zoom In are based in Oval and have a number of different courses available and very reasonable prices:
 

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Step by Step Guide to Making your own Apron!


You’ve seen the Obama apron, below is a beginners step by step of how to make 
one yourself…

First pick a fabric you like, I’ve never seen anything like the Obama fabric before,  
I bought it before I decided I was going to make an apron and then I thought this 
was the best use for it.


Equipment List
  • Sewing Machine
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Fabric – 1 meter wide
  • Threads – ideally that match the colour of your fabric
  • Large piece of paper – (Sunday Times will do the job!)
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Pencil
  • Wide ribbon for the waist tie
This Apron is a great project to make for beginners or if like me 
you just need an easy project to get you back into sewing and 
using the sewing machine again.

Step 1 – Make your pattern

Think about how big you’d like your apron to be around you 
waist and length. Fold your paper in half and sketch out on 
the fold of your paper half of your apron. When you are 
happy with the shape, add 2cm to the outside for the seam 
allowance.

Lay your pattern out flat
Step 2 – Cut out your pattern
See the picture below, when you cut out your paper design 
and open it out, it has now taken the shape of your apron. 
Lay the pattern flat over your fabric and pin it into place 
and cut the pattern out. I added pockets to my apron, 
but they are often complicated, especially for a beginner, 
however for pattern for the pockets follow the same 
process as above.

Pin to the fabric
Repeat the process for the pockets


Step 3 – Making the frill
This is a complicated part of making the apron, I used half 
of my fabric for the apron and the left over pieces for the 
pockets and the frill. The easy way to make the frill is to not 
be too cautious over the width, just remember to take into 
account the 2cm seam allowance. I started by pinning the 
seam into place, if you have stiff fabric iron it into place first. 
This seam is going to be the edge of the frill.
Pin the seam into place

Iron down the seam
After sewing I ironed flat, to try to reduce the bulk in the 
fabric. I then sewed all of my pieces of fabric together, to 
create one long piece around 2 meters in length and I 
finished it off by sewing a seam at each end of the fabric. 
Again, remember to iron open the joins.

Iron open the seam
Now it is time to pin the frill into place.  On the raw 
edge using thin pins as they need to go through the 
sewing machine (If the pins you have don’t go through 
your sewing machine, that is fine, but you will need to 
pay more attention and go a lot slower when sewing it 
on the machine) There isn’t a rule to pinning a frill, I 
created this one very roughly and hopefully from the 
pictures you will see that the key is to keep the fabric 
close together.

Pin the frill into place
 Once you have pinned all of the length of fabric it’s 
now time to slowly run it through the sewing machine. 
Keep an eye on your sewing machine needle and 
remove the pins as they go through, you’ll start to 
see the frill taking shape.

Step 4 – Making pockets
Once you have cut out your pocket or two the 
next step is to attach it to the apron. First pin 
and sew the seam along the edge of what will 
be the top of your pocket. Then iron down your 
seam allowance onto the reverse side around 
the rest of the edges, this will make pinning it 
a much easier job for you.  After ironing, pin it 
to your apron.

Pin to the apron


Once you are happy with where it is and it is 
firmly in place run it slowly through the machine, 
taking your time around edges.

Tip – When going around edges, stop at the 
curve, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the foot 
and move the fabric around into place to move 
with the curve and then drop down the foot, it 
is much easier than trying to move it when 
you are sewing at the same time.

Step 5 – Attach the frill and apron tie

The final stages and pretty finishing touches 
to your apron is to attach the frill and the 
round the waist tie. Again when attaching the 
frill with the pins remember to use the 2cm 
seam allowance you have allowed for and when 
you begin sewing on the machine, take your 
time and at curves use the tip for step 4 to help
to keep it neat.The apron tie is the last thing to
attach and it is very easy, fist make sure you
have an equal amount of ribbon each side and
then pin it into place always hold it up to check
it before you start sewing and when you are 
happy, sew it on the machine, it should be a simple 
straight line.


You’re finished!
Your apron should now resemble something like this….

Finished! Pretty as a picture.

I brought my fabric from Seam Star 
The ribbon and threads from the sewing machine shop in 
Tooting - 300 Balham High Road, London, SW17 7AA


Monday, 7 February 2011

West Norwood Feast - Part 1



I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it too “what yummy food can I get my hands on in West Norwood?” But the West Norwood Feast, isn’t solely about food, it is much, much more. The West Norwood Feast, is referring to a feast of goodies which we will hopefully be able to find in West Norwood, through a series of markets held on a monthly basis, ranging from different food, cooked and rare to arts &craft and retro goodies.

I lived in West Norwood for 4 years and for those of you who have never ventured there before or who have never stopped off when travelling onto Croydon or Crystal Palace, I recommend you park up or get off the train or bus and have a nose around. West Norwood is really underrated and it appears Lambeth council feel the same too, as they have created this project by investing in the area by bring in the Space Makers agency.  The Space Makers Agency are experienced in looking at any type of space and encourage people to rethink the use of the space, i.e. empty high street shops, disused car park spaces etc. See the artist images of how the West Nowood high street looks now and how it should look for the Feast.


The Space Makers Agency are acting as the catalysts for the West Norwood Feast project, creating the excitement and enthusiasm amongst the community and then leaving them to manage it for themselves, much like what happened with the Brixton Village project Brixton Village  I think this is a fab project for a number of reasons, it helps to regenerate the area, it brings new business to the local shop owners and by creating a new market in South London it acts as a great opportunity for the would be store sellers, who need a platform to show off their goods, for me ‘cottage industry’ springs to mind.

Who can get involved?

The great news is, is that anyone can get involved, SW Craft Club got involved because it’s in South London, it is has a great community feel and through our network of artists and craft makers we think we can spread the word and get some great interest on board the project, whether it’s behind the scenes or participating by being a stall holder.
We’re now into our 6th week and anyone can attend the Tuesday weekly meetings to find out more at any time, just contact Space Makers:  
West Norwood Feast

What’s next?
It has been agreed that the first West Norwood Feast will be held on Sunday 3rd April, we are looking for stall holders, ideally a mixture of artists and craft makers and to bring lots of different products to the area. Also if you love crafts and you have time on your hands and you’d like to get more involved get in touch, all of the contact details are below:

Ps. Remember to spread the word, there is no point complaining about an area if you don’t even bother to get involved!  About West Norwood Feast
 
Interested in being a stall holder?

We are currently compiling a list of  potential stall holders, at the moment all we need from you are:
  1.  You contact details
  2.  A little paragraph explaining who you are and what you do
  3.  2 images of your work.
Email your details to zoe@swcraftclub.co.uk
This is a great project and if you can't make the meetings, remember to keep in touch, so we can keep you updated on the progress. 

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Make your own Valentines card

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a person whom neither likes nor enjoys buying cards and those who are privileged enough to receive a card from me, usually receives the £1 card from M&S. I love to mark an occasion but the prices of cards can be ridiculously high, I’d rather put that money towards the gift, than it be put into the bin after spending a week on the mantelpiece!!

There's only 2 week to go until Valentines day and I thought I had found the card which symbolises my love for my other half and it’s also symbolic to us. (For those of you who have been paying attention to my blog, during January I wrote a list of 40 things to do in 2011, one of those things to do was a road trip across Europe, which I’m happy to say is now booked! 2 blissful weeks across the south of France to Italy, touring around Italy & back through Geneva.) Sorry I’m digressing, back to my money saving article…  I was going to order my card from the website Not on The High Street Not on the High Street but at £8 or £12 for a large card they are too expensive for me, this is the time of austerity? I could not justify this outrageous cost for a card and decided to make my version and you can too, it took me just 30min during my lunch hour….

Not on The High Street Card

First I Googled a map of the route we are travelling too and printed it off, I then brought a plain card and envelop and finally I purchased double sided sticky pads to give a 3D effect.



I started by making a heart template to fit onto the card, once I had this, I used the template to shape the heart on the map and cut the heart from the map, I had printed earlier.



I then covered the reverse of heart map with sticky pads & attached it too the card, Hey presto one customised valentines card… I’m so proud! Watch out family & friends as I have enough stickies left to many more cards… 




To My Valentine
 
Stockists:
Card & envelop Rymans & paperchase
Scissors – kitchen draw
Double sided sticky pads - Rymans
Map of a location person to you or the recipient – free! Google images

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Learning to Knit!! By guest blogger Sinead O'Flynn

As in many companies, the company I works for has the traditional yearly, “Secret Santa”. However I work for an Arts University and someone suggested that this year we made our secret Santa gifts instead of buying one. I was a little daunted by this as I’m not from a creative background, but there was a lot of enthusiasm in the office which inspired me to do something I had never done before, I decided to knit a scarf as it would be useful and hopefully pretty!
Living in Waterloo (SW London) I often noticed the local knit shop iKnit  but never really had the courage or season to go in.  I ventured down on a cold evening in November and was warmly greeted by eager knitters sitting around a table in the middle of the shop.  Still obviously a little nervous, the helpful guy who works there advised me on the type of wool and needles to use and gave me some much needed encouragement.  I settled on some beautiful multi coloured welsh wool for my scarf.



I rushed home to start straight away but realised it wasn’t as easy as it looked.  Disappointed by my setback I went on to YouTube.  There are hundreds of tutorials on there which show you how to do many different stitches and techniques.  The ones I found easiest to follow were; How to Knit and Basic Knitting Tips & Techniques and Knitting Tips - Casting off

Every evening I had free I would knit a few lines while watching TV.  I started to really enjoy the experience especially when I could see the scarf taking shape.  It actually got very addictive and I was getting  eager to see the final result.  I found that my knitting skills came to me very quickly and managed to cast off and even created some tassels for the end!!






When it was completed I realised how attached to it I was and found it difficult to wrap it up for someone else.  But I shouldn’t have worried.  When my colleague opened it she was really happy with it, so all the effort was worth it in the end.  Her young daughter has now set her sights on it so it may even be passed on to another generation!
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would be interested in doing something a little more complicated next time now that I have some confidence.



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