Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A new look!

You may have noticed my blog looks a little different than it used to - and you'd be right! I've been working on refreshing the 'look' of my knitting design business, to match my current taste and design style a bit better. I do hope you like it. :)

I went through quite a lengthy process of collecting images to use as inspiration, and reading up on typography + logo design + branding in general. Yes, it would all have been much faster if I'd hired a pro to sort it out for me, but I was curious to learn about these areas, and I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to design, especially for an important project like this.

My 'inspiration board'

I wanted a light, bright, beautiful feel, with a handmade, playful side to it. I also really wanted to keep yellow in the mix, since that colour means happiness to me. My 'inspiration board' features swirling shapes, yellows and golds, details from Klimt paintings, music in the form of a violin scroll, and nature in the form of trees, flowers, and bees.

I love any excuse to get out our art supplies, and I had a lot of fun drawing and tweaking my new logo. Because I'm a massive nerd, the starting point for my hand-lettering style was an 18th-century title page for a book of keyboard music by J.S. Bach:

Here's the the finished lettering for my logo, together with a circle of purl stitches in light, warm yellows:

Did you know the Baroque period in music (when my faves Bach and Handel and Monteverdi were composing) gets its name from 'baroque' shaped pearls? This type of pearl is irregular and bumpy, and the analogy to music was  originally meant as an insult, much like 'Impressionism' in painting. My yellow circle of purls is my attempt at a pun - it's a baroque pearl made of purls.

I also sketched a loose, flowy texture based on the structure of plain stockinette or garter stitch, which I'll use as a background or wherever it's needed. I made a little stop-motion video of myself inking over the pencil sketch, just for fun...

(Click to play gif!)

I'm hoping these elements, along with my new colour palette and selection of fonts, will be versatile enough for all of my blog, social media, newsletter, and pattern layout needs. I'll be updating all of these over the next while! And most exciting of all, I'm going to be working on a new website to house a pattern gallery, with tutorials and everything else all in one place.


In case you're curious, this book is one of the main resources I used for this whole process. It's been fun, but I admit I'm impatient to get back to focusing on designing!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

New pattern: Leadlight

It's always exciting when I can finally share one of my secret projects! Today Leadlight gets its big reveal, as part of Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People 11. This is my third Wool People outing, and the third of my designs in Brooklyn Tweed's wonderful yarn (the first two being my Amarilli and Kea shawls).

Be sure to browse through the WP11 lookbook, which is completely gorgeous! I like to save them up until I have a little uninterrupted time to soak up the inspiration. :)

Leadlight, photo by Jared Flood

Leadlight is a rectangular stole in laceweight yarn, featuring large-scale geometric lace. I was inspired by the image of sunlight streaming through glass panes, and the memory of a small geometric stained-glass window I had in my room which my Dad had made (picture framers are good with glass, after all).

(Photos by me, before I sent Leadlight off to the USA.)

The lace is simple to knit, while the construction and finishing methods keep things interesting: beginning with a circular cast on, the centre of the stole is knit in the round as a square. After placing some of the stitches on hold, the two ends of the stole are each knit flat to create a rectangular shape. Finally, a garter stitch border finishes off the edges.

The centre of the stole, worked outwards from the pinhole cast on

The garter stitch border keeping things crisp

Vale is a new laceweight yarn from Brooklyn Tweed, a springy, plied yarn that's light and soft, but substantial and full of personality. It blocks easily and drapes beautifully, which makes it just perfect for lace knitting.

I knit my Leadlight stole in the colour Heron, which is a calm, neutral, mid-toned grey with a subtle sheen to it. The whole Vale colour palette is beautifully subtle - I definitely plan to use this yarn for more lace projects!

A close-up of the centre

  • an all-over geometric lace pattern
  • constructed from the centre out, with two sides extended to form the rectangle
  • a circular cast on (instructions for the Pinhole Cast On are included)
  • a garter stitch border all around the edge
  • a stretchy bind off (instructions for the K2tog-tbl Bind Off are included)
  • easy to alter the length by working a different number of repeats
  • requires 3 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Vale, or 1170yds of laceweight yarn
  • the lace instructions are presented as charts only.

Drapery studies...

You can purchase the pattern for Leadlight on Ravelry, or from Brooklyn Tweed's website. Their Summer of Lace KAL is coming up very soon, beginning later this month.

Monday, June 5, 2017

How to work a Picot Bind Off

I love a picot bind off on a shawl! The little picot-bumps along the edge add an extra dose of lacy prettiness, and it's also a nice and stretchy method, which makes it perfect to use with lace. Two of my shawl designs call for a picot bind off: Budburst and Liquid Honey.

Budburst (pattern available on Ravelry)

Liquid Honey (free pattern available at Knitty.com)

The picots are created by casting on a few extra stitches, and then binding off normally to the place you want your next picot to be. Casting on more stitches creates a larger picot, and binding off more stitches spaces them further apart.

I made a short one-minute video showing the method I used for my Budburst shawl, casting on 2 extra stitches, then binding off 5 for each picot:

The picot bind off does take longer than a plain bind off (because of all the extra cast on stitches), but it's not difficult - as long as you keep counting! My favourite tip for counting bind-off stitches is to count each stitch you lift over.

Another brilliant thing about a picot bind off is that when you come to block your shawl, you can thread your blocking wires through each picot - which is much quicker and easier than catching each stitch beneath a plain bind off. Like so:

Blocking wires are seriously the best. :)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

It's Makealong time!

I've teamed up with nine other knit and crochet designers and five indie dyers to produce a collection of summer accessory patterns, the Progress, Hope, and Happiness collection. My contribution is the Budburst shawl, a profusion of leafy lace in a pretty speckled yarn which was dyed specially for the occasion (you can find out all about it in my previous post).

One of the designers, Denise Voie de Vie, created this beautiful look book for the collection:

You can read about the inspiration behind the event and our journey in putting it all together on Denise's blog here and here. The designs are individually published by each designer, but you can see the whole collection here on Ravelry: Progress, Hope, and Happiness Designs.

I'm co-hosting a Makealong for these designs from June 1st to July 16th, complete with prizes and even some surprises. I hope you'll join us!

These are a few of my favourites from the collection:

Breeze of Happiness by Tanja Osswald

Dusk On TheMoor Shawl by Solène Le Roux

Chiguroo by Lana Jois

From Dusk To Dawn by Christelle Nihoul

This has been so cool to be a part of, and the Makealong is just beginning! Hope to see you over in the Ravelry group. :)

Friday, June 2, 2017

New pattern: Budburst

Who's ready for more lace? I've just released a new asymmetrical shawl, named Budburst for its leafy lace pattern and the magical way it blooms during blocking. I think it's the prettiest thing I've made in a long time. :)

Budburst's stitch pattern blocks out into light and delicate leaves, but during knitting it forms a really cool bobbly texture. The transformation from bobbles to leaves reminded me of leaf buds unfurling in spring.

The gently-speckled yarn is a fingering-weight Merino Single in 'Dawn', by the Swiss dyer Sidispinnt. I adore using single-spun yarn for shawls, as it holds its blocking really well. I find plied yarn can bounce back again over time, especially if it has a tight twist like some sock yarns. I'm seeking out singles and silk-blend yarns for my shawls more and more these days, to make sure I get a really nice drape.

Dad and I took these photos above the Ōhope hill during my April trip to New Zealand - we found the perfect grassy paddock with flowering mānuka bushes and a view of the beach down below. The one downside was the thistles, which kept managing to spike me through my jeans!

  • an all-over lace pattern of delicate leaves
  • intuitive stitch pattern, with 'rest' rows on the wrong side
  • an optional picot bind-off (see my tutorial here)
  • knit sideways from point to bind-off edge
  • easy to scale up or down by altering the number of repeats
  • requires two skeins of fingering-weight yarn
  • suitable for speckled, semi-solid, or gradient-dyed yarn
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

You can see all the details and download the Budburst pattern on Ravelry.

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This design is part of the Progress, Hope, and Happiness collection, a celebration of summer from ten designers and five indie dyers. I hope you’ll join us for the make-along, which runs from June 1st to July 16th!