The Journey Shawl by Salina Jane.
so we should start with an introduction do you want to go first shall i go first i think you should go first okay so um my name’s Salina Jane and i’m an artist and illustrator and a knitter i do a bit crochet i dye yarn i spin yarn i dress make as well so yeah that’s me fantastic i’m Luke Fay I’m Salina’s husband which is pretty much my main vocation but i also run a small company and when I get time i like to write I write some poetry i’ve published some comics in the past so yeah that’s me okay so today we’re going to be talking about The Journey Shawl about our book The Journey Shawl the tale of knitting and friendship and we’ve got some questions that the Knitting and Crochet Guild have asked us so we’re gonna go through that you ready we’re ready okay okay so Luke the first question about The Journey Shawl is i assume this is a true story in many ways it is a true story I’ve seen and witnessed and been part of Salina are putting all of her spirit into gifts that she’s handmade over time waking up in the morning thinking about what she’s going to be delivering to who and how that’s going to ignite that person’s uh day and uh it’s been a pleasure for me to see that so this was really a pulled or drew on all of those experiences yeah i think it’s true actually i mean really the book is fundamentally about i mean it’s about a shawl but it’s really actually about what goes into making a handmade gift you know because i think if you make any any anyone who knits anyone who crochets you when you make something for someone you don’t just make something for someone it’s not the same as you know buying a pair of socks you know from the shop from m s it really is like you know all of your experience how you’re feeling at the time you know all of that goes in you know if you feel if you’re quite tense your knitting will be tighter you know if you’re feeling quite relaxed your knitting’s going to be more relaxed like everything goes into it so really kind of that’s what we wanted to talk about and then it kind of sort of took off its own steam and it became you know about all of the processes because there’s so much isn’t it it’s quite rich to create this one thing there’s so many different elements and so many other people actually absolutely involved in what what you make when you create something you know so many people involved and it you know it’s just uh yeah yeah and i think that um moment of inspiration when you choose a gift for somebody um if you’re making a gift there’s two option aspects to that one is where you think of the person first and then think what to make them and then there’s the other thing where both things can come at once and i’ve seen that in Salina moments where she thinks about the person and the gift all at once and that’s a moment of inspiration fabulous to capture that and see how that can follow through i think in terms of the question is it a true story it’s lots of true stories so the book’s got our cat in and us to it but also it’s got lots of different people that we know are all involved in you know some way with fibre with uh you know creating your creators and they’re all part of this it’s very much about a journey absolutely yeah okay so second question was do you have a photo of the shawl so yeah i do have a photo of the shawl so i will put a photo of the shawl up there so I actually when we were doing this I was knitting a shawl when we were creating this book i was knitting a shawl in a shawl swap on Ravelry with British Banter group for someone who didn’t know I was knitting for her so I had to do a bit of you know discovery to find out and i knit it i knit a shawl in a pattern called Growing Up by Gerard Alt and it was in his yarn as well so it was I knit or dye yarn there’s a lace weight silk alpaca mix a really beautiful shimmery green not a
colour I’d have chosen for myself at all but really lovely so it was quite you know special to be knitting something whilst we were creating this book and like the character in the book who knits all over london i knit that shawl all over london so i was knitting on the bus i was sitting on the train i knit it a Borough Market i sat down At the Tate did a bit drawing did a bit of knitting so you know it really was sort of you know i did take that same journey so I suppose and that’s kind of true as well and meanwhile while I was knitting for someone someone else was knitting for me so this is the shawl that I received in the shawl swap it’s really beautiful this is Natural Dye Studio Yarn and it’s the Lisa Munch pattern Surge I think it’s called Surge so yeah really lovely so you always forget when you’re knitting for someone else in a shawl swap but get something back it’s a swap it’s swap yeah so luke i think the next question’s for you how easy was it to tell the story in rhyming verse great question because actually the rhyming verse part provides the structure that makes it in a sense easier Salina knows that sometimes I got carried away and sometimes Salina would be like i would hear from the other room yeah but there’s no room for pictures on here it’s all words but the rhyming verse really helped to make it work what I needed to do then though was get one verse per page remember we were um we were structuring to a certain number of pages and a couple of things stick out in my mind one was for instance when i was writing about the process of spinning the yarn and i know well knew and still know very little but I knew nothing about spinning so i looked it up online and looked at what the different components of a spinning wheel are and then from that each of those components have such magical names that they became characters and the rhyme was happening organically so i’ll just read how that came out so if you listen to this. The rhythm of the treadle whirls the wheel into a spin, steady fibre feed so thread will twist onto the bobbin, from the flyer held by maidens so that it can never fall and the maiden’s held in place by the mother of all. I mean what fantastic names and they they just want to be in a rhyme don’t they yeah i love that it’s quite magical But spinning is magical yeah yeah and it’s so mysterious so much to learn so much. cool! okay so luke the next question, the next question is how did the writing shape the story well i guess we’ve both got views on that so um do you want to kick off or shall i yeah so we we started creating this as part of a drawing challenge called Inktober and in Inktober you draw and publish an ink drawing every day so we’ve been planning this for a while before haven’t we yeah a while before yeah kind of a while before but we hadn’t started it there’s a story to that we haven’t started it so I so luke was writing the verse and he would write one verse and then I would illustrate that verse but then I started because i was doing one each day and Luke wasn’t giving me one verse each day so at one point i was Luke! and then he was like right and he just disappeared for like about 20 minutes half an hour and came back with the rest of the story. we did plan it out didn’t we we did yeah as I’ve mentioned i’ve written comics before so a lot of that is about seeing frames and how they will be directed if you like the point of the camera the person’s view of the action so
as Salina said we started this in fact we started this as a conversation in a pub Salina came up with the idea we then developed an idea around the journey that’s taken througpreparing a gift for a loved friend and and all the aspects of bringing yarn from sheep to the shoulder and so the first part that needs to happen once we’d established that’s what we were doing though was the writing because without the writing then you don’t get the scenes and each verse is a scene and when I’m writing I’m seeing each scene as it will be developed on the page so as someone said what i tried to do was I wrote maybe a third of it before Salina even started drawing because i knew there would be a point at which i would be behind and Salina will be waiting for me and her time and the 30 days were really crucial structure that she had needed to follow so as she said at one point I got behind and I needed to go sit down and write for, well there was time involved and then the writing part to some extent influenced how the drawings were and Salina and i would discuss then how each image might be seen and how we could make them flow together so for instance here I don’t know if you can see but we have pictures flowing across both pages and then this piece here which is about the shearing of the sheep you can see the process of the shearing following the writing until we turn the page and then finally the sheep is is running shorn and so all of these the writing and the imagery all influence one another oh yeah absolutely it all kind of flows together yeah yeah that’s quite interesting actually because that was that was Fibre East yeah so yeah so that was that sheep sharing image was a Fibre East image which is where i saw my first sheep shorn unbelievable, being a city girl being a london girl Luke the next question is i love the way the story ends with another project because at the end she’s casting on again isn’t she yes yeah are there other yarn journeys to come well yes if i can get my writer to grab some time there are definitely stories to come yeah and Salina and i have talked about several at the moment we’re thinking about some like an anthology not an anthology more a zine of small shorter stories some quite comic and others more poignant yeah definitely i mean you know we’ve got a lot of friends who knit who craft who crochet so and you know we’ve had we’ve had some incredible stories and incredible adventures with those people and um you know i think there’s some great stories out there and they have a commonality but also that sort of poignancy as well and that you know really that generosity of spirit as well absolutely yeah so we’re definitely we’re planning something else yes yeah we’ll do it as a collaboration yes we will yeah watch this space yes watch this space the next question few of us can tell a story from sheep to finish item do you have any advice for people who choose to start with yarn manufactured by others I have no idea okay well I mean to be honest with you that shawl that i was knitting at the same time it was somebody else’s pattern and somebody else’s yarn i do spin very much learning to spin i have a spinning wheel we’re gonna be writing about the story of the spinning wheel which is really beautiful story in our next project and I spindle spin but I’m not an expert by any means so i think you know i really believe that you kind of just dive in I also think one of the best skills that you can learn
is how to undo your knitting Tink back, yeah tink it Yeah, I do a lot of tinking and a lot of frogging so yeah i mean you know you knit something in a yarn know and you get a feel for it and just to kind of look at things as you go along and if you don’t like it you’re just gonna tink it back it’s just knitting and I’m a bit of what you call a process knitter so I really like the journey of the knitting and as soon as it’s finished i’m kind of like oh yeah it’s finished that’s fine i really like the process of of it as well so so yeah i think you find something that you like the feel of that you like the colour of and yeah you just just jump in just go for it i think. Just reflecting on Salina and knitting, actually one of my very first phone conversations with Salina was when she just finished her first hat and actually the enthusiasm of everything to do with knitting a hat for herself was just it kind of it, just shone through the phone so i think what i’ve learned if anything about the process of knitting or and Salina’s approach to it is to um to engage with it with joy and enthusiasm yeah exactly it should be something enjoyable something fun okay so what advice do you have for people who might want to draw write or knit for the first time so advice for people who might want to write luke top tip what’s your top tip i think i actually don’t know what good advice is in this way but i think first of all find a voice that you like for yourself try lots of different things think about the things that make you smile when you read them back and I think the thing is with writing and as probably with most things that we engage with is you probably look back a year hence and go um well I’d probably do that completely differently now but actually at the time it should feel like it’s something that gives you a sense of pleasure that’s all i’ve got frankly so advice from for drawing and knitting for the first time i mean i think i you know I would totally agree with you on that I learned to knit from a book but i also had a colleague who I worked with at the time who had been knitting since she was a child Our finance director and every day I’d come in I’d be so proud of this bit of knitting but it would have so many mistakes on I was knitting a scarf which i still have and I still wear and she would be like oh look there’s a mistake down here rip it back and I’d be like you can hardly see it because it’s nothing and she’d be like no take it back, take it back she would make me take it back and start again and I would have to say it got me really you know, sometimes i don’t you know sometimes if i can fudge something and just kind of make it work i’ll just make it work but actually that was a really really good experience because i learned how to fix things I you know when you rip something back you take it back because you made a mistake it’s just more knitting there’s gotta be a result isn’t it but i think when it comes to drawing and and knitting people say to me all the time oh i couldn’t do that i think if you want to do something you can do it and you know both knitting and drawing they are skills and skills can be learned I mean I teach people to draw and I see people like just the improvement that can be made just by doing something improvement i’ve made since we’ve done that book actually in terms of my technical skill but so many so much more of my drawing skill and my knitting skills have improved so much over time so just doing it i think just pick up some needles pick up a pencil and just you know draw right yeah and there’s loads of advice out there and loads of people who are happy to share their passion as well yeah i think that’s absolutely right I think what you and I both really touched on is that be happy just to do and make mistakes yeah that’s the process making mistakes is part of the process and and then redoing and testing and checking and
rubbing out or rewriting or tinking back that’s all part of the process and finding joy in all of those things and then the redoing and and the testing again is all part of of being creative yeah definitely so i think that quite nicely leads to our last question what have you both learned from The Journey Shawl? You were just saying about mistakes one thing I learned is to get someone else to proofread your work I’ll let you spot the spelling mistake yourself [Laughter] so what have you learned Luke, what did you learn? Well if i’d been writing it there would have been more spelling mistakes than there were actually correctly spelt words but what i learned was that i could direct my wife i don’t think so i mean it was it was beautiful it was really nice working on this together it was an absolute joy and really yeah we you know we were able to produce something that we both feel proud of together which was absolutely pleasurable kind of cool yeah so so our book is The Journey Shawl it’s a tale about knitting and friendship and it’s illustrated and it’s written in beautiful rhyme uh and it makes a really really nice gift you can find it on my etsy shop shop SalinaJaneArt thanks very much for listening Subtitles: Salina Jane Art