|Master craftswoman, Ann Rowley|
Whilst Ann's talent for sewing was abundantly apparent on the show, some canny knitters and crocheters amongst you may have, like me, noticed Ann wearing some very fine pieces of knitting and crochet. I was particularly taken with the beautiful striped cardigan Ann wore in the final and also with her delightful crocheted scarf.
You can really only imagine how thrilled I was to then discover that Ann was a member of the MillaMia group on Ravelry and that her current project was none other than our Erika Cardigan from Colour Coded. I contacted Ann through Ravelry, and she very kindly agreed to share some of her own pictures of these exquisite garments, as well as answering some of my questions about her life in craft for an exclusive MillaMia blog interview!
1) Firstly, congratulations on your thoroughly well-deserved win on The Great British Sewing Bee – it was great to see sewing made exciting! What was the best thing about being on the Show?
Thank you! The best thing about the show was having the opportunity to raise the profile of sewing. It has become a rather Cinderella craft and I really hope that the show has encouraged many people to give it a try. I also met a wonderful group of fellow sewers (or should that be stitchers?) who all felt the same way.
The man's shirt with its perfectly set-in sleeves, the all important trophy and the unforgettable lace dress Ann made in the final
2) Our designer Helena is an avid seamstress, but hates the feeling of time-pressured sewing – she likes to able to relax with it. How did you cope with the time restrictions on The Sewing Bee?
The time restrictions were tough! None of us normally sewed like this and were a bit disappointed that we didn’t really have time to showcase our skills. But it was necessary for there to be jeopardy to create a sense of tension for the cameras. This was TV, not real life...
|Ann in her delightful 'Kelly Cardigan' with fellow contestants Lauren and Sandra|
3) How do you feel about sewing verses knitting? Do you switch between them, or have projects from both crafts running along at the same time?
I always have both sewing and knitting on the go. Sewing is an upstairs, daytime activity; knitting is downstairs in front of evening TV. My sewing is “work”, knitting is relaxation.
|Ann's 'Kelly Cardigan' in Rowan Kidsilk Haze|
4) Do you find that your seamstress skills help you with knitting - particularly in construction or finishing techniques?
Yes! To me the construction is as important as the knitting. It's always a disappointment to see a beautifully knitted garment spoiled by poor finishing.
'Construction is as important as the knitting' - Ann's beautifully finished fastenings and seams
5) We are thrilled that your latest project is the Erika Cardigan from Colour Coded – what do you usually look for in a sewing or knitting pattern when choosing a project?
Style above all else. I have developed my own personal style over the years, simple, classic elegance, while still reflecting current fashion. I’m always on the look out for the latest patterns and rarely use one more than once. I like to be challenged so tend choose patterns that have interesting design details. I was really taken by the style of Erika, simple lines, interesting pockets, strong colours and a new yarn for me...
The beginnings of Ann's Erika Cardigan in moss, fuchsia and grass
6) Could I ask one more slightly cheeky question? Is Patrick as gorgeous and immaculate in real life? I imagine that half the country of seamstresses will have a small crush on him!
|Claudia, Ann and the delectable Patrick|
We'd like to extend our most grateful thanks to Ann for agreeing to doing this interview for MillaMia. I am in awe of this amazing craftswoman, and found talking to her an incredibly inspiring experience - I hope you all do too.
(posted by Max)