I’ve mentioned Ashley Yousling here a few times before — most recently with regard to her darling Winston the Walrus pattern — and she graciously guest-blogged for me about her first sweater over the summer. I’ve been holding off on including her terrific blog, Woolful, in Blog Crush because it’s new and, well, you know how it goes with blogs and the whole petering out thing. But Ashley’s life is revolving more and more around wool, what with the launch of her joint venture with Annie Rowden, Little Woolens, and the recent news that she’s bought a farm and is planning to raise sheep and build a fiber mill. So I think it’s safe to say she’ll be continuing to blog about her wooly, organic, raw-food life — and that as she takes possession of this farm and works to build her dream, the blog will only get more and more engrossing. So you might as well go read through the archives while that’s still easy to do! (You can also find Ashley on Instagram as @woolful.)
PREVIOUSLY in Blog Crush:
Last night, I sat down at my computer. That sounds like the first half of a sentence, I know, not the whole thing. But it’s gotten to be a foreign experience. Feeling particularly drained from the past three months and happy for a little screen time, I was longing for a really good blog to fall into. Ashley Yousling highlights good feeds on her Instagram account sometimes and one of the usernames in her recent batch had stood out to me: @homesweethomestead. I thought, hm, I wonder if the homesweethomestead girl (Julie is her actual name) blogs. And then I spent a very happy hour reading Cinnamon Girl of Maine. Julie and her husband bought a farm in Maine a couple of years ago and, as she puts it, “The dream is simple. It’s to lessen our needs and meet as many of those left as we can.” Lots of people [raises hand] have this dream, and many act on it, and many of those blog about it. But man, this girl can write! It’s not a knitting blog — in fact, I read back as far as January (so far), and at no point did she write about knitting, per se. But the act of knitting — keeping her family’s heads and hands warm — is as integral to her life and photos as are the chickens and dahlias and jelly jars. It’s elemental.
PREVIOUSLY in Blog Crush: Lori Times Five
Have you heard about this Shetland trip that Mary Jane Mucklestone and Gudrun Johnston are leading next month? I have the pleasure of knowing both of them — have taken classes with both — and got to hang out with Gudrun a bit at Squam last month, and they are truly remarkable people and teachers. Plus: Sheltland! So it’s killing me not to be able to go on this trip. But what’s making it even worse is that the people who are going are some of my favorite and most admired knitters. Those I’m aware of include Kathy Cadigan and Nicole Dupuis (both former Our Tools, Ourselves profilees, as you’ll see from those links); Claire Dupont, who is a favorite of mine on both Ravelry and Instagram (and who has a standing invitation to Our Tools); and Lori Ann Graham from one of my favorite knitterly blogs, Lori Times Five. That’s her above, in the Bressay dress and Hansel shawl she knitted for the trip — both designs of Gudrun’s. (Bressay is from Mary Jane’s book Fair Isle Style.) “Zest for life” is not a phrase I use a lot, but it’s what springs to mind when I think about Lori and her long, photo-filled posts about her latest adventures — be they hiking or knitting or hitting up a festival or flea market somewhere in the world. I so admire her exuberance, and love her theory that “the longer an item takes to make, the more photographs it gets.” At least those of us who can’t go to Shetland — at least not this time! — will get to see Lori’s version. (And I imagine Nicole will blog about it as well.)
I’m also counting on all of these women to be posting copiously on Instagram: @mjmucklestone, @gudrunjohnston, @kathycad, @clairedupont @loritimesfive. If anyone reading this is also going, please point me to your online self!
PREVIOUSLY in Blog Crush: Coletterie
I’m kind of in awe of Sarai (I wish I knew how that’s pronounced) Mitnick and her blog Coletterie. Ok, not kind of: I’m in awe. Being founder of Colette Patterns, she’s obviously a master sewer, and she’s an accomplished knitter, too, but she’s really a phenomenal blogger. I’ve mentioned before how wowed I am at how thorough her Wardrobe Architect series has been, but it seems that’s a defining trait of hers. Just look at this post about her brilliant storage system for her vintage pattern collection. The blog is so robust I confess I can only be a spotty reader, but time spent there always leaves me wanting to be both a better sewer and a better blogger.
Apparently it’s possible to have a crush on a blog I can’t read, because I’m crazy about Rosa Pomar’s blog A Ervilha Cor de Rosa. I mean, clearly I have a crush on all things Rosa — I’m dying to go to Lisbon and visit her store (and meet her). Her Instagram feed is fantastic enough to leave me always wanting more, as you know, and her blog provides a little more, even if I don’t read Portuguese. Although, not all of the posts are in Portuguese: One of my favorites is this “pattern,” written the way I wish more patterns were — more like annotated charts and schematics and less like step-by-step methods — and it happens to be in English. I do know about Google Translate, but I sort of love the mystery of the posts, and love looking at the photos and sussing out what I can without the language. Much better than reading butchered robot translations that take the poetry out of everything.
Rosa has an open invitation to Our Tools, Ourselves and I’m holding out hope she’ll take me up on it when she’s ready. Meanwhile, I fervently hope she keeps blogging …
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.
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.
I know I’ve indirectly professed my love for Kate Davies’ blog before, but I want to give it a proper place in the Blog Crush annals, because the longer I follow it, the more my esteem grows and grows. The blog is a mix of personal updates, pattern releases, vintage finds, tutorials and historical perspectives — and she’s good at all of it. She lives in incredibly scenic rural Scotland (having moved from Edinburgh last summer) and has been recovering over the past few years from a stroke, about which she’s been quite candid. She posts generously about the thought process behind each new design she releases. And everything she creates or writes about is infused with her admirable love and knowledge of the history of knitting and textile design. Her posts always leave me feeling like I’ve learned a little something and also that I have a whole bright world of things yet to be learned. So she’s inspiring on all sorts of levels. If you aren’t already reading her blog religiously, add it to your list.