New Favorites: the perfect Summer aran

New Favorites: the perfect Summer aran sweater

One night last week, we went out for ice cream at the local hotspot in my sister’s tiny coastal Florida town. Bob and I were enjoying the warmth, but the temperature must have dipped below 80 or something — the locals were all wearing jean jackets or sweaters, and you could tell they were savoring the chance. It brought to mind this Martin Storey sweater I ran across recently and can’t stop thinking about: Naxos. It’s perfectly unisex and would also work beautifully as a woolly winter sweater, but I love it in this ivory cotton, pictured in a dreamy boatscape. Because, you know, heaven forbid there should ever be a time or a place where some form of fisherman sweater isn’t part of the equation.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Linda

Next of the Best of Fall 2015: Knit skirts

Next of the Best of Fall 2015: Knit skirts

Among the surprising items to make repeat appearances on the Fall 2015 runways is the knit skirt. I’ve already sung the praises of the amazing cable skirt and white top combo at A Détacher. Then there’s this lovely duo, above, from Michael Kors — a swingy cable skirt shown in camel and charcoal, one paired with a matching cable sweater and the other with a chunky rib-knit sweater. (As with nearly all of the sweaters in the Kors show, both have ultra-long sleeves folded into forearm-length cuffs.)

Then there’s the pair below, which remind of those nail-biting (<— that’s sarcasam) episodes of Project Runway where two designers emerge from Mood with the same or similar fabric. Who’ll use it best? The upper image is from Mulberry, and the lower one is Opening Ceremony, both looks built around a grey knit skirt cut sideways. (Both textiles look like cut-and-sew sweater knits to me, but someone will correct me if I’m wrong.) I love them equally — would happily live in either outfit — but all of the oversized work jackets and exaggerated chamois shirts in the Opening Ceremony collection make me swoon. That they’ve paired them with sweater tunics and dresses only makes me love them that much more.

Next of the Best of Fall 2015: Knit skirts

PREVIOUSLY in Fall 2015: A Détacher forever

Elsewhere

Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

I, my friends, am elsewhere this week. I fly to Florida today for a few days of much-needed sun and fun with my family. Under normal conditions, I would have made the week before my trip as stressful as humanly possible by trying to do two weeks’ worth of blog posts in one, making the vacation that much more necessary! But last week was already off-the-charts busy/stressful, so it just wasn’t an option. All of which is to say, apologetically, this may be my only blog post for the week. I’ll almost certainly turn up on Instagram (as both @karentempler and @fringesupplyco) and I can’t swear another blog post or two won’t happen, but right now it seems highly unlikely. So I leave you with some tasty links to chew on—

— Felicia on Simple Sewing 101, part 1 and part 2 (with more to come)

— And to go with that, Tilly outlines a basic toolkit for new sewers

These books are rather tempting

“Yarnkraft” = love

— Did you know BBC Radio has a Knitting show? Neither did I till my friend Sarah alerted me — I hope to give it a listen one of these days

Australia’s oldest man (109!) is still knitting (via Rebekka)

— I’m eager to see what Bristol gets up to

— And this made me laugh my arse off — love that Anna Maltz

Ok, I’m off — see you when I see you. Oh! And don’t worry about Fringe Supply Co. — DG will be here every day shipping orders just as fast as you can place them. Business as usual!

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PREVIOUSLY in Elsewhere

A shawl for my granny

A shawl for my granny

It’s funny how I’m always looking for shawl patterns that aren’t granny-looking, and now I’m looking for a shawl pattern for my granny. She’s turning 90 in exactly one month and — please don’t tell her! — I’m planning to knit her a shawl. The thing is, I’ve been planning it for at least a month and haven’t cast on a stitch yet because I’m hung up on what it should be. I feel like it should be lace — or at least lace-edged or something — but I don’t want to give her anything that requires really precise blocking every time it’s soaked. Ditto the yarn selection: Not only am I hesitant about giving her anything hand-wash-only, she lives in Texas! So wool is out of the question. Size-wise, she’s not a very large person, plus there’s that whole Texas aspect (this is really something to toss on in over-air-conditioned spaces), plus I need to be able to complete it in a month. So basically I’m looking for a simple, small-scale, decorative-edged shawl. For the yarn, I think I’ve settled on the dark purple Shibui Heichi in my stash (her entire wardrobe is shades of purple), which is 100% silk. Still hand-wash, but not wool. Right? So I’ve narrowed it down to the smaller Lola (top), a scaled-down Palmyre (middle) and the lace-less but still really pretty Marin (bottom), which I’ve wanted to knit for a long time. I haven’t knitted with 100% silk before and really don’t know what that will look or behave like, so it seems like my best bet is to swatch all three and see.

Still have never managed to pick the right shawl for my mom. :(

Vintage sweaters, snow days and Elsewhere

Vintage sweaters, snow days and Elsewhere

My friend Victoria Heifner of Milkfed Press (she prints the Yarn Pyramid) recently came into possession of a trove of vintage craft supplies and asked me if I would like these two Jack Frost pattern booklets from 1950-51, one book of men’s sweaters and the other of women’s. These vintage booklets always kill me. They’re generally not more than 32 pages each but they are so packed with patterns (even with the full-page photos), and every pattern is a little gem. They’re not tricksy or fancy in any way — just solid, useful, beautifully designed garments. Page after gorgeous page of them. The patterns are all much briefer than knitters have come to rely on these days; they assume you know how to knit, so they cut to the chase. The two books here have as many as 3.5 sweater patterns per page. I adore them, and clearly so did their original owner. The spines have been taped together after falling apart from use, and not recently — the tape has been there long enough to have yellowed and disintegrated by now. The ladies’ book also had the previous owner’s notes tucked inside. Such incredible treasure, Victoria, thank you. I can’t wait to knit from these.

The vintage vest I’m currently knitting is coming along nicely — you can see a glimpse of the finished back piece here. And I did actually sew last weekend for the first time in a year! Rather than diving into the Sonya Philip pattern I wrote about last Friday, I decided it would be wise to start back in with a pattern I already know — dust off those particular brain cells after their long disuse. So I traced off a modified Wiksten Tank and cut it out of some khadi cloth I bought at A Verb for Keeping Warm last spring. We had another snow day in Nashville yesterday, which for me means a work-at-home day, and I spent what would have been commute time finishing it up. I’ll show it to you soon!

Meanwhile, a mini-Elsewhere for your weekend clicking pleasure:

– There’s a promising new webmag called Woven Magazine that just kicked off with a terrific interview with Nashville weaver Allison Volek Shelton, who you’ve heard me raving about before.

– It’s been a long time since I professed my love of Karen Barbé’s blog, but anytime I want to be inspired by the way someone else’s mind works, a trip to her site always pays off. Her aesthetic, her photos … so good.

– I’m happy to hear that Kelbourne Woolens is planning to do Crochet Summer again — maybe that and this free pattern will mean I finally make that granny-triangle shawl I’ve been talking about for … how long?

– And have you ever seen anything more beautiful than these sheep?

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone — thanks for reading!

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Next of the Best of Fall 2015: A Detacher forever

Next of the Best of Fall 2015: A Detacher forever and ever

If I hadn’t already professed my undying love for Mona Kowalska of A Détacher, I would certainly be doing it now. Her Fall 2015 collection got all my juices flowing; clicking through the images, my brain was thinking up things to sew and knit faster than my fingers could sketch them. Mostly simple little tops and dresses my closet and I are longing for (albeit not in those particular prints — other than the amazing volcanic explosion print!), but the way she’s mixed those breezy little pieces with knits here is classic quirky Mona. Along with simple little change-ups like a woven vest over a sweater dress and knit vest over a woven dress. There’s just no one like her. And nothing, especially, like that look below: quilted jacket over dress-length aran sweater over quilted pants. Ms. K, can I borrow your brain for just five minutes? And also this quilted dress?

Next of the Best of Fall 2015: A Detacher forever and ever

PREVIOUSLY in Fall 2015: Wool and the Gang walks again

New Favorites: Linda

New Favorites: Linda

I’m truly savoring every cold minute we have left to us, living in dread of the swamp heat I know will be here soon, but also trying not to lose sight of the coming loveliness of Spring. I am eager to trade in my heavy wool pea coat for a cozy scarf or shawl, and there is one that shot straight to the top of my list last week: Linda by Deb Hoss, from Quince’s Scarves Etc. 4 collection. I love the proportions of this thing. And the dense side fringe? Even better than how great it looks is that it’s very cleverly achieved.

I have the exact right amount of yarn left over from my Bellows. Wouldn’t it make it easier on me, when I must give Bellows up for the season, to have this to take its place?

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Modified ganseys