I first met Jen Arnall-Culliford when I designed a pattern (the Houlland) for the Book of Haps that she edited along with Kate Davies. I was very impressed with her eye of details and her efficient way of working, and has since tech-edited several of my patterns. So, when she asked last year if I could design a pattern for her and her husband Jims' latest book Something New to Learn About Lace - I immediately said yes as I knew the final publication would be well executed and organised.
The brief for the design was something not too difficult to knit, as some lace can be extremely complicated! I have been thinking about using the Madeira lace pattern sometime as it is one of my favourites, it is fairly closely related to the horseshoe pattern which I really enjoy knitting. I knitted several swatches using the pattern in different formats but settled on keeping it fairly simple. The Madeira lace motif is repeated to form the edging of the scarf and blanket, I wanted a simpler repeat to make up the rest of the garment and swatched several lace motifs. Many of them were too big and didn't sit right with the edging, so I settled on a small clover-shaped motif which forms a small triangle to reflect the shape of the Madeira lace.
The scarf and blanket are knitted in two sections and then grafted together. The scarf is knitted in two halves and grafted together in the centre whereas for the blanket one edging is knitted along with the main part, then a separate edging is knitted and grafted to the rest if the blanket. Using this construction ensures the scarf is symmetrical, when the scarf is worn, each clover motif will point in the same direction when draped over the shoulders. The blanket is grafted at the edge of the second edging, this way the grafting stitches can be hidden which might be an advantage with such a long grafted row! The blanket pattern have been written for three sizes, the pictures above show size small which is suitable for a cot blanket (and would make a wonderful gift for a new baby), through to size large that would make an attractive bedspread for a single bed.
Jen and Jim have just released their own yarn, Something to Knit With; all four designs in the book use this yarn. The yarn is 4 ply and is a blend of 70% Highland Wool with 30% Alpaca which is wonderfully soft and a delight to knit with, although it is soft it is springy and ideal for lace knitting. It is available in ten colours in 50g skeins and is available to buy here.
Something New to Learn About Lace is available to preorder from their website, the digital version will be available as soon as it is uploaded and the printed books will start being shopped on 7th June. Kits are available to buy for all the designs, you can choose the colour of the kit (and size of the blanket) using the drop down menu which is great as you aren't restricted to knitting it in the colours used in the samples. The books and kits can be found here.
I have have had a sneak preview of the book and it is suitable for both beginners and experienced knitters, there's always something new to learn and Jen and Jim make it easy!
All photographs © Jesse Wild.