Cirriform Sweater

The weather is getting chilly here in Toronto, and I’m starting to think about warmer clothes. I don’t know about you, but I go through this funny transitional stage in my wardrobe: I need warming layers, but I’m not yet ready to put my favourite t-shirts away; I’m not willing to move to full pullovers and winter clothes. A cuddly wrap-style cardigan is just the thing for this time of year: it doesn’t feel heavy, but provides a bit of warmth as the days get shorter. I can wear it over those favourite t-shirts, to help me gradually make the emotional and sartorial transition between seasons. It’s also great for this time of year when the days are still bright and warm, but the evenings are noticeably colder.

Emma Welford’s Cirriform cardi is an excellent example of the sort of thing I love: it’s cuddly and wrappy and light and lacy and lovely. It will look great over end-of-summer outfits, and make you warm without feeling heavy or wintery.

The designer writes about the cardigan on her blog. She provides some guidance on working the pattern, on choosing a size, and on choosing a yarn. The yarn was sadly discontinued after Emma completed her sample, but it was such a lovely design that we wanted to publish it anyway. She offers up some helpful information so that you get something that provides exactly the cuddly and warming effect you’re looking for.








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WWW: Knitting for others; sweaty knitting; new yarn shop opening in Toronto


We all love the craft or we wouldn’t still be doing it. But what to do with those bits and baubles, the left over pieces after the project is done?

How about knitting for your pets? If you don’t have any animals of your how, try your local animal shelter. Make a sweater, make a blanket, bedding or toy, something that makes use of those bits and makes an abandoned or mistreated animal warm and loved.

The Big Knitathon, sponsored by the Big Issue Foundation, is now in its fourth year. The Big Issue Foundation is a UK organization dedicated to raising funds and support for the homeless.  They’re asking knitters worldwide to dig out their yarn and get sponsored for your marathon knitting session in November. Knit a scarf, a hat, a pair of mitts and help keep people warm this winter.

If you’re interested in contributing to another community knitting project, consider knitting for Bletchley. The organizers of the public exhibition at this important historical site are seeking 1940s-style winter accessories to ‘dress’ the exhibit for winter. The huts where the codebreakers worked were famously cold, and woolies were an important part of the gear.

Let’s talk about multitasking here: Meredith Parmalee intends to knit while running the New York Marathon.  Her training runs focused not only on the running aspect, but the knitting aspect: she started with finger knitting, and eventually built up to carrying actual needles while she ran. Interestingly, she reports that knitting along has helped her set a steady pace… “with the knitting I can gauge my speed and energy a bit better and settle into a comfortable rhythm“. Although she admits that anything she works on while she trains gets a bit sweaty…

It’s always great to hear about a new yarn shop opening: tonight is the inaugural Stitch Night at the new Yarns Untangled, in Kensington Market, in downtown Toronto. The address and some of the faces at the shop might be familiar…

Speaking of yarn shops we know and love, here’s an excellent profile of Shall We Knit, of Waterloo, Canada, and teacher Lynne Sosnowski.

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WWW: Helping Syrian refugees; your 2016 calendar?; 2015 events

Laura’s donations.

Sometimes calls for charity knitting present challenges: they well-meaning but misguided, initiated by those at a remove from the situation. In this case, a call has come directly from someone involved in a difficult situation, and it’s provides a very meaningful way for knitters to help out.

Friend of Knitty, designer Laura Nelkin, has a very active Ravelry group. One of her participants, Andrea, is a doctor working in a public health office near Munich, Germany. Her office has been inundated with work because of the arrival of so many Syrian refugees: her town alone is expecting over 1,000 men, women and children. Many of them will be living in tents.

To quote from Laura’s blog post:

One of Andrea’s concerns is that the winter months are coming and many of these refugees are not properly prepared for the cold. So, I am hoping some of you can take a little time out from your knitting projects and make them some warm items. They don’t need to be fancy, but they do need to be functional and bright!

Andrea has offered to be a “hub” for us to help get the woolens to those in need. Since she is on the front line of this situation and dealing with it daily, I feel sure that our items will be appreciated and used.

Read more about this initiative on Laura’s blog.

Charming and ever so slightly saucy, in a woolly sort of way: order your own copy of the Nudiknits 2016 calendar. Featuring lovely full-color pictures of designer’s trademark clever designs, gentle innuendo and visual puns, it’s guaranteed to raise a smile. Click here for an example of what to expect. There’s also a YouTube channel, of utterly wonderful and quite ridiculous knitted animations.

Another smart well to help out a good cause:  Yarn store Shabby Motley (what a great name!) in Sault Ste Marie, Canada, held their first annual Knit-A-Thon with proceeds heading directly to the local soup kitchen. The event, organized by Tiffany Baxter, began promptly at 11am and continued for 24 hours. Occasional breaks for Pilates and Tai Chi were sprinkled throughout the event alongside the raffle draws and games to keep everyone going.
“We had so many people interested that we had to close the sign up. We can only facilitate so many people for a 24-hour period; it’s been overwhelming.
People unable to attend the knit-a-thon helped instead with gifts of food and knitted hats, mitts and scarves and “We have received lots of donations from local businesses,” Baxter said.

What a fun way to help out a deserving causing!

The hall at Yarndale – gorgeous and welcoming! Image courtesy Yarndale/Elizabeth.

It’s knitting season, so there are all sorts of wonderful events and activities and gatherings for the yarny-types. Last weekend, Yarndale was held, in Skipton, Yorkshire.

This weekend alone there’s Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago  (Amy will be there!) and KnitCity in Vancouver (Kate will be there!). The following weekend is The Knitting and Stitching Show in London UK, and the weekend after that it’s the Creativ Festival in Toronto, the Woodstock Fleece Festival in Woodstock, Ontario, The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (a.ka. Rhinebeck), and the only one I get my husband interested in, the Bakewell Wool Gathering in Derbyshire (he loves Bakewell tarts).  If you’re looking for an event, remember that Clara Parkes maintains a list on the Knitter’s Review website.


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On Serendipia

Tanya Seaman, designer of the beautiful and very clever Serendipia shawl pattern, tells us about her inspiration and design process….

I’m honored to have Knitty select Serendipia, one of my latest designs, for its Deep Fall 2015 edition! It’s my first magazine-published pattern! I am pretty excited about this design, and especially pleased to have my hard work recognized in this way. The elements of this design have been in the works for a couple of years.

Up until a few years ago, I had been knitting up some pretty basic sample pieces with Done Roving Yarns’ vibrant space-dyed yarns when the owner, Paula Farrar, asked me if I’d ever knit lace. I hadn’t, but I was curious – and I was up for a challenge. I fell in love with lace almost immediately, and it’s mostly what I knit nowadays. Because of my association with Done Roving, though, I was seeing all of these beautiful color combinations and wondering how I – now a lace enthusiast and not a sock-maker – was going to use them to great effect. And I don’t mean, just use them as if they were solid-colored, but make the most of what they are, to highlight their beauty. I looked around at what others were doing but didn’t see anything to grab on to. So I did my usual and made up something.

I love stripes, and I especially love bending them in some way. So, I was also interested in exploring a bent-stripe pattern, and used to see what it might look like. I had entered about half of the pattern and by accident hit the “Go for it” button, which generated a visual representation of my stitch pattern. It duplicated the pattern vertically, and – wow, this was an incredible look.

¡Serendipia, por cierto! [Serendipity, for sure!]

At some point my desire to bend stripes and use self-striping yarn merged into this new design. It took some patience and time to turn this into a knittable piece that would lie flat, as in reality, the peaks and valleys are much steeper than in this image. The first swatches show the colors pooling and striping, and for Serendipia I decided to focus on the striping version. (If you like pooling, please check out my Infinite Pools pattern, just published on Ravelry.)

To keep the stripes and color patterning flowing uninterrupted, I worked out how to put the decreases on the back side of the fabric. I created a video (another fun first!) to help knitters replicate this stitch.

To showcase to best effect the many specialty hand-dyed (and even machine-dyed) yarns, this pattern is intended to be customized. To make this easy, I created an interactive Excel file that spits out the customized pattern and charts.

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WWW: Oldest Yarnbomber, Sheep on the Street in Toronto, E-course on History of Knitting & Spinning

104-year old Street Artist.

Regardless where you stand on the art of Yarn Bombing, I do believe that this one warrants an extra peek.

Grace Brett could very well be the oldest living Yarn Bomber at 104 years young. Her team, The “Stormers” took their time in planning this event that took over their town in Scotland, with knitted and crocheted artwork.

Her 74-year-old daughter, Daphnie, said that the yarn-bombing gives Grace a purpose and that her mother finds it humorous to be labeled a ‘street artist’.

This September’s Third Annual Great London Yarn Crawl, organized by Yarn in the City, raised over £1300 for the UK charity Refuge. In addition to the funds raised, they collected close to 150 hand knit items to donate through Knit for Peace.

Hey! I know her!

This year’s event was the largest yet with 120 crawlers, 15 volunteer guides and 11 shops participating.

Yarn in the City was begun by Allison Thistlewood and Rachel Brown in 2013 and is a variety of yarn-centric events that bring people together to share their love of the craft.

What a great way to gather with your fellow yarn crafters and have a great time all while raising money for a deserving charity!

Sheep on the street, in front of the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.

Although the Campaign for Wool has been running internationally for some time, here in Canada it’s only in its second year.

It was launched September of 2014 in Canada by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and this year events are being are held in Montreal, Toronto and Calgary with the proceeds going to benefit the Prince’s Canadian Charitable work. The Campaign for Wool currently runs in 12 difference countries worldwide.

The goal of the campaign is to educate as many people as possible about the benefits, sustainability and versatility of wool: we’re listening!

If you are near Toronto, check out the pop-up shop on Bloor located at Holt Renfrew featuring products made with Canadian Wool as well as featuring the Prince’s own Highgrove line of carpets.

Related: Friday October 9th is “Woolly Hat Day” in the U.K. That’s a made-up holiday I can entirely support celebrating! The Campaign for Wool site is offering free hat pattern downloads. You know, just in case you can’t find something you fancy over at Knitty.

Very excited about this: Designer, author, anthropologist and teacher Heather Marano (also known as The Merry Spinster) is offering an online course on the archaeology, mythology and evolution of spinning, weaving and knitting across cultures. When did humans first start spinning, weaving, knitting or crocheting? Did you know that nearly every culture has a myth and even a goddess associated with the fiber arts? This e-course aims to answer all these questions and more.

Class takes place in a private password protected chat room on the website, and there is a private discussion group on Facebook for the class as well. Begins Saturday, October 3rd, and registration is $19.99.

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One hesitates to choose favourites in an issue, but I must confess I do think I have one for our latest issue…

These are great.

I love a good fingerless mitten, and I love a good cable, and Resonator wins in both categories! I adore  the seamless transitions between the ribbing and the cable pattern – a lovely detail which makes all the difference. 18

The designer, Cynthia, writes on her blog about the process of being published by Knitty. She’s very polite about being put through the wringer by a demanding tech editor (me!)… Actually, her pattern was in great shape, but every pattern usually needs a few tweaks to conform to our stylesheet, and to have the charts put into our format.

As she hints in the post, one of the changes I demanded, demandingly, is more than one size. Sizing is one of the things that’s important to us at Knitty – even amongst the editorial team, there are many shapes and sizes, and we like to be as inclusive with sizing as possible. Even for something like mittens, we like to be able to appeal to as many knitters (and wearers) as possible.

Cynthia has kindly provided some additional charts, for the thumb gusset. You can download them from her blog.

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WWW: Cast off Chemo; Largest Knitted Doll? Keeping brains fit

The best of causes.

Coming up in October, Cast off Chemo is holding an online auction through EBay to raise funds for a clinical trial for a cancer treatment that doesn’t involve chemotherapy.  Big guns like Skacel, Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts, Berroco and more have donated items towards the auction.  This is your chance to enhance your stash, get some cool products like Denise Interchangeable or HiyaHiya needles, yarn totes, crochet sets and many others.

“We are grateful to have such generous sponsors and contributors from the craft industry,” said Susan Sullivan, Auction Coordinator.  “All the funds raised will go to the goal of raising $1 million for a clinical trial that could make a huge difference for those with breast cancer and other cancers.”

In addition to the online auction, there are currently patterns available on Ravelry. Over 50 knit and crochet patterns are already available for $5 each, with all proceeds going to the cause.  New patterns are uploaded weekly, often daily.

Keep your eyes open for the auction coming up October 2-11, 2015 on EBay.  For a great listing of additional ways you can help, check out the How-To-Help section on the Cast Off Chemo site.

Love it!

Over in New Zealand, a woman originally from Zimbabwe, has created a doll that stands just under 10 feet tall.  Faustinah Ndlovu created the doll to raise funds for the primary school in her home village.  The doll is knit in one piece, stuffed with over 180 pillows and weighing close to 200 pounds; the clearly strong and clever knitter  is waiting for confirmation from Guinness if she has the largest knitted doll.

Something we all already knew, according Cardiff University in the UK, knitting and other yarn crafts can “activate areas of the brain that are good for generating a sense of calm, (and contribute to) improved emotional processing and better decision making.

Keeping the hands and the brain cells active.

Following up on this research, Neural Knitworks began holding knit-ins for broad selection of communities, including students, university staff and scientists.  Expert guests hold seminars while participants create neurons out of yarn.

“Yarn craft, with its mental challenges, social connection and mindfulness, helps keep brains fit by solving creative and mental challenges, developing eye-hand coordination and fine motor dexterity and increasing attention span”.

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“Custom Socks” book giveaway

CS Cover Mech.inddAs you may have seen in the Cool Stuff column, our own Kate has written a book.

Kate got her start at Knitty writing about socks, and as our sock technical editor. She’s measured a lot of feet. She knits a lot of socks. She’s edited a lot of sock patterns. She’s designed a lot of socks. She teaches a lot of sock classes.

And this book is the culmination of all that work. It brings together all her knowledge about socks and sock knitting and sock designing.

In her own words…

I’ve taken my Plain and Simple Sock patterns – both Top Down and Toe Up versions – and created a book all about how to make them actually fit your feet.

I’ve provided the basic formulas and templates for both directions, and created the numbers for you for gauges from 4 to 9 sts/inch (including the important 6.5 and 7.5!), for finished socks from 5 to 10.5 inches in circumference. That’s covering feet from 5.5 to 12 inches in circumference, and pretty much any possible yarn you might ever want to use. Oh yeah, and I’ve got tables of foot sizes by shoe size if you can’t measure the feet you’re knitting for. And a table of yarn requirements by gauge and foot size, for when you’re stash-diving.

And then. THEN. I’ve given you a ton of info on how to measure your feet properly to determine your fit needs, and how to customize the socks for those needs.

Oh yeah, and there’s some fancy patterns, too. Texture stitches, cables, lace, colourwork. All sorts of socks for every knitting mood and every style whim!

Custom Socks - The Basic Ribbed Sock beauty image - Copy

Nice comforting ribs, very wearable.

Custom Socks - The Carpita Sock beauty image - Copy

Easy colorwork! Really

Custom Socks - The Man of Aran Sock beauty image - Copy

Inspired by a favorite aran sweater from childhood.

Custom Socks - The Oh, Valencia! Sock beauty image - Copy

Estonian lace.

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Secrets & Lies – Cables and Lace, for days when you can’t deicde what you want to knit.

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The Fitzcarraldo Knee Sock.

The book also has all my sock knitting tips and advice and wisdom from nearly 20 years of sock knitting, and 10 years of teaching sock knitting. Trouble with joining the round? Plagued with ladders? Struggling with needles? Uncertain about gauge? Holes at the tops of the heels? Holes elsewhere? Legs fall down? Ten years’ worth of questions from my sock classes questions.

And if you’re looking to design socks, it’s a great reference, too, providing lots of info about how to add pattern stitches into socks and create your own gorgeous Custom Fit socks.

And we’re proud of it – and her! Order it from your LYS, your fave indie bookstore, or online.

Of course, thanks to F&W Media/Interweave Press, we do have a copy to give away, too. The usual rules apply – leave a comment below by midnight EST Tuesday September 8th to enter. If you’ve won one of our giveaways in the past year, please give someone else a chance.

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Swinking along!

We’re really enjoying the fresh perspective and inspiration that our “Plays Well Together” column brings, adding crochet into the Knitty mix.

This latest issue’s project, the Swink! is an excellent transitional garment, to help ease us into the approaching change of weather. And a great way to expand your crochet skills.

The designer, Amy O’Neill Houck, writes on her blog about the project, and Kelbourne Woolens is hosting an informal crochet-along. If you’re not a crochet expert, no worries. Amy’s design partner Mim always provides an excellent tutorial to accompany the pattern, and this time it’s all about the key foundation single crochet stitch.

And it’s clear you agree with us that this project is a winner! People are already working on it: PassionFruit‘s project is coming along very well indeed….

Looks great! Nearly there!

A good swatch from Swiftmiss – so much promise with this fantastic colourway. (I do like a good swatch.)

It’s going to be great.

And Cal Patch is a keen participant in the crochet along…

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Dunfallandy – WIPs and Horizontal Cable Tutorial

The minute we saw the pictures of the Dunfallandy blanket, we knew we had to publish it. It is utterly and totally fantastic.

And that was even before we saw the cleverness of it: designer Terry’s innovative and fascinating horizontal cables technique.

She’s written about the technique on her blog, with details on how you can use these cables in other ways.

So very cool!

If you want to learn more about how they work, and how to work them, definitely visit Terry’s blog.

We’re glad that our readers are as excited about this design as we are: there are some terrific projects underway.

MarinaOfTheSea‘s is looking great – an excellent colour.

And knittingmumma has chosen a perfect baby colour.

Kathleen wipinsanity has gone with classic white…

Can’t wait to see them finished!

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