POLKAMANIA! Pattern Launch

Polkamania! is back from the tech-editing desk of my friend Rachel Atkinson and will be going on sale tomorrow in my Ravelry store.

I’ve had a really productive time learning how to lay out this pattern in InDesign and the pdf includes full colour and black and white charts, plus a tutorial section in which I talk about how I sequenced my yarn shades when planning my cowl. This extra information is supplied to empower and inspire you to produce a Polkamania! cowl in your preferred colours.

As mentioned in this post, Polkamania! was inspired by, and speaks to the strengths of, the Knit By Numbers yarn range produced by John Arbon. This yarn range is really so clever; it’s produced by blending precise amounts of white wool with dyed wool to produce gradients through a wondrous array of different shades. The creative possibilities offered by this range are endless; Polkamania! offers a framework for diving in and playing with them.

Knit By Number shades – image from John Arbon Textiles website

The simplest way for you to design and knit your own Polkamania! cowl, is for you to pick two colours that you really like in the range, and then to buy six miniskeins of each, from the deepest to the lightest shade. I had almost nothing left over from my twelve mini-skeins, so the pattern uses up all the yarn AND lets you explore the entire range across two colours. In celebration of my pattern launch, John Arbon Textiles have generously offered a 10% discount code for use with purchases of 4-ply mini skeins in case you too wish to work with sets of this yarn. The offer is only available to KNITSONIK newsletter subscribers, who will receive the download code in tomorrow’s newsletter.

I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn and discovering how orange and grey brown interact depending on how light/dark they are, and which yarn is used for knitting the background, and which yarn is used for knitting the pattern. The resulting cowl is incredibly cosy and soft around my neck, but it’s also rich with information in case I ever want to work with orange and grey brown again – a wearable sampler, if you will.

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KNIT + SONIK!

As keen-eyed spotters will have noticed, Polkamania! speaks both to knit (stranded colourwork) and sonik (polka dots are thought to be so-named because they featured in the jolly ensembles worn to Polkas when that form of dance was first popularised). John Arbon has a fantastic record collection and, like myself, is interested in both KNIT + SONIK… so, to celebrate the forthcoming pattern launch, I asked him if he had a preferred polka to share with you. Juliet sent me a picture of a wonderful record sleeve yesterday, along with the following note:

“John has found his most favourite Polka influenced record in his collection. It is a 7” single and it is Bulgarian. The first track is very polka-esque – it is an eastern European accordion tune. He got it in a charity shop and bought it because he loves the sleeve. He had no idea what it sounded like when he bought it, but he thinks it is fab.”

I had a check and народна музика seems to translate directly as “folk music” in Bulgarian. The record company – Balkanton – who produced John’s Polka-influenced record was state-owned and founded in 1952. During this time, Bulgaria was one of the countries in the Eastern Bloc, which also included many of the countries associated with the birth of the Polka dance. Examples of Polkas can be found throughout Eastern Europe and seem to span everything from classical to folk music dances; if you have a favourite polka I’d love to hear it – leave a link in the comments.

In the meantime, in case you wish to listen to polkas while you are knitting your Polkamania!, I have included some links below for your KNIT and SONIK pleasure.
Yours in Polkamania!
FX

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