Simple Knits for Thoughtful Knitters

Box Pleat Scoop Neck from knit.wear

I got a brand new copy of knit.wear in the mail yesterday. As always, it's full of simple, elegant, fashion-forward designs that are fun to knit and easy to wear.

The Box Pleat Scoopneck by Jennifer Dassau, shown at right, immediately went in my queue. It's simple and I love the pleats at the neck. I'm a sucker for a simple stockinette project with a neat-o detail!

There are lots of wonderful designs and inspiration in this issue of knit.wear, from glam stripes, to contemporary lace, to pleats and funnelnecks. Here's Editor Lisa Shroyer to tell you all about it!

Mari Chiba's fabulous arm-knitted cowl

Thoughtful Knitting

I want to talk about arm knitting for a minute. This trend, and related coverage of it, made the rounds of social media and mainstream media alike earlier this year. My inbox filled up from friends, relatives, and colleagues emailing me links about it. I haven't rolled my eyes that much since middle school. I dismissed the whole thing with a haughty "That's not real knitting," and went about my business.

And then I had lunch with designer Mari Chiba one day. Lo and behold, she was wearing this really cool pink cowl, with giant stitches in a super bulky wool (at left). She told me she had arm-knitted (Is this a verb? I don't know.) it in about fifteen minutes!

It's one of those experiences we all need sometimes—a humbling, maybe-you-don't-know-everything moment. As creatives and artisans steeped in our craft, sometimes we have a hard time being open to new and unconventional ideas. And as an editor, it's my job to constantly filter for quality, for craftsmanship, for technical soundness. But it's also my job to promote innovation and ingenuity. Working on knit.wear really helps me with that part of the job, because this magazine's mission is to promote thoughtful and new approaches to the potentially stodgy pursuit of knit design.

     Carol Feller's Short-Row Vest

Sometimes this approach leads to striking, standout pieces, such as Carol Feller's Short-Row Vest (below right). And sometimes, it leads to more subtle reconstructions, such as Cathy Carron's Six Point Tee (at left), which rearranges yoke shaping and uses a chunky yarn to create shape and graphic elements at the same time.

Cathy Carron's Six Point Tee

Deciding when a design goes too far or depends on a gimmick is pretty subjective business. I know what's safe to o˜ffer in a pattern collection; I know, from experience, what knitters will find acceptable. It's not always so obvious what knitters will absolutely love. It's also safe to say that predictable projects can make for forgettable magazines.

Somewhere in the mix of all those considerations, this magazine has hit a chord with folks—the designs don't skew too far from comfort, but still intrigue the eye and the mind and resonate with a certain stylish sensibility.

It's important to be open to new ideas. Arm knitting is a valid craftform, spun out of the maker culture, and is now being embraced by our more formal yarn community. At the end of the day, if it excites you, is fun to make, and (bonus!) is enjoyable to wear and use, then it's valuable. I hope this issue excites you, gives you pause, and makes you think as you review the shapes and instructions. We can do so much with imagination, if we let it run.

FREE vest patterns eBook!
Get the Eco Vest by Katie Himmelberg, plus 4 more knitted vest patterns!

Get your spring/summer 2014 issue of knit.wear today, and cast on something that spurs your imagination.

P.S. Have you tried arm knitting? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

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