Like the La Ville de l'Amour socks, this next project from the London Craft Guide is also inspired by an iconic landmark. We love how designer Kirsten Bedigan has visually represented the London Eye in her South Bank Shawl. Options are provided for the shawl in the book, allowing you to knit it as either a full or semi-circle and either with or without beads.
YITC: Tell us about the inspiration for your design.
KB: South Bank was inspired by the London Eye. The shape and structure of the wheel seemed to fit beautifully with the idea of a shawl, especially since from so many directions you just catch glimpses of it rather than the full thing – a semi-circular shawl seemed very fitting.
YITC: What was your most memorable crafty vacation - where and why? What did you do?
KB: Probably my first visit to Iceland in 2013. I went on a last minute trip to Reykjavik with my Mum, and tried to get to as many yarn stores as possible, plus I spent the evenings teaching Mum how to knit socks!
YITC: Do you buy souvenir yarn or fabric? What do you look for?
KB: Oh yes – Yarn, always yarn. Generally, I try and go for things which I cannot easily purchase in person at home, especially yarns local to the area.
YITC: Tell us about you and your personal design style. How does your project fit in?
KB: I have a long-standing fascination with colour and texture – either through lace or decorative stitches. My early designs were focused very heavily on colourwork and strong motifs, but I’ve been moving more towards lace and using those techniques to create texture and interest. With South Bank, the challenge was less colour-based and instead focused more on the airiness of the piece. For such a big structure, there is a lot of space in the actual wheel and I wanted to try and convey that feeling.
YITC: What creative (or travel!) plans do you have for 2016?
KB: 2016 will be a busy year for travel - Rome and Reykjavik are first up, one for work and one for holiday. More yarn shopping is order, plus the obligatory travel knitting.
From a creative perspective, I’ve just finished a shawl collection and I have a few patterns coming out with yarn companies over the next few months. I have some ideas on several colourwork collections, so the plan is to focus on those.
YITC: What's your favorite part of the designing/creative process?
KB: I really enjoy trying to take the idea out of my head and get it down on paper (or the computer screen). So converting an shape or motif to sketch or charts. I have a notebook which is basically my personal chart dictionary, new ideas get added to that.
YITC: Do you have a favourite designer who's work you follow?
KB: I love Kate Davies designs, she has such a clear and distinctive voice to her patterns. I also love TinCanKnits – their way of presenting and writing their patterns is so effective, and the finished items are incredibly wearable.
YITC: What are your designing essentials?
KB: Graph paper, coloured pencils, sketchbook, charting software. I find the sketching and working up charts by hand at first extremely useful.