Rachel Coopey is a busy bee and her latest publication, ‘Toasty Volume 1‘ showcases a collection of cosy yet modern hats, scarves, cowls and mitts using the beautiful Titus yarn palette from Yorkshire based retailer, Baa Ram Ewe.
I worked on the final pattern checks and copy edit for the book so had a sneaky preview a little while ago and immediately wanted to cast everything on!
Rachel has kindly taken a coffee break from her crazy schedule for a catch up and to tell us more about Toasty…
RA: And how did the Titus yarn influence the patterns?
RC: The yarn was the starting point so everything came from there. The colour palette is a joy to work with and I had so much fun coming up with colour combinations for the stranded designs. The yarn has great stitch definition so it is perfect for cables and texture.
RA: You are best known for your sock patterns but I imagine it’s nice to have a break and work on other designs. Do you approach accessory designing in a different way to sock design or do the two go hand-in-hand?
RC: Sock design is a bit more structured, you are always thinking about how to approach the heel and things like ease and sizing aren’t very flexible. I like having a bit more freedom when I’m designing ‘not-socks’ but it doesn’t take long for me to miss the sock design and start scribbling down ideas!
RA: I recognise most of the pattern names as North Yorkshire villages and towns I lived and worked in a while ago. Is it a part of the world you know quite well or how did you come up with these particular pattern names?
RC: My mum spent most of her childhood in North Yorkshire and lived there until she got married. I spent a lot of time visiting my grandparents there while I was growing up and I’ve still got extended family there. The patterns are all named after places I know and love in Yorkshire, the yarn and Baa Ram Ewe represent and celebrate Yorkshire so well, I wanted to include my links to Yorkshire too.
RA: I understand Verity from Baa Ram Ewe did the photography for you and the location is recognisable as the ever-popular knitting stylists spot of Bramley Baths. Was this your first visit to the Baths?
RC: Yes! What an amazing place! So beautiful, amazing original decor and architecture but also completely functional and focused on serving a community.
RA: Mr K has his eye on the Ripon hat in the gorgeous Parkin (orange) colourway used in the book and I’m torn between Catterick and Eppleby in the amazing green shade Chevin. Do you have a favourite piece from the collection or which patterns have you been knitting for yourself?
RC: I have just finished a Bedale hat with some leftovers, I like the colour block effect I achieved by forgetting I had made a pom pom with the Parkin and therefore not having enough! I had always intended to use the Bantam (red) for the pom pom on this hat so I used it to finish the body too. I think Ripon is my favourite, I’m torn between the Yorkstone (cream) and the Mild (such a rich brown) for a Ripon for myself.
RA: As this is titled Toasty Volume 1, when can we expect Toasty Volume 2? Are there plans in the pipeline?
RC: There are! I could design with this yarn forever more, but my next book will be a sock book, I can’t stay away from socks any longer!
RA: Thanks so much Rachel, can’t wait to see what you get up to next! In fact, where can we catch up with you this year?
RC: Everywhere! Wonderwool, Woolfest, Fibre East, Unwind, Yarndale and I’m teaching at a retreat in Norway which is exciting!
Rachel has very kindly offered a copy of Toasty as a prize for one of my lucky readers. Simply reply to this blogpost by midnight GMT on the 28th March and I’ll put all the names in Mr K’s Ripon hat (if it’s finished) and pick a winner at random. COMMENTS FOR ENTRY ARE NOW CLOSED, THANK YOU EVERYONE!
If you can’t wait to see if you’re the winner then Toasty Volume 1 is available to purchase as a printed book from Rachel’s online store priced at £12.00 and each copy includes a download code for a complimentary electronic version of the book. Please contact Rachel by email for wholesale details: firstname.lastname@example.org
All images © Rachel Coopey and used here with permission.