Quick-fire questions with... Jean Moss

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Don’t miss Jean signing copies of her latest book at the GMC stand F5 at the Knitting & Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, on Saturday 12 October


On the run up to the start of this year's Knitting and Stitching Show, 10-13 October at Alexandra Palace, London, we chat to author/designer Jean Moss who will be signing copies of her latest book Great Little Gifts to Knit, on our stand, F5, in the main hall on Saturday 12 October.

So, introducing… Jean Moss!

When did you learn to knit?

In my family all the women were knitters, so I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t knit.  When I was about five my lovely grandmother taught me how to make drop stich scarves from recycled yarn. I had no concept of where yarn might come from other than from other people’s old sweaters! You can imagine my delight when years later I discovered yarn stores.

In the knitting world, what are you best known for?

I love combining hue, stitch and form, so you can usually expect to find vibrant colour, texture and interesting shapes in my knits. I also love to incorporate different techniques and to give classic designs a quirky twist.
I get a kick out of creating timeless pieces which can be recycled through the generations – shabby chic if you like, epitomized by William Morris. Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. This idea is helped along the way at home by two young Maine Coons with sharp claws!

What are your (knitting!) weapons of choice?

Knit Pick Interchangeable Harmony Wood and Addi Turbo Click circular needles.

What is the project/design you are most proud?

That’s a toughie… there have been so many! All I can say is that I’m usually totally into whatever design I’m working on. I get a real buzz out of exploring the stitch, yarn and form of each design in turn. If you’re talking about Great Little Gifts to Knits, the Welcome Toran is my favourite design. It’s inspired by the celebratory doorhangings of Rajasthan, said to bless everyone who walks beneath with an abundance of love, prosperity, health and happiness. I love their playful colours and flamboyant flowers, leaves and mirrors, also that knitters can adapt the pattern to fit their own skill sets, lives and interiors.

Have you ever had a knitting disaster, and if so, what was it?
I’m a pragmatic sort of knitter, so a project would have to be a complete write-off before I’d ever consider it to be a disaster, as you can recycle most disasters. As with many things in life that don’t go according to plan, if you can change your way of thinking about it, you can turn a disaster into a success.

The best knitting advice I've ever had, was…

It’s only knitting, so relax, enjoy the process, and don’t get upset if you don’t always get it right.

If you could only use one stitch for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

Garter, garter, garter. It’s so versatile and never fails to look chic.

What would you say to a non-knitter to try to convert them?

It’s fun, friendly and relaxing… so come and join us.

When I'm not knitting, I'm…

…playing guitar, singing, gardening, cooking – all good displacement activities that create the space for dreaming up the next design. 

Describe your crafty self in three words…

I’m a maker.

Ball of wool and a cup of tea or skein of silk and a glass of wine?

Depends what time of day – I’d like the former in the morning and the latter on an evening.

 

And now onto Jean's new book, Great Little Gifts to Knit on sale now!

 

What inspired your latest book, Great Little Gifts to Knit?

Taunton Press, my publisher, asked me to design a collection of knitted gifts as they had obviously located a gap in the market. In fact it was a project I found quite challenging in that it took me out of my comfort zone and made me study shapes I’d never before considered. Every single project was going to be different, so it wasn’t a case of looking up my favourite spec for a particular sweater shape and then crunching the numbers. This book was a whole new ball game every time I started a new design with baby cocoons, toys, backpacks, dog jackets, socks – an exciting voyage of discovery.

Once you started designing, was it hard to narrow down to just 30 projects? How do you decide what makes the cut?

I get completely carried away with the design on my needles at any given moment. It often occurs to me that the concept could probably inspire a whole collection, so I’m always keen to travel as far as I can with it. Of course there are always time constraints in the form of deadlines to meet, so the reason why many of the projects in Gifts to Knits have two styles, multiple colourways and some even different yarn weights is just that I got that far with them and wanted to give knitters the benefit of seeing as much of my journey as possible.

Who do you like to design for most, women, children, accessories etc and why?

I love to design for myself, especially hats, gloves and scarves. But I do enjoy knitting for friends and family and these pieces also make fabulous gifts which you can knit over a weekend, or sometimes even in an evening.

You created blog tours for both this book and your previous one, Sweet Shawlettes. For someone who has never seen or heard of a blog tour, can you explain how they work and why you love them?

A blog tour is a fantastic vehicle for promoting a book. Usually a designer (who is also a blogger) will invite other bloggers to participate in their blog tour. Then those who agree will each be given a date to review the book, maybe do an interview with the author and offer their readers a chance to win a free copy of the book in exchange for leaving a comment. The book gets exposure and the give-away attracts new readers to blogs, so it’s a win/win situation for everyone.
You could refer your readers to my blog here for more reviews, as there’s still time to win a free copy from a couple of the sites. Here’s the permalink to the post with the itinerary on my blog, I’ve put in the permalink on all the posts: http://jeanmosshandknits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/great-little-gifts-to-knit-blog-tour.html

Rumour has it you will be doing a Make & Take at our stand at the K&S Show as well as signing copies of your books. Can you give us a hint at what that might be?

We’ll be making something that’s useful in the home – a simple and stylish project from Great Little Gifts that can be completed in class.

What are you looking forward to the most about the Knitting & Stitching Show this year? 

Meeting lots of kindred spirits and sharing the projects in my new book with them, as well as catching up with all the latest trends and gossip in the textile world.

You are always busy doing something interesting; books, tours, workshops. Can you give us any sneak peeks into what we can expect from you next?

I always have several knitting projects on the go, but one that is very close to my heart would be to combine my twin passions in one collection of musical knits.
   Recently, my first ever KAL [knit along] was a lot of fun so I’d like to organize another one. At the moment I’m thinking it would be fun to host a Knit Your Own Toran, as it’s such a joyous piece and easy for knitters to customize.
  Next year we have two knitting tours in France coming up. Knit France 1 and 2 are eleven-day knitting extravaganzas in the Dordogne, hosted by myself and my partner, where you can knit in an elegant manoir, explore the surrounding towns and countryside, and meet lots of friendly knitters. There are classes, including a couple from the queen of brioche, Nancy Marchant, show and share, a heated outdoor pool, a fully stocked lake for non-knitting friends who like to fish, and an onsite spa, where you can treat yourself to a relaxing treatment. For more details visit www.jeanmoss.com/knit_france3.html


Jean Moss will be signing copies of her GMC books at the GMC/Knitting magazine stand F5, on Saturday 12 October. Come and say hello! 

Saturday 12 October

11.30am-12.30pm – Book signing

14.00-15.30pm – Make & Take

 

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