Today, we are excited to present the Rideau Cowl by world-renowned knitwear designer, Fiona Ellis, who was born in England and now resides in Canada. It’s been a joy to work with Fiona and an honor to include this amazing pattern in our 2021 Fall/Winter Collection! For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting and knowing Fiona, we are pleased to introduce her through this Designer Spotlight.
How and when did you decide to design patterns?
I received a BA in Fashion Knitwear design at University in the UK. After graduation, I started designing for ready-to-wear fashion houses in London and New York. Through this avenue I met Trisha Malcom, long-time editor of Vogue Knitting magazine, in New York. She encouraged me to transfer my design skills towards the hand knitter (rather than mass-production) and Vogue Knitting was first to publish my designs in this arena.
What was the inspiration behind your Rideau cowl for Plucky’s 2021 Fall Collection?
The very first assignment we were sent when studying knitwear design at university was to design “interesting stripes”. This proved to be much more of a challenge than we first anticipated. And it sucked me in, so much so that I have returned to the idea over and over. For me the stripes not only have to be attractive but also fun and engaging to knit. For the Rideau, I came up with a long sequence that is repeated three times, with the colour placements changing each repeat so that the sequence is not immediately obvious at first glance. Finishing details are important to me so I layered on some understated techniques to give the cowl a polished, elegant, understated look while being a fun “just one more row” project to knit.
- In nature; the colour combinations in flowers, texture of tree bark, patterns found in ripples in sand after the retreat of the tide.
- In architecture; the elegant columns of gothic cathedrals, ornate Art Nouveau building facades, even the lines found in a grate on the street.
- In music & dance; the shape and lines created by the human body as it moves, the way a break in music adds interest and punctuation.
- In trips to museums and learning from history, most often this is other textile forms; Paisleys and drawn-thread work have been past favourites.
- I also find springboards in other media; food styling and photography, the overall mood created in a film, a phrase or an idea in a novel.