New Favorites: Bits to borrow

New Favorites: Bits to borrow

You know that feeling when you see a stitch pattern and your fingers start twitching with the urge to knit it? But sometimes it’s on a garment or accessory that doesn’t quite suit you. So what’s a knitter to do?

TOP: Salt by Sylvia McFadden
I’m obsessed with stitch patterns like this one — especially this one — but not much of a shawl wearer (or knitter), so here I am pondering borrowing it for a little hat or somesuch.

BOTTOM: Split Stone by Clare Mountain
I really love what’s happening on the lower part of this sweater — I’m just not personally a fan of drop-shoulder sweaters. So I can’t help daydreaming about knitting this one from hem to underarm and then just changing what happens from there up.

(In both cases, obviously, I would buy the pattern!)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Marmor

New Favorites: Spring shawls

New Favorites: Spring shawls

March! That time of the year when we all start to ditch our coats and knitters replace them with shawls instead of jackets—

TOP: With Ease by Sylvia McFadden looks to me like it’s knitted from the left edge to the right tip, which is as tempting as that gorgeous stitch pattern

MIDDLE LEFT: Black River Blanket Shawl by Sam Lamb is a basic top-down triangle shawl with the visual punch of a trio of stripes

MIDDLE RIGHT: Flindra by Libby Jonson is an elongated triangle with intriguing construction plus slip-stitch colorwork

BOTTOM: Goderich Blanket by Tara-Lynn Morrison is a small rectangle worn as a wrap — love that “diagonal rib” stitch (free pattern)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Bohème big and small

A shawl for Fall

A shawl for Fall

IT’S SEPTEMBER! And you know what that means: Fall is on its way. Time to think about the beautiful reality of those slightly cool evenings when you just want to wrap yourself up in a little something cozy, before jacket and coat weather kick in. Here are some gems to consider:

1. Tensdale by Patricia Shapiro is such great garter geometry it actually has me itching to knit a triangle shawl again

2. Crosshatch by Jared Flood — from his gorgeous book Woolens — has succeeded in making me want to knit brioche

3. Florence by Bristol Ivy — from the autumn issue of Pom Pom — would be a ton of fun to knit, and to pick yarn for!

4. Ingwer by Melanie Berg is an enticing combination of textures, love to see it even bigger

5. Metronome by Julia Farwell-Clay is just so striking, and I love the shape

6. Meet Me at the Ryman by my beloved Jo Strong is a Nashville tribute that’s also just a really great lace pattern

7. Bittersweet by Amy Christoffers has a sweet allover cable pattern and just makes you want to cozy up in it (free pattern)

For more shawls I’ve loved lately, see my Ravelry favorites.

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New Favorites: Kveta

New Favorites: Kveta by Amy Christoffers

Ok, in all honesty, I chuckle a lot about the number of garter-stitch shawl patterns that get published in any given month. And yet today I’m favoriting Kveta by Amy Christoffers, one of the simplest garter-stitch shawls I’ve ever seen! But often the simplest things really are the most appealing. You can guess that in my mind this is not the technicolor dream shawl pictured but the same thing in a nice quiet neutral — or at least a solid. There’s something I like about the scale of it on this girl, but what’s reeling me in is the notion of the low-fuss, drop-stitch fringe method. I just really want to do that. And using 2 skeins of worsted/aran weight yarn, just imagine how many options there must be in my stash.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Andean-inspired hats

New Favorites: Crochet shawls

New Favorites: Crochet shawls

There was a whole lot of crochet going on around me on my trip last weekend, further stoking my urge to crochet right now. I’m holding steady on my no-shawl-knitting vow, but I wonder if the long rows would bother me as much with crochet, given the difference in how they’re worked? So I keep going back to these two beauties from Quince and Co’s recent crochet collection (all of it extremely lovely):

TOP: Celia by Sara Kay Hartmann is a mesh triangle with zigzag border that reminds me of bunting

BOTTOM: Leilani by Julie Blagojevich has a subtly swooping allover texture

(Note to Cal: One of these days, I’m taking you up on your offer of assistance is getting past granny squares!)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: WATG knitted denim jammies

Favorite New Favorites of 2015

Favorite New Favorites of 2015 — best knitting patterns

Just about every week of every year, I post about the knitting patterns that are occupying my thoughts — whether they’re new or just newly appealing to me — under the heading of New Favorites. Some are content to be admired for just that moment, while others bully their way right into my queue. Interestingly, this year not a single New Favorites pick actually made it onto my needles (Not yet, anyway. I still have projects in my queue from last year’s and the year before’s.) Oh no, wait: I did cast on Linda — I just didn’t get very far because I need to switch yarns. Given that it’s the one I cast on and sketched into my Fashionary queue, and that I’ve mentioned it on the blog at least 92 times this year, that must have been the absolute most magnetic pattern for me this year! I’m still dying to try my hand at mosaic knitting, and this is still my favorite colorwork pattern of the year. But what follows are the patterns I’d most like to not lose track of as more and more new ones distract us from that which we already loved:

PATTERN OF THE YEAR

Although I give myself a 1% chance of ever actually knitting them, I think Dianna Walla’s Aspen socks/legwarmers, pictured up top, is the best pattern of the year, so I wanted to mention that. It’s inspired by historical garments and yet perfectly new and original, and just completely enticing and memorable. (It’s from the Farm to Needle book that, disclosure, I also have a pattern in.) If you haven’t seen Dianna’s blog post about the inspiration behind the pattern, take a minute to give it a read.
(as seen in From Farm to Needle)

SWEATER OF THE YEAR

Favorite New Favorites of 2015 — best knitting patterns

For me, Norah Gaughan’s Marshal is the sweater of the year, despite the fact that the neck treatment doesn’t quite work somehow. If (when) I were to knit it, I think I might make it into more of a bomber jacket — with a crewneck and curved neckband. That, or keep the V-neck and just leave off the neck flap, which looks fantastic from the back but which I love less from the front. Regardless, I’m completely crazy about the pocket design, texture and placement, and the gauge shift from the body to the pockets — really fantastic use of simple detail to elevate a design.
(as seen in The chevrons of BT Winter ’15)

YOKE SWEATERS

Favorite New Favorites of 2015 — best knitting patterns

Next year will absolutely be the year I knit myself a colorwork yoke sweater. Perhaps one of these three—
top: Stopover by Mary Jane Mucklestone, as knitted by Kathy Cadigan (as seen in Dark yoke sweaters)
bottom left: Lighthouse Pullover by Carrie Bostick Hoge (as seen in Dark yoke sweaters)
bottom right: Skaftafell by Beatrice Perron Dahlen (as seen in Winter blues)

PULLOVERS

Favorite New Favorites of 2015 — best knitting patterns

The rest of the sweaters I’m keeping on the don’t-forget list are good, hardworking wardrobe basics that also look reasonably interesting to knit—
top left: Grille by Bonnie Sennott (as seen in Grille)
top right: Trace by Shellie Anderson (as seen in Trace)
bottom left: Sanford by Julie Hoover (as seen in The chevrons of BT Winter ’15)
bottom right: Butte by Pam Allen (as seen in Big ol’ cozy pullovers)

ACCESSORIES

Favorite New Favorites of 2015 — best knitting patterns

left: Lambing Mitts by Veronika Jobe (as seen in Foldover mitts) (free pattern)
middle: Bonnie Banks Shawl by Beatrice Perron Dahlen (as seen in Fair-weather friends)
right: Abyss by Wool and the Gang (as seen in the WATG x Raeburn beanies)
right: Crag by Jared Flood (as seen in The hats of BT Men Vol 2)

What were your favorite patterns this year? Cast-on or otherwise!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Winter blues

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!