Tag Archives: yarn

Why Merino?

As anyone who saw this week’s Australian A-Plus section knows there will be a very special competition happening this Saturday at London Fashion Week. The International Woolmark Prize will be handed out to one of six designers (including Australian Dion Lee) who best highlights ‘the beauty of the Merino wool fibre’ (“International Woolmark Prize – The Preview”, The Woolmark Company, http://www.woolmark.com/mr-iwp-preview2013). With luminaries such as Diane von Furstenberg, Donatella Versace and the one and only Posh Spice herself busy judging Merino masterpieces it is as good a time as any to revisit the many advantages Merino brings to everyone from fashion giants to your humble knitting blogger.

Woolmark itself published an article just last month detailing why Merino is such a good chioce for fashion and design (http://www.woolmark.com/benefits-fashion-and-design).  Obviously the luxurious drape, versatility and extremely soft feel of Merino are big advantages to anyone, but it is the lightness and breathable quality of clothing made from Merino that makes it so comfortable to wear, particularly in a variable climates.

When it comes to knitting the unique benefits of Merino really come into their own. The softness means that any yarn made from Merino is pleasant to handle and easy to knit with, in the fleeces used to make Biggan Design yarn Merino’s softness is crossed with the more durable Border Leicester fibers to make a yarn that is as strong as it is luxurious. When you’ve had the pleasure of knitting together a garment from BD yarn you’ll notice even more benefits. The resulting clothing will be breathable, able to release heat and absorb water while resisting odours, all while staying so comfy you can wear it right against your skin.

So next time you cast on with some scrummy, luxury Merino yarn remember that what you are about to make will be a delight to look at AND a delight to wear!

Gelati now available

If you’re looking for last-minute gift ideas, Biggan has just released three new patterns.

The luscious sorbet colours of Gelati will brighten even the darkest winter day. With three individual patterns available – a miniskirt, boobtube & wristwarmer set, and scarf & beanie set – there’s a little something for everyone’s Christmas stocking.

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…

Meet Nisse

Our new recruit — Nisse is Elf in Charge of Christmas Cheer!

Just in time for the silly season, Nisse has arrived at the Biggan Design office!

In all the craziness of preparing for Christmas, it’s easy to get so stressed that we forget that this is supposed to be a time of joy. So Nisse’s job is to remind us of that here at Biggan Design.

And just look at him — who could fail to smile when confronted with this colourful little person?

Alan Dart’s patterns look so impressively complex when finished, but they are not terribly hard to knit … although they can be a bit fiddly. All in all, Nisse took less than 15 hours of knitting time! Working circularly certainly cut down the amount of finishing required too, although there were still quite a few pieces to sew together at the end.

To convert the pattern to circular knitting, I kept the stitch counts the same and simply joined the end of the first row to the beginning. I worked on four DPNs for the larger diameter sections (the head and body), and on two for the smaller diameter pieces (hat, legs, arms and neck). The more fiddly pieces, such as the shoes, hands and cuffs, I worked flat and seamed. Blocking all of the pieces lightly helped to ensure the cast-on edges didn’t roll, and made sewing Nisse together much easier.

Working on such small circular knitting pieces has given me a much greater appreciation for the elasticity of Biggan yarn; even when working on only two needles, I had no ladders to contend with at the point where I changed DPNs. And when my elf legs turned out vastly different sizes — goodness only knows what I was thinking of to change my tension that drastically! — I was easily able to block them to a more consistent length and width.

Every office needs a Christmas elf…

Our inspiration

With only three weeks left before Christmas Eve — how did that sneak up on us so fast? — Henri and I decided that we needed an extra pair of hands around the office.

Henri had bought a gorgeous Christmas elf, knitted from Biggan yarn, at Threads and More, which set us to thinking about knitting something similar as our Christmas office mascot.

I suggested that we look at Alan Dart’s whimsical Christmas toys. We eventually decided on the adorable Initial Imps, and I got to work rummaging through our yarn remnants to find a colour combination (seriously, I have the best job on earth!).

The Biggan yarn palette lends itself beautifully to Alan’s patterns and, with 64 colours to choose from, our little Nisse was always going to be the trendsetter of the Christmas elf world. I finally settled on Lime (#405), Burnt Orange (#280) and Royal Purple (#805).

 

Our office Christmas elf is still in pieces, but not for long…

I made some minor modifications to the pattern, mostly to accommodate my colour scheme eg working the stockings in three colours instead of two, and with three rows of each colour. Given our hectic Christmas knitting schedules, I also decided to knit Nisse in the round — even though it is already a quick knit, I figure I will save a lot of time by not having to seam each piece.  Leaving the stitch counts the same, and working on 3mm DPNs, I simply joined the end of the first row to the beginning and just kept knitting.

I’m a little behind schedule thanks to the arrival of my best friend’s new baby, but Nisse should be finished this weekend, so stay posted for pics of him in all his multicoloured glory.