Knitting is an ever-constant opportunity to learn. We can simply sit down, play with our needles, and come up with a plan — based on what we already know — for something new and original. Or we may download a tutorial or webinar, or spring for the full treatment of attending a class at a shop or conference — choices are everywhere. Often we just choose a pattern from a book or magazine and go to work.
And, because our hobby is a passion — the joy of this learning is often far beyond what we experienced in school.
I learned a little about the Möbius shape 40 years ago in high school Physics, revisited it in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s writing on how NOT to begin a circular knit, and lately have seen it used as a means to clever cowls and accessories.
Candace Eisner Strick’s proposal for It’s just physics was irresistible, and perfect for our spring offerings. When the project arrived I had to make one. The cast-on — which had always seemed tedious for just a simple cowl — might just be worth the effort. Besides, to edit the pattern and understand the process, casting on was my only option.
As I was practicing the cast-on, my mind was reeling with ideas to simplify it. I sampled 3 additional cast-on ideas with great success, and was inspired to create a finished knit from each! The result of all this is 4 Möbius cast-ons (see page 14) and 3 Möbius cowls. And my replication of It’s just physics seemed to need a little something extra, so I came up with Skirting the subject.
So what happens when you try something new or expand on something you’ve done before? Take a look at the Warp speed tunics. Laura Bryant started with stockinette stripes, then inserted a ripple row every 8th row, then every 6th, every 4th, and finally every other row. The stripes morph into zigzags that become sharper as you progress, and the fabric narrows organically to shape the tunic/dress. We offer both 4- and 7-color options, but you could choose any number of colors and make each stripe any depth you like.
In Ripple effects, Kathy Zimmerman shows how a shift in stitch pattern affects the look of a simple cardigan silhouette, and Kennita Tully sets the ripple on its side, leaving an Accent on stripes worked in contrasting garter stitch. Against the neutral color of the body, the colored ripple is a great foil for contrasting buttons that replace the side seams.
Katharine Hunt lets a mosaic panel shine in Static resistance, and Jill Bigelow Suttell paints the Old Shale pattern in colors of the sea in Ocean shale.
We periodically present design challenges at STITCHES events. Last August we featured the ‘Panel Panel’ where we asked for pullover designs using a template from Myra Wood’s Knitting in New Directions. Myra’s offering fills the schematic with an idea from her book. Incline/decline uses short rows in the center front and back panels, then adds sideways-knit borders for the rest of the silhouette. Karin Skacel mixes felt with knitting in Grape inspirations. The center panels are Artfelt® bordered by knit side sections and sleeves. The side panels feature short-row hip gussets with no side seams.
Therese Chynoweth created Ultraviolet with an eyelet rib pattern. Those eyelets are perfect as buttonholes — and they also pinpoint placement for the buttons. Radiating ribs by Lisa Jacobs is pieced completely without seams, each section built modularly from picked-up stitches. Lisa also breaks a simple triangle shawl into parts. Blueprint wrap is a traditional shape worked in a modular way — a center panel with 2 triangular wings — where the stitch count remains manageable and decreases as you proceed.
A little lace goes a long way. Red/violet are on opposite sides of the color spectrum but analogous on the color wheel, and are perfect for long-gradient yarns. Kathy Zimmerman offers a stunning lace cardi, practical for any spring event.
Who doesn’t wear denim and T-shirts? Gayle Roehm’s Refracting diamonds is a blend of the two, with diamond-lace panels and strategic center-front shaping in a sleek pullover.
Vertical elements in a garment are flattering. Textured garter-stitch columns add Surface tension to horizontal stockinette striping. Barry Klein upgrades the jacket to Silver status with a stylish silhouette, simple closure, and beautiful stitch work. And Fiona Ellis proves that you are Well connected with sleek ribs, cables, and a sassy play of openwork at each cuff.
Learning something new is its own reward. To non knitters, knitting may seem like a simple pastime, but we take our needles and yarn seriously. This issue offers new perspectives and approaches — surprises and gems that reveal themselves as you poise the needles to work…and play…and learn!