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!