Thursday, 3 March 2016

Penguins, by Anna Maltz

Late last year, Anna Maltz (aka Sweaterspotter), released Penguins, a book of knitting patterns.  The patterns aren’t slavish to the topic, but are fun and whimsical, focussing on an element or a colour to link it back to the overarching themes. As well as 11 patterns, the book contains loads of lovely photographs.   

Penguins, Anna Maltz, Sweaterspotter, Socks Yeah, Rachel Coopey

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the book launch, which included an amazing penguin inspired cake, as well as penguin inspired savouries!  There was also a trunk show, and I was able to try on the Aptenodytes – a cardigan that I would usually bypass as the short waterfall-style fronts are not very flattering.  However, the pattern includes a couple of buttons and buttonholes – minor amendments you may thing, but essential.  This means that the cardigan fronts can be buttoned into a low hanging cowl neck, or (the more flattering on me) a relatively shallow cowl that sits just below the collarbones, which I thought looked great on me!

I have knitted 2 patterns from the book so far.  I knitted the Flower King (or Flower Power in my Ravelry notebook).  To me, this pattern has a Marimekko feel, and I am a sucker for that brand! I used a variety of yarns that I had in stash - including some Wollmeise DK for the flower.  I added an extra segment of 20 stitches, as the yarns I used were a little lighter than the yarn called for in the pattern.  Also, I had recently knit another colourwork hat using the Wollmeise DK with 120 stitches in the body of the hat, so I knew that it would fit well.  This resulted in a flower with 6 petals, which is not as aesthetically pleasing as the original 5 petals, but certainly something I can live with to (a) knit from stash and (b) end up with a hat that fits. 

Penguins, Anna Maltz, Sweaterspotter, Wollmeise, pompom

The second pattern I knit is Fledgling, which is a mitten pattern in Anna’s book.  In my version the end product is socks.  I used the mitten tip pattern on the toes and altered the increase rate so that there were increases on every second row, and I simply extended the chequered pattern on the underside of the toes to go over a few extra stitches, and for a few extra rows.  I also incorporated Clare Devine’s Ossa sock pattern (more on this later, but I have a tendency to combine patterns where I can so I can knit all the patterns) for the foot and simply followed Clare’s instructions, converting to toe up, rather than cuff down.

I changed it again for the leg, as I want to try and incorporate ribbing into the legs of socks where possible. I’ve noticed that my older pairs of socks are saggy and baggy around the leg after just a short while of wearing, so I hope a ribbed leg will hold it tighter for longer.  So I modified the Ossa pattern so the slipped stitches ran up the legs vertically, rather than twisted as on the foot, to leave room for some ribbing. 

Penguins, Anna Maltz, Sweaterspotter, Socks Yeah, Rachel Coopey

Knit in coral and grey, the little penguin’s face is not as obvious as in Anna’s lovely mittens, but I am still enamoured!

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