Monday, December 28, 2009

Worldwide Splendor

Such exciting things are happening over here! You may remember our previous post in which we mentioned some of the exposure and love we'd gotten by getting mentioned in other blogs & forums. Well, it's just! Getting! Better!

The Wild Thing hoodie has recently been featured on fanblog dedicated to the Where the Wild Things Are book & movie. It was incredibly flattering to discover this, somehow. I think the extra flattery (for me) lies in the fact that, since this is a fan site, the interest & excitement are coming from fellow nerdy fans--and I mean that in the most becoming way possible. I mean, I definitely count myself as part of that group!

In addition to this, we've been getting visitors from a couple of websites that appear to be Japanese ( and, which is also flattering and very curious. Neither of us is able to read any Asian language, so if you can help us discover how we're mentioned on these sites, we'd be most appreciative. Regardless, though, it's incredibly nifty to know that there is interest in our little blog all over the World!

Speaking of global interest, a Francophone reader recently offered to translate the pattern for The Natural into French, and this translation is now available here! Many thanks to Mélusine for this translation! I also hear that an Italian translation of the pattern is in the works. HOW COOL IS THAT!?

We'd both like to extend a warm Thank You to all of our readers for showing us love in all the ways that you do. Stay tuned; there's more super fun knitting in the works!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Visual Texture

I'm not gonna play; I'm one of those guys that knitters complain about: I unabashedly enjoy stockinette sweaters in grey, blue, or black...maybe with a stripe across the chest? [full disclosure: I mostly choose greys or black, which means that most of my 'sweater quantities' of yarn are varying shades of grey, with an occasional bundle of black yarn]

However, I don't believe that stockinette fabric needs to be boring to look at, so I bring you examples of yarn with what I call Visual Texture. These are just a few examples of swatches I've been playing with that use yarns which create interest without a complex stitch pattern.

Yarn: Fibra Natura 'Mermaid' in colorway 'Turkish Tile'

The interest in this yarn is the result, in part, of its composition. The blend of pima cotton, superwash Merino wool, seacell, and silk creates subtle variances in tone, as the different fibers absorb dye to varying degrees. On top of that, the silk and seacell give it a really yummy sheen. Seacell is made from cellulose (read: wood pulp) and seaweed, and the buzz is that the seaweed content transfers nutrients when worn against the skin (osmosis FTW!!!). Between that and the lovely feel of the yarn and fabric, I'm bent on uncovering the manly accessory that I'm sure is hidden in a ball or two of this fab yarn.

Yarn: Universal Yarn Classic Worsted Holiday in colorway 'Silver Bells'

Ok, I give! I'm easily distracted by shiny objects! I don't know that there's anything guy-friendly waiting to happen with this yarn, but I do enjoy the challenge of looking for it. This machine-washable (79% Acrylic, 19 % Wool, 2% Glitter) yarn has a metallic element with a shine that's hard to resist. That, alone, is really enough to give some 'oomph' to a piece of "plain knitting". I'm showing the Reverse Stockinette side of this ribbed-border swatch to demonstrate how simply displaying the side of the fabric that we don't normally see can create some intrigue. What is that pebbley fabric, anyway? Right?

Yarn: KnitPicks City Tweed Heavy Weight in colorway 'Orca'

Here is another yarn whose mixed fiber content (Merino wool, superfine alpaca, & Donegal tweed) contributes to multi-tone appeal. Tweedy yarns, in general, are great for visual interest, as the tweedy bits--usually multicolored, and typically brightly-hued--break up what might be an otherwise-solid (or -semisolid) fabric. In this case, though, I really appreciate that the 'tweeds' are neutral tones. Davitron and I are of two minds on this one, but I truly enjoy the visual appeal of tweed without the distraction of bright colors amidst grey or black yarn.

Yarn: Fibra Natura 'Oak' in colorway 'Pewter'

This swatch (that looks like it's on its way to becoming a scarf, no?) illustrates that very complicated stitch patterns are not necessary to create very interesting fabric. You can see in the ball (background...a little bit) that the yarn itself (a blend of linen, silk and superwash Merino wool) has a respectable amount of color variation going on in it. Here you can see seed stitch (center), sandwiched between ol' reliable garter stitch (above & below the seed stitch sections), and at the top and bottom there's a very simple stitch pattern that I've been thinking of a lot lately. It's a variation on the Mistake Rib stitch that might actually have a name, though I'm unaware of it. The stitch pattern repeats over a multiple of 3 stitches, and you just knit 2, purl 1 on both sides of back-and-forth knitting. I added a slipped-stitch edge to my swatch, though, cuz I'm fancy like that! :o)

Yarn: Dream In Color Classy in colorway 'Cocoa Kiss'

Just when it's starting to seem like the only way to get visual interest is to blend some fibers, here's an example that is pure, delicious superwash Merino wool. Dream In Color's Veil Dying process and color palette create some pretty freakin' amazing yarns! Cocoa Kiss is an example of one of their yarns that combines different hues artfully to create a pleasing color combination, but you can bet your biddy that I have a sweater quantity of yarn stashed in their newer 'Grey Tabby Cat' colorway! Whether you're talking about one of their semisolids or multi-hued colorways, though, the gorgeously subtle variations in color create a lovely 'textured' fabric out of plain ol' stockinette fabric.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Hullo there!

Wow, it's been quite a month. TricotChico and myself have been hard at work writing patterns and preparing info for test knitters! (also, if you're interested in test knitting, comment below with your e-mail address, or find one of us through the ravelry links on the sidebar)

First I need to say a huge thanks to all of you find folks who visit us regularly, or send your friends over here or just find us randomly, some how, through the magick of the Internet. You may have noticed an interruption in the presence of our blog recently. You see, thanks to all of you lovely readers, we exceeded our monthly bandwidth for the first time! In all the excitement, I forgot to buy the next hosting package up, and VOILA - interruption. But we're back up and running! Thanks for sticking in there!

A couple months ago, a good friend of mine at Knit Picks, Kate, offered me an opportunity to be part of their new Independent Designer Program. Their format was incredibly unique, and frankly, groundbreaking. Their program puts 100% of pattern revenue in the hands of the designers. If you're at all familiar with how a lot of magazines work, I'm not going to sugar coat it for you - a lot of them don't look out for the designer's interests (lots of other designers, like Annie Modesitt, have written fantastic blog posts explaining this situation) You can understand why i was excited and wanted to be a part of this program.

Pattern: Sakura by David Castillo
$1.99 on the Knit Picks Pattern Store
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss HW in 'Aegean'
Needle: US8

This hat was knit from an idea I've had kicking around in my head for a while. It was nice to finally take some time and work it out. I have also knit a very serviceable prototype out of Cascade 220 that is equally fabulous.

Let me talk for a second about the yarn used in this pattern, though. A lot of people tend to associate inexpensive yarn with low quality, which i can understand but I'm always saddened by this dismissal. Gloss is an incredibly affordable yarn while maintaining an excellent quality! I had no issues with this ball of yarn, it was spun nicely and evenly, no excessive knots (I'm not sure if there was any knots, actually). On top of that, the fiber blend is delightful! It's 80% Merino 20% Silk. Absolutely fantastic.

That little gush-session/commercial aside, This hat is a great, quick knit - Excellent for all that Christmas knitting you need to get done! The decreases include a few twisted-stitch cables, which provide you with the chance to try out some cabling without the daunting task of knitting an all-over cable pattern. On top of that, when you finish of this hat you're going to feel like a super clever knitting rock star!

Again folks, thanks for all the visits! It's been so exciting to watch the blog stats and see so many people enjoying what we put out there.

Happy Stitching!