Category Archives: From Catriona

Blogs by Cat, about Cat.

Toes of colour, toes of joy

Greetings fellow Bigganites and generalised knitting fans of the internet. A happy Friday to you all.

I feel I have been neglecting you all a little so thought it was time to pump out a full-blown blog update. First things first, it’s now winter down under and therefore prime knitting time yay!   Fear not those of you enjoying what little summer the Northern Hemisphere has been able to manage this year, it is also a good time of year to sort through your stash (and if you’re anything like me your not-insubstantial project backlog) and clear out to cobweb s for next seasons knitted wonders.

Being an Englishwoman born and bred I find something comforting about the return of slightly-less-hot weather for a few months. When I first landed back in Aus land about five years ago I refused to even call this colder Queensland season winter, my theory being that it was never actually winter here, it was just summer for fewer hours each day! However a few years down the track and I find the Queensland ways have truly weakened my constitution to the extent that I actually have to get rugged up in winter. The good thing is that it means I can don knitwear again without the fear of overheating and looking somewhat like a lost, confused and partially cooked lobster in a cable-knit scarf! I’m pretty much transparently pale and allergic to the outside so the warm climate doesn’t do me any favours, plus I desperately miss the cosy feeling of retreating from the cold into a warm house full of friends, family and food. Fortunately I have found that a lap full of knitted magic serves pretty much the same purpose and is pretty much a portable isnta-coziness kit. To go along with that this year I was lucky enough to be sent care of my forward-thinking Granny some knitted slippers her friend had made. I LOVE THEM. They are, in my humble opinion, the most fun thing I’ve ever put on my feet. Sure the colours a so bright they are almost guaranteed to clash with something you wearing but who doesn’t enjoy stomping around the house with warm toes and the added assurance that your booties could probably distract speeding traffic if you needed them to?

Bootie-licious

BIG LOOK

Also I feel we need to take a moment to reflect on how well they set off a truly magnificent blogging outfit (featuring unfinished jumper project)?! The lesser spotted knitting blogger is a species with excellent camouflage abilities, if you see them just going about their business in town then they blend in with the usual folk pretty well. Leave them unsupervised however and this kind of thing is liable to be their choice of suitable business attire  for a day slogging away at the keyboard.

Anyway that is quite enough rambling without a point for now. I shall endeavour to post more frequent updates from myself to compliment the video magic from Biggan herself that has been enlightening the blog and the youtubes for the last little while. In fact I shall be more serious than that dear blog reading people, I solemnly swear by the points of my needles and in the Light of the Seven (too soon?) that I will post again next week. To prove this I’ll even tell you what it will be about; a few weeks back I went in to Biggan Design HQ on a sacred mission. I, like many people, when faced with the overwhelming array of stunning colours BD has on offer sometimes find it hard to pick the right ones to suit my humble visage. My sneaky plan was to use some colour-profile cards I had done for me years ago and try and match the colours that suit me (Spring colours for those who are curious) with some of our yarn colours, this is a sneak peek of some results.  A Spring Yarn Colour Wheel …

Until then Adeiu fair reader, keep checking the website and don’t forget that you can get free postage on big orders (over $50 in Aus, over $150 overseas) – great for ordering big projects!

C x

Knitting to save your Sanity

It’s no secret that some of the BD team, and many of our customers, rely on knitting to keep us sane. Despite the misgivings of many an airport security agent, the world is actually a safer place if we’re packing knitting needles. Turns out that what I thought was a manifestation of my dislike of crowds and my love of slightly old fashioned woolen things does in fact have some serious therapeutic grounds.

 knittingsanity

This is just one example from Tumblr of the many people who share this point of view (psst you can see gems like this on our purls of wisdom board on the Biggan Design pinterest page – http://pinterest.com/biggandesign/).

There are groups, such as stitchlinks, who run support networks based around knitting, even actively researching the therapeutic benefits of knitting and the possibilities it suggest for future health management strategies.  There was even a Study Day dedicated to the field of Therapeutic Knitting in Bath last year, this event brought together academics, patient reps, group leaders and clinicians from a whole range of backgrounds, the press release tells of Occuptational Thearpists mixing with textile artists and fMRI specialists.  It is now a cause of some considerable interest to find and utilize the ways knitting can have a tangible, beneficial impact on people’s lives. A Daily Mail article last year told of how one woman’s turned to knitting to help her through chemotherapy, it said:

As I watched the jumper grown inch by inch, I felt a quiver of pleasure, and for the first time I dared to hope that I might actually live to wear it …

A growing school of thought believes that repetitive actions disable the brain’s ‘rage pathway’ – the area that becomes active when we are under attack, causing adrenaline to sour and your heart to race. Neuroscientists believe that these tasks – knitting, weeding your garden, doing a jigsaw or even running – deactivate the rage pathway, and renew our sense of ‘agency and control’, making us calmer and more at peace.

Tessa Cunningham, ‘What would you turn to when facing death?’ Mail Online, 26 Nov 2012.

It seems that, whether you rely on your knitting simply to keep your silly frustrations with the world at bay or to dispel dark clouds of illness and mortality, you are not imagining its success. I myself can vouch for the power of knitting  with some of our luxury yarn to help me through a trivial but traumatic temporary Internet blackout!

So there we have it folks. Knitting: not only will it save your sanity, it might just save your life.

 

 

Creative Cures

So it’s 2013 now, lovely BD people, and it’s time for a new blog post for the new year. It’s taken me a while to get going for a few reasons, mostly holidays and jetlag but also toothache and a complete lack of ideas on what to write about. Fortunately I have found the cure. Whether you are blocked by its-only-Wednesday-itis, flood drama or, in my case, a troublesome wisdom tooth there is only one way forward; colour work. Seriously, just ask the January winner over at the Biggan Design Ravelry page who took out the competition with a scrumptious colour work beanie: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/IngridMO/norwegian-fairisle-snowflake-hat.

Now my talents run nowhere near that level but I did decide that the only way to jump back on the blog horse and get my Biggan Design hat on (figuratively) was to make a BD hat (literally) to wear for blogging. Somewhere along the way that idea turned into a Biggan Design headband. So here I am, with all the required extra energy and athleticism (blogging is seriously hard work you guys!) and raring to go.

Primed for blog action

Primed for blog action

SO …

How were your holidays? I hope a very merry Christmas and suitably raucous New Year was had by all. As for myself, I indulged in my favourite past time of all on a family skiing holiday. Those who know me and my lack of both coordination and sporting ability are usually shocked at my love of skiing, having made the foolish mistake of assuming skiing holidays are all about exercise. It is, of course, mostly about sliding between meals. Between gloriously cheesy, rich and frequent meals. With wine. Delightful. I understand if this is making you jealous, it should be. To be honest I’m a little jealous of my past self.

*sigh*

*sigh*

The point of this rambling is that while on this food extravaganza trip we were snowed in for a whole day. I exaggerate a little, it was possible but extremely unpleasant to go outside without almost zero visibility, nevertheless I was faced with a day in a rustic chalet around a warm fire. I know, because you are all appreciators of BD yarn and therefore people of impeccable taste, what you are thinking; that sounds like perfect knitting conditions. You are, of course, right. I had forgotten to bring any of my own though, having stuffed the suitcase full of knitted presents and last minute present knitting supplies only. Fortunately my fellow holidaymaker had brought yarn and a pattern for some ADORABLE baby booties (finished product below).

CUTE!

CUTE!

Meanwhile this same stylish lady had been the lucky recipient of BD hot water bottle kit for Christmas so joined me in a knit-stravaganza. Behold the results.

In Progress

In Progress

IMAG0396

After my return to these alternately sunburnt and drenched shores I received an email with a pic of the finished project. Much needed it was too since London started snowy it’s icy heart out as soon as I left :(

Hottie hanging out by the fire.

Hottie hanging out by the fire.

So much brightness

So much brightness

I shall leave you today with a couple of links to fire the imagination and provide your yarn-spiration for the upcoming week.

Some clever use of knitting by a commercial photography student/knitter in the UK – knitted hair! http://pinterest.com/source/louisewalkerphotography.com/

Plus some seriously old school knitting from the Met’s Costume Institute http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/80093646?rpp=20&pg=1&ft=2009.300.1111&pos=1

‘Tis the Season to Swelter

So this weeks offering will have very similar themes to my last post; heat and Christmas. It is still ridiculously hot and this hasn’t made the stress of my first Christmas knitting presents for people any easier.  Naturally to the horror of Queensland summer temperatures I have added the inevitable wrist/shoulder strain of the last minute knitter. Tragedy. When you factor in that it’s too hot for coffee some days it’s a miracle I manage to function at all.

I have rallied the remnants of my festive spirit however, and will not let this minor set back upset my plans for an awesome Christmas. Mostly I am excited about going to England and seeing dear old friends in good ol’ London town. Some of the rest of my excitement comes from really getting to grips with some Biggan Design yarn for the first time while making those presents.

Using some of the myriad little patterns and gems of ideas on the Internet I used some of my favourite, best and brightest Biggan colours for presents. Other than the pure joy of seeing a bag of BD yarns finally in my knitting cupboard (Bright Jade, Deep Turquoise, Yellow, Cerise and Coral Red for those who are curious) the best thing about using them was how good even the simplest stitches looked. Even in the brightest of sunshine and the intense summer palette around me, the little woolen trinkets came out looking like little bursts of colour joy. Win.

So while I run around like a headless chicken trying to successfully pack winter clothes without touching them, I thought I’d share some pictures of those little bursts of colour with you all. I particularly enjoy the his’n'hers mug warmers.

Photo on 19-12-12 at 4.22 PMPhoto on 19-12-12 at 4.25 PM

 

I’m off to the other hemisphere for a while but will try to send some quick updates from the fireplaces/ski slopes I find myself on. Happy holidays to all you Bigganites, especially those of you kind enough to read the blog posts!

Until 2013 … assuming the Mayans weren’t right.

A Colourful Christmas Crafternoon

It was a 30 something degree summer day in Newstead but the inside of Biggan Design HQ had been transformed into a Sweedish Christmas wonderland. Candles a-burning, tea a-brewing , mouths a-chewing gingerbread cookies and all around being watched over by a friendly Christmas wreath. If it weren’t for the sun streaming in the windows you wouldn’t recognize this as a Queensland scene.

 ImageImage

This is phase one of Biggan Designs Christmas Blitz and we are powering up for a Crafternoon of making lovely bits and bobs for you lovely BD fans to purchase and spread the love this festive season regardless of which hemisphere you reside in. Tea cosy kits, 64 colour kits, hot water bottle packs and all the festive colour joy you could wish for.

Image

Since this is my first Christmas season working with the lovely Biggan Design ladies I didn’t quite know what to expect form the Christmas Crafternoon. Unsurprisingly it was, like everything else Biggan, more colourful, more fun and just a bit crazier than you first expect.

Never let it be said that we didn’t get into the spirit of the occasion, bravely ignoring the thermostat the Santa hats came out to make sure that the goodies were being made with the right festive spirit.

Followed of course by a lunch of Ikea’s finest produce. I’ll admit to being a little skeptical about sardines and the Dryck Julmust in particular. I’m also a big enough person to admit how wrong I was. De-freaking-licous, the lot of it.

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So if anyone is stuck for ideas for this festive season BD has plenty of options for you, from stash bags and special Hot Water Bottle kits (even some Christmas coloured ones) to our gorgeous gift cards. The gift cards are a great idea if you find yourself lacking the inspiration of the time to come up with something for you knitting mad friends a family, plus they are made with a pretty picture of our yarn on them!

As always check the website http://www.biggandesign.com/ to view or purchase any of the crafty magic we made for you and we hope you are all enjoying the warm up to this Christmas, be it swelteringly hot or bitterly cold.

Happy Christmas Knitters