As I've mentioned before, a good deal of my insipiration is drawn from nature. I love the colour plays and the textures, and the process of then trying to translate them into knitting patterns.
I spent this afternoon looking back through some photos and my creative notebook. So many new ideas were popping into my head that I barely had time to get them all down on paper before I forgot!
How beautiful are the textural elements of these barnacles on the remnants of the old jetty? Their sharp surface sit against the weathered wood and rusty bolts in such a great way and the bleached colour of the barnacles has a gorgeous depth and nuance.
These pockets of rockpools filled with mustard coloured seaweed and the black, cracked rock surface are so beautiful too. A classic colour combination that has been used successfully in designs many times. I have an idea brewing for a shawl from this little snapshot.
Looking through the stash of yarn I have on hand, it was interesting to note how many of these colours are already there. Not really that surprising, but interesting especially when to starting to pair them up.
So now I have a head full of even more ideas for new patterns for you! I can't wait to get them out of my head and into reality so I can share them with you all.
In other news Whisky Bay Woollens patterns are now also available via Craftsy, for those who don't use Ravelry or just prefer the option.
In a recent interview on the Sunspun blog, I was asked about the selection of yarns used for the Oceanside collection. It was a great question and I thought we could open up the discussion a little further here today.
My love of textures extends to my yarn choices, and I enjoy combining both yarn and patterns to showcase unusual or interesting surfaces. Sometimes process dictates design and other times it's the opposite.
The combination of two Shibui yarns - Cima and Pebble - in Woolamai gave me the opportunity to create a lightweight, soft fabric with the combination of multiple fibres which is a luxurious combination of silk, baby alpaca, merino and cashmere. Pebble has a soft tweedy texture on it's own and when paired with a contrasting colour in Cima (baby alpaca/superfine merino) it creates a lovely marled appearance. When the yarns are combined they also form a delicate, supple fabric that is a pleasure to both knit and wear.
I have been working another version of Woolamai this week using Pebble 'Sidewalk' and Cima 'Pollen' as the main with Cima 'Ivory' as the contrast. It's delicious and lovely but it wasn't my first choice.
Originally I had thought the Pollen would be the contrast but a quick swatch showed my the error in that thinking. Isn't it funny how the plans often turn out differently but better? Colour combinations can completely change the look of this beanie and that's another thing I love to play around with.
I'm looking forward to seeing what combinations people come up with for this pattern. There are already a couple of others up on project pages, and they look wonderful.
Have you joined the WBW Ravelry group yet? You can also follow us on Instagram and Facebook. It's a great way to keep up with the news and to share your projects, and be inspired by other people's too!
Firstly, I'd like to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who has left a comment on Instagram, Facebook and Ravelry, or sent me a congratulatory email or text. To everyone who has started following Whisky Bay Woollens, or joined the groups - I can't express how much I appreciate it! I have been completely overwhelmed by the support shown for my humble little project and could not have asked for more when anticipating the launch of Whisky Bay Woollens.
A few people have commented on my lovely model for the Oceanside collection photoshoot, so I thought I'd share a little about her today.
This is my amazing daughter, Lily. She is a wonderful soul, full of brilliance, wit, empathy and joy. Not that I'm biased.
She willingly gave up her weekend to traipse around with me and being told "Stand here...no, here. Maybe there instead? Bring your shoulder back...a little more...bring it forward...back...forward" (and for the most part didn't complain at all). She contributed in such a meaningful way to this collection, everything from giving her input on the patterns and samples to making suggestions on product shots, and she maybe became a little to familiar with the jargon along the way. 'Hero shot' was used rather a lot around the house after this.
I am in constant awe of the person she is. I feel like I was blessed from above when the universe bestowed her into my care.
She's also a bit of a dag.
and when she finds this photo, I'm a dead woman.
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 attending the inaugural event of The Craft Sessions in the Yarra Valley. After spending 3 days immersed in a hedonistic creative world, 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.