To change your email address, login, click profile, and edit your address.
Newsletter - June 2015
This June Patternfish newsletter features Glenna C. as our Designer of the Month, some delicious design ‘recipes’ instead of patterns for leisurely holiday knitting, 9 new kCDesigns, and lots of hand picked choices.
My choices for June are all either beginner or easy patterns. Enough said! It’s almost summer, time for leisurely knitting.
When we search, we search for patterns, but sometimes, especially in anticipation of our summer holidays, a pattern isn’t something we really want, but we do want to be knitting. Call us addicts! It’s a harmless addiction, all things considered.
Here are a few patterns that are more properly ‘design recipes’ than patterns. Each encourages knitters to trust themselves and be free occasionally of a follow-the-steps pattern.
Here’s variety in patterns to crochet this summer: a cowl for spring through autumn with the perfect name of Silver Twilight, a baby mobile that will take just a few hours in case you forgot about that baby shower, and a little girl’s blanket, hat, and cardigan embellished with bobbles.
If you like to be challenged, but at the same time would like some time-saving assistance to set up your pattern for personal use, Lucy Neatby's Andean Vest Recipe and Sharon Winsauer’s Jacobean Square could be for you. Attention to detail is required, as well as good skills, but kCDesign's formatting is available for both.
Seven Desert Rose designs are now available as kCDesigns - patterns that will have you covered from shoulder to toe-tip.
Designer of the Month: Glenna C.
What do we love about Glenna C.? Her sweaters and accessories are beautifully thought out and designed to fit a woman’s body as well as her life. As if that wasn’t enough, we love her personal approach to design and her compelling openness about what drives it. When we read one of her patterns we can see the person behind it. Is there a knitter of more than a few years who can’t relate to Glenna C.’s need to design?
She tells us: “My first designs were things that I wanted to knit but couldn’t find patterns for.” Her first pattern was a DK weight wrap cardigan, published in 2006 on Knitty (alas, we don’t have it on Patternfish). It was followed quickly by her Viper Pilots Sock pattern. Viper Pilots, the pattern that continues to be her best selling design, came about because she wanted to blend knitting design with geeky things that she loves, like television. In the case of the Viper Pilots, Glenna was ingeniously celebrating the pilots from Battlestar Galactica with swooping v-shaped cables and twisted stitch swirls. There are many of us who love television, but who among us would celebrate that love as openly as Glenna C.?
Other things we love about Glenna C. are her confidence in knitters and her desire to empower us. She frankly states that she designs for those who are beyond the beginner stage, are comfortable with the basics of knitting, and are starting to explore new techniques. Each of her patterns provides full instructions, detailed descriptions of the cables and other stitch patterns used, and designer notes to ensure that a knitter who is challenging him or herself has lots of resources, right there in the pattern. Glenna concludes, “I really think a lot of us are ‘intermediate’ knitters and we want to knit things that are fun and interesting - at least I hope so!”
Read on for more from Designer of the Month Glenna C. about what inspires her, lessons she needed to learn as a designer, what she loves about the internet, and why sometimes we ought to try knitting “off grid”, without the resources of the internet.
It takes commitment, passion, and discipline to become an established designer. What drove you in the beginning? What drives you now? I’m a very project-oriented person and hate to be bored, so designing patterns is very satisfying. I can dive into a creative idea, see it through to completion, and then find another idea to work on.
What inspires you? Comfort inspires me a lot right now. Sweaters are probably my favourite thing to design at the moment, always with wool yarn, because there is nothing so immediately comforting as wearing a hand knit wool sweater. And I find cable patterns are very visually comforting, whether on fine yarn or Aran weight. Here in Ontario the sweater-wearing months really out-number the non-sweater-wearing months, and we have had some miserably cold winters the last few years. So, in my mind I’m always getting ready for the next sweater season, thinking about what I’d like to design next, what kinds of cable stitches I want to incorporate.
Do you have a particular customer in mind when you start a design? The knitter I design for is someone who is comfortable with the basics of knitting and has started to explore new techniques. I frequently use cable patterns, for example, and anyone knitting a sweater has to do at least a little foundational preparation work to measure themselves and decide what size they are and whether they want to modify anything in a pattern to get a sweater to fit them. So there are some skills involved that are beyond the beginner, but in my mind none of these is too hard that you can’t learn and improve one project at a time.
What did you have to learn or unlearn, to be a designer? One of the biggest challenges has been learning how to respond to the creative process when things aren’t working out, or how to deal with it when a design isn’t coming together how I want. The best parts of designing are when you have a clear idea to start, yarn ready to go, and even a pattern name already picked out, and you knit it and write it up and it’s great from start to finish. The worst parts are when you design and re-design something two or three times and you still don’t like how it’s coming out. So, I’ve had to learn to make the “rip back and re-knit” sooner rather than later (otherwise there’s just more wasted time knitting the thing that isn’t working), and to let myself discard something altogether if it just isn’t working out. Luckily those experiences are the minority, not the majority, but they do happen and it’s how we learn and get better at what we’re doing.
What are your best selling designs? A few of my cabled sweaters are my best sellers – my Locke Street cardigan, Jurisfiction, and Royale pullover. The top seller over time is still my Viper Pilots sock pattern, though, which is a comforting indication that I’m not the only geeky knitter out there! These are all patterns that I really enjoyed working on and love to wear, so it’s very gratifying to know that others have had the same experience.
Which designs are your personal favourites? My Rustique cardigan from this past fall is still one of my favourites! I wore it so much this past winter, I love the cable stitches I used on it and also was glad I chose Aran weight wool for it, because this winter was so cold. It’s made me want to do more cabled cardigans in Aran weight and I am thinking about another one for this coming season. On the opposite side of things, my Empire Avenue cardigan is another favourite, but for the spring and early fall. It’s light and comfortable and I like the lace pattern I chose for it. I get compliments on it whenever I wear it. It’s a fingering-weight sweater which takes longer to knit, but I would like to include more of those in my designs in the future.
The internet has become so important to selling knitting and crochet patterns. What do you like about it? Are there any aspects of it that you think are harmful? There are so many fabulous resources online. If you have a laptop or a tablet/iPad with you while you are knitting, you can look up just about any technique or glossary term right away. You also have access to so many patterns and yarn sellers! And you can “meet” other knitters. These are the really fabulous things about the internet, and a lot of this was barely a glimmer in the eye just 10 years ago.
What I think is the harmful side of this is that it is so easy to connect, search, report/post about what you’re working on, that it can take away from the reflective part of the craft. Just sitting with your knitting, the moments where it is just your brain and the project, are some of the most helpful moments because we have to learn to figure it out. We learn a lot in the moments where we find a mistake, and either fix it or rip it back. When you discover your mistake on your own, and fix it on your own, that is a powerful thing and will make you a better knitter in the long run – but it’s definitely not a fun moment while you’re experiencing it. So it is very easy right now to interrupt that experience to seek advice and consolation from our online friends! We learn a lot in the moments when we encounter a new technique, find a resource to learn it, and do it with our own hands. If we are constantly interrupting all of these moments to check in online, then we also interrupt the learning process that’s going on between our mind and hands.
I love the internet and the people connected by it. It is absolutely appropriate to reach out for help when you are struggling. At the same time, I think many of us are more capable than we give ourselves credit for, so we owe it to ourselves to at least try it once on our own first and see how it goes.
The times when I am most productive are when I give myself permission to step away from the online world for a little while. There’s a reason we all look forward to vacation knitting in the summer, and permission to go ‘off grid!’
See all 53 of Glenna C.’s inspired accessories and sweaters here.
Our Newest Designers and Publishers
In May, we welcomed three new designers to Patternfish.
Hats, cowls, and neckwarmers as well as shawls, scarves, and mittens - click on Nina Machlin Dayton’s Collection to Date to see her wide and ingenious variety of accessories. The Faberge Cowl is gloriously beaded, but need not be, if you prefer the design beadless. Orvieto is an easy-toknit slouchy hat for baby through large adult sizes. Simple make 1 increases create 8 segments in the crown and rows of knits and purls make the rich borders. Warm heads for all!
Maeve Ulrick designs socks; she designs top-down knit socks, all the better to get your size correct, although patterns do offer small, medium, large, and extra-large options. These socks deserve to be seen with their cables and twisted stitches from toe to cuff. Aethelind’s side cables are reminiscent of the tracks left by a serpent in the sand. Brush up on your Saxon! The Clover Ribbons Socks have beautifully detailed twisted stitches.
Perhaps not all of Shannon Squire’s accessory patterns are for ‘enthusiastic beginners’ but these two certainly are. Both Ananke and Alma Lou will create highly wearable scarves or shawlettes using your most special skein of fingering weight yarn. Both patterns use an i-cord bind-off; it’s a useful method to have in your personal tool box.
Collection of the Month - Just a Bit of Lace!
This was fun! Following previous forays into the Patternfish site, I wondered what would happen if I searched for June in the “Search text, yarns, manufacturers…” box and 45 of them appeared.
An unsurprising number were knitted and crocheted in gorgeous pale hues - perfect for this month, although some of the designs will have to wait for Fall to wear.
From the Ambassador's Desk
- Gayle Clow
As I wrote newsletters, posted patterns, and simply searched, just like you, I’ve noticed patterns with the same name. Naming patterns can be a challenge, so much so that one of our long time designers, Laura Patterson of Fiber Dreams, asks her customers to help her with that. Here is her latest pattern, her 123rd on Patternfish. Tronsen is a garter stitch and cabled reversible cowl, named for the Tronsen Ridge, a ridge in the Cascade Mountain range in Patterson’s new home, Washington state.
And here are a few patterns I’ve stumbled across, each one named ‘Elizabeth’.