New pattern: Oil Paint Cowl

The Oil Paint Cowl is a cosy cowl with textured colour-play inspired by the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. The all-over colourwork pattern uses the brilliant ‘marlisle’ technique pioneered by Anna Maltz, which adds textural contrast and colour-mixing to stranded colourwork. The foreground pattern of brushstrokes is stranded using one colour only, and the background is worked in garter stitch with both colours held together.

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I was lucky enough to visit an amazing Van Gogh exhibition last year at the National Gallery of Victoria, and I snapped a few photos of details I liked - you can see some of my favourites below. The colours, textures, and movement of the paint ended up inspiring this cowl design. I suggest picking one of your own favourite paintings to help choose your yarn colours!

I knit my cowl using two skeins of Malabrigo Mechita (100% merino; 420yds/384m per 100g skein). To keep the brushstroke pattern well defined I chose the semi-solid colourway ‘Frank Ochre’ for the stranded stitches, which also shimmers beautifully in the marled garter stitch background. And to really bring out the impressionist painting effect, I chose the variegated colourway ‘Sheri’ for the background, to add extra richness and depth.

I also tested out the combination of Frank Ochre and Glitter, and the swatch reminds me of Van Gogh’s paintings of fading sunflowers. But in the end I went with Sheri for the background, because the cool tones give a livelier contrast with Frank Ochre.

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Oil Paint Cowl features:

  • a cosy short cowl knit in the round from the bottom up

  • all-over marlisle colourwork pattern of stylised brushstrokes

  • techniques include stranded colourwork, and knitting in the round

  • suitable for solid or semi-solid fingering-weight yarn with contrast between the two colours

  • the background/MC also suits variegated yarn or colour gradients

  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats

  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts (made possible by the small 8-stitch repeat).

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The Oil Paint Cowl pattern is available on Ravelry.

New pattern: Whitewater Wrap

The Whitewater Wrap is a large rectangular shawl in flowing lace and restful garter stitch. My inspiration for the wrap is the waterfall in the middle of my hometown, Wairere falls in Whakatāne, a special place where I spent a lot of time exploring and climbing on the rocks as a kid.  

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The wrap is divided in half diagonally, with lace on one side and garter stitch on the other, but it's constructed very simply - just knit from end, with a stitch marker keeping track of the boundary between the two stitch patterns. I found it a relaxing knit, with intuitive lace and simple knit-and-purl wrong-side rows.

The lace pattern is made up of flowing lines of yarnovers and decreases, with sinuous shapes appearing and disappearing between them. This movement in the lace causes the stockinette stitches to shift direction, catching the light at different angles for a shimmering effect.

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To knit my sample I used three skeins of Sock Yarn from Wren & Ollie, a soft blend of 85% superwash merino and 15% nylon, in a beautiful and subtle colourway called ‘Glisten’. I love the extra depth the gentle speckles give to the stitch patterns!

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Whitewater Wrap features:

  • rectangular shape, with the lace end slanted on the bias

  • half flowing lace, half restful garter stitch

  • knit in one piece from end to end

  • techniques include simple lace knitting (knit, purl, yarn-over, k2tog, ssk)

  • suitable for solid, semi-solid, or gently-speckled fingering-weight yarn

  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats

  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

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The Whitewater Wrap pattern is available on Ravelry.

New pattern: Beeswax Shawl

The Beeswax Shawl is here! I've revisited the large-scale lace of my Beeswax Scarf, but instead of confining it to a rectangle, the honeycomb motifs flow in and out organically to form a long diamond-shaped wrap with gently-scalloped edges.

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The shawl is knit sideways from tip to tip, which has the advantage of keeping the rows relatively short throughout, especially at the narrow beginning and end of the shawl. I love being able to zoom through a lace repeat in a single sitting!

To knit the shawl you will need two skeins of fingering weight yarn. I used Superstar 4ply from Vintage Purls, which is a non-superwash blend of polwarth, silk, and a little black merino. This colourway, Polaris, is a beautiful rich gold.

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Beeswax Shawl features:

  • a long diamond-shaped shawl in textured lace
  • knit sideways from tip to tip
  • techniques include simple lace knitting (knit, purl, yarn-over, k2tog, ssk), and a few double decreases
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid-dyed fingering-weight yarn
  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.
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The Beeswax Shawl pattern is available on Ravelry.

New pattern: Anagram

I'm so happy to finally be able to share this pair of projects with you! The Anagram Hat & Wrap are part of the new amirisu Winter 2018 issue, along with seven other patterns celebrating texture in knitting.

Photo by amirisu

The Anagram Hat is a cosy beanie with crisp texture, and its sibling the Anagram Wrap is a large dramatic rectangle with an all-over lace pattern. The stitch patterns combine modern geometric lace with garter stitch for texture and squish factor.

Geometric stitch patterns have become a real signature of mine - I find them very satisfying, both in the designing stage and the knitting. Because of the small repeating elements in their stitch patterns, the Hat & Wrap are very rhythmic and meditative to knit. I rearranged the little 'blocks' of pattern, with diagonal lines travelling across the garter stitch background, just like rearranging the letters in a word - so I think of these two stitch patterns as 'anagrams' of each other.

Photo by amirisu

The Anagram Hat & Wrap are both knit in Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in the delicate wintery shade 'Thaw'. Arbor's beautifully crisp stitch definition really lets their texture shine. You will need 7 skeins for the wrap and 2 for the hat (including a pompom if you wish).

Photo by amirisu

Hat Features:

  • a cosy textured beanie in modern geometric lace
  • can be topped with a pompom if you wish
  • knit in the round from the bottom up
  • techniques include the long tail cast on, and lace knitting including the occasional double increase and decrease
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid-dyed DK-weight yarn
  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats around
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

Wrap Features:

  • a long cosy rectangular wrap in modern geometric lace
  • knit flat from end to end
  • techniques include the long tail cast on, lace knitting, and a stretchy bind off
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid-dyed DK-weight yarn
  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats across or lengthwise
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts. 

Photo by amirisu

The patterns are available as part of amirisu Winter 2018, Issue 15. You can purchase a print copy from their website or your favourite yarn shop, or a digital copy from amirisu's website or Ravelry.

New patterns: Aether Shawl + Aether Cowl

My final new pattern release of the year is a double shot: a laceweight shawl and a fingering-weight cowl, both featuring a geometric lace pattern inspired by sparkling stars. The shawl is a light, ethereal triangle knit from the bottom up, and the cowl is a quicker knit, worked flat and then grafted.

Aether Shawl

Aether Cowl

I took the name Aether from classical science, where it was thought to be a fifth element filling the sky above the terrestrial sphere. In later centuries, the aether was hypothesized to be the medium through which light travels. My starlight-inspired lace pattern is made up of mesh triangles on a background of garter stitch, forming a mosaic of starbursts - a more complex take on the lace from my Hextile Wrap design.

The shawl requires one 100g skein of laceweight yarn. I used a beautiful merino/silk blend from Miss Click Clack called Shark Bay Lace, which has a wonderful shimmer thanks to the silk. The interesting greenish-gold semi-solid colourway is called Fracta Aurea Olivae, which I think translates to 'broken golden olive'.

Shawl Features:

  • a delicate triangular shawl featuring geometric lace and garter stitch
  • worked from the bottom up
  • the garter stitch border begins with picked-up stitches around the diagonal edges
  • techniques include garter stitch and simple lace, picking up stitches, and a stretchy bind-off
  • a one-skein project in laceweight yarn
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid-dyed yarn
  • easy to enlarge by adding pattern repeats
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

The cowl is also a one-skein knit, but in fingering-weight yarn. I used Skein Yarn's Top Draw Sock, a very soft merino/nylon blend, in a calm greyish lavender called Très Chic.

Cowl Features:

  • a light, drapy cowl featuring geometric lace and garter stitch
  • worked flat beginning with a provisional cast on and grafted to form the loop
  • techniques include garter stitch and simple lace, a provisional cast on, and grafting
  • a one-skein project in fingering-weight yarn
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid-dyed yarn
  • easy to enlarge by adding pattern repeats
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

The model for these designs is the amazingly talented Francoise Danoy of Aroha Knits, who I was lucky enough to meet in person during her recent trip to Melbourne!

You can see all the details and purchase the Aether Shawl and Aether Cowl patterns on Ravelry.