Campaign for Wool Student Hand Knit Competition

The Campaign for Wool has announced the winners of its first student hand knitting competition.

The students were asked to design a series of garments hand knitted in yarns that were all at least 51% wool that had sculptural elements using cabling and 3D techniques. The design brief set by Marie Wallin, a knitwear designer renowned for her intricate Fair Isle hand knitting, also asked the students to use a colour palette based on British autumn. Participants were also encouraged to uses other crafting techniques including crochet and felting.

Campaign for wool hand knitting prize

Each entry included a sketch book, knitted swatches and six finished illustrated designs. The students then selected one of the designs to make up as their final submission.

Sixteen final entries were judged during Wool Week by Marie Wallin, Bridgette Kelly of The Campaign for Wool, Wendy Barker of Kingston University and Polly Leonard, founder and editor of Selvedge Magazine who awarded a special prize to her overall preferred entry.

“I was very impressed by the standard of design work submitted,” said Marie Wallin. “The students truly excelled themselves with designs that not only promoted the craft of handknit and crochet but showed how wool can be a creative and versatile fibre.”

The entries were displayed at the Artworkers Guild Hall in London during Wool Week for judging and the winners will be shown again in Yorkshire at Wool House, the British Wool Marketing Board’s head office during November.

The winners

Campaign for wool hand knitting prizeThe first prize winner of £500 was Rachel Graham of Brighton University. This very talented designer was only in her first year of her undergraduate knitwear design course when she submitted work for selection. Her winning design was a beautiful fitted tunic dominated by a mass of knitted loops creating a dramatic and tactile effect.

Campaign for wool hand knitting prize

The second prize of £300 was awarded to Jessye Boulton from Winchester School of Art, another first year undergraduate student. Jessye’s design was a wonderful blend of multi coloured yarns knitted into a collection bullion knots, creating a dramatic and eye-catching, almost carpet-like in its structure and very impressive as a garment.

Campaign for wool hand knitting prize

The third prize of £200 was awarded to Catriona Pringle from the Royal College of Art. This highly creative design was a mix of cut felted wool with twisted knitted strips woven in and out of the felted cut sections.

A special award of 3 year subscription to Selvedge Magazine was given to Zoe Lyne of Winchester School of Art. Polly Leonard, the editor of Selvedge Magazine was instantly drawn to this dramatic design of a mass of crochet tubes worked into a very imaginative wearable neck piece or collar.”

Behind the scenes: What makes a good sample knitter?

At UK Hand Knitting we are often asked about sample knitting for designers ad yarn companies. So in our latest look behind the scenes we talked to David MacLeod, Design Manager at Rowan about working with sample knitters and what the job entails.

How important are good quality sample knitters?

It’s very important to have good quality knitters because their work represents us in our brochures and pictures, also it costs time and money if garments are not knitted correctly as we may have to have them reknitted.

sample knits

It is essential that sample garments are well knitted or crocheted for photography as well as to test that the patterns work. Patterns: Felbrigg, Mie and Hiyama from Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine 59

What skills are important in a sample knitter  – being able to knit to tension, following instructions precisely, etc?

The skills are exactly as you’ve said – being precise and working to tension – and also it’s nice to have someone who  takes pride in what they’re knitting.

We do have a regular group of knitters and some ladies who like to knit more than others. It’s very hard to find good knitters who are experienced enough to knit our garments and knitters that are prepared to do any project.

One of the most important skills is feedback which may include feedback on the yarn itself or on the pattern or design, so our knitters need to be good communicators.

How do you find your sample knitters? Do you work with a regular group of them?

We sometimes get emails from people asking if they can knit for us, or we send out an email to ask for applicants. All knitters have to pass a knitting skills test.

We do have bank of sample knitters that we use on a regular basis.