Watch me not mess up on Knitting Daily TV!

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See me in this photo looking all casual and relaxed with the lovely Vickie Howell on the set of Knitting Daily TV? That was just before we filmed my segment for episode 1408, which will be airing next month!

Despite the entire colony of butterflies I had swarming in my stomach, the taping went very smoothly. On the worktable in front of us—which I, remarkably, did not even throw up on at all—you’ll see the Bag! For Things! design from my Kung Fu Knits book. On the show, I demonstrate how to do a few of the techniques you need for the bag, such as working a knitted cast on in the middle of a round and a simple method for sewing in a zipper.

I don’t have an exact air date yet, but I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can either click here to find out how to watch Knitting Daily TV in your area (in most parts of the US, the show airs on a PBS station) or click here to order the entire season on DVD.

What to do when you have a problem with a knitting pattern

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c Meg Kelly 2010

I’ve been contacted twice this week by knitters who were struggling with some aspect of one of my patterns. In both cases, the knitters explained to me very clearly what problem they were having and were extremely pleasant and helpful in their communication with me. As it turned out, in one case the knitter was having problems because her gauge was wildly off, and in the other case the knitter found some legitimate errors in the pattern that I am now working with the yarn company to correct. Both knitters are now on the path to projects they’ll be happy with.

These positive interactions got me thinking that it might be a good idea to post, from a knitting designer’s point of view, some of the ideal ways to get in touch with a designer about a problem you’re having with one of their patterns.

Before you contact the designer, double-check that you’ve not just made a simple error. It happens to all of us (me included!): you’re knitting away happily on a pattern, suddenly the stitch count is off, or the lace pattern isn’t matching up, and you think, “there’s something wrong with this pattern.”

Sure, maybe there is. But before you head off to the computer to email the designer, do double-check your math and look carefully at your knitting and the pattern—it could well be that you just made a mistake in a previous row or missed something in a previous paragraph.

Try to contact the designer directly by email. A good pattern, in my opinion, lists an email address that you can use for pattern support. Barring that, many designers have web pages that list their email address or have contact forms. This is the surest way to reach your target directly. Some designers don’t check their Ravelry messages every day, though this is a good second option if you cannot find an email address.

You can even write a post on the designer’s Ravelry forum (or any relevant forum if they don’t have one). One of my favorite new features on Ravelry is that if you hot-link to a pattern name in a forum post, Ravelry will ask you if you have a question about that pattern. If you say yes, a note pops up in the designer’s user activity feed that someone has a question about one of their patterns.

Start from a position of respect. When you compose your message to the designer, write from the assumption that the designer is neither dumb nor evil. Start from the position that you may have found an error … or, at least, that you’re having a hard time getting the result you’re supposed to get when you follow the instructions as written. Personally, I answer every request for pattern support that I receive, but if you come at me swinging with both fists, my instinct is to go into defensive, not helpful, mode.

Give as many relevant details as you can. Tell the designer what yarn you’re using, where the problem started happening, whether the technique you’re having trouble with is new to you, at what exact point the stitch count went off, or anything else that might help the designer figure out where the problem is. Include a photo of your project if that would help clarify things.

Please share your own advice or responses on this topic in the comments!


Pictured above is one of my favorite patterns that I’ve designed, the Modern Tartan. To date, no errata have been found. 🙂

DMK Podcast Episode 21: Wanderlust

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WATCH NOW: http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/ep-21-wanderlust_33205

Ever get that itch to wander, to try something new? Or are you the more the type to settle in to the comforts of the familiar? Or maybe you feel a tug of war inside between these two competing tendencies? In today’s episode, I start with a TED talk that a friend shared with me and then see where the urges to wander and settle lead us in the knitting world.

Today’s technique segment shows how to use a crochet hook to pick up dropped stitches … wandering little buggers that they are.

Mentioned in this episode:

Men’s knitting roundup #8

In today’s men’s knitting pattern roundup, I am turning two completely blind eyes to the fact that the holidays are coming up, and to the fact that you may (like me) still be knitting gifts. We’re just going to go on blithely as if this were perfectly normal knitting time—OK with everyone? <Hysterical laugh. Head thumps to desk.>


Do you ever have those times where you’ll cry if you have to knit any more stockinette or garter, but you just don’t have the mental bandwidth to handle cables or lace?Eden_Fells_Hat_3

Helen Stewart’s Eden Fells Hat is the perfect pattern for such times. A slouchy beanie worked entirely in knits and purls, this hat will work up quickly in a worsted-weight yarn. But we are not talking about gift knitting, are we? NO, WE ARE NOT.


How about something for the man with a sense of whimsy, that certain joie de vivre that gives him the confidence to go beyond the standard male uniform? For you, there’s the Reptilia Hat by Sara Burch.

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There’s a charming subtlety to this, the way you can’t see the animals—snakes, tortoises, and crocodiles—until you look more closely.


Aw, heck, let’s just go all full whimsy and admire the sheer fun of Sunshine Stewart’s Masked Superhero and Burglar Hats, which are sized from baby to adult for MAXIMUM DAD-KID ADVENTURE TIME.

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And finally—because I’m going to keep saying it until more of you guys start wearing them—damn, I love a man in a shawl.Chale_Entre_Deux_

This lovely piece is the Entre Deux Shawl by Camille Coizy. It’s knit in several colors of Aran weight yarn, so very cozy, no pun intended on the designer’s name.

And yes, I see that she is French. Yes, I know that American men are less adventuresome in their clothing tastes. But COME ON, that guy looks amazing. Think it over.


This post originally appeared on the Dark Matter Knits blog (darkmatterknits.com), © 2014 Elizabeth Green Musselman.

Super-quick Rasta knits

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I had such fun designing and knitting my 30-Round Rasta Hat with Malabrigo’s super-chunky Rasta yarn—and you all have responded so enthusiastically to my quick-knit pattern—that I thought I’d share a few other great designs worked in this chubby, squishy merino.


Ovate by Tori Gurbisz manages to finagle an elegant shawl out of a super-bulky yarn. And it’s now on sale during the Indie Design Gift-A-Long!

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Four skeins of Rasta will yield this piece of cozy loveliness, the Sentiment shawl by Andrea Rangel.

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I adore this new, romantic hat design from Larissa Brown, the Frost Bonnet. The hat is tied to her remarkable time-travel / Viking fantasy novel, Beautiful Wreck.

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If you need a quick pair of mittens, check out Kate Oates’ Warmest Mittens pattern, which includes sizes from toddler through men’s.

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You can find many other options using Ravelry’s advanced search page. Have fun whipping up some quick knits using super-bulky yarns!

Men’s and boys’ knitting roundup: special Gift-A-Long edition

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With the Indie Design Gift-A-Long (GAL) starting on Ravelry tonight (at 8pm EST), I thought I’d show you some of my favorites of the men’s and boys’ patterns that are eligible for the GAL’s generous 25% discount.

There are 293 designers participating in the GAL, each person putting between 4 and 20 patterns on sale, so wading through everything can take a while. There is, of course, a great pleasure to be had in this browsing—a pleasure I’ve been indulging in last night and this morning—but if you’re looking specifically for men’s and boys’ knits, the search could get a little tedious.

Never fear! I’ve pulled together a substantial catalog of my favorites from the men’s and boys’ patterns that are part of this year’s GAL. This is by no means a complete list of what’s available in the GAL for men and boys—these are just some of my faves.

Also bear in mind that some of these designers have multiple patterns up for boys and men, so if you see something you like, click on the designer’s name on the Ravelry pattern page, and see what else they’ve got in their Gift-A-Long bundle!


MEN’S PATTERNS

Chum’s Pullover by Kate Bostwick
Such a great neckline. Perfect for men who are either slim or very muscular.

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Cashmere Cosy by Loraine Birchall
It is entirely possible that I am being influenced by what is—erm—not the hat in this photo.

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Saturnalia Infinity Scarf by Elizabeth Elliott
Modern look and a great way to make a neutral yarn fun to knit.

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Dawson by Elizabeth Green Musselman (that’s me!)
Shawl collars are perfect for the cold, and the texture keeps the knitting interesting.

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Askance by Rich Ensor
Rich has tons of great men’s socks available in the GAL.

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Bilateral Beanie by Karin Wilmoth
I’ve included two photos here to show you how cool this reversible, double-knit hat is.

Rayguns by Annie Watts
For the sci-fi fan, it doesn’t get any cooler than these gloves. Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

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Johannes by Suvi Simola
Excellent use of texture—and three cheers for the non-standard issue model.

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Pigment by Lee Meredith
For the man who loves color, this scarf is where it’s at.

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Black Slant by Anneh Fletcher
Anneh’s socks are modeled by women, but most are perfect for men and all have interesting construction.

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BOYS’ PATTERNS

There are a number of great designs for baby and toddler boys in the GAL, but here I’m focusing on boys aged 4–18.

Umberto by Sarah Ronchetti
Great classic knit, in both sweater and vest version, sized 3mos to 12 years.

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Little Fox Mittens by Birch Hollow Cottage
Birch Hollow has a whole range of woodland creature mittens in the GAL.

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Lighthouse Keeper by Andrea Sanchez
This adorable, quick, bulky knit comes in sizes 6mos to 12 years.

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Japhy by Elizabeth Sullivan
Will wonders never cease? A sweater pattern written just for teen boys!

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Texo Pullover by Anjali M
Who doesn’t love pockets? Just enough texture, too. Sized for toddlers to tweens.

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Mt. Hood Snow Cap by Star Athena
This hat is sized for children and adults, but looks especially dashing on this little guy.

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Langstroth by Elizabeth Green Musselman (yup, me again)
One of my first designs and still one of my favorites—just knits, purls and slip stitches.

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Limepop Sweater by Terri Kruse
Another classic use of texture and raglan shaping, sized 12 mos to 8 years.

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Have fun! And don’t forget to join the knitalongs that go along with the GAL.

Gift-along with me

Just in time for holiday knitting and sudden cold snaps, I’ve just released a new pattern: the 30-Round Rasta Hat.

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(Podcast fans: you may recognize the gorgeous Dianne from the Suburban Stitcher podcast, who so kindly agreed to model the hat for me at Rhinebeck!)

Yup, not kidding: it really takes only 30 rounds to knit this hat, thanks to the squish-i-lumpcious Malabrigo Rasta yarn. It was really fun for me to see what happened when I scaled this delicate leaf lace pattern up to super-chunk size.

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All you need is 65 yards of a super-bulky wool, and you’ll have a hat in an evening. Perfect for that last-minute gift or that night—like last night here—when the temperature suddenly drops 20 degrees and you’re left wondering why you haven’t knit yourself any new hats yet….

The pattern has been fully test knit and tech edited and includes a link to a dedicated video tutorial that explains how to work the “make 3 below” stitch called for in the pattern. (It’s the kind of thing that’s much easier to show than to describe in words!)

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If you’re gearing up for full-on gift knitting, you should know that there’s a mondo pattern sale and knit-/crochet-along that’s about to begin on Ravelry. About 300 indie designers are each offering up to 20 patterns for 25% discount between 8pm EST on November 13 (this Thursday!) and midnight on November 21.

It’s the second annual Indie Designer Gift-A-Long (GAL), and it’s both a great way to pick up a bunch of patterns for gift knitting/crocheting at a great price, and also a fun make-along with tons of prizes and games. Participating designers are listed here, and each of us has our eligible patterns in a Gift-A-Long bundle. My bundle of 20 patterns includes designs for boys and men (my stock-in-trade), as well as a bunch of great accessory patterns for women as well.

The 30-Round Rasta Hat and the hunting gloves I’ll be releasing in a couple of weeks are unfortunately a little late to join the 2014 GAL party, but I hope you find them useful as you plan your gift knitting nonetheless!