BRON­AGH MISKELLY

Meet this tal­ented de­signer

The Knitter - - Contents - www.rav­elry.com/de­sign­ers/ bron­agh-miskelly

ORIG­I­NALLY FROM the north of Ire­land, Bron­agh Miskelly is now based in Lon­don. She likes her de­signs to pro­vide a bit of a chal­lenge or be fun to knit, as well as to bring plea­sure when they are worn.

Who in­spired you to take up knit­ting?

“I come from a fam­ily of mak­ers. One of my grand­moth­ers was a pro­lific sock knit­ter, and the other had worked for an up­mar­ket dress­maker when she was young. My mum was a sewer, and one of my aunts al­ways had ta­pes­try on the go. So I learned to do all sorts of crafts. Knit­ting was the craft that I took to most in my teens; it is the one that helps me to re­pro­duce what’s in my head most eas­ily.”

Do you have a favourite artist, writer, poet or mu­si­cian who in­spires you?

“When it comes to po­etry I of­ten turn to Sea­mus Heaney. Like him, I am from North­ern Ire­land, and his work of­ten calls up im­agery from our shared land­scapes. He makes me think about the colours, shapes and tra­di­tions of home.”

Tell us about the colours, land­scapes or ar­chi­tec­ture that in­spire your de­sign work.

“Hav­ing grown up partly on the coast, I am very drawn to pat­terns that in­voke waves and curves and the colours of the Ir­ish coast – stormy greys, the blue of fish­ing nets, the stripes of cliffs. I de­signed a set of shawls in­spired by those. I am also drawn to Gothic ar­chi­tec­ture and Art Deco de­sign. The use of lines and curves in both makes me think about stitch con­struc­tions.”

Which de­signer has most in­spired you?

“An early in­flu­ence was Alice Star­more. My mum bought me The Celtic Col­lec­tion when it first came out, mainly be­cause she wanted me to make her the Done­gal Sweater (I am one of the few peo­ple who have com­pleted it). That book in­tro­duced me to new tech­niques in­clud­ing knit­ting sweaters in the round and steeks, and opened my eyes to what can be done with yarn and sticks.” What is your favourite knit­ting book? “If I had to choose a book for a desert is­land it would prob­a­bly be one of the many stitch dic­tio­nar­ies I have lined up where I work. I use these to find par­tic­u­lar tech­niques, and as a jump­ing-off point for de­vel­op­ing stitch pat­terns and com­bi­na­tions. This week my favourite is Hit­omi Shida’s

Ja­panese Knit­ting Stitch Bible be­cause I am in­ter­ested in how the pat­terns are mixed. But next week my favourite could be a col­lec­tion of lace stitches.”

What fi­bres do you love to work with?

“If I could only choose one fi­bre it would be wool, be­cause of its ver­sa­til­ity - from cob­web-weight merino for a lace scarf to su­per­chunky rov­ing yarn for a quick and cosy cardie, it has it all. I am drawn to finer yarns, and I like merino and Blue­faced Le­ices­ter mixed with a lit­tle silk or bam­boo or al­paca. And I keep a lit­tle cash­mere to hand in my stash just to touch oc­ca­sion­ally, even when I don’t have an idea for it yet.”

Which de­sign are you most proud of?

“I am al­ways proud and ex­cited when some­thing emerges from the nee­dles in the way I wanted. Two ex­am­ples are shawls. ‘Salmon Net’ was in­spired by a mem­ory of see­ing bright blue pieces of dis­carded fish­ing net on the rocks when I was a child, which I re­called when I saw a par­tic­u­lar skein of yarn. It was my first full lace shawl de­sign and cap­tured ex­actly what I wanted – as well as prov­ing to my­self I could do it.

“The other is my ‘Cob­webs in the Rain’ stole. I was in­ter­ested in work­ing in lace on the bias, so cre­at­ing a rec­tan­gle from cor­ner to cor­ner. I used Shet­land wool and vari­a­tions on Shet­land stitches, and smiled the whole way through mak­ing it. And then it was on the cover of The Knit­ter!”

Are there any tech­niques or styles of knit­ting you’d like to ex­plore fur­ther?

“I have just seen that some­one is teach­ing brioche lace, so I need to have a go at that. Mainly I am in­ter­ested in vintage pat­terns and the dif­fer­ent con­struc­tions you find, es­pe­cially for col­lars and cuffs.”

1 Bron­agh’s ‘Lange’ vest, from Is­sue 129 2 She ad­mires the po­etry of Sea­mus Heaney 3 Alice Star­more’s The Celtic Col­lec­tion has in­spired Bron­agh’s knit­ting 4 She cre­ated this ca­bled scarf and mit­tens set for Is­sue 131 of The Knit­ter

‘Cob­webs in the Rain’, from The Knit­ter is­sue 125

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