Today we launch our newest pattern in collaboration with wonderful Paulina Popiolek, ‘Winter Whispers‘.
Paulina has been a visitor to the shop for many years, as well as supplying us with her wonderful patterns, including our most popular pattern ‘Cameo‘. She designed the beautiful ‘Josephine‘ for us, as well as contributing to our tenth anniversary book ‘10‘ with her ‘Autumn Leaf Shawl’. When Susan asked her to design a cardigan using the hand-dyed Border Mill Alpaca Tweed for Loop, incorporating a patterned yoke element, we couldn’t have been more thrilled when she said an enthusiastic yes. Now it is here and we couldn’t be happier. It is a super cosy and beautiful cardigan you’ll want to throw on to wear over and over again.
Autumn Leaves and Josephine
A little gem to keep you cosy and looking beautiful all at the same time.
Our cropped cardigan, with an unusual cable motif on the yoke, is worked seamlessly in the softest Alpaca Tweed yarn hand-dyed especially for Loop, shown here in ‘Vintage Pink’ with our Bloomsbury buttons.
We chatted with Paulina to get a peek into her design world.
Hi Paulina! The last pattern that you designed for Loop was ‘Josephine’, a beautiful lace shawl. Is the process very different when you begin to design a cardigan? Garments are perceived as a ‘big knit’, and yet the time taken to knit a sweater or cardigan can take the same amount of time as a lacey shawl knit in 4 ply or fingering weight yarn. Is there the same ‘deep breath’ before you begin your design?
Well, the design process differs slightly but it is similar at the same time. Shawls are two dimensional and garments three dimensional so you have to approach them from a slightly different angle. Both require choosing or creating a stitch pattern, calculations etc. The differences will be in positioning the patterns on the piece and obviously there will be more math required for the garment, and of course all the details have to be thought through before casting on. So, overall there is more work involved in designing a garment.
I usually have few ideas in my head for new designs, however, they are compartmentalised in a sense. When I work on a new shawl this usually opens a floodgate to more shawl designs. The same applies to jumpers, once I start one there are plenty of other designs which subsequently follow. The hardest part is switching between the two!
On your visits to Loop are you inspired by other samples that you see, or mostly by the colours and fibres all around?
Loop is like a Treasure Cove! Anything there can be a source of inspiration: samples, colours, fibres. After each visit there my brain goes into overdrive, ideas are popping up in my head one after the other, I don’t even notice the time spent on the train back home. There were times that I almost missed my stop!
Your ‘Cameo’ shawl has to be the most popular pattern that we have at Loop. We have three samples of it in the shop knit in Quince & Co Finch and two versions of it in Shalimar Breathless! It’s launched many a shawl knitter. Is there a pattern you are most proud of?
Cameo seams to be a very popular one, probably because it appeals to a wide range of knitters, from beginners to advanced and it is quite easy to wear. As an avid knitter I do like designs that look really complicated but are easy to make so I would say that the lacey shawls are the ones I would be most proud of.
You’ve designed ‘Winter Whispers’ using The Border Mill for Loop Alpaca Tweed. Are there other yarns you would recommend knitting it in?
I would also suggest yarns that would give good stitch definition, wool/alpaca mixes or pure wool yarns, plenty to choose from at Loop! Both Bowland by Eden Cottage and Woolstok from Blue Sky Fibers would make excellent substitutions.
When did you start designing?
So many years ago….in the past century :)) Once I mastered knit and purl stitches I pretty much started experimenting. At first I would copy some ideas from pictures in fashion magazines to learn how to shape the fabric etc. And after that I was ready to let my imagination go free.
I know that you travel a lot. Are there certain places that inspire you either through their culture, craft traditions or anything else?
Traveling is my second passion and I do love all sorts of craft markets. My favourite ones are markets in Africa with their ebony wood carvings, Zulu baskets and hand woven wall hangings in all the earth colours. The second one would be the Far East textiles especially from Laos. There is one more place I have not visited yet but is on my list, Peru, with its amazing weaving traditions. One day…
Huge thanks also to Kristin Perers for most of the beautiful photographs of Winter Whispers and to Anneka, our model and the owner of Appestat, one of our favourite cafes on Camden Passage!
To celebrate this release we are giving away a PDF copy of the pattern to three lucky winners! To enter, leave a comment below telling us what colour you would knit it in, and for an extra chance to win, follow us on Instagram @LoopLondonLoves and repost our picture using the hashtag #LoopWinterWhispers or simply use the hashtag in a post of your own, showing us why you’d love to win. Entries for this giveaway close at midnight (GMT) on Wednesday 1st February.
Huge thanks to everyone who entered last week’s giveaway and all of your kind comments on our project bags. The winner of the giveaway is Claudia – congratulations!
Don’t forget that we’ll be at the Edinburgh Yarn Fair with tons of gorgeous yarns and haberdashery in March! We have special colours being dyed up for us by Viola (!) and our very special guests – the Spincycle gals on our stand. So much good stuff will be there – we can’t wait to see you!