New Favorites: Summer’s last temptation

New Favorites: Summer's last temptation

Just as summer is winding down, I found myself tempted by a pile of oatmeal linen yarn on markdown at Craft South the other day, followed by an email from the Purl Bee with this Box Pleat Top sweater pattern, pictured above, which made me regret having left the yarn at the store. It’s too late for me to knit this sweet little tank for this year, but I’m putting it at the top of my list for next spring.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from Pom Pom 14

With which to mend, carry, repair

With which to mend, carry, repair

Ever since I first posted pics of my embroidermended jeans last summer, I’ve gotten tons of questions about them. Especially that patch on the upper right thigh, which you can see in more detail here. I’m hoping to put together a complete tutorial as part of Slow Fashion October (yes, it’s happening!) but I’ve gone ahead and listed the beautiful sashiko thread I love in the webshop, since it’s really just running stitch and I know lots of you don’t need any guidance from me! Because I’m me, I bought black, white, ivory and every shade of blue! Along with lovely needles to go with. So you can get those today at Fringe Supply Co.

… along with MORE FIELD BAGS!! And the beloved repair hooks are also back in stock. Note that we’re now selling them as sets, except we still had some individual larges, in both bone and ebony, so those will continue to be available on their own for as long as they last. (There’s a large number of Field Bags over there this round so maybe they’ll hold out for more than an hour!)

Thanks for all the great comments this week. Have a wonderfully crafty weekend — I’m hoping to do something more than set up house, myself — and I’ll see you back here next week! The week that brings us SEPTEMBER! Ahhhhhh

Elsewhere

Elsewhere: Maker links for your clicking pleasure

First off, Dianna Walla has written a post for her blog about the 4th Fringe Hatalong (Laurus) in which she talks about not only why she chose Lark for the yarn, but also about Quince’s amazing color-picking tool. Check out both her post and that killer tool. But make sure you have a minute, because it’s pretty addictive.

Professor Clara Parkes on splitty yarns and needle tips

Intriguing discussion of top-down set-in sleeves and a better way to knit them

DIY espadrilles (I’m kind of blown away by this)

8 tricks for perfect top-stitching

How to match plaids when you sew (I suddenly can’t wait to sew something plaid!)

A handmade wedding — exceptionally well done

That’s one pretty yarn cabinet

So wish I could go to this event

– And that I could visit here and here (note to self: London trip)

And that I could wear this outfit every day forever

UNRELATED SHOP NEWS: the mini scissors are back and we’ve got a fresh batch of hand-carved wood bowls plus a small cache of the coveted red vintage fiber mill spindles. Make haste!

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PREVIOUSLY in Elsewhere

Queue Check — August 2105

Queue Check — August 2015

It’s a bit late in the month for my monthly queue assessment, but it’s also crazy to me that in the weeks since my July Queue Check — in the midst of the move and all — I knitted a whole turtleneck sweater that wasn’t even really on my radar at that point. (Which I finally added to Ravelry, by the way.) As promised, I’m working on a second version, with not discontinued yarn, and will be publishing the pattern as soon as I can make that happen. I’m thinking of doing this one as a marl, as seen in that swatch up there. But I want to do one more swatch in another yarn (not marl) before I commit.

The marl swatch is Lark — two crows and an egret — and it seems like Lark might be all I’m knitting with for the foreseeable future. The colorwork swatch, also in Lark, is for this fall’s big Fringe and Friends Knitalong! (And yes, there is a mistake in my swatch.) I’m keeping that a secret a little bit longer, but will tell you for now that it is a bit of a weird choice — in a good way. It does involve OPTIONAL colorwork, is a fantastic first sweater if you’ve not knitted one before, and I have an amazing panel lined up. This one is a much quicker, simpler knit than last year’s Amanda cardigan, but offers lots of great meat for discussion and room for people to get creative and so on. It’s going to be a blast and I can’t wait to tell you more! Just be ready for a really fun knitalong announcement in mid-September. (Here’s one more hint, it has to do with that green sweater I knitted in the spring.) Meanwhile, I’m swatching and deciding about colors. I like this grey/black/ivory combo but what I really want the finished sweater to be is navy and black. I just fear for my eyesight and my sanity if I decide to do that!

I also think I’m giving up on the idea of having a Rhinebeck sweater in my queue. The colorwork sweater will have be my Rhinebeck sweater. And why shouldn’t it? It will be totally worthy.

In addition to the big turtleneck and preparations for the big knitalong, I’m still working on my Hermaness Worsted (in Shelter, which got neglected during the move — no brain for lace — but has progressed quite a bit since this photo) and about to cast on my Laurus (in Lark) (Marsh and Egret). Telling you: it’s a Lark-fest over here right now.

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: July 2015

Q for You: Are you a kit knitter?

Q for You: Are you a kit knitter?

One of the most fascinating things about knitters, to me, is the variety of approaches and attitudes toward choosing yarn and projects and yarn for projects. There are people who have no interest in patterns and want to make everything up for themselves — finding half the joy in the planning and even the trial-and-error aspect of it. People who like a pattern but go their own way where yarn is concerned and/or make lots of pattern modifications. People who will only use the recommended yarn, either knowing that the pattern was designed for that yarn and using it will increase the likelihood of success, or not trusting themselves to choose something else. People who want exactly the pictured item, and will use not only the recommended yarn but the same color as the sample. And people who prefer the pattern and yarn be sold together in a kit, so not only is there minimal risk and no decision-making required, it’s a single purchase. I love it!

Like most things in knitting (and life) there is absolutely no right or wrong. We all come to knitting for different reasons. Some have mind-numbingly dull day jobs and knitting is their creative outlet. Others find the greatest escape and relaxation in having had someone else do all the math and planning for them — they just want to sit down and knit, and to feel reasonably confident the outcome will be positive. Among a million other scenarios. I get it: Some days I’m one of these people, and some days I’m the other. But most days I’m somewhere in between. I feel like if I want the thing exactly as pictured (which happens often enough), I’d rather buy it as finished goods, since there’s no room for me to bring any of my own thinking to it anyway. On the other hand, kits can be such enticing objects unto themselves. The Latvian mitten kit I won a couple years ago is one of my prized possessions, to the point that I can’t imagine unboxing it, so I guess that’s maybe a kit being too good? Wool and the Gang does such a beautiful job with their boldly bagged kits. (Of course, I like to think my own Fringe kits are pretty appealing!) And the other day I ran across Kit Couture and found myself wanting kit after kit. So that’s my Q for You this round: Are you a kit knitter? Or where do you fall on this spectrum?

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PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: How do you store your yarn?

New Favorites: from Pom Pom 14

New Favorites: from Pom Pom 14

There is so much I love about this new Pom Pom Issue 14 — the deft color story throughout the gorgeous photos, the fact that three of the pieces were shot on both a boy and a girl, the abundance of great patterns. It’s definitely one of my favorite issues so far, and to my surprise, I find I’m most smitten with the accessories. The cute dala horse hat, Karusellen by Erica Smith, and Melody Hoffman’s pretty Woodland Tales mitts are both on my wish list. But these are the two pieces I most urgently want in my possession:

TOP: Oak Crest by Maisie Howarth is a hat I thought I disliked and now find I can’t stop thinking about. The crown looks almost like some sort of weird exoskeleton, which I’ve apparently decided I’m in favor of, and I’m obsessed with that topknot.

BOTTOM: Pianissimo by Thien-Kieu Lam is a scarf knitted with the most intriguing shifting rib texture, plus I’m a sucker for long stretches of ribbing at the ends.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: High school flashbacks

Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

Colorwork! I wanted to include some colorwork knitting in this little Fringe Hatalong Series and got in touch with my friend Dianna Walla, who has a knack for beautiful stranded designs. We agreed it would be fun to do a variation on her adorable Nordic Knitting Conference Mitts, and that we would keep the colorwork to a minimum — just enough to adorn the hat, while keeping it accessible for those of you who might be tackling colorwork for the first time. The result is this charming beanie, which we’ve named the Laurus hat, as it looks a little like a wreath around the crown of your head. I hope you love it as much as I do. And thanks so much to Dianna for the fantastic free pattern!

Laurus is written for three different head sizes and two heights — slouchy and fitted — so there are lots of options. And depending on your size and color choices, could easily suit any decade or gender. See the preview post for yarn guidance and download the pattern to get started. Remember to share everywhere with hashtag #fringehatalong.

HOW TO SWATCH FOR LAURUS

This is a stockinette hat but colorwork typically affects gauge, as people tend to knit more tightly when doing stranded knitting. So you’ll want to swatch the colorwork motif and swatch in the round, for sure. The pattern gauge is 18 sts / 4 in and the chart is 6 sts wide. So to be safe, I would cast on 4 repeats, or 24 sts, to be sure you have at least 4 inches to measure. (6 chart sts x 4 = 24) I’ve been recommending Ysolda’s tutorial for how to swatch in the round, if that’s new to you.

HOW TO KNIT FROM A COLORWORK CHART

Everything I said about lace charts hold true here — working from the bottom right corner, how to make it less intimidating, etc. So review that if needed. The obvious difference is that instead of knits and purls being charted here, it’s only the color changes. So in this case a white box is your main color (MC) and a black dot is your contrast color (CC).

COLORWORK ADVICE

Beyond the chart itself, Dianna has some great posts on her blog about colorwork knitting, which are listed right here. I also wrote a bit about the basics in Colorwork for first-timers. So hopefully those posts will all prove useful. And as always, we and the rest of your fellow knitters are happy to help, so post your questions below.

FEATURED CHARITY

For the featured charity this round, I got in touch with Robyn Devine to see what she might recommend. Robyn has a blog called She Makes Hats, and the name is an understatement. She knits hats for charities, like many people, and it’s her personal mission to knit 10,000 hats for 10,000 people in her lifetime. (As well as persuading as many people as possible to knit at least one hat for charity.) So she’s an authority on which charities are a good match for which hats. For this unisex 100% wool hat, she made what I thought was the perfect suggestion: “Hats And More for War-Torn Syria is dedicated to helping the four million Syrian refugees around the world, with a focus on sending items to the refugee camps in Jordan most often. Items are sent to the Salaam Cultural Museum, which has volunteers bring everything from hand knits to medical supplies overseas on a regular basis.” As it happens, the Salaam Cultural Museum is in Seattle, where Dianna also hails from. So if you’re inclined to donate your hat, that’s our suggestion for this round — thank you, Robyn!

DOWNLOAD THE LAURUS HAT PATTERN and remember to share your progress with hashtag #fringehatalong wherever you post. And be sure to fave/queue the pattern at Ravelry. I’ll be on the lookout for photos everywhere, and will be answering questions posted in the comments below. (Sorry, I’m not able to reliably answer questions across multiple platforms!)

Happy knitting!

Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston

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Photos by Kathy Cadigan