From Dorset With Love

Can we take a moment to celebrate the power of female friendship please?

Flowers and friendship.jpg

Excellent.

I spent last weekend running workshops with a group of women so creative and amazing, I felt like I moonwalked right out of the teaching space. I jumped in a cab and checked my phone. I saw the happiest of news: my good friend is totally having her moment and causing a big buzz around her new collection launch. It felt so good to see women just owning their ambitions and working with clarity and focus to achieve them. 

I had the pleasure of shooting this special collection a few months ago. It was my first full shoot with models and I was more than a little nervous about getting my friend, Clare Devine,  what she needed. When the samples arrived, I was instantly inspired and moved them around in my hands, examining seams, hems, details..... the feel and look of each piece. The colour choices reminded me so much of the nature tones that inspire me here everyday and I felt a new confidence. 

' Lulworth Cove ', available on Ravelry. 

'Lulworth Cove', available on Ravelry. 

I contacted friends to help and put together a day full of pictures, laughter and happiness. I really think you can tell how much fun we had. 

' Corfe Castle ', available on Ravelry

'Corfe Castle', available on Ravelry

The collection is called, 'From Dorset with Love' and includes Clare's first sweater design (and it's a goodie). Each piece is a wardrobe staple, thoughtfully designed to make it a pleasure to knit and sit *just* right when worn. Clare is releasing these over the coming week and I have a special code for you today if you wish to knit your new favourite project. 

To enjoy 20% off at checkout when shopping on Ravelry, you can use the code '"APD20"

'Swyres Head' available on Ravelry

'Swyres Head' available on Ravelry

I'd like to shout out a few lovelies who also helped make this shoot special:

Model extraordinaire- Sarah Knight

White Striped Dress- STALF 

Beautiful Bouquet- Beards and Daisies (my go to florist, every shoot)

And my dear friend Elaine who doesn't have an online presence for me to link to for you to go and high five her, sadly. She's quiet and gentle and finds the big wide world of the internet a bit intimidating. Let's not tell her we're all pouring over her photos and finding her cute as a button shall we?

Happy knitting! x

 

Blog Tour: The Boardwalk Collection (and a giveaway!)

In a month celebrating Women as Makers, I was delighted to see a new pattern collection released that showcases an all female team. The Boardwalk Collection has been produced by Linda of Kettle Yarn Co to showcase her new base, Islington DK, and includes 5 female knitwear designers in a collection that includes 6 designs that will work well from Summer right though to Autumn. The fact the collection was shot by Juju Vail (who you might know as the talented photographer at Loop and Pom Pom Quarterly) and has been strongly supported by Allison Thistlewood (professional multiple hat wearer) shows what magical things can happen when women support one another to put out a great product. 

Linda kindly took some time to answer some questions I had about the collection as part of her blog tour celebrating the collection. Tomorrow, you can see one of the designer's, Isabell Kraemer, discuss her pattern contribution, Arcade (see below). 

Can you explain how you chose these female designers to collaborate with?

"The choice was an easy one as the designers are people whose designs I admire and with a similar aesthetic to my own! I admit that several of the designers are friends, so I knew the high quality of the work I'd be getting from them and that I'd love whatever they created!"

The Boardwalk Collection  (c) Juju Vail

What does the word collaborate mean to you?

"Collaborating is something I've always enjoyed when creating and feel it brings a richness to projects you'd never expect. There is something so joyful and rewarding in working with others - bringing something beautiful into the world together that is made better by working together!
In a way I feel that way about seeing what people make with my yarns as well...that it is a collaboration. I always get chills of delight when people bring their Kettle Yarn Co. projects to the booth at festivals to show me what wonders they've made in my blends! Fantastic!"

Arcade  in ISLINGTON DK  Verdigris , by  Isabell Kraemer   © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Arcade in ISLINGTON DK Verdigris, by Isabell Kraemer © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

How did you go about commissioning the pieces, communicating aesthetic to each designer and tying separate design ideas together?

"It all started with Isabell Kraemer's beautiful Arcade design, which was designed as a stand alone project. When I received it I was so blown away by the gorgeousness of it that I decided to go ahead with the idea for a full collection that I've been kicking around for some time!
I decided to showcase the new bright colours I'd just created in my new weight of Islington, which is a lovely rounded DK."

ISLINGTON  - 55% British Bluefaced Leicester/ 45% Silk     © Kettle Yarn Co.

ISLINGTON - 55% British Bluefaced Leicester/ 45% Silk  © Kettle Yarn Co.

"The brief for the designs centred around the historic Hastings pier, which I've been fascinated with since we moved here. The light and views under the pier are amazing, so I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate the feeling I get when I am down there into the collection."

Pavilion  in ISLINGTON DK  Marigold , by  Renée Callahan   -  © Juju Vail and Kettle Yarn Co.

Pavilion in ISLINGTON DK Marigold, by Renée Callahan -  © Juju Vail and Kettle Yarn Co.

"I sent the designers a rather specific design brief about linear lines, lace and a link to the The Drifters 'Under the Boardwalk' so they could get a sense of the fun, breezy, seablown feel I was after!"
 

What did you learn from each other during this process?

"During this process I was reminded how important it is to be explicit in what I was after to make things easier for the designers. I knew this from teaching but it was so clear in this group how everyone approaches creating differently and how vital it is to let that bloom in its own way! "

Jetty  in ISLINGTON DK  Purple Reign , by  Linda Lencovic   © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Jetty in ISLINGTON DK Purple Reign, by Linda Lencovic © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

"Pattern designing can be such a pressure-cooker as time constraints made it difficult for discoveries to grow organically and I am always astounded at how designers create beauty under such pressure. The designers in this collection really outdid themselves with talent!"

Bagatelle Cowl  by Rachel Brown in ISLINGTON DK,  Peony   © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Bagatelle Cowl by Rachel Brown in ISLINGTON DK, Peony © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

The mood is free, seasonal and feminine. How did that help you style and present your collection?

"I had a style and mood in mind from the conception of the collection and new exactly what I wanted from the designs and final photos, so it was really quite simple in the end! Especially as all the designers did such a brilliant job interpreting the brief!"

I spy real life friends as models! This struck me as a piece made stronger by friendship with fellow female makers. Would you say that's true? 

"Absolutely! I am SO lucky to have such talented friends and it is always a pleasure working together. None of us are that comfortable in front of the camera but we had the amazing Juju Vail take the photos for the collection and the women knows how to make you laugh...what a talented photographer!"

Seaward  in ISLINGTON DK  Padparadscha  by  Rachel Coopey      © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Seaward in ISLINGTON DK Padparadscha by Rachel Coopey  © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

"Another huge thank you to Renee Callahan and Michelle Zimmer for agreeing to model for the collection."

Promenade  by Maria Magnusson in ISLINGTON DK  N  eckinger ,  © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Promenade by Maria Magnusson in ISLINGTON DK Neckinger© Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Like what you see? You can find out more on the Broadwalk Collection Blog Tour on this next few stops:

Isabell Kraemer

Curious Handmade

Renee Callahan

Maria Magnusson

Shinybees blog/podcast

Rachel Brown

Knitted Bliss blog

Coopknits

Win a skein of Islington DK!

Islington DK

If you want to get your hands on a skein of Islington DK Padparadscha, (as shown above in Rachel Coopey's Seaward design) all you need to do is leave a comment below telling me which pattern you would most like to knit from this collection. Be sure to leave your answer by 20th July 2015 as I will be announcing the winner on the blog on the 21st July. Good luck!