Rainbow ruffles take home the prize

Congratulations to Christine Jones, who is the first winner of our monthly competition with her self-designed Arwen rainbow ruffle skirt.

© Christine Jones. Used with permission.

A resident of Australia’s Northern Rivers region and a knitter for almost 30 years, Christine has recently turned her hand to designing patterns. Her first published pattern, Flamenco, is featured on the cover of the current issue of Australian knitting magazine, Yarn.

“I’ve always loved colour and that’s what I really like about Biggan yarn,” Christine says. “I bought a few different colours from Biggan at a craft fair in Brisbane earlier this year, and did a couple of samples for the course I’m doing.

“I’m not sure where the actual inspiration for the skirt came from. I guess it was having all those single balls in different colours. The materials influenced the design…and I also love frills,” Christine said.

Christine is currently working on grading Arwen, so keep an eye out for this exciting new pattern.

Christine has won two 50g balls of Biggan DK/8 ply yarn in Emerald, and we hope this provides her with inspiration to design more fabulous things!

And remember, if you’re on Ravelry, why not enter our monthly competition? All you have to do is knit or crochet a project using Biggan yarn, and then share it with the Biggan Designs group so that it shows up in the “Recently Completed Projects” from group members.

We will be announcing our second winner on 1 January, so don’t forget to post your projects to the group by 31 December!

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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.

Stitches and song at the Swedish Church in London

On Tuesday afternoon, I popped in to the newly started Stick- och Syjunta (Knit and Knatter) at the Swedish Church here in London.  I had a wonderful time with the loveliest people, all talented knitters and very interested to be working with our yarn. One of the pastors, Björn, even came down to join us for a bit — he is a charismatic young guy and a keen knitter!!! I’ve been invited to show our yarns and knitwear at their next meeting in February.

During the evening I do not know how many people came up and complimented me on my red Saya wrap and my pumpkin Mary skirt and Georgia sweater. So many were interested in knitting the Saya wrap, which is great! It is a most useful garment for any occasion, be it travelling, out on the town, on the sofa with a book, or to a concert at night!

I stayed on for a fabulous Advent Concert that evening, held first at the church with traditional Christmas music, and later down in the refectory for a more frivolous performance. The quality of the performers was superb. Swedish mezzo soprano Catrin Johnsson and soprano Linda Johnsson, accompanied by Rachel Fuller at the piano, filled the church with beautiful Christmas carols, and later Johan Hugosson performed an almighty piano sonata by Frans Schubert. The world-renowned a capella quartet Cantabile sang a wonderful rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas, with such hilarity and cheek that they had us all in awe and stitches! I’m definitely a fan, and will be following very closely where they will be performing again. They are extraordinary in their musical range and acting skills within the musical context. 

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.

PS. Don’t forget to check out our free patterns for more quick and easy Christmas decoration ideas!