Sweet spring shawls: Or, what to knit for Mother’s Day, part 2

Sweet spring shawls: Or, what to knit for Mother's Day, part 2

When I embarked on my roundup last week, it was going to be spring wraps (or shoulderwear, as I like to call it) — scarves, cowls and shawls. But I pulled too many good things to fit into one post. So here’s part two, the shawls!

1. Brisha by Cecily Glowik MacDonald, garter shawlette with a geometric lace border

2. Haiku Crochet Shawl by Rebecca Velasquez, previously noted, I know, but I’m just nuts about it

3. Imagine When by Joji Locatelli, asymmetic garter stitch with eyelets

4. Meadowgold by Romi Hill, pretty yet modern lace (See also: Sorority Shawl)

5. Spring Etude Shawl by Yuliya Tkacheva, well-done Tunisian crochet, be still my heart!

6. Qinnitan by Melanie Berg, who doesn’t love simple stripes?

7. Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborn, a chunkier spot of lace (free pattern) (See also: Conifer)

8. Carnica by Robin Melanson, nice textured square with a not-too decorative border

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In case you missed it: Pretty spring scarves: Or, what to knit for Mother’s Day

 

Jen Hewett bags: too pretty to last

Jen Hewett drawstring bags: too pretty to last!

You guys, I have something really sweet and special for you in the webshop today: a very limited number of muslin drawstring bags from artist Jen Hewett. They’re lovely and useful and hand-printed and there are only 32 of them in the world and you should rush right over there and get one, but when you get back, I’ll tell you why this is especially special to me. Go ahead …

<whistling>

… so Jen was one of several creative women I was following a couple of years ago when I was pondering throwing caution (aka my job) to the wind and starting Fringe. I found her by way of a very popular pin about her post-it note to-do system and wound up an avid reader of her blog, where she wrote a lot about dividing her time between her corporate HR consulting gig and her creative business. It was all very inspiring and helpful to me, so I owe her a debt of gratitude for unknowingly providing that.

Meanwhile, I’ve been following her on Instagram for a long time, where she’s currently doing a little project called #52weeksofprintmaking. Each week she carves a block just for the sake of flexing her creative muscle (and Instagramming it) and prints it onto something and then Instagrams the finished piece. It might be a pillow or a wall-hanging or just about anything, but it’s just for her. Last week she posted these yarn ball-like blocks and it didn’t really register with me until she showed them printed onto a muslin bag. Even though I know it wasn’t intended to be a product, I immediately asked if I could please have some for Fringe Supply Co. and she obliged, lovingly printing 32 bags, front and back — all by hand — and stamping the inside with her logo. You can see them in the making on her Instagram feed. It makes me really happy to have them in the shop, but I don’t expect them to last long, given how few of them there are.

And if they happen to be gone before you read this, hold out hope that Jen and I will collaborate on more Fringe goods — I know I am.

OH, AND! the gorgeous Rosewood DPNs have been restocked, so all sizes are available again.

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Happy Friday, everyone! Thanks for reading —

Q for You: Does having a yarn stash work?

Q for You: Does having a yarn stash work for you?

Anie and I were talking about this while toiling away at Fringe HQ the other day and she rightly pointed out that it’s an excellent Q for You: Does having a yarn stash ever actually work for anyone?

When I first began knitting, I was earnestly puzzled at how anyone could have a stash. I’d be in a yarn store, still completely overwhelmed trying to figure out what everything meant and how things were organized and so on, and I’d think “How could I possibly buy yarn without knowing what it was going to become? I wouldn’t know how much to buy!” But it wasn’t long before I was acting like a novice gardener at a plant nursery (i.e., a former me) — buying one of everything beautiful just because I had to have it, with no sense of what it might all add up to. By now, between gifts and trades and my own profligacy, I’m in possession of dozens and dozens (and dozens) of single skeins in want of a role to fill.

Sure, sometimes I buy in multiple. But it seems like every time I go to my stash to see if I have something in a certain weight or fiber for a somethingorother that caught my eye, I have one skein where I need two, or three skeins where I need five. I can’t think of the last time I had a project in mind, went to my stash, and found yarn to fulfill that destiny. Every new project requires new yarn, and the stash just grows and grows — all those poor skeins shut away in a closet.

So actually I have two Q’s for You: 1) Does stash work for you — meaning, are you able to shop from your stash instead of running out for new yarn every time you cast on? And 2) What is your favorite one-skein pattern? I’ve just realized I need to put together a collection of perfect single-skein projects (in every weight!) and I’d love to hear your suggestions.

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PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: How do you cast on?

New Favorites: everything Leila Raabe

New Favorites: everything Leila Raabe

I think of myself as a Leila Raabe fan. Her Peabody sweater and Ashby shawl, for instance, have been on my dream knits list since almost the day I learned how. Stasis is a perpetual candidate for casting on. Her name comes up here fairly often, I’m sure. And yet I must never have gone to look at her complete oeuvre before. (Don’t you hate that word?) Because how else did I not know about some of her best designs? Or maybe I looked long enough ago that my taste in knitting has changed? Who knows.

In the comments on Monday’s spring scarves roundup, Indiecita mentioned Thayer, above left, which is what prompted me to take another look. Once there I found Wexford, above right, which is equally lovely. Apart from the fall-ish photos, either of these would have been lovely additions on Monday. And look at Spire, below — another amazing square shawl/throw that should totally have factored into last week’s New Favorites, alongside her Tilt. Pay better attention, Karen!

Regardless, now it can be said: There is not a single, solitary thing on this page that I wouldn’t want to knit … and in fact I’m just mentally trying to sort them into what order.

New Favorites: everything Leila Raabe

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Square shawls

Blog Crush: True Brit Knits

Blog Crush: True Brit Knits

One of my favorite blogs is nearly impossible to read, but I mean this strictly in a technical sense. True Brits Knits is Belinda Boaden and Wendy Baker, and you’ve no doubt seen multiple references to it/them here in the past. I love love love their blog, but can only get to their posts by way of a feed reader, or a permalink posted on social media, or what have you. I don’t know what my glitch is, but I do know that persistence pays off! (And here’s the Bloglovin page from which you can get to the individual posts if the site itself isn’t working for you either.) ANYWAY! The point is, however you get to it, get to it. I love the mix of mood boards and trend watching and swatches and sketches, and all the playing around with scale and texture — so inspiring. And you never know what they might be getting up to with patterns. (Remember Pendleton?) Most recently it’s this tricked-out aran sweater, The Highland Bling, which I like to pretend they made with me in mind. If ever I were to wear sequins, they would have to be ironically crusted onto a fisherman sweater, right? Brilliant.

Blog Crush: True Brit Knits

SPEAKING OF AMAZING CABLES: To my immense astonishment (and gratitude!), the enormous stack of Cable Fashion Drama I had, which I thought would last awhile, is already down to a handful of copies. I’m hoping to be able to score some more of them, but at best we’ll be waiting for the slow boat again. Just so you know.

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Pretty spring scarves: Or, what to knit for Mother’s Day

Pretty spring scarves: Or, what to knit for Mother's Day

Whether you’re barely beginning to thaw out or already thinking about concerts in the park on a cool summer night, a lighter, leaner scarf might be just the thing to keep your knitting needles (and crochet hooks!) happy and your neck cozy in the weeks to come. Or your mother’s, for that matter — Mother’s Day is right around the bend:

 1. Kozue by Kirsten Johnstone, lace for minimalists

2. Spring Lace Infinity Scarf by Linda Thach, lovely mix of textures, knitted in linen (free pattern)

3. Trellis Scarf from the Purl Bee, nice transitional piece (free pattern)

4. Celes scarf by Jared Flood, full-on lace I could imagine wearing myself

5. Striped Cotton Cowl from the Purl Bee, how to make a cotton cowl fantastic (free pattern)

6. Claudia Scarf by Rebecca Jackson, an elegant slip of crochet (free pattern)

7. Spring Tuck by Rose Anne, love that strip of lace in the gossamer stockinette

8. Kelly’s Frothy Crocheted Scarf by Kelly Jahraus, super-simple single crochet on a big ol’ hook

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A very twisted selvage

A very twisted selvage

Last night, I went to Claddagh Yarns for a talk by Narangkar Glover (maker of the Knitters Graph Paper Journal) about color theory and knitting. Without giving it a moment’s thought, I wore dark jeans, black oxfords and a black-and-ivory striped tee. But I at least I was knitting with purple yarn!

You may be wondering what’s become of my Tag Team Sweater Project sweater since Seattle, and though it looks barely changed, there’s been a fair amount of knitting. On the way home from Seattle, I picked up stitches for the buttonhole band. (The pattern gives actual stitch counts between buttonholes, and I approve of the placement, so I wasn’t worried about calculating spacing.) Picking up 3 stitches for every 4 rows, as indicated, I wound up with about 56% of the prescribed number of stitches. Like: whoa, major discrepancy. Although I couldn’t explain it (we stuck to the pattern length, and our row gauge might be different but not that different), it was clear that if my stitch count was so far off from the pattern’s, I wouldn’t be able to use its stitch counts for the buttonholes, so I had to abort that mission. Back home, over the course of a few different sittings, I redid the pick-up several times. I knitted one whole band to completion to prove to myself that it was way too short. Ripped it out and picked up higher and higher ratios of stitches before realizing the problem was exactly what I had expected on day one: the selvage stitches.

Trillium has a selvage treatment called Wrapped Chain Selvage (which is called Twisted Stitch Selvage in Slade). Anna and I debated whether or not to do it — I feared it would eventually complicate my life, but she wanted to try it, and you know I do like to try new things so I was persuaded. Then I sort of forgot it was there. With normal stockinette, there’s the usual running thread between every edge stitch and the one next to it, and you pick up stitches in the gaps between those threads. With WCS/TSS, each gap is two rows tall, with the corresponding running threads being twisted around each other, tight enough that you might not notice it’s out of the ordinary. So instead of picking up stitches in each gap, you pick up one in a gap, then plunge the tip of your needle between those two twisted strands and pick up a stitch from there. Oy. At least I finally figured it out, and the bands were short work after that.

So all I have left now is the sleeves, which I’m downsizing from the pattern. Think I can get through them in a weekend?

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IN DRAMATIC WEBSHOP NEWS, the hotly anticipated Cable Fashion Drama is back in stock! This slender-but-jam-packed Japanese pattern book generated a waiting list as long as my arm — I’ve never seen anything like it. But the waiting list people have all been alerted to its presence, so it’s time for you to have a crack at the stack. You can order your copy right here.

Also freshly restocked: Japanese thread snips and row counters, Bento Bags in large natural linen, and two other waiting list items: the Indian rosewood crochet hook in size H and the bone DPNs in smaller sizes, US2 and US3. And might I suggest a tasty treat to go with?

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Happy weekend, y’all. What are you doing while I knit my sleeves?