Getting to know: Fiona Alice

We are always on the look out for new knitting designers and books here at the shop. We were so excited when East London local Fiona Alice’s new book came out! Take Heart: A Transatlantic Knitting Adventure is published by Pom Pom Press out of Dalston, so this book is really made in our neighbourhood!

Hot off the press - the stunningly Take Heart - A Transatlantic Knitting Journey

Hot off the press – the stunningly Take Heart – A Transatlantic Knitting Journey

To create a proper celebration we are running a KAL (knit-a-long) to knit the Ketch Harbour Shawl from the book. You can pick up a kit with the yarn and the book on the website or in store with a whopping 15% discount (that is £66 for the yarn and the book compared to the regular price of £78. If you already have the book, don’t worry, you can join the KAL and get the yarn from us still with a discount. Just use the code KETCHKAL when making your purchase online or mention it to us if popping by the shop. Please note that the discount only applies for 3 skeins bought at the time as this is the amount needed to complete the Ketch Harbour Shawl. One lucky participant will win the value of their purchase back to spend on even more yarn!!!

Ketch Harbour - stunningly constructed - a new take on  the shawl

Ketch Harbour – stunningly constructed – a new take on a shawl

Read all about the Ketch Harbour Shawl KAL right here – Also check out this blog post for some yarn pairing ideas for all the patterns in the Take Heart collection.

We were able to grab Fiona over the holidays and ask her a few questions about her new book, and of course her knitting adventures!

How long have you been knitting?
I’ve been knitting since I was little. My mother, Wendy, taught me but it was just a hobby I picked up from time to time as I grew up. I’ve seriously been knitting for the last six years. After graduating university I had time again for my hobbies and began to work at LK Yarns, a little yarn shop in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Shortly after starting there my interest in knitting began to grow, along with my yarn stash.

What inspired you to get into writing patterns?
While working at LK Yarns I found I was continuously altering patterns as my knitting skills and conference grew. Eventually I stated knitting and selling my own accessories at various craft fairs and boutiques around Halifax. However, I was often approached by other knitters inquiring if I sold just the written pattern. It was because of their interest I decided to try my hand at it and that’s when I submitted my first design to Pom Pom Quarterly, Take Heart. 

Take Heart

This book is an exploration of costal areas, as well as your journey from Canada to England. Can you tell us a little more about the inspiration for the patterns, and especially Ketch Harbour?
Many of these patterns are ones I’ve always wanted to design and own myself. I played with simple textures and motifs that slowly grew into a reoccurring geometric theme.

Ketch Harbour originally began with a few classic textures I was inspired to combine such as  the lace and over all simple knit and purl texture. I also wanted to play around with the negative space of the piece and created interesting cutouts. Eventually the subtle whale tail motif grew out my sketches and I decided to keep it.

When naming the patterns afterwards I chose beaches and harbours. Ketch Harbour is a small finishing village in Nova Scotia often know for it’s stunning views of the ocean and whale sightings. 

Ketch Harbour

Ketch Harbour

How did you go about choosing yarns for the book?
From the beginning it was an intentional decision to only use yarns from Canadian and British companies. I still had a hard time narrowing down the selection so I picked a few I have always loved working with, such as Illimani, Handmaiden and Toft. Plus a few I was finally excited to try for the first time, like Viola and the Uncommon Thread.

Most of them are blends of fibres I personally love to work with so there’s lots of alpaca, llama and silk throughout the book. 

Do you have any plans for future designs?
Of course! I’m looking forward to head back into the yarn festival season. I’m excited to be able to promote the book at the Waltham Abbey Wool Show, Unravel and Edinburgh Yarn Festival this winter. Plus I’ve have a few ideas for some new accessories in my head for a while so I’m looking forward to getting back to my sketchbook to start getting these ideas down. 

Photo Credit: Fiona Alice

Photo Credit: Fiona Alice

Are you a process or product knitter?
I would have to say both. The process is a very important part to me. I often start with sketch and lots of swatching before I move on to the final piece. However, the time and effort I put into the evolution of the design is to achieve a desired final product I envisioned when starting. Often the piece can change through the swatching stage, but it is really satisfying when I can produce a wearable accessory from a initial sketch in my notebook. 

What are you currently knitting?
I’m actually going back through the book and knitting a few pieces from myself. I’ve almost completed my own Ketch Harbour shawl. I also have the Caswell Bay mitts and Martinique Beach on my needles too. After this is will on to new designs in the new year! 

Thanks Fiona!

Getting to Know: Woolly Wormhead

We are ridiculously excited to be welcoming knitting super hero Woolly Wormhead – hosting, not just one, but two brilliant workshops at Knit with attitude. Focusing on construction and techniques renown designer, independent publisher, traveller, textile artist and all around hat geek Woolly will guide us through knitting in the round and turning sideways. Both workshops will be on the Saturday, January 30th, so why not make a day out of it! We’ve created a blog reader’s special offer – when signing up for both workshops – enter code WOOLLY into your cart and receive £10 off! We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

And while we wait for the big day – we’ve asked Woolly to tell us a bit more about herself. Happy reading!

Tucked Hat

Tucked by Woolly Wormhead

How long have you been knitting?
My Mum taught me when I was 3 years old, so this year marks 42 years of knitting! (that makes me feel rather old…..)


What inspired you to get into teaching?
I used to be an Art, Design & Textiles teacher for 11 to 19 yo, and so teaching knitting feels like a natural progression. I find pattern writing and teaching overlap – the same knowledge can be applied to both.
Marina Hat

Marina by Woolly Wormhead

You have written many books focused on Hats. What it it about heads that provides so much inspiration for you?
I consider Hats to be wearable sculptures – well engineered 3D forms. Prior to teaching I trained in Textiles Arts, specialising in conceptual and sculptural textiles. Prior to that I was an electronics engineer, and in my mind, designing Hats brings all of these elements together.

Is there a particular shape or stitch pattern that you are drawn to at the moment?
Short rows have always been a favourite, as has sideways construction. I’m enjoying tucks at the moment, combining them with short rows. And garter stitch – it’s simplicity lends itself very well to all types of construction and approaches!
Alveare Hat

Alveare by Woolly Wormhead

What is your design process? Do you start with a shape or a texture, or does it start with the yarn?
A bit of both – sometimes the yarn speaks, sometimes I see a stitch pattern and sometimes I see a structure or form somewhere that I’d like to try and recreate in knitted form.

Are you a process or product knitter?
Process, totally! Similarly I’m a process designer, although I do consider the product, too. But the process doesn’t end with the Hat – it extends into the photography and the wearing and the wearing, and taking the Hats to trunk shows to be tried and exhibited and so on. It’s all part of the process, I guess.
Bimitral Hat

Bimitral by Woolly Wormhead

What are you currently knitting?
I’ve a jumper and a dress on the needles for myself *somewhere* but it’s been so long since I had the time to knit for myself that I’m not even sure where to pick them up again. I do have a few Hats on my needles, though.

 

 

Yarn Pairings for Amirisu Issue 9

Amirisu is now in the house! We have long admired this gorgeous knitting publication from Japan. It comes in a small size similar to Pom Pom Quarterly, with beautiful photographs and knitting patterns from designers around the world. Luckily for all of us the magazine is fully bilingual, written side by side in Japanese and English. There’s no worry of having to translate things. Phew!

issue9_cover

The first issue we have received is titled ‘Winter Blues’, featuring 3 garment and 4 accessory patterns. The patterns all feature a certain amount of colour work, from full on fair isle to more simple colour blocking. There is also a review of crafty things to do in the city of Kyoto.

The first sweater is Skaftafell, designed by Beatrice Perron Dahlen. It is a modern take on a traditional Icelandic yoked sweater. It features a geometric motif for the colourwork that moves into a funnel neck for a twist on the classic. We think that it would be gorgeous done in Erika Knight Maxi Wool, which comes in a great range of colours. You could choose two neutrals and pair it with a bright for a contrast, or go for two brights and a neutral for something more modern. 

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Next up is Ash Alberg’s Reflect, a generously sized shawl knit in a thicker yarn, sure to keep you warm in the cold days. It is especially suited for those who like shawls but not lace. It has a slipped stitch texture for the body with a simple border of repeating colourwork in contrast colours. We think that the semi-solid colours of Vivacious DK would shine particularly well with the main stitch pattern.

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Two-colour brioche seems to be everywhere these days, and Tenchi from Olga Buraya-Kefelian is another great addition to the pack. It is an oversized snood knit in two contrasting colours. It looks super cozy and warm to tuck into your coat and stay bundled up. We would pick two colours of Hexa for an even warmer and more luxurious accessory.

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Jokull by Keiko Kikuno is our personal favourite here at the shop. It is inspired by the shifting colours icebergs in the ocean. The pattern is done with an ingenius method of slipped stitches over garter stitch, alternating four rows of each yarn. We are in love with the idea of knitting this up in a few shades of Scrumptious 4plyissue9_4

The second sweater is Dipped, by Justyna Lorkowska. The pattern is knit top down, with contigious set-in sleeves. It is otherwise plain, with the addition of a bit of stranded knitting for the cuffs. The effect is such that it looks like they have been dipped in a pot of paint! This would be perfect for a yarn like Blacker Swan, with many colours to choose from. issue9_10

If colourwork isn’t really your thing, then Akari from Tatiana Sarasa Frieling will be perfect. These simple fingerless mittens have an all-over bobble stitch texture and contrast colour cuffs, but could also be done easily all in one. The pattern includes an adult women’s and child’s size. The softness and warmth of Almerino DK is well suited to this pattern. issue9_17

Last but not least we have First Fair Isle, designed by yuko. This is top down pullover, knit in the round for easy knitting. It would be the perfect pattern to perfect your fair isle technique in a larger piece. We think that the multiple colours of Fenellawould be perfect to create just the right palette to suit every taste. issue9_13

 

 

TAKE HEART – Ketch Harbour KAL

We are just about to cast on for this KAL starting tomorrow Monday January 4 and though it was about time we nailed down the details and offered some more inspiration.

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The Ketch Harbour pattern calls for the stunning Kettle Yarn Co Islington DK a lush BFL/silk blend, oh so soft, but still with a firm twist to give a stitch definition that will truly high light the design details of the Ketch Harbour Shawl. Pictured in Fiona Alice’s Take Heart Collection the shawl is made in the classic Icicle. I’m debating whether or not to go for the darker Old Smoke, or to splash out in a brighter colour like the Marigold or even the Verdigris.

islington_oldsmoke

islington_verdigris

To help you get started we are offering a 15% discount on the Islington DK yarn in a range of colours and the Take Heart book. Three skeins of yarn and the book would regularly retail for £78, but we have them here for you for £66. If you already have the book, don’t worry, you can join the KAL and get the yarn from us still with a discount. Just use the code KETCHKAL when making your purchase online or mention it to us if popping by the shop. Please note that the discount only applies for 3 skeins bought at the time as this is the amount needed to complete the Ketch Harbour Shawl.

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All though Cast On is January 4th (for the more eager and impatient of us) we have decided to run this KAL until February 28th – which gives almost two months of knitting pleasure! As usual we have set up a Ravelry KAL thread to talk about our projects and to show of the finished results – we are also accepting entries from non-ravellers, just send us a picture of your shawl to ‘knitalong at knitwithattiude dot com’. We will feature all finished shawls here on the blog – and one lucky winner will win back the the value of their purchase as a Knit with attitude voucher to spend on even more yarn!!!

Ready, steady, needles set – GET KNITTING!

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