Today sees the release of a gorgeous new book from Jane Burns called Lazy Sunday Socks. It’s a really beautiful collection: when Jane chose her skeins of yarn from us she picked a soft, dusky palette that I absolutely loved, and I was confident that Jane would create textures and designs that would work well with that. She did exactly that. When you see the pairs of socks together you can instantly tell they are from one cohesive collection, and they just look so cosy, appealing, and fun to both make and wear.
We’ll have Jane’s books on our Wonderwool Wales stall today, and hopefully up on the website thereafter. You can of course buy it straight from Jane, and the ebook on Ravelry (print books come with a Ravelry download code), and.. the yarn from us (obvs). Actually I say that; Tempo 4ply (superwash wool/nylon) hasn’t been available for a little while (it should be back soon), but I’ve made sure that we’ll at least start at Wonderwool with all of the colours on at least one type of sock-suitable 4ply yarn.
Anyway, I wanted to ask Jane a few questions, and here she is.
“Can you tell us a little about your background and how you came to become a designer?
I always wanted to be able to knit, my Nan was a wonderful knitter and I would sit by her side trying to master basic garter stitch strips, but my lack of patience and the fact that I would only knit using black yarn, hampered my efforts. It wasn’t until I was expecting my third child that knitting really ‘clicked’ with me. I was sat with a friend who was knitting away on a garment for her baby and I thought to myself, I really should be able to do this! So I taught myself from books and video clips, attended a knitting group and before long I was knitting socks.
Fast forward a couple of years and in 2009 I owned an online knitting shop (specialising in sock yarns) and Let’s Knit Magazine asked me if I was able to design a sock pattern for them. I had designed a couple of patterns for the shop, so I jumped at the chance. Over the years I have designed a massive variety of patterns, each one teaching me a new technique, but my first love was sock designing so it seemed only natural that my journey into self publishing start with a collection of sock patterns.
(Above: No Mind To Worry)
What’s your favourite garment or accessory to design and why?
Socks are my favourite accessory to design, they are small enough to satisfy the need to create relatively quickly, but they are large enough to allow me to experiment with texture and pattern, the possibilities with socks are endless. People are often more adventurous with their socks, in both wearing them and learning new techniques. They’re also wonderfully portable, so I can work on them wherever I am.
(Above: Sitting In A Rainbow)
Where do you go for inspiration? How does this influence what you decide to create within a design?
I keep sketch books and Pinterest boards and whenever something grabs my attention and inspires me I take a picture, sketch, or dive into my stash. That inspiration will come from everyday patterns, in garments, nature, architecture, art, the list is endless.
(Above: Nothing To Say)
Can you tell us about your process when you design a new piece?
Most designs start with Stitchmastery, I love this software! I will chart my ideas out and then manipulate them to fit the project. Once I am happy with the flow of the chart, I will begin to swatch, choosing yarns and of course, which shade of purple yarn to use!
(Above: Drift Away)
Where are your favourite places to go for tutorials and guides for knitting or crochet? Do you have a tutorial you would recommend?
If I am wanting to learn a new technique in depth I head over to Craftsy. If I am looking for a refresher I like Youtube. I recently filmed a short tutorial for applying beads to knitting using a crochet hook, you can find this on my website HERE.
(Above: No Room For Ravers)
What is your knitting nemesis? Is there any technique that gives you the shivers?
Sewing up garments, I really enjoy mattress stitch and I set out all excited stitching away but it just takes so long and I get frustrated.
What were your favourite properties of the Hayton 4ply yarn? How did these influence what you decided to design and why?
When I started designing Lazy Sunday Socks collection, I knew I wanted yarns that felt and looked indulgent, knitting time is so precious that I wanted the whole experience to be indulgent. Whilst Titus and Tempo 4ply are beautiful yarns, Hayton stole my heart. Hayton is so soft, with a wonderful stitch definition and the cashmere is divine to knit with and wear. But the hidden quality in this yarn is its strength. I was surprised how well the yarn held up to being ripped out and reknit a number of times.
(Above: All five socks together. SO pretty!)
Finally, if you had to pick just one ECY yarn and colourway, what would it be and why?
It would be Hayton 4ply in the colour Wild Raspberry, I am a total purple addict and this shade is just beautiful, timeless and just a little daring.”
Thankyou so much to Jane for answering my nosey questions with generosity; I really do adore this collection and I hope you guys will do too. As Jane said, socks are the most perfect project because they’re so portable, and you get a properly useful item at the end.
I’ll post the Ravelry link again HERE for you.. and.. enjoy!