Writings

Writings

  • Yarn Forward

    From PPQ 24, Winter ’18: When we look to the past for inspiration, we are always being selective. The past and the future are fantasies of different sorts, filtered and shaped by the present. They provide a rich seam for inspiring knits, knitting and how to wear our creations, but those dreams are always more of a reflection of current realities and desires than they are about a time passed or to come. I find it hard to idolise the apparent realities of the past; the dominant narratives are narrow and violent and I don’t want to invite them onto ...
  • Picturing Many Moons

    From PPQ 26, Autumn ’18: Like the cycles of the moon, stitches make an excellent marker of the passage of time. Each stitch is a unit, equivalent to the seconds it took to shape. When knitting in the round, we even make ourselves an alternative clock face that our hands travel round, leaving behind them indelible marks of minutes, and then hours, passed in stitches. The stitches we form are a beautiful manifestation of time, the benefits of age, and the acquired knowledge for shaping them. So why is it that these accumulated years are not celebrated, but derided in ...
  • A Stripe Beyond

    From PPQ 25, Summer ’18: Stripes are everywhere. Inspiration for their colour, depth and texture in textiles can be found all over the natural and made world, from zebras to zebra crossings, from strata created over millennia in canyon rock faces to the comparatively quick layers of a lasagne. You’ll find stripes in the desert, in the waves blown in the sand by the wind, and in THE dessert for lovers of stripes: the pinnacle of layer cakes, known variously as keh lapis, kueh lapis, lapis legit, spekkoek, spiku and thousand layer cake, depending, in part, on where you are ...
  • Stamp Pick Throw

    From PPQ 24, Spring ’18: Philately – nope, it’s not a fancy word for licking male members, it’s the knowledge and appreciation of postal services, which is what Issue 24 is about. All the patterns found their design inspiration in specific postage stamps, which, in turn, dictated the country of origin of the yarn used for each one. The last in this list of stamps is the Penny Black. As the world’s first adhesive stamp, introduced for public use in Great Britain in 1840, the Penny Black was created to simplify and standardise the method for payment and delivery of ...
  • There’s More Than One Way to Knit a Hat

    From PPQ 23, Winter ’17: It is said that there are many ways to skin a cat. Indeed, there are many ways to shear a sheep. Of course, this is much more animal-friendly as the sheep survive the process. But there are hundreds of ways to release the fleece, with diverse results in regards to comfort of the sheep during and after the process, speed, ease for the shearer, and quality of the resulting wool. No matter how carefully the process is tailored to all those involved, ovine and human alike, there will still be individuals who think it should ...
  • Loud Slow Fashion

    From PPQ 22, Autumn ’17: I fought it for a long time, but I have recently started to fully embrace my role as flamboyant textile lady. This means bright colours, brash prints, interesting weaves and embroidery originating from diverse cultures. I feel I owe it to the wonders, skills and diversity of the world to shun style that is commonly referred to as neutral or classic – styles that uphold the dominant hegemony. Let me explain… I wholeheartedly agree with the growing call for respectful and conscientious consumerism: buying less, and respecting the human and environmental impact of clothes manufacturing. ...
  • High Five!!!

    From PPQ 21, Summer ’17: In an era when print is struggling and most magazines fold after their maiden issue, printing a 21st issue could be considered an achievement in and of itself. But Pom Pom continues to grow and flourish, building a community that supports both new and established knitters, designers and other assorted creatives. With sumptuous colour and enthusiasm to spare, Pom Pom lovingly advocates alternatives to mass-production and gently encourages creative diversity. Oddly, with the internet so ubiquitous, print now feels like a comparatively personal mode of communication, and buying a magazine is a conscious choice to ...
  • Knitting Fire and Fury

    From PPQ 20, Spring ’17: Here’s to 2017! Last year has unanimously been called an annus horribilis. We lost a number of high-profile creative souls far too soon, and even more passed on at a ripe old age. David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Mohammed Ali, Prince, Phife Dawg and Carrie Fisher, to name but a few we collectively mourned last year. In their creative and public lives these artists challenged the status quo and extended what was possible. They opened up avenues many of us struggled to walk alone and inspired us to speak up, sing out, laugh together, and dance ...
  • Fitting Reflections

    From PPQ 19, Winter ’16: I have a long-standing, unsubstantiated theory that the rise of mass-produced clothing has brought about a rise in dissatisfaction with our bodies. There are many associated reasons, but it boils down to the fact that, like Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters, rather than finding the clothes (or glass slipper) to fit us, we try to change ourselves to fit the clothes. Before the Industrial Revolution, and a good number of decades following, we made our own clothes, or had them made for us by a seamstress or tailor, according to our own body shape. With the advent ...
  • Witches, Friends and Fugitives

    From PPQ 18, Autumn ’16: There is something wonderfully witchy about dyeing, especially natural dyeing. Turning weeds and peelings into shimmering gold is a type of alchemy. Every dyer I know keeps at least one book of spells, and consults yet more. Whether cryptically scrawled or fastidiously ordered, they contain recipes for summoning up their desired colours with precision. Bubbling pots are part of the package. Whether or not you choose to call them cauldrons, they steam and bring forth potent smells, followed by colour. Witchery has long been derided and condemned by the straight-laced powers that be: caricatured as ...
  • Seductive & Slow

    From PPQ 17, Summer ’16: Hopefully your summer plans include a decent smattering of lazy days to kick back, switch off and take time out from the un-fun musts in life (not the fun musts: fresh air; good conversations with interesting people; deliciously nourishing food; engaging your brain by learning exciting new things; sleeping – keep doing those in abundance). We all need proper breaks – at least a few days where we try to quiet the laundry list of to-dos in our head. Ideally the summer months are a time to lay aside our need for speed and just ...
  • Bigger Sheep to Dye

    From PPQ 16, Spring ’16: Palettes can be found and palettes can be created in many different ways, naturally or chemically, with or without intervention. Though not quite as old as death itself, dyeing is an ancient tradition, practised in countless cultures throughout the ages. For the entertainment and beauty that colour brings, we have explored the boundaries of the organic environment and stretched the horizons of science. Wool doesn’t need to be dyed: it comes straight off the beast in a range of delicious colours from full cream milk, through warm shades of caramel, to near black of the ...
  • Knitting the Winter Blues

    From PPQ 15, Winter ’15: I’ve never quite understood why people don’t wear especially cheerful colours in the winter. With little light, the world is at its drabbest, but we needn’t be! This is when apple red, marigold yellow, cornflower blue, beetroot pink, grass green, shades of hydrangea – you name it – are needed most. I’m not suggesting you have to go full-on Crazy Textile Lady, but a step in that direction would certainly brighten my day. I’d be willing to compromise and accept softer tones in the summer when nature’s abundance seems to make even these colours sparkle. ...
  • Yarn Marks the Spot

    From PPQ 14, Autumn ’15: Black Welsh Mountain, Border Leicester, Boreray, Cambridge, Castlemilk Moorit, Clun Forest, Cotswold, Dalesbred, Devon Closewool, Derbyshire Gritstone, Dorset Down, Dorset Horn, Greyface Dartmoor, Exmore Horn, Hampshire Down, Hebridean, Hill Radnor, Kerry Hill, Llanwenog, Lleyn, Leicester Longwool, Lincoln, Manx Loaghton, Masham, Norfolk Horn, North Ronaldsay, Oxford, Poll Dorset, Polwarth, Portland, Romedale, Romney, Rough Fell, Ryeland, Scottish Blackface, Shetland, Shropshire, Soay, Southdown, South Wales Mountain, Suffolk, Swaledale, Teeswater, Welsh Mountain, Wensleydale…
  • Some Are Knitting

    From PPQ 13, Summer ’15: It’s summer time! Let’s paaaaaaaaaaaaaartay! A time for skimpy clothes, scrumptious salads, trashy novels and open-air romance. There’s skinny-dipping, mosquito whacking, and jam making to be done, but what of knitting? Should we go cold turkey while it’s warm out? Pah! Of course not! Here are some quasi- scientific points to ponder as you pick your projects from these pages. DURATION – how long is your summer? This pertains to both how long you will be able to wear summery garments and how much time you have to work on projects. Regardless of how quick ...
  • Minimal Schminimal

    From PPQ 12, Spring ’15: Swedish minimalism is about pared-down chic with a flourish of cosy, viewed through pale Nordic light. It is a contemporary understanding of old-fashioned that elevates simple shapes in monochrome and mineral colours, and is ideally set off by bare wood. There is a love of stripes, triangles reminiscent of pine trees, and the odd red horse. Summers are endless light and wild flowers. Long winters allow for optimum crafting in houses that are warm enough to leave your shoes at the front door and where everyone wears nice socks. There is candlelight and the scent ...
  • Another Round

    From PPQ 11, Winter ’14: In this issue we are celebrating the beauteous British public house, that perfect establishment for gathering to share time, tales and a tipple. Sadly, the current outlook for pubs in the U.K is bleak, much like it was for haberdashers in the 1990s. They are closing down at a rate of knots and, as we all know, knitters don’t like knots. The alarming statistic is that on average we lose at least 4 locals a day. There’s a whole host of reasons why they are on the brink, such as supermarkets selling cheaper booze, and ...
  • Fingertip Travellers

    From PPQ 10, Autumn ’14: The term “armchair tourist” has become familiar. It describes someone with a penchant for travel shows on telly and DVD; a follower of adventurers’ blogs, feeds and podcasts. They experience the sights of the world from the comfort of their couch with a mixture of amazement, admiration, jealousy and relief that someone else is doing it. They learn an awful lot. They may even go to some of these places one day. And here we are: Issue 10 is full of beautiful projects inspired by different folk textile traditions from around the world, but this ...
  • A Lot of Little Bits About Linen

    From PPQ 9, Summer ’14: Last issue we heard from Caitlin ffrench about her forays into growing and processing linen with the goal of making her wardrobe as self-sufficient as possible. Even if you don’t have the chutzpah to start up your own miniature linen farm and mill, linen is an excellent fibre to knit with. It’s anti- bacterial and wicking and it’s especially good in summer when it will keep you cool and airy, whether you are wearing it or knitting with it. If you get in a pickle on a desert island, it’s so tough and strong you ...