Colorwork stitch dictionaries.

Our current Strange Brew colorwork design classes have students itching for books of colorwork inspiration – stitch dictionaries in particular, books full of motifs that can be applied to a variety of projects. Three of our favorites are back in stock – let’s take a look!

Andrea Rangel’s Alterknits is a playful collection of 200 non-traditional colorwork stitch patterns, with geometric and figural patterns alike – from chevrons and op-art motifs to bicycles, chickens, and sheep.

Mary Jane Mucklestone’s 200 Fair Isle Motifs is focused on the particular Scottish colorwork tradition for which it is named.

Mucklestone has organized the motifs by the number of rows and stitches in each pattern repeat, making it easy to find a pattern that divides evenly into the number of stitches you’re working with on any given project – hat, socks, sweater, etc. Each chart is shown not only in the traditional black-dots-on-a-white-grid style, but also in a color photograph, a color variation, and an all-over version, giving the knitter a jump start on adapting these patterns for many uses.

Mucklestone brings the same inspiring approach to her 150 Scandinavian Motifs, which shares colorwork stitch patterns from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

Come by the shop to browse these and other books! We hope you find inspiration here.

Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible.

In the last blog post, I shared some of the newest books here at the shop. Here’s one more, so lovely that I could have photographed every page, so popular that our first shipment sold out before it ever made it to the blog.

Hitomi Shida’s Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible is an exquisite stitch dictionary featuring charted cable, texture, and lace patterns, along with yokes and edgings.

Stitch dictionaries like these remind me of the limitless possibilities of this craft. You can use them to learn new techniques, design patterns of your own, or just as a source of inspiration.

Look for Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible among our resources and reference books, not far from Barbara Walker’s treasuries and other inspiring tomes.

Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook.

Here is a book you have probably seen already, one that you may even own already, for we’ve sold out and reordered it many times since its initial publication last October. It was selling quickly enough that I waited to buy my own copy until our supply steadied, so though I’ve admired it for months, I’ve only recently sat down and spent time with this beautiful book. Here’s Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook, a compendium of cable stitch patterns, garments, and wisdom.

In this book, designer Norah Gaughan introduces over 150 cable stitch patterns with both written and charted instructions, all of which are lovingly photographed by the talented Jared Flood. The book itself is a thing of beauty, but beautiful as it is, the contents of this tome are the star, no matter the packaging.

Gaughan has devised a Stockinette Stitch Equivalent for each of these motifs, a way of saying how many stockinette stitches it would take to make the same width as the cable in question. This allows you to substitute one cable for another with ease, and also to add cables to a plain garment without letting the naturally-smaller gauge of cable patterns mess with the overall size of the piece. Gaughan clearly describes this system and how to use it towards the beginning of the book, where she also lays out hints for chart-reading, yarn choice, symbols and terminology. Don’t miss the troubleshooting section either, from which Karen Templer of Fringe Association pulled a real gem.

There are patterns for cabled garments, too, if design isn’t your thing. From pullovers and cardigans to ponchos and skirts, Gaughan has put her cable patterns to good and interesting use. In short, if you are at all interested in cable knitting or design, you should take a look at Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook. Find it on the teacart here at the shop!

Two new books for crocheters.

We keep the newest books and magazines on the teacart in the front room, which is a table you’ll see right when you walk into the shop, covered in the latest publications. Here are two new books for crocheters that have made a home on the teacart these past few weeks: Modern Baby Crochet and The Big Book of Crochet Stitches.

DSCN2472

Stacy Trock’s Modern Baby Crochet is a collection of crocheted nursery accessories, from pillows and blankets to mobiles and toys.

DSCN2474

Trock has the patterns organized thematically by color, a pleasing way to showcase these sweet stitches. Most patterns call for worsted weight yarn; the soft and machine-washable Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted would be a great choice, with its wide range of solid colors.

DSCN2475

Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss’s Big Book of Crochet Stitches is the crochet stitch dictionary we’ve been looking for.

DSCN2685

With crisp color photos and over 350 stitch patterns to swatch and design with, The Big Book of Crochet Stitches is something like the Barbara Walker Treasury of crochet.

DSCN2686

From bobbles to chevrons to fans, shells, and picots, The Big Book of Crochet Stitches includes all manner of crochet stitch patterns in a wide variety of textures. Flip through it when you’re looking for inspiration, wanting to try something new, or designing your own scarf, shawl, or blanket.

DSCN2687

Come by the shop to check out these new titles, and plan your next crochet project!

Pop Knitting.

An inspiring new book has landed at the shop. Pop Knitting: Bold Motifs Using Color and Stitch, by Britt-Marie Christoffersson is a collection of graphic, modern-looking stitch patterns.

Christoffersson combines color and texture in surprising ways, making the book itself a thing of beauty.

The sweaters shown alongside many of these motifs make use of them in beautiful and often pleasantly strange garments. The results are fascinating and exciting, whether they appeal to your personal taste or not.

Come to the shop to take a closer look at Pop Knitting; you’re sure to find some inspiration there.

More works in progress.

About a month ago, I posted pictures of two of the works in progress that hang around the shop. Anne and I always have at least two samples for the shop on the needles–one on her needles and one on mine. Because the urge to talk about what we make and what we see others making is strong, we find ourselves talking about these projects at many points throughout the day. When the process is enjoyable, we’ll tell anyone who will listen about how soft the yarn is, how incredible the color. Since I last brought this conversation to the blog, two new works in progress have sprung up.

I’m working on a simple drop stitch scarf with the new Malabrigo Arroyo. This pattern is a particularly good choice for variegated yarns like this, as the elongated stitches highlight a stretch of color in the yarn that would otherwise be distributed differently along the row. We’re used to variegated yarns striping and pooling in stockinette and other texture patterns, but the drop stitch scarf pools differently, purposefully. 
Within three rows, I had the pattern memorized, and since then, it feels like it’s been knitting itself. 
Anne is also working on a scarf, but hers is made from the Swans Island Organic Merino in the fingering weight. The pattern came from our perpetual calendar, 365 Knitting Stitches a Year, a nice resource to turn to when you intend to make a scarf and don’t intend to use a pattern. Flip through the calendar, pick an attractive stitch pattern, cast on an appropriate number of stitches for said pattern, and go until you run out of yarn. A formula for scarf success.
This one will look particularly lovely when it’s blocked, I imagine. I can’t wait to see it. In the meantime, come by the shop to see these two very special yarns in action, and listen to us go on about them. See you soon!