Stop, Drop, and Knit the Alphabet
Hi, it’s me, your co-bloggette and human Selectric typewriter.
I’ve gone full-on dingbatty for Rüdiger Schlömer’s knittable typeface, Knit Grotesk. It’s a real, live typographic font that you can download and use for a variety of typing and publishing needs.
This beautifully straightforward pattern includes a full knitting chart, with the whole alphabet, the numbers, and a bunch of fun symbols and marks, in a variety of weights or cuts, from light to boldface.
It’s not a big piece of knitting—it’s only 147 stitches across, so unless you dial it up to a heavier yarn, it’s going to be a baby-sized blanket. At the gauge I’m getting with Creative Linen, my blanket should clock in at just under 30 inches/76 cm wide, perfect for an oversized hand towel to add to my collection.
I can’t help it—after doodling a few letters in Knit Grotesk, I had to stop, drop, and knit up this little blanket. I’m inviting everyone else who’s bewitched by Knit Grotesk to put whatever they’re knitting on a brief pause, and join me. In doing so, we’ll be getting out the good news about the first typeface inspired by and designed for handknitting. It’s going to be fast, and it’s going to be fun.
Start date. Now. Right this minute, as soon as you can cast on 147 stitches.
End date. I’m going to call it May 5, because we’ll all mostly be done by then, but as always, a good knitalong never ends. Start now, finish in. your own sweet time.
Here’s my start. A row of letters/symbols is clocking in at 3-4 hours of knitting.
Yarn. You can use any yarn that you have in 2 contrasting colors (the more contrast, the better) and in sufficient quantity to knit this small blanket. I am using Rowan Creative Linen in Stormy (navy-ish blue) and Silver (pale gray). I’m currently still on the first skein of each, and I’m projecting that I’ll need 3 skeins of each color (total) to finish the blanket. It may take less, but I do not think it will take more, and I will update on yarn usage as I work through the seven rows of letters and figures.
Prizes? Heck yeah! Prizes make everything more fun, so we’re definitely doing prizes! I’m still working on what they are. As with all MDK knitalongs, to be eligible for prizes, simply post photos of your progress one or both of two ways: (1) in the MDK Lounge, and/or (2) on Instagram, where the hashtags are #MDKtypeknittingKAL #KnitGroteskABCBlanket.
Tips and Mods
After a fun couple of evenings spent knitting on my ABC Blanket, I already have a couple of tips and modifications.
Modification. I’m knitting the whole chart in garter stitch, whereas the pattern says to make my Stormy stripes in stockinette and my Silver stripes in garter. Having swatch-doodled individual letters both ways, I liked the look of all-garter. I’m a garter gal. You do you!
Tip. Use stitch markers to separate the letters/marks from each other, much as you would use stitch markers when working a series of cable motifs across a piece. Markers will make it much easier to read each chart in your knitting. Be sure to mark the spaces between the motifs, too. That will keep you away from the Liquid Paper, which is handy since there is no Liquid Paper for knitting.
Detail from ABC-Blanket chart. You can highlight any letter or symbol by clicking on it.
How do you tell where the motifs begin and end? Look at the widest part of the letter, and count the stitches from edge to edge there. Or, if you’re reading the chart on your computer, click on the motif, and you’ll see it highlighted in blue—very handy, and a reason for me to knit from the screen instead of a paper printout, for once in my life.
I’m having so much fun with this. The letters take shape almost effortlessly, because you only have to look at the chart for the first row of every 4 rows. It’s amazing to see such elegant forms emerge from merely slipping a few stitches. There is a logic to them that is catnip to my knitter brain—it’s incredibly satisfying.
I can’t wait to see your ABC-Blankets taking shape, what yarns you’re using, what mods you’re dreaming up. Let’s go, this is going to be a blast!