Interview with Ella Austin, Giveaway & Piccadilly KAL Winner Announcements!

Interview with Ella Austin, Giveaway & Piccadilly KAL Winner Announcements!

Just as much as we love knitting and yarn crafts, we also adore the designers, because let’s face it – where would we really be without them? This week we are just thrilled to point the spotlight to the Devon based and very talented Ella Austin of BomBella and talk about her new collection, Colour and Line.

3 - Venn 1-2
Ella Austin

This collection is so sweet and sophisticated, and with accessories, baby and adult garments, there’s really something for everyone. Tell us a bit about your themes and thoughts behind this collection?

I love stranded colour work knitting, so a collection of colour work designs is something I’ve always wanted to do. I particularly like designing colourwork patterns inspired by modern or mid-century designs. Most of the Colour and Line designs are inspired by elements from various textiles, prints and ceramics as well patterns found in geometry and nature.

When I started the collection I knew that I wanted to use a lot of neutral and preferably undyed shades of yarn along with bright pops of colour. The main goal with picking the colours was to get the balance right so that the bold designs could be toned down to achieve a calm and beautiful finish.

Venn was probably the hardest design to pick colours for, as the yarns are somewhat blended in the stranded sections. For the design to look its best you need to have contrast in tone between the adjoining colours. Venn was also the most fun to pick colours for! I enjoyed watching how each colour knitted up when closely stranded with another colour. The Quince & Co. colours are absolutely stunning!

I thought very carefully about the yarns for each design, factoring in attributes such as drape as well as the colour palettes.

3 - Venn 3-2
The ‘Venn’ scarf in Tern by Quince & Co.
2 - Delta Mitts-2
‘Delta’ mitts – Image courtesy of Ella Austin

Tell us about your colour choice for the socks.

These colours were inspired by a colourway option that Debbie of Skein Queen dyed for my Bunty Mitts pattern, Pewter and Teal. I loved the grey and blue together but I wanted the third colour to be slightly darker than the undyed white of the mitts. The Jawoll String colour was exactly what I was looking for; a warm and natural-looking pale grey. The Elephant Grey was a perfect darker grey and the French Blue gave a pop of bright colour in a sophisticated shade. I was delighted when I started knitting the colourwork section and saw that colours worked exactly as I hoped they would.

7 - Embargoed until mid Aug - Socks - on blocker
‘Herbaceous’ socks – Image courtesy of Ella Austin
7 - Embargoed until mid Aug - Socks - on feet-2
Image courtesy of Ella Austin

We’re always curious about the person behind the designs; can you tell us a bit about your journey into designing knitwear.

My mother and both grandmothers knit and so I was lucky to learn when I was very young. I always loved knitting but I didn’t get far beyond the basics of knitting and purling. In my mid-twenties I wanted to knit for expected babies, so I learnt to knit patterns that were a little more complex. When I moved from London to Reading I started going to a knitting group, the outcasts, who were very inspiring. Soon after this Ravelry went online. Obsessing about knitting and the possibilities of creating with yarn became so much easier! I felt naturally drawn to designing.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not knitting/designing?

I do spend an awful lot of time knitting! I’m quite a slow knitter and I often like to work the details of designs as I knit. This involves a lot of sketching, writing notes, knitting, frogging, amending notes, reknitting etc. When I’m not designing, my three kids are usually my focus. I feel like I’m always feeding them! When I get the chance I enjoy reading and drawing. I love comic books and music (but only particular types of both of those things)! My favourite places are museums, galleries and libraries, charity shops and the beach. I feel very lucky to now be living in South Devon where we enjoy the beaches frequently, but I do sometimes miss London (especially the British Museum and the National Gallery)!

Which is your own personal favourite of your designs and why?

I think that my overall favourite is still Intrepid Fox. I wouldn’t say that it’s my ‘best’ design but it is the one I love most! Intrepid Fox was my first design and the one I’ve knit most times. Each time I finish one I fall in love with it and then I want to knit another one!

Image courtesy of Ella Austin
Image courtesy of Ella Austin
5 - Conifer 1-3
‘Confier’ baby cardigan – Image courtesy of Ella Austin

What is your dream project? 

This is so hard as there are quite a few dream projects! I’d love to do all sorts of knitted costume design – especially for extravagant characters and popular musicians. I’d enjoy knitting masses of intricate toys and art dolls. Dreaming really big; it would be amazing to knit a huge but detailed sculpture for the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square!

And finally, what’s on your needles right now? 

Back to reality! At the moment I’m mostly knitting Camp and Trail Socks by Lydia Gluck in John Arbon Textiles Viola – lovely pattern and lovely yarn! These will be a thank you present for my friend who lent us her tent, but I see myself knitting many more pairs! I always have multiple WIPs on the go! Among other things I’m also knitting Recharge Shawl by Kate Heppell in Skein Queen Enchant and I’m finishing yet another Intrepid Fox in Rowan Fine Tweed. Plans are underway for a Colour and Line KAL once the final patterns are released, so I’m trying to choose which one of those to cast on soon! 

We are more than a little smitten with this collection, thank you for your time Ella!

Follow Ella on Instagram and Ravelry to keep up to date on the pattern releases, as well as her works in process and her beach knittings.

If you like the Colour and Line collection as much as we do, well boy are you in luck. We are giving away the yarn to make Ella’s Herbaceous sock pattern along with the patterns to the entire collection, very generously donated by Ella. To enter, simply leave a comment below telling us why you love colourwork.

Lang Jawoll at Loop London-2
Lang Jawoll in String, Elephant Grey and French Blue
Lang Jawoll at Loop London-1
Lang Jawoll in String, Elephant Grey and French Blue

Lang Jawoll is one of our go-to sock yarns as it’s extra durable thanks to the reinforcement spool tucked inside, it also comes in every colour imaginable and suits just about every wallet.

Piccadilly KAL winner-01

And finally, the Piccadilly KAL ended last weekend, what a way to spend a summer! Huge thanks to everyone who participated, we have admired all your progresses for the past three months, and the lucky winner of a £25 Loop voucher is lilli55, congratulations! The runners up and winners of Justyna Lorowska patters are caronwasserfall and Alotty. We will be in touch to arrange your prizes.

Until next time, yarn friends! And you know what they say; Knit fast, dye warm.

87 Comments on “Interview with Ella Austin, Giveaway & Piccadilly KAL Winner Announcements!

  1. I like colourwork because it makes me think and try lots of combinations that surprise me, it is neverending and difficult. But mostly I like it because I love colours!

  2. For me, a novice at colour work, I love the anticipation of how the colours will look together. I also love how designers put colours together, colours that I would never have dreamt would look good, but they always look stunning. It’s a designers skill that makes colour work fabulous.

  3. I love colourwork because it knits like magic, even just 2 or 3 colours can give magical results. Love the blog post this week, look forward to seeing them each week! X

  4. How wonderful to discover Ella and her beautiful work! I took Loop’s fairisle class with Juju back in March and I’ve been practising a little (do I get house points Juju?!) waiting to find the perfect beginner pattern- those Delta mitts are it! Colour work is like a magical alchemy, there’s something so satisfying about creating a chart, following each stitch having the faith that it will turn our beautifully. Like Ella’s incredible Venn scarf I think there’s something incredibly invigorating choosing colour- and the simple but unusual choice for those socks is spot-on. Thanks for sharing Ella’s work, I’m about to go down the rabbit hole and discover more! K x

  5. I enjoy the challenge and uniqueness it adds to handknits. A single colour garment is lovely, but when you can add more interest just through some colourwork (even the most minor detail) it makes that piece all the more special!

    I love the colour and line collection! the Conifer cardigan is just lovely!

  6. Colour work is such a great way to add a personal flair to a project, and I love how colour choices completely can change the look and feel of a sweater, for example. Also, knitting with several colours is a great way to impress the muggles (non-knitters) ;)

  7. I just love seeing the results appear before my very eyes. I don’t find fairisle easy at all but it is still a joy for me because of this x

  8. I love color work because it is so great to experiment and vary with colors and create anything you dream of!

  9. My passion is sock knitting, but I’m a complete beginner with colour work. I lovingly admire every hand knit colour work piece I see – the delicate result from a technique that is seemingly complicated, and the way the perfect choice of colours make each design ‘sing’. The herbaceous socks would be the perfect project for me so that I can further my colour work journey.

  10. Oooh, Ella’s work is so beautiful. Shall hopefully find time to curl up later and discover more… I love the look of colour work, but have yet to have a go – maybe this could be my first project!

  11. Colour work is another great example of knitting sorcery, and it’s so satisfying to create a ‘picture’ on your knitting just by changing colours…

  12. For me, colour work is a way of translating all the beautiful colours I see around me – wonderful open skies, the intricate gradations on a flower, even crumbling paintwork into something beautiful and wearable. Either as a gift or for myself.

  13. I have loved Fair Isle colourwork since I was a teenager – many years ago! When I finally taught myself to use a strand in each hand it was a revelation and suddenly the beautiful patterns flew off the needles. I love adding stranded pattern to otherwise plain garments as well as designing my own cardigan. I would love to knit these stranded socks as socks are another of my passions. Ella’s designs are just fab – I’m please to have been introduced to her work, thank you.

  14. Colour work is such a fab way to turn those crazy colours I’m attracted to in the skein into something that I’m actually likely to wear a lot

  15. Fairisle always reminds me of my Nana, who taught me how to knit and made me the most beautiful green fair isle jumper with the traditional star and tree pattern. I wore it so much I had to darn the elbows!

  16. I love working with colours that reflect the joyful colours in my garden, the Devonshire countryside and seascape. It enables me to feel part of my wonderful surroundings.

  17. Love doing colourwork. Watching the patterns evolve as you knit seems to make knitting magical. Following colourwork charts also keeps my mind active.

  18. I love the challenge of colourwork and that you can let your imagine run away with you. The possibilities are endless!
    I’m also very excited to read that I was a runner up in the Piccadilly KAL! Whoop!

  19. I love colourwork. The first item I knitted in the 70’s was the jacket from the BBC programme “Knitting Fashion” – yes, the one that looked like a Lowry painting. I was told it was too difficult for an absolute beginner. I went out and bought ALL the correct wool and created an indestructable twisted stocking stitch jacket in 28 colours. Still used in my Drama classes at school!

  20. Watching it all come together! The first 1-2 rows/rounds look a bit choppy at first but as you continue on everything starts to take shape and it’s so satisfying to watch. Such a generous giveaway thank you!

  21. Color work never gets boring and delights my eyes. It’s potato chip knitting! You always want to do one more row to see the pattern play out.

  22. Great balance in the design. The patterns seem very well thought out and calculated. I can see how it would take a lot of work to develope a stranded pattern. I want to learn how to knit fair isle!

  23. Ilove colourwork as it keeps your mind concentrating, I have particularly enjoyed the Bunty Mitts Ella designed and they have been admired by lots of people.

  24. I love colour work because the colours chosen for whatever project miraculously unfold as you knit and this never ceases to amaze me!

  25. I love colorwork because of all of the variety. It’s my birthday and while I am not a sock knitter, I would make these.

  26. I adore colour work after visiting the Shetland Islands and Fairisle a few years ago. There is something magical about knitting with colours ans watching it all coming magically together in a stunning design. Winning a giveaway would be a special moment for me in an very sad year in my life. A wonderful blog, thank you.


  27. I love colourwork because I love working with colour combinations, and I just learned how to hold my two yarns with two hands while doing stranded knitting! So exciting! Would love to keep practising with this lovely collection of designs by Ella!

  28. I love colour work projects because I love choosing the colours to go together and then the buzz you get as you begin to see how they look as the pattern emerges

  29. I enjoy colourways as I can plan the colours and think of which combinations will work most. It’s something I have to concentrate with and feel like I’ve really achieved something.

  30. I have always loved color, how one color plays off another. I also love knitting, so when I can combine both it’s perfect.

  31. Thank you for introducing me to Ella Austin; the very talented woman behind so many designs I love. I still am a novice at color knitting, but I will get there. I love color work because it allows me to create patterns in colors that echo traditional designs. I look forward to knitting many more patterns by Ella Austin.

  32. I discovered Ella`s designs some time ago and love them. I love it with colourwork how the design appears before your eyes, a great encouragement to knit just a bit more- which has resulted in some rather late nights!!

  33. I discovered Ella`s designs some time ago and love them.the way the pattern appears with colourwork is fascinating and often result in “just a few more rows” – which has led to some rather late nights!!

  34. I’m a huge cables and textures fan but in the last few years have discovered that colourwork is just so fun! I’m a “continental style” or throwing knitter and used to be terrible at two-handed stranding but am getting much better at it. I’m always looking for chic and original colourwork patterns and Ella’s patterns are exactly my style. P.S. Thanks for an awesome giveaway!

  35. I’ve made this my year to crack colourwork; so far I’ve learnt fairisle and double knitting at Loop, as well as trying intarsia. I love the moment when you magically see a pattern starting to appear, and the cheeky excuse to buy bits and bobs of yarn in every colour imaginable!

  36. I am very interested in color theory and enjoy trying to create different effects using different combinations.

  37. Colourwork satisfies my creative being. I look around me and see
    colours interacting with each other. I try to “fix” these interactions into my knitting. Even the flops are fun, as they teach me so much.

  38. I think of colourwork knitting as being a yarn based version of painting in pixels, I can’t paint but I can create an artistic garment using wool and knitting needles.

  39. I like colourwork because it’s kind of magic. It looks impossible, but is actually not that tricky, and is so impressive when you’re done. I’m not keen on charts for lace knitting, but colourwork charts are like painting by numbers and it’s easy to see what you need to do next :) I love Ella’s patterns and have just finished knitting her Bunty Mitts!

  40. Colour work is great, I love choosing and playing around with different colours, it’s also a great excuse to get more yarn as you never have the colour you need!

  41. I have yet to try anything more challenging than stripes, but I love the interplay of colours and hope to dive into stranded colourwork soon. All the colours – except pink. :D

  42. I love how the pattern evolves and also how the same pattern can look so different depending on what you use for mc and cc.

  43. I like the look and the idea of colourwork – in reality I’m scared of it! But so many colourwork designs look so fab (including Ella’s) I need to just get on and do it.

  44. What a gorgeous collection of patterns! I love colour work because it allows me to bring in pops of colour and vibrancy to my handknits. I can even incorporate little flashes of lovely colours that in large amounts would seem overwhelming or draining. But the best thing about colour work has to be the patterns you can make! I love patterned knits and definitely want to do more in the future!

  45. Color is the stuff of life! The play in knitting and the interplay of personality and pattern. It can look old or new (as in Ella Austen’s patterns) vintage or modern. Color is what individuates projects and scares many of us into paralysis or mad hours of daydreaming the color(s) decision of a project. The complexity of color beguiles the eye and warms the hear!

  46. Colourwork gives an added beautiful dimension to knitting. A chance to pick and choose all those colours and shades I love and incorporate them into a knitting project.
    I’d love to knit an adult version of the Baby Conifer Jacket!!!

  47. What beautiful designs – really lusting over the Herbaceous socks!

    There is a certain magic to colourwork – seeing the patterns emerge from your needles as each row is worked.

    It’s a perfect way to use pops of favourite bold colours that I’m not brave enough to wear as a single colour, or to tone down the impulse buy single-skein ooak internet purchases where my laptop monitor told huge lies over the colour selected!

    Not to mention that for those of us with ridiculously cold extremities, stranded knitting provides extra cosiness – my feet would not survive the walk to work in deep winter without handknit socks.

    Just about to cast on the Bunty mitts – how gorgeous are they?!

    Thank you x

  48. Stitch by stitch you work the colour chart- it’s almost binary. Then the rows add up… After many many stitches and a few rows the pattern emerges. Magic!

  49. I enjoy the rhythm of color work . It is always motivating to see the pattern emerge. I love this collection–I’ve already knit Delta and am working on Conifer.

  50. The first garmet I knit ,I was 11, was an argyle vest. Nobody told me colorwork
    was tricky so I just figured it out and knit the vest. It turned out great!!! I still have it. Both my daughters have worn it and I wish it still fit me! That began my love of colorwork and the beginning of me not paying attention to the difficulty ratings on patterns!

  51. I like colorwork because of all the amazing different patterns and styles that can be made! I’m a beginning knitter and I am not terribly good at getting the tension right in stranded knitting, so that’s why I need to do lots more of it: practice, practice! I’d love to give the socks and other Color and Line patterns a go!

  52. I love colourwork because it’s such a challenge for me, it really makes me engage with my knitting in a way that plain stockinette does not! :)

  53. I love the whole process of a colour work project-choosing the colours, being surprised by combinations I had ‘not expected; sorting myself out to be able to begin knitting with more than one colour and finally, seeing the beautiful pattern appear! Thanks for such a generous and exciting giveaway!

  54. Colorwork is such a treat. Committing to color choices adds a whole different dimension to the process. The act of stranding keeps me fully engaged row by row in the project. It is a different sort of meditation than straight stockinette, requires a different type of concentration than texture and cables. It’s different sort of eye candy and wow factor that is delightful to me as I go and to others who observe.

  55. My first colourwork was Ella Austin’s “Bunty Mitt” I enjoyed making them so much, seeing the picture grow with every row and the sense of satisfaction with the completed item. These mitts still make me smile whenever I look at them and got me wanting to do more colourwork. I’ve made several colourwork items since. I love the way each pattern appears, making me want to knit faster to see the finished article. I have Ella’s Colour & Line Collection and “Herbaceous” is on my to do list, so winning this lovely prize would be great.

  56. I love colorwork because it adds so much character and depth. In the deep of winter when most my world is gray and white it adds a spark of joy and warmth. I love to watch the pattern reveal itself as I knit.

  57. It was so lovely to read your interview with Ella, I love her patterns! I love and enjoy colourwork because it is so nice to see the colours working together and to knit garments that no-one else has, you can choose colours that you like, and it is very rewarding. It is also great knitting colour work as you just want to keep knitting to see the next section! …. keeps your brain active too!

  58. What fabulous wool and colour, I still have to learn colour work and have been looking for a fabulous project to start, love Ella’s patterns especially the socks

  59. What I love most about stranded knitting is that you can change the whole look of a garment by simply exchanging one colour for another. Colour choices are so difficult but I like a good challenge.
    Lovely work by Ella, her stranded patterns are the best!

  60. I love colourwork because I am truly able to express my artistic talent. Due to my profession and too many commitments, knitting is a wonderful stress-buster and vibrant colors are just a natural boost!

  61. I love colourwork because it motivates me to keep going by revealing pictures and patterns as I go along. It is my fave, and I adore this collection.

  62. I love Ella. Here designs are unique and she is a lovely person. I really enjoy colorwork because the creativity of using several colors makes the fabric look like and artist’s canvas. The sky is the limit for all of the color choices.

  63. I have only just discovered the joys of colourwork! It always looks so difficult and complicated, which is really part of the appeal, but to realise that it’s totally possible for me to accomplish these wonderful designs is just a incredible feeling! And a wide open door into a world of colour and possibility! So looking forward to making the Conifer cardigan for my soon to be born baby.. Thank you

  64. I am new to colourwork but I am already enjoying it. A bit challenging but it’s worth the effort. I like the idea of creating interesting combinations of colours in one knitted garment.

  65. Colourwork is like drawing with yarn. I love how you can create a complete different style by swapping a colour or two and a minor variation in your pattern. Colour work also needs my full attention and has thus become one of the most pleasant and engaging ways to stop thinking about research issues that I should resolve.

  66. Colourwork is difficult to knit – it takes a lot of concentration and some pulling out to get it perfect. However the end result is more than worth it – I love the feeling of accomplishment at the end when I have a fabulous pair of socks or jumper with colourwork forever. Thanks for the giveaway.

  67. Sometimes I make the same colorwork pattern a second or third time so that I can play with the palette of colors. I think of myself as a painter, considering shades and values, contrasts and complements.

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