plain & simple

Jan 17, 2018 :: by Pam Allen

We have a new book of knitwear patterns for you, it’s almost ready, just putting the finishing touches on it. Name? Plain & Simple: 11 Knits to Wear Every Day.

Eleven? Yes. Once in a while, best laid plans fall short (or sometimes go over) the target number. In any event, Plain & Simple—is a dead giveaway of what you’ll find between the covers.

I’ve had a life-long (yes, forever) attraction to knitting and sweaters. But I’m not committed to one kind of knitting over another. I’m all for knitting diversity. Give me Norwegian, Fair Isle, Aran, gansey, oversized, hug the body—and I can find something to love.

That said, when it comes to what I want to pull on in the morning, the sweaters that have my attention are sweetly plain and simple—call them Basics. They might have pockets, might have a texture stitch, might be super wide or clingy, but mostly they’re pared down, their shape and the way they fit feel good, and whatever else is going on, the yarn has center stage. They might show colorwork, they might sport guernsey patterns (below), but however those are incorporated, the rest is simple.

Therefore, it seemed like a good idea to theme a book around the kinds of sweaters that have my heart (most of the time).

Counterintuitive as it might seem, plain sweaters can be various. In Plain and Simple, roomy pullovers share space with easy cardigans. Most tout a lot of stockinette stitch, and a few are beefed up with half brioche (below), my favorite texture rib, or a simple knit/purl pattern.

One is worked in an all-over cable pattern—no borders at hem or sleeves, just the yarn and the undulating pattern (below).

Two pieces are embellished with colorwork motifs, one with a slip stitch yoke that’s crazy simple to work, and the other has bold traditional Fair Isle patterns worked in the round in a single contrasting color and relegated to a circular yoke, the rest being mindless stockinette (below and below).

All the pieces are worked in Owl, my current favorite yarn—more specifically, they’re worked in undyed Owl, which, for me, is an irresistible palette of warm taupes and browns and silvery grays. The yarn is soft, but not in a wimpy way. It has a definite halo and drapes with grace.

Whitney Hayward photographed the sweaters in an old barn. Something about the weather-worn wood and high ceiling, the shadows inside, and the beautiful light coming in through the doorway seemed to complement the simplicity of the pieces and their quiet from-nature colors.

There’s more to say about the sweaters in this book, but for now, this brief announcement will suffice.

A note about Owl: We are patiently awaiting our restock of many of our Owl shades, and they're almost here...so close now! Thank you for waiting so patiently along with us.

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