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The Simple Collection Revisited

September 24, 2020
A woman in a hand knit sweater and hat.
Francine’s face perfectly encapsulates my love of the Simple Collection.

Emily and I want all who encounter our work to find it useful, joyful, and welcoming. In that spirit, we recently revisited and revised The Simple Collection, with the intent to make it even more welcoming for a broader range of knitters.

Going back through this collection was like taking a walk with an old friend. That’s kind of how it feels to knit these patterns, too – relaxing knits and purls and straightforward construction…always guaranteed to be beautiful when finished.

I love the way The Simple Collection’s basic stitches showcase the woolly goodness and beautiful colours of my favourite yarns. Simple stitches always bring me joy, and I hope you take some joy from them, too. Whether you’re headed out on an adventure, trying something new, or just knitting up a classic, The Simple Collection is perfect for any journey.

The Simple Collection has grown to include 12 patterns! Pictured here are Wheat, Rye Light, Barley Light, Maize, Flax, and Harvest.

What’s new, at a glance

  1. Added sizes for Flax, Flax Light, and Harvest – now sized up to 6XL (finished chest measurements of 66″ – 68″).
  2. Added short row shaping and cropped length options for Flax and Flax Light.
  3. Updated printer friendly layouts, with clear tutorial links.
  4. Revised pattern writing for further clarity.
  5. Some new photos of fresh knits and friendly folk.
a woman and 2 children sitting on a bridge wearing knit hats
The Barley hat is sized for the whole family!

The simple beginning

The Simple Collection was conceived back in 2012 to meet a need that Emily and I saw while working in the knit shop and observing the in-person classes there. Although they were a fun way to gain skills in a supportive atmosphere – and often marked the beginning of fruitful and woolly friendships – the in-person classes had two main challenges. First, not all knitters had access to them. Second, instructors were often in need of simple, reliable patterns to teach in their classes. With our experience, we wanted to create a resource that would solve both those problems, and we wanted to make it available for free.

To be clear, free does not mean cheap. We put the same time, effort, and resources into The Simple Collection that we do for all of our patterns (perhaps more!). We just wanted The Simple Collection to be accessible to as many knitters as possible.

Need a little help? We have a whole bunch of tutorials to go along with the Simple Collection!

Taking the fear out of next steps

We also wanted to create a collection that would take the fear out of trying something new. We hear from a lot of knitters who are afraid to take the next step. That first sweater, heel turn, or knit in the round can be scary! To help alleviate those fears, we developed tutorials alongside The Simple Collection, to help you through each step of every pattern. So go ahead and give those next, new stitches a try!

Alexa is standing on the sidewalk with her yellow Flax sweater, smiling at the camera.
Me and my Flax sweater. Photo credit to Sylvia McFadden

Size-inclusive design

Another important update for us was greater size inclusion. We’ve always sized our patterns up to 4XL (per the Craft Yarn Council), with finished chest measurements somewhere between 56″ and 62″, depending on the ease indicated in the pattern. However, we wanted to do even better, so we committed ourselves to including sizes 5XL and 6XL in all of our future patterns. Sizing up the sweaters in The Simple Collection was the first step in that process.

I personally know the frustration, shame, and exclusion of shopping for patterns and clothes for a larger body. (I’ve shared some of my feelings on knitting for myself here.) We definitely don’t want to be part of the problem for anyone else.

A woman in a hand knit sweater and hat

From us to you, with love

Knitters come in all shapes and sizes, ages and races, genders and sexualities, talents and abilities. Many different people come to the simple craft of knitting for many different reasons, but we all share in the joy that comes with it. The Simple Collection was created, and has now been updated, to spread that joy to as many people as possible, and Emily and I offer it to you with all our love.

~ Alexa

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Angela permalink
    January 17, 2022 5:00 pm

    Just a beginner and many friend recommended ravelry which is kind of overwhelming- luckily I found one of your simple collection patterns there which led me here to exactly what I need as beginner- a progressive set of items to make that I will actually love and use!

  2. M Fjorden permalink
    November 16, 2021 7:12 am

    Thank you!

  3. Jen permalink
    May 28, 2021 1:44 pm

    Some of the pattern introduction list an order. For example, Malt is listed as being the first project. Is there an order you recommend for all of them? I’m a beginner just looking for projects to practice basic skills with. Thanks!

    • May 31, 2021 1:41 am

      Hi Jen –

      We published the patterns in the following order:
      1. Wheat Scarf or Malt Blanket
      2. Barley Hat or Oats Cowl
      3. Maize Mittens
      … then you can work the following in whatever order you like:
      Flax sweater, Grain Shawl, Harvest Sweater…

      And the Light versions of Flax, Barley, and Rye can be subsituted for the worsted/aran weight original version if you prefer to work with lighter yarn.

      Enjoy! Emily

  4. December 9, 2020 6:45 pm

    Your twsm has become my go to every winter! For gifts, for myself, for my kids, they are always a hit. I have loved playing with the pattern as well, adding cables, making fingerless mitts, and more. I don’t think i will ever tire of this quick little knit. Thank you!


  5. Melinda permalink
    October 22, 2020 6:37 am

    I love this so much. I can’t wait to try my first sweater!

  6. Annie permalink
    September 25, 2020 9:30 am

    Love the new photo of flax, thanks for being more diverse and inclusive. I have found your patterns incredibly helpful to developing my skills as a knitter.

  7. janet permalink
    September 24, 2020 3:45 pm

    love. love that you created the simple collection – for free! – to help all knitters. love the size inclusivity – just love everything about this post and your sharing it.

    thank you.

  8. Denise Fordyce permalink
    September 24, 2020 2:17 pm

    I love reading your thoughts and stories, and I really love the way you have made such terrific designs freely available to us.
    I knitted “Old Growth” at the start of our Winter and get comments each time I wear it. Very comfy, too!
    A different perspective on size: I’m 60 years of age and weigh 43kg, have been the same weight all my adult life. Only time I attained “normal” weight was whilst pregnant! Where others struggle to lose weight, I struggle to keep it on. I find it really interesting that friends and acquaintances seem to feel very free to comment on my weight in ways i don’t hear them commenting on others who are overweight. It is hurtful to hear some of the stuff that is said to me and about me. Why can’t we see past what people “look” like and see the person inside!

  9. September 24, 2020 12:10 pm

    I love the Simple Collection. I come back to it time after time. Sometimes I use a pattern as a jumping off point for an original-ish design. But often I just enjoy knitting these simple patterns and letting a beautiful yarn really shine.

  10. Susan Baughman permalink
    September 24, 2020 8:12 am

    Thank you for the update. I added short rows when I made my Flax and the fit is great. I still like and wear this knit often.

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