A day we’ve been anticipating is finally here: Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No. 1: Stripes is now available.
We have three big ideas at work in this new series, and we hope you will find something intriguing in all this.
Idea 1: Patterns with That Certain Something
Kay and I have a few Big Topics: British TV series, an ongoing gin argument, and an unresolved debate about the correct way to SSK. One of our most enduring conversations is the question of what makes a good pattern. Easy, hard? Big, small? Intricate or simple?
At this point, we believe that a good pattern can be any of these things. The beauty of knitting is that there’s a project for every moment of life. When you’re feeling like a genius, you’re making a cobwebby shawl. When your brain is a pudding, a stretch of garter stitch feels like a gift.
The question took on a new relevance when we began planning the new MasonDixonKnitting.com. With hundreds of thousands of patterns available to knitters, how do we make sense of it all? What’s good? What’s fun?
The goal became to find the few, the proud, the great patterns. We contacted designers whose work we have admired for a long time—designers who are really crushing it when it comes to creating patterns that have that certain something that makes them hard to resist. We wanted every pattern to be something we really, really wanted to knit ourselves.
So far, so good. In Field Guide No. 1: Stripes, here are the patterns:
Mary Jane Mucklestone’s uncanny color sense explodes in the Station Wagon Blanket. (Dog sold separately.)
Antonia Shankland’s understanding of yarns makes her Breton Cowl a lush extravagance.
Ann Weaver’s love of the unexpected makes her Squad Mitts a chance to play with color.
In the days to come, we’ll be introducing all the creative minds at work on the Field Guides—a large part of the fun is hearing how these folks think. They are thinking a lot, just saying.
Idea 2: Yarns to Love
We’re not a typical yarn shop. We’re focusing on batches of yarn that go with the patterns in the Field Guide. (Plus special yarns we’ve managed to get hold of!) When it came time to pick the yarns to use for the Field Guide patterns, we went with our basic concept: Right Yarn for the Right Project. (Remember, we are the people who think dishcloth cotton is a brilliant yarn. For a dishcloth, that is.) A blanket needs something sturdy; a cowl needs something delicious. The yarns are splendid, every one of them:
And if you have a stash the size of Montana, or a yarn shop nearby, we think these patterns are going to give you ample opportunity to work through your own personal inventory.
Idea 3: It’s about Knitting
Kay and I are going to knit everything in these Field Guides. This is not a stunt. We just want to make these things. (Also, it’s kind of a stunt. You can totally call us out if we miss a project.)
We’re curious about these patterns. We know there’s fun to be had, and we crave the finished object. The Stopover knitalong back in February showed us that knitting with likeminded people is maybe the only thing more fun than knitting itself. We learned a ton from everybody who was so generous in sharing ideas, wisdom, techniques, photos and commiseration. We’d like to continue this sort of fun with each pattern we make.
To that end, we’ll be getting The Lounge furbished so we can all knit together—replacing the shag carpet with something superclassy from West Elm, maybe, but we’re keeping the busted-out corduroy sofa because we love that thing.
A warm hug of thanks to the kind readers who reserved copies of Field Guide No. 1 back in August. We see your orders coming in, and we can’t wait to see what you make.