Polkamania! by Felicity (Felix) Ford


October 2018
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
37 stitches and 33 rows = 4 inches
in Charted stranded colourwork pattern
US 2 - 2.75 mm
1312 - 1444 yards (1200 - 1320 m)
One size: 14.5cm/5¾" wide (width when laid flat) x 183cm/72" tall (circumference after grafting)
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About the pattern

Polkamania! is a cosy, soft cowl that’s long enough to wrap twice around your neck. It’s worked as a tube in the round, then the ends are grafted together. Duplicate stitch is used on the last round of your knitting to produce the illusion that your cowl is seamless and continuous.

The pattern takes a simple polka dot motif and reiterates it 24 times across two hues of yarn, exploring how light and dark versions of those hues work together when combined. Each section is a unique configuration of light/dark and pattern/background so that knitting the cowl never gets boring. The result of your labour is a harmonious and instructive garment that showcases a variety of yarn combinations. The sample 12 mini skeins of 4ply Knit By Numbers - one of each in the following shades (all the oranges and all the grey browns):

Shades 07, 08, 09, 10 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

About the yarn

The 4ply yarn is a soft, 100% Falklands merino yarn worsted spun to enhance its gentle lustre and fluffy, comforting texture. Knit By Numbers yarns are cleverly blended to produce graduated shades. Dyed wool tops in different hues are blended with successive amounts of white wool to produce colour ranges that move from saturated intensity to delicate pastels. Stranded colourwork is all about the interplay between hue (colour) and value (lightness/darkness) and Knit By Numbers offers amazing opportunities to explore how these different aspects of yarns interact in knitted fabric. Knitting Polkamania! plays to the strengths of the Knit By Numbers range and offers a rich exploration of value and hue when sequencing yarns for stranded colourwork.

About the pattern name

Polkamania refers to the joyous excitement with which the polka dance was embraced by the public, and polka dots are thought to have been so named because of the jolly, dotty ensembles worn by dancers when doing the polka. I love polka dots and when I was thinking about a simple pattern that would enable a huge variety of light/dark colour options to be explored, I kept returning to the simple beauty of this motif. Polkamania expresses my love for this simple, joyous motif; it points to the shared sense of repetition and rhythm that define both music and knitting; and it celebrates how every section in this cowl is like a glorious dance between many yarn shade partners.

Knit your own in the same shades, or in the entire range of any of the colours of Knit By Numbers that take your fancy. The pattern includes a tutorial for creating a similar effect with any fingering weight yarn and with your preferred colours and has been written to empower you to create your own gradient yarn sets by selecting fingering weight yarns of the same hue, but of different values… and to inspire you to mix things up and do every section in different colours. The main thing is that you enjoy how the colours you use dance together on your needles.