All you want for Christmas …

The ultimate gifts for knitters, crocheters and fiber crafters

Ok, lovely readers. Today I’m nearly speechless as I unveil the very first Fringe Supply Co. clickable holiday catalog, full of incredible gifts for knitters, crocheters and other fiber crafters — aka all you want for Christmas. I wasn’t so speechless in writing the intro or product descriptions, so I hope you’ll spend some quality time poring over it all! I had the most amazing time with Kathy Cadigan last week, who took such beautiful photos I can hardly stand it, and I’m thrilled to share all of this with you. So please, click here or on the mini-catalog below, which will open a larger version, and from there every product image is linked — clicking the little blue link icon will take you right to that page in the webshop.

The star of the show is the all-new Fringe Supply Project Bag, which I’ve been unintentionally teasing you with for months, and which is finally here — albeit in small-batch form. We’ll have a very limited number here at Fringe for the holidays, and it’s at just three stores for now: Purl Soho on the east coast, Tolt Yarn and Wool out west, and Fancy Tiger Crafts in between.

http://issuu.com/fringesupplyco/docs/fringe_supply_co_catalog_holiday_20?e=14440192/10252820

If you love the catalog or any part of it, I hope you’ll use the share links, embed it in your blog, download it, print it out and mark it up for Santa, whatever the case may be. I can never thank you enough for supporting me and Fringe Supply Co. and other small businesses. It means the world.

Happy browsing!

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UPDATE: the mini-catalog seems to only want to display about half the time for reasons I’m having trouble understanding. But you can just click through to full version!

New, new and brand new!

New, new and brand new!

Good morning! Yesterday was magazine mania at Fringe HQ with no fewer than three new magazines arriving one right after the other: the new PomPom, the new Taproot and the debut issue of Knit Wit are all ready and waiting for you at Fringe Supply Co.

BUT HERE’S THE THING! Today is the day I’m finally unveiling all of the amazing new holiday goods in truly delightful fashion. So there might be some other things you’ll want to put in your cart. If all goes as planned, the happy moment will come at noon today (Central time). But at whatever moment it happens, I will announce it here and on the shop newsletter, so if you aren’t already signed up for one or the other of those notification lists, plug in ye olde email address — in the right rail here for blog alerts and in the top right corner of the webshop for shop updates.

Sorry to leave you sitting on the edge of your seat, but I promise it will be worth it.

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The simple joy of seaming

How to work mattress stitch

Can I just take a minute to publicly say how awesome Kate Gagnon Osborn is? When she signed on as a member of our Panel of Experts for the #fringeandfriendsknitalong, she offered to share her seaming wisdom (and enthusiasm). In the meantime, she’s taught us all so much more: how to accurately measure gauge with a cable swatch, how to account for post-blocking changes in row gauge, how to work increases “in pattern,” and even how to rewrite neck shaping. She blows my mind on a regular basis. (And we’ve laughed a little over how few comments there have been on her ultra-detailed posts. Did she blow your minds, too?) And now it’s finally time to talk about seaming! Kate has an excellent tutorial on the Kelbourne Woolens site (in their ever-expanding Tips & Tricks section) and I can’t see any point in reinventing the wheel. So she’s updated that tutorial with Amanda photos and you can read it at the other end of this link: How to work mattress stitch. (Thanks for being you, Kate!)

Despite my ongoing issues with knitting sweater pieces (all of which boil down to ADD) I genuinely enjoy the act of seaming those pieces together. It is so easy and so magical, pulling that strand and seeing pieces come together to form a whole.

So after blocking your joined sweater and sewing up those side and sleeve seams, all that’s left is to finish off the button bands, including working the button holes, and pick up stitches for the neck band. For guidance on picking up stitches, particularly for the curved portions of a neckline, the best resource I know is Pam Allen’s passage on the subject in Knitting for Dummies, which I think everyone should own. I also love her discourse on button holes in that same book. For those of you who don’t own it, I refer you to the buttonhole/band episode of Knit.fm. Well worth a listen!

From here on out, I’ll be checking in with our panelists as they finish their sweaters, starting with Jaime Jennings. And I also have more to say about the specific tiny mods I’ve made to my Amanda. And of course, we’ll all be watching the hashtag for as long as there are people using it!

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PREVIOUSLY in #fringeandfriendsknitalong: Skiff hats of the knitalong

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Photos © Kate Gagnon Osborn

New Favorites: BT’s best shawl collars

New Favorites: Brooklyn Tweed's best shawl-collar cardigans

When I was talking to someone recently (can’t remember who/where) about putting a shawl collar on my Amanda cardigan for the #fringeandfriendsknitalong, they said something about how on-trend that will be. And I suppose it will, but it got me thinking. There are definitely lots of shawl collars in the stores right now, but aren’t there always? I genuinely don’t think there’s ever been a year when there haven’t been amazing shawl-collar cardigans I’m dying to own. Certainly the shapes and details vary, and they may be more “in” one year than the next, but a shawl-collar cardigan is never out of style. And I think that timelessness is a big part of why I keep casting them on! It seems perfectly reasonable to me to invest large chunks of knitting time on a garment that cozy, and that I believe has a greater chance of wearing out than falling out of fashion. So that train of thought and yesterday’s Wool People release got me looking at the Best of Brooklyn Tweed shawl collars:

TOP: Field by Kazekobo, the newest entry, from Wool People 8. Honeycomb on the body, reverse stockinette sleeves, and compound raglan shaping — a total classic. Plus based on the gauge, it appears to be the perfect pattern from which to borrow the neck shaping and collar method for a shawlified Amanda. (Was there anyone at BT reading these posts thinking “Hold on! We have the perfect candidate!”?)

ROW 2 LEFT: Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood, from BT Winter ’14, knit-purl splendor already on my needles. Even though I’m planning to leave out some of the details that make it so exceptional, I think this is the Sweater of the Year.

ROW 2 RIGHT: Timberline by Jared Flood, from BT Men. I could stare at those intricately branching cables all day, and think the collar on this one is perfection.

MIDDLE: Little Wave by Gudrun Johnston, from Wool People 6, textured stitch panels with garter-stitch accents. And pockets! This one didn’t make that huge of an impression on me until I tried on the sample and fell in love. (I’ve also been taking a second, third and fourth look at Persimmon lately.)

BOTTOM LEFT: Burr by Veronik Avery, from BT Fall ’12, in stockinette with stylized shaping. Looks like such a simple sweater, and then you start to notice all the amazing, subtle details.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Bellows by Michele Wang, from BT Fall ’14, allover texture with cable accents. Seriously, it’s all I can do to not cast this on before finishing Amanda and Channel. And actually, my all-time favorite BT shawl collar might be another Michele design: the Arlo kids cardigan.

I wish I had every one of them in my closet right now and forever.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Offshore

Elsewhere

Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Know what I’m excited about?

- the impending Seamwork webmag from Colette

- the impending podcast from Woolful

- Ann Shayne’s crazy 8-yarn sweater for the #fringeandfriendsknitalong

- the fact that people like this exist (thx, jo!)

and

- Felicia Semple’s Stash Less series

Not to mention there’s a new BT Wool People collection coming along any minute now … [UPDATE: Here it is, the Wool People 8 lookbook]

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Single-flock souvenirs

Single-flock souvenirs

I’m not sure I’ve ever really written about this, but I’ve spent considerable time in the wine world. Between living where we lived (including a few years right in Napa) and having a cousin who’s a small-batch winemaker, we’ve spent a significant amount of time in vineyards and cellars, literally working harvest many years and drinking the fruits of our labor, among other things. So I find myself pretty routinely drawing comparisons, in my mind, between yarn and wine. I’m oversimplifying here to keep this brief, but in wine you basically have a continuum that ranges from stuff like Charles Shaw (aka “Two Buck Chuck”) — a dude who buys up everyone else’s leftover juice and dumps it together in a tank — to “single-vineyard wines.” In between are brands that buy specific quantities of known fruit from known growers, winemakers that contract with growers to grow fruit to their exacting specifications, and wineries that grow their own fruit on their own property. With Estate and single-vineyard wines, you know exactly who grew it on what exact plot of land. (Plus there’s all the blending of varietals and whatnot.) There are equivalents for all of that in yarn, which starts with farmers all around the globe selling their fleece to be graded, sorted, blended and resold for assorted purposes — from mattress stuffing to yarn for hand-knitters. The big yarn brands buy fiber through brokers. One might not care at all about breed or origin, only that it meets a certain micron count (the way fiber is graded for softness); another might be specifically looking for merino or alpaca or whatever, in addition to the grade. Then you have yarns such as, for instance, Brooklyn Tweed, where they can tell you not only that the fleece comes from Targee-Columbia sheep but that those sheep live in Johnson County, Wyoming. Or Woolfolk, which is built around a specific Patagonian merino. And so on. My very favorite yarns are undyed (sheep colored) and minimally processed (sheep scented/textured), but the ultimate are what I call “single-flock yarns,” and I was lucky to bring two of them home from my trip to Tolt.

If you happened to read the article I wrote about Tolt for Knitscene, you already know about Snoqualmie Valley Yarn. Anna approached some neighboring farmers who raise BFL–Clun Forest sheep, and together they produced 400 skeins of rustic, undyed, bouncy yarn — “farm to needle” — three of which are now mine. My friend Lori asked Anna for other local yarns, and when Anna walked up to us with an armload of options, I grabbed one of them right out from under Lori’s nose. (Sorry!! Geez, I’m such an asshole sometimes.) As you can see from the handwritten label, it’s 200 yards of “Longwool Lamb” from Abundant Earth Fiber on Whidbey Island. It’s soft and fluffy and one of my favorite sheep colors, that nearly-black brown. Some other lucky person had made off with the rest of it before I got there, so this one precious skein is all I have. But what treasures.

The one other place I was dying to visit while I was in Seattle was Drygoods Design, which did not disappoint, and the one thing I was hoping they would have is the freshly minted Linden Sweatshirt pattern from Grainline Studio (love that Jen Beeman), which they did. So those are my know-your-source souvenirs from a thoroughly lovely trip.

Single-flock souvenirs

Coming soon (x2)

Kathy Cadigan shooting for Fringe Supply Co

I was hoping to have some arrivals news for you today that didn’t happen (yet), but I wanted to say to everyone who came to Tolt last night: Thank you! So good to meet you. And also to let you know that the bulk of my (freezing cold) time in Seattle has been spent with Kathy Cadigan shooting all of the lovely goods I’ve got lined up for Fringe Supply Co. for the holidays. It’s all incredibly exciting and I can’t wait to start showing you! Soon … very soon.

Happy weekend!