Friday, 31 August 2012

September Craft-a-long

Join us on MISI for the September Craft-a-long...
Our chosen theme is PETS

Friday, 24 August 2012

Featured MISI Maker - Lorraine Hearne

Our Featured seller this week is Knitwear Designer Lorraine Hearne who goes by the username of Belleflower on MISI...
Let's find out a little more about her.

 What is your shop's name and how did you decide on it?

My shops name is  It was my partner's Fraser's idea on that one.  It seemed to fit for the reason that my patterns are PDF patterns so it stuck.

How did you get started in your particular craft and how long have you been doing it?

Well I started knitting when I was 5 would you believe.  I was a hypo active child and I used to love watching my mother knit so it was only a matter of time and I was knitting my school cardigans at 8 and then I had the bug.

My career was in Finance but I was also working Freelance as a pattern writer, photoshoot garment knitter and maths checker for various yarn companies as I was saving for IVF treatment at the time and loved designing.  When my daughter arrived I really wanted to stay at home and watch her grow up.  Finance really wasn't for me as I was too creative and I decided to diverse my career and work from home and focus on designing and started my own company. 

Are there any negative aspects to doing your craft and if there are how do you work around them?
I simply love what I am doing but it is long hours, a lot of time and energy goes into designing.  The charity book was really fulfilling but a lot of working all night getting garments ready for those little ones to wear on the photoshoot day but seeing those little ones having so much fun and they were nervous too made it so worth while knowing it was a real team effort and everyone knew it was for a very good cause and we so hope everyone will support us.  It caught up on me a bit healthwise and emotionally as it is tough as any parent would say juggling work with homelife but its something you do and I just had the determination to want to make things work for everyone but you do learn that you are not superhuman which parents have probably all discovered at some point in their lives.  

What tips would you give to anyone thinking of starting your craft?
Take breaks to refresh your mind.  I am terrible once I have an idea for a design I could be up at all hours getting the drawings and stitch patterns together but its only a matter of time before your mind starts to do funny things and you are open to making mistakes so do think about pacing yourself and spending quality time with your family which is so important too.

How did you find Misi?
It was recommended to me by a mum at the school.  Its a fantastic site and I would recommend it to anyone who simply loves crafting and rustic charm.

What is your favourite item in your own Misi shop?

Oh no, now you have me there.  Each design has a story about how I came up with the idea but I have to say "Stables Shoot" and "Woburn Shoot" e books.  Not only because the books are for charity  but the themes and the heart that went into the designs in making them knitter friends and adaptable but I do like the Horseshoe Adaptable Jacket which is on the front cover of the "Stables Shoot" but its hard to choose a favourite because the story that goes behind the ideas of the design.

What is your favourite shop on Misi (besides your own)?

You have got me there too.  They are all brilliant so there is no particular favourite.

We heard a rumour about an awesome pattern book?  Please tell us more about it.
The Aspley Collection Book 1 is the main collection.  We decided to split this book into 5 seperate e books as the book is set in 4 themes, "Woodland", "Stables", "Allotment" and "Woburn". and then you have the main e book. "Aspley Collection Book 1" which will be available too in the next couple of weeks.  Aspley Guise Lower School have a massive £80,000 to raise for a new building.  Its becoming really hard for schools to raise this kind of money due to self funding and the children really wanted to play a part including my daughter Beth who attends the school which gave me an idea so I joined forces with Rico Design and Cascade yarns who have been absolutely fantastic in providing the Ecological yarns which I wanted to use as the children are very keen on Environmental Issues.  It didn't stop there.  Glady's the pug pup got jealous and wanted to join in the fun.  So she modelled to.  

I wanted to the book to not just be a book on knitting patterns but to have a heart and to show what it was like for me when I was little growing up in this area and I wanted the children to experience it too so I themed the book in 4 sections to demonstrate things I used to do.  I played in the woods so "Woodland Shoot" came on board, I ran around on farms therefore "Stable Shoot", I was really naughty on allotments (I have grown up since then) but I did swop those lolly sticks around so "Allotment Shoot" came along and I always used to love going to "Woburn Abbey" and play rounders and visit the safari park and have picnics in the grounds so "Woburn" shoot came on board.

We received wonderful support from local celebrities.  Jacqui Dankworth was contacted about the project and herself and Becci Stevenson (Cleo Lane's) secretary joined in the fun and modelled with the children at Radwell Farm for the "Stables Shoot".  James Frost, owner of the Frosts garden chain group was very sporty and also modelled with the children for the "Allotment Shoot".  Then the Duke and Duchess of Bedford and the staff at Woburn Abbey rallied around and Hollywood animal star "joey" otherwise known as "Warhorse" was transported to Woburn Abbey and was shot with the children for the last photoshoot.

The children were the real stars of the show.  I wanted real children of all different shapes and sizes and different characters.  Some of these children had no confidence and I really wanted to give them their confidence back and they really shone.  They were all incredibly nervous and they worked so incredibly hard and they were all so patient.

Award winning photographer Karen Parker jumped on board and produced the wonderful photographs of the children.

The scope of the project has been incredible from de skeining yarns, designing, swatching, grading, pattern writing, maths checking, proof reading, photography, photoshoot logistics and Marketing.
Even through the designs are modelled by the children we have graded all of these designs for adults too.

Tell us a few Random Facts about you:

Oh no, well basically I am completely mad, some people used to call me a modern day Bridget Jones.  I am quite bubbly
I love spending time with my family and I love what I do.  

What is your favourite season and why?
Autumn, I love watching the colours change and those lovely crisp walks all wrapped up in your Winter Accessories.  I get a lot of my ideas by my walks and just looking around at texture, colour etc, its very inspirational.

What is your favourite food?
Everything.  I am a nightmare.  I love Thai food.  I love my carbs (bad thing I know).  Trying the Dukan Diet at the moment.  Working on the book unfortunately has made me pile on the pounds a bit so I am on a DEFLUMP mission so wish me luck but its all been for a good cause.

How many DVDs do you have? 

Well Fraser has a lot of them and I pinch a lot of them.  Hundreds.  I don't have a favourite as I like to listen to all kinds of music depending on my mood.

What is your favourite animal?
Penguins, I love the way they walk as it makes me giggle!

What actor/actress would you NOT kick out of bed?
Thats a secret!!!!  

Thank you for chatting with us Lorraine. 
Don't forget to stop by her shop for stunning patterns.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Vintage on MISI

As well as all the beautiful handmade items sold on MISI there are also some gorgeous, unique Vintage items.  Some in original mint condition and some have been recycled into something completely different...