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Anthology : a free pattern tailor-made for swatching

October 26, 2018

One of our favourite ways to swatch for a Strange Brew recipe design-your-own colourwork yoke sweater is to make an Anthology swatch hat, or a cowl.

This post is part of a multi-part series that covers the Strange Brew colourwork yoke sweater recipe! For a list of the other posts in this series, click here. To get the Strange Brew recipe pattern (it’s written for 3 gauges, and includes 25 sizes from baby through women’s and men’s 4XL) click here.

The Cartography Hat was developed as Alexa swatched and swatched (and swatched) to perfect her design for the Cartography sweater.

While developing the designs for our yoke sweater collection, we found that the best way to trial yarns, colour combinations, and stitch patterns was to make swatch hats! OK, ok, this is not a new idea, and we’ve been banging on about this for what seems like years now.

As part of Strange Brew we’ve released the free Anthology pattern which will do the ‘heavy lifting’ for you, so you don’t need to calculate stitch counts, and can instead skip right to casting on! And really, who doesn’t want to do that?

Oh, and did we mention this is a FREE pattern?! Click here to download Anthology now.

Anthology is designed to work together with our Strange Brew sweater recipe; it is written for the same 3 gauges (to work with yarns in your stash in sock, DK, and worsted/Aran weights). So once you’ve tested your yarn, motifs, and gauge using this fun little pattern, you can use the same yarn and needles to cast on for your own yoke design!

You can make an Anthology cowl or hat to trial out yarns that you might use for a sweater! If you knit a hat, then wear it for a week or two, you will really learn how the yarn you’re considering wears, stretches, and feels.

How would I use Anthology?

First I’d pull out a PILE of yarns, and pick a main colour (MC). Perhaps that yarn would be one that I was ‘auditioning’ for use in a sweater project, or perhaps it would simply be a pretty skein that had been calling out to me “pick me, pick me” in my dreams (yeah, this is a thing that happens, I’ve got wool on the brain!).

Next I would decide whether to make a hat, stand-up cowl, or tubular cowl – the Anthology pattern includes directions for each! I tend to make hats most often, but they don’t give quite as much room for experimentation as a cowl. And a tubular cowl gives you miles and miles of room for trialing motifs!

My plan for my next Anthology swatch project is a hat to practice my Fair-Isle blending skills… Of course I’ll be working in Jamieson & Smith’s Jumper weight… I’ve got a pretty fabulous rainbow of it!


The next step would be to select a few of the motifs from the mini-stitch pattern library included with the Anthology pattern; it includes 90 motifs to play with!

Just a few of the motifs included in the free Anthology pattern. You can use these motifs as-is, or adjust them as you see fit, working in just two or a rainbow of colours.

When thinking about colour palette, I may have seen a beautiful scarf out on the street, and be inspired to explore a similar colour combination. Often I’m inspired by a beautiful photo I took or found, and pull a colour combination or motif out of there. More on my design process here.

A Pinterest board I’ve put together to collect inspirations for colour palettes I’d like to try.

Another sure-fire way place to find motifs and colour palettes is to turn to a stitch dictionary. My favourite for Fair Isle style blending is Mary Jane Mucklestone’s 200 Fair Isle Designs, but we have a more extensive list of our favourite colourwork books here.

Adjustments: For the hat, stitch counts are divisible by 6, so motifs of 2, 3, or 6 sts will fit evenly (and in some cases other multiples too). To work a motif of a different multiple, simply increase or decrease a few sts after the ribbing so that your chosen pattern fits! For the cowls, stitch counts are multiples of 12, so motifs of 2, 3, 4, 6, or 12 sts will fit evenly.

How will YOU use Anthology?

You could use it to create a perfect winter hat as the weather turns cool, or as a testing-ground for yoke design ideas!

If you’re a knitting instructor, you are free to use Anthology to run colourwork courses at your knit shop! If you’re participating in our Strange Brew KAL over on Instagram ( #strangebrewKAL ) or in our Ravelry group, you can get started with a swatch hat to help you think through your yoke design!

At a loss for how to start? Check out our Week Of Colour blog series for ready-made ideas that will work well with the Anthology pattern.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Robin Ahamedi permalink
    October 31, 2018 1:42 pm

    Thank you! I’m looking forward to practicing my colourwork with a cowl.

  2. Sara Wutzke permalink
    October 26, 2018 2:13 pm

    Love this! We’re using anthology for an intro to colorwork class at the store next month!

    Sara (Purl2 Walla Walla)

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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