I recently had the pleasure to have knit from the Needles and Artifice collection by The Ladies of Mischief. The publication (from Cooperative Press) carries twenty-three beautiful patterns and has an ingenious layout: it's not just about the patterns, but also tells great stories to tie them together.
Gentle ladies and kind sirs: welcome to the world of Needles and Artifice, where corseted Victorian fashion gets an energized infusion of punk.
In this fantastically playful take on steampunk knitwear design, the Ladies of Mischief offer not only 23 original patterns, but also a high-flying, busk-snapping adventure that plays out across each chapter.
Pull on your goggles and spats, knitters: you’re in for a wild ride.
I was originally looking for a pattern for interesting fingerless mitts to knit a sample from Norwegian Elkhound (colorway Sirius), and came across the Warm & Tingley Mitts, a pattern from the collection. The pattern was designed by Heidi Kunkel, who, besides for designing beautiful patterns like this, has an Etsy store featuring her amazing pottery.
What made this a perfect choice for a sample is not only the beautiful cabling, but the fact that with one skein of Norwegian Elkhound makes two mitts and a headscarf and still have yarn left over. In terms of yarn structure, the more plies a yarn has, the more round it is, and rounder yarns show off cables better. Because Norwegian Elkhound is four plies, it makes beautiful cables. What I did not yet know was the most important part: how ridiculously quick and fun this pattern would be!
I was able to knit both mitts and the headscarf within 3 days, which makes it a great pattern choice. for gifts; I'm sure if I had a dedicated day, I would have easily knitted all of them within 8 hours. It's also extremely versatile because of how it's sized: the ribbing on both the mitts and the headscarf ensure that they will fit most, if not all adults. The pattern recommends a size 9 needle, gauge depending, and worsted weight yarn.
The mitts start off with a 2:1 ribbing, then go into the cabling chart. There's no written version of the chart in the pattern, which, since I prefer knitting from charts, was fine. The bind off was a picot bind off, which creates a surprising and fun texture at the edging. The thumb is called "an afterthought" in regards to the technique and is added after the mitt is completed.
The headscarf starts off with a normal cast on and features short rows for shaping the garment. The short rows in this pattern don't come with the normal "wrap" instruction; rather, they purposefully leave holes in the fabric for a button. The cabling on the headscarf coordinates with the cabling on the mitts, but isn't exactly the same. The difference between the two cable patterns is that the headscarf pattern has the design wider, which better fits the wider garment. The final addition is a button, which is always the most fun to choose.
This set of patterns was a tremendous amount of fun to make, and knitting it with the Norwegian Elkhound was a treat! I had only done swatches with that yarn before, but the soft, squishy texture and beautiful stitch definition made me not want to put it down. I've always selected my yarn bases carefully, and it's rewarding to finally knit a full-sized garment with them and find that I absolutely made the right choice.
How do you decide what yarns to use with which patterns? Have you ever made a really bad choice, or an absolutely perfect one?
Announcement: Fiber Hound is now going to be sold at its first yarn store, Rêverie~Yarn, Décor & Gifts! The store is located in Goshen, Indiana, and is around 40 minutes from the Fiber Hound dye studio. I'll be sharing more updates about when there will be stocked there soon! For better updates, don't forget to follow Fiber Hound on Facebook!