Knitty Friday

Knitty Friday: Learning from your Tech Editor; podcasty goodness

We’ve heard this so many times since launching Knitty in 2002: “Please pass on my thanks to (insert Tech Editor’s name here) for her work on my pattern. It’s so much better than when I submitted it, and I’ve learned a lot from the process.”

Backing up, let’s talk a bit about who our designers are. We do have a few established designers, and some that design for a living. But we also have a variety of people of all levels of experience who have designed something great and send it to us to see if we’ll publish it. Our Tech Editors are women (so far — we haven’t had a male Tech Editor yet) with superior skills in math who also understand handknitting and garment creation in a way that the average knitter might never achieve. They’ve gone out of their way to learn how to convey the creation of some 3D object in words alone so clearly that anyone with an appropriate skill level can reproduce it. It’s really a form of technical writing. And it’s a hard craft to master.

Some, usually most, of our Designers embrace the feedback that they get from their Tech Editors. They answer the Editor’s questions promptly and very often learn from those questions themselves. (“What didn’t I convey clearly enough, so that the Editor had to ask about it? How could I have written this better?”) Some, thankfully not many, don’t make the Tech Editor’s job easier. They fight. They’re sure their way was the right way. They feel that the questions being asked by the Editor are challenges to their skill level. Which is kind of silly. Because just as designing is not my primary skill, I would expect lots of Designers to be not much of a Magazine Editor. It’s okay to be really good at designing, and to allow the Tech Editor to be really good at their job. When Designers and Tech Editors work in harmony, all that results is a much better pattern.

The best Designers are ones who learn from the collaboration. And we’re lucky to have had many of those grace our pages.

I was lucky enough to be interviewed for the official Patreon Podcast, and the result is below! The Knitty part starts about 21 minutes in. There’s stuff about how we started, how we work, how Patreon is affecting our future (hint: for the better). Enjoy!

Please like & share:

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.








Please like & share:

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.

Please like & share:


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.

Please like & share:

“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.

Custom Socks_v1_actualbook_Page_065 - Copy

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

Custom Socks_v1_actualbook_Page_179 - Copy

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.

Please like & share:

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…

Please like & share:

Knitting happiness

cover170x170Jillian and I were honored to chat with Lisa Cypers Kamen at Harvesting Happiness for the latest podcast! It was refreshing to talk to someone outside the knitting world and share our perspective on what we do every day.

You can hear us for the first half hour. Then an interview with Wool and the Gang follows afterwards.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

(You can also find it on iTunes…)

Please like & share:

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!

Please like & share:

On the Atomic Mitts

Designer “A Texas Girl”, of the lovely Atomic Mitts – a.k.a. Robin – writes about the process of submitting to and having a designed accepted by Knitty. She submitted first in 2009, and I must confess I rather adore the “not so great” photos she shows of that first design.

(At little embarrassed about the goof with the email notification she mentions. It was during all the madness with our servers, but all is fixed now. 😉 )

We’re also sorry we disappointed her about the cover pattern choice, but it sounds like she’s not holding that against us, either… 

Please like & share:

Issue WIPS & FOs

I love looking at what everyone is making!

Amy Christoffers’ lovely Jamestown pullover has inspired some great WIPs…

Oooh… MadTosh. Nice!

CathV-S‘s Dragon’s Breath Cowl is gorgeous!

This will cheer up the most miserable of winter days.

Kourtneyfromks‘s version of the Pub crawl cowl is just perfect


Ramblybear is knitting the Circle within Circles Beret, and she loves the “ingenious” construction.

Looks great! Can’t wait to see it grow.

Zergling‘s Atomic Wristwarmers are most excellent. A brilliant stashbuster, so lots of colours.

Perfect. I love seeing a colourwork design truly made the knitter’s own through colour choice.

ChimaeraKnit‘s Ridge and Furrow shawl looks promising… what a wonderful yarn choice!

I love this this design starts simply, with some plain old stockinette stitch. Shows off the yarn so very well!

Please like & share: