There’s a way to do colorwork that doesn’t involve stranded knitting (i.e., alternating between different yarns within the same row/round) or intarsia (changing colors mid row and then changing back again later). It’s basically just stripes — anyone can knit stripes, right? — except you jumble them up by knitting into the row below here and there instead of knitting straight across. So it’s colorwork without the work! I’ve long been intrigued by it but have never done it, and in the past couple of weeks, two tempting patterns have hit the airwaves.
The one above is the Midwinter scarf by Wendy Baker and Belinda Boaden of True Brit Knits (for the Quince and Co. Scarves 2014 collection) and looks almost like crochet! It’s a stitch pattern that is apparently called English Rose Tweed, which I only know because it’s also one of three stitch patterns artfully combined in The Purl Bee’s Stitch Block Cowl (free pattern). Worked at a slightly smaller gauge than Midwinter, it looks a little more like weaving. Even more so for the Checked Rose Fabric stitch pattern it’s paired with. (My favorite might be the one-color part of the Purl Bee pattern, the Rambler stitch.) But it’s fun to see what a difference the change of scale makes, and makes me want to play with this stitch pattern at an even wider range of gauges.
IMPORTANT SHOP NOTE: I’m in a van today on the way to Seattle for this weekend’s Vogue Knitting Live event, and will be gone through next Monday. (Don’t worry, I have blog posts lined up!) But the very capable Anie is here to take care of your orders*, and I’ll still be checking email as much as possible while at the show. I have several things with me that are new, and I’m excited to announce them after I’m back! Meanwhile, there are a few more Bento Bags on the webshop shelves (more, including more XL’s, coming soon — I promise) AND there’s a new size of the beloved Doane Utility Notebooks. It’s 5×7 and feels so right and great in the hand, I’m completely in love with it. Check it out!
*With the exception of international orders — those will ship next week when I’m back.
In all seriousness — no hyperbole or exaggeration of any kind — this is the single best hat I have ever laid eyes on. It’s Gorro Montanhac, which I believe means (roughly) “blanket hat” in Portuguese. It’s by one of the most inspiring people I’ve run across in the knitting realm, Rosa Pomar, owner of Lisbon’s Retrosaria Rosa Pomar. I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while and am deeply smitten with her knitting and her style and her photos and the whole equation, and dying to travel to Lisbon to visit the shop. (We both have a penchant for shooting our knitting on the floor, but she has far more interesting floors. And more interesting knitting, for that matter. I’m also hoping to get her to do Our Tools, Ourselves …) But anyway, this hat is just killer. It’s knitted Portuguese style, meaning the purl side of the fabric is facing the knitter. I’m planning to google it and see if it the method is any more complex than that — did I mention I’m also desperate to have her book? — or if you could simply work it right side out with no problem. (Anyone know?) But it’s so cool I will actually try that if, for some reason, it must be done that way. Make sure you look through her Instagram feed for all the variations she’s done, including the cowl version that turned into a mini-skirt. Too too good.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Svalbard
All this bottom-up stockinette business has me longing for something completely different — one-piece, clever construction, interesting stitch pattern(s) … anything! I saw a beautiful example of Bristol Ivy’s Svalbard cardigan at Stitches this weekend and realized it might be just exactly what I’m craving, as it’s all of those things in one. Pretty sure all I’d tamper with is the sleeve length.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from Amirisu Spring 2014
The Spring 2014 “issue” of Amirisu is out, and it has me pondering once again all the weird and wonderful, uncategorizable hybridizations of publications that abound on the Internet these days. (Amirisu is a lookbook for a pattern collection, packaged up with magazine content and ads, and delivered in free e-mag form — patterns sold separately.) Along with interviews with Kirsten Johnstone and Jared Flood, and an essay by Flood about Elizabeth Zimmermann, there are some pretty cute patterns. I like the little summery top by Veera Välimäki, Wispers (minus the split sleeve maybe), and the Fiske semi-circular shawl by Gudrun Johnston, but the ones I’d most love to knit are the Mondrian Socks by Yuki and Preble, a cute and simple beanie by Leila Raabe.
You can flip through the whole issue here. Don’t miss the essay in the back and deciphering Japanese knitting patterns!
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mega tunic
When I was talking to Wool and the Gang about the giveaway (have you entered?), I took multiple strolls through their pages of knit kits, thinking which one I would pick if I were the winner. The one I kept coming back to is this Little Giants T-shirt and now it’s seriously lodged in my brain, like some beloved ’80s tune I hear at the grocery store and sing for weeks. I’m in the mood for a big, fast win of a knitting project, and this could be the one.
I wonder where the name comes from …
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Carrie’s Uniform
I’ve been waiting so patiently for this, and then it almost got lost in the wake of last week’s BT release. You may have been waiting patiently, too. Remember when it was Carrie Bostick Hoge’s turn in Our Tools, Ourselves? She said, “Right now I am working on finishing up a pattern called Uniform Cardigan. It is one pattern with several variations, so the knitter can build their own cardigan.” Well it finally released last week and it’s as good as I had hoped. The truth is, any basic sweater pattern is endlessly adaptable — you can always make the body and/or sleeves longer or shorter, wider or narrower, add or remove shaping, work the collar differently, etc. (As well as adding/removing all the embellishments, textures or stitch patterns there are in the world.) Carrie has simply boiled the endless options down to a few very smart and basic ones — plain or shawl collar, slender or bell sleeves, long or cropped body, pockets or no — and written out the pattern in a way that allows you to put them together however you like, without having to do the math for yourself. Oh, and it’s written for worsted weight, which is timeless and universal. She even tells you how much yardage to add or subtract based on which options you choose. But the key thing is how refined and useful a cardigan it is, whichever way you go.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Ebony and ivory
There have been two new knitting pattern photos this week that have made my eyes widen and my mouth fall open. Both happen to be near-black and off-white, which is a combo I find irresistible. And in both cases, used to exquisite effect. First came Joelle’s Diagonal Pinstripe Scarf, a simple garter-stitch scarf (free pattern at the Purl Bee) knit on the diagonal with randomly placed single-row stripes, which creates a sort of ticking effect due to the garter stitch. Or as she says, “in Heirloom White with fine lines of Dark Loam, the effect is like a graphite drawing on cotton rag paper, loose and mysterious.” Then came Michele Wang’s Alloy, part of the latest Brooklyn Tweed collection, BT Winter 14. It’s classic Michele — an impeccable set-in-sleeve pullover with contrasting textures — but in this case she’s added color-blocked panels in the sleeves and sides. Had it been knitted in anything other than Fossil and Cast Iron, it wouldn’t have been the same. As is? Want.
By the way, I know there are several of you who’ve been studying my Pullovers for First-Timers post, trying to decide what you want your first sweater to be. If you’re leaning toward a drop-sleeve pattern (i.e, no sleeve-cap or armscye shaping) there are two great options in that new BT collection: Abbott by Michele Wang and Benton by Julie Hoover. Both manage the proportions well.