Archive for October, 2012

Capsule Collection for Louet North America

Rosehip Scarf - photo by Jane Heller

I recently did a collection of 6 garments and accessories for Louet North America in their Gems Merino Wool qualities – two designs in each of the Fingering, Sport, and Light Worsted weights.

Here is the Rosehip Scarf, worked in Gems Merino Fingering Weight. It is knitted on a long circular needle from side to side. The scarf begins with a garter-based scalloped edging which morphs into a lace pattern. It is finished with stockinette and reverse stockinette welts. The differently patterned sections are separated with bands of eyelets. The design is inspired by the foliage and fruit of the wild rose bushes which grow along the banks of the St Lawrence river near my home.

This yarn is a delight to knit with, it has beautiful stitch definition and nice memory. The colour range is super, and the shade in which the sample is made, Candy Apple Red, is surely one of the best reds, ever.

Hawkweed Scarf - photo by Jane Heller

The Hawkweed Scarf, shown here in Golden Rod, is also worked in the Fingering Weight Merino. It’s a deceptively simple pattern, easy to work and looks amazing. The central pattern is a sort of criss-crossing mesh. The scarf is worked on a biggish needle to give it lots of drape and keep the central pattern light and airy. Each of the side panels biases in a different direction, making this a very fluid design.

The Hazel Cardigan is knit in Gems Merino Sport Weight, a great yarn in a versatile weight. The knitting is fairly quick on a 3.75 mm needle, yet the garment is lightweight and comfortable to wear indoors. Inspired by the twists of corkscrew hazel, the knotted cables also appear in a panel of three on the Back of the garment, and are also bordered by twists. The cardigan has waist shaping and raglan-style sleeves. The button bands, collar and edging are worked in 2×2 ribbing. The colour shown here is Sandalwood, a warm light brown with  hint of pinkness.

Hazel Cardigan - photo by Jane Heller

Hazel Cardigan, back detail - photo by Jane Heller












Also in the Sport Weight, I designed the Ironwood Shawl, a half-hexagon shape, shown here in Caribou, a lovely neutral brown.

Ironwood Shawl - photo by Jane Heller

It is the perfect size for wearing either wrapped about your shoulders or closer to your neck as a scarf. The stitch patterns are inspired by the roughly textured surface of the Ironwood tree’s bark and the linear patterns of branch shapes.

The shawl is worked from the edging up to the apex, so the number of stitches get smaller and smaller and your work just seems to fly by the further you get. Since the columns of eyelets flow in a linear manner, the chart pattern is easily learned. I think that most knitters wouldn’t have to look at the chart past the first few rows of the main pattern.


Opaline Cardigan - photo by Jane Heller



In Worsted weight, The Opaline Cardigan is a very fast knit. The leaf motif is worked on either side of the center front opening, and in a double panel at the center of the cuffs. The edging is composed of a broken rib with a little rolled stockinette trim. The rolled stockinette trim on the collar is designed to hide the buttonholes, so that when the cardigan is worn unbuttoned, the nice line of the front edge is unbroken. The neckline decreases begin at the point where the leaf-pattern decreases end, so the line flows from the pattern to the shoulder. There are a few short rows worked into the collar to give it a little shape around the back neck.

Opaline Cardigan, sleeve detail - photo by Jane Heller


The increasing and decreasing of the leaf motif gives a little wave and dip shape to the center of the cuff. This cardigan is shown in Champagne.









Nightjar Pullover - photo by Jane Heller

The Nightjar Pullover is also worked in Gems Worsted, shown here in Steel Grey. It features a central panel composed of a mirrored eyelet pattern, set off from the background with springy rope cables. The eyelet pattern is a medley of directional decreases and garter rows. The panel is worked on the back as well.

The hem and cuffs are edged in garter stitch with a horizontal band of eyelets. The flared cuffs have a line of decorative buttons sewn along the outer edge, and matching buttons at either side of the wide neckline. The shaped waist and set-in sleeves make this a great wardrobe piece, flattering and versatile.



Nightjar Pullover, sleeve detail - photo by Jane Heller

This was an awesome project to work on. As a designer, a collection allows more creative space to explore the themes of the projects. Working with a specific group of yarns entices you to play upon their very best qualities and to design specifically for the emphasis of those qualities.

I also styled the garments and directed the photo shoot, which is a great privilege for a designer. It is a great accomplishment to work on something from beginning to end, and to see the finished product coming out as lovely as you imagined.

The Gems family of Merino yarns are an absolute pleasure to work with. They have a firm twist and smooth surface for superb stitch definition. The yarns are worsted spun from South African Merino. These characteristics make the yarn wear very well which is important for a fine, soft fleece such as Merino. So, you get the best of both worlds, superior wearing and delicate softness. Did I mention it’s Superwash? Yay! With these yarns you can create heirloom quality garments that you won’t have to slave over to maintain.

You can find the Ravelry entries for the patterns here.

As you may be able to guess from my descriptions, I draw a lot of my ideas from the shapes and textures of plants, trees, and flowers. I enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors absorbing the colours and textures that nature has to offer, and incorporating them into my imaginings. Textiles and materials give me similar tactile impressions as flowers and seeds, and it is intuitive to me to integrate these two worlds.


photo by Jane Heller

Capriccio is in the fall issue of Twist Collective. It is worked in lovely Zara Plus Merino wool from Filatura di Crosa. When I design a sweater, if there is a lot of patterning, I like all the elements to be related and to reference each other in a way. It allows you to have variety without discord.

I wanted a simple, wearable silhouette in which to showcase my big beautiful lace panel. I chose raglan style sleeves, because I love the look of fully fashioned decreases in ribbing, and there are more decreases and they are very prominent on this style of sleeve. The eyelets of the main lace pattern are reiterated in the ribbing pattern at the hem, which is a mix of rib, garter rows, and eyelet rows. This same combination appears in bands on the lower sleeves, and on the cowl collar. However, I remix it so that it does not appear in the same configuration, thereby avoiding the formulaic repetition of “same edging everywhere syndrome,“  nearly as fatal as “OMG different edgings everywhere syndrome,” which you also want to steer clear of.

Notice how when the cowl falls forward, the pattern on the inside is equally as attractive as the pattern on the outside. A small detail, maybe, but I think that it makes a garment nicer to wear when you don’t worry if your collar is folded the wrong way.

Of course my opinion is totally biased, but I think this sweater is nice to knit, and even nicer to wear.


Zahedra front

photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge

One of my patterns in the Fall issue of Twist Collective is Zahedra, a cable and textured long cardigan knit in Briggs and Little Atlantic. I can’t wait to get this garment back, I can picture it as my fall cardigan-coat of choice for right now. The weather is at that perfect temperature, the leaves are just starting to change, and I find myself craving a nice robust wool cardigan. With pockets, because I admit, I am a chestnut-and-acorn-collector. I can’t help it. When Fall comes, my pockets are full of nuts, seeds, leaves, and pine cones.




For a longer or heavier garment, I prefer to construct in pieces and then sew them up, rather than knitting in the round. I find that the garment keeps its shape better. I usually set in the sleeves using backstitch, it makes a very professional-looking finish. I love finishing, and I want my garments to look handmade, not homemade.

neat seams









Backstitch provides the neatest finish when you are joining pieces worked in a stitch pattern other than Stockinette. Sometimes I set in sleeves using mattress stitch if the garment is worked entirely in Stockinette stitch and it won’t be worn very often. But, backstitch is better if there are stitch patterns involved, and/or if the garment will be worn a lot.

I design a lot of garments, and it is sometimes tough to come up with interesting names for them all. Also, working as a production assistant for Twist Collective, I help name other people’s garments as well, so that adds to the list of names. I must confess, I named this garment after my favourite World of Warcraft character. And yes, I did grind out Netherwing rep for that mount. If you know me personally this will not surprise you!