Monday, 29 June 2015

The Great British Pattern Pick Summer 2015 by Jo Milmine

Welcome to the first Great British Pattern Pick at BritYarn. In this series of blog posts, we’re aiming to bring you some of the best British-based design talent out there at the moment. We’ll also give you some suggestions as to which lovely yarns you could use for the project. All of our pattern enabling is fully compliant with BritYarn’s Woolly Principles, so you can be sure you’re shopping local!

Summer’s here, and although the UK is still some way from being a tropical paradise, the good news is that we still have the opportunity to make use of our knits. Whether it’s by introducing different yarns, such as Blacker Lyonesse DK, which has 50% linen for cool comfort, or whether it’s by going super light and airy with the yarn, there’s no reason why we can’t knit and wear our items during the warmer months. Here’s a selection of summer patterns and yarns to give you a little inspiration.

First up, we have a couple of beautiful shawls for you from the talented Glasgow-based designer, Karie Westermann. 

Chinese Kites Image Copyright David Fraser
Chinese Kites is a pretty, airy lace shawl that is the perfect balance between being light enough for summer wear and being warm enough to ward off the evening chill. The lace in the pattern is a straightforward knit, which leads to a striking finished object. This pattern would be complemented perfectly by a crisp yarn with plenty of definition. Eden Cottage Yarns BFL Sock would be the ideal choice, with the BFL providing strength and lustre to what is sure to be a well-worn knit. To add a little glamour, consider Eden Cottage Yarns Milburn 4ply. The silk in this yarn will add a seductive sheen to any project.

If you’d rather have a pattern you can trot out on the beach or in the beer garden, Byatt could be an ideal option. Mostly garter stitch in its construction, with only a small amount of lace detail on the edge, this would be a great travel project as well as giving an impressive result for minimal effort. Again, Milburn 4ply would be my yarn of choice for this pattern, as the simple garter stitch pattern will allow the yarn to shine through.

Helen Image Copyright Susan Crawford Vintage
As we all know, the Great British weather can be unpredictable; it pays to be prepared! Take your outfit from day to evening or from sun to clouds with the Helen bolero by Susan Crawford. Queen of vintage 40’s glamour, Susan has a striking design aesthetic, which has an obvious nod to times gone by, yet is still wearable and brought up to date to suit modern times. This lacy bolero pattern would really sing when paired with Blacker Lyonesse DK. The linen would hold its block beautifully, allowing the lace to take centre stage. With the high linen content in this yarn, it will be cool and airy when knitted into garments.

Bonny Image Copyright Tin Can Knits
If light and airy is the way you go in summer, with laceweight being your yarn of choice, as well as the plethora of lace shawls, why not consider a featherweight garment, such as the Bonny vest by Tin Can Knits? Designed by Edinburgh-based Emily Wessel, one half of the design duo, it’s a perfect garment for warmer days and also comes as part of the Handmade in the UK collection. Yarn-wise, it would be glorious knitted up in the super special and rare Blacker St Kilda Lace, made from a blend of Boreray - the rarest of all British sheep breeds - Soay and Shetland fleece. In fact this is so rare and special, we’ve sold out and can’t get any more until later in summer when this year’s clip is collected and spun, so if you’re looking to cast on straight away, Blacker BFL Lace would be a stunning alternative. Lustrous, silky and hardwearing due to the long staple length of the fibres, this yarn will withstand the constant wear you’re going to want to give it.
Laika Image Copyright Ysolda Teague
Looking for something a little more substantial? Laika by Ysolda Teague could fit the bill! A pretty, hooded, all over 4ply lace cardigan in a wide range of sizes, this pattern would pair beautifully with The Knitting Goddess Britsock in a semi solid colourway. Tiffany would be my personal choice, but the other brights would really complement the bold design of this garment. As it’s a bigger knit, if budget is a concern, West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply also offers a range of stunning shades that are more friendly on the pocket, whilst still being excellent quality.

For something cosier, Manu by Kate Davies would be a versatile, elegant choice. The classic styling has just the right amount of detail to make this garment perfect day to night wear. For this pattern, look for something a little special, such as Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop DK. This super-lustrous yarn has an enviable softness and sheen, which will only improve with increased wear and washing. If you’ve a little more to spend, Eden Cottage Yarns Bowland DK is blessed with similar yarn properties and minimal pilling.

Brunswick Image Copyright Yarn And Pointy Sticks Designs
Finally, who doesn’t appreciate a little capelet in the summer wedding and function season? The Great British weather can be unpredictable, so it’s always handy to have a cosy little throwover accessory that allows you to remain both warm and effortlessly stylish. Step forward Brunswick by Clare Devine. This pretty design would be easy to slip into a handbag and comes with the added bonus of a button fastening to keep it in place as you dance the evening away. The pattern is versatile enough to cope with any semi solid hand dyed or commercially dyed 4ply. Take your pick from Yarns From The Plain, The Knitting Goddess, Eden Cottage Yarns Milburn 4ply or BFL Sock, West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply or Blacker Classic.

That’s the round up of summer patterns for you. I’ll be back in Autumn with some more great British designers and yarns!


Jo Milmine is a podcaster and blogger based in Scotland. She co-owns The Golden Skein, the company that brings meticulously curated luxury yarn clubs showcasing the finest hand dyed yarn the world has to offer. 

Through her bespoke consultancy business Jo works closely with independent dyers, sharing her business and yarn expertise and supporting them to achieve their goals.

Passionate about crafting (and comedy knitting patterns), you’ll find her podcasting as Shinybees, as well as on Ravelry, Twitter and Instagram as Shinybees. 

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