19 February 2014
We know that you know, and you know that we know that knitting has ALWAYS been popular, and while we didn't expect the popular hobby to go anywhere, we're not quite sure we were prepared for it to hit the headlines as much as it has done lately. With celebrities such as Cara Delevingne picking up their needles in public, is knitting going to be the latest fad?
Cara sent this photo of herself to Instagram whilst being primped ready for a fashion show, and it seems to have taken the media by storm. A quick web search of 'celebrities knitting' brings up key terms such as 'strange celebrity hobbies'. We're not quite sure we would class knitting as strange, celebrity or otherwise!
Will we see hoardes of people suddenly running for their LYSs (local yarn shops), clamouring for patterns, and fighting over the last pair of 4mm needles? Or will this be one of those things that people shrug off as a 'quirk' of some of our favourite household names? All we can say is, when it comes to knitting, the more the merrier!
While we could feel smug that we were 'into knitting' before it 'got cool', we in the Knitting office think that the new popularity of the hobby amongst celebs (with the likes of Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Scarlett Johansson, Julia Roberts and Ryan Gosling all stiching away recently) should be celebrated. How many more people might discover the joys of knitting now, when they previously might have considered it as old-fashioned or unfashionable. We, of course, know that's not true, but maybe the word will spread that little bit further now!
14 February 2014
Recenty I have become convinced of the fact that life comes in seasons. At the moment I think it is baby season (no, not me!) - it seems like all of my friends are pregnant. Naturally, I took this as a good opportunity to get down to some serious knitting. With some of my friends about to 'pop' any day, some of them shuffling around under lovely big bumps, and some of them secretly whispering, "Don't tell anyone yet, I'm six weeks pregnant!" I needed a good, reliable pattern that I could knit quickly, would suit both boys and girls, that wouldn't take up too much yarn, and that I could easily hide away should any of the friends in question pop round for a cup of tea.
I cast my mind back and remembered a pattern I'd found online when I was at university and one of my cousins had had a baby. It was a gorgeous bib in one colour that had a heart pattern that emerged through the use of moss stitch and stocking stitch. I must have been knitting for about a year at this stage, so the pattern can't have been too complicated and I was convinced I would be able to replicate it well and multiple times now that I'm *slightly* older than a first-year uni student.
After an image search I discovered the pattern and the designer - it was a Heartbeat bib by Elaine Fitzpatrick. I did another search for her name and I discovered Elaine's wonderful blog, Down Cloverlaine! I quickly located and printed her free pattern for 'my' bib and got to work. The heart motif appears on the bib like magic as the pattern progresses and it really is easy to knit, and works as a fantastic introduction to short-row shaping (sounds scary, but you wouldn't believe how easy it is!)
So, here are my bibs. The white one is finished. I knitted it in a cotton 4ply, on 3.5mm needles. I should have used finer needles for the yarn, really, to give it a good density, but my 3mm have a lace scarf on them, which has been in progress for... er... maybe two years! This seems a little flimsy, and there are small gaps in my moss stitch, I guess where my tension isn't quite perfect (it's funny how your knitting alters after a stressful day compared to a calm one!)
The blue is almost finished. It's knitted in Rico Design Baby Cotton Soft DK (I think the shade, officially, is Light Blue, though the ball band is wedged between my sofa cushions at home, currently). I used the same 3.5mm needles and it is coming along perfectly! I think this is the ideal yarn/needle combo, it has great stitch definition, it will absorb moisture well when used, it makes my stitches look very neat and even (which they aren't necessarily, as a rule!), and it has the right amount of weight, I think. I should get two bibs out of one ball.
Time to knit some pink bibs, too, to cover all eventualities! Do look at Elaine's blog, which is absolutely full of free knitting patterns for bibs and cloths - they are gorgeous! I can't decide which design to knit next (though I do LOVE this heart one, and I do like to knit, knit and knit again once I come across a pattern I love!), but maybe the cupcake or the dinosaur, or the bear, or the duck... in fact I am considering knitting a blanket made up of the 'dish cloth' squares, featuring all the animals!
To view and download all the free patterns visit downcloverlaine.blogspot.co.uk
(oh, and as for the socks of my last blog... still not finished!)
Sneak peek behind the scenes of our April issue
3 February 2014
Spring is definitely on its way. The sun is shining today (althugh it's still about 2 degrees) and the daffodils on my window sill are starting to show green shoots. In fact the gardener is pottering in the garden outside our office as we speak.
It couldn't have felt further from spring though last week when we shot our April issue. An hour and a half drive to Guilford meant Editor Emma picked me up at 7.15am in the pitch black. 10 mins later we were on the A23, nose to bumper in red tailights. And stayed that way for nearly 4 hours as due to flooding they shut the A23. Oh yeah, and there was rain. And hail.
After passing Jeni, our Hair & Make up artist, also on route to the shoot, in the next lane we made the executive decision to come off at the nearest junction. That lead to a highly adventurous journey down woodland lanes, through alarmingly big (and deceptively deep) puddles and eventually brought us, four hours later, to our destination. Our poor photographer and model had been waiting for us for hours – literally.
This, we decided, was going to be the quickest shoot in history. There was no way we were doing the return journey – through water and backwoods – in the dark!
We managed to shoot in the sporadic sunshine. Luckily Blackbirds, the 1960s location house we were using, has one entire wall of windows so let plenty of light in.
We were going for a modern preppy look, inspired by Fred Perry's awesome British knitting patterns, launched last year, and the preppy/sporty trend for spring. Model Emma was perfect.
Well, it did in fact turn out to be one of the quickest shoots we've done. I think we managed to capture a spring-like feel with some lovely knitwear. At this time of year it really does help to have reminders that the next season is on its way. Sorry folks, you'll have to wait until 13th March to get your hands on this lot though!