Spotlight, Trending

Spotlight: Rainbow Bright

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Soft Rainbow Shawl by Zsuzsa Kiss.  Photo copyright Soft Rainbow Designs. (here)

Rainbows are that magical, unlikely ray of colour that comes with a patch of sunshine in a rain storm. They are the reminder that there can be something positive even in the midst of a negative situation; of the promise of better, sunnier times ahead; of the colour in life that can sometimes feel all grey and darkness. Rainbows make people smile. They are ‘where troubles melt like lemon drops’* and dreams can come true.

And in the gloomy days of winter, rainbow colours can be a perfect shot of bright positivity that can lift your mood, and literally add a bit of colour to your otherwise dull day.

Rainbows are even on trend: cardigans and coats of many colours came down the autumn/winter 2017 runway, from chunky stripes to intarsia shapes, faded ombres and mini pompoms.

Clockwise from top left: Missoni Pullover (here), Gucci Embroidered Wool Knitted Top (here), Alice + Olivia Brady Pom Pom Jumper (here), Gucci Oversize Striped Cashmere Knitted Cardigan (here), Mira Mikati Diamond Stitch Sweater (here), Gucci Men’s Wool Sweater (here).


Knit-inspiration:

You can easily create a rainbow effect in your knitting by combining a range of ROYGBIV colours or by using a multi-colour self-striping, degradé, speckled or variegated yarn.

If the traditional rainbow colours seem a little too bright for you, either consider wearing them in small statement pieces such as a cowl, hat or mittens, or consider diluting them by striping or mixing them with a darker colour. Rainbows can also be re-interpreted in more pastel tones, or alternatively given further vibrancy and impact by using neon shades.

Any project can be rainbow-ed, whether as an all-over effect or as an edging or smaller detail. It can be a perfect way to use up any leftover or stash yarn which may be insufficient for a whole project but ample as a stripe in a larger sequence.
Stranded colour work and slipped stitches using a rainbow self-striping yarn against a solid background can be particularly effective-and allow you to have a multi-coloured look without the multi ends to sew in that would occur with the use of multiple skeins.
For more ideas of rainbows in knitted garments and accessories, see below.

For the Love of Rainbows by Knitting Expat Designs (here): this triangle shaped shawl combines sections of bright, rainbow stripes and lace eyelets in 4-ply/fingering yarn.

Rainbow Bridge Wrap by Lavanya Patricella (here): rainbow stripes mix with a more muted shade muted neutral in a combination of garter stitch, short rows, eyelets, and brioche.

Soft Rainbow Shawl by Zsuzsa Kiss (here): (see photo at top of post) This elegant  lace-weight shawl with simple lace motif is given a magical, uplifting feel by the use of a Kauni yarn that gives a rainbow effect through the long colour repeats.

Lifesavers by Tanis Lavallee (here): rainbow stripes pop against a plain, neutral background in this simple top-down, one-piece cardigan. Knitted in 4-ply/fingering weight yarn, it’s a great project to use up leftover sock yarn scraps, or for mini-skeins such as the rainbow set produced by the designer-see Tanis Fiber Arts here.

Rainbow Trail by Christina Ghirlanda (here): simple worsted weight sweater knitted seamlessly, top-down that is made more special with rainbow stripes from a long gradient dyed yarn set amidst a solid background colour.

Rainbow Cardigan by Helen Hamann (here): this striking cardigan is knitted using the intarsia technique and 20 colours to create a shaded, rainbow patchwork effect.

ZickZack Scarf by Christy Kamm (here): available as a free pattern, this rainbow chevron striped scarf is reminiscent of classic Missoni designs and is knitted in a 4-ply/fingering weight, self-striping yarn (Lang Yarns Mille Colori Baby (in colours 51 and 52)).

Rainbow Magicowl by Elizabeth Brassard (here): this unusual, two-layer cowl is great for using up leftover yarn in worsted or chunky/bulky weight and gives you two distinct rainbow looks with different stripes and textures.

Rainbow Twist by Thao Nguyen (here): available as a free pattern, this cosy, super chunky/bulky weight cowl twist knitted in rainbow variegated yarn would be great, quick knit present. Sample shown in Malabrigo Rasta in 866 Arco Iris.

 


 

Have faith in your dreams and someday/ your rainbow will come shining through….

From ‘A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes’, written and composed by Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston for the Walt Disney film Cinderella (1950). 

 


Over to you:

Do you have any favourite rainbow yarns or patterns? What do you wear to cheer up your wardrobe in the grey, winter months?

 


 

* from the song Over the Rainbow, music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Yip Harburg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight, Trending

Sweaters of the Season: Penguono

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Penguono by Stephen West. Photo copyright westknits.

What is the Penguono?:  A pattern by the fantastically colourful and innovative designer Stephen West, the Penguono is a kimono style, short sleeved jacket that you can also flip upside down and wear as a long coat.

Why is it a sweater of the season? Penguono was published by westknits in 2014 but embodies many of the trends in knitwear this autumn/winter 2017, particularly echoing the shapes and use of colour and texture at Chloe and Missoni.

 

 

Clockwise from top left:  Missoni Cardigan (here), Chloe Loose mohair sweater with colour blocking (here), Missoni Pullover (here), Missoni Striped Wool Long Cardigan (here), Chloe Colour block tweed poncho (here), Chloe Fil Coupe Sweater (here).

    • Oversized
    • Striped
    • Patchwork effect
    • Unconventional construction
    • Embellished/multi textured
    • Optional Dangly Bits
    • Marled effect

See Related articles below for more on these trends.

Pattern Particulars:

Yarn: this is a perfect project to use up leftover yarn of all weights- simply hold them together to get your desired gauge. Depending on your choice of gauge, you can make a sleek, soft sock-weight cardigan or a more robust, cuddly chunky-weight jacket.

Construction: unusual and rather ingenious, this cardigan starts with a rectangle for the back, before you work the sides and fronts sideways, incorporating simple v-neck shaping. Then you make two more rectangles for the shoulders and sleeves before finishing with the collar and bottom band, all outlined in an i-cord.

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Order of construction: Penguono by Stephen West. Photo copyright westknits.

Stitches: The design includes garter, seed stitch and an i-cord edging.

Personalisation: this cardigan gives lots of opportunity to play with textures by mixing yarns of different weights and fibre content. This can produce a subtle depth to the fabric, such as the addition of mohair to a merino wool. Alternatively, the knitter can create a more dramatic effect by adding sections of greatly contrasting weights of yarn or using novelty yarns such as faux fur or yarn with attached sequins, or multiple colous, such as variegated, speckled, barber poled or self-striping yarns.

There are also further opportunities within the design for customisation: you decide the width and frequency of stripes, and the balance between stripes and blocks of colour. Leave the hemline as a sleek icord edge, or add single/multi-coloured fringe or pompoms.

 

 

To see more about the pattern or to buy, see Ravelry page here. Or see Westknits website, here.


Over to you: have you made the Penguono? What are you planning to make this autumn/winter? Which knitwear pieces from the catwalks stood out for you this season?

 

 

Knit Focus, Spotlight

Spotlight: an eye for detail

 

 

These cute little mitts featuring foxes, beavers, squirrels and rabbits are part of The Woodsy Association 2.0 collection from tiny owl knits.

They’re a great example of how little details can make a design really special – from the subtle colour shading in the animal faces to the adorable little tassels added on the edge of each mitt which continue the animal theme: dangling acorns for the squirrel and matching tails for the rest. I particularly love the little white pompoms for the rabbits! Knitted in 4-ply, they range from small to XL.

Find out more about the collection at tiny owl knits (here) or you can see and buy the pattern at Ravelry (here)

 


Over to you: do you have any favourite patterns with thoughtful little details? Or suggestions for stranded colourwork mitts? 

 


Image above from tiny owl knits – see here

 

 

Spotlight, Trending

Spotlight: designer socks

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Knitted Long Socks in Mint Mohair (here)

Knitted socks are hugely popular amongst knitters, but rarely feature much in mainstream fashion. But this autumn/winter season, the knitted sock has been elevated to the catwalk. Or at least they were at British fashion brand Mulberry (here.)

Mulberry’s A/W 2017 collection featured an array of fuzzy mohair socks – some above the knee, others ankle length – in a striking 1930s-style palette of mint green, purple, mustard, brown and grey.

Worn with beautiful silks and fine corduroys, and rising from smart high heeled loafers and delicate jewelled sandals, the super soft socks added to the sense of tactile luxury, but also offered a refreshing (incongruous?) change from the more usual bare legs or tights.

Knitted Long Socks in Lilac and Light Grey Mohair (here)

Combined in some cases with midi length skirts/dresses and dropped waist silhouettes, the knitted socks also evoked a 1920/30s, vintage feel. I find myself thinking of the practical secretary in an Agatha Christie country house- wool stockings, tweed skirts and brogues- albeit a wonderfully glamorous version!

Knit-inspiration: you can easily emulate this cosy, vintage look with a pair of hand knitted socks. Choose a mohair, cashmere or alpaca blend if you would like a similarly fuzzy, soft finish.

Clockwise, from top left: Alpaca Sox Long Socks by Catherine Shumadine (here), Cheviot Knee Sock by Jo Storie (here), Percolation Socks by Kylie McDonnell-Wade (here), Basic Sock by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas (here).


Over to you: what do you think of this look? Will you be wearing long socks with your evening dresses this season? Have you ever tried knitting mohair/mohair-blend socks?

 

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Spotlight: dangly bits

 

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Pompom edging detail from MaxMara Pure Wool Cardigan (here)

There were a lot of things left hanging on the catwalks this autumn/winter 2017.

Opulent feathers, playful pompoms, dramatic fringe and pretty lace were all added to the bottoms of cardigans/jumpers or the underside of sleeves, adding a touch of quirkiness to otherwise simple pieces or bringing another element to already flamboyant garments.

 

Clockwise from top: Stella McCartney Large Volume Fringe Jumper (here) , MaxMara Pure Wool Cardigan (here), MaxMara Wool and Feather Sweater (here) .

Some designers looked beyond decorative trims and instead played with the conventions of sweater construction. At Balenciaga they quite literally deconstructed their knitwear, partially hacking off the bottom portions of garments and leaving them to hang down. At Sonia Rykiel and Stella McCartney they effected a similarly ragged finish by turning intarsia jumpers inside out and leaving threads dangling to highlight this inversion.

 

From left: Balenciaga Lurex Draped Sweater (here), Sonia Rykiel Jacquard Knit Sweater with Ruffles (here).

 

Knit-inspiration: Tassels, fringe, lace and pompoms can all be added quite easily to your knitted project to give a contemporary, quirky edge.

You can use them to update and refresh old projects: add colourful tassels to a shawl, knit a lace border on the jumper that’s always been a bit too short, add fringe to the end of a scarf that is looking shabby.

There are some great tutorials on how to make and add these edgings. E.g. Knitting help- Making tassels (here) and Knitting help-Adding Fringe (here)by VeryPink Knits, and How to Make Mini Yarn Pom Poms Easy DIY by giddyupworkshop (here).

And for the simplest way to achieve this look? Turn your newly knit sweater inside out and leave some of your yarn ends hanging!

See the patterns below for some examples of garments and accessories with a variety of dangling decorations!

 

From left: Sonder Shawl by Helen Stewart, detail of tassel from Marled Magic Shawl by Stephen West.

TASSELS: Sonder Shawl by Helen Stewart (here) This chunky weight shawl is knitted in a luxurious blend of alpaca, wool and silk. The simple eyelet design is given a playful edge by the large tassels at each corner, which also help the shawl sit well on the shoulders.

TASSELS: Marled Magic Shawl by Stephen West (here). Tassels are again a feature in this large, stashbusting shawl worked in seed stitch and using a mix of yarn weights, fibres and colours. Here, they offer yet another point of interest, adding a further touch of drama to the multicoloured, multi-textured fabric.

 

From left: Bon Bon by Joji Locatelli, Cabled Cowl with Pompom Edge by Bernat Design Studio

POMPOMS: Bon Bon by Joji Locatelli (here). These elegant fingerless mitts are knit in dk weight yarn and feature twisted stitches and lace. The cute pompom is an optional extra that is sewn on at the end and gives a fun twist.

POMPOMS: Cabled Cowl with Pompom Edge by Bernat Design Studio (here). Knitted in seed stitch and with sideway cables, this aran weight cowl is given a more quirky feel with multi-coloured pompoms.

 

From left: Santa Fe by Carol Sunday, Dylan Tank by Wool and the Gang (Photo copyright 2017 Rowan Yarns).

FRINGE: Santa Fe by Carol Sunday (here) – this 5-ply/sport weight, merino cardigan was published in 2014 but is right on trend this season with its striping, asymmetric waterfall front and multi-coloured fringe. You can buy kits to knit this cardigan in 5 different colour ways at Carol Sunday’s online store here.

FRINGE: Dylan Tank by Wool and the Gang (here). This aran weight, cotton tank top is new for 2017 and right on trend with its stripes and dangling fringe hem. Though it is intended as a summer top, it could easily be knitted in a warmer, wool based yarn and styled as a layering piece over long sleeved tees this winter. A free pattern from Rowan Yarns, it is knitted flat in simple garter stitch stripes.

 

From left: Penny Candy Winter by Jenjoyce Design, Puntilla by Joji Locatelli.

LACE: Puntilla by Joji Locatelli (here). A 4-ply/fingering weight sweater with a modern, boxy silhouette, Puntilla is knitted from the top down in one piece. Contrast coloured lace details edge the sleeve cuffs and the bottom hem, giving a pretty, whimsical note to an otherwise simple, every-day sweater.

Penny Candy Winter by Jenjoyce Design (here). Striped, worsted weight wool jumper with lace details at neckline, hem and sleeve cuffs. Also featuring another popular trend: stripes! Knit bottom-up, in the round, and with options for different body shapes and fits, including two necklines.

 


Over to you: Do you enjoy fluffy pompoms or the drama of a swish of fringe?

What do you think of the deconstructed look- is it a thoughtful challenge to our conventional ways of thinking or just an excuse not to sew in ends or a needless destruction of our hard work?

Have you got any suggestions for patterns that feature dangly bits?

Spotlight

Spotlight: Strands of Color

I am rarely a fan of pattern collections. I often like the aesthetic of a collection- the colours, the styling and the effortlessly chic lifestyle presented- but when I ask myself if I actually want to knit the patterns, I usually find only one or two to be really appealing.

In the new collection Strands of Color from Knit Picks, I want to make everything! Ok, not quite everything – 9 of the 15 patterns- and I’m discounting one of them simply because I have an unfair aversion to the knitting of cosies for objects that don’t need to be kept warm.

The designs all feature stranded colourwork, using designs that seem to be from the Nordic tradition. This means bigger, more graphic motifs than the smaller, often more muted bands of pattern used in traditional Fair Isle. Patterns include cowls, hats, fingerless mitts, mittens, a scarf and a variety of cosies.

Available to buy as a book (currently on sale at 40% discount), e-book and as individual patterns at Knit Picks website, here. Individual patterns also available to buy from Ravelry, here.

Over to you: what do you think of this collection? Am I alone in liking it so much? Do you have any pattern collections that you love? 


Images shown above: Clockwise from top left: Morgan Mitts, To the Top Hat, Shaela Cowl, Rafinesque Cowl- all by Knit Picks from Strands of Color collection.

Spotlight, Trending

Spotlight: sometimes sleeves

 

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Calvin Klein Detachable Sleeve High Neck Top from 205W9NYC collection for Autumn/Winter 2017

 

When is a top both sleeved and sleeveless? When it is part of the knitwear collection by Raf Simons for Calvin Klein this winter.

Several tops in the 205W9NYC collection featured these distinctive detachable sleeves, a couple in bright contrast colours and another continuing in a single, streamlined black.

How to wear? This concept offers a lot of opportunity for customising the pieces in your wardrobe- the original top can be worn without a sleeve, with a full sleeve (although it is unclear from descriptions whether it can be fully attached), with the sleeve pulled up or down the arm to create a shorter sleeve or slouchy cuff. Added to another outfit, the sleeves can be worn more like a leg warmer, adding extra warmth and an extra pop of colour or interesting texture.

Knit-inspiration: Detachable sleeves can be knitted in the round just like a standard wrist cuff or arm warmer, but with a bit of an extension so that it can reach all the way to the top of the arm, if desired.

How to knit? Unlike the shorter arm warmers, shaping will be necessary to account for the increase in arm circumference, so it may be handy to check out the measurements and increase pattern of a sleeve from a sweater pattern. (Or for a less exact but simpler method, just regularly try on the sleeve and see how it looks, adding a couple of increases at either end of the round when you want to add a bit more fabric!)

There are endless options for customising a simple vanilla tube sleeve- adding ribbing, stripes, a stranded colourwork design like Fair Isle, lace, cables. Varying weight and type of yarn can make a huge difference, too- from a delicate 4-ply/fingering weight, fluffy mohair to a snuggly, chunky weight, smooth merino.

The sleeve could also be extended down the hand to form a thumb hole or even a fingerless mitt, (-wrapping round the thumb and reaching to the knuckles) for extra cosy sleeves.

This could be a perfect relaxing or on-the-go project- lots of simple knitting round and round- just like socks but minus the tricky heels or fiddly toes!

Some arm warmer pattern ideas:

 

Top, left to right: simple Georgia Sleeves by Celeste Glassel, slip-stitch Dotlets by Jana Huck, textured ridges along 158-6 Chloe Wrist Warmers by DROPS Design. Bottom, left to right: elegant, lace Armstulpe/wrist warmers Ottavia by Birgit Freyer, armour-like, textured Lidar by Jana Huck, and slouchy, ribbed super soft wristworms by LondonLeo.