And now for something completely different..

Weird, curious and baffling but also brilliant and often beautiful: there’s a niche category of knits which Brontë and I reserve a special fondness for – the ones which take us in an unexpected direction on account of the designer’s imaginative construction genius. These are the patterns which get you there and do it marvellously but which veer away from the pattern path more usually travelled.
Will you need to concentrate? Definitely.
Will it be really hard? Not necessarily at all but there’s a possibility of periodic tricksy-ness.
Will you be pleased you did? Without a shadow of a doubt!

Elena by Junko Okamoto
Like your favourite un-put-downable page-turner novel, JO’s design takes you on a ride through radical episodes of knitting which include raglans that traverse the body rather than the yoke, and a tabard construction which ingeniously sweaterises itself into a top with sleeves. And just when you think the adventure’s over she releases an intricate shower of quirkily ‘bundled’ stitches to create a texture which is at least as much fun as the colourwork. Don’t make 1, make 5!
It wants a light-sportish toothy woollen spun so we recommend DN Ulysse, WD Cautiva, Rauwerk Sport, Xolla Pastoreta or Donegal Darnie.

Kumiko by Yucca
Yes, they’re socks but not as you’ve known socks knitted before. Starting at the toe with a Turkish cast-on (so far so normal), things take an unexpected turn long before you reach the heal as Yucca creates all that colour blocking without even the hint of an intarsia join. Perfect for using up sock left-overs or those divine sets of minis that you’ve never worked out what to do with before.

Black Basalt by Åsa Tricosa
Hiding behind AT’s apparently mild-mannered stocking stitch cardigan is a construction route which changes direction and loops your needle cable in a whole new way. The Ziggurat method’s trio of unlikely priorities includes: a perfect fit, avoiding breaking the yarn at almost all costs, and adding splashes of colour in secret places. The result is quite the most eccentric yoke construction and pleasing button band and cuffs, you’ll hever have the good fortune to knit and wear.
Gauge-wise, it’s worsted and would work woolly or smooth, so take your pick from all our favourites here.

Shadow Stripes Pullover by Jared Flood
JD uses the extra emphasis of the lines we create in ribbing to create a beautifully architectural yoke out of separately knit ‘epaulets’ which are joined together at the centre-back. The body is then worked seamlessly but not in the round. It has a modified garter stitch using 2 colours and both ends of your circular needle, to create wider-than-normal garter valleys for the contrast colour. The result is a beguiling 2 tone fabric, minimal purling and a fabulously structured boxy sweater.
I made mine in the JC Rennie and tempted to do a second in the Xolla Pastoreta but any reasonably toothy 4 ply would work.

Kleur Shawl by Anna Maltz
This ice cream cone-shaped shawl has you knitting your way through a tasting menu of colour and techniques – beginning with the spectral colours that are dispersed prism-like from the centre, using eyelets and short row segments and less than 10g of each colour. Then everything changes as the geometry moves onto the straight lines of an elongated mitred triangle in stripes. Knit it for the sheer thrill of finding out what’s in the next pattern instruction.
For the bounciness of Anna’s sample in the picture, choose Garthenor Number 2 for the monochrome and DN Ulysse or WD Cautiva for the colours.

Hoopoe by Valerie Rachel
VR’s deliciously have-your-cake-and-eat-it approach includes a totally seamless top-down raglan construction with intarsia striped sleeves and colour block side details which are almost too good to keep hidden under your arms. Her simple solution to the intarsia-in-the-round conundrum is to work the sweater in rows and use a short-row style join to link the first and last stitches together to create the seamless tube of the body.
To keep it light and t-shirty I’d go cotton, linen or silk with either of For Nature, Kalinka or Madragoa.

Viburna by Fabienne Gassmann
Starting at the cuff of the left sleeve, this is a must-swatch-your-row-gauge pattern which is worked sideways across the body. Seamlessly culminating at the end of your right arm, with gloriously imaginative fields of different stitches to pass through as you go. The grid of texture gives the fabric an unlikely tartanesque quality. Polished off with FG’s inimitable finishing, you’ll delight in new details every time you look. And if sideways knitting floats your boat, make sure you also check Anna Maltz’s Visser and Susanne Sommer’s Collection.
Yarn-wise, it wants a nice soft 4ply – would be beautiful in one of the Town Dyer’s plant-dyed shades, the Fyberspates Vivacious or RP Mondim.

Felted Moebius Basket by Cat Bordhi
Knit your own mathematical paradox with the late, great Cat Bordhi and her truly intriguing moebius patterns. Stick to the pattern instructions exactly as written and enter an Escher-painting of knitted stairways that take you in directions that travel far and simultaneously go nowhere, but that conclude with a beautiful basket that can’t possibly make sense and yet apparently does. Bizaare and captivating, this is surely the knitting pattern which was originally dreamt up by Lewis Caroll in his less well known Alice’s Adventures in the Wool Shop.
If you’re still in, you’ll need a *very* long circular needle and something loosely plied and good for felting – I’d look no further than the Dlana or the Manchelopis.

Extreme 2-in-1 Socks by Kory Stamper
KS’s 2-in-1s are sock knitting’s answer to free climbing El Capitan. Yes, the socks you end up with are kind of unremarkable. But getting there.. holy moly.. you’ll want to hold on tight. Worked, as the name suggests 2 at a time, you’ll need a separate ball for each sock, and your brain fully plugged in for they are not worked alongside, but INSIDE each other, using a double-knitting technique. For the socksibitionists out there, we recommend timing your toe-finishing with your favourite knit night so you can get maximum applause and celebration when you triumphantly pull out your second sock and reveal the pair.

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