Plus he’s organized monthly Virtual Paintouts where any painter can join in. (This month everyone is painting London.)
This week I’m profiling Nichola of KnitFrekkles, who uses both machine and hand knitting to design the most beautiful scarves. Nichola has always been crafty, from a young age but did not learn to knit until senior school. Her love of the craft stayed with her, growing stronger during her time at university, during which she completed a master’s degree researching traditional knitting styles, mainly fishermen’s ganseys and fairisle. “I wanted to change my own opinion of those styles as well as the wider world. They have been rurally crafted for centuries and largely forgotten about by the art world, I think they deserve more attention than they currently get. They are beautiful and intricate, there is a high level of knowledge and skill required before you can even begin to experiment.”
Nichola started selling her creations in January of this year and balances crafting with her ‘day job’ as a fitness instructor. She had been building the courage to sell her garments for a long time and wanted to help promote contemporary patterns, structures and ideas in knitting. Selling online gives Nichola a way to develop personal contact with buyers worldwide, and she enjoys creating unique garments and receiving positive buyer feedback!
Without a dedicated studio, Nichola has limited space at home for her crafting. Luckily, hand knitting is very portable! The inspiration for Nichola’s beautiful scarves comes mainly from the natural world – the colours, landscapes and patterns in nature.
Nicola’s scarves are unique in a very saturated market. She uses modern and historical influences, focusing on care and attention to detail. When creating a new design, Nichola thinks about how a yarn will interact with the wearer – how it will feel and whether it will make them special. Nichola knows that buyers are looking for something distinctive and completely unique in handmade items, and that they want a high level of craftsmanship not found in mass-produced items.
“I think that so far I have only scratched the surface of the handmade scene within the UK. It seems to be a fast growing scene which I think is fantastic and with more website being set up for selling handmade items it really does help potential sellers take the plunge.”
To see more of Nichola’s lovely designs, visit her shop.
If last week’s crop of clover-themed goodies didn’t tip you off to the fact that St Patrick’s Day is once again upon us, then we’d better try harder. I think it’s time to break out the Guinness and raise a glass to Ireland’s favourite patron saint. I’m sure that some of the four-and-a-half million residents of Ireland who have made it their country’s best-selling alcoholic beverage will join me…in exactly 119.53 seconds. I don’t mean to split hairs, but according to the company itself, that is the precise time that it takes to pour the “perfect pint”.
Guinness was started in Ireland by (not surprisingly) Arthur Guinness in 1759, although it was 10 years before he decided to share his beer with the rest of the world with a modest 6 barrel shipment to England. These days, in addition to its enduring success in Ireland, Guinness is one of the most-popular international brands and is brewed under license in 50 countries using unfermented Dublin-made wort. I was impressed to hear that over 1.8 billion pints of Guinness are sold annually in over 100 countries around the world. On St Patrick’s Day, however, everyone is Irish. Or, so it would seem.
In the 1920s, Guinness began to market their product with the tag-line “Guinness is good for you!” At the time, the claims were made based on testimonials from customers who felt better after having a pint or two. Eventually, the company dropped the health-claims, but recently there has been some research that suggests that the antioxidants in the almost-black brew can prevent arterial cholesterol deposits in the heart. Additionally, despite its hearty appearance and smooth, rich flavour, those of us watching what we eat will be happy to hear that a pint of Guinness contains around 150 calories. Sad news for Vegans and strict vegetarians, though; Guinness is technically a non-vegan product due to the use of fish finings in the filtering process.
The distinctive taste of Guinness, incidentally, comes from barley which is roasted in a method similar to coffee beans. The other ingredients are simply water, hops and yeast, with nitrogen added to the finished product to give the draught version its iconic creamy, white head. If you’re lucky, like I am when I visit my favourite pub, your bartender will carve a little shamrock in the dense foam capping-off your glass.
So, whether you are celebrating St Patrick’s Day with a pint of “the old plain” or a Black & Tan, don’t forget to check out this week’s featured finds. Pretzels and Pumpkin, rainpeople, Mann Made Designs, and Pamper & Preen have all created fun, handmade and upcycled goods that celebrate Arthur Guinness’ legacy. Be sure, as well, to visit 2boos to pick up some beautiful shots of Dublin and to join the St Patrick’s Day Treasure Hunt that the Etsy Ireland team is putting on.
(And please, if you choose to imbibe on the 17th, stay away from the cheap, dyed stuff at your local watering hole. This is one time when I will advise you to NOT “go green”.)
tapebubba: I now offer a full 51 different colors of tape, in both gaffer tape and duct tape, and a few other specialty tapes. You can see kind of how I roll. What would you like to see? I also will build your photos/images into your custom wallet. You provide me one or two .jpg digital images of your choosing. I’ll make the insides of the world famous The Stuffer out of duct tape in colors that compliment your image(s). Then your photos will make the outsides. A tough translucent layer of transparent duct tape protects the outside.
I’m an Engineer by profession, and a compulsively creative perfectionist by genetic code. Born in Syracuse, raised in Yorba Linda, educated in Berkeley, and residing in El Cerrito, I handmake wallets, passport covers, checkbooks, cardholders, and notebooks out of various kinds of tape. All tapebubba proceeds go to Second Grader sonoftapebubba’s college fund. I supply the creativity, the tape and the labor.
People sometimes ask me why I always take a photo of each wallet laying flat. The reason is that my wallets actually do lay flat, and your wallet should lay flat too. If the wallet you are about to buy doesn’t lay flat when it’s empty, what do you think it will look like when you have put your stuff in it? Speaking of photos, something else that is different about tapebubba is that I actually take a picture of the wallet I am selling you. The photos in my listings are of the actual item you are going to receive. Seems obvious to me that you deserve that. Apparently not everyone feels that way about what you deserve.
Photo from 74 Lime Lane
For the longest time I couldn’t figure out what “DIY” meant. I’d read it here and there and kept forgetting to look it up or ask someone. I felt relieved when I figured out it’s meaning – and chuckled a bit inwardly, realizing it had been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up I was surrounded by “DIY” as I know many of us were. From what I remember there was no political motivation either – my mom and my aunt made things for us kids simply because they enjoyed it. A good chunk of my clothes were sewn by my mom up until junior high, and a lot of my room decor and even many toys were made by my mom or other members of our family. As a child I didn’t distinguish between the items which were handmade or not, I loved them all fairly equally. A few items do stand out of course, like the super cute mushroom shaped lamp (the windows glowed!) that my Aunt made for me – the dollhouse lovingly made by my Grandpa, and some of the exceptionally bright outfits my mom sewed for me.
Embroidery Pattern from A Little Sweetness
Embroidery Hoop from neawear
Fast forward 25 or so years and here we are now – the world is different in many ways but DIY is possibly more popular than it’s ever been before. Unlike in my mother’s generation, many of us women are in our thirties and still haven’t had our first child, and many of us may choose to work even after our children are born. What does that mean? Possibly less time for DIY and even less time to make heart shaped cookies at Valentine’s day and Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes for our kids before school in the mornings.
Fingerless Mitts Pattern from The Pompom
Owl fingerless gloves from Fingerless Mitts Pattern from Homelab
I’m sure that when we (finally) do have kids I’ll find a way to make the time to keep some of these very fun traditions alive in our household – I know how much glee I found in these creature comforts growing up. But will I have the time to make all my children’s clothes, toys, and such? Probably not. And because I’ll be a busy mom I’ll be happy that the internet is available so I can find beautiful handmade goods for my children, when I’m not able to make them myself. While we can’t always carry on every tradition, it comforts me that we’re able to make new ones – and in this day and age, make new friends in our neighborhoods and all around the world too. Today – I think that’s part of the joy of DIY for me.
I’ve rounded up both items that you can purchase as completed products as well as some patterns too, if you’re in the mood for some DIY of your own!