Monday, 28 January 2019

Thank you Birlinn Yarn Company!

Working with gorgeous yarn was one of the best parts about writing my book! In this post, I'd like to say thank you to Meg Rodger of the Birlinn Yarn Company for her generous yarn support. I used Meg's beautiful yarn to design and knit my Wishing Well Wristwarmers patterns in A Knitter's Sketchbook.

Stitch pattern detail
Wishing Well Wristwarmers by Emma Vining
knitted in Birlinn Yarn 4ply

The stitch patterns for my Wishing Well Wristwarmers were inspired by a stunning ironwork water well cover located in the centre of the beautiful German town of Mainz. The wristwarmers are knitted in three shades of Birlinn Yarn 4ply, Reef, Moor and Storm Grey. Each wristwarmer begins and ends with a twisted stitch rib and there is a choice of three different stitch patterns. I designed options exploring ovals and circles, using twisted stitches to make the shapes. There are both charted and written instructions for your choice of pattern. Perfect to mix and match!

Stitch pattern detail
Wishing Well Wristwarmers by Emma Vining
knitted in Birlinn Yarn 4ply
There is a wonderful choice of shades of Birlinn Yarn available, from natural to Hebridean Colours. When I met Meg last year I could see all these stunning colours in the landscape around her home on the Isle of Berneray. You can read more about my trip to the Outer Hebrides here and read all about Meg and her beautiful yarns here.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

A Knitter's Sketchbook: Stepper Wristwarmers

As well as an extensive stitch library, A Knitter's Sketchbook has ten beautiful accessory designs with full written and charted instructions. There is a progression in the complexity of the patterns throughout the book, however you can dip on and out of the chapters in any order you like. In this post I'd like to tell you about Stepper, a pattern exploring straight lines.

Stepper Wrsitwarmers
from A Knitter's Sketchbook by Emma Vining
My Stepper wristwarmers illustrate how designs can be created using only straight lines. Each pattern band is made up of diagonal lines. Putting together the diagonal bands forms a series of zig zags. Adding cast-on and cast-off rib edges and a horizontal line of contrasting texture between the bands, brings the whole design together. The pattern comes in two sizes and is knitted in three lovely shades of J C Rennie chunky aran yarn. The colour order can be reversed for the second wristwarmer!

Stepper Wrsitwarmers
from A Knitter's Sketchbook by Emma Vining

I am delighted that as well as being available on my publishers website, The Crowood Press, A Knitter's Sketchbook is now available from Amazon as a hardback book and a kindle download!

Monday, 14 January 2019

A Knitter's Sketchbook

A Knitter's Sketchbook is now officially published! My first book, all about designing with twisted stitches and cables, includes ten accessory knitting patterns and a creative stitch library. The designs in my book are inspired by sources from the natural world and the built environment. There is also advice on how to create your own knitter's sketchbook. You can view a preview on the Crowood Press website and my book will be available for shipping shortly!

Front cover of A Knitter's Sketchbook by Emma Vining

I'll be posting about the designs in my book over the next few weeks and telling you all about the beautiful yarns I chose to use in each project. Today I would like to write about one of the most important parts of writing a book, the people who helped to make it all possible. I have had great deal of encouragement and advice during the writing and editing of my book and I am very grateful for all of this excellent help. 

My family have been my biggest supporters throughout, with my Mum always encouraging me to experiment with design and knitting and my husband, my daughter and my son helping with proof-reading, technical assistance, accessory photography and much, much more. Many friends constantly listened to me talking about the book and helped me to clarify my ideas and I am particularly grateful to Teresa and Sue.

The skills and techniques I constantly use to interpret designs in knitting were developed and refined during my time as a City and Guilds Student. I was extremely fortunate to have an outstanding tutor, Loraine McClean, who continues to inspire me to look for and find pattern everywhere!

I am passionate about supporting the Knitting & Crochet Guild and was delighted to be able to draw on the Guild's collection for examples of historical cables in knitting. Barbara Smith, Publications Curator and Angharad Thomas, Textile Archivist, provided me with images and a great deal of fascinating background information, for which I am very grateful.

Stitchmastery software is an integral part of my design process, allowing me to work out my ideas in chart form. The charts throughout my book were all created using Cathy Scott's excellent software.

The Crowood Press have been great to work with and I'd like to thank my editor, Lucy, and production manager, Christine, for all their help in bringing my book to life. My thanks also to Joanna Miles, an excellent copy editor with a superb eye for detail, who was a real delight to work with. The accessory patterns in my book were professionally tech edited by Heather Murray and, as always, her positive and constructive approach was very much appreciated.

Once again, thank you to everyone who has helped me throughout. Please do look out for more details about A Knitter's Sketchbook over the coming weeks!

Back cover of a Knitter's Sketchbook by Emma Vining

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Holland Park Cardigan in the Knitter Magazine 133

Using reverse stocking stitch within an interlocking cable design creates a raised, textured appearance. I have used this technique in Holland Park, my latest design for The Knitter Magazine. My Holland Park cardigan has a lower trellis cable panel, worked in a light shade of purple. The upper body is knitted in a sumptuous dark shade of purple and has long textured cable lines that appear to emerge from the lower panel.

Holland Park by Emma Vining
Image from The Knitter Magazine

Detail from Holland Park by Emma Vining
from The Knitter Magazine

The gorgeous yarns used are both from the John Arbon Knit by Numbers DK range of yarn. The shades are KBN89, light purple and KBN87, dark purple. This beautiful yarn is a joy to knit with as is so soft, yet shows the textured cable definitions beautifully. The cardigan front bands are knitted at the same time as the fronts, with a contrasting "smooth" cable pattern.

Further on in the magazine is an advert for the next issue of The Knitter featuring another of my designs! I loved designing and knitting this beautiful cabled sweater and I can't wait to see the pattern in the magazine next month.

Sweater design by Emma Vining for The Knitter Magazine