For those of you that are following the Great British Sewing Bee (nearly all of us?), you will know of the wonderful contestant Lynda who has made it to the final 4 in the stitching saga, and well deserved too! We were sorry to see her go out before the final!
We spotted her sporting a rather snazzy shawl a few episodes in and it got us thinking. I’m sure we’re not the only ones who see great handknits on TV and wonder where they came from and who the talented knitter is who made it, well we’ve done it!
This is Lynda modelling the shawl which she borrowed from her lovely knitting fan daughter, Sarah. We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah, who blogs all about her knits (and other things) on her blog, Crafts from the Cwtch.
What Was it Like Seeing Mum on the Sewing Bee?
It was actually surprisingly normal after five episodes. Mum is totally herself on the show, so it really didn’t seem very strange at all. It’s quite odd when we are out and so many people now recognise her and want to stop to talk about their own sewing, or about something they’d seen on the show.
Where Did You Learn To Knit?
Mum has been knitting and sewing since before I was born. I can’t remember whether it was my mum or nan who taught me to knit as a child, but it must have been one of them, although I didn’t knit as an adult until I was a mum-of-two in my thirties.
Do You Knit Many Gifts?
I’m not a terribly generous knitter!! There are only a few people I knit for – it’s not very often as my knitting time is so limited.
I’ve made clothes and accessories for my close family and some special gifts for friends or the children’s teachers, but it’s always an item that I choose and that I want to make.
The shawl mum wore on the show is one of my own shawls which she borrowed, although I have made a couple of things for her in the few years I have been knitting.
Do You Sew Too?
People are always surprised that I don’t sew, but with my mum being so good at it, I really have never needed to.
When I was younger I’d draw a picture of what I wanted and either my mum or nan would make it for me, so it really didn’t seem worth learning to do more than the basics.
I sometimes cobble something together but I don’t really like following patterns (knitting or sewing), so it’s really only basic drawstring bags or zippered pouches. If I did sew, I’d never go on a televised competition like Mum. I am much more comfortable behind the camera!
How Do You Pick What To Knit Next?
I don’t really go looking for inspiration – in fact my problem is that I have too many ideas and not enough opportunity to make them with two young children, a puppy, a blog and a house to run.
I usually come up with new ideas based on seeing something I like on the high street which isn’t exactly how I want it, or if a friend is making something that I would like too, and it goes from there.
Are You a Social Crafter?
Mum and I recently started a knitting club for 7-11 year olds in the local school.
It’s been great to teach them to knit as many of them don’t have any knitters at home. I feel it’s really important to pass handcrafts on from generation to generation, and like to be able to do my part.
British women of my age (late 30s/early 40s) seem to be the missing link – our mothers and grandmothers were taught at home and at school, but when we were growing up there was a lot less emphasis on home crafts and more on academic subjects and test results.
We missed out on the more creative things and it’s a shame. At our knitting club I have been surprised that some children have never seen handcrafts at home.
I also belong to a book club, and after a few years of knitting during our get-togethers, several of the girls have asked me to teach them, so I’m hoping that in the future we’ll be able to discuss books AND knitting.
Have you Ever Had a Go at Knitting Without a Pattern?
I don’t enjoy following instructions so when I took up knitting a few years ago, I started off by making up my own designs (for doll clothes), and I’ve never really stopped.
I’ve been publishing simple patterns and knitting ‘recipes’ on my blog for some time, and then last year I took a pattern writing course to learn how to do it properly.
Not long after that I was asked to write a few simple patterns for a yarn shop, which were popular and then just before Christmas, encouraged by the feedback, I decided to publish my first ‘proper’ pattern which is an oversized reversible wrap.
I favour things which are easy to make and easy to wear and knit in nice yarns and colours – simple designs which are accessible to new knitters (I still consider myself a new knitter).
It’s really nice that other people want to make the things I’ve designed, but apart from commissions where it could be anything, I usually have a clear idea of what I want to wear and that’s my starting point. It’s a bonus if others love it too.
Sarah is a fabulous knitter and blogs all about her knitting exploits on her amazing blog, Crafts From The Cwtch. We tracked her down after spotting her Mum modelling the incredible shawl her mum borrowed and modelled on the Great British Sewing Bee, Season 2.