Designer of the Month at Stephen & Penelope, Amsterdam

S&P Designer of the monthYou go for months without so much as a word from me and then you can’t shut me up.

Ok so maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement but there will definitely be a few blogs posts coming up in pretty quick succession over the next week or so as a number of things are revealed.

Today’s reveal is that throughout June I have the absolute pleasure of being featured as Designer of the Month at the Stephen & Penelope store in  Amsterdam. If you haven’t heard of them – how could you not? Owned by the amazing Stephen West and the gorgeous Malia Mae Joseph the store is a real h(e)aven where you’ll find yarns from all over the world, most recently stocking yarns from UK based indie dyer The Urban Purl.

The shop will be home for the next month to four of my lace designs: Dionne, Diamond Corner, Naomi and No1 Skeete Road. Earlier this year I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with Stephen & Penelope’s own yarn brand West Wool and knowing that I’d be featured this month I thought it was the perfect excuse to re-knit two of these designs in Bicycle which is the brand’s fingering weight.

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I’m not usually a sucker for grey but decided when re-working Naomi to choose Dutch Sky for the main shade with the bobble edge knitted in Citroen which is the BEST acidic yellow I’ve ever laid eyes on. If that colour doesn’t lift your heart, I really don’t know what will.

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And of course if you’ve seen the previous post about No1 Skeete Road you’ll know that I reverted to type and went for the spicy orange warmth of Kardemumma when having that one re-knitted. Thanks again to my friend Mary Alderton for putting your skilful fingers to work and knitting it so beautifully and so quickly too.

All four designs are available as PDFs in my Ravelry Pattern Store and for the first time they’re also now available through yarn stores signed up to Ravelry’s Instore Pattern Sales. If you’re heading to Amsterdam you’ll find the store at Nieuwe Hoogstraat 29, 1011HD Amsterdam, The Netherlands  if not their website is www.stephenandpenelope.com

I am so, so happy to be featured, thank you so much Emily, Malia and all at Stephen & Penelope for featuring my work in your amazing store.

 

J x

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Riley Stripe wrap pattern release

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This design was originally published in issue 122 of The Knitter in March 2018 and now the rights have reverted to me I’m really keen to get into my Ravelry Pattern Store. I must admit to having a bias towards charts when it comes to designing and because of this I haven’t properly catered for knitters who find them off putting so I really must apologise for that. With this in mind when releasing this pattern I’ve decided  to include both charts and full written instructions so it’s a bit more appealing to both chart lovers and chart haters.

This means additional tech editing which will happen over the next couple of weeks so my release date is set for 12th April.  The PDF pattern will also include lots of juicy close up shots and links to video tutorials for some of the techniques used. You can *pre-order the pattern by going to my Ravelry Pattern Store. I  recently reached an amazing 10,000 followers on Instagram which has both amazed and humbled me. Thank you all so much. So to celebrate there’s 20% off the Riley Stripe pattern and the rest of my designs from 0:00 am March 21st  until 23:59 GMT March 24th 2019. Theres no minimum purchase and no code required. The discount will be applied when you checkout. 

See you the other side of EYF

 

J x

*When pre-ordering Riley Stripe you’ll receive a temporary PDF with some basic information about the yarn required, on release date this will be updated to the full tech edited pattern in PDF format

 

North Point, The Knitter issue 134

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This design takes its name comes from the cliffs of North Point which can be found in the parish of St Lucy on the island of Barbados. Sitting at the northern post tip of the island it’s renowned for the powerful Atlantic Ocean waves that pound the rugged landscape throwing columns of sea spray upwards onto the limestone cliffs above. Whilst I was swatching for this design I was intrigued that moving the initial vertical lace pattern just one stitch in either direction on successive rows created arcs of pattern that reminded me of those constantly crashing Atlantic waves, hence the name. Standing on the cliff edge at North Point in the hot Bajan sun the sea views are both dramatic and uninterrupted, in fact you could literally be teetering on the edge of the world.

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Back in the slightly chillier UK I wanted this wrap to be your ‘go to’ cover up if, like me, you’re always cold. It’s a lace design but not in a traditional sense as it’s worked in Erika Knight’s Wild Wool, an Aran weight blend of 85% wool 15% nettle fibre (shown as viscose on the label). Knitted in two pieces grafted at the centre each piece begins with a provisional cast on. The main section of each piece is knitted in a broad vertical rib with single stitch decreases, slip stitches and eyelets defining where the knit columns meet the purl.

 

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As I mentioned previously the travelling arcs of lace are created by moving the pattern one stitch to the right on the first piece and one stitch to the left on the second piece and this produces a mirrored effect when the two sections are grafted together. The edges of the wrap are slipped which gives them a rounded finish and this look continues when the provisional cast on stitches are picked up and finished with an i-cord cast off. There are lots of reasons why I love this design; the stitch pattern is completely reversible, the yarn has the most incredible drape and given the mix of knit & purl and the gauge of the yarn, I think that may be the best seam I have EVER grafted.

I really hope you like it too. 

J x

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No 1 Skeete Road, Knitting issue 188

No1SkeeteRdGMCNo 1 Skeete Road is a lace design worked on a 4.50 mm needle and for those of you who love a stashbuster project – and let’s face it who doesn’t – it takes just one hank of 4ply / fingering weight yarn. This design came about through me falling in love with a yarn back when I wrote the Yarn Reviews for Knitting Magazine. As someone who’s a bit of a sucker for an alpaca yarn I knew from the moment I unwound the hank of John Arbon’s Alpaca Delight that knitting a sample swatch wasn’t going to be enough, somehow I had to keep hold of the rest of the yarn. Promising to create a design that would take just one hank meant that not only could I hold onto it for just a bit longer but I could also scratch my creative itch too. 

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This triangular shaped shawl / scarf is worked from the top down with a rectangular panel of lace forming a central spine. In it a 28 row repeating pattern produces pentagon shaped lacy motifs whilst the wings of the piece are worked in a simple 2 row stitch that produces contrasting columns of lace on either side. Pointed edges give this design a fun feminine finish and as you can see when blocking it’s worth taking a bit of time to accentuate each of these points with pins.

This design gets it’s name from a road in the St Michael parish on the island of Barbados (where my parents were born) which lies in the south western part of the island near the capital Bridgetown. The original Skeete Rd is split into two parts – Nos 1 & 2 – and whilst developing the central lace pattern I thought it would be interesting to explore this same central lace motif in three (rather than just two) different shaped projects and thus design, No 1, is the first of this collection. I’ll be developing the others over the next few months and releasing all three together when the rights for this design revert back to me in 6 months time. 

IMG_5952It’s always interesting to see how my designs are styled in magazines and Christine Boggis Knitting’s editor has gone for a classic feminine look in the current issue whilst I’m more likely to wear it wrapped back to front around my neck as a scarf. And as Alpaca Delight is a deliciously soft blend of 70% Superfine Alpaca / 30% Organically farmed Falklands Merino it’s guaranteed to keep me warm without that irritating tickle. In terms of colour the 7 pastel shades available in Alpaca Delight are all very delicate so if for example Raspberry which I’ve used here isn’t your style, why not search through your stash and dig out 100g of fingering weight yarn in a much bolder colour? I’d love to see the results.

You’ll find the pattern for No 1 Skeete Road in the current issue (no 188) of Knitting Magazine

For the print edition click here 

For the digital edition click here

To subscribe to Knitting click here

To see the full range John Arbon Alpaca Delight colours click here 

 Enjoy

J x

When you’re done rocking the Kasbah

I know it’s been a while since I Iast posted here (sorry about that) and there are both good and bad reasons for that. Sam & I popped over to Morocco for a friends wedding which took place in the grounds of a casbah up in the Atlas mountains.

The venue was stunning and the weather couldn’t have been better: 26ºc during the day with blazing sunshine  and cold mountain air with dark starry skies at night. As it was a particularly special wedding I wanted to put a lot of effort into my outfit and thought it would be nice to pair one of my accessory designs the Tribal Tote with a bright lemon sleeveless dress from Boden and a pair of oh so comfortable sandals from Ten Points Footwear. The pattern for the bag was first published in the November 2011 issue of Knitting magazine but I updated it by adding a bright yellow oilskin lining with a flash of contrast ribbon to echo the colour of the dress. The lining not only added a lovely weight to the feel of the bag but also gave it a much more finished look. As you can see I took advantage of the beautiful decor in our room to shoot the whole outfit and absolutely loved the results, what do you think?

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Sadly though when I got back home I managed to develop a disgusting flu like bug that laid me so low for the past week I genuinely thought I had another lump growing inside my head. Because of this I’ve been trying to keep away from screens, sleeping a lot, popping lots of painkillers and dosing myself up on Night Nurse – though not at the same time obviously – which means that thankfully I’m definitely now on the mend.  There were great plans afoot for blog posts and IG callouts but once again my body took charge and, as I’ve had to remember (not easy when you have the memory of a …erm…what was it called again) I just had to rest up until I recovered. 

So here I am and this is just a little post to say ‘hi’ I”m still around, see how you’re doing and assure you that the normally erratic blog posting service is back in business. There are some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks and months. Firstly there’s my latest design which has just been released in Knitting magazine, the first issue of new e-zine Yarnpeople  which aims to redress the lack of diversity in the fibre world, newly discovered talents to add to the POC Designers & Crafters list, upcoming callouts for new additions to the list from other people of colour AND new pattern releases for some of my designs where the rights have reverted back to me. Phew! Surely that’s enough to keep us all going? 

In fact it’s made me feel quite knackered just thinking about it….

J x

Something for me and something for you

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 08.52.00I think I first posted about working with this shade of Rowan’s Cotton Rope back in July last year and as is often the case, it’s been languishing in my stash for years before that. Although my memory is pretty shocking nowadays I clearly remember the day this yarn joined the realms of the Sloan Stash. I’d bought it as stock whilst running HKhandknit in Edinburgh and fell in love with the colour as soon as I clapped eyes on it. It sat, and sat and sat on the shelves for a whole summer (obviously at the time too bright for my Edinburgh customers) and when Rowan decided to discontinue it I felt it would be happiest and best appreciated in my possession. All 22 balls of it.

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So fast forward to today and I’ve finally cast off the cardigan that that precious, fantastic coloured yarn has finally become. It seems to have been a long road to get to this point but that may largely be due to the fact everything involving numbers, concentration and memory can often feel like pulling teeth if my brain isn’t playing ball. I vaguely remember first dragging the yarn out of the loft back in 2015 PreC (pre craniotomy) but didn’t start doodling on paper until July 2017 PostC (post craniotomy). It wasn’t until I tidied my office almost exactly 12 months later that I moved a hug pile of fabric I’d been using to make cushions and came across the abandoned wip squashed into the bottom of a basket with my ‘missing’ 6 mm Knit Pro tips and 80 cm cable. Since my surgery I’ve dreaded making discoveries like this. Not as you’d imagine, because of the guilt you normally feel because you haven’t finished yet another project. It’s trying to get back into the headspace I was in when I drew up those original sketches and made those initial calculations which is so much like reading the work of a stranger that it fills me with such dread it sometimes causes enough stress to bring on a migraine.

Thankfully though in this case I was so genuinely pleased to have found 1. the yarn again – I mean THAT COLOUR!!! –  and 2. those bloody 6mm tips (I thought they’d gone for good) that I just went right back to the drawing board. Bizarrely enough for a ‘me’ knit I’d actually made lots of helpfully detailed written notes about what I was thinking so it actually wasn’t as difficult as I thought to pick up where I’d left off . So, after making a couple of changes ( dropping the needle size to 5.50mm) I was soon up and running again. Ok there’s been a bit of frogging but the combination of this yarn, large needles and the deliciously textured purl twist stitch I used on Mrs T’s Mittens made this a really really enjoyable design to knit. Now it’s finally cast off I’m really pleased with the results.

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I wanted a relaxed, boxy knit that would be easy to wear in the summer when the sun’s gone down and it gets a bit chilly. Because of the chunky weight of the yarn I wanted very few seams so it’s actually worked in one piece on a long circular needle whilst slipped stitches on the wrong side of the garment give the appearance of a seam but without the bulk.

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There’s a wide panel of purl twist texture in the centre back which is matched by the front facing bands which are worked as you knit, rather than added on afterwards (again avoiding any joins) and these run on over the shoulders to join at the centre back of the neck. Ah yes, that join. There were a couple of issues with the neckband as I’d originally envisaged grafting it together but after a couple of failed attempts where it just didn’t look of feel right I plumped for casting off both sets of stitches off together which I’m much happier with.

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All in all I love the results.

Would  I knit it again? Definitely. Probably a winter version with sleeves.

Would I make any changes? Mmmm probably, after all there’s always something you could tweak to make improvements. But for now I’m happy that this keeps summer going just a little bit longer. That and the fact that we’re off to Corsica for a week on Saturday!

At my age I’m more excited than I should be about going on holiday but we’ve been through a lot since our last foreign break seven years ago so to celebrate I’m having a sale over on  Ravelry. There’s 25% off all patterns from now until the end of September – no code needed – so you could get a headstart on some of that C*#!+%?mas gift knitting whilst I head off to the sun. Sorry it’s just too early to use that particular ‘C word’.

You’ll find my Ravelry Pattern Store here. I’m off to pack

J x

 

 

Still in the spotlight

 

saturdayspotlightjeanettesloanIt’s so hot here! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining this is, after all, why Sam and I moved down from Scotland 6……no I think it must be 7 years ago now. I’m loving this hot weather, its been like this for over a week with no prospect of it changing for the next week so I’m a very happy (if every so-slight-sweaty) bunny. Plus of course the novelty of being so close to the beach still hasn’t worn off.

Anyway hot weather aside, a couple of weeks ago I was very happy to be featured in Gaye Glasspie’s Saturday Spotlight over on her blog which you’ll find on her website www.ggmadeit.com. If you haven’t heard of Gaye before she is a woman consumed by her passion for knitting and yarn, yarn & more yarn. In fact she describes herself as ‘a yarnho’ which still makes me laugh, us Brits just don’t say stuff like that do we? Gaye is also obsessed with the colour orange which is another reason I like her so much, I really wish I had her energy. Every week she shines her spotlight on a different crafter, dyer, fibre producer, yarn shop or designer and having met online through Lorna Hamilton Brown who I blogged about yesterday she got in touch to ask if she could feature me. Gaye has a warmth and enthusiasm which is really infectious you can follow here over on Instagram where she’s @ggmadeit.

Anyway this post is a couple of weeks late but you can still read the interview here