a fabulous time to be a knitter right now. The global
knitting scene is vibrant and inspiring, both socially
and creatively. There are exciting new shops and publications,
drop-ins, knit-ins, knit-and-natter sessions, exhibitions
and even knit theatre, as well as many inspiring new designers
and makers. People are becoming tired of our wham –bam-quick-fix
society and there’s definitely a move towards the
appreciation of all things handmade. In today’s
hectic world, where personal time is scarce, knitting
stands alongside yoga and other stress-relievers as a
mantra for unwinding. Small portable projects make it
easy to knit on the way to work, transporting commuters
into a calmer space.
if you’re dallying with the idea of learning or
going back to knitting, procrastinate no longer! Pick
up your needles right now. It doesn’t matter what
you knit with – if you can’t find yarn, string
will do, if you can’t find needles, sharpen the
ends of chopsticks, pencils or paint brushes and get started.
Just learn the knit stitch – in, around, over and
off - and join the ever-growing community of knit, textile
and fibre fanatics. Not only will you make lots of new
friends, but soon you’ll have made more gorgeous
pieces than you’ll know what to do with.
chic and stylish knits be the exclusive domain of the
rich and famous ? In Couture Knits you’ll find all
the tried-and-tested designer tricks-of-the-trade to transcend
the homespun look and get the wow factor usually exclusive
to luxury couture garments.
I find it frustrating when I’m following a pattern
to have to look up a technique in another book, I’ve
made sure that you’ll find everything you need to
complete each project within Couture Knits. The techniques
are explained and clearly illustrated at the end of the
something for all skill levels. For beginners, once you’ve
mastered the basic knit stitch, try Whizz. This is the
simplest gilet which uses only garter stitch, has zero
shaping, and can be worn inside out, upside down or any
which way you want it. There are half a dozen other easy
projects, such as Slinky and Cool Cloche , each chosen
to gradually expand your repertoire of knit skills and
at the same time boost confidence. For the intermediate,
keen to explore stitch patterns or cables, designs such
as Sundowner and In The Pink should fit the bill. And
for those knitters who relish the challenge of colour
work there’s fairisle and a gentle introduction
to intarsia in designs like Acoustic and Windsor.
a self-confessed yarnaholic and always profess good intentions
of using every ball of yarn in my stash. Unfortunately,
at the latest count, I would now need about five lives
in order to achieve this! I’m hopelessly seduced
by the fabulous new yarns which have yarn shops throbbing
with colour and texture. I’m a hedonistic knitter
and beautiful needles, fun stitch markers and gorgeous
tactile yarns are star players in my enjoyment.
spoilt for choice in the yarn shops now. My favourites
have always been Rowan and Jaeger, but recently I‘ve
been designing for a new company, Artesano, and I’ve
included many designs in their lustrous alpaca. I refuse
to knit in yarns which won’t do justice to the time
and skill invested in my knitting. I’d much rather
knit a small, exquisite item in a fabulous yarn which
will be cherished forever than something which disappoints
through yarn economy. My favourites are wool, cotton,
cashmere, silk, alpaca and natural blends. Today’s
busy knitters demand a quality knit experience –
from yarn manufacturers who are consumer-aware, through
informed and helpful yarn shops and innovative and accessible
designs, to finished pieces which can be worn with confidence
knit for many different reasons and although a knitted
item was once considered to be the economy model, we all
know now that to create stunning pieces, an investment
of both time and money is needed. For some knitters it’s
not about finishing projects, they are more interested
in the process. I totally applaud this. However, many
are completely wracked with guilt about unfinished projects.
I’ve never understood this. It’s totally Zen
to value the journey more than the arrival and the important
thing is what we learn on the way. On the other hand,
some knitters are serial producers of stitch-perfect heritage
pieces, which will inform and educate other generations
is so much to learn in knitting, yet you need to know
so little to be able to knit. I see my design work as
continuing education, both for myself and for those who
knit my sweaters. Once you’ve knitted a design and
loved it, I hope it will empower you to experiment and
play. Don’t get anxious about mistakes, often no-one
else will notice – within reason of course! Remember
what knit guru, Elizabeth Zimmerman, said about errors
- ‘one time it’s annoying, twice it’s
a mistake and three times it’s a new design’.
Take time to learn from your mistakes and see beyond them
the possibilities of brilliant new designs.
one of the satisfying things about teaching workshops
is the exchange of ideas and the contact with other knitters.
I always get a thrill when I see someone wearing one of
my designs. Occasionally a knitter will add something
which is just perfect. For instance, recently someone
substituted beads for the colourwork in one of my sweaters
and not only did it look a knock-out, but it was unique!
Since I don’t always have the time to develop a
particular design in different ways, it’s hugely
satisfying to see other people’s versions.
is evolving all the time and there’s never been
a more exciting time to start. So pick up your pins, celebrate
your creativity, use your inspiration and let’s
knit together a better world!