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Jessica Joy

Knitwear designer, teacher and author

I thought i’d give you a little peak at how my Willard cardigan is coming along today. It’s going quite slowly as I haven’t been able to dedicate a whole bunch of time to it amongst other work and Christmas orders, but that’s just me being impatient. Isn’t it cuuuute?
Willard Cardigan ProgressThe adaptations weren’t difficult to figure out. As I bought the whole e-book, I’ve been following one of the other cardigan patterns (Kaye’s cardigan) and have substituted in the Willard colour chart. I just needed to increase one stitch before starting the colour chart so that it divided evenly into the row.
Willard Cardigan ProgressI’m thinking about doing the left side button band in the leftover pink for a bit of contrast, like this cityscape cardigan I mentioned last week. A cute little pop of pink!

And I’m really slow on the uptake, but I’ve just discovered Hannah and Pam Allen’s podcast, Knit FM – have you listened in yet? There’s 4 episodes so far so I’m heading back to the beginning to catch up. So far loads of great tips from these knowledgeable knitters.

What do you have on your needles at the moment?

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Knitters can be hard to buy for, don’t you think? Particularly if you aren’t sure of their preferences, or don’t knit yourself. We’re a picky bunch! So I’ve put together a little gift guide today of more universal knitter gifts. I hope it gives you some ideas for those stubborn crafty types. :)
Gifts for knitters | Jessica JoyClockwise from top left: Stitch markers from Fringe Supply Co, Knitting by Design by Emma Robertson, Leather needle pouch from Fringe Supply Co, Subscription to POMPOM Magazine.
Gifts for knitters | Jessica JoyClockwise from top left: Scrummy Yarn from Purl Soho, Indigo Hickory Bag by Merchant & Mills, Notions Box Set by Merchant & Mills, Knitting nail art by Kate Broughton.

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Duplicate stitch is a really great way to add a colour-work motif to your knitting. It’s used as a quicker alternative to fair-isle, or to embellish a ready-made garment. This particular technique mimics stockinette stitch, and the plus side, you can easily rip it out and start again without affecting the original piece.

How to Work Duplicate Stitch

Just be sure to count the stitches on your sample, and on your colour chart, so you can position it where you want to.

I have a series of cute critter colour charts to publish soon, including Mr. Fox up there, so watch this space. I hope you find this useful!

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Since starting my Willard cardigan (going well, so far, you can see a few snaps on instagram) I’ve had an itch to make more cosy layers. I just love the methodical process of jumper knitting, it’s nice to take some time out and slowly labour over one project – it’s great meditation. Here are a few patterns currently on my wish list, they feel appropriately festive, don’t they?
Jessica Joy | Fair Isle Knitting PatternsClockwise from top left: Kate Davies, Paper Dolls | Andi Satterlund, Geraldine Pullover | Laura Chau, Cityscape. I particularly like this version of Cityscape, the contrast button band is soo good. And because she’s the queen of fair-isle, another Kate Davies, Bláithín.

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When I was really little my most favourite thing about Christmas, was stockings. I loved waking up early and feeling a big weight of presents on my feet. My mum made my sister and I these incredible patchwork quilted stockings that we used every year without fail and are now treasured relics.
Jessica Joy Fair Isle Snowflake Stocking PatternLast Christmas I decided to try and tap those magical memories and designed my own fair isle snowflake stockings. I sold a small collection of them in Paper, Scissor, Stone last year and thought it would be nice to publish the pattern.

You can head over to my shop to purchase one now, or use the Ravelry link below. They use 5mm DPNs and chunky weight yearn, so knit up really quickly. There’s definitely time to make a bunch before the big day.

Handmade Christmas WreathIn other Christmassy news, my sister and I spent an evening this weekend making our own wreaths. We foraged around the back garden, park and nearby playing fields, so it’s feeling a little bit Christmassy around here already.Handmade Christmas WreathI had to throw on some fuzzy red pom poms, it would be rude not to! Are you hand making and decorations or presents this year?

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on a new series of video tutorials, which I’m uber excited about. I’m going to be sharing fortnightly videos on my favourite tips, tricks, techniques and stitch patterns. I have a whole bunch lined up so if you’d like to follow along, subscribe to my YouTube channel or the blog (bloglovin’, RSS) – or both!

How to Knit Loopy Stitch

The first video in the series is my new favourite stitch, loopy stitch. It’s so much fun to knit and looks awesome. This method is a lot easier than others I’ve seen and uses very few steps to create really neat and tidy loops.

I hope you find it useful!

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For about a year now I’ve been quietly purging my wardrobe. Around the 8th charity shop trip, I started to fall in love with the idea of having fewer clothes and creating a really cute capsule wardrobe, *cue incessant googling and Pinterest searches*. I wanted to curate a set of classic, practical pieces which, I hoped, would force a bit of creativity into my morning routine. Ever been faced with a bulging wardrobe and the feeling of having nothing to wear?

So far, it’s been a liberating experience, mostly to my bank balance, and i’ve started taking the time to actually notice my own personal style, and how it’s changed over the years. To stay inspired I challenged myself to wear a different combination of items every day, and photograph them to see how I’m doing. This has been great to capture the successful, and the not so successful outcomes – let alone forcing me to make an effort each morning. It’s far too easy to wear pyjamas all day when you’re self employed and working from home!

I didn’t think I could talk about this without showing you a few, so eek, while I hide, here they are:

Capsule Wardrobe Outfits

Mustard cardigan: H&M / Bird dress: H&M / Striped scarf: Muji / Cable knit jumper: White Stuff / Camel Jeggings: Warehouse / Striped cotton tank: H&M / Skinny jeans: ASOS / Boots: Cara c.2004

Capsule Wardrobe Outfits

Denim shirt: H&M / Navy duffle coat: Topshop / Knitted owl jumper: Handmade / Belt: Warehouse / Brogues: New Look

Capsule Wardrobe Outfits

Striped blazer: H&M / Velvet mustard skirt: H&M / Bobble knit cardigan: H! by Henry Holland

Capsule Wardrobe Outfits

Knit tunic: White Stuff / Sleeveless shirt: H&M / Denim shirt: H&M

If you’re thinking of culling your wardrobe, or just refreshing it a little bit, here are the best tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.

Be ruthless: If any of your clothes have holes, stains, don’t fit or aren’t looking in brilliant condition, just chuck ’em. It’s nice to replace those well loved staples every few years and make room for new things. After this initial cull, you can then start looking at your tastes, what haven’t you worn in the last year, is there anything you just don’t like, or was an unwanted gift. And don’t forget about accessories. Apply the same rules to shoes, handbags, old belts, unmentionables, and jewellery.

Three month box: Create a designated box that’s bound for the charity shop. If you’re just not sure if you can part with something, put it in the box and store it away for three months – if you don’t go to retrieve it in that time, let it go.

Visual overview: Now that you’ve got rid of the clutter you can start to look at what’s left and how it all works together. Lay out all your clothes in groups, do you have too many skirts and only one pair of casual trousers (for example). Play around with what fabrics look nice together and take photos so that you can refer back to them. My ‘morning selfie’ has been really helpful for building outfits, and figuring out what staples I need to buy. If you don’t already have a style board on Pinterest, make one. Sifting back through those images can really help to get a feel for what you’re drawn to, but might not have considered for yourself.

Invest: When it comes to adding new pieces to a capsule wardrobe, really take the time to consider if it will mix in with what you have (here’s where those group photos come in handy). If you can, try to invest in the best quality you can afford. Chances are if you’re maintaining a smaller wardrobe, and being smarter about your choices, you’ll buy less often and have extra pennies for something that will last. Investing time in making your own clothes is also hugely rewarding. I’ve been living in my owls jumper (above) this Winter.

Colours, textures and patterns: The one thing I’ve found with a mix-and-match wardrobe, is that there needs to be some cohesion, and longevity. While clashing patterns can be fun, I tend to get bored with the colour, or design, after a while. Try to stick with neutral solid colours that flatter your skin tone and a few brighter pops of colour/pattern that compliment this base. This way you increase the range of your mixing and matching. No prizes for guessing stripes and mustard yellow were my accents of choice. Also be very aware of the colours that just don’t suit you either, boo hiss orangey-red!

Overall, this has been (and continues to be) a really cathartic journey for me, and I hope it inspires others to have a go, too. For someone who’s never been very aware of style, I feel like I’m finally finding my groove. Have you ever tried this and have some awesome tips to share? Or is a capsule wardrobe your worst nightmare? I’m all ears!

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