Elsewhere: SFO edition

Elsewhere: Slow Fashion October edition

The abundance and richness of discussion that have sprung up around Slow Fashion October is already beyond whatever I may have anticipated, and I continue to do my best to keep up. If you haven’t read the comments and blog posts on this week’s theme post, that alone could keep you busy for a bit. I’m also attempting to highlight some of the standout posts at Instagram by mentioning them on the @slowfashionoctober feed. If you’re not technically on Instagram, click through to that feed in your web browser and explore those. I highly recommending spending some quality time with the entire #slowfashionoctober Instagram feed, though — it’s pretty amazing. And also the hashtag activity at Twitter.

I’m planning to do an Elsewhere-style post every Friday this month, as a way to highlight some of the great blogger contributions and also to mention some other/related worthwhile links, so here we go:


Z’s origin story cracked me up (and she also did a great post recently about some ethical shoe brands)

– I love Felicia Semple’s thoughts and her focus for the month on making herself the frocks she never gets to, but don’t miss this earlier post from her about the human brain and desire

– Karyn Valino is spending the month revisiting patterns she sewed when she was new to sewing — read her intro and keep up with her series as it develops here

– Then there’s Liesl Gibson on living with plenty

– Fibre Sprite on the distinction between sustainability and wasting less

– and Kristine Vejar on the evolution of her Seam Allowance club (in which she also mentions a few more good shoe companies)


The case for expensive clothes: “The next time you buy something, spend a whole lot on it. Enough that it makes you sweat a little.” (thx, Kay)

Why I wear the exact same thing to work every day: “To state the obvious, a work uniform is not an original idea. There’s a group of people that have embraced this way of dressing for years—they call it a suit.” (thx, Jennifer)

The hypocrisy of “helping the poor”: “Every so often, you hear grotesquely wealthy American chief executives announce in sanctimonious tones the intention to use their accumulated hundreds of millions, or billions, “to lift people out of poverty.” …  In most cases, they have made their fortunes by impoverishing whole American communities, having outsourced their manufacturing to China or India, Vietnam or Mexico.” (thx, Elizabeth)

Vintage Kate Davies: “And we luxury knitters wrap ourselves in fuzzy notions of domestic continuity and tradition, consume mountains of expensive yarn, and somehow still manage to pass off the results as utilitarian and homespun rather than extravagant.” (thx, Brynn)

Vintage Ysolda: “I pretty much help people to make their own clothes for a living, but I make a very small percentage of my own wardrobe. In many ways, I’m not sure that opting out of the global garment industry is a solution.” (thx, Ashley)

– See also the URLs Bristol Ivy shared in this IG post

. . .

Double Basketweave Cowl kit in Bare at Fringe Supply Co.

In Fringe Supply Co. news, a lot of you have asked for photos of the Double Basketweave Cowl worked up in the undyed Sincere Sheep Luminous and I’m happy to finally have these to share. (Thanks to Jo for knitting the sample!) This version was also knitted with 3 repeats of the pattern instead of 4, for those who’ve wondered about making it a bit narrower. We have a good cache of the undyed cowl kits for you in the shop right now, and we’ll have more of the indigo soon! And in the spirit of Slow Fashion October, I’ll note that all Sincere Sheep yarns are responsibly sourced and naturally dyed.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll see you on the Slow feed.


PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere, Cowichan edition

Best new hat patterns — Fall ’15

Best new hat patterns — Fall ’15

Fantastic new hat patterns have been publishing at a furious pace lately (and I know a lot of you are formulating your holiday hat-knitting lists), so I thought it was time to round up some of the most enticing ones—

1. Karusellen by Erica Smith — very likely my next colorwork project

2. City by Mari-Lynn Patrick —simple chic

3. Weston Beanie by Mary Jane Mucklestone — lovely, delicate colorwork

4. Fair Winds Beanie by Churchmouse Yarns (free pattern) — classic cables

5. Manx by Andrea Rangel — captivating criss-crossing cables

6. Spire by Shellie Anderson — architectural allover texture

7. Ponderosa by Melody Hoffman — sweet mix of textures

8. Kringla Hat by Jennifer Hagan — lighthearted mix of cables and bobbles and fluff

Of course, if you’re looking for hats to knit, I highly recommend the Fringe Hatalong patterns: Audrey, L’Arbre, Hermaness Worsted and Laurus (so far). And for more hat ideas and inspiration, scroll through the whole hats tag.

New Favorites: from Farm to Needle

New Favorites: from Farm to Needle

First, can I just tell you: I am blown away by the response to the Slow Fashion October kickoff. I’ve been reading all of the comments and blog posts (linked from the comments) and Instagram posts and their comments and ensuing discussions and … wow! I’m a little fearful of my ability to keep up with it all! But so thrilled to see that this has struck a chord and that so many people are into it. I’m more excited than ever to see what everyone has to say and share this month.

Second: This post is weird. But New Favorites is all about patterns I’m dying to knit, right? And right now at the top of that list is my own pattern. Weird, weird, weird. A lot of you had asked me to write out my version of the vintage men’s waistcoat I knitted earlier this year, but I really wanted to rework it from the ground up — different weight, stitch pattern, shoulder shaping, the whole nine yards. So when Anna officially asked me if I’d like to design something for her book — now known as Farm to Needle — given that Anna is a vest fiend like me, I suggested doing just that. And the Anna Vest pattern was born. The thing is: I didn’t knit it, and it’s not my sweater. I wrote the pattern and enlisted my amazingly talented friend and master sample knitter Jo Strong to do the principal knitting for me. I did the finishing and sent the vest off to be photographed, and am left wanting one of my own. So there it is: on my New Favorites list, with all the usual longing. (I also want the model’s braids.)

There isn’t a single thing in the whole collection that I wouldn’t love to make and have, but to my great surprise, the one other pattern I can’t get out of my head is Dianna Walla’s Aspen legwarmers (and socks), which must surely be the most fabulous legwarmers in history. Yes, I did just profess my love for a pair of legwarmers.

Weird, weird, weird.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Dress-down sweaters

Knit the Look: Rachael Wang’s silvery cables

Knit the Look: Rachael Wang's silvery cables

You know my current obsession is slouchy dress-down sweaters over simple dresses, and I like ’em cropped, but I’m loving this long, all-platinum version photographed on Rachael Wang. To approximate her fisherman-cable sweater, all you need is Paton’s free pattern, the Honeycomb Aran pullover, knitted it in something luxe and silvery, such as Woolfolk’s Far in Color 03 or The Fibre Company’s Knightsbridge in Barley. Make it a size too big, and add a repeat or two above the hem.

If you’ve got the chops for sewing silk, you could easily make the dress to go under it. See April Rhodes’ Slip Dress pattern, which comes included with the Date Night Dress. Just cut it straighter and longer.

See Vanessa’s post for another look at Rachael’s outfit, head to toe.


PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Alex Yuryeva’s plaid pullover


Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

Elsewhere: Cowichan edition

Elsewhere: Cowichan links edition

Although I picked it simply because I loved it and wanted to knit it, I had hoped the pattern pick for the Fringe and Friends Knitalong this year (Pierrot’s Cowichan-style Geometric Vest) would stir up some interest in Cowichan sweaters — despite the fact that it’s Cowichan-style and not an authentic Cowichan. Happily, there’s been even more questioning and discussion than I had imagined. I have a Q&A coming up with panelist Andrea Rangel about Cowichan Valley and the people and their sweaters, which has always been part of the plan, but I thought I’d preface that today with a special edition of the usual Elsewhere links list: a Cowichan edition. These links should offer some background as well as some specific guidance for those planning to knit along.

Note, too, that I have a conversation coming up on Monday with panelist Meri Tanaka in which we talk about Japanese patterns, how to read them, and specifically how to read this one. So if you’re nervous or having any difficulty interpreting the chart, look for that on Monday. For now, some links—


Cowichan knitting history at Wikipedia (somewhat flawed, as all Wikipedia entries are) which also talks a lot about the wool

The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters
PLEASE READ BEFORE CLICKING: Panelist Kathy Cadigan told me about this documentary before the knitalong kickoff, and it’s been mentioned both in the comments here and on Instagram. This is a pirated film — it was based on knitting designer Sylvia Olsen’s thesis and is on YouTube without the filmmaker’s permission, so it is a copyright violation. Sylvia herself is conflicted about this, as discussed in this blog post of hers, because it’s apparently the only way to see it. Follow your own conscience.

The Cowichan Sweater of Vancouver Island, a great piece on how things went terribly awry when the Vancouver Olympics committee tried to make a Cowichan the official sweater of their Olympics, shared by Alina in the comments


I am not in possession of any of these, but plan to rectify that asap! Some are out of print, but used copies can be found—

Salish Indian Sweaters: A Pacific Northwest Tradition by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts

Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts (pictured above, photo courtesy of Jess Schreibstein)

Working with Wool: A Coast Salish Legacy and the Cowichan Sweater by Sylvia Olsen

Knitting Stories: Personal Essays and Seven Coast Salish-inspired Knitting Patterns by Sylvia Olsen

Thanks to @kathycad and @thekitchenwitch for the recs.


Several of you have seized on Kathy’s comment in Meet the Panel about trapping the floats on every other stitch, which is how true Cowichan sweaters are knitted. We don’t know of a tutorial online that’s specific to Cowichan, but this technique is also called the woven method of stranded knitting, and Kathy sent me two fantastic links:

The first — the two-handed Fair Isle technique by Philosopher’s Wool — is a great intro to the two-handed method of stranded knitting, in which she also demonstrates trapping floats every other stitch when working from the knit side of the fabric.

The second — Weaving two-handed Fair Isle in purl and knit by Jodie Gordon Lucas — shows how to work the same technique from the purl side, which you’ll do if you’re knitting colorwork flat.


A few people have asked where they can buy authentic Cowichan sweaters — i.e., from the Coast Salish tribespeople — or how to make a donation. I have googled but don’t feel good about linking to anyone selling Cowichans online without having a way to say for sure that they’re dealing fairly with the Coast Salish knitters. If anyone reading this does know of a sure, reliable resource that sells online, please let me know or leave a link in the comments below. And that goes for any links you think are worth sharing! This list is certainly far from comprehensive, so bring it on!

. . .

Wabi Mitts kits are back in stock at Fringe Supply Co

IN SHOP NEWS: The time is right for my Wabi Mitts, and the kits are now back in stock in all 8 gorgeous colors of Habu’s incredible linen-wool roving. And if you’ve been looking for any of the sold-out sizes or colors of bone and horn buttons — either the narrow-rim or concave styles — look again! We got a bunch in this week. Get those and more at Fringe Supply Co.

Thanks for a great week, and please have an amazing weekend!


PREVIOUSLY IN #fringeandfriendskal2015: Meet the Panel! (full series here)

New Favorites: Dress-down sweaters

New Favorites: Dress-down sweaters

My new favorite thing in the world is dresses. Sadly, at the moment, I only own one! Since finishing it while I was in Florida, I’ve worn my linen dress nearly every day. (Post about that coming soon.) But basically, all I want to wear is dresses right now, with other stuff layered over them. As we’re heading into fall, that means I’m thinking about those layers. What I crave — in addition to the sleeveless turtlenecks and vests I’ve been smartly lining up — is simple, boxy, slightly cropped, super casual sweaters. Sweaters with which to dress down a dress. A consult with my closet this weekend showed me this is a major void right now, thanks to my recent focus on cardigans. The two that are always on my list are Purl Bee’s Sweatshirt Sweater and Julie Hoover’s Sanford (along with Shellie Anderson’s new Trace, of course), any of which I want to knit a little bit wide and cropped. The same goes for these two newer additions to my list:

TOP: Element by Kirsten Johnstone, another classic sweatshirty shape

BOTTOM: Inscribe by Shellie Anderson, a perfect layering piece with that deep V


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Crazy good colorwork

New Favorites: Crazy good colorwork

New Favorites: Crazy good colorwork

Seems like every time I’m writing about Marie Wallin, it’s her colorwork. And almost every time I’m writing about colorwork it’s Marie Wallin. All my favorite things lately seem to be colorwork (including Julie Hoover’s Ashland from BT Fall ’15), so I better hurry up and get more comfortable knitting it. I want a fully stranded sweater, and right now I want it to be Sleet by Marie Wallin, above. I don’t want it to be alpaca and mohair, mind you, but the patterning and the shape of this are slaying me right now. I even want it in those exact colors. (I mean: Duck Egg, Steel, Clay, Pearl, Ancient, Drab, Carbon and Anthracite? Come on!) Bought the pattern the instant I saw it.

I’m also immensely smitten with this month’s free Rowan download, more amazing Marie Wallin colorwork, which is Jura, below. Exquisite.

New Favorites: Crazy good colorwork

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Trace