The goods you’ve been waiting for!

The goods you've been waiting for!

As many of you have noticed and remarked, there have been a lot of sold-out goods at Fringe Supply Co. the last several weeks, due in part to my move. But I came back from NC to a huge load of boxes, spent much of Monday getting things counted and listed, and am happy to report that many of your favorite things are finally back in stock:

I’ve also replenished several sizes/colors of the Bento Bags, and the remaining ones are on their way to me now! So we’ll be fully restocked on those ASAP.


And an exciting reminder: FRINGE SUPPLY CO WILL BE AT STITCHES MIDWEST! We leave next week, and I’ve got a few special items set aside for the booth — THAT’S BOOTH 429! — so if you’re anywhere near Schaumburg, Illinois, put it on your calendar! My sweet friend Meg is also bringing the Haus of Yarn Bus (to be parked opposite the “relaxation area,” booths 226-230), so you will not want to miss it.

Spinning in North Carolina

Spinning in North Carolina

I’m back from North Carolina, which turns out to be a hard state to leave. We were at a place called Earthshine for five days to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary — four generations of us. Earthshine turned out to be the perfect place. On top of its insanely beautiful location, it’s built around a steady barrage of activities meant to be fun for all ages and to keep everyone perpetually busy. There were zip lines and a high-ropes course and pond fishing and stream hiking. There were goats and chickens. S’mores and a paper airplane competition. And a double-decker porch with the most amazing mountain views, both levels amply furnished with rustic rocking chairs and benches. Unfortunately, “knitting on the porch” wasn’t one of the options on the sign-up board, so I didn’t get much done. But there was a surprise fiber-craft moment along the way.

Woven in among all the adventure activities, they have these educational mornings that felt exactly like school field trips, which I guess they actually are. One morning was spent in their Cherokee Village making clay beads and grinding corn and throwing tomahawks. (I mostly skipped that one.) And another was in their Pioneer Village, where I knew there was to be blacksmithing and candle-making, but what I didn’t know was that there was also a little lesson in spinning wool. We were each given a handful of raw fleece, which we were taught to wash and card, after which we placed our clean, combed puffballs into a big basket. And then one of the staff “pioneers” sat down with it at a spinning wheel and showed us how it’s done. I realized as I watched her that I’d never actually seen anyone spin before, or at least not that I recall. Thankfully, it didn’t give me the spinning urge (I don’t need another hobby), but it was fun to watch. Sadly, despite the lovely hand-written sign on one of the village doors, we didn’t do any dyeing. But it was funny to find myself in the middle of this lesson in the last place I expected it. I also happened to be wearing my Togue Stripes tank that day, and everyone was very impressed that there was a real live, 21st-century knitter present!

Speaking of which, some of you asked if that sweater was on Ravelry so you could favorite the notes — it’s there now.

New Favorites: Groovy crochet tunic

New Favorites: Groovy crochet tunic

I’m still thinking about my new year’s resolution to crochet something, and about the Kelbourne girls’ #crochetsummer14 campaign. It occurred to me I could use this Purl Bee potholder pattern to crochet that Shelter 7 blanket (rug?) I want. Which would probably take me a few summers. But then I came across this Marie Wallin tunic called Gozo that I want even more — in heather grey, of course. I’d seam the sides together, leaving just a long slit at the bottoms, to make it a little less poncho-ish. I don’t think I have anywhere near the crochet skills required to work it, but that’s how we learn, right? I might be crazy enough to try it.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Summertastic wash cloths

Hot Tip: Remember right- vs left-leaning stitches

Hot Tip: Remember right- vs left-leaning stitches

If you’ve been knitting for very long at all, you’ll have encountered multiple kinds of increase and decrease stitches. You may also have come to realize that each one has a lean to it. (For instance, your first hat may have used k2togs for all of the decreases, which creates a sort of swirling crown, since the k2togs all lean in one direction.) Perhaps you’ve even come to understand that for every right-leaning increase or decrease, there’s a corresponding left-leaning version. To prevent fabric that leans one direction or the other, increases and decreases are often deployed in mirrored pairs, such as a k2tog (right-leaning decrease) paired with an SSK (left-leaning decrease). Or m1L increases paired with m1R increases. The trouble many knitters have is remembering which stitches lean which direction. So here’s an invaluable tip I picked up from Barry Klein once upon a time:

A stitch will always lean in the direction the working needle is pointing when you work that stitch. Stop and repeat that to yourself a couple of times, and point with your index finger like it’s your needle. When you insert your working needle into the front of your stitch(es) — as with a k2tog or m1R — you insert it from left to right. The needle points to the right and the resulting stitch will lean to the right. Conversely, when you knit through the back of your stitch(es) — as with SSK or m1L — you insert the working needle from right to left. The needle points left, and the resulting stitch will lean left.

Once you have that lightbulb moment, reading charts becomes much simpler. For instance, the “\” symbol leans left (“my needle will be pointing left, so I’m working into the back of the stitches, which I do when I SSK!”) and the “/” symbol leans right (“my needle will be pointing right, so I’m working into the front of the stitches, which means a k2tog!”). With the m1’s, you do have to think a tiny bit harder: “If I want it to lean left, m1L, that means I’m knitting into the back, so I will have picked it up from the front.” And vice versa. But you’ll have it memorized in no time flat.

Hot Tip: Remember right- vs left-leaning stitches

Knit the Look: Vasilisa Pavlova’s waffle sweater

Knit the Look: Vasilisa Pavlova's waffle sweater

Knit the Look is hard in the summer, but we’re all ready to dream about “transitional looks” right about now, am I right? I love the simplicity of this outfit on Vasilisa Pavlova: a beautifully proportioned waffle-stitch sweater in ivory paired with a black mini. (For me, that would be shorts.) Tahki Stacy Charles has a free pattern that’s a good starting point here, the Biella Pullover. To make it look like Vasilisa’s, knit a size with 6 or 8 inches of positive ease. For the body, start with 6 or 7 inches of ribbing, then skip the waist shaping and knit another 7 or 8 inches in the waffle pattern (depending on how long you want the body of your sweater to be — the slightly short length is key here). Same thing for the sleeves — knit a nice long ribbed cuff before starting in on the waffle work. Wear with everything you own.

For the rest of the outfit, see Vanessa’s original post.


PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Or, make that crochet?


Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission


Fancy ladies in Estonia

Fancy ladies in Estonia

In the category of Instagram feeds I wish I could beam myself into, the most recent additions are those of @fancyjaime and @fancyamber, the co-owners of Denver’s Fancy Tiger Crafts. If you already follow them, you know they’re perpetually off on some yarn-related adventure or another, but this most recent one takes the cake. They popped into Iceland for a minute on their way to Estonia, where they attended the sort of craft camp where you learn to carve bone tools as well as knit intricately patterned mittens. The photos have been totally amazing, but they’ll be pushed down-feed by their next adventure soon, so go look right now: @fancyjaime and @fancyamber. And/or read all about it next Monday on their blog.


Best. Swatch. Ever.

Best. Swatch. Ever.

You all know I’ve had Channel on the brain (and the approved knitting list!) since trying it on back in March, but my fever escalated around the time of Squam. I was packing for that trip, knowing it would be cool nights and mornings, and was shocked to have nothing suitable: no sweatshirt and only super wooly sweaters that I could not bring myself to put into a suitcase in June. What I wanted and needed was my Channel cardigan — the one I’m planning to knit in this fantastic O-Wool Balance, which is an organic, washable, cotton-wool blend that knits up into a light, airy, not-too-warm fabric. I.e., the perfect all-seasons cardigan. I have two more trips this summer that all but require this sweater, except of course the sweater does not yet exist. But behold my swatch! The best swatch of all time.

I wanted to practice the charted stitch pattern, and particularly the English Rib portion, which is a little conflictingly described in the pattern. The chart includes the two ribbed sections and the chevrons in between, and I added five stitches of moss stitch on each end, since that’s what happens in the sweater. However, gauge for the sweater is actually given over moss stitch, not the charted stitches, so after knitting a few repeats of the chart, I switched to moss for a couple of inches, which gave me the necessary four vertical inches of moss to measure my gauge. The swatch has since been machine washed (it came out practically dry! damn, I love this yarn) and measured, and I appear to be spot on pattern gauge. And the fabric couldn’t be better for what I’m wanting. I had a blast knitting this, so I’m as eager as can be to cast on.

Of those two upcoming trips I really want this sweater for, one of them is next week. And though it’s not an opportunity to wear it, I hope to do a meaningful amount of knitting on it. I’m traveling with my entire family (in celebration of my parents’ 50th anniversary) to a retreat place somewhere in the mountains of NC, where I’m told reception is spotty, at best. I’ve got blog posts queued up for you, but:

IMPORTANT SHOP NOTE: I’ll be packing orders this weekend and will drop them at the PO Monday morning on our way out of town. The rest of the orders from Sunday through Friday will ship during a special session on Saturday the 26th. So if you’ve got something you know you need next week, get your order in today!