Someday vs. Right Away: Mosaic knitting

Someday vs Right Away: Mosaic knitting

Maybe the reason I keep saying I want to try my hand at mosaic knitting but never actually do it is that I keep favoriting blankets and scarves, and I apparently don’t knit blankets or scarves! Even Dami Hunter’s Southwest-inspired Kiva wrap (top) isn’t allover mosaic like some others I’ve daydreamed of knitting, and yet it’s a Someday project for me nevertheless. Meanwhile, Andrea Mowry’s new hat pattern, Tincture, is bite-size mosaic, highly tempting. Or there’s the possibility of a dishtowel or washcloth-sized appetizer such as Purl Soho’s Slip Stitch Dishtowels (free pattern).

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New Favorites: Colorwork plus

New Favorites: Colorwork plus

A variety of conversations and previews and proximity to experts lately has me itching to get some colorwork into my knittin queue, and I’m particularly smitten with these two patterns with just a little spot of something extra:

TOP: Hoopla by Dianna Walla (from the powerhouse new issue of Pom Pom) is a characteristically appealing 2-color job but with the subtle flair of a Latvian braid at the transition from ribbing to stockinette.

BOTTOM: Inlet Scarf by Inese Sang is mosaic, for starters (which I’m still dying to try), but I also really love the simple black border setting the mosaic section apart from the staggered rib texture along both ends — really lovely combination of elements

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Socially acceptable blankies

Socially acceptable blankies

My sister and I were talking last week about how it’s socially acceptable for kids these days to have a blanket or stuffed animal that they “self-comfort” with even up to early teenage years. The conversation made me think of Sara’s recent IG shawl pic, which she had hashtagged #sociallyacceptableblanket, and about those of us (grown-ups) who never leave home without a scarf or wrap of some kind. Living in the chilly Bay Area all those years, I never ever ever was without a big ol’ scarf. One in particular (the green paisley one pictured here, which somehow manages to go with everything) was always in my bag even if a different one was around my neck — it felt wrong to leave home without it. It accompanied me on countless trips over the course of a few years, including one to a small, very exclusive tech conference where I felt completely out of place and knew only two people, on top of which it was socially UNacceptable to be seen talking too long to anyone you already knew and verboten to sit next to them at a meal! We were there to meet new people — my worst skill. Throw in a really nasty cold, and I can tell you having that scarf around my neck that weekend veered past mere warmth or accessorizing and well into self-comfort territory. All of which got me thinking about how many blanket patterns I’ve saved up over the last few years with no intention of knitting them as blankets. That’s because every blanket that passes before my eyes (especially baby blankets) gets mentally resized into wrap proportions. I apparently only want a blanket if it can go everywhere with me. A few candidates from the top of my list:

TOP LEFT: Bairn by Julie Hoover

TOP RIGHT: Hambleton Throw by Martin Storey (free pattern)

MIDDLE LEFT: Umaro by Jared Flood (See also: Shale Baby Blanket)

MIDDLE RIGHT: Mosaic Blanket by the Purl Bee (free pattern)

BOTTOM LEFT: Chevron Baby Blanket by the Purl Bee (free pattern)

BOTTOM RIGHT: Ambrotype by Jocelyn Tunney (free pattern)

IN UNRELATED SHOP NEWS: The beloved folding rice baskets are back in stock in natural, as are the wooden gauge rulers. And we’ve also got a fresh batch of the loom kits. If you’ve been waiting, here’s your chance!

New Favorites: Mosaic scarves

New Favorites: Mosaic scarves

Of the things I’d like to try my hand at this year, mosaic knitting is probably at the top of the list. And it seems to be in the air; it’s everywhere I look these days. Mosaic knitting is colorwork without the stranding or floats. By working one color per row, and strategically slipping the stitches from the previous row, you wind up with a reversible fabric. It sounds like magic! I’m particularly smitten with these two big fringed mosaic scarves from two of the winter knitting mags, both of which include multiple mosaic patterns—

TOP: #05 Long Fringed Scarf by John Brinegar from Vogue Knitting Winter 2014/15

BOTTOM: Tessellating Leaves Scarf by Ann McDonald Kelly from Knitscene Winter 2014

If I try the technique and it seems doable, I might have to go with the whole amazing blanket. And in fact, this looks like a very good issue of Vogue Knitting — I like this and this and this and this. Bonus points for the toned down styling!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Favorite New Favorites of 2014

New Favorites: Alicia Plummer’s clever summer cowl

New Favorites: Alicia Plummer's clever summer cowl

You may have picked up on the fact that the striped linen sweater-in-progress seen in a couple of recent photos (here and here) is my hybridization of those two Pam Allen linen tanks I recently fawned over. I’m using Quince and Co’s new Kestrel yarn. It’s my first time knitting with linen, plus it’s an unusual linen yarn: a worsted-weight, chain-plied tape. It’s quite odd, yet compelling, and I’m eager to knit more with it when this is done. The heft of it is peculiar, and I find myself wondering what it would be like to knit a summer shawl out of it. (I think it could work well for something like my beloved Orlane’s Textured Shawl.) Or what it would feel like to wear such a thing. But for the pattern collection that launched Kestrel, Alicia Plummer designed a cowl called Hudson — just a simple little spring/summer neck accessory — and that’s pretty clever, given the nature of the yarn. It also looks like fun: There’s a little mosaic panel that — as I understand it — is knitted flat and then joined into a tube, and from there you pick up stitches along each side to extend the short tube into a longer one. Quick, seasonal and gratifying, plus I know exactly who might like to have it.

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