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Newsletter - October 2016
There are gift givers who begin knitting and crocheting in January. Then there are the rest of us who need to feel a chill in the air before we are stimulated to get a move on. Welcome to our annual gift issue. You’ll find a definite preference for the small, the fast, and the easy.
In this issue ...
Click on any one of these selections to get right to the patterns, and when you see a photo and description that appeals to you, click on the photo and you’ll get right to the catalog page with all the details you need to know about that design.
Super Fast Patterns - To Knit
Small projects with big needles and bulky yarn make for fast knits.
Super Fast Patterns - To Crochet
It’s a fact; crochet takes less time than knitting to create the same finished volume. That, alone, is a very good reason to learn to crochet.
Elegant dressers have as much need for warm mittens as the rest of us. Those can be hard to find at retail, but not for a knitter.
These options are for the more rustically inclined - snowball fight enthusiasts, perhaps.
Fingerless mitts are available in elegant and rustic varieties, like mittens, although much depends on the yarn you choose.
Knitted socks are a special treat. They feel great and can be unique expressions of the recipient’s personality.
Knitted slippers are as popular as knitted socks; best of all, approximate sizing will do.
Knitting Pure and Simple’s Mukluk Slippers are a gift issue tradition. Thousands of these have been made since 2011; thousands more in the next 5 years we wager.
For something just as warm but a bit fancier, give the Cowichan-inspired Mukluks.
Each of these is quite a bit different from the usual layette-style patterns. And it’s such fun to add a cuddly toy.
Gifts for the home are terrific for no-size-to-worry-about options - rugs, afghans, pillows, and even a sweet tea cozy.
An homage to Christmas - three sock patterns (one for wearing, two for hanging), and an extravagance of motifs, many for Christmas, most for any stranded knitting project you may choose.
It wasn’t so long ago that cowls were unknown, but they are part of our winter wardrobes now, replacing scarves for many men and women.
Shoulder wraps or capelets - no matter what you call them, they are cozy and comforting knits for someone you want to keep warm.
One Skein Shawls
One skein shawls and shawlettes are practical accessories that can turn luxurious with the choice of a special yarn.
Stash Busting Gifts
Get inspired by your stash to make a cowl, poncho, mitts, and even socks.
Gifts To Contain Gifts
Sometimes a small treasure, or money, is just the right gift. It’s fun to enclose jewelry or even the always-appreciated gift card in knit or crochet.
Your choice - warmth, fashion, or fun - beanie, beret, slouchy hat or headband.
Pretty Gifts for a Good Friend
Choosing the perfect colour in a luxurious yarn for a pretty shawl or scarf for a good friend is a gift of love.
Gifts for Men
You don’t have to make everything you knit for men in grey yarn, but there must be some good reason so many of these designers choose that colour.
Pattern Sets = Lots of Gifts
Buy a pattern set each holiday season and after a few years you’ll have more than enough design options for gifts for all time, for everyone.
The SnoBuddy Family makes its annual appearance in the Patternfish gift newsletter, along with a doll, a camel, rabbits, and a trio of cat, dog, and bunny. Plus hanging fishes and blocks for the babies.
Gift Issue Guest - Magda Goledzinowska
My beautiful friend, Magda, is of Polish descent, but the grand cultural tradition of knitting did not settle in her genes. Her talents lie in other directions: a Phd. in Linguistics, the mom of two charming, lively children, and a career in the academic field. I asked her to select what she would like to receive as gifts for herself and what her husband and children would like.
Magda remembers her grandmother knitting all winter and she would “… make pillows from goose feathers and spin yarn. How life changed over there in a span of 30 years!”
Magda would like a hat and prefers elegant styles. It’s difficult to find elegance and warmth, all in one hat, but two of Marlaina Bird’s attracted her, for their soft look, simplicity, and femininity. The more rugged look of Lauren Trees, reminiscent of the Group of Seven art works, was appealing because of the picots and leaning trees.
Magda likes to wear dresses. The Louella Dress, with its lacy hem, figure hugging waist and a-line shape appealed. She could see herself wearing two others, both from Noro: the Sheer Panel Dress with its delicacy, horizontal lines, and form fitting shape, and the Drop Stitch Dress with its cowl neckline and swinging shape.
Both Magda’s children, 6 year old Kate and 2 year old Julian, are “allergic to buttons”, so garments that pop over the head and are easy-on, easy-off will get worn; others likely will not.
Kate would wear the Little Elyssa dress with its loose fit. Good in winter over pants and a long sleeved shirt, too. Her mom likes the school uniform look of The Bees Knees Dress and for special occasions, she would persuade her daughter to wear the feminine Sea Shells by the Sea Shore cardigan.
The playful Robin Hoodie with its floppy hood would be terrific for either child. Magda liked the woodland colour and commented that it could be passed down in the family. For Julian, she thought The Ryan Cardigan, from Tot Toppers, would be a good choice, with a zipper that opens from the top or bottom, stand-up collar, great colour, and unisex styling.
Magda’s husband is slender and more fitted, long, lean, androgynous, zippered garments like Tin Can Knits’ Urban Hiker and Debbie Bliss’s Zipped Jacket would suit him very well.
Our Newest Designers and Publishers
In August, Patternfish welcomed 3 new designers.
J. R. R. Tolkien works inspire Michaela Schmidt-Foerster’s shawls and wraps. The tree and blossoms in the fictional city of Minas-Tirith inspire the cabled shawl. The descriptions of elvish maiden Tinuviel’s robe and eyes are captured in the lace and gradient yarn of the beaded shawl. Schmidt-Foerster’s patterns are available in both English and German.
Rachel D. McKinney debuts at Patternfish with cables and lace. Her Intertwining Cables Scarf, knit in bulky weight yarn, owes its complex look to the side cables that threaten to run right through the garter stitch edging. Sarah’s Shawl is a top-down Faroese-shaped shawl that practically guarantees that the shawl will stay in place on your shoulders.
Ellen Kardell's passion for lace and texture are beautifully demonstrated with The Gilded Age and FiveBySix shawls. The lace-edged stockinet Gilded Age includes a tutorial on choosing and using beads in addition to the detailed instructions.
FiveBySix is an excellent choice for anyone who loves reversible stitch patterns and needs a TV-watching or knit-night project.
Yarn Substitution - Part 3
Self-described prolific knitter, Eileen Koski, wrote to us in response to the discontinued yarns discussion and said “I certainly do appreciate the dilemma of falling in love with a design exactly as it was made originally, but finding out that I cannot reproduce it. I have been knitting for about 45 years and have knitted well over a thousand gifts, not to mention an assortment of items for myself. In all those years and items, I would say that I have probably knit no more than a 2-3 dozen that were actually made with the yarn the pattern called for.”
Out of this experience Eileen offers several comments:
- The only time substitution isn’t really possible is with a truly unique yarn like a novelty or the long Classic Elite Yarns cashmere stripe in this pattern.
- There have been so many beautiful - and often classic designs - that will never go out of style. How sad to think that those patterns would cease to be available just because the original yarns were no longer available! I think of Straker patterns, Alice Starmore, vintage pattern books, so much more!
- The fact that a yarn has been discontinued, doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who don’t still have it in their stash and may finally get around to it. So the pattern for a discontinued yarn might frustrate some people, but thrill others!
Eileen has several suggestions to both help with finding discontinued yarns and substituting:
- Sometimes discontinued yarns can still be found on eBay, Etsy or Ravelry. I have some discontinued yarns on my eBay email notification list and whenever something gets posted, I get a notification.
- Suggested needle size and gauge are BIG clues, but can be misleading, particularly for yarns that can be knitted at many different gauges for different effects.
- Designers offering a “generic” version of yarn requirements, is probably the best way to look for an option - i.e. 1500 yds of worsted weight yarn that knits at 5 st/inch.
Gift Issue Guest - Eileen Koski
Who better to ask about great gift choices than an expert knitter who has created over 1,000 gifts? Eileen Koski, also an expert on yarn substitution, says, “The general criteria are that things be relatively easy, generally small (hats, cowls, simple/bulky scarves), and that they use Worsted, Bulky or Super Bulky Yarns. Personally I love knitting with fine yarns and DK weight, but other than very loosely knit lace things, they are tough to do when time is tight!”
Eileen has selected hats, cowls, a scarf, and a couple of sets from the pages of Patternfish.