Sunday, 16 February 2014

Unwind with Susie Myers

Unwind with Susie Myers, whose Contiguous sleeve method has been something of a knitting phenomenon! Susie was determined to find a way to create top-down set-in sleeves continuously, on one round, or row, like a top-down raglan. After much experimenting, she was able to make a garment and posted her idea in a forum.

Susie was surprised that not only did her idea for top-down simultaneous set-in sleeves work, but that other people wanted to try it too. She describes herself as having “unvented” the Contiguous Method, shying away from the word invention. Susie humbly believes that’s how it is in the knitting world: people find similar solutions to similar problems. However, it still seems pretty impressive and we’re so happy that she’s coming to teach the method that can now be found in over 2500 garments!

Susie will be teaching two classes on her Contiguous method, one on Saturday 12th July and one on Sunday 13th July. I her asked  to answer a few questions and share some of her knitting experiences with us...

What was your first knitting project?

At school in Home Economics - having to knit a sampler with a variety of stitches. I hated it. My mum finished it for me. The school never commented on the difference in tension and technique, but it must have been obvious.

The next thing was an appalling acrylic super long scarf in moss stitch (seed stitch) in the mid-1970s. In stripes, inspired by Dr Who but not the colours or the spacing. I may even still have it. I tried knitting things for my baby in the mid-Eighties. I still have one bootie.

Then in 2007 there was a knitting pattern for a Baker's Cap style hat in the local weekly community newspaper. I read it and thought, "I could knit that!" so off I went to the city LYS and bought needles and (totally unsuitable) yarn.

I started knitting something different - a hat - no pattern. Unfinished.
Then I discovered Ravelry! Wow. What a difference.

What’s your favourite thing to knit?

I like knitting hats. They are quick and lend themselves to much variation and experimentation. I am the world's slowest knitter, so long projects don't keep my interest for the duration.

What was your most successful project?

Most successful would be Penelope's Tapestry, (the first Contiguous jumper) as it showed the concept would work.

Do you have a favourite knitting tip to share?

Try it on, frequently. Measure, frequently. Rip it back if it doesn't fit. It doesn't matter if you have actually bound off, blocked and soaked it. If it doesn't fit, redo it.
I don't understand people showing finished garments and then saying "but it doesn't fit"

Do you have any other crafty hobbies?

I've done sewing, beading, card-making, teddy-bear making, leadlight, and the most
persistent, photography. 

Is there anything you’d never, ever make (or technique you’ll never try)?

I said I'd never make socks. I've not only made a pair, but experimented with a different way of doing the gusset and heel. Never say never. I probably wouldn't knit a triangle shawl, as I wouldn't wear it.

Would you say you are a process or product knitter?   

An experimental one! I like to try different things. I love novel and interesting construction methods. I often buy a pattern just to see how it was done. I like to think I am in charge of my knitting and will push those stitches around so they do what I want.

I have many, many started projects, but few are finished. I think that once I get to that ah-ha moment, I lose interest. Or it could be that I get distracted by the next new thing that catches my eye - ooh, shiny!

What are you working on right now?

Y-heel socks!


If you had to pick just one kind of yarn to knit with or tool to work with for the rest of your life what would it be?

My interchangeable circular needles.

Who or what is your knitting inspiration or favourite designer?

Each and every one of them. I love seeing how different people approach the same design challenges. If I had to name one, it would be Barbara Walker.

What are you most looking forward to about Unwind or visiting Brighton?

Visiting Brighton is an easy one - it's by the sea!  I would like to explore the historical aspects of a seaside holiday town.

For Unwind, it will be meeting other knitters, which I don't get to do very often, and hopefully inspire them to look at their knitting a little differently, moving away  from "knit four pieces and then seam".

Is there a pattern technique you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had the chance opportunity / time?
I haven't done much fancy lace, but then, I probably wouldn't wear it. I really would like to explore swing knitting.

A big thank you to Susie Myers for taking the time to share some insight into her knitting world. You can keep up-to-date with Susie’s news over on her blog. Also lots of contiguous chat can be found in the dedicated ravelry group

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Still Collecting Hexipuffs for MSF and Great Ormond Street!

In October last year I embarked on a very special project: to get knitters together to make a double bed size Hand-dyed Beekeepers quilt. The entire quilt will measure approximately 7ft x 6ft and will be made up of about 750 hexipuffs!
When enough hexipuffs have been collected they'll be joined together and there will be a Live Prize Draw at Unwind Brighton.
In the meantime you can donate to the challenge and at the same time enter the draw for the quilt by donating to the dedicated Virgin Giving page

To date we have collected 270 hexipuffs! You can find out more in the dedicated ravelry group.

Here's a photo of the most recently donated puffs:

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Recommendations: Paskins Bed & Breakfast

As a long time resident, I'd like to encourage Unwind Brighton visitors to see a little of Brighton while you're here. Try some locally roasted coffee, handmade cake, delicious ice cream. See a bit of local art, find out a little of Brighton's history.

So I'll be offering local recommendations over the coming weeks, to help you find those nooks and crannies you might not find on your own. Tried and trusted, favourites of locals (and the people who frequently visit).

First up is Paskins. Recommended by a friend whose dad always stays here when he visits!

Brighton has 8 conservation areas that are recognised as outstanding. These include the Eastcliffe Regency area, which present a long stuccoed façade which has been described as "unsurpassed anywhere in Britain". At the heart of which you will find Charlotte Street. Running off Marine Parade, this tranquil street is aligned with fine four story buildings, circa 1810, with intricate cast iron balconies and gracious bow fronts. Half way along you will find the two grade two listed buildings, numbers 18 & 19, which make up Paskins Brighton.

Need a hearty breakfast? Paskins is for you!

If you stay 3 nights at Paskins (the 11th - 14th July), David at Paskins has kindly offered 10% off the price of your stay - just let them know you're coming to Unwind Brighton when you call to book!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Unwind with Kirsten Kapur

© Through The Loops

Meet Kirsten Kapur, the knitwear designer behind ‘Through The Loops’. Kirsten will be flying in to join us from New York, where she lives with her family. Kirsten has a background as both a fashion and textile designer which has fed her love of garment construction and surface design. She self-publishes her own patterns and collections and has also been published in International magazines including Knitty, VogueKnitting and Knitscene, as well as books such as Weekend Hats and The Joy of Sox. I’ve been a fan of Kirsten’s designs for years, and am so happy she’ll be Unwinding with us this Summer!

Kirsten will be teaching three classes: Shawl Design and COs, BOs, Knitting Edges and Trims on Saturday, 12th July, and Lace on Sunday, 13th July. Class spots are filling quickly, so be sure to book yours soon.

Kirsten kindly answered a few questions about her crafting life...

What was your first ever knitting project?
I have no recollection of learning to knit, so I can’t say what my first knitting project was. I spent a fair bit of time knitting when I was in college in the 80’s. I remember purchasing cotton prints and solids from the fabric store I worked in, and ripping it into strips to knit tank tops.

© Through The Loops
What’s your favourite thing to knit?
I go through phases. Sometimes its lace, sometimes colourwork, sometimes cables. I do love colour, so any project that uses colour in an interesting way is very appealing to me.

Do you have a favourite knitting tip to share with us?
My two favourite knitting tips are be fearless about trying new things, and don’t be afraid to rip it out if it’s not working.

Do you have any other crafty hobbies?
Along with knitting I love to spin, draw, paint, sew, and take photographs.

Would you say you are a process or product knitter?
I’m a little of both, but lean more heavily to product knitter. When I’ve got an idea I want to get it done. 

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on several things at the moment. The first is a sweater for my sweet 2 year old niece. I’ve also got a sweater for my daughter on my needles that I’m just putting the finishing touches on. Then there’s the giant garter stitch blanket that’s working nicely for a bit of stash busting and mindless.

© Through The Loops

Is there a technique you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had the chance yet?
I’d love to try double knitting, since I really enjoy working with color. I’ve just never had the time. Hopefully that will happen soon.

Thanks Kirsten, for taking the time to share some insight into your knitting world. We look forward to seeing you in July!

You can find all of Kirsten’s designs on her website including Grover's Mill cardigan (pictured right).

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Putting Knitters On the Map!

Brighton based artist Tristan Bristow is working on an illustration of the venues for Unwind Brighton.
This will be used to make a map for the programme and a banner for the website.
We’d like to fill the front of the illustration with knitters. If you’d like to be drawn into the piece, please post a photo of yourself in your favourite knit (and / or knitting, spinning, crocheting), in the ravelry group or on the facebook page, or email it to me at
Tristan needs the photos to be full body shots. We’ll use as many as we can in the picture.

This is going to be a very special project!