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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  1. As the buds begin to blossom and the chill of winter fades, there's no better time to delve into sustainable knitting. We can create beautiful, eco-friendly knitted accessories that not only enhance our wardrobe but also honor the environment. Let's explore how to knit sustainably, with a focus on green practices, springtime inspiration, and the importance of supporting local farms and artisans.

    The Essence of Sustainable Knitting

    Sustainable knitting goes beyond merely choosing eco-friendly yarns. It encompasses the entire process of creating knitted pieces with mindfulness towards the environment, ethical sourcing, and community support. By making conscious choices about the materials we use and the way we knit, we can significantly reduce our ecological footprint.

    Spring-Inspired Knitted Accessories

    Spring brings a breath of fresh air and a burst of colors. Reflect this in your knitted accessories by incorporating light, airy designs and vibrant hues.

    1. Floral Hats & Gloves: Add a touch of spring with knitted hats & gloves adorned with floral patterns or embellishments. Use pastel colors to mirror the blooming flowers.

    Pinnate Gloves Kit - Now available in West Yorkshire Spinners ColourLab DK Pear Green or Perfectly Plum.

    [Image enhanced via Artificial Intelligence (AI) - more discussion in a later blog post]

    Try out the Juanita Brioche hat pattern

    2.  Lightweight Shawls and Wraps: Perfect for cool spring evenings, shawls made from organic cotton or bamboo provide a soft, breathable layer.

    Some great wrap/shawl patterns in store

    3.  Eco-Friendly Tote Bags: Knit reusable market bags from sturdy hemp or cotton yarn. These bags are not only practical but also a stylish way to reduce plastic use.

    Try out the "This way up bag" pattern - sample knit in 100% cotton.

    Green Choices for Yarn

    • Organic and Natural Fibers: Opt for yarns made from organic wool, cotton, bamboo, or hemp. These fibers are grown without harmful pesticides and chemicals, making them safer for both the environment and your skin.
    • Recycled Yarns: Look for yarns made from recycled materials. These yarns give a second life to pre-used fabrics and reduce waste.
    Not only is this hat & gloves kit worked in recycled yarn. I obtained it from Stylecrafts mill just 5 minutes walk from my house., here in Yorkshire. 
    • Knit with Eco-Friendly Dyes: Choose yarns dyed with natural or low-impact dyes. These dyes minimize the release of harmful substances into the environment.
    Learn how to dye your own yarn from plants and weeds you find in the garden. Nettles, Ivy , Lichen, Dandelions, Golden Rod & Madder, like I did some years ago. (sorry my stock has sold out)

    Supporting Local Farms and Artisans

    Sustainable knitting also means fostering connections with local farms and artisans. By sourcing wool and yarns from local sheep and lambs, you support ethical farming practices and contribute to the local economy.

    1. Local Wool Farms: Purchase yarn from nearby farms where you can see the sustainable and humane treatment of sheep and lambs. This also reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting goods long distances.

    2. Artisan Markets and Fairs: Visit local markets to find unique, hand-dyed yarns and accessories. These artisans often use traditional methods and sustainable practices, ensuring high-quality and eco-friendly products.

    3. Farm Visits and Workshops: Participate in farm tours or knitting workshops offered by local farmers. These experiences provide insight into the process of wool production and the care of sheep, enriching your knitting journey.

    Sustainable knitting is a fulfilling and creative way to make a positive impact. By choosing eco-friendly materials, drawing inspiration from the beauty of spring, and supporting local communities, we can craft accessories that are not only beautiful but also kind to our planet.

    So as you pick up your needles this season, remember the story behind each skein of yarn and the hands that crafted it. Embrace the green of spring, cherish the wool from local sheep and lambs, and let your knitting be a testament to sustainable living.

    Happy knitting!


  2. 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