Jen Geigley for MDK Atlas
When we got our first skeins of our first-ever yarn, Atlas last summer, we sent a batch of it off to Des Moines, Iowa, and designer Jen Geigley got to work. Earlier this week, she published her very own collection of 10 individual designs for Atlas, and we could not be more pleased and excited.
There is so much to love here. Jen’s vision is so distinctive. A professional graphic designer who also designs for knitters, her eye is clear and crisp. These are patterns for every knitter. If you haven’t tried Atlas yet, Jen’s beautifully photographed, well-written patterns are a great way to put a new yarn through its paces, and also create a stack of appealing knitwear for yourself and those you love.
Let’s take a look, shall we? Clicking on the orange links will take you to the Ravelry.com pattern page for each design.
There are 10 patterns, so settle in. We’ll start with accessories, but don’t miss the sweaters!
A few skeins of Atlas and a few hours of knitting time will put you within reach of any of these winsome accessories. They’re not just for looks—Jen lives in Iowa, where winter means business and woolly basics are a must.
Grid Hat + Cowl
You never know when inspiration will strike. In the case of the Grid Hat and Cowl, the color scheme was inspired by a striped linen sack dress that both Ann and I own, and have been known to accidentally wear to the same event. We’re flattered that this super attractive garment caught Jen’s eye!
There’s something magical about the juxtaposition of two murky shades, Truffle and Peat, with the translucence of Seaglass and Leek. These quick, simple knits showcase Atlas’s aptitude for stranded colorwork.
The Grid Hat is sized for 18-, 20-, and 24-inch head circumferences, and you can make any of the sizes with one skein each of Atlas in Truffle, Peat, Seaglass, and Leek. The Grid Cowl is one size, and requires 1 skein each of Truffle, Peat, Seaglass, and Leek.
Kai Mittens and Peace Mitts
How do you like your hand coverings: cozy mittens, or freewheeling fingerless mitts? Jen has designed one of each. Both of these patterns are excellent for first-time mitt-makers, or for producing a happy stack of presents in short order. Who doesn’t want a pair of cheery mitts?
These color-blocked Kai Mittens are not identical, but they’re friends. Three skeins will make 4 pairs of mittens, with colors alternated. The mittens shown used 4 colors of Atlas: Wintergreen, Tutu, Lapis, and Truffle.
The Peace Mitts are even more minimal and even quicker to make. The colors shown are: Pear, Peat, Tutu, Skyline, and Lapis.
Rue and Helm
The fashion week shows sent a clear message: balaclavas are not just the ultimate in winter warmth, they’re fashion. Jen has designed two of them, because we don’t just have one balaclava mood—sometimes we want to switch it up!
The Rue balaclava makes a graphic statement, with its prominent stripe. The bottom part keeps the ice out of your face, and it can also be worn folded up, as a double-layered hat. The Atlas shades here are Truffle, Natural, and Barn Red—1 skein each.
The Helm balaclava deploys sculptural ribbing, for a snug fit. It’s a fun puzzle to knit—can you visualize the construction? (Hint: you make the top first.) To make this one-size adult accessory, you’ll need 2 skeins of Atlas, shown here in Pear.
Jules is a jaunty keyhole scarf with a knitted-in i-cord edge that makes you feel like a very clever knitter. The textured pattern is reversible. For a color blocked scarf as shown, you’ll need 2 skeins each of 2 colors (shown in Truffle and Natural), but an understated solid version would also be very cool.
Falling Triangles Cowl
We love this style of cowl, which gives a double-thickness fabric. Falling Triangles starts with a provisional cast on, and is knit in a tube, which means that the stranding of the colorwork and any ends are tucked away on the inside, for fuss-free finishing. The stitches are left live at the end of the knitting, the provisional cast-on is unzipped, and the live stitches at both ends of the tube are joined with either a graft or a 3-needle bind-off. Either way, it’s neat as a pin.
Bow ties! This is the sweet spot of stranded motifs: it holds your attention but is easily memorized. You’ll need 2 skeins each of 2 shades of Atlas, shown here in Tutu and Barn Red.
Drei: Hats 3 Ways
With one pattern, Jen gives us 3 hats of increasing skills: plain, striped/blocked, and intarsia striped/blocked. The first two are knit in the round, and the third is knit flat and seamed.
For a newer knitter, there’s a lot of learning, in a fun, portable format that finishes with a great hat. With 4 adult sizes from small to XL, you’ll need one skein of Atlas for the plain hat, and one skein for each color in the striped/blocked versions. You’ll have leftovers—perfect for a pair of Peace Mitts, or for other scrappy projects. Meet Drei.
This is the plain beanie everybody on your list wants. Shown here in the shade Shale.
The striped version, shown here in Tutu, Peat, and Pear.
Another version of the striped hat, this time in Lapis, Pear, and Skyline (with matching Peace Mitts).
The multi-stripe intarsia version is knit flat (for intarsia ease) and then seamed. The shades here are Barn Red (brim), Tutu (color block), and Natural, Lapis, and Truffle (stripes).
I mean: how is this not fun?
Jen did not forget about sweater knitters! She has designed two—a pullover and a cardigan/jacket. And a little bird tells us there is a very special colorwork yoke sweater on Jen’s needles this very minute, so stay tuned for that, especially if there is a sheep and wool festival on your calendar for this autumn. (Shh! We say no more!)
Main Squeeze Pullover
We’ve been waiting for this! Jen’s superchunky Main Squeeze Cardigan from MDK Field Guide No. 12 is a fan favorite. For this pullover version, Jen down-shifts to Atlas’s worsted-weight gauge, transforming the Main Squeeze into a wear-it-everywhere, wear-it-everyday workhorse.
A great combination of boxy ease plus a short-ish shape that grazes the hip. This seamless pullover is worked bottom-up, in the round. The sleeves are worked separately in the round to the underarms. The pieces are joined and the yoke is worked in one piece to the end, with raglan shaping. When the knitting is done, so is the sweater.
Zoom in for my favorite detail: the sleeves are in stockinette stitch, for a smooth counterpoint to the textured stitch of the body.
The Main Squeeze pullover is sized for finished chest measurements of 36-59 inches, and requires 6-13 skeins of Atlas, depending on the size. Shown here in Pear.
Be still my heart! Mabel is a classic jacket-style cardigan, in seed stitch, with patch pockets.
Mabel is worked top-down in one piece with seamless raglan shaping. The patch pockets—and their buttons—add vintage interest. Easy to throw on, a great layering piece for any season, any outfit. It almost makes me wish I had a job interview coming up. Did I mention it’s in seed stitch?
I really can’t stand the excitement. I need Mabel in my life, asap.
The name gives away Jen’s inspiration: Only Murders in the Building.
Having our own yarn adds a whole new dimension to the MDK story. When we were plotting and planning our dream yarn from our respective lockdown abodes, we envisioned indie designers embracing Atlas someday, and publishing designs we would love to knit and wear, but could not yet see. And here comes Jen Geigley with that dream all wrapped up and ready to knit. We send all the hugs and heart eyes to Des Moines for giving Atlas such a sweet start. Thank you, Jen!
We hope you’ll enjoy whipping up some of these knits, small and large, and that you’ll tag, share, like, and favorite them on Ravelry, Instagram (#myMDK), and in the MDK Lounge. We want to see them ALL, do you understand?
Images © Figment Art Photography