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Newsletter - April 2014
Julia Grunau was interviewed by Benjamin Levisay, CEO of XRX Inc. on Monday, April 20th at 12:00 noon Eastern Standard time on his 1 hour Fiber Hooligan podcast. XRX Inc. is responsible for the popular Stitches events and publishes books from well established designers as well as Knitter’s Magazine, so Livesay is one of the most knowledgable people in the industry.
This newsletter celebrates the patterns that you, our customers, saw, were captivated by, and bought in 2013. It's always fun for us, too. Day by day we see you buying patterns, one by one, but to see the totals is always interesting and sometimes surprising.
If you find yourself especially enamoured of a designer in this Best Selling Patterns of 2013 compilation and would like a quick link to all their designs on Patternfish, go to our Best Selling resource in From the Ambassador’s Desk.
In this issue ...
From the Prime Minister's Desk
- Julia Grunau
This month we celebrate our bestsellers from 2013. This is the most popular newsletter issue of the year, and we know you're going to love it.
It's a remarkable collection with a huge scope-- there are some surprises, and some enduringly popular work. I think it's fair to say that these pieces are really investment patterns that will never stop rewarding you, both in the knitting and the wearing.
It is also, alas, a good time to address a particularly vicious kind of pattern theft.
From time to time people write us to say that someone on eBay (or similar sites) is selling something that they don't own the rights to. That seller is a thief.
They are photocopying patterns produced by designers and publishers and selling the copies for their own financial gain-- just like pirated music or movies. Unless they say they are selling originals, watch out. Even the word 'used' can mean a photocopy. Sometimes they say they've sold scores of a design that only ever appeared in a knitting magazine, never a leaflet-- how many of those magazines did they buy? Really?! Very often the designer's or publisher's name is cropped out of the copy so it's harder to trace.
This is, of course, despicable behaviour. It hurts everyone except the criminal, and deprives honest designers and publishers of the revenues they should be earning and have the right to collect.
If you do buy patterns from auction sites, never assume that the seller is also the copyright holder. Never assume that designs are public domain unless they look at least 90 years old (and even then... ). Make sure you read the negative feedback for a seller; often their customers complain that they only received a copy instead of the original they may have been expecting. If so, stay clear. Report any suspected infringements to eBay, the designer, the publisher, us-- everyone you can find.
We now happily return you to what you really came here for! (That is to say, everything else.) Thanks for reading.
Best Selling Patterns 2013
Best Selling Knit Pattern
Diane Soucy’s Knitting Pure and Simple patterns are staples at local yarn stores and perennial favourites at Patternfish. Soucy’s patterns are well known for being well written, easy to knit, and well designed for a wide range of sizes for women, children, men, babies, and feet.
Patternfish’s Best Selling knit pattern is the Top Down Trapeze Pullover and it’s easy to see why. It’s easy to knit, easy to throw on anytime, with or without a warming layer underneath, and easy to wear with its flattering drapey fit. It’s knit top down, circularly, and there’s no sewing. What could be better?
Best Selling Crochet Pattern
Kim Miller of Knot*Sew*Cute designed the best selling crochet pattern and the best selling afghan of 2013, all in one, the Chunky Cables Decorative Throw. This pattern has an amazing 63,000 plus pins on Pinterest as of April 1, 2014. What’s its appeal? It’s not just decorative, but also warm and cosy; it’s made with really thick yarn (7 single crochet stitches to 4") so it’s fast to make; cables have seemingly universal appeal; if you know, or learn basic crochet stitches, you could make this. Miller’s instructions are terrific.
Best Selling Cardigans
Diane Soucy has a way with cardigans like this Summer Open Cardigan. It belongs in everyone’s cupboard whether you have a skimpy dress that you want to wear to the office before going out after work or you like to have a/c protection. It lends its self to bright colours and just about any style of yarn as long as you get gauge, 14 stocking stitches to 4". you like to have a/c The strong vertical line is slimming, too.
How clever to show this versatile design in the popular long-colour change yarn, with tiny sequins, too! The Top Down Drape Front Cardigan is one of the most popular styles over the past 10 years, but it’s so flattering on so many bodies that the style concept shows no sign of subsiding. Be sure to check out the back view on the pattern page for the view as you leave the room.
Best Selling Sweaters
The appeal of Tuja, from Dale of Norway, is evident: the sophistication, the complex cabled look without being exceedingly time consuming, the body skimming fit.
Diane Soucy’s Top Down Swing Pullover skims the body with a looser than indicated gauge for the yarn and the sleeve length is perfect for getting work done. I love the move to 3/4 sleeves by so many designers. So intelligent.
Bulky sweaters are important for an active life. Knitting Pure and Simple’s Weekend Neck Down Pullover, is a raglan sleeved top down knit, sized from 38" to 54", no sewing, and gauge is an awesome 2 stocking stitches to the inch in bulky yarn.
Just look at the variety in these five 2013 best selling sweaters: cables, swirls, texture, and lace, raglan, set in and drop sleeves, top down or bottom up construction. There is a similarity - all these are worsted weight.
Best Selling Tunics
Tunics, the casual coverup, have become a new staple for women and lots of them have found Kelly Machado’s Sara Tunic perfect for summer and fast to knit if an appealing winter vacation comes their way.
Best Selling Coats and Jackets
It’s easy to see how this Stylecraft jacket took top honours. It’s a beginner rated knit, the simplest possible. One way to look at pattern ratings is to see what you don’t have to do to complete the pattern successfully. For this jacket, there’s no setting in of sleeves, no waist shaping, no front edge shaping. This pattern will make a beginner look like an expert, and even experts need a relaxing project from time to time.
Sue McCain’s Boston Top-Down Hooded Coat is a coat for weather. Its inspiration was McCain’s move to Boston, beautiful in summer, but cold and windy sometimes, demanding a long, hooded, tightly knit coat for all but the most frigid days.
Best Selling Vests and Tops
It’s no surprise to the editor that there are two vests in the top 10 patterns of 2013. I rarely see a vest I don’t want to knit, and these two are among my favourites, Cabin Fever’s Side Pattern Vest by Deb Gemmell, and The Prudence Crowley Vest by Robin Hunter.
Gemmell has a wonderful habit of encouraging knitters to apply their own ideas to patterns and become their own designers. The Side Pattern Vest is a wonderful example. Hunter’s flattering and surprisingly easy to knit pattern has been a favourite with Patternfish folk for years.
Best Selling Hoodie
There was a time when hoodies weren’t a wardrobe staple although those times are a bit hard to remember. Diane Soucy’s Neck Down Hooded Tunic for Women is the favourite. It’s the warm and cozy sweater you gravitate to, for both knitting and wearing.
Best Selling Skirt
Trudy Van Stralen designs the most feminine of patterns and this skirt, Sasha says it all. Knitters like it, too, for the bonus of different lace patterns to choose from, or use all of them, on the three ruffles.
Best Selling Scarves
Cecily Glowik MacDonald designed the Firefly Fringed Scarf for Classic Elite Yarns. With the need for Northern Hemisphere people to keep themselves warm with scarves, it’s a bit surprising that a summery scarf would be the most popular, although wearing scarves as jewelry has became a strong trend.
Best Selling Shawls and Wraps
Say the word shawl to a knitter, and while you may be envisioning ethereal lace, she could be mean Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl, or perhaps be thinking of a heavily cabled stole for night time warmth.
The most popular Patternfish shawl is Annie Dempsey’s Knit Ruana, a beginner’s pattern with instructions for worsted, Bulky, or Super Bulky weights. Just about any yarn will do, in any texture you like will do, as long as it will drape well.
Jeanne Abel’s Starry, Starry Night is a favourite every year. Use 4.0mm (US 6) needles with lace weight yarn to achieve the gorgeous drape. Even if you haven’t tried beads before, do try them. They add weight and sparkle.
Best Selling CowlsDagmar Mora’s Rowan Cowl has much to recommend it. Among its qualities are the superb attention to detail of the rowan tree-inspired design and its wind-fighting structure thanks to lots of tight knit and purl through the back loop stitches. And, it is beautiful. Diane Augustin’s Everything’s OK Cowls were designed and knitted while waiting for a surgery to be over. They are named for the day’s happy outcome.
Best Selling Men's Patterns
The top two best selling patterns for men, Knitting Pure and Simple’s Neckdown Pullover for Men and the neck down Hooded Pullover for Men are both as simple as knitting can get: top down knitting, raglan sleeves, no shaping, worsted weight yarn. Both are the easy-to-wear, comfortable styles that men want. And the top down construction means both can be knit to fit.
Best Selling Baby Dress
Taiga Hilliard designed this charming little Rio Dress to be "an heirloom piece to be handed down from baby to baby" and it certainly has that feel. Is it the seed stitch, the length, the fullness of the skirt? No matter, it works.
Best Selling Toy
Chris de Longpre has a talent for toys, like Safari Friends. Her designs are perennial favourites for seasonal celebrations and gift giving.
Best Selling Baby Patterns
When you are searching for a knit for a new baby, whether you are a friend, aunt, grandmother, mom, what could be more appealing than a pattern called Last Minute Baby? It’s "blindingly fast" to knit, by virtue of top down construction, raglan sleeves, and no-finish garter stitch on all edges. Deb Gemmell of Cabin Fever included eyelets that are sweet for a baby. You change sizing from preemie to 6 months by changing the needle size, not the number of stitches. This makes it easy to repeat for when the baby gets a bit older.
Best Selling Children's Patterns
For children who don’t mind having clothes pulled on and off their heads, ponchos are great for Spring and Fall weather. The best selling children’s pattern is this Children’s Poncho, with or without hood or fringe, as the little fashion plate decides.
While the most popular children’s patterns aren’t just for little girls, even the unisex ones have been modelled by girls, except for one rugged design.
Best Selling Booties
We’re so happy to see the popularity of Bernice Vollick’s patterns. Sadly, Bernice passed away recently. We are so grateful that she did leave us the gifts of her careful, clever, designs. This brilliant baby jacket, Baby Compass, is not a 2013 best seller, but ought to be to my mind. It’s included here as a tribute to Bernice.
Her Magic Number Booties, designed in three yarn weights, are almost guaranteed not to come off. Well, not come off easily anyway. Vollick suggests stash yarns, bits and pieces combined, if you like, for this speedy project.
Best Selling Mitts, Mittlets, and Fingerless Gloves
What a great accessory! It’s quite astonishing how many different techniques can be worked into one pair of mitts, mittlets, and fingerless gloves.
This brilliant innovation from Deb Gemmell, her Last Minute Mittlets, was the most popular pattern last year. Gemmell is always trying new ways to make her designs fit better, whether she’s working on a cardigan or mittlets. The innovative thumb gusset allows you to keep your hands warm and still text, or paint houses, as my niece, Carolyn, does.
Best Selling Hats
Hats have such great appeal for a knitter - they are small, sizing isn’t too much of an issue, you can use stash yarn, you can try out new techniques with little commitment, colours set the mood, they are easy to mail, it doesn’t matter too much if the hat gets lost, and there’s an adorable, much loved face right underneath it, maybe your own.
The best selling children’s hat is Yelena Chen’s Rolled Brim Hat with Flower, a simple, sweet, beginner knitter’s pattern. It’s all stocking stitch and reverse stocking stitch, knit flat and seamed. The hem occurs naturally with the stocking stitch; the ridges are joined and embellished with a flower. You could try not joining the ridges or adding stripes for variations.
Best Selling Socks
We’ve heard many yarn store owners swear by this sock, the perfectly named Beginners Lightweight Sock for anyone who is eager to learn. Soucy says, "Many beginning knitters can knit these socks with no help" although all the best yarn store owners will do their utmost to help new sock knitters succeed.
Best Selling Slippers
Diane Soucy made her Mukluk Slippers for Children and they were such a hit that she was virtually forced by her fans to create an Adult Mukluk, too. Both patterns give you a durable, thick, warm slipper in either high or low top and are wonderful examples of Soucy’s pattern writing skill. While reading through the adult Mukluk pattern I envision a skilled knitter sitting beside me saying, "Place a safety pin to mark the right side." or "Work even on these stitches, no more increases." or "Be sure to bind off loosely." It’s comforting.
Best Selling Afghans
Beyond establishing an atmosphere of warmth in a home, afghans are also flat canvasses; they are good places to try out stitch and cable patterns and other innovations.
Annie Dempsey, creator of the Curlicue Coverlet, with its flowing, musical qualities, is a virtuoso of afghan design. Virtuoso is defined as "a person highly skilled in music or another artistic pursuit."
Best Selling Crochet PatternsWhat variety there is in the top selling crochet patterns! Just about every possible category is covered; Kim Miller’s Cottage Slippers, Dana Eckert’s Set of Hanging Baskets, Gayle Bunn’s Crochet Cardigan and her Crocheted Dress, Linda Skuja’s Triangle Cowl, Ele Shnier’s Thedda Textured Bucket Hat, and a 1988 classic for babies rescued from the Peter Pan archives, the 2-ply Matinee Coats.
Best Selling Weaving Patterns
The weaving pattern category is small in size but mighty in depth, much of it’s power due to master weaver Laverne Waddington. Her Andean Pebble Weave pattern is available in German, French, and Italian. Click on the pattern photos to find links to the patterns in these languages. These pebble weave designs are both traditional and contemporary.
Patternfish's 16,000th Pattern
At Patternfish, we choose our patterns to mark each thousandth with care. For the 16,000th, we are happy to honour Stories in Stitches Volume 1 and to make ourselves doubly happy, we have chosen Stories in Stitches Volume 2 for pattern number 16,001.
Stories in Stitches are by Donna Druchunas and Ava Coleman, two women passionate about the art, craft, and history of knitting. From the moment I opened the first volume, I was entranced. The writing is skilful; the art of the book is appealing; the designs are at once modern and steeped in the past. These books belong in the library of anyone similarly entranced with past and present of our craft.
In March we were delighted to welcome six new designers and publishers to Patternfish.
What can we say about Rowan? The patterns are exquisite, the photography always appealing, the yarns a joy. In 1978, two Yorkshire men saw an opportunity to introduce colourful, contemporary rug weaving yarns and started Rowan. Quickly, with the help of Kaffe Fassett, the focus changed to hand knitting yarns. The rest is pretty much history. In-house and freelance designers are true to the ethos to "inspire and teach people the joy of knitting." This Kim Hargreaves sweater, Chamomile, with its impeccable attention to detail, yet an easy pattern to execute, is the debut Rowan pattern.
As the pattern page declares, "Here is a pattern representing the best of what the UK Hand Knitting Association has to offer." This organization aims to raise the profile of hand knitting. Patterns are designed by members and contribute to the worthy aims of the organization. This baby pattern includes three styles and a little cloche style hat, all with easy to knit picot edgings.
Grape hyacinthe flowers inspired Rita Maassen to design a brand new, not to be found anywhere else, lace pattern for this wonderful shawl. Maassen’s patterns are a work of art themselves, with great attention to ensuring that the knitter will feel confident in each step. Maassen is enamoured not only with lace, but also with colour work and cleverly shaped stocking stitch garments that will keep a knitter interested.
The gorgeous patterns from the Debbie Bliss Magazine lead off with her classic Cable Vent Jacket. This cardigan has universal appeal and demonstrates the designer’s impeccable attention to detail with mirrored cables both front and back and exquisite shaping but is not difficult to make. Check out the Collection to Date. There’s something for every knitter: patterns for babies, men, women, and home in many different techniques, for beginner to experienced knitters.
Juniper Moon Farm debuts at Patternfish with a varied collection of patterns constructed in their own lovely yarns. Like many publishers and yarn purveyors, Juniper Moon Farm has a stable of freelance designers who are happy to construct hats, sweaters, mitts, cowls, and shawls in a range of techniques. Wren, by Marie Grace Smith, is a seemingly simple summer cardigan knit from the yoke down, beginning and ending with garter stitch for a simple and speedy finish.
Sayjai Thawornsupacharoen of K and J Dolls debuts with a crocheted family of 8 Puffy Pals. Body and feet are the same; character and variety is added with specialized ears. A perfect pattern to say goodbye to snow and cold is Sayjai’s Daffodil Spring Fairy Pattern.
From the Ambassador's Desk
- Gayle Clow
I always like it when an online company makes it easy for me to find whatever it is that I want to see or buy, so I thought it might be helpful to provide this quick resource to all the best selling designers and publishers of 2014.
If you find yourself especially enamoured of one of the designers in this Best Selling Patterns of 2013 compilation and would like a quick link to find all their designs on Patternfish, here they are.
Click on the name and you’ll get to all their patterns. Designers are in alphabetical order by first name; publishers are in alphabetical order.