Boys’ knitting roundup #5

Time to check in with what’s new and awesome in the world of boys’ knitting patterns!


My jaw dropped when I spotted this sweater from Danish designer Nanna Gudmand-Høyer.

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This design is appropriately named Robotto, and the pattern is available for free in English, Danish, and German (Ravelry link). Sizes are 6–12. The colorwork is so brilliantly designed, and I love the designer’s suggestion to have the wearer help you pick out the colors. For best results, just make sure to choose a set of colors that ranges from pretty dark to very light.


If Robotto looks a little (or a lot) past your current knitting skill set, check out Lori Versaci’s Basic Kid Pattern.

Versaci Knits sweaters

Sized for 2–14 year olds (there’s also a separate baby pattern), this classic crew neck comes with instructions for either a pullover or cardigan version. Imagine how much use you could get out of this one pattern! The shaping is simple (modified drop shoulders look good on kids but are easy to knit), and I know from firsthand experience how well-written Lori’s patterns are. If you’ve not tried knitting a sweater before, what better way to start than with a smaller canvas!


If it’s still warm where you are (it’ll be 102 degrees here today) or if your kid isn’t so much into sweaters, why not check into some cool new crocheted toys? Megan Kreiner’s new book Bathtime Buddies is a riot of original sea creatures and people (Ravelry link). If you’ve not done any/much crocheting before, these fun and simple animals would make the perfect way to cut your teeth.

How about this sweet-faced otter trying to break open a clam? Or a swarm of jellyfish?

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There are 20 patterns in all (narwhal, manatee, octopus, lobsters deep-sea diver…) that perfectly straddle that line between realism and cuteness. The book even comes with a digital download so you can view it on your tablet or computer.


And let’s not leave out the older guys—for you, I’d point out a new handsome scarf-shaped shawl, Descent into Madness, by Josh Ryks.

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So many knitters love making these sideways shawls—they knit up quickly and you can use up all of that luscious hand-dyed skein—and it’s great to see one modeled here by a young man to make visually clear just how gender-spanning this style of shawl really is.

This looks like a really fun knit, as you can see from this closeup of the varied stitch patterns, knit with two coordinating colors of fingering-weight yarn. The pattern is available either for individual sale or as part of a collection of three geometric shawls.

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Finally, I can’t resist mentioning that I’ve got a six-pattern collection for boys coming out very soon from Cooperative Press—September 15, to be specific. It’s a comic book and pattern collection in one: the comic-book storyline designed to entice your favorite kid into DESPERATELY wanting the hand knits. (Because we all know what a tough sell that can be sometimes.) The book will be available both in PDF-only (for $9.95) and paperback + PDF (for $15.95). I’ll let you know when the preorder page goes up!

Here’s a photo from the book that I haven’t released yet…

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Shown here are the three pieces in the kung fu uniform (gi): the jacket, pants, and belt, all knit in Berroco Vintage. My son, Liam, did the modeling for the book, and he couldn’t have been a better sport. It’s rarely very cold here in Texas, so he got a bit toasty shooting this, but never broke a sweat, as it were. I love his tough-guy expressions in some of these shots, too.

Boys’ knitting roundup #4

Time for another roundup of recently published boys’ knitting patterns! This time around, we’re looking for some color to cheer those of you stuck in week bazillion of gray, cold weather. (As I type this, it’s 75 degrees here in Texas. Before you shoot daggers out of your eyes, remember that you can have your own moment of Schadenfreude when we here in TX have had our 40th straight week of 100+ degree temperatures.)

ImageFirst up, a design to keep your eye out for: the Benjamin pullover by Gabrielle Danskknit. The pattern is currently being tested, but will be released next month. Wouldn’t this be a fun use for some leftover bits of colorful worsted yarn? Maybe even some leftover bits of handspun?

ImageThe pattern will come in an impressive range of sizes, from newborn up to 12 years—and the simple, charming quality of the design can easily support that kind of size range. The garment is worked top-down, so there’s very little seaming—just the kind of quick knit you might be looking for as spring hovers around the corner.

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ImageI know that technically this is a knitting roundup, but I couldn’t resist including the great-looking, crocheted Zigzag Spiral hat by A la Sascha. This design also comes in a wide range of sizes, from newborn to adult large, but I can see this appealing particularly to boys aged about 9–18.

This is the kind of hat that just might get your son to pick up the crochet hook himself. I know my three 20-something nephews would all want to make this.

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ImageSome boys are not particularly keen to wear knitted items, but would love to play with something that you knit for them. Polar Pete by Cilla Webb is an absolutely charming (and ridiculously inexpensive) pattern for a knitted bear that has a complete wardrobe of hoodie, overalls, and boots. He even has his own fishing pole and fish to catch! The shaping of the face, body, and clothing have some really nice attention to detail.

This would be an ideal gift for a younger boy (say, around 4–7 years old), but I’m pretty sure my nine-year-old would also covet this hard.

Boys’ knitting roundup #2

What’s new in the world of knitting for school-aged boys? Here are some of my picks from what’s come out in the month since we last did a roundup….

Now that fall is creeping up on the northern hemisphere, a little sweater knitting might be just the ticket. Check out this handsome, easy-to-wear pullover from Julia Stanfield:

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Isn’t that one natty little dude? He is modeling Sullivan Street, available as an individual download for $6 on Ravelry. The sweater is sized to fit anyone from 6 months to 12 years, and also looks great on girls. Knowing how well-written Julia’s patterns are, this would be an excellent first project for someone who is knew to sweater knitting.

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I also adore this new sweater from Terri Kruse called Little Spare Time. Terri is running a knitalong that starts September 16, and in advance of that date is offering an excellent sale on the pattern. Sizing goes from 12 month to 10 years.

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Isn’t that a fabulous neckline? If you’ve got a kid who hates the feel of a tight neck going over their giant melon, then this is the perfect sweater for you. I’m thinking about knitting this for my own son, since this would look great over a collared shirt, which he has to wear to school every day.

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If you’re knitting for a teenaged boy, Kirsten Hipsky’s new Woodstove Pullover might be just the ticket. It’s knit in an inexpensive, super-bulky yarn — you can make the smallest size for less than $50.

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And finally, if your child is a fan of the minions in Despicable Me, you’ll want to check out this free crocheted hat pattern posted on Craftster. Quick, go do it before Universal Studios sends this woman a cease-and-desist letter.

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Prairie knit companion

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As often as I can, I look around and marvel at my good fortune. It nestles around me everywhere in the dear family and friends that I have, the basic comforts of life that I try not to take for granted, and the fulfilling work that I have always had the pleasure to do.

Yesterday, the publication of the booklet pictured above reminded yet again of how lucky I am. Prairie Bliss (book 1) is a collection of gorgeous knitted and crocheted patterns by Austin-area designers, commissioned and published by Hill Country Weavers, an equally gorgeous yarn store that has been thriving here for more than 30 years. And I feel very lucky indeed to be a part of it.

With this and several previous design collections, HCW’s owner, Suzanne Middlebrooks, has savvily grabbed the age of internet craft by the horns. Rather than despair at the rise of online commerce, the store has positioned itself both as a physical respite from the internet’s intangibility (Google still can’t help you feel the yarn, I’m afraid) and as a destination for web-savvy customers.

Today’s knitters and crocheters are hungry for well-crafted, independent design that uses well-crafted, independent yarns. These collections go right to the heart of that hunger, using yarns like Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter, MadelineTosh, Sweet Georgia, Habu, and the Fibre Company.

Suzanne has always asked us designers to take our inspiration from both the yarn and Austin’s unusually rich environment (physical and cultural). The photography for these collections (by the very talented Kennedy Berry and Meg Rice) reflects that same heady blend.

One of my favorite designs in the most recent book is the Enchanted Rock cardigan by Jennette Cross. If you haven’t come across Jennie’s finely crafted pieces yet, take a look. You’re going to be seeing a lot more of this brilliant designer, I can guarantee you.

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This is one of those garments that is just as beautiful and meticulously made when examined up close as it is when seen through the gauzy lens of great photography. Woman’s got serious talent of both the aesthetic and technical sort.

And then there are the designs that make me want to pick up the crochet hook again, particularly Ana Clerc‘s masterful Prairie Point Skirt. Ana is another one of those women with a brain firing on all 82 cylinders. Watch for some beautiful dye work from her soon, too.

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There are so many lovely things to choose from that it’s hard to control myself — you’ll just have to go take a look at all the lusciousness yourself — but I can’t resist showing you Kathy Bateman‘s beautiful knitted child’s dress, Little Honeysuckle, modeled by her insanely cute daughter. I’ve also examined this up close and talked with Kathy about its design and its another ingeniously constructed, fun-to-knit piece.

My own design in the collection, the Blue Sage Shrug, was originally published in a different form, and I love how the new photography and styling has fluffed some fresh air into the garment.

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As I say, feeling very lucky to be part of this talented crew. When I think about what inspires me most, it’s the artistry of my fellow designers.

It’s good to be multicraftual

Behold, friends – one week’s worth of crochet:

My son has the audacity to have not just one teacher but seven assistant teachers. The idea of making handmade gifts under these circumstances is pretty deranged.

But I am deranged, so off we go. Two years ago, I knit everyone flower pins. Last year, I flaked. I was stumped about this year. All the small gifts that I could find either seemed lame or impossible to accomplish for eight separate people.

Enter the super-fast craft called crochet. Crochet, I love you. I would not marry you – I’m already married to knitting – but you are a fabulous fling on the side. You give me seven hats in as many days. Knitting cannot do that for me. Crochet, remind me to buy you something sparkly.

So these hats are for the assistant teachers. Liam’s main teacher wears head scarves every day, so is not a good candidate for a hat. So she’s getting the non-stanky bag that you see described in the posts below.

ETA

In the comments on the previous post, Sara posted the very helpful suggestion that I soak my reeking crocheted bag in vinegar, borax, or Oxyclean, and then wash it with regular detergent. (Thanks, Sara, for giving my bag a brief clemency!)

This technique may very well work 99.9% of the time, but even after this treatment my bag still made me want to retch every time I got within a foot of it.

Into the trash can it went. It’s the first time I’ve ever just tossed a finished object. It only took me four hours to make, though, so I’m not sweating it.

To console myself, I immediately got out this luscious little Noro tidbit:

Several months ago, I had picked up three skeins of Matsuri (87% cotton, 13% wool, 100% gorgeous Noro dye work) for some unknown thing or other. OK, I probably just got it because it’s purty and I can’t resist lime green.

So this is going to be the new mesh grocery bag for my son’s teacher. All signs point to it not stinking.

Bring in the funk

Yesterday I crocheted a grocery bag as a Christmas gift for my son’s teacher. It’s simple (just some double crochet at a big gauge), but I like how it turned out.

The only problem? This bag stinks. I do not mean that it stinks visually or in terms of its construction. No, it REEKS. It is S-T-A-N-K-Y.

What does it smell like? Oh, I’m so glad you asked. The answer is VOMIT.

I noticed the stench when I started knitting with the yarn. I decided to muscle through it, taking shallow breaths, telling myself the smell would come out in the wash.

It didn’t.

I have washed this sucker three times in the strongest smelling detergent I have, and it still smells like the very last thing on earth that you would want to put your newly purchased produce into.

So. What to do with a crocheted bag that smells like vomit? Diaper pail liner? Donation to the Let’s Give Sarah Palin an Affordable Makeover Fund?