• Dwynwen at Loch Ness Knitting

5 new skills to try in 2020

I've been knitting, sewing and making since I was in primary school. I made my first poorly shaped crochet top around the age of 9 or 10 and my first hand sewn items around the same time. You might think that in the time that has elapsed I've mastered many skills but that's really not the case. I tend to find the technique that works and stick to it. I'm a practical maker, usually working on a tight budget so I don't tend to experiment or try things out just for the joy of making. That can leave me a bit stale, especially when I'm looking for design inspiration so one of the ways to shake it up is to learn something new.

New things I'll be trying in 2020:

1) Entrelac - Frankly I'm scared of this strange technique which appears to be an evil cross between steeking and Intarsia. However I have a pattern idea that I cannot solve any other way so there's no avoiding this technique in 2020.

2) Sewing my own lingerie - I enjoy remaking and recycling fabric but my scraps are so small now that the only pieces I have left are lingerie sized. One half of my brain knows that it will be super useful to know how to make simple wearable under garments. The other half of my brain remembers watching Sewing Bee and knows that small pieces are a fiddly nightmare to finish beautifully.

3) Weaving - I've been experimenting with more and more texture in my knitting designs, often inspired by weaving pieces.

I've been working alongside a couple of weavers in the Aural Textiles project and they've been trying to lure me onto the loom for the last 2 years.

4) Printing - I'm curious to see how the sustainable natural dyes that I make for yarn will work on other textiles. Again, via the Aural Textiles project, I've worked alongside some very talented creative textile artists who use screen printing techniques.

Recently I spoke with both the weavers and the printers as part of my series of Creative Coffee Breaks on You Tube and they shared ideas for getting started at home using materials you have around the house. No more excuses, not get stuck in!

5) Growing - I'm passionate about only working with sustainable natural dyes for my yarn range. However this does mean I am limited to seasonal and local waste materials, and the colours that they provide. I don't want to import additional materials so this year I'm experimenting with plants in the garden to see what I can grow to enhance the colour palette.

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