DULUTH — Whether this is the first time you’ve held a set of knitting needles or you’re a Fair Isle fanatic, chances are that you likely need a pattern to follow as you work up a new woolly creation.
This winter you may want to consider knitting locally and trying out a pattern created by a fellow yarn enthusiast from your own backyard. Knitting designers can be found anywhere thanks to social media websites for crafters such as
. Here are three local pattern designs from Duluthians.
Former Ashland resident Bethany Hammond finds inspiration for her “Duluth Hat” pattern from life on the shores of Lake Superior.
She learned to crochet when she was 8, knit when she was 10, but mostly worked on cross stitch in high school. She found her way back to knitting in college, but really took off with the hobby when she was pregnant with her first child.
“I started making all the baby items because baby things are cute,” Hammond said.
As she worked through more and more patterns and as she worked at Yarn Harbor, she found her skills grow and develop.
“I learned how to troubleshoot and help people with their knitting projects,” Hammond said. “And I started to figure out how to size things and make alterations. I started getting ideas I wanted to try out.”
Her first attempt at pattern design was a white hat inspired by a women’s ski team at the last Winter Olympics. The white spiral pattern utilizes cables to create its look. After consulting with friends and coworkers about her pattern and much testing, she published it.
The next challenge she decided to take on was a Duluth-specific color switching hat.
“I realized that after you figure out the hat design, sizing the needles and yarn, all you need to make then is a graph for people to follow,” Hammond said. “I figured I could do that.”
After seven or eight attempts; knitting and tearing out, altering the pattern on
and retesting, Hammond finally had a design that included the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge, Enger Tower, an ore boat, and a few birds spread throughout. Above the lake scene is a band which reads “Duluth Minnesota.”
“I just thought of what I consider Duluth landmarks and found the lake had the biggest appeal for me,” Hammond said.
The pattern is available for purchase at Yarn Harbor as well as on Hammond’s Ravelry,
. Unfortunately the main yarn she knit hers with is currently out of stock and on back order, but Hammond recommends using “YH Lakeside” by Madelinetosh, Yarn Harbor’s exclusive colorway.
Former Twin Cities resident Laurie Thomas has been knitting for 22 years and has been making her own patterns for seven years. But she’s only started selling her patterns, alongside her knit goods, for the past year.
“I’d tried selling a snood pattern back in 2017 but quickly decided to go back to making my own patterns just for myself,” Thomas said. “But this time around, I felt a little bit more comfortable and started the process over this year.”
Her main pattern is one that she developed to be adaptable. The Wave Watch hat includes four knit sizes in three yarn weights, so if the knitter feels more comfortable with bulky, super bulky or Aran weight yarn it can be used for the pattern.
“It’s a fairly straightforward had with some elegant touches that make it really wearable,” Thomas said. “And it feels good to make, which we could all appreciate around this time of year.”
Thomas also shared this advice for anyone looking to get into pattern design: write it out and then have people test it.
“Before I published this one, I sent out messages on Instagram and Ravelry for test knitters,” Thomas said. “I wanted people to choose a yarn form their stash and try it out to make sure the directions were clear and easy to follow.”
The hat itself can be purchased already knit at her website
but the pattern is currently available for download on
The Lakeside inspired shawl
Brenna del Junco also uses test knitters to try out her patterns. She’s been publishing patterns on Ravelry since around 2016. She also used to sell them at her former yarn store in Toronto in order to sell more yarn. The first pattern she published was a “boomerang shaped shawl.”
“I’d learned by that point that I prefer to do the math on my own, rather than relying on other people’s calculations,” del Junco said. “And if you really want something that’s custom tailored to fit you instead of a one-size-fits-all, you might as well just do the math.”
Most of the patterns she’s created were inspired by different neighborhoods in Toronto but she recently added a Duluth neighborhood to hat list. As an employee of Yarn Harbor, she spends a lot of time in Lakeside and decided to make a shawl that uses a yarn called “Lakeside” (made specifically for Yarn Harbor) and takes inspiration from the neighborhood.
The pattern starts out as a diamond shape then slowly works its way out in both directions to points. Lakeside is still in the testing period, but del Junco expects to publish it within the next few weeks. It’s already on display at Yarn Harbor and will be available on del Junco’s Ravelry page soon:
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