Stranded Magazine is the cool new kid on the knitting block, created by Andi Satterlund and Erin Birnel. The concept: a digital knitting magazine that is very designer-friendly. Each issue is available for one year, after which the pattern rights revert back to the designer, who can individually sell and promote the patterns as they wish. Designers are paid for their pattern contributions as well as receive a portion of the magazine sales, so adding that to their ability to also be able to sell the pattern again after one year maximizes a designer’s ability to profit from their designs. The patterns aren’t for sale individually during that year- you need to buy the issue to get them.
The issue is beautifully photographed as a retro road trip, which fits the vibe of these patterns- fans of retro midcentury styles will love the 6 patterns included. You can check out their look book here, or view the patterns on Ravelry here. For knitters that aren’t fans of the retro vibe, look a little closer- many of these could made to look quite modern in a more neutral colour palette, or adding length.
My favourite pattern in the collection is Median by Andi Sutterland. It’s a breezy summer tank top knit in fingering weight that is shown in a great two colour combo:
I also love Route 99 by Lee Meridith, a very cool turban-style hat that I bet would look utterly amazing on anyone with bangs/fringe. This can be worn different ways, too- with the band at the side for a 1920s jazz age feel, or at the back for a more modern look. It’s worth checking out Lee’s black and white prototype to see some different styling inspiration.
The Pit Stop mitts by Erin Birnel are the quickest knit of the bunch at less than 100 yards of fingering weight. And before you question the validity of summer driving mitts likes these, let me tell you- the backs of my hands are starting to get permanent sun spots. I wish I had spent the last decade wearing little mitts like these to protect my hands from the sun while driving on long road trips. Or you could lengthen the cuffs to make them more appropriate for cooler temperatures.
The magazine also contains an interview with Cirilia Rose which was quite interesting, and I normally (confession time) find interviews with designers super boring. This one was different for me because it focused more on Cirilia’s role as a brand ambassador for the yarn company she works with, and how they go about developing new yarn lines, colours, etc. It wasn’t a job I’ve read much about before, and I suspect that’s probably true for most of us knitters. It felt really fresh to hear about a knitting-related role that wasn’t a designer or a dyer. Don’t get me wrong- I love so many designers and dyers…. I just don’t find reading/listening to interviews asking ‘how did you get started’ and ‘where do you get your inspiration’ particularly interesting.
There is also a great photo tutorial on cabling without a cable needle, and a truly illuminating article on a beginner’s guide to paper piecing, which is a kind of quilting. As someone who has never, ever quilted a thing in their life, I read the tutorial and actually understood the entire process. I feel like I could attempt to hand quilt after reading it!
My favourite feature of the magazine is that they have printer cheat sheets, meaning you can print out just the pattern without anything else- no photos, schematic, supplies, etc. This is perfect for when you have already started on your project, and just want to print off the pattern to carry around in your project bag. A great way to conserve paper!
I’m happy to see this sort of digital magazine come out, and I’m excited to see how it grows and develops in the future. They are planning to put out 3 issues a year, and I will definitely be looking forward to it.