Knitty Friday

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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Make Your Own Magic Ball; Giveaway!

We’re rather fond of Laura Nelkin’s Gusto cowl pattern from our latest issue.

One of the things we love about it is that it’s a fantastic way to use up sock yarn leftovers. (We know you’ve got some lying around. It’s ok, no need to be ashamed. All sock knitters have leftovers.)

Laura’s design uses a homemade Magic Ball composed of sock yarn leftovers to create a fantastic one-of-a-kind stash-reducing knit. If you’re not familiar with these wonderful things, she’s kindly provided a tutorial for us.

Title Card for BlogOnce you’ve discovered the Magic Ball technique, we figure you’ll get totally hooked, and so we’ve arranged a giveaway: a signup for Laura’s Design Your Own Cowl Craftsy class. Take the yarn you’ve just made and indulge your own creative impulses! And because we love you and her, we’re also giving you a copy of her new book, too. One lucky reader will win both prizes.

The usual rules apply. Leave a comment on this post by midnight EST Wednesday October 22nd. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the yarn and the book. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.

Thanks to Craftsy for the class, to Potter Craft for the book, and as always, to Laura.

I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with designing for magic ball knitting lately and decided it was time to make a tutorial to show the magic knot I use for joining skeins.

Step 1: Choose Your Yarn!  I decided to play with my LYS’s excellent “stash” of Knitted Witt Gumballs for this tutorial. I choose enough to knit another Gusto as I can’t really get enough of that pattern! You can join together yarns in stash (see note below), or have a base yarn and join bits of color throughout it (like I did for Magmatic Boom).  This is where you get to be CREATIVE! Then begin to wind your yarn.

1skeins 2winding

Step 2: Lay down the two ends you want to join with the tails going in opposite directions.

Step 3: Take one end and go underneath the other end to the opposite side.


Step 4: Then bring that end back over and lay it across itself.

Step 5: Then take that end and go inside the loop you have created to make a overhand knot.

Step 6: Pull tight.


Step 7: Repeat with other tail.


Step 8:  Holding onto the working yarn, start to pull in opposite directions.


Step 9:  Keep pulling, the two knots will slide together.


Step 10: Pull all the way tight!


Step 11: Trim the ends VERY close to the knot, sharp scissors help!

Step 12: Test your knot by yanking on it HARD! If you do not follow these steps exactly the knot will pop apart and it’s better to find that out now than while you are knitting!


Jane Richmond has an excellent video that shows this knot, which is how I learned about it.  Thanks Jane!

I want to make a note that this knot is not perfect for every yarn and you should definitely test it with your yarn before you commit to it. I’ve heard that it doesn’t work well with single ply yarn, yarns with high silk content, and cellulose based fibers (like cotton, rayon and tencel).  You can put a bit of Fray Check on the knot, which will make it hold… but just do a test first to be sure, sometimes it can change the color and hand of your fiber.  Your other choice for joining the ends is to use a Russian Join, which will work on wool fibers but not the other fibers listed above.

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Deep Fall 2014 Issue Projects

I’ve loved Opus The Octopus from the first moment I saw the pattern, and Spiral420’s project is exactly how mine would look if I’d had a chance to cast on… a Noro-underbelly!

The Brindled hat is a Woolly Wormhead classic – wearable and classic but with a nice stylistic twist. I love indigonightowl’s color choice for her project.


The Krydda sweater is a winner – elegant and beautiful and quick to knit. Nephele has chosen a wonderful color, and it’s coming along well. Can’t wait to see it grow!


Twist Again is a terrific shawl – super for handspun, but just as good in commercial yarn, too. A not-too-challenging but entirely beautiful project. Ando has chosen a perfect color of handspun alpaca for hers…


The Nachfalter fingerless mitts are exactly what you need as the seasons change – fast and fun and warming without feeling too wintery.

Katdriver‘s third pair are green, and she’s already working on a fourth… oh, to be on her holiday gift list!

And Gusto is another must-knit early fall accessory – not just because the result is beautiful… Look at Sonnydays‘ project

 but also because of the fun in making your own “magic ball” from sock yarn leftovers.

I adore how Sherinik’s Apiculturist crochet/knit combo scarf is coming along… the photo shows the difference in the motifs before and after blocking. (Yes, blocking *is* important!)

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