I’m Kylie Robson, who some of you might have previously known from kgirlknits, my personal blog space for the past 8 years.
I’m now delighted to introduce my latest venture – Whisky Bay Woollens. I’ve been working behind the scenes with great excitement to develop this project and have enjoyed the process of experiencing it evolve and head in all directions before finally settling here, as an ongoing series of seasonal knitting pattern collections designed especially for the contemporary knitter.
Whisky Bay Woollens grew out of a kernel of an idea in 2013. After spending 3 days immersed in a creative retreat, I came away with the strong understanding that I was not being fulfilled in the creative way I desired in my day to day life. I have a background in Fine Art, but over the years since art school my practice had slowly slipped away, lost amidst the struggle of balancing a full-time job, parenting, and a single-income household until the only form of creativity I could muster on a regular basis was found in knitting. I decided on the drive home from the retreat to make a change and nurture this side of me that I knew from experience would not be silenced, at least not without a toll.
I am never happier than when I’m rugged up in wool and out in the elements, and I hope these knitwear designs can bring that same sense of contentment to you in your own way. There was a strong desire to capture the rugged beauty of the south-eastern coastline of Australia, as my personal response to living by this beautiful, salty landscape. This first collection of designs, aptly named 'Oceanside', is the combination of two of my favourite things – knitting and the coast I love so much.
The coastline of Australia is often represented as sandy golden beaches and crystal blue water, which it is. And it isn’t. In the south-east, it often feels like we are closer to Antarctica than the Equator and the coastline is often wild and woolly, in all its glory. The colours are the muted palette of the coastal scrub and the overcast skies, and they take on a particularly sophisticated and refined cohesion when paired.
For the last 12 months, I have been exploring how to represent and reflect this natural environment through my pattern designs in a way that does justice to both it and to knitting traditions. My focus has settled on accessories, as it is these items I love to grab as I’m walking out the door to visit my ocean! Wrapping a scarf snugly around your neck and pulling a warm beanie over your ears to fend off the bracing ocean winds is an unsurpassed simple pleasure made all the more special when the items are made by hand. It also becomes an reflection on how we can create beautiful and practical items and entwine them into our everyday experiences of life.
In the southern hemisphere, there is often a disparity between the latest released patterns and the seasons. It can be incredibly frustrating to watch a tempting bevvy of new sweater patterns pop up on social media while we are sweltering in 40 degree Celsius weather, or summer knits coming together just in time for our coldest months. As a result, I decided that I would try to include a degree of transitional wear into any patterns I produced.
The 'Oceanside' collection includes three patterns - a long, textured cowl in worsted weight; a close-fitting, sport-weight beanie; and a sweet-but-sturdy pair of fingerless mitts with a rugged lace panel for interest. Deliberately simple; the focus is on the yarn and the textural elements of each piece.
All patterns will be sold via Ravelry as pdf downloads, under the Whisky Bay Woollens designer page. There is also a Whisky Bay Woollens group page, so please join and share your finished items or just join in on the conversations. Feedback is always welcome!
I hope you enjoy the collections and I look forward to sharing many more with you in coming seasons.