The handbag of a professional knitter
I have been calling myself unemployed for quite a long while, but actually, I am not. I do have an income and it is from knitting. Ok, it is a small one, which does not cover all my living expenses (thank god for savings!), but it is my primary source of income and I LOVE it. I work at Loop, the best knitting supplies shop in the UK and probably right up there with the best around the world. I only work a few days a week – officially, it is only Friday and Sunday, but I often cover for others and it is not unusual for me to work 4 or 5 days a week in the shop. I really love it there. The other staff are just lovely. They are all exceptionally talented knitters and inspiring to be around. I am trying to find a way to stay there, instead of getting a “proper” job, but cannot make the money work – my savings will run out eventually! If you have any ideas, do let me know. I almost became a Barrister, and was actually Called to the Bar – I’ve gone from Bar to baaa so to speak! Ahem, sorry, that was terrible….
Time flies by when you’re designing patterns. The Birthday Shawl in Skein, colourway Wintertide
I have been inspired by Meghan and Lydia, fellow assistants at Loop, and creators of the fabulous new knitters’ quarterly, PomPom. I can remember them choosing the typeface for the magazine. Working with them and seeing what they are working on for the magazine is so inspiring. They both work extremely hard and produce fabulous designs, so I fill in at work for them when knitting, pattern designing, photography and/or editing for the magazine are a little too much to juggle with the day job. I feel privileged to know them at this very early stage of their venture and to see all the designs in progress – way before they go to print. I am sure that they will make a success of it.
A few months ago, I test knitted some socks for Lydia, that were to be a free pattern on the PomPom blog. The Picot Socks are a lovely, very simple pair of toe up socks, made with the Magic Loop technique and Judy’s Magic Cast on – it is magic too!! I loved knitting the socks, and whilst test knitting is unpaid, I was given the gorgeous Lioness Arts yarn and got to keep the socks – which I’m wearing as I type! The pattern has now been published on the blog and you can download it for free here.
My Picot Socks in Lioness Arts, King of the Jungle Sock, in colourway Pasha
I have also been very much inspired and encouraged by Jemima Bicknell who has launched her first knitting pattern, some lovely arm warmers called Fleur. She has a free download on Ravelry. Jemima is also in the process of producing a pattern for an extremely beautiful lace and beaded shawl called Zelda, after Zelda Fitzgerald the Flapper. The shawl is stunning and I was lucky enough to be a test knitter of the pattern and I loved knitting it. Jemima is an extremely talented knitter. The pattern will be available on Ravelry soon and I fully recommend that you give it a go. The lace and bead pattern is actually quite simple but so very very effective, so well worth the time it takes to do the beading! Sadly I haven’t blocked it properly yet, so it’s a bit curly, but here are some pictures anyway:
The Zelda Shawl, by Jemima Bicknell. Available soon on Ravelry
With all this wonderful talent surrounding me at Loop, it’s no wonder that I got the inspiration to design a pattern myself. My dear friend, Annette, had a very important birthday earlier this year. I knew well in advance and decided I would knit her something. Me, being me, and just a tad lackadaisical, I promptly forgot and remembered with only 10 days left to go. I hurriedly chose some yarn that I knew she’d like and decided that I’d just knit a triangular shawl with a garter center and then add a lace edging. And that is exactly what I did. I knitted till it looked a reasonable size and then added a knitted on edging using inspiration from an edging I had used years ago on a baby blanket. I had to adapt the stitch pattern to fit what I wanted and to make it a knitted on edging – I hate sewing on an edging, but it was easy enough to do. So, there it was; The Birthday Shawl. As you can imagine, the first version isn’t quite the same as the finished pattern. I had to make it a tad smaller, because I ran out of yarn with only a few short rows of edging to go. No one wants to buy a pattern that asks for 1 and a tiny bit skeins of yarn!! I also felt that I’d put too many eyelets in the main body of the shawl and left them out of the 2nd version, but finally put some of them back into the finished version.
The Birthday Shawl, by Kate’s Twirl in Madeleine Tosh Sock, Candlewick
Pattern available to purchase on Ravelry (click the link below)
The pattern is hot off the press and was added for sale on Ravelry earlier this evening. I’ve tweeted about it and have been a little overwhelmed by the marvelous response from lots of followers and some tweeters who have seen it from re-tweets by friends! It’s really heartening when people like your pattern. Obviously, I love it – but I would wouldn’t I! I do hope that you like it too. Please let me know.