My leather has arrived!!! There is so much it’s actually insane… There’ll be lots left over for making armour :)
Amy Lawrence is a knitted accessories designer based in Lancashire; her etsy store and online shop are stocked with brightly coloured and exquisitely detailed pieces are hand-made on her Italian knit machine.
The materials she uses are all of the finest quality, from Italy and the UK, which are offset with antique brass findings, for a contemporary, but textural feel. This is grown up knitting at its best, as I often find the same old knitted wire accessories quite samey, Lawrence’s pieces show clearly her excellent skills and innovative thinking.
This double layered piece is my favourite, I’m very tempted to add it to my collection :D
She shows off her background in textile design, and it clearly inspires her technique driven work. Lawrence has worked at Julien McDonald, John Varvatos and Calvin Klein, before starting her own business, which marries her skill in swatch design (for which she was originally talent spotted in Nottingham) and colourwork. Beautiful!
I finished these mittens a while ago but MAN did this project drag on! It started with Small complaining (loudly) that he had no gloves in the schoolyard (Mortifying for a knitter as I’m sure you can imagine). Small does in fact have gloves, he was merely complaining that unlike me, he does not have hand knitted gloves. SO I set to work on these.
I had just finished knitting a pair of socks for myself, and a friend in these two colour-ways and was left with a reasonable amount of yarn in each colour. I borrowed the pattern from Mittens That Zig, and followed the instructions, minus two pattern repeats. colour-work isn’t my strong point, so this was equal parts stash-busting and practice. I’m pleased with the colour-work and think the colours also go well together, but the thumb is disproportionately small compared to the hand, which is, if anything over large. Still, they’ll keep the hands warm, which was the goal after all. I even used left overs from another project for the lace-weight lining. Small doesn’t seem to care that it’s pink, which is good because it seemed silly to buy a ball of lace-weight just for a lining which can’t have used more than 10g of yarn.
Yarns used were Woolhunter Walkabout Sock in Indian Spices and Dragonfly Fiber Djinni Sock in Villainess (which is delicious). The lining is Rowan Fine Lace, not sure about the exact colour-way, the ball-band is lost long since lost.
Maybe next time I’ll finish them before Spring is nearly over. :(
Kate Davies is one of my favourite designers; Owls was my first ever attempt at a sweater pattern, which sadly only succeed in teaching me the value of gauge swatching, though I fully intend to try again one day :)
I recently (belatedly) discovered her blog, and was this morning treated to a wonderfully enlightening blog post about her friend Tom Van Deijnen, also known as Tom of Holland. It’s a fabulous read, and it got me thinking about how techniques can influence a creatives work. Tom specialises in becoming expert and perfecting techniques, then using them in ways that are new and exciting, because we nowadays take shortcuts to avoid them.
I’m a research hound, and I love to learn new things, new techniques and master them. His work has really inspired me to dig deeper into my research, and the skills I use when making something. Unfortunately his class at Brighton Unwind is sold out, but I will be attending this festival (my first ever fibre festival which is pretty exciting!) in July anyway :)
Recently we were incredibly lucky to receive a visit once again from the extraordinarily talented Katie Jones, whose first collection with British Fashion Council company Estethica came out this Fashion Week. She is being mentored by them as an ethical designer. This means being gifted studio space and mentorship, something very valuable to a new designer. Her collection consists of up-cycled traditional Aran jumpers and leather skirts, using amazing brights, embroidery, inserts and crochet trims to repurpose these old fashioned and slightly outdated garments into something exciting and new. It’s not just her repurposing of old garments that makes her work sustainable, she sources end rolls of yarn, off cuts and reclaimed yarns from various places to keep her work ethical. This way of working was borne from practicality whilst she studied Knitwear BA, then MA at Central Saint Martins. Like all Fashion students, finding the money to make her collections was often a challenge. This taught her the value of networking, and asking for better deals wherever she can find them.
Katie Jones started her brand K2TOG in February, and she already has an international market. Apparently Japanese buyers love her work, with each piece being similar enough to fit into a collection whilst remaining individually unique. I really enjoyed looking at her design work too, as drafting my knit design ideas can be more challenging for me than non-knitted designs. It’s given me a lot of ideas for mood boards too, as she embraces a visual timeline type look, something which would fit well into any portfolio.
Katie acknowledges that there are aspects of her work which aren’t sustainable, for example she often doesn’t know the entire supply chain of her yarns. This is difficult enough when buying retail or wholesale, but buying reclaimed or second-hand it’s almost impossible. She also mentioned the environmental impact of the way some of her yarns may be produced (dye processes etc.), but in a way, being aware of those impacts is equally important. Ultimately, K2TOG clothing is produced in a way that is comparatively very sustainable, without having to compromise on its (excellent IMO) design aesthetics.
All Photographs are of Katie Jones’ Work, taken by me with her permission. Please do not reproduce.
As promised, here is the finished triangular shawl. I know some people get bored with Stockinette quite easily, but I love it, and I don’t mind purl rows either, there is an eight row border of garter stitch at the bottom to prevent curling (not massively effective as of yet) but I haven’t blocked it yet as I don’t have enough room, and I still need to order a blocking mat.
All in all this is one of my favourite ever projects and I’m really proud of myself for sticking it out with almost 800m of lace-weight. Like I mentioned before, this yarn is super warm and fuzzy, but its hot out today, and the lofty nature of it doesn’t make it feel sweaty, plus it is not scratchy at all; merino doesn’t tend to be. I don’t think it’s going to fit into any of my planned costume endeavours, but I ‘needed’ a new shawl anyway, so this does very nicely.