Well, it’s all about the penguins this week! And I’m very happy to be able to talk about my little penguin project with Rowan and John Lewis.
Back in the summer of 2012, Rowan asked me to design a snowman for a knitting kit to go with the John Lewis Christmas advert for that year. After going back and forth for a while, discussing whether it should be a two-ball snowman or a three-ball snowman and whether he should be smiling or not (I find toys with big smiles a bit creepy) – we were sent an image from the advert and I cracked on with designing!
Designing a knitting pattern from a photo can be a bit tricky. I try to keep the design fairly accurate to the image, whilst keeping the pattern as simple as possible so that it appeals to more people.
The most important thing to me, is to design something that people will really want to knit. If something is overly complicated in order to remain true to the image – people might admire it, but will it inspire them to pick up the needles? I always try my best to keep sewing up to a minimum – I know that not everyone loves it as much as I do!
I found that the most difficult thing about both projects was knitting Christmas themed things on the hottest days of the year! It felt a bit wrong to be sunbathing in the garden whilst knitting penguins. It was also difficult not being able to talk about this until November!
I really enjoyed working on the snowman kit for John Lewis, so I was very excited when I was asked to design a pair of penguins based on Monty and Mabel from the 2014 John Lewis Christmas advert. I love the advert and it’s really nice to finally be able to shout about it!
After getting the image of Monty and Mabel through from John Lewis, discussions began as to whether we should go with a black beak and flesh coloured feet (accurate to the advert) or bright orange feet and beak. After three operations, where the penguins had their beaks and feet removed, we settled on the orange as it looks so much cuter!
The penguins are knitted in Rowan Pure Wool 4ply and the kit contains enough yarn to knit both penguins. The kit is available on-line and in John Lewis stores.