Mini-elsewhere

Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

My dream of knitting a few rows this weekend did not come to fruition. We moved into our house finally last Wednesday, with our 15 boxes of miscellany and 1 chair. After months of saying it and knowing it in the abstract, it’s a bit of a shock to find that we really did get rid of just about everything we own(ed). There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes with me lately, which I won’t bore you with, but we’re not nomads anymore, we have a bed and two chairs now — so we can both sit down at the same time — and as of yesterday we have Internet access again. My inboxes are completely out of control; if I owe you an email, please know that you are far from alone and I am making progress on getting caught up with it all. It’s wonderful to be in high demand and horrible to not be able to respond to everyone in a timely fashion. But I also have help again, starting today, so hooray for that.

Anyway blah blah, some lovelier things of note Elsewhere:

— One day I hope I’ll go to The Craft Sessions, but I enjoyed seeing scenes from this year on Felicia’s Instagram stream

— I hadn’t heard of Fiber College but suddenly my Instagram feed was full of it over the weekend. (E.g. @hodgepodgefarm, @agatheringofstitches); adding that to my wish list

— I may not be knitting (or sewing) but, geez, somebody has been; check out Z’s summer finishes!

— And it’s nice to see Jenny Gordy blogging again

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ALSO OF NOTE: Pom Pom issue 10 has finally arrived at Fringe Supply Co.

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The Bookhou tote of your dreams

The Bookhou tote of your dreams

When I first saw this knit-inspired print from Arounna’s archives, I knew I wanted to see it on her beautiful leather-and-linen bucket tote. When I pulled them out of the box, I knew I had ordered too few. They went with me to Stitches Midwest, where they sold out in less than 24 hours — and I didn’t even snag one for myself! But I’m happy to report that I now have another, bigger batch in hand and you can get one today at Fringe Supply Co.

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I’m sure I’ll be doing more unpacking than knitting this weekend, but with any luck I’ll make some forward progress on my frogged Channel. You?

p.s. For anyone who will have missed the late addition to my Amanda plan post the other day: O-Wool is offering 10% OFF Balance through 9/30 with code FRINGEASSOC.

Knit the Look: Marie Piovesan’s luscious scarf

Knit the Look: Marie Piovesan's luscious scarf

How simply gorgeous is this black ribbed scarf seen on French model Marie Piovesan? So luscious looking, and the epitome of French elegance. You could knit your own by just casting on and working in 1×1 rib for as long as you like, but to get that extra squishy cushiness, brioche would be the way to go, and Stephen West has a free pattern that’s just the thing: Ferocious Briocheous it’s called. It’s written with color changes and seamed into a mobius cowl, but you could knit all in black and seam or not. For the luxe look of Marie’s scarf, try knitting it with Purl Soho’s Line Weight in Soft Black or Fibre Company’s Canopy Fingering in Obsidian.

See Vanessa’s original post for more pics of the scarf, the coat and the incredible hair.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Mariska van der Zee’s EZ pullover

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Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

New Favorites: Stuffed toys (seriously!)

New Favorites: Stuffed toys (seriously!)

You guys might have picked up on the fact that I’m not much of a kid person. I’m not anti-kid or anything, and I love my nephews and nieces to pieces, but kids just aren’t part of my landscape at all, and have almost never factored into my knitting. Lately, though, I keep seeing pics of simple little stuffed toys so utterly and irresistably charming I find myself wanting to knit them! It is way too late for this to have anything to do with any biological clock — save your comments! Plus I’d have a hard time not keeping them for myself:

TOP: Winston the Walrus by my friend Ashley Yousling of Woolful is the debut pattern under the Little Woolens brand, her collaboration with Annie Rowden. I’m eager to see where they go with this. (Look at @homesweethomestead’s sweet pic of her Winston. Aww!)

MIDDLE: #41 Stuffed Rabbit by Australian Country Spinners for the Fall issue of KnitSimple. Pictured are a pair knitted by Elly of Garment House — the little faces she’s given them are even more adorable than the original.

BOTTOM: Buddy by Susan B. Anderson comes with a cute owner, Ben, and his cute, tiny knitted wardrobe. Gotta love the leash.

And I wish I knew the origins of the rabbit seen here. If anyone knows, please clue me in!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: House socks redux

The official plan for the Amanda Knitalong

The official plan for the Amanda Knitalong

Ok! I’m excited about how excited you all are about this Amanda knitalong, and grateful to my partner-in-cardigans Anna for getting the momentum going on Instagram while I’m rowing up the ducks. There’s a lot of information I need to cram into this post, so forgive me if it’s a bit massive.

PATTERN SELECTION

The panel of experts I’m putting together will be focused on knitting Amanda, the sweater Anna and I originally planned to knit. I had said and thought that I would suggest some alternate patterns to choose from. I was looking for things that were A) reasonably-traditional fisherman sweaters, B) the same construction method as Amanda, which is knitted in pieces from the bottom up, joined at the underarms and the yoke knitted in one piece, and C) available for download, since Amanda is only available in a book. Unfortunately, everything I’m finding and love that meets criteria A and B does not meet C.

You may knit any cardigan you like. With our panel of experts, I’m going to be really exploring the construction more than anything — ways to make a variety of mods (most notably knitting it seamlessly) as well as merits and techniques of seaming, button band thinking, and so on. So if you were to pick any raglan cardigan that’s knitted from the bottom up to the underarms and then joined into one piece for the yoke, you will benefit from all of the construction and modification guidance we’ll be presenting. If it’s a cable cardigan, even better! We’ll be talking about cabling techniques as well gauge and seaming with regard to cables. And I want to note that it’s just been revealed that the Brooklyn Tweed Fall ’14 collection is inspired by fisherman sweaters (!!) and thus may very well include some good candidates for this knitalong. That collection will be published on the 9th, so if you’re one of the people looking for an alternative to Amanda, you might want to hang tight for a minute until that publishes.

SCHEDULE

We are not knitting on a schedule. I repeat: WE ARE NOT KNITTING ON A SCHEDULE. I’m going to be publishing content relating to this every week for about eight or nine weeks. The panelists contributing to those posts will be attempting to knit at a pace that will allow for relevant photographs along the way. But we all know I’m not going to finish a cable cardigan in eight weeks, and I’m not even going to try. It will take each of us as long as it takes — for some that might be two months or four months or a year. And that’s FINE! The content relating to each step of the process will be here when you need it.

That said, I’m going to kick this off with a Meet the Panel post on Friday the 12th, followed by a post about starting your swatch on Monday the 15th. Kate Gagnon Osborn will be taking the lead on that one, talking about issues relating to gauge, and specifically measuring gauge with cables. So that will be swatch week! If you can’t wait, feel free to start swatching.

The following week we’ll look at body construction — we’ll talk to our panelists about who believes in seams, and why, plus who will be avoiding them, and how. Then after that, the content will keep coming and, like I said, you just knit at whatever pace works for you.

ERRATA

Note that that there is a known error in the Amanda pattern. The sizes are mislabeled on the sleeve chart on page 123 — make sure you download the PDF with the corrections. But there’s another error not noted in that PDF. The cable cross at the center of the diamond is charted as a right cross but described in the stitch guide as a left cross. The sample worn by the model in the photo was knitted with a left cross, as you can see. You can do it whichever way you like, or even mirror the two sides if you want. I just wanted to note that the description doesn’t match the chart for that one particular cable cross.

YARN SUGGESTIONS

There are dozens of lovely yarns that would work for this sweater — from BT Shelter and Quince and Co Lark to the budget-friendly Cascade 220 — and our panel will be knitting with a variety of different choices (which I’ll include in the Meet the Panel post once they’ve all swatched and decided). You want a worsted-weight yarn, hopefully in natural fiber(s), with a nice twist and stitch definition. If I had all the time in the world to swatch with a variety of yarns, these are the ones I’d try:

O-Wool Balance — this is the yarn I’m using for my Channel cardigan and will almost certainly be using for Amanda. I love that the wool-cotton blend will make it a three-season sweater, plus it’s washable without being one of those squeaky superwash wools. O-Wool is offering 10% OFF Balance through 9/30 with code FRINGEASSOC.

Sincere Sheep Bannock — I love this yarn, and you can see how beautifully it holds a stitch in the sample for Jane Richmond’s Spate mitts. Her Shepherdess, which I love, would also be fantastic. Brooke is offering FREE SHIPPING for the knitalong. Use the code FringeKAL at checkout.

Camellia Fiber Company Merino Aran — I just bought a skein of this from Rebekka the other day and it’s gorgeous. The slightly heavier weight, knitted at pattern gauge, would make a wonderfully dense fabric, which a fisherman sweater should be. In keeping with classic fisherman-ness, Rebekka is offering 20% OFF the undyed. Use code FRINGE at checkout.

Purl Soho Worsted Twist — as I’ve said before, this is my favorite yarn I’ve yet knitted with. The idea of a sweater as luscious as my beloved Gentian hat makes me drool. Just look at those cables!

Fibre Company Knightsbridge — the newest yarn I’m dying to knit with, and again, proven to be a beautiful cabler.

BUT HERE’S MY BIG IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I have not knitted or even swatched this sweater with any of these yarns — I cannot say with certainty that any of them will be the perfect yarn for you or the sweater. Buy a skein and knit a swatch and see if you love the fabric! That’s what swatches are for.

PRIZES

Some have asked if there will be prizes, others have offered to donate some. So yes, there will be prizes. How they will be won I do not yet know, but I’ll tell you when I figure it out!

HASHTAG

Since it’s really the Amanda knitalong but not everyone will necessarily be knitting Amanda, let’s use the hashtag #fringeandfriendsknitalong. Anna and I want to see your sweaters everywhere, but especially on Instagram. So hashtag it up!

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TOTALLY UNRELATED: If you were off having a holiday weekend on Friday and missed it, the second bag in the Jen Hewett series is now available in the webshop — there are still some left, and preorders for #3 are open. And the amazing Bookhou box is back in stock.

The new Jen Hewett project bag is here!

The next Jen Hewett exclusive is here and Bookhou is back!

I promised you Edition Two of the Jen Hewett four-part project bag series would appear in August and we just barely made it, but it’s here! The blank bags we wanted to use for this one were backordered and we felt they were worth waiting for. And we were right! So this time around, the bag is a sturdy unbleached cotton, in the same generous 12×14 size as the previous edition. It’s been screenprinted by Jen in a pink and ochre design that’s reminiscent of the phases of the moon but might also make you think of all those little partial balls of yarn in your stash! Haha. It’s a gem. And it begins shipping today, starting with the preorders.

This time we printed 150 bags, and a little over half of those are already preordered. Remember, these are limited edition items, so when the rest are gone, they are gone. But I’ve now opened up preorders for Edition Three, so if you know you want it, you’ve got plenty of time to place a preorder for it. Those will be shipping in November, when you-know-what will be on your mind, so do get your orders in.

And note that the beautiful Bookhou box is also back in stock in all three patterns, along with a few of the pocket pouch in the rain print. And there’s more Bookhou coming soon.

Happy holiday weekend to those of you in the US. I’ll be plotting out the knitalong this weekend, as well as hopefully getting my frogged-to-the-ribbing Channel headed back in the right direction. How ’bout you?

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What’s up

What's up

A few months ago (before the madness of the move) I got an email from Marlee Grace of Have Company and Courtney Webb of Hey Rooster. They were planning a little retreat for owners of tiny retail businesses, called Shop:Keep, and somehow they had thought to invite me. Being absolutely desperate for people to talk to about how to do this thing I find myself doing, I jumped at the chance, and that’s where I am right now. (That photo up there is the garden behind the house we’re using for the event.) We started out yesterday morning with a loose agenda that included long, leisurely afternoon breaks, during which I was planning to blog. But it turns out all six of us have been absolutely desperate for this conversation and we utterly failed to take a break. We talked and talked and talked until past midnight, and we’re about to start up again. I want to take full advantage of this while I’m here, which I hope you’ll all understand, so the big knitalong post I’ve been promising is going to have to wait a little bit. And this may or may not be the only post here for a couple of days. But I wanted to give you a little bit of a quick heads-up about what’s up with the knitalong:

There are a lot of really knowledgeable people planning to join this knitalong, so I’m putting together a panel of featured knitters, who I can poll or interview about various topics along the way. The thing about knitting a sweater — at least (or especially) one as basic as this one — is that you can totally knit it as written, but there also are numerous opportunities to choose your own path. Some people will knit it in pieces, as written; others will merge the three body pieces into one, or knit the sleeves in the round instead of flat, etc. At least one of our panelists will be knitting it entirely seamlessly, while another will be making the case for the structural value of the seams. So it will be a chance to see one sweater knitted by lots of different people with different approaches and perspectives, and learn some techniques from some actual experts. I’m super excited about this, and think it’s worth it taking a little longer to get it rolling in order to make it this really amazing experience for everyone. Plus some of the people whose yarn I’m recommending have offered to give you guys a discount of some sort. In other words, it’s a lot of ducks I’m lining up right now, so I hope you’ll bear with me while I put it all together. Like I said, it will be worth it!