:::ORIGINALLY POSTED ON VANCOUVER YARN:::
My love for Jane Richmond's patterns grew out of my love for simple, elegant designs and my eagerness to learn new techniques. Jane's patterns capture these elements perfectly for me. Like a lot of knitting patterns though, there are some design aspects to Jane's new pieces that look like they might be complicated (like the lace mesh of Grace and Strathcona). But like a lot of techniques, once you learn how to do them you realize you worried for nothing. I'm constantly reminded that all knitting techniques are just some combination of knit and purl stitches with a little extra direction added for the tricky looking things. Jane's patterns are so well written that I never find myself scratching my head. I am so thankful for that, because honestly I'm the kind of knitter that freaks out a bit when things aren't going right. I also really need to know why I'm using a technique, or how exactly a particular design feature is occurring as I make it. I can't just read a pattern row-for-row and watch it become something, I really need to understand it. Jane's patterns are rhythmic, and have large sections which are easy to memorize, so she's really become a go-to designer for me when I'm looking for new projects.
Her premier book ISLAND is no exception. I will definitely be knitting all five of those lovely patterns. The fact that the patterns are not repetitive, in the way that the book is not a book of hats for example (It includes a hat, a cardigan, a cowl, a scarf and a pair of fingerless mitts) makes this task even more enjoyable. You could almost wear everything together once you've made them all. I've begun with an Arbutus, which I knit with Cascade 220 Superwash*, and currently have Strathcona on my needles, made with a strand of slate grey lace cotton and a strand of lace merino in white (both Brassard yarns*). Both have been a joy to knit. And going back to learning new techniques, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the mysterious slant design feature in the Strathcona was as simple as increasing and decreasing in specific spots :) Happy Janna.
pattern: Grace photo by Nicholas Kupiak
ISLAND is not just about the fantastic patterns though. It is equally a beautiful photography book that anyone would enjoy regardless if they are a knitter or not. The first half of the book is full of thoughtful photos, many of which include the knitting projects, but in between are breathtaking photos of nature on Vancouver Island. These really give us a peek into Jane's surroundings, and more importantly her inspirations. They really put this collection into context. And for me, they make me miss my home-sweet home, BC. Kudos to the photographer, Nicholas Kupiak, for capturing the spirit of this collection so well.
Okay, I know you're waiting for the giveaway part! Here it is: Jane has graciously offered one of our readers a free copy of ISLAND. So, just leave a comment below before Monday the 14th, and next Tuesday I'll randomly choose someone and announce the winner. AND please mention which pattern in the book you like the looks of the most. I'm curious to know which is most popular. I've found it hard to choose a fave, but I'm really drawn to Grace.
Below are some photos of my two projects so far from ISLAND.
*I feel I must point out the fact that my use of alternative yarns for my pieces from the book was for no other reason than that I have made it a rule to only use yarns in my stash this year. Both for cash-saving reasons and space saving reasons. I know that Jane must have searched high and low for the perfect yarns for all of these patterns, and one day I will make them with her chosen yarns, the way they are meant to be :) I must say, regardless of this decision, the projects have turned out excellent.
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Hi, I'm Janna. I'm the owner and natural dyer at Everlea Yarn and the tapestry instructor at The School of SweetGeorgia. I am a tapestry weaver, longtime knitter and 2013 graduate of Concordia University's Fibres and Material Practices program.
I founded Vancouver Yarn in 2008 as a single space to hold as much of the textile awesomeness that I could find in and around Vancouver. Here on the VY blog I mostly share about local events, pattern releases as well as Community Highlights.
Do you have an event, KAL, yarn or pattern release, launch or other thing you want us to post? Just send your press release to me at
janna (at) vancouveryarn.com and specify that you'd like to see it on our blog.