Blog: Loop Tricks

Smile Cushionous | Autumnal Shades

Posted on - 23/11/2017

The new Smile Cushionous designed in Bessie May SMILE, using pop autumnal shades ~ so perfect for a starting project for the season.

Worked completely in Knit Stitch, with front and back of cushion worked in one piece, moving between four lovely shades. Commenced with just one stitch and increased every wrong side row as the front grows, then decreasing every wrong side row reducing and shaping back and cushion casing.

Additional techniques which are great to practice, are utilised in the adding of a side border to close one of two open sides, using pick up and knit, and then three cable cast off. The other open side being finished with style with a folding button band, which is a really neat and stylish way of adding a tidy, stylish and hardwearing button band, so a great skill to crack.

Completing the cushion cover with these borders means there is no seaming ~ which is the best missing technique!

If you just want a simple knit project, the above bands do not necessarily need to be added, as the single piece can simply be mattress stitched on only two sides fully enclosing the cushion pad.

We hope you enjoy ~ Kit can be found below!

Bessie May Knit Kit | Free Pattern Download | 5 Balls of Bessie May Smile

BM Smile Lacy Leaf | Knit Shaping ~ Darts

Posted on - 15/07/2017

Shaping or sometimes referred to as fashioning, can be the difference between making a garment that fits well, looks beautiful and becomes a favourite to wear, to one that doesn’t fit or hang right, and is uncomfortable to wear.

As with sewing, knitting skills allow for different shaping methods, meaning that just because you are working in yarn, you don’t have to create something that hangs with little style.

Sometimes it is good to look at knitted garments manufactured for the shops, and you will see most shaping is done by working the pattern pieces flat and then cutting their shape and seaming together, which is the cheapest manufacturing method.

Some question why some knitwear that is ‘fashioned’ is so expensive. It is because it has been created using shaping methods, such as darts, raglan shaping for sleeves, etc, that mean the garment should fit well and look amazing when worn, as well as last forever if cared for, but of course making a garment this way takes more time and care, so costs more to manufacture.

The Smile Lacy Leaf Design is being knitted in one piece top down ~ a great method for incorporating shaping as you work, with the use of a mannequin you can ensure your fit is perfect as you go. Take a peek at why Provisional Cast Off is something worth giving a go.

Here you can see the shaping taking effect. Four Darts are being worked, one on the right and left side of the Front and Back. The Darts are positioned here so that they do not move the two parallel Lacy Leaf patterning, but as you can see enable fitting around the breast and into the waist.

These Darts are being worked by using a stitch marker at the position of where the dart is required, and then on appropriate rounds decreases are made by working to two stitches before the stitch marker and then working a Slip Slip Knit (SSK), slipping the stitch marker (sl marker), knitting one (K1), then knitting two together, (K2tog), reducing the stitch count by two. On the opposite dart on the piece, the workings are slightly different, knitting to three stitches before the stitch marker, then doing SSK, K1, sl marker, K2tog.

The SSK and K2tog mean that the decrease is neat, as the stitches point downwards towards each other on the garment, creating a symmetrical ‘V’, so the shaping looks professionally styled.

For those who have not worked a Slip Slip Knit (SSK), which decreases one stitch, this is done by slipping two stitches knitwise one at a time, inserting the tip of the left needle into both stitches and knitting the two stitches together.

Shaping can be used in so many ways, so learning different methods is never wasted energy, as even when working a garment that is not coming out as expected, add a few shaping techniques in and it can change that right around.


BM Knit Tip | Provisional Cast-Off

Posted on - 10/02/2015

Provisional Cast-Off sounds very grand, but it is simply about securing your stitches so that you can remove your knit from the needles for reasons such as:

~ Measuring your knitting accurately, or trying it on

~ Attaching an edging such as a fringe

~ Grafting two pieces together, eg at the shoulders of a jumper

~ or you may even want to gather the stitches together

Don’t be afraid to remove your knit from your needles, just ensure you secure each and every stitch.

Put simply, using a blunt needle and a long length of yarn in a different colour, you thread it through all the stitches, and you can then tie the ends together to secure, and easily remove the needles. If you use a yarn no thicker than the one being used for the knit, then you can remove it and place the stitches back on your needles easily.

It is great practice to check your knitting regularly for fit and size etc, and removing it from the needles really helps making this far more accurate, so don’t be afraid, and have a go.

Sometimes you may find that you even create a different design by draping the knit on a mannequin whilst off its needles, as you can see other design options, and ideas.

FREE Crochet Patterns | Mug Hugs

Posted on - 19/01/2015

How about trying some new Crochet Stitches, and ending up with three pretty Mug Hugs

Below is the link to the FREE Patterns from Simply Crochet, all done in Bessie May Smile, in pretty Berry, Kiss & Lichen, yum. x


Jacquard or Intarsia

Posted on - 17/07/2013

Don’t get confused with Intarsia and Jacquard ~ both are special in their own way, but get mixed up by many.

Here is a Bessie May Jacket Design ~ is it worked in Intarsia or Jacquard, and more importantly do you care, apart from the fact that the block pattern creates a defined jacket that has almost animal magnetism, which was the aim.

What is your guess ~ well it is Jacquard. Clues are it has geometric or stylised natural forms, and is double thickness as the yarns are carried from beginning to end, and woven in as appropriate.

How is this different to Intarsia ~ well think of a knitted feature, such as a picture of a flower. Intarsia is used for working large blocks of colour, often on a plain background. Quite often there are several colours in a row, and each colour is a separate length of yarn, just like when doing coloured embroidery. None of the colours are carried across the row, as they are in this geometric Jacquard design.

Both methods are important to master, as they are great for adding colours, blocking, picture features, and you will never struggle again with tension if you can master a Jacquard or Intarsia design without creating a tight fabric, but one that has natural drape, then gold stars all round, and the world of knit is your oyster ~ so to speak.



Perfect Accessory

Posted on - 23/05/2013

All has come together today in the Bessie May Design Studio, as we push ahead with Autumn Winter Designing, which seems perfect on a windy, rainy day in May?

The Knit Tip from our day is that using precious accessories to finish off a garment, can make something classic, into something classic and beautiful, as well as simply special.

The vintage style poppers we have used on a chunky winter jacket finish the design off perfectly, being not just practical, but also stunning.

Smiles again today.


Happy New Year

Posted on - 07/01/2013

Just a quick hello to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and hoping you had an amazing Christmas, and holiday celebrations.

We are all back at the Bessie May Studio, and received over Christmas some lovely pictures of creations made by Michele, who is a knit and colour addict just like us.

Michele has kindling allowed us to share her sample she has made using Bessie May Smitsy, in Rhubarb and Custard Colours – so lovely. Also look at the amazing cushion – we all want one.



Smitsy Heritage Flower Squares Grow Christmas Count Down 2

Posted on - 19/12/2012

Ok – update on the Christmas Project Count Down at the Bessie May Studio.

Late, late, late, night last night, pushing ahead with the Heritage Flower Crochet Throw – no memory of even when the light was actually turned off.

However, all is good – design is moving forward. Three different flower types designed, but maybe going to only use two of these.

Fabric chosen and ordered, just in case it is needed – feel a fabric framing is going to be a good option, but time will tell.

Time to share a couple of pics of work in progress, and on with the creation.




Pretty Leaf Wreath

Posted on - 17/10/2012

Oh so pretty – Caroline Griffiths has created this amazingly Pretty Leaf Wreath, after visiting our stand at the Knit and Stitch Show, using Bessie May Grace, our Mohair and Silk, in the soft shade of mist.

Can you believe this is knitted – delicate leaves made with cotton and linen alternatively, blended with Bessie May Grace, as Caroline wanted to create using different yarn blends.

Thanks to Caroline for sharing her beautiful work, which she created immediately she got home from the show, which is so impressive, we hadn’t even unpacked after the show, and her lovely picture arrived.

Renaissance Wall – Pitti Filati – Yarn Techniques

Posted on - 13/07/2012

There was so much to see at the Renaissance Exhibition at Pitti Filati last week. The exhibition commenced with a wall of machine knit technique square samples created in the perfect yarns from each of the Pitti Filati exhibitors.

It was great to see the different yarns and design techniques that built up the wall display of ‘Renaissance’. Also to see all the yarn junkies touching, stroking, and cooing over all of the different samplers – likes bees to honey….!

Captured a few of the samplers for sharing, although pictures unfortunately can’t be touched, and squeezed, so you will have to use your imagination…!

ENJOY the colours, yarns and different creative techniques!

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