Saturday, 31 May 2014

Unwind KAL ~ On the Pier by Justyna Lorkowska

Still deciding what to knit for Unwind Brighton?

Here's another pattern for the knitalong collection! Come and join the KAL in the Unwind Brighton ravelry group! You don't have to be attending in July to join...

This lightweight shawlette has everything a perfect shawl should have: easy stitches creating a beautiful fabric, a little bit of lace that makes it very feminine and a wearable shape.

This beautiful, large shawl combines cables, lace and stockinette, and looks like a fun & relaxing knit, and it's a great opportunity for combining two lonely skeins of sock yarn!

photo (c) Justyna Lorkowska

photo (c) Justyna Lorkowska
photo (c) Justyna Lorkowska

 Justyna is offering On The Pier at a special introductory price of $3.00 for the duration of the KAL - Thank you Justyna!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Unwind Brighton Design Competition: Voting begins!

Voting has begun Unwind Brighton Design competition!

There were dozens of brilliant entries and it was really hard to narrow it down to 8 designs!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Unwind with Rachel Coopey

Meet Rachel Coopey - Rachel will be both teaching and vending at Unwind! We are really pleased that she'll be joining us, and we asked her a few questions about what she's upto!

Please introduce yourself and your business in 2-3 sentences:

I am a knitwear designer with a focus on small and intricate pieces that are both beautiful and functional.

(c) Rachel Coopey

What can we look forward to seeing at your stand during Unwind?

My self published books, Coop Knits Socks and Coop Knits Toasty and some lovely individual patterns and kits.

Would you describe your design process for us?

Most of the time I start with a sketch and then start playing with yarn, sometimes I’ll start with the yarn and then move to the paper but I usually have at least half an idea of how things are going work before I pick up the needles, that doesn't mean it doesn't change though!

What is you ‘go to’ sock yarn?

I love semi-solid yarns, The Knitting Goddess merino nylon sock is one I have used over and over again and I still love it. I really like self striping and self patterning sock yarns, Opal really know how to make a yarn that will end up in my stash!

How big is your sock collection at this point…..?

I have a lot of samples! They are kept pristine for shows and trunk shows and not worn. My personal sock collection is a bit woeful, I’m trying to increase it but there is always a deadline or a new idea to work on. 

You are on a quest for warm feet and more recently, warm heads and hands, what’s next?

More socks! I’m getting stuck in to my second self-published sock book so I’m sketching and swatching and starting to put a colour palette together for that. I’m also working with Toft Ulysses which is such a lovely yarn!

What do you enjoy knitting in the Summer?

Socks! They are light and portable, you can take them on holiday and there is nothing heavy on your lap which can be uncomfortable if it is hot. Even if you can’t wear socks in the summer, it’s never too early to start your Christmas sock knitting!

Where do you find inspiration for new design ideas?

I love to visit museums and art galleries, the V&A is amazing, I have always loved Tate Modern and The Natural History museum is a treasure trove of artefacts and architecture 

Do you have any design heroes?

Loads! Kate Davies and Sarah Hatton design such elegant garments. Ysolda is totally brilliant, hopefully I’ll have finished my bright yellow Blank canvas by July!

How did your crafting journey begin?

My grandma was always knitting and she taught me when I was small, I knitted a lot garter squares from her scraps. When I wanted to knit as a teenager my mum helped me remember how to do it and taught me how to read a pattern.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on designs for my sock club and a shawl in Fyberspates Cumulus - which is like knitting with a cloud, so beautiful and very ‘just one one more row’ addictive to knit. 

What are you looking forward to the most about Unwind?

Everything! The classes on offer are fantastic, I wish I could take some! I’m looking forward to meeting great people, buying beautiful yarn and eating fish and chips by the sea!

Thanks for talking to us Rachel! Go and check out Rachel's pattern page on Ravelry, visit her blog and of course pop by her stand and say hi at Unwind!

There are still a few spots left on each of Rachels classes at Unwind Brighton: Advanced Sock Knitting on Friday 11th July and Sock Design on Sunday 13th July 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Unwind KAL - Avarin by Bristol Ivy

Can't wait for Unwind Brighton? Nor can we!

The next pattern in the knitalong collection is Avarin by Bristol Ivy. Come and join the KAL in the Unwind Brighton ravelry group! You don't have to be attending to join the fun...

This beautiful, large shawl combines cables, lace and stockinette, and looks like a fun & relaxing knit:

(c) Bristol Ivy

(c) Bristol Ivy

(c) Bristol Ivy

(c) Bristol Ivy

There are still a few spots on Bristol's brilliant Blocking class on Saturday 12th July, as well as some of our other fab classes :)

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Unwind KAL - Juniper by Veera Valimaki

Keep an eye out for official Unwind Knitalong patterns coming soon!

The first pattern in the collection is Juniper by Veera Valimaki. This simple top down pullover with a modern twist is fun and surprisingly fast to knit. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn so it's the perfect knit for Summer in England!

Go and join the Unwind Brighton ravelry group to take part in the KAL. You don't have to be attending Unwind to take part! 

Veera will be teaching at Unwind Brighton this Summer, and there are still a few spots left on her classes on Short row shawls

(c) Veera Valimaki

(c) Veera Valimaki

(c) Veera Valimaki
(c) Veera Valimaki

The only question really is, what yarn to choose?

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Unwind with Bessie May

We'd like to introduce you to some of the marketplace vendors who'll be joining us in July - Welcome to Helen from Bessie May, a locally based yarn company.

Hi Helen, please introduce yourself and your business in 2-3 sentences:

The Bessie May ethos is Live ~ Breathe ~ Knit. Supplying our own beautiful yarns and patterns, spun in the mountains of Italy, designed in the Bessie May Studio in the South Downs.

What treats can we look forward to seeing at your stand during Unwind?

Bessie May is all about fibre quality, fibre blends and colour ~ together with fun and perfect unique designs, all which will be on display on our stand.We love to talk knit, and are looking forward to meeting all those passionate about knitting, crochet, learners and beyond.

You describe yourself as ‘designing yarn’. What does that process look like?

All Bessie May yarns, are designed by us, as we only want to offer our own yarns, to our own specifications, that meet our standards, and we use to produce our own knitting and crochet patterns.All fibres are of the best quality, and the colours to our own Bessie May Colour Palette.

We work with hand selected mills in the mountains of Italy, to create our yarn blends, weights and colours, and only the ones that we love then go on to be produced. 

We determine the yarn fibre, the yarn count/ply/weight and the colour shades, and work with our mill partners in Italy to produce samples, which we then test, and get feedback on. We usually then ensure all the colours for each yarn are exactly what we have designed, before the mill produces our yarns, which they do from raw product, through to final balling for us ~ therefore we can be sure of their Italian quality.

What is your favourite fibre to work with?

All Bessie May yarns are created to offer either pure merino, which is a passion, in 4ply, DK, Aran and Chunky weights, just because of the quality of the yarn, the softness, and the deep colour that is achieved only when using pure high quality fibres. 

Other blends that are a real hit, are Bessie May Nettle, pictured below ~ nettle and organic wool fibre blend, as you get the most amazing stitch definition, and feel closer to our ancestors.

(c) Bessie May

Also, Bessie May Grace ~ Super Kid Mohair and Silk, so soft, and each ball is like a cloud burst of iridescent colour, which adds a special twist to any project.

What is your go to yarn weight when knitting? Why?

All yarn weights are loved at the Bessie May Studio, as blending weights, or whether doing lace design or textured and chunky, the right weight is so important, as it is the finished material that is the exciting bit. For example adding DK with Super Kid Mohair and Silk to frame a Super Kid Mohair and Silk garment, adds weight and shape, and improves the finished garment’s style and quality.

The mill that helps create your yarns is based in Italy, how good is your Italian?

We work currently with two small mills in Italy, and love working with them, because of their exceptional skill, with family trees full of fibre expertise. They are also very supportive of helping us reach our dreams, which is so valuable. Italian is important, and understanding culture and differences in business practices, which are all to be enjoyed along the way, including of course many wonderful coffee breaks.

Where do you find inspiration for new design ideas?

All designs usually commence with a theme ~ eg a current design is all about 80’s retro and the big boldness of peony flowers. From this the design springs to life, is knitted, re~knitted, then the final pattern written, edited, and then test knitted.Themes evolve along this process ~ and often one design can become the beginning of several more.

Do you usually design with one of your yarns in mind or do the yarns grow 
from a need to create a certain fabric when designing? Which comes first- the yarn or the design?

Great question. A design often comes first, but is then so influenced by yarns/colours and weights so can go in many directions, at the point the yarns and colours are pulled together for a design. All designs are done in our own yarns, and we never run out of options, as there are always loads more in the pipe line, but never enough hours in the day!

Who are your design heroes?

There is no one design hero, but colour and nature has a large influence, as well as eras. When you combine all of these, then there is no end of inspiration. Vintage patterns, craft books and pictures are a big part of the shelves in the Bessie May Studio, as building craft skill, and tailoring experience is a life long learning journey.

How did you start your crafting journey?

Wool has always been the magnet ~ from as early as 5 years, and of course making and learning, everywhere and having something on the go all of the time. Nothing has every changed from that.

What are you working on right now?

Autumn/Winter designs ~ as mentioned 80 retro Peony Flower Chunky knits/crochet designs.

What are you looking forward to the most about Unwind?

Meeting those who visit our stand ~ we love to talk about Bessie May and getting input and feedback from those who come meet with us. Being a local business that makes it even more exciting, as Brighton is a perfect location for such a special event.

Thanks so much to Helen, for telling us a little more about Bessie May! We look forward to seeing you in July!