So nice to meet you!

So nice to meet you!

Stitches South is over and I’m gonna sleep for a few minutes and get caught up on the rest of everything, but I wanted to say to the crowd of you I got to meet this weekend how much I enjoyed it. You’re a bunch of lovely humans and it’s always a pleasure to put faces to names, but it’s also a unique sort of fun to be part of a community of people who have no qualms about asking to pet your sweater vest — or even try it on. So thank you for coming by and saying whatever you may have said.

Happily South will be in Nashville again next year, the last weekend of March, so put it on your calendars! And we’ll also be at the East Side Fiber Festival this June 27th. Meanwhile, I know a bunch of you followed suggestions from my things to do in Nashville post, and I’d love to hear how it worked out — especially if you went places I haven’t been to yet!

New Favorites: The hats of BT Men Vol 2

New Favorites: The hats of BT Men Vol 2

Yesterday Brooklyn Tweed released BT Men Volume 2, and my favorite patterns are the two beautifully cabled, perfectly unisex hats. Crag by Jared Flood, up top, features the most gorgeous staggered, interlocking horseshoe cables. Snare by Norah Gaughan, bottom, has more of a twisty-twining cable pattern that also looks like a lot of fun to knit. And thankfully both are written for worsted-weight Shelter so they’ll be just what I like a hat to be: quickly, deeply satisfying.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the Purl Bee three

If you can’t get enough of that stitch

If you can't get enough of that stitch

I’m trying to finish my grandma’s shawl before I cast on my L’Arbre Hat for the knitalong (am at the point of the loooong-slooooowww rows), and it’s sort of killing me to see all the hats forming on the #fringehatalong hashtag in the meantime! That stitch pattern is so addictive, I can’t wait to get back to it. But I was thinking the other day it’s sort of sad to have learned that nifty trick only to use it again rarely, if ever. Then over the weekend I was cruising around Pinterest and saw an image I’d seen before, had included in last year’s Pretty spring scarves roundup, and then forgotten about: the Purl Bee’s Trellis Scarf, seen above. This time my eyes popped right out of my head as I immediately recognized the same trick but used to very different effect. As with the stitch pattern used in L’Arbre, the stitch pattern for the Trellis Scarf is by Barbara Walker, from her beloved book A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. But in this case, the tucked strands are staggered to form a grid of X’s, or a lattice look. So if you’ve finished your hat and want more of that stitch, here you go!


Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Friday! And not a moment too soon. Things are pretty intense at Fringe HQ right now, with tons of exciting stuff going on behind the scenes — most pressingly prepping for Stitches South next week. (My weekend will be spent sewing miles of muslin drape for the booth walls. Wish me luck.) Who’s coming?

Meanwhile, Elsewhere—

– Did you hear? Brooklyn Tweed is moving to Portland

– The simplest circular need storage

Kids who start charities boggle my mind (thx, Doug)

– I’ve picked out my fantasy Craft Sessions class lineup. Now if I could just win that lottery …

– I might have to sew up an Orton, a simple oversized tote bag from Merchant & Millsfree pattern here (I just heard myself and laughed — because yes, I have so much spare time and so few tote bags! But still)

– Jaime and Amber went to meet the sheep behind their Heirloom Romney yarn and posted loads of adorable photos here and here

– I’m loving this trend of knitting patterns as Instagram posts: see Freebie Worsted Ankle Socks from madelinetosh and @wisktenmade’s Lamb hat baby pattern in the form of a step-by-step knitalong happening on her feed now over multiple posts

– See also: How to mend a small moth hole by Andrea Rangel and How to use a lifeline by Lori Graham

– Speaking of knitalongs, I know you’ve all just cast on for the Fringe Hatalong No. 2, but I want to also let you know about the Harrisville Designs knitalong-competition-with-prizes being hosted by my friends at Squam, of which I’m to be one of the judges — details on the Squam blog!

– And don’t miss Cirilia’s blog post about the evolution of L’Arbre.

Happy weekend, everyone — can’t wait to see your L’Arbre hats!


PREVIOUSLY in Elsewhere

Hot Tip: Off-center your buttons

Hot Tip: Off-center your buttons

Once you’ve worked out the specifics of where and by which method to knit the holes into a buttonhole band, it seems like an easy enough proposition to sew the buttons onto the button band in corresponding positions. And that’s not hard: Most people will line up the two bands, put a pin (or removable stitch marker) in each spot where a button should be sewn, and then commence sewing. But how often have you seen (or experienced) a case where, once the buttons are buttoned, the two bands no longer overlap correctly? You wind up seeing the buttonhole band plus 1/4 or 1/3 of the button band peeking out alongside it. It’s a common mistake: centering the buttons horizontally on the band.

What? How can centering the buttons be wrong? When a garment is on you (this applies to sewn garments and their plackets as well as sweaters and their bands), the two bands will naturally attempt to pull apart. The button doesn’t magically float in the center of the hole. Gravity and body mass cause the edge of the buttonhole to rest against the stitching of the button. So if it’s to anchor the buttonhole band directly over the button band, the stitching of the button needs to line up with the edge of the buttonhole. I used to have to stop and think about this every time, which direction to shift the button, but then I heard Pam Allen say it so plainly on a podcast: You need to sew the buttons slightly closer to the body side of the band. That’s all there is to remember. Sew the buttons slightly closer to the body side of the band.

ON A RELATED SHOP NOTE: These stunning blackened brass buttons I used for my vintage waistcoat are now available at Fringe Supply Co. I ordered a small batch of them awhile back to have a look at, and forgot all about them until I was digging around for the perfect buttons for this vest. I’ll be ordering more, but what I have on hand are now up for grabs! ALSO: the coolest little scissors you ever did see. Available in black, silver and gold.

Happy weekend!

NEW! Scissors and buttons at Fringe Supply Co.

PREVIOUSLY in Hot Tip: Mark your armhole depth

Hatalong No. 2 PREVIEW

Fringe Hatalong No. 2 PREVIEW and yarn notes

It pleases me greatly that so many of you have asked when the next Fringe Hatalong is. I loved having so many people knit along on the first one, the Audrey hat, and am happy you’re eager for more! So let’s talk about Hatalong No. 2:

This one is another allover textured stitch, but in this case it’s a really intriguing stitch combination I haven’t done before — and you probably haven’t either. It looks like a TON of fun, but it’s also just one combo/maneuver that repeats all the way up the hat, so I feel like it will be doable for everyone who can knit and purl. And the pattern is written out, not charted. (We’ll do charts next!) So if Audrey was a small step forward for you, this will be a fun one to try to your hand at. And if you’re a more experienced knitter, this should be plenty entertaining for you, too. Given the uniqueness of the stitch, you will want to swatch to get the hang of it (and check your gauge, of course) before you start your hat.

The pattern will again be free here on the blog, and I’ll unveil it next Thursday. Meanwhile, there’s the matter of yarn—

Because of the allover texture, I would recommend using a light color (solid, heather or light tweed) that will show off the stitch work and not compete with it. I’d steer clear of anything variegated or marled on this one. And the pattern calls for 140 yards.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Cirilia tells me the finished hat sample weighs 80g, so that’s roughly 111 yards. If you’re using the Road to China, that means you have about 19 yards to swatch with!

Recommended yarn: The pattern was just recently published but was written awhile ago for a book that was several years in the making, and the recommended yarn has since been discontinued. It’s written for the aran/heavy-worsted weight of Road to China from the Fibre Co./Kelbourne Woolens, which is a beautiful, luxurious blend of baby alpaca, silk, camel and cashmere. If you want to knit with the recommended yarn, check with your local shop to see if they still have any Road to China (not to be confused with RtC Light or RtC Lace), and if not, the good news is it’s available on Kelbourne’s website for as long as the supply holds out. Again, the hat calls for about 140 yards, so note that you’ll need two skeins in your chosen color. And if you use the code “Fringe25″ at checkout, you’ll get 25% off the RtC. (Thank you, Kelbourne!)

Suggested substitutions: I asked the designer to recommend some alternative yarns, and her suggestions included Fibre Co. Terra or Organik, Zealana Heron, and Malabrigo Rios.

Stash diving guidance: If you want to knit from stash and don’t have any of those yarns on hand, you want to look for 140 yards of something in the heavy worsted-aran range with the same baseline gauge as Road to China, which is 16-18 stitches per 4 inches. (If you don’t have the ball bands on every ball in your stash, or the band doesn’t list a baseline stitch gauge, I highly recommend looking things up in the Ravelry yarn database. You can search for pretty much any yarn on the planet and it will tell you the yardage, recommended gauge, fiber content, etc.) If you can find something with a similar fiber content, so much the better.

I took a dip into my own stash and what’s pictured above are three yarns I have handy that are in the right gauge range and I’m excited to swatch with. On the left is Purl Soho Worsted Twist, which is a heavier worsted with magnificent stitch definition.  In the middle is an unspecified aran-weight merino from Camellia Fiber Co. (Not currently available BUT Craft South has several colors of her exquisite Merino Aran.) And on the right is Lettlopi, the aran-weight Icelandic yarn that comes in a multitude of colors. (Note that the first two were given to me; the third I purchased at Tolt — and don’t worry, I also have lighter colors! This one just made the best photo, ha.)

So you’ve got a week to think about what yarn you might want to use. I’ll announce the pattern next Thursday, the 16th, and we can all get started swatching the fun stitch pattern and then get knitting!

Next of the Best of Fall 2015: Major turtlenecks

Next of the Best of Fall 2015: Major turtlenecks

Honestly, there’s so much good in the Fall 2015 collections we could probably talk about it all the way up until Fall. But another strong trend I can totally get behind is the major turtleneck. I’m starting above with the abbreviated version. From Elizabeth and James, these are two renditions of the same sweater: chunky, slightly cropped, split hem, and with a voluminous turtleneck. I might need to work a version of this into my knitting queue.

Then there are the two megas from Theory, below, which is a drool-worthy collection all the way around, including the most beautiful cape. But the turtlenecks! First we’ve got the austere, black wool cloth top with a massive rib-knit turtleneck. I’m still stuck on that idea of a sewing boiled-wool Linden and am now imagining knitting a huge neck like this to attach to it. Second is my idea of the Perfect Sweater, truly: simple grey-and-ivory marl with a neck you could get lost in.

Next of the Best of Fall 2015: Major turtlenecks

And then there’s J.Crew. Another voluminous but thin grey marl number with lighter grey neck and long cuffs. (Seriously, the long cuff idea was everywhere.) And then again with the wool cloth and rib knit combo, only this time in a kangaroo-pocketed pullover jacket-sweater that’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. Heaven.

Next of the Best of Fall 2015: Major turtlenecks