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Rick Mondragon,

Playing favorites

Everyone has preferences in food, drink, automobiles, furniture, places, actors, relatives, and even clothing. If you’re a knitter, you’ll add yarns, needles, colors, stitches, patterns, and techniques to your list. You pick projects to suit your tastes and comfort levels, and knitwear designers are no different.

We asked designers to think about their favorite garment silhouettes, techniques, design approaches, and theories, and to present ideas to get your needles clicking. Look within these patterns for something new you can add to your preference list.

Foreign accents?

The Missoni family made their mark in the world of high-end fashion with ripple patterns and random stripes. Laura Bryant helps you imitate the look in Agate ripples—randomly working two color groupings into a striping sequence using Fibonacci numbers.

African textiles are making a splash in fashion, and E. J. Slayton responds with her interpretation of a jacket in a Not quite nautical color story. The geometric patterns look Scandinavian and are perfect for circular knitting and steeks. Katharine Hunt capitalizes on her love of the kimono shape and mosaic knitting. Rustic zen is a sideways knit that wraps the body in stripes. The earthy blend of tweed yarns adds a lot of character.

Bente Geil joins us with a hint of Danish design. Her knit-from-the-top raglan tunic features trapeze shaping, front gore detailing, and an asymmetrical neckline. We loved Uppercut x 2 so much that we added a second version with additional shaping and longer sleeves.

Strategic maneuvers!

The need to overcome a problem often spurs clever design. You focus on what you want or need and then work through the hurdles encountered as you strive to reach your goal.

Marilyn Hastings’ Blue phoenix eases her frustration with triangle shawls—they never stay put! Neck and shoulder shaping leave her hands free to maneuver through daily tasks without having to fuss to keep the shawl in place.

Lois Young’s Shawl strategy is a study in creating a simple basic. Once you understand her approach, the pattern can fall to the wayside. It really is that simple!

Two sides to a story?

Accessories can add mileage to your autumn wardrobe, and these double the mpg because each side is different, allowing alternative looks.

Kyle Kunnecke’s reversible muffler isn’t double knitting—do a Double take and you’ll see that it is a tube, flattened and seamed to hide the stranding. Knit-one-below rib is colorful and elegant—Shaina Scott’s Hatchmarks translate the patterning beautifully in a reversible cowl and cap.

Hitting below the belt!

Why not? Knit skirts offer a chance to make something different and stylish. Tiered color blocks add style to your knit in a unique way. Gwen Bortner’s Bias blues is sleek and apparently seamless because we show you a way to graft entrelac tubes invisibly—by working waste-yarn tabs, then grafting. More skirt biases come with Peak & valley. Jill Bigelow Suttell combines mitered squares and ripples for a bold statement.

The Hill country cables set is a playful and practical fashion statement from head to toe. Alexandra Davidoff makes sure of that with bows and pompons on her boot cuffs, then adds a scarf with pockets and shearling lining.

Cardigans, cables, & colors?

Cardigan vests are worthy autumn layers and Taura is a classic. Jean Clement adds a bit of lace to Braided cables for a hint of femininity. Anna Zilboorg builds a modern combination of strips and blocks of color into Woodland patches. The open-front vest sports a touch of embroidery along the front edges.

Kathy Zimmerman makes her cables with elongated stitches for an intricate composition of Texture at play. Sunshine at sea interrupts the horizontal flow of color in corrugated garter-stitch fabric with vertical knit-one-below accents. This cardigan becomes a jacket thanks to Elise Duvekot’s choice of playing a thick yarn against a thinner one. The cowl is a primer for the technique and also offers a taste of working with waste-yarn tabs and grafting invisibly.

Pulling for you!

Don’t underestimate the pullover when it comes to favorites. Kathy Zimmerman creates three distinct textures in Carved kiwi. If the color alone isn't enough to garner attention, the textures etched into the fabric will.