5,4,3,2,1, Things: RowRow and Kades

Kelly at her deskSome of you may know that I have been running a monthly guest blog for a serious of posts titled “5,4,3,2,1, Things”. I did it for a few reasons. One was to get an insight on other small businesses and learn about how they started and what makes them tick. Another was because blogging is hard and I wanted at least one blog post each month to be easy and done by someone else! After running them for a few months I decided that it wasn’t right for the blog anymore, and I want to focus more on the knitting, babies and motherhood side of things with a possibility of going into knitting design and a kind of behind the scenes in a small business type route too. So, here is the very last 5,4,3,2,1 Things post, and it’s all about me! RowRow and Kades.

Stitch bibles, flowers and yarn. My main inspirations

5 Inspirations

1. Inspiration is everywhere. Cliche I know, but it’s true. I find a lot of colour inspiration from nature. Knowing which work well together. Who knows the answer to that better than mother nature. She’s the boss of colour coordination!
2. Now I don’t want everyone to jump on me and scream “Copying!” down me ear, but I get a lot of inspiration from other knitwear designers. When I see knitwear 1 of 3 things that will pop into my head. I will either think, “Urgh, that’s awful!” If something is just truly not for me. Or I’ll think, “Ooh that’s nice but I think it would work better with these (pretty huge!) changes though. ie: take that stitch pattern from those socks and use it in a garment”. Or finally I think, “Oh wow….. I wish I’d thought of that”. The middle one gives me lots of inspiration and ideas. The last one makes me feel like an impostor!
3. My sons. Yeah yeah, bleck, sickly sweet, I know, but they do. It’s more of a “what should I make them to wear?”, “What would they like next?” type inspiration though. They turn the light bulb on.
4. Other clothing and accessories like cotton hats or tops. I try to think of ways to transform them into knitwear. I currently have an idea in my head for a jump suit type thing I saw in linen a few weeks back. It’s on the cards for next summer but I’m looking forward to playing with it.
5. This is almost like the second option but my stitch bible is a mass of inspiration. I flip through that most of the time, or delve into the Pinterest abyss and try to get out before I’m sucked in forever (How much of an actual time suck is Pinterest, seriously! I love the place but my god, you have to set hours aside to search for one thing! You inevitably get sucked into lots of avenues of “Ooh but it’s so pretty!” anyway….). My stitch bibles (I have a few) are filled with stitch patterns. On any given day, one that has never given me a second look before will burst into my head as a beret or cowl and I’m there. It’s quite strange. I love those books.

Tools

4 Tools I Use

1. I have a lot of tools but there are a handful I can’t do without. The first is my Chiaogoo circular needle set. I love aluminium needles best so these are perfect, plus I love the red cord! They are nice and pointy, but not too sharp (I have a hiyahiya circular that stabs me every time I use it!) and they are perfect for what I need. Plus the black and white case is gorgeous!
2. My tape measure. Well, let’s face it, I would be completely lost without a tape measure. I measure my work as I go, I measure my gauge swatches to see if there are enough sts per cm, I measure, measure, measure. Rowan broke my old tape measure and I felt like I’d lost an arm until I got a new one!
3. I’m going to combine two because I mostly use them together and that’s my scissors and yarn needle. I can’t snap yarn. It hurts. Have you tried it? Soft 100% wool yarn, maybe, some you can, but yarn with acrylic in (which I use for it’s longevity and machine washing capability) well, it will cut into your finger before you can snap it. Scissors are a must. Sharp scissors that you keep away from children and ban anyone in the house from using! My yarn needle is paired with this because I use it to sew in all the loose ends after I’ve finished knitting and then the scissor trim the ends off. So they are a little team and I need them desperately to make my work neat and tidy.
4. Finally it must be my row counter which is a little digital one I slot onto my finger and press the button each time I’ve knitted a row. Keeps me in check that little thing.

3 Things That Make My Work Unique

1. My work is unique because it’s mine. Everything I sell has been designed by me. It all first appeared in my brain, whether I was fast asleep and dreamed about it or I had an epiphany, I thought it up.
2. There are lots of sellers out there who use chunky yarn and knit chunky hats and blankets etc. They use this because it is quick to knit up. It grows faster and therefore saves them time. I don’t do that. I use thinner yarn so I can create the pretty patterns. It takes me longer to knit things because of that, but I want your hat to look like nothing else. Stunningly beautiful and not just a quick knit.
3. A lot of my work has appeared in magazines as a knitting pattern as well.

The top that caused my baby brain problems

2 Mistakes I’ve Made

1. When I first started to knit I had lots of really holey projects. I also once knitted a scarf without reading the pattern properly. It was one which you knitted up and then pulled out sections so it hung with loose yarn. Sounds weird but was very pretty. I knitted the entire thing and when I got to the section for ripping bits out, it didn’t work. The scarf wasn’t made to be left all knitted, it looked odd and was too small, it needed the sections to be pulled out. I actually contacted the designer to ask what I was doing wrong and she told me that I hadn’t used the right cast on. In my haste to start the pattern I had used a cast on method that doesn’t pull out. I had to pull the entire thing out and start again…which I didn’t do.
2. My last garment design for Let’s Knit Magazine was written up while I was pregnant with Rowan. It was a simple, straight forward pattern and I was happy with the result. Skip forward 4 months and the editor got back to me telling me there were errors in the pattern. This does happen, it’s human error, but when I looked at it, it made no sense what so ever. My baby brain had made a complete hash of it. I had to re-write the entire thing from scratch, still with baby brain, and a poor tech editor holding my hand the entire time. Awful! Baby brain sucks!

Vintage Twist Cardigan

1 Project I’m Proud Of

1. I have to say it’s my Vintage Twist cardigan. When I had the idea in my head I was so happy but actually managing to work it out for all the different sizes (UK 6 – 20) was really difficult. I actually knitted sections of every single size to make sure I had it right and I absolutely hated it when I’d finished. It is truly my nemesis! But now, I am so proud to have thought that up and managed to pull it off. It’s definitely one of my best designs.

 

So there we go. That’s the 5,4,3,2,1 things about RowRow and Kades. I hope you enjoyed it!
Tell me 1 thing you are proud of in the comments below!

Until next time!
Kelly x

4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I love that vintage twist cardigan but it would have been better if I’d knitted it a size smaller than I did as it really should be more fitted. Very cosy in the winter though.
    I just don’t think I have that creative spark to design things myself. I have adapted patterns quite a few times. When I did a lot of machine knitting you could just pick a stitch pattern and use your charting device to make your garment but that’s not quite the same is it?

    1. When you knitted Vintage Twist, did you go by the measurements or your size? I’m curious because the original design was sent as 8 – 22 but the magazine changed it to 6 – 20.
      I think machine knitting is an art in itself! I wouldn’t know where to start. Do you still have the machine? You should design something with it if you do. It’s a great sense of achievement x

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