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Bronagh Miskelly
Freelance content strategist, writer and tech editor navigating her way through the changing media terrain while knitting, fencing and travelling to keep sane
Interests: travel, knitting, film, fencing, reading, writing, photography, technology
Recent Activity
On other fora a few people have said things along the lines of we use the term "photobombing" so what's the problem. Well, a friend not in the crafting world read my blog and talked about his issues photobombing. To paraphrase: that the term is making it acceptable to spoil a photo that someone might have put effort into or invested with particular meaning. An interesting thought.
I don't think there has been any suggestion of preventing people taking part in what I am more comfortable calling yarnstallation events. I had never consider the idea, until it was raised in the comments, that this type of knitting would be an either or with charity knitting. I hope that whatever you knit, it brings pleasure but we should think about our wider environment as well
That's exactly why I'm asking for well thought out yarnstallations with a reason. I get irritated with random bits of yarns like the one in Portabello on your blog.
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I found myself in an interesting chat about so-called yarn bombing on Twitter this week prompted by Louise Scollay of the Knit British podcast. It started with whether we were comfortable with the use of "bombing" to describe activities where people decorate a space with knitted and crocheted items often as a unsanctioned "flash" event, but the discussion has prompted me to think harder about the whole phenomenon. I have a specific reason from finding the term yarn bombing uncomfortable. Bombing is an unredeemably negative term for someone who grew up in Belfast in the 70s and 80s and who... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2018 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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It's no secret that I have a bit of a hand-dyed yarn habit. I am drawn to rich and deep colours and unusual combinations but to control myself I try to focus on choosing yarns where I can see an outcome for the skein. For a while now I have been admiring, and occasionally buying. the work of Helen Reed of The Wool Kitchen. I like the yarn bases she uses and her strong colourful dyeing style. I particularly like skeins such as these in the Cosmic Girl colourway with a saturated main colour with flashes of contrast. And for... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2018 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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Those who follow me on social media may notice that I continue to be excited whenever one of my designs appears in a knitting magazine. I came to designing - well designing in a public and business way - later in life than many and as a designer I feel I am a mere infant. As a result every time someone understands and appreciates what I am trying to achieve, it is another milestone. In part this is what makes a design of mine appearing on a cover special. But it is more than that. For a long time I... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2018 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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It is always exciting when I can finally share a design. For magazines I work so far ahead that I can have finished something for a few months before I can show it off. But then you get wonderful images like this in the magazines. This is my Hardy Heroine shawl in the new issue (86) of Knit Now that came out a couple of days ago. The brief was Bitish yarns and British literature, and so I came up with a shawl using Victorian stitch patterns that could have graced any of Thomas Hardy's female protagonists from Tess to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2018 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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As a knitting designer, tech editor, writer, pattern writer, teacher and all round knitting nerd, I have an ever growing collection of reference books from the iconic The Principles Of Knitting by June Hemmon Hyatt and a 1960s Odhams Knitting Encylopaedia (a lucky charity shop find), to a well over a dozen stitch dictionaries. There are books on pattern writing and garment construction, books on fibres and yarn production, books on different styles of socks, on hat shaping, etc, etc. I love learning about my craft and I use these books regularly: to find the best techniques; looking to see... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2018 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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One interesting aspect of knitting is that looking at something sideways can give you a new way to create something. This is the case with the Wayward Paths scarf – a flat fringed scarf that is actually knitted in the round and cut – yes cut. This means the width of the stitch pattern repeats down the long side of the scarf – that is the rows go right along the scarf. This means you can use stitch patterns in a different way. I got the idea from my friend Juliet Bernard who used this method to create the stunning... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2018 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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I have been doing a spot of emergency knitting this week. I have a couple of Christmas dinners coming up and decided on a sleeveless red, grey and black dress. Perfect as the room warms up, but what about the early evening chill and having enough layers to deal with the Baltic weather outside? Apparently I have worn out a couple of cropped cardies over the past few months and no longer had something that was smart enough and warm enough. So there was a combined search of the yarn shop sites, Ravelry and my large knitting pattern and book... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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When I posted a few pictures of my Facet shawl from Knitting issue 173 (from GMC publications), there were a few people who said "lovely but I could never make something like that". This seems to be a common response to shawl patterns - there is a fear that it going to be incredibly complicated and take a very long time plus you will have to learn fiendishly evil new stitches. In fact there is nothing more complicated in Facet than a yarnover next to a decrease and once you are a few rows in the pattern repeat becomes clear.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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In my post about neat shoulders I mentioned using short rows shape shoulders and joining the seam using a three needle cast off. When you shape shoulders using short rows you end up with a set of stitches on a holder rather than cast off stitches. You can join them using the steps below. 1. Return your stitches to needles. Place the two sets of stitches from the pieces you plan to join on separate needles. I use double pointed or circular needles to make it ease to line up my stitches. 2. Hold the pieces you want to join... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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I always look forward to seeing the final pictures of a pattern commission. It is often some time after I supply the sample garment when I see the eventual images from a shoot, perhaps when a magazine is published. It is of course interesting to see how a garment has been styled but I also look at how the garment sits and particularly around the armhole and shoulder because this is something I work a great deal on and have quite strong views about. So I was particularly gratified to see these detail shots for the Lily Twinset in Knitting... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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It has been a while since I was a size 10, which means I don't always fit the sample garments I make to accompany my patterns for magazines. Luckily accessories don't have that problem and occasionally I decide to wear some of my hat or scarf samples. I am particularly looking forward to my Bonfire Hat and Scarf in the current issue of Knitting Magazine (172, Autumn 2017) coming back. I think it will be my go-to set this Autumn, although I think I will let the slouch of the hat drop to the side or back. One of my... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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I came late to sharing my knitting designs let alone receiving commissions from magazines and yarn companies. I have had a long career as a journalist but I still remember the excitement of having a bylined piece in a major national newspaper for the first time. I had to suppress the urge to tap fellow tube passengers on the shoulder, point to the article they were reading and say "I wrote that". The same sort of thing has happened each time I have had a design on the cover of a magazine. Right now I could happily spend time in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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There has been a recent trend on daytime TV for shows such as Gok's Fill YOur House for Free and Money for Nothing that encourage making and recycling, mainly featuring specialist craftspeople. Now crafting and making it yourself has hit primetime with Channel 4's glossy cookery show style Craft It Yourself on Tuesday evenings. Having watched the first two episodes I am enjoying the show and noting good ideas but I suspect the audience will fall into two groups - the doers and the admirers (one of the factors that reminds me of cookery shows). The doers are makers already,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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As a maker and craft teacher, I really enjoy having the time to learn new skills or crafts. One that I've fancied testing out for a while is ceramics, especially learning to use a wheel. So when fellow teacher and maker told me about an opportunity to take part in a group taster session she was arranging at The Kiln Rooms I was very excited and signed up right away. The four hour session was divided into two parts. For the first half we concentrated on using the wheel and then learned about other techniques which meant we each had... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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Meet Joan a very versatile knitted T-shirt that you can find in the latest issue of Knitting magazine (issue 171). Joan was inspired by Lucy Liu's character Joan Watson in the Elementary TV series. The character has a fabulous selection of knitwear and favours layers with long-sleeved t-shirts under knits, stripes and colour blocks. So I wanted to create an easy wear top that would look good on its own or over a long-sleeved tee and a design that would allow knitters to have a lot of colour options. For that reason it is knitted in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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Wearing one of my various craft and yarn industry hats, I had the opportunity to attend an interesting presentation on the state of the craft sector the other day. While I can’t reveal any detail here, except to say it is healthy and knitting is a big market, thankfully, I do want to raise an issue that came up. What do we think qualifies as a “craft activity”? It can be hard to define what falls inside the craft sector boundaries. For example, grown up colouring books form a category that is hotly debated. Some people argue that it should... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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A call for pattern designs using British yarns recently gave me the opportunity to work in a yarn I had been admiring for a while - Shetland Supreme Lace Weight 2ply from Jamieson & Smith. I was interested in working with the natural colours and fine sheepiness of this pure wool lace yarn that comes in 25g balls, as well as 500g cones if you are planning a couple of large shawls. This is one of those magical laceweights that looks rather unexciting as you work (especially as I had chosen the natural grey) but once blocked turns into a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
I will be explaining about how to create rips and ladders on the blog soon. 8-)
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I am a life long Dr Who fan. I can remember watching it with my dad when I was little, and being very excited to catch a glimpse of Tom Baker at an event. As an adult I have rewatched pretty much all the classic episodes available and followed the recent series very happily. But I don't think I will have watched any as closely as the new series. This is because I was commissioned to knit items for the upcoming season. I was introduced the the show's talented costume designer, Hayley Nebauer, when she asked mutual friend about knitters... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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I love vintage patterns and have piles of old knitting magazines from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, so I was very excited when Christine Boggis, the editor of Knitting magazine, put out a call for knits inspired by the 40s. Even more so because for a while I had had a picture of a vintage teapot that I wanted to use as a template for a colourwork jumper and I realised this was great fit for the brief. Colourwork and stripes were popular choices for sweaters in the 1940s because rationing meant people often reused wool and only had limited... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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Another new design out this week and this one is available for free via the Designer Yarns website. This unisex scarf is completely reversible, using ribbed cables and moss stitch, so it doesn't matter how you wrap yourself up, your knitting will still look fabulous. And with only 44 stitches to the row it turns out to be quite a quick knit as well (or at least it felt that way to me because the other tings on the needles are large scarves or colourwork across a lot more stitches) What really makes this a special knit is the yarn,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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The new issue of Knitting magazine is out and it includes my Spring Leaf cardigan. A simple draping cardigan for over a light top or dress. It has a bolero shape with a curved hem line and the leaf edging is knitted on so the leaves grow up the front symmetrically. The leaf pattern is based on a Victorian edging from the Knitting and Crochet Guild archive. It is one of those knits that is much easier than it might a appear at first glance at the pattern. The yarn is Lotus Yarns Tibetan Cloud Worsted - my first time... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks