Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 Interview with Kari Helene Rane
Isis Tailcoat by Kari Helene Rane
Today we’re chatting to a good friend of mine, Kari Helene Rane, over to you Kari, tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Kari-Helene and I am a Norwegian living in the UK with my little family consisting of my husband, 2 year old daughter and a crazy dog.
How did you get into knitting/crochet and who taught you?
My mum and my grandma taught me when I was little but I never actually completed a knitted garment until I was 22 and at university.
What made you want to start designing?
I think I always had a passion for design. I made clothes for my dolls when I was little and created themed collections for my paper dolls. It wasn’t until I worked in a haberdashery as a 20 year old and met someone who was a fashion designer that I realised you could do that for a living!
What’s you favourite part of the design process?
It’s hard to pick just one favourite, every part has its charm, but I do love the photoshoot when I get to see how my ideas have come together for that final look.
Muna Jumper by Kari Helene Rane
What inspires you?
Vintage 30s – 40s and 50s fashion.
Are you a full-time or part-time designer and how does that fit into your life?
I am trying to be a part time mum and a full time designer which sometimes mean I am not doing particularly well at either…
Do you have much time to make things for yourself or for gifting?
This will always depend on how efficient I am…
Maddie Children’s Dress by Kari Helene Rane
If someone knitted or crocheted a gift item for you, what would you love the most?
I have never designed or knitted a shawl and I don’t think I ever will, so I would love a nice shawl I could wrap up in over the winter months.
Do you have a favourite yarn and why?
At the moment my favourite is Beyul from Kettle Yarn Co. So deliciously soft and such beautiful colours.
What’s your favourite of your own designs and what do you love about it?
I’m just finishing my own Muna Jumper and I am so excited about it. I think I am going to live in it! See above for photo showing the neck details.
Seil Coat by Kari Helene Rane
Is there anything new you can tell us about or a recent design you’d like to chat about?
My most recent release is the Seil Coat and I designed this when I won Designer of the year in Knit Now magazine.
What’s your favourite colour?
Is grey a colour? If so, grey!
Have you been a participating designer in the Indie Gift Along before and what do you love most about it?
Yes, this is my fourth time and I love the cross promotional aspect of the event. Everyone is so good at supporting each other!
Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?
I have recently come to love Hunter Hammersen’s little ornaments. I’m usually not one for tiny knits, but her trees, stars and acorns are adorable!
How do people get in touch with you or see more of your work?
I’ve been having a good look at all the designers for the Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 and found my Shawl favourites from this year’s patterns. I hope you love them as much as I do. I’ve included a photo, a link and why I like the particular pattern.
I loved this shawl pattern, Shake it up by Anna Johanna. I love it for a couple of reasons, anyone who knows me well would laugh, but partly because of the asymmetry and my desire to always stand out. But, I think I fell in love with the soft/muted colours and the gentle contrast of this particular shawl design. It has texture, colourwork, asymmetry and is an absolute stunner of a shawl.
Another shawl pattern added to my queue, this shawl is by Amy Van De Laar and goes with her Beeswax set. I made the hat a few years ago and wear it a lot in Winter. How could I not fall in love with the accompanying Beeswax Shawl and it’s cute hive pattern? I do have some mustard/gold coloured yarn that would be perfect for this shawl. I need more hours in the day!
This beautiful shawl pattern, Smriti by Nidhi Kansal, is so elegant and graceful. Look at the drape and shaping of it, I can see Audrey Hepburn wearing this with a sheath dress, heels and a fabulous hat, can’t you?
Time for a bit of crochet with From The Ashes Shawl by Rachy Newin. I know many of you are big fans of Rachy Newin. Rachy has gone to great lengths to show that crochet is worthy of the most amazing yarns, gradients and colour combinations and I love to see what she comes up with next.
I love this photo, the contrast of the cold background and the rich, warmth of the mustard/gold/yarn. Absolutely stunning shawl from Marie Amelie called Rauli, it’s brioche for all you brioche nuts out there. You know you want to!
I wanted to find more crochet shawls and this darling design by Michele DuNaier leapt off the page. It’s one of her Downton Abbey inspired designs and this is Violet’s Garden Shawl. I love anything purple so the colour was a winner for me, but the texture and pattern is fabulous.
I love the colour blocking and the changes of texture/pattern with each colour change of this particular shawl. The designer is a wizard with cables, check out her hats and cardigans to see more, but this is beautiful. It helps that it’s Autumnal, rich shades and I’m a Autumn. Cannot resist it!
I could have chosen any pattern from Nim’s amazing range, but this one drew me in with colours I can’t resist. This one is mosaic knitting but is really colourwork stripes with slipped stitches so you only work with one colour at a time. It can be used to create amazing patterns and is so much easier than stranding when you’re starting out.
Paola has an awesome eye for colour and her designs always stand out in any crowd but for all the right reasons. This one features brioche, stripes and a bit of lace, lots of fun for the money and you’ll learn a lot knitting it.
Who can resist that pattern name? Not me, so it’s here. I love that Barbara has created a simple shawl that allows a highly variegated skein of yarn to shine. I’m not the only one who has a ton of them with no clue what to knit or crochet. Now you know, Every Witch Way but lose, right?
Talitha’s designs definitely have an urban, edgy feel to them, just like the designer. Clean lines, blocks of colour and clever use of shape and drape for a modern look. I love this shawl, it’s unapologetic in it’s lines, stern and yet quietly confident. It definitely says you’re alright, whatever life throws at you.
A bit of crochet this time and I do love the drape and shaping on this simple shawl from Ruth Brasch, it’s clever in it’s use of highly variegated yarns and whips them into submission. No more dreaming of what to do with that skein you sit and pet or stare at, never quite know what it wants to be. I’m tell you, it needs to be a Seaweed Swirl!
I remember Allison designing this shawl and I’ve loved it ever since. Inspired by the Himalayas and using a yarn called Mr Darcy, I’d have thought this was every woman’s and some men’s dream? Either way, the changing textures to represent the landscape and the cute knitted edging speak to my heart.
I love the simple design, the pretty lace panel in the centre and the name, what girl wouldn’t want a diamond mine? I have the pattern and I’ve made this for my Mum using some superwash sock yarn, she loves it and claimed it the second she saw it.
I wanted to show you our Wheatsheaf Cowl Pattern, for sale on Ravelry. I used some wonderful Rowan Yarn Company Cashsoft Aran which is softer than butter and so warm. I made samples of the Wheatsheaf Cowl pattern using both Aran and DK weight yarns. The difference in circumference was 26inch for the Aran and 22 inch for the DK version. One of our pattern testers for the Wheatsheaf Cowl knitted the cable pattern repeat twice to make a taller cowl, you’d use more yarn, but it would be fabulously warm if you live in colder climate.
Knitted in aran weight yarn, the Wheatsheaf Cowl is a speedy knit, easily made over a few evenings of knitting. Ideal for Christmas knitting or gift knits.
A great stash buster, the Wheatsheaf Cowl is a quick knit. Easily finished in a few evenings by the fire and is toasty warm. Great for gifting and a chance to use up a bit of stash, you’ll need between 200-225 yards (depending on size) but you’ll need more if you knit a deeper cowl.
Wheatsheaf Cowl knitting pattern, image shows matching Wheatsheaf Hat
You could cast on three times as many stitches for a looped style cowl if you wanted the extra warmth, but this will use at least three times the yardage and you might need a little extra if you add depth/height to the ribbed sections. This would loop easily twice around your neck and look fabulous.
The cable pattern used in the Wheatsheaf Cowl pattern reminds me of a Wheatsheaf, hence the name, but bluesocks thought they looked like X’s for kisses. Either way, I love it. It’s a quick knit, great way to use up small amounts of yarn and you can make a matching set as a gift.
The cable pattern has both charted and written instructions to suit your preference.
Wheatsheaf Cowl on cushion
Wheatsheaf Cowl Tension/Gauge
Gauge/Tension for body of cowl in cable pattern – unstretched: 16sts x 32 rows = 3in x 4in/7.5cm x 10cm with 5mm/US8 16sts x 32rows = 3 5/8th in 9.25cm x 4in/7.5cm x 10cm with 5.5mm/US9
Wheatsheaf Cowl Recommended Yarns
I made samples using the following yarns:
Rowan Yarn Company Cashsoft Aran
Rowan Cashsoft DK
Stylecraft Special DK
My Test Knitters used
Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK
I found the Aran weight yarn washed really well and still looks as good as the day it was knitted. The matching hat has worn equally well and is machine washable on a delicate setting.
I think you would need to use a cable needle for any of the Wheatsheaf patterns, the earlier cables in the pattern can be done without, but the central crossover cable does need a cable needle, or spare dpn.
I’ve been asked by a couple of knitters if the cowl could be worked in chunky or bulky weight yarn. The simple answer is yes. However, you’d need to go up a needle size to perhaps a 6mm needle to get enough drape to the piece and obviously both the height and circumference of the cowl would change.
I haven’t tried this myself so I can’t help you on yardage/meters required to complete the cowl.
Get the latest updates on our pattern releases, sneak peaks of what I’m working on and much more in our FREE Facebook Group
We recently released our Wheatsheaf Aran Socks Pattern, for sale on Ravelry. I used some wonderful Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted which was a gift from the lovely Joan Dyer. The socks use different needle sizes to achieve three sizes from Ladies Small/Child up to a Mens size with options for slim, regular and slouchy fit.
Knitted in aran weight yarn, the Wheatsheaf Aran Socks are a quick knit, easily made over a few evenings of knitting. Ideal for Christmas knitting or gift knits.
A great stash buster, the Wheatsheaf Aran Socks are a quick knit. Easily finished in a few evenings by the fire and are toasty warm. Great for gifting and a chance to use up a bit of stash, you’ll need between 200-260 yards (depending on size and if you make the longer, folded cuff.
The socks can be knitted at a tighter or looser gauge/tension and feature ribbing on the cuff, back of the leg, heel flap and sole to ensure a nice fit for many foot sizes. The socks are made for lounging, wearing around the house instead of slippers and relaxing. They’re an attractive sock for lazy days and nights by the fire.
Small US 4-6.5/UK 3-5.5
Medium US 7-9/UK 6-8
Large US 9.5-11/UK 8.5-11
slim fit: 4mm/US6 for all sock
regular: 4mm cuff, 4.5mm for sock
slouchy 4.5mm cuff, 5mm for sock.
I made samples of the small size using 5mm needles for the body of the sock in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted, they would easily fit a slimmer foot or a wider foot due to the nature of the yarn and how springy it is.
I made the large size using Stylecraft Heritage Aran (Acylic/wool blend) and 5mm needles. They fit a wider food very well and spring back to shape after a wash.
I made the small size using 4mm needles for the whole sock, this had good hard wearing fabric and was a lovely neat fit.
Sizing and Fit of the Wheatsheaf Aran Socks
If you want a slouchy sock, use larger needles and for a slimmer fitting more hard wearing sock, use smaller needles.
Size small using 4mm needles and acrylic blend yarn would easily stretch to fit a 9 inch foot circumference.
Size small using Lamb’s Pride and 5mm needles would easily stretch to a 10 or 11 inch foot circumference, but be less hard wearing.
If you need to make a longer foot, the charts are set up so you can repeat a section or part of chart as often as you need to get the desired length. I’ve also included which chart row I ended on for each of my samples so you have an idea of how it worked for me.
There are four options for your heel pattern. I’ve used a slip stitch heel and a ribbed heel for the samples, both worked well and gave a good fit.
I’m knitting another pair for Christmas this year, using some Rowan Calmer I had in stash. It’s so soft and will make such a comfy pair of socks. I’m tempted to make them in my size and keep them 🙂
I was recently asked by the wonderful Jody at Knotions to review the new Lacestar book by Elizabeth Felgate, many of you on Ravelry will know her designs. I love her Gaugeless range of sweaters and cardigans designed for any yarn weight.
Liz has an amazing eye for both colour and texture and whether you’re an experienced lace knitter or a newbie, you’ll absolutely love this book. Liz is known for her attention to detail and this really shows in the book, there’s a great deal of thought gone into making it easier for the knitter and to ensure any instructions are well explained before you start. There are lots of gorgeous photos and plenty of hints, tips and advice to take you through your lace projects. It’s an absolute bargain at $19.95 (plus VAT if you’re in the EU).
If you’re unfamiliar with Knotions.com, they’re an online publisher of knit and crochet patterns and their website is a virtual treasure trove of goodies including articles and some fabulous tutorials.
About the Lacestar book – a book review
The new Lacestar book is out this week and you can buy it here. (In the interests of transparency, this is an affiliate link and I’ll receive a small percentage from the sale of the book, it won’t affect the price you pay).
Lacestar by Liz Felgate for Knotions.com swatches of lace from the book
The ebook itself has over 70 pages of instructions for knitters of all levels.
how to read charts
the basics of lace knitting
more complex stitches
tips and tricks
There are clever charts and written patterns you can customize to your yarn/gauge and get the size you want. The book is organised into sections, showing the anatomy of lace stitches with clear photos and good written instructions for each pattern shown.
I love the design and layout of the Lacestar book. It’s a joy to read and the photos are fabulous. As always with Knotions.com, the page layouts are clean with plenty of white space. This makes the book easy to read and shows off any photographs, swatches and other details clearly. The book has easy to read fonts and is extremly well formatted.
How does all of this help someone who’s never knitted a lace pattern?
For starters, Liz Felgate clearly explains how lace stitches are formed, shows examples (homework) of patterns you can try with lace every other row and lace every row.
There is a section on using lifelines and I strongly suggest you read this and use them for larger lace projects.
Having ripped out a lace shawl made with laceweight mohair silk, I WISH I had used a lifeline at the time.
The sections on mirroring charts and more complex stitches like nupps were excellent and I certain you’ll find them really useful as you work your way through the book.
The suggestions for fixing mistakes and the magic of blocking will be some of the best tools in your knitting toolbox. I strongly suggest you take time to read them, you’ll learn a great deal.
I’m hoping to swatch one of the lace patterns over the weekend, unfortunately my day job has got in the way of things this last couple of weeks, but that’s all sorted out now. Check back in day or two for a swatch photo 🙂