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Graphic Knits!

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. We finally get to bid adieu to summer and the aisles that were recently filled with swimming pool accoutrements, patio furniture and accessories for the perfect BBQ become laden with school supplies, lunch boxes and long-sleeved shirts. Fall also means a new slew of books and magazines from my favorite yarn and knitting companies! I love seeing the roster of fall books from Interweave and I was excited to get a copy of Graphic Knits (Interweave) by Alexis Winslow. Alexis was kind enough to sit down with me for an interview…
Tanis (TG): Can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration for this book?
Alexis (AW): The garments in the book really reflect my own sense of style. Beyond that though, I made an effort to include patterns that would also be fun to knit. My idea of a fun knit is something with interesting twists and turns, or something that includes stripes of patterning, or maybe just the quick gratification of a big chunky knit. I also really enjoy seeing a garment develop before my eyes. I think this is why I gravitate toward seamless and top-down construction. It’s just so great to finish the knitting on a thing and realize that all you have to do is weave in the ends. Having to tackle a big sewing project after I just finished a big knitting project is not my idea of fun!
Barbet Turtleneck

Barbet Turtleneck

TG: Your book has some really bold, graphic stitch patterns and designs in it. What advice can you offer people who may have trouble choosing or knitting with colors?
AW: I get this question a lot! I say look at your wardrobe. What do you like wearing the most? You aren’t suddenly going to love wearing pink if you’ve never bought anything that’s pink. When picking color combos, let the yarn be your guide. Pick one color that is your absolute favorite–a color your very drawn to, and then the other colors should support (not compete with) the main color in some way. I love pairing a bright bold color with a neutral or a pastel version of the complimentary color. I have a background in painting, so I can get a little technical about this stuff, but it’s really just a personal preference.
Orly Cardi

Orly Cardi

TG:  I really love the Orly cardi. Which is your favorite garment in this book?

AW: It’s impossible to pick! Everyday I have a different favorite. Trilogy Cardigan is always at the top of my list though. I just started typing a list of some of my other favorites, and it was like half the book! I think I always go back to Trilogy because it has everything I love about hand knitwear design. The unusual construction of this garment is something that you would never see in a store-bought garment–it’s even unique to hand-knits, actually. Knitting this pattern is like sitting down with a good novel because the direction of knitting changes in every new section. It’s a lot of fun to see how it all comes together in the end. I’m so glad to hear that you like Orly. It’s also one of my favorites. Of course I love seamless construction, but Orly, much like Trilogy, is a great example of how a strategically placed seam can become a striking design element.

Trilogy Cardigan

Trilogy Cardigan

TG:  Tell us a little about the process of making your book?
AW: Well, making this book certainly wasn’t easy! I have a full-time job as a textile designer and also do all the graphic design work for, so I had to fit the book into a very small amount of free time. I find designing to be a great release though, so I always looked forward to my time working on the book. I made most of the samples myself because it’s important for me to experience the written pattern as a knitter would–especially for some of the more unusual pieces. I figured out most of my design concepts for my proposal before I got the book deal, so it was really just a matter of picking my favorites and trudging through. I got a little bored in the middle though, and added a few new designs– Danae Mittens, Germander Shrug, and Trilogy Cardigan.
Germander Shrug

Germander Shrug

TG:  What is your favorite color combination?
AW: I love color, so this is a difficult question for me! I think I’m drawn to a different color combo everyday. Right now, I’m really digging navy and peach, but last week it was cinnamon and cream.
TG:  There are both accessories and garments in your book. Do you prefer knitting and wearing one over the other?
AW: I like variety in my knitting so I alternate big garment projects and little accessory projects. I wear everything that knit! Even in the summer, I’m usually wearing something hand-knit.
Woodstar Mitts

Woodstar Mitts

TG:  Fair Isle or intarsia?
AW: Fair Isle! I’m a printed textile designer and just I love all-over patterning. Fair Isle just speaks to my heart, I guess.
TG:  What advice can you give people who want to start designing with color who haven’t done so before?
AW: Color is a powerful thing in design. I think it’s key to push the limit just a little so that your designs are eye-catching, but don’t take it too far because garish color combos can repel people too. The most important thing to remember is that color should be used to accentuate your fabulous design work.
Bowerbird Wrap

Bowerbird Wrap

Thanks, Alexis! Check out Graphic Knits, available for preorder (and on sale) here.


We’ve always been into buying local in our home. There’s a wonderful farmer’s market up the street, my LYS carries a lot of local fibers and my first knitting book was about yarns that are American from sheep to skein – 100% local to our country.


The Fiberists is a local Virginian yarn company run by Spencer and Reggie. They approach the creation of their hand dyed yarn with a research based process and their inspiration comes from the work of influential naturalists and scientists and their discoveries of colors, forms and structures. Each color has both a scientific name and a more color-specific name. I love their yarn, their science theme, their colors and the guys themselves are great.


I’ve done a few designs for them in the past (Ulee’s Hat, Kinderhook, Booker and Rimrock) and I’m pleased to introduce my latest, the Polarized Hat.

Using 1 hank each of diamond and graphite in their Curie Heavy Worsted, the yardage is generous enough to be able to get 2 hats out of it if you reverse the MC and CC. This hat combines a lot of my favorite knitting elements for a hat – highly contrasting Fair Isle color work, Latvian braids, corrugated ribbing, a tassel and a classic slouchy silhouette. This unisex design looks great on anyone and everyone!


It’s hard to believe that winter is right around the corner (I’ve started my holiday gift knitting, have you?)… This hat is a quick knit that will keep the wearer warm and happy until spring and beyond.

Download the Polarized Hat pattern here.

3 Skeins or Less – Fresh Knitted Accessories

Having a new book come out is like finally let out a huge secret to the world. It’s no secret I’ve been working on it, but only a handful of people at Interweave have seen the completed book, been there with me each step of the way offering advice and doing their part to make this the best book it can be. Now my little book is all grown up, in print and ready to be released into the wilds of the knitting world…


World, meet 3 Skeins or Less – Fresh Knitted Accessories. Book, meet the knitting world!

Faina Goberstein's Twigs Bolero

Faina Goberstein’s Twigs Bolero

What I like most about this book is the concept – everything in it is made of 1, 2 or 3 skeins or yarn. Simple, yes, but fantastic because it applies to ALL knitters. We all have 1, 2 or even 3 skeins of yarn lying around that we’re not quite sure what to do with. We’re perfectly okay with buying that 1 fabulous skein of super-duper luxury yarn, yet we have no idea what to do with it.

Marjan Hammink's A Case for Lace Socks

Marjan Hammink’s A Case for Lace Socks

This books runs the gamut of cleverness and creativity and all the talented designers stepped up to the plate with a fantastic design with limited yardage. We’ve got shrugs, socks, shawls, hats, mittens, fingerless wristers, scarves, cowls and even a cropped top! This books means you can go running to your yarn stash, pull out those lonely skeins and finally give them a home!

Kirsten Kapur's Delancey Cowl

Kirsten Kapur’s Delancey Cowl

Packed with 25 projects with designers including Romi Hill (check out her Tanis Shawl!), Cirilia Rose, Carrie Sullivan, Thea Colman, Heather Zoppetti, Susan Anderson, Kirsten Kapur, Susanna IC, Ann Weaver and Marjan Hammink (to name a few), I want to knit everything in this book. I am proud to have these designers be part of this book and how they brought their ingenuity and talent to the table. They all rose to the challenge of designing with only 1, 2 or 3 hanks and the result is a wonderful collection you’ll be knitting for years to come. You can see all 25 of the project on Ravelry here and the book is available for preorder (and on sale!) at Interweave here.

Thea Colman's Mixed Berries Hat

Thea Colman’s Mixed Berries Hat

I and honored to see my Momentum Mittens on the cover! Knit in 1 hank of String Theory Colorworks Momentum Self Striping, this sock yarn wouldn’t immediately strike someone as the perfect mitten yarn, but it absolutely is! I’ve always loved red and pink together, throw in some self-striping yarn, some cables and voila… A unique pair of mittens that won’t break the bank.

Susanna IC's Carmilla Shawl

Susanna IC’s Carmilla Shawl

I hope you enjoy my latest book with Interweave, 3 Skeins or Less – Fresh Knitted Accessories. It was one of the most fun books I’ve worked on and I am pleased as punch with the result!

Judy Marples' Leeside Shawl

Judy Marples’ Leeside Shawl

Go round up those single skeins and get knitting!


Everyday Lace Scavenger Hunt and Interview!

I love a good lace book, but I especially love when it’s unexpected lace. Yes, lace shawls are fantastic and so much fun to knit, but I like seeing lace in hats, shrugs, sweaters and socks (to name a few) – something other than a shawl.

My friend Heather Zoppetti just released her wonderful new lace book, Everyday Lace (Interweave, 144 pgs). Heather and I met in person while filming Knitting Daily TV and bonded over internet quizzes, Lancaster chatter and you guessed it – lace knitting. She was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions for us…


Tanis Gray (TG): Were you drawn to lace knitting immediately or like many knitters, did you shy away from it at first?

Heather Zoppetti (HZ): I was immediately drawn to lace. In my learn-to-knit pattern booklet, I wanted to jump ahead and make all the lacy things instead of the traditional “beginner” patterns.


TG: what’s your favorite type of lace to knit?

HZ: The more complex, the more I like it. I love how changing the order or combination of yarnovers and decreases can manipulate the fabric in various ways.



TG: What inspired the book?

HZ: Honestly, the inspiration for Everyday Lace came from a tiredness of shawls. I mean, I love knitting shawls and I love designing shawls, but I’m tired of them. I want knitters to realize that lace can be more than an edging. It can be used on all types of garments and accessories.


TG: Do you have a favorite pattern in your book?

HZ: My favorite is Narvon. It’s fun to knit and it looks great on all body types.



TG: What message do you want to convey to knitters with your book?

HZ: Lace can be applied to everyday wear and doesn’t need to be confined to the edge of a shawl.


TG: Any advice for someone who is about to jump into lace for the first time?

HZ: Be fearless! Many knitters are afraid of lace. My hope is that this book will inspired enough people to give it a try. I offer various information and tips that will help even the novice knitter get started knitting lace.



TG: Is lace knitting your first love or do you like another technique even more?

HZ: I’m in love with learning, so I love learning about all different techniques. However, with designing, I always seem to return to lace. If I had to choose another technique, I’d say my second love is cables…watch for more on cables from me in the future ;-)


TG: You have your own yarn line and I just used a hank of it for my Smithsonian Luce Cowl design! Can you tell us about it?

HZ: Yellowstone by Stitch Sprouts is my newest creation. It’s a deliciously soft sport weight 80/20 wool/silk blend. It’s perfect for everything and comes in nine colors inspired by the beauty of the American wilderness. It’s available now, so ask your local yarn store to carry it!


Ok, for those of you following along for Heather’s Everyday Lace scavenger hunt, here are the questions (the first one is from Heather, the second one applies to me. Read here about the Scavenger Hunt)…

1. What’s the title of Chapter 3 of Everyday Lace?

2. What is the title of the book coming out in October by Tanis that Heather has a lace design in?

Rory Cardigan

It’s been a week, dear readers.

Saturday afternoon was my Smithsonian talk, pattern unveiling and lace class. There’s something pretty spectacular about teaching in a space full of so much wisdom, talent, grace and beauty. I’ll never forget it and was thrilled to be there! The event was well-attended with both familiar and new faces (and a lot of knitting going on).


I’ve been waiting to introduce the Rory Cardigan until after the Smithsonian event, but I’m pretty excited about this design! A top-down raglan knit in one piece with no seaming and very little finishing, this is sure to be a favorite.


I LOVE Alchemy Yarns (Gina and Austin, the owners, founders and brains behind the operation at Alchemy are amazing hand dyers and good people) and this 100% superwash hand dyed merino combined with this sweet feminine cardi are the perfect combination to usher in fall.


I’m always surprised at the lack of sizing for children’s garments, so I’m pleased to offer up this cardi in sizes 12 months to 8 years. With techniques like the picot bind off, reverse stockinette, cables, i-cord, twisted stitches and some simple color changes, this little beauty can be worn all through fall, then brought back out for spring. It looks equally lovely with the wearer in both short and long sleeves, dressed up or casual. Being superwash (a must for a mom knitter!), no need to fret about it getting dirty, just throw it in the wash on cold delicate and air dry.


I had a birthday on Tuesday, August 26th – 34 years old. In honor of this birthday, the Rory Cardi will be 34% off today (Thursday) only.

Download the pattern here. Happy fall!

You Asked, I Deliver!

So many readers have asked to get their hands on the lace cowl I’ll be teaching at the Luce Foundation this weekend at the Smithsonian!

Luce Cowl

Luce Cowl

Well you asked, dear readers, and I’m here to deliver!


Introducing the Luce Cowl, knit in 1 hank of Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone yarn on US 7s! Pattern available for download here.

You’ll also notice a few new changes here at TanisKnits. I have a new logo (!!!) and background, which I am over the moon about. I also have made it easier to navigate over at the upper right with new icons to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and my Etsy shop opening in late September (more on that later – it’s not what you think!). There’s also an envelope icon so you can easily contact me directly.

Hope to see you Saturday!

Luce Foundation

No matter where you live, you know the name “Smithsonian” and the weight, power and history that name carries behind it.


The Smithsonian Institution, established in 1846 “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” is a group of museums and research centers administered by the United States government. Originally organized as the “United States National Museum,” that name ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967. Termed “the nation’s attic” for its eclectic holdings of 137 million items, the Institution’s Washington, D.C. nucleus of nineteen museums, nine research centers, and zoo—many of them historical or architectural landmarks—is the largest such complex in the world.

Many months ago, a woman working at The Luce Foundation – a wonderful center which is home to more than 3,000 paintings, sculptures, miniatures, craft objects, and folk art pieces from the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and residing in the same building as my favorite museum, The Portrait Gallery – emailed me telling me she was a knitter and that she loved Capitol Knits. She was happy to discover that I was local to the museum and invited me in to teach lace and speak about my work this coming weekend, August 23rd at 1:30pm.

Luce Cowl

Luce Cowl

What I love the most about the collection of Smithsonian museums is that they are FREE FOR ALL. I am a huge believer that art, history, artifacts and knowledge should be free whenever possible. No little girl or boy should grow up wondering what a real painting looks like, how tall a dinosaur may have been, how much the Hope Diamond truly sparkles or what Julia Child’s kitchen actually looked like. My mom knew when she was a child after looking at Van Gogh’s Starry Night in a book that she wanted to be an artist. How great would it have been for her if she lived near DC and was able to go see a Van Gogh in person?


Van Gogh’s Starry Night

The Luce Foundation has made one of my many career dreams come true by inviting me to be part of their amazing center for an afternoon. If you’re in the area (the Red Line’s Gallery Place Metro stop is very close), come and listen to me speak, get a copy of a new lace pattern I’ll be introducing – The Luce Cowl – and if you’ve never knit lace, sit in on the free class I’ll be giving afterwards. There’s nothing like being able to share knitting stories, knitting techniques and knitting camaraderie in a place that believes that knowledge is power. More information is available here.

Hope to see you there!


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