Category Archives: Biggan At Large

Spotted: Biggan Design out and about

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.

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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.

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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

Astounding Autumn in New Hampshire

Exciting news. We’ve just had an update from Biggan about her amazing time at the New Hampshire Knitting Lab. Here is what she has to say about the event:

Knitting Lab 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire was a true experience of colour. The landscape around me was a breathtaking palette of the most vibrant autumn colours imaginable. Reds, oranges and yellows in every possible shade, looking as if they were taken straight out of my colour card!

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It has been an immensely stimulating and positive experience for me coming in contact with so many wonderful customers, especially ones as crazy about colours as I am!

Here is Edd, the Mayor of White Hall, Michigan and also a knitter, but of small things as he put it. He put a smile on my face every morning when he appeared at the Market place in yet another formidable creation knitted by his talented and indefatigable wife Lynn. I promised Edd that when I get back to Oz I’ll design a vibrant Rainbow sweater for him and call it EDD! Image

Meeting up with and getting to know many of the well-known knit designers in the US was a highlight. Hearing Barbara Walker talk about her knitting life and all the other pursuits she has engaged in throughout her long life was truly inspirational.

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Giving my first two Continental Knitting classes in the US was also a wonderful experience. Every one of my students was so hard working and conscientious that at the end of our three-hour class they were well on their way to confidently knitting the continental way. Thank you all for making it such a memorable experience. Sadly I was so intent on teaching I forgot to take any photos during class!!!

A class with the hilarious and inspirational Annie Modesitt was another highlight, as was an impossibly difficult class with Suzann Thompson, knitting argyle on circ. needles with intartia. Having no lunch and being on my feet since 9am talking to customers was not the best way to prepare for her class at 1:30 pm! I would advise you to be well rested and well fed to get the blood flowing to the brain and you’ll get it at first try. IF, of course, you follow the excellent instructions word by word, instead of thinking you know it all and taking fatal short cuts!!

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Guerilla crafters dress Brisbane in winter woollies

If you’ve been in the Brisbane city heart this week, you may have noticed that it is a bit more colourful than usual.

Pompoms are hanging from trees, green hearts and mushrooms have sprung up in the quirkiest of places, and the statues have put on their woollies to ward off  the winter chill – like this little fella in King George Square, who’s sporting a very nice stripey scarf (in Biggan yarn, of course!):

© Stephen Jaensch. Used with permission.

They are all part of I Knit Brisbane, a community knitting and crochet project that brought together crafters from all over Brisbane – school students, artists, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, seniors groups, knitting/crochet groups and associations, and the craft businesses that service them.

Hundreds of hours of knitting, crocheting and assembly went on behind the scenes, culminating in a massive effort on the night of 31 May, when the guerilla crafters took to the streets of Brisbane to ensure the city heart was warm and cosy for the first day of winter. I wish I could have seen the faces of the city workers when they came across their first piece of woollen sculpture that morning – I hope it made them smile!!

Biggan and I were awed and inspired by the army of fantastically creative guerilla crafters who put their hearts and hands into making Brisbane a warmer place this winter. We were honoured to be a small part of this amazing community by providing some of the wool for the installations.

Channel 9′s news story about the project can be viewed here (and yes, that is Biggan being interviewed behind Sebastian di Mauro’s hand sculpture)

If you’re in Brisbane and want to check out I Knit Brisbane, this map will point you in the right direction…

Front Row at the QUT BFA Graduate Fashion Shows

Last week sitting front row at the QUT BFA Graduate Fashion Shows took me back to my days as  a fashion journalist in London.

Vivien’s  gamine models stalked the catwalk (a smile or two wouldn’t have gone astray) in vertiginous platform heels creating the illusion of legs that reached the armpits and the audience holding their breath lest there were a repeat of the  historical Naomi Campbell ( at Vivienne Westwood show in 1993) moment and a model toppling out of her shoes.

In its fourth year of graduating student collections the QUT BFA Fashion Show,  showcased this years 17 graduating student collections.

Kirsten Siemon Design – Hannah Millerick PhotographyHenrietta with Student Designer Kirsten Siemon – Hannah Millerick Photography

Two of the graduating  students Kirsten Siemon and Robyn Taggart  incorporated handknit pieces in their collections using Biggan Design 100% Australian Merino Yarn.
Kirsten  was influenced by Swedish knitwear designer Sandra Backlund with her wearable art style handknit accessory/garment.
Biggan was given  an exclusive  private preview of both Kirsten and Robyn’s collections a few hours before her flight departed for London on Friday 6th November, and she exclaimed that she would love to own Kirsten’s piece as it would make a great travel accessory for getting comfortable on airline seats.
Robyn Taggart’s collection featured  an abundance of stylish and contemporary knitwear. Robyn used Biggan Design 100% Australian Merino First Cross yarn to fashion eye-catching detail on merino jersey garments, combining cutting edge fashion with traditional hand-knitting techniques.

From a field of 17 graduates, Robyn was selected as the winner of the Design Institute of Australia Professional Excellence award for her collection at last week’s QUT Bachelor of Fine Arts (Fashion) 2009 graduate show Collections.

It was very exciting to see Robyn’s collection especially  as Robyn did an internship with Biggan Design earlier this year as part of her fashion degree. During Robyn’s internship Biggan and I recognised her talent and energy and we were therefore very happy to mentor and sponsor her in the development of her graduating collection.

I am so proud of Robyn and the knitwear collection she produced which is  both trendsetting and highly wearable.

Mondrian Inspired Sweater by Robyn Taggart – Hannah Millerick Photography

Robyn’s collection perfectly combined the conceptual with the commercial. It showed knitting is not just for nannas, but can be high fashion in the right hands.

An inspirational weekend at Harrogate

Just back from a most stimulating weekend up at the Woolaballoo yarn stall at Harrogate, with Lucy Bush and her lovely mother, Anne. This year I opted to do the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate with Woolaballoo, as they have all our yarns and are doing a stellar job of selling them. I was lucky to meet quite a few loyal knitters at the stall and together we put together some beautiful individually chosen colour combinations, particularly for the Sarah sweater and the Judith vest. It always makes me happy to see other knitters playing around with my wide range of colours and using it, just as it was meant, as a colour palette of yarn to be inspired by. It was lucky that I decided to do the show with Woollaballoo this year, as I went down with the most horrendous tummy flu shortly after arriving in the UK, which knocked me for six, and no food for three days. I was very happy to have Lucy and her mum organising the stall and the running of it.

Biggan with Lucy of Woolaballoo at Harrogate Knitting & Stitching show, Nov 09

I managed to get up on the Saturday afternoon after several long standstills on the motorway for roadworks! But it was all worth it. The Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show is definitely one of my favourites. Not only is it situated in one of the most picture perfect Victorian spa towns you can imagine, with the best shopping possible and a lot of good restaurants, but the show itself has such a variety of exquisite craft exhibitions on hand. Houston-based Cindy Hickok’s masterful machine embroidery of selected bits from famous artists’ best known works, from the renaissance until our time, had me completely gobsmacked. Her mastery of the machine and getting all these famous characters perfectly reproduced in an entirely new setting and with hilarious captions to go with it – very much tongue in cheek – had me back there twice slowly trailing every picture. I could have bought the lot, had I had the money!

Then I saw the knitted boat, yes, that’s right, the fabulous art project put together by the Sanford Goudie Gallery at the Customs House in Tyne & Wear, UK, by knitting a coat and a sail for a boat and putting it to use in the water!!! The knitting had been coordinated by very colourful knitting artist Ingrid Wagner using her enormous knitting needles. I also saw US based Tom Lundberg’s exhibition of beautifully machine embroidered artwork in the form of condensed sized badges, very skilfully executed. Lastly I ran into the embroidery duo Jean Littlejohn and Jan Beaney, whose fabulous embroidered wall hangings I was already admiring last year at the main exhibition. There they had a lot of pieces inspired by the Australian bush, which, of course, struck a special chord with me.

I’m now back in London again working on a plethora of new designs and ideas. I don’t know quite what to prioritise as they all are as much fun to develop and knit – several children’s garments, a shrug for a wedding in Adelaide in December and some commissioned work to get ready for deadlines. But it is all fun and I am brimming over with new ideas. London is a very stimulating place for me to be, as a designer. The enormous variety of art exhibitions, beautiful parks and buildings, theatres and movies make my inspiration soar.