Summer School – Colorwork – Pelagic

I’m taking a bit of time off this month, but I wanted to make sure you had something to do while I’m napping (or, more likely, sweeping out the garage, getting drywall dust  out of my cabinets, or planning next year’s projects…but napping sounds better).

On Mondays, I’ll introduce a topic or skill and provide a bunch of links and resources to help you learn more. Later in the week, I’ll show off a few favorite patterns so you can do some homework.  The featured patterns will be on sale for one day each, so come back each weekday to see if there’s something that catches your eye!

Yesterday we talked about what happens if you slip your stitches with your yarn out in front of your work for the whole world to see (good things…good things happen).  Today, with Pelagic, I’m showing you what happens if you make just the smallest possible tweak to plain old stripes.

This is stripes and only stripes…just one one stitch of one row, you reach down and grab a stitch from the row below.  I’m not kidding.  On the hat, it’s literally one stitch out of 16 that is anything other than plain old stockinette stripes.  One out of 16.  That’s less than seven percent.  You can totally do something just the tiniest bit fancy for 7% of your stitches if the result is going to look like this, right?

And yeah, you do the fancy bit a little more often on the cuffs, but by the time you get to those you’ll be feeling so hideously clever (and it’s over such a tiny number of stitches) that you won’t mind at all.

This is probably my most worn hat (the drape is perfect, it goes with my amazingly purple hair, it goes with my favorite winter coat).  And every single time I wear it I sort of stop and boggle at just how spiffy it looks for so very very little effort.  If you want to join me in basking in that ‘hah, look what I did with just the tiniest of tweaks to basic stripes!’ feeling, you can totally make yourself a set too.

Pelagic is 25% off just for today with the code SUMMER SCHOOL (technically, it’s 12:01 am to 11:59 pm eastern time on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 if you want to get very particular).  The pattern includes both the hat and the cuffs.  Come back tomorrow for more improper colorwork!

Summer School – Colorwork – Crimes

I’m taking a bit of time off this month, but I wanted to make sure you had something to do while I’m napping (or, more likely, sweeping out the garage, getting drywall dust  out of my cabinets, or planning next year’s projects…but napping sounds better).

On Mondays, I’ll introduce a topic or skill and provide a bunch of links and resources to help you learn more. Later in the week, I’ll show off a few favorite patterns so you can do some homework.  The featured patterns will be on sale for one day each, so come back each weekday to see if there’s something that catches your eye!

Ok, I’m cheating just a tiny bit.  Instead of doing just one pattern, today I’m doing three closely related patterns.  Entrapment, Collusion, and Misprision are all grand and I’m showing them all off.

So normally, if you’re making slip stitch patterns (or even traditional colorwork for that matter), you slip your stitches with the yarn held in back.  But you totally don’t have to.  You can bring that yarn to the front and slip it right out in the open for all the world to see.  And then, if that isn’t enough, you can pick that slipped yarn up on a subsequent row and…do stuff with it.

And that stuff?  That stuff isn’t hard.  It’s just ‘oh, reach down and grab that strand and knit it’ or ‘grab it and do a decrease with it’ or ‘give it a little twist.’  But wow does it look nifty.  I tend to think it actually looks like you’ve done something unspeakably fancy (I knit these things, and even I sometimes look at them and go ‘how the heck does that work…that’s clearly magic’), even though all you really did is slip your yarn in front instead of in back.

All three of these rely on slipping stitches out front and then manipulating them.  All three are a great way to show off a fancy yarn (especially one you don’t have a bunch of or one that’s proven a bit recalcitrant in other stitch patterns).  And all three will leave you feeling unspeakably clever in the end!

Entrapment, Collusion, and Misprision are each 25% off just for today with the code SUMMER SCHOOL (technically, it’s 12:01 am to 11:59 pm eastern time on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 if you want to get very particular).  You can use it on any or all of the patterns (you don’t have to buy all three or just buy one, you can get whichever ones you want).  Come back tomorrow for more improper colorwork!

Summer School – Colorwork

I’m taking a bit of time off this month, but I wanted to make sure you had something to do while I’m napping (or, more likely, sweeping out the garage, getting drywall dust  out of my cabinets, or planning next year’s projects…but napping sounds better).

On Mondays, I’ll introduce a topic or skill and provide a bunch of links and resources to help you learn more. Later in the week, I’ll show off a few favorite patterns so you can do some homework.  The featured patterns will be on sale for one day each, so come back each weekday to see if there’s something that catches your eye!

Last week we did lace, and the week before that we did cables.  This week I want to talk about colorwork.  Now, I don’t mean proper colorwork…the kind where you have to manage more than one color of yarn on a single row.  I mean the kind where you only use one color per row and so the whole project is baaaaaaasically glorified stripes.  You know, the easy kind!

Now, just to get this right up front, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with proper colorwork.  It’s lovely!  And if you like knitting it, that’s grand.  It’s just that I, personally, am really clumsy at it.  So I don’t do it much.

But mixing colors is too much fun to leave it just to those brave enough (or coordinated enough) to do the real stuff.  So I spend more time than I probably should playing with ways to use more than one color in a project…but only one per row.

One of the most classic ways to do this is called mosaic knitting.  That’s where you work some stitches and slip some other stitches.  This can create startlingly intricate patterns (and way more variations than you’d think possible).   Knitty has a good introduction over here, there’s another good guide here, and there’s even a fun little tool over here to let you try out your own patterns once you get the hang of how they work!

But you don’t have to just stick to mosaic knitting.  You can do all sorts of crazy things when you introduce more than one color.  The only limit is your imagination (or the stitch dictionaries you can track down).  Because these stitches are so varied, there isn’t really one name they fall under, which makes it hard to find resources that will cover everything you might want to know.  But this is a great online stitch dictionary with videos of lots of stitches, and this has some great general tips for working with multiple yarns.

I’ll talk in a bit more detail about some of my favorite two color projects over the next few days.  But just like we did with lace last week and cables the week before, I want to point you toward some great books if you want to read more.  These are all fabulous and I love them to bits (as usual, amazon links are totally affiliate links, if you don’t like those, you can absolutely google the titles instead, I’ll never ever know).

Reading List:

  • Barbara Walker’s Mosaic Knitting is going to come up first in most any discussion of slip stitch patterns.  You will never go wrong with a Barbara Walker book.  They aren’t flashy (they’re from a different era), but they are packed so full of amazing amounts of useful info that you totally won’t miss the arty pictures.
  • Barbara Benson looked at mosaic knitting, though ‘I mean sure…but let’s add lace,’ and wrote a whole book about just that.
  • Lucy Hague continues her long standing tradition of making me go ‘wait wait wait…how did she DO that?’ in Illuminated Knits (which combines cables with two color patterns to make something really quite marvelous).
  • And if you’re cooler than me and totally down with two yarns in one row, Andrea Rangel’s Alterknit is a delightfully modern stitch dictionary, Mary Jane Mucklestone takes a slightly more traditional approach, Alice Starmore will just stun you into submission, and Janine Bajus will make you feel like you can do anything you set your mind to!

Summer School – Lace – Sybaritic

I’m taking a bit of time off this month, but I wanted to make sure you had something to do while I’m napping (or, more likely, sweeping out the garage, getting drywall dust  out of my cabinets, or planning next year’s projects…but napping sounds better).

On Mondays, I’ll introduce a topic or skill and provide a bunch of links and resources to help you learn more. Later in the week, I’ll show off a few favorite patterns so you can do some homework.  The featured patterns will be on sale for one day each, so come back each weekday to see if there’s something that catches your eye!

I’m just going to give in and stop fighting my love for knitted leaves.  (Remember this statement in a few months when I show you one of the obsessions I’ve been working on this month while I’m plotting future projects…) Sybaritic is lacy, it’s leafy, and it might even be the tiniest bit fiddly…and I’m not even a little bit sorry.

I mean don’t worry too much, the only fiddly bit is that you do the gusset decreases in a slightly weird place.  But once you’ve done the first pair of them, you’ll see how they work (and it’s so so so worth it for that cute little leaf on the top of your foot.

If you’ve got the hang of lace (or if you’re like me, and you’ve never been inclined to start with the easy projects thank you very much, you’ll just dive in wherever the hell you feel like it because what’s the worst that could happen), then you’re going to have a blast with these.

Sybaritic is 25% off just for today with the code SUMMER SCHOOL (technically, it’s 12:01 am to 11:59 pm eastern time on Friday, July 12, 2019 if you want to get very particular).  Come back next week for my ‘I’m too lazy to do it the right way’ approach to colorwork!

Summer School – Lace – Calceiform

I’m taking a bit of time off this month, but I wanted to make sure you had something to do while I’m napping (or, more likely, sweeping out the garage, getting drywall dust  out of my cabinets, or planning next year’s projects…but napping sounds better).

On Mondays, I’ll introduce a topic or skill and provide a bunch of links and resources to help you learn more. Later in the week, I’ll show off a few favorite patterns so you can do some homework.  The featured patterns will be on sale for one day each, so come back each weekday to see if there’s something that catches your eye!

Feeling like maybe you can do this lace thing (you can)?  Like maybe it’s just plopping the occasional intentional hole here and there (it is) and that you’re ready to dive in (you are)?  Yeah, I think you can too!  How about giving Calceiform a try.

If you’ve been here for any length of time at all, you’ll know I have a soft spot for slippers (yes, yes there are more slipper patterns in the works).  They’re a perfect canvas for trying out all sorts of things…enough room to do something pretty, but not so big it feels daunting (I’m looking at you, giant shawls…right at you…you just take too long and you know it).

These let you show off an absolutely gorgeous little leaf motif (yes, yes leaves really are the most lacy thing to knit, I’m not even going to pretend otherwise), but also give you plenty of plainer fabric to catch your breath on.  I mean really, that lacy panel is only a few inches wide.  You can totally do this.  And they’re so much faster than socks!

Calcieform is 25% off just for today with the code SUMMER SCHOOL (technically, it’s 12:01 am to 11:59 pm eastern time on Thursday, July 11, 2019 if you want to get very particular).  Come back tomorrow for another lacy favorite!