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Newsletter - October 2014
It’s gift season 2014 and the Prime Minister and Editor have invited two knitters, a brand new one, Sandra, and a very experienced one, Dale, to make pattern choices in our place. In addition, we’re introducing patterns featuring knitCompanion formatting for the first time. See From the PM’s Desk for details about these and Julia Grunau’s story about meeting Sally Holt, knitCompanion’s founder. We’ve collected knitCompanion patterns in this newsletter, and you can see all the patterns available to date right here. kCDesigns are pre-formatted so you can just start knitting.
A wonderful designer, Sally Melville, is back with some new and characteristically innovative designs.
In this issue ...
Sally Melville is one of the Editor’s favourite designers. Her first book, Styles, was the first knitting book I bought and I liked it not only for the patterns but also for how she encouraged knitters to develop their own creativity and look at knitting in new ways.
It’s such a pleasure to introduce two Sally Melville designs, L’Enveloppe and Lace Meets Scarf, both available in kCDesign. Go to the pattern pages, read the descriptions, and you’ll get a good understanding of how Melville’s inventive mind works. She gives the knitter a garment that is not only beautiful, but intensely wearable.
Our Newest Designers and Publishers
In September we welcomed 6 new publishers and designers to Patternfish.
Bergros Kjartansdottir debuts at Patternfish with designs that evoke her Icelandic heritage, but are uniquely wearable designs for this century. Blaskel has a yoke that is recognizable as Icelandic, but was inspired by the blueshells (actually blue shells!) found on Iceland’s coast. Garter stitch hem and cuffs give the jacket weight and style. With Solrisa, it’s quite possible to imagine to the sunrise over an Icelandic village that inspired it, a comfortable sweater/tunic/ jacket with seed stitch hem and cuffs.
Have you ever seen a pattern publishing name that is a promise as well as a brand? 10 Hours or Less makes that promise for both knit and crochet patterns. Not only are they quick to make (lots of them fewer than 10 hours), but most, like Sumptuous Scallops, offer instructions for making any size with any weight of yarn. You’ll notice, too, that the knit and crochet options are sometimes complimentary, like this cabled knit scarf and its crochet companion.
Some designers become known early in their careers for a focus on particular yarn weight and stitch patterns, but Kelene Kinnersly is confident with both cardigans in worsted weight, like her Oceanna Cardigan, and her lace shawlette in DK yarn, Pashmina. All Kinnersly designs are characterized by attention to detail, like i-cord bind offs and beautifully shaped necklines.
Lete’s Knits' Justyna Lorkowska excels with big knits, like The Big Cable, a dramatic coat or jacket, with just a few simple horseshoe cables running from hem to neckline. Garter stitch ensures warmth and easy knitting. The Fuego Hat, a one worsted skein pattern, features a cable pattern that is unusual from cast-on to pom pom and has twisted stitch ribs that hug the head.
Tamara Ell’s designs in knit and crochet are dramatically different from one another. Ell’s Lace Infinity Cardigan’s impeccable instructions ensure complete understanding of her one piece, no-seaming process. The Drop Leaf Shawlette, a wonderful gift for a fun loving friend, is adaptable to just about whatever yarn you have on hand. Spinners in particular, take note.
We don’t often knit cardigans as gifts, but Lithos, by Jennifer Dassau of The Knitting Vortex, has a feature that makes it possible to get one done by the holidays, bulky yarn. It’s a quick knit, but not without some intriguing construction, so the knitter will learn as well as produce. Dassau’s shawls, like Rondelay, are creatures of non-traditional shaping, shaping that wraps and drapes beautifully. Choose a variegated yarn for this one.
Gifts With Elegance
Most of us have a friend whose elegance we admire. These slippers, ascots, and Katya Frankel’s beloved Ritzy could fill the gift need. I’ve made Natalie Servant’s Strand of Pearls and always feel special wearing it. Or if you are feeling ambitious, choose Jared Flood’s Girasole as a blanket or shawl.
What is the Perfect Gift - Hats, Scarves, or Cowls?
It’s a debate: are hats the perfect holiday gift, or are scarves? Or would you vote for cowls, the gift that didn’t really exist a decade ago? All three are warm and don’t require much in the way of specific sizing. Hats and cowls use less yarn and take less time than scarves. The only necessity for each is the ‘no itch’ factor.
If you think hats are the best gift choice, here are some choices we like for everyone from newborns to grownups and everyone in between.
Scarves and Shawls
Shawls become scarves when the the weather turns. These choices lean to the simple and several recommend using needles a size or two larger than the ball band recommendation for good drape.
These cowl options are close-fitting or loopy, knit or crochet. They can be for men or women depending very much on the yarn you choose, and all are virtually guaranteed to be warm.
If you are going to make mittens for a gift for anyone but children, they need to be very special, or they need to be especially warm.
Fingerless Mitts and Gloves
When the occasion calls for leather gloves, but you want warm hands, too, fingerless mittens provide welcome warmth. Just don’t knit them too tight and use soft, natural fibre yarn.
Hand made socks are such a treat. Here are socks for the crocheter, for the knitter who prefers to knit flat, not circularly, and for the fan of variegated yarns.
Gifts For Dogs
The nice thing about making gifts for dogs is they never say they don’t like it, or it’s the wrong colour, or it doesn’t fit. Include a favourite treat in the package and the joy will be guaranteed.
Slippers - The Winter Necessity
There may be more people wearing these Knitted Mukluk Slippers from Knitting Pure and Simple than any other hand knitted slipper. It’s becoming a Patternfish tradition to include these extra warm slippers for kids and adults in our gift newsletter. For a fitted slipper, Kris Basta’s Options Slippers for men, women, and children are popular. The favourite crocheted slipper pattern is from Knot*Sew*Cute, their Cottage Slippers.
Babies first holidays are very special for aunts, related or otherwise, grandmothers, and moms. Some of these selections are pure baby, while others are designed to fit all the way to age 7. Lucy Neatby’s Storm Mountain Hat may be knit for newborns to adults.
From the Ambassador's Desk
- Gayle Clow
If someone were to ask me what gift I wanted, I would say slippers. My feet are always cold and so are my ankles, so the slippers I want would cover more than my feet.