Knitty Friday

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 stitch-maps.com 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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Resonator

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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“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.

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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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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…)

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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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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… 

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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

Yup.

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!

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Stalking Our Own Patterns

I do it all the time as a designer: I stalk my own patterns on Ravelry. I love seeing what yarns knitters have chosen; I adore seeing different versions and interpretations. And it makes me so happy to see my work being work, appreciated and loved all around the world.

And sometimes I have fun stalking Knitty patterns, too, for our Knitty Friday WIPs and FOs roundup. I love browsing through the projects for an issue to see what’s catching on, what knitters are enjoying making, and how a project is being received.

But something we’d never done until this week was browse all Knitty projects. Ravelry has this wonderful feature: you can see all the projects associated with our publication, from all issues.

As of Wednesday 3pm or so, there are 431,671 of them. It’s amazing and gratifying and wonderful.

Thank you!

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Surprise Pattern: Angular Velocity Socks

The clever and gentlemanly Rich Ensor has designed another winning sock: the Angular Velocity.

He writes about the inspiration and the design process on his blog.

Now, I’m not just bringing your attention to this blog post because Rich says nice things about me… (it’s a mutual admiration) but because Rich illuminates the design process.

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