Posted on July 25 2018
Alice with Puddle wearing our Summer Lovin' Camisole
We have just enjoyed weeks of glorious sunshine and what a difference it has made to the garden and to our mood. I have to admit to enjoying several rounds of golf as this is a busy time of year on the course with qualifiers and matches but my evenings are still spent knitting and catching up with the latest series on TV.
Alice is wearing the pretty camisole knitted in Rowan's Summerlite 4ply which is available in a beautiful palette of colours so there should be something to suit all tastes. The camisole is an easy knit with just small cables in the rib and a small detail cable at the neck on the front. The pattern will shortly be available on Ravelry and on our website.
Front Image of Summer Lovin' Camisole showing cable detail
Since the last newsletter we have held a very successful Professional Finishing Workshop with Melanie Boocock, our Rowan tutor, passing on lots of tips. No matter how long you have been knitting, there is always more to learn. The best tip for me regarded 'picking up around necklines'. Usually a pattern tells you to pick up x number of stitches so, in the past, I have divided the neckline roughly into quarters and then picked up the correct number allocated. However, this can still leave small, unsightly gaps. Melanie suggested a much better option: pick up every stitch around the neck and then, on your first row, correct the number to those required for the pattern.
Another good tip regarded the last stitch in your cast off and the following link shows you how to make a neat finish.
The main reason I started The Knitter's Yarn was to be able to stock and supply the beautiful lambswool that I had enjoyed using when Patricia Roberts' London shop was open. The No.1 (3ply) and No. 2 (4ply) form the basis of our stock to which I have added the lovely Erika Knight range, the renowned Rowan yarns together with the unique Mrs Moon offering and beautiful Belangor angora .
I was also a stockist of Debbie Bliss yarns and still have some of my original stock remaining. Unfortunately, the distributor of Debbie Bliss yarns and patterns went out of business at the end of last year and a deal has now been struck with 'Love Crafts' ('Love Knitting') which means that, going forward, they will be the only supplier of her brand. This is clearly a blow for both local yarn shops and her loyal customer base who now have no choice where to purchase. However, in today's business world, with the likes of Amazon and large online companies looking to dominate, it is up to the individual retailer to try to offer something different and there are some beautiful yarns from smaller suppliers now available. At The Knitter's Yarn we are currently looking to expand our offering of high quality yarns and we will keep you informed as these are added to our shop.
I have raised the subject of Patricia Roberts' lambswool because, the most significant event of the month has been the annual get together of a small group of Patricia Roberts' fans who met at Les Soeurs Anglaises where Patricia was teaching one of the courses. A couple of years back we had a farewell lunch with Patricia and her family when she was shutting her lovely shop in Kinnerton Street. Last year we met in Edinburgh and this year we all got together in Harrogate which gave everyone the chance to see the lambswool we stock and it was also a great opportunity for me to see some of the colours knitted up that I had not personally used - the Blue Haze, Sailor and Elsa all looked stunning. The inspiration from the group meant that there are many new knits in progress and I cannot wait to see the finished garments. In the meantime, here are a sample of the various garments knitted by this talented team....
Romany Cardigan by Patricia Roberts
Paisley Sweater by Patricia Roberts
Amelia Lace Jumper by Patricia Roberts
Ovaltinie Jumper by Patricia Roberts
Flora Jumper by Patricia Roberts
Members of the group come from far and wide with two ladies travelling from Melbourne, one from Stockholm and the others from Edinburgh, Brighton and Northallerton. It was also lovely to be joined for one of the days by Jane who had a 5 hour round trip to meet up with other Patricia fans. Jane had come along to the Professional Finishing workshop having just started Patricia's 'Scrabble' pattern. At that stage she had just knitted a few inches. Just a month later and she has nearly finished the cardigan and it looks fabulous. She used the opportunity to see some of the other patterns made up by everyone and now has a long list of knitting which should keep her busy for a few months!
Scrabble Cardigan by Patricia Roberts
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Patricia's work then I urge you to take a look. Her work rose to fame in the 1970's/80's and she was regarded by many as Britain's foremost knit designer.Her pieces are works of art with patterns which are highly complex and a mixture of texture, colours and yarns. Patricia totally revolutionised knitting when she published her first pattern book in 1975. It was riveting - both in terms of her designs and her novel fashion-magazine approach to modelling the garments. This was high fashion knitwear and she set the standard.
Patricia was the first fashion designer to win the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Design Award in 1986. Here is a little bit of what they said when commending her.
“The…Prize is the supreme accolade for design in British industry…It is given to the designer who has made the greatest contribution to design. Patricia Robert’s original approach to design has brought a virtual revolution to the knitwear industry.
In the early 1970’s, when she embarked upon her career, the range of yarns and patterns available to the handknitter was strictly limited. Her intricate patterns and sumptuous yarns have dramatically enlarged the scope for both the professional and the amateur knitter…The prize is all the more notable since it has never before been awarded to a clothing designer”.
The riot of colour in some of her original patterns may be too much for today's knitters but many of her garments still look fantastic after adaptation. The patterns often need modification in width of body and sleeve, whilst those who prefer subtlety may prefer the garments knitted in just one colour. As a knitter however, if you study the details in her designs then her work is still mind-blowing. I can still remember my first visit to the store in Covent Garden - it was filled with yarns of silks, cottons and lambswool in the most glorious colours imaginable. It was knitting heaven!
Patricia still has a very loyal fan base who post on Ravelry so take a look and get inspired.....
I also want to share with you photos sent to us from Col Bradshaw, known as Trapper60 on Ravelry. His knitting is superb and he recently sent me this image of a slipover he had made in The Knitter's Yarn No. 1 Lambswool. As with all his work, it is beautifully knitted and the cable detail looks fantastic. I believe that the pattern is an adaptation of one from Brooklyn Tweed - another site worth checking out.
Slipover knitted in The Knitter's Yarn Lambswool No. 1
On my own needles this week is a cardigan I am designing in Erika Knight's Vintage wool which is a British yarn and beautiful to knit with. Personally, I love to knit with texture so cables, bobbles and the use of different yarns appeals to me. I can manage Fair Isle as it just involves two colours but I find I always get in a complete tangle when working intarsia with a myriad of colours......I can feel a colour workshop in the pipeline.......
Finally, for those of you in the Harrogate area, whilst we do not have a shop on the High Street, the Studio is set out like a yarn shop and you are very welcome to browse by appointment. Please give us a call on 01423 816618 and come along for a visit.