Magic loop: yes, it is!

After my success with two-colour brioche for the It's New To Me KAL back in October, I decided to keep up my upskilling momentum and try another new technique that I've been vaguely meaning to try for years: magic loop!

If you're not familiar with it, magic loop is a method of knitting a small circumference in the round; an alternative to using double-pointed needles (which I'm prone to dropping).

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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.

Brioche beginnings

I'm learning to knit brioche, and I'm absolutely loving it! It's just so thick and squishy, and it makes colour combinations really sing...

I've been wanting to learn to knit brioche stitch for a long time. I even have one of Nancy Marchant's books on brioche, but sometimes my design knitting deadlines don't leave much space for playing with new techniques and knitting other designer's patterns. I finally got the push I needed when I heard about Karen of Wool Gathering Australia's It's New To Me KAL. There are a few of us knitting our first two-colour brioche projects for the KAL this month, and sharing tips and encouragement.

If you're not familiar with brioche stitch, here are some examples of designs from my Ravelry favourites which I think really show off its strengths and possibilities:

  • Really bold stripes and zigzags in two or more colours - Stephen West's Askews Me Shawl and Briochevron Wrap (which I plan to make one day as a sock yarn stash-buster)
  • More subtle two-colour brioche, with garter stitch as a contrasting texture - Andrea Mowry's What the Fade!? shawl, Bristol Ivy's Jemison cowl from her forthcoming book Knitting Outside the Box, and Lesley Anne Robinson's Unda shawl (which has a very subtle colour pairing)
  • Classic, cosy texture in a single colour - Jared Flood's Oshima sweater, and Olga Buraya-Kefelian's Gren mitts
  • More complex texture in a single colour - Bristol Ivy's Lisse shawl and Burke cardigan, and Norah Gaughan's modular Counterpane sweater.

The pattern I've chosen to knit for the KAL is Katrin Schubert's beezee hat. I chose a hat because it's a manageable-sized project (I was tempted to try for a large shawl or wrap, but I have other projects to finish!), and I chose this design because I liked the boldness of the stitch pattern. It's my current weekend project, which I've been chipping away at when I'm hanging out on the couch.

I dug through the DK yarn in my stash and chose a speckled main colour, 'Koi' on Walk Collection Cozy Vintage, and a calm grey background colour, 'Eastern Reef Egret' on Circus Tonic Handmade DK:

I'm knitting the biggest size, and I can tell it's going to be a long, slouchy kind of hat. I've just reached the start of the crown decreases, so there's not much more to go.

If you're keen to try knitting some brioche, I recommend just diving in! Here are a couple of resources I used when I got stuck (for example, the first time I had to work a decrease):

Pooling on purpose

As promised, here is the tale of how I got the colours to pool so nicely in my smaller Rainbow Cake hat. The pastel rainbow colours of the yarn (Madelinetosh's Pure Merino Worsted in 'Pocket Rainbow') practically demanded that I have a go at controlled colour-pooling, and I couldn't be happier with the way it worked out. :)

The first step, of course, was swatching.

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A new look!

You may have noticed my blog looks a little different than it used to - and you'd be right! I've been working on refreshing the 'look' of my knitting design business, to match my current taste and design style a bit better. I do hope you like it. :)

I went through quite a lengthy process of collecting images to use as inspiration, and reading up on typography + logo design + branding in general. Yes, it would all have been much faster if I'd hired a pro to sort it out for me, but I was curious to learn about these areas, and I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to design, especially for an important project like this.

My 'inspiration board'

I wanted a light, bright, beautiful feel, with a handmade, playful side to it. I also really wanted to keep yellow in the mix, since that colour means happiness to me. My 'inspiration board' features swirling shapes, yellows and golds, details from Klimt paintings, music in the form of a violin scroll, and nature in the form of trees, flowers, and bees.

I love any excuse to get out our art supplies, and I had a lot of fun drawing and tweaking my new logo. Because I'm a massive nerd, the starting point for my hand-lettering style was an 18th-century title page for a book of keyboard music by J.S. Bach:

Here's the the finished lettering for my logo, together with a circle of purl stitches in light, warm yellows:

Did you know the Baroque period in music (when my faves Bach and Handel and Monteverdi were composing) gets its name from 'baroque' shaped pearls? This type of pearl is irregular and bumpy, and the analogy to music was originally meant as an insult, much like 'Impressionism' in painting. My yellow circle of purls is my attempt at a pun - it's a baroque pearl made of purls.

I also sketched a loose, flowy texture based on the structure of plain stockinette or garter stitch, which I'll use as a background or wherever it's needed. I made a little stop-motion video of myself inking over the pencil sketch, just for fun...

(Click to play gif!)

I'm hoping these elements, along with my new colour palette and selection of fonts, will be versatile enough for all of my blog, social media, newsletter, and pattern layout needs. I'll be updating all of these over the next while! And most exciting of all, I'm going to be working on a new website to house a pattern gallery, with tutorials and everything else all in one place.


In case you're curious, this book is one of the main resources I used for this whole process. It's been fun, but I admit I'm impatient to get back to focusing on designing!