I've finally got round to starting up my little blog again, it's been something I've been meaning to do for quite some time now and I've finally decided to bite the bullet! This is my first blog post in a long, long time and I'm so excited you're here to read it so thanks for stopping by!
Whilst thinking about what I could talk about for my very first (eek!) blogpost I thought, why not take it back to basics and talk about how I knit my colourful wares! Lots of people constantly ask how my pieces are made so I thought I'd take the opportunity and explain a little more in depth about how I create all those geometric knits. Most people know about hand knit and lots have even tried it themselves but machine knitting, which is what I do, is still something that many haven’t heard about. It used to be huge back in the 70’s and 80’s (anyone remember Kaffe Fassett?!) lots of people owned knitting machines in their homes as a hobby. I’ve heard so many stories of mums or nans knitting away on machines in their loft of jazzy motif jumpers with scratchy acrylic necklines or brightly coloured fluffy mohair cardi’s. So with my work, its pretty much the same basics, just better yarn and (hopefully) prettier updated patterns!
Every piece of my collection is knitted in my studio on very old hand powered knitting machines. If you've ever seen one they kind of look like a keyboard except with very fine metal needles instead of keys! I cast on every panel of knit by hand and then set the machine in motion to knit away. As the patterns and colour changes I have to stop the machines and change yarns/ pattern cards and dials by hand to guide the machines to knit what I want. I then have to cast off by hand too, using a range of tools to manipulate the needles and yarn.
Above is the machine I use most, which has a motor attached to it meaning once I've set up the machine I can leave it to knit for me. Although I have to keep a beady eye on it, the wool is prone to catching and the whole panel of knit can fall off in a second!
The scarves, ponchos and blankets are all knitted in one panel, whilst with the cardigans I have to knit up to 4 separate panels depending on the size of the cardi, which can mean a lot of casting on and off! I then sew up the panels on my sewing machine to make it into the products you see on my website.
I tend to use very fine British wool in most of my knits, creating the soft, lightweight feel that is present throughout all of my work.
The majority of pieces are knitted by me in my little studio on my favourite machine (I call her Bertie!! I work on my own so yes I name all my trusty machines, don't judge me!) When the busy season kicks in between September and December I have a group of knitters who help me with the bulk for shows and trade orders, but the majority is knitted by me, that can be a lot of stitches! It can be the most therapeutic thing to do, knit on a domestic knitting machine, I love it so much, as soon as I started knitting at college on one of these weird looking things I have never looked back. It's so much quicker than hand knitting and the fine, perfect knit is such a satisfying fabric to work with. I've uploaded a couple of videos to my Instagram lately so feel free to check those out if you want to see the machines in action!
I hope that's managed to give you a bit more of an insight into how the knits are made and what it actually is I do. Feel free to let me know in the comments what you would like to hear about in my new blog and if theres any specific questions you have with how the knits are made.
Thanks again for reading my first post, and let's hope it's the first of many!