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Connected by Color

Jun 26, 2012

I love the PieceWork phrase “connected by thread” and have had that truth shown to me again and again through all of my correspondence with PieceWork’s readers and contributors. In working on our now-available July/August issue, I have decided that we are connected also by color.

We devoted this issue to the color blue and to discovering what needlework traditions in various cultures around the world have developed because of an association with blue. While the symbolism of blue has varied across time and geography—fidelity and virtue, servitude, nobility, evil, prosperity, and more—it survives worldwide as a highly desirable hue to enrich and embellish our textiles.

Fatoumata Babaji dyes indigo in Ende, Mali. Photograph by Cynthia LeCount.
Whether we create round balls of indigo paste on a steep plateau of West Africa; pluck woad plant leaves in the fields near Coventry, England; or embroider motifs in hand-dyed blue thread in China, we all yearn for blue.

Join the remarkable PieceWork travel guides on their blue world tour:

  • Cynthia Le Count traces the practice of indigo dyeing from several centuries ago to today, introducing you to tried-and-true dyeing techniques as well as contemporary textile artists working with indigo.

  • Ava Coleman takes you to the American Southwest and a Hopi Rain Ceremony where the dancers are adorned in blue knitted leggings.

  • Joanne Watson escorts you to her hometown of Coventry, England, to learn the history of Coventry blue and glimpses of Lady Godiva.
  • Joanne Watson's knitted and fulled Coventry blue cap.
    Sue Lenthe journeys to ancient central and northern China to discover the blue-thread embroidery and a wealth of symbolic motifs.

As always, accompanying the fascinating historical articles are projects for you to create yourself. You’ll find instructions for a stitch-resist indigo-dyed scarf, Egyptian socks to knit, a stunning Russian men’s scarf to knit, a fulled cap, and more.

As a special addition to this issue, we’ve included Donna Druchunas’s Victorian sock challenge initiated in our January/February 2012 Historical Knitting issue. Donna reveals to readers her take on the 1845 sock instructions as do several intrepid readers who took us up on the challenge.

Be connected, by thread and by color. Subscribe to PieceWork today.


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FreyalynC wrote
on Jul 6, 2012 6:36 AM

For the reasons listed below, I too am saddened to see Jo Watson published (and presumably paid) by a magazine I subscribe to and really look forward to receiving. Judging from the comments here and in other places, the article itself (my copy has not yet been delivered) does not seem to be at all well researched, and the hat itself anything but authentic.  What a pity!

soorawn wrote
on Jul 2, 2012 3:44 AM

Sorry for the mess up, I was so outraged at hearing such a story that I got it wrong.  I still don't consider such an unprofessional person worth listening to.

kazrbutler wrote
on Jul 1, 2012 6:04 PM

I knitted the socks for Knit Camp that JW wore. I wasn’t the designer. And Jo told me she was wearing them herself, I didn’t see her wearing them. I am not sure though whether bragging about wearing them was worse then just being caught!

Considering her background, I am sorry to see Jo Watson's work being published by Interweave.

hollyberry79 wrote
on Jul 1, 2012 2:19 PM

I also was saddened to see that you'd commissioned an article by Jo Watson. There are many other writers and designers out there who don't have her unfortunate history, and who deserve to have their place in your magazine. I haven't yet decided whether to renew my subscription at this point.

soorawn wrote
on Jul 1, 2012 12:32 PM

Jo Watson was entrusted with a pair of socks, among other items, so that she put them on display in the UK Knit Camp 2010.  Instead, she decided she would keep them.  She was caught wearing them around by the designer herself.  In view of this, how can I believe that the articles that this person submits to you are actually her own work?

AlisonW@15 wrote
on Jul 1, 2012 11:47 AM

I am enormously disappointed to see you publishing work by Joanne/Jo Watson. As other people commenting have said, please look into this woman's background and re-consider before you publish her work in future.  

Croby wrote
on Jul 1, 2012 6:02 AM

I have to add my voice to others in protest about your publishing articles by Jo Watson (Joanne Watson) in both Traditions and now in Piecework.

Ms Watson left knit instructors, attendees and Stirling University out of pocket as a result of her mismanagement of UK Knit Camp in 2010 has made no attempt at restitution or apology.

I am currently a subscriber, but am seriously reconsidering whether I will renew.

JaneKAL wrote
on Jun 30, 2012 2:59 PM

I am saddened and dismayed that you have featured Jo Watson, and not for the first time now.  Presumably she has been paid by you.

She remains wholly unrepentant about her fraudulent actions, in my opinion, and the damage she caused to so many.  She has not made any reparation.  Hence  I can't bring myself to purchase anything which features her and by which she has benefited.  

Please don't continue to prevent me purchasing your products.

on Jun 30, 2012 1:17 PM

I am very surprised to see Jo Watson in Piecework. Considering the damage she has done to the knitting community I would have thought Interweave would have steered well clear of her.

AMVH wrote
on Jun 30, 2012 12:24 PM

I have to agree with previous comments re: Jo Watson. The 2010 Knit Camp was such a spectacular disaster that seeing her given this platform makes me rather concerned about Interweave's reliability as a press (do you pay any attention to the goings-on in the industry you cover?)

cranmere wrote
on Jun 30, 2012 7:38 AM

I am disappointed that you are giving space to Jo Watson. Amongst other things she was the sole reason for many designers and tutors not being paid at the fiasco of UK Knit Camp 2010 and she has since been utterly unrepentant for her actions. Her research is equally unreliable, for example her claims of a link between Turkish sock toes and South American mittens because of a similar shape. There are plenty of other excellent designers and far better writers out there, please use them rather than Ms Watson.

SallyS@6 wrote
on Jun 30, 2012 7:00 AM

Joanne Watson is the Jo Watson behind Knit Camp 2010, which left many UK and international crafters and tutors out of pocket to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds. Shame on Interweave for being taken in by her! Google reveals her history, and the many many people she conned.