Freddies handmade jewellery

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Knitting and crochet workshops I'm teaching 2017

I'm very excited. starting in April I've got a whole bunch of upcoming knitting and crochet workshops running in conjunction with The Knitting Network and Woman's Weekly Magazine.

All held at our sparkly new headquarters at Marsh Wall, Canary Wharf - do drop in for a fun workshop if the mood strikes you, it would be great to see you. Details below (links to book are on the dates, or you can ring 0800 024 1212 and book over the phone).

Learn To Crochet

Fridays 28th April and 23rd June (10.30 - 4.00)

I really love teaching these - it's so rewarding watching people who have never crocheted before learn to tame a hook and create fabric.
 This jam-packed day is a start-to-finish introduction to crochet for those who have never held a crochet hook before, or who’ve tried but need to check their technique or get a refresher. Join our experts for our most popular workshop – places fill up fast – so book your spot before they’re all gone.

Arm Knitting Afternooner

Wednesday 9 August (12-4pm)

I was totally not convinced by arm knitting at first but it has it's place for super speedy, humongous projects. It's certainly a fun and very sociable activity, many people come as a group for this one. 

Join me to ditch the needles and go all arms for this fun new technique for giant and super speedy knitting. Be prepared to get your upper body moving with many people preferring to stand while their giant pieces of fabric, form. Make yourself a snood and try your hand at some other shapes and sizes. No knitting experience required!

Professional Finishing For Knitters (Intermediate)

Friday 14th July (10.30am – 4.00pm)

This is a classic rehash of an old favourite. Professional Finishing is a great course if you've started knitting garments but they're looking a bit wonky. This day tends to shape itself around the questions posed by those attending so it's quite flexible.

Aimed at those of you who know the basic knit and purl and can read and understand a pattern, this is a great day out to sort out any niggles you’ve come across at the final stages of a project. Learn to pick up stitches without forming any gaps, banish bizarre buttonholes, master invisible seaming and get your teeth into some spectacular shaping exercises. Participants will need to bring 3 x DK 10cm knitted squares in stocking stitch.

First Steps In Crochet (Total Beginners)

Friday 11th August (10.30am – 4.00pm)

Similar to my Learn To Crochet day, this full-day course is also aimed at total beginners. But there's some bonus things if you fancy doing both this and the following course.

Get to grips with how to handle your crochet hook and yarn, master a variety of stitches and tackle reading patterns with a selection of projects to try in the afternoon. Those attending the course on the following Monday (see below) will be assigned some bonus activities (yes, there's homework) to take away with them and practice over the weekend.

Motifs, Mandalas and Granny Squares (Beginner to Intermediate)

Monday 14 August (10.30am – 4.00pm)

An ideal next step from First Steps In Crochet day (above), join our experts to put the basic stitches which you already know into practice with some stylish circular projects to develop those pattern reading skills.

Add a flourish of colour and texture to a variety of granny squares, circular mandalas and pretty motifs. A perfect day to pop along to if you’re partaking in our current Collect and Create series in the WW Knit and Crochet Monthly.

Knitting With Colour – Fair Isle and Intarsia (Intermediate)

Friday 6 October (10.30am – 4.00pm) 

Last time I taught this course we had a ball! No pun intended, of course.

The day kicks off with a comprehensive morning of Fair Isle techniques (it's tricky, so best to do this while you're fresh!). There are three main ways to hold your yarn while working and I like to let everyone try all three, and then move on to pick one which suits them.

In the afternoon, we ease off into Instarsia country. Starting with knitting an initial of your choice, and hopefully finishing it when you leave.

Never be bothered by a complex looking picture knit or complex colour project, ever again. I always think this day is pretty fun.

First Steps In Crochet (Total Beginners)

Thursday 9th November (10.30am – 4.00pm)
Similar to our Learn To Crochet workshop, this full-day course is aimed at total beginners. 

Get to grips with how to handle your crochet hook and yarn, master a variety of stitches and tackle reading patterns with a selection of projects to try in the afternoon.  

Those attending the course on the following day will be assigned some bonus activities to take away with them and practice overnight, if they wish.


Poppy Brooch Crochet Workshop (Beginner to Intermediate)

Friday 10th November (10.30am – 4.00pm)

An ideal next step from our First Steps In Crochet day , join our experts to put the basic stitches which you already know into practice with some very special flower brooches to develop those pattern reading skills. 

Proudly wear your WW Poppy in memoriam for Armistice Day, (the following day). 

Those who finish their poppy during the day will have the opportunity to make more than one, or choose from a variety of other pretty flowers to make.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Reconnect or cut off from film photography?

I studied film photography at A level and LOVED it. So in my teens I got hooked on manual photography controls and developing film by hand.

rainy night in harrow photographed by frederica patmore bhs
One of my first prints was of Harrow Town Centre (BHS on the right)

It was empowering to have such immense control over an exposure.

Some of my earliest stuff is still my favourite – with many shots being of total strangers. I really loved learning on Ilford black and white films.

man and boy walk holding hands in hyde park by frederica patmore
Taken at Regents Park, these chaps were out for a stroll

Having cut my teeth with manual photos, my dad treated me to a cheapo automatic film SLR which I later upgraded to a Minolta Dynax 60, which has now been on my hip for a solid 15 years.

football in byron park wealdstone by frederica patmore
My partner must have got fed up of me carrying my camera all the time.
Armed with a few basic lenses, including a 75-300mm Minolta Tele Zoom (used in the football shot, above), my trusty 35-70mm Macro zoom and a couple of others, I’ve recently invested in some wide angle lenses to keep my kit versatile. 

The Eden Project by Frederica Patmore
The Eden Project, Cornwall

I've never been good with landscapes and now I know I just needed a wider frame. As much as I love the above, it's quite close in.

Rowing team on the thames in Hammersmith by Frederica Patmore
Landscapes were fine if I'm far away but now when I'm much closer.
It's started to dawn on me though, that in order to be versatile, I really ought to be considering making the digital switch to a digital SLR.

Hammersmith bridge sunny afternoon by frederica parmoreHammersmith by the thames by Frederica Patmore

  Above: pictures from a sunny stroll along the Thames when I lived in Hammersmith 
I’ve really struggled in the past without the ability to change ISOs at the flick of a switch, so that prospect does tempt me over to the shiny electronic side. But the throwaway disposable nature of digital images fills me with real disgust.

Red and white flags in bari Italy by Frederica Patmore
Bari, Italy
It’s just made everything too easy which has made the art, is in my opinion, dismissive and lazy.


When I recently took some Kodak Portra 800 for developing at Snappy Snaps I was in for a whopper of a developing bill. It struck me that recently offering to photograph a close friend’s wedding was perhaps a higher bill than I was willing to pay.

Bee on lavender Hammersmith London by Frederica Patmore
My macro lens would occasionally come in handy

But at least they’d have had prints.

 Then again, a recent trip to meet my new baby nephew (the photos I took to Snappy Snaps), I ran into another whirlwind of problems.

Horse riding at Bushey riding school on a misty morning
My kit lens was fine for portraits
The first, not anticipating the fluorescent light at the hospital (silly error really – I should have packed my FL-D filter) so my nephew’s pics are twinged with green, sadly. Don't worry though, I've fixed them in post. Got them put on a disc so I could do some manipulations.

Baby portrait FL-W fluorescent light Portra 800
Upped the magenta and downed the green in photoshop to achieve this balance
And then my far of shoving a flashgun in his adorable, very very new face – meant that all the other photos that day have come out either blurred (too lazy to carry a tripod, I am – I won’t be making that mistake any more) or too dark. A high price to pay for dodgy prints. 

But for the most part, there are some beautiful ones in there.

I’m not totally pleased to hand over my prints to the happy couple to be honest, I’m embarrassed as a photographer to have been so thoughtless with such basic rules.

Maybe my new found laziness means I ought to switch to digital?

Or maybe I should be working harder to rekindle my love for film photography, and just, y’know, do it right? Like I used to...

Climbing a tree harrow on the hill

Monday, 30 January 2017

Heath Ledger cross stitch project - out with the old, in with the new

I am extremely thrilled to be able to announce that I've finished my longest ever standing, cross stitch project.

I'vee talked about my phases before and I'm not ashamed of having a minorly short attention span when it comes to sticking to one craft or another. They all remain very dear to my heart, which is the one and only reason I managed to get this 7 year project, finished.

Heath Ledger Joker Cross Stitch In Progress In Wooden Ring
After years of struggling along, it was only in the past few months I learned the value of guide lines
I had real trouble with this kit - it was really hard, on dark fabric with 30+ colours in various shades of brown.

All of these colours looked the same to me, I'll be honest. I couldn't identify them by eye, so it was very easy to go wrong.

The patterned areas were the hardest - those are the areas where all of the colours become very sinilar indeed, with a veritable lack of contrast to add to the already challenging design.

But hey ho, I've finished it - and I'm thrilled with the results, even if he most certainly needs a wash, and the loving touch of a caring custom framer. His time will come.

Heath ledger as the joker needlework the dark knight
This crumped masterpiece has a few minor pixel errors, but I'm still extremely proud to have finished such a tricky kit
I learned throughout this project just how much a symbol of our generation, Heath Ledger had become.

It sounds silly but at least once a week, the girls in the office and I recant excerpt from Ten Things I Hate About You with very fond memories - mostly teenage girls at the time.

The dark ending of Heath's career in the Batman film was bitter and twisted - a very sad end to a troubled young man of great talent. I have selected a quote from The Dark Knight in which Haarvey Dent talks about how one should die a hero, and not live long enough to become the villain.

A fitting brass plaque to accompany him I think.

So yes, glutton for punishment I sure am.

I've picked yet another kit from the same photo-realistic designers, Designs In Thread. I guess I'd liken it to picking another epic.

Photorealistic john lennon in progress cross stitch
Heavens knows why I've gone from working black-on-black to white-on-white. Not intentional, I swear it
John Lennon's poetic lyrics have spoken to me since I was very young, and this felt like a good time to pick a real idol of mine to immortalise in another needlework project.

As a huge fan of Stephen King, I also have a kit for IT the clown, but the fella won't have it - he says there would be nowhere suitable to hang it [fair enough].

Instead a pallette of cool greys and not warm browns, I'm thinking that picking an accompanying quote for the final framed piece could be rather fun.

John Lennon cross stitch kit, page 1 with guidelines threadMy favourite recording of his at the moment has got to be the Real Love recording, sneakily recorded by Yoko and butchered in a cover for a John  Lewis advert years later. I've never liked Tom Odell. Was it Tom Odell? Whatever, those guys all sound the same to me.

I am starting to get the impression that I've started with the best bit of this kit - with Heath Ledger I started at the nose and seemed to work anti-clockwise from there, filling the corners.

With John there's lots of hair to be stitched, and that's all very dark and quite hard to see.

I've had to put it down this evening for lack of not being able to see the damn thing in domestic light (must, must, must invest in a decent craft light). And having a very stiff neck for no placable reason.

This one is only four pages where the previous was 9 - and a hefty 45 x 45cm where John will most certainly be much smaller.

But there's no danger of the artist dying while I make this one - Heath did, sadly. So I sort of ended up making it in his memory although thatg was never the original intention.

So in the meantime while I have probably another four years to pick a quote from a Lennon song to accompany this cross stitch project, here is Real Love - the way it should be heard. I wish i could pick Real Love as the quote but erm... it's a bit short, don't you think?

Monday, 2 January 2017

Sleeper Train To Edinburgh - Our Journey To Hogmanay

My birthday is New Year's Eve and we never do anything - at my decision. So for the big birthday last year, I figured I ought to do something at least once, and do it big. Hence, we swanned off to the Hogmanay festivities in Edinburgh for a fun-filled four day trip. It was GREAT!

We had two real highlights on our trip and the first was the sleeper train journey up there. So let's start with that.

I had always really really wanted to do the Calendonian Sleeper train, and walk past them docked at Euston all the time so this seemed as good a time as any. We couldn't do a sleeper train it both ways because the check-in and check-out times with our accomodation wouldn't have worked out.

I was prepared for it to be a bit cramped (it was) and we got around the high cost by investing in a two-together railcard. For £25 (I was offered a discount, I think it's usually £30 - the card lasts a year), we ended up saving something like £150 on travel all-round so it was worth it. You don't have to be family members, any two people can register for one of these and you can be listed on several. So I think I'll be registering for a few with other family members, too.

Dad packed me a little birthday present to keep up busy on the sleeper train and it was great fun!
With such a big saving, it was tempting to go for First Class but as soon as I found out that all First Class rooms only have one single bed in them (not bunks), so it kinda sucked the fun out of travelling with my partner completely. I don't think I'd have coped in the shared bunk room with a total stranger though. Not a lot of room to get around.

I've since learned that my annual gold card (the bit of paper that goes with my annual London travelcard) also gives you a massive saving on sleeper train tickets - so tick both boxes if you have both, as discounts can be applied for more than one railcard.

Boarding doesn't start in London if you're only going to Edinburgh, until about 11pm. So we chose to go and hover at Euston station with a couple of pints. That is, until I remembered that the pub inside the station had vanished, that is..

A quick Google search suggested an alternative within a few metres of the station (us with our heavy luggage didn't want to go far) and although I couldn't picture where it said it was (I go through Euston quite often and I'd never seen it), we chanced it and followed Google Maps.

Hidden away, The Doric Arch is a cheeky little pub tucked between Nandos and William Hill (out of Euston's exits and towards the left), and was totally empty when we got there at 9pm. We did have to lug our heavy suitcases up the stairs though, so beware if you have accessibility issues - but it's a nice little pub with some lovely ales to keep you going while you wait for a train.

A photo posted by DoricArchPub (@doricarchpub) on

We boarded in good time - at the earliest possible opportunity (11pm for an 11.50pm departure). Greeted by a member of the Caledonian Sleeper staff who confirmed the brekfasts I'd pre-ordered and asked which drinks we'd like in the morning.

As you can see, there isn't much room to move around in there - negotiating our suitcases up the narrow corridors wasn't much fun either but we managed it within a few minutes, and before it got too crowded.

Over night was fine - we had special christmas soap gifts from the Caledonian Sleeper company. I'd brought a bottle of wine so there was no need to bother with the dining car - I did wander up there to nab plastic cups and let me tell you, it's TINY. So buy your snacks and drinks before you get on, as space is prioritised for first class ticket holders. And there isn't much of it.

Yes we could hear through both walls so had to be mindful to keep our voices down. We could both sit quite happily on the top bunk to play games and share a drink.

It was totally dark so don't expect to spot anything outside the window on the journey. All we saw was blackness and a few distant lights.

We got a few hours sleep on what were suprisingly comfy beds and the bathroom wasn't far although it was filthy so there was no washing going on in there. I waited to do all that when we reached our accomodation.

Breakfast came at about 6am - we ate it and went back to sleep for another hour. My bacon roll had no sauce and Ben's poor 'full Scottish' was pitiful - it looked like it had been trodden on. Nothing like the Instagram pictures had led me to believe!

The train booted us off at about 7.45am despite me having read somewhere that we were safe to sleep in til 8. But that was fine, it was a bit weird staying in bed when we knew we had reached the station and the train had stopped.

On arrival in the city it was very easy to find our bus even though it was dark. You literally disembark the sleeper train in the middle of the city centre so there's not far to go if you've got somewhere to get to nearby. It's very early in the morning though. Not a lot was open.

We managed to negotiate with our accomodation, to let us in about half an hour later. Luckily they didn't have people staying overnight the night before and over Hogmanay, so we were extremely fortunate. Be prepared to pay for an extra night if you need to do this during busy periods.

The alternative is to leave your luggage with the Left Baggage facility at Edinburgh Station - which would have weighed in at a cost of £25 for our two suitcases - a cost I'm happy we avoided!

I would do the sleeper train again, it was a great experience in good company. But I don't think I'd want to brave it on my own. Part of the fun was having my partner with me.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Peter Rabbit Knitting Pattern - A Christmas Make

This Christmas, I dug out my old Peter Rabbit knitting pattern from the 'archives under the bed', for a very special mum-to-be, my brother's girlfriend Monika.

Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas for me if I didn't have some handmade gifts to make. Granted with my charity handmade jewellery sale, I was a little short of time this year but luckily I started the knits a little earlier so that was alright. And this year there were more than just knits - I decided to do some Christmas cross stitch too.

But Peter Rabbit was the special one.

Peter Rabbit

 It just so happens that my brother and his girlfriend are expecting a little baby boy this coming February.

I always struggle to know preciseley when to gift knitted things to people and invariably nearly always do it too early or too late. But Christmas seemed a good opportunity to give gifts to the 'bump'.

I picked Peter Rabbit because mum-to-be is a big fan of Beatrix Potter, particularly our cotton-tailed friend here. And my personal speciality has always been knitting toys. It's where I cut my knitted teeth, if you like.

Thankfully I've been hoarding knitting patterns for toys since I was about eight, so in amongst my stash is my Peter Rabbit knitting pattern as well as knitting patterns for the rest of the Beatrix Potter clan.

It's no coincidence that I'm now working at Woman's Weekly Magazine, as I've been an obsessive fan since I could read. My late grandmother used to help me make the toys and it's nothing that I've shaken off.

Sadly, for copyright reasons, the Peter Rabbit knitting pattern is no longer available unless you're able to snag a copy from eBay (worth watching, they do pop up from time to time).

I used Stylecraft Special DK which is pretty handy because they've got every colour known to man, and I added a few embellishments, a couple of brown Trimits safety eyes and a big pom pom for his tail.

I initially bought a pom pom from TOFT, having asked them at Ally Pally whether or not it would be baby safe - they said it was but I soon realised that it probably wouldn't wash, so opted for a synthetic one from Rico instead.

The sewing up and stuffing took some time - I shredded the stuffing and really went to town with puffing out his cheeks and shaping the face. As with all Alan Dart patterns, the shaping and sewing up was extremely complex but worth getting right and undoing if needed. I was thrilled with the outcome and I'm pleased to say that mummy-to-be was, as well.

 Apparently she sat with it in her arms for most of the day on Christmas - not believing that a knitter could produce such a thing. Which is cool, because this is the first thing I've ever knitted for her and it's hard to tell whether or not non-knitters are gonna love the handmade thang....