Laine Magazine’s Issue 8 is here. It’s highly anticipated as usual. Customers have called ahead to reserve their copy. It’s absolutely gorgeous. (I wanted to avoid buying a copy this time, and I don’t know if that will happen!) The quality that strikes me most about this issues is that it is absolutely teeming with texture. The first pages jump out at you with familiar images begging to be touched. Each pattern is bursting in texture – and there’s a comfort in those repetitive stitch patterns that are easily memorized and give so much depth to your fabric. There’s also a broader conversation that’s being had throughout the issue, and that conversation gives a much-needed texture to Laine Magazine. I think we can talk about that first.
Most of us are aware of the ongoing conversation in the knitting community about the need for inclusivity for BIPOC (black and indigenous people of color). Several high-profile, fiber-world entities have come under the scrutiny of this conversation in the last 6 months, and Laine is among them. This issue makes a concerted effort to be inclusive. A stunning, stand-out pattern in the issue is Grace by Denise Bayron. A lovely interview with knitter and dyer Ocean Rose profiles her struggle and growth in the yarn world, and also her unmistakably gracious approach to hand-dying with natural dyes and natural fibers. A column by Jeannette Sloan discusses why inclusivity is important and what it means to BIPOC and the broader fiber community. Sloan comments that inclusivity is important at Laine because, despite that Laine is about “Nordic Knit Life” – it has a global reach. Especially because of social media, we are all a part of this big world, and that means we all must give more thought and consideration to inclusivity in all parts of our life. Like Sloan, I hope this represents a broad and enduring change to our community.
Coming from the “Form Follows Function” school of thought, I think this message is reinforced throughout the issue with its abundance of texture. At the same time, the patterns are inviting in their comfort. Largely made up of sweater patterns, whether they be seamless and/or made with a lot of ease, we are made to feel comfortable with all of this texture. There’s nothing tricky about it either. Lace and texture patterns are easy to memorize, so while texture is pervasive, it’s also user-friendly. Many of the sweaters in this issue would be totally appropriate first-sweater or easy-knitting projects. Large wraps and a lovely pair of socks are the other pieces that effortlessly add comfort and texture to your world. There’s no way to discuss all the pieces in this issue as I’d love to, so please just use this as a starting point in your own appreciation of Laine Issue 8.
Denise Bayron’s Grace has received a good deal of attention before Laine’s official release. She has a number of test knitters who can show us how it’s done. There’s also something refreshingly accessible about this pattern. Seamless top-down construction means it’s a straightforward knit. The raglan sleeve makes it an easy fit for lots of body types. Knit in a bulky yarn, it will be a relatively quick and satisfying knit for all levels of knitters. Shown in a cropped length so it’s high on style, it’d be super easy to lengthen this sweater so anyone would feel fabulous wearing this sweater. Oh, and that simple cable motif is worked across the front of the sweater only, so it adds a lot of look with not-a-lot of work. I want to knit up my own version of Grace in Brooklyn Tweed’s Quarry or Blue Sky’s Techno.
Honeydew is Justyna Lorkowska’s cowl-neck pullover. Lorkowska pairs a fingering weight yarn with a mohair to lend a gorgeous hand to the sweater’s inviting texture. You’ll feel like you’re relaxing all day long wearing a sweater like this, worn with a lot of ease and with its generous cowl. There are any number of fingering-weight yarns I’d couple with Shibui’s Silk Cloud for this sweater, including Tosh Merino Light, La Jolla, Peerie, Loft or Birch.
To me, Georgie looks like a crewneck version of Honeydew. The texture is a bit different (George’s texture has a hint of lace to it), but otherwise the proportions are quite similar. Once again, this is a very inviting piece to make and wear. Simple construction makes it a great first-sweater-project. Georgie uses a fingering weight yarn, so all of those yarns I mentioned above as fingering-weight yarns for Honeydew would be perfect for Georgie.
Heather is a pair of lace socks, feminine and delightful to wear with your Birkenstocks or for keeping your feet warm on the sofa. I’ve mentioned before that my favorite hand-knit socks are those made with La Jolla. Their solids are slightly dappled dyes would show off Heather’s texture beautifully.
Pasvik is a little unexpected. It’s a wrap! It’s a shrug! Strategically placed buttons and buttonholes mean you can change this big wrap into a cocoon-style shrug in a snap. Large swirls of texture and tree motifs accentuate this blank canvas. I like its versatility. It can wrap around a large coat to fight off the bitter cold and then layer easily over a blouse or sweater to keep you warm indoors. Pasvik calls for a worsted-weight yarn, and I think it’d be gorgeous in a yarn like HiKoo’s Kenzie, Shelter, Shepherd’s Wool or Tosh Vintage.
Rosebay is the other large wrap in this issue of Laine. It features two botanical lace patterns: a miniature leaf motif and a branched fern motif. Knit up in a fingering-weight yarn, this pattern calls for Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft. Since Loft is one of my favorite yarns, I would stop right there. However, if you want some options, also consider knitting it up in Peerie, Tosh Merino Light, Birch or Cozette.
One last sweater I’d like to mention is Cimes, a relaxed mock turtleneck pullover. It is adorned with an allover leaf-like lace texture. I like the combination of the neckline with the lace-work, which is covered and feminine all at once. I like it worn with a lot of ease like the model wears, but it’s designed so it can be worn without so much ease. Cimes calls for a dk-weight yarn. I’d choose one of my favorites like Arbor of Kokon Merino DK, but there are a ton of options. It’d be so lovely and feminine using Juniper Moon’s Findley DK or Criative DK. Sueño (the dk/sport-weight) is another fantastic option for this sweater, and it will give it a bit more drape.
I like all this texture. From a pure knitting perspective, I like to memorize stitch patterns and the repetitive counting. I find it relaxing and meditative, but I feel like it exercises my brain and makes me feel more mentally sharp. In life, texture is a good thing. While it’s nice when everything is smooth and easy, but mastering a little texture makes things more interesting, rewarding and rich.
True to form, this issue of Laine is stunning. I’m just giving you a taste of the projects in the issue. There are lovey articles, recipes and a touching tribute to the publisher’s grandmother. This is a heartfelt issue that is lovely to read, and I hope I’ve encouraged you to give it a good read.