Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Knitty & Me

Back in the mists of time - *cough* - ok, in 2009, I was a fairly new knitter with a few scarves under my belt. One was a giant garter-stitch scarf in Gryffindor colours, one featured mint and neon green stripes and ruffled ends (that started off as a mistake), and one was actually quite nice - a linen scarf in basket stitch which I gave to Willie.

And then I discovered two things that completely changed my crafting life: Ravelry and Knitty.

And I started knitting things like this anatomically-inspired heart, which I think was my first experience with knitting in the round. I used double-pointed needles and yarn held double, which wasn't easy...

Anniversary heart, 2009 (pattern: Kristen Legett's Heart)

And then I made these three-fingered gloves, which I remember struggling with. Double-pointed needles AND a cable needle added up to a handful of unruly spikes. But I got there, and the gloves were cool!

Reptile gloves, 2009 (pattern: Tina Melvin's Tridactyl)

The fun patterns that were coming out began to spark ideas, like the alternative moustache shape I used on this cowl. I shared my moustache chart on my Ravelry project page, and it was a thrill to see a few people use it on their own cowls.

Cowl of Disguise, 2010 (pattern: Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark's Incognito)

I had a go at whichever patterns inspired me, and built up a lot of new skills as I went. This hat (covered in fossil trilobites!) was my introduction to more complex texture with cables and bobbles. I'm keen to knit a new one actually, I love this design.

Fossil hat, 2010 (pattern: Hannah Ingalls' Trilobite)

Eventually I took the plunge and knit an actual garment for myself. And I didn't choose a simple one - I went for it and chose one that looked AMAZING. It's knit in separate pieces, with complex cables on the front and back, and double-moss-stitch texture on the sleeves and sides. It took me about three months to knit, and I was super-proud when it fit!

A progress photo, courtesy of Dad

My First Jersey, 2011 (pattern is Norah Gaughan's Beatnik)

I've since knit more things from Knitty (like my steeked Iðunn cardie), and I have more things in my queue waiting to be knit (like these cute Geek Socks). I've also learned heaps from the articles, and refer back to them for reminders of particular techniques. And I still can't quite believe I have a pattern of my own in Knitty too. :)

Knitty is going through some changes at the moment, and I'm supporting it through Patreon so it can keep being awesome. I've got a massive amount out of it over the years, especially when I was a relative beginner. Easily accessible free patterns for stuff I actually wanted to make? And articles with tutorials for all the new tricks I wanted to learn? Gold.

Thank you, Knitty. <3

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Free pattern: Droste Effect

I have a hat pattern in the latest issue of Knitty! This is really exciting for me, as I first got lured into knitting as a hobby by the fun, free patterns in Knitty. This is Droste Effect, a hat covered in cables inspired by the structure of stockinette stitch: 

  • all-over cable pattern designed to look like stockinette stitch
  • crown decreases are integrated into the cable pattern
  • two sizes: adult small + large
  • a one-skein project: requires up to 185 yards of DK-weight yarn
  • full charted and written instructions
  • available for free!

The yarns I chose are two NZ yarns which have excellent stitch definition, perfect for knitting cables. The brown hat (size L) was knit using 2 balls of Skeinz Silver Lining in 'Clifton Stone', and the sea-green hat (size S) was knit using 1 skein of Vintage Purls Max in 'Abel Tasman'.

The name 'Droste Effect' is taken from the visual effect of a picture-within-a-picture, because the hat's cables represent a large-scale stockinette stitch (it's a knitting pattern that looks like knitting). Tins of Droste brand cocoa famously feature a nurse holding a tray with a cup and the same tin on it:


The photos were taken by Jos, my dad, when I was visiting Whakatane last. We went to one of my old childhood haunts - the playground by the river at The Heads. Bay of Plenty locals might recognise the rocks and Moutohorā/Whale Island in the background...

 We also played around with the picture-within-a-picture idea... :)

Droste Effect is available as a free pattern here at
Its Ravelry page is here.