Take a close look at your latest project. Knitting is all about repeats-rows, stitches, even motifs. There are those mindless projects which require little attention. Once we get started, our fingers shift into automatic pilot. It all makes sense, and we proceed without much thought because knitting is logical. The process is rhythmic, movements that one repeats over and over-soothing and meditative. Some patterns require a little more attention. But be assured, their approach-although it may not reveal itself immediately-is logical. Working through them improves a knitter's skills and understanding.
For all these reasons, most knitters have more than one project on their needles. Knitting is a boredom buster, an opportunity to make use of the free moments normally lost. Time spent waiting is transformed into productivity. What a bonus! All the pleasure of knitting and a final product. What hobby is more rewarding? Knitting is so versatile. A single pattern can be repeated in a different color, fiber, or stitch. You have the option of customizing your knit-the color, length, and details-making it your own.
Take this issue. We offer a series of great projects-from easily attainable to more complicated-all with emphasis on repeats within the project, or different approaches to a single idea.
School's out plays with 7 wedges of stranding in the round. These Escher-inspired fish break the stranding rule a bit by carrying the floats longer than is customary. Here it’s no problem because floats within a tam or cushion are not vulnerable to snagging. Play with different solids and one variegated yarn and create a pair, trio, or whole school of playful cushions.
Make it work
Lace lovers will find 3 interesting projects using the same eyelet lace repeat. Clever placement options create fabric looks from sporty to dressy. Plumbago takes the lace repeat and staggers it every sixth row for a trapeze-shaped tank. Pearly lace is the result of 2 coordinating handpainted yarns worked in rib and the same eyelet pattern; this time it remains aligned and is worked as a 2-row repeat for lace columns bordered by ribs. I thee wed was our starting point for all 3 designs. This is an updated variation of the gauntlets featured in my Winter 2008 editor's letter. Nicole Sorenson Markley offered her notes for the pattern and we ran with it. The simple 2-row lace is staggered after 6 rows, and this time is worked in the round! Now that's one versatile stitch.
The ring please combines a similar lace with a trellis border for the pillow back and a sunflower front. A lace edge completes the look. Work the gauntlets and pillow in the same yarn for a wedding ensemble that any bride would welcome, then change color to match the attendants' gowns. How much more customizing could one want?
We love children, and the Regal pinafore is meant for the little princess in your life. This upside-down knit takes ribs to full bloom with lace detailing around the skirt and in the bib. Worked in a regal color with added glitz, the only thing missing is the tiara. As she grows, wrap her and her pals in Kiddy Colors. The combo is made in a bulky yarn meant for kids-bright colors and easy knitting. Each sports its own cable. Should you place buttonholes in both bands, you could recycle this sweater for another child no matter the gender - just move the buttons from one band to the other.
What an accent!
For the accessory-minded, how about a easy ribbed Ascot that will dress up your simplest top. Or the Garden party duo worked in intarsia where the colorful lace blocks stack diagonally across the panels of the scarf or V-shawl. Try the Beads & Bands poncho - an openwork marvel studded with beads and finished with a beaded fringe that travels its length.
Dress for success
Summer doesn't offer you a reprieve from work? Or its attire? You are in luck with Seaglass, a classic shawl-collared vest with plenty of polish. Or you might make Ube in one of this season's most feminine colors. The intricate columns offer texture and a beautiful shimmer of light from the silky yarn. Take a lace block and offer it as an all-over pattern in an alpaca cardigan. Place it as a center panel in a hemp-blend shell. Russian olives and Crisp greens give you versatility in coordinating separates. Take a more tailored approach with Mulberry grid. A touch of glitz combines with stockinette, garter, and eyelets to offer a fabric with geometric openwork and sparkle.
Relax and refresh
And once you arrive home, push the envelope in the lacy and delicate looking Syringa. For more classic summer knits, don’t overlook Hollyhock ridge with solid garter stripes accenting the variegated body, or the Hibiscus shell with a swirling eyelet design, contrasting rib, and raglan shaping.
Lace tracks makes the best of its unusual construction with lace columns traveling across the dolman sleeves and down the center panel. Or go diagonal with Monet, our cover sweater. Few stitches grow to many as you work 6 colors of yarn into 12 hues. The 6-row stripes make the sequence of increases and decreases quite easy to track. The cover was shot at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta, home to STITCHES South. A special thanks to them and to the Essex House for the use of their courtyard and entrance. A sister hotel of the world famous Clevelander Hotel, the Essex House is the perfect resting spot from a day in the sun. It is situated on Collins Avenue, just steps from the night life of Miami Beach. So no matter if you are headed out to party in South Beach, spend a weekend at a convention, or just hang out at home with loved ones, we have knits that you’ll enjoy time and again. Because - after all - it's just a bunch of repeats, to do over and again.
Rick Mondragon, Editor
Rick Mondragon, Editor