The most astonishing thing about knitting — this thing people have been doing for centuries! — is that not only is there always more to learn, but there are still clever people coming up with new ways do things all the time! New shaping and construction methods, smoother increases/decreases, original stitch combinations and motifs. You can argue that there’s actually nothing new under the sun — that every idea has been had before; maybe we just don’t know about it. But it doesn’t matter! It’s the constant flow of creativity that thrills me. And Anna Maltz’s new book, Marlisle: A new direction is knitting, is a superlative example. The book released on Saturday (our copies are going quickly!) and I can’t remember being so excited about a brilliantly simple idea or a collection of patterns.
It occurred to Anna (aka @sweaterspotter) awhile back that if you were knitting with two yarns held together — creating a marl — and you dropped one of them from time to time, carrying it as a float in the back for a few stitches, you could suddenly do all sorts of intriguing things, with none of the fuss of intarsia. She calls the idea “marlisle” — marl crossed with Fair Isle — and it first appeared on her Humboldt sweater, which has been in my queue ever since. With this new book, though — and the 11 patterns it contains — she’s really pushing the envelope, and applying the idea in a variety of ways. There are simple but very effective applications like the hat above, Hozkwoz, or the cover sweater, Midstream, with vertical stripes up the front and back. There are slightly more complex ones, such as the drop-dead stunning yoke sweater, Trembling, with its 3D facet motif. And there’s the incredibly meticulous pair of mittens, Delftig, with an intricate tile-like design achieved by alternating between holding one color, the other, or the two together. So she’s covered a range of surface designs — from bold and graphic to allover flame patterning to gingham and plaid and trompe l’oeil effects, and used them on everything from hats and cowls to shawls and sweaters. The whole thing is truly stunning, and I’m sooooo excited and inspired by it all. I cannot wait to cast on.
You can see all of the patterns at Ravelry and order a copy at Fringe Supply Co. (Our stack is dwindling but we’ll have more any minute!) There’s a fresh interview with Anna on the East London Knit podcast, and you can also read more about the Ricefield Collective here and her appearance in Our Tools, Ourselves here.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Colorwork mitts
Not that I want to distract you (or me!) from your Log Cabin Mitts plans ;) but there have been so many amazing fingerless gloves patterns published in recent months that I’ve decided to break them into small groups! Today, let’s talk about these colorwork gems—
TOP: Pinwheel Mitts by Ella Austin is small-scale allover stranded colorwork, used to magnificent effect on long gloves
MIDDLE: Frost Flowers by Dianna Walla involves just a little bit of worsted-scale colorwork around the hand, combined with generous ribbing and an afterthought thumb
BOTTOM: New Year’s Mitts by Veronika Jobe features beautiful use of a mosaic stitch pattern (no stranding or intarsia) blending a solid neutral with a variegated yarn and gorgeous shaping
Unrelated shop news — or, related in the sense of containing many great patterns, including some excellent mittens — the big beautiful book Woods is back in stock. And Lykke Driftwood crochet hooks are now available individually!
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Plain and Simple
Here’s one of those cases where I get a peek at an upcoming book and love the patterns so much I instantly order a big stack of copies for the shop. So today we have Pam Allen’s latest, Plain and Simple, in store and it’s also the focus of my current favoriting. The book includes 9 sweaters (6 pullovers and 3 cardigans) plus a hat and a cowl-like object, and all of the sweaters are of the sort that you can imagine having in your closet for years, dressing them up and dressing them down, wearing them until they’re too tattered to leave the house in. (The subtitle is actually “11 knits to wear every day.”) And yet they also run the gamut from stockinette to colorwork to cables and textures, so it’s a knitting cornucopia. These are my very favorites:
TOP: Birch — a statement yoke sweater
MIDDLE LEFT: Chestnut — a simple allover-cable cardigan
MIDDLE RIGHT: Oak — a reverse-stockinette classic
BOTTOM: Willow — gansey-inspired beauty
You can see the whole pattern set at Ravelry and pick up a copy of the book at Fringe Supply Co.!
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Geometric yokes
There was definitely an “it” sweater at Rhinebeck in October — dozens of beautiful versions of Caitlin Hunter’s Birkin pattern from Laine Magazine. There was one in particular — hay colored with bright bits of colorwork — that was utterly stunning and made me want one just like it. However, the standout sweater of the whole weekend for me — the one I haven’t stopped thinking about — was pre-release at the time. It was the sample of Beatrice Perron-Dahlen’s Tensho Pullover (top), which was being worn by Alexis Winslow, who had just finished modeling for the photos. Bea kindly sent me the pattern afterwards. Amber has just finished knitting a black version that is so good it hurts. (If I didn’t have this.) And there’s also now a Tensho hat. But in the meantime, it’s one of three starkly geometric yoke patterns to make it on my Favorites list:
TOP: Tensho Pullover by Beatrice Perron-Dahlen
MIDDLE: Winter Woven Sweater by Tomo Sugiyama is a Japanese pattern (i.e., just a one-size annotated chart) and I’m not sure if it’s available individually, but oh how I want one
BOTTOM: Kirigami by Gudrun Johnston is rendered in high-relief texture rather than colorwork
TOTALLY UNRELATED: To those asking to test knit my log cabin mitts, I am furiously finalizing and assembling the pattern, in the hopes of publishing it next week. If there’s anyone hot enough for it that you’re ready to cast on immediately and can imagine having feedback to me by Sunday, I’ll be happy to send the raw text to a few of you for that purpose. Otherwise, everyone can expect to see it very very soon!
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Two-way hats
I remember as a kid in the midwest, heading out into the snow to play, wearing a beanie that was lined — i.e., a double layer — so you could wear it either side out and fold up the brim so the inside was showing. I hated that hat. It was itchy and shifty, due to the layers, but warm, due to the layers. I hadn’t thought about that hat until seeing the hat pattern above, which I fell instantly in love with, and shortly thereafter came the one below. And now I’m obsessed with them both.
ABOVE: Reversible Rib Hat by Natsumi Kuge is contrasting colors that meet in the middle for a two-tone, ribbed, fold-up band that’s the same either direction
BELOW: Femte by Sari Nordlund is contrasting textures! I couldn’t love it more than I do. Absolutely stunning.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Under wraps
I really wish I had the attention span to knit an enormous rectangle — it’s one of the most appealing objects I can think of, and there have been some truly beautiful patterns released lately:
TOP: Duoro* by Norah Gaughan is a dramatic splendor of shifting brioche (wrap me up like this, please)
LOWER LEFT: Wallace* by Julie Hoover is a striking composition of knits and purls
LOWER RIGHT: Carrick by Emily Dormier is pure cable mesmerization
BELOW: Niende by Emily Greene is simple brioche perfection
*These patterns have been sent to me by the publisher
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Turtleneck season
It’s funny how a few days (and a lengthy forecast) of sub-freezing temps and sub-zero windchills can make one’s too-warm-for-the-South sweater collection suddenly seem, hm, almost inadequate. Which is to say, my turtleneck longing has kicked into high gear. I’m still in love with Michele’s Charles and Kate’s Carrowkeel and that bronze-y sketch/swatch of mine, and looking again at Norah’s Riptide, but then there are also these two recent gems:
ABOVE: High Neck Pullover by Tomoko Noguchi is just so cool. I love the mix of the textures and the overall look of it is so much I don’t even mind the drop-shoulder action.
BELOW: Bernadette by my pal Kate Gagnon Osborn (from the launch of Andorra, on my Yarns in Waiting list!) is one of those light-as-air yet oh-so-cozy garments. She was working on it while we were at Rhinebeck and I’ve been dreaming of slipping it on ever since.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Favorite New Favorites of 2017