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Newsletter - October 2013
Welcome to the annual Patternfish gift inspiration newsletter. We’ve moved it up a month from our usual November date because we find we need more time to create gifts for the season and imagine you do, too. For those of us who create, making things for friends and family seems to be a necessity and essential for our soul’s well being, my soul, anyway.
In this issue ...
From the Prime Minister's Desk
- Julia Grunau
Keeping this note brief this time because there are so many yummy patterns to peruse-- but this information is important.
When pressed, even the most devoted Patternfish fans have had to admit that on occasion we can be... a little slow. And that a keyword search capability would be nice. And one or two other things could be bettered.
We have more gorgeous PDF's to load then ever, but the pace has slowed a bit recently because we are putting the final touches on Patternfish 2.0.
Patternfish 2.0 is the first from-the-ground-up rewrite of the site since we launched more than five years ago, and uses the very latest advances in programming, storage, and delivery technology. We will be Faster (considerably). We will be Easier to Use. And we will offer impressive new features that we've been honing for a long time.
You are reading the last newsletter in our current iteration. The November 2013 issue will be on the Patternfish 2.0 platform. You'll notice a subtle change immediately in the graphics, and a less subtle (and very welcome) one in the performance.
As with all major new ventures, there may be a few glitches at the outset. We hope you'll be patient, while letting us know if you encounter any special problems.
Keep your eyes peeled, your hopes high, and check back with us regularly. We think that the next few weeks will be our brightest of this year. And let us thank all of you stalwarts for supporting us during our infancy and toddlerhood! Sleeker, swifter, streamlined days are ahead.
Prime Minister's Choices
Gifts! They should be quick, first of all, and any combination of beautiful or useful or amusing. The danger is being tempted to keep one's choices for oneself...
This one is very obviously a Festivus present, and ideal for a hostess gift. Make a dozen of them and spread them about liberally. The 9cm size is just under 4" wide, so it conceivably be a lovely teddy or doll hat as well-- just tack the points down. Uses any non-superwash worsted weight (like Galway Worsted or Cascade 220).
What we love about this is the complete adaptability to either men or women, and also the ability to use up oddments in any style of embellishment-- again, to the advantage of men or women. Treasured people get the whole set-- otherwise, split it up and give one item per person.
There are straight scarves and infinity scarves and all manner of confusing choices. But you could live happily with just this design, which is really just a long strip of brioche (knit one below) fabric using only one colour per row and slipping the other; then joined at the ends for an infinity scarf (or poncho), or not-- your choice. It's an excellent introduction to brioche and just imagine if you used a variegate (like Kureyon) on one side and a solid on the other... one-of-a-kind bliss, every time. Great on men or women.
This is so arresting you can't tell right away whether it's knit or crochet or represents some remarkable new hybrid technique (it's really crochet). This is a quiet "In your face" to everyone who as ever scoffed at what they perceive to be the ease or ubiquity of crochet; it's a bit technical and demands attention. But how stunning a piece, and how singular! Pick a beautiful fibre so everything's shown off properly, both skill and garment.
Everyone is familiar with granny squares, but a lot of people still might associate them with the back of Roseanne's couch. Here crochet expert Temple elevates the wrap (or throw, if you like) into art territory just by changing the individual motif a bit, making it in two halves with a seam, and choosing the loveliest yarn and colourways. Originally from Koigu Magazine #3.
We just love this. It's easy and fast but elegant, too, and looks great on men or women, and it's pretty much identically reversible front to back so it doesn't matter which side is facing out-- it always looks good. Long or short repeats shouldn't matter in the least, though we admit the long looks outstanding. Circular knitting at almost its easiest, and terribly good-looking.
|You are to be a guest in a house with a small child, age 2 or under. What to do? Footwear is always welcome, and a snap to knit. The pattern on the left, Sirdar 1483, is mostly particularly suited to boys; the pattern on the right, Sirdar 1478, is aimed at tiny girls. These are out-of-the-ordinary designs that work up superbly in any style of DK.|
Here are gorgeous capes, (all the rage this year) a Celtic Cape and beret from Hayfield and Ash Kearns’s Harrowsmith Cape with hood or collar options. Either of these will give your recipient, or you, a dramatic look.
Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton’s Maritorne may or may not be a cape, but it certainly has all the drama of one. The Sirdar Cape offers wonderful use of short rows (easy to learn in garter stitch) in chunky weight variegated yarn.
Capes are the perfect gift for a crafter who has a cool house or stitches while riding in the car. Arms and hands are free.
There are lots of cosy choices in the knitting and crochet world. For necks, for babies, for mugs, for dogs.
Anniki Leppik designed a Coffee Mug Cozy. It’s a fast and easy knit for experienced knitters and a good beginner’s choice to learn how to cable. Give the mug, too.
Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer calls her mobius Soft Cables. It’s a cosy face framer.
You can rely on Lyn Gemmell of Cabin Fever for no-sew patterns that are fast and wearable. Knit her Fancy Neck Cosy in a flash. Look, too, at her Cabled Neck Cosy.
And how perfect is this? Matching dog sweater and socks from Fiber Trends.
Just for Fun
Diane Soucy animal hats will get a big smile and be instantly on the recipient’s head when gifts are opened. Embarrassing photos are sure to follow.
Debonair Designs are a treasure trove of patterns for American Girl dolls. Cascadia is popular, but have a look too, at the Christmas pattern.
Can’t you just imagine Fiona Kelly’s crocheted and felted Marlion being dragged across the floor by a baby who hasn’t heard of Bob Marley, but loves the Marley styed shaggy mane?
Was Louet’s Trudy Van Stralen chuckling to herself when she designed the three pieces of Saskia?
Claire Fairall’s Felt Slippers with the pixyish styling will keep both ankles and feet warm and offer an opportunity to add personalized bling in place of the button. (I’m going to make a pair of these for myself.) Desiloop’s Easy Garter Stitch Booties need no further description. Louise LaMarche’s Blueberry Patch Ballerinas are double layered to give warmth to the most feminine of recipients and Bev Galeslas’s Felt Ballet Slippers are a variation on trendy ballet flats.
Make It Fast; No Sleeves
It’s no secret that this writer loves vests. There’s lots of knitting impact, less time, less yarn, and getting right on to the next project.
Michelle Porter has designed a Cable Collar Vest for Mirasol for the woman who likes to make an entrance. Carol Sunday’s French Canyon is a classic vest with anything but classic stitch texture and shaping. It’s a good choice for the woman or teen who likes sleek, form-fitting tops, skirts, and leggings with a stylish topper. Another famous designer, Melissa Leapman, has designed Inniskeen, shawl collared with a Celtic knot on the reverse, and no seams. High Irish drama. Claudia Wersing’s Cayenne vest is super speedy in super bulky yarn. Love the high neck.
Especially for Christmas
Along with the gifts for the holidays, there’s knitting and crocheting for the Christmas home. We know people who have treasured handmade stockings and ornaments. Bringing them out each year is a wonderful beginning to the celebration.
Claire Fairall’s Felt Christmas Stockings can be knit in the round or flat and there’s no need to know how to turn a heel. Terry Liann Morris’s Christmas Holiday stocking is a more traditional option with beautiful corrugated ribbing and stranded colourwork.
Gari Srawn has a collection of Christmas Softies including a sweet Santa, reindeer, and snowman with rolly-polly bottoms. Louise Silverman’s Christmas Stockings for Our Furry Friends are adorned with paw prints. Use the duplicate stitch chart to add the ‘friend’s‘ name. What about stitching both owner’s and pet’s names?
For the Sweetest Little Girl
This Rolled Brim Hat with a Flower by Yelena Chen is a very simple knit, and oh so sweet. Taiga Hilliard named this pretty lace dress for her sister, Mischa, the person who taught her to knit, and “very much a girl’s girl”. Girly, too, is a cabled tunic from James C. Brett and Fiber Trends' Warm Winter Dress.
Christine Guest’s Herringbone Scarf is an easy knit and very handsome. What about grey cashmere for pure luxury? Guest thoughtfully offers the pattern in fingering, sport, DK , or worsted weights so your stash may have the perfect yarn waiting. If cables are more his style, Valentina Georgieva’s scarf is a beauty. If you have time for a large project, Deb Gemmell’s Sarum Tunic is a good choice. No sewing, knit in the round and Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Naglar shoulder shaping (raglan shaping backwards!). And if you are a very fast knitter, or are planning for a February birthday, a ski sweater, Thunder Bay from Dale of Norway, might be a good choice.
High Drama Accessories
Most of us have a friend or relative who loves attention, or maybe, it’s we who do.
Anne Mende says her Pauka scarf will bite winter’s teeth off. Choose a friend’s favourite wild colours for Elizabeth Fallone’s Trapezoid or Daniel Yuhas’s Dreamcoat or make it Elizabethan with Sarah Jackson’s Geminio Neckwarmer.
Hand knit socks are a wonderful gift, as anyone who has worn them will testify.
Kate Atherley socks are a wonderful surprise-socks to wear when you know you’ll be taking off your shoes to snuggle on the couch. Stephannie Tallent’s Dad Socks are especially for the Dad (or Mom) with cold feet. For the gardener who just can’t wait for Spring, Carol’s Garden Socks from Terry Liann Morris will take their mind off the snow. Use up leftover sock yarn, with Joanne Turcotte’s His, Hers, and Ours Socks for babies.
Someone Wants a Shawl
Unless you receive a shawl request with many months warning, you might find yourself disappointing a loved one. But you can try these for short notice shawl knitting. Here are Pembroke from Andrea Rangel - lace in a chunky yarn, Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer’s Bearfoot Over the Shoulder Shawl, Desiloop’s Ananas Crocheted Shawlette in your choice of stash or posh yarn, and Mer Almagro’s Cognac - a quick garter stitch triangle edged in i-cord with wow-worthy tassles.
A Christmas (and later) Sweaters for Ourselves
Treat yourself for the holidays and after with one of these patterns.
Chanteuse is a simple and lovely customizable, wear-everywhere sweater. Sizes range from 29” to 50” and Mary Annarella includes instructions on adding short row bust darts. Knitting Pure and Simple’s Drape Front Cardigan is a top-down cardigan that’s as dressy or casual as the yarn you choose. Tabetha Hedrick’s Elderberry Cardigan is comfortable and just lovely. For the cable lover (that would be me), there's Carol Sunday’s Fisherman’s Daughter.
Here are gift ideas in special luxury yarns for the best of our friends.
Louise LaMarche’s Lacy Bohemian Mitts in a cashmere and possum down yarn qualify. One skein of the yarn weighs just 25 gms. so if shipping to a friend is needed, it will be quite affordable. HeartStrings FiberArts Buffalo Beaded Socks in buffalo down yarn are both sturdy and luxurious. Pam Allen’s Fresco Mitts, named for the wool, alpaca, and angora yarn, are a surprisingly easy knit. Katya Frankel’s Kyla is knit in an alpaca/ Bluefaced Leicester yarn for softness and stitch definition.
For Your Favourite Little Ones
Carol Feller’s Ravi Junior is wonderful for babies and children; or make the elegant grown up version. The Welcome Home Baby Set is a collaborative effort of two designers, the bear by Laura Nelkin and the hat and booties by Chris Carroll.
Knitted Mitts and Gloves
Mitts and gloves are always welcome.
Sirdar’s Glove pattern, for ages 4 through adult, has every option you could imagine, and they are knit flat for those of us who can’t imagine knitting fingers in the round.
Deb Gemmell’s Last Minute Mittlets feature a brilliant thumb gusset that really fits a hand. I’m making these for my ‘always driving’ niece who lives in Victoria, British Columbia. I like that Gemmell encourages free thinking and includes a blank chart so you can make up your own design for the back of the hand.
Classic Elite’s Fingerless Mitts in varigated worsted weight yarn are a speedy knit with a band of chevron lace on the cuff. For a texture loving individual, Dagmar Mora’s Rowan Mittens are a handsome choice.
From the Ambassador's Desk
- Gayle Clow
When in the car, my husband prefers to do the driving and I prefer to do the knitting and because it’s essential that I backseat drive as well, I choose easy-to-get-back-to patterns like the Ruby Spice Cowl from Elizabeth Smith. He, of course, would like if I had to concentrate a bit more on my knitting, so the impressive but not terribly challenging Japanese Feather Stole by Anne Hanson might please him more. Somewhere between the two in terms of challenge is the Cordova cardigan from Tricksy Knitter. I would be happy making or wearing any or all of these.