What's New for The Project Bag in 2019

Hello friends,

It seems like I've written about this a lot this year (and as the year is only 8 weeks old, give or take, that's impressive) but as you know another change has come upon me in the past couple of weeks so once again it's time to take stock.

I've been doing a lot of thinking - what else do you do when you've had to quit the day job? - and thought it might be time to share some of it with you!

Firstly, though, let me say a heartfelt "thank you" for your kind wishes and support over the past year or so, but especially over the past couple of weeks as I've struggled to come to terms with my PTSD and also gone through a particularly challenging emotional time of my daughter's first birthday.  Your love, support, encouragement and general loveliness has meant so much.  Thank you.

Secondly, I need to apologise (sorry, Aileen!):  I try to keep the blog, instagram and the podcast all fairly independent of each other in order to keep things fresh.The podcast primarily focuses on fibre arts, but the idea of The Project Bag is that it is very much multi-craftual, and this blog is where I can explore other crafts, do interviews and reviews, and share recipes and tutorials etc.   However, in a departure from the norm, the blog and podcast this week will echo one another.

So - what's coming in 2019?

Following my difficult (and totally scary) decision to leave my career as an English teacher firmly behind me, I now look to TPB and am trying really hard to be positive rather than just terrified haha!

The Project Bag Podcast

TPB Podcast has had a little bit of a facelift and spruce up for 2019.
A new nifty way of creating the intro means viewers now get a preview of what to expect within the first 3 minutes (spoiler - there will always be nonsense!).  It's been great fun enhancing my editing skills in order to be able to do this, although more than once I've had to quickly cancel an upload after realising I've forgotten to add the visual in!  I think Vlogmas was a great help to me for developing my skills.



Talking of developing skills, I have a new segment of the podcast entitled: Level Up, which will typically feature once a month.  Each month, I take a different skill and try to improve my current level or try something completely new.  In January I was working on hand-lettering.  February has seen me try my hand at wood-carving (the chisel won!).  In March I'll be looking at lace and there will be a new craft-along to go with it!

I'm slightly overwhelmed by seeing the subscriber numbers creeping ever closer to 200.  The fact that you would choose to spend your time with me, listening to me twitter on with my nonsense is humbling - thank you.

The Project Bag Designs

2018 saw the release of my first two patterns:  a free ripple scarf, and a paid-for sampler cowl (find them here)  However there are many more to come!




I've discovered quite a love of designing socks.  They're a small canvas to work on and the "in-the-round" construction gives rise to lots of interesting possibilities.


My "Old School Socks" are due for release really soon (hopefully March) and are a pretty lace design, inspired by the socks that all the girls used to wear when I was at primary school (age 4-11 for those not in the UK) that were white and lacy.  Pictured is my version that is knit out of Stranded Dyeworks in the Vintage Christmas colourway from 2017.  My testers have been fabulous!






A very important sock is the "My Daughter" sock design.  This one was my first design, that I started working on shortly after losing my little Lara.  I hate that term, actually, losing.  It makes it sound like I was careless.  But I digress.  I've set up a just-giving page and we are working on creating Lara's Legacy as a charity.  This sock features an embroidery stitch and a tightly twisted cable and is slightly unusual.  All proceeds from this pattern will go to Lara's Legacy's Just Giving page, which currently donates its funds to Bliss Research Appeal.




My next design is very much a WIP.  I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with two incredible dyers:  Verity of Truly Hooked, and Hutch of Dye Candy.  Both these women have been totally amazing in their support and encouragement of me both on a personal and professional level. 


Verity named one of her new sock designs for Lara that features in The Second Drawer Down (buy the book here) and now both ladies are working with me on a collaborative project.  It's pretty top secret for the moment but I'm working on a shawl that will be called the Kick-Ass Shawl and that's all I'll say for now.  Again, proceeds will go to Bliss' research appeal.

I absolutely love my first hat design.  I've actually been sitting on it for over a year now, and it's just waiting for some final adjustments before sending to my tech editor.  I've created the sample pictured using Truly Hooked's Christmas 2017 colourway: Like a Unicorn threw up on Christmas.  It's to be called the Graffiti Hat, and there will be fingerless mittens to match!



In January, I bit the bullet and sketched a submission for a popular knitting magazine.  I fully expected not to be successful, and I wasn't this time, but I'm so thrilled with the design that I'm planning on getting it written and finished ready for the summer.  The "Paddling Pool" vest will suit girls and boys and fit children from newborn to 6 years.  Here's a sneak peek of my swatch!




The Project Bag Tuition

Following the fabulous success of my first courses in 2018, 2019 has already kicked off in grand style, with three courses running so far:  First Steps in Crochet; Next Steps in Crochet; and Intermediate Knitting Course.  I'm already looking forward to the next round of beginner courses and am planning several 1-day workshops, to run throughout the year.   I'm also in talks with another venue about evening classes, ladies nights, and Christmas crafts for 2019!

I absolutely love teaching my courses.  All of my students are lovely and are just a joy to work with.  Those who have been part of the very first course have become firm friends with one another, and together with the second beginner course members, have embarked on the intermediate knitting course.  Others have picked up crochet too!  I'm so lucky to have wonderful venues to work with, who believe in me and TPB and are willing to give us a go.

Day Courses Planned for 2019:
* knitting in the round - three ways
* Sock Structure
* Brioche
* An introduction to Red Work
* Christmas Wreath Making

Short Courses Planned for 2019:

February:
First Steps in Crochet (Fridays)
First Steps in Crochet (Saturdays)
Next Steps in Crochet (Fridays)
Intermediate Knitting Course (Sundays)

March
Beginner Knitting Course (Saturdays)
Next Steps in Crochet (Saturdays)
First Steps in Crochet (Sundays)

May:
First Steps in Hand Embroidery (TBC).

The Project Bag Yarns and Bags


In 2019 I'm thrilled to announce that you will also be able to purchase my hand-made project bags from my local yarn store: Hop Stitch and Jumper, and I'm creating a unique line for Esquire's in Maidstone.

My Etsy store continues to be well-stocked, and I'm going to be releasing two new styles of project bag in the next two months.  I want to tell you all about it but it's a surprise for now!  Make sure you've followed me on IG and FB and subscribed to the podcast to be sure to hear about it first!

In March I'll be launching my new lace-weight yarn, and my Spring into Summer colourways for 2019.

I'll also be vending at The Wool Monty Show in its first year this June. Find my hand-dyed yarns and hand-made stitch markers and project bags!

That brings me on to...

Shows and Festivals I'll be Attending in 2019

Unravel (22nd February 2019) - regular yarn-squisher
EYF (22nd-23rd March 2019) - regular yarn-squisher  (TBC)
Wool Monty (15th-16th June 2019) - VENDOR EEK!
Fibre East - Yarn Squisher
Perth Festival of Yarn 2019 - yarn squisher / podcaster / and, hopefully, vendor!

If there are any more to add to this list, I'll be sure to let you know!

I think that's you all up to date on the latest goings on with TPB.

Thank you for all your support.  Tune in to the podcast this week to find out how you can support me without spending a penny.

xxx


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