Something for the weekend

Hello!

Like many fashion students, I was awed by the theatrics of fashion shows when I began studying.  Vivienne Westwood, Maison Martin Marglelia, and Comme de Garcon all created the kind of spectacle that impressed many and, no doubt, also put many people off fashion as a ridiculous and unnecessary endeavor. I used to be one of the many people put off, but now I really enjoy the most theatrical of shows.  They are, after all, shows.

The one that really stole my fashion-student’s heart was Alexander McQueen. He created gothic fairy tales that were disturbing and beautiful. Savage Beauty, a retrospective of his work, promises to be a huge hit at the Victoria and Albert Museum this year. I can’t wait to see it!

McQ is the diffusion line for Alexander McQueen and features the pieces you are more likely to find at Selfridges than the elaborate show pieces.

Stripe Sweater McQ AW 2015

McQ AW 2015 photo courtesy of Style.com

This jumper has been laminated with a metallic application, but creating a similar effect with a block of colour across the sweater is straight-forward to achieve.

Pendleton by True Brit Knits is a lovely example of the simple but effective technique of adding a colour-block to a cable sweater.

Pendleton sweater by truebrit knits Happy knitting,

R.

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Unravel 2015

Hello!

I am nearly recovered from a really great weekend at the Unravel Festival of Knitting.I have been looking forward to it for what feels like such a long time. With suitcases full of workshop materials, knitting and camera, I waddled my way to Farnham Maltings for the first time.  Now I can hardly believe I have missed it all these years. It was a great show! So much gorgeous yarn! While it was quite busy, it wasn’t painfully manic and I got to meet so many great people who came by the lovely Kettle Yarn Co. stand where I was helping out.

Kettle yarn co. stand at Unravel

Kettle Yarn Co. stand

EastLondonKnit at Unravel

Not an extrovert by nature, it isn’t always so comfortable for me to chat to people, but everyone was very friendly, and a big thanks to Lynsey, Emily and the whole Unravel team, who even came around with candy to help keep the energy levels up.

I was especially looking forward to/terrified of the workshop I was running; Revamp that Jumper and Learn to Love Again….  I had a really lovely group of people who came with unloved knitwear and great attitudes.  I meant to take some action shots, but it turns out I was quite busy for the whole two hours, so here are some pics of the haberdashery ‘before’,

Unravel Knitting festival before the workshop

I have always loved the LOVER….

Unravel Knitting festival before the workshop

It was nearly closing time on Sunday when I realized I hadn’t visited the rest of the show and seen all the other great vendors. I grabbed the camera and ran off to chat to the vendors, grope the yarn and check out the woolly art installations. Frankly, I also went for cake, but, in the single negative experience of the weekend, the cake was sold out. Heartbreaking though that was, there were so many great things this weekend, I didn’t shed a single tear.

Unravel Knitting festival growth installation

‘Growth’ crochet installation at Unravel

Unravel Knitting festival Blue Jumper installation

Blue Jumper installation

Unravel Knitting festival I knit because

‘I knit because…’ installation

Unravel Knitting festival main hall

The Main Hall, just before closing. Don’t worry, I won’t give up my day job.

I am already looking forward to next year.

Happy knitting,

R.

Something for the weekend

Hello!

This is just a short one as I run around preparing for Unravel (hope to see you there!):

Military styling and inspiration are fashion staples.  The khaki green and sharply structured garments have an enduring appeal that is rarely far from the catwalk.

y-3 AW15 military

Y-3 AW 2015. Photo courtesy of Style.com

 

The Marshal Cardigan by Norah Gaughan is a beautiful example of the look.

marshal cardigan hand knit by Norah Gaughan

I admit I am a little obsessed with this one.  I really love the unusual brioche-stitch detailing. I know that there are many knitters who won’t knit a pattern that involves seaming, but I would argue there are advantages to the seams. The set-in sleeves create a clean line & structure that can’t be replicated with seamless methods.

Happy knitting!

R.

Nature’s Luxury

Hello!

Just a reminder that I will be at Unravel Festival of Knitting, assisting the lovely Linda at the Kettle Yarn Co. stand AND running a workshop on garment up cycling,  Revamp that Jumper and Learn to Love Again.  The last few tickets are still available, so please do come and join me for a hands-on workshop to rejuvenate your unloved knits.

A new project is on the not-so-distant horizon….
Nature's Luxury Yarn

 

I received this lovely little box of yarn from German indie dyer Nature’s Luxury.  I met Danica, the dyer and driving force behind Nature’s Luxury, when she came over as a vendor to Unwind Brighton. If you happened to make it to Unwind, you may remember not only the extensive selection of luxurious yarns, but a well-behaved poodle who was a bit of a star at the show.

Danica recently got in touch to ask if I would design something for their new, exciting (and super secret!!) yarn base, which I was only too happy to do. As I was looking through the catalog of yarn bases carried by Nature’s Luxury, I was surprised how many I was not familiar with & asked Danica to send some little sample skeins to rectify my ignorance.  It was educational indeed! I did a little swatching and a little reading and thought I’d share the love…

Nature's Luxury Gotlandia Yarn, 100% Gotland Sheep. Colourway Boysenberry.

Gotlandia Yarn, 100% Gotland Sheep. Colourway Boysenberry.

The Gotland Sheep was a new one to me and a fine-looking sheep it is too, with bald, black head and silvery fleece. Nature’s Luxury carries an industrially dyed line of yarn that may soon no longer be in stock (so buy now, while supplies last…).  The yarn is lustrous and has a soft halo even before blocking. The lustre probably adds to the clean stitch definition and I think it will hold lace patterns beautifully.  It is guard-hair heavy and not something I would wear next to skin, except perhaps on the hands.

Nature's Luxury Royal Qiviut Yarn 100% Qiviut. Natural Colour.

Royal Qiviut Yarn 100% Qiviut. Natural Colour.

The Royal Qiviut is indeed the stuff of royalty.  The musk ox fleece is super fine and incredibly soft. Unlike the Gotland Sheep yarn, this really is only suitable to worn right next the skin.  The light in the photo pics out the individual stitches, which are slightly harder to see through the soft halo in real life. This is definitely not one for outerwear and should be treated with the gently.

Nature's Luxury Royal Qiviut Silk Yarn 50% Qiviut, 50% silk. Natural colour

Royal Qiviut Silk Yarn 50% Qiviut, 50% silk. Natural colour

The Royal Qiviut Silk combines the softness of the Qiviut with the smooth shine and strength of silk.  This yarn is very much a beautiful lace shawl yet-unknit to my eyes. It will block out into gorgeous lace and is lovely to wear against the skin.

Nature's Luxury Silk Divine yarn 60% Kid Mohair, 40% silk. Colourway: After Eight

Silk Divine yarn 60% Kid Mohair, 40% silk. Colourway: After Eight

Silk Divine is not unlike the Kidsilk Haze many people are familiar with, but Nature’s Luxury has increased the silk content to the benefit, I think, of the yarn. With a bit less fuzzy halo than the Rowan yarn, the silk core of the yarn is more visible and creates the appearance of depth with the silky sheen shining through the fluffy softness. It is a very fine; I knit it on 2.75mm needles.

Nature's Luxury yarn Silk Divine 60% Kid Mohair, 40% silk. Colourway: After Eight

Silk Divine yarn 60% Kid Mohair, 40% silk. Colourway: After Eight

The Foxen Sheep was the thickest of the yarns I sampled at a DK weight. It has the classic ‘stickiness’ of wool than makes it great for colour work and is a workhorse yarn, most suitable for outerwear and garments that are going to protect you from the elements. The Coburg Fox sheep is rare heritage breed and another good-looking sheep, with lambs born a beautiful fox-red colour which turns to the creamy natural colour of the sample below.

nature's luxuryFoxen Sheep Yarn. 100% organically raised Coburg Fox Sheep in undyed Oatmeal and Purple Orchid.

Foxen Sheep Yarn. 100% organically raised Coburg Fox Sheep in undyed Oatmeal and Purple Orchid.

Finally there was a wee ball of Bliss A***, a cashmere silk yarn that was lovely indeed. A 3-ply structure makes it suitable for many types of garments, but, as with the Royal Qiviut Silk above, it screams lace shawl to me.  The swatch was knit with 3.5 mm needles, and that would make a suitably light and very drapy garment. For lovers of the softest and most glamorous yarns.

Nature's Luxury Bliss A*** 65% Cashmere, 35% silk yarn in colourway Olevine

Bliss A*** 65% Cashmere, 35% silk yarn in colourway Olevine

I am looking forward to sharing my design with the newest Nature’s Luxury yarn very soon….Til then, if you have a chance, pop over to the Nature’s Luxury site and have a gander at the woolly goodness.

Happy knitting,

R.

Something for the weekend

Hello!

The Spring 2015 Haute Couture collections happened in January, and I feel it would be remiss of me not to mention the hats at the Chanel show.
chanel couture spring 15

Not only are they hand-made creations, apparently knit from strips of tulle, many of them were wildly embellished with fabric flowers and pompoms and you really can’t go wrong with that.  chanel couture spring 15 hat

The image above was by far the most restrained of the hats, making good use of ‘variegated’ yarn instead of silk flowers.  A most basic hat pattern seems most appropriate for your own version of this look, with or without the embellishments.

Calzetta knit hat by Justyna Lorkowska

Calzetta by Justyna Lorkowska is a free pattern and really fits the bill–bulky, simple & slouchy.

Hannah knit hat by very shannon

Hannah is a lovely super-bulky hat by Very Shannon knit with a single skein of Malabrigo Rasta. I love the colour on both of these hats.

Happy knitting,

R.

Images courtesy of Style.com and Ravelry pattern pages.

Yarn & Knitting Brighton

YAK of Brighton

Hello!

This weekend was the grand opening of Brighton’s premier local yarn store: Yarn & Knitting, aka YAK.

I went down to Brighton Saturday for the big event and was so pleased to see the shop chock full of knitters and supporters, including her mum, who was helpfully manning the till while Kate welcomed the well-wishers.

Yarn & Knitting Brighton

Yarn & Knitting Brighton

Linda of Kettle Yarn Co., Kate, proud new owner of YAK and Tom of Holland, darning master all enjoyed a glass of bubbly in celebration.

Yellow Bear Wares at YAK

The shop has a great stock of yarn from indie dyers, particularly from Brighton-local The Uncommon Thread, as well as Yellow Bear Wares jewelry, all the notions a knitter could want and space for classes and workshops.

Yarn & Knitting Brighton

Yarn & Knitting Brighton

Yarn & Knitting BrightonYarn & Knitting Brighton

The shop looks set to become a loved local and I wish Kate all the success in the world.

Happy knitting,

R.

Something for the Weekend

Hello!

I would like to start a regular blog feature to start your weekend off with a little knitting inspiration.  I’ll share a just a little something with you every week; some beautiful knitwear spotted surfing the web, a lovely design detail seen in a pattern, just a little something for the weekend…

After studying fashion design at college, I have the habit of looking through the catwalk shows every season.  Although to many people, the shows seem ridiculous and filled with unwearable clothes, there is often much to be taken from a show–a colour combination, an interesting texture, an idea for styling.  It is rare that I’d actually want to wear the look as it appears on the catwalk, but looking past the crazy styling, there is often something beautiful to take away and make your own.

This inaugural week I have been looking at the recent menswear collections and there were no lack of turtlenecks and androgyny on the catwalks.

Kenzo AW 15 multicolour variagation

Kenzo AW 15 photo courtesy of Style.com

Kenzo AW 2016 courtesy of Style.com

Kenzo AW 2016 courtesy of Style.com

The turtleneck is a staple of the knitwear family, so luckily there are many gorgeous patterns to make your own version of this trend.

The inspiration works for garments for both sexes. Nikol Lohr’s Ishmael is a great interpretation of the classic cabled turtleneck:

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 13.34.14

The rolled neck on Dani Sunshine’s Caramel Latte provides a point of interest on a sweater of stockinette stitch that gives beautiful yarn a chance to shine.

Caramel Latte by Dani Sunshine

What are your turtleneck pattern recommendations?

Happy knitting,

R.