May’s Boost Your Knitting pattern is the Totally Tubular Mittens, designed by texture goddess Sarah Hatton. The mitten’s 1x1 rib cuff begins with a tubular cast on in the round – the technique we’re mastering this month – from which charming mock cables grow. Sarah is a prolific designer who loves to use interesting textures to make timeless wardrobe staples. You’ll recognise her designs from The Knitter Magazine (where she and Jen first met), Simply Knitting, Rowan, West Yorkshire Spinners … the list goes on! And of course, she also created a beautiful pattern for A Year of Techniques: the Yellow Wagtail Scarf. And Sarah was kind enough to take time out for a little chat with here on the blog!
KR: Hi Sarah, thanks for chatting with me today! The Totally Tubular Mittens are such a nifty design – I love the way the clever mock cable grows out of the tidy tubular cast on edge! You’ve got such a way with texture – where did you get your inspiration for this design?
SH: Firstly thanks for the compliment. I am always fascinated by how much can be achieved with texture and basically just knits and purls, there is so much can be done with the very basics of our craft and it’s a great way to build confidence. When Jen first asked me to be involved, and I had got over my absolute fear of not being up to the job of working alongside so many other amazing designers, I knew I wanted all the components of the design to work together, rather than the edging to be very separate. So it was just a case of picking up my needles and playing.
KR: The featured technique for the mittens is, of course, the tubular cast on. Do you remember the first time you tried it? Does it feature in other designs of yours?
SH: It’s a technique I use on my own personal knitting but it isn’t one that I use in my designs at present as I think it’s a technique lots of knitters of still a bit mystified by, which is why Boost your Knitting is such an awesome concept.
KR: I’ve been particularly excited about this month’s pattern and tutorials because, while I love the look of a tubular cast on, it’s one I rarely use as I find it a teeny bit intimidating (Jen’s video has already made me feel more confident though!). Are there any knitting techniques or skills you’re hoping to boost this year? Any techniques you won’t go near?
SH: Generally I don’t do much colourwork, I love seeing other people projects and love the way it looks, but I find so much joy in texture that it hasn’t become a big part of my knitting at the moment.
KR: One of the things I really enjoy about the Boost Your Knitting programme is all the knowledge sharing that happens – both in the “official” tutorials, but also all the tips and tricks that get shared more informally in the Ravelry knitalongs. Do you have a favourite piece of knitting advice you’d like to share with the readers?
SH: I think the one thing all of those that teach knitting skills would like to teach people is to have more confidence. All knitters think every other knitter in the world knows things they don’t know, and that makes them a lesser knitter. If you enjoy it, and are happy with your projects, you are doing it right! We all need to realise every knitter has this feeling. It’s not just us!
KR: I wholeheartedly agree – it’s been great seeing knitters who haven’t had as much confidence surprise themselves over the course of BYK so far! So earlier this year, we were talking about being marooned on sleeve island on the blog and Ravelry. Jim, inspired by Desert Island discs, had the idea to have knitters pick three things – a yarn, a knitting book, and a piece of music – that they’d take with them if they were stuck on sleeve island. I’ve been asking all the Boost Your Knitting designers to play along – what would your picks be?
SH: This is SO hard!!! The yarn would be a nice soft smooth yarn in a solid colour and maybe 4 ply so it had a better meterage and would give me more knitting to do. The book – could i have graph paper and a pencil to play with or is that cheating? Music would have to be something pretty ambient like autechre incunabula to help me stay calm or something like ESG so I could have a dance!
KR: I think we can allow that – I love that your book choice is one that would let you keep coming up with terrifically textured designs!
Thanks so much Sarah for taking the time to talk with us today. You can see more of Sarah’s work on her Ravelry designer’s page, or catch up with her on her website or Facebook page! And if you’d like to knit Sarah’s Totally Tubular Mittens and learn to confidently cast on using the tubular cast on method, you can still join Boost Your Knitting! You’ll receive all the patterns and tutorials released to date, and get new patterns and tutorials in your Ravelry inbox each month through February 2020 + a virtual living room of knitting friends cheering you on over in our buzzing Ravelry group. The price of £30.00 also includes a pre-order for a print copy of Boost Your Knitting, with free worldwide shipping.