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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New Favorites: Texture by the yard

New Favorites: Texture by the yard

Working on my Channel cardigan over the last several weeks has deepened my appreciation for textured fabric created through knits and purls rather than cables or lace stitches. There’s something so meditative and melodious about knitting those stitches and watching the fabric build, which has me craving more of that. And has sent me back to my favorites in search of scarf patterns that not only allow you to just sit there and create texture, stitch by stitch, but are the ultimate showcase for the finished yardage, as it were:

TOP: Binary by Michele Wang features large, alternating blocks of texture

BOTTOM LEFT: Facade by Shellie Anderson is almost certainly not just knits and purls — wrapped stitches, maybe? — but look at that beautiful texture-blocking and how a simple rectangle shows off the fabric

BOTTOM RIGHT: Broken Garter Scarf from Purl Soho employs one of the simplest of sequence knitting combinations to great effect (free pattern)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Spring shawls

New Favorites: Baedecker

New Favorites: Baedecker

I have yet to knit a scarf, and every once in awhile I see a scarf that makes me think, hm, that might be the one. I’m still not over Linda, but now there’s Baedecker by Marina Skua (from Quince and Co’s Scarves Etc 6 collection) putting up an argument that perhaps it should be my first. I’m entranced by those giant cabled diamonds — so simple, but so striking. If I get to do some long-distance traveling this spring, this might be a good companion, since it would be occupying but slow going.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Purl’s most brilliant blanket

New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection

New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection

I mentioned recently that I’d gotten a sneak peek from the set of the shoot for a new collection and that there was a cardigan I was losing sleep over. It turns out the entire collection — the Tov Collection from Woolfolk, for their latest yarn, Tov — is drop-dead ridiculously to-die-for gorgeous. For me, and what makes my heart race, it’s the single best pattern collection I’ve seen in the five years I’ve been doing this.

Here’s the thing: the day the lookbook first snuck into my inbox, I got the vapors. But before making a claim like “best I’ve seen in five years,” I have to stop and check myself. Let’s face it: the photography, the house, the ivory yarn and cables — it pushes every one of my buttons. Was I being swayed by all of that, or are these patterns as good as I initially thought they were? Having looked at it more times now than I care to admit, I can honestly say: Take away the house, make the garments colors I don’t like, whatever — they’re stupendous.

So here are my favorites: All of them! Starting, of course, with the sweaters:

Vidje by Kristin Ford, above, is the cardigan I was on about. This design is a tightrope walk; it could have so easily gone awry, but the bands of texture blocking are beautifully done. I mean, the shift in scale of the honeycomb is so gorgeous I’m hellbent on knitting this thing even though I hate knitting honeycomb! It might take me two years to finish it, but I ain’t lettin’ that stop me.

New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection

Bue by (newcomer?) Nele Redweik might manage to distract me from Vidje for a minute. I’ve been planning to do a pattern for a sleeveless cabled tunic, but now I don’t have to! This is perfection.

New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection

Gevir by Sarah Solomon represents that balance I think we’re always looking for, of a garment that’s striking — what I like to call a trophy knit — but also very practical and wearable. The combination of wide ribs and vertebrae-like cables, the way they’re deployed here, is slimming rather than adding bulk. And it feels extremely fashionable and classic at the same time. Absolutely gorgeous.

New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection

And then there are the accessories:

TOP: Rille by Olga Buraya-Kefelian is just fantastic looking hat — must have

BOTTOM LEFT: Mont by Olga Buraya-Kefelian is a pair of long mitts that are just a good thing done well

BOTTOM RIGHT: Arkade by Antonia Shankland is the weirdest stitch pattern I’ve ever seen, makes no sense to my brain, but I find the dimensionality and pillowiness of it fascinating!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mitten mania