Working helically

I’m sitting at my desk, surrounded by helical knitting swatches and samples. In case it wasn’t already obvious, I’m rather in love with this unusual technique! As I’ve published helical designs, there are a few questions that have popped up regularly, and one of the most common themes is around working other instructions at the same time as working helically.

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Helical stitch patterns and a pair of cowls

It has been brilliant to see a number of people in the helical knitalong saying how magical they are finding 1x1 helical stripes. It’s this sense of wondrous ease, and yet cleverness that has driven the development of the stitch patterns in today’s new chapter of Something New to Learn About Helical Knitting. I had already dipped my toe in the water of helical stitch patterns with my Spiralling Socks designs. They use the combination of a knit round and a slipped stitch pattern to create a pleasing helical effect, and I was quite sure that there must be plenty of other patterns that would be fun to work in this way.

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Basic Helical Stripes and the Bramante Cowl

Today we are releasing the first chapter in Something New to Learn About Helical Knitting.

Chapter 1 starts at the very beginning. Of course!

If you have never worked helically before, this is the chapter for you. If you’re already a helical fan, then don’t worry, there are plenty of new explorations for you in the later chapters. The first chapter is the knitting equivalent of the first term at a new school or university, where we make sure that everyone is up to speed on the foundations, before diving into the wider subject.

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The fun to be had in knitting helically

Whilst jogless stripes are the most well-known application of helical knitting, I have become captivated with other possibilities for helical stitch patterns. Working helically is just (in my humble opinion) a heap of fun. It’s satisfying and simple, and at the same time can create quite complex fabrics with a minimum of fuss.

Helical knitting is sometimes a solution to a problem, but in other situations it’s just an elegant approach to a stitch pattern.

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On the naming of patterns...

Jim and I love almost every aspect of running Arnall-Culliford Knitwear, but one of the tasks that we procrastinate the most is the naming of patterns. There are so many things to think about when you choose a pattern name. Has it been used before? Does it relate to the design in question? Is there a theme to the collection and does the name fit with the theme? And most importantly, does the name have unexpected connotations, both here in the UK and internationally? When I’m thinking about a pattern name I have learned the hard way to look it up on Google as well as Ravelry. I once worked on a collection where one of the patterns now shares a name with a cream used for a rather unspeakable ailment…

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