April 28, 2016

Book review: The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary

I’m so happy to be launching the blog tour for Wendy Bernard’s brand new book, The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary: 150 new stitch patterns to knit top down, bottom up, back and forth & in the round.  As designer, I love a good stitch dictionary, which this definitely is, but it has plenty of awesomeness packed in for non-designers as well!  Besides the 150 stitch patterns, which you can use different ways for different projects, there are also customizable project patterns for every type of stitch pattern, into which you can plug your favorites of the stitch patterns from each chapter.


Wendy Bernard’s first book in this series was Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary from 2014; this new book adds all those new stitch patterns and projects, and also incorporates some reader feedback to improve on the ideas of the first book.  So the new book shows more views of the reversible patterns, and shows when stitch patterns look slightly different in the top-down and bottom-up versions, etc.  There are chapters on knit & purl, ribs, twisted, slipped & fancy, cables, lace, and mosaics, with all the stitch patterns both written and charted, in the different ways they can be knit.


For the blog tour, I was given a stitch pattern to share with you!  This is the Fuji Rib pattern, which uses a cool technique in which a stitch is slipped up and over multiple stitches – very easy to do but makes an interesting look/texture in your knitting.  I’ve used this type of stitch technique in a couple of patterns in the past, it’s fun!  Anyway, here is the stitch pattern!


Fuji Rib FLAT

(multiple of 14 sts + 1; 18-row repeat)

Pkok: Slip third st on left-hand needle over first 2 sts and off needle; k1, yo, k1.

ROW 1: *K1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1-tbl.

ROW 2: P1-tbl, *k1, p1-tbl; repeat from * to end.

ROWS 3 AND 4: Repeat Rows 1 and 2.

ROW 5: *[K1-tbl, p1] 3 times, pkok, [p1, k1-tbl] twice, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1-tbl.

ROW 6: P1-tbl, *[k1, p1-tbl] twice, k1, p3, [k1, p1-tbl] 3 times; repeat from * to end.

ROW 7: *[K1-tbl, p1] twice, pkok, k1, pkok, p1, k1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1-tbl.

ROW 8: P1-tbl, *k1, p1-tbl, k1, p7, [k1, p1-tbl] twice; repeat from * to end.

ROW 9: *[K1-tbl, p1] twice, k2, pkok, k2, p1, k1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1-tbl.

ROW 10: Repeat Row 8.

ROW 11: Repeat Row 7.

ROW 12: Repeat Row 6.

ROW 13: Repeat Row 5.

ROW 14: Repeat Row 2.

ROWS 15–18: Repeat Rows 1 and 2.

Repeat Rows 1–18 for Fuji Rib Flat.



(multiple of 14 sts; 18-rnd repeat)

Pkok: Slip third st on left-hand needle over first 2 sts and off needle; k1, yo, k1.

RNDS 1–4: *K1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to end.

RND 5: *[K1-tbl, p1] 3 times, pkok, [p1, k1-tbl] twice, p1; repeat from * to end.

RND 6: K1-tbl, *[p1, k1-tbl] twice, p1, k3, [p1, k1-tbl] 3 times; repeat from * to end.

RND 7: *[K1-tbl, p1] twice, pkok, k1, pkok, p1, k1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to end.

RND 8: K1-tbl, *p1, k1-tbl, p1, k7, [p1, k1-tbl] twice; repeat from * to end.

RND 9: *[K1-tbl, p1] twice, k2, pkok, k2, p1, k1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to end.

RND 10: Repeat Rnd 8.

RND 11: Repeat Rnd 7.

RND 12: Repeat Rnd 6.

RND 13: Repeat Rnd 5.

RNDS 14–18: Repeat Rnd 1.

Repeat Rnds 1–18 for Fuji Rib in the Round.


And then the book includes the pattern for this Fuji Rib Wrap, using the stitch pattern; but you can plug in a different stitch pattern from the book if you prefer.  I love the unusual styling in the photos, but the wrap is just a big rectangle with buttons, so it can be worn lots of different ways besides the way it’s shown here.  You know how much I love knits that can be worn in different ways!


And, in addition to the customizable patterns like this one, at the end of each chapter, the book also includes a Designing from Scratch section at the end, with formula-style patterns for socks in two directions, caps in two directions, and triangular shawls in two directions, all of which can be made with your choice of stitch patterns from the book.

The publisher has arranged a giveaway for you!  Wait but not just the book… Blue Sky Alpacas, the lovely yarn company who provided all the yarn in the book, is throwing in two skeins of yarn for the lucky winner!  So leave a comment, telling us what kind of project you’d like to plug stitch patterns into, or something else that excites you about this book, and I’ll choose a winner at random a week from today (end of the day on Thursday May 5th).  Important: make sure you receive replies to comments in your email inbox so that you will learn if you’re the winner and can claim your prize! :)

Follow the rest of the stops on the blog tour to see more stitch patterns from the book!

5/2: Yarniacs

5/5: Mason-Dixon Knitting

5/9: Craft Sanity

5/16: Knit Circus

5/18: AboutKnitting.com

5/23: Craft Gossip

5/11: WEBS

5/28: Blue Sky Alpacas

Filed under: books,contest/giveaway,knitting — Lee Meredith @ 8:00 am

April 19, 2016

Second VIP club 2016 hat pattern: Omnia!

Omnia mystery hat

Here is Omnia (ravelry link), the second hat in the VIP club 2016 series of hat designs!  If you are a VIP club member, you have the pattern and have maybe even knit it already; if not, you can join the club right now, receive this pattern (and Provocateur) immediately, and get four more hat designs – all with different constructions! – throughout the year, every other month.  Also, mega discounts on ALL my patterns!!  Click here to join!


Omnia is constructed from the top down, in the round, and it can be made in sport or worsted weight yarn, with different kinds of striping patterns making it look really different.  Above is a brown merino recycled yarn (approximately sport weight) with narrow stripes of Spincycle Dyed in the Wool.  Below is the same Spincycle self-striping yarn by itself:


Here it is in Plymouth Galway Sport wool yarn, with four colors striped in 3-row wide stripes throughout the whole thing:


Here’s a sample in worsted weight leftover scraps, lots of Malabrigo and assorted other yarns (they are all listed on my rav project page here if you’re interested):


This subtly-striped sample is in two colorways of madelinetosh tosh merino worsted weight yarn, both of which are variegated and share a shade of teal, making the stripes really blend together:


And my final sample is in Black Trillium Pebble Worsted (leftover from my Liy sample), with the 1×1 ribbing modification option included in the pattern.  Normally, just the brim is ribbed, but you can choose to make the whole hat ribbed for a slightly different look:


Close up of the ribbed fabric:


Another way to customize the look of your hat is the wavy bottom edge: if you make the brim very short, you’ll get a very wavy bottom edge, like the sample below, but if you want your bottom less wavy you can knit the ribbed brim for longer and the wave will be less dramatic, or disappear completely if you go extra long.


As for sizing, this hat comes in three sizes for the sport weight gauge, two sizes for the worsted weight gauge, and three height options for every size (and then you can always add extra height to the bottom if it’s not long enough at the end).  All of my sport weight samples are the medium size, a perfect fit on my 22″ circumference head.  The above and below samples are both the short height, for a fitted hat.


The below sample is the medium height, for a bit of slouchiness.  If you want lots of slouch, the long height will give you that!


And then the worsted weight sizing is a bit versatile – the sample below is the smaller size, which fits my head snugly, in the short height.  It’s shorter than I’d like, and I may go back and add some more height at the bottom so I’ll wear it more, but I wanted to show it to you as is.  While this size stretches to fit me, it would be more comfy on a smaller head size:


My ribbed sample is the larger worsted weight size, for a comfier fit on my head, in the short height:


And my scrappy sample is the larger size, long height, for super extreme slouchiness!  It’s so long that I can fold up the ribbed brim at the bottom and still have plenty slouch, which is how I’ve been wearing it:


Here’s a look at the top-down construction, starting with a very small circumference and increasing out, shown here with the magic loop method:

Omnia in progress

As for techniques, this hat is just increases and decreases, not much to it technique-wise, but it does use an uncommon increase method, the centered double increase.  I added a video tutorial and photo+written step-by-step tutorial to my website to go with the pattern – click here to find them.

screenshot of cdi tutorial

I also added a new video tutorial for weaving in the ends as you knit, which will come in very handy if you’re making your own stripes!

screenshot of weaving in end tutorial

Especially with a hat like the one below, with stripes in all different yarns, if you weave in all those ends as you knit around you’ll have very little finishing work when you’re done.  On this one, I carried the main color turquoise yarn down over the stripes, and weaved in the ends of each new color as I knit:


As for design inspiration – my VERY old design Waving Chevron Scarf (ravelry link) uses the same concept of making wavy chevrons by moving the decreases back and forth, with just one chevron making the scarf:

waving chevron scarf

Ravelry user graphica made a gorgeous blanket version of this scarf (she has very detailed notes on her rav project page), repeating the pattern several times across, brilliant!  I used that concept, redesigned the stitch pattern with different kinds of increases and decreases to work better in a hat, and turned the idea into Omnia!


I had lots of fun playing with different kinds of stripes in all my samples.  The striping pattern I used for the four-color hat below was designed so that I’d never have more than two yarns attached at a time, so I wouldn’t have to worry about four yarn balls getting all tangled up.


Here’s how I did it (copied from my rav project page): I striped 3-row stripes, with 5 stripes of each color, overlapping with different colors at the beginning and the end of the 5 stripes.  So I started with (green, white) twice, then I switched the white with blue and striped (green, blue) three times, so now there were 5 stripes total of green and the striping pattern was established, so all I needed to do was switch each color to a new color whenever 5 stripes were completed.  I switched out the green with orange and striped (orange, blue) twice; now there were 5 stripes blue so I switched out the blue for white and did (orange, white) three times, so there were 5 stripes orange… once it’s established it’s easy to keep track of what’s happening.


I actually knit this pattern nine times total (not counting partially frogging and reknitting); the Spincycle sample was completely knit and blocked, and it ended up not fitting – it was an early prototype and I hadn’t figured out all the sizing yet, so that ended up being the small size – so I frogged it, rewashed the yarn (pictured below), and started over.  This pattern was tricky to figure out the details, and I went into it thinking it was a pretty simple design, which is part of why I didn’t do enough swatching to figure things out in the first place before knitting complete hats.  That’s bad design planning on my part, I could have saved myself a lot of hat-knitting time by doing better planning in the first place.

yarn used for VIP club hat #2 samples

I knit two earlier prototypes to figure out the details which both ended up not being usable as samples. The first one, below to the left, in Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool self-striping worsted weight, was my first try at all the ideas, and ended up being very different from the final pattern.  It’s still unblocked because I’ll be frogging it to reuse the yarn; but I learned a lot from the trial and error of knitting it!

Omnia early prototype Omnia early prototype

My second try (above right) was in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Long Print LP, which is perfect for this pattern but discontinued, sadly; it’s pretty close to the final pattern, smaller worsted weight size, close to the long height, but it’s different enough to not be an official sample, although I probably won’t frog it because it is wearable.  (Both of these ran out of yarn around the bottom and were finished off in stripes of other yarns at the bottom.)

Omnia Omnia

If you want to see lots of different kinds of striping patterns besides my samples, VIP club knitters have lots of projects up on ravelry!  LOVE the variety of these projects!!


The Spincycle Dyed in the Wool is such a great fit for this pattern, making for a really cool look, so different from normal stripes.  If you’re in Portland, I got my skein from my newest very local-to-me SE yarn shop, Starlight Knitting Society, where you’ll find a nice selection of this yarn!  My one skein made the full hat above, with enough left over to make the narrow stripes in the hat below:


So that’s Omnia!  If you make it, please be sure to post your project photos on ravelry so we can all see what kinds of stripes you make!!  The next VIP club hat is coming in June, so you’ll learn the details about it on (or around) May 24th.  I hope you have lovely spring weather and lots of colorful flowers wherever you are!

Filed under: hats,knitting,leethal VIP club — Lee Meredith @ 1:41 pm

April 12, 2016

New pattern: Route 99!

Have you seen that there’s a brand new online knitting magazine? It’s called Stranded, and I have a pattern in the first issue!

Route 99

This is Route 99 (ravelry link), a fingering weight, modular, slip-stitch-colorwork, vintage turban style hat.

Route 99

These beautiful photos are from Stranded (copyright Andi Satterlund), which has 6 patterns, 2 tutorials (a knitting one by me, and a non-knitting craft tutorial), an interview with Cirilia Rose, and other fun knitting-related articles and content. The whole thing is $16, and it’s only available for one year so get it while you can! It’s here on ravelry.

Route 99

My main sample is the large size, knit to accommodate the model’s fabulous hair, so it’s a bit too large on me, but you can see here how it can be worn different ways with the panel in different places around the head:

Route 99 Route 99

Because of how this one is too big, I think it actually looks best on me with the panel in the back, turning it into a kind-of-bonnet style look:

Route 99

The yarn used, Spud & Chloë Fine fingering weight wool/silk blend, is a perfect fit, with the silk adding a bit of drape for the scrunched-in shaping.

Route 99

My first prototype sample can show you how the pattern looks in a more fitted size (this is size medium), in a different kind of yarn (100% wool Made in America Yarns Wayfarer), and in a different kind of colorway:

Route 99

Again, how it can be worn in different ways…

Route 99 Route 99

And also how it looks with different kinds of hair! Below are from my first round of photos, back when I first made this prototype about a year ago:

Route 99 Route 99

Which brings me back to the design process… The hat was inspired by looking at Art Deco designs, and combining the stitch patterning ideas with an idea for a turban-style hat, like styles that were popular in the 20’s and 30’s, and again in the 60’s and 70’s.

Route 99

The construction is using the same modular concept as my Unbroken hat design (below left), but with different shaping/ratios so that the panel really cinches in the body of the hat, making the turban shape. The modular sections are joined with short rows, increases, and decreases, so there are no picked up stitches, and no seaming.

Unbroken hat! Route 99

The stitch patterning is entirely made with slipped stitches and cables, so you’re only ever using one yarn at a time.

Route 99

There are three sizes – small, medium, large (measurements are given in the pattern) – but the circumference and the height are made independently, which means you can mix and match your circumference size with a different height size if you want to. The samples shown are large/large and medium/medium; if you have a bigger head circumference than I do but you don’t want your hat to come down quite as much as the orange one does on the model, you can make the large circumference with the medium height, for example.

Route 99

I thought this hat would be a good fit for Stranded’s warm weather issue, which has a road trip theme, because it’s not a super warm hat – it’s perfect for just covering up a bad hair day, keeping your hair in place while driving with the windows down, or throwing in your bag in case you need a little warmth after the sun sets. It’s also a great summertime knit since it’s a small project in lightweight yarn.

Route 99

I also contributed a tutorial to this first issue of Stranded, on cabling without a cable needle, which I definitely recommend using when making this hat!

A few quick technical things:

  • I strongly recommend using the crochet provisional cast-on technique shown here (click for tutorial & video).
  • It is very highly recommended that your darker color is the MC, lighter color CC.
  • The pattern only gives the gauge in the stitch pattern; so that you can estimate if your yarn/needles will be a good fit, my stockinette stitch gauge in the same yarn/needles was 27.5 sts and 34 rows per 4 inches / 10 cm.
  • Markers are used throughout the pattern to keep track of everything; sometimes they are placed and then not mentioned again – they are there to either keep track of pattern repeats/segments, or increases/decreases which always happen on the other side of the marker from the rest of the row stitches.
  • The whole pattern is written and charted; the cable crosses are all written out for using a cable needle but it will go much more quickly if you cable without one (well, it won’t go quickly no matter what, but you know, it’ll be really extra slow if you’re using a cable needle for all those little cables).

Route 99

So that’s Route 99! This pattern is really outside my usual design boxes, with its lightweight colorwork, but I am SO happy with how it turned out and I REALLY love the hat. It’s not a quick or simple knit, it takes awhile – Stranded describes it as “approachably complex” – but I think the time and effort is worth it for the finished object. I hope you do too!

Filed under: hats,knitting — Lee Meredith @ 7:30 am
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