My current work in progress:

1. Hats!
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Urban Knit Collection

Today, I want to talk about this book:

This is Urban Knit Collection: 18 City-Inspired Knitting Patterns for the Modern Wardrobe by Kyle Kunnecke, published by Interweave. My one-word review of this book:

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Wow!

There are 18 patterns, and as the title says, they are city-inspired: inspired by architecture, ironwork details, art deco theater details. You can preview all the patterns here on Ravelry.

I am fortunate enough to receive a lot of knitting books to review and this book really stand out for me: the designs are really unique and stunning.  there are sweaters, wraps, and accessories, and they are knit at a lot of different gauges, and in a wide range of sizes.

Some of my favorites:

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The Rosema Wrap is a loose-fitting shawl-like garment with sleeves, and it has a lace and cable pattern. It’s knit from worsted weight yarn and is available in three sizes.  There are details about the pattern on the designer’s website here. I have some yummy Cormo wool that would be perfect for this and I may have to knit it!

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This amazing piece is D’Amour Wrap and is worked in fingering weight yarn. What an stunning wrap! It is worked from several large charts and is definitely not a quick knit, but what a fabulous piece. I think it is well worth the time you would need to invest in the knitting of it. More details here.

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Skyscraper is a beanie with twisted traveling stitches, worked in worsted weight yarn. I love the architectural look of it. You can find more details here.

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Savoy is a deep v-neck cardigan worked in fingering weight yarn. I’m showing the back of it because it is such an amazing pattern. There’s a view of the front and more details on the designer’s website here.

I am not going to give this book away, as there are several designs in it that I really want to knit. So I am being greedy and keeping it for myself.

It’s a cold windy day, a good day to stay inside and knit. Or to hangout in a tote, if you are Loki.

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Perfection or the Lack Thereof

In my last blog post I showed a photo of my 21 Colors Slouch hat.

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This prompted a comment about the undesirability of having to weave in all those ends and was there a better way to knit it.

The answer is well, no. If you don’t want to have to weave in ends, you don’t want to make this hat. You could approximate it using a self-striping yarn, however. Weaving in ends has never bothered me — it’s just part of the process. I’ve knit many many Fair Isle sweaters so I’ve done quite a lot of end-weaving in my time!

The same commenter also said ” wouldn’t you have jogs in the knitting if it’s done in the round?” Yes, you do.

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If jogs in the stripe annoy you, there are methods you can employ to get rid of the jog. Just google “jogless stripes” and you will find plenty of resources.

But you know what? Jogs in stripes don’t bother me. For me they are part of the charm of a handknit item.

This started me thinking about perfectionism in knitting. It seems that there is a drive for absolute “perfection” in knitted items: no jogs, no seams, nothing but knit. I think there is such a thing as too “perfect.” Me, I like seams in sweaters — they give structure to a garment. I like to pick up stitches along a bound-off edge for a neckband rather than knit a neckband from live stitches. That bound off edge gives the neck of the garment some stability.

Here is my favorite tip for doing something “imperfectly:”

When I am knitting something in the round, I cast on my stitches, and then I often work back across them instead of joining and working in the round on the first row. I join and work in the round on the second row. I am going to have a yarn tail from the cast-on that needs to be woven in, and it is no more trouble to use that yarn end to close the tiny gap at the bottom of the garment that is present because I worked back across the first row before joining in the round.

This is very helpful if you have a huge number of stitches because it can be tricky to join in the round without twisting the cast-on stitches.

A relatively new knitter I taught makes a lot of baby hats for friends with little ones, and she mentioned that she always has trouble on that first round, fiddling with working in the round while knitting stitches from the cast-on edge. I suggested my “work back across the first row” tip to her and she loves it, and now does that on all circular projects.

So that’s just my tip for doing something imperfectly to make things easier!

Anyway . . .

So this came in the mail the other day:

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This is the Opal Yarn 2016 Advent Calendar. There are 24 little doors, for December 1 through 24, and behind each door is a mini-skein (15 grams) of Opal sock yarn. Squeeee!

I pre-ordered this from a vendor in the UK a few months ago, as it is more readily available in Europe.

I have shown remarkable restraint and have not yet opened any doors, waiting til December 1.

Now . . . what to knit with the wee skeins? I could do a long crazy scarf. I could knot afghan squares. I could knit mini socks. Anyone have any other ideas?

Here is Loki’s interpretation of “if it fits I sits.”

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WIPs This Week

The winner of my review copy of60 Quick Knits for Little Kids is Gina in the SF Bay Area, who has been emailed.

I total for got to mention in my last blog post the first in a series of articles I’ve written for Mason-Dixon Knitting: check it out here!

I made a lot of knitting progress last week. I knit a hat:

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This is the 21 Color Slouch, designed by Virginia Sattler-Reimer and knit in all 21 introductory colors of Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok. It came as a kit, with 12 yards of each of the 21 colors. A very clever way to introduce the colors and far more fun than a color card!

And I started this:

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This is Granito, designed by Joji Locatelli. I’m knitting mine in my new favorite yarn, Wollmeise Blend, in the Pistazie colorway. I’ve made some good progress on it, but now I’m setting it aside as I have some non-public design work I need to do. Such is life.

Meanwhile, the little prince is catching up on his beauty sleep!

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60 Quick Knits for Kids

I have another new book to review:

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This is 60 Quick Knits for Little Kids, published by Sixth&Spring Books last month. It contains, as you might expect, 60 patterns for kids. Sized for ages 2 to 6, they include all sorts of things: sweaters, dresses, hats, mittens, scarves, blankets, etc. And they are quick knits — all are knit from Cascade Yarns Pacific® or Cascade Yarns Pacific® Chunky, which are worsted and bulky weight respectively. Of course you could sub any other yarns that knit to gauge.

Some favorites:

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Bow Tie by Matthew Schrank. You gotta love a little kid in a bow tie. This is knit from worsted weight in seed stitch.

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This is the Butterfly Bolero by Yoko Hatta, also knit in worsted weight. I’m not sure if it is the bolero or the adorable little girl who caught my eye, but either way, it is a winner!

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This V-Neck Cardi by Kiri FitzGerald-Hillier is so cute! It would work for both boys and girls.

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These Textured Cowls by Lori Steinberg are knit in bulky weight yarn so would be a snap to knit out. A great gift idea!

There are 60 patterns in all and you can see them on Ravelry, here. The book is great value — it has a wide variety of types of things so makes a great one-stop resource for knitting for kids.

Who’d like my review copy?

To be entered in the drawing for my review copy of 60 Quick Knits for Little Kids, published by Sixth&Spring Books, leave a comment on this blog post by 11:00am Eastern Time on Sunday, November 13, 2016. We’l pick a winner then.

Loki says “meow.”

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Works in Progress

The winner of a copy of People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine is Sidney Boardman, who has been emailed. Thank you to everyone who left a comment!

I have a couple of projects on the needles right now and I don’t think I’ve mentioned either of them. No time like the present!

Here is my commuter project:

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This is “B to the Three,” a brioche-stitch hat designed by Meaghan Schmaltz. It takes approximately 200 yards of DK weight yarn. I am using a new yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, a blend of 45% Baby Alpaca, 45% Superfine Merino, and 10% Cultivated Silk. The yarn has the unfortunate name of “Crackpaca.” It is DK weight, with 265 yards to a 3.8 ounce skein and it is lovely to work with. I am using the “Ursula” colorway.

My at-home project:

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This is “Welcome Back Garter,” a design by Casapinka. I am knitting this from Jill Draper Makes Stuff Rifton yarn in a colorway exclusive to Mason-Dixon Knitting — you can purchase it here. (I think if you want some you need to act fast — it is a limited edition and once it is gone, it is gone.)

This is actually three colorways: a gradient and two solid colors.

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The two “mono” colorways are available here. I bought my yarn as soon as Ann and Kay announced its availability, and then looked for a pattern for it. Welcome Back Garter may not be the best choice for the slow-shifting gradient, but I am very pleased with how this is turning out. I have deviated a bit from the pattern to suit my yarn (and at my whim). I am not going to knit the triangle at one end of the wrap — it will be one long rectangle when I am done. While Rifton is listed as fingering weight, it is a heavy fingering weight, so I did not need as many rows as the pattern directed to reach the width of the piece. At this point, I will add tows to each short end of the wrap until I run out of yarn.

In other news, Loki has become very snuggly. He has recently decided he is a lap cat.

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“I love having my Mommy scritch my neck!”