Knit the Look: Big scarf season

Knit the Look: Big scarf season

I’ve had this scarf on the docket for Knit the Look, and along came Purl Soho this week with the perfect pattern for recreating it! Photographed on an unidentified fringe lover last February, it’s a generously sized scarf with a slightly-more-interesting-than-ribbing texture. Take Purl Soho’s Mistake Rib Scarf pattern (free pattern) and the recommended quantity of yarn, add fringe at both ends, and you’re good to go. The pattern is written for Purl Soho’s Mulberry Merino, which has a lovely palette, of which the Paprika Red is the closest thing to the scarf in question. If you want something a little more burgundy, try Quince and Co’s Chickadee in Barolo (pictured).

For the head-to-toe look at this outfit, see Vanessa’s original post.


PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Marihenny Passible’s black cable beanie


Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

Someday vs. Right Away: Outerwear

Someday vs. Right Away: Outerwear

I’m having a sewing moment in Someday vs. Right Away today, because what’s feeling out of reach right now is outerwear. Specifically, the Cascade Duffle Coat by my friend Jen Beeman over at Grainline Studio. Jen released this pattern last winter and my jaw dropped. Rendered in grey or army green (maybe with a fur-trimmed hood!), it’s truly my dream coat. And developing the skills to make my own seems like a goal worth setting. Meanwhile, I might have to try my hand at Jen’s newly released Tamarack Jacket (quilty goodness) or Seamwork’s Camden cape. I even have a piece of wool that would work nicely for either one. Do I dare?

(Dear Seamwork: Please, please, please make copy-shop versions of your patterns. I would have bought several by now … Love, Karen) [EDIT: apparently they do! It’s just not clear on the product pages. Woohoo!]


PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Fingering-weight lace

New Favorites: For him

New Favorites: For him

So that stockinette sweater I’m about to be knitting for my poor handmade-sweater-deprived husband? I’m harboring fantasies that after I finish this one, I’ll get away with knitting him something more interesting. I’d love to knit and see him in any of these—

TOP: Shire by Lisa Richardson looks especially great in this low-contrast color palette

MIDDLE: Cotswold Henley by Meghan Babin features some first-rate texture blocking

BOTTOM: Mount Robson Pullover by Jessie McKitrick, well, you know how much I love a military-inspired sweater

Might just have to knit that last one for myself.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mega blankets

Cowichan-style Knitalong — the WINNERS

Cowichan-style Knitalong — the WINNERS

I have to say, I think it’s funny that there’s an expectation of prizes with big knitalongs. To me, the prize is your sweater! And there have been so many winners in that regard. I think I said already that I was expecting fewer sweaters to come out of this Cowichan-style Knitalong than the last one (it’s a vest, a Cowichan-style vest, from a Japanese pattern, with colorwork worked flat …) BUT I am so beyond thrilled with all that has come of it. Everyone who has participated so far — and it’s by no means too late! — has been so thoughtful, inventive, enthusiastic and eager to try new things; it’s just been inspiring and heart-warming all the way around. It’s really hard to pick favorites or prize-winners, but I’m glad for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on these three—

ABOVE: The grand prize winner — who’ll receive a $100 gift certificate to Fringe Supply Co. — is Ella Gordon. We talked a lot during this knitalong about cultural sensitivity issues relating to the appropriation of the Cowichan style. Ella was working from a different Japanese pattern, which had teepees as the main motif. If you’re familiar with Ella, you know she is a serious student of knitting traditions and a collector of sweaters from across all of them. She also lives in Shetland, not the PNW, and teepees have no particular cultural meaning for her. So for all of those reasons, she replaced the teepees with the croft houses that dot her own native countryside. I found it both clever and touching, and her finished vest is just fantastic. You can read all about it and see more photos on her blog and her Instagram feed, @ellalcgordon.

And I’ve got two $50 gift certificates for these two:

Cowichan-style Knitalong — the WINNERS

Jess Schreibstein, above, played around with much more ambitious and traditional motif ideas before settling into a minimalist version of a Cowichan-inspired vest. She tackled the Cowichan method of float-trapping* — I’m so happy about how many people took this on! — and wound up with a garment that’s totally her own and looks great on her. For lots more gorgeous pics of this vest in progress, see her Instagram feed, @thekitchenwitch.

Cowichan-style Knitalong — the WINNERS

At a glance, Claire Allen-Platt’s finished vest looks like a great garment that’s pretty true to the pattern (and obviously I approve of her color usage!) but I think she’s one of only two (?) people to knit it in the round and steek it. She also tweaked the motifs a tiny bit to make the main one a little less snowflake-like — and it fits her perfectly. Tweaked and steeked, I like it. See her Instagram feed for more, @claireallenplatt.

Ladies, send me an email (karen at fringeassociation) to collect your prize!

If you haven’t seen the full feed, check out #fringeandfriendskal2015 on Instagram, where you’ll get to see @nappyknitter’s socks, @luckypennyknits’ dog sweater, original designs by @carolsundayknits and @whit_knits, and so much more. And like I said, it’s never too late to jump in. We still have two more panelists to hear from!

*See the video tutorials linked in this post.


Fibery links for your clicking pleasure

I’m tardy in casting on my Seathwaite for the #fringehatalong. It didn’t seem like the right thing for last week’s trip, when I’d be knitting in company at all times, and I haven’t knitted a stitch of anything since I got home. But I will be casting on soon (so many beautiful hats on the feed!), and for anyone else who hasn’t already gone there, I want to mention that Kate posted a full tutorial about how to work the join round for the folded brim. And also, in golden Kate fashion, how to wear your Seathwaite. Elsewhere:

– I’m eager to listen to Pam Allen on the Woolful podcast. If you’re wanting even more from Pam, I recommend the whole archive of (which I’ve heard may be getting a revival with a new host! fingers crossed)

The history, science and benefits of wool

The mad scientist of Levi’s

– and What we can learn from watching kids craft (Lessons I need to learn!) Related: best Instagram pic ever

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone — thank you for reading!



New Favorites: Mega blankets

New Favorites: Mega blankets

There’s something so incredibly irresistible about a massive mound of wool to curl up under, isn’t there? (Especially, for some reason, when it’s pictured in a completely impractical shade of white.) I’m currently dreaming of these two beauties:

TOP: Koselig Blanket by Wool and the Gang is knitted on US50 needles in herringbone stitch, with the perfect fringe (also available as a kit)

BOTTOM: Falling Bobbles Blanket by Purl Soho is knitted on US15 needles and sprinkled with giant bobbles (free pattern)


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mitts and more mitts

All’s well that ends well

All's well that ends well

Then the darling six-year-old Chinese boy in the middle seat turned to me and said, “What is that? Are you making a glove?” I said, “I’m making a sweater.”  “Wow, that takes a long time.” Nod.

“Did you make this whole sweater all by yourself?” he asked, gesturing toward my Bellows cardigan.

“I did.”

“THIS sweater?” he repeated, pointing more emphatically.

“Yes, I made this sweater.”


After we discussed how long it took (not very long — big stitches) as compared to the one on the needles, he thought for a minute and then asked if there are any colors besides yellow and pink or purple. I clarified that the two sweaters under discussion were actually two different shades of grey, not pink and purple, and grey is all I had with me on the plane (my waste yarn is yellow). Indicating Bellows again, he said, “This could be a different color,” to which I replied, “It can be any color you want if you make it yourself — that’s the beauty of making things.”

We were nearing the end of our flight by this point, and he had already given me tiny lectures about clouds being water (“if I tried to step out onto one, I would fall through to the ground and die”); planes being “hard to people but soft to the ground” (if the wheels hit the ground wrong “the whole plane could go kapow”); and the existential fact of grown-up deaf people who don’t know what their names sound like. “I get curious into everything,” he told me at one point with a bit of sigh of resignation, like it was his burden to bear. So I was not surprised that these were his parting thoughts on the subject of sweater making:

“Once upon a time, you might want to make a sweater a certain color but the King would say [voice of doom and authority], ‘NO. You can only make it THIS color.’ But then they changed the rules.”

I wish I’d taken a picture of him to add to my other favorite moments of the week — an action-packed 48-hour holiday photo shoot with Kathy (which necessitated a visit to Drygoods Design), a quick pilgrimage by ferry to Churchmouse, dinners with good friends, knitting all day Saturday at the Tolt anniversary with the other Farm to Needle book contributors, meeting lots of you, seeing not only the book in 3D for the first time but four Tolt staffers wearing their version of my Anna Vest to the celebration! Including Anna herself (who wore the test knitter’s). All in all, a marvelous trip — despite the bumpy start.

Reading-glasses photo by Kathy Cadigan