New Favorites: All square

New Favorites: All square (knitting patterns)

I’m endlessly amazed at how musicians can be given the same limited set of musical notes and yet come up with an infinite number of new tunes and melodies. I feel a bit the same about these two shawls — oversized rectangular wraps — both of which are based on the simple concept of squares knitted in alternating stockinette and reverse stockinette:

TOP: Ippen Shawl by Claudia Eisenkolb puts two twists on the classic big-basketweave effect: the squares give way to wedges at the center, turning the rectangle into a U shape; and there’s a stripe of color running the length of it that shifts depending on whether you’re in a stockinette or reverse-stockinette block, from a solid line to a ticking stripe [Link updated 11.13, original Ravelry pattern listing was broken]

BOTTOM: Sjal by Antonia Shankland is a subtle collection of nested squares that change scale along the way

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Brandi’s neck sculptures

New Favorites: Brandi’s neck sculptures

New Favorites: Brandi's neck sculptures

Remember back at the end of last month when I said “Or perhaps I’ll cast on a Grete, if there’s a suitable yarn for it in my stash”? So that happened, and I’ll show it to you as soon as I take some pics, but it’s amazing. And between that and the situation with my too-warm sweater collection and my short attention span right now, I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of a winter wardrobe plan that consists of some very simple long-sleeve tops combined with statement-making neck accessories that also fend off the coming cold, and would be immensely satisfying to knit. I’m once again reminded of the loop stitch Markham Collar (which Tara-Lynn has since sent me and I just dug out) but am also newly fixating on Brandi Harper’s sculptural, convertible head-and-neck-ccesories, the Hoodie (above bottom) and the Shawl Collar (above top). Both would be great with yarns held double or triple, making them great stash busters, as well.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Building blocks

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: Summer stripes

New Favorites: Summer stripes

The Summer issue of Pom Pom is all about stripes, and it’s astonishing how many distinctly different ways the designers have managed to deploy them, even though the majority of the patterns are simple little summer sweaters! My favorite details among them:

TOP: Anna Maltz’s swingy little Tarmac tank with it’s striped edging!

MIDDLE LEFT: Tina Tse’s simple little Deauville with it’s perpendicularly striped hem

MIDDLE RIGHT: Gina Rockenwagner’s deft plaid Anni

BOTTOM: Amy Christoffer’s log-cabin inspired Riley (I am obsessed with this photo!)

BELOW: And the cross-hatching on Julie Knits in Paris’s Vasarely wrap

New Favorites: Summer stripes

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Thea Colman on a roll

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New Favorites: Colorwork for minimalists

New Favorites: Colorwork for minimalists

In addition to the fact that the whole color palette for this photo shoot is KILLING ME (her hair, that wall, that foliage …), I am swooning hard over these two new patterns by Whitney Hayward that use the tiniest bit of colorwork to such major effect. In both cases, it’s just a few well-placed rows of 1×1 stranding, and while I obviously love the neutrals here, you can imagine how totally different the effect would be if knitted in three colors instead of three nons. The shawl is Ural and the little transitional-season sweater is Fukuro. Gorgeous on every level.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites:  from Rowan 62

New Favorites: Veronika

New Favorites: Veronika

Last month, Shannon Cook posted a pic on Instagram that made my eyes pop out of my head. It’s basically the shawl-collared-blanket-with-arm-slits of my dreams, and the finished pattern, Veronika, went live yesterday. I’m imagining myself curled up in the corner of the couch someday, wrapped in one of these — oblivious to the godforsaken air vent behind the couch, thanks to the voluminous shawl collar — while knitting another one.

New Favorites: Veronika

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Quick mitts