Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Better Know a Designer+Blog Giveaway: Jean Moss of Sweet Shawlettes!

Today we are happy to welcome Jean Moss to our little corner of the internet! Jean is an amazing knitter and recently published a book of knitting patterns for sweet little shawls, aptly name Sweet Shawlettes. She also hosts knitting tours of York, Ireland and Morocco--we dream of joining her on one of her tours!

You can win a copy of her new book--see the details at the end of this post!

Jean Moss

Jean, tell us a little about how you learned to knit. 
Originally I learned to knit before I went to school because I wanted to be like my beloved grandmother who spent hours teaching me. A fallow period ensued but my interest was rekindled in my teens when I started to make my own clothes. It was the swinging sixties and I loved what I was seeing on the street and in magazines, but had no way of achieving anything similar other than to pick up my needles again. From then on I was hooked. 


It never occurred to me that I'd ever be able to make a living out of it, especially as I had no formal training in design, but after getting requests for sweaters I'd made for the kids, I decided that it might be a way of making some extra cash from home. No-one was more surprised than I was to find that very quickly I was presenting my designs to luminaries such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein and they were placing orders! It was a meteoric learning curve!

Vamp Boa from Sweet Shawlettes

I noticed you not only write books, you also host knitting tours. What are some of your favorite places to visit?
Our tours were born out of a desire to share some of my favourite places with other knitters. Back in 2000 I was invited to do a workshop at the Rowan Mill in Holmfirth to a group of lovely American visitors on a UK tour hosted by Vogue Knitting. My partner, Philip, and I were struck by the fact that their American guides were not familiar with deepest Yorkshire at all.  

Reasoning we could do that, we launched our own programme of tours, initially in the UK, but now further afield to Morocco last year and Ireland this year. We only visit places we know well, so that we can offer our visitors a personal off-the-beaten-track experience. This was made possible in Morocco by the fact that we have a family member who has lived in Casablanca for many years. 

Our aim is to offer the very best of the British knitting scene. Although knitting and yarn feature heavily in our tours, we also try to mix in beautiful gardens, great food, quirky people and  places, and local musicians. The aim is to create a house party atmosphere, where our visitors can unwind with kindred spirits, rubbing shoulders with top designers like Alice Starmore, Sasha Kagan, Martin Storey, Erika Knight, Debbie Bliss, Sue Duckworth, Debbie Abrahams & Sarah Hatton.

Some of our people started a special Travellers with Jean Moss group on Ravelry, where you can speak with past and present participants and get their feedback. Friendships are made and cemented, and many come back year after year. This is why we’re constantly on the lookout for new locations. Morocco last year, Ireland this year, next year we're considering Amsterdam and the Peloponese in Greece - two other destinations we know and love.

Are your sweet shawlettes inspired by some of the places you've been? 
Absolutely! Kardamili is named after one of our favourite villages in the Mani, Greece. In the Brontë fichu, I used a delicate fishtail lace pattern in recycled silk and cotton, as the texture and colours of the yarn remind me of the windswept crags and heather moors of Brontë’s Yorkshire home.   

Bronte Fichu  |  Ceilidh Shawlette

Ceilidh is reminiscent of my Lancashire childhood, when I used to wear a red plaid kilt every winter, as well as my many visits to Edinburgh both independently and on our tours. There's also a wealth of inspiration in the old ganseys of the seafaring folk of the British Isles. Polperro is a contemporary take on these patterns and named for one of my favourite Cornish villages, latterly famous for its knitters.   

Polperro Cape

Garland takes me straight to Venice, where I love to be at this time of year, as it's quiet, spooky and full of mystery and in the evenings there's the passeggiata – the free catwalk show that Italians excel at – glitz with style! I was once snowed in there in early February, the lagoon was frozen and the planes couldn't get in or out – heaven! 

Sweet Shawlettes was wrapped up just before we left for Knit Morocco, so as I was still in the shawlette swing, I designed another shawlette on the tour. I would have loved to include it in the book, but sadly it was too late. However, subsequently I was asked by Taunton to gift a shawl to the upcoming Prayer Shawl Companion so I found a good home for it there. Morocco is a designers dream, complete sensory overload everywhere you look, and I love to think my pattern, Marrakech, captured a little piece of its magic.

Thanks Jean!

To win a copy of Jean's book, Sweet Shawlettes, leave us a comment by Friday, January 27th at 6pm MST telling us your favorite scenic place to take your knitting (or where you dream of going). Make sure to include your contact email. We will chose one winner randomly to receive a free copy of Sweet Shawlettes!

***UPDATE: Thanks everyone for commenting and sharing your favorite knitting locales. Lorraine is our lucky winner--we hope you enjoy your new book!***

If you want to make sure to get your own copy, stop in and purchase the book at Fancy Tiger!

Mon 2 Jan More Yarn Will Do The Trick – Jean Moss 
Tues 3 Jan
Wendy Knits - Wendy Johnson
Wed 4 Jan Knitgrrl - Shannon Okey
Thurs 5 Jan Yarnagogo – Rachael Herron
Fri 6 Jan The Knitter – Rosee Woodland
Sat 7 Jan  Rhythm of the Needles – Joanne Conklin
Sun 8 Jan Knit Purl Gurl – Karrie Steinmetz
Mon 9 Jan CraftSanity – Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood
Tues 10 Jan Planet Purl – Beth Moriarty
Wed 11 Jan Sunset Cat – Stephannie Tallent
Thurs 12 Jan A Really Good Yarn – Julie Schilthuis
Fri 13 Jan knit 1 chicago – Lynn Coe
Sat 14 Jan Go Knit In Your Hat – Carol Sulcoski
Sun 15 Jan Redshirt Knitting – Erika Barcott
Mon 16 Jan In The Loop – Cheryl & Ellen
Tues 17 Jan WEBS – Kathy Elkins
Wed 18 Jan Zeneedle – Margene Smith
Thurs 19 Jan Knitspot – Anne Hanson
Fri 20 Jan Urban Yarns – Alexa Ludeman
Sat 21 Jan A Friend to knit with – Leslie Friend
Mon 23 Jan Tentenknits – Margaux Hufnagel
Tues 24 Jan Fancy Tiger CraftsAmber Corcoran
Wed 25 Jan Chic Knits Bonne Marie Burns
Thurs 26 Jan The Panopticon – Franklin Habit


Blue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blue said...

I'd love to knit in Iceland like the Fancy Tiger ladies did! And I'd love to have a copy of this shawlette book. :) My email is bluetwigg@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I would love to knit on a coast next to a beautiful beach and letting nature inspire my pattern.


Samantha said...

Anywhere with an ocean view would suit me just fine :-)
madfabriholic at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

My favorite place to knit is Ebeys Landing in WA state... Your on a big cliff overlooking the water and watching all the tug boats go by.

GardeniaPatti, Maxwell Macintyre, and family said...

I've crafted (knit or crochet) on so many trips! Most recently, I knit and spun yarn as we traveled the Pacific Coast Highway in California.

Annie said...

I'd love to go back to Tuscany for a photo shoot - the rolling green hills, the deep green trees, the golden fields, and the deeply textured old buildings. Heaven!


neilsnana said...

I would love to try the entrelac shawl.


Knitschmidt said...

I love taking my knitting to the beach - North Carolina.

whipperschmidt at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I have recently purchased a book on knitting Scotland lace, and I am hooked (needled?)! Now I recognize the traditional patterns everywhere I look. I find it really interesting that there are basic designs (cats paw, pine cone, etc) that have become such a common venacular to the knitting world in general. I see them incorporated everywhere I look! So I guess by now you've guessed that I would love to knit in, and learn more about, the lovely country of Scotland. (my email: betsy.martinson@comcast.net)

cguard (on rav) said...

My favorite place to take my knitting is in front of my brand new fireplace (18 years of waiting for the carpenter to work on his own house :))but I dream of taking my knitting to my sisters brand new bed and breakfast in the mountains of california and knit while I enjoy a rare visit.

Anonymous said...

My dream place to knit would be Ireland. I plan on it, someday. I do have a special lake in southern IL, where I do knit. It is in my hometown. Thanks for a chance!
LynnIL ravelry

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post! rpilti@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

My favorite place to knit is in front of a toasty fireplace, feet up, under and afghan, cup o' tea by my side.


Savannagal said...

I would love to see Italy, Spain, Germany, Frank, Egypt, Morroco, Peru, Japan, Holland, Sweden, and just about anywhere. My life has been very thin on vacations. Thanks for the giveaway!

Savannagal on Rav

Jackie said...

I have dreamed of visiting Iceland for years. It's not financially in the cards for me right now...But, a girl can dream, right? jmvlcek at juno dot com

Kerri5280 said...

I love to knit at the lodge in front of a warm fireplace while my husband enjoys the slopes! He gets his workout and I get a few hours of uninterrupted, relaxing bliss : )

Anonymous said...

I would bring my knitting and all other crafting to a favorite dramatic yet serene place – the Oregon Coast!


lorraine said...

i like to knit at the beach..very relaxing id love to take my knitting with me to paris one day soon :) raineoc@yahoo.com

Dinei said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Ireland - or Japan!

Jodie dot Gilbert at gmail

Erica said...

I don't ever travel to exotic locations, but I love bringing knitting out on planes when I visit family. Mostly, I love the conversations it always sparks! Knitters are everywhere!

christensenerica at yahoo dot com

Carol said...

I like to knit at my favorite coffee shop on E. Colfax. It's fun to people watch while knitting. :)

Jayna said...

Anywhere warm and cozy and preferably with good coffee and a fireplace. jr135@evansville.edu

Loren said...

I love knitting on the balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The sound of the tender waves are si serene and relaxing!!

Phoebe said...

I always take my knitting when we go on cruises. Plans are in the works for one this summer to Alaska.

NanaJen said...

I love to knit @ the beach, or sitting on the porch swing @ my mother's house (on top of a hill looking down on a river).
Would really LOVE to knit in Ireland one day ;)
Ravelry ID ~ jaydawnrn

Debbie said...

I have taken my knitting to the park/playground, but otherwise all my knitting is indoors.

purlpaw said...

The best place I have taken my knitting to was Disney World. To pin it down it was by the rose garden in the Magic Kingdom. When life gets to crazy I slowly breath out and go to that happy place while knitting.

Natalie said...

Knitting anywhere along the narrow meandering cobblestone alleyways of Prague's Old Town is a knitter's dream. There is no better way to take in the liveliness of the area, the centuries-old architecture, and the secrecy of every nook and cranny, than to sit and knit.


Karen said...

I would love to knit in Scotland.
rheaosunshine at gmail dot com

trillium said...

My favorite place to take my knitting is Barkcamp State Park, in Ohio. I can sit under the trees, see the sunlight sparkling on the lake, and hear the hawks screaming overhead as they soar back and forth to their nest on the opposite shore.

Please enter me for the giveaway. Marie W.

trilliumcreates AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

I would love to knit on a porch on the coast in Maine. I would love to win a copy of this book, thanks for posting! bleu_wave@yahoo.com

C. said...

Most scenic place would be by a big roaring fire close to a big picture window watching the snow fall and have a nice cup of tea close by. Thanks for the giveaway!

efemera said...

Oooh, what a good question. I'd love to knit something warm and snuggly whilst viewing the Northern Lights in Scandinavia. Guess I'd have to learn Fair Isle!!

trillium said...

I just found out that won this book on another blog, so please remove my name from the contest. Good luck, everyone!

Walk-N-Knit said...

I take my knitting most anywhere - would love to be knitting on the beach right now :-)

walknknit at gmail dot com

Blisskitty said...

there are too many places to name! definitely the Swiss Alps and Machu Picchu blissedout at gmail dotcom

Heather P said...

I love the view from a blanket in my backyard with the kids running and playing. anotherheatherblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I'd love to take my knitting to a cabin - where the only scenery are the fir trees outside the window and a roaring fire

g.vieve said...

My knitting dream is to knit Iceland - inspired by the Fancy Tiger ladies' blogging of their trip.

My email is genevieve.manco@gmail.com :)

Thanks for the giveaway!