Pattern Radar: January 2020

Here is my pick of patterns that have caught my eye lately.   They are all very interesting, with cool stitch patterns or constructions that engage the brain as well as the eye.

Normandale by Norah Gaughan

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© Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

The more I look at this, the more interesting it becomes.  Designed by the incomparable Norah Gaughan, this uses mosaic stitch with two different weight yarns – a chunky and a DK weight.  With mosaic stitch you only knit with one yarn at a time, so you can do fairly complicated-looking colourwork without stranding.  I like mosaic stitch (here is a sweater I knit using the technique), but the idea of doing it with very different weights of yarn really appeals.  The organic structure it reveals is inspired by Portland’s bridges.

Tsubaki Pullover by Hiroko Fukatsu

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© Hiroko Fukatsu

These big, chunky, cables are fantastic!  And, like the above cardigan, the more I look at them, the more they pop. But I have to admit that what really drew me into this pattern was the description on the Ravelry pattern page (see link above): “Tsubaki – camellia japonica – is an epaulet sleeve pullover with large, gorgeous cables, worked without ever cutting yarn. Enjoy the original construction of this sweater!”  I am now totally intrigued.  I can’t even begin to figure out how that could work, and I have to know! The technical knit nerd in me can’t resist.  The fact that the sweater is gorgeous is like frosting on the cake.

Brandi Cheyenne Harper’s Gentle Cardigan by Brandi Harper

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© Brandi Harper

I am not usually a fan of chunky knits.  In particular, I find that the finishing never looks neat.  But this one has gorgeous finishing details.  Just look at the line of the shoulder and the very elegant edging.  Brandi Harper only has a few patterns published, but they are really eye-catching. (Just look at this dress made in super chunky wool; it brings out the Judy Jetson in me!)  I am definitely going to be watching her work.  (I am also completely captivated by the smile in this photo; I want to be her friend!)

Clade by Stephanie Earp

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© Stephanie Earp

Another really beautiful stitch pattern is used to an interesting effect by Stephanie Earp. It manages to look very etheral – with the delicacy of the mohair contrasting with the variegated silk. The sweater seems to glow in these gorgeous tones. Stephanie mentions that the sweater has a tendency to catch, so this is a special occasions piece. This would match almost any other block colour, and you would really make an entrance wearing this. Stephanie has been doing some interesting things with colour lately, which has put her firmly on my radar.

Caroline by eri

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Camel © eri

This amazing cabled sweater is knit in a light fingering weight wool.  Can you imagine knitting so many cables in such delicate yarn? It is knit top down in one piece with raglan sleeves, and the way that the cabled details are incorporated into the shaping is brilliant. I also like the sleeves. The slight cuff and the intricate cables down the side make for a subtle but stunning sleeve. This would look good in any colour, though I personally would stay away from variegated yarns to keep the cables firmly as the focus. The neutral is a fantastic choice, and this particular yarn is not just called Dry Desert Camel, but is 100% camel! How cool!

Honeycomb by Yumiko Alexander

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© Yumiko Alexander

I just LOVE the shape on this one. Its a very playful design, with really clever details. The slip stitches in the pattern compress the fabric on the one side to create the asymmetric drape. I could see myself wearing this to work, out to dinner, or even for a walk on the beach. This is made of silk, but would probably look great in linen as well. The pattern includes options for a longer sweater or for wider sleeves, so you can customize it to suit you.

That’s my selection of great sweaters for this month. I am currently unable to knit due to my de Quervain’s tenosynovitis acting up. My family tells me this makes me very grumpy. I console myself by adding patterns to my queue, which has grown by leaps and bounds, and by being extra grumpy just to annoy them.

Pattern Radar: Summer tops

As the weather warms up (here in the Northern Hemishphere), there are lots of lovely, lightweight summer top patterns being released.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Dagny by Elsebeth Lavold

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© Anders Rydell

I love the long line of this pretty tank, containing the intricate Viking-inspired cables that Lavold is known for, combined with long, slimming ribs.  I think this is an elegant option for summer, especially if knit with a linen blend.

Monarri by Stephanie Earp

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© Stephanie Earp

This little tee is so charming.  I love the drape, the swingy silhouette, the two-coloured herringbone stitch cuffs and neck, the sunny shades.  Click through to the pattern and check out the back view; it has a really great swing to it.

Rainsong by Laura Aylor

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© Laura Aylor

Yes, this is a fairly plain tank, but it is a perfectly proportioned one, which balances a beautiful shape, a bit of texture to draw the eye, and just enough drape.  This will showcase a special yarn, and will look equally smart under a jacket at the office or with a floaty summer skirt.

Kentia by Marie Amelie Designs

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© Marie Amelie Designs

I keep coming back to this one.  The lace bodice is very pretty and romantic, and the loose, slightly-cropped fit of the tee is sporty and modern.   It is an intriguing combination.  With the right yarn, and two lovely, complimentary shades, this is a striking summer top.

Good Day Tee by Annie Lupton

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© Annie Lupton

This modular top has an interesting shape and construction.  I think it would be fantastic in linen or a summery blend – something with a bit of texture and sheen – and would keep you cool no matter the weather.  It also looks fun to knit.

Jenny Flower by Julie Knits in Paris

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© Julie Knits In Paris

I love this pretty, stripey, yoked tee with rows of eyelet lace, and summery colours.  It has a delicious drape and looks charming and comfortable.  Julie has been turning out some great patterns lately and is firmly on my radar.

I am on my way to Spain tomorrow for a short holiday.  I will be taking my Sparkling cardigan to knit, but don’t be surprised if one of these lovely tops gets cast on soon.  Do you have a summer top on your needles?

Pattern Radar: I’ll have some texture with that, please

The patterns that have caught my eye this week have played around with texture.  I’ve been fascinated by colour and stranded knitting lately, but texture has always been my catnip.  Here are some designs which are doing good things with texture, from a little taste to allover patterning.

Olive Sweater by Jemima Bicknell:

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© Jemima Bicknell

This sweater is from the book, Art Deco Knits: Creating a hand-knit wardrobe inspired by the 1920s – 1930s by Jemima Bicknell.  I love Art Deco, in architecture, in jewellery, and in fashion.  The cables on this pullover are just fantastic.  Set against the simple shape of the sweater, they pop!  It reminds me in equal parts of a beautiful art deco building I lived near in Potsdam, and of The Jetsons, a “futuristic” animated TV show from my youth.  (Now I’ve dated myself.)  I think this has a cute, vintage feel to it.

Shifting Sands Pullover by Norah Gaughan

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© Norah Gaughan

I’m not surprised by this design making the list, since Norah Gaughan is the queen of texture.  The shape of this one is very simple; in fact it is rather shapeless and boxy (which happens to be big news in the knitting world right now).  But the asymetrical cables are mesmerising, as they shift and flow across the space.  If you’ve ever been in shifting sand, you can definitely see how this pullover got its name.

Nisaba by Asja Janeczek:

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© Whiteberry

This cowl pattern has a rich, luscious texture.  It is named after the Sumerian goddess of grain and harvest and was inspired by memories of traipsing through grain fields.  This first attracted my attention with its gorgeous juxtaposition between the three dimensional, undulating cable patterns and the flat sections worked in garter stitch with short row shaping.  Having a daughter who studies ancient Sumerian, the name kept my attention focused.

Firenze by Irina Anikeeva

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© Irina Anikeeva

This simple pullover with a great cabled yoke jumped out at me.  I love that it is in sportweight rather than worsted, and looks both sophisticated and casual.  I think this could be dressed up or down, and would look great in neutrals or jewel tones.  (I am thinking about a rich yellow-gold.)  It’s knit top-down with the increases ingeniously incorporated into the cables.  This would be a quick and satisfying knit.

The Beauceron by Designs by Delz

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© Designs by Delz

I am always on the lookout for great menswear.  This is only the second pattern published (on Ravelry) by Vincent, the designer behind Designs by Delz.  I will definitely be keeping an eye on his work.  One might think that I am squeaking by here on the “texture” label, but in fact the colourwork on the yoke of this pullover combines slip stitches and purls, resulting in a beautiful subtle texture that highlights the lovely colourwork.  While I classified this as menswear, it is a great unisex piece; see the pattern page for an example worn by a woman.

I’m still chugging along on the Falkenburg jacket – sleeves in seed stitch with size 2 needles take a very long time to knit.  I have about 6 inches of the second sleeve still to go.  Have a good weekend and don’t forget to add some texture to your next order!

(By the way, this is my 400th post!  Who would have guessed I would still be doing this?)

Pattern Radar: Fusion Knitting

I am a real fan of fusion cooking.  It’s about taking the best of two or more traditional cuisines and combining them into a single dish.  As you may know, I have become very interested in Fairisle knitting, and indeed in stranded knitting techniques in general.  I have spent many hours pouring over patterns and projects and admiring the use of colour and pattern and technique.  One of the things that has been catching my eye lately, however, is what I am going to call Fusion Knitting – garments that are created by combining traditional knitting styles and techniques.

Here is an example:

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© Jennifer Beale

This design, called Heart’s Content, is by the Canadian designer Jennifer Beale. She has only released eight patterns so far (on Ravelry here), but each combines different knitting styles in interesting ways.  Heart’s Content is a basic top-down, in-the-round, knitted tee, in which the lace pattern at the top and shoulders transitions to stranded knitting for the body of the garment.  Not only is it pretty and imminently wearable but it has an advantage for someone who is new to stranded knitting: no steeks!

Another example of her work is the design called Joe Batt’s Arm:

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© Jennifer Beale

I really love her poetic description of this garment (from the Ravelry pattern page):

Joe Batt’s Arm is a structured, seamed cable knit with textured fair isle banding. The fair isle bands border the eyelet cables the same way that a bright blue night encloses the Fogo Island Inn with all of its light on. At the same time, the raglan shoulders lend a sporty quality to the pullover.

I dare you to read that sentence and not to want to search for the Fogo Island Inn.  I already did and I want to go there RIGHT THIS MINUTE!  Check out the photo here.  I love that she mentions her inspiration for this, as it really clicks once you’ve seen it.  This is a very intriguing and striking garment, and I imagine it would be both fun and challenging to knit.

Another knitter who is exploring the fusion of different knitting styles is the Japanese designer Junko Okamoto.  Here is her design, Astrid:

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© Junko Okamoto

I love this pullover which combines a beautiful muted stranded pattern with cabled sleeves.  Like Heart’s Content above, this is an example of a stranded garment that doesn’t need steeking.  Astrid also has a loose, billowy shape – a new profile that is in counterpoint to the fitted garments of recent years, and has been championed by a crop of new (to me at least) Japanese designers of handknitting patterns.  It is a one-size-fits-all garment designed to be voluminous.  (I am eagerly awaiting projects of this pattern on knitters of various sizes so I can evaluate its drape and fit.)

I’m not sure whether to call it fusion knitting as such, but I am also really caught up by Junko’s Bouquet Sweater and Bouquet Scarf, both shown in the photo below:

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© Junko Okamoto

If you look really carefully at the photos (go check out the Ravelry project pages), you can see the very interesting mix of techniques, including stranding the yarn on both the wrong and on the right side to create this ethereal, three-dimensional patterning that looks like moss on the forest floor.

I am totally captivated by these examples of Fusion Knitting and I would love to find other designers also pushing the boundaries and doing interesting juxtapositions of traditional styles and techniques.  If you know of any, please mention them in the comments!

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!