Room 606 by Helga Isager

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This collection of designs by Helga Isager is named after Room 606 of the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. Designed by Arne Jacobsen the hotel epitomises the sleek lines, muted tones and subtle textures of Danish modernist architecture and Room 606 is now the only room which retains the original decor.

Helga co owns the the Isager brand with her mother Marianne and since 2005 she has been bringing together the best of knitting craft with fashion-forward design under her Amimono brand www.amimono.dk.

I must admit that it’s been quite a while since I’ve looked through a collection of designs and wanted to knit more than one of the patterns. The problem, if there is one, with Room 606 is deciding exactly what to knit first. From the minute you start to browse through the book you can tell that there’s something different about these patterns. Both the garment styling and photographic lighting are understated and each of the 11 designs (9 garments plus 2 accessories) has a simple silhouette but may feature an unusual yarn combination, interesting stitch pattern or construction detail that lifts them to a completely new level.

The pattern instructions are clearly laid out and have a very friendly, easy to read tone with measurements given on the drawn schematics and knitting tips & abbreviations at the back of the book. Most styles are offered in 3 sizes: small, medium and large and range in skill level from beginner to advanced although this isn’t indicated on the patterns.

As both a designer and knitter I’ve always enjoyed mixing yarn types within a project much in the same way that a painter mixes paint on a palette. It allows you to create new, blended colours and produces unusual handling effects so of course I was really excited to find this is a key element of Helga’s design signature.

 

My personal favourite pieces from Room 606 are the Lone cardigan and Ingrid sweater. Lone is the kind of cardigan – or should that be jacket – that you dream of snuggling into when it’s freezing cold outside. It’s a colour blocked design worked in a Brioche rib with the 3 ‘colours’ are created by using two different yarns mixed together. So Col A is Silk Mohair & Highland Silk, Col B is Silk Mohair & Alpaca 2 and Col C is Silk Mohair & Tvinni.

Using the same deliciously soft Silk Mohair as a base for all three colours has a certain continuity but also creates three new but quite beautiful sludgy colours and gives the cardigan a luxurious halo of warmth. There are so many yarns in the Isager range (16 in fact)  that if this colour combination isn’t to your taste you could spend hours poring over the choices trying to find a replacement. What else do I like about this design? It’s a really wearable shape with generously sized patch pockets for enclosing (my) freezing cold fingers and the V shaped wedge detail on each sleeve is both original and stylish.

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Ingrid Sweater

Along very similar lines the Ingrid sweater has a simple silhouette, a slightly widened round neck edged in rib and features the same wedge detail on the sleeve as the Lone cardigan. Once again it mixes yarn types to create the 3 ‘colours’: Cols A &B are both Spinni & Silk Mohair, whilst Col C is a mix of Spinni & Alpaca 2.

If you’re new to the Isager yarn range have a look through the website http://shop.isagerstrik.dk and you’ll see what’s on offer. There are pure wools like Highland which have several tones within each shade, the slightly heavier Aran Tweed which is softly twisted and flecked with flashes of accent colour, two weights of alpaca (Alpaca 1 & Alpaca 2), the cobweb-fine Silk Mohair and three linen mix blends Merilin, Bomulin and Viscolin.

If you’ve become a little bored of top down garments that look too tight or have been designed with an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ type of design process you’ll enjoy Room 606 collection as it’s a brilliant fusion of great craft skill, contemporary style and surprising little details you’ll love to knit.

The Room 606 book is available directly from Isager priced 199 DKK – that’s around £20.00 –  and you’ll find the full range of yarns available there too.

Isager online shop: http://shop.isagerstrik.dk

Helga Isager’s website: http://amimono.dk/?lang=en

May Camisole by Jenny Reid, Inside Crochet issue 55

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(c) Tailor made Publishing

If you’re a big fan of crochet (in fact even if you’re not) I’m sure you’ll love this beautiful design by my lovely and talented friend Jenny Reid. She’s used my Baby Alpaca / Silk 4ply in sh Olive to create this wonderfully feminine camisole. It’s worked  in shell stitch throughout with delicate straps and pleating at both front and back which tapers the sides into a gentle A line shape.

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(c) Tailor Made Publishing

You’ll find the pattern in issue 55 of the brilliant and inspiring Inside Crochet – if you’re under the impression that crochet is all woolly Granny squares just one browse through will soon put you right. Congratulations Jenny, this design is beautiful and thank you for making my yarn look so gorgeous.

You can see more of Jenny’s designs on her Ravelry page here

J x

New 4ply Design – #3 Brighton

This is the last of the new designs in Baby Alpaca / Silk 4ply (for now) and appropriately, with only 2 days to go before Unwind kicks off, it’s called Brighton.

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 This design is worked in single coloured rows on a circular needle which creates an interesting two tone lace effect which has a wonderfully springy texture. If you’re dreading the thought of having to use a circular needle, fear not. This technique is simple to work once you get the hang of it and is perfect for a scarf because it’s reversible so there’s no  ‘wrong’ side to worry about.

The scarf is not only named in honour of my hometown here in the UK but like many of my designs it celebrates my West Indian heritage as there’s also a Brighton in Barbados where my parents were born. I chose the combination of Calypso with Caramel because they bring together the warm brown tones of the shingle beach with the bright clear blue of the sea and to add a hint of peril the scarf is finished at each end with a Shark’s Tooth lace edge.

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Brighton (the scarf, not the city) only takes 2 balls of Baby Alpaca/ Silk 4ply and the like the Skinny Winnie the pattern is available from the website on the FREE PATTERNS  page and you’ll also find the kit for sale in the Online Shop. So, if the combination of Calypso & Caramel doesn’t work for you, there’s the option to put your own colourway together.

I’m off to make up kits for the weekend

J x

New 4ply Design – #2 Skinny Winnie

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This design is just a bit of fun which guarantees a major shot of colour to any outfit. This time it’s worked in crochet on a 3.75mm (US f/5) hook with 3 colour stripes of trebles and half trebles which travel vertically down the scarf. The good news? There’s only 12 rows of pattern. The bad? This means there’s a very long chain to make first, but never mind you’ll still be able to make one in a weekend and the best news of all? You can download the pattern for FREE from my Ravelry Pattern Store from 10.00 am tomorrow. 

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For a hot colourway I combined Olive, Spice and Lippy but you can of course choose your own colours when you order the kit which will be launched at Unwind this weekend. If you can’t make it along then simply order the kit through the website.

J x

New 4ply Designs – #1 Diamond Corner Shawl

I’ve taken a break from my Unwind prep to post about the first of 3 new designs. Each uses my Baby Alpaca/Silk 4ply and will be available from 10.00am tomorrow 10th July, timed of course to celebrate Unwind!

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Firstly there’s the Diamond Corner Shawl which is knitted in sh 879 Mist. I’ll not lie, this  bat shaped design is a big knit as the width across the top is 193 cm or if you prefer 76 inches. It begins on single point needles with a panel worked in a lace pattern that undulates from picot cast on to picot cast off for 86 cm (33 3/4 in). After this you’ll need a long circular needle for the side wings which are created by both picking up and purling into the side of the central spine and casting on extra stitches. Once the lace pattern has been established decreases worked at the side edges and centre help to create the batwing shape. I found when I was swatching that this central double decrease has an intriguing effect on the regular columns of the lace pattern and it was this cornering effect that inspired the design’s name

 Diamond corner detail 1 Diamond corner detail 2

I’m not a huge fan of picking up and knitting on edges with a design of this size so instead I’ve added a picot detail to the beginning of each row which means that once you’ve cast off the shawl is complete. In terms of skill level I would say this design is aimed at intermediate knitters and above due to the size of the shawl and the way in which it’s constructed. You can download the pattern for £3.00 from my Ravelry Pattern Store from 10.00am GMT tomorrow and you’ll find the kit available to buy on the Jeanette Sloan Design website where there’s 10% off until midnight 13th July.

Hope you like it

J x

Not long to Unwind

unwind_logo180x180The sun is out (hooray) and down here in Brighton we’re all getting excited about Unwind.

It’s a new fibre festival which takes place on the weekend of 12-13th July and is the brainchild of Dani Sunshine of Lioness Arts which brings together workshops, classes & speakers in a number of venues across Brighton. As if that lot isn’t enough there’s also a Saturday night ‘Seaside Shindig‘ and a Marketplace in the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange where I’ll be selling my yarns, kits and patterns along with a host of other lovely vendors including Textile Garden, Namolio, Eden Cottage Yarns and Yarnundyed. Tickets for the Marketplace are available from the Unwind Brighton website along with tickets for Classes tutored by the likes of Rachel Coopey &  Karie Westermann.

Hope to see you there

J x

First Steps in Lace Workshop

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I can’t believe we’re already into May, this year is absolutely flying by. Hopefully it won’t be long before we’re sitting outside sunning ourselves with a glass of something fizzy by our sides and a little something creative in hand to keep us occupied. If like me you like to knit something a little lighter in the Summer months, why not try lace?

On Saturday May 31st I’ll be at Black Sheep Wools for a day workshop teaching First Steps in Lace. If you’ve mastered the basics of knit and purl you’re ready to take the next step,….honestly. There are a few basic rules to remember and once you’ve cracked them you’ll be on your way to creating the most beautiful, open stitches which can be use in any project from scarves, stoles, shawls to socks and sweaters. On the day we’ll be working with my Baby Alpaca / Silk 4ply yarn which is so, so soft with a wonderful lustre and it’s perfect for lace. You’ll learn the basic principles of lace knitting including how to balance yarn overs and decreases to create laceholes, how to work from a chart and how to finish your work once completed. You’ll be able to bring all these new skills together to create a lacy shawlette which you’ll be able to cast on and take away with you to complete at your own speed. For more info have a look at the Black Sheep Wools website here