DMK Podcast Episode 29: More Behind-the-Scenes Design

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Episode 29: More Behind-the-Scenes Design

WATCH NOW: http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/ep-29-more-behind-the-scenes-design_44828

Today we spend some more time looking behind the scenes at how knitting designs are made. I review the new PatternGenius app (by the same cool developers who made knitCompanion), and talk about what I learned from organizing the photo shoot for the book Defarge Does Shakespeare.

[Correction: I discovered after recording that in PatternGenius there are lots of other cables in the free version of the app—the cables are much more customizable than they at first appear.]

The technique segment gives some tips for how to approach charts when they’re worked back and forth and you find reading the wrong side confusing.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Giveaways:
  • What I’m knitting
    • Honey Cowl pattern by Antonia Shankland; I’m knitting it in White Bear Fibers Sport, Mother Earth colorway
  • KAL: Bloccare Cap (March 1–April 15, 2015)
    • information about the pattern available on the Knit Picks site and on Ravelry (pattern available as individual download or as part of a 26-pattern collection)
  • PatternGenius: charting app for your iPad
  • Defarge Does Shakespeare, edited by Heather Ordover (available in digital and print format from Cooperative Press)
  • Our group on Ravelry—come join us for fun discussions about fiber crafts and to enter for giveaways.
  • Receive the Dark Matter Knits monthly email newsletter: exclusive coupon codes, news about patterns and the podcast, and more!
  • If you’d like to make a donation to the podcast (which helps immensely with hosting fees and prize mailing costs), you can do so using the button below:Donate Button

DMK Podcast Episode 28: Vive la Différence

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WATCH NOW: http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/ep-28-vive-la-diffrence_43814

Today I’ll focus on knitting outside the U.S.: we’ll look at some international podcasts that I love plus look through a glorious sampling of 1980s French knitting magazines that were gifted to me recently. I’ll also talk about my recent trip to DFW Fiber Fest, the new book Defarge Does Shakespeare, and other recent events.

The technique segment looks at when and why you should use a ruler to measure gauge instead of a retractable tape measure.

Mentioned in this episode:

DMK Podcast Episode 27: What’s Your Bag? (now with working audio!)

BalineseCardi_main1 WATCH NOW: http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/ep-27-whats-your-bag_42286

In this episode we dive into the bowels of our notions bag. I show you what I keep in mine and tell you how I use them. We also have a preview of Natalie Servant’s stunning subscription-based collection of patterns Canadian Art Deco Knits. The technique segment in this episode is folded into the notions bag discussion, and offers a tip for running lifelines through your work.

Mentioned in this episode:

Boys’ knitting roundup #8

Let’s check in on the world of knitting patterns for boys! Some months the well seems pretty dry, but this time we’re spoiled for choice….

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The big news in boys’ knits this month is that Kate Oates, the designer behind the Tot Toppers line, has released an entire book of knitwear for boys, and not surprisingly it’s fabulous. Knits for Boys includes …

29 patterns for sweaters, tops, vests, hoodies, mittens, hats, and more that boys will want to wear sized from 4-12. It also features an incredible reference section on how to knit for kids: choosing colors and styles, sizing, how to make a sweater “grow with” your child, how to find a comfortable fit, and even tutorials on simple additions to any design like hoods and installing zippers.

I have always found Kate’s patterns for boys to be clear, practical, and well-illustrated, and the range of projects in this collection will serve well anyone who knits for boys. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Knitted long johns! How cute and snuggly are these? You may be thinking it would be crazy to knit these, but I can tell you: having seen how much my son wore the knitted pants I made for him a few years ago, I can say that this is a more practical project than you might initially think…

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Most of the designs in the book are sweaters, and my favorite of the bunch is the Twisty Crew. It is worked in a bulky-weight yarn and features some smart, unfussy details on a raglan pullover design, a style that I think always looks especially great on older boys.

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You can purchase an autographed copy directly from Kate via her website, and the book is also available on Amazon—or perhaps you could encourage your LYS to carry it!


My favorite thing about this next new sweater design is that it starts from the assumption that brilliant, hand-dyed color might just be great in a boys’ garment, too—and wow, is it ever.

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The Lennix jacket by Rebecca Newman is incredibly versatile: it includes 14 sizes ranging from 3 months to 12 years; has instructions for sport-, DK- and worsted-weight gauges; can be worked with either a collar or a hood (as shown here); and suits boys and girls both. Now that’s a pattern you can get a lot of use out of!


You can always count on English designer Woolly Wormhead for a great twist on a classic design. Her new Headcase pattern looks great in the self-striping Zauberball yarn. And since this is Woolly, you know there will be some interesting shaping in there to sink your needles into….

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Finally, I love this sweet cowl called Ag Sugradh sa Sneachta by Irish designer Ciara Ní Reachtnín. (OK, all you non-Gaelic speakers: say that ten times fast.) Worked in a fingering-weight yarn, the cowl has puppies running around its circumference.

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DMK Podcast, Episode 26: The Design Process

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WATCH NOW: http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/ep-26-the-design-process_39960

As I’ve been spending more time on my own knitting designs lately, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the process that goes into creating a pattern. For me, that process is slightly different each time, so I’ll talk about both how wildly things can vary and about the steps that I always visit when I’m designing. The process is both invigorating (really gets the creative juices flowing!) and challenging (grading for different sizes is HARD).

The technique segment in this episode gives you some tips for joining into the round without twisting your stitches.

Mentioned in this episode:

Who’s ready for a fun hat KAL?

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Yesterday, the yarn company Knit Picks released its 2015 Spring Accessories Collection, and I’m proud to say that I have a hat design (pictured above) in this lovely, 26-pattern book.

The hat is called the Bloccare Cap (direct Knit Picks link / Ravelry link). The name comes from the Italian word for block, since the overall effect is of color blocking.

This is a really fun knit that involves a number of interesting but not complicated techniques. The main body of the hat starts with a provisional cast on and is worked flat and sideways, using short rows to shape the crown. You join the whole thing by using a three-needle bind off and then pick up stitches from the bottom edge to work the ribbed brim.

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Does this look and sound like something you’d like to try? I’m getting quite an enthusiastic response to this pattern on the various social media, so I thought I’d schedule a knit-along (KAL) to begin March 1 (ending April 15).

Why join a KAL? You’ll be able to …

  • show off photos of your hat-in-progress (and admire others’)
  • ask questions if any step of the pattern confuses you
  • get links to tutorials that can help you with any unfamiliar techniques
  • enjoy the camaraderie of other knitters working on the same project you are
  • potentially win a prize if you finish by the closing date and your name is drawn!

What will you need to participate? Gather these things by March 1, and you’ll be ready to go!

  • A copy of the pattern. It’s available as an individual download on the Knit Picks website and on Ravelry, or as part of the 2015 Spring Accessories Collection (available in PDF or print format).
  • Sportweight wool yarn in 5 different colors. The photographed samples use 1 ball in each of five colors of Wool of the Andes Sport. For the largest size, I used about 110 yds of the main color (gray in the sample above); about 70 yds each of the 3 contrast colors that are used in both the hat body and brim (burgundy, blue, and yellow above); and about 50 yds of the last contrast color that is only used in the hat body, not the brim (white above). Knit Picks makes it easy to order kits if you order the pattern from them (and the entire project costs less than $25 including shipping).
  • 16-inch circular needles in US 3 (3.25mm) and US 2 (2.75mm), or the size you need to get a gauge in garter stitch of 21 stitches and 45 rows = 4″/10cm in garter stitch worked flat, blocked.
  • A Ravelry account and membership in the Dark Matter Knits group, both of which are free and fabulous. :)

I’ll leave you with a final photo of me wearing my own prototype of the hat. As you can see, there are near-infinite color possibilities. For more variation possibilities, I include instructions on how to make the hat fit more like a traditional beanie instead of as a slouchy hat as shown here. The sizing and styling make it possible to knit this for just about anyone, male or female, child or adult.

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What colors will you choose? Come play with us!

DMK Podcast Episode 25: Knittas for Life!

WATCH NOW: http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/ep-25-knittas-for-life_38626 A viewer (Joanne) asked me once, “if you’ve been knitting for 30 years, what do you DO will all that knitted stuff?” Such a great question. Today join me as I undertake an archaeological dig into my old knits, designs, books, magazines, and patterns. The technique segment in this episode walks through how to use a yarn meter. Mentioned in this episode: