DIY vs. RTW : Fen vs. Madewell

I’m often stunned by the ready-to-wear clothes that pop up in my inbox or around the web — clothes that look freakishly as if they could have been made from one or another of the indie patterns popular in the handmade community (which, of course, were generally inspired by the runway or ready-to-wear, and around and around we go). Sometimes it’s downright spooky, as in the case of the Madewell dress above right, which is not only eerily similar to the Fen pattern (above left) I was obsessing over last summer, but is made in the exact same flowered fabric I had picked up around the same time and have pictured as a Fen on several occasions. In most cases, the timelines overlap in such a way that it’s obviously a simple case of great minds thinking alike, or tapping into the same zeitgeist (or following the same Pinterest feeds) for inspiration. But it’s fun to ride the inspiration merry-go-round, regardless!

DIY vs. RTW : Cadence vs. LL Bean

The new Cadence pullover pattern (above left) is such an all-American classic/basic that its twin is currently on offer at none other than L.L. Bean (above right).

DIY vs. RTW : Turia vs. Madewell

Madewell’s forthcoming overalls, above right, bring to mind the popular Turia Dungarees pattern (above left), with a few easy to swap out details either direction.

DIY vs. RTW : Camden vs. See by Chloe

The Spring 2016 collections are chock full of capes, many of them admittedly more similar in shape to the Camden Cape pattern (above left) than this See by Chloé version (above right), but how great would Camden look sewn up in denim with classic blue-jeans buttons like that?

New Favorites: Mad hatting

New Favorites: Mad about hats

I have this vision of a time in the future when my wardrobe is in good working order (no more rush to fill in all the gaps) and I can simply knit 1 or 2 carefully chosen sweaters per year, at my leisure. Then the rest of my time can be spent knitting hats! There is such an endless stream of good pattersn, and we all know how relatively quick and gratifying they are. These are my current obsessions:

TOP: Fidra by Gudrun Johnston (as knitted/shot by Kathy) is just good chunky fun

MIDDLE LEFT: Halus by Jared Flood is even more good chunky fun

MIDDLE RIGHT: Buck’s Hat by Thea Colman is cable-based basketweave used to great effect (See also: Manx from my fall hat roundup)

BOTTOM: Holt by Alicia Plummer features allover puff stitch for a simply gorgeous hat


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Welcome basics, part 2

Fidra photo by Kathy Cadigan used with permission


Elsewhere: yarny links for your clicking pleasure

From the thought-provoking to the entertaining, here are the latest links I think are worth following:

– Oh, but first: please tell The National Needlearts Association a little about yourself for a chance to win a $100 gift card

– I am So. Seeing. This movie. (Will watch once for the sweaters, once for the scenery, then again for the story)

– And wish I could see this exhibition

– In case you haven’t read it: The health benefits of knitting (h/t everyone)

– Major style crush

– Kate’s coat, swoon

– That time Jimmy Beans yarnbombed the Sundance Film Festival

– Angela Lansbury in a killer Cowichan-inspired sweater; and the pattern is still available! (h/t @cchandorf)

– Good interview with Tara St. James of Study-NY about building a sustainable fashion brand
— wouldn’t it be amazing if all clothing tags looked like this?

– The three types of books you should have in your knitting library

– And that’s gotta be a pretty awesome moment

IN SHOP NEWS: We’re about to be out of the black Field Bag for a minute (we have precious few at the moment!) while we get black and grey into our select Field Bag stores around the world, but we do have a fresh batch of grey in stock today! We also got in quite a few varieties of buttons this week, so if there’s a particular size/style you’ve been looking for, check to see if we have it!



Knit the Look: Charlotte Groeneveld’s cozy turtleneck

Knit the Look: Charlotte Groeneveld's cozy turtleneck

How pretty does fashion blogger Charlotte Groeneveld look in this big shell pink overcoat wrapped around a simple grey turtleneck over ivory culottes? I know a lot of people recoil from this shade of pink (I personally love it) but who can argue with the sweater? To knit your own, all you need is Michele Wang’s new Cadence pattern — just skip the textured stitch on the body if you like. And it’s written for Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter, which offers the perfect icy-pale grey in Snowbound. I did a little bit of Google image searching to try to get a better look at the neck on Charlotte’s sweater, and it’s either a mock tneck or just a snugger, skimpier turtleneck. So if you prefer that look, knit to the smallest neck size your head will allow and cut down the height of the ribbing by a couple of inches. Then extend the cuff ribbing by few inches as well.

See Vanessa’s original post for more get-the-look suggestions.


PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Ultra-stockinette scarf


Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

New Favorites: Welcome basics, part 2

New Favorites: Welcome basics, part 2

The second big collection this month featuring some good ‘ol hardworking basics is Kelbourne Woolens’ Acadia Collection, built entirely around the undyed colors of The Fibre Co’s Acadia yarn. Great hat, great scarf, great vest, and these two simple beauties—

TOP: Echo Lake by Courtney Kelley is the perfect blank canvas of a set-in sleeve sweater

BOTTOM: Beech Hill by Leah McGlone is a lovely, simple ruana that would also be fun to play with


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Welcome basics, part 1

Idea Log: Penguono x Joseph

Idea Log: Penguono x Joseph

Early Wednesday morning, I got a text from my sweet friend Rebekka, who was all lit up about knitting Stephen West’s Penguono cardigan and wanted to know if I would knit it with her. Like, starting tomorrow. Since I’ve long wondered what an understated version of this sweater would look like, I was quick to say yes, and the more I redrew and rearranged and recolored it in my head, the more I realized my version would be heavily influenced by these Joseph pants from the Pre-Fall 2016 collection that I cannot stop thinking about. (I might be starting a fund in the hope of having however much money they cost by the time they hit stores this summer. If, god willing, they do.) (Note to the reader who asked: Net-a-Porter carries Joseph.) I’m imagining the sweater all in ivory with slightly darker side panels and a big black patch pocket on the front. Possibly knitted; possibly boiled wool, with a flap. It’s fun to daydream about.

So in that moment, I got all excited about the idea of this sweater. And then I remembered I’m not supposed to be casting on sweaters willy-nilly. There’s Bob sweater still with hours upon hours of its stockinette body to be knitted. There are two unfinished hatalong hats waiting patiently in my Field Bag. There’s my very real need and very strong desire for that black pullover that’s supposed to be next. And there’s this crazy Penguono idea that could be a lot of much-needed fun or could be a lot of valuable knitting time poured into an idea that doesn’t pan out. And it’s soooo much knitting.

There’s the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, and this is the conversation they’re having. I’m in the middle, thinking I’ll most likely cast on, knit it in the designated hours with Rebekka and in the gaps among other things after that (for the next two years, prolly!) and see if anything ever comes of it. I mean, it’s a stash-buster and my stash needs busting, right?

IN EXCITING SHOP NEWS: We’ve got fresh stock of the Stowe Bag sewing pattern and the Maple Hand Loom Kit, as well as the elusive grey Field Bag (also in black and natural). Along with all the other beautiful things at Fringe Supply Co.!

UPDATE: We’re having major snowstorm in Nashville today and won’t be driving to the studio or anywhere else. We’ll resume shipping just as soon as road conditions allow!

FO Sightings: Sina’s socks

FO Sightings: Sina's socks

When I first saw these socks in @threehazels’ Instagram feed I got instant heart eyes, but the more she tells me about them, the more amazed I am. Three Hazels is a young German woman named Sina, living in Sweden, and her socks were inspired by the Perianth Mittens pattern by Barbara Gregory. But Sina wanted the flowers on her feet. Like most devout sock knitters, Sina knows her preferred stitch count and heel method (“I like [the short-row heel] the most when knitting the heel in a different colour”) and can cast on with abandon. I assumed she borrowed Gregory’s colorwork charts and reworked them to fit neatly into her counts, but no: “At first I wrote down a chart containing all the different flowers, rows and stitches for the top part of the sock, but with getting  more comfortable with the patterns I started to place the flowers randomly.” That is crazy impressive, and the socks are beautiful. The yarn is a local Swedish wool, making them all the more special.

For more from Sina, check out @threehazels on Instagram, and she’s also vowed to post more about knitting and other subjects on her blog.


Fringe Supply Co. Field BagIMPORTANT UNRELATED SHOP NOTE: I previously announced that the final batch of army green Field Bags were earmarked for Stitches West. Unfortunately, I’ve had to cancel my trip and won’t be making an appearance in the YOTH booth at that event after all. ***So the last of the army green bags will be listed in the webshop in February instead.*** I’ll announce a specific date and time for that once the bags are finished and in hand. (Grey will be back in the shop tonight or tomorrow morning!) I’m super sorry to miss everyone who I’ll now be missing at West, but we will still be at Stitches South here in Nashville at the end of March, so put that on your calendars!


Photos by @threehazels, used with permission