Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Staircase Inspirations

To celebrate my staircase inspired Balustrade Sweater being in The Knitter Magazine Issue 102, I've been sharing some of my favourite staircase photos on Instagram. In case you did not get to see them, here are a selection. If you'd like to join me on Instagram, here is the link to my profile - please come and say hello!

My first staircase post is the amazing installation by Studio Glithero in the centre of a 17.5m deep stairwell at the V&A Museum in London. This installation was part of London Design Festival and was developed in collaboration with the watchmaker Panerai. Exploring the concept of time, this stunning installation is called The Green Room, after the V&A stairwell.

The Green Room by Studio Glithero at the V&A
Photo by Emma Vining

Here is the view inside the stunning Mackintosh Tower at the Lighthouse, Glasgow. The Lighthouse exhibition space always has a great selection of displays and events. Here's the link to my post about my last visit when I went to see the excellent Hello My Name is Paul Smith exhibition earlier this year.

The Mackintosh Tower, The Lighthouse, Glasgow
Photo by Emma Vining
My next stairwell is in Cornwall and is the central staircase at the Falmouth Hotel. I love the way that he beautiful circular set of curving light fixtures contrast with the angular layout of the stairs.

The Falmouth Hotel Staircase
Photo by Emma Vining

Staying in Falmouth for my next staircase inspiration and this one is inside the Lookout Tower at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. There are fantastic views from the top of the Tower, but I love these stairs too!

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall Lookout Tower Staircase
Photo by Emma Vining
This staircase view is from underneath the stunning central stairs in the Museum of Liverpool. We had a great tour of the nearby Edmund Gardener Pilot Ship led by extremely knowledgable and friendly volunteers from the Museum. Such a great place to visit!

The Liverpool Museum Staircase
Photo by Emma Vining
There are many stunning art nouveau decorative details in the buildings in Brussels, Belgium. I just happened to look up and saw an amazing view of this staircase!

Staircase in Brussels, Belgium
Photo by Emma Vining
My last staircase photo for the moment is from Tate Britain, London: another stunning curved staircase with beautiful lines and details that never fails to inspire me!

Staircase at Tate Britain, London
Photo by Emma Vining

    Wednesday, 21 September 2016

    Balustrade Sweater in The Knitter Issue 102

    My Balustrade sweater is on the front cover of The Knitter Magazine! I am very proud to have my design on the front cover with a gorgeous sweater by Lisa Richardson. You can see more of all the lovely designs in Issue 102 on the Yarn Loop website and Ravelry.

    The Knitter Issue 102
    with Balustrade by Emma Vining & Bassey by Lisa Richardson
    The stepped design on Balustrade is inspired by the way shadows can add to an extra dimension to a view. I am always fascinated by the way light shining through "things" can elongate and distort lines and stairways are particularly good for this effect. In my sweater design, the combination of lace and cables creates soft lines of steps that move across the garment and meet in the centre. Each step has a twisted stitch and eyelet shadow. A great staircase example for dramatic lighting and shadows is the stunning Nelson Stair at Somerset House, London. I really recommend a visit to Somerset house and there are free tours on Tuesday's and Thursday's that take in many of the highlights and explore the history of this wonderful building.

    Balustrade by Emma Vining
    Image from The Knitter Magazine
     I love the way the cable steps form a wavy edge on the front of the sweater.

    Balustrade by Emma Vining
    Image from The Knitter Magazine
    I am always on the lookout for interesting stairways and to celebrate Balustrade being published, I will post some of my favourites on Instagram!

    Many thanks to Janet T. for contacting me about some errors in the published pattern. The Knitter Magazine will add the errata to their website shortly and updates can be found on the Yarn Loop website.

    Monday, 19 September 2016

    More Details about The C&TA Norwich Shawls Exhibition

    The  Norwich Costume & Textile Association have produced a lovely poster for the Norwich Shawls Exhibition. There are more details about opening times and I hope that lots of visitors will be able to make it along to the Exhibition at the Hostry to see the stunning Shawls.

    C&TA Poster for the Norwich Shawls Exhibition

    In "Norwich Shawls: Past Glory Future Inspiration", the Norwich Costume & Textile Association (C&TA) will take a look back at the stunning shawls in the collection and then a look forward with interpretations and inspirations from the shawls. I am so pleased that my hand knitted wrap, "The Forum: A New Norwich Wrap" will be in this Exhibition at the Hostry, Norwich Cathedral, from 1st to 15th October 2016. Here is a close up of part of my Wrap. More details soon!

    Detail of The Forum: A New Norwich Wrap by Emma Vining

    Thursday, 15 September 2016

    The Knitting & Crochet Guild Journal, Issue 152

    The Knitting & Crochet Guild publishes an excellent journal, Skipknot, full of fascinating articles written by Guild members. The latest issue, number 152, has just been delivered and is a great read as usual!

    Front Cover of Slipknot Issue 152

    The content shows the diverse interests of Guild members, with articles on Hebridean Knitting, Worldwide Knit in Public Day and a Guild visit to the V&A Clothworkers Centre. There are several book reviews including a special focus on Irish Crochet. Alison Ellen's recent exhibition "Soft Engineering" is reviewed (you can visit the Exhibition in Sleaford, 12th November 2016 to 8th January 2017 - see Alison's website for details). Along with branch meeting reports and knitting event reviews, the journal reflects the busy knitting lives of the members!

    I am very proud to have three articles published in this issue. My first is a review of the Guild's excellent 2016 Convention (which you can also read on my blog). A visit to Graduate Fashion Week showed that hand knitting is being used in very creative ways by students and recent graduates and you can read more about this in my second article. My third article in this issue is all about my visit to discover more about luxury cashmere garments at Barrie Knitwear in Burlington Arcade, London during this year's London Craft Week. 

    If you aren't yet a member of the Guild, please do consider joining. Its a great way to keep up to date with all that is going on in the world of Knitting and Crochet. There is a wealth of information and knowledge amongst our members that is enthusiastically shared at Branch meetings and Open Days. Details of how to join are on the Guild's website. In the meantime, if you don't yet have access to Slipknot, here is my article about my visit to Barrie Knitwear.  

    Barrie Cashmere at London Craft Week 2016
    (Slipknot, Issue 152)

    London Craft Week is an annual event that showcases luxury craft skills. It provides opportunities for highly skilled craft workers to demonstrate their skills. Anyone can attend these events and demonstrations and although some of the events charge a small fee, most of them are free. Looking through the extensive programme for this year's London Craft Week, I noticed an interesting event hosted by Barrie Cashmere at their Burlington Arcade boutique. This was a chance to find out more about the production of luxury cashmere knitted garments. 

    Burlington Arcade, London

    The Barrie Mill in Hawick produces beautiful cashmere garments for several luxury brands. Founded in 1903, the Mill was famously rescued from bankruptcy by Chanel's Parafection subsidiary in 2012. The Parafection subsidiary is known as the French group's "artisan division", which seeks to promote and preserve artisan skills in fashion. Although the mill is now owned by Chanel, customers continue to include many other luxury brands such as Hermes, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. In the last few years, Barrie, a distinctive own label, has also been developed. The Burlington Arcade shop is Barrie's second stand alone retail unit. The first shop opened in Paris on the Rue Saint Honoure in June 2014.

    Knitwear for the Barrie label is designed by Creative Director Odile Massuger, part of Chanel's own knitwear team. Her beautiful garments combine technical excellence with stunning luxury cashmere fibres. 

    The LCW16 event at Barrie was hosted by Claire, who is the head of design. The Barrie mill in Hawick employs approximately 250 people and also runs its own training scheme to develop the specialised skills needed to work with fine cashmere fibres. To our delight, Claire had brought along two big bags of cloud-like soft cashmere fibre for us to feel.

    Claire described how each garment is meticulously planned before being knitted up in pieces. Once the main parts of the garment are knitted, they are joined and then washed and pressed. Claire had brought “before and after” samples with her and the difference was amazing to feel. With all the lanolin washed out and the garment pressed, the fibres had softened and the stitches had relaxed. We all had the chance to try on this gorgeous sweater to feel it’s softness first hand!

    I particularly wanted to look at some interesting textural open work knitting that I had spotted on the Barrie website. Claire took us for a close up view and explained how the design was formed by knitting each small section separately then joining up these sections and repeating. The resulting machine knit openwork fabric is lightweight and of course, has the beautiful drape of cashmere.

    This LCW16 event was a fascinating insight into an own label brand working along side, but distinct from, a large world renowned brand. It was also an interesting example of a big brand nurturing creativity with a view to the long term. Preserving the skills and knowledge at the Barrie mill is a key aim for Chanel. 

    For more information on next year's London Craft Week programme, that runs from Wednesday 3rd to Sunday 7th May 2017, visit