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

Farm to needle: Benjamin Hole talks about getting into the yarn biz

Farm to needle: Benjamin Hole talks about getting into the yarn biz

As you know, I’ve been following British farmer Benjamin Hole and his sheep on Instagram for years, danced for joy last April when he announced he was going to mill some of his fleece into yarn, and couldn’t believe my luck when I actually snagged a bag of the beautiful DK-weight Hole & Sons wool ten weeks ago. Unless you raise sheep and spin (and dye) and knit, it’s uncommon (though thankfully no longer unheard of) to know exactly what sheep grew the fleece that became the wool you’re knitting with. To have a treasured sweater vest in my wardrobe knitted from the fleece of sheep I follow on Instagram is pretty wacky and wonderful. And I’ve enjoyed getting to know Ben a tiny bit along the way. This is perhaps the ultimate example of what I mean when I say I want to have more of a connection to the clothes on my back.

The day after I wrote that blog post comparing the yarn release to a unicorn sighting, I got a really lovely email from Ben, who, as you’ll see below, appears to be a thoroughly lovely person. He agreed to answer some questions for the blog and I thought now that I’ve shown you my vest would be a good time. I wish I could say it’s tied in to the release of the next batch, but we’re apparently not too far away from that. Be sure to follow @benjaminhole and @harpstone, Ben’s Aunt Sue, for further news!

And with that, here’s Ben—

Your family have been sheep farmers for years but, like many/most farmers, had been selling the fleece off to the anonymous wool market to be blended into mattress stuffing or who knows what, correct? How did the idea evolve that you should start spinning some of it into yarn?

That’s right, yes. The sad truth is that over the last few decades wool has become something of a forgotten product in the UK. Falling prices have meant that it almost costs more to shear the ewes than the fleeces were worth to sell, so we really saw shearing as something we had to do for the comfort of the ewe during the summer months, rather than as a business venture. But this didn’t really sit well with us, not only because we believe wool is a fantastic, sustainable product, but because we felt that our wool had a story to tell. When you shear a ewe, you notice that each fleece is as individual as the ewe itself. It also varies how it grows throughout the seasons, dependent on weather conditions, the quality of the grass that grew that year and so on. So, really it seemed an incredible shame to pack this wool off into anonymous sacks, to be mixed in with thousands of other fleeces from across the country, and for this story to be lost. So, last year we started looking into other markets for our wool and we decided on yarn. This is where Hole & Sons yarn began.

Not all of your sheep have what I’ll call “yarn-grade fleece,” right? (Is that a term?) Did you know or intuit that some of them did — your Poll Dorsets — or did you just start asking around about your flocks and the possibilities?

Funnily enough the British Wool Marketing Board pay us more for our North Country Mule wool than they do for our Poll Dorsets, though you’re right, we knew it wasn’t yarn-grade fleece. We chose to spin the wool from our Poll Dorset and Poll Dorset cross ewes, for three reasons really: Firstly, the breed itself is iconic to the area, and such a familiar sight on our farm. Secondly, the quality of the wool is great. I’ll be honest: it’s not cashmere and if you’re used to merino, well, this will feel a little different. It has a soft, slightly crisp feel, that will further soften with working and wear. But it’s a dense and durable wool, and whatever is made from it will be hard wearing and stand the test of time. Thirdly, we chose to spin our Poll Dorset wool because of its relative scarcity as a yarn product. Because of its high quality and density, the vast majority of it is swiftly snapped up by bedding manufacturers. We felt we should do our bit to make this lovely wool more widely available as a yarn too.

Farm to needle: Benjamin Hole talks about getting into the yarn biz

How large is the flock?

Ah, well asking an Isle of Purbeck farmer that question is a bit like asking a lady her age, ha! Our Poll Dorset and Poll Dorset Cross flock stands at around 400 breeding ewes and on average each have two lambs at foot throughout the summer months.

So you decide you want to make yarn; did you start by simply approaching mills and opening up conversations? Did you go into it with any ideas about what kind of yarn you wanted to make — the weight, spinning style, etc. — or did that all come through discussion with the mill?

First and foremost it was important for us to find the right mill. The story behind the yarn was so important to us that we wanted our wool to be treated with a delicate hand and the care and respect it deserved, so we avoided the larger mass producing mills. Instead we got in contact with Sue Blacker from the Natural Fibre Company. I’ll be honest, at the time I knew nothing about yarn (and believe me I still have so much to learn!), but I had an idea of how I wanted it to look and how I wanted the colours to reflect the Isle of Purbeck. The team at the mill were great — they offered a completely bespoke service and recommended I start with Double Knit yarn. Using small mills like this isn’t the fastest way to produce yarn, nor is it the cheapest, but we feel that reconnecting people to the land and the work of true craftsmen is far more important than ‘keeping the margins down’.

Had you ever thought about fleece in terms of micron count and staple length before, or was it all just fleece? Have you enjoyed learning about the finer points of sheep hair?

As I said earlier, sadly wool was a little overlooked in the past, but now all that’s changed. When I roll up the fleeces after shearing, I’m constantly testing the ‘spring’ of the staples and admiring the intricacy of each fleece. I am thoroughly enjoying learning more about wool. The silly thing is it’s been right there in front of me all this time, but now I’ve seen it in a new light, I can’t stop!

Farm to needle: Benjamin Hole talks about getting into the yarn biz

I was thrilled when I first heard you were doing yarn and even more thrilled when I saw that it was lovely rustic heathers. What was the dyeing process, and how did you go about settling on colors? I’ll say up front that I saw that ball of charcoal yarn on your IG feed long ago and I would like to order a bag of it, please. Also, any chance of an undyed version?

The dyeing process was a fun one — the beauty with working with a small mill is that they indulge you in your bizarre ideas. Like I said, I knew nothing about yarn when I set out, but I had a strong idea of how I wanted it to look. Firstly, being a very pure coloured wool I wanted to avoid it looking at all synthetic, so I asked the mill if they could introduce some flecks of grey into the wool to give it a textured finish. At first they recommended introducing a small amount of wool at the carding stage from a dark-fleeced ewe from someone else’s farm. But, I was determined to keep it a 100% single-origin product from our farm and our Poll Dorset Ewes, so we played around with a few ideas and eventually came up with a method that worked. After the fleece was washed, dried and carded, we dyed a very small amount (about 2%) of it a dark grey, then re-carded it back in with the undyed wool. This created our ‘Fog’ yarn. The other colours were achieved by overdyeing this yarn, with a ‘Coast’ blue and a ‘Clay’ brown. Our next batch, which will shortly be making its way onto the horizon, will also include that darker ‘Shale’ grey (and yes, I’d love to send some your way!). Undyed is something I will certainly think about in the future, but at the minute we’re really having so much fun experimenting with the dyes!

Right now you’re selling the yarn directly to us rabid yarnaholics at a really lovely price. Do you have any plans to increase production and sell it through shops? Or are you keeping it small and direct?

As far as increasing production goes, to be honest we’re going to let this grow very organically and see how it goes. I guess it’s important to remember that wool is only a small aspect of caring for sheep. There is so much work involved, from lambing, worming and foot trimming, to hay making and fencing, right down to drystone walling and even hedge planting. So, those duties must always come first, but I am very keen for our yarn to grow as time will allow. With regards to selling direct, this has been one of the most enjoyable parts of all of this. Modern-day agriculture has changed so much that direct selling is now almost impossible. Instead large corporations and supermarket chains tell us what we’ll get paid and, well, we just have to go along with it. So, being able to sell direct in this way, and cut out the middleman, has been a breath of fresh air. Not only is it nice to be in control of your own product, but I feel that selling this way really is ‘Farm to needle’ of which we as a family have had a hand at every stage. So, for now, I’m happy to keep it relatively small batch and direct.

Going back to that moment you first imagined making a yarn, how has the reality compared to the dream? Is it an adventure you’re keen to continue or expand on? And what’s been your favorite part?

The reality has far surpassed the dream. I had no idea yarn would be this much fun, and it’s been quite an eye opener to discover just how many yarn addicts there are out there! It’s been a huge learning curve, and I’ll be the first to admit that I completely underestimated the work involved in not only establishing a yarn brand but actually packaging and selling it. And I certainly kept you all waiting a lot longer that I had hoped to. (Sorry!) But its been a wonderful learning curve all the same. Probably my favourite part about it all has been seeing what people have made from it. People have been sharing their creations on Instagram with #holeandsonswool (yourself and that amazing waistcoat included), something which I hope will grow as we sell more yarn. You have to understand that we are just an honest farming family who live in the middle of nowhere. On a busy day I might talk to a handful of people, so seeing our yarn from our sheep scattered from Australia to America is so overwhelming and incredibly humbling. Thank you all for your support.

It sounded from your Woolful interview like maybe there aren’t any knitters in the family at present, but I hope you’ve gotten to hold something made from your wool by now. Any plans to take up knitting? ;)

Well my Auntie Sue knits a little, and has been playing around with some of our yarn, so it’ll be great to see what she makes. The biggest knitter in our family was my Grandmother. Sadly she passed away a few years ago — she would have absolutely loved to see this venture grow. I haven’t had anything made yet, demand was so overwhelming that every ounce of yarn was sold, but I’m determined to hold back some this time and have something made. Are there any knitting volunteers out there?! Ha. As far as me taking up knitting goes, well I’m not quite sure how that would go down with my friends at the pub, but one should never say never …

Farm to needle: Benjamin Hole talks about getting into the yarn biz

Vintage waistcoat glamour shots (with bonus Modified Wiksten 1a)

Vintage waistcoat glamour shots (with bonus Modified Wiksten No. 1a)

Here’s why this vest makes my heart sing:

1) The marriage of yarn and pattern. Feeling very lucky to have scored a bag of Hole & Sons wool, I was determined not to squander it. I wanted to knit something pragmatic and hard-working. Old-school. Maybe a little bit British. Something a lot like the yarn, in other words. Being a life-long vest lover, and this being vest season (waistcoat season, as the Brits would have me say), I thought a vest was in order. And when I stumbled across this WWII-era, British, knit-for-the-troops waistcoat pattern, I thought it might be just the thing. And I was correct! As I was knitting it, it felt almost like the yarn was becoming the thing it was destined to be! It also taught me something, in that without that pattern I would never have thought to try this DK-weight yarn on US9 needles, but this particular DK is very happy at this gauge. I believe it will bloom and relax and soften beautifully over time — much better than at the tighter gauge I would have chosen to knit it at.

2) Fun and successful mods. After posting about how I didn’t quite love the swatch — the stitch pattern, in this yarn, felt a tiny bit frumpy to me — and that I was contemplating stockinette, Annri in the comments suggested trying 2×1 garter rib instead of 2×2. The minute she said that, I realized 3×1 was probably the thing that would please me, and it was! (Thank you, Annri!) Of course, that’s an asymmetrical pattern, 3×1, and a vest is a symmetrical object. So I had to do a little bit of finessing to get the pattern to match up correctly at the side seams. In order for the front edges to be symmetrical, while keeping those side seams perfectly matched, one front piece needed one more stitch than the other and I had to adjust one of the armholes by one stitch so that the armhole edges would match, as well. (They don’t quite on the back because I didn’t think about the armhole aspect until after I’d finished that piece and was casting on the first front.) I also tinkered with the armhole depth, and changed the pocket edgings and armhole edgings, not liking the way they were in the original pattern. Fortunately, I’m happy with the outcome on all of those questions.

3) New tricks. In addition to my first inset pockets — my new favorite knitting trick — I finally knitted a vertical button band, after preaching their merits for how long? It took me a full week to knit that 52″ band and seam it on (I elected to knit it on 5s), whereas a picked-up band would have taken an evening, but it was 100% worth it. Look at it! So this simple little vest included multiple new triumphs.

4) Wardrobe appropriateness. As we’ve been discussing here for awhile now, making one’s own clothes is hard. Countless people (me included) have lamented our collective tendency to make things we want to make, which isn’t necessarily the same as things we want to wear. It’s a hard (and costly!) lesson to learn, and the wardrobe appropriateness of this vest — the fact that it will work for me for as long as it lasts, which I expect to be a good long time — gives me hope for my ability to choose well more and more often.

In short: I nailed it on all of those counts. And if that sounds like I’m bragging, please understand I’m not! I’m just so happy to have gotten it right this time of all times. Because if I’d gotten to the end of this project and it hadn’t been right, I’d be heartbroken, given the specialness of the yarn.

There was a moment where I thought it was not quite right — and not quite right enough that it might not get worn. The back neck is narrow enough, and the shoulder shaping straight enough, that it was sitting a little awkwardly on my shoulders, almost like a halter. And I’d also seamed on a little too much button band fabric on the first stretch of it (learning as I went, of course). But as is so often the case, blocking saved the day. I was able to stretch the back neck and shape the shoulders a tiny bit, and blocked the body out a little longer so the button band seems fine. It means the sweater wound up being slightly longer and slightly broader in back than I had hoped, so I may wear it a little differently than I had initially envisioned. But it’s still immensely wearable. And I can’t wait to watch it age.

And now since I’ve gone on about this one quite enough, I’ve put all of my modification notes and details (and more photos) on Ravelry.

Pattern: Spiral-Spun Waistcoat by Jaeger (free vintage pattern)
Yarn: Hole & Sons first batch in Fog
Buttons: Blackened brass from Fringe Supply Co.

Vintage Waistcoat glamour shots (plus bonus Modified Wiksten No 1a)

Now can we talk about my top? When I showed you my striped Modified Wiksten No. 1, I mentioned I wanted to cut the same exact pattern in a drapier fabric. This is the magnificent Merchant & Mills linen, which I ordered from Verb having seen only a photo and a name in their newsletter. It’s called Knapsack and I expected it to be a perfect “army drab” green, but when I pulled it out of the envelope it was this dull, dark grey-brown. Oh well, good fabric for testing my redrafted pattern, so I cut.

I’m very happy with this top, don’t get me wrong. But the verdict on my redraft is that it’s still not quite there. When I pulled this on before it was hemmed or the neck and arm edges finished, it was my ideal shape and length. The little bit of loss at each of those edges makes it slightly less so. So I’ll be tweaking it again. But meanwhile, I’m in love with this fabric and color, and the top will get tons of wear.

Here’s the funny thing: I was debating doing exposed bias facing at the neck and armholes, thinking maybe it would add a little bit of interest. I decided against it, did the armholes correctly, then accidentally attached the neck facing on the wrong side. The universe overruled me again! I realized it after sewing the first seam, while I was pressing it open, and decided to go ahead and finish it and see how it looked, fearing it would look all wrong being just the neck and not the armholes. Plus I knew this meant I was going to have to do my top-stitching that much more perfectly, and that much closer to the edge, so it would look finished and not flappy. After letting out several of my favorite curse words, I took a deep breath, sewed that edge verrrry slowly, pulled it on, and it’s perfect. Thanks for stepping in, universe!

Question for you sewers: Why do my hems on these always flare so?

Things to do in Nashville (for Stitches South!)

Things to do in Nashville

Between my having implored you to come shop Fringe Supply Co. at Stitches South and the fact that I get asked this a lot, I thought I’d put together a list of some things to do/see and places to eat in Nashville  — whether you’re coming April 23-26 for Stitches or just any old time. Keep in mind I’m still new here, so some of this is first-hand and some is based on reputation. But I hope you’ll find it useful!

YARN STORES

Haus of Yarn
My first yarn store and, thus, first love. It’s way out on the west side of town so you’ll need a car or a cab, but it’s big, bright, well-stocked and worth the trip. Note that their Yarn Bus (commanded by my dear friend Meg Strong) will be in the Stitches marketplace, so you can get a taste of it there if you don’t make it out to the mother ship.

Nutmeg
Quite new and quite small, but what she has is good — a combination of knitting and sewing. And it’s in the Shoppes on Fatherland in East Nashville, see below. Pop in to Bella Bakery while you’re there for my favorite egg sandwich in town.

Bliss Yarns
I’ve not been to Bliss yet, south of town in Brentwood, but hear great things about it. Like Haus, it’s not really near anything else on this list, so you’ll have to plan for it. They’ll also have a booth at Stitches.

Craft South
This is Anna Maria Horner‘s new shop opening this summer in the 12 South neighborhood (see below), sadly not in time for Stitches but I’m mentioning it for the sake of anyone visiting/reading later on.

(Note: Haus, Nutmeg and Craft South are all Fringe Supply Co. stockists.)

FIBER/FASHION STUDIOS

There are so many amazing makers in this town and many of them either have walk-in hours or are happy to let you shop by appointment. Some (most?) of the following take appointments, just check their websites or contact them and inquire!

Allison Volek Shelton of Shutters and Shuttles is the weaver whose work I so admire, and she shares studio space with Jamie and the Jones, who make all sorts of clothes and accessories I covet. Their very cool studio is southward in the Berry Hill neighborhood.

Elizabeth Suzann designs beautiful, wearable clothes that are also made in her Berry Hill studio, very near Allison and J&J.

Camellia Fiber Company, of course, is Rebekka Seale, who should be sharing my booth at Stitches if all goes as planned. So if you’re coming for that you can meet her there and buy her yarn at the show. Her studiomate is Lisa Garcia of Sonodora Handmade. They’ll be moving out of their current studio at the same time as Stitches, so you might have to try Lisa on a future visit if she can’t open up for you that particular weekend.

– Also neighbors/friends of Fringe are jeweler Emily Howard of Consider the Wildflowers and ceramicist Morgan Williamson of Handmade Studio TN.

– Plus there’s Amanda Valentine, Emil Erwin, Bone Feather, Ceri Hoover, the list goes on …

GENERAL ATTRACTIONS

Nashville Flea Market
It’s one of the biggest and best in the country, fourth weekend of every month (except December) which coincides with Stitches — lucky you! There are also loads of antique malls in town, so look that up if you want even more or are not here on flea weekend.

The Greenway
The miles and miles of public trail system is one of my favorite things about Nashville. The east end is the best end. For the most scenic part of the (paved) trail, start at the trailhead in the far end of the Kohl’s parking lot in Donelson (10-15 min drive east of Nashville proper) and walk in the direction of the Percy Priest Dam.

Music
There’s the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman, the sea of honkytonks on Music Row downtown, the Bluebird Cafe, Station Inn … and a billion other music venues, but I am not the one to advise on this subject, so you’ll have to consult the googles!

Hatch Show Print
Honestly, it’s less cool (more gift shop-y) than it was in the previous location, but still worth visiting the new version at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

DINING

The hotspots for fancier dinners are Rolf & Daughters, City House and Husk, none of which I’ve been to yet. Two Ten Jack and Adele’s are both on my wish list as well. The newest hotspot is Butchertown Hall, near Fringe HQ, which I’ve been to several times and highly recommend — as long as you’re a meat eater! The hipster hotspot during daylight hours is Barista Parlor, and I do recommend breakfast/brunch there. Pinewood Social — coffee plus restaurant plus bowling alley — is worth a trip/meal. Crema coffee is both inside Pinewood and across the street, on Hermitage Ave.

I personally tend to like dives and diners and other sorts of places tourists might not hear about, though, so here are a few alternate recommendations that are in some cases not as conveniently located but well worth seeking out:

Riverside Grillshack (East Nashville)
Easily among the top-ten burgers I’ve ever eaten. It’s either carryout or eat in their tiny freestanding screened porch, so this one’s slightly weather dependent. No liquor license, either. But totally worth it.

Woodlands Indian (West End)
Tucked in the ground floor of a big apartment building at the intersection of two major thoroughfares, it’s a hole in the wall but the food is AMAZING. Vegetarian only — don’t let that dissuade you.

Bella Nashville Pizzeria (Farmer’s Market/Germantown)
In addition to the aforementioned egg sandwich Bella Bakery in East Nashville (more on that below), I highly recommend the wood-fired pizza at Bella Nashville Pizzeria in the Farmers’ Market building for lunch. Me, coming from the Bay Area — land of amazing wood-fired pizzas — I’d put Bella’s Margherita up against any of them!

SHOPPING/EATING DISTRICTS

You do need either a car or a cab for getting around Nashville but the nice thing is there are lots of great little clusters of shopping/dining establishments that you can be dropped at (or park once) and get quite a lot out of that one spot.

Germantown is mostly for eating. The aforementioned Rolf & Daughters, City House and Butchertown Hall are all here (as is Fringe Supply Co., but we’ll be at Stitches!) along with Monell’s, where you should go if you like to gain 10 pounds in a single meal — southern food served family style at community tables (expect a wait). Also: Cupcake Collection, first-rate cupcakes. Food aside, there are some new little shops along 4th Ave, including a really appealing home goods store called Wilder. Our neighbor Nisolo handmade shoes will be moving right around that time so I’m not sure if they’ll have regular shop hours that week, but you should check! Also, Peter Nappi is incredible if you’re in the neighborhood.

Farmers’ Market is not a district but a building on the edge of Germantown. It’s an actual working farmer’s market for the first part of the day, plus a plant nursery and an indoor building with several worthwhile tenants including the aforementioned Bella pizza, Jeni’s famously life-changing ice cream, a new taproom, and Batch Nashville which sells a lot of local goods, plus an Indian market. You can do it and Germantown together.

East Nashville is hipster central and where most of the action is right now. Near the intersection of Gallatin Pike and South 10th St is the Five Points district, where you’ll find an assortment of eateries, wine store, etc. Marché is probably the hottest brunch spot in town, but three separate people have told me recently they went there for dinner and that’s the best-kept secret in town. From Five Points, it’s a three-block walk east to the Shoppes on Fatherland (see Nutmeg and Bella Bakery above, plus High Garden Tea), or a few blocks north on Gallatin to Barista Parlor, the most talked-about place in town. A little farther north on Gallatin is my friend Courtney’s darling general store, Hey Rooster, which is a must-visit.

12 South (a specific cluster of shops/restaurants on 12th Ave South) is where you’ll find Imogene+Willie, the famous jeans purveyor and boutique, and across the street will be Craft South come summer. There are several cute shops and notable restaurants, including the Lebanese joint Epice. Don’t miss Las Paletas popsicles.

– – –

That’s FAR from comprehensive, but should give you at least a jumping off point. I’m sure lots of people will have other suggestions in the comments, too! And if you weren’t already planning to come for Stitches, maybe I’ll have given you some food for thought. And of course if you can’t make it, you can shop Fringe Supply Co. online anytime!

Meanwhile, have a great weekend, everyone—

All photos from my @karentempler Instagram feed — ROW 1 left: vintage sweaters at the flea market // ROW 1 right: Barista Parlor // ROW 2 left: the Luxurious Dining Area at Riverside Grillshack // ROW 2 right: Rebekka Seale spinning in her studio // ROW 3 left: some of Allison Shelton’s handwoven scarves on display in Lisa Garcia’s studio // ROW 3 right: the Greenway // ROW 4 left: the flea market // ROW 4 right: Emily Howard and Morgan Williamson’s shared studio

Seeing purple

Seeing purple

My grandmother’s 90th birthday is now one week from tomorrow and I am still debating about her shawl. The yarn selection seems much more critical to me than the pattern and I’ve been agonizing over it. The 100% silk I had thought I would use turned out to not float my boat when I swatched with it. What I really want for her climate is a wool-linen or wool-silk-linen blend, and what I think I am officially settled on is this Shibui Staccato (70% merino, 30% silk) and Linen held together and knitted at a slightly loose gauge, on 5mm needles. I bought the yarn online without having seen this color, Velvet (best name ever), in person. Turns out the color looks a little more raisin-y on the linen base than on the wool-silk blend, but held together it works — it gives the purple a little more depth.

I’m not sure it will be a joy to knit with — it’s a massive departure from the wonderfully sticky, rustic Hole & Sons I’ve spent the past month with — and I cannot knit it on my beloved Dreamz circs because of the abominable color-coding. Dark purple yarn on dark pink needles? Not only does it offend my delicate sensibilities, I can’t see my stitches at all, which is a little bit of a problem when holding linen filament double with something. So I’ll have to knit on bamboo, which is fine!

Between that splitty-fiddliness and its being a pain to put back on the needles if any ripping were required, I’m also giving up on the idea of doing anything lace with it — not when I’m already under the gun here. But along the way I also saw Ashley knitting a dark purple Orlane for her mother and let out the biggest sigh of envy. I told myself it would be silly to knit Orlane’s Textured Shawl for a third time when there are so many great shawls out there, but if that’s my favorite shawl of all time, is it not exactly what I should knit for her?

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UPDATE: I cast on late last night and this is definitely the right decision—

Seeing purple

Someday vs. Right Away: Fingering-weight lace

Someday vs Right Away: Fingering-weight lace

I’ve seen numerous versions of Carol Feller’s Carpino lately — in a host of different colors and yarns — and the more I see it, the more I want one. Also, the more worsted and bulky sweaters I make, the more I realize: If I’m going to insist on making all of my own sweaters, eventually I’ll need to break down and knit some thinner ones (from the perspective of my wardrobe needs and my limited closet space). But with my short attention span and dearth of knitting time — think how long it already takes me to finish a sweater! — it’s just impossible to imagine. There’s a theory that your hands move faster when knitting with smaller needles and finer yarns, and I like to think there’s some validity to that. But the only way to know for sure it so knit something in fingering, right? I’m tempted by these simple little hats as guinea pigs: Hermaness by Gudrun Johnston and Celine by Cecily Glowik MacDonald, which is actually a linen hat. So lovely.

Writing this, I just suddenly had an urge to knit Carpino in linen. Would that be amazing?

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PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Fair Isle practice

New Favorites: the Purl Bee three

New Favorites: the Purl Bee three

Just as people’s attention is starting to turn toward warmer-weather pursuits, and the pace of new knitting pattern releases slows to a painful crawl, the Purl Bee shows up with three killer scarf patterns — all of them featuring engaging little techniques to hold your interest:

TOP: Jasmine Scarf features an insanely pretty stitch pattern that looks like a ton of fun to knit — go watch the little how-to video on the pattern page (free pattern)

MIDDLE: Cobblestone Scarf is a simple stitch but knitted with three different yarns held together — always among my favorite tricks — to create intriguing and subtle texture and color complexities (free pattern)

BOTTOM: Reversible Rivulet Scarf combines twisted stitches and reversible cables (free pattern)

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UNRELATED NEWS OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS: We got in a nice little batch of several of the beloved vintage fiber mill spindles many of you have been asking about. There’s also a secret new addition in the dropdown (not pictured) — a light cherry red version of the green/blue one — but there are only a dozen of them so you might need to be fast! Plus Knitters Graph Paper Journal and both sizes of the Doane notebooks are back in stock. It’s an embarrassment of riches in the paper goods department right now!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the perfect Summer aran