Thursday, June 25, 2015

New pattern: Kea

I'm thrilled and honoured to have a design in Brooklyn Tweed's latest Wool People collection! This is Kea, a triangular shawl with a feather-lace edging named after NZ's mischievous green parrot:

Photo by Brooklyn Tweed

Photo by Brooklyn Tweed

Photo by Brooklyn Tweed

  • traditional top-down triangular construction
  • garter stitch with ribs and lace to create the impression of feathers
  • two sizes: small shawlette and large shawl
  • beginner-friendly charted and written instructions

The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed's Loft, which I love - its tweediness gives a cosy, rustic feel to the shawl, and the colours are very rich. The complex greens we used for the sample shawls reminded me of kea feathers, and the name stuck! You can read about the birds here and here.

Do check out the beautiful Lookbook for the collection - there are some wonderfully clever lace shawls and wraps and wearable garments in the set, by designers I really admire.

Kea has been a secret project for several months, so it's especially exciting to have it out in the world at last. Just for fun, here are a couple of photos Willie and I took of the large-sized shawl, just before I sent it off to the USofA...

You can purchase the Kea pattern from Ravelry or Brooklyn Tweed.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A shawl, a scarf, and some stripes

Would you like a peek at what I've been working on recently? As usual I have a few knitting projects on the needles, as well as assorted swatches for trying out new ideas.

I have a bit of an obsession with speckled yarn at the moment. This shawl is a new design, in speckle-dyed BFL Sock yarn from Skein - the colour is called 'Neon + Grey'. I've finished the knitting, but haven't blocked it yet as I'm quite enjoying the unblocked texture:

These ribs will turn into lace when blocked

The edging, with alternating texture 'stripes'

The wrong side looks pretty mad. :)

This silvery scarf is another design in progress, in Outlaw Yarn's Bohemia Worsted - it's a pleasure to knit with something so soft! I'm about halfway through this one...

Texture and softness

And this is the beginning of a cardie I'm making for myself, in various 8ply yarns including Morris Norway 8ply in natural shades and Vintage Purls Max in shades of gold and burgundy. The pattern is Stephen West's Royally Striped. It should be super cosy! Hopefully I can finish it before spring.

Short rows and stripes

What are you working on at the moment?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Exquisite Threads (Part II)

(Continued from Part I)

The samplers were one of the most interesting parts of the NGV's historical embroidery exhibition. They were displayed in a table-height cabinet with seats so people can take their time examining them. They're very much a display of skill and invention, as well as part of an embroiderer's education - the fine detail in them was seriously impressive, especially as some were made by children! Just mind-boggling.

I've included some close-ups as well as photos of the whole samplers.
Click to enlarge...

The lacy background is made of teeny-tiny patterns of holes!

Exquisite Threads (Part I)

Mum and Oma, this one's for you! :)

Last Thursday I treated myself to a trip to the NGV, to see the Exquisite Threads: English Embroidery 1600s-1900s exhibition. For a fibre-arts nerd who has dabbled in embroidery and cross-stitch, it was totally amazing!
I spent over an hour peering closely at the stitches, taking photos, and eavesdropping on a group of women who were explaining the techniques to each other.

Some things I found surprising were the raised or 3D style of embroidery on some of the 17th and 18thC items - this isn't always apparent in photos, so a real-life look was eye-opening. The shading and range of colours was also a surprise, and got me wondering about the dyeing industry for embroidery threads. And the fineness of the work was a shock in some cases - again, it can be hard to imagine the correct scale unless you're actually there.

Click to enlarge the photos for a closer look...

The embroidery on this is very 3D!


A 'stomacher'

The black background is only partially filled-in

Some serious 3D work!

A dear little deer

A detail from a gigantic 19thC piece

See Part II for the samplers (they deserve their own post)!