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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
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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
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During February I have been taking part in the #yarnlovechallenge on Instagram. The idea was to post each day according to a theme - some, sa you can see below, more challenging than others. It was a fascinating challenge because it made me think creatively everyday even when I wasn't in the mood. And I'm happy to say I posted every day and managed to keep up. I look forward to doing something like this again in the future but not during March which is a crazy month. Here are my 28 pics - starting from day one at the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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I love a cable or two. They add interest to both design and the process of knitting and you can use them to aid construction or shaping, so I was very excited a few months ago when the editor of Knitting magazine put out a call for design submissions for a cable special. I was even more excited when I was commissioned to produce my modern take on a traditional aran-style cable jumper in a natural off-white yarn. It was a design I'd enjoyed coming up with and it was also a sample I really enjoyed producing (I just need... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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It is interesting to take a look at the statements from online pattern sales sites to see what (and sometimes if) patterns are selling. Judging by what I've been looking at today, over Christmas it seems that quite a few people may have received a pair of Hamilton Handwarmers in their presents. I hope they all have cosy hands and that the knitters enjoyed making them. Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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Today I'm surrounded by swatches because I'm testing a range of yarns, shapes and stitches for a new commission involving a set of patterns. It is interesting to see how things come out and sometimes that means deciding a stitch might work better in another of the yarn choices. I'm now contemplating these and a couple more before the final sketches and submission. Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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If you were to look at my knitting book shelves it would be easy to spot that I am a bit of a fan of Alice Starmore. I have been since my mum bought me a copy of The Celtic Collection for Christmas many moons ago. Mum had an ulterior motive, she wanted her own Donegal jumper (it was her home county). So among other patterns from the book did make this almost infamous piece of colourwork (long before I learn two handed stranded knitting making it even more of an achievement). The Donegal and Armagh sweaters And I still... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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Introducing ZigZag, my new cardigan design in Knitting issue 164. This longish, empire line cardigan is a flattering shape with a lovely drape thanks to the yarn which is Yarn Stories fine merino 4-ply. I'd wanted to make something in this yarn since I'd first come across it and especially in this colour combination of dove and french navy. So the Knitting "Winter Blues" issue was the perfect opportunity, especially as I think 4-ply cardigans are very useful layering garments in winter (in particular one as changeable as this). The graduate stripes keep the interest when knitting and create shape,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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2016 has been seen as a universally bad year and, yes, some of my friends had a dreadful time last year and yes some of my celebrity heroes died but for me it was about positive change and emergence. On the other hand I had a tough 2015 full of bereavement and health issues for me and others. I ended that year tired, drained and in need of some change in my life. For someone who is a freelancer, one of the problems of making changes is that the need to earn can take up all the time that you... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2017 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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As part of the Indie Spotlight section of Yarnporium, I had the opportunity to talk to lots and lots of knitters which is always a lovely experience. Because we were in a separate room from the main stands, I often asked them about the yarn they’d bought so I could do a bit of vicarious shopping. It also gave me a great overview of the wide range of beautiful yarns, colours and fibres on offer. The lovely Elaine wearing her version of my Ardmore dress from Knitting magazine in front of an array of my samples at Yarnporium Chatting to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2016 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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I have a stall in the Indie Spotlight section of the new Yarnporium yarn show this weekend. As I prepare pdfs and head to my local printers, steam samples and weave in the ends of new additions, I have been thinking about why I am doing this. The answer is about so much more than standing at a table encouraging people to try the knitted samples and hopefully selling some patterns. It is about me pushing myself forward, forcing me to share the fruits of my teeming brain and exposing my ideas to public view. “Exposing” is the right word.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2016 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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Introducing Ardmore my new sweater dress design for Knitting magazine. For a long time before I started designing myself and indeed before I was a tech editor for other designers and magazines, I was keen to know how particular designs came about. With this in mind, rather than just share a pic of the new design I thought I'd share a little of its story. In May the editor of the magazine put out a call for designs influenced by high street fashion for an autumn issue. She provided designers with a mood board showing shapes, lengths, necklines, colour pallets... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2016 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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If you are yet to try your hand a shawl knitting, a simple crescent shawlette is a good place to start. Purple rain shawlette in Knitting issue 159 They can be draped over your shoulders as a light extra layer, left dangling as a stylish flash of colour or wrapped round your neck for warmth. In terms of knitting, Purple Rain (above) and my other designs which I will be releasing on Ravelry and Love Knitting very soon, feature a lace edge section and a plain stocking stitch or garter stitch centre. The curve is created using a simple, user-friendly... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2016 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
Some people have been asking why remainers like me are still campaigning and getting involved in political debate. So here are my considered reasons. 1. Flawed process. My view before the referendum and my view now is that it was... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2016 at Bro's browsings
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In April I decided it was time I went through all my knitting boxes and bags in what I described as a stash shake up. Part of this involved opening project bags and checking shelves properly. This revealed that I can have a a bit of a scatterbrain when it comes to projects - there were more than a few unfinished objects, including half a man's jumper with no more yarn and no notes, and patterns that I'd started but not enjoyed and set aside. So I made some harsh decisions and ripped various things out, freeing up project bags,... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2016 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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In this third and final post on understanding cabling, well be looking at how to understand more complex or unusual cables which may really be the ones that make you feel the pattern is like this. In the earlier posts I looked at cables that use just the knit stitch and ones that use both knits and purls and about understanding what stitches go on the cable needle and whether these cross at the front or back of the work. I used the abbreviation C for plain cables and Tw for those involving knits and purls. F tells us to... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2016 at The penguin with the pointy sticks
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One of the benefits of both working to promote knitting and crochet in the UK and being a tech editor and pattern writer is that I get to see and (at least) swatch a wide range of yarns. And recently I was one of the first to work with a brand new yarn - in this case Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock. I was lucky enough to work as Debbie's pattern compiler on a collection of sock patterns for the this colourful new yarn. Bobble Lace and First Time socks This meant I had the privilege to see and work... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2016 at The penguin with the pointy sticks