Hand Knitting with Swing

Jane Slicer-Smith is a successful knitwear designer, sought-after teacher and author. Her designs have movement, form and exciting colour palettes that are carefully conceived to flatter all shapes and sizes.


Hand knitting has taken Jane around the world a couple of times. Actually, maybe more! She now works in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres each year. From her Sydney studio Jane travels to Canberra and Melbourne, then in October and February she teaches in the USA and UK, from Chicago to London.

Jane tells it like this:

“I started with a stall at Sydney’s Paddington Bazaar selling hand knitted garments where I also offered a made to measure service. This taught me so much about women’s bodies and how to complement the female form. Knitters started to find me and I started to sell knitting kits as well as garments.

Diamond Cable Swing
Jane in her Studio with Fan Cable Swing
Lava Drape
Mitre Tally
Wave Wrap

Hand knitting for me is about exploring colour, texture and styling, from my signature swing coats to swagger and A-line styles. I have recently had fun designing with mitres. It’s such a simple and colourful technique! Colour combinations are endless and I am now playing with shadow effects with mitres.

But I have never really liked lace knitting, so I decided this was my challenge this winter and I now have three lace designs! The Lace Cable is knitted to waist length and the lace pattern creates a lovely waved hemline. Lace Wedge is where I’ve decreased the lace pattern to create the A-line. And I started the Coley Swagger with large leaf lace and reduced the number of stitches per leaf to create the A-line shaping.

Mitre Poncho
Lace Wedge
Coco cape

One of the elements I had the most fun with was working up the waved hemlines to form part of the look on these pieces.

But I think inexperienced knitters can learn so much from small projects. So I brought wraps and scarves into my design range for my book Swing, Swagger, Drape. This year’s ‘wave’ design creates wraps and scarves with wedges of short row shaping.

My classes cover techniques of course, but I also talk a lot about fit and style, colour theory and how to pick a design that will suit various body shapes and ultimately how to adjust patterns for the best fit.
Sharing 30 years of design knowledge is enormously rewarding. I design to suit the female form because everyone should feel special when they wear something they have created.”

Finally, we asked Jane to finish this sentence:

I can’t live without ……. “This would have to be colour. This can be done by simply adding a scarf to an outfit for a splash of colour. The use of colour in the environment has been proven to have a positive effect on one’s wellbeing.”

Coco throw

Jane will bring lots of colour and texture, advice and lace knitting to the Craft & Quilt Fair, Melbourne, July 25-28, 2013.

You can see more of Jane’s designs and patterns at her website www.sigknit.com.






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