A show of hands

It has become a custom around here to write a yearly post about mitts (mittens, gloves, etc).  This post is a bit late, but I have been in the Southern Hemisphere for much of the last month and so have not had to deal with cold hands.  Now that I am back home and it is frosty, warm mitts are back on my radar.  So, let’s see a show of hands!

Tettegouche Mittens by Virginia Sattler-Reimer

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by ginni Flickr

I am currently obsessed with fair isle knitting, and these mittens are just divine.  The colours are so rich and gorgeous.  Susan pointed out to me on Ravelry (Hi, Susan!) that the Tattegouche State Park is amazing, and having looked it up, I would agree and can see the inspiration.  Virginia designed these to match a hat pattern which she contributed to Kate Davies’ new collection; so you can make a matching set.

Muhu Gloves by Anu Pink

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© Interweave / George Boe

I love Muhu designs. The description on it’s Ravelry pattern page says: “The gloves knitted in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries on the tiny Estonian island of Muhu were exquisitely flamboyant and knitted at a very tight gauge. This project invites you to knit an authentic pair of Muhu gloves at the traditional gauge.”  (The gauge is 64 stitches and 66 rows = 10 cm, so be fortified before you cast on!) These are published in Piecework by Interweave Knits.

Amazing Grace by Jana Huck

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© Jana Huck

Jana recently published five patterns for fingerless mitts in a collection called A cuff of Cheer.  I like them all and had a hard time deciding which to put here.  One of the things I like about these is the small lines of colour which run across the pattern; I think this opens up endless possibilities for adding some pops of colour and experimenting with shades and combinations.  Like the name of the collection, I find these very cheerful.

Bromont Mitts by Dianna Walla

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© Dianna Walla

These mitts (and the matching hats) make me think of snow ball fights and long walks in the woods, sledding and hot chocolate.  I love them in this combo of pink and grey and natural white, but of course the possibilities are endless.    Dianna spent a few years in Norway, and has clearly been influenced by Norwegian knitting traditions.  This is a simple design, but clean and fun.

Underground by Skeindeer Knits

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© Yarn in the City

I love a bit of fusion, both in cooking and knitting.  These mittens take inspiration from two sources.  As Eli says in the Ravelry pattern description: “I was inspired by the London public transport system, as well as my own Norwegian knitting heritage. These mittens feature patterns from the local-to-me Selbu mitten tradition, as well symbolism well known to all London residents.” I really love the way these two have combined in this design.  They manage to be both striking and charming, and a lot of fun as well.

Happy Glamper mittens by Keri Malley

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© Keri Malley

I love these mittens!  I cannot overstate how happy they make me.  Keri has only published two patterns, but I hope she does more.  They are so whimsical, and nostalgic, and absolutely perfectly framed.  It’s almost enough to make me want to go camping (and that’s saying something)!  I dare you to look at these and not be charmed.

That’s all for this round-up, but if you want to go back and look at previous years’ mitten posts, you can find them here:

Here’s wishing you a happy weekend, good knitting, and warm hands.

Pattern Radar: Fly me to the moon

Here is a short and sweet Pattern Radar post.  Today, the Pom Pom Quarterly released their new issue (#26) with 11 patterns inspired by the moon and its phases.  And they are fantastic!  Look at this:

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© Amy Gwatkin

This is Ixchel by Catherine Clark.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  This is such a beauty.  I think it is a showstopper, and on top of that, it looks like it would be totally fun to knit.  Not convinced? How about this beauty?

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© Amy Gwatkin

I am a crazy fan of black and white knits and this one hits all of the right notes for me.  It is practically luminescent.  The design is Luna by Anna Strandberg.  I think it is so classy, with lovely architectural lines and a modern shape.  It makes my fingers itch to knit it!

I’ll show you one more, because I can’t resist:

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© Amy Gwatkin

This is Artemis by Esther Romo.  It is positively swoon-worthy.  It has been a long time since I’ve seen a collection with three designs that capture my attention so thoroughly.  (And while these are my favorites in the collection, it has 8 other great patterns!)

I can’t end without pointing out two things.  First, all three of these designers are new to me! And that makes me all kinds of happy.  Second, we see continued here the trend to use more diverse models in knitting pattern design.  I mentioned this in a recent post, and am very happy to see more and more designers and publications using models of all shapes, colours, and ages.  These beautiful models make me all kinds of happy, too.

Pattern Radar April 2018

Today seems like a good day for another Pattern Radar post.  The sun is shining here in my little corner of England, and everyone is smiling.  I had planned to head into London today to go yarn shopping, but the sunshine changed my mind and instead I am sitting in my back garden soaking up the sun.  Writing this post is my alternative to buying yarn.  (Much cheaper, too!)

Here are six new-ish patterns that have caught my eye.

Twill and Plain by Marzena Kołaczek

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© Marzena Kołaczek

Marzena writes a beautiful blog.  It is in Polish, but never let a little language problem stop you from enjoying an excellent knitting blog!  You can be content with the photos, or use Google translate, or even try to learn a new language through knitting. Her photos are gorgeous, she has a great sense of style, and is a talented knitter.  I just love this sweater.  It is so subtle, and the juxtaposition of the twill and the stockinette is very classic and chic.  I also love the neckline; it has just the right proportions.

Mint Leaves by Joji Locatelli

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© Joji Locatelli

This one made me do a double take.  It really deseves a second and a third look.  I love my Neon cardigan, blogged here, designed by Joji, and I have long wanted to try another of her patterns.  I love the geometry of this one.  It manages to look both casual and tailored.  You can’t see it in this photo, but the patterning is on front and back and it cascades to the sides in a very beautiful and organic way.  I usually don’t like bobbles or reverse stockinette very much, but this sweater may make me re-think.

Rocket’s Cardigan of the Galaxy by Mary Annarella

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© Mary Annarella

First of all, how can you not like a cardigan named after Rocket, my favorite of the Guardians of the Galaxy?  In fact, the whole idea of this series is genius: Cardigans of the Galaxy, each design inspired by one of the characters.  And she calls them Guardigans!  I am so there.  Why is this one Rocket?  Mary says: “He gets a top-down cardi that’s the color of money (golden green!) with a diamond lace-and-cable motif that weaves in and out of a broken rib pattern. And hey, who isn’t a little broken?”  Of course no cute gimmik will get me to like a cardigan that doesn’t have good design.  This one does, and I trust Mary to deliver on all of the details and fit that make up a great cardigan.

Kilim by Vithard Villumsen

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© The Knitter

Love!  I love this design which has fantastic, chunky colourwork, and strikes both traditional and modern notes.  To me, it combines the colours of Turkish pottery with the fabrics and motifs of Kilim tapestries.  This design was published last year but has only recently come to my attention.  I have never heard of this designer before but he has definitely caught my eye with this piece, and I will be watching him to see what he comes up with next.

Hawley by Julie Hoover

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© Julie Hoover

Julie Hoover is the queen of simple, understated, but absolutely chic design.  I drool over all of her patterns, which manage to look both fashionable and totally comfortable.  This one, with its beautiful rippling cables and great proportions, is very appealing indeed.  It is a grown-up and luxurious version of the standard cabled pullover. I love the line of the shoulder and armscythe, the long ribbing at the hips, and the fantastic way the ribbing transitions into the cables.

Yoshino Cherry Blossom Hat by Susan Rainey

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© Susan Rainey

Today is the first day that feels like spring, and all of the cherry trees in our neighbourhood have just burst into bloom.  Cherry blossoms are such a short-lived luxury; what could be better than a cherry blossom hat?  This hat has delicate pink beads for the blossoms and looks just like the branches of a cherry tree against the brilliant blue sky.  It is designed by Susan Rainey, one half of the fabulous blog-writing duo, The Rainey Sisters!  I have been reading their knitting blog for over ten years, since before I even heard of Ravelry.

I hope that you enjoy these patterns.  I am going to stop writing now and start being lazy!

Pattern Radar February 2018

Take a little bit of knitting ennui, add a smidgeon of pattern over-abundance, and stir it up with a handful of work-induced stress: what do you get?  Pattern indifference.  It’s been a while since I’ve been excited by new patterns.  But now that is starting to change.  Maybe because the days are getting longer, maybe because I’ve got some knitting mojo back, and maybe because there are a lot of cool designs popping up.  Whatever the reason, it’s time for a Pattern Radar post.

1. Strathendrick by Kate Davies

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© Kate Davies

I love this new design from Kate Davies.  She says: “The landscape which surrounds my home provided perfect inspiration for something I’ve long wanted to design – a statement allover sweater in which vintage colourwork combines with a contemporary look and shape.”  I think she nailed it: this is a fantastic pullover – I love the colours, the shape, the juxtaposition of vintage and contemporary, and the fluid drape.  I also love that Kate models her own stuff.  I love the gorgeous photos her husband, Tom, takes.  I love the design ethic and the love of nature in their stuff.  There is 20″ of ease in this sweater.  That’s a lot of ease, and a lot of stranded knitting, but it’s got my fingers twitching despite that.

2. Inkwell by Alice Caetano

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© Alice Caetano

I have a thing for black and white geometric patterns.  This goes all the way back to the 1970s, when I would wear black and white geometric sweaters with mini skirts and my favorite white go-go boots.  (Doug reminds me that I was still wearing this look when he met me in the 1980s.)  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to that style, but I would wear Inkwell in a minute with a black pencil skirt or a pair of jeans.  This design is from the Winter 2018 edition of amirisu – the whole edition is a glorious tribute to black and white geometry.  I love the details on this one, in particular the way the central patterned section on the front is angled downwards towards the middle, creating a very flattering line for those of us who are no longer wearing mini skirts and go-go boots.

3. Trembling by Anna Maltz

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© Anna Maltz

This design just went live on Ravelry today.  It is from Anna Maltz’ new book, Marlisle: A New Direction in Knitting.  This is a very cool pattern, and the longer you contemplate it, the cooler it gets.  Not only because of the way she is creating interesting riffs on marl (in which two different colour yarns are knit together), but also because of the fantastic, and nearly imperceptible shaping in the yoke.  I love this!  (Admission: I don’t even like marl very much.  This might make me change my mind.)

4. Cahal by Linda Marveng

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@ Eivind Røhne

Linda is on a roll these days.  She keeps knocking out great patterns.  What I love about this one is how much she has accomplished with some texture and some rectangles. She has combined them into a truly fascinating and eye-catching shape.  I love the piece around the neck, from both front and back.  I love the visible seaming which really draws the eye to this feature. I like the way it drapes over the shoulder, too, creating a drop shoulder which is not a dropped shoulder, if you see what I mean.  This pattern has only been released in Norwegian so far, but the English-language pattern is on its way, so clear the knitting decks!

5. meander by Lori Versaci

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© Chrissie Knight for VERSACIKNITS 2017

I guess I have Lori Versaci on my mind these days, as I have just this week cast on one of her designs.  This cardigan is fantastically lush.  Click on the link and look at the close-ups; it really is beautiful, and cozy, and soft, and lofty – you can tell just by looking.  The sample cardigan is knit in Woolfolk Tov, a very lush yarn.  I looked it up and it would cost me £345 ($480) to knit this in Tov in my size – that is a lot of dough – but oh how tempting!  I think I would wear this all the time if I had it!  I would have to fight off my daughters for it.  This one is going on my wish list and in the meantime I will be keeping an eye out for a possible yarn substitution.

6. 1704-12b Elvira bukse by Viking of Norway

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© Viking of Norway

Pattern Radar is for patterns which catch my eye, and this one certainly has done that!  I love these intricately patterned leggings.  If I were more skilled at stranded knitting, these would be on my needles right now!  (They would, however, not end up on my butt, but would rather end up on Emma’s – she could really rock these!)  These would require both knitting skill (and the ability to follow a Norwegian pattern) and a bit of style fearlessness to wear, but I think they are fabulous.  Apres-ski, anyone?

The sartorial equivalent of wrapping paper

A few days ago, the headline “The Christmas jumper is out!” jumped out at me (!!) from the online pages of The Guardian.  What I had expected to find when I clicked on the article was something like “The ugly Christmas jumper is out! The tasteful Christmas jumper is in!”  Sadly, this was not to be.  The article claimed that the Christmas jumper is now “out”, and the Christmas suit is “in”.  As illustration, here is the Christmas suit:

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The Guardian December 1, 2017; Photograph: Handout

From the frying pan into the fire, dear Reader!  At least the article states clearly that the Christmas suit is “the sartorial equivalent of wrapping paper”.

I know that the novelty Christmas jumper has been very trendy (at least here in the UK) for some years now.  Instead of escalating the trend with ever more garish Christmas clothing, why don’t we adopt a more lovely Christmas jumper tradition? We hand-knitters can lead the way! Here are a few ideas.

Birkin by Caitlin Hunter:

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© Jonna Hietala

 

Julgran by Andi Satterlund:

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© Andi Satterlund

 

Skógafjall by Dianna Walla:

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© Tolt Yarn and Wool

 

#05 Selburose Pullover by Lena Skvagerson:

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© Lena Skvagerson

 

Are these not doing it for you?  Well, there is always a Christmas suit with your name on it:

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The Guardian December 1, 2017; Photograph: Handout

 

It’s mitten time again!

Yesterday a fantastic anthology of craftivism mittens and mitts popped up in my pattern highlights section on Ravelry.  It is a collection of designs called Join Hands, and as I was savouring the patterns, I realised that it was time for another post about great mitten patterns (previous posts include Merry Mittenmas!, A dozen great patterns for fingerless mitts, and Mittens!). This seems to be becoming an annual feature on the blog, one which I am more than happy to continue.  So, without further ado, here are my picks of the season.

We must do better by Dianna Walla

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© Dianna Walla

I like all of the patterns in the Join Hands pattern ebook, but this is one of my favorites.  I love anything Dianna Walla designs (she is a fantastic blogger as well; check her out here).  These mitts really speak to me, both for their meaning and for the great lines of the design and the very simple but bold patterning. The proceeds from the ebook will be split equally between the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center, two worthy organisations!  The phrase “We must do better”, knitted around the cuffs, is taken from the book We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Iznik by Barbara Gregory

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Crissy Jarvis © Barbara Gregory

Barbara Gregory’s designs are nearly always winners in my book.  I love her use of colour and whimsy.  (I knit one of her sweaters which I blogged about here.)  She puts out great mitten patterns every year.  This year I was taken with the design called Iznik.  I am a big fan of tiles, and the Iznik tiles and pottery from Turkey are very distinctive and beautiful.  She uses duplicate stitch for the third colour, so these are not as difficult as they appear, using two-colour stranded knitting throughout.

Petronela Mittens by Anna Lipinska

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© Anna Lipinska

This year I seem to be attracted to big, cosy mittens.  I have a cold right now, so perhaps that factored into my selection, but it seems to be a trend on this list.  These mittens are very spare but look like just the right thing to wear for a brisk winter walk.  In fact, these mittens are almost enough to make me wish to take a brisk winter walk, which is saying a lot.  I like these in natural colours but could imagine making them in almost any shade.  Make them for your teenagers and watch them not be able to text.

Herati by Sari Nordlund

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© Nicole Mlakar

I like almost anything from the Pom Pom Quarterly.  This pair of mittens really caught my eye (not hard to do with this sumptuous shot – all those beautiful reds and golds).  These are knit with Quince & Co Finch, a favorite yarn, and I just might have these very colours in my stash!  I hesitate to knit mittens without a gusset (see my post To gusset or not to gusset) but these have been circling around in my brain and could very well end up on my needles.

Black and White Mittens by Carolyn Vance

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© TKGA, 2017

These mittens are published in a journal called Cast On, The Educational Journal for Knitters, Winter 2017/18; it is published quarterly by The Knitting Guild Association, a non-profit organization.  This suggests that this pattern is educational; I just think it’s cool.  I am attracted to geometrical prints and also to black and white patterns. These are knit in sport weight yarn on tiny needles, to get a gauge of 10 stitches to the inch in pattern.  The design uses a technique called twined knitting – I don’t know it (I guess that is what makes this educational), but can also be knit with traditional stranded stockinette.

Lines Mittens by tincanknits

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© tincanknits

I love what tincanknits do with colour, but this pattern shows how great they are with natural shades as well.  I really like these mittens – I love how the grey and white play against each other, I love the geometry of the lines, and I especially love the photo.  If I had these, I would hang around on cliffs all day waiting for someone to photograph my hands artfully arranged against the rocks.  These are knit in a cashmere blend, by the way, which makes me want them even more.

Tveir Fingerless Gloves by Ella Gordon

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© Ella Gordon

I had to include this very Christmas-y design here.  These fingerless gloves are so cheerful and pretty.   They make me think of eggnog and gingerbread and wrapping paper and Christmas tree ornaments.  It’s a very sweet pattern, from the Shetland Wool Week Annual 2017.

Pink Pine Pair by Nataliya Sinelshchikova

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© amirisu

These are fantastic mittens with a super interesting construction. I covet these, in the exact colours.  I want this pop of pink!  And then maybe I would make a pair with a pop of red!  Or a pop of orange! Or a pop of purple!  Maybe I need many pairs!   I have never heard of this designer and this is her only pattern on Ravelry, but if this is the first she is off to a good start.

I hope this post inspires you to knit a pair of mittens.  I believe there should be a design for everyone in this selection (including all of those on your gift list).  Happy knitting!

Pattern Radar – August 2017

I have been in a bit of a knitting funk lately.  I have also been suffering from pattern overkill; the never-ending stream of new patterns has had the unintended effect of de-energising me.  My creative streak has been taking a nap.

Over the past few weeks, however, something has happened.  New designs are being released for the fall, and many of them have made me sit up and take notice.  Without any further ado, here are some of the designs which have captured my attention.

1. Öræfi by G. Dagbjört Guðmundsdóttir

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© Ístex

This pattern has just been released today and I think it is fantastic. It hits so many buttons for me.  The mix of geometric patterns, the natural shades, the slouchy shape, the mix of traditional and modern – these are all saying “knit me!”.  If I were my 20-something self, I would knit this in a New York minute.  But hey, I have two 20-something daughters, so this may yet hit my needles.

2. Tangled Up in Gray Pullover by Sloane Rosenthal

Photography for Interweave Knits Fall 2017 by Nathan Rega

© Interweave / Harper Point Photography

The Fall 2017 issue of Interweave Knits has some great sweaters in it.  My favorite is this beautiful design by Sloane Rosenthal.  She is a new designer to me, but this pattern puts her right on my designer radar.  This is a casual pullover but has enough crisp tailoring to make it really stand out.  (The back view is spectacular too.)  This one is going right into my queue.

3. Whiskey Creek Pullover by Amy Christoffers

Photography for Interweave Knits Fall 2017 by Nathan Rega

© Interweave / Harper Point Photography

This edition of Interweave Knits also has three great designs for men. It is hard to pick only one for this post.  I love this design by Amy Christoffers; it is very spare, with lovely details. The shawl collar is elegant in a non-fussy way and stands out against the reverse stockinette of the upper body.  Like many of the other sweaters in this post, it combines the modern with the rustic.  Here is a link (Rav link) to all of the patterns in the Fall 2017 issue; in addition to the other men’s sweaters, the cowl by Kyle Kunnicke is a favorite.

4. Skiddaw by Kari-Helene Rain

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© The Fibre Co. 2017

The booklet Fell Garth 2 by The Fibre Company (Rav link) has some fabulous patterns. Again, it is hard to decide which to show here, but this pattern has a very unique shape which caught my eye. It feels fresh and young, with a great swing. Plus, I just love this green! Notice the light shining through the seed stitch on the hem; you can tell the fabric is beautifully light and airy.

5. Loving by Kim Hargreaves

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© Kim Hargreaves 2016

Sometimes, simple is best.  I love the great, classic lines of this pullover by Kim Hargreaves, from her new book, Grace.  I’ve knit a few of Kim’s sweaters (I even knit one twice: see here and here).  Her sweaters don’t waste away in the back of a drawer.  This lovely garter stitch pullover would look great at the office or with jeans.

6. Uncloudy Skies by Deb Hoss

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© Deb Hoss Knits

Deb Hoss designs lovely, classic sweaters.  If she were an architect, you would say that her buildings had “good bones”.  I haven’t knit any of hers yet, but she is definitely on my radar.  This design has impeccable fit and drape. I think it would suit a lot of people (like me!) and would be eminently wearable.

7. Threipmuir by Ysolda Teague

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© Ysolda Teague

Ysolda can always be counted on for her beautiful designs. As she states on the pattern page for Threipmuir: “This yoke is inspired by Icelandic Lopapeysas but the finer gauge provides a larger canvas for more intricate patterning.”  Like the first sweater in the post, the mix of the traditional and the modern is really striking.  I am more likely to wear a sweater made in fingering weight yarn, however, and I love these brilliant hues.

8. Helix cowl by Andrea Rangel

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© Harper Point 2017

Andrea’s new book, AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary: 200 Modern Knitting Motifs, hasn’t even been released yet (here in the UK it has an August 25th release date), but this cowl pattern from the book really attracted my attention.  Actually, everything about this book looks great; the stitch patterns seem both modern and fun.  I have it on pre-order and am looking forward to some entertaining swatching when it comes out.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Pattern Radar post.  These designs should be enough to pull anyone out of the knitting doldrums.