Extreme Double-knitting Pattern Highlight #5

Happy Friday! We’re over halfway through the Extreme Double-knitting highlight reel and it’s time to get into some really colorful stuff! The next three patterns are my first three-color designs, but as with some of the other patterns here, I found it refreshing to go back and look at them with new eyes. The two in this post have been heavily redesigned in some interesting ways. If you like what you see, please consider preordering the book from my site!

Pattern #9: Struktur v2

When I used to show off the original version of this hat at trunk shows, the “trick” I would do would be to fold up the brim and then set the hat upside-down with the crown in my palm. It held its shape perfectly — more of a bowl than a hat, to be honest. This was due to a number of factors: the yarn choice (Cascade 220), the stitch orientation (twisted) and the simple fact that it’s done in three-color double-knitting. All of these went together to make a relatively rigid, dense, thick fabric. Great for a bowl, not so much for a hat. If you could manage to control your tension well enough that the hat remained somewhat stretchy, it would still be about 5 layers thick at the brim fold, and when those layers are in worsted weight yarn, the fabric is ridiculously thick. Even more so when the stitches were twisted, which makes them more square but also makes them a little thicker.

I used twisted stitches especially with three-color double-knitting because of a misguided attempt to hide the internal strands. I reasoned that it would be a good idea to reduce the number of holes in the fabric (most often visible when stretched) by removing the holes in the centers of stitches. I liked the look of the twisted stitches, and chose to keep using them even after I learned to control them better, especially in multi-color work.

However, I have done some very nice three-color patterns since then without any such conceit and the strands are no more visible there than in the twisted pieces — and the twisted stitches were a barrier to entry so I removed them as a requirement.

Similar to the Four Winds revision (but with somewhat more urgency), I wanted to make the default fabric less bulky so I opted to remake it in Cascade 220 Sport. Predictably, this changed the gauge, which necessitated a redesign of the pattern. Rather than using the same chart I used in the original, I reworked it from scratch to make a smaller repeat so that this new revision can be sized more easily.

Pattern #10: Falling Blocks

This pattern has long been sort of a signature piece — a combination of two unusual double-knitting techniques that are actually related. Having done three-color double-knitting and two-pattern double-knitting, the natural progression was to do them both together. The result was a hat with two radically different three-color patterns on either layer. Similar to Struktur, I had designed the original in twisted stitches. Because of the yarn choice (Berroco Ultra Alpaca), it was not as rigid and more wearable — but still so dense that it was hard to hear while wearing it due to the number of layers folded over your ears.

The interesting thing about redoing this piece in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light was that the gauge of the original yarn in twisted stitches and the gauge of the new yarn in untwisted stitches ended up being identical. So the basic pattern didn’t require a rewrite (hence no “v2” in the title). However, that wasn’t all I wanted to change.

In the original pattern, I didn’t have the time or the expertise to figure out how to work the crown decreases in both patterns, so I made a graceful transition from one pattern to a color-rotated version of the other; the crown operated in a similar way to the Struktur hat above. This time, with more time and more expertise, I decided I would find a way to make the patterns on both layers decrease all the way to the crown. The process for this was interesting and hard to describe, but suffice it to say I completed it.

The new crown required a new concept of two-pattern decreasing too — if the two layers have no logical connection (i.e. you can no longer say that if Layer 1 is Color A, Layer 2 must be Color B), then decreases also need not have any logical connection. In other words, a left-slanting decrease on one layer may have a mirror-image decrease on the other layer — or a decrease in the other direction, depending on the needs of the pattern in that location. This allowed me to chart two-pattern decreases in a more intuitive way as well.

What Else is New?

Without naming names, I’m seriously considering going to print without a tech editor. My tech editor has not been in touch with me for the better part of a month. I have written to her specifically asking for updates twice and have heard nothing back. To be fair, I gave her no specific deadline, but I did explain the timeline I was hoping for and she said it seemed reasonable. I have worked with her before and I know she does good work and respects my time as well. I can only assume something is going on in her life that is keeping her from doing the quality of work I am used to. However, if she won’t communicate, I can’t know what my ETA is for having a final manuscript to print. I am OK shifting the print date later if need be, but I would really like to have it out by Rhinebeck.

So what would it mean to have a book printed without tech editing? Well, in this case, it wouldn’t be so bad. This is not an entirely new book. The original text was tech edited, and many of the patterns have been exhaustively tested by regular knitters who’ve been working from the original book, as well as sample knitters who have knitted the newest pattern revisions. Yes, there is new text, some new photos, and some newly-redesigned patterns. It is possible that there are some small mistakes in the patterns. This would mean that some people will be confused and errata will be posted. If I am lucky enough to have a second printing, I will have the opportunity to integrate those errata into that printing. I don’t like using my readers/knitters as guinea pigs, but it’s not quite as bad as it might have been if the book were entirely unvetted. Also, the people who knit my patterns are (by and large) more resilient, creative, and adventurous than your average knitter — so any missteps will probably be taken in stride.

Predictable update: My tech editor got in touch with me about an hour and a half after this post went live. She is on schedule so we are also on schedule! More substantive updates on this front next week!

Stay tuned for more updates next Friday, and thanks for your interest! Don’t forget to preorder your copy of Extreme Double-knitting soon!


Extreme Double-knitting Pattern Highlight #4

Thanks for keeping up with my Extreme Double-knitting pattern highlights! Today we’re going to dig into one of my most sought-after techniques, and one of the patterns that’s taken a radical turn from the original. If you like what you see, consider preordering a copy!

Pattern #7: Open For Business

Open For Business is a sign, most often used in yarn shops. As such signs are wont to do, one layer says “open” while the other says “closed”. This is achieved by using two-pattern double-knitting for the entire pair of words. The chart is challenging to follow simply because of the sheer quantity of two-pattern charting — but a careful eye will follow it easily.

This pattern is not the one that’s taken a radical turn from the original. In fact, aside from recharting to make the pattern fit better in the oblong layout, it’s not changed at all from the original. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even re-knit it.

What has changed is the mounting solution. Since this is a sign, it has to be mounted so that it remains flat. The solution I came up with in the original book involved a couple of bent coat-hangers inserted strategically into the sides of the piece and the sides sewn up over them. The trouble with this solution was that the sharp-ish ends of the coat-hanger would tend to poke out, and it was hard to keep it actually flat.

What I saw many people do was to mount it on a pair of dowels so that one would hold the hanging string and the other would weight the bottom. This is easier to explain and looks nicer, so that’s what I did this time.

Pattern #8: Four Winds v2

This is the pattern that has taken a dramatic turn. The reason is twofold. First, many of the hats in my original book were done in worsted weight yarn. This caused the double-knit fabric to be quite a bit thicker than your average (wearable) hat should be. To make a double-knit hat more wearable, it should be done in a finer gauge yarn.

In addition, it turns out that there was a contract issue between Twist Collective (the original publisher of this pattern) and Cooperative Press, which resulted in the termination of my contract with Twist. This was no big loss as I had not been getting much in terms of revenue from this pattern for some time. However, I didn’t want to compound issues by republishing the pattern in the original form again.

For both of those reasons, I decided I needed to redesign this pattern from the ground up. In a sport weight yarn, I could make it more easily sizeable, and make some other changes.

First, the two-pattern lettering (where the cardinal directions are shown) section is now on a fold-up brim. This means that the letters are worked upside-down so they will be right-side up when the brim is folded.

Second, the fleur-de-lis option is entirely hidden in this version — it’s still worked to keep the fabric stable and the knitting interesting, but unless you don’t work the fold-up brim, it won’t be seen while wearing it.

Third, the points of the compass are now only in off-the-grid double-knitting. If there’s a big clamor for a plain charted version, I’ll consider this when releasing the standalone pattern later.

Finally, the crown decreases are staggered around the crown so that the crown is less square when it’s done.

All these together make for a better-designed and more wearable hat! I hope you enjoy it!

Like what you’ve seen in this post? Preorder Extreme Double-knitting today!

What else is new?

Not much this week! I’m waiting on a report from my Tech Editor but as of the writing of this post, I haven’t heard any update. Hopefully more on that front next week.

Oh wait — there was one thing: I’m booked at Stitches West (Santa Clara, CA) in February, 2019! I’ve been there the last 3 years, so this is probably no surprise, but I figured I should announce it since it is news.

Stay tuned! And if you’re just joining us now, feel free to visit the previous few posts (see the navigation below) for more info.

Extreme Double-knitting Pattern Highlight #3

Good morning! It’s week #3 in my Extreme Double-knitting Highlight reel, and today I’m fit to be tied. Not really, but since things lined up this way, I’m posting about double-knit neckties. If you like what you see, maybe consider preordering the book?

Double-knit neckties have become kind of a signature concept for me — as a guy, I probably wear ties more often than your average knitter. So when I was brainstorming things to double-knit for the original book outline back in the late 2000s, neckties were not quite as far from the top of my mind as they might have been for others. I had encountered knitted neckties before but never found a truly exciting one. Most neckties had construction that was too complicated (knitting fabric the same shape as a sewn tie and then sewing it together) or too simplistic (not even bothering with the point at the bottom). None of them looked good, and all of them were obviously “knitted ties”. Double-knitting was an obvious solution: it doesn’t curl either horizontally or vertically because the two fabrics cancel out that tendency, and it can be used to do complex color patterns within a simple shaped garment. I took careful measurements of a “real” necktie and made a tie form that could be used to figure proper decrease locations for a necktie of any gauge, then used that to design two neckties:

Pattern #4: Silk City

This necktie and its more complicated brother below share some similarities. Of course, they’re both neckties. The original ones were both done in the same yarn (Crystal Palace Panda Silk, a silk-bamboo-wool blend) which, at the time of my redesigns, had not been discontinued, but had been severely limited in terms of color range. This seemed to me a harbinger of worse things to come, and sure enough, it has now been discontinued completely. I selected it because it was a fingering weight yarn with some silk content. Silk being a common tie-fabric ingredient, I figured this would make a nice necktie. When I had to find a substitute, I noticed that the silk content in this yarn was actually only 5% — something I surely knew back when I designed the original but had forgotten.

So when I chose a new yarn, I wanted something with a higher silk content, but still plain yarn in fingering weight and solid colors. This proved quite challenging, and what I eventually settled on met all but one of those criteria. Jaggerspun Zephyr is a 50/50 wool/silk blend, comes in a variety of lovely colors, and is a plain yarn — in lace weight only. I actually swatched this with lace weight, but as I struggle (with my big man hands) below US1 needles, I was unable to get a good gauge. But I was determined to use this yarn, and I discovered that it makes a really nice fabric if two strands are held together.

The pattern has changed very little from the original. Again, chart notation has changed for clarity — but there was another weird issue that I cannot remember my rationale for. For some reason, I had charted the pattern so that some of the charts had an even number of rows and some odd. This meant that you might end up following a chart beginning with a Layer-2 row (in opposite colors from the chart). This should not confuse a veteran double-knitter, but in a book meant to teach the technique it made no sense. I have fixed this issue in the new revision of the pattern: all charts, as they should, now begin on a Layer-1 row (the “right side”)

Pattern #5: Silk Road

The Silk Road tie was actually an outgrowth of a pattern design adventure I had embarked on many years earlier. You can read about the saga of the Victorian Raffia scarf in an earlier blog post. To make a long story short, when I was denied the opportunity to include that scarf in my original book, I decided to use some of what I had learned to expand on the necktie concept.

The fabric in this necktie helped me develop the “off-the-grid” style I mentioned in the last post. This is an extreme example; due to the all-over pattern of increases and decreases, there isn’t a single stitch traveling vertically in this entire pattern. Every stitch travels at a diagonal in one direction or the other. The spirals are also a little signature move that I have developed further in the patterns Atyria II and Hesperos in my book Double or Nothing. They look complicated, but they’re just a little visual trick that I’ve enjoyed playing with over the years.

The real challenge with this pattern was the decreases in the tie form itself. Combined with the constant increasing and decreasing, there were rows where decreasing simply meant leaving out a couple of increases, and others where it was a little more complicated. There are places where the rapid change in direction causes the fabric to ripple a little bit along the edge; I have done my best to reduce this effect but can’t eliminate it completely.

The main difference in this pattern is in its notation. I will freely admit that I did not have a good understanding of increase notation (decreases were OK) when I wrote the original book. I explained how to follow my notation, but it was not intuitive and definitely not the standard way of expressing increases in a chart. In later revisions of the pattern (which was, for a time, sold as a standalone pattern), I tried to make my notation clearer but kept the underlying issue intact. Eventually, I had an epiphany about how increases should be charted in a colorwork context. In retrospect, since I learned the technique from Kieran Foley‘s patterns, I should have learned from his notation as well rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. Later patterns, and especially the ones in Double or Nothing, use the corrected notation. With this revision, Extreme Double-knitting also joins the fold.

What Else is New?

I’ve got one very early update for Boston-area folks. I have not been teaching much in the Boston area, and I know that there are people who would be interested in taking a double-knitting class or 2 with me. The difficulty has been in finding a venue where I can get enough people to make a class worth my while. Most shops around here have been cutting back on teaching — using local talent rather than bringing in national teachers. While I am local, my fees are national-level, so shops need to fill classes to capacity to make them worth their while too. Many shops don’t have the space they’d need. So, while I feel conflicted about cutting the shops out of the picture, I am looking into ways to teach my classes in the Boston area without worrying about low turnout cancelling classes. The plan is to do a huge workshop extravaganza in April or May of 2019: I’ll be teaching two whole weekends, plus evenings spanning the week between those weekends. I’ll be running one of every class I teach, plus one extra intro class, Students will be able to pick and choose which classes they take; I will probably offer a discount for bulk purchasing of classes as well. If you’re interested in learning double-knitting or expanding your skills in it, and you’re in the Boston area or willing to travel here, get in touch with me and I’ll keep you posted.

Extreme Double-knitting Pattern Highlight #2

Hello! This is the second in a series of weekly posts highlighting patterns from my upcoming revision of Extreme Double-knitting, which is now available for preorder in print and digital. It’s my hope that people who have been on the fence about preordering will get excited by one pattern or the other and decide to bite the bullet.

More news later in the post; for now:

Pattern #3: Wrist Chakra

The Wrist Chakra wristwarmers were a last-minute addition to the 2011 printing, as is evidenced by the fact that the original photo was clearly taken in my living room, on my wife’s hands, with the yarn that had just been broken off and woven in. I realized I hadn’t included any truly basic double-knitting in the round, and time was of the essence so I whipped up a couple of small double-knit tubes as wristwarmers. I offered an option for a headband, but I hadn’t actually knit one so the measurements were simply gauge-based. I figured this was a relatively simple calculation, and it was.

However, I wanted to do it properly in the new revision, and as fate would have it, the yarn I had used (Araucania Nature Wool) was out of production. I had a hard time finding a good kettle-dyed DK-weight yarn in my local shops but eventually settled on Jojoland Splatter Dash, many colorways of which are at least reminiscent of kettle-dyed yarns. This time, I also made sure to work out a really nice headband version as well.

Pattern #4: Bratach

Bratach was my introduction to what I now call “off-the-grid” double-knitting in my classes. It’s a tongue-in-cheek name for a method of using increases and decreases in a decorative way. Much more is done with this technique later in the book but this is a good place to start.

In this case, I felt the product was pretty much exactly what I wanted — so no redesigning or reknitting was needed — but the process left something to be desired. Because of my relative inexperience in 2009-10 when it was designed, I did some pretty weird things with chart notation, and even made up my own chart symbol for a technique I called a “shift” which was something like a mock-cable. Essentially, it was a combination increase and decrease, done in such a way that the lifted increase was worked off of the top leg of the decrease. It was necessary to keep the traveling stitches moving dramatically while the crown decreases went on, and it worked nicely — but it can be notated over the span of two pixels in the chart using standard knitting notation. I also gave the pattern a little more rigorous sizing, whereas the older version relied on some weird math you had to do. It’s still very easy to change sizes simply by adding more space between the “banners” but most people would probably rather just follow instructions for the size they want rather than do a bunch of math.

What Else is New?

My tech editor has signaled that she has gotten the manuscript and given it a once-over; she really likes some of the changes I’ve made! Now let’s see how I like the changes she’ll be making :>

I have finished the edits to my website, and on the pattern page I’ve even included some other patterns I designed that are not available through my site — but are available for purchase elsewhere. I had links to these in a previous revision of my site, but links kept changing and it was sometimes unclear whether patterns were actually available. In the end, I decided to only link to the patterns I was (a) reasonably sure were available for the long haul and (b) reasonably proud of, as well as (c) double-knitted. There are a couple of other patterns out there that aren’t double-knitted; I’ll leave finding those as an exercise to the reader.

Thanks for your interest, and don’t forget to preorder! I’d love to be able to fund my first printing with preorder money only, but we’re only about 1/3 of the way there. Stay tuned next Friday and Fridays in general most of the summer for more pattern highlights and progress reports on Extreme Double-knitting!

Extreme Double-knitting Pattern Highlight #1

Today I’m starting a mini-series of blog posts about the patterns in the upcoming revision of my first book, Extreme Double-knitting. As you may have heard, I got the rights back from Cooperative Press last year, and have been spending much of the time since Double or Nothing came out working on making Extreme Double-knitting a book I could be truly proud of in 2018.

Many people have been very happy with the 2011 version, and are understandably wondering what’s up with the changes. So I’m going to do a series of pattern highlights — 2 patterns per post, 1 post per week, every Friday for the next 7 Fridays. I’ll also include any progress updates on the book itself at the end.

Without further ado, here we go with …

Pattern #1: Corvus

This is a little bit of an underwhelming start; very little has changed in this pattern. Corvus was the first pattern I ever published. Pre-Ravelry, it was a free download from my website, and it has remained free on Ravelry since then. Predictably, it is one of my most popular patterns. I’d like to think that the reason for its popularity is because of its elegant simplicity and suitability for beginning double-knitters, but it’s probably equally due to the fact that it’s a free pattern that has been around for about a decade.

The changes to Corvus were twofold: one was a charting detail, and the other was a design choice so minimal that few people ever really noticed it except me. When I first began charting my patterns, I used a strange custom symbol for my selvedges that confused many people. It looked like a little half-circle, and was easily overlooked while following charts since it didn’t look like the rest of the chart. In more recent patterns and most notably in Double or Nothing, I have changed the notation to make it more clear what is going on in each of those pairs. The current notation is now reflected in Corvus, as well as in all patterns worked flat in Extreme Double-knitting.

The design change is a smaller detail. If you look at the photo above, you may notice that the mock-ribbing section at the ends of the scarf has a slightly wider stripe at one edge than the other. This is because the selvedges remain the same color as the background, but the cast-on is an even number which means that the 1×1 mock-ribbing begins with one color and ends with the other. One of those will match the selvedge, creating that wider stripe. The solution was simple: cut a column out at the end. This makes the beginning and end of the scarf cleaner. I removed a column from the center of the crow charts, and from the space between the crows’ feet in the middle section. All of this makes the whole pattern look just a little cleaner, but made for such minor changes overall that I didn’t feel it was worth it to have the whole pattern re-knit.

Pattern #2: Sierpinski L5

In stark contrast to the minor changes in Corvus, Sierpinski got the largest changes of any pattern in the book — to the point that the pattern is not even recognizably the same. It’s clearly based on the same motif (the fractal called the Sierpinski Carpet) but is more of a pure distillation of the concept than the original. For this reason, the pattern gets a new name — Sierpinski L5, referring to the “level”/iteration of the fractal in question.

In fact, a level-5 Sierpinski Carpet was my original plan for this blanket, but my sample knitter at the time did not have the time to do the work it would have required. So, for the original 2011 book, I designed a smaller blanket using a ring of L2s, a ring of L3s, and a single L4 fractal in the center. Predictably, this came out smaller than the original concept, and was billed as a baby blanket.

In an attempt to get the full L5 pattern to stay within the same category (and also to make the fabric a little thinner) I switched from worsted weight yarn to sport weight. Since it was possible to stay with the same yarn, I did so: the original was in Cascade 220 Superwash; the new version is in Cascade 220 Superwash Sport. However, the attempt failed somewhat: the gauge did not change appreciably and the resulting blanket is a 45” throw, not a baby blanket.

Around the same time I determined this was going to be the case, I read an article about how babies aren’t supposed to be getting blankets anymore, so I decided I was ahead of the curve and just billed it as a throw rather than trying to redesign it again.

Aside from the redesign itself, the charts have changed radically as well. Because the previous version was a collection of Sierpinski Carpets arranged in a particular way, the entire pattern needed to be charted and took up 9 pages to do so. However, Sierpinski L5 is a fractal in itself, so it’s charted in an appropriate way: 2 pages, with a single charted L4 fractal and a schematic indicating how to assemble repeats of the chart into a single product.

Because the pattern has changed significantly, I have reworked the original Sierpinski pattern and released it as a standalone pattern on Ravelry. I was able to condense the charts from 9 pages to 6, made the same notation changes to the selvedges that I mentioned in Corvus, and updated the rest of the pattern text as well to reflect current standards. While the pattern doesn’t say this, it can probably be worked in the same sport weight yarn I used for Sierpinski L5 without any appreciable change in size.

What Else is New?

Since the manuscript for Extreme Double-knitting has gone off to my tech editor, I have a little free time to do some of the things I’ve been meaning to catch up on. However, first and foremost, I opened up preorders for the book on my website and on Ravelry and informed my preorder mailing list. A couple days later, I sent the announcement out to a larger audience, and am working to expand visibility in other ways as well. If you have a following yourself and would like to signal-boost for me, I’d appreciate if you sent people either to last Monday’s blog post, or to the book page on my website. Thanks!

I am also working on refreshing my website. Predictably, the first thing to get refreshed was the Extreme Double-knitting section — but everything else is following suit. The changes may not be immediately noticeable, but if you navigate to one of the pattern pages, you’ll notice that some of them have new photo sliders that allow me to show more views of a pattern than previously with static images. Because I am using a new product to do this, it is actually requiring a complete rewrite of each pattern page (long story). Fortunately I have a template which is keeping this process manageable but it’s still a bit of a slog.

Finally, in the last shipment of Victorian Raffia printed patterns, I received some copies that were not in great shape. They’re still usable, still come with a free PDF download, but I am selling them as “factory seconds” for the same price as the Ravelry download. You are welcome to grab one, although they are probably best purchased along with something else, given how thin and light a single pattern is.

Thanks for your continued interest and stay tuned! I’ll have a post like this each week for the next 7 weeks until I’ve talked about all 14 patterns in Extreme Double-knitting. I hope I’ve given you some more reason to consider preordering!

Extreme Double-knitting is now ready for Preorder!

Thanks for your patience! The 2018 revision of Extreme Double-knitting is now available for preorder in print/PDF as well as digital-only versions. We expect to be shipping in September.

Please note: if you order other items along with this preorder, none of it will ship until Extreme Double-knitting is ready to ship.

Not sure yet? Stay tuned; I will be running weekly blog posts highlighting the patterns (and how they’ve changed from the original versions) starting this Friday.

Fall 2018 Workshops etc.

If the Spring season (in knitting workshop parlance) is really Winter/Spring, as it starts in January, then the Fall season is really Summer/Fall — although Summer knitting workshops are few and far between. However, this year I’ve got a couple that technically do fall within Summer — but also some that stretch about as far into the Fall as workshops are likely to go (as nothing is ever scheduled past Thanksgiving).

  • June 13, Warwick, RI: I’ll be teaching an intro workshop and doing a presentation to the Ocean State Knitting Guild. I will be selling my own books and patterns at this event.
  • August 2-4, Schaumburg, IL: I’ll be returning to Stitches Midwest after a few years away; my books and patterns will be available at the Wall of Yarn booth.
  • September 5-9, Searsport, ME: I’ll be returning to Fiber College to teach three 4-hour classes. I’ll be selling my own books and patterns at this event.
  • September 13-16, Amherst, MA: I’ll be doing a series of intro and intermediate workshops at the WEBS Fall Knitting Retreat.
  • October 3, Harvard, MA: I’ll be doing a presentation (no workshop) to the Nashoba Valley Knitters’ Guild, and will be selling my own books and patterns at the event.
  • November 1-4, Pasadena, CA: I’ll be coming back to the Pasadena Convention Center to teach 6 classes at the new Stitches SoCal! My books and patterns will (presumably) be available at the Wall of Yarn booth.

More will be added to this post as other events are booked; you can also check out my events calendar for more details.

Also relevant to those taking workshops from me (especially beyond the Intro): I’ve got a new cast-on video up on my YouTube channel! This is long overdue, but as I’m revamping the workshop descriptions, prerequisites and homework for many of my classes, I’ve decided it makes more sense to have my own video than to refer people to someone else’s video just because I’ve been too preoccupied to take the time to update my ancient cast-on video.

Also, please subscribe to my Youtube channel! I had videos up on my personal channel for a long time and I’m trying to steer people to my new channel. If you want to see new videos as they come out, they’ll only be posted to my new channel, not my personal one!

Looking for updates on Extreme Double-knitting? Stay tuned! There’s one coming soon.

Return of Extreme Double-knitting: Update #7

Well, faithful follower, it’s long past the time I hoped I’d have my book ready to print but progress is still happening. Here’s the rundown.

First and foremost, the final request I made of Cooperative Press when I signed my rights reversion contract has been granted. If you own a Ravelry copy of Extreme Double-knitting (either because you purchased it digitally or because you got a Print+PDF deal from Cooperative Press), you should have received a Ravelry message today. Please check your email (or log in to Ravelry if you don’t have Ravelry messages set up to forward to your email).

I want to extend a thank-you discount to people who purchased the original edition of my book. I have been racking my brain to figure out a fair, foolproof method of determining who is eligible for such a discount. Unfortunately, since I don’t have access to the sales records, my hands are tied. Cooperative Press was unable to send a message to all of the customers who bought my book, but was able to reach out via a Ravelry update. I know this will not catch everyone — but it’s the best I can do. People have made suggestions about how else I might compile a list of eligible customers, but there are too many loopholes that might be exploited.

That said, if you haven’t received the Ravelry update and you can prove (with a receipt) you purchased Extreme Double-knitting from Cooperative Press, a LYS, Amazon or some other vendor, get in touch and I’ll do what I can.

Just so it’s clear, I’m merely compiling a list of people who would be eligible for a discount due to a previous purchase. I’m not actually sending the discount out yet, because I’m not yet ready to begin preorders. For a progress report, see below …

Close to 10 years ago, I did a photo shoot with two friends who had agreed to model for my first book. I thought it would be fun, as I completed the redesigns and reknits of my patterns for the revision of that book, to also revisit my models from 10 years ago. I had a couple of hurdles: I wanted to photograph winter wear and it was already Spring, and my models now live in Atlanta where it’s much more obviously Spring than up North where I live.

So I had them scope out locations where we might be able to reduce the obvious seasonal inaccuracy, and we did our best. We had a lot of fun and took some great photos. I just have a couple pieces left that need photographing and require conditions that my friends could not provide (due to the lack of readily-accessible babies and yarn stores in their immediate vicinity).

The book layout is approaching done-ness, and there’s a bit of a surprise. I’ve been calling this my “revised and expanded edition” — but that appears to be only half true. Revised it is, but expanded? Not so much. In fact, it’s about 30 pages shorter than the previous version. How is this possible? I have a few theories. First, I went from a portrait-mode 2-column layout to an oblong 3-column layout (as a comparison, Double or Nothing is an oblong 2-column layout with 4-column instructional sections. Second, I removed a significant chunk from several chapters, relegating the twisted (“introverted”) stitches to the appendix rather than the front-row seats they were occupying. Third, I was able to make some patterns more efficient in the redesign process. Sierpinski, for example, took 9 pages of charts to express in the previous version. The new version now takes up 2 pages, and only one of those is actually a chart; the other is a schematic. Since the pattern is based on a fractal, it only makes sense that I can use fractal geometry to save space.

I have some more hand photos to shoot (and should be able to do so in the next few weeks as I will be keeping my hands well manicured for my last two major appearances at Yarnover and Maryland Sheep & Wool. There will also be stock photos and a handful of miscellaneous items — but I was able to reuse quite a lot of material from the original version too.

Once the book is mostly done, it’ll head off to tech editing and finally (after changes are made in response to tech editing) to printing. I think that I should have it complete and ready for shipping by mid-summer or early Fall, and definitely ready for sale at my Fall appearances.

Thanks again for your interest and stay tuned!

Return of Extreme Double-knitting: Update #6

As of January 1, 2018, Extreme Double-knitting is (legally) mine. The final royalty statement from Cooperative Press has come in, and (of course) as a side-effect, it’s next to impossible to get them to follow up on the loose ends. I’m probably pretty low on the priority list at this point. The book is still available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and digitally at Knitpicks. Since my relationship with Cooperative Press is now severed, any money from sales at these places should be going to me, but isn’t — and I have no way to keep track of sales so it’s up to CP’s honor to remit payments to me until we can get these venues to take down the books. Of course, there will always be used copies out there, and I’m sure the odd LYS still has a copy or two.

However, if you’re looking for a copy, I highly recommend you wait for the new version, which will be out later this year.

As I’ve already mentioned, my wrist injury has been slowing down my knitting. However, I have completed 6 of the Footsies (2 full pairs and 2 single booties for at least one example of all four new sizes), woven in a ridiculous number of ends on the Whorl’d Tree bag, and (most importantly) begun work on the actual book layout.

I have decided to lay it out oblong (like Double or Nothing) so that the two books fit nicely together on a shelf, and for a number of charts that benefit from the horizontal length. I have finished laying out the patterns and technique chapters; I am now working on the deeper dive stuff toward the end and the appendix. I’ll need to start setting the technique photos and identifying which ones need to be re-shot. Fortunately, I’m about to do a series of teaching weekends, so my hands should be regularly manicured for the next several months, which will make it easier to do those photos.

There have been a few other challenges that have popped up which are slowing me down. The first I alluded to in the previous update: there are a couple of projects that returned from sample knitters that I just wasn’t happy with — not necessarily due to the sample knitters’ work per se, but due to some other unforeseen circumstances. All my knitters have been paid, and will get full credit in the book, but I’ve taken it on myself to re-knit part or all of a couple of the pieces. The most important thing about sample knitting is that the final piece looks plausibly as if it were knit by me. This means the fabric has to meet my high standards for quality and workmanship, at least within reason. I am fundamentally a nice person (I think) and there were cases where I probably should have been less lenient — but it’s a learning experience.

Because I can’t do the model photoshoot until I have all the pieces available, and there’s only so much winter/spring weather left in the season, I am concerned that I may be waiting until the Fall to do the photoshoot and getting the book out for Christmas of 2018 rather than the Spring as I’d hoped. This will surely annoy quite a number of people, not least myself, but it is most important to me that this book be something I’m happy with than that it comes out promptly.

In other news

This week I’ll be heading to Stitches West, where I’ll be teaching (among other things) two brand new workshops on double-knit intarsia and double-knit entrelac. I hope it all goes well! Come and pick up a copy of my book or patterns at Wall of Yarn, booth 827/829.

I’ve got a busy Spring teaching season coming up; check out my recent blog post for all the dates and locations. In addition, I am finally coming back to the Chicago area for Stitches Midwest this year! It’s been too long.

Finally, I guess it’s true: scarcity sells. After the previous blog post, 52 Pickup is down to 3 copies of the final run of 30. Thanks to everyone who grabbed one! If you’ve been waffling about it, now’s the time — these won’t last, and there literally can’t be any more since the printer has erased the file from their servers. There may be a slight delay in shipping as I’ll be out of the state for the better part of the coming week.

An unexpected reprint!

Once upon a time, I designed this truly bizarre pattern. Inspired by a slightly tipsy conversation with my wife, I decided to create a scarf that was based on a deck of cards. Using my two-pattern and three-color techniques together, I devised a template that allowed me to knit cards that each had a front and a back. I combined 54 of them (including 2 jokers) to make this magnum opus of a pattern.

I sold the pattern on Ravelry, but I figured there might be a niche market for printed versions, so I had a small run of 100 of them printed with the help of my publisher but not under their control. I put 10 of them into kits and sold the rest individually. It took me about 3 years to sell that many, and I decided it wasn’t worth it to print more so I just sold them out and that was it — they were still available on Ravelry, after all.

A couple years later, I was in the process of getting the rights back from my publisher for Extreme Double-knitting, and was told that part of the process involved deleting the digital books on file with the printer so they couldn’t print any more. I was asked if I wanted a last run of copies of either book — and I figured, since this was literally my last chance, I should print another small run of 52 Pickup.

So here you have it. At the time of this post, there are 13 copies (after sales at Stitches West and an announcement yesterday to my mailing list) of 52 Pickup back in the world. Each one comes with a free PDF download of the pattern on Ravelry, as usual. There won’t be any more after this, unless there’s sufficient interest that it makes sense to print them in several-hundred copy runs at my new printer, which doesn’t seem likely. For more info, visit the 52 Pickup page. To buy one, visit my store. And thanks!