Last summer I was invited to design a cardigan for ‘Bespoke’, a book Baa Ram Ewe were making to celebrate cycling in reference to the wonderful fact that Yorkshire will host the ‘Grand Départ’ of the 2014 Tour de France.

The design brief was for a stranded yoke cardigan with bicycle motifs, to be called Woodrup after the Leeds bicycle firm. I guess I could have simply designed a basic circular yoke cardigan with contrast colour motifs. However, I wanted to make the design a ‘signature’ piece, incorporating features that make the design easily identified as one of mine by anybody familiar with my work. Hence the inclusion of i-cord (aka slip-cord) to create an integral (knitted in, not sewn on) piping detail above and below the colourwork band. I have previously used i-cord above and below a stranded colourwork band in Wetwang, and have used the same integral i-cord method to form horizontal piping in many other designs, including Mallorn, Roseberry, Anwen, and Glade.

Because I love i-cord, it features in some way in a lot of my design work. Mostly I use it as edgings, some of which incorporate buttonholes. In Elsa and Where’s My Cow I also used i-cord to form integral vertical piping worked in a contrast colour. However, Woodrup is the first design in which I have used i-cord to create contrast colour piping next to a ribbed edging. I’m really pleased with the effect, and am sure I’ll do this again.

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This summer at Unwind Brighton and at Fibre East I will be teaching all the i-cord techniques I use in my designs in an ‘I-cord Magic’ class. The class will be available on Sunday 13th July at Unwind Brighton and on Sunday 27th July at Fibre East. My classes are always fun, and students leave feeling inspired by what they have learned. Come and join one!

Baa Ram Ewe have set up pre-order for ‘Bespoke’, the book in which Woodrup features. It also contains designs from other British designers, including several friends of mine. My favourite knit design in the book is the ‘Picycle’ shawl by Karina Westermann. There’s also crochet though, including the beautifully simple ‘Helmet Head’ hat by Sarah Alderson.

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