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September 2016

The story of a new design - Ardmore sweater dress

Introducing Ardmore my new sweater dress design for Knitting magazine.


For a long time before I started designing myself and indeed before I was a tech editor for other designers and magazines, I was keen to know how particular designs came about.

With this in mind, rather than just share a pic of the new design I thought I'd share a little of its story. 

In May the editor of the magazine put out a call for designs influenced by high street fashion for an autumn issue. She provided designers with a mood board showing shapes, lengths, necklines, colour pallets etc. There were plenty of over-sized knits, so as someone who likes easily worn items as well as tunics and knitted dresses, I thought a chunky sweater dress with quite an over-sized neck would work.

I was also interested in the ombre and dip-dyed looks at the moment so decided to use Fair Isle type colour work to give that effect.

Graduated sweater dressThe result was this sketch which I submitted along with possible colour combinations and yarn suggestions.

One of the interesting parts of a submission is the eventual yarn and colour choices. The designer will have preferences but will also have made suggestions based on the magazine brief. The magazine will need to have a range of yarns and colours across the collection for that issue. Luckily in this case Rowan Cocoon worked as a yarn choice and we were able to come up with a colour combination that as a fit. But with Knitting magazine they helpfully show you how some of the patterns might work in other colours (as well as how to accessorise them).

Style file spread

Once it was agreed it was as always a matter of getting the sample and pattern in for the deadline (yes chunky knitting in a heatwave was involved) and waiting to see the issue. It is really interesting to see how the piece looks in the shoot and I love the background and styling in this issue.

I hope some of you enjoy knitting this dress as much as I enjoyed creating it and check out some of my other patterns.





Crescent shawls - useful and fun knits

If you are yet to try your hand a shawl knitting, a simple crescent shawlette is a good place to start. 

Purple rain K159 aut2016

Purple rain 2 K159 aut2016Purple rain shawlette in Knitting issue 159 

They can be draped over your shoulders as a light extra layer, left dangling as a stylish flash of colour or wrapped round your neck for warmth. 

In terms of knitting, Purple Rain (above) and my other designs which I will be releasing on Ravelry and Love Knitting very soon, feature a lace edge section and a plain stocking stitch or garter stitch centre. The curve is created using a simple, user-friendly form of short row shaping that will be familiar to sock knitters.

The other upsides are that this style of shawl can be made in a few days and all these designs use one 100g skein of lovely hand-dyed sock yarn or luxury 4-ply.

I really enjoy making these shawls which is probably why I keep coming up with ideas for new ones and I hope you enjoy making them too.

Wrapped neck 1Starry night shawlette, one of a series of shawls and scarves inspired
by my childhood house and surroundings in Donegal (coming soon)

IMG_0925Waves on slate, another of a series of shawls and scarves inspired
by my childhood house and surroundings in Donegal (coming soon)

Garland twtter 1

The lace leaf edging on Garland is knitted in a strip and the stitches
the centre section are picked up (coming soon)