Alison Ellen is one of the most interesting people I have met in hand knitting and her stand at Unravel a couple of years ago was a feast for the imagination. It’s hard for me to put my finger on why. Her patterns aren’t always to my taste but in a world where designs can feel regurgitated or formulaic, her take on hand knitting is quite unique and very inspiring.
She studied textiles and worked for a while in print before she turned her gaze, and considerable creativity, to hand knits. But far from being satisfied with a two-dimensional take on the knitted medium, she turned her attention to three-dimensions. The result is a body of intriguing work in yarns that she dyes herself. Her emphasis is on construction and most of her designs are knitted all in one piece.
As part of my year of stashbusting, which already seems endless, I am tackling a simple poncho to get to understand her work better. It is taken from her book called Knitting – Stitch Led Design which I managed to find on Ebay. I haven’t followed her colour scheme exactly but am using up some Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal and Noro Silk Garden sock yarn. Garter stitch is a favourite of mine and these mitred squares are like therapy. I have tinkered with the pattern a little to get them to sit properly.
I have never managed to attend one of Alison’s workshops but she does teach all over the country and you can find out where she will be appearing next here.