It’s the little things that make a pattern cool. A clever designer is always watching for the right moment to add a special detail.
In plowing through my MDK March Mayhem KAL projects, I’ve noticed details in each one that just totally and completely made my day.
The Subtle Short Row
This past weekend, while celebrating both our 28th wedding anniversary and Mother’s Day (Happy Mother’s Day, by the way!), I cast on my third MDK March Mayhem KAL project: Humulus by Isabell Kraemer.
Three words for you: German short rows. So elegant. Not long after I cast on, Isabell’s MDK March Mayhem Champion pattern sent me on a mini-odyssey to build up the back collar of Humulus so that it sits well on the shoulders.
See how the top gray part above the collar is much wider than the bottom? That’s because I knitted back and forth along the back of the collar to add extra inches—the magic of short rows. This will make my Humulus fit well across my shoulders.
One could work these short rows in a number of ways, with the general idea of knitting a while, stopping, turning, and purling back in the direction you just came from. But I think Isabell’s choice of German short rows is just perfect. German short rows are so subtle that you can’t really see where the turn happens. Other short row methods are more visible. If you’d like to see what the fuss is about, here’s a quick video tutorial from the divine Amy Detjen. (By the way, if you’re looking for a knitterly trip to Scotland this August, you really, really ought to click on that link. Lordy!)
This yarn is Jill Draper’s Mohonk. I’m bonkers for it—the Cormo wool is so sproingy that I had to get a handle on an even tension. But oh wow it is fun to knit with. And these colors—Mourning Dove and Bottle (such a green)—are going to make a Humulus of springtime cheer. Not exactly a contrasting pair of colors, but I’m loving them together. I dithered a long time over Jill’s colors in the Shop.
Fun fact: you can kind of stand up your Jill Draper Mohonk Humulus as a little sculpture.
A Clever Stitch Pattern
True Colors by Melanie Berg amused and amazed me with its strange podlike lace shapes.
I thought I was going to have to do some crazy lacemaking maneuver invented by a Belgian nun 200 years ago to get that shape to happen. Turns out that the pods are nothing more than a purl stitch, surrounded on each side by decreases. When you do seven consecutive rows of these paired decreases (with decreases on both the RS and WS), the result is a purl stitch center that is stretched outward. A pod! A distinctive, cool pod!
A Simple I-Cord Edging
OK, this one is subtle and elegant. I finished Gretha Mensen’s Dohne shawl two weeks ago and haven’t even had a chance to talk about the exquisite fun of working with a beautifully sheepy yarn and a texturefest of a pattern. This Prado de Lana Wee Bairns defies my photography skills—it is the richest shade of brown, a deep chocolate. The undyed fleece of a pair of Romlinc sheep is a joy to behold.
And the edging that Gretha runs along the long, straight edge of the shawl is so refined and simple.
It’s a two-stitch I-cord, and it creates the most elegant finish to the edge of this wrap.
I cranked up the AC and bundled up with this marvelous piece to watch the teevee. If you have yarn on hand that is undyed, sheepy, and beautiful, this is the pattern that will make it sing.
Keep at It, KAL Folks!
The MDK March Mayhem Knitalong continues through the end of May. You can see all the mayhem at #MDKMarchMayhemKAL. We’ll be doling out weekly yarn prizes through the end of the month. So even if you’re just casting on now in a fit of wanna-join-in-ism, you’ll be eligible as long as you post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #MDKMarchMayhemKAL. So far we’ve sent out prizes to four clever knitters.
Finally, I have to say, every time I revisit the MDK March Mayhem bracket, I see another pattern that I want to make. Go have a look—it’s all sort of irresistible.