Patterns by Me


Following on my recent menswear design for Knitscene, I jumped into another menswear-inspired project, the Breakwater Pullover, for the Maine-based Swans Island company.

Swans Island specializes in heirloom blankets and organic yarns, dyed with all-natural dyes. The Breakwater Pullover is part of the All-American Collection, ten designs to highlight their all-new 100% American worsted weight wool yarn. I was pleased to be part of the collection alongside fellow Maine designers Bristol Ivy, Alicia Plummer, and the Swans Island team.

Breakwater was inspired by classic Aran sweaters, but distilled to it’s most essential elements. This project is a great introduction to cables, as the center panel keep things interesting, but never overwhelming. The menswear-inspired styling means there’s no side-shaping to worry about either (though it’d be easy enough to add if you wanted to). The loose gauge, slouchy fit, and raglan shaping make it a a quick knit and a great weekend sweater. With a size range from 35¾ to 50¾” – this one will work for the men too!

Not sure how to pull off the boyfriend sweater look? I’ve pulled together some styling inspiration here.

Pattern uses 6 (7, 7, 8, 8) skeins Swans Island All-American Collection, 75% USA Rambouillet wool, 25% USA alpaca; worsted weight (80 gms, 210 yds each) Color Shown: Newport #AAW416

Breakwater is available via Ravelry for $6.00 USD

All photos courtesy of Swans Island.

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Coming soon to a newsstand near you, the Malaga Pullover in Knitscene – Winter 2014.

Malaga is my first sweater design for men, and I’m pretty proud of the way this one turned out. Inspired by a rather stylish co-worker of mine, Malaga is a simple, wearable raglan that shifts in both color and texture, but is easy to knit the whole way through. The instructions for this bottom-up raglan are written so there’s a minimal amount of purling (ribbing and short rows only) – so it’s a quick knit too – plenty of time to whip one out before the holidays and it’s available in sizes 37¾ (39½, 43¼, 47, 50¾, 54½)” chest circumference (shown in size 39½”).

What really makes this pattern work though, is the yarn selection – shown here in Harrisville Designs Shetland. The bottom half is knit holding two strands of the same color fingering weight yarn held together, and swapping one strand for a contrast color and marled effect for the sleeves and yoke. Harrisvile has a ton of wonderful earthy and saturated colors to choose from, and Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft would be another beautiful option for folks in the US. I’d recommend picking a dark and a light version of the same color family (i.e. a forest/pale green combo, or light blue/navy) for a similar effect.

While Malaga is the only men’s pattern in the issue, there are a ton of other great designs in there. I’m particularly fond of Kiyomi Burgin’s Tongshan Sweater and the Haubergeon Sweater by Featured Designer Emma Welford.

To purchase the Malaga pattern, visit your local yarn or book store for the latest Knitscene issue, or purchase a print or digital copy via Interweave.

Want some more men’s sweater inspiration? Check out my Pinterest Board!

All Photos © Knitscene/Harper Point

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As a designer, my ideas often flow from or build on a previous idea. Picassco had a blue period, I get obsessed with colorwork, or texture. But usually, because of the diversity of my publishing outlets, this is less obvious because the order I design something and the order they’re released are often vastly different.

This past week’s release of Maian by Quince & Co. makes for a rare exception, as it was both designed and released on the heels of Lamassu. Like it’s predecessor, Maian was inspired by an ancient culture. But where Lamassu looked to the Near East, Maian takes its inspiration from the areas due south of the US border.

Maian is knit in Quince’s new’s yarn, Piper, which is an entirely Texas-sourced wool/mohair blend. With that info about the yarn and ancient cultures on the brain, it only seemed natural to make a shawl inspired by Aztec and Mayan stair-stepped temples.

Maian is worked from the tip up, with 1/2 the increases in each section worked as end row increases, and the other 1/2 worked as cast on increases at the end of each section. The lace is a super-easy chevron-style repeat that results a graceful and not overly-literal take on its inspiration.

If you’d like to make one for yourself, the Maian pattern is available through Quince & Co. or Ravelry for $6 USD.

All photos courtesy of Quince & Co. by Emma Sampson

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What is a Lamassu?

  1. A winged, human headed bull frequently seen in ancient Mesopotamian (modern Iraq & Syria) myth and art – most frequently as looming sentinels at the gates of major cities.
  2. My latest shawl design for Quince & Co. yarns

How does one morph into the other? Where that’s where the fun of designing comes in!

Back when I was in college, I was a Theatre major and the midst of my Senior year, I decided to swap my English minor for one in Classical Studies, following my increasing interest in the topic. I had an excellent Latin professor (Ortwin Knorr), who got me interested in the subject beyond the language and introduced me to Roman Cookery and the Archaeological Institute of America (of which there are sadly, no Maine chapters).

I had taken a lot of Latin courses, but to complete my minor I took two additional classes: Introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Art History.

My textbook for the Art History class is the only one I regret selling back, but it was the Old Testament course that has had one of the longest lasting impacts of any of my school courses. Taught by professor and archaeologist David W. McCreery, this 100-level course was the hardest course I took in my college career. But, as they say, nothing worthwhile is easy.

One day while discussing Noah’s flood in Genesis, Professor McCreery mentioned that there was an much earlier, but very similar, version of a Great Flood story that appeared in the Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2100–2000 BCE). Following class that day, I stayed late to express my interest in the Gilgamesh tale, but as the professor was busy with another student at the time, I merely stated my interest and left conversation for another time.  It was to my surprise then, when at the next class session, he handed me one of his personal copies of the tale (Herbert Mason’s verse narrative), with the following inscription:

October 2004
Dear Leah
There is a lot to learn from this “oldest story ever told.”
Enjoy!
Dave McCreery

I fell in love with the Gilgamesh story, particularly his adventures with the wild-man Enkidu, so much so that I wrote and produced a play about it. It’s a story that’s stuck with me ever since. So when I was talking to Quince about doing a new shawl design, it was Gilgamesh, and his Mesopotamian brethren that sprung to mind.

As is the way nowadays, I started collecting some images on Pinterest and I kept coming back to two things, the lamassu and king’s beards. There was a distinct texture and style of the beards that the more I looked at it, the more knitterly they seemed. A stitch dictionary provided the trinity stitch that mirrored the curly portion of the beard by the mouth, and some time with swatches and graph paper yielded the banded columns and feathery bits I call Gilgamesh’s Beard and Lamassu Feathers.

Since Mesopotamia was part of the fertile crescent, a gentle crescent shape  for the shawl seemed only natural and of course, when given the option to pick my yarn, I had to go with that ancient near-eastern fiber: linen.

—-

And that is a long story behind a fairly simple shawl.

If you’d like to knit one for yourself, the pattern is available now from Quince & Co. or Ravelry.

And to make the long stretches of trinity stitch go faster, I suggest you listen to the following while you knit (I did!).

 

 

Photo Credits:

  1. Quince & Co.
  2. Lamassu  by Jasmine Ramig
  3. Quince & Co.
  4. Iran 2007 Persepolis Gate of all Nations by David Holt
  5. Quince & Co.
  6. Untitled by E.N.K

HeartRose Cardigan by Leah B. Thibault

HeartRose Cardigan by Leah B. Thibault

HeartRose Cardigan by Leah B. Thibault

HeartRose Cardigan by Leah B. Thibault

HeartRose Cardigan by Leah B. Thibault

Introducing the Heartrose Cardigan

A simple seamless cardigan with heart-cabled panels along the button band. Available in sizes newborn to 4T.

Sample shown is in size 12-18 months on tall (then) 11-month-old with sleeves cuffed.

Shortly before the Little Miss was born I picked up two skeins of the Woolen Rabbit’s Pearl in woodrose, which eventually became this little cardigan. The color and heart cables are sweetly subtle and the simple shape, short repeats, and small size make this a quick knit.  You could whip one up before Easter!

The pattern uses 1 (1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2) skeins Woolen Rabbit Pearl in Woodrose [80% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon]; 400 yds [266 m] per 100g or approximately 340 (390, 430, 480, 545, 600, 665) yards of lightweight sock yarn.

Available for $6 USD

Or queue it up on Ravelry

HeartRose Cardigan by Leah B. Thibault

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Over a year ago, my cousin was having a baby. I asked what kind of stuffed animal she would like for her little girl. She said something jungle-ly. And so, Zienna was born.

This softie is made for babies.

The high-contrast black and white grabs their attention, but the slightly antique tones of the Berocco Remix yarn, keep it looking classic. The zebra is seamlessly knit from head to tail, meaning that it can stand up to all those babies can dish out. I know my little one is a fan.

The pattern is available from Ravelry for $5 USD

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I’m pleased to announce the release of Honeymaker, my newest design for Quince & Co. A feminine take on the traditional aran sweater, with a bee-inspired twist, the Honeymaker pullover features stitch patterns inspired by netting, hives, and, of course, the honeycomb. It also comes with directions to include an optional bee inset into your honeycomb, if you like.

The cables really pop when knit in Quince’s Osprey aran-weight yarn, particularly in the less saturated shades, like the faded brick-colored Clay used here. The collar can be worn popped for a face framing effect, or folded for a more-traditional shawl-collar look.

The pattern is knit in the round from the bottom up, with subtle waist shaping. The collar/shoulders are knit back and forth (cabling on right side only) with raglan shaping and the collar ribbing is picked up and knit back and forth for a seamless garment.

The pattern is available for download for $6 USD from the Quince & Co Website or you can queue it up on Ravelry.

Modeled photos courtesy of Quince & Co.

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