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.
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.
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!)
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.
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!
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.
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?
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!
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.
I finished knitting my “form” pullover and I love it! It is fantastic!
I love everything about this sweater. It is comfortable, wearable, light as a feather, RED, stylish, shapely, and, oh yes, RED! What is not to love?
The pattern, designed by Lori Versaci, is beautiful. I had some trouble at the start figuring out how to put together the neck bands (which I blogged about here). Lori very kindly responded to my email with a couple of photos, which helped explain the process. Once I got that sorted out, however, and got on my way, this sweater practically knitted itself. I am a pretty slow knitter, and this took me just under 4 weeks – and for two of those, I was practically catatonic with flu and didn’t manage to knit much at all.
The pattern has two length options and two sleeve length options. I choose the longer length and the longer sleeve length. I think the look is very 1960s. I have a collection of Vogue Knitting magazines from the 1960s and many of the sweaters had this kind of a feel to them.
The boat neck collar is one of the cool features of this sweater. Here is a peak at the shoulder:
Other things I love about this are the compound raglan sleeves which are perfectly formed; the armhole depth is perfect, allowing me to move comfortably and naturally and without feeling constricted. The sleeves are roomy but in a way which I think looks chic rather than loose. The A-line shaping in the body is lovely; and the positioning of the increases makes it drape so nicely. Really, I love everything about this pullover.
I don’t have a lot of detail shots, because I am recovering from a bad flu; I gave Doug just 5 minutes to take some photos before I came back inside and collapsed by the fire. It is, however, lovely in every way. (It is also unblocked! And I don’t think it needs any blocking.)
I followed the pattern, EXACTLY, except for two small details: I used German short rows, and I did not do the tubular cast-on or cast-off. I used my standard, every day cast-on and cast-off. Why? Three reasons:
I am lazy.
I didn’t think it would really matter much given the mohair which makes for a fuzzy edge in any case.
I am lazy.
I knit this holding two strands of yarn together. The first is Isager Spinni, a light fingeringweight 100% wool in Red, and the second is Shibui Silk Cloud, a laceweight mohair and silk blend in the colour Tango. I used less than 3.5 skeins of each, which means the whole sweater weighs about 270 grams. Like wearing a cloud!
I knit it with a US7 needle, which resulted in a gauge of 21×30. The pattern calls for 20×32. Lori has two samples on the pattern page – one is knit with 4″ of positive ease and the other with no ease. I was hoping for something in the middle, around 2″ of ease. I could knit a size 42, giving me 1/2″ of ease, or a 46, giving me 4 1/2″ inches. Given that my gauge was a bit off, I knit the size 46 and ended up with 44″ across the chest, a perfect 2 1/2″ of ease.
Because I am sick, I haven’t taken the time to dress it up for the photos, but this will be a fantastic work garment, and will also dress up nicely. (The best I could manage today was a pop of red lipstick and a fantastic coat!)
It has been a long time since I have knit the same sweater twice, but I am already dreaming of another “form”!
My last post was a whimsical look at men’s sweater patterns from the early 70s including some wild vests. I have been wanting to knit a vest for Doug for some time now, but find that I can never find the perfect pattern. (Note that I am using “vest” in the American sense here. I will continue to spell colour with a “u” thus confusing those who want to categorize me.) While there are some fabulous patterns out there, I find that most of them fall short on one dimension or another. In particular, they are (1) designed for someone considerably thinner, considerably younger (or both) than Doug, (2) they are made with a thicker weight wool, such as worsted or aran, and/or (3) they are boring. This last must be commented on: I am told time and time again that men want boring. My man doesn’t. As evidence of this, have a look at the last sweater I knit for him.
Doug wants a vest that he can wear to work with a shirt and tie, that he can put a sports jacket over comfortably, that has color and ‘pops’. He also says he wants it to have buttons so that he can take it on or off during the day (but he could overcome this for the right pattern). I want a vest which is fun to knit, which is challenging but not scary, and preferably not with steeks (but I can overcome this for the right pattern). I also think that it would be better in fingering weight yarn to cut down on bulk. Here are a baker’s dozen of great men’s vest patterns. None of them seems to hit all of the requirements. But they come pretty close.
We’ll start with a few vests knit in aran or worsted weight wool, move on to some fancy colourwork projects and end with some fantastic fairisle. (All links are to the Ravelry page.)
I seriously love this vest. Angela is a great technical designer and she charts this out in three lengths so that the pattern starts and ends on appropriate rows. I keep seeing it in a rich colour, perhaps a strong gold or deep purple. But it is made with an aran weight wool and isn’t the office-appropriate vest I am searching for. When Doug needs a vest to go on safari, however, this one is so there.
This is a fantastic vest. It is knit in a worsted weight wool, but I also think it would look great with a sports coat. I love how the ribbing on the sleeves matches the pattern running up the side of the fronts, and how the two patterns come together and then separate at the shoulder to provide shaping. Oh, the technical deliciousness of this pattern is so appealing! Every feature is so beautifully thought out. Kirsten designed this in memory of her father, Dr. G, who suffered from vascular dementia. In order to receive the pattern, one must donate to dementia research, as detailed on Kirsten’s blog here. So, a gorgeous design and a good cause. (I already have the pattern and it is definitely in my queue.)
This is an old one from Veronik, dating from 2007, well before her Brooklyn Tweed collaboration. It is found in her book, Knitting Classic Style: 35 Modern Designs Inspired by Fashion’s Archives. I already own the book, which puts it in the plus column. I love argyle, and I think this design uses it to its best – it is a strong motif, but doesn’t overpower the vest. I love these colours but can imagine all sorts of options from subdued to wild. The problem once again is the yarn weight – it’s knit in aran. Plus – intarsia – not quite in my comfort zone. But it’s pretty huh? Especially when worn with a pout, like the model kindly demonstrates.
I love this vest! First of all, it buttons, unlike most of those I am reviewing here. But it also has great features: the shawl collar, the twisted garter rib stitch, the beautiful fan pattern that goes up the middle fronts and around the collar. It also is charted in a huge range of sizes – from 36.5″ to 60.5″! You would be astonished (or maybe not) at how many vest patterns end at a size 48″. Not only that, but it looks like a vest which would actually look good on big men. I think this one will end up in my queue. The problems – it’s knit in aran wool, and the shawl collar means no jacket.
I love houndstooth, and this one is scrumptious! Really, this is a lovely vest, elegant and totally office-worthy (especially if not paired with this shirt). However, it is knit in DK weight wool, STRANDED, which means this has some serious weight to it. Only a guy with rock solid abs and a tendency to be cold all of the time could get away with this one. (Imagine trying to pull it off when the office heater was set too high.) If you look like the model, I urge you to knit this vest! I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Otherwise, I would suggest that a pair of houndstooth mittens might help ease the pain.
I’ve featured this waistcoat on the blog before. I think it is totally beautiful. It is definitely on my radar, but I am waiting to see a few more projects pop on on Ravelry. I want to see what it looks like in real life on people who don’t wear a size small like this model. I am worried that its cut, not only the trim waist, but also the deep arm scythe and the narrow shoulders, won’t suit Doug’s shape. But someday, maybe….
This is another vest that I’ve featured before on the blog. (Oh no! Have I become hopelessly repetitive and redundant?) Abstract away from the fantastic tile background, and from the attractive model staring at you with smouldering eyes and come-hither look, and ….you still have a great vest. Brandon Mably is a colour wizard. This is knit in cotton, in a sport weight. I don’t really see myself doing this kind of colourwork in cotton, but I can imagine knitting it in wool.
This is a pretty pattern published in the Winter 2014 edition of Knitty magazine (this means it is free as well!). I love its use of colour and pattern, particularly paired with this shirt! Like the Houndstooth vest above, however, it is knit stranded with DK yarn, which will produce a heavy fabric. That, and the way the stitch pattern biases, leads me to suspect that if you are carrying some extra weight around your middle, this vest will highlight it. On the other hand, it is awfully pretty and there are endless options for playing with colour.
I think Kyle Kunnecke is a great designer; he is so clever and has such a sense of fun in his designs. You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to think this is one seriously cool design. One of the best things about it is that from the front it looks like a completely straight, classic v-neck vest that would like right at home with a jacket and tie; then you turn around and kazaam! I’m not sure this has “Doug” written on it, but if he has a (late) mid-life crisis and buys a Harley, this is going on the needles.
Kate’s recent collection, Inspired by Islay, contains a few very nice pieces for men. This vest can be made with either a crew or v-neck style (it is designed as a unisex piece and has directions for both men’s and women’s versions). There is a huge range of sizes, from 32 to 60 inches. It is knit up in her new signature yarn, Buachaille, a sport-weight wool. I love this yarn, which feels good on the hands and takes to cables or colourwork really well. If you follow the link, you can see one done in shades of grey with a very thin green stripe (in place of the yellow here) that is equally lovely. I think that single row of a bright, contrast colour really makes this pattern pop.
I love this Fairisle Vest designed in natural shades by Mary Jane Mucklestone. This is the first vest in this post that is knit in fingering weight wool. (I can see why you might think that fingering weight would be a slog for a man’s sweater; but for a vest – no sleeves! A vest seems like a reasonably-sized canvas for some fingering weight colourwork with no chance to get marooned on sleeve island.) This is a fairly standard Fairisle man’s vest, but an especially lovely one I think. This uses seven gorgeous muted shades that really work together to add richness.
This is a great vest. I am clearly attracted to designs in which different patterns play off against each other. And it buttons down the front. But it is knit in sportsweight wool. And it looks hard to me. (And the model looks to be about 15 to me. I know this is a very nit-picky complaint; I am showing my age.)
This vest has an interesting story. From the pattern description: “In the wake of the popular Wartime Farm BBC TV series, you can now knit your very own authentic Fair Isle Sleeveless Pullover, modelled on a 1938 original and as worn by Alex Langlands no less! For each pattern sold, a £2.50 donation will be made to the Women’s Land Army Tribute Campaign to help raise money for a permanent memorial to these forgotten ladies and their untold toil during the World Wars.” This is knit in fingering weight wool, and is not steeked (it is knit in one piece to the arms and then knit back and forth). I think that it is fantastic.
These are all great vests, but I am still wavering. I have three other options to consider. I can (1) design my own, (2) modify a women’s vest pattern, or (3) modify a men’s sweater pattern and knit it as a vest. I have lots of ideas about each of these, and may blog about them soon.
I have been thinking for a long time about knitting a vest or waistcoat for Doug. This is for two reasons. First, Doug keeps asking me to knit him a vest or waistcoat. Second, and this should be obvious – no sleeves. (I once wrote a post called “Do you love your husband enough to knit the sleeves?”) As a result, I have been keeping a close eye on men’s knitting patterns and specifically on vests. I will write more about this in a future post.
Today, however, the subject of men’s vests came to mind (for all of the wrong reasons) while I was perusing through some of my rather large collection of knitting pattern books. I stumbled upon this:
It is vol. 713 of brunswick mostly male. I cannot believe that these pamphlets were released without dates, but I would guess this one was produced sometime around 1972. In it, one can find some wonders, like this knitted 2-piece pantsuit:
Or this amazing purple ribbed pullover (paired with spectacular swim trunks!):
The photos often include drinking (anyone venture to guess what this manly drink is?):
And smoking and drinking at the same time:
And yes, there are also vests. I love this blue one. The pose just cracks me up: look at that hair! The scarf! The pine tree he is mysteriously hovering over!
Then there is this tiger-striped vest with the belt loops. How suave!
My favorite is this one:
“What,” I asked Doug, “is that belt made of?” “Those are bullet casings,” Doug replies “with one bullet pointing at his d*ick.” Hmm…..perhaps my long search for a pattern to knit for Doug is over.
It must be said that the photo certainly captured my attention. After I recovered from my giggling, I went on to read about the trend, which Hadley calls “shoulder disrobing”. Hysterical! (We won’t even get into the giant safety pin earrings.) The above photo is from the Autumn/Winter 2016 Balenciaga show in Paris; the designer is Demna Gvasalia. A little quick googling (and associated goggling) led to even more examples from the show. Here is one more for good measure:
(According to Hadley “this month Vogue has decreed it the only acceptable way to wear one’s parka”!)
I must admit this cracks me up, which just goes to show that I have absolutely no sense of style or fashion whatsoever. Even funnier is Hadley’s commentary, from which:
“So what can we make of this? On the one hand, this trend is free, so yay. On the other, you will probably lose your coat within a day, so boo. Thus, you don’t need to spend any money to look a darn fool in fashion. Which is some form of democracy, I guess.”
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a Pattern Radar post. Mostly this is because the last stages of finishing the MBA exhausted me and I’ve been recovering slowly. The second, and perhaps related, issue is that I have a bit of knitting burn-out. This means that patterns just aren’t reaching out to grab me – there seem to be too many patterns coming out all of the time, and my knitting mojo is low (see my post on Pattern Bombardment Syndrome here).
That is not to say that there have not been some lovely patterns out lately. Here is my selection of the ones which really caught my eye. We will start with publications, both books and knitting magazines. The one which blew me away is Kyle Kunnecke’s Urban Knit Collection. I don’t believe it has been released yet in print, though Kyle has put up all of the pattern pages on Ravelry in order to whet our appetites. I pre-ordered the book instantly; something I rarely do these days. There are so many great patterns that it is hard to choose, but my favorite of the collection is Savoy. Here are front and back views. This one is definitely on my to-do list.
Kate Davies also published her book on Haps. As usual, I like Kate’s writing and historical research as much as the patterns. In this book, unlike her earlier ones, she has collaborated with a number of designers. My favorite is the Nut-Hap, designed by Jen Arnall-Culliford; I think it is a really clever design:
The Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2016 edition came out a few weeks ago, and I really loved two of the patterns. First, the #3 Mock Turtleneck Shell by Melissa Leapman. What is not to like about this? I would make it in red – really rich red.
I used to have a subscription to Interweave Knits, but for a long time it went downhill (so I thought) and I cancelled my subscription. Lately, it seems to be getting stronger. I tried to pick just one favorite from this edition, but couldn’t do it, so will show you two. I am always interested in men’s patterns, and I have been searching for good men’s vest patterns (more on this in a later post), so I was extremely pleased to see the Fall River Vest by Mary Jane Mucklestone. I love it!
I have featured Linda Marveng in a previous Pattern Radar post. She continues to churn out some impressive patterns. Her contribution to Interweave Knits is a very chic piece, the Kathe Cardigan. I like it more every time I look at it.
(I was planning on also featuring another Linda Marveng design, a gorgeous reversible tunic called Hel, but just realised that it is still being test knit and hasn’t been released yet. This means that there is lots of good stuff still to come from Linda’s desk, so stay tuned.)
I had never heard of Gudrun Georges when I saw her design, the Amy Polo. I will certainly put her on radar now. I love this sport-weight polo, which is both classic and cute and has great details:
I have been noticing many beautiful Nordic designs and designers lately. I was struck by the design, Superfritt etter Fana by Sidsel J. Høivik. This pattern is apparently available in kit form from her website. I was not familiar with Sidsel’s work, but will keep an eye on her. Oslo seems to be a very happening place for knitting design.
This seems like a very short Pattern Radar post to me. I think once my knitting mojo comes back full force, and the fall sets in, I will once again get overwhelmed by new patterns. In the meantime, these gorgeous designs are enough to keep your needles busy for a long time.
Let’s look at the facts: (1) I have no new knitting to show you, and (2) I really, really should be writing a paper for business school right this minute. What does this mean? Well, in the procrastinator’s universe it means that it is time to bring you a new Pattern Radar post! This is where I show you which patterns have caught my eye over the past month or two.
Linda Marveng has been getting lots of notice in knitting circles lately. This popped up on my screen just this week:
This is the Cable Round Sweater. The cables are framed by rib which gives it more shape than a traditional cabled garment, and the cowl is a separate piece which adds flexibility. It is one of four beautiful sweaters that Linda designed for the September edition of Made by Me, a Norwegian-language knitting magazine. The other three are much more tailored and striking, but this one appeals to me. If you don’t read Norwegian, don’t fret; she will release the English-language patterns in the Fall.
Alexis Winslow has a new book out called Graphic Knits. I love the Laszlo Cardigan (Ravelry link is here):
I love the bold lines, the graphic pop of black-on-white, and the slightly-oversized coziness of it. I’m particularly fond of the sleeves – those long rows of buttons on rib really grabbed my attention.
A number of years ago, I took a course from Shirley Paden on Sweater Design (at Knit Nation in London). It was a small class, with only a handful of students. One of them was Signe Strømgaard who designs beautiful garments for children. Check out Signe’s work at Strik til Banditter – the designs are amazing; she is doing some of the most creative work in children’s design right now. I really love this new pattern:
This is the Lilynet dress and matching hat. I absolutely love this retro 60s/70s look. In fact, this dress reminds me very much of a dress my mother knit in the 1960s which I reported on in this blog post. I will definitely be keeping my eye on Jana’s designs.
As you may know, I always keep my eye out for great menswear patterns. The latest one to capture my attention is Tilt, by Lisa Richardson. I love Lisa’s work (though we shall not mention the Richardson-designed wrap-that-never-ends that has been on my needles for a year now).
I love that the incredibly rich colourwork is made by knitting fairisle with just two different yarns, one of them variegated; thus it looks more complicated than it actually is. Doug really likes this one, too, so it has definitely made its way into my queue.
I absolutely should not be looking at patterns for endless long wraps with tons of intricate colourwork (see above reference to unmentionable wrap). I cannot deny being very attracted to this one however:
The photo is atmospheric and only gives a hint of the fabulousness of this Mint Wrap, designed by Marie Wallin and published by Rowan in Windswept: Collection One. Repeat after me: I will resist; I will resist.
However, I may be unable to resist another Marie Wallin pattern, Parsley, from the same publication:
Again, the photo is a bit dark and atmospheric and doesn’t capture all of the colour and beauty of this design. I absolutely adore the contrast of the fairisle patterned bands with the plaid bands, and the unusual, almost jarring, colour choices. Love, love, love!
I have a particular fondness for garments, but sometimes accessories catch my eye. I love this cowl pattern, Fusuma, designed by Kirsten Johnstone:
I love Kate Gilbert’s designs, and this one, from the Twist Collective, hits all of the right buttons for me. It is charming and looks so wearable – I can really see myself wearing this one everywhere. And that little peek of vibrant colour at the hems gives it just enough of an edge to keep it from being too sweet, if you know what I mean.
This super chunky cardigan is designed by Josh Bennett for his Rowan Designer Collection: What do you become at night? The collection is based on a Little Red Riding Hood theme, heavy on the wolf motif. This is knit with Rowan Cocoon held double, which rules it out for me: if I were to wear it I’d end up like the witch in Hansel and Gretel instead (roasted, that is). I love Josh Bennett, who is equally at ease designing classics and over-the-top pieces, and clearly has a sense of fun.
That’s it for Pattern Radar! Even the best procrastination must come to an end.
A few weeks ago, Emma had her 21st birthday. I thought long and hard about what to get her. I wanted it to be special. I wanted it to be personal. One night, the idea came to me, fully formed: For her birthday, I would give her a design collaboration.
Let’s step back for some background. Emma and I have been thinking about knitting and design for a long time. We spend hours pouring over patterns, discussing fashion trends, techniques, styling, yarn, texture, colour. Emma would frequently say “Mom, you should write a knitting blog.” I would procrastinate. In the meantime, I began to modify patterns more and more, concentrating on fit, learning new techniques. Emma took a course in fashion drawing at Central St Martins and we thought about collaborating on a design project. I would procrastinate some more; life was busy, I had too little time to knit.
In late 2011, we started this blog. I did the knitting, and most of the writing, but Emma was very active behind the scenes. She set the blog up, did all of the styling, photography, layout; furthermore she was the person I bounced ideas off. Sometimes, we would have a design idea and Emma would sketch it, we would discuss it and tear it apart on every level – looking at every aspect of the design and implementation. Despite my best intentions, however, these designs never made it to my needles.
Then, Emma flew off to Canada for university. She could no longer do the styling and layout and photos for the blog. I had to figure it out on my own. I thought about stopping the blog, but I found something about it intrinsically satisfying. I kept it up, I learned how to do things, Doug and Leah stepped up to help out. Emma was busy at university, and I started business school (in addition to a full-time job) but this didn’t stop the long discussions of design and knitting. Sometimes, Emma and I will spend hours on Skype, sitting thousands of miles apart, each of us online, sending links back and forth, discussing projects, patterns, yarn.
I have not had much time for knitting lately, but hoped that when my business school Stage 1 exams were done that I would be able to knit a project for each girl. When Emma came home in May, just before her birthday, I asked her what she wanted me to knit for her this summer. “Skirts,” she said. “all I want are more skirts.” I began to think about skirt designs.
All of this history must have been bubbling away in the back of my mind, because one evening when I sat and thought “What will I give Emma for her 21st birthday?” – there it was: The Skirt Project. I would give Emma a design collaboration. The idea was simple: I would design a prototype skirt – a template. It would be simple, short and snug. We would then use the template as a blank canvas and design a set of skirts, each of them having the same shape and structure, using the same yarns, but going wild on colour and design.
Emma, needless to say, was all over it. When I approached her with the idea, I was thinking we would create four skirts. I suggested a few ideas for patterns, she took them and flew with them, adding more and more, bouncing them to me. I bounced back. Things got out of control. A few nights ago, during our late-night Skype marathon, Emma told me that she has now conceptualized three distinct themes, with 4 skirts in each theme. She sent me a sketch of one of them. It blew my mind. Seriously, this is going to be amazing.
Emma and I will chronicle the Skirt Project here on this blog. You can watch it unfold, from knitting the template and getting the fit right, through the design project itself, with all of the sketches, knitting, discussions, tears (hopefully not many), smiles, photos, ideas, ups and downs. We will do some collaborative writing as well as designing. (Who knows, I might get Emma doing some collaborative knitting as well. Emma, by the way, could be a fabulous knitter, her stitches are so neat and beautiful it is unbelievable and her instincts are perfect. She suffers from startitis, however, and rarely finishes any of her projects. That’s why this collaboration is so cool; it plays to both our strengths.)
I will continue, of course, with my normal (if slightly more infrequent) posting. The posts in this design collaboration will be labelled and tagged The Skirt Project Chronicles. I hope that you enjoy them.
April has seen an explosion of knitting patterns. My favorites list can barely keep pace. Today, I’ll show you ten of the patterns that have caught my eye recently. I will start with the fabulous men’s fair isle waistcoat, Machrihanish, designed by Kate Davies. I love Kate’s designs, almost as much as I love her blog. I believe this is her first menswear pattern; hopefully, it will be the first of many.
Next up is the Artemis Sweater, designed by Anne Podlesak. I think this is a really simple but effective design. The ribbing gives it a good fit, with just enough of an architectural cabling detail to make things interesting. I especially like the sleeves.
I’m not usually one for pink but I am quite taken with the beautiful soft pink of the Dolores sweater, designed by Dawn Catanzaro for Quince and Co. This is such a sweet sweater, pretty and feminine. I am a fan of Quince and Co, both of their yarns and of their design portfolio. Their sweaters are always beautifully photographed. And the yarns really impress me, especially with their colourfastness and vibrancy. I have knit with their Osprey and Chickadee wool yarns, but Dolores is knit with their Tern yarn, a wool-silk blend in a fingering weight. Its definitely on my must-try list.
Dolores is not the only Quince and Co sweater to hit my radar this month. I really like the clean lines of the Aisance cardigan. This is designed by Kirsten Johnstone and incorporates really clever ribbing details on the back, as well as the beautiful columns of ribbing down the fronts. Aisance is also knit with Tern. I think the silk really gives it a nice drape.
You might think that April would bring mostly spring sweater patterns to the fore (how terribly Hemispherist of me!) You would think wrong! I adore the brilliant navy and white graphics in the Enige Og Tro Genser sweater, designed by Arne & Carlos. Isn’t it fun? Arne & Carlos do kitsch is such a good way; their designs always make me smile. This pattern is unisex and comes with a matching hat, but if I had a 20-year old guy to knit for, I would totally make him this.
I tend to prefer winter sweaters, but this year’s crop of summer designs is pretty good. There are quite a few that have caught my eye, including the Austin Tee, designed by Jean Chung for the Summer 2013 issue of Knitscene. The lace is pretty and interesting, but I especially like the shape of this garment, in particular the wide neckline and the sleeves. If I had this in my wardrobe I think it would get worn a lot; it could as easily dress up a cute summer skirt as be worn with cut-off jeans.
The Twist Collective is one of my favorite knitting publications. I eagerly await every issue and always enjoy their patterns and articles. It is a well-designed on-line magazine and their production standards are very high. Their were plenty of pretty spring sweaters in the new edition; I will just show you one – the lovely Finery by Karolina Eckerdal.
And this brings me to the new Brooklyn Tweed release, Wool People 7. Brooklyn Tweed has become a powerhouse of design. The stable of in-house designers put together by Jared Flood, along with the subtle colours of the Brooklyn Tweed yarns, and the meticulous curating of the collections make each new publication an event in the knitting world. Three of the ten patterns I’ve chosen for this post come from Wool People7; I could easily have included them all. First up, Arabella by Ann McCauley:
I’m not quite sure why I like it so much, but I love the casual ease of it, which still manages to be sophisticated. (I am in fact considering knitting it with the four skeins of Madtosh Light in Tart which I posted about here.)
I also love Yane, by Tokuko Ochiai. It is a very simple design, using the classic pullover shape (but extremely well-executed) and enlivened by intarsia chevrons. I find it very appealing. I also love this photo. You should definitely take the time to look through Brooklyn Tweed’s Look Books; the photography is always superb.
I’ll end with Pente, a great, casual, comfy, drapey cardigan using two colours of Brooklyn Tweed Loft. I love this one. (I have a lighweight cashmere cardigan of a similar shape and drape which I bought close to 20 years ago at the KaDeWe in Berlin; I love it to pieces but it is looking increasingly threadbare. I think it’s past time to knit a replacement.) Pente is designed by Carol Feller, who regular readers of this blog will know is a particular favorite of mine. (I also must point out that I adore this model; she is so gorgeous.)