The London Craft Guide

London Craft Guide

Although it has been available for pre-order for a little while, the London Craft Guide from Yarn in the City was officially launched at Unravel last week, and I’m delighted to say that I contributed a pattern to the guide – may I introduce the South Bank Shawl!

The South Bank of the River Thames is a popular and busy tourist destination. With the London Aquarium, the British Film Institute and the iconic London Eye stretched along the riverbank towards the Millenium Footbridge.This lovely lace shawl is an ode to the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel originally constructed for the Millenium. The tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, the Eye is a popular destination for tourists and locals, as it offers a stunning view of the city from 135 metres up. Worked in a luxurious silk-blend fingering weight yarn, this pattern includes half circle and full circle versions, with optional bead accents. (From the Ravelry Page)

The lovely yarn is Uncommon Thread’s Merino / Silk blend in the ‘Breath’ colour way, and the beads are silver-lined translucent crystal beads.

There is more information on the guide over at the Yarn in the City website. And there are reviews from Crafts from the Cwtch (which mentions my shawl!), Inspiration Knits and Knitted Bliss.


And the London Craft Guide will be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. One half of Yarn in the City will be at the event vending as PorpoiseFur, and will have copies of the guide plus the samples to look at!

All images in this post (C) Juju Vail and Yarn in the City



If you hadn’t noticed, the Courtesans collection was completed in January. Eight shawl patterns. I’m incredibly pleased with how the collection came together, especially as this was my first big foray into developing a group of patterns together around a central theme.

The theme evolved from the fact that I have a small collection of books (mainly non-fiction) which I love. Two of them focus on Courtesans in the UK and France during the nineteenth century. The history of the women and the society they inhabited described within these texts continues to fascinate me, despite the frequent re-readings. To be blunt, I’ve re-read my paperback copies so much that they are starting to look dog-eared and rather well-thumbed. However, I have a lovely BF who tracked down some beautiful replacement hard copies for my birthday, including an illustrated version of my favourite. I’m rather lucky.

The personalities of these women, and some of the stories associated with them, meant that they were an excellent source of inspiration. I’ve tried to capture some of the individual character of each woman, linking the pattern motifs and other design elements to a specific aspect of them. So for La Lune Rousse, the courtesan Cora Pearl, was unsurprisingly, known for her trademark pearls. Therefore in the shawl I wanted to capture the idea of strung pearls – the short rows, beads and eyelets echo the idea of draped necklaces. With Duplessis, the strong image of La Dame aux Camellias meant that a flower-centred design was appropriate. Each of the shawls has a story behind it.

All of the shawls, included the beaded and unbeaded samples of La Lune Rousse and La Païva, are currently on display at Ginger Twist Studio, as part of Jess’ ‘Designer of the Month’ programme (February is me).

The complete collection will also be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival at my stand (and many of the shawls use yarns which will be available via other vendors attending the festival). Both the individual patterns (hard / digital copies available) and the complete e-book (digital only) will be available for purchase.

Courtesans Complete
The complete Courtesans collection: (clockwise from top-left) Léonide, La Païva (Beaded), Apollonie, Duplessis, Mogador, La Lune Rousse (Beaded), La Barucci, D’Antigny
The Courtesans collection – eight lace shawls inspired by some of the famous, not to mention notorious, women of the Parisian demimonde. With lace, texture and  beading, the collection reflects the personalities and opulence of these femme-fatales.
All patterns have both charts and written instructions, and where applicable, instructions for both beaded and un-beaded options. The collection has a variety of shape and construction techniques. All the shawls are one-skein projects.
For further information, see here.

A wee promotion for Malabrigo March

Happy Malabrigo March everyone!

Until 11:59 GMT on 16th March 2016 I’m offering 25% off all of my shawl patterns using the code MalMarch16. This code can be used via the shop on this website and on Ravelry*

This includes Notus, using Malabrigo Arroyo.


The shawl patterns eligible for the discount are: Apollonie, Breach, d’Antigny, Duplessis, Evremond, Flightless, La Barucci, La Lune Rousse, La Païva, Léonide, Mogador, Notus, Tesserae.

Please note that the discounts are not applicable via LoveKnitting. 

Counting down…

…to the start of the Indie Gift-A-Long 2015!

There are just a few hours to go until the GAL is underway. This is the official synopsis of the event from the GAL group over on Ravelry.

What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 6 week long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by a rather extensive list of independent designers. From Thursday, November 19th at 8:00 pm US ESTFriday, November 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm US EST tons of indie designers will be discounting between 5 – 20 of their patterns 25% for this event. Use coupon code: giftalong2015

Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, we encourage you to join a relevant KAL/CAL! (For instance, if it is a cowl, please join the cowl KAL/CAL.) To join, simply write a post in the KAL/CAL thread you want to join, including the pattern name you will be knitting and a link to your project page. KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes but you gotta post to win!

KAL/CALs will run from Thursday, November 19th at 8pm (US-EST) through our New Years Eve party, Thursday, December 31 at midnight (US-EST), plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting. We have games, tons of prizes, great conversation, and a lot of fun, so pull up a chair and join us!

On your mark…get set…. GIFT!!

You can follow the fun on Social Media too using the hashtag #giftalong2015

I’ll be blogging during the sale period, highlighting the patterns I have on sale, as well as some of my favourites from the other participating designers. I’ll also be popping in and out of KAL/CAL threads, so do say hello!


It’s almost time…


The Gift-A-Long is back on Ravelry!

This is my second year participating as a designer, but there are an astonishing number of patterns on offer this year.

The sale runs November 19th – November 27th 2015, with the main Gift-A-Long running until December 31st 2105,  and all the details and information can be found on the Ravelry group (you’ll need to sign in to access this). I’ll be sharing more information here once the event is underway.

To get an idea of the scale – this fabulous infographic shares some of the more amazing statistics!


You can also find out where designers are based thanks to this rather nifty map!

What will you be knitting?

Courtesans: A Shawl Collection

Cover image of courtesans

I’m delighted to introduce you all to the shawl collection!

The collection is based on the Courtesans of nineteenth century Paris; each of the eight shawls is inspired by one of these grande dames of the demi-monde.

  • La Lune Rousse – Cora Pearl
  • Mogador – Élisabeth-Céleste Vénard
  • d’Antigny – Blanche d’Antigny
  • Apollonie – Apollonie Sabatier
  • La Barucci – Guilia Benini
  • La Païva – Thérèse Lachmann
  • Léonide – Léonide Leblanc
  • Duplessis – Marie Duplessis

The collection will be available for pre-order, with the first two patterns (La Lune Rousse and Mogador) released on Thursday 1st October 2015. The remainder of the eight shawls will be released during October – December 2015.

Further information can be found here.

Sneak Peeks – Progress (Part 2)

Following on from the previous post on progress, here is another sneak peek at the third shawl in the collection.

This one uses Ginger’s Hand Dyed Yakety-Yak 4 Ply (love the name!) in the beautiful ‘Toasted Walnut’ colour way. I’ve never used yarn with yak before and this yarn is very soft but also quite strong and has a great sheen from the silk content.

As you can seen from the teaser picture (another one from Instagram), that it is rather lacy. This shawl has a fantastic drape. It is unbeaded, but I think (after a conversation with someone who has seen the shawl) that beads could be a fabulous addition – especially if they follow the patterning from the lace.

Amazingly this is the last sneak peek! The next post on this collection will be the announcements concerning the Collection itself, the inspiration behind it and more information on pre-ordering it! This will out on September 16th!

As it happens, the fourth shawl has just come off the needles today. This used a now unavailable yarn (Yarn Pony Show Pony 4 Ply) but another of Ginger’s Hand Dyed yarns is an excellent match, namely the Splendor 4 Ply in the Selkie colour way. 

Sneak Peeks – Progress (Part 1)

For our next sneak peek, a little closer look at the first couple of shawls!

These will be the first shawls released from the collection, on the actual launch day. You’ll be able to see full images of the shawls when the full announcement is made and pre-orders open.

Both use Skein Top Draw Socks. I have to say I love this yarn. It has beautiful drape and is incredibly soft. It also blocks like a dream and is perfect for the lace I’ve used it for. As a note, Skein tends to change up their colour ways every year and both the shades shown above are from older collections. The currently available shades can be found here; if you’re looking for a close match colour-wise, ‘Barley’ works as a substitute for ‘Sandstorm’ and ‘Rustic’ for ‘Equinox’.

These two have since been knitted up into these. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably seen these images.

As you’ve probably spotted, the one on the right has beads too – these are the antique copper ones I showed in an earlier sneak peek!

There is another sneak peek on progress coming up next!

Sneak Peek – Collection Information

So far we’ve seen the yarn (all 4 Ply) and some beads… I’m not going to talk about the theme or inspiration of the collection yet but I can share a few more details.

As I said in the first preview (on the yarns) that there were eight patterns. And there are, eight shawl patterns to be precise!

Each pattern takes 1 skein, and there is a mix of top-down, bottom-up and side-to-side patterns. All have lace as their main feature, and most will have charts and written instructions for their motifs (at present only one does not have a chart, but the motif is simple enough on its own). Two add beads for some extra detail (though as I said earlier, these are entirely optional).

And while I cannot share the specifics, I can share the shapes:

Shawl Collection (Shapes)

As you can see there is a mix of shapes, some more familiar than others!

Next up… some information on progress.