DIY Elizabeth and James holey sweater

DIY Elizabeth and James holey sweater

This is the easiest DIY of all time. (No brain cells were killed in the making of this post.) Love this Elizabeth and James sweater? It won’t be available until Spring 2015, but you can knit yourself one in the meantime. All you need is Wool and the Gang’s Hole in One Sweater kit. The pattern is written for two strands of yarn held together, so there’s the opportunity for a marl effect. But if you like the white, just use two whites! And shorten up the cuffs a little bit. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as they say.


PREVIOUSLY in DIY: Vanessa Bruno turtleneck

The other BT Fall ’14 photos

The other BT Fall ’14 photos

As much as I love the Brooklyn Tweed lookbooks that herald the release of each new pattern collection, lately my favorite thing to do is to wait for the other photos to appear. Instead of strictly dividing the looks amongst the models, Jared Flood and team have been doubling up — in many cases shooting the samples on a second model in the other of the two settings used for the lookbook. And in some of those cases, it’s even a second sample. What’s great about these alternate images is not just more beautiful Jared Flood photos of beautiful BT designs to linger over, but the fact that they’re often styled very differently, giving a different impression of the garments. For instance, I didn’t love the lookbook shots of the Channel Cardigan last winter (the mustard version with the dungarees and … those shoes), but when I saw the second sample on the blonde model — even though red is not my favorite color — I fell in love with it.

The first part of the BT Fall ’14 lookbook is very all-American ’80s to me, right down to the Carol Alt-lookalike model. It’s well done, don’t get me wrong. But seeing those same garments (namely Backbay, Docklight, Skiff and Rowe) styled in this softer, dreamier way — with the gauzy tops on the more ethereal model — well, what can I say. It makes me like them even more.

Still can’t pick a favorite, though.


TOTALLY UNRELATED: If you missed out on the first batch of Taproot 11 with the awesome Barn Sweater pattern from Carrie Bostick Hoge, you’re in luck: there’s another stack up for grabs in the webshop.

New Favorites: the City Cape

New Favorites: the City Cape

Two years and two days ago, I wrote about a little capelet obsession I was having. I’m still not over it, and the one I mentioned casting on in that post is still on the needles, but the thing weighs a ton! I’ve never finished it because it was impossible to imagine ever being able to wear it in California. But now? Who knows. I was actually thinking about it as I roamed around the Nashville Flea Market this weekend, in search of some furniture for our empty rooms. It’s nowhere near cold enough to need such a thing here — yet! — but I was imagining being at the flea in cooler months and how nice a capelet like that would be. Then Sunday evening, this City Cape showed up in the Purl Soho newsletter, and it’s easily the best knitted cape pattern I’ve seen in three years of looking. The beautiful but neutral texture, that chic front slit, the big ribbed armholes for when you need them — it’s pretty much perfect. Not to mention free on the Purl Bee.

[UPDATE: Now listed on Ravelry]


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Simple scarves

The secret to a truly great-fitting sweater

The secret to a truly great-fitting sweater

Hopefully those of you participating in the #fringeandfriendsknitalong are knitting away at whatever pace suits your lifestyle and heart rate. Remember we’re not knitting to any particular schedule, but we will be continuing to post content here at what is likely a faster clip than most of us knit — that way the information is here when you need it, whether that’s next Thursday or next year. Last week we talked about the body and next week we’ll talk about the sleeves, but meanwhile let’s talk about row gauge! That under-discussed topic.

In knitting and measuring swatches (in the event that even happens), people tend to focus on stitch gauge. Of course, stitch gauge is what will determine the width of your fabric — or more specifically for our purposes, the circumference of your sweater. And when we talk about fit, we tend to talk about circumference (our own and our sweater’s). But row gauge determines the length of your fabric; your row gauge is most likely different from pattern gauge; and to be adept at accounting for differences in row gauge is to have a much better chance of your sweater fitting the way you want it to.


Say for a minute you’re knitting a scarf with a stitch-pattern repeat, such as Shackleton (a good Amanda alternative). If your row gauge is shorter (more rows squeezed into each inch) than the pattern gauge, your scarf will be shorter. No big deal, right? Unless you are really, really particular about how long your scarves are. To make up for your more compact row gauge, you could simply knit an extra repeat of the stitch pattern. The same is more or less true for something like the body of Amanda. Since it has no waist shaping, the body is just a big rectangle, same as a scarf. So if your row gauge is different from the pattern gauge (or you simply want your sweater to be longer or shorter than desired), you can simply knit to your desired length, and it really doesn’t matter that it took you a different number of rows to get there.

But where there is shaping involved — as in the sleeve increases and the yoke decreases — a pattern will almost always be written according to rows, not inches. For the sleeve increases, you’ll be told to work an increase row, then repeat that a set number of times, a set number of rows apart. (E.g., “repeat the increase row every 8th row 11 more times.”) If your rows are bigger, it will take you fewer of them to reach the total sleeve length, which means you may need to work your increases closer together in order to fit them all in.

For the yoke decreases, if your row gauge is bigger and you work the prescribed number of rows (alternating decreases along the way), your yoke will be longer than the pattern measurement. Your underarms will hang lower, in other words, and the sleeves you attach to that lower underarm will hang that much longer as a result. Conversely, let’s look at my Amanda in progress. My row gauge is much tighter than the pattern gauge, and Amanda has a pretty shallow yoke to begin with. Because my overall gauge is tighter (more stitches and rows per inch) I’m using the Large numbers knowing my sweater will come out a little smaller than the Medium. Knitted at pattern gauge, the sweater has an armhole depth of just 6.5 inches. If I don’t make changes based on my smaller row gauge, I won’t even be able to get my arms into those armholes. So I’ll need to space out my decrease rows, working them at a slower pace over more rows, in order to wind up with enough yoke depth. (That’s also why I’m knitting with a cable needle on this, because swatching both with and without one showed that my row gauge was even more compact when I knitted without a cable needle. I want all the row depth I can get in this situation, so cable needle it is!)

So it’s super critical to be mindful of discrepancies in row gauge and what implications that might have — as well as knowing how to account for them. If you’re not familiar with how to calculate increases and decreases for yourself, there’s a basic formula in my top-down sweater tutorial. The process is the same whether you’re increasing or decreasing, knitting from the top or the bottom. It’s simple, and it’s one of the most important skills a knitter can have.


But what about the whole issue of row gauge that changes with blocking? Some swatches will be obviously shorter or longer after blocking, but it’s hard to pinpoint how much your sweater might shrink or grow in length. Blocking a swatch is different than blocking an entire sweater, plus some fibers grow tremendously with gravity as you’re wearing the garment. (You’ve no doubt experienced this phenomenon at some point in your life.) Lots of people will advise you to knit a very large swatch and to hang it on a hanger to try to get a better sense of how it might grow. This is less of a concern with wool than with bamboo and some other fibers. Regardless, say your swatch is different in length after blocking. Well, if you want your sleeves to be 18 inches long, for instance, you don’t actually want to knit to 18 inches — you want to knit to whatever length will become 18 inches when blocked. Below is Kate Gagnon Osborn again with a simple but meticulous way to solve for that. Take it away, Kate!

. . . . .

To make sure your sweater body and sleeves come out the correct length, you want to knit to your blocked length, which may differ from your unblocked length. How does this work exactly? First, determine the number of inches your knitting should be, as written in the pattern. For the Amanda sweater back in my size, I am to knit 14.5″ total length, and my personal row gauge — after blocking — is 7 rows per inch.

Calculation A: Ribbing

Multiply your row gauge by the length of ribbing specified in the pattern, in this case 2.75″:

2.75″ ribbing x 7 rows per inch = 19.25, or 19 rows of ribbing.

Calculation B: Body

First, subtract the length of the ribbing from the total length of the body:

14.5″ total length – 2.75″ ribbing = 11.75″ of the body (cable) pattern to be worked.

Now multiply your row gauge by this length. Again, I’m getting 7 rows to the inch:

11.75″ body x 7 rows per inch = 82.25, or 82 rows of body.

Instead of measuring my unblocked sweater back, I will count my rows to determine the correct length. Once I knit the 19 rows of ribbing and 82 rows of the body, I know I will have the correct length back after blocking. If the pattern tells you to end after working a WS or RS row, or end the cable pattern (or lace or colorwork) pattern on a certain row number, you may adjust your final number of rows by a few as needed, and your overall length won’t vary too greatly. Just make sure to match this row number on the front pieces as well.

. . . . .

Thanks, Kate! And here’s a bonus tip for making that easier to keep track of. Remember my Hot Tip about marking your increases/decreases to save having to count? Some people will pin a marker every 10th row when knitting, period, so they can easily tally up their rows. That comes in super handy in a scenario like Kate describes above.

Of course, if you matched row gauge, you have nothing to worry about!


PREVIOUSLY in #fringeandfriendsknitalong: WIP of the Week, week 1

WIP of the Week winner, week 1

WIP of the Week, week 1 — #fringeandfriendsknitalong

So like I said earlier, it has been immensely fun to see all of the sweaters getting started for the #fringeandfriendsknitalong, and just like with that whole Rhinebeck sweater idea, I totally underestimated how hard it would be to pick a favorite project! But it’s time to announce the winner of this week’s prize, which is a $150 gift certificate to none other than Fringe Supply Co.*

There were so many great contenders — please keep ’em coming! — but when I closed my eyes and asked myself which one stood out in this whole warm-up phase, it was @dxlcarson’s side-by-side sleeves photo. In describing this challenge on the knitalong page, I said, “What I’ll be looking for is beautiful/funny/interesting/informative pics …” and I would put this one under the informative header. Linda is knitting Amanda (which is not a requirement!) and had embarked on a second sleeve-swatch, changing both her cast-on and needle size, and I just loved seeing them together and how different they are. Plus it looks amazing in this camel colored Madelinetosh. Can’t wait to see the rest of the sweater.

Linda, I’ll be in touch re collecting your prize!

Have a great weekend, everyone — happy knitting! And keep those WIP shots coming. Next week’s prize is another doozy.


*Full disclosure: the winner of this week’s prize happens to be a Fringe Supply Co customer, but everyone participating in this knitalong is a Fringe reader and just about everyone is also a customer (thank you!), so there’s really no way around that. The remaining prizes are coming from other entities and I will have no idea whether or not the winner is a patron of the contributing business.

A big week at Fringe

A big week at Fringe

This has been such a fun week around Fringe — I am having a blast watching all of the #fringeandfriendsknitalong sweaters popping up all over (although my own is predictably off to a slow start!), plus boxes have been pouring through the doors of Fringe Supply Co. and the shelves are bulging with all sorts of beautiful things. There’s a gorgeous new Bookhou pouch in the mix, pictured up top, and all of this is back in stock:

— Bookhou totes, pocket pouches, oblong pouches and project boxes
— Joshu + Vela’s beautifully crafted canvas totes
— our Black Stitch Markers and Removable Stitch Markers
— the rosewood DPNs, most notably in sock sizes
— and the ever-popular Yarn Pyramid

So knock yourselves out over there. I’ll be back in just a bit with my pick for WIP of the Week!


This just in: A perfect fisherman pullover

This just in: A perfect fisherman pullover

I had a whole different post in mind for today, but then this Patons Honeycomb Aran pullover passed before my eyes and there was the deafening mental sound of screeching brakes, and visions of that scene in The Paper where someone actually pushes the big button to stop the presses. Despite its name, this classic fisherman-style pullover doesn’t have any actual honeycomb stitch on it. But it’s a combination of moss-filled diamonds, single braids and a panel of Celtic braided cables that gives a similar effect to honeycomb. Knitted from the bottom up, with raglan sleeves, it’s pretty much the perfect pullover alternative to the Amanda cardigan this #fringeandfriendsknitalong is centered on. And it is written for sizes ranging from a 28″ to 62″ bust. And. AND. It’s a free download. So if you’ve been wanting to join the knitalong but wished for a pullover or couldn’t get ahold of the book (oops, we cleaned out Amazon) or Amanda’s sizes don’t work for you — or all of the above — ta da!

Thank you, Allyson, for inadvertently bringing it to my attention. (And hearty congratulations on your nuptials!)

Since we’re back on the subject, I want to remind you that the first WIP of the Week prize will be awarded sometime tomorrow. (That’s Friday, y’all.) If you have posted a pic of your knitalong work-in-progress anywhere on the web this week (a Ravelry page, Instagram, your blog, any publicly viewable internet location) — hashtagged #fringeandfriendsknitalong, of course — leave a comment below or on Monday’s post with a link to said photo. (All you have to do is copy the URL and paste it into the comment box — WordPress will automatically turn it into a link.) I’ll pick my favorite and announce the winner tomorrow right here on the blog. This week’s prize will be coming from a little business I hope you’re all familiar with, Fringe Supply Co. — a bit of a shopping spree. So get those pics up and pointed to, post haste!

There are further details on that and every other facet of the knitalong at


PREVIOUSLY in #fringeandfriendsknitalong: Team Seam vs. Team Seamless