I am a knitwear designer who has published over 30 book of designs and launched my own brand of handknitting yarns twelve years ago. I also have a bi annual magazine.
My last book Knits to Give had been about creating projects to give away and it occurred to me that most of us lead very busy lives and we often forget to give ourselves me - time. From this came the idea of designing cosy knits to snuggle into, luxurious items to treat ourselves to, and projects that help us clear away clutter because a bit of order can sometimes be very soothing!
The projects include a delicate evening wear lace shawl, a ribbon and bead decorated cushion, a heated neck pillow and a big, moss stitch pouffe to put your feet up on.
In my new book the idea was to create both wearables and home items themed into Cosy, Pamper, Detox and Indulge for knitters to make for themselves , as crafters tend to be very generous people who knit for others. Thinking about these themes lead to the ideas for the projects.
I think probably the pouffe which in fact I did give away because my nephew’s sons love sitting on it! But I also have a soft spot for the aran,fairisle and striped wine bottle covers that make great vases and add a spot of colour to my office desk.
I have a large room that runs the width of the house so has plenty of light but it is crammed with a big table, computer desk, boxes of yarn and shelves stuffed with books.Floor space tends to be filled with stacks of magazines and garments that are on their way and back from a shoot.
I have always enjoyed making things, one of my earliest memories is of trying to build Winnie the Pooh’s house in 100 Acre Wood out of Christmas cards and it taking up most of the living room. I enjoyed making my own cloths when I was a penniless art student and would run up a pair of drawstring trousers before I went out.
My earliest memory is of knitting is a red cardigan for my doll Betty but I am not sure how old I was.Also my memory could be faulty, perhaps my mother made it and I am trying to claim ownership of it. The first thing I knitted for myself was a twinset from an old 1930’s pattern.
The knitwear designer who inspired me the most was Melody Griffiths, who sadly passed away a few years ago.She would come to my studio and we would brainstorm about and when she left I would feel exhausted but completely enthused about the craft again. She had a complete knowledge of how stitches worked but also understood current trends.
I see yarns when I go the Pitti Filatti trade show in Florence twice a year. In January I see the yarns that are being put forward for the following spring and in July I see the Autumn/Winter yarns. Sometimes I will see something that I fall in love with straight away but usually I work with the manufacturers and Designer Yarns, my UK distributor, to develop something unique to the brand. I look at fashion and colour trends when I am there as I want the knits to have a contemporary look.
Inspiration for the designs can come from anywhere, sometimes the yarn comes first and it's qualities and strengths inform the designs or it could be a film, theme or a colour. For example in the spring issue of the magazine there are features based on the Great Gatsby, children's pastoral knits shot in a wild flower garden, and a fashion story celebrating the colour green.
When I am knitting with new yarn after it comes from the manufacturer it will "tell me" what kinds of designs will be suitable for it and will also lead to the story behind the collection, rustic, sophisticated, city ,for example.
I am very excited about my two new spring yarns LUxury Silk DK and Rialto Print.
Luxury Silk is a stunning pure silk,which slips off the needles to produce a perfect fabric. It comes in both solid and print shades, the latter forming beautiful stripes. I have designed a collection of classic, elegant designs to go with the launch of the yarn.Rialto Print is part of ends on completion my really popular Rialto range,and is extra fine merino. Again the print forms stripes so you don't have to tie in contrast shades or sew in lots of ends on completion. I have designed a collection of knits for the older 4/12 age group.
I always love working on my bi annual magazine and there is plenty of projects for knitters to choose from in the S/S issue.
You can keep up with what is happening ,new yarns, behind the scenes pics etc on my facebook http://www.facebook.com/debbieblissonline or https://twitter.com/debbieblissnews?
This enticing collection of 30 designs from top knitwear designer Debbie Bliss vary between speedy knits that take no more than a weekend to leisurely knits that can be savored over a longer period of time. Divided into four evocative sections—Indulge, Cocoon, Pamper, and Detox—each chapter contains ideas for both cozy homewares and accessories alongside casual garments and other things to wear around the home. Projects include purses, shawls, socks, slippers, pillows, storage boxes, magazine racks, and vases in a variety of colors and fabrics.