Extreme Double-knitting Pattern Highlight #6

Hello and happy Friday! It’s the second to last Extreme Double-knitting pattern highlight post, and things are starting to heat up … or maybe that’s because I did the photo shoot on Easter weekend in Atlanta.

Pattern #11: Vasily

I love the fact that temperatures don’t come through in photos. You might never guess that it was in the upper 80s when this photo was taken.

Vasily is the double-knit cabled hat that appears on the cover of the revised edition. While the version on the cover is the original (and that is still an option in the pattern) I had always felt that the pattern didn’t show its reversibility (and therefore its whole reason for being double-knit) very well.

As with the other hats, the best way to show reversibility in a hat is to make sure that the brim can fold up. Since this fabric is fairly thick to begin with (even in a sport weight yarn, double-knit cables end up thick at the crossings), doubling it seemed a little ridiculous. Also, the two layers honestly don’t look appreciably different.

While playing with the fabric, I decided to try something different. I noticed that the gauge of my cabled swatch was almost exactly 2/3 the width of my double-stockinette swatch (for the same CO). This is not a surprise; cables often pull the fabric in, so it’s common to do increases before beginning cables. I had simply never done the math before. With the math done, a new idea came up: why not make a brim that’s not cabled? The repeat is already a multiple of 18 pairs, so it was trivial to make the brim 2/3 of that by casting on a multiple of 12 pairs — then increasing each 2-pair vertical stripe to 3 pairs just before beginning the cables.

The really fun thing was realizing that the brim would cover a significant portion of the cables regardless of which layer was worn to the outside, so it made more sense not to do the cables that would be hidden. This new revision of the Vasily hat has a brim of more than 5″ before the cables begin; the brim is then folded a little more than in half so that it appears that the cables go all the way down even when they don’t. This also means that the hat just fits better.

Pattern #12: Box of Delights

This was probably the most underrated pattern in the original book. The idea behind the pattern was to cram a whole bunch of techniques into a small space, but the execution was not great and the photography was terrible.

I had originally used a bulky yarn on US4 needles to get the fabric density I wanted, but I even admitted in the pattern that this was very difficult and that I broke more than one DPN in the process. This (rightly) scared some people off. In the new revision, I’m using US5 needles with an aran-weight yarn — so, still dense but not as much so. In order to increase the fabric’s rigidity, I used a modification of the two-pattern technique (see post #4 for more on that) to keep the inside of the box a solid color.

In addition, I both simplified the start of the pattern and created a cute little knob for the top of the box in a single step! The knob is just barely visible in the photo above, but you can see it in more detail on the Box of Delights pattern page.

Once the pattern was redesigned and reknit, the other major weakness of the original pattern was the terrible photography. Fortunately, my model had plenty of jewelry, candles and mirrors available so it was trivial to stage something much nicer. I hope that the new redesign and the upgraded photos will get more people to try out this pattern!

What Else is New?

As I alluded to in the previous post, I had been having difficulty getting my tech editor to respond over the past several weeks. Predictably, she replied within two hours of that post going live. So this week, I’ve got some actual progress to report!

In the past week, I began combing the manuscript for formatting issues and integrating suggestions I’ve collected from various people who have seen various parts of the manuscript. I have a prolific friend who just learned double-knitting from me earlier this year and wanted to test-knit the Footsies pattern (about which you can read in next week’s post). She had some good input on various elements of that pattern and the associated technique instructions, some of which I have integrated. The suggestions she made had a ripple effect through other parts of the book as well.

Tonight I’ve been spending time making little tweaks to the manuscript based on my tech editor’s input; the first 4 chapters and associated patterns were delivered a few days ago and I expect the rest shortly. I will be heading to Stitches Midwest next weekend, and I am hoping to have the majority of the editing done before then so I can send the work off to the printer more or less as soon as I return.

In other news, I will be appearing at both California Stitches events, and both of them are currently open for registration! I have no idea how my numbers are looking under the hood, but all of my classes at Stitches SoCal in 2018 (and of course Stitches West in 2019, which just opened registration) have room in them — so have at it! Stay tuned for more workshop announcements as contracts come in.

Hope you’re enjoying the posts — please preorder Extreme Double-knitting if you haven’t already! Stay tuned for the final pattern highlight post next Friday (and if you’re just joining us, use the navigation below to check out the previous 5 posts highlighting 10 more patterns from the new revision! Thanks!

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