Hello, good day, happy AUTUMN! That came about quickly didn’t it? Summer ended, I blinked, and we’re over halfway through September already. Not entirely sure how that happened. Since bidding farewell to summer I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing what can best be described as Trying to Get My Act Together, which if you’ve followed me for a while, you will know is a common theme. This time it has actually involved meetings and discussions and putting plans into place behind the scenes though, so hopefully exciting things are a’coming.
In other news, the arrival of Autumn has OF COURSE brought excitement about all things cosy and wooly. Much as I love my itty bitty cottony summer knits, Autumn really is the official season for knitwear. Absolute hurrah for days that are more than cool enough for an alpaca sweater but warm enough that you needn’t hide it under a coat. So, with knitwear of both the handknit and store bought variety being on many folks’ September radar, I had a good think about what makes an item of knitwear stand out to me amongst a sea of squishy jumpers and cabled cardigans. As for the sweater pictured, my mum actually knitted most of this one but we both look for similar things, whether in existing patterns, or when I’m designing from scratch for either of us to knit. I consider us to have the same brain anyway.
Enjoyable to actually knit. Many a project has its fiddly bits but if the process isn’t enjoyable overall, why would I bother? For example I love the look of many intarsia designs, but I find the process somewhat of a pain in the backside so I don’t often choose them to make my hand. Watch me cast on an intarsia sweater now… they can be beautiful I will admit. If a pattern involves knitting many pieces to sew together at the end, you can count me out. If it features a clever technique for knitting in one piece requiring zero sewing whatsoever? Sign me up. I like projects that feature some details, but don’t require 100% attention all the way through.
Not too ‘out there’ that it’ll never be worn. I love the statement knits I see on Pinterest and on runway photos, and I’d love to challenge my creativity and see what can be done with the humble knit (and purl) stitch. However, such sweaters/dresses/whatever don’t exactly lend themselves to everyday wear, much as I wish they did. The boldest item I think I’ve ever knitted was this bright red sweater which receives compliments every time I wear it – it’s bright, it’s boxy, it’s bold, but it’s not too crazy and can easily be worn with jeans and boots. And it’s just a simple cabled sweater, at the end of the day.
On the other hand, if I’m gonna invest the time into making something, I want it to be different to knitwear I could pick up in H&M. Yarn isn’t cheap and a sweater wasn’t built (knit) in a day, so seeing as it’s automatically an ‘investment’ piece so to speak, it better look like one. It better be finished neatly with no raggedy seams (or no seams at all, ideally), fit me perfectly and feel luxurious to wear. Of course I enjoy the process of knitting just as much as the end product, but I don’t enjoy it that much that I’d happily make something that looks bland and boring in the end anyway.
pattern: 014 Sweater by Georgia Farrell from MODE at Rowan Collection One, yarn #gifted by Rowan Yarns | shoes: faithful Birkenstocks-notBirkenstocks from Marks and Spencer that I wore all summer | shorts: ancient H&M, because nothing says transitional quite like wearing your winter sweaters with summer shorts and sandals because that’s all you packed.
A detail that makes it special. You may have seen over on my Instagram that I’m currently working with Rowan yarns on their new MODE at Rowan collection, and have been doing social media and photography bits and bobs for the range. A very ‘me’ role, if ever there was one! Of course I needed an item from the collection for myself (to add to the bobble cardigan I knitted a few months ago, that is), and in this case it was the nifty little cable detail in the rib that set it apart from any other loose fitting cream sweater. Just enough detail to add a little something, whilst the sweater as a whole remains fairly simple. On my recent navy knit, pleat details around the cuff and eyelets along the raglans added said something. Two shades of blue stripe across the shoulders added something to my favourite white cotton top. And there may or may not be a mini collection of simple knits with an added something in the pipeline… Lily Kate Designs is coming back, don’t you know!
What makes a knit jump off the shelf or a pattern jump onto the needles for you?
Lily Kate x