#KnitWithBeth Lace Sampler

Beth, Yonca, Amy at the Universal booth
With the #KnitWithBeth Lace Sampler poncho yarn sponsors Yonca and Amy of Universal Yarns!

Want to learn something new? Make a commitment to someone else that requires learning a skill. Whether you want to learn how to design your own lace poncho or learn how to do a Facebook Live video, making a commitment is a great motivator! :-)

For the last two Fridays I’ve been appearing on the Creative Knitting magazine Facebook page, leading a Facebook Live knit along of the Lace Sampler poncho in the Spring issue. I’ve learned I LOVE doing live video, that I like having both a tall and short tripod (tall for long views of garments, short for closeups/tutorials), and that to create video in landscape format you have to START with the phone/recording device held horizontally. I hope those of you have watched have learned a few things from watching, hopefully about lace knitting and designing! Many thanks to the folks at Universal Yarn for sponsoring the knit along; you can see what they are up to on their Facebook page.
I’ve put together the various links and some resources from the knit along below. I hope you find them useful. You are welcome to ask me questions here or on my Facebook page. I’ll be going live there next Monday, February 20 Friday, Feb 17th at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific with one last KAL “episode” and I think I’ve persuaded Kara to join me: see how far each of us has gotten in our Sampler!

poncho-onlyLinks to the KAL and related videos

  1. On the Creative Knitting page, Kara demos two techniques used in the Sampler’s stitch patterns.
  2. On the Power Purls Facebook page, Kara  shows some insertion patterns you could use instead of the ZigZag Trellis.
  3. And the KAL kicks off Feb 3, with me on the Creative Knitting magazine Facebook page. I went over some basics on the Lace Sampler as-is, and some considerations for designing your own. I showed some new swatches I was thinking of using for a different version of the poncho.
  4. Before the KAL on Friday the 10th, on thePower Purls’ page, Kara and I do Q and A on the KAL.
  5. And at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific: the KAL conclusion, in which I showed more swatches, including an experimental one, and made my final choices for the new version.

Design Within A Rectangle

Panels of different sizeThe poncho’s rectangle is the canvas for playing with lace stitch patterns. The Sampler has three panels, each with a different stitch pattern. As the illustration shows, I could have made the panels the same or different sizes. There’s a design choice here, though the stitch repeat of each pattern has a part to play as well. When designing, you start with an idea, knowing that as you begin to implement it may change.

Interested in designing your own version of the poncho? Download this blank chart (with a chart symbol key) and give it a try!

Stitch Patterns Side by Side

If stitch patterns that sit side by side don’t have the same row repeat, it can be difficult to keep track of the row you are on for each pattern. When they have a common multiple, it can be a little easier to track. When working the final row of the largest repeat, you are also working a final row of smaller repeats. Put a marker in that final row, and count from it when checking where you are in smaller repeats. Move the marker up every time you finish one repeating the larger pattern.chart_row-reps-common

Sometimes the visual appeal of a stitch pattern is so great, it’s worth the pain of row repeats that don’t match up, or match up after many rows. Put a marker in the first or last row of each stitch pattern, moving it up as you complete a repeat.



A gallery of some of the stitch patterns under consideration for the Lace Sampler variation. All the swatches were 32 pattern rows between garter stitch borders. Seeing a photo of a pattern knit up is just not the same as seeing it appear on your needles!

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Playing with Swatches

Once you have a bunch of swatches you like, you can play with ways to arrange them. You can see not only if the arrangement works from a design perspective, but from an implementation perspective (Arrow does NOT look like it would work with Mira and Flowing Lace!).

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Final Swatching

You select your stitch patterns, do the stitch repeat math, and select edge stitch and insertion patterns. And then you test it with another swatch. Sometimes it works, and sometimes… not. This insertion pattern doesn’t work well with these stitch patterns. Back to the drawing board.



Fingers crossed the choices I made on the 10th work!

November?!? and a circular stripes tutorial

Power Purls interview
Kara Gott Warner’s Power Purls Podcast made its debut this fall. She and I had a wonderfully philosophical and digressive (but eventually returning to topic!) conversation about life and working in the fiber arts industry.

Gosh, can’t believe it’s been over two months since I last posted! Seems like just yesterday I was getting home from STITCHES MidWest, and preparing The Small Man for the start of another school year.

Since then I’ve been to Irving, TX to teach at the first-time-ever STITCHES Texas, worked on a pattern and a couple of articles which you’ll see next year in Creative Knitting Magazine, gotten back into the swing of tech editing, and also worked on some pattern layouts for a client. There were proposals for teaching at TNNA, the wholesale trade show for the needlecraft industry. And the death of my iMac’s hard drive had to be dealt with (once you are used to the THPACE of a 27-inch monitor, it’s hard to go back to a little tiny laptop screen!). Oh, and I was on a podcast. :-)

Busy busy busy.Ig_photo

In the interest of clearing some THPACE around me physically, I’ve been working on turning the stepouts from Colorwork Without the Work into Finished Objects. One of those stepouts is a hat in four-color one-round stripes. I posted a picture of my progress on it to Instagram and on the Beth Whiteside Design Facebook page one day last week.

There wasn’t time to go into detail on carrying this many colors in the round in the video class, so I thought I’d take some time in a blog post to talk about the mechanics.

Let me know if you have questions!




Check the (Stitch) Map!

Photo of Hayle Cowl and Creative Knitting Winter 2014
Hayle Cowl and Stitch Maps article from Creative Knitting Winter 2014

It’s always exciting when a design or article I worked on months ago is published: I can finally talk about it! The Hayle Cowl returned home after its long journey through the publishing process; it was nice to see it again.

This project was sooo much fun to work on: I got to write about JC Briar’s baby, Stitch Maps, work with 3 of my favorite people (JC, Edie Eckman and Myra Wood) to develop the chapter proposal for the folks at Creative Knitting, and then come up with my own pattern to illustrate Stitch Maps’ virtues (adding my own KLITCH-y element of weaving crochet chain ties throughout).

She's So Edgy Collar
She’s So Edgy, Creative Knitting, Spring 2014

If you’ve worked with standard knitting charts, you know they provide a graphic representation of your knitting instructions. The resulting fabric doesn’t always look like the chart: stitch manipulations can pull fabric in and out in ways that delight, and 2-dimensional paper can’t begin to show us what those fabrics will look like. Stitch Maps give us a better visual representation of the fabric produced.

Since the article was written, JC has added a slew of exciting new features to Stitch Maps: you can now include cast on and bind off stitches, cross cables, add bobbles, drop stitches, place beads, and twist stitches. Whew, that’s a lot! For fun, I entered the bottom edging for my She’s So Edgy collar into Stitch Maps (take a look). Here are the instructions for the standalone version of the edging:

Row 1 (RS): Sl1 wyib, yo, p2tog, k1, yo, k2.
Row 2:K2, (k1, yo, k1) in next st, k1, yo, p2tog, k1.
Rows 3 and 5:Sl1 wyib, yo, p2tog, k6.
Row 4:K6, yo, p2tog, k1.
Row 6: BO 3 sts, k2, yo, p2tog, k1.

And below, a quick standard chart and the Stitch Map. The square chart view, with its square, gray no-stitch boxes, can’t compare to Stitch Maps’ representation of the final fabric appearance. Like everything else new, it may take you a while to get used to entering and working off a Stitch Map, but it is time and energy well-spent. Thanks for coding it for us, JC!


Want to learn how to knit pleats and welts?

Pretty Peaks and Valleys, Creative Knitting Winter 2013
My design Pretty Peaks and Valleys, Creative Knitting Winter 2013

It’s STITCHES class proposal time! And I’m brainstorming class topics to tempt you, the knitting and crocheting fiber enthusiast student.

If I go with what currently interests *me* most, one of the class proposals would be about those fabric-folding techniques known as pleats and welts (aka tucks).

I’ve had a thing for tucks for some time now, as those who have taken my 1-hour Market Session A Taste of Tucks can attest: they’ve seen the swatches. My favorite looks like the skin of a Shar Pei puppy.

The interest in pleats has been more recent, and apparently  is shared by the likes of Alexander Wang, Michael Kors, Proenza Schuler, etc, for Spring 2014 (see here and here). Whoo hoo, I’m on-trend!

Continue reading → Want to learn how to knit pleats and welts?