Way back in 2009 I was asked by Rowan to design a simple sheep to promote the newly launched British Sheep Breeds Dk. I am not too good at simple, so in the end Sheep Toys was the result of their request.
Move on a couple of years and I am working at Wool for Ewe in Aberdeen. We decide to make a ‘pair of sheep’ to match the shop logo. Along came Cable and Lace.
After leaving Wool for Ewe with dreams of wearing my designing hat more regularly, Wee Blackface Sheep became my first self-published pattern. To date, it remains my most successful.
This success brings me to a happy coincidence. Many years ago (1987 to be precise) as a graduate starting out in the world of knit design, I required a logo. After many sketches and ideas I finally came up with this:
Now I pile on the years, pounds and wrinkles, meet the very youthful Aurelie and the Auld Woolly Alliance is born. We decide it would be rather nice to have a logo… so, off I go in search of my original artwork… and ‘low and behold’ it is unearthed from the depths of a cupboard! I blow off the dust and cobwebs and to my amazement Aurelie likes it, despite it’s age it seems just right.
Two Blackface sheep to symbolise The Auld Woolly Alliance, one wee sheep standing to the left for Aurelie (the lefty) and one wee sheep standing to right for myself.
Last week the latest addition to my sheepy catalogue made his way to Ravelry, Loveknitting and in person to Jamiesons of Shetland (courtesy of Royal Mail). Wee Blackface Sheep 2 is completely seamless. A darning needle will be required only to get rid of those pesky ends and to graft a few stitches to stop his insides falling outsides! Colin has been hiding in my head for some time now but he finally made it to my needles a few months ago. A busy period of designing, pattern writing and working alongside my awesome pattern testers’ and checkers’ followed. At long last, I can finally introduce you to Colin (and Co.).
During workshops folks often ask what I like to design most. When I reply: “Toys….especially those that make me smile” I am often met by one or two voices admitting how much they dislike knitting toys due to the fiddly pieces and time consuming sewing up. Colin was therefore a personal challenge. To prove to my knitting chums and to myself that this need not be the case.
I will continue to share Colin’s adventures with you as they happen. If you know me well, you will know this will be a slow process…Meantime, just incase you are curious…
Colin is also my brother’s name. As a toddler he was, ‘a bit of a handful’! I have heard (from my mother’s own lips!) that when there was washing ready to hang on the clothes line this procedure required an additional rope. One end tied to the clothes pole and the other around my brother’s waist. It appears this was necessary to avoid an escape and high speed chase.
One of the things I enjoy most about toy design is coming up with the names!