Miss Rachel’s yoke and gauntlets (a closer look!)

As discussed in the previous post, this design is inspired by an early nineteenth-century shawl, collected by Rachel Kay Shuttleworth, and now part of Gawthorpe Textile Collection. The colourful, ribbon-like bands of the shawl immediately reminded me of one of my favourite colourwork motifs, a small, simple pattern which resembles an interlocking vine. The pattern… Read More

generosity

What an amazing week I had in Shetland! It was a complete privilege to see and talk to so many amazing knitters, who generously shared their work and thoughts with me. Mary Kay, at the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers, shows us an incredibly fine lace shawl, knitted in Unst around 1930. Joan… Read More

Shetland days

It is Wool Week in Shetland, and I began it in this cottage out at Vementry. What a spot! It was lovely to take some time out to visit my friend Hazel Tindall. I just love the part of Shetland where Hazel lives, and it was a real privilege to potter about her garden, and… Read More

designing & publishing: part 2

Well, I sat down a couple of days ago and thought I’d write a quick post about the great new books I’d come across, all of which had been either produced completely independently, or had been commissioned from an independent designer. As I reflected on recent directions in hand-knit design, and digressed into my own… Read More

a treasured gift

What’s this? A handknitted hoose? With flowers in the garden . . . . . . and a wee gate . . . . . leading to a horse-shoe adorned front door . . . . . . there are flowers in the windows too . . . . . . shrubs round the side… Read More

Thinking of Shetland

It was this time of year when I first visited Shetland. How well I recall that crazy drive across Unst in a blizzard! The weird half-light at midday! My first feeling of the profound difference of the place, but my immediate sensation that it was somewhere I could easily feel at home. . . Anyway… Read More

knitter-producers and knitter-consumers

(This is a body and sleeves, knitted up on her machine by Ella Gordon, onto which I’m about to hand-knit a colourwork yoke. Hundreds of thousands of such garments were – and indeed still are – made in like manner in Shetland and elsewhere.) Thanks so much for your comments on the previous post. As… Read More

A conversation with Hélène Magnusson

(Hélène, Hiking and Knitting between Fire and Ice, against the spectacular backdrop of Eyjafjallajökull.) When I visited Iceland I had the very great pleasure of finally meeting Hélène Magnusson, whose research and designs I have admired for many years. I visited Hélène in her lovely home in Reykjavik, where we drank tea, ate some delicious… Read More

Puffin Post

One of the many things that makes me very happy as a designer is seeing different interpretations of a sweater I’ve created. I often learn a lot from the modifications knitters make to my patterns, and sometimes a simple change of shade can make a design look like a completely different garment. The Puffin sweater… Read More

kitkin

I thought you might like to see the shorter version of the Catkin sweater that Mel has just knitted — Kitkin! Like the original Catkin, Kitkin is knitted in baa ram ewe’s Titus, in a lovely charcoal grey shade. To make this cropped version, Mel simply cast on the number of bust stitches for the… Read More

images of knitting #1

I have a small (but ever growing) collection of prints and postcard in which knitters, and the activity of knitting, are represented. Some of these are really very interesting, and I thought I’d occasionally share them with you here. This card, which was posted with an Austrian stamp in 1916, depicts a ‘continental’ knitter working… Read More

Amazing Boreal cardigans

One of the most rewarding aspects of this very rewarding job is seeing folk happily wearing the stuff that you’ve designed. I particularly enjoy seeing knitters’ inventive modifications of my work, and recently came across three versions of my Boreal sweater that are so wonderful that I just had to show you. Here are friends… Read More