I’m writing this post in great anticipation and with a good degree of excitement. Later today my new design Mainline will enjoy its official launch in the Quince & Co. Scarves etc. 2013 collection.
There are many reasons to be excited Quince & Co. yarn is so scrummy – stunning colours, lovely hand when knitting, great stitch definition, the warm plumpness that comes from a wool combined with a crisp spin and no itch whatsoever. Mainline is knitted in Chickadee a sport weight wool in Bird’s Egg.
The scarf is all about texture and shape. A simple textured edge to avoid curl, a raised main stitch and shaped to hug you around the shoulders, it can be worn low like the picture above or wrapped around tight depending on time of year and weather conditions.
Mainline is knitted from the bottom up which does mean a bit of a mammoth cast on, but if you use markers you can place them each repeat as you cast on, which helps you keep track and not have to count lots of stitches. Once the pattern is set it is so easy to follow from reading your knitting on both right and wrong sides, and by the time you get to your first set of decreases you’ve knitted half the scarf.
The pattern as written requires 100g of Chickadee which comes in a fabulous range of colours, and is easily customised by increasing the number of repeats to make it wider/longer. The charted pattern instructions give you the visual of the repeats making it really easy to see how to add repeats. Full written instructions are also provided.
Finally Mainline uses a Purled Russian bind off; one of my favourite strecthy cast offs, if not my very favourite for socks and shawls. I much prefer the purled version over the knitted version. Like a lot of lacework, the stitch pattern in this scarf knits up in quite a condensed fashion and it looks rather small and unimpressive until you block it out. I love how this cast off creates a neat chain finish that sits above the stitches when stretched, it doesn’t tilt to either the front or the back of the work but stands proud of your stitches. I think it combines a good, firm, neat structure that doesn’ t gape or appear loose whilst providing the stretchiness the pattern needs. The other good thing about it is that it’s really easy to get into a rhythm with it so it’s a nice speedy cast off just at the point where you really want to be sewing in the ends and blocking to see your knitting transform.
Mainline needs a really good block to open out the stitch pattern and it will guide you through this letting you know exactly where it wants it’s shaping. You will block to a horseshoe shape with gentle points. The wool blocks beautifully and holds the blocking once set.
Working with Quince & Co. has been a lot of fun, although yarn delayed by the yucky weather at the turn of the year induced a bit of a panic. I also had to write a bio which was a little weird and submit a picture of me, which are something of a rarity and hence the pictures of me modelling Derwentwater in the previous post. It feels like that with my first mainstream published pattern I’ve had to ‘come out’ a little more which is a bit daunting, but made much easier by being in the company of a group of talented designers with some gorgeous designs in the collection. Also seeing Mainline so beautifully styled and photographed and written up in the crisp layout that Quince & Co. use has been wonderful.
The only downside, if it can be called that, is that writing this post without my Mainline sample to hand or around my neck (it’s now with Quince & Co.) has made me realise how much I miss it and how perfect it would be right now on a sunny but very crisp day here. I think I may have to knit another for myself.
You can read about and purchase a copy of Mainline here
You can view and purchase the ebook of 17 patterns here
Loop, London also stock Quince & Co. yarns and I may be off there soon (virtually) once I can make up my mind between Leek, Lichen, and Split Pea – yes, I’m in a bit of a green mood today, and just perhaps a little too impatient for international shipping!