Embers, encoded as cross stitch.

Embers, a cross-stitch pattern

Embers, a chart suitable for many kinds of needlework.

(The chart will work for any craft worked on a grid, of course.)

I’ve been meaning to show how some of my secret code grids look when worked up as other crafts. This month I dug out my extremely rusty cross stitch skills and worked samples until I found one I wasn’t embarrassed to show the world. I think it gets the idea across, though!

In case you’re new to my blog posts, I’ve come up with several ways of embedding encoded words in charts for use in charts for fibers arts. My subscribers on Patreon suggest a word for me to work on each month and then I work up the chart and some examples. I hope you enjoy it!

I used a different Embers chart to make a knitted lace version.

If you like my posts like this, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks!

Creative Commons License Embers stitch patterns by Naomi Parkhurst are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

review of a book about Twigg stitch, a new knitting technique.

Book Review: The Twigg Stitch

Twigg Stitch: A New Twist on Reversible Knitting, by Vicki Twigg. Interweave, 2014. ISBN 9781596688223

(Ravelry listing)

I picked this up at the library because Twigg stitch is billed as being a brand new knitting stitch method. It might well be – that is, I haven’t seen it in any of the books I’ve read, and certainly people are constantly reinventing techniques that other people came up with separately. Anyway, if anyone else has invented it, those instances are pretty obscure.

I had a good time playing with a tiny swatch, though I’m still not very good at the technique. (If I go on with it, practice will help a lot.)

Continue reading

Ashputtel shawl, by Nim Teasdale.

Excited to announce: Ashputtel

This isn’t my design, but in some ways I’m even more pleased, as it’s the first time that I know of that another designer has used my stitch patterns for designing, and to good effect.

Nim Teasdale has designed Ashputtel for her series of fairy tale shawls, using two of my stitch patterns (Spring and Summer), with some slight variations of the sort that are sometimes needed when designing a large object.

I’ve knit one of Nim’s shawls and have been chatting with her online. One of the things I like about her patterns is that she tries to design the layouts to make them variable – that is, the charts can be worked in different orders and for different numbers of repeats. I like the way this encourages knitters who don’t want to design from scratch to play with the possibilities and make the shawl their own in ways beyond the yarn choice.

In any case, I’m as pleased as can be! Do go have a look at Nim’s work. And if you’re on Ravelry, it’s well worth looking at the project pages for her shawls to see how people have played with the possibilities!

(And I’d love to see what other designers make of my stitch patterns.)

twice-knit knitting, a much-overlooked technique

Twice-Knit Knitting and Miniature Herringbone

Christine Guest recently wrote a really fascinating series of blog posts about a stitch from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury that’s not commonly used: the Miniature Herringbone stitch. I hadn’t ever really paid much attention to it, which turns out to have been a pity – it turns out to be a dense, firm knitting stitch, good for things like potholders, slippers, bags, and coat cuffs. But also, as Christine demonstrates, with the right yarn it can make lovely tailored garments. The trick is that it requires special care when it comes to all kinds of techniques. Christine’s worked out a lot of helpful tricks for short rows, buttonholes, and so on. Do go have a look at the series. Miniature Herringbone, a twice-knit stitch The basic technique involves knitting every stitch together with each of its neighbors, and doing the same except with left-leaning decreases on alternate rows. Barbara Walker calls for p2tog through the back loop. I generally prefer the purled equivalent to SSK – slip each of the next 2 stitches as if to knit, and then purl together. It works quite well in Miniature Herringbone, the bottom stitch in my swatchlet above. One thing I find intriguing about the herringbone in that swatch is that any shininess in the yarn is brought out. It’s not visible in the photo, but if I tilt it back and forth, it shimmers. Who ever thought that Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool could shimmer?! I can just imagine what this might look like with a shiny silk yarn or in a longwool like Wensleydale. Twice-knit knitting. Well, as ever, swatching made my mind make connections to other knitting techniques I’ve encountered. The first thing I remembered was twice-knit knitting, which I’ve looked at in Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook. I promptly went to confirm the memory, and yes, each stitch in twice-knit knitting is knit together with each of its neighbors. The difference is that all the decreases are right-leaning: straight up k2tog on one row, followed by p2tog on the next. This is the middle stripe in my swatchlet: it doesn’t shimmer, but it does look interesting. A subtle mirror could be made by making all the decreases left-leaning, of course. Montse Stanley and June Hemmons Hiatt both have a few more interesting things to say about twice-knit knitting: they both provide special cast-ons and bind-offs, and they both say that it doesn’t unravel when cut. June Hemmons Hiatt says in her Principles of Knitting that it makes good sock toes for that reason; she also provides suggestions for increases and decreases. And that’s all there is in any of my reference books about twice-knit knitting. Given that Miniature Herringbone is basically the same technique, I’m sure that their knowledge applies to it as well. Twice-knit knitting variation After remembering twice-knit knitting, my mind wandered to the 3-to-2 decrease I like to use. The stitch that is decreased away is knit together with each of its neighbors, in one case with a right-leaning decreases and in the other with a left-leaning one. Why not try that all the way across the fabric, I thought. And so that’s the top stripe in my swatchlet above. Each stitch is knit to its neighbor, once with a left-leaning decrease and once with a right leaning, alternating across the row. As you can see, I don’t really have a handle on how to get things lined up, so the V shapes that result meander a bit. I find the effect rather charming, actually. It would probably be possible to come up with some interesting variations using patterns in the order of the decreases. Anyway, I think this is a technique that’s well worth exploring further. I hope some of you will too.

A useful index to keep blog posts in

By popular demand, I’ve put on my librarian hat and indexed the more than 200 posts I’ve written so far. I’ve tried to index posts in multiple categories where relevant, though I might have missed some. The index is a page on my blog, and is therefore always available in the menus at the top of the site.

I skipped the announcement posts for my individual patterns; instead, I’ve linked directly to my Ravelry designer page. I will probably be adding a better page on my site for a list of all my patterns in the long run, but this will do for now.

Two hundred posts! Thanks for sticking with me. I’ve been having a blast.

possible shawl layout

Design ideas looking for a good home.

I’ve been talking with my friend Sarah Sipe about designing for a while, and now I’m also having design conversations with other designers as well. Top that off with reading books about design and browsing through patterns on Ravelry, and my brain is awash with ideas. All the ideas bump against each other and spark still more ideas.

I’ve heard of stash-acquisition-beyond-life-expectancy (that is, the acquisition of more yarn than one can use in a lifetime). Right now I feel as if I’ve got design-ideas-beyond-life-expectancy and it’s gumming up the works. I’ve got a list of things I’ve planned for the year or two ahead of me, and I just can’t deal with all these other things.

So I’m going to put some of them here for anyone who wants to use them. Take them! Be inspired by them and modify them. I’ll be happy if someone runs with them – I just need to get them out of my head. Continue reading