London Craft Guide Project: Going Underground Bag

Although we're not huge sewists at Yarn in the City we still enjoy the craft and it was important to us to have fabric represented in the London Craft Guide. Happily, this next project from the book - the Going Underground Bag by Jacqui Harding - fit our brief beautifully for being inspired by travel. We quite fancy the idea of someone making this little wristlet in advance of their trip to London and being completely prepared for sightseeing with their Oyster card, spending money and a lipstick close to hand!

The Going Underground Bag uses small amounts of fabric so it's a terrific project for those precious pieces of fabric you might already have in your stash - or that you plan to pick up in one of London's many fabric shops!

Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

YITC: Tell us about the inspiration for your design. 
JH: Back in 2012, I was lucky enough to be given tickets for the London Olympics. I knew the tube would be packed and I didn’t want to carry my big shoulder bag. I wanted a bag that was long enough to fit the event tickets, but small enough to be practical as a wristlet. I also loved the idea of using different fabrics and making my own trim. After using the bag I made for a lot more than just the Olympics, I made a few improvements, added a matching purse, and indulged in some Liberty fabrics to make the Going Underground Bag. As well as being perfect for showcasing some gorgeous souvenir fabrics, it’s ideal for keeping essential tickets & passports together when travelling. Grab your tickets, Oyster card, cash, phone and lippy, and go!

YITC: Do you travel for your craft? How do travel and craft fit together in your world?
JH: Craft and travel fit together perfectly in my world. Where others may find travel and the inevitable sitting around a drag, crafters can embrace it as perfect no-distraction crafting time. When travelling, I always plan my knitting & crochet projects before I think about clothes or anything else. (YITC: Us too!)

YITC: Do you buy souvenir yarn or fabric? What do you look for?
JH: Yes! Whenever possible. I look out for single skeins of locally dyed or spun yarns (normally either sock or lace weight) or unusual print fabrics - things that I can't easily get hold of. They are a souvenir and tactile memory chest without anything else happening to them - but then, once they are made into something they will remind me of the trip/people I visited every time I use them.

Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

YITC: Tell us about you and your personal design style. How does your project fit in?
JH: The bag fits in perfectly with my design style. I like things to be useful, practical. They have to do what they are supposed to do. There's no point making a lovely bag that has a teeny tiny opening, for example, or one that will come apart after a few uses. But that doesn't mean that a practical item has to be boring. I like to play with colours, prints, textures. I like to add details that make things a pleasure to use or wear, and add interest for the maker. I also like to encourage people to personalise my designs. This bag is a perfect opportunity to play around with prints and trims to your heart's content. Make it bigger, use velvet ribbon for the handle, attach the purse to the bag with a long ribbon, embellish the outer fabric before cutting the pattern pieces - make it just the way you want it.

YITC: What creative (or travel!) plans do you have for 2016?
JH: More magazine designs, more self published patterns, and hopefully a little more making for me. The next thing I plan to knit for myself is a fairisle cardigan - Hedgerow, by Ann Kingstone. I have the yarn ready, and just need the time to cast on. 

YITC: What project do you have ongoing right now?
JH: I'm working on my last of 4 magazine designs that all arrived at the same time. And the yarn for another one will arrive next week. So it's all work at the moment.

Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

YITC: What's your favourite part of the designing/creative process?
JH: The initial ideas bit. Imagining what I want something to do, look like or how I want it to feel. Sometimes it all turns out exactly as I wanted first time - that feels fantastic. Then again, some of my favourite designs - like the Melas shawl I made for The Crochet Project - fight all the way. That design was originally one colour, but it just wasn't coming together as I wanted. Adding a second colour was somehow the key to making it work, even though it wasn't part of my original idea at all. So the difficult designs that have a mind of their own are favourites too - but maybe not until they're finished!

YITC: Do you have a favourite designer who's work you follow?
JH: There are lots! We are lucky to have so many exciting British knitting & crochet designers - and I'm even luckier to have met many of them too. Sewing wise, I adore Alicia Miller's bag patterns.

YITC: What are your designing essentials?
JH: An open mind and willingness to make lots of mistakes.


When she's not designing you can find Jacqui keeping busy with work designing, prepping workshops or teaching sewing classes to keep herself from finding things that need fixing in her family's old (but new-to-them) Victorian house!

Social media info:
Ravelry: curvyjax
Website: happymakingdesigns.com
Instagram: curvyjax
Twitter: Curvyjax

Episode 3: Last Minute Gift: The Tax Man Cometh

This episode we talk about finished knitting/weaving/spinning, new WIPS, the impending changes in how EU crafters buy their digital goods, and some quick projects for those unexpected last minute gifts.

News and Events:
Not much to discuss in events, between when the episode goes live and the next episode, so moving right along...

On and off our needles/wheels/looms:

Allison has finished the Selbu Modern beret in Koigu, and the Buzzba Hat by Woolly Wormhead from yarn that she dyed at a workshop last autumn with Debbie Tomkins at Toft Alpacas. She is working on the skull sweater for her brother for Christmas, and the Chunky Cable Hat. She is also well into preprocessing the Lady Pearl vest in some handspun, and the Herringbone Poncho from existing stash.

Rachel has finished one sock of a new design inspired by a pair of socks she recently got in the mail from the States that were knitted by her great-grandfather. She also finished up a warp-faced woven scarf in handspun BFL from the Hello Yarn Fiber Club in the colorway "Scorch", with Panda Silk for weft. There has been secret spinning. The Insight Pullover is still continuing, and she is wishing it were done because it's going to be super cozy (Editorial note: Kate Heppell is now running a KAL for the Insight Pullover on Ravelry. Just in case anyone is interested...).

V-Day: 1 January 2015, aka The Tax Man Cometh:

Requisite disclaimer: we are not tax professionals in any way, shape or form. If you are in the EU and concerned about how the changes to VAT on digital products and services may affect you or your business you should contact a tax professional and/or HMRC. The situation is changing rapidly, even at this late date, so please use your own best judgement and get informed. 

Come the first of January, all knitters/crochers/consumers of digital resources in the EU are going to experience a bit of a change in how they are taxed on their newly-acquired digital resources (i.e. knitting patterns). We interviewed Louise Zass-Bangham of Inspiration Knits to get an overview of the upcoming changes, and what they mean for knitters and crafters in the EU and elsewhere. 

Additional resources:

Coincidentally, the same day we spoke with Louise, this lovely cartoon tripped across our Twitter feeds:

Cartoon by  Dave Walker .

Cartoon by Dave Walker.

Last minute gift ideas:
In which we talk about some super quick projects that can be whipped up in a few hours.

Also mentioned: French Press Felted Slippers, Fiber Trends Felted Clogs

Wrap up:
We'll have a short episode just before Christmas and recap our Road Trip to the Bath Christmas Market! Afterwards we'll take a break until the new year. 

Music Credits (all available on NoiseTrade):
Christmas Every Day - Wild Season
The Wassail Song - Smalltown Poets
You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch - Phil Childers & The Black Tie Affair
Leave The Lights On - A Lion Named Roar