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ruffles

I’m going through all my images  saved on Pinterest and my stash of pages ripped out of magazines and I’m realising that I’ve ‘squirreled’ away lots of images of ruffles. I’ve got them in every guise. My particular favourites are from Gucci’s winter collection  http://bit.ly/1rsM03x  and http://bit.ly/1Tp9fSv

 

Most ruffles will be knitted by machine and sewn onto the garment later, some are knitted into hems, and as borders as part of the silhouette. Depending on the scale of the ruffles, the end results are nearly always a little sculptural. Some are worked in really fine gossamer yarn and the effect is quite feminine and delicate. However, hand knitted in a chunky yarn on big needles they can make a silhouette look really quite dramatic.

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Posted in Trends By Jo Storie

 Knitted heart

‘’Give the gift of a home made heart  this Valentine's Day. Made from just 25gms of wool, it’s an ideal project to use up those odds & ends in your stash’’ Jo x

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Posted in Knitting projects By Jo Storie

Pitti Filati Florence

06/03/2013 17:26

florenceFlorence at any time of the year is a treat, but in winter during Pitti Filati it really is special. People watching is inspiring because the city is overrun with designers, but not just any designers they are the knitwear creators of most of our most coveted brands. Pitti filati is the ‘go to’ yarn show for all respectable design houses in Europe and much further afield. It is a particular favourite of the Americans. It is the only place to see all the notable spinners mainly European, and predominantly Italian yarn mills, showcasing the finest qualities under one roof. It is two floors of glorious stands of theatrical displays of knitwear, swatches and yarns.

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Posted in Yarns By Jo Storie

Novelty Motif Sweaters

03/10/2012 17:08

Owl SweaterI’m sure this trend has not escaped your attention. I’d hoped it was a flash in the pan but the ‘animal motif’ sweater seems to be here to stay, well at least for Autumn/Winter 2012. Undoubtedly, the design to lead this movement seems to have come from Burberry Prorsum with a ‘long eared OWL’ taking centre stage! Interestingly priced at £795 you’d be forgiven for thinking it comes with a real owl or at least was knitted with the soft downy feathers of one!

 

Mulberry & Sonia by Sonia Rykiel have gone for tigers; Markus Lupfer, a cat; Whistles an ‘Antelope’, and quite possibly the cutest is from Monsoon which is a Squirrel, resplendent in sequins (shame it wasn’t a red one)

 

I can’t help thinking of the brand that made its name from novelty intarsia sweaters (Ballantyne Cashmere) and that they should be doing a roaring trade right now. Perhaps a trip through their archives might not be a bad investment of their time considering this current trend. I remember cute kittens playing with balls of wools, cleverly concealed in the pockets and horses with all their livery and all manner of flowers and breeds of dog. The craftsmanship was undeniable and the artistry mindboggling with each of the dozens of colours used, laid individually in a hand framed process, all from a little factory in the Scottish Borders. Intarsia was a speciality of Ballantyne’s, and they did it really well.

 

Novelty motif Sweaters

True fashionistas will be scouring the antique markets and vintage stores as undoubtedly the originals are still the best.

 

As for me, no matter how strong this trend seems, I can only muster an enthusiasm for the technique itself and not the actual sweaters. I admire the work involved, especially if it is by hand and in a luxury fibre, but I know I couldn’t carry them off.

Posted in Trends By Jo Storie

The lengths we go to

27/04/2012 08:43

Packing for a 5 day trip to France, with restrictions on weight of my luggage, had me for the ‘first time’ abandon my usual habit of packing my knitting needles and all my knitting paraphernalia; feeling certain I wouldn’t need them. Heck, the weather was sure to be great and there’d be too much to do to sit and knit.

 

How wrong I was! While the UK was having snow storms (only made stranger by the fact we were all basking in sunshine days earlier), France got rain and lots of it. Day 4, out of pure creative desperation I persuaded my dad to fashion some needles from 2 bamboo, garden canes, (coincidently, a good match for 15mm knitting needles). He set to sharpening the ends while I ripped my PJ bottoms into strips to make yarn with it! The project started as a little bag for pegs but ended up an even smaller bag for soap! Should’ve done a tension swatch and done the maths but I was feeling reckless.

 

A good friend of mine, and self confessed ‘crafter’, admitted to making a quilted throw out of her children’s old PJs. She couldn’t bear to throw them out, nit with all the happy memories attached to them. This seems a lovely end or beginning for these loved textiles.

And so with a bit of foresight (or a check of the weather forecast, at least) I could have packed my needles and a bunch of T-shirts passed their best. Then my mum would have got her peg bag and I would have had more space in my luggage on the return flight for shopping! There’s a moral in there somewhere..........

Posted in Knitting projects By Jo Storie

Hampshire cardiganI recently blogged about my inability to part with my precious prototypes and test knit samples, but the time has come! I’ve literally run out of space in my IKEA cupboards and I can’t bear the thought of ripping them down and turning them into something new, so I’ve started to prepare them to leave me and take up their place in someone else’s cupboard.

 

Kelly in cashmereI’ll be parting with some 100% super chunky Italian Cashmere pieces from the Jo Storie Cashmere Collection, that once graced the racks of London Fashion week at the Exhibition, some pieces from the Jo Storie Ecology collections and some pieces which have further celebrity status having walked the catwalk of the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh and were given space in Scotland on Sunday and the Daily Telegraph. Each design will come with its own little biography, to help re-home it. Maybe like some of my patterns, the new owners will keep me in touch with their readjustment to life on the outside (of my studio).

 

So if you are not signed up already to my newsletter, I’d suggest you do it soon, as subscribers will be the first to know when and where the first Jo Storie sample sale will take place.

Posted in News By Jo Storie

Needs must

11/12/2011 13:06

Morgan snoodConsidering I am a knitwear designer you would think my loved ones would have an abundance of hats and scarves and sumptuous sweaters, well you would be wrong.

 

My prototypes are much too precious to be worn out in public (well it’s different when I wear them, that’s research!) and they’re much too loyal to parade themselves in front of me in someone else’s creations and so this is the dilemma.  My family are knit-less

 

Take the ‘Morgan snood’, designed this time last year for its namesake, my niece.  It’s an oversized cowl in a chunky lace and cable pattern, designed to keep her warm and fashionable, however I’ve still got it! Perhaps I’ll make an early (or late depends on your perspective) Christmas present of it, and learn to part with my creations rather than burdening my family with cupboards and cupboards of samples.

 

My husband is freezing, as I’ve no time to indulge him and knit a sweater let alone a scarf or a hat for that matter, but I keep telling him that I’d heard an old wives tale that if you knit for your man you’ll soon lose him. It’s been 20 years and I can honestly say I’ve held that old wives tale in high regard and have knitted him nothing (for the sake of our relationship – really!) And what about my son, well he’s 7 now and he just keeps growing, how do I predict what height he’ll be by the time I’m finished the project it’s enough to stop you starting!

 

But it’s freezing here in Scotland and ‘needs must’ so needles at the ready a hat for each of them for Christmas (I didn’t say which Christmas!?)

Posted in Knitting projects By Jo Storie

Win a Cove Hat

28/11/2011 13:53

Cove hatI have a feature in my local newspapers ‘The Berwickshire News’ and ‘The Berwick Advertiser’ this week and I have set a competition to win one of my ‘Cove’ hats valued at £60. To win the hat the readers have to visit the website and look at this blog and work out the following anagram:

TANKTENUC

The clue is that it is the name of one of my designs. Once you have it worked out email your answer and your name and address to natter@jostorie.com where it will be put with the other correct answers and the winner will be drawn at random and announced in the newspapers the following week. The Competition closes on Monday, 5th December at 5pm. Unfortunately, this competition is only open to those within the Berwickshire and Northumberland area (the catchment for the Newspaper).

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Posted in News By Jo Storie

Cove yarnFollowing the runaway success of the pattern in PDF form we’ve decided to go into mini production of the finished hat.

 

The photograph from the pattern of Sarah wearing the hat seems to have gone viral and has popped up all over the place and so many people contacted us asking us whether we sold the actual hat that it got us thinking - well why not?

 

It will be hand knitted in Scotland, from British sheep breeds and so it is 100% wool as recommended on the pattern. We will be offering the colour and yarn as seen in the pattern, a natural undyed grey Suffolk and as I blog the delivery of the yarn arrived. (see photo).

 

We are really lucky to work with some wonderful talented hand knitters, scattered around Scotland. They are all currently working on a sample hat which I will approve before they embark on this mini order.

 

We will retail Cove on our website for as long as stocks last. However, we will only be making a very limited number. You can reserve yours very soon by visiting the shop on the website where we will have more information about availability and pricing. There is a product page for Cove Hat where you can register to be notified when the hat is available for order.

 

So whether you are a knitter who hasn’t got the time to knit it yourself or someone who just can’t knit then you can still have Cove and pretend that you did it yourself!  We won’t tell.........................

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Posted in News By Jo Storie

Feeling nostalgic

10/10/2011 19:36

Jonah with milk bottleMy son is nearly seven and already picks out his own clothes, which sadly marks the end of my days as his personal stylist. Although he still lovingly wears his mummy's hats and scarves (I’m channelling the boy band look) I have never attempted to work a sweater for him since the ‘milk bottle’ one (that my family affectionately call it).

 

It was my first sweater for my first child and it took until he was a toddler to finish it, with much adjusting as he kept growing! It’s still one I’m very proud of as he looks so happy in it. Recently my husband suggested I make another one (considerably sized up of course!) as he also has fond memories when our son wore it. When our son said he’d be happy to wear it I knew I was on to a winner. So with his birthday on the horizon I’d better get the calculator out and my needles and get on with it.

 

Now if he wore it with skinny denims, a slouchy beanie hat and timberland boots....................... (wishful thinking!)

Posted in Knitting projects By Jo Storie

Global traveller mood boardI’m surrounded with my new  fibre discoveries for the season, a bit of eco wool alpaca, an uber chunky Alpaca blend roving and a fabulous alpaca chainette, and then something occurs to me? It’s all about the alpaca... I know I’m drawn to it because I have an unhealthy relationship with luxury yarns, having spent a large proportion of my career surrounded by cashmere. But this season it just  seems like everyone is  pushing it.  And I couldn’t be happier, it creates just the right balance of bulk without the extra weight and adds a soft halo to everything that’s produced in it, much like cashmere but a fraction of the cost.

 

It’s especially cost effective as it works up very light and I’ve found that I can usually work my designs in a needle or two sizes bigger to give me even more air and loft. I put in my yarn order today and have already started to mutilate the yarn cards that have tiny shreds of my favoured fibres.  Armed with a new sketchbook and with my mood boards taking shape I’ll be counting the days until my yarns arrive.

Posted in Yarns By Jo Storie

London Fashion Week

18/09/2011 16:46

The buzz around London fashion week always gives me goose bumps. It’s getting so cold outside and we’re all bundling ourselves up in winter woollies but inside the catwalks it’s all bikinis and sundresses as this is the time of year the designers show S/S 2012. 

I keep abreast of what’s happening through daily email feeds from the shows and through style.com. Knitwear is never a priority for this season but it’s always good to see the emerging silhouettes as a trend is a trend and can be translated into knitwear. I often make note of the popular sleeve proportions or pattern and stitch interests, and they often start in spring and are re-explored in winter.  Interestingly knitwear is often a compliment to a total look for example, what will the new trouser leg proportions be as it will influence how my knitwear works.  I attend trend presentations that forecast the trends a year out, so I’ll be getting my notes out and seeing which designers  took note and which chose their own path.

Posted in News By Jo Storie

Alternative yarns - part 2

16/09/2011 18:00

Kelly in cashmereThere are so many beautiful yarns out there at the moment, my stash is a little obscene (don’t tell my husband, but thank goodness for Ikea storage!)

 

I’ve just picked up a fabulous yarn called Alpaca chunky from Rowan which is an Alpaca blend and is for chunky 10mm needles – right up my street.  It’s a chainette yarn which I can’t wait to swatch up and staple it in my sketch book. I used to drool over yarn like this at Pitti Filati (yarn trade show in Florence) when I was designing for the American market. They were usually too expensive for retailers though.

 

With my own collection and without the worry of how I’m going to manufacture it, I can work with what I love which is nice. Naturally though some of my finds are too difficult for all knitters to find and I’m now working hard to try to find alternatives. I blogged a little while ago about a design called ‘Kelly’ which started life in chunky Italian cashmere (swoon!) I’ve been struggling to find a worthy match and started the search with Rowans Pure life wool but the end result just wasn’t what I was looking for, however  I think ’alpaca chunky’ will do the trick, so on with the development. I think it would be great to hear from other knitters what their favourite yarns are at the moment and I can take some of the guess work out of my research.

 

Here are some of the swatches I worked up in Alpaca Chunky for the ‘Kelly’ design.

Kelly swatch in chunky alpaca

Kelly swatch in chunky alpaca

Posted in Yarns By Jo Storie

Crafting

15/09/2011 20:17

I’m an absolute nut for anything handmade and can’t stop myself buying books or magazines on the subject. My latest obsession is knitted toys. I’ve been making entire families of sock toys, thanks to ‘Stray Sock Sewing’ by Daniel and have also just discovered ‘knitted wild animals’ by Sarah Keen.

 

I’ve just finished knitting an elephant for my new niece, Lauren. I don’t think an old sock is quite good enough. Hopefully she’ll love this and will carry it around with her for many years to come. I’ve stamped my name on its backside lest she forgets where it came from!

Lauren and Ellie

Lauren and Ellie

Posted in Knitting projects By Jo Storie

My Stash

14/09/2011 11:08

My yarn stashI have an obsessive, compulsive habit and I feel the need to off load it. Don’t worry it’s all clean and legal, read on......

 

I can’t stop hoarding yarn. I have baskets within boxes within great big cupboards and it’s spilled out of my home studio and into my husband’s office. I’ve bags under beds, in the loft and even in the car! Shocking right? It feels good to confess. I recently started to give it away. It wasn’t easy and I still miss it, although the recipient was thrilled!

 

But enough is enough, my son needs the storage for his obsessive compulsive habit of hoarding transformer toys (mmm sounds familiar?) And so I’ve decided to use it for small scale runs of limited edition accessories and sell them to probably buy more yarn.

Posted in Yarns By Jo Storie

Last day of summer

06/09/2011 17:03

Aspen cardigan31st August 2011 - Found myself in Edinburgh for my wedding anniversary and just had to do a bit of window shopping. First stop was Harvey Nichols to check out what designers are up to. Stores switched from summer to Autumn in early July so all the Fall collections were in.

 

This really is my favourite time of the year when I get to see how all the designers have interpreted the trends of the season.

 

Cove hatThere were lots of oversized beanies and super chunky cable knits, lots of cape like silhouettes and plenty of snoods. It’s always a wee bit of a relief to see my designs are on trend and are in keeping with what’s on sale.

 

The price tags make me shudder though and it’s here that I realize that making it for yourself really does pay off.

 

Knitting your own designer cardigan or hat really is cheaper than buying it and you don’t need to worry about bumping into someone wearing the same design especially if you customize it.

Posted in News By Jo Storie

More photos - part 2

17/08/2011 16:16

I’ve now got my own Flickr account and have started uploading images from the Modern Heritage collection. There are some that do not appear on this website, and I will be uploading images from earlier collections, including my Cashmere collection.

 

The link to my photostream is http://www.flickr.com/photos/jostoriehandknitpatterns/

 

Please visit and share the images with you friends and other knitters!

Posted in News By Jo Storie

More photos - part 1

17/08/2011 16:08

Nick Callaghan logoNick Callaghan, the photographer who does all my shoots, has uploaded a set of images from the July shoot for the Modern Heritage collection.

 

Although the images will be appearing on my site soon, in the gallery and on the pattern pages, I thought you may like to know that you can visit his site to get a sneak preview. And you can also see the other great work he does!

 

Click on his name above to visit his site.

Posted in News By Jo Storie

Kelly

15/08/2011 17:31

Kelly cardiganI’ve had a number of lovely emails about the article in last month’s ‘Knitting magazine’. Fifteen people have gone on to ask about one design in particular (‘Kelly’).

 

It’s great that that so many people seem to like it and the big question has been ‘when will it be available for download?’

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Posted in Knitting questions By Jo Storie

Alternative yarns

08/08/2011 21:57

Some of the emails I've received from people who have read the Knitting Magazine article have asked whether it's possible to use alternative yarns to those suggested in the patterns and on the product pages on the website.

 

The team has now added the tensions to the product details for each pattern so you can consider whether there is a different yarn that would be suitable. We'd always encourage you to knit a tension square before starting the full pattern, as not all yarns will give a like for like result.

 

As I work on the new patterns, I'll be selecting a wider range of yarns and indicating on the website what would be suitable alternatives to the main yarn listed.

Posted in Knitting questions By Jo Storie

Scottish Textiles Article

08/08/2011 20:53

Scottish Textiles CoverI was featured in the most recent edition of the Scottish Textiles magazine.

 

The lead article on knit wear trends ‘knitwear to dye for’ featured my Navajo cardigan. The article discussed the trends for Autumn/Winter 11/12 – reporting that  Fair Isle knitwear is ‘in vogue’ and that chunky knits have been much in evidence in recent Fashion Weeks.

 

More Fair Isle patterns will be available soon - a Navajo cushion cover and a Navajo bed throw, and many new patterns will use Chunky weight yarn.

Posted in Press By Jo Storie

Nick and Sarah on photo shoot

 

Following on from my earlier post, here is an image from behind the scenes at the photo shoot at the end of July.

 

The photo shows Nick Callaghan (www.nickcallaghan.com) – the photographer who has done all my photography over the years - setting up a photo of Sarah, who always does a great job modelling the garments!

Posted in News By Jo Storie

Knitting Magazine Feedback

08/08/2011 20:13

Cover of August Knitting MagazineI’ve had some great feedback from people who’ve read the article in Knitting Magazine (August edition), which included the pattern for Cove cardigan.

 

 I’m very grateful for all the emails I’ve received and the comments people have made saying how much they enjoyed the article and like the designs.

 

 A number of people have asked me when the designs featured in Knitting Magazine will be available – Kimono cardigan is in the final stage of the QA process and will be available very soon; Kelly cardigan should be available later this month.

Posted in News By Jo Storie

I’m starting to pull together my mood boards for the next season and getting excited about all the new designs ahead of me. My knitting needles are poised and at the ready! I’m thinking of continuing with the modern heritage collection as it seems so appropriate to the trend forecasts I’ve seen to date. There seems to be a real revival for all things handmade and artisan in feel which is perfect for hand knitting.

 

Winter collections are hitting the stores now and I’m getting excited that my designs seem so relevant for the season ahead.

 

My son bought me a knitting kit for knitting a miniature Ninja. Very cute!

Posted in News By Jo Storie

Photo shoot for new patterns

01/08/2011 21:09

Oscar wearing dog coat

Had a great photo shoot with Nick Callaghan last week for my new collection ‘Modern Heritage II’. It went without a hitch, we managed to get it all into one day and I am thrilled with the results. This means we can get the next batch of patterns out next week.  Look out for my niece modelling the Morgan snood and my dog Oscar in his coat. Sarah did another great job modelling the new collection.

 

The graphics team are going to try to put up a gallery of the images to get everyone’s creative juices flowing. Check out the Gallery to see the images as they're posted.

Posted in News By Jo Storie

Royal Highland Show

13/07/2011 11:48

Royal highland show logoWe were lucky enough to have some of our designs shown on the catwalk at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh on 23-26th June 2011. The designs  ‘Aspen’, ‘Alaska’,’ Cove’, ‘Madison’, ‘Bramble’ and ‘Savannah’ were all featured.  

 

Bramble, Alaska and Aspen are now available to purchase as a hand knit pattern in downloadable form from the online shop.

 

You can see the new designs and the ones currently available in the Gallery. The others will feature as part of the Modern Heritage II collection available in the Autumn.

Posted in News By Jo Storie