Double or Nothing Patterns: Rustle Of Leaves

This is week 6 of the pattern highlights from my upcoming book. If you like what you’re reading about, please join my preorder mailing list. To read more about why I’m doing this (and why you should join the list), you can visit the Month 5 blog post.

Rustle Of Leaves is worked in Miss Babs Yowza!, a light worsted superwash merino yarn.

Rustle-AWThis is a pattern that was bouncing around in my mind, looking for a way out, when Craftsy rang me up to see about doing a kit to support one of the new yarn lines they were beginning to stock. This was back in 2013, not too long after my first Craftsy class came out. I was delighted to see that Miss Babs was one of the yarn lines they wanted patterns for, since I’d been seeing them at Rhinebeck and other shows for some time but their booth was always so mobbed that I had barely been able to set foot inside, let alone become familiar with their yarns. The idea behind this scarf was to have a maple leaf motif that tumbles down the center column, and the outer edges would ripple and ruffle around it, mimicking the movement of a leaf on the wind. I chose colors that evoked “autumn maple leaf” and “clear blue sky”, knowing that the other side would be somewhat surreal — blue leaves against a Martian sky, perhaps. I made it a keyhole scarf, because I was short on time and because it was an interesting twist — and because, if the hole was the same width as the center section, the ruffles would flip out on either side and lock the scarf in place. I finished it and sent it off to Craftsy, where they took a lovely set of photos which only showed the Martian sky side. Oh well. The piece is relatively simple but intriguing, and shows the beginnings of double-knit texture very well: the combination of double-knitting and doubled-yarn knitting.

As I mentioned above, Miss Babs yarn had intrigued me due to its popularity aRustle-GZt the shows I went to, but I’d never really been able or willing to wade into the throngs of admirers to understand why it was so popular. One of the reasons, it turns out, is that they don’t wholesale to shops. The only place you ever get to fondle the giant, luscious skeins is at places like Rhinebeck. Otherwise you can order it online but that really only works if you’ve already been to a place where you can fondle it — or you’re willing to take a chance on reviews alone. Since it was offered, I took it, sight unseen (or unfelt, anyway), and, like many before me, I am a convert. Miss Babs, who I have had the pleasure of meeting in person since, has an incredible range of colors and fiber contents, not merely the standard stuff. OK, I ended up working with a 100% SW merino because it was what was offered — but I look forward to playing with more interesting fibers from them in the future.

The name of this pattern, “Rustle of Leaves” is straightforward. “Rustle” sounds like “ruffle” and the leaves are right out where you can see them. I like wordplay, but sometimes simple is best.

This pattern is already available but will also be available in my upcoming book “Double Or Nothing”. To be informed when the preorder period begins, please join my preorder mailing list. Thanks!

Book Countdown: Month 4


With (almost) all the model shots done and the blog posts written and scheduled — and Amanda out of the house for a total of 13 days — this past month has been my time to really get down to writing. At the time of this writing, the manuscript is 55 pages long, which doesn’t include any of the pattern instruction text, 3 more chapters or the appendix — not to mention photos. After layout, I think we’re well on target to having a book of a similar length (in the realm of 200 pages) to the last one.

I’m trying to finish as much of the manuscript as possible this week and next so I can begin figuring out the technique photos. Once those are done, I’ll be able to send the patterns to my tech editor and simultaneously begin layout. The current plan is to work the book in landscape format — since so many of my charts are wider than they are tall — which will also open some really interesting layout options.

As you can see above, the title graphic is (more or less) complete. The original idea was to have the “nothing” appear as a shadow of the “double” but it was looking tacky or hard to read and I finally settled on this, which has the added op-art effect of making you question the angle at which you’re viewing it. Since the whole point of my work over the past decade has been to look at double-knitting from new perspectives, this is fitting.

If you’re just tuning in, I’ve been posting a pattern preview per week every Friday. I’ve just finished the first 4 (of 14) previews from my book and they’re getting lots of love over on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. What I’m really trying to do is to get people to sign up on my preorder mailing list. You can read more about that in my Month 5 blog post. In the book, the first 4 patterns are mostly using techniques that were in Extreme Double-Knitting, with a few tweaks to keep them interesting. The next 10, however, are all using new techniques so I hope you’ll stay tuned.

In other news, my workshops on July 30th at the Big Apple Knitters Guild (website is under construction) are filled — but if you’re interested you should be in touch. They’ll probably have a waiting list, but it’s also possible that they’ll decide to run a second day of workshops. Let them know if you’re interested.

Double or Nothing Patterns: Kontinuum

This is week 5 of the pattern highlights from my upcoming book. If you like what you’re reading about, please join my preorder mailing list. To read more about why I’m doing this (and why you should join the list), you can visit the Month 5 blog post.

Kontinuum is worked in Yarn Carnival Goat Roper, a superwash merino, cashmere and nylon fingering weight yarn.

Kontinuum-GZI mentioned in the last pattern that I haven’t done many designs in multi-color double-knitting, but this pattern is worked in 6 colors. However, you’re only working with 2 at a time, with some small areas where you’re holding 4 colors at once — so it doesn’t really qualify as the same technique. This pattern is where I really start introducing new concepts, not just subtle adjustments and refinements to existing techniques. As with any of these pieces, the term “new” is not meant to imply that something has never been done before, just that it’s very uncommon and poorly, if at all, documented. In the case of double-knit intarsia, I am aware of a couple of other people using the technique, and I can’t even claim to have done it before them. This is one of those techniques that I put off for a while and finally began work on it as I decided on the patterns for the new book. But not being one to leave well enough alone, I wasn’t content to just teach one technique — I wanted to teach several. So not only will you get to learn how to do double-knit intarsia, you’ll learn how to move the color change to the right or left from the previous row and still hide the yarns — and you’ll also learn how to do it in the round. This hat is remarkably stretchy; it fits my big head as well as my models’ smaller heads. The colorwork is really interesting as well — the intarsia color changes run in one direction and the double-knitting color changes run in the other. This is one piece where the opposite side is not particularly different, but where double-knitting is nevertheless useful because we can hide all the ugly twists and do neat things with colorwork that would be much harder to do in standard intarsia.

Kontinuum-AWI struggled quite a bit with the yarn for this. I had to find a good mini-skein set, and tried several from yarns I really wanted to use — but the colors had to be just right and all the other stuff I wanted to use was either variegated or semi-solid in such a way that it made it harder to see what the pattern was doing. I wanted to avoid using a gradient set, although that may have been a better idea in the end. I was at the first Stitches Texas and got to visit the Hill Country Weavers booth, where I fell in love with these amazing mini-skein sets made by Yarn Carnival. They’re just a superwash merino blend, but the color saturation and combinations were just so interesting — not quite gradient, but related colors. I could see so many good combinations, so I bought 3 different ones, figuring I’d decide later. I later found out that these seemed to be one-offs, which under normal circumstances would preclude my using them — but the fact is that there are hundreds of independent dyers doing mini-skein gradient kits, and as long as the weight of yarn is correct I think you’ll have no problem.

The original name of this pattern was going to be “42 Skidoo” which is a play on the early 20th century slang phrase “23 skidoo” and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where the number 42 has universal importance, to say the least. But it was named such because the original repeat was 42 pairs across, and when I redesigned the piece for new yarn, the repeat had to change. As the closure came together in this dramatic spiral, I thought of more sci-fi names related to black holes and the like. The word “continuum” resonated with me, but there are already lots of patterns with this name so I changed it to “Kontinuum” for a little distinctive flavor.

This pattern will be available in my upcoming book “Double Or Nothing”. To be informed when the preorder period begins, please join my preorder mailing list. Thanks!

Double or Nothing Patterns: Waterford Crossing

This is week 4 of the pattern highlights from my upcoming book. If you like what you’re reading about, please join my preorder mailing list. To read more about why I’m doing this (and why you should join the list), you can visit the Month 5 blog post.

Waterford Crossing is worked in Plucky Knitter Oxford, a heavy fingering merino and cashmere blend. Huge thanks to Charles Parker for knitting this one for me.

Waterford-PGI’m a big fan of cables and cable-like motifs. I also love working in multiple colors, as you may have noticed in my previous book and standalone patterns. While I have not done many designs in multi-color double-knitting for this book, I thought it would be a good idea to cover one or two things I hadn’t really done in Extreme Double-Knitting. While the multi-color patterns in that book are, by and large, in the round, I have since honed my techniques for working flat multi-color double-knitting. The body of the work remains much the same as, say, the Struktur hat, but because you are working flat, you’re going to be seeing both sides as you work, which means a slightly different way of following the chart. In addition, you will need to process the edges differently to make sure that all strands are linked into the edge. These are techniques that are covered to some degree in my standalone patterns 52 Pickup and Parallax v3.0, but having them in a book gives me more room to really cover them in-depth. I’m also covering a row-end cast-on and a partial-row bind-off, although those are not specifically multi-color techniques. There are a couple of other little tweaks to the pattern as well, but I’ll leave those as surprises.

Waterford-GZI already told the Plucky Knitter story, and this is done in another of their yarns (and despite the similar fiber blend, this one looks and feels completely different). Instead, let me explain about the colors. These 3 colors are not, at first glance, particularly compatible. Perhaps they’re even a little jarring, or would be if they were any brighter. I wasn’t sure when I picked them up why I thought they worked so well together — but every time I looked at them I thought about Kristin Nicholas, who taught me that “chartreuse goes with everything!”. So this piece became a homage to Kristin Nicholas, and that’s all the justification these colors need.

Waterford-AWThis pattern was originally called “Knots & Crossings” — but that didn’t make much sense since there’s no knots & crosses pattern involved. There are Celtic-style knots and colorwork crossovers all over the place — but the wordplay just wasn’t as deep as I generally prefer. So I cast about for a new name. I thought about the pattern and the knots and realized what was unique about them. Celtic cables in knitting don’t often change direction in the middle of a row, but the adapted Viking patterns do, as evidenced by Elsebeth Lavold. Since part of the pattern’s name was already “Crossing” I started researching Viking crossings and found out that Vikings actually founded the first city in Ireland, named Waterford. It’s a fact that Scandinavian crafts influenced Irish folk art, but I am not a historian and I can’t be sure that the cable motifs so prevalent in Irish illustration were an evolution of this early infusion of Viking aesthetics. But I’ll take some poetic license and acknowledge the similarity between some of the art of the two cultures with this pattern’s new name, “Waterford Crossing”.

This pattern will be available in my upcoming book “Double Or Nothing”. To be informed when the preorder period begins, please join my preorder mailing list. Thanks!

Double or Nothing Patterns: Hesperos

This is week 3 of the pattern highlights from my upcoming book. If you like what you’re reading about, please join my preorder mailing list. To read more about why I’m doing this (and why you should join the list), you can visit the Month 5 blog post.

Hesperos is worked in Plucky Knitter Primo Sport, a superwash merino, cashmere and nylon blend

Hesperos-AWYou may already know the story of my pattern “Victorian Raffia” but I’ll begin it here. Before my last book came out, I had begun double-knitting Kieran Foley’s pattern “Scandinavian” as a way to practice my increases and decreases. I had made some changes and figured I’d ask Kieran if I could include the pattern in my book, with attribution. He turned me down, kindly but in no uncertain terms. I was a little hurt, but to be fair I was a little-known designer at that point. True to form, I instead took what I had learned and applied it to a pattern of my own — the enigmatic Silk Road tie. This tie was the result of a bunch of sketches I had made in which I played with the different ways two horizontally-mirrored sets of chevrons could interact. The simplest was the spiral I used in the tie — but there were plenty of other options. I wanted to show them all off, but I didn’t want to make a huge number of patterns to do it. Instead, I opted to show them all in one scarf and Hesperos was born. In this scarf, the underlying chevrons show in the middle, but they begin to shift around as I work the next set of chevrons subtly offset from the previous one, in one direction or the other. Using only the clearest, cleanest versions, I generated mazes, Greek keys, diamonds, and, yes, spirals. To further show off the reversible nature of the fabric, I worked the increases and decreases into a more widely-spaced pattern, unlike the dense 1×1 patterning in the tie.

Hesperos-SMOne of the first patterns I discovered after the spirals was a sort of Greek key pattern, also known as a “meander” which is a synonym for “wander”, referring to the way that the path wanders but ultimately ends up going in a particular direction. The name Hesperos is ancient Greek, both a god and of one of the “wandering stars” that were eventually determined to be planets — in this case, the planet Venus. Venus is also the name of the Roman goddess of beauty. So the name Hesperos for this pattern is meant to express the beauty of wandering, getting lost, finding yourself, and getting to your destination in the end.

Hesperos-PGPlucky Knitter is another yarn company I stumbled across while at one of my teaching gigs. I was lucky enough to be teaching at Stitches South, the only such event that Plucky Knitter vends at, and their booth was mobbed — and rightly so. A fellow designer introduced me to the owners and they told me what makes them special: unlike many independent dyers, they don’t use bases that are commercially available — all of their bases are exclusive to them, so their yarns are unique. In addition, they have a stunning range of colors, and most of their bases can be dyed in any of these. Spoiled for choice, I picked an unconventional combination, and have never regretted it. The one thing I do regret is that I have not managed to attend another show where they were vending — but I’m sure our paths will cross again and more amazing things will come of it.

This pattern will be available in my upcoming book “Double Or Nothing”. To be informed when the preorder period begins, please join my preorder mailing list. Thanks!

Double or Nothing Patterns: Ranelva

This is week 2 of the pattern highlights from my upcoming book. If you like what you’re reading about, please join my preorder mailing list. To read more about why I’m doing this (and why you should join the list), you can visit the Month 5 blog post.

Ranelva is worked in Rauma Finullgarn, a 100% Norwegian fingering wool

Ranelva-JLI haven’t made, let alone designed, very many mittens. However, growing up in Vermont I’ve worn a fair few. I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle (pun intended) on how they’re normally constructed. However, I do like to add my own style to things, and in my previous mitten design as well as this one, I’ve done things a little differently from your average mitten. One of these will be immediately obvious: the fingertips are not centered. Instead, they’re centered roughly on the middle finger, which is most people’s tallest finger. In other words, the decreases for the body of the mitten begin sooner on the outside edge than on the edge closest to the thumb. Speaking of which, the other major difference is the thumb style. The Eastern Thumb (as named by Robin Hansen, at least) is quite underutilized in mittens, but I like the elegant lines of it, the way the increases follow the muscles of the hand, and the way the thumb feels like it’s part of the hand, rather than an afterthought. Also, although it’s not alone in this, the Eastern Thumb is worked symmetrically, so there’s no need for a left and right mitten — either will work. There’s also a really neat trick used to close the top of the body, the thumb and the gusset.


When I first started teaching at the big knitting shows (Stitches, Interweave, and Vogue), I found myself face to face with one of my own patterns in a booth I didn’t know at the time. It was my “Open for Business” sign which had been done in the booth’s yarn. Called “Wall of Yarn”, they were very enthusiastic about my designs and it turned out that they have a very interesting story. They are the sole US importer of a line of yarns from Norway called Rauma. Rauma has an amazing variety of colors and, as it turns out, their Finullgarn matches up nicely with Kauni Effektgarn, which I use in many of my standalone patterns. One of the shop’s proprietors, Jeffrey Wall, has been translating Rauma’s patterns from Norwegian to English and boosting their yarn sales with unique colorwork patterns. They were happy to have me design something in their yarn, and I have plans to continue using their yarns in the future. They have begun to help me by selling my books and patterns at many of these shows, and have even begun to stock Kauni Effektgarn.

As I began designing these mittens, I first Ranelva-AWsettled on the all-over colorwork pattern they were going to use. Like many of my other charts, the noodling and doodling in Illustrator generated a fascinating but very simple pattern that reminded me of rivers or rippling water. Since the yarn is Norwegian, I looked up rivers in Norway to find a good name — and what a surprise! It turns out that Rauma, the name of the yarn, is also the name of a river in Norway. Clearly it was meant to be. I chose another river’s name for the mittens. I found two spellings: Ranaelva and Ranelva; both seem to be correct and accepted spellings for this river, so I chose the one less likely to be mispronounced by English speakers.

This pattern will be available in my upcoming book “Double Or Nothing”. To be informed when the preorder period begins, please join my preorder mailing list. Thanks!

Double or Nothing Patterns: Abaciscus

Today I’m starting a new weekly post series! For the next 14 weeks, I’m going to post 1 pattern from my new book (in order of appearance) until they’re all posted. As I post them, I’m going to drop them into my Ravelry projects, my Instagram feed, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. What I’m trying to do is to get people to join my Double Or Nothing preorder mailing list. This is a list which will be used once or twice as soon as I’m ready to take preorders for the book, and then deleted — so you’re not going to get spammed. Also, please feel free to share this post or any of the places it shows up on social media. This isn’t private; I want as many people to hear about it as possible!

Of course, I’m going to let everyone know about the preorders eventually. So why join this list? I’m glad you asked! First, this will be the first list that will hear about the preorder availability. Second, I’ll ship roughly in the same order I receive orders, so the sooner you hear about it, the sooner you can order and the sooner you’ll get the book. Third and possibly most important, if this list reaches a pre-selected arbitrary number of members, I will sweeten the deal for members of this list only (the reward is kept purposely vague so I can decide exactly what it will be later).


Abaciscus is worked in Dirty Water Dyeworks Clara, a 100% Blue Faced Leicester worsted-weight wool.

Abaciscus-GZWhen I’m working on a new idea, sometimes I’ll open a new file in Illustrator to start playing with shapes and see how they interrelate. In this case, I was playing with a hollow oblong, and how it could be made to look like it was linking up with others like it. As the tiling progressed, I was reminded of a carved Chinese wooden screen. My father lived in Taiwan for about a decade when I was in my adolescence, and when he finally came back he had a new wife, fluency in several Chinese dialects, and a large collection of Chinese art including a number of these screens which he mounted in his windows. So when I cast about for a name for the new cowl pattern, I wanted a Chinese word. The working title was “Yingzao” which refers to a sort of ancient building-standards manual. But here’s the thing about Chinese — a word’s meaning can change depending on inflection. I didn’t know the correct inflection and I didn’t want to be caught saying (or making you say) something rude or nonsensical due to the wrong inflection — so I put out a call for naming suggestions. The winner was Nathan Taylor (aka sockmatician) with “Abaciscus” so that’ll be the name going forward.


Something I’m doing differently in Double Or Nothing than I did in Extreme Double-Knitting is that I’m trying to use yarn I’m really excited about for some reason, not just yarn that’s easy to get. If I understand my audience as I think I do, you’re not the type of people to be put off if you can’t get the exact yarn in the exact colors I knit it in. You’re willing to go to some length to use awesome yarn, but you’re also willing to substitute when necessary. So I’m going to talk up the yarns I chose — with the hopes that you’ll also get excited about them, search them out and use them. But I’ll understand if you don’t.

One of mAbaciscus-AWy tenets is “buy local” whenever possible. That doesn’t mean I never order stuff from Amazon, but if it’s something I can get from a local business I try to do so. It also means that if I know someone who, like me, is trying to keep a small craft-based business afloat, I keep them in mind when I’m deciding on those sorts of materials or products. Dirty Water Dyeworks is one such company. Stephanie has been an active member of the Common Cod Fiber Guild, which I cofounded with a couple of friends back in 2008, for quite some time and it’s been great to watch her build her business from a small Boston-area brand to a yarn line popular all over New England and beyond. Unlike many up-and-coming indie dyers, Dirty Water branches out of the solely Superwash Merino blends and takes risks with breed-specific wools as well. Granted, it’s not much of a risk — people are getting more and more into yarns from breeds like Cormo, Polwarth, Targhee, and Blue Faced Leicester (or BFL for short). The yarn I chose for this pattern is one such 100% BFL base, and the lovely hand and slight shimmer are more than enough reason to search out this or some other worsted-weight BFL.

Interested in this pattern? It’ll be coming out in my new book “Double Or Nothing: Reversible Knitwear For The Adventurous” in December of 2016. Get the news first when it’s ready for preorder by joining the mailing list! Thanks!

Book Countdown: Month 5


This week marks the beginning of my big pre-preorder push. What’s a pre-preorder? Well, the book is coming out in December if everything goes well. Preorders will start in September or October, but I also want an idea of how many people might be interested in buying the book in the first print run, so I’m gathering people on a preorder mailing list I’ve created. I figure that the best way to get people to sign up is to get them interested in the patterns.

To that end, I’ll be posting 1 new pattern a week here on my blog, with some info about its story, its name, the yarn, just something that gives it some more depth than “merely” a really interesting double-knit pattern. I’ll be doing it in sequence, from the first in the book to the last, and at the end of the 14 weeks all of the patterns will be visible on Ravelry, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and wherever you share them as well. They won’t be available for purchase, of course, until the preorder period starts.

So why the preorder mailing list? Well, first of all, it helps me gauge interest in the book, rather than just in my work as a whole. Second, it’s going to be the first group of people who hear about the preorder period, and since I plan to ship roughly in order of order receipt, it behooves those who want the book soonest to get on the list. Third, if I manage to get enough people on the list, I’ll sweeten the deal for those people — I haven’t decided how yet. It might be a discount, or free shipping, or a free unreleased pattern, or something I haven’t figured out yet. But it will hopefully bring up the excitement and, frankly, the number of people who actually place orders.

In book-related news, I’ve finished my photoshoots and have begun the last pattern that I had saved until I was sure I had time for it: a new necktie done in Buffalo Wool Co Sexy, a bison/silk laceweight. It’s going well, and I expect to have it finished within a couple of weeks. I will be modeling it myself, for a change. I think it’s going to be called “Twice as Sexy”.

p.s. If you’re just visiting this page, please click here or on the logo above to go back to the main page where you can see the patterns I’ve posted more recently than this post. Thanks!

Book Countdown: Month 6

042516-cowlI had originally hoped to have all of the patterns in the new book finished — or at least knit — by the end of March. This lofty goal was thwarted by my teaching schedule — the last weekend of March (which was also the first weekend of April) was taken up largely by my crazy teaching weekend in Colorado and Tennessee. Now in case you were under the impression that knitting teachers have lots of downtime in which to work on projects between classes … we don’t. Most of the time, I’m anxious about my classes, or exhausted after my classes, or hungry, or just not feeling much like knitting after spending 6-9 hours in a day teaching it. However, I did get everything done about a week later. There is one pattern left to design and knit, and it’s not a huge loss if I don’t get it into the book, but I think it’s a possibility. If I succeed, I will model that one personally.

Speaking of modeling, that’s where we are right now. Due to some faulty but fortuitous scheduling (not on my part) I have 3 weekends in a row before my next major gig at Vogue Knitting Live in Pasadena. Coincidentally, I have 3 models. As luck would have it, each of them has one particular weekend of the next 3 free. So while I can’t double up and save time, at least I have 3 chances to get the perfect shots. This past weekend, I was shooting with a model who is also a super-skilled knitter from one of my knitting groups. She was taken aback (in a good way) when I asked her to model for my upcoming book, and said she’s not really that photogenic. I was determined to prove her wrong. The photo above is far from the best shot I got of her, but it shows off the sample well.

Aside from the model (who will remain nameless, by her choice, for now), you’re probably wondering about this piece she’s wearing. This is the first look at one of the new pieces in the book. I don’t mind showing it now because it’s not really groundbreaking — it’s just a big cowl. It is, however, the only piece I have without a name. The original name is awkward and doesn’t really suit it. Care to weigh in? What would you call it? It’s in Dirty Water Dyeworks Petite Clara.

Next steps: More photoshoots and getting patterns together for tech editing.

In other news

As you may have noticed, my workshop in NYC this past weekend was cancelled due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict on the venue’s part. Lion Brand Yarn Studio has moved my workshops to September 25th. That would have been Stitches Texas except that I wasn’t booked to teach there this year (sorry, Texans).

My next gig is May 13-15 in Pasadena, CA — I’ll be teaching at Vogue Knitting Live there. I’m running 6 of my 7 classes there and there should be space in all of them.

I’ve also just signed a contract with the Big Apple Knitters’ Guild, so if you’d like to take a class with me on July 30th, keep an eye on this space.

Stay tuned — next month we’re going to start a new mailing list for the book and I’ll have some more news for you as we charge forward! Thanks for your interest — and your patience!