Sunday, 26 December 2010

Yarn Cocktails and Christmas gifts

Among my lovely Christmas goodies were two extra special pressies from two dear friends: This fabulous scarf knitted with the fair hands of Suzanne Griffith (she of the marvellous book: Stitching for Victory - available on Amazon)
AND, still on the theme of knitting, this fantastic book from Charlotte Williams - (a fellow textile designer and an extraordinary talent. Check out her show at New Designers in at the Design Centre in July.) The book, The Knitter'g Guide to Yarn Cocktails by Anastasia Blaes and Kelly Wilson, is right up my street - knitted knickers and Singapore Slings - (my favourite ever cocktail which added to my enjoyment of Singapore although sadly Raffles cocktail bar was closed for a refurb - I'll just have to go again!) - who could ask for anything more?

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Final Major Project Initial Ideas

The theme for my final major project is going to be based on Guerrilla Gardening with a fashion outcome. This is my workspace and some initial ideas. I expect that the theme will mutate as I develop my drawings an textile experiments, I am already thinking about the detritus of urban living, but it is a launch pad for my creative journey.

Amazing guerrilla gardening research images out there on the web, I particularly love this one: poster pocket planting. To find out more, check out:

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Garance Dore fashion illustration

While researching fashion illustrators I came across this French fashion illlustrator. I really liked this Agent Provocateur design and it seems quite typical of her style.

Check her out on: please leave a message on her blog to say where you found the link. There is also an article about her on the Harpers Bazaar site under fashion articles

I feel another pinnie coming on!

I was given this piece of vintage Whaleys fabric and I still have some vintage bias binding left in various colours so I feel another Lynnie Pinnie project coming on. Probably as a displacement activity as I really should be getting on with my Final Major Project, unfortunately the weather has rather scuppered any location drawing.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Snow stops play!

Although it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO beautiful the snow has stopped play today. But not for the garden fox who goes on the prowl whatever the weather. I was due to go over to Brighton for a lovely girlie lunch party but having already got caught out in a blizzard yesterday, I don't want to get marooned half way today! It is coming down thick and fast AND so far Mr Postman hasn't made it with any of the goodies I have ordered on line. Humph!
BUT it means that I will finally get around to unpacking the Christmas decorations, so not all bad news! I will put one of my beautiful Kimba fairies on top of the tree. (Each one individually hand crafted and no two the same. Available for sale on request).

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Lynnie Pinnie

I've been so busy lately I haven't been updating my blog. BUT that was then and this is now!

I was given some vintage fabric and some vintage bias binding by a lovely lady recently and thought I just had to do it justice. My friend, artist, mentor and aficionado of all things vintage Karen Taylor has a vintage pinnie and kindly lent it to me so that I could magic up a pattern. Note, Juliana Sissons! I have put what you taught me to good effect. Here is the pinnie! The upside of a vintage wrap around pinney is that you don't get paint / flower / mud on your backside!
Karen recently exhibited at the Towner Art Gallery and Julie is currently artisit in residence at the V&A - check out her book on knitting in the Basics range - also available at the V&A

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Why use an unknown when you can use a celebrity?

I have been trying to work on some fashion illustration in Photoshop and also get to grips with using a graphic tablet. I scanned in one of my designs and this is what I came up with. OK, so La GaGa might not exactly be my target market at the moment, but I would be in heaven were she to strut her stuff in one of my designs. So if Lady Gaga's agent is looking in the blogosphere ...... Naturally I don't put my BEST designs on the blog as I want them to be snapped up at New Designers in June 2011.

Design development

I've been playing around with fabric manipulation and design development. Sometimes the reverse of a piee of work is as interesting as the front.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Drawing lace

Apologies to my followers for the enforced silence of the last few weeks. I have been having major techno problems with my internet connection. I am happy to say that all is resolved so I will be posting regularly again.
I can't believe it is reading week already at Northbrook - I had forgotten how fast the time goes when it is sliced up into projects, deadlines and semesters. The last five weeks have flown past in a flurry of activity and ideas - it is great to be back in the studio and part of a creative group.
So, on with the show! I am doing a fashion fabric project based on florals, sustainability and embellishment. I have chosen to use found fabrics, threads and trims so my designs will be upcycled from vintage odds and ends. I have been looking at lace and translating the patterns into drawings. Here is one I made earlier. The exciting bit comes next when I translate the drawing into a fabric sample.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Fabric manipulations

This is an experiment in fabric manipulation - essentially for a background print to my florals. I have used old scraps of fabric on calico and have tried to create surface interest and a ripple effect or undulating effect. When the colours are manipulated in Photoshop the design takes on depth which I think would translate well in a digital fabric print. This could then be embellished.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Stitched undulations / textured rhythms

I have been exploring texture in the form of embossed quality stitch and undulating rhythms in nature. I have used a silky knitting yarn in the bobbin of my sewing machine and free machined some zigzag patterns with a white colourway (which can be changed in Photoshop). I wanted some fairly abstract rthymic backgrounds for my floral designs. Here is one of a series based on a drawing I did of the Sussex Downs as seen through a train window.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Floral Mode Encore!

I have been rather remiss and not been updating my blog recently BUT I have been busy - here is a little floral number using scraps of pink jersey with a crochet centre. Don't tell anyone but the jersey were a pair of Primark knickers, the centre a not terribly successful crochet flower - but I thought the textures of the two would work well together. I may do some stitching into the "petals" to add a bit more textural interest.

Friday, 13 August 2010

In floral mode

I'm in floral mode again, this time working on some designs for my return to Northbrook. The image here is a floral motif painted in acrylics on nylon and machined stitched.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Poppy Seeds

Having gathered lots of poppy seeds on Plot 61a I am busy putting them in little packets for my friends and family - some will go on their gardens but I strongly suspect some will find there way into other areas as the guerilla gardeners get busy beautifying the urban landscape!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Plot 61a Preserves

I have been busy making my first batch of chutney from Plot 61a - a scrummy concoction loosely based on Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall's "Glutney" recipe using the first crop of courgettes from my allotment. Should be ready to eat in a couple of months, so in plenty of time for Christmas. I have designed a jam pot style cover as I am using recycled jars from my kind neighbours.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Juliana Sissons at the V and A

The talented and inspiration Ms Sissons

Juliana's knit design

If you live fashion and you adore knit you will absolutely LOVE this: Knitwear designer Juliana Sissons has an artist residency at the V & A with open workshops and drop in sessions: Check it out: Juliana will have special access to the Medieval Renaissance Collection for inspiration, study and research - July to December.
Oh! And I forgot to mention her book! Part of the Basics series: Basics in Fashion Design - Knitwear - available at Amazon

Monday, 26 July 2010

Poppy seed heads

I have been rather remiss lately and not updated by blog. I have, though, been very busy on the allotment (it has come on in leaps and bounds) and have also started doing some fabric experiments and drawings for my return to Northbrook in September.

I have been gathering seeds which I am sharing with friends and family. I could not resist scanning the "crop" of poppy seed heads - they might just creep into my textile project! The blue one is evidence of my using it for printing - as you do!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Sneak preview - upcycled fashionista scarecrow

As this project is taking a lot longer than anticipated to complete and given that I am working more or less from the feet up, here is a sneak preview of the silvery flowery shoes that the fashionista scarecrow will be wearing on her amazingly skinny and lumpy-bumpy blue legs! (Upcycle techniques: spray paint old shoes with silver, make "flowers" from machine embroidered back-to-back yogurt pot tops adorned with vintage button.)

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Keepsake Cameo Pin Cushions

Back - machine embroidered vintage fabric.

Front: digital print on fabric appliqued onto vintage fabric with vintage trim.

I made these cameo pin cushions for the Northbrook College BA surface textile design class of 2010 as graduation presents - I wanted them to have a practical momento. The pin cushions combine digital photography onto cotton fabric, vintage finds and machine embroidery. (Pins not included) I am happy to take commissions - all I need is a digital photo. POA kimba.designs @

Friday, 2 July 2010

New Designers 2010

I am off to the Design Centre in London today to see the best of British design talent - Part One features textile designs for fashion and interiors, accessories and gift ware. Don't miss it if you are interested in innovative and creative design. In particular look out the the Class of 2010 BA Graduate show from Northbrook College ! Congratuations to all the Northbrook graduates and very well done for the stunning work on show. This very popular and exciting course is led by Tom Embleton and delivered by his very talented team - for details contact Northbrook College direct.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Magical by day, enchanting by moonlight

The view from the cottage weas ever changing in daylight with the ebb and flow of the tide, but by moonlight it was absolutely magical.

Beautiful North Wales

Just got back from a week or so in beautiful North Wales. Stayed in an amazing cottage near Porthmadog overlooking this fabulous view. Really inspirational trip - have gathered lots of material for future design ideas. AND it didn't even rain for the whole trip - something of a novelty when I go on holiday and especially in Wales!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Fantastical bird

I've been having fun today making a fantastical creature to frighten off the real birds who seem intent on feasting on the peas on my newly acquired allotment before I even get a look in! Let's home this hybrid textile beastie works! As a belt and braces tactic I have also magicked up some netting in a yurt formation!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Fabulous vintage find

In a recent vintage forage I came across this frilled heart shaped dressing table stool and just HAD to buy it! It is so over the top I really love it.


Now normally I don't like gnomes but I saw this pickie and couldn't resist posting it! Having an allotment has obviously turned my head! If anyone knows who the artist is, please let me know.

Pressies for my Allotment

Lucky me! I have received two lovely pressies from my friends Zuzana and Suzanne! The little blackboard signs are fab as I can rub out the names when I plant different things (Zuzana knows that I change my mind a lot!) and the book is amazing and has completely altered my ideas about my planting methods. Thanks Suzanne and to the inspirational Alys Fowler, I will be going for anarchic planting! Straight lines might be easier but they are not half as much fun! Thank you girls! xxx

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Midnight Stitching - Lamp

I've been burning the midnight oil to get an embroidery piece ready for exhibition. The theme was faded splendour based on a hotel stay in a very dilapidated but formerly glorious hotel in Sliema. The result is rather bonkers , a bit wonky and distressed and very much in the spirit of the time warp hotel, its former glory and current state of decay.

Bunny 6 Brassica 0

The Villain of the Piece

The Victims

Hmmmmm this is a bit of an uneven fight: Yesterday my lovely allotment neighbour Maria gave me 6 brassica seedlings: broccoli and cauliflower to plant in my newly acquired and not yet planted allotment. Lots of work has been done in the clearing and digging department but no plants, so was DELIGHTED to recieve first seedlings. It seems that the local bunnies were even more entranced with them: not ONE leaf remained this morning. I was not pleased - much to the amusement of my other allotment neighbour, James!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Plot 61A

I've been making a sign for the allotment plot - I seem to have come over all floral again! I am doing my best to be green and to recycle materials SOOOOOO I used a piece of hardboard found in a skip - the smooth side was worse than the rough side, so I have used the rough side for my artwork, which actually has quite a textile-like surface. I coated it with gesso and several coats of white acrylic paint back and front and then used my favourite spray paints and rose stencil to floralise it. Then I cut the number stencil and used black craft paint (which I hope is waterproof!) for the plot number. For the stake I found a piece of wood in the same skip, so
apart from the paints it is a recycled plot sign. And, of course, it teams nicely with my bunting!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Having fun making bunting

Having got SO excited about the news of my allotment I decided to make some celebratory bunting to hang up in my shed (when I eventually get one)! I decided that you can't have customised bunting without including some original work, so I incorported some of my rose designs. (I have previously made bespoke bunting for weddings, babies, house moves, etc. and am happy to take orders - contact via my Etsy Shop).

And now for something completely different! Allotment

I am delighted to announce that after waiting for more than 2 years on the local allotment list, I have now got an allotment. YEAH!!!!!! It might not look much, but it has enormous possibilities. A blank canvas, albeit liberally studded with thistles. I will be scouring YouTube for Alys Fowler's (my garden guru) hints and tips in the allotment department. Being a textile creature by nature, I celebrated the news by making some flowery bunting un shades of blue to hang up in my shed. When I get one, that is. At the moment the only structure is a tool shed and I am planning a recreational area brimming with herbs and flowers so that I can sit and sew when I am not sewing and hoeing.

Loopy Vintage Knit

Another one for all those vintage aficionados out there! I found this delicious knitting pattern for a loopy bolero jacket in a vintage shop. I remember knitting something very similar back in the dark ages! Loopy knits take an enormous amount of wool but are very warm and cosy. Enjoy!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Advance Notice: Collaboration

I am going to be working on a collaborative piece with the Japanese Textile Designer Hitomi Kimura. See her work and designs in progress at:

Heavy Duty Stitching

I have been having fun with machine embroidery creating a vaguely "floral" motif. I really like this technique which is done on a heavy hessian background which easily takes the weight of the stitch but is sufficiently malleable to cockle into a pleasing surface tension effect. I will definitely use this technique again - however, I need to remember that it consumes a massive amount of bobbin thread. Best to keep several bobbins charged up so as not to interrupt the process. BUT it is an excellent way of using up all your old bits of thread as the bobbin thread does not show through unless you fiddle with the tension.

Colour Stories using balloons

I thought I would inject a little fun into creating my colour stories and as I was playing around with balloons at the time (as one does!) I decided to group them into colour stories. With varying degrees of success, as you can see from the photo. Several issues here: the colour of the balloons does not translate particularly well to the screen images because of the degree of transparency and background colours creeping in but you can add and take away very easily in grouping colours. Unfortunately, it is not until you get home and put the images on the computer that the colour variation becomes apparent. In this case I would get rid of the yellow and use the orange only for accent.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

My Latest Muse

I am always looking for a New Muse for my stitched "portraits" and I needed to look no further than my friend Runa - who I have to say has such an individual style that she is an art form in herself and being a lovely person too, she was the perfect choice. Hello Runa! Watch this space!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

First Steps in Pattern Cutting

I have been busy working on my personal toile at my Tuesday evening pattern cutting class with the wonderful Julianna Sissons (an inspirational fashion designer who teaches at the London School of Fashion, Northbrook College and Brighton Uni and has run workshops at the Victoria and Albert Museum). I have decided to take my time and record it step by step. I hand stitched in turquoise thread all the major fitting lines for my personal toile. Here are the front and back sections. I will be working on the sleeves next before the fitting and fiddling process begins.