Sandra's Designing Blog

This is an exclusive area of my web site where you can find out more about my knitted designs, what inspires me, how I work and what I like (and don't like) to design. 
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Category: Kits & Patterns

  1. Seams or No Seams?

    Posted on

    I'm taking a little break from designing to knit myself this lovely stranded knit Bifurca vest by the designer Teti Lutsak.

    For the tops I have designed and knit for myself I have concentrated on mastering classic techniques and precise construction, following on from my sewing experiences. However, now I'm at a stage where I want to experiment with  creating different shapes and using different construction methods for my knits. 
    This top, with a mixture of top down circular knitting, raglan shaping from the neck centre points, short row shaping to define the shape under the armholes and picking up stitches to work on for the bottom rib has given me a lot of chances to learn a different approach.  It's been fun too!
    Hopefully I can take some of these ideas forward in some new designs for you in the future. 
    In the meantime, lets look back..........

    Above are 4 of my "seamed" patterns.

    Having been a sewer all my life when I started knitting, I took the traditional approach and created seperate pieces of a garment and sewed them together.
    I knew no better. 

    This method has been the cornerstone of garment construction for centuries. I do think that seamed garments often have better structure, especially in areas that require reinforcement, such as shoulders. Side seams also help with the drape of the garment so it hangs well.

    Yet one of my first designs - Lois created 8 years ago didn't have any seams! I felt I had hit on something rather special, a way that knitters could purely concentrate on the lace knitting and not have to do any shaping of the fabric (which can be quite complicated with lace knits). The finished rectangles would not be seamed but placed on top of each other and sewn in place, no bulky seams. 

    So I came up with the idea, but before I set to work knitting I had to make sure this concept idea worked. I found my notes the other day and thought I'd write them up for you. Basically I did this for my size and with a bit of clever maths scaled the measurements up and down for the various sizes. Phew.

    Materials Needed:

    • Fabric (2 long rectangles)
    • Scissors
    • Sewing machine or needle and thread
    • Measuring tape
    • Pins
    • Chalk or fabric marker


    1. Measure and Cut Fabric:

      • Measure your desired length from your shoulder to where you want the top to end.
      • Cut two long rectangles of fabric based on this length. The width of each rectangle should be enough to cover half your bust plus some extra inches for seam allowance and ease. The length should be double the desired length of the top plus additional length for the crossover and going over the shoulders.
    2. Position the Fabric:

      • Place one rectangle over one shoulder, drape it across the front of your body, and across the shoulder to the back
      • Repeat with the second rectangle on the other shoulder, crossing it over the first rectangle at the front and back.
    3. Adjust the Crossovers:

      • Adjust the fabric so that it fits comfortably across your shoulders, chest and back. The cross at the front and the cross at the back should be positioned to your liking.
      • Use pins to hold the rectangles in place where they cross.
    4. Pin and Sew Side Seams:

      • Once you have the fabric positioned correctly, pin the sides together where the rectangles overlap under the arms.
      • Sew the side seams from the armholes down to the hem.

    Both modern knitting with unusual shapes & construction and knitting with seams offer unique benefits and appeal to different facets of a knitter's creativity. Whether you’re drawn to the structured elegance of traditional seamed garments or the more freeform innovation of modern designs, there's a wealth of techniques to explore and master. Embrace the best of both worlds, and let your knitting journey be as varied and rich as the craft itself.  Just keep learning & creating.

    Happy knitting!


  2. New Pattern Alert ! 50% Discount PLUS Free Swatch Pattern

    Posted on

    Today I'm celebrating the release of my new pattern - Kemptown scarf. A beautiful squidgy scarf knitted in 2 coloured brioche. The syncopation occurs when we swap Knits (BRK's for Brioche people that understand) for Purls (BRP's) and vice versa within the row. 

    For knitters that want to start Brioche or just to know a little more or just to get back into it again, then below you'll find a free swatch pattern, just to get you started. It's a pattern I used successfully  last night at a little focus group.

    Happy Brioche knitting x 

    syncopation is "a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm": a "placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn't normally occur". It is the correlation of at least two sets of time intervals.
    Kempdown scarf is now available on Ravelry and through my web site. Please use the couponcode "SYNCOPATED" on Ravelry for 50% off the pattern price. Valid til the end of the month. 

    Abbreviations you will need to understand


    BRK      Brioche knit. Knit the next stitch together with it’s Yarn over.    

    BRP      Brioche purl. Purl the next stitch together with it’s Yarn over. 

    S1YO    The working yarn must always be in front before slipping 1 stitch purlwise and bringing yarn round the RH needle clockwise ready to work the next stitch.

    1. Start by making a slipknot holding both colours of yarn together to make the first stitch on the needle. Make sure Yarn A is to the right.
    2. Place the tip of the right needle between the two loops on the needle and cast on 1 stitch with yarn B.
    3. Now place the tip of the right needle between the front two stitches on the left hand needle, cast on 1 stitch with yarn A.

    Repeat steps 2 to 3, alternating the two colours, until the required number of stitches has been cast-on. The slipknot that you started with in yarn B should now be dropped.

    Swatch produced by Coleen from last night's focus group

    2 coloured Brioche Swatch pattern

    Cast on 25 sts (or any other odd number of sts) using circular needles and the 2 colour cast on technique using both Yarn A and Yarn B making sure the first stitch and the last stitch is in Yarn A. 




    Row 1A: Using Yarn A, K1, (SL1YO, K1 ) to end. Slide work on the needle ready to work the next row in the same direction.

    Row 1B: Using Yarn B, SL1, (BRP,SL1YO) to last 2 sts, BRP, SL1. Turn work.

    Row 2A: Using Yarn A, P1, (SL1YO, BRP) to last 2 sts, SL1YO, P1.  Slide.

    Row 2B: Using Yarn B, SL1, ( BRK, SL1YO) to last 2 sts, BRK, SL1. Turn work.



    Row 1A (RS): Using Yarn A, K1, (SL1YO, BRK) to last 2 sts, SL1YO, K1. Slide work. 

    Row 1B (RS): Using Yarn B, SL1, (BRP, SL1YO) to last 2 sts, BRP, SL1. Turn.

    Row 2A: Using Yarn A, P1, (SL1YO, BRP) to last 2 sts, SL1YO, P1. Slide work.

    Row 2B: Using Yarn B, SL1, (BRK, SL1YO) to last 2 sts, BRK, SL1. Turn.


    Repeat rows 1A - 2Bof the brioche rib as many times as you want.

    Cast off using both Yarn A & Yarn B, knit the BRK column in Yarn A and the purl in Yarn B.

    Weave in the ends and block gently following the care on the ball bands.

    Our focus group last night
    Learn more here about 2 coloured brioche