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New MagKnits: January, 2008

Filed Under: Crafts, knitting and crochet

Pretty balls of yarn, by Flickr user Nickulas.

It's the beginning of the month, so, as usual, that means a new issue of MagKnits, the free online knitting magazine that hails from the UK (as well as a large, lovely picture of yarn, above).

This month, there's lots of cold-weather goodness: a baby blanket, a scarf, two hats, some fingerless gloves, and a sweater. Several of them are things you should be able to finish knitting in a weekend or so, but a few of the projects are larger commitments. On the down side, while they're all nice and potentially useful, the patterns are somewhat less unique than usual.

You'll find more detailed discussion of this month's designs after the break.

Bliss is an entrelac mistake-rib baby blanket knit from a superwash merino wool yarn. I have to admit that I don't care for the hand-dyed yarn color used: with the entrelac rib pattern breaking the colors up in several ways, there's a definite, unfortunate "yarn barf" effect.

But the yarn, Artyarns Supermerino, is available in many shades, and the blanket might look nice in blues or berry shades or a light solid color. (See SM107, SM108, SM123, SM127, and SM132 at that link, to start with.) A dark solid color would obscure the stitch pattern so much that you might as well just knit something in mistake rib and dispense with the hassle of the entrelac.

J.D. is a raglan sweater meant for teenage boys. There's a houndstooth check pattern across part of it. Because the check pattern doesn't cover the entire sweater, it's done with an intarsia-type crossed-stitch method rather than the stranded knitting you might usually use for this kind of design.

J.D. is nice enough, but I think I would have liked to see it in a somewhat finer yarn. I also don't think the color combination as shown is modern; if I were going to make it for someone, I'd ask them what colors they wanted. (Clashing colors will be unusually hard on the eye in this case, though.) You could probably also use this pattern to just make a plain sweater, maybe with stripes at the neck, waist, and wrists.

Lucy is a single-skein hat made in Malabrigo wool, which has a nice mottled color effect. The hat is knit from side to side with a lace pattern and has a little nubby bit on top, like a classic beret might. It also has earflaps, which are optional. You could use other yarn, but since the yarn adds so much to the look of the hat, it would probably be good to choose a similar yarn like Manos del Uruguay.

Stranded is also a hat, intended to be more man-friendly, with a Norwegian design knit with a stranded technique. (Get it? Stranded?) Given that it's made of angora, I'm not sure how man-friendly it actually is; if you want to make it for a man who won't wear angora or is allergic, try merino. The double thickness created by the color-work technique makes it a nice hat for really cold days. If you've never done this type of knitting, this could be a good project to try, particularly in a smoother yarn.

Orno Abaci is one of those scarves where different stripe widths fade from one color to another, so that the scarf is one color on one end and the other color at the opposite end. It's also bias-knit. That means that the stitches in it run diagonally, that there is lots of increasing and decreasing to be done, and that the ends are pointy. Try it with any color, and vary or omit the stripes, if you want.

Evangeline is a pair of fingerless gloves with a braided cable running up the back. There are a lot of materially similar patterns running around (one that I've made is "Hurry Up, Spring" from Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n B!tch Nation). You can make these gloves in two different lengths, and the designer did a nice job of making the cables flow into the ribbing that finishes off the top and bottom edges.



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