Knitty Friday

On Hybrid Vigour & A Traditional Shawl Variation

Have you see the beautiful cover design in the latest issue? Mary-Anne Mace’s Hybrid Vigour. It’s a hybrid design, in that it’s a shawl that is partially closed, to be worn like the most elegant poncho ever.

A poncho, but not a Poncho, y’know?

I mean, I do like a poncho. They’re particularly great at this time of year – for transitional weather. But I wouldn’t use the word elegant to describe them. Mary-Anne has made a practical thing beautiful. And we love her for it.

Of course, you might want to just wear it as a shawl, too. Mary-Anne has kindly produced notes and instructions on how to work it flat, if you’re so inclined.

Just beautiful!

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Evangelina: Stitch-Maps Charts

Today’s post comes from guest writer, JC Briar, developer of the Stitch-Maps charting tool. She’s written for us before, and her clever tool permits interesting and illuminating analysis of complex stitch patterns and their behaviour.

Checking out the charts in the latest Knitty, I was struck by the charts for Evangelina.

Evangelina’s Victorian Stitch Pattern is so clean and pretty. Did its charts have to be so disjointed? In particular, was it really necessary to slip stitches across the beginning-of-rounds marker at the end of round 6 and at the beginning of round 8?

To better understand the stitch pattern, I drew a stitch map for its instep version – that is, the version that features edge stitches, in the form of purls worked at the edges of Evangelina’s instep.


With the stitch pattern’s original red repeat boxes overlaid on top, we can see where the repeat shifts at the beginning of round 7. At that point, markers placed between repeats have to shift one stitch to the left, out of the way of the p2tog on round 7.

But is this the only way to define the pattern’s repeat? Viewing the stitch map again with column guides tracing the stitch columns, it’s possible to visualize a more convenient repeat for the pattern.


Markers placed between these repeats would run between stitch columns, and would never need to shift.

Going a step further and discarding the edge stitches, we come up with an alternate way to work the pattern on Evangelina’s leg.


Voilà! The beginning-of-rounds marker can stay put.

Truthfully? The more I play with stitch maps, the more certain I become that almost all stitch patterns can be worked in the round without ever having to shift the beginning-of-rounds marker. It’s all a matter of paying attention to the stitch columns, and defining the pattern’s repeat in accord with those stitch columns.

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The Stars and Stares Pillow

Have you seen the Stars and Stares eye pillow in our latest issue? One of the reasons I like this pattern for some many reasons: it’s a different way to use knitting, it’s uself, and it provides a great project on which to practice your colourwork skills.

Clever and fun! Just the sort of thing we adore.

The first-time Knitty designer, Ruth Roland, has written a series of blog posts about the design and the process of being published in Knitty.

She writes about the filling options for the eye pillow…  the pros and cons of different materials to create the stuffing, and various options for scent.

She writes about variations of the design….

And the process of being published. I blushed and chuckled about being referred to as “heroic”…

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Evangelina Socks

Yay Spring and Summer issue! Yay for summery knitting!

And delicate lace socks are just the thing for summery knitting! We loved Ruth Churchman’s Evangelina sock pattern the minute we set eyes on it.


And then to learn of its wonderful inspiration – even better.

Ruth works at National Museums of Scotland library, and she found this book in the library collection: Scrivenor, M. Elliot. Collection of Knitting and Crochet Receipts. John Paton, Son and Co., Alloa, 1896.

The design is based on a Victorian baby’s Bootee pattern Ruth found in its pages… More about it on her blog.

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Thinking of Summer

I know I can safely speak on behalf of the entire Knitty team in saying that we’re tired of winter. It’s been a cold and snowy one, and we’re all getting a bit grumpy.

To cheer myself up, I went cruising through our back issues to look for a spring-themed projects. It might be a while before I can wear them, but I can at least start the knitting…

Because I’m tired of my scarves at this point, I think a glamorous new shawl would be wonderful. Cold Mountain is big enough to wear now for warmth, and yet still lacy and light enough to wear on early summer days over a dress.

Make it in a really cheerful springy color!

And because even when the snow goes, there will still be cold winds… perhaps a new pair of fingerless mitts? These Queen City ones are chic and interesting to knit, but will go quickly.

A change is as good as rest. You might still need to wear mittens, but these are at least fresh and new!

There’s the Carnaby skirt, which I think would be a fantastic transitional piece… still warm, but with hints of springy flirtiness and fun.

Heavy tights now; lighter tights or even bare legs later!

In hopes that I might get to expose my arms again at some point, there’s the Petrie Shell

So chic.

And how could you not feel summery making a gorgeous Elenka dress for a little girl in your life?

So great!

And remember what Denny says: no knitting with grey or brown in February and March. Knit the colors that are missing from your life in this dull and muddy time of year: choose greens and reds and pinks and purples and oranges. Cheer yourself up!

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Twisted Circles and Variations

In shawl form, curvy and textured and fabulous.

Have you seen the wonderful Twisted Circles shawl we published as the last issue’s Surprise? The designer, Janelle has a way with texture, and I love how she has taken a cable pattern and used it to create an undulating fabric.  Her initial conception was a cowl,

Different and yet closely related.

but the idea for a shawl variation soon followed, and this is the one that the Knitty team fell in love with.

Janelle is a smart knitter, and when working on this shawl version, she noticed an interesting technical challenge with the fabric. Not one to shy away from such things – in fact, I know she enjoys them – she used some clever short-rows to solve the problem.

She writes about the design process and her passion for variations on her blog.

I can’t wait to see what she does next!

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Winter Issues WIPs & FOs

I can’t help but adore Kathleen‘s Wavedeck. I mean, it’s my design! And I love the colours in this variegated yarn! Variegateds and lace don’t always work, but this one goes very well.


Mawie’s Alice cap is wonderful, and suits her so well.


Terrific colour choice for scass’s Minetta cardigan. Can’t wait to see it grow.

Love it!

And vstar1100‘s Dr. Quackers is fantastic.

The Dr. is in!

Inkic‘s Drogo slippers are just perfect.

Fantastic colour choice.

And because one Knitty project per issue isn’t enough, apparently, Kathleen (of Wavedeck above) has now started a pair of Drogo slippers.

We are having a cold winter. Kathleen needs a lot of woollies.

And then there’s NetKissa‘s absolutely jawdropping adaptation of the Irrational Skirt pattern, into a dress. Amazing. You should visit the project on Ravelry and look at all the photos.

Wow. Just WOW.

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Gift Knitting Ideas

It’s that time of year again… If you’re looking for ideas for gift knitting, perhaps our archive can help?

Hats? Socks? Mitts and gloves?

Need something for a man? Something for kids?

If you check in early next week there will be a few new patterns for you to choose from, but in the meantime, for your consideration I present a few of my personal faves from the back catalog…

The Morgan Hat – sized for men and women. 

The Urbanista Hat  – not your average beanie.

 The Quest Hat. Chic and interesting but still quick to knit.

The Spatterdash Wristwarmers -a fantastic way to use up lots of really lovely buttons.

Manly Mitts. Perfect.

 Toasty: an excellent warmer for the little ones.

A teacozy is always appreciated.

Or a tie.

And to begin with.

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Kate’s Undercurrent Cardi (with help); Buttonband insanity

It’s no secret: I’m rather a fan of Noro Kureyon.  I’m especially a fan of color #242. I’ve made a hat, a crochet shawl and the Lanesplitter skirt out of this colourway.

It’s my favourite, because it’s all the colours I love and wear: black, grey, green, red, orange. And in classic Noro style, it’s done in a rather unexpected manner, with funky colour changes and blends.

My “crazy Noro lady” outfit.

The minute we published the Undercurrent cardigan pattern, in mid-2011, I knew I had to have one. In colour 242, of course.

The downside to being a knit designer is that you rarely get to knit for yourself. I’m usually working on deadline projects, design projects, projects for books and magazines and other stuff. When I do get to knit for myself, I tend to go for plain socks – the sort of thing I can work on when I’m tired, or waiting for design inspiration, or when I’m in the line-up at the bank. My “me” knitting is usually projects that don’t require any thought or attention, and more to the point, projects that can be easily worked on in stolen moments and can carried around in my purse. Sadly, a sweater doesn’t fit these criteria.

I’d had a bag of Kureyon 242 sitting at the top for my stash for nearly three years, waiting for knitting time I was never going to have. So earlier this year, I arranged a barter deal with a skilled sample knitter I know: she would knit Undercurrent for me, as part of an exchange.

She worked on it over the summer, and returned the (beautifully knit) pieces to me a few weeks ago. I wanted to do the finishing. I’m VERY picky about the finishing.

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Setting in a sleeve requires clippy pins, sock yarn and coffee.

Plus I knew I wanted to make some adjustments to the buttonband.

I washed the pieces, finished up the hood, and then started on the front edging. For this design, it’s done in one piece, along the right front, up and over the edge of the hood, and down the left front.

Now, the thing about knitting this sort of buttonband is that you have to place buttonholes as you’re working. And before I started it, I didn’t really have any idea if I wanted buttonholes – and if I did, I wasn’t sure how many I would want.

I pinned the thing together at the sides so I could try it on, and made some measurements: I also knew I wanted the buttonband to be a bit deeper than called for in the pattern, but I wasn’t sure how deep.

So I knit the buttonband – nice and deep  – without buttonholes. And then when it was the length I wanted, I bound most of it off (on the WS), all the way along to the top of the right front. The side where I would want the buttonholes.

And then! Then! I figured out how many buttonholes I wanted and where.


Buttonhole positions marked.

And then I made them!

How did I make them, you ask? Crochet hook!


Magical buttonhole-making tool.

I’d left the stitches of that section live, and so I was able to strategically drop stitches where I wanted buttonholes to be. I dropped them down to the middle of the band, and converted what was a k2 to a (k2tog, yo) to make a hole. And I “ravelled” those two stitches back up.

There is one small drawback to this method – other than it being sort of insane – they’re not the same buttonholes that the designer specified, but they look good to me, and they’ll get the job done.

I’m absolutely thrilled with it. Many, many thanks to Kim without whom this would just be a bag of yarn…

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Just needs buttons now.


And it’s perfect.

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On choosing colors for Volteado

The designer of the very lovely Volteado socks has written a really great post on her blog: discussing color combos and choices for the socks.

The originals, in Plum and Sunset.

I love the colors she chose for the sample, but then when I saw some of the suggestions she and Tanis, the yarn dyer, had for other combos.. well, just wow! These two worked together would be absolutely fantastic.

They have ideas for all tastes and moods.

The designer is also hosting a KAL for the socks, on Ravelry. It runs until the end of November, and knitters who complete a pair of socks will be entered to win a prize.

The Ravelry group provides a fun way to see other color combos in action. This unexpected variegated-and-solid version by SuperM is a winner.

And Artndzne’s are coming along really well, too, in Tanis’s Truffle and Papaya… just as the colornames suggest, there’s a of chocolate-and-fruit thing going on which I find really beautiful.

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