The rainbow of Seathwaites

A rainbow of Seathwaite hats (free pattern)

The only knitting I’ve done since I got back from Seattle two weeks ago was one night when I worked the last few rows of my superbulky stockinette hat. Which means I’m positively dying to knit — and specifically dying to knit my Seathwaite. I’m torn about yarn, though. I want this one to be mine all mine, need it to be a little bigger than the pattern dimensions, and don’t want to go up a needle size with the Cumbria and the cables and have it look less perfect than the original. So I need to pick a yarn I can cable on 7s. But meanwhile, I’m admiring the hell out of all the hats appearing on the #fringehatalong feed! Whereas our last hat, Laurus, inspired all kinds of variations, what stands out about the Seathwaites is the incredible range of colors and yarn types and how great it looks in every iteration, from ivory to black, pale pink to magenta, chartreuse to forest green, you name it. Here’s just a sampling—

ROW 1: Our beloved test knitter @jo.strong1’s in Cumbria (Scaffel Pike) (modeled by Meg) and @thegirlmoth’s in Cumbria (Helvellyn)

ROW 2: @iiinesg’s in Beiroa (Branco), minus the doubled brim, and @modaveloce’s in Cumbria (Windermere) (photo from @toltyarnandwool)

ROW 3: @blueberryhillcrafting’s in unspecified Bumblebirch Yarn and @knitpurlpdx’s in, I believe, Cumbria (Dodd Wood)

ROW 4: @lauraadarby’s in Portland Tweed (discontinued? color unknown), with a fold-up brim, and @recklessglue’s in Galway Highland Heathers (color unknown)

And of course, there are tons more on Instagram and Ravelry.

It’s never too late to cast on any of the Fringe Hatalong hats and join the fun. Just pick one out — they’re all linked in the right rail of the blog — and jump in with hashtag #fringehatalong!


PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: No. 5: Seathwaite by Kate Gagnon Osborn

Knit the Look: Big scarf season

Knit the Look: Big scarf season

I’ve had this scarf on the docket for Knit the Look, and along came Purl Soho this week with the perfect pattern for recreating it! Photographed on an unidentified fringe lover last February, it’s a generously sized scarf with a slightly-more-interesting-than-ribbing texture. Take Purl Soho’s Mistake Rib Scarf pattern (free pattern) and the recommended quantity of yarn, add fringe at both ends, and you’re good to go. The pattern is written for Purl Soho’s Mulberry Merino, which has a lovely palette, of which the Paprika Red is the closest thing to the scarf in question. If you want something a little more burgundy, try Quince and Co’s Chickadee in Barolo (pictured).

For the head-to-toe look at this outfit, see Vanessa’s original post.


PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Marihenny Passible’s black cable beanie


Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

Merry and bright: the Fringe Holiday Lookbook 2015

IT'S HERE! The Fringe Holiday Lookbook 2015

Sitting on these images the past two weeks has been harder than I can tell you, so it is with an extra dose of delight today that I’m announcing the Fringe Holiday Lookbook 2015! As you know, I don’t change things up much when it comes to the selection of goods at Fringe Supply Co. I only sell a small collection of things I personally use and love, including those I’ve designed myself, but there’s a lot to be excited about here — most notably the Field Bag in colors! Well, “colors” — not surprisingly they’re black, grey and army green. The natural version is my first and truest love, but these new guys are stunners. And they’re a bit of a test; I’m trying them out exclusively here at Fringe for the holidays, and they’ll be in stores early next year depending on which one(s) you all love most. There’s also a lot of black this season, which is making me swoony, including your Bookhou favorites (tote, storage box and pouch) in a drop-dead-gorgeous black on charcoal print, and my all-time-favorite jumbo tote bag in black for the first time. (You can bet the one from the shoot went home with me!) There’s a limited number of pretty much all of the above, so don’t hesitate. And I’ve also added some other small treasures to enhance your knitting life — lots of useful pretties in silver and brass.

My pal Kathy Cadigan and I had a blast shooting this one at some of our favorite haunts in Seattle’s Pioneer Square and at the Homestead Seattle Airbnb. I’m super grateful to Kathy and to everyone who helped make it happen, especially the Dianich family for the loan of the Christmas tree! And always, always, so thankful to all of you for supporting me and Fringe and the other small businesses Fringe represents.

Hop on over and VIEW THE FULL LOOKBOOK, and let me know what you think. Clicking anything you like in there will take you to the corresponding page in the webshop where you can pop it into your cart. Or go straight to the shop if you prefer to browse that way! Happy looking, and happy start of the holiday season! Have a great weekend—

IT'S HERE! The Fringe Holiday Lookbook 2015

Someday vs. Right Away: Outerwear

Someday vs. Right Away: Outerwear

I’m having a sewing moment in Someday vs. Right Away today, because what’s feeling out of reach right now is outerwear. Specifically, the Cascade Duffle Coat by my friend Jen Beeman over at Grainline Studio. Jen released this pattern last winter and my jaw dropped. Rendered in grey or army green (maybe with a fur-trimmed hood!), it’s truly my dream coat. And developing the skills to make my own seems like a goal worth setting. Meanwhile, I might have to try my hand at Jen’s newly released Tamarack Jacket (quilty goodness) or Seamwork’s Camden cape. I even have a piece of wool that would work nicely for either one. Do I dare?

(Dear Seamwork: Please, please, please make copy-shop versions of your patterns. I would have bought several by now … Love, Karen) [EDIT: apparently they do! It’s just not clear on the product pages. Woohoo!]


PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Fingering-weight lace

Q for You: What do you knit the most of?

Q for You: What do you knit the most of?

One of the most interesting observations for me when I was a new knitter (hey, I just passed the four-year mark!) was that knitters tend to fall into camps. Sock knitters and shawl knitters seem to be the two most entrenched breeds — a sock knitter knits socks sometimes entirely to the exclusion of all else. Same for shawl knitters. Some people make so many hats they are always on the lookout for new places to donate them. In the beginning, I was chiefly (although not exclusively) a fingerless mitts knitter, and I didn’t really know anyone else who was as rabid about mitt knitting as I was. A rare breed? A weirdo? Dunno, but I lived in the Bay Area, where fingerless mitts are useful or necessary about 360 days of the year. They were quick and only use one skein of anything. There were lots of different ways to construct them, and I liked trying out all the varieties, along with different stitch patterns and whatever else. I made a lot of them. Then I got more and more serious about sweaters, and I now basically have to trick myself into knitting non-sweater things — they’re really all I need and all I want to knit. Talk about variety of methods! Every sweater can be a whole new knitting adventure. Plus there’s that whole mission-to-make-my-own-clothes thing. So me, I’m a sweater knitter who occasionally dabbles in accessories.

And that’s my Q for You today: Do you have any strain of knitting monomania or do you like to spread it around? And what is it about whatever you knit that makes you so devoted?

Pictured (clockwise from top left): Acer, Cowichanish vest, Amanda, Olsen turtleneck


PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: Are you a kit knitter?

New Favorites: For him

New Favorites: For him

So that stockinette sweater I’m about to be knitting for my poor handmade-sweater-deprived husband? I’m harboring fantasies that after I finish this one, I’ll get away with knitting him something more interesting. I’d love to knit and see him in any of these—

TOP: Shire by Lisa Richardson looks especially great in this low-contrast color palette

MIDDLE: Cotswold Henley by Meghan Babin features some first-rate texture blocking

BOTTOM: Mount Robson Pullover by Jessie McKitrick, well, you know how much I love a military-inspired sweater

Might just have to knit that last one for myself.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mega blankets

Cowichan-style Knitalong — the WINNERS

Cowichan-style Knitalong — the WINNERS

I have to say, I think it’s funny that there’s an expectation of prizes with big knitalongs. To me, the prize is your sweater! And there have been so many winners in that regard. I think I said already that I was expecting fewer sweaters to come out of this Cowichan-style Knitalong than the last one (it’s a vest, a Cowichan-style vest, from a Japanese pattern, with colorwork worked flat …) BUT I am so beyond thrilled with all that has come of it. Everyone who has participated so far — and it’s by no means too late! — has been so thoughtful, inventive, enthusiastic and eager to try new things; it’s just been inspiring and heart-warming all the way around. It’s really hard to pick favorites or prize-winners, but I’m glad for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on these three—

ABOVE: The grand prize winner — who’ll receive a $100 gift certificate to Fringe Supply Co. — is Ella Gordon. We talked a lot during this knitalong about cultural sensitivity issues relating to the appropriation of the Cowichan style. Ella was working from a different Japanese pattern, which had teepees as the main motif. If you’re familiar with Ella, you know she is a serious student of knitting traditions and a collector of sweaters from across all of them. She also lives in Shetland, not the PNW, and teepees have no particular cultural meaning for her. So for all of those reasons, she replaced the teepees with the croft houses that dot her own native countryside. I found it both clever and touching, and her finished vest is just fantastic. You can read all about it and see more photos on her blog and her Instagram feed, @ellalcgordon.

And I’ve got two $50 gift certificates for these two:

Cowichan-style Knitalong — the WINNERS

Jess Schreibstein, above, played around with much more ambitious and traditional motif ideas before settling into a minimalist version of a Cowichan-inspired vest. She tackled the Cowichan method of float-trapping* — I’m so happy about how many people took this on! — and wound up with a garment that’s totally her own and looks great on her. For lots more gorgeous pics of this vest in progress, see her Instagram feed, @thekitchenwitch.

Cowichan-style Knitalong — the WINNERS

At a glance, Claire Allen-Platt’s finished vest looks like a great garment that’s pretty true to the pattern (and obviously I approve of her color usage!) but I think she’s one of only two (?) people to knit it in the round and steek it. She also tweaked the motifs a tiny bit to make the main one a little less snowflake-like — and it fits her perfectly. Tweaked and steeked, I like it. See her Instagram feed for more, @claireallenplatt.

Ladies, send me an email (karen at fringeassociation) to collect your prize!

If you haven’t seen the full feed, check out #fringeandfriendskal2015 on Instagram, where you’ll get to see @nappyknitter’s socks, @luckypennyknits’ dog sweater, original designs by @carolsundayknits and @whit_knits, and so much more. And like I said, it’s never too late to jump in. We still have two more panelists to hear from!

*See the video tutorials linked in this post.