Updates and Elsewhere

Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Thank you for the all the great knitalong input yesterday, everyone! You’ve given me a lot to chew on. Meanwhile, Elsewhere:

— A short history of steeking. And of mattress ticking. And also the gansey

— The Knightsbridge collection I was just raving about is now available for download(s), as is the Josh Bennett Grandson Cardigan that I modeled for you in May

— Still a few days to learn sculptural random weaving

— The aforementioned Hole & Sons yarn should be coming along any day now

— I’ll have the chevre, please (thx, Jo)

Care tags (more)

Such beautiful photos from Melody’s trip to the Latvian handcraft “museum.” See also, wow. And aw geez, people you’re killing me!

If I weren’t already a James fan, this would do it … (thx, Leigh)

— Yarny fundraising campaigns in progress: Canon Hand Dyes at Indiegogo and Knit Wit Magazine at Kickstarter

Making as a habit

— And @ashveen is killing it with the Iceland photos

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What I really want is a Kathryn Davey wardrobe

What I really want is a Kathryn Davey wardrobe

I’m thinking idly about clothes even more than usual lately — wondering what it is I still own that’s not in the suitcase I’m living out of, how I’d like to dress myself for this new land of four seasons, what I might sew for myself when I get my machine back, and so on. The one conclusion I inadvertently arrive at is that what I really really want is a whole wardrobe of clothes just like the ones Kathryn Davey makes for her beautiful dolls. So chic, so simple, so color-coordinated. They’re like the clothes in my suitcase (I mean: black/white and indigo, right?) only with a uniqueness and handmade elegance mine are utterly lacking. Anyway, dolls as fashion inspiration — who knew?

For more of Kathryn’s amazing work, see her website and her Instagram.

Blog Crush: Cinnamon Girl of Maine

Blog Crush: Cinnamon Girl of Maine

Last night, I sat down at my computer. That sounds like the first half of a sentence, I know, not the whole thing. But it’s gotten to be a foreign experience. Feeling particularly drained from the past three months and happy for a little screen time, I was longing for a really good blog to fall into. Ashley Yousling highlights good feeds on her Instagram account sometimes and one of the usernames in her recent batch had stood out to me: @homesweethomestead. I thought, hm, I wonder if the homesweethomestead girl (Julie is her actual name) blogs. And then I spent a very happy hour reading Cinnamon Girl of Maine. Julie and her husband bought a farm in Maine a couple of years ago and, as she puts it, “The dream is simple. It’s to lessen our needs and meet as many of those left as we can.” Lots of people [raises hand] have this dream, and many act on it, and many of those blog about it. But man, this girl can write! It’s not a knitting blog — in fact, I read back as far as January (so far), and at no point did she write about knitting, per se. But the act of knitting — keeping her family’s heads and hands warm — is as integral to her life and photos as are the chickens and dahlias and jelly jars. It’s elemental.

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PREVIOUSLY in Blog Crush: Lori Times Five

New Favorites: Palmyre

New Favorites: Palmyre

I was at my friend Jo’s house recently and asked her what she’d been knitting. (She knits nonstop.)  She said, “Karen, I just finished my favorite thing I have ever knitted.” When she led me to it, I was surprised to see a shawl — and a rather basic looking one at that — but when I threw it over my shoulders, I fell instantly in love. It’s Nadia Crétin-Léchenne’s Palmyre, a simple stockinette shawl with a lace border. (That’s Nadia’s pictured above, to be clear.) Jo had knitted it as a sample for the Haus of Yarn Bus, using oatmeal-colored Kenzie, and it is so light and warm and lays so nicely on one’s shoulders. It’s just a magical combination of yarn and stitches.

Those of you paying extra-close attention will recall that the bus is driven by my dear friend Meg*, Jo’s daughter, and that Meg and the bus were also at Stitches Midwest this weekend, two aisles over from me. So when it got chilly in the convention center and all I had with me was all I have in my possession these days (living out of a suitcase and all), namely summery sleeveless tops, you can guess what I did. I borrowed that shawl, wore it for two days, and I did not want to take it off. Not sure I can live without one of my very own.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from the Knightsbridge collection

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*who we’ve been staying with, who taught me to knit, etc, etc …

New Favorites: from the Knightsbridge collection

New Favorites: from the Knightsbridge collection

I’ve been waiting forever to rave about these patterns and I can’t wait any longer! My friends Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley at Kelbourne Woolens (they sell the Fibre Company yarns) have been working for months on this collection for their newest yarn, Knightsbridge, and it’s so, so good. I saw the call for submissions last winter. Saw the teaser pics from the photo shoot last spring. Saw the yarn and the finished garments at the trade show in May. And nearly stole my favorite pullover right off of Kate when she was wearing it at Squam. (Remember I said then you’d be hearing more about that sweater she was pictured in.) They finally listed the patterns on Ravelry a few days ago and they should be for sale — along with the yarn — in a day or two. So I’m waiting no longer!

If you look at the whole Knightsbridge collection, you’ll see there are lots of good patterns by lots of good designers. And I love all of it far more in person than in the photos (which isn’t often the case). I’m particularly crazy about the stitchery on Maura Kirk’s adorable Harvey vest. I don’t think I could pull off that retro neck, but it would be easy to modify — and I will very likely knit that at some point. But as it happens, my very very favorites of the bunch are all by Kate and Courtney themselves:

ABOVE: Courtney’s Teegan sweater is freakishly similar to that little post-it sketch on my own pinboard, so obviously I’m gonna love it. And this is probably not the only time I’ll post about her Royston cap. Would you look at that amazing crown?!

BELOW: Kate’s Gillam is the One that Must be Knitted. (She slipped me a working copy of it awhile back, knowing the depths of my love for it. Thanks, Kate!) And her Henrietta hat is just a perfect cable beanie, complete with luscious doubled brim.

New Favorites: from the Knightsbridge collection

I have one and two half skeins of Knightsbridge in my stash, which is sadly all in storage at the moment. I’ll tell you that I saw the yarn the night before I saw the garments and I was a little underwhelmed by it. It seemed too soft to me — by which I mean too gooey for stitch definition and long-term wear. But once I saw how it knitted up, I was totally blown away. Look at those cables! I can’t wait to knit with it.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Lena Samsoe’s fisherman cardigan

Knit the Look: Mariska van der Zee’s EZ pullover

Knit the Look: Mariska's van der Zee's EZ pullover

Stretching the Knit the Look boundaries a little bit, I want to talk about this head shot of model Mariska van der Zee — or, more specifically, her sweater. Between the hair fiends, the fashion fiends and the knitting fiends, this photo was flying around Pinterest a few months ago, just about the time a big chunky sweater was beginning to be unthinkable. I don’t know who manufactured Mariska’s sweater, but the instant I saw it all I could think was how easy it would be to replicate. It’s Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Hurry-Up Last-Minute Sweater — a classic EZ recipe from her Knitter’s Almanac (what do you mean you don’t have it?!) — knitted in super bulky. It would be delicious in Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino or Blue Sky Alpacas’ Bulky.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Vasilisa Pavlova’s waffle sweater

Joanna Williams’ cabinet of textile curiosities

Joanna Williams' cabinet of textile curiosities

There’s a group of L.A. women I’m kind of fascinated by, one of whom is textile designer-consultant Joanna Williams of Kneeland Mercado. (Remember this hat?) Upping the ante, she’s recently created the Kneeland Co. Research Library, where she’s cataloging and sharing the magazines, books, textiles and objects she’s collected over the last couple of decades. There are snippets on the website at Kneeland Co. and an interview about the project on Heather Taylor’s blog, along with several drool-inducing photos of the space. So that’s gone straight to the top of my Things to Do Someday in L.A. list.

(Although I’m not sure if it will make me feel better or worse about having put twenty years of magazine tear in the recycling bin while packing …)