Introducing our latest free pattern, the Cecelia Cowl! This beautiful knit uses almost an entire ball of Freia Super Bulky Ombre so there are minimal leftovers, plus it’s extra cosy! Make sure to read to the end of the post to find out how you could win one!
Created exclusively for Loop by Rachel Atkinson, designer, tech editor and long time friend of Loop who was inspired by Cecelia Campochiaro’s book ‘Sequence Knitting’ – hence the name!
Many thanks to Rachel Atkinson for the pattern, Susan Cropper for styling and Kristin Perers for her stunning photography.
Rachel’s inspiration for this pattern began back in Spring 2015 when she met Cecelia at fibre arts trade show TNNA (read more on Rachel’s blog!). Rachel remembers Cecelia, “brimming with infectious enthusiasm for the sequence knitting technique… there are so many possibilities with it and the directions it can take and I was immediately hooked!”
Haven’t heard of sequence knitting? Who better to explain it than the fabulous author of said book, Cecelia Campochiaro. We caught up with her to find out more about the project and about her upcoming visit to Loop.
How would you explain sequence knitting to someone who had never come across it?
“First, I ask if they are knitters or at least understand the concept of knit vs. purl. If they don’t, I look for a nearby sweater and explain knits and purls – ribbed cuffs help. Then I say to take a sequence of stitches, like K3, P2 and repeat them over and over again using an algorithm. Depending on the sequence and the algorithm, a fabric happens. This explanation works for my technical friends, who immediately harken to self-assembled structures in nature or to the use of algorithms which are used extensively in technology and computer science. If the person is non technical, but a knitter, I just say to take a sequence of stitches like K3, P2 and repeat that sequence again and again in some pre-planned way and a fabric will happen.
You’ve spent years working with advanced machines that analyse computer chips, how do you think this as inspired your knitting? (and vica versa!)
Looking for patterns in my early scientific work as a spectroscopist or looking for patterns of problems on computer chips both informed the development of Sequence Knitting. For example, I am sure that the idea of the serpentine method came from the way machines scan wafers in a serpentine pattern, because that is the most economical way to cover an entire wafer quickly (Think about trying to clean a film of charcoal off a dinner plate with a pencil eraser).
In terms of Sequence Knitting affecting my technical life, the learning has been more about how to market a new product. My technical products have always been pre-established factory equipment, so the marketing is about selling incremental improvements to stay on Moore’s Law. A self-published knitting book by a complete unknown, especially a big hardcover on a new concept, is a completely different challenge. Now when I meet someone in the technical world, I am more thoughtful about asking how much they understand and considering different ways to explain why a product might or might not help them improve their work.
We’ll start by learning the definition of Sequence Knitting, when and when not to use it, and some of the interesting properties that are unique to Sequence Knitting. In parallel, the class will work on swatches to illustrate 3 of the methods for repeating sequences. We’ll also cover how to read charts. Charts are not needed for Sequence Knitting, but they are a hugely helpful tool and are a little different for Sequence Knitting than for traditional knitting.
The most fun part comes next: students will have a chance to think about a project they’d like to do, and to begin swatching for that project. We’ll discuss gauge, colour, texture, fibre, variegated/solids, and how these properties all work together to create a fabric with a look and feel to the knitter’s choosing.
Most importantly, we’ll have a nice day. This is all about having fun!
Any yarns you are looking to seeing (or purchasing!) when you visit the shop?
This will be my fourth visit to Loop. Whenever I am in London I always make a trip to Islington to visit and usually find a few things that are hard to get at home (like Wollmeise) plus some of my favourites (Brooklyn Tweed, Woolfolk, Freia,…and many others). Loop has a truly extraordinary selection. I’m also excited to see some of the British yarns. The renaissance in British wool is really great. I’ll be attending the Edinburgh Yarn Festival and can’t wait to meet some of these small producers in person.
Thanks Cecelia! We are looking forward to your visit.
The Cecelia cowl takes just one skein of Freia Super Bulky Ombre in the colour Nautilus. (More Freia is on its way to us and will arrive Tuesday 23rd February!)
As Rachel said, her inspiration for the pattern started at TNNA, but also the choice of yarn, “At the same show Susan met with Tina of Freia Fibres who was previewing her incredible new super bulky yarn and, as they say, the rest is history!”
“Inspired by both the book and the yarn I designed the Cecelia cowl using a basic form of sequence knitting which works so well with the gradient and shaded colourways of the Freia Fibers yarn.“
We also found time to squeeze in a chat with Tina Whitmore, founder of Freia Fibres!
Hi Tina! How did Freia Fibres start?
Freia Fine Handpaint yarns was an offshoot of Knitwhits, my knitting pattern and kit company (Loop stocks several Knitwhits patterns too!). It was originally a foray into creating the yarns I wanted to knit with, in the colors I wanted, that I was unable to find in the market. The offshoot rapidly grew and overtook its parent and is now far larger than I could have ever expected.
You obviously have an affinity with colour, what is your process and inspiration for the amazing gradients your create?
I’m quite slow at developing new colours, I usually mull on my ideas for at least 6 months to a year before releasing them. If I still am infatuated with a colour concept a year from when it first sprouted in my consciousness then I’m fairly confident that it’s a keeper. I take inspiration from random things that I come across or a feeling or experience. Colours are more visceral than intellectual for me.
We’ve fallen for the shade Nautilus which we’ve used for the cowl, do you have any favourite Freia colours that you find it hard to part with?
I’m very excited about the spring 2016 colours. We have two new muted shades, Canyon and Vintage, and two very bright, overly saturated ones, Vamp and Aloha. I can never pick a single favourite. It’s one of the most common questions you hear in the studio “what’s your favourite colour?”. I would also say that I never really part with any of them and when the fancy takes me I just come up with a new one.
Have you chosen your favourite colour of Freia? Well we’ve got one ball of our favourite Nautilus up for grabs! To enter our giveaway, simply leave a comment on the post saying who you’d love to make this cowl for and gain extra points by following the instructions on our Instagram account LoopLondonLoves (and if you do enter on Instagram too, let us know on the blog in a separate comment)
Make sure you get your comment posted by midnight Wednesday 24th February. We will pick a name at random and announce the winner on next weeks blog.
Cecelia Cowl is a free pattern. All images and text are copyright of Loop Knitting Ltd. It is for personal and non-profit use only. This means you can knit it for yourself, as a gift or for charity. You may not sell a garment made from this pattern. You may not reproduce this for sale. Please ask if you wish to translate it or use to teach a class. Thank you.