Archives For January 2013

Vogue Knitting LIVE in New York

Helen —  January 23, 2013 — 3 Comments

I’m just back from VKL and am brimming with ideas and inspiration. There were so many highlights!

My classes were fantastic. John Brinegar’s Seams Like Surgery reminded me that I am one of those weird knitters that loves a bit of seaming. Although I had taught myself mattress stitch from books it was great to be shown the correct way to do it in meticulous detail. And to be reminded, “You are in charge of your knitting!”. Love it!

In part 1 of Josh Bennett’s 3 part Design Workshop we talked about current fashions and style forecasting, design inspiration and Josh’s design tips for gauge, structure, and fit then we sketched and presented ideas for our own designs. In the next class we learnt how to do the basic calculations for a set in sleeve jumper. This was a revelation to me – there are rules! It’s just maths! (sort of).


Josh Bennett. Note: his fab sweater design for Rowan

In the final session we took one of our design ideas to develop into a pattern. This was where the rubber hits the road and the number of design decisions to be made suddenly come into focus. It was really fascinating to go through the whole process from start to finish and gave me some confidence that I would be able to do it on my own.

Again there was a theme of focussing on absolute attention to detail to make your knitting or design really great. Josh’s comment, “Why bother designing something you can buy at the GAP?” has stuck in my mind. I am now thinking beyond comfort and easy knitting to being more adventurous. I love the idea of making a lasting piece of art rather than just a garment to throw on to keep me warm (although that is a nice result too).

 On Sunday morning I joined British garment and yarn designer Louisa Harding for “Tell a Story with your Photography”. This was a lovely icing on the cake to the three days of classes. The recurring theme of attention to detail surfaced again. Her photos are gorgeous and learning about the tiny details that go into every image makes me appreciate the end result even more.

 I also spent some time at the Wooly Monmouth stall meeting lots of lovely knitters. One woman told me she had knit three Radiance shawls and even wanted to take my picture. I felt quite a celebrity. I also met Kirsten Kapur which was a bonus as I have long admired her designs, photography and stories on her blog.

And last but not least I caught up with my dear friend Pauline and we enjoyed a delicious dinner (ok two dinners for me) at Kodama Sushi around the corner from the hotel. I’ve been there a few times now and always seem to be seated next to aspiring actors discussing their latest Broadway auditions or shows. Its very fun and the food is incredible.


Three days went by way too quickly but I missed my family and was very happy (and lucky) to be on one of the few flights to Heathrow that didn’t get cancelled due to snow on Sunday evening.

If you have popped over here from the Knitting Pipeline  podcast and blog, welcome! (I had a lovely mention from Paula in episode 117. If you haven’t listened to her podcast before go and download it immediately ’cause you’re missing out!)

Twinkle Twinkle Blanket

Helen —  January 15, 2013 — 2 Comments

Introducing the Twinkle Twinkle Blanket pattern. This design has been brewing for awhile and I have to admit it has become a bit of a favourite of mine.

To celebrate both the new pattern and the new site I am offering a special, crazy launch price of 99c until the end of January. After that date it will revert to the usual $6.00 price.

Twinkle Twinkle is a charmingly simple baby blanket or shawl. It is constructed of four triangles knit “in the round” from the centre out to form a square blanket with a starry centre and an understated lace border. It was designed to be plain enough to be unisex but special enough to celebrate any new arrival. It can be knit in either fingering or DK weight yarn depending on the desired effect.

 Here it is in the original sock weight, Malabrigo sock in the Azules colourway.



And in DK weight, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino DK in the romantically named colourway #18024.


To buy the pattern and take advantage of the super discount click this button before 31 January.

New York bound

Helen —  January 12, 2013 — 2 Comments

This week I am heading over to the Big Apple for  Vogue Knitting LIVE. There will be classes, a marketplace, parties and a LOT of knitters! Yay!

I’m honoured to have been invited by the lovely Dori to join her at the Wooly Monmouth Marketplace stall on Saturday (from 12pm – 1pm) for a meet and greet. She has a beautiful sample of Radiance in Koigu she will be showing off and I will be  bringing some samples of my designs for people to have a look at.

If that wasn’t exciting enough I have signed up for a bunch of classes with some knitting stars including Stephanie Japel, John Brinegar, Lily Chin, Louisa Harding and a three part sweater design class with Josh Bennett!! I might have gone a little over the top with the classes. I’m sure there will be enough time for socialising and shopping though.

So if you are heading to the show please stop by and say hello – I will be the shy one hiding behind some yarn!

Welcome 2013

Helen —  January 8, 2013 — Leave a comment

This year has a special sparkly feel to me. Shimmery and sparkly. I almost had butterflies on New Year’s Eve, this sense was so strong.

As always I spent time thinking about the coming year, possibilities, my hopes and dare I say it, goals. I used to make lots of resolutions, usually the same ones popping up year after year. I was eternally optimistic. After countless years of this intense plotting and planning it finally dawned on me that I never achieved any of them.

Last year I changed approach and set a single goal to run the New York Marathon and raise £10000 for a cancer charity. The simplicity was very powerful. I made it to the start of the marathon, all trained and geared up. Unfortunately, due to “Superstorm Sandy” the event wasn’t meant to be. But I counted it a success as I was fitter than I had been in years and I managed to raise over £6000 for Lymphoma and Leukaemia Research.

I thought about a single goal again this year but I haven’t been able to settle on anything inspiring. But I can’t let go of the pondering and musing about the year ahead completely. So for 2013, a theme:


I long for more energy. Not to need a cup of tea followed in quick succession by two coffees just to get started in the morning.

I had hoped that the increase in exercise associated with marathon training would provide this but alas it wasn’t the case. Maybe even the opposite was true. My wee one has not been as obliging getting into a good sleep routine as our first daughter. We lead busy lives and live in a hectic city. So a strategy to address the problem is required.

Firstly I will be sending myself to bed early on a regular basis. Not think about all the jobs I have to do or get distracted by rubbish TV – just get more sleep. Enough sleep. I will take a long hard look at my diet. Less sugar, less processed food. More fruit and vegetables. Gentle regular exercise and a few minutes of daily meditation.

Uh oh. This is starting to sound dangerously close to resolutions of years past. Maybe I will just be kinder to myself and leave it at that. And hopefully share with you the abundance of creativity that will come from all the extra energy.

Freezing in the name of art

Helen —  January 4, 2013 — Leave a comment

Just before Christmas I did a photo shoot of some of my new designs. We had a lot of fun shooting in the local curiosity shop. Maybe this influenced my choice of new business name!

I was a lovely clear day but the coldest we have had all winter. Brrrrr.

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Thank you so much to my lovely photographer Kirsty Barton and friend and stylist Vicki Hillman for helping to make some really original images. I’m now very excited to get these patterns written up for you!