I always enjoy the process of looking for design inspiration and it can come from a variety of sources.

With this design – Somerville, featured in the latest edition of The Knitter magazine – ideas were sparked by the names of Erika Knight’s Bloomsbury-inspired range of colours for her yarn British Blue 100, a beautiful soft and drapey 100% wool.

I’ve always loved the fashion style of the period at the beginning of the 20th century exemplified by the members of the Bloomsbury group. By coincidence I had recently read a biography of sisters Vanessa and Virginia Stephen – better known as artist Vanessa Bell and writer Virginia Woolf. I also visited an exhibition of Vanessa Bell’s paintings shown at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2017.

Virginia Woolf painted by her sister Vanessa Bell c.1912

The clothes of this period are timelessly elegant and they mark the transition of women’s fashion from the restrictions of the Victorian period to the shorter, slimmer styles of the 1920s. The long, loose tops worn then seem very current as they are flattering to a variety of shapes.

My design Somerville incorporates the elegant, open-necked collar that was fashionable at that time, and a simple textured stitch adds interest.