Knitty Friday

Knitty Friday: A refreshing design!

Or, rather, refreshing our design!

One of our first stated goals with our Patreon campaign was to pay our staff and contributors better. Thanks to our Patrons’ enthusiasm, we were able to do that almost immediately. And so we moved on to the second goal: bringing our website up to date.

We launched our first ever responsive issue last week. What’s responsive? That means the site is coded to automatically resize to fit every screen from cellphones to huge monitors. It’s about as fresh from the code monkey as is possible…and we’re releasing it in Beta. That means there might be bugs to fix, and things might change in appearance from day to day as we fine tune how the site looks and works. We beg your indulgence during this time. Wanna report a bug? Write to me with the subject heading “BUG REPORT”. Thank you!

simulation...the best way to see how this issue works is to view it on your different devices!

simulation…the best way to see how this issue works is to view it on your different devices!

The back issues in our Library will be getting a facelift as well, though a much more subtle one. We want our whole Library to be updated so that the back patterns are still useful to you, and so we’ll be continuing to responsive-ize issues until they’re all done. It’s going to take a while. We’re talking about 55 back issues. But now we know where we’re headed and it’s exciting!

Also long overdue is the addition of metric measurements to patterns. This is now standard operating procedure going forward.

This redesign project has been a huge undertaking in partnership with Philip Chatterton of Marblehead. We’re thrilled with what he’s done for us. (Need something like this done for your website? Drop him a line.)

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TNNA: the knitting industry’s trade show…UPDATE!

Jillian and I have just returned from our annual trek to TNNA’s trade show, this time in Washington, DC. Jillian used to live there a very long time ago, and I’ve never been, so it was an interesting venue for us to explore.

Every year, we gauge what’s out, what’s in and what’s growing in popularity. This time, without question, the most popular trend was gradients. Gradients in every form, from sets of single-color skeins that make up the gradient to super-long-color-change skeins (first popularized, I believe, by Tina Whitmore of Freia Fibers).

Here’s a sampling of the new products released this year:

Indigo-dyed yarns at Ancient Arts

Indigo-dyed yarns at Ancient Arts

 

Adorable sheepies from Kraemer Yarns

Adorable sheepies showing off the color range at Kraemer Yarns

Really cool laser-cut tapestry looms at Purl & Loop

Really cool laser-cut tapestry looms at Purl & Loop

Delicious colors of Manos Alegria

Delicious colors of Manos Alegria

A soft rainbow (timely!) of Gems, from Louet North America

A soft rainbow (timely!) of Gems, from Louet North America and Fresh Stitches

Another delicious rainbow from the folks at Wonderland Yarns

Another delicious rainbow from the folks at Wonderland Yarns

And finally, the new speckled yarns, Splatter Shot, from our friends at Lorna's Laces

And finally, the new speckled yarns, Splatter Shot, from our friends at Lorna’s Laces

There was also a lot of this going on…which helps you understand that, although it’s a work event, we also love seeing our fiber friends. There is a lot of hugging at TNNA.

Jillian, Stefanie Japel and Liz Gipson

Jillian, Stefanie Japel and Liz Gipson

Clara Parkes, Jill Draper, Miss Jillian again and Laura Nelkin

Clara Parkes, Jill Draper, Miss Jillian again and Laura Nelkin

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Pinwheel Shawl KAL

A Knitty, we are big fans of the “deceptively simple” – a piece that looks effortless to wear. A piece that seems to be simple in construction but has a clever twist. A piece with a clever variation that makes you look at something in a whole new way.

Laura Barker’s Pinwheel shawl, from our most recent issue, checks all three boxes. It’s a large rectangular shawl, worked from the center out – so no pesky purling! – and which allows you to show off a gradient yarn. And she provides a neat way to pin it so it drapes like a vest – ideal for summer-time, when you need a bit of warmth, but don’t want a big heavy thing around your neck.

If you’ve been thinking about working it, Laura is launching a KAL for the summer, starting June 18th. She’ll be hosting the KAL in her Ravelry group, and will be providing guidance, tutorials, and cheering along as you go! She’ll tackle the casting on, working and reading the lace chart, and working the clever and lovely attached edging.

The project is suitable for knitters with a little experience with lace and working in the round. In fact, it’s an terrific project to take your lace skills to the next level, learning some new tricks along the way.

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Spring & Summer Issue Projects

I love Joline’s Stiorra sweater. It’s just so very elegant.

Just perfect.

This tweedy version of Inhabit  by Esuzabeth is a winner!

I love seeing a happy knitter in a happy FO.

Franzfranz‘s alpaca Gocce is splendid.

Beautiful

Making me wish the warmer weather would hurry up, Fishie‘s version of Lake Diamond is worked in fingering weight yarn held triple – very clever!

A perfect “transition” piece, for cooler days when you want to be dressed for summer.

Designer and friend of Knitty Laura Nelkin is proud to wear this lovely pair of Rectify socks, made for her by a friend of hers.

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Stiorra: additional resources

The designer of this issue’s fabulous Stiorra sweater writes about the design on her blog. We adore this sweater: it’s lacy, but not too delicate, and just so very wearable. I think my favourite detail is the shirt-tail hem.

Ewelina’s blog post also has links to a bunch of helpful resources, too.

The sweater uses a clever “horizontal rib” technique around the neck, to avoid it stretching. She’s created a very helpful tutorial.

And she’s also got both written instructions, and a full version of the Back Lace chart.


Speaking of charts, we’ve also got an alternative chart for the lace pattern, courtesy of JC Briar’s Stitch-Maps tool.

 

This view of the sleeve pattern, shows the symmetry of the “flower petals,” and the pairs of yarnovers separating them, as highlighted below. These types of “flow” charts don’t work for all designs, but this view is a terrific way to help you visualize the fabric you’re creating.

stiorrasleeve

 

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On Liquid Honey and Craving Color

It’s spring! Apparently. Where I am, it’s still grey and brown, and it’s going to be a few more weeks before we see much in the way of greenery or flowers.

Although the cold and snowy winter days get tiresome, I think this ‘season’ – after the snow but before things start growing – can feel the longest here in the Northeast of North America. It’s just so very drab. You’re still mostly wearing your dark winter clothes, mornings are darker with the shift to Daylight Savings Times, and there’s no colour outdoors, and with all that pre-summer rain, there seems to be less sunshine.

Good friend Denny always says that you shouldn’t knit with grey or brown in March. She’s absolutely right!

Certainly when considering designs for our spring issue, we’re attracted to color! And we loved Amy van de Laar’s Liquid Honey shawl design for its bright sunshiney hue, and also for the fabulous photographs.

Just so beautiful.

(Hint: Want to be a Knitty cover designer? Send us pictures of summer in the depths of winter! 🙂 )

Amy writes about the design — and the trees and plums she was posing with — on her blog.

This design in very accessible, even to less experienced lace knitters, and is the sort of beautiful but not-too-fussy shawl you’ll reach for every day. As you can see, it looks great with denim, worn very casually, it would cheer up that dark winter coat, and I can also see it worn with a fancy dress at a summer wedding. Follow Amy’s lead and make it in a bright color, one that brings you joy.

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Surprise WIPs

Our Surprises launched a couple of weeks ago, there’s already some terrific projects taking shape.

Perfect.

Genesneaky‘s Here Be Dragons socks are looking terrific. A dramatic color choice, but not so dark that you can’t see the patterning. Fab.

AndreaFL‘s Talula looks very promising… I adore this color choice.

And bonus points for a really beautiful swatch….

This makes me so very happy…

And Calenia‘s Stars in the Twilight shawl is absolutely gorgeous in an unexpected but fantastic colour.

Look at the beads!

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On a Knitty design: Kastanienfeuer

Fantastically warm!

In the northeast of North America, after a very warm fall and year-end, winter has finally hit with a vengeance. It’s messed me up terribly. We didn’t experience that slow slide into colder weather that we typically do in November and December: early this month we had about a week of transition and then boom it’s well below freezing and there’s snow on the ground.

This mean that there wasn’t the usual slow wardrobe transition, when you progressively dig through the strata of winter gear in the closest. Just two weeks ago, I was wearing a light coat and a single layer of mittens and no hat! Now it’s the full-length down coat, hats, big cowls and double-layer mittens.

I don’t know whether you do the same thing, but I enjoy the usual slow transition into a winter as a time to assess my winter accessories. I get them out from their moth-proof plastic bags, and see how they look. Still fresh, or a little tired? Any spots of wear and tear I didn’t notice in my rush to put them away last spring? Do I still like them? The slow transition gives me time to mend, rework, or outright replace ones I’m tired of.

Back when I was editing patterns for our winter issue, it was definitely not mitten weather. Being of cold hands and currently obsessed with brioche knitting, I absolutely adored the Kastanienfeuer mittens. The brioche fabric is ideal for mittens: lush and full and insulating and soft and warm. I remember thinking to myself that they’d be an excellent candidate for this year’s mittens. And then it just never went cold, so they slipped my mind.

Then last week, it got cold. Needless to say, I’m tossing my stash for yarn for these mittens.


The designer has provided some additional guidance on working the mittens, with expanded charts, on her blog.

And checking some of the WIPs on Ravelry has made me even more excited about the project.

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Bimtral: On designing for specific properties of a yarn and clever grafting

The Winter issue features a new design from one our favourite hat designers,  Woolly Wormhead.

Bimtral is classic Woolly: flattering and easy to wear, and all sorts of fun to knit.

It’s worked sideways – not just for fun, but to address the properties of the yarn that Woolly chose. The yarn is a wonderful blend of camel and silk, which is soft but not wildly stretchy. So Woolly turned the hat 90 degrees, substituting sideways garter for the usual lower-edge ribbing. But because it’s worked sideways, it requires a graft to finish. But this graft is not your usual – it’s grafted in a very particular manner to create a purl ridge.

Since grafting can be a bit tricky at the best of times, Woolly has written a tutorial on her blog, here.  It turns out that the specific technique required for this hat is actually the easiest of all of the “speciality” grafts – even easier than the standard version, in fact!

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The Sidekick Boot Socks, on ‘Sequence Knitting’; now that all your gift knitting is done…

I’m grateful for all the love for my Sidekick boot socks.

(Funny story: You can’t tell in these pictures, but the boots I was wearing had just developed a hole, and needed replacing. Shortly after we took these pictures, I got myself a new pair, and the first thing I did was make sure they still worked with socks. Because priorities.)

I’m not going to bang on about how you’ve probably got a lot of variegated sock yarn in your stash that needs using up, and how this is a great way to use up and tame a busy variegated yarn. And I’m not going to talk about how longer sock legs can take a long time to knit and that this design solves that problem, too. But there is one element of the design I do want to talk about… the pattern stitch I used on the leg.

For months, other designers were raving the wonderfulness of the book Sequence Knitting. After Laura Nelkin basically told me that she wouldn’t be friends with me any more unless I got a copy, I went ahead and ordered it. When it arrived, I flipped through it, expecting my socks to be knocked off immediately.

And I have to make a confession: based on that first cursory pass through the book, I didn’t get it. I thought I was missing something. I could see that it’s beautifully photographed, the layout is gorgeous and very usable, and it’s clearly well-written, but I didn’t get why everyone was raving about it. They’re just knit and purl stitch patterns, I was thinking… what’s the big deal?

But one night I sat up in bed, and I read it. I started right at the introduction, and actually read through the book. This is a book that needs to be read. There is a fantastically clever and wonderful and amazing concept behind the book and the pattern stitches, and it needs a little reading and thinking. But I read. And then I thought. And now I’m obsessed.

Sidekick is my first design to be inspired by Sequence Knitting, and I’m quite sure it’s not the last. This particular stitch is a three or four-stitch repeat (depending on how you’re looking at it), and it creates a wonderful, squishy, stretchy – and most importantly – reversible fabric. Ideal for a long, fold-over boot sock leg, in fact.


Your gift knitting is done, isn’t it? Nearly? (One year I finished knitting the hat I was giving my mother in the car on the way to her place Christmas morning…. I let her try it on and then took it back to weave in the ends and block it.) If so, it’s time to be selfish! And just in time for the cold weather, perhaps a pair of quick-knit boot socks?

SpaceCadet, the dyers of the lovely yarn I used for this design, is hosting a KAL, starting December 26th. There are prizes! I will be popping in to answer questions, provide guidance and generally admire the colour combos that you’ll choose! More info on the KAL in the Ravelry group. They’re also offering kits of the yarn, too….

 

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