Oddest press release of the year – and it's only Feb!

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

22 February 2013


Working for a knitting magazine can be quite strange. You get strange requests, strange stories, strange knitted items and occassionally really strange press releases. Today was a really strange press release day, one that might just make me laugh all weekend.

"How Tea Cosies Changed the World Shortlisted for Oddest Book Title of the Year" announced this press release.

Now for anyone who doesn't know, How Tea Cosies Changed the World is a tea cosy pattern book by Loani Prior. Her third in fact, after Wild Tea Cosies and Really Wild Tea Cosies.


She makes quite funky tea cosy patterns and advocates the idea that tea cosies can be both practical items and objet d'art. I don't think the book title is in fact particularly odd. Tea, and therefore tea cosies, are an integral part of many cultures' and countries' history.

No, what made me laugh so much was what followed after the title announcement. I'm not even going to paraphrase. Here, read it yourself.

"Murdoch Books is thrilled to announce Loani Prior's How Tea Cosies Changed the World has been named a finalist in the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year.

Selected from a list of 85 nominees, Loani's book takes a privileged place in the awards' history amongst other shortlisted titles such as Managing a Dental Practice: The Ghengis Khan Way, The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories and last year's winner, Cooking with Poo."

I promise I haven't made this up. I can't even think of one possible lesbian horse story, let alone a 'big book' of them. And I don't even want to think of what the last one mght consist of. Can you imagine having to write this press release?

Luckily, it looks like Loani is being a good sport about being included in such an illustrous group. On hearing news of the shortlisting Loani said,"I can't stop laughing long enough to think of something clever to say! I think I might dine out on this until I die."

If you want to show Loani support and vote for her book you can at www.welovethisbook.com. Otherwise just sit back, have a giggle, possibly a google, and thank god other people's jobs consist of writing and receiving things like this and not yours! 



My first photo shoot

Katie Holloway

Katie Holloway

20 February 2013

We had our photo shoot for the May issue of Knitting  on Friday and I went along to help--my very first photo shoot! Katy had given me top tips to prepare me, and had assured me it would be lots of fun. Emma asked me what my ironing was like ("great!" I replied). So it was with some trepidation I ventured to the studio, wondering if my day would consist of fetching coffees for the 'director' shouting directions at a model, or simply ironing in the corner!

Well, it consisted of a fair amount of ironing (gorgeous, drapey fabrics for a sumptuous backdrop!) but otherwise none of the above. Everyone was busy getting everything set up for the first shot (it really was lights, camera, action!), while I watched on, iron in hand.

Blog Image 1Blog Image 2

Well, it seems I must have been a little too fascinated by the 'on stage' action as before I knew it, the smell of singed fabric began wafting under my nose... No! Yes... I'd burned a hole in the background fabric. Maybe nobody would notice...?

Blog Image 3

If I smiled and carried on, I would get away with it... surely? 

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Maybe not! Still, it WAS near the edge, and you can't tell in the final photos, I promise! Just don't go hunting through our galleries for the hole once the magazine comes out, please! Luckily Emma saw the funny side, and we were all so glad it wasn't any of the gorgeous knits it happened to!

Donegal's correct designer!

Katie Holloway

Katie Holloway

15 February 2013


This gorgeous Donegal pattern in our March issue is, in fact, designed by Martin Storey, as per the pattern instructions in the magazine. As much as we love Lisa Richardson and her designs, this is not one of hers, despite what appears in our gallery page! Apologies to you both!

Sneak peek of our bumper March issue

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

6 February 2013


Want a sneak peek at what's in store in our bumper 'New season knits' March issue, on sale next Thursday? Come on in!

Twice a year we get all excited in Knitting HQ because the season changes, bringing with it new season yarns, shades and pattern collections from our favourite spinners and yarn companies. In spring, usually around April, we will start to get info through on the coming A/W trends and products, and in the depths of winter, around November/December, visions of spring start to arrive - which is when we strated working on our March issue

Every day it seems, giant boxes turn up with never-seen-before new yarns and the latest must-have shade colours. Press releases ping into our inboxes with tantalising pics of pattern collections ready to be released come spring. We stop thinking about winter and cold colours and start getting excited at visions of lime and coral and what we can commisison in cornflower blue come summer.  

But we can't jump straight into the new season. In magazineland, you're lucky if the issue month even vaguely corresponds with the actual on-sale month (no,we don't know why either) so March may herald the new season but on sale in February, you don't want coral cotton vest tops, do you? So it's careful balancing act on our part, new season yarns, colours and trends but in realistic season-wise garments. Hopefully we've pulled it off!

So here's a little sneak peek of our fashion shoot for March. There are 45 patterns in this issue so we won't be showing you them all, but we're pretty sure we've got you covered, whether it's fashion, knitting  for your man, children's knits or cosying up your home with home knits, there's bound to be something in this issue for you!

Metallics are big news again and SMC Select's Reflect yarn (shown here) has some lovely new shades for spring.

Button -Sided -Top -Main -02_0689

From the moment we first came across Anna Wilkinson we've been wanting to snap her up for an exclusive design for us. This gorgeous Tweed stitch jumper nails the neon trend right here.

Anna -pink

Peplums are are going strong for spring too, they're so elegant and ladylike, we love them.

Peplum -Main _0907

Jennie Atkinson's exquisite (and exclusive!) design for us is just beautiful.

Beaded -Blouse -Main -01_0598

We snapped up this  super cool jumper straight from Rowan in their brand new yarn All Season's Chunky, a lovely cotton yarn in the most delicious icecream shades.

Donegal -Main _0982

And, because this little photo shoot looked so lovely, here's Sarah Hazell's tweedy pouffe, which we love.

Pouffee -Main _2008

Also, don't miss in this issue:

  • 45 New season knits - women's , men's, chicldren's, babies, home and accessories
  • EXCLUSIVE patterns by Anna Wilkinson, Jennie Atkinson, Rachel Holding
  • NEW SEASON - Rowan, Sirdar, Sublime , Origin, Bergere
  • Spring/Summer Fashion Forecast - new season trends from the catwalk
  • Brand new S/S yarn review
  • FEATURE ARTICLE - Meet Dynamic Duo Ruth and Belinda
  • One to watch: Meet young designer Alice Palmer

And, of course, all the usual news, reviews, competitions, products and events you expect from your favourite Knitting magazine. 




William Morris, what a man

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

4 February 2013


My friend recently moved to Walthamstow and having planned a girl's weekend to go up and visit her, it seemed like fate when a press released pinged into my inbox, with a mention of upcoming craft courses at the William Morris Gallery, based in, yep, Walthamstow. Having convinced my friends we could squeeze a cultural visit into our girl's weekend, that is where I found myself Saturday afternoon. 


As most of you probably know, William Morris was an artist, writer, rather unusually for a man in Victorian times, a textile designer and weaver, and, of course, a founding member of the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th/early 20th century. As well as setting up and running his own design company Morris & Co, being an interior decorator, working closely with the Pre-Raphaelite artists and writers such as Dante Gabriel Rosetti and John Ruskin and reviving traditional textile arts and methods of production in the face of rising industrialisation, he managed to set up his own press, founded the Socialist League and was both a husband and father. That's an awful lot to fit into one lifetime and to do it against society's - and familial (he was meant to go into the clergy) - expectations, and leaving such a lasting blueprint on the world is pretty impressive - and inspiring!


Housed in the original house in Walthamstow that the Morris family lived in from 1848 to 1856, the newly refurbished gallery is lovely. Light, bright and interactive!

WM Gallery

Some of the original designs for the wallpapers are amazing, using up to 68 blocks to create the repeat pattern, like this one he designed for St Jame's Palace - the largest repeat pattern he ever made!

No 8--F159-St -James -fabric

Though Morris apparently prefferred woven fabrics and was an accomplished weaver and embroiderer himself.

34-F26e -Peacock -and -Dragon -Morr

We had great fun in the interactive gallery too, creating our own repeat patterns using stencils and mirrors as well as learning how to create a stained glass window!


We really enjoyed ourselves and spent much longer than we had thought we would there. The gallery is peaceful and interesting, you can move at your own leisurely pace. There are lots of little interactive ways of involving you in the exhibitions, from an original piano that plays out a jolly tune to the activities mentioned above. And there is a great cafe for coffee or lunch!

If you find yourself up that way then do wander in and spend a pleasant hour or so soaking up the life, work and inspiration from one of the most influential men in British textile history. Oh, and it's free!

For more information visit the William Morris Gallery website.