Thursday, 29 November 2018

Cover Design for The Knitter Magazine!

When Issue 131 of the Knitter Magazine arrived in the post, I was really excited to find my Shaftesbury cardigan design was featured on the cover! Knitted in Walcot Yarns gorgeous Opus yarn, Shaftesbury is an elegant ribbed cardigan with openwork details on the upper body. The stunning shade is called Goldenrod. 
Shaftesbury by Emma Vining on the cover
of The Knitter Magazine 131
The openwork pattern is knitted using the one row buttonhole technique. As well as being my preferred way of making buttonholes, I really like using this method to make slots in knit designs. In Shaftesbury, the slots are linked by a rib pattern and placed to form a larger lattice. I love the way a little glimpse of whatever you wear underneath will show through the slots. In the shoot for the Knitter Magazine, my cardigan has been paired with beautiful Gudrun Sjoden garments. As well as more images of Shaftesbury, you can see several of the other beautiful designs from issue 131 on Ravelry.

Shaftesbury by Emma Vining in The Knitter Magazine 131
Shaftesbury by Emma Vining in The Knitter Magazine 131

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Taro Sweater in The Knitter Magazine Issue 129

My new sweater design, Taro, is in this month's issue of the Knitter Magazine! Taro is part of a beautiful collection of garments called "Light and Shade". Knitted in John Arbon Knit by Numbers DK yarn, Taro has a black and white stranded pattern border and a textured upper body pattern. The drop sleeves have the stranded border at the cuffs and the textured pattern on the upper sleeve. The textured pattern is a continuation of the diamonds and diagonal lines featured in the two colour stranded pattern. You can read more about this lovely issue of the Knitter Magazine over on the Yarn Loop website.

Taro by Emma Vining
for The Knitter Magazine

Taro by Emma Vining
for The Knitter Magazine

Taro by Emma Vining
for The Knitter Magazine
I took the last photo when Taro was still in several pieces on my blocking board. The right side and wrong side of the stranded pattern look great together and I love the way the textured pattern picks up the diamonds and diagonals. This was one of the images I shared on Instagram during September for #septtextilelove, a fun challenge organised by Seam Collective. There are some really beautiful posts by some very talented people, so if you get a chance please do take a look!

Saturday, 11 August 2018

An Interview on the How to Become a Professional Knitter blog!

Designer Robin Hunter has just posted her interview with me on her excellent blog, "How to become a professional knitter"! Once a week, Robin posts interesting interviews with knit designers and I am delighted to have been included in her amazing list of interviewees. Thank you Robin!

I really enjoyed talking about designing knitting and about the Gladys Jeskins knitted sampler from the Knitting and Crochet Guild. You can read the full interview here and browse Robin's excellent blog here

Stitch detail from Sampler Scarf
by Emma Vining

Monday, 16 July 2018

The Knitting & Crochet Guild Convention 2018

2018 is a very special year for the Knitting & Crochet Guild (KCG). Founded in 1978, with the aim of preserving our shared knitting and crochet heritage, the Guild is now celebrating its 40th birthday! Yes, there was a celebration cake and as always, there was a varied and fascinating programme on offer. This year's Convention (July 6th to 8th 2018) began with an introductory welcome meeting before we all enjoyed a delicious dinner provided by the excellent Radcliffe Conference Centre at the University of Warwick.

The KCG 40th Anniversary Pin!

Our keynote speaker after dinner was Sasha Kagan, who is a patron of the Guild. Sasha told us about her life in knitting and crochet, beginning with learning to knit with her mother. After moving to Wales, Sasha’s business began to grow and her distinctive designs became instantly recognisable. We all enjoyed seeing many of Sasha’s designs close up, especially her stunning crochet shawl for the Rowan Yarns 40th Anniversary, also being celebrated this year. When asked why she became a patron of the Guild, Sasha replied that she is passionate about knitting and crochet because “anything made by hand has a touch of the person’s spirit in it” a sentiment we all wholeheartedly agreed with!

Crochet Wrap by Sasha Kagan
celebrating Rowan's 40th Anniversary

A full day on Saturday began with a talk by an honorary member of the Guild, crochet expert Pauline Turner. As the first editor of the journal Slipknot, Pauline had many fascinating insights into the Guild’s early history. Pauline’s career in crochet has resulted in her travelling all over the world. She is the author of several renowned books on crochet and design and the founder the first international distance learning diploma course for crochet. When asked about some of the more unusual challenges she has undertaken, Pauline told us about crocheting onto ice-cream! Her many achievements are the result of meticulous planning and as Pauline remarked, “if you are going to succeed, you have to prepare”.

During the afternoon session, Tricia Basham and I shared some of the discoveries from our work on the Gladys Jeskins sampler. Gladys was an amazing knitter who created a continuous piece of knitting containing 899 stitch patterns. The sampler is over 50m long and was still a work in progress on the needles when it was donated to the Guild some years ago. With the help of all the conference delegates, we unrolled almost the whole length of knitting! We had also brought along the accessories inspired by the sampler that now feature in the Guild’s Ruby Celebration ebook for members. Each of the accessory designs by Tricia, Juliet Bernard and myself were inspired by single stitch patterns in the sampler. My Ruby half pi shawl (knitted in Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply) and Tulip Scarf (knitted in Willow Knits Silk yarn) took pattern number 40 as the starting point. 

Accessory designs celebrating the KCG Ruby Anniversary
Beautiful Willow Knits cranberry silk yarn used for my Tulip Scarf design

Once we had rolled the sampler up again (no small task!), it was time for the afternoon workshops. There were a wide variety of workshops available and I had chosen I cord and it’s uses with Clare Griffel. Claire’s workshop covered icord cast off and applied icord and there was also the option to create an icord necklace. Claire had brought along some lovely examples. I managed to complete all sides of my swatch in icord edging and look forward to using this excellent technique again soon. Thank you Claire!

Dinner was followed by one of the highlights of the convention, Show and Tell. Led by excellent compere Rachel Lemon, we saw many garments created by members that were either inspired by, or made in, the 1970s. The skill level on show was amazing and this was a great moment for us to have our celebration cake!

Sunday began with a talk by Alison White from Arena Travel, showcasing a variety of exciting knitting and crochet holidays. Marion Dye also updated us all on plans for a knitting cruise to Norway in May 2019. There will be workshops co-ordinated by Marion and she had just received the exciting news that she will be giving an on-board presentation all about the Guild!

During the morning workshop session, Tricia and I ran a joint workshop on sampling the sampler. Our participants were able to take a close look at Gladys’s work and many have been inspired to create their own designs. Tricia had created a beautiful series of boards displaying the samples that had been reknitted by guild members. These samples show 60 of Gladys’s patterns over a larger knitted swatch. We had a wonderful discussion about the sampler and about Gladys and her early career as a comptometer operator. It was fascinating to hear about the skill and speed required to operate these early calculating machines. 

After lunch, it was time for some forward planning and to say thank you to everyone involved in running this successful event, in particular, the Board Members and the local Birmingham Branch members who coordinated and organised the whole Convention weekend. Individual members volunteered to run knitting and crochet workshops and everyone contributed excellent ideas, suggestions and discussions throughout the Convention. The Guild's theme for 2018 is "Pass on the Passion" and, judging by the enthusiasm on show at the Convention, we are all looking forward to doing just that! 

Friday, 22 June 2018

The Isle of Berneray and The Birlinn Yarn Company

Last year, the Birlinn Yarn Company (BYC) held a design competition and I was absolutely delighted to be the winner!!! The prize was in two parts. Firstly, two of my accessory designs, showcasing the gorgeous BYC yarns, were made into knitting kits. Meg Rodger, owner of the BYC, and I worked on these designs together last year. The Machair Wildflowers Shawl and the Storm Cast Cowl were released in the run up to Christmas 2017 and are currently on sale through the BYC website.

Meg and Emma
The second part of the prize was a week long stay in Meg's beautiful self-catering cottage on the Isle of Berneray. The date of our trip was set way back last year. I can't believe that it is now almost two weeks since we returned home from our wonderful trip to the Outer Hebrides.

Lamraig Cottage on the Isle of Berneray
Lamraig cottage is a traditional thatched Hebridean building with incredibly thick walls, set right by the shore. Views from the windows gave us a lovely perspective across the bay to the harbour and into a small lagoon. Being so close to the water meant that we had the company of several greylag geese families all week!

Greylag Geese outside the cottage windows

A short walk from the cottage took us to stunning local beaches and to the rare habitat of the Hebridean machair. Seeing the sheer abundance of wildflowers in bloom was wonderful. As we walked along the paths, we were surrounded by birds nesting in the machair. Tiny orchids were also beginning to show their stunning colours.

An orchid beginning to bloom in the Machair
We spent most of our trip exploring the many beaches that Meg recommended. Our only company on one beautiful beach walk was a sea otter which appeared suddenly from the water, paused to check the beach, then disappeared into the dunes!

West Beach, Isle of Berneray

Did I mention the yarn? Well, on this trip I saw first hand the beautiful Hebridean colours that inspire Meg every day. The colour of the sea pink flowers seemed to be on every shoreline we explored. The gorgeous shade of corn marigold appeared everywhere too. Of course, some of this yarn has come home with me. I'll be thinking about new designs over the summer and cant wait to work with Meg later in the year.

Sea pink flowers near Udal, North Uist

So, thank you Meg, for a wonderful week, for your great hospitality and especially for your friendship. Walking the croft with you and sitting with you at your kitchen table talking yarn and design, were the highlights of the trip!

Meg's Hebridean sheep on her croft

By co-incidence, our final day and return journey to Glasgow was on Work Wide Knit on Public Day. What better place to knit in public than on the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Lochmaddy to Uig and with this gorgeous BYC Corn Marigold 4ply!

BYC Corn Marigold on the needles on the Calmac ferry!

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

John Arbon Textiles Mill Open Weekend

I have recently been knitting projects with multiple shades of John Arbon Textiles Knit by Numbers (KBN). As well as my Sukie cardigan design from the Knitter Magazine 123, which uses two beautiful shades of pink KBN 4ply, I have also been working on swatches, scarves and shawls in all sorts of combinations of KBN pinks.

Imagine my delight when I realised that we would be in North Devon during the John Arbon Textiles Mill Open Weekend (May 19th & 20th 2018)!! Not only would this be a chance to stock up on more gorgeous gradient shades, but we also managed to book on one of John's mill tours.

John Arbon Knit by NumbersYarn

John Arbon Knit by NumbersYarn
The mill is situated within a small industrial estate in South Molton and John and Juliet had set up a huge marquee outside. It was a beautiful sunny day when we visited and the marquee full of happy visitors sampling yarn, tea and cakes! The mill tour was fascinating. John and Phil talked passionately about the different processes, demonstrating each piece of machinery to show how the yarns are produced. We really enjoyed the tour and the chance to browse all the beautiful yarns. You can read more about the whole weekend on John and Juliet's blog.

Thank you John, Juliet and your whole team for such a lovely visit!

Yarn in production at John Arbon Textiles
Visitors enjoying the mill tour

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

"My Inspiration" - My Interview with the Knitter Magazine!

Last month, I was interviewed by the Knitter Magazine as part of their "My Inspiration" series of articles. If you would like to read more about where I find my inspiration for designs, the magazine has just published the full interview over on The Yarn Loop Website!

My Inspiration Interview
photo by the Birlinn Yarn Company featuring the Storm Cast Cowl

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Thank you very much for sharing my adventures in knitting!

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Knitter Magazine Issue 123

This issue of the Knitter Magazine is a very special one for me! My pink cardigan design, using John Arbon Knit by Numbers (KBN) 4ply, is in this issue and so is my "Inspirations" interview!

Sukie Cardigan for The Knitter Issue 123
Images from The Knitter Magazine

Sukie Cardigan for The Knitter Issue 123
Image from The Knitter Magazine
My Sukie cardigan is knitted with two shades of KBN 4ply pink. The stitch pattern is a combination of garter stitch, rib and eyelets. The lower half of the cardigan is worked with the darker shade of pink as the main colour and the sleeves and the upper half are in the lighter pink.

Sukie Cardigan for The Knitter Issue 123
Image from The Knitter Magazine
The cardigan is fastened using buttons and the buttonholes are made while knitting the right front. The lower cast on borders have a scalloped edge that is made by working extra rows of the stitch pattern. The John Arbon KBN 4ply yarn is very light and soft and a pleasure to knit with. There are so many shades to choose from in this range. Sukie would look great in any combination of colours!

My interview from The Knitter Magazine!
Images from The Birlinn Yarn Company and the Knitter Magazine

I was absolutely delighted to be asked to take part in the Knitter's series of interviews exploring designer's inspirations. The interview gives a flavour of some of the inspirational themes that I have been looking at over the last few months. One of my favourite recent collaborations has been with the Birlinn Yarn Company (BYC). I loved working with the beautiful 4ply range of Hebridean wool and I have designed a shawl and a long cowl, both of which are available through the BYC website. Another exciting project that I have been a part of involves a fascinating stitch sampler from the Knitting and Crochet Guild Collection. I'll be writing more about this project over the next few months. Look out for an e-book of patterns inspired by the sampler being released very soon!

Friday, 6 April 2018

Shimmer Cardigan for The Knitter Magazine

My new cabled cardigan design is in the Knitter Magazine, Issue 122! This elegant cardigan is knitted with mirror-imaged cables and a wide pleated rib pattern. Subtle diagonal lines are formed by the layout of the cables on the back and the fronts. The lower section of the cardigan begins with wide pleats, before flowing into the upper cabled areas.

Shimmer by Emma Vining in The Knitter Magazine
The shimmer cables are worked using two cable needles to re-order the stitches. This helps to create a smooth surface on both the right and the wrong sides of the knitting. Each row of cables is set on a reverse stocking stitch ridge.

Detail of Shimmer Cardigan stitch pattern by Emma Vining
The front bands are knitted in a rib pattern at the same time as the fronts. I particularly enjoyed working with this beautiful blue yarn, which is Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK, in shade bluebell.

Shimmer by Emma Vining in The Knitter Magazine

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2018

I really enjoyed my visit to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (EYF) last Friday. There was a wonderful selection of all kinds of yarn and accessories. It was a pleasure to shop at this lovely show and there was plenty of yarn inspiration for my next designs! At the moment, my knitting patterns are full of multiple shades of pink, so a visit to the John Arbon Textiles stand was a high priority! I couldn't resist this set of Knit by Numbers DK mini-skeins in all six shades of pink.

John Arbon Knit by Numbers mini-skeins
One of my favourite purchases this year was this stunning penannular shawl pin from An Caitin Beag. I was wearing my Points Scarf at the show and added my new pin straight away! You can read all about how the pins are made on the little small cat blog.

Penannular Shawl Pin by An Caitin Beag
Shown on Points Scarf by Emma Vining

This year's show was also really special as it was my first opportunity to meet the lovely Meg Rodger of the Birlinn Yarn Company (BYC). Last year I won the BYC Design Competition with my designs for the Machair Wildflower Shawl and Storm Cast Cowl. Although Meg and I had talked and messaged frequently while we worked together on the accessory patterns, we had never met. We managed to fit in a coffee before the show and have a great chat about the stunning BYC yarns and my fast approaching trip to Berneray!

Machair Wildflower Shawl by Emma Vining for the Birlinn Yarn Company
Image courtesy of BYC 
Storm Cast Cowl by Emma Vining for the Birlinn Yarn Company
Image courtesy of BYC

Everyone had an experience with the snow over the weekend. Thankfully my journeys were not too badly disrupted. I took this shot over Loch Lomond as I was flying out of Glasgow on Monday when the snow as beginning to melt. Hope that everyone got home safe and sound. See you next year at EYF!

View over Loch Lomond
Photo by Emma Vining

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Andreas Gursky Exhibition

An exciting exhibition at the Hayward Gallery explores the work of Andreas Gursky. Subjects such as landscape, architecture and crowds feature in these stunning large scale photographic prints. Having only previously seen Andreas Gursky's work reproduced in magazines and books, I was amazed at the size of the prints on display at the Hayward Gallery!

Paris, PCF (2003) by Andreas Gursky
Pattern inspiration can be seen in all of the images. Prints featuring ceiling lights, tulip fields and the Tokyo Stock Exchange depict many different levels of underlying grids, stripes and movement. "Paris, PCF (2003)" for example, shows the lamellate ceiling lights in the underground conference room of the French Communist Party. From an enormous abstract photograph of carpet floor tiles to precise satellite imagery taken far above the earth, the different scales of the subject matter are as fascinating as the size of the prints themselves. 

Visitors viewing "Paris, Montparnasse (1993)" by Andreas Gursky

Each image is full of detail and shows a unique perspective on views that may initially appear familiar. In "Paris, Montparnasse (1993)", all of the individual windows can be seen in this enormous apartment block, allowing the viewer a glimpse into the lives of the residents. From across the gallery, the apartment building also takes on a grid pattern with an pixelated appearance. In some of the works, post production techniques are used to highlight, enhance and distort certain areas of the images. For example, on the exhibition poster displayed outside the gallery, Tokyo (2017), the Japanese city view has deliberate blurring in certain areas. 

I really enjoyed this exhibition! The images beautifully show the many underlying patterns in subjects that somehow appear familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. The Andreas Gursky exhibition is at the Hayward Gallery until 22 April 2018. Information about the artist, his exhibitions and images of all his work can be found on his website,

Tokyo (2017) by Andreas Gursky displayed outside the Hayward Gallery