New Favorites: Textural neckwear

New Favorites: Textural neckwear

Summer seems to me like the perfect time for knitting neckwear — scarves and shawls that fall just in the sweet spot on the continuum between interesting and mindless, that are portable, that don’t require you to worry about fit or to have a growing sweater in your lap, and yet last long enough to carry you through road trips or baseball practices or whatever the case may be. Plus they’re the first thing you get to use when the weather begins to cool off (or when the sun sets at the beach). So why don’t I tend to knit such things? These three recent patterns have me wondering hard:

TOP: Madison Scarf by Norah Gaughan, who must have been smirking if she happened to see that whole conversation we had about adding a back flap to the Grete dickey when this one would have been deep in the pipeline and is that very thing! A scarf with a headhole and lovely overall knit-purl texture, which can be worn a variety of ways.

MIDDLE: Adrian by Dianna Walla is a traditional scarf (designed for cotton) that takes typical colorwork motifs and renders them in purl stitches instead.

BOTTOM: Orthogonal by Emily Greene is a stunner of a shawl with a mesmerizing geometric-lace maze of a stitch pattern. I saw this on her at Squam, artfully bunched around her neck, and it made me want to be a fingering-weight shawl knitter.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Clever garter colorwork

New Favorites: Clever garter colorwork

New Favorites: Clever garter-stitch colorwork knitting patterns

I’ve basically been asleep for four straight days (even when my eyes are open), since getting back from Portugal — I can’t get enough shut-eye or enough water, for some reason. Which means I don’t yet have my arms around the first round of Summer of Basics prize selections or how to even begin to tell you about the trip. But this is a rare summer in which, so far, the flow of droolworthy knitting patterns is uninterrupted. So can we talk about these clever garter-stitch beauties for a minute?

TOP: Picket Fence Afghan by Julia Farwell-Clay (from the new MDK Field Guide: Ease) is made up of 3-color garter-stitch blocks which somehow magically eliminate the weaving of ends and create a magnificent tapestry, which I think would be great at wrap proportions

BOTTOM: Ellsworth by Scott Rohr takes garter stitch, two colors of yarn, and short rows to a new level of magnificence

(Side note: If I owe you an email, I’m trying!)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Dianna’s dream sweaters

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New Favorites: A little something to knit

New Favorites: Graphique kerchief knitting pattern

You know I do love a little kerchief (exhibit A, exhibit B, exhibit C) and plus — are you sitting down? — I’ve been struggling to knit lately. I can’t seem to attach to anything, and have been thinking what I need is a little something mindless and pocket-sized to have on the go.* Something quick but useful, that would give me that happy jolt of a finish, and BAM! along comes Graphique from Shibui. It’s nothing but a little stockinette square with concentric stripes, but I think if I were to knit it, I might stripe it more like that Joelle Hoverson scarf I’m always on about. In fact, I might just cast on tonight and see if I can score a little win before the yarn for my Summer of Basics sweater arrives.

I’m back from Squam, by the way — a day later than planned (hence the brief blog outage) and wildly behind on everything — so I’ll have my recap and outfit rundown for you soon.

*Of course, there’s always the Log Cabin Mitts but I seem to have stalled on my epic series for the moment. I have one pair that’s been awaiting thumbs since early March, and another pair in progress where I’m not happy with the yarn choices. So I’ve been reluctant to reach into that bag, as well!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Summer stripes

New Favorites: Grete

New Favorites: Grete (dickey knitting pattern)

Quick pause in my Spring 2018 Wardrobe Planning (my workload is requiring me to space it out a bit this time around) to tell you all I’ve fallen in love with a dickey. Or should I say another dickey. When Woolfolk was teasing the pattern above, now revealed as Grete, I instantly fell for the turtleneck sweater under the camel coat. The neck itself bothers me — turtlenecks that don’t hug the neck just look like wind funnels to me, counterproductive — but otherwise it struck me as perfectly proportioned. The scale of the cables, the width of the hem ribbing, the exact spot where the hemline hits the model. Love.

So I was momentarily stunned and disappointed when I learned that it’s actually a dickey! And then I stared at it, and stared some more. Imagined it walking down some painfully cool runway, like Céline or Stella McCartney, and could see myself wanting to copy it instantly. I mean, that model looks pretty chic wearing it with just that beautiful white shirt. Could it be cool to walk around in a dickey all day, as opposed to wearing it only with a coat? Maybe so! It’s certainly one way to deal with my want of all the wool sweaters and insufficient cold weather for them!

Plus as gorgeous as it is in Luft, which is actually a wool-cotton mix I’ve been eager to sample, it could also be a great match for that beautiful bulky OUR Yarn in the shop.

I might need to knit one and give it a go. If nothing else, I would love it under my coat.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Ply by Emily Greene

Logalong FO No. 3 : Veronika Jobe

Logalong FO No. 3 : Veronika Jobe

Our second panelist from the Log Cabin Make-along to make it across the finish line is Veronika Jobe of YOTH Yarns, with her stunning plaid wrap (modeled here by her gorgeous daughter). Dude: I want to make this. For more of Veronika’s endless stream of knitting beauty, be sure to follow @yarnonthehouse on Instagram. With that, here’s Ve—

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Back at the start of all this, you noted that your approach was going to be modular knitting, if not literally or technically log cabin methodology. Without giving away the pattern, can you describe the process you used on this — how you went about constructing the piece?

This wrap idea was inspired by a picture of a lovely gal I had pinned on Pinterest wearing a black and white version of a large-scale buffalo plaid-style scarf. It was definitely commercial and not handknit, but I kept coming back to it over and over again. I knew I wanted to recreate the simple nature of the plaid using a series of tonal and gradient marls. This project spurred the creation of our new small-batch yarn by Abundant Earth Fiber, which was only half the work. The other half was how to put this thought into pattern and once you have the yarn there’s really no going back! It was really a beautiful happenstance when you asked me to be a part of the Log Cabin Make-along, because it really catapulted my method of thinking through the construction. I dove into the MDK Log Cabin Field Guide and knit up Cloth 1 & 5 while looking through the construction of the other cloths as well. Without giving away too much of the “secret sauce,” it’s essentially a mash up of the MDK Cloth techniques and a classic knitted-on edging.

Buffalo plaid is heavily associated with black and red or royal blue, whereas you’ve gone very pale with your palette. It has a sort of oversized gingham feel to it. Has it met your expectations, lived up to the idea you started out with in your mind?

It’s pleasantly surprised me. I was a bit worried about the colors and marls not being strong enough in contrast, but it turned out really great, just as I had imagined. I can at times be let down with how my designs unfold, or if they somehow don’t end up working for one reason or another, but this really loose relation to a buffalo plaid has really made me happy and the best part was the knitting. I’m all about the process! It has to keep my attention or I’m on to the next thing. This one with its constant color changes, unconventional construction and the entertainment of seeing the plaid emerge makes me want to make a blanket version of it.

A fabric like this — any kind of plaid, check, what-have-you — is a neverending goal among knitters. Seems like we’re always trying to find ways to mimic it in knitting. But the solutions are often tedious or complicated, and/or you wind up with intarsia or floats, and it’s not a two-sided piece, necessarily. Do you feel like you’ve solved it here — cracked that nut in a wholly satisfying way?

Isn’t that the truth?! One of my reasons behind knitting this scarf in a modular way was to make it more reversible. I think I’ve made a good pass at cracking that nut and both sides of this lovely thing is pleasant to look at. Plus, I think we as knitters so often get distracted or scared away by certain techniques. We can be a bit judgmental! Intarsia can have some feelings and images come up for some of us… little color bobbins dangling and tangling in the back of your work, cartoon characters knit onto the fronts of sweaters, you see where I’m going with this. I didn’t want my scarf to end up in that black hole.

Logalong FO No. 3 : Veronika Jobe

I know you were excited to use your new yarn for this (coming soon to your website), with the tonality and marls lending themselves to the concept. Again, just as you’d dreamed it?

Oh my gosh and more! This yarn is a dream. I can’t really take too much of the credit. Lydia from Abundant Earth Fiber is really the master here. She took our hand-dyed roving and turned it into the some of the most beautiful, squishy, bouncy, slubby, rustic-in-just-the-right-way kinda yarn. It was such a treat to knit and I’m really sad we only have so much of it, to be honest. I would love to have this as a core base with all the colors, but that’s one of the reasons small, limited-batch runs are so special, right?!

This was your first time venturing into the world of modular knitting, correct? If not all the way into log cabin world. Did it leave you wanting to dig deeper into the ways of log cabin, or have you had your fill? What’s next for you, in this regard, if anything?

In the past, I had done some modular knit garments that came together in pieces and were connected as I knit, but there’s a different wave of thought there. Those tend to look like nothing until some of the final pieces fit into the puzzle, but this project starts transforming before your eyes within the first couple of strips, which is really fulfilling. It makes you want to keep going and see the next color pop up while you are knitting away. Definitely on my list: a tonal Ninepatch Blanket from MDK’s Field Guide.

So I know you’re planning to publish the pattern. Any details on that?

I am! Pattern is in the works and will be available this week, as will the yarn. Follow us on Instagram or join our newsletter at yothyarns.com to be the first to hear.

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Thanks, Veronika! Don’t forget there’s still activity on the #fringeandfriendslogalong feed — so many knitters finishing up so many great projects — and we’ll have the last two panelist’s interviews coming soon!

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PREVIOUSLY in Log Cabin Make-along: FO No. 2 Ann Shayne

Favorite New Favorites of 2017

Favorite knitting patterns of 2017

Every December, I go back through the year’s New Favorites posts to see what patterns I had highlighted along the way and which of them I don’t want to lose track of as we head into another year of endless knitting temptations. The best of the best are always the ones I didn’t need reminded of because they’ve never stopped tapping a finger on my brain — I’ve gone back to them repeatedly, thought about yarns and colors and usefulness. This narrowed-down list leaves out so many beautiful and worthwhile patterns (scroll through the whole series to see) but these are ones I can most imagine having on my needles at some point. And by the way, I still want to make every single thing in last year’s list.

TEMPTATION OF THE YEAR
I’m reluctant to call Michele Wang’s simple-but-perfect Charles Pullover (above) the “Best” pattern of the year necessarily, but it’s the one I absolutely cannot get out of my brain, and definitely my very Favorite New Favorite. We’re into the time of year where I want to have on a big cozy turtleneck every single day, and my only one is 15 years old and looking it. So there’s an excellent chance this one will go from Fave to Made. (As seen in Mildly mannish cables)

Favorite knitting patterns of 2017

SWEATERS
top: Massaman by Elizabeth Smith (as seen in Massaman set)
middle left: Galloway* by Jared Flood (as seen in From BT fall/holiday)
middle right: Anker’s Sweater by PetiteKnit (as seen in Banded ribs)
bottom left: Vodka on the Rocks by Thea Colman (as seen in Vodka on the Rocks)
bottom right: Whelk by Martin Storey (as seen in Whelk)

Favorite knitting patterns of 2017

WEARABLE BLANKET
Veronika* by Shannon Cook (as seen in Veronika)

Favorite knitting patterns of 2017

SCARVES
top: Binary by Michele Wang (as seen in Texture by the yard)
bottom left: Facade by Shellie Anderson (as seen in Texture by the yard)
bottom right: Baedecker by Marina Skua (as seen in Baedecker)

Best knitting patterns of 2017

HATS
top left: Bulletproof Aran Hat by Chuck Wright (as seen in Aran-style hats)
top right: Voe Hat by Gudrun Johnston (as seen in From BT fall/holiday)
middle left: Huck* by Norah Gaughan (as seen in Huck)
middle right: Miguel Hat by Rosa Pomar (as seen in Holiday hat mania)
bottom left: The Adrian by Armenuhi Khachatryan (as seen in Adrian)
bottom right: Tincture by Andrea Mowry (as seen in Someday vs Right Away: Mosaic knitting)

Best knitting patterns of 2017

SOCKS AND SLIPPERS
Flaps by Cindy Pilon (as seen in Quickies! aka last-minute gifts)
Hansdatter Slippers* by Kristin Drysdale (as seen in Colorwork slippers)
Hot Chocolate Socks by Irina Dmitrieva (as seen in House socks)
Seamed Socks by Purl Soho (free pattern; as seen in House socks)

I feel like 2018 could be the year I finally knit my first scarf! How about you — what were your favorite patterns of the year?

*Asterisked patterns have been sent to me by the designer or publisher in the interim. I do not request that from anyone, but do feel compelled to note it.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Quickies! (aka last-minute gifts)

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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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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Whelk

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