Light touches

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The title of this collection refers to simple ,uncluttered stitchwork, natural fibres, limited palette and the role that light plays in the textures and folds of these three pieces.

Frances

I am a huge fan of linen yarns. If you are looking for something hard wearing, then a 50/50 blend of linen and cotton is often a good and more affordable choice. Pure linen is a little more expensive, but offers some unique qualities. Many linen yarns have an almost wax like sheen that I find very appealing, this in turn seems to help make the yarn very pliable to work with and knitters are often surprised at how soft it is to work with. Stitchwork has a more relaxed feel than if you were using a yarn with a high twist on it, which I think fits with our less formal expectations of summer garments and accessories.

This started me thinking about ways that I could highlight these unique properties. A complete contrast seemed to be the answer. What if I combined panels of pure linen with a silk/mohair mix. The result is Frances, where natural linen is highlighted by bands of vibrant coral. The contrast is continued both in the appearance of and the feel of the stitchwork. There is something really pleasing about running your hand across the surface of this throw and experiencing the different textures. Frances combines double crochet, with a lacy stitch and a clustered stitch and would suit crocheters of all levels.


Fenella

This piece is very personal to me because of its many associations. It was originally inspired by the basket of fuschias that hang outside my kitchen window, planted and tended by my daughter. The yarn choice was made when my dear friend, Fenella, took me to visit Elisabeth Beverley of plant-dyed wool. Elisabeth specialises in using plant dyes and so there are only ever small quantities of each colour available, which makes them all the more special. It also means that every project made is completely unique! Elisabeth lives in a tiny, converted chapel which you can visit by arrangement or on one of her open days. She attends a small numbers of shows each year too.

Elizabeth's yarns are kept safely stored in tissue paper in lidded boxes, but when those lids are taken off, you will find that your breath is taken away. Deep, resounding indigos, sit side by side with ethereal pinks and greys and there are some colours that you would find hard to pinpoint because they are so unique! It took me ages to select the palette for Fenella, because there were so many different nuances to choose from. I am delighted with the result. The simple chevron patterning for this scarf makes for a really relaxing knit, with just enough variations in colour changes to keep it interesting!.

Phoebe

This design originally appeared in Knitting magazine, (August 2014), and was part of a collection featuring the British seaside and the need for a quick cover up due to our unpredictable weather. I used Rowan Softknit Cotton because it is a natural, breathable fibre, but also machine washable, which can be a bonus when you are away on holiday!. This yarn has great stitch definition and good drape. Simple stitchwork means that it is quick to make and holds its shape well.

Kit coming soon......

I am also pleased to let you know that the final piece in this collection will be a kit, which I shall be revealing later in the month.........


Christmas in July

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It may be a well-worn phrase, but I cannot think of a better way to describe the last few days. I have been busy working on magazine commissions, website downloads and a couple of kits for the festive season. I am not going to dwell on this, especially as I haven't had my summer holiday yet - but I look forward to sharing my ideas with you, when the time is right!

In fact I knitted so much at the weekend, that I woke up on Monday with a sore shoulder and neck ache! Note to self - take more care with posture! Sadly, this also meant that I missed my last weaving class, but hope to resurrect my project in the autumn, when classes will start again.

Look out for my next blog post, when I will be talking about the inspiration and yarn choices behind my first online collection......



Off the grid

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So here goes - I'm finally launching my website and feeling very excited about sharing ideas, yarns and designs with you - and like many a F1 racing driver, not entirely sure what lies around the next bend. Knitting and crochet are often worked from a grid(charts) and the resulting fabrics are grid like in structure. However, far from being rigid, this grid enables and allows us to be endlessly creative. One might associate the word 'grid' with squares, but the grid itself can be any shape. Similarly the uniformity of the squares can be manipulated, whi ch is what happens when we twist stitches or work a cable. The squares, (or stitches, can be made to rise and fall in the case of chevrons, or disappear when working a yarn forward in a lace pattern. Clever use of colour and patterning can create optical illusions as well as representative images. As a designer I get to decide how to fill all those little squares with colour, texture and pattern! Returning to the grid will be a recurrent theme of the website - an opportunity to provide good, clean designs with relevant stitch, yarn and colour choices.

The website will provide you with access to exclusive designs and kits. It will also showcase yarns from a range of sources, including small independent spinners and dyers as well as some high street favourites. As a freelance author and designer I am not tied into any particular brand and look forward to discussing my yarn choices with you as well as offering alternatives where appropriate.My collections will be small and will often feature a web exclusive, small projects for pop-up trends as well as patterns from my archive that you may have missed! I will blog about the design process and share any tips and techniques that I think you will find useful. I will also be using the blog to let you know about knitting related events and daily inspiration. From time to time, I will be able to offer kits to support my designs -the first of these will appear in August, but more on that a little nearer the time. You might like to follow me on Twitter or Instagram for quick updates.

Knitting, crochet and all things yarn are my passion. I am fascinated by its colours textures and possibilities. I am intrigued by its social history and health benefits. Nothing compares to a beautiful yarn passing rhythmically through your fingers accompanied by the gentle click of your needles.