Stitch Dictionary and Happy Birthday Color Winners!

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Thanks to everyone who entered to win the Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary, by Wendy Bernard! The winner is Savannahgal!!!!! Please get in touch with us and let us know your mailing address, and we’ll send the info straight to the publisher. (Please send to jaala@knitcircus.com)

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Thanks also to everyone who voted on the Happy Birthday Knitcircus colorway! The winner: Forever Floral. You are a sophisticated crowd. We renamed it Big Top Birthday. ūüôā

I love this color and can’t wait to get dyeing! In the meantime, we’ve put up a listing in the store so you can pre-order yours to have in hand on the big party day. Choose Big Top Birthday Panoramic Gradient in many sizes, or Matching Sock sets in small, medium or large.

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Which brings us to this other fun news: it’s our birthday, and we want you to come to the party! We’ll have exclusive yarn, bags, treats, door prizes and free cake. We hope to see you at the Studio June 24th!

 

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Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary: Win Book and Yarn!

Welcome to the Knitcircus stop on the Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary Blog Tour! I’ve long been a fan of Wendy Bernard’s patterns, blog and books, so getting to talk about her new one is a true pleasure.

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The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary is a welcome follow-up to Wendy’s Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary.

I’ve been a big Wendy Bernard fan for many years; since back in the day when knitting blogs were new, Knit and Tonic has always been a leading voice in the fiber-blog community. Wendy’s California-chic designs captivated me from the start. Her Favorite Cardigan (below) has long been one of the sweaters I most want to knit.

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Wendy has a knack for breaking down large ideas (design your own hat, cowl, sweater) into manageable parts and reconstructing it so that you feel confident tackling your next project. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out her Custom Knits series, I highly recommend them. The Custom Knits 1 and Custom Knits 2¬† books show you how to design your own top-down sweater, with lots of tips and patterns by Wendy. The Custom Knits Accessories is my fave, since I’m mostly an accessories knitter. She gives you all the tools you need to create your own sock, hat and other accessories patterns, with clear guidelines so you can succeed.

The All -Around Stitch Dictionaries build on Wendy’s expertise in guiding knitters to technical success. Most stitch dictionaries give you a stitch pattern and written directions for working the pattern flat; the more modern ones often include a chart. Wendy noticed that changing from flat to knitting in-the-round could sometimes be tricky, so she includes charts for both. She also gives the reader insight into which kinds of stitches do well on both sides (when designing a scarf, that’s key), and indicates which patterns are fully reversible, two sided (look good, but are different on each side) or only to be used with one side showing.

The second installment, The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary, includes very clear photos and charts for every stitch, but in her usual inimitable way, Wendy includes a whole Designing From Scratch appendix, with basic recipes for Basic Top-Down Socks, Basic Toe-Up Socks, Top-Down Cap, Bottom-Up Cap and Triangular Shawls in Two Directions,  with beautiful photos for each.

IMG_6836¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Here’s a photo I snapped from my copy of the book (notice the user-friendly notebook binding?). This shows the Checkerboard Cables charts and photos. Thanks to the publisher ¬†for letting me share this pattern! You can see they’re awfully nice, clear charts and photos showing both sides of the swatch.

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WIN THE BOOK AND YUMMY YARN

Stewart, Tabori and Chang are so generous, they’re giving away not only a copy of Wendy’s new book, but 2 hanks of yarn from Blue Sky Alpacas. (USA readers only for shipping, please!)

Now, I’m sure you’re all champing at the bit to know how you can win the Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary and the yarns. Just comment and tell us:

What would you be likely to knit with the Stitch Dictionary? Sweater, Socks, Hat, Cowl, Shawl? Which way would you knit it? Top-down, bottom up, in the round or flat?

Follow the rest of the stops on the blog tour to see more stitch patterns from the book!

 

5/18: AboutKnitting.com

5/23: Craft Gossip

5/11: WEBS

5/28: Blue Sky Alpacas

 

Knitcircus Podcast #71

 

Amy and Jaala dish about their adventures at Vogue Knitting Live New York! Also affectionately known as the “Namedropping Podcast.”

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes

Mentioned this podcast:

Vogue Knitting Live New York

Knitlandia, by Clara Parkes

Savvy Girls Podcast

Laura Nelkin

Jill Draper

Knitting Ephemera, by Carol Sulcoski

Mason-Dixon Knitting/Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner

Oink Pigments

Yarn It

Stella Task Lights

Matilda musical

Discovery Center Star Wars Costume Exhibit

Indigodragonfly

Shetland Wool Week

Hazel Tindall

Tenement Museum

Donna Smith

Long Island Livestock Company

Franklin Habit

Lily Chin

Meg Swansen

Sasha Kagan

 

Japanese Stitch Dictionaries

IMG_5596[1]For my birthday, the thoughtful Mr. Knitcircus gifted me this Japanese Stitch Dictionary, and I’ve been poring over every page! This is my second Japanese Stitch Dictionary; the first contains 300 stitches. It’s been one of my most treasured possessions since I got it a couple of years ago.

So what’s the fuss about Japanese Stitch Dictionaries, you may ask. Why get a book in a language you can’t even read? Why are these books sought after by designers even though they’re way more expensive than perfectly good stitch dictionaries like these? It’s true, there are wonderful books out there, starting with Barbara Walker’s Treasuries on up to Melissa Leapman’s recent volume The Knit Stitch Handbook. Well, my knitting friends, I’ll answer all these questions and more!

First, the wonder of Japanese Stitch Dictionaries is that you don’t need to be able to read Japanese to learn how to work the stitches. They include detailed and ingeniously understandable illustrations of every single symbol used in the charts. My first book has them all in their own section at the back, and the new one even more helpfully starts with knit and purl, then groups the whole book so that every section including a new symbol is grouped together so that you can add understanding as you go. The instruction below shows you how to work a lifted stitch.

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The charts in Japanese knitting books are the envy of designers everywhere. According to designers I’ve spoken with, whole country has a standardized chart system, so every chart uses the same symbols the same way. How much easier would it be if we could do that?! They have also come up with representations that, by and large, show how the stitch will look when finished.

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One thing I found fascinating about this new book was discovering that the slanted stitches shown above aren’t k2tog and ssk as they normally would be in the US. They indicate that the presence of a decrease causes those stitches to slant in a certain direction, making it much clearer from the chart what your knitted fabric will look like.

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You can really see the herringbone pattern this stitch will make!

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As a designer and a medium-to-advanced knitter, I love getting inspiration form the stitch patterns. Japanese knitters clearly aren’t afraid to follow charts, do decreases on wrong-side rows or add a number of stitches together to form one repeat (as with the cable stitches above). They’re also much bolder about mixing textures, cables and lace together in one repeat.

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They also have pretty creative ideas about wrapping and lifting stitches as shown in the pattern above and do a lot more with adding and subtracting stitches and working from the rows below to add textures than we normally see here.

IMG_5602[1]Here’s a fun combination of lace, cable and texture into one stitch pattern!

Some other fun elements that expand my mind when I read these books is the willingness of Japanese knitters to purl, leading to some very interesting stitches with purled backgrounds, to drop stitches on purpose, and to put patterns next to and even inside of each other to form complex knitted fabrics. If you want to challenge yourself to try, or at least think about, new ways to knit, I definitely recommend one of these stitch dictionaries!

For more stitch dictionaries, check out my search list on Amazon.

Happy knitting,

Jaala

 

Knitcircus Podcast #64

In which Amy gets all Scottish, Jethro gets pony-sized and Jaala  sneaks in some tv.

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes

Mentioned this episode:

Di Gilpin

Ysolda Teague

Alice Starmore

Jamieson and Smith

Jamieson’s of Shetland

The Art of Slip Stitch Knitting, by Faina Goberstein and Simona Merchant-Dest

Knitcircus Fall Retreat

Susan B. Anderson 

Knitcircus Fall Collection

Buffalo Wool Company

Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival

Knitcircus Podcast #57

In which Amy and Jaala discuss their aspirational knitting and have a mini book club.

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes

Discussed in this episode:

Cables and Lace Video, New Colors and Mitts

Hi, Knitters,

It’s getting cold here, tea-drinkin’, stew-makin’, bundle-up cold. I’ve got a hot mug of Chai Spice tea ¬†on my desk as I write. As you know, this is the time when handknits come in handy…

Aran Lace Video

I’ve been a little obsessed with cables and lace lately (for about the last two years). An expert at combining these two techniques is ¬†designer, teacher and tech editor and my friend, Stephannie Tallent. Stephannie has a new video out from Interweave Knits unfolding all kinds of useful tips for combining these two knitterly techniques: Aran Lace Knitting.

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In a step-by-step format, Stephannie explains and demonstrates techniques like using a cable and/or lace chart, picking the right yarns for showing off your lacy cables, using a cable needle, cabling without a cable needle, swatching, blocking, and all kinds of other techniques to keep you on top of beautiful charted patterns like the one below.

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The video also includes a pattern for a gorgeous cables-and-lace cowl. Stephannie really knows her stuff, and this video is definitely a winner!

Aran Lace Giveaway

One lucky reader can receive this video for their very own. Just leave a comment telling us which of Stephannie’s beautiful patterns you would knit first! Giveaway runs through Monday evening.

Gradient Eye Candy

Wow, how exciting! Jess/Frecklegirl on Ravelry put together a Gradient-themed Community Eye Candy page and our yarn is featured!!!!!!! See the adorable pink baby dress? Talented knitter Greenfiber made her Mia’s Dress¬†out of our Wild Rose Corriedale Sock yarn.

Ravelry Gradients Page

What an honor. Everything on the page looked gorgeous! Thanks so much, Jess!!!!!!

New Gradient Stripe Socks Colors

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Speaking of thanks, a million to the wonderful Susan B Anderson for hosting a Gradient Stripes giveaway on her blog! She sent a lot of new customers our way and we’re very grateful. Check it out, because right now, you have a chance to win some Manos yarns on her blog! Susie was the very first to knit with the Tropical Sunset colorway (above) and it’s officially released now!

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The next new yarn is Blue Skies Ahead, an optimistic mix of cloudless white and saturated blue.

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We’re excited to present the next in the House Colors series: Cunning Folk, representing Slytherin with pure silver-gray to aristocratic emerald green.

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Last, but certainly not least, Brew Crew! The sunny yellow and cheerful blue works for many school colors, but for a Wisconsin baseball fan, they have to represent the Milwaukee Brewers.

If you’ve ordered Gradient Stripes yarn, we’re making many of them every day, so you should get it soon! If you’ve already got your stripes in hand, please do join us in the Knitcircus Ravelry Group for a Gradient Stripes KAL! (Don’t worry, you can use the original Matching Socks sets too).

I had gotten half of a sock done, then I was leafing through a magazine and saw some lustworthy striped armwarmers. My DH, looking over my shoulder, remarked,”You could make some of those.”

He was right! I could make some just as stripy with the new Gradient Stripes yarn! So I have frogged the sock and re-started a pair of Gothy Gauntlets. I can’t wait to see how they turn out, and I’ll post progress pics in the KAL group.

Happy knitting,

Jaala