MORE Lovely Knitted Lace by Brooke Nico was the featured topic of today’s Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird. We love hearing what’s new with guests we’ve had on the show before and Brooke is no exception. As a busy mom, yarn shop owner, teacher and designer, getting to spend time with her this way is something we all can appreciate!
Brooke taught herself to knit, using the book Knitting for Dummies, when she realized as a stay-at-home mommy, she needed a hobby. Then at one point, she offered to help run the yarn shop down the street when the owner fell ill and eventually became the owner of Kirkwood Knittery in Missouri. She met Trisha Malcolm, editor of Vogue Knitting, at a Yarn Market News conference (which is a trade show for shop owners) which resulted in Brooke submitting and having a design published in Vogue Knitting.
After that, Brooke contributed designs to other collections, including Carol Sulcoski’s books. We featured Brooke and her earlier book, Lovely Knitted Lace, a couple of years ago and Brooke says she received lots of love from folks for the garments and the lacework. She says the challenge with creating new designs with lace is to ‘make sure the garment design itself doesn’t compete the lace’. Sometimes it’s just fun to see what you can do with a simple shape like a rectangle or basically a scarf! She also says it’s fun for her to play with basic shapes and see what she can make with them.
We admired individual pieces in MORE Lovely Knitted Lace, like the Amaryllis shawl which is entrelac in construction but each square is a lace motif, Wanderlust includes ribbing, lace, and Brooke had in mind a heavier shawl that could be worn in place of a coat, Primrose Brooke says is really scarves assembled together. Marly put Brooke on the spot by asking what she loves or wears the most, and Brooke says she wears Montauk a lot, which is a long-sleeved raglan pullover which uses lace to create it’s lines, and does so beautifully!
What is really unique is that her designs are not confined to lace-weight yarns, in fact there are only three patterns in this book that are designed for those yarns. Brooke says her journey from conception through finished design relies heavily on swatching. Lace can be blocked to the size you need it to be, but certain yarns and stitch patterns don’t work together. She says she creates large swatches so that she can really see and discover what the yarn and the lace pattern do together. The other thing that’s really required with lace is blocking because on the needles it’s not very pretty. Brooke says even if you don’t use wire blocking methods, it must be washed and smoothed out flat to acheive anything close to the beauty of a lace pattern. The other thing she relies on for designing is the use of charts. It’s so helpful to her to see where she is in her work and how the lace design itself flows.
You can follow Brooke Nico through her shop’s website: www.kirkwoodknittery.com, she has a designer page in Ravelry. If you’d like to hear Brooke’s earlier visit to Yarn Thing CLICK HERE. This was when she shared Lovely Knitted Lace shown there to the left.
If you missed getting to hear this live, this episode is still available as an archived episode where it aired originally http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yarnthing/2016/04/05/more-lovely-knitted-lace-by-brooke-nico or in your favorite podcast catcher like iTunes or Stitcher Radio.