Return of the high-fiber tote

The high-fiber tote is back!

I’ve got things in the booth at Stitches Midwest (booth 429!) that some of you have been waiting for — most notably, the much lamented “High-fiber” tote bag. Well, today it’s also back in the webshop, now in the same size and shape as the Knit and Let Knit tote. So if you’ve been awaiting its return, here’s your chance to grab it! Also, at the moment, there are Bento Bags in all sizes and colors. (Note that shipping is on hiatus while we’re in Chicago but will resume on Tuesday morning.)

Have a great weekend, everyone. If you happen to be at Stitches, please do say hello!

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

See you in Chicago?

My beloved husband and I are loading Fringe Supply Co. into a van today and beginning our trek to Chicago (Schaumburg IL, technically) for Stitches Midwest. We’ll be in booth 429 and we’ve got quite the load of good stuff lined up, including some beauties that are not (yet) in the webshop. If you’re in the Chicago area and wondering how to get to Schaumburg to shop the marketplace, there’s a brand-new option for you this year: a FREE SHUTTLE from the Arlington Park Metra station. Market hours and details are also listed here. I’m excited to see a lot of you this weekend!

This does mean the shipping department will be closed while we’re away, so orders received between now and Monday will begin shipping next Tuesday, the 12th, and we’ll get those orders out just as quickly as we can. I’ll also have news of those new goods for you when I’m back.

I do plan to be blogging along the way …

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 …)

Yarn is magic

Yarn is magic

It’s late Thursday night as I’m typing this, and I’m supposed to be putting together a big, juicy Elsewhere list for you, but I spent the majority of the day up to my bloodshot eyeballs in spreadsheets, filing my sales tax return, and my brain is DONE. So instead I’m showing you a pretty picture of my Channel Cardigan in progress. Ooooohhhh.

I swear there were about seven hours during the spreadsheet ordeal where I had my teeth clenched and forgot to exhale. But then before I left the studio, I went upstairs to where this beautiful floor is and pulled everything out of my bento bag and took this picture — and in the five minutes I was with the yarn (not even knitting it!) a bunch of the stress just slid right off me. Yarn is magic.

Have a beautiful weekend, lovely people. Tell me what you’re working on!

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p.s. That ridiculously great pouch up there will be in the shop as soon as I can get it shot and listed, along with its friends. Sorry to tease you! But I latched onto it the moment it arrived.

New Favorites: Lena Samsoe’s fisherman cardigan

New Favorites: Lena Samsoe's fisherman cardigan

To call this Amanda cardigan a “new” “favorite” is the most hilarious of understatements. It’s been on my Ravelry favorites list for over a year, but it recently surfaced again. And it goes well beyond favorite and deep into obsession territory. I’ve long been planning to knit myself an ivory cardigan, to replace one I had to retire, and have been searching for just the right pattern. And you know I love nothing more than a good fisherman sweater. But I resolved to make my ivory cardigan an aran one after a layover in the Chicago airport in early June. Anna and I met up there on the way to Squam and found ourselves stalking a woman in the boarding area. We were convinced she was headed for Squam, too, and thought she might actually be one of our shuttle-mates. She was wearing flip-flops, jeans, a cute indigo floral-print top, and the most gorgeous handknit fisherman cardigan. We stared and whispered and speculated, and Anna finally worked up the nerve to ask her if she was Squamwardbound. She had absolutely no idea what Squam was and was definitely not who we thought she was. But in the aisle of the plane, standing around the baggage claim in NH, we couldn’t take our eyes off her sweater. So Anna approached her again and asked if she could take a picture. The girl was not a knitter, but she said she loved the sweater because she suspected it was handknit (I can’t remember how she said she came into possession of it), and it definitely was. It was gorgeous.

Not long after we were back, Anna texted me while I was out for a walk one night and asked me if I remembered that sweater. I said I hadn’t been able to get it out of my mind, and she asked if I knew a good pattern. I’ve bookmarked many over the past few years — remember it was the idea of knitting my own fisherman that made me want to know how to knit in the first place — and I eventually found my way back to this pattern, Amanda by Lena Holme Samsoe. I try really hard to focus on downloadable patterns here on the blog, but this one is from a book, Essentially Feminine Knits. I ordered it the moment I rediscovered the pattern, got it in my held mail upon return from NC, and there are a bunch of good sweaters in there.* I know this because I did flip through it quickly when I pulled it out of the envelope, but once I got to the Amanda page I laid it open on my desk and it’s been sitting there staring at me (and vice versa) ever since.

So I’ll be rearranging my to-knit list a little bit to make room for Amanda right after my Channel. (OK, there may be some overlap.) Anna wants it in wool and I want it in cotton or a blend (more Balance, perhaps?), and we’re thinking of knitting it together beginning in September. Not tag team, just knitalong. Let me know if you want to join in!

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*Check out this woman who seems to be knitting her way through all the sweaters in the book! Including two Amandas.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Groovy crochet tunic