Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

Colorwork! I wanted to include some colorwork knitting in this little Fringe Hatalong Series and got in touch with my friend Dianna Walla, who has a knack for beautiful stranded designs. We agreed it would be fun to do a variation on her adorable Nordic Knitting Conference Mitts, and that we would keep the colorwork to a minimum — just enough to adorn the hat, while keeping it accessible for those of you who might be tackling colorwork for the first time. The result is this charming beanie, which we’ve named the Laurus hat, as it looks a little like a wreath around the crown of your head. I hope you love it as much as I do. And thanks so much to Dianna for the fantastic free pattern!

Laurus is written for three different head sizes and two heights — slouchy and fitted — so there are lots of options. And depending on your size and color choices, could easily suit any decade or gender. See the preview post for yarn guidance and download the pattern to get started. Remember to share everywhere with hashtag #fringehatalong.

HOW TO SWATCH FOR LAURUS

This is a stockinette hat but colorwork typically affects gauge, as people tend to knit more tightly when doing stranded knitting. So you’ll want to swatch the colorwork motif and swatch in the round, for sure. The pattern gauge is 18 sts / 4 in and the chart is 6 sts wide. So to be safe, I would cast on 4 repeats, or 24 sts, to be sure you have at least 4 inches to measure. (6 chart sts x 4 = 24) I’ve been recommending Ysolda’s tutorial for how to swatch in the round, if that’s new to you.

HOW TO KNIT FROM A COLORWORK CHART

Everything I said about lace charts hold true here — working from the bottom right corner, how to make it less intimidating, etc. So review that if needed. The obvious difference is that instead of knits and purls being charted here, it’s only the color changes. So in this case a white box is your main color (MC) and a black dot is your contrast color (CC).

COLORWORK ADVICE

Beyond the chart itself, Dianna has some great posts on her blog about colorwork knitting, which are listed right here. I also wrote a bit about the basics in Colorwork for first-timers. So hopefully those posts will all prove useful. And as always, we and the rest of your fellow knitters are happy to help, so post your questions below.

FEATURED CHARITY

For the featured charity this round, I got in touch with Robyn Devine to see what she might recommend. Robyn has a blog called She Makes Hats, and the name is an understatement. She knits hats for charities, like many people, and it’s her personal mission to knit 10,000 hats for 10,000 people in her lifetime. (As well as persuading as many people as possible to knit at least one hat for charity.) So she’s an authority on which charities are a good match for which hats. For this unisex 100% wool hat, she made what I thought was the perfect suggestion: “Hats And More for War-Torn Syria is dedicated to helping the four million Syrian refugees around the world, with a focus on sending items to the refugee camps in Jordan most often. Items are sent to the Salaam Cultural Museum, which has volunteers bring everything from hand knits to medical supplies overseas on a regular basis.” As it happens, the Salaam Cultural Museum is in Seattle, where Dianna also hails from. So if you’re inclined to donate your hat, that’s our suggestion for this round — thank you, Robyn!

DOWNLOAD THE LAURUS HAT PATTERN and remember to share your progress with hashtag #fringehatalong wherever you post. And be sure to fave/queue the pattern at Ravelry. I’ll be on the lookout for photos everywhere, and will be answering questions posted in the comments below. (Sorry, I’m not able to reliably answer questions across multiple platforms!)

Happy knitting!

Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston

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Photos by Kathy Cadigan

Happy Field Bag Day!

Happy Field Bag Day!

Today’s the day! I’m so grateful for everyone’s overwhelming enthusiasm about the project bag, now officially known as the Field Bag, and patience while I found the right people to produce it, domestically and to my standards. And so beyond thrilled that it finally exists in larger quantities and that you’ll be able to get yours today at NOON CENTRAL TIME. (And that I finally have one, too!) So today at noon (CDT), make your way to Fringe Supply Co. or to one of the five stores that have it: Tolt Yarn and Wool (WA), Fancy Tiger Crafts (CO), The Yarnery (MN), Fibre Space (VA) and Purl Soho (NY). And as always, I want to see how you use it, so please be sure to Instagram or Tweet it and tag it #fringesupplyco.

UPDATE: We’re sold out again! We’ll have more in a week or two, but meanwhile please check with the stores noted above.

And while you’re there, make sure to pick up the terrific new Pom Pom, which also just arrived. Happy day!

Pom Pom 14 now available at Fringe Supply Co.

Knit the Look: Slouchy sweater perfection

Knit the Look: Slouchy sweater perfection

Here’s another take on the slouchy off-white sweater to pair with everything, this time spotted on an unidentified beauty in Paris. We don’t know the girl’s nationality, but her outfit is classic all-American with a twist. The sweater itself is dead simple, and could be easily improvised from the top down (in any weight you like) in seed stitch or waffle stitch or whatever your heart desires. Or if you want a pattern, I’d go with Heidi Kirrmaier’s Such a Winter’s Day. To get the look of the street-style pullover, knit it quite oversized — maybe 9 or 10 inches of ease. Leave a long side slit and work a few inches of ribbing at the hem on the front and back. And when you pick up the neck stitches, pick up a few fewer than recommended and knit two inches of ribbing instead of the prescribed funnel neck. For yarn, any off-white worsted would do, but the one on my mind is the one in my hands right now — Quince and Co’s Lark in Egret.

See Vanessa’s original post for the full-length look.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Elisabeth Erm’s everyday everywhere sweater

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Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

So about that yarn storage conundrum …

So about that yarn storage conundrum ...

Back in June, when we were just on the brink of looking for a house, I brought up the question of yarn storage — as in, what’s the safest thing for the yarn as opposed to the prettiest method of display. This weekend, I got to unpack the ridiculous amounts of stuff that go into my lovely but small new workroom — aka the third bedroom in our new house. Or at least I made a big dent in it: I still have plenty to do — including one very large box of mishmash that has to somehow fit into this storage wall — and perhaps when it’s “done” I’ll do my own Our Tools, Ourselves interview, but meanwhile I wanted to follow up about the yarn.

It was my hope with that Q for You that you’d sort of give me permission to stop storing yarn in plastic bags and bins, but the opposite wound up being true. In organizing these shelves, I’ve got one narrow row (below the large patterns-and-tools shelf) that’s designated for sweater quantities and upcoming projects — things that are on the brink of being used. And all the rest of the yarn is (in theory) in those four plastic bins along the bottom shelf. Those bins are mostly single skeins, many of which I bought long ago before I really knew what I liked, so that’s a project right there. Then there’s still a lot of actual beloved yarn in that big basket, which will move into these bins once I’ve separated out the chaff. So I guess those plastic bins are staying. I’m trying to talk myself into taking the on-deck yarns — the ones on the about-to-be-used shelf — out of their ziplocs. It would look a million times nicer, and possibly also ensure they do get used up efficiently, since they’d be right there staring at me in all their splendor. But I just can’t bring myself to do it! Yet.

So far, my favorite part of all this is my WIP shelf — the row of four folding rice baskets and two Field Bags. (One early prototype and one from the launch batch coming Weds!) I’m aiming to limit myself to what fits in this shelf: roughly two larger/garment/knitting projects, two sewing projects, plus two smaller or partial knitting projects in the Field Bags. And the same goes for the fabric stash — what fits on this shelf is plenty! It’s like portion control for the craft room.

Top 5 ways to use Fashionary (plus big news!)

Top 5 ways to use Fashionary

The results of my little #fringefashionarypeek challenge were delightful, and I promised to share some of the highlights here. BUT FIRST I have a little bit of other shop-related news for you: The project bags are coming!! I know I’ve been saying that forever — sorry to tease you for so long! — but what I mean today is that they are literally here in the studio, at long last, and also in boxes making their way to the five stores who’ll be first to stock it: Tolt Yarn and Wool (WA), Fancy Tiger Crafts (CO), The Yarnery (MN), Fibre Space (VA) and Purl Soho (NY). It will be available in those locations and at Fringe Supply Co. as of next Wednesday the 19th at 12pm CDT. So if you’ve been eagerly waiting, set an alarm! Also, it’s now officially called the Field Bag from Fringe Supply Co.

With that said, here are 5 creative ways to use Fashionary, with tips from pros and amateurs alike—

1. Design sketchbook
Not surprisingly, the number one use of Fashionary, whether the sketchbook or the panels, is by designers for designing. It was pretty awesome to get to peek at the sketches of Michele Wang, Olga Buraya-Kefelian, Julia Farwell-Clay (above: top, middle and bottom) and so many others too numerous to post. But please go look!

Top 5 ways to use Fashionary

2. Project planning
Many use Fashionary for helping them decide on and keep track of what they plan to knit and sew — some in the form of simple drawings and others with detailed notes and even swatches attached, such as @elizabethstreetstudio up top. @clairesounes has used hers to sketch out different options for a striped sweater. So in addition to her swatches of the different options, she’s  exploring how they’ll look over the whole garment. That is THOROUGH.

Top 5 ways to use Fashionary

3. Wardrobe planning
Whether you’re planning how to put garments together for the next season or your next vacation, this is a fantastic tool. One variation on the theme that I hadn’t thought of came from @bombasinedoll who uses hers to plot out how she’ll style garments for photo shoots.

Top 5 ways to use Fashionary

4. Logbook
You already know I use the notebook to keep track of my queue, which gradually becomes a record of my finished makes. @annespicks is smart enough to also record pertinent measurements on hers! I started a chart once upon a time to help me keep track of relative measurements of different sweaters, and don’t know why I didn’t think of adding them to my Fashionary. (I do note gauge, after all.) I’ll be adding that info post haste. Another clever one is @thefibersprite, who sketches sweaters she’s spotted in the wild and wants to remember.

Top 5 ways to use Fashionary

5. Freeing your inner artist
I know of at least two little girls who use Fashionary to give voice to their inner designer: the daughters of @nutmegster and @toltyarnandwool. But during the course of the challenge, it was also super fun to watch @anelementallife decide to give it a try, having thought she had insufficient drawing skills, and find that (as I’m always saying!) Fashionary makes it easy for anyone to draw well, allowing you to express what you thought you couldn’t. Sara quickly went from simply drawing a garment in her queue to plotting out her makes (with swatches) and envisioning garment pairings across seasons.

Top 5 ways to use Fashionary

Bonus: Random artifact
I had made a mention to DG in the studio one day about Nutmeg’s daughter’s drawings and how it looked as if she were designing clothes for Wonder Woman. He replied that he was going to document the entire wardrobe of Golden Girls (he loves nothing quite like a Golden Girls reference) and I encouraged him! He wound up creating a cultural history of TV and movie fashion — from the the Dynasty outfits (and hairdos) above to the three Elizabeth Taylors and more. Scroll through his feed to see them all.

All of which goes to show: There’s just really no limit to how it can be used! Definitely go check out all of the great posts at #fringefashionarypeek. And although the contest is over, I hope you’ll keep using the tag. I love seeing your sketches!

Have a creative weekend and I’ll see you next week!

Hatalong No. 4 PREVIEW

Hatalong No. 4 PREVIEW

When I began this Fringe Hatalong Series of occasional hat knitalongs, I didn’t intend for it to become a progressive class in knitting techniques — I just wanted it to be stuff I was dying to knit! Turns out what I’m dying for is a full range of knitting experiences, to keep my queue from getting stagnant in any way. So we’ve gone from the simple knits-and-purls of Audrey to the clever stitch trick in L’Arbre to a simple bit of lace in Hermaness Worsted, and now No. 4 is a little taste of colorwork! So it’s inadvertently turning into a survery course, and I’m so thrilled to see so many knitters of every skill level jumping in, with lots of people expanding their skills along the way.

So yes: colorwork is next. I’ll tell you that it’s a brand-new pattern written just for us and it will be published here on the blog next Thursday, August 20th. Just like with the lace in Hermaness Worsted, I’ll have plenty of guidance for you if this is your first time. And because it’s a mostly solid hat with just a little bit of colorwork, it’s a particularly great place to start. Remember, it’s just stockinette in the round! You can do it.

Yardage: The pattern is written for three sizes (18-3/4″, 20″, 21-1/4″) and two heights (7″ fitted and 8.5″ slouchy). Depending which size and style you go with, you’ll need between 90 and 135 yards of your main color plus 16-20 yards of your contrast color. So it’s a good stash-buster.

Recommended yarn: The pattern is written for Quince and Co’s Lark yarn, which is a gorgeous, smooth, 4-ply, worsted-weight, American wool. It’s got excellent stitch definition (thanks to the smoothness and the plies), which makes it great for colorwork as well as lace and stitch patterns. It’s also really reasonably priced, available at a bunch of great stores (the ones with the orange triangle symbol at that link) plus directly from Quince, and offers tons of great colors to choose from. The samples are knitted in Marsh and Bird’s Egg. I have three skeins I’m trying to decide between, pictured above — Marsh and Egret? Kumlien’s Gull and Marsh? Egret and Kumlien’s Gull? Haven’t decided yet.

Stash-diving guidance: As I said, this is a good stash-buster, so if you’re stash diving, just look for a worsted-weight yarn with the same qualities as Lark: smooth and neatly plied.

Whatever yarn you go with, make sure to choose two colors with enough contrast for the colorwork motif to stand out.

If you’re an old hand at colorwork, you’ll very likely want to whip out more than one of this darling hat. And if you’ve never tried it before, we’ll all be here to hold your hand! But in the meantime, spend a few minutes reading this past post of mine: Colorwork for first-timers. Everybody excited? The big reveal next Thursday—

I better hurry up and finish my Hermaness!

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PREVIOUSLY in Fringe Hatalong Series: A handful (or two) of Hermaness Worsted

The sweater that practically knitted itself

The sweater that practically knitted itself

Sleeveless, superbulky and stockinette. Apparently that’s the magic formula for being able to create a whole garment in tumultuous times! This thing must have knitted itself, though: It took so little time, in such small chunks, so far apart (in the midst of such chaos), that I have almost no recollection of doing it. But it’s so good! When I first seamed it a couple of weeks ago, I decided to do exposed seams on both the sides and the shoulders, but I wasn’t sure if I liked it so hadn’t woven in the ends. Once the neck was finished, I decided I did like the shoulder seams — the bound-off stitches along those edges have the same character as the slipped stitches along the armhole selvage, and the seams are so fat they look almost like epaulets. But the side seams weren’t working. Had I gone into it intending to do exposed seams, I would have slipped all of the selvage stitches, but since I had kept them in stockinette, that seam looked out of step with the other details. So I pulled out the mattress stitch, reworked the side seams to the inside, and voilà, I love it. (Although it does still need its final blocking.)

This one was knitted with the Shibui Merino Alpaca I bought when I heard it was discontinued. Held triple, it makes for the most gorgeous stitches — can you even deal with how beautiful that ribbing looks? But it is decidedly dense and heavy. There will be lots of times when that feels perfectly marvelous, but I also decided along the way that I want another one in something light and cuddly. And that when I knit that one, I’ll write up the pattern. So look for that down the road a bit.

>> Ravelry link

(Linen bento bag via Fringe Supply Co., of course.)