Oh hello there. Happy Friday!
Adventures with the knitting machine continue. The learning curve is steep, but every time I exasperatedly decide to put the damned thing away, I get sucked back in. The speed with which I can knit a square of stocking stitch is mesmerizing. But the carriage really needs some TLC, because the punch card stitch patterns don’t work well at the moment. However, I do really want to attach the ribber and try out machine-knit brioche.
You might have seen on Ravelry that Knit Picks just released a new book/collection, the 2015 Spring Accessories Collection. (The word “Spring,” depending on what part of the world you are in right now, will evoke a different response from different people. For me, it triggers angry muttering and sidelong glances out the patio doors at 2 feet of snow. There is yet another “Extreme Cold Warning” for Ottawa today, with words like, “bitterly cold” and “chill values” and “risk of frost bite” and, my favourite, “hypothermia”. This is my new lexicon.)
Okay, I’ve just got to shake it off. (Not in the Taylor Swift sense, but in the dictionary sense “to shake off something that you do not want such as an illness or a bad habit.”)
SPRING! It means more sun, more colour, new flowers, and renewed optimism. The new collection is a sweet gathering of pastels and bright hues, offset by creamy whites, in geometric shapes, stripes, and fun textures. You’ll love, among many others: Full Bloom Hat, Pyra Mitts, Triangle Mitts, the geometric Infinity Scarf, the ingenious Bloccare Cap, and Endless Peaks Socks, among others. There are 26 patterns in the collection, and I do recommend that you treat yourself to the printed version. The Knit Picks books are Quality Stuff, with silky matte covers, glossy full colour pages throughout, and a nice heft to them.
My two contributions to the collection play with simple texture, colour work and shapes. The Huckle Wrap is a large rectangular wrap (my favourite kind, I wear mine as scarves) in two colours. The coloured dots are easy to make; in fact, they aren’t even knit at all. On the colour row, the stitches are slipped while the contrast colour is woven back and forth. (Just one of the many ingenious tricks I’ve learned from reading the Walker treasuries.) The first half of the wrap uses colour A for the background and B for the dots, and the second half switches the colours, with B for the background and A for the dots. The Huckle Wrap shown is worked in Knit Picks Palette, but of course, you could work in many other yarns. Knit Picks’ Hawthorne would be gorgeous, say with the kettle dyed Blackbird for one colour, and one of the hand painted mixes for the other.
The Doric Shrug is another very simple pattern, with a crochet-like texture. Before writing Doric, I researched shrugs and their various forms. Shrugs are handy little things, and very easy to make. Some of them have sleeves or buttons, some are seamed, some are seamless. I opted for one of the simplest constructions: the rectangle. The rectangle is folded and sewn at the sides, leaving openings for the armholes. Another variation on the rectangle is to knit from cuff to cuff, like this vintage girl’s shrug pattern. Doric is worked in a simple mesh pattern, and worn loose. The linen blend of Knit Picks Lindy Chain gives it a pale, natural look, making the shrug seem quite modern, despite its vintage roots. There are a few rows of contrasting colour at the shoulders that peek through the mesh. You could skip the contrast colour of course, but I like the way the stripes curve around the shoulders, framing the neck.