All the Old Showstoppers (Part 1)

What keeps us coming back to the same patterns over and over again? Certainly, a familiar pattern is always faster and usually made with more technical proficiency, but there’s more to it than that.  A really great pattern demands to made over and over again.  Some patterns have that perfect mix of beauty, versatility, practicality and reliability that has you coming back to them again and again. These patterns are the ones that I love to make over and over again.

The worsted weight version in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino

The worsted weight version in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino

Favourite hat:  I’ve written a few of my own hat patterns and tried countless others over the years, but the one I come back to again and again is the Dean Street Hat, which is available as a free ravelry download.  The pattern comes in chunky and worsted weight and every size from toddler to large headed adult, like me.  The texture has a nice density that keeps you warm. The cables are simple enough to knit swiftly but attractive enough to be special, and I’ve gotten countless compliments on the three that I’ve made.  All in all a classic.

My first Rocketry cardigan in Dream in Color Classy

My first Rocketry cardigan in Dream in Color Classy

Favourite baby sweater:  While my recent experience with Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Sweater on Two Needles, had me second guessing this choice, Dream in Color’s Rocketry Baby Cardigan edged it out.  The advantage went to the Rocketry cardigan purely on the basis of it’s unisex appeal.  This adorable cardigan works well for boys and girls, and it’s a great stash buster.  The stripes keep the knitting interesting and make ensuring uniform sleeve length a breeze.  I’ve made it four times, twice in the suggested (but expensive) Dream in Color Classy, and twice in much more reasonable Lamb’s Pride wool.  It’s reliable and seamless, and works equally well as a six colour rainbow sweater and in simple three colour combinations (I’ve tried pink/white/black and red/navy/white).

Gusset heel toe up socks in unidentified stast yarn

Gusset heel toe up socks in unidentified stash yarn

Favourite socks: As a dedicated sock knitter this was a tough choice.  Lately, I’ve worn down the spine of Cookie A’s knit.sock.love and I was tempted to choose one of her innovative designs.  In the end, however, I went for simplicity: Wendy Johnson’s Gusset Heel Basic Socks, published in Socks from the Toe Up are fantastic.  The directions have an admirable clarity and they are perfect for showing off multicolour yarn or as a basis for your own experiments with texture.  The gusset heel is elegantly simple, providing lots of space for good fit across the top of the foot, without all of the slip stitch heel fuss.  I’ve had lots of knitters look at these and ask how I made such a clever heel, if only I could take the credit.

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