Greetings to Interweave Knits readers!

Hello! If you’re new here after having seen my article in Interweave Knits, it’s good to see you!. Please feel free to leave a comment to this post — I’m curious to see how many people are coming in after reading IK. I didn’t realize it was out already until I started hearing kudos from subscribers.

I’ve also been getting a number of questions asking after patterns pictured in the article. Since it’s evidently not clear, let me just reiterate: All the patterns you’ve seen in the article and most of the ones you can see on this blog (except those for which I expressly say otherwise) will be published in the book. If you want to be among the first to know when the book is ready for pre-order (and when it’s shipping), you can join my mailing list in the upper right corner of this blog.

Thanks for your interest and stay tuned!

Another feather in my hat

Cold-weather lace, anyone?

I promised I’d show this when it was far enough along to get photographed, so here it is, in progress. This pattern will be called Shuti, after the Egyptian hieroglyph depicting a two-feathered headdress. Yeah, it doesn’t look like said hieroglyph, but given that it’s a two-sided feather-and-fan hat, it’s appropriate.

This is done in Artyarns Ensemble, as mentioned in my last post, and is slated for submission to a book they’re working on. The deadline is Sept 1, and I’m sure I’ll have the knitting done well before then. The pattern will be a change for me — entirely in text, not charted, because it’s just a lace pattern. OK, it’s just a lace pattern adapted to double-knitting.

Here’s a neat thing about double-knitting lace. I can make both sides the same color but the nature of the yarn-overs means that the two sides are locked together at the yarn-overs — not at the color-changes, as with normal double-knitting. Sure, I can make the yarn-overs not lock the sides together, but then why would you double-knit it?

More on this pattern later. In the meantime, I’ve been blogged about by Audrey of, who I met at TNNA! I promise not to post every time I get blogged about, but I’m excited!

Hello Artyarns, my new friend

It’s been a few weeks since TNNA, and the book is still in progress. On target? I’m not sure. In any case, it’ll be out before the big October events. While I’m waiting for word from my publisher, I’m also working on some new patterns.

I mentioned earlier that I had approached Artyarns with interest in submitting a pattern for one of their upcoming one-skein pattern books, this one specifically on hats. Iris was immediately enthusiastic about a submission from me — I have had in mind a concept for a double-knit lace hat, and since Artyarns is often associated with gorgeous lace patterns (but Iris clearly aspires to have more reversible patterns in her yarns), I thought it would be ideal to try one of her yarns for this project.

I chose Ensemble — a luxurious silk-cashmere “blend” (really just a strand of each held together) because I wanted something without so much “aura” and I wasn’t sure I could get a full hat out of a skein of Ultramerino 4. The latter yarn will be great for more traditional double-knit patterns, but the Ensemble lends itself well to the sort of work I wanted to submit. While at TNNA, I selected a couple of skeins of each, deciding to try the Ensemble first and if it didn’t work out, try the Ultramerino afterward.

Yarn for artistic inspiration!

But that wasn’t the end of it! Iris emailed me about a week after TNNA and told me she’d sent me some other yarn to play with, and get inspired by. A little while later, I got this in the mail. The 4 horizontal ones are Ensemble, and the rest are Ultramerino 4.

Iris, I am so grateful that you’re so enthusiastic about my work, and thankful that you value my artistic integrity enough to give me free rein with so much lovely fiber — and I am so looking forward to incorporating more of your yarn into my future designs. The selection you sent me is gorgeous, and I’m already having so much fun with the ensemble of Ensemble I got at TNNA. It’s wonderful stuff, and unexpectedly extremely durable in addition to being softer than anything I’ve ever designed with before.

I don’t have a photo of the piece I’m working on yet — actually, I had to rip it out last night (next time: lifelines! but here’s an unexpected bonus — the yarn doesn’t “kink” after being ripped out!) but I’m really happy with the way it’s coming out and I’ll be posting it up here once I’ve gotten far enough to show off the pattern well.


Help me get!

OK, this has grated on me for some time now. Some internet domain troll (read: someone who buys up domains they think will be worth money someday and sells them for exorbitant prices) has their hands on the domain The domain is parked, meaning that it’s not being used for any productive purpose, and is currently selling for $1349.00 You know, I’d be OK with it if someone had legitimately beaten me to that domain, and was using it for their own knitting-related business — but to have the domain just sit there unused is an insult.

I can’t justify the cost on my own — but maybe with some help I can put it to better use. For example, if everyone in the Ravelry double-knitting group threw in a dollar, I’d be just about there after Paypal takes its cut.

I understand that, as a donor, you get nothing out of this deal except the satisfaction of taking a domain out of the hands of an internet squatter and back into the community that rightfully owns it. I promise that, should I ever decide to abandon the domain, I will sell it only within the knitting community and at a reasonable price. Most domains go for about $10 or $15, depending on where you purchase them.

So if you want to help, donate any amount you see fit here. When the money gets to the amount needed, I will purchase that domain. If someone grabs the domain before me, or they raise the price much higher (it was at about $2000 last year, so I’m optimistic), or something else happens that stops me from being able to attain my goal, I will remove the donation link and I will redirect whatever money has come in to a knitting-related charity of my choice.

In which I muse about the TNNA experience and uncloak the magnum opus

TNNA was fantastic. Truly an ego-booster, if nothing else. While I’ve grudgingly accepted my popularity as a designer and teacher in my local area, I’ve always subconsciously assumed that my work won’t hold up on the national and international stage.

Wrong, evidently.

A few musings from TNNA:

  • I found out that the easiest way to be approached by TNNA attendees was to be seen knitting either of my WIPs. Shop owners, exhibitors and other designers all gravitated toward them. Perhaps it was the novelty of a man knitting — even at TNNA, most of the men seem to be in the business end of things, not actively knitting — but I’d like to think it was primarily the merit of the pieces themselves.
  • While we were unable to take pre-orders for Extreme Double-Knitting at the event due to unresolved issues about price, we had an outpouring of interest from all corners and I am optimistic that we will have copies for sale by August — and probably digital versions even before then. Shannon is exploring all printing options at the moment.
  • As I traveled around and networked with people, I felt myself coming into my own as a designer, not just a technique guru. One person asked if I could design another double-knit tie for a kit; another asked if I could design something in DK or worsted weight yarn for their magazine; yet another wants me to release a pattern accompanied by a DVD with tutorials on the techniques; and Iris Schreier of ArtYarns lavished praise and yarn on me when I visited to express interest in submitting a hat for an upcoming publication.
  • When attending TNNA as a loner for the first time (yes, I was working a booth, but other than that I had few ways of attracting attention), it’s great to have a friend who’s well-connected pave the way for you by telling everyone she meets about your work. Even better when she works as a social-media specialist for a major publication. Thanks, Kimberly! Also, Cat Bordhi talked me up in one of her workshops, which got several folks to visit me as well.

I don’t want to bore you with an account of my entire TNNA experience, so I’ll just say that Jeni’s Ice Cream rocks (if you didn’t already know), and I look forward to visiting again next year. In the meantime, I’m going to be planning for an August book launch, Rhinebeck and Stitches, and working on workshops for the fall and spring. And of course, I’m going to keep working on new projects — both for my own purposes and as commissioned designs.

Without further ado, here’s the one I’ve been keeping under wraps. It got “outed” by a couple of people blogging about it (I have only one link though) so I figured it’s about time I posted it myself. It’s still a ways from completion, but I’m getting faster — the more I do, the more I can do it without looking at the pattern. I’m starting to be able to separate the faces in my head and error-check them without actually looking at the chart.

To all those who say I'm not playing with a full deck ...

The piece is a scarf called “Fifty-Two Pickup”. In fact, there are two Jokers as well, for a total of 54 playing cards, arranged in a 3×18 grid for about a 6.5-foot-long scarf. The idea is that each distinct card is able to be oriented face-up or face-down; in addition the suits can be oriented right-side-up or upside-down. I recommend that the first 9 repeats (sets of 3 cards) be worked with the suits right-side-up, and the last 9 repeats be worked with the suits upside-down, so that a scarf hanging around a person’s neck will show right-side-up suits (pips) on both ends. Because of this, each card is charted 4 times. Since each chart takes half a standard letter-sized page, there are 212 charts for 53 cards (the Joker is used twice), or a total of 106 chart pages. Add to that the instructions and schematics and the pattern currently stands at 114 pages.

You decide randomly where each card will go, and whether it landed face-up or face-down. There are rigorous ways to do this with dice, but I find the best and quickest way is to actually play 52-pickup — throw a deck of cards in the air and arrange the resulting mess in a grid. A friend’s mathematician father tells me that the chance of any two arrangements being the same isĀ 4.15851e+87 to 1. Therefore, if “thrown” and not followed from my schematic, each scarf done from this pattern will, pending the development of the infinite improbability drive, be completely unique.

A few details: The scarf is done in Regia sock yarn at 7-8 sts/in on US3 needles. I don’t know how many balls of yarn yet, but considering I’m starting repeat 4 and the 3 balls I’m using now are maybe half done — so I’m guessing a total of 3 balls of each color or 9 total. Each card has a single suit “pip” in the middle because I don’t have the resolution to design entire cards and still make this a pattern that someone else might like to knit (i.e. more people are likely to knit a pattern that’s 7-8 sts/in than 12sts/in). Again, I don’t have the resolution (or color) to do full face cards, so I took each card’s emblem or weapon (as seen in a standard Bicycle deck) and charted it in the opposite color from the pip. In the photo you can see the Jack of Clubs has a sort of fat spear; the King of Spades has a sword, and the Queen of Diamonds has a flower. I had another font that looks more like the playing card font, but it doesn’t knit up well — the diagonal lines make it harder to read — so I charted 5×7 block font letters/numbers and they work well enough.

Once this sample is done, I’ll do a photo-shoot and the pattern will be released on Ravelry, probably for $12 or $15.

TNNA Update

So … I’m heading to TNNA this Friday and coming back on Monday. I’m sure I’ll have a blast. You can find me at Booth #158 — as I understand it, that’ll be a booth in the first row, so it’ll be mobbed (hopefully). I don’t yet know specifically when I’ll be there, but I’ll strive to be there as much as I can, taking only sporadic breaks for meals and Jeni’s Ice Cream ;>

A quick update on the book: Shannon has finished the first stage of layout, now we need to tweak things until we’re both happy with it. I’m going to Kinko’s today and picking up a printed version that I’ll be marking up and taking with me. So even if there won’t be a galley proof, there will be one form of the Extreme Double-Knitting manuscript on hand at TNNA. If you’re nice, I might let you peek at it.

Going to the shows! and new patterns in development

I’ve been a little reclusive since I finished the bulk of my work on the book, but now I have some stuff to share. First of all, I have plane tickets and hotel reservations to go to TNNA this summer in Columbus, Ohio — actually, that’s only 2 weeks from now. I’m getting in under the Cooperative Press umbrella, and primarily will be there to push my upcoming book, which is currently in the layout stage. In all likelihood, I will have the book itself when I attend Rhinebeck and Stitches East this October.

In memory of Victor Vasarely?

But in the meantime, I’m not relaxing — I’ve got several more patterns in the works. The two I have on the needles are scarves in the 7-8 sts/in range, and one is pictured here. It’s called “Parallax”, which is a catchy name, if scientifically inaccurate. I’m knitting it in Kauni Effektgarn. I actually have almost double this amount done — it’s a shockingly easy pattern, and I can get quite a lot done in short order.

The other scarf I have on the needles I’m going to keep under wraps (except to those who see me working on it locally) until I have more of it done. It’s a sort of magnum opus — I’ve written the pattern, and it’s 114 pages long. Now I just have to knit it. It’s going relatively quickly despite its complexity, and I hope to have a majority done before the shows in October. Because each row is different, it keeps my interest well; and because there is an element of randomness there is an infinitesimal chance that any two — even made by different people — will ever be the same. I am of course making my exact configuration available in the pattern for those who’d rather just do it exactly as I did. I’d like to find out what the exact statistical likelihood is, so if you’re a statistician, please get in touch :>

When these patterns are made available, I think they’ll be digital only.

Anyway, if you’re going to TNNA, look for the guy with the knitted tie on!

Upcoming workshop and Facebook page

Well, my friend Guido has proved again that he’s a bad influence on me, but I know he has my best interests at heart. First he makes me ditch my antiblog and start an actual blog, now he’s gone and forced me to join Facebook. I’ll be posting updates up there as well as here.

Also, I have another Intro to Double-Knitting (Level 1) workshop running at Mind’s Eye Yarns this spring, on May 7th. Sign up if you want to learn double-knitting and live in the Cambridge area! I’m going to try to set up some other workshops but I’ve been either ridiculously busy or sick all this winter, so it may well be too late. We’ll see.

Oh, and thanks to everyone that came out to see me at the Red Line Yarn Crawl — it was lots of fun.

Coming down from FiberCamp 2011

More experiments with community-building in the Boston knitting world and beyond! Last weekend, the Common Cod Fiber Guild hosted the second annual FiberCamp Boston, which we held at MIT in some unused classrooms. It was a little crazy — nobody told us that there were going to be high-schoolers running all over the halls — but we managed to pull off a great event anyway. I ran the registration booth, which was enhanced this year by the fact that we actually had an internet connection, and I still had the opportunity to run one workshop and take a couple of others.

My workshop was meant to be more of a hands-on affair, using the document camera I usually bring when I’m going to present to a large group, but due to some technical difficulties, I was unable to use this machine and was stranded in front of 30-some expectant knitters with nothing but a giant bag of double-knitted samples. So I did a glorified trunk show — showed off the progress of my work in double-knitting techniques, then did Q&A for a little while before showing the very basics of double-knitting — my cast-on, and the general technique of double-knitting. Little did I know that Sara Streeter was filming with the intent to publish … or I would have practiced my spiel, and paid more attention to how many “ums” and “ahs” I interspersed with my talk. Nevertheless, I think it came out OK.

Aside from that, I took half of a photography workshop, then raced off to learn how to knit and purl backwards — not as hard as it sounds — and now I need to figure out how to do that in double-knitting. Then I need to make a double-knit entrelac pattern! I got to hang out with a bunch of awesome people, and I got to show my Whorl’d Tree bag to Kathy Elkins of Webs, who provided the yarn for it.

Next stop: Mind’s Eye Yarns for the Red Line Yarn Crawl on March 26th, where I’ll be at 2pm until they get tired of me. I’ll probably hit Windsor Button beforehand, just because I don’t think I’ll have time to visit Dorchester.

Updates from a nearly-published author

Hey, just a quick update! I’ve been out of touch while I’ve been in the home stretch on the book. My deadline was a few days ago — but it was also Amanda’s birthday, and my publisher is a little behind on her previous project, and graciously gave me a little extra time. I’ll have the manuscript in her hands this weekend. Then the fun begins!

Also, Lela Nargi is publishing a book which mentions my work! I did an email interview with her some months ago, and sent some photos. I hope everything comes out well! It’s both humbling and inspiring to be mentioned alongside all these other great and groundbreaking knitters.

Go check out Astounding Knits at Lela Nargi’s website now, and put it on your list of books to pre-order (along with mine!) when it’s available.

Next weekend (March 12th and 13th) I will be at FiberCamp Boston, teaching basic double-knitting and two circular needle techniques. Last year’s event was great fun and I hope for an even better turnout this year. Come learn, teach or just hang out with other fiber enthusiasts — registration is still up!

On March 26th, I will be making an appearance at Mind’s Eye Yarns in Cambridge for the Red Line Yarn Crawl. I’ll be showing off my new creations, talking up my book, selling a few patterns and taking names for contact when “Extreme Double Knitting” is available for pre-order. Also, Amanda will be there doing knitter-centric chair massages and hand massages!