6 Knitting Designs from Sachiko and Kiyomi Burgin

Twin sisters Sachiko and Kiyomi Burgin created Knitscene‘s first collaborative design collection for Knitscene Winter 2015. I wrote about their collection in this blog post, but today I’m sharing part of the profile from this issue.


Fellow designer Teresa Gregorio (check out her Northern Hat from this issue) met up with Kiyomi and Sachiko in Toronto, Ontario, to talk crafting, knitting designs, and how Canada is a constant source of inspiration.


Sachiko and Kiyomi Burgin learned to knit as many of us do—their grandmother taught them the knit stitch one hot summer day when they were about twelve years old. Both girls had expressed talent in a variety of creative pursuits, but along the way the twin sisters took their common creative interests and diversified their skill sets. Sachiko crochets, sews, plays the guitar, and has a degree in silversmithing and jewelry design. Kiyomi paints, sews, weaves, and has a bachelor’s degree in art and design. Their abilities to take elements of their individual craft pursuits and reimagine them in knitwear has brought them to the attention of the knitting community, not only as individual designers but additionally as Knitscene’s first-ever featured designer double act.

Both sisters work in the famous Toronto knitting shop Romni Wools. This establishment, having operated for more than forty years, is legendary in the knitting community for its jam-packed, multilevel, floor-to-ceiling, stock in yarn. Yarns from all over the world, in a multiplicity of colors, fibers, and textures, enter the shop. This enriching environment nurtured both Sachiko and Kiyomi’s aesthetics. They each claim that working at Romni was integral to their decisions to become designers, encouraged by the wealth of hands-on learning the space provided. Despite this, both sisters still say designing feels new to them. Each designer has about two years of experience under her belt, not only designing for yarn companies and magazines but also publishing independent patterns.

Sachiko’s knitwear design demonstrates a focus on delicate twists on simple elements such as shaping, ruffles, hemlines, and openwork. Kiyomi’s love of color and extensive study of studio art play a part in her designs, with garment shape, drape, and structure coming to light in her sketches. For this issue, the sisters combined their individual aesthetics to create a collection of six patterns that reflect their collective style and speak to the importance and inspiration of their home in Canada.

Beginning with a solid understanding of each other’s styles and each unafraid to critique the other, the sisters sketched, swatched, and brainstormed individually, bringing their ideas together and problem-solving with great thoughtfulness and attention to detail. Where one designer thought a piece was missing something, the other suggested a new twist or design element that helped to create a cohesive pattern and unified whole.

Read the full article in Knitscene Winter 2015—you can download a digital copy today, or order the physical edition. Or you can order the Deep Woods Toque kit to receive the magazine plus the exact amount of yarn to make this adorable knit hat designed by Kiyomi Burgin. In addition to 21 brand-new knitting designs for winter, you’ll discover how to master knitting gauge for any project, learn how to make a unique pocket construction, and get a peek at Free Spirit Knits by Anne Podlesak. Get yours today!


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