Leaf and lace Scarf (Winter 2015/16)

My leaf and lace scarf pattern was given a 2015 makeover prior to the Harrogate Knit and Stitch show with two current shades of the wonderfully soft and cosy Rowan Felted Tweed DK. It proved to be so popular at the show that I have now made the pattern available in my Etsy shop as a pdf download.

Leaf and Lace scarf lower res (Rob)

Leaf and Lace scarf in Rowan Felted Tweed DK shades 152 and 175

Originally inspired by my somewhat mature (some would say overgrown!) garden, and worked from the centre back downwards the scarf features a symmetrical leaf pattern finishing with the leaf motif at each end. Simple lace provides a border to the scarf. Using two 50g balls of each colour, this would be a perfect Christmas holiday project. Simple enough to do while holding a conversation or “watching” TV but with enough interest to keep you motivated to create a nice long, wrapable neck warmer.


Rowan Design Competition 2013

"nicky barfoot's entry to the Rowan Design Competition 2013"

My take on the Great Gatsby theme

More exciting news came this week, this time from Rowan.  I came second in their 2013 design competition the theme being to design a garment/accessory in their lovely yarns inspired by the Great Gatsby film.  I was lucky to be able to visit the Willis Museum in Basingstoke as part of my research where they were displaying Hampshire County Council’s collection of 1920s dresses.  This resulted in my take on the brief being a modular design incorporating a bit of sparkle (in the 1920s dresses there were plenty of beads adding to the glitz).  The overall winner was Sigita Burskyte-Oliver with a lovely tunic knitted using Rowan Fine Lace and Kidsilk Haze.

More Summer Knitting: Rowan Panama

"rowan panama yarn"

Shade 310 and shade 314

I have recently been experimenting with one of Rowan’s non wool yarns, “panama”, a lovely blend of viscose, cotton and linen, perfect for Summer knitting (no sweaty hands with this one!).  It is also a 4ply weight which makes it the perfect partner for my 1940’s inspired designs and has a fantastic texture and sheen which catches the light and creates the illusion of subtle colour changes.

I was lucky enough to pick up a few balls each of shades 310, Aster, and 314, Mizzle in the local John Lewis sale a couple of months back, just enough to create this textured stripe sleeveless sweater (a similar design is called a “jerkin” in one of my treasured books of 1940s patterns).

"texture stripe jerkin"

Nicky Barfoot 1940s inspired stocking stitch and moss stitch stripe sweater design.


The design is a simple sweater featuring alternating stocking stitch and moss stitch stripes, which uses the deep rib welt to create a waistline.  With our unpredictable British Summer weather in mind, I wanted to design a versatile sweater which could be worn with bare arms during warmer days, but would also fit easily under a jacket for chillier evenings and more Autumnal weather.  I also wanted a top that could equally be worn casually with jeans, or more formally with a skirt suit.

If you would like to make this design for yourself, I have just added the pattern (pdf download) to my shop.  It is available in a size 86-91cm (34-36in) bust and takes just 5 balls of panama.


Summer Knitting

Wow, Summer has definitely arrived in this part of the World as demonstrated by Sas the Sun Worshipper.


While I am not a sit in the garden knitter, I also don’t let the heat put me off production, and instead I use it as an opportunity to put down the wool and alpaca for a few months in order to experiment with some of the lovely summer blend yarns on offer.  Rowan Summer Tweed has to be one of my favourites and I was lucky enough this month to get a Kaffe Fassett design to knit up for Rowan in this fabulous yarn.  In typical Mr Fassett style, the design has a huge number of colour changes and while I can’t give too much away, (you’ll have to wait until Rowan publish the pattern to see it in it’s full glory) here is a glimpse of the back showing how I will be spending a few hours today (sewing in intarsia ends has to be my least favourite knitting  job!).

"Wrong side of a Kaffe Fassett design in Rowan Summer Tweed"

Ends, ends and more ends……….

Vintage Textures

I have been having great fun recently working through “Practical Family Knitting Illustrated”, a wonderful book of knitting patterns from 1947, experimenting with the different textures featured therein.  It has proved to be somewhat challenging attempting to interpret the patterns using my modern day knitting language.  A certain amount of knowledge and knitting sense is assumed by the authors, but that is part of the fun, not quite knowing how things will turn out.  I particularly like the fitted nature of the garments, and the use of stitch patterns and needle size to create shaping.  Below is an example of some of my favourite stitch patterns so far, sampled in modern day yarns.  As the brighter weather has arrived perhaps now is the time to look at the knitted swimsuit section!

"knitted vintage stitch patterns"

Pods, boxes and holes

Dora has arrived!

Meet Dora, my new display dummy, who arrived this morning.  I am now able to take photographs of my knitwear designs without having to wait for the long suffering husband to wield the camera and you, dear viewer, will not be subjected to my cheesy grin and attempts at modelling on such a regular basis.  So here is Dora sporting my two latest creations, the Nicky Barfoot Leaf and Lace scarf (Summer version), and a top down lace bolero designed as part of a recent Craftsy course.  Both are in Debbie Bliss Prima.

"hand knitted textured scarf with lace edging and leaf motif"

knitted in Debbie Bliss Prima

"hand knitted lace bolero"

top down design knitted in Debbie Bliss Prima

Mixing Yarns: mohair and cotton vest

I have recently been sampling stitch patterns from a wonderful 1940s pattern book that I was lucky enough to acquire a few years back.  A popular pattern of the time was combining a stocking stitch background with a drop stitch in a contrast yarn (often cotton thread).  This experimentation inspired this vest which is a bit of a stash buster using up some lovely neon colours that I had purchased in the January sales.  The wonderful orange is Amy Butler Belle Organic DK (sadly now discontinued!) and the lime green is Rowan Kidsilk Haze.  The background is Rowan Pima Cotton DK.  The combination gives a lovely soft and airy handle.

"drop stitch stripe vest"

A Nicky Barfoot hand knit design in Amy Butler Belle Organic DK, Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Rowan Pima Cotton DK

Nicky Barfoot New Design: Openwork Summer Tee

Whilst still a little black, the ankle is certainly recovering and I have now reached the rehab stage.  Good job then that the diversion designing/knitting is now finished, as I see running again in my not too distant future.  I was particularly pleased with the neckline on this one.  I can just see this Tee thrown on over a bikini top and a pair of denim shorts.  Summer days here we come!

"openwork hand knitted Tee"

Knitted in Debbie Bliss Prima.