2019 Strickplaner Review & Comparison

As promised, here is a review of the 2019 Strickplaner. I’ve compared it to the 2018 Strickplaner, and I love the 2019 edition more than the 2018 edition. You can see the review of the 2018 Strickplaner here. This video features one of our cats, Sammy, who loves to be the centre of attention and is hopefully not too distracting.

The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I purchased this planner with my own money and I am not receiving any consideration, financial or otherwise, in exchange for this review. When I love something I want to spread the love!

New eBook Alert!

The Juniper Collection has been released into the world...

Matching accessories have become kind a big thing for me. When I’m wrapped in the warmth of a comfy hand knit hat, a cozy hand knit cowl, and toasty hand knit mitts, I like them to match, or complement each other, either by sharing the same stitch pattern or being worked in the same yarn. When my knitted accessories complement each other it allows each piece to stand out without competing against the other accessories that I’m wearing. Matching accessories make me look more polished and put together, even on days when I might not feel very polished or put together. So, I’m on a mission to create sets of matching knitwear accessories in my favourite colours using my favourite yarns and stitch patterns.

The Juniper Collection includes socks, a cowl, a hat and mitts. I chose this specific yarn because it’s one of the softest, squishiest yarns that I’ve ever had the pleasure to knit with and it feels divine against my skin. Also this bluish/purple that Nicole (the dyer at Spinnacle) created, really reminds me of the juniper berries that were on the juniper bushes outside of our house when I was growing up.  

 

The Juniper Collection is being released in stages.  Juniper socks were released earlier this year, Juniper hat was released today (you can download it with a $1 discount by clicking here), Juniper Mitts will be released next Thursday August 23rd, 2018, and Juniper Cowl will be released on Thursday August 30th, 2018. 

If you purchase the collection today you pay $15 for all 4 patterns (each pattern will automagically be added to your library upon its release).  The price will increase with each new release.  If you've previously purchased Juniper Socks, the purchase price will be reduced accordingly.  You can find the Juniper Collection here. 

New Pattern Alert!

Lenity has been released into the world...

I love words; I’m a logophile. One of my favourite words (I have many) is lenity. Lenity is derived from latin. It’s a noun and is defined as ‘gentleness; kindness’. I love that it’s a noun; instead of describing something or someone as expressing gentleness or kindness, it is gentleness and kindness. It somehow sounds more permanent and tangible when it’s a noun. 

I also love knitting fabric that is on a bias, like this stitch pattern. It plays well with solid, tonal, variegated, and patterned yarns. The stitch pattern is much easier than it looks. There is a little bit of trickery in Round 16, but it’s literally just moving a marker and yet it makes the entire stitch pattern flow seamlessly along as you knit. 

Lenity is worked from the cuff down and cable pattern on the bias on the front & back of the leg, and top of the foot. This sock features an afterthought star heel with optional gussets, and a star toe. 

Lenity is available with a $1 discount until Monday August 13th, 2018 (no coupon code required).  You can find it here.  

New Pattern Alert! Meraki Edition

Meraki has been released into the world...

Meraki is one of my favourite words (is it weird to have favourite words?). Meraki is Greek, originally derived from the Turkish word merak and means “to do something with passion, with absolute devotion, with undivided attention; to put something of yourself into whatever you’re doing."  I think this is one of the most beautiful words in the world and perfectly describes the joy I feel when I create something from nothing like this new sock design. 

The goal is to hang onto that feeling of meraki and carry it with us throughout the rest of our day as we we go about our every day business of tasks and errands.  Meraki is contagious and if we can insert a little bit of that feeling in everything we do, we can infect the world with joy.  The world can use more joy.  I hope you knit this sock with meraki and feel joy with every stitch, joy that you can hang on to for the rest of your day. 

Meraki is worked from the toe up and features a delicate cable pattern on the top of the foot.  After a Fleegle-style heel, the stitch pattern continues on the front of the leg to the ribbed cuff.  Instructions are included for 4 circumferences and the foot length is customizable.  The pattern stitch is both written and charted, and the pattern includes a schematic. 

You can download Meraki with a 20% discount (no coupon code required) until Monday July 30th.  You can find the pattern here. 

Paradise Fiber Giveaway!

Congratulations to Kelly Olson!!!

The subscription box winner!!

The contest is now closed! 

Paradise Fibers and I are giving away their July 2018 Subscription box! To enter go to www.DanaGervaisDesigns.com/blog/paradise and comment with your favourite fiber. The winner will be drawn on Monday July 30,2018! Good Luck!

Paradise Fibers and I have teamed up to give away their July subscription box!  To win, all you have to do is comment on this post with your favourite fibre!  I'll choose a winner on Monday July 30th! I'll announce the winner on Instagram, Facebook, and I'll update this post!  

Good Luck! 

 

New Pattern Alert! With Arch Shaping!

Neta has been released into the world...

This design is very personal and special to me. This sock is inspired by, and named for my Grandmother, Neta.

Neta is my paternal grandmother, and aside from being the kindest, most nurturing soul I’ve ever known she also taught me to knit and to make socks. She even managed to remain patient while teaching pre-teen me how to execute a successful Kitchener stitch, which speaks volumes about her capacity for patience and understanding. She was a finesse knitter, and she and her knitting have inspired every stitch I’ve ever knit. 

Neta is worked from the cuff down and features an easy to memorize stitch pattern on the front and back of the leg. This pattern features an Eye Of Partridge heel flap, and arch shaping through the gusset and instep stiches. The stitch pattern continues on the top of the foot until the pattern stitches are consumed and replaced by stockinette stitches. The sock ends with a wedge toe that is grafted closed using Kitchener stitch. 

This is the first pattern I've written that includes arch shaping.  Many of you with high insteps have been asking for arch shaping, and when you ask I try to deliver! 

Instructions are included for 4 circumferences and foot length is customizable.  The stitch pattern is both written and charted. 

You can download Neta with a 20% discount until Monday July 16th (no coupon code required).  You can find the pattern here. 

Ask Me Anything: Gauge Swatch Edition

Why Swatch?

While it’s tempting to skip the swatch (and every knitter does at least once), knitting groups and clubs are full of cautionary tales that knitters pass along to each other as a warning of the perils of skipping the gauge swatch: the sweater that was 2 sizes too big, the shawl they couldn’t finish because they ran out of yarn…

Swatching is important if you want the finished piece to be the size stated in the pattern and also to make sure that you have enough yarn to complete the project.  

What Is Gauge?

The 2 types of gauges most commonly referred to in knitting are:

  • working gauge - the gauge you calculate while the project is on the needles

  • blocked gauge or pattern gauge - the gauge you calculate after you wash and dry the project

Most patterns will state gauge after blocking so you will have to knit a gauge swatch then wash it and dry it as you plan to wash and dry the finished project (or as per the directions on the yarn tag) to get an accurate measurement.

Gauge is the measurement of how many stitches per inch/centimetre and how many rows per inch/centimetre the designer got when knitting a certain stitch pattern with a certain sized needle.  In order to achieve the same size project as the pattern, you need to match the designer's gauge.  This means you knit small sample squares, wash them, and measure them until you find the right combination of needles and yarn that give you the gauge in the pattern.  There is no right or wrong gauge.

For example, gauge for a sock pattern might be 8 stitches and 12 rows per 1 inch/2.5 centimetres using 2.25mm (US 1) needles in stockinette stitch after blocking.  That is the designer’s gauge.  The gauge s/he got knitting the sample socks for this pattern.  Your gauge when working the same pattern stitch with the same size needles and yarn may be different. And that’s ok.  

What If You Don’t Get Gauge?

Using our example, if you have fewer than 8 stitches per inch, you need to re-swatch with a smaller needle size.  If you have more than 8 sts per inch, you need to re-swatch with a larger needle size.  Click here to download a worksheet to help you keep track if you need to make multiple gauge swatches.

What If You Can’t Get Both Stitch Gauge And Row Gauge With The Same Size Needle?

As a rule, stitch gauge is more important than row gauge.  If you can only match one, always go for stitch gauge.  You can compensate for row gauge by working more or fewer rows, but it’s much trickier (and requires a lot more math) to compensate for stitch gauge.

Always Swatch As You Intend To Knit

Gauge is a finicky and elusive beast.  Everything affects gauge.  Your gauge can change from wooden to metal needles, from straight needles to DPNs, from cotton yarn to wool yarn.  You probably have a different gauge when working flat than you do when working in the round. This is why you need to swatch using the needles and yarn that you intend to use for the project, in the knitting style you will be using for the project.  Using socks as an example, socks are worked in the round, therefore, your gauge swatch needs to be worked in the round.

If your sock will be knit using DPNs, your gauge swatch will need to be worked with DPNs.  Ditto for Magic Loop.  Ditto for 2 circular needles.

If the designer gives gauge in multiple stitch patterns, you need to swatch in all the stitch patterns.  Just because you match gauge in stockinette stitch, doesn’t mean you’ll also match gauge in a lace or cable pattern.  

Swatching In The Round

Knitting in the round is different than knitting flat because there are no wrong side rows, so you need to work your gauge swatch without wrong side rows.  However to make swatching quick, and consume as little yarn as possible, there is an easy way to work a gauge swatch in the round but flat.  Click here to see a video where I demonstrate swatching in the round.

Measuring A Gauge Swatch

Here are some tips for measuring your gauge swatch:

  • If the pattern provides gauge for both inches and centimetres, use one or the other, but never both.  And use your preferred standard of measurement consistently throughout the pattern (as in, don’t measure your gauge swatch in inches then follow the pattern instructions for centimetres)

  • Measure stitches and rows away from the edge of the swatch as your edge stitches may have a slightly different gauge than your centre stitches  

  • Be sure all the stitches you are counting are on the same row (this is why it may be more precise to use a hard ruler instead of a measuring tape)

  • When counting stockinette stitches, I count the right leg of each ‘v’ stitch as 1 stitch

  • When counting garter stitch rows, each garter ridge is equal to 2 rows

  • When counting garter stitches, each ‘frown’ shaped bump is 1 stitch (you can count either the ‘frown’ or the ‘smiles’ but don’t count both)

  • Don’t stretch the swatch to measure the stitches unless the pattern says that gauge is measured while stretched  

AMA Swatching.png
 Measuring stitch gauge in stockinette stitch

Measuring stitch gauge in stockinette stitch

 Measuring row gauge in stockinette stitch

Measuring row gauge in stockinette stitch

New Pattern(s) Alert!

Westney & Meandering are now available for download on Ravelry. 

Previously available exclusively in the book, Artful ArchesWestney & Meandering are both available in my Ravelry store as of today. 

It’s amazing what a few strategically placed slipped stitches can do when they’re combined with variegated yarn.  Slipped stitches have a magical way of showing off the colour variegations without getting lost or competing with the yarn. 

Slipped stitches and variegated yarn are a knitterly symphony; on their own they’re each lovely, but together they both become even more beautiful. 

I think most of us have at least one gorgeous skein of variegated yarn in our stash that needs just the right pattern to do it justice, and both of these patterns were designed with that special skein in mind.

You can download Westney and/or Meandering with a 20% discount (no coupon code required, the discount will appear automagically at checkout) until Monday July 2nd, 2018. 

New Pattern Alert!

Flectere has been released into the world...

The Latin word flectere, meaning “to bend” or “to curve,” and its form flexus give us the roots flect and flex. Something flexible can be bent without breaking.

 I love the combination of slipped stitches with variegated yarn. It’s a combination I never tire of or find boring to knit. This pattern was inspired by this gorgeous variegated yarn by Malabrigo Yarn (the colourway is Acro Iris). The short colour repeats combined with the curve and bend of the stitch pattern manage to complement each other without competing with each other, which is a good outcome not only for hand knit socks, but for life in general.

 This sock starts with a star toe and the stitch pattern on the top of the foot. Then, after a short row heel, the stitch pattern continues on the front and back of the sock. When knitting the sample socks, I reversed the order of the charts for the second sock so that the pattern would be the opposite of the first sock, though this modification is not instructed in the pattern.

Flectere includes instructions for 4 circumferences and the foot length is customizable.  You can download Flectere with a 20% discount until Monday June 18th, 2018 (no coupon code required, the discount will automagically be applired at checkout)! 

Toe-rrific Toe Construction

toe construction.jpg

Much like heels, (you can find the heel version of today’s post here) toes are a personal preference.  The type of toe you prefer will depend on the anatomy of your individual foot. The good news is that (most of the time) toes are easy to modify without having to do very much math or rework an entire pattern stitch.  They’re also fairly easy to re-engineer to accommodate toe up or cuff down construction.

My advice is always to try all the things (pertaining to knitting) so you can decide for yourself which toes fit you and which ones don’t and which toes you love to knit and which toes you hope you never have to knit again.  Ever.

Here is a summary of some of the most popular toe constructions, their advantages and disadvantages, and when you might use them.

WEDGE TOE

 Heliotrope is an example of a sock with a wedge toe

Heliotrope is an example of a sock with a wedge toe

Advantages:

  • Very common heel in hand knit socks

  • Easy to memorize construction

  • Easily adaptable for either toe up or cuff down construction

  • Toe stitches are grafted closed so there is no annoying seam to rub against the tips of your toes

  • The math for this toe is pretty easy if you’re substituting it for another toe in a pattern

  • Does not result in left and right specific socks

Disadvantages:

  • The wedge shape doesn’t accommodate all toe shapes

  • Some knitters think the shape when off the foot is pointy and unattractive

  • Lines of decreases/increases on the sides of the toes can be uncomfortable for sensitive feet

  • Requires Kitchener stitch if you want a seamless toe

ROUNDED TOE

 Lerwick is an example of a sock with a rounded toe

Lerwick is an example of a sock with a rounded toe

Advantages

  • Tends to accommodate a wider variety of toe anatomies than the wedge toe

  • Easy to memorize construction

  • Easily adaptable for either toe up or cuff down construction

  • Toe stitches are grafted so there is no annoying seam to rub against the tip of your toes

  • Does not result in left and right specific socks

  • The shape is similar to the toe on most commercially sold socks

Disadvantages

  • Consumes more yarn than a wedge toe

  • Requires Kitchener stitch if you want a seamless toe

  • The math is slightly more difficult than for the wedge toe

  • Lines of decreases/increases on the sides of the toes can be uncomfortable for sensitive feet

STAR TOE

 Ahlie is an example of a sock with a star toe

Ahlie is an example of a sock with a star toe

Advantages

  • Easily adaptable for both toe up and cuff down construction

  • Kitchener stitch is not required

  • Decreases are spread throughout the toe so there are no lines of decreases on the outer edges of the toes

  • It’s an attractive looking toe (especially with variegated yarn)

  • Does not result in left and right specific socks

Disadvantages

  • The small opening at the tip of the toe where the stitches are pulled closed may be uncomfortable for sensitive toes

  • Math is a bit more difficult depending on the stitch count used

ANATOMICAL TOE

Advantages

  • Results in socks that are left and right foot specific

  • Very comfortable for feet that have very long first toes

Disadvantages

  • Math is more difficult

  • Depending on your gait, you may wear out one sock before the other since they aren’t interchangeable

  • Kitchener stitch is required for a seamless toe

  • Decreases/increases creates a seam on the outer edge of the toe

There are other toe constructions out there, but these are the ones I come across most often when designing and tech editing sock patterns.  Do you you have a favourite type of toe construction?