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 email@example.com)
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. 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
You can really see the herringbone pattern this stitch will make!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
What an honor. Everything on the page looked gorgeous! Thanks so much, Jess!!!!!!
New Gradient Stripe Socks Colors
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!
The next new yarn is Blue Skies Ahead, an optimistic mix of cloudless white and saturated blue.
We’re excited to present the next in the House Colors series: Cunning Folk, representing Slytherin with pure silver-gray to aristocratic emerald green.
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.
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.
I Love Yarn Day is this Friday! As part of the Yarn Group with TNNA, we’ve been looking forward to this for months. And we’ve got a big, big announcement coming out this Friday, so stay tuned. Here’s a spoiler: it has to do with a new kind of yarn and a totally unique dyeing process.
If you check out the I Love Yarn Day Facebook page, there’s a contest and all kinds of other events going on, including yarny Flash Mobs. (local knitters: do we have one? It seems like the Sow’s Ear might cook something up…)
Kung Fu Knits
As the mom of a sixth-grade boy, I know how hard it is to both knit for, and find great patterns for, kids this age. My son recently requested a hat; plain. And black. I talked him into a gray-to-black gradient, but it was a tough sell. Designer and Dark Matter Knits podcaster Elizabeth Green Musselman specializes in high-quality knits for men and boys. I love her men’s Dawson sweater, boys’ Langstroth (from the Cuteboysezwhat e-book) and the super-fun Frankenfingers mitts. My daughter and I would both wear those in a hot second.
Elizabeth has written a new pattern collection, Kung Fu Knits, which ingeniously combines comics and martial-arts-themed knitting patterns for kids. The official synopsis:
It’s a familiar scenario: it’s freezing outside, and a nine-year-old boy wants to go out to play. His mother keeps piling him into more and more knitwear. Groaning ensues. Until that glorious moment when the boy realizes that knitting just might save the day.
Author Elizabeth Green Musselman says: The book is aimed particularly at boys aged 4–12 and the poor people who try to knit for them. It can be so hard to get kids this age to wear handknits.The comic book storyline at the beginning ties knitting into one boy’s martial arts adventure in the backyard. His mom just wants him to be warm, but these knits are also the tools for pure fun.
Knitted nunchuks! And throwing stars! A backpack to carry them in! And an entire kung fu uniform. (My son has declared these The Most Comfortable Pants Ever, and refuses to take them off when it’s cool out.)
The illustrations are by a local artist / kung fu teacher. All projects use Berroco Vintage.
The martial artist in our family is my daughter, and she would definitely wear every one of these garments, because she loves to be warm and comfortable. I can also totally see my five-year-old nephew rocking the adventurous outfit and knitted nunchucks.
You can order the Kung Fu Knits collection from Cooperative Press as either a print book or downloadable pdf.
Sasha’s New Look
We took Sasha to a real groomer, Tabby and Jacks, where they gently and patiently clipped her with scissors because the clipper panicked her.
Now we can see her little face, instead of just a big pompon. I have to admit, I did love the big puff, but she can actually see what she’s doing now.
What she’s doing now is napping. 😉
Oh, local knitters, The Knitting Tree is celebrating its Grand Opening tomorrow afternoon! They’ll have cheese and snacks and a chance to win prizes from 4-6pm. If you haven’t seen the beautiful new space, it’s definitely worth stopping.
We’ve always been a cat family, but with kids, never say never. Introducing Belle’s new puppy: Sasha!
Belle has wanted a dog for years, and with some help from Grammy and Buppa, she researched and found the perfect pup, a Shih Tzu girl, 10 weeks old. Her research even included a powerpoint presentation highlighting the breed’s friendliness, relaxed nature (did you know they were bred as lapdogs for Chinese royalty?) and hypoallergenic coat.
A very happy girl got her wish last week. And Sasha really is adorable. Her little legs are so short, her tail is actually longer, so when she trots after Belle wagging her tail, it looks like half her little fuzzy body is wagging.
The little tail starts wagging as soon as she sees any person, and she loves to be carried and snuggle on laps. She’s so small she practically takes a bath when she walks into dewy grass.
Welcome, Sasha. If any dog can make it in this cat family, it’s you! (Don’t worry, yarn mavens, Sasha’s not part of the Evil Lair scene).
Eleven months, six packages of yarn showing up right to your door! Each Knitcircus Yarns package includes an exclusive self-striping, hand-dyed gradient colorway, notes about the color inspiration, list of suggested patterns and coordinating gifts.We’ll mix it up with colors to make everyone happy, with some warm, some cool and some neutrals.
Gifts will include products from companies like Lantern Moon, Knit Happy and hidden gems from Wisconsin sheep farms. Below; Frabjous Fibers bag (treat from the first Summer Slice Club) with a happy gradient to give you an idea. Of course, the colors of the actual Club will be all new. 🙂
Luxury fiber will be wool-based, featuring different blends like silk, cashmere, tencel and nylon. Luxury fibers will include favorites like Thrilling, Opulence, and Greatest of Ease, new yarns reserved exclusively for Clubbies, and early access to yarns not in the shop yet.
This year I won’t be writing up patterns, since it just took too much time away from dyeing, which also makes this year’s Club a little more affordable! But I will ransack Ravelry every time to find and tell you about patterns I think would work perfectly with each month’s yarn.
Yarn weights include 4 skeins of fingering weight yarn and 2 skeins of heavier-weight yarn. Knitting-related treats in every package include collaborations with small woman-owned and fair-trade businesses, from one-woman operations to nationally recognized brands.
And, just like last year, you can either purchase a year’s subscription and be all done, or sign up once and pay as packages are ready to ship (also a six-package deal, but you can break up the payments!). For the full year, please use the code WELCOME at checkout to get $10 off your membership!
Today I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour AND you can win a digital copy!
Hitch includes 29 patterns from different designers; you’ll find sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves, socks. And shawls!
As you may know, Stephannie Tallent, the editor of this volume, worked closely with me as a tech editor for Knitcircus magazine and helped develop our excellent templates and tech-editing workflows. She can edit a pattern like nobody’s business, designs gorgeous, intricate patterns and has a vision for beautifully-designed and executed garments of all kinds.
I was thrilled when Stephannie released her first book, California Revival Knits, and happy to get a chance to be part of this collection honoring the work of one of her favorite directors. If you look at the cover, my design, the Miss Fremont shawl, was lucky enough to get a cameo there!
The Hitchcock film I like best is Rear Window, so I looked at Grace Kelly’s costumes, other sketches by costume designer Edith Head and other clothing of the time for inspiration. I was particularly struck by the full New Look skirt with flowers radiating from the waist, so took that as the inspiration for my shawl design.
The Half-Pi shawl is a favorite shape of mine, so within that construction, I chose a lace pattern to echo the feminine floral of the skirt. Here you can see the original sketch, the lace swatch, and final shawl blocked and pinned. Believe it or not, this was designed before I began dyeing gradients, but you can see that the idea was definitely starting to unfold! The shawl is worked in Blue Sky’s Alpaca Sport Weight, 100% baby alpaca, which was a joy to knit, soft, fuzzy and drapey, so perfect for a shawl.
So many wonderful designers are represented in Hitch, which uses red, white and black to highlight the drama and suspense of the theme. Go check out all the Hitch Designs on Ravelry and tell me which one you’d like to knit first! Leave a blog comment, and the Random Number Generator will choose a winner for us Sunday evening, the 17th of November.
Want to participate in a Knit-A-Long or hear about more giveaways? Join the Hitch group on Ravelry.