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 …

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… 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?

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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Knit the Look: Or, make that crochet?

Knit the Look: Crocheted wrap with fringe

Crochet the Look? I love the pretty fringed wrap on this unidentified model after the latest Margaret Howell show — especially right now, since it’s the perfect seasonal transition piece. As is often the case, the details are hard to discern from Vanessa’s street-style photo, but it sure looks like crochet to me, so I called on Cal Patch for a consult. Cal agrees, and had the same thought as me: that it might very well be a triangular shawl with fringe along the two sides, wrapped in scarf-like fashion. Maybe even as simple as a big half-granny square, with fringe added. Another great option would be Cal’s Wingfeathers Shawl pattern, crocheted in a worsted or heavier yarn. If you prefer a rectangular scarf, you could also follow the Purl Bee’s Granny Stripe Blanket instructions and just change the dimensions to a wrap-sized (rather than bed-sized) rectangle, then add fringe along one long edge. Wrap and go. Whichever you choose, it would be lovely in the Purl Soho Worsted Twist in that Heirloom White I love so much.

See Vanessa’s post for an additional view.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Marte Mei Van Haaster’s perfect grey pullover

Things you want for Valentine’s Day

Fringe Supply Co. leather and brass stitch markers set

When I first started fantasizing about having a shop, and selling and creating the kinds of goods I couldn’t find, one of the very first ideas (maybe the first idea) I sketched in my notebook was a beautiful little leather pouch holding equally beautiful, simple brass or gold ring stitch markers. Two years (and a few design evolutions) later, it finally exists! I am thrilled — even more so because I’m making the pouches myself — and I hope you love this little beauty as much as I do.

Also new in the shop today are still more of the finest tools a knitter or crocheter could hope for: Indian rosewood crochet hooks, chatelaine safety scissors and bone double-pointed needles. Bone DPNs! I’m rolling them all out today because I think they make fantastic little Valentine’s Day gifts, but of course like everything at Fringe Supply Co., I think they’re beautiful, functional goods a knitter would do well to treat his- or herself to. So get get ’em!

Things you want for Valentine's Day

Have a great weekend, everyone! Tell me what you’re working on …

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p.s. If you’re wondering about the color of the veg-tanned leather and aren’t familiar with how beautifully it ages, here are some examples from a couple of makers I admire: Infusion Fibers and KC Co. I’ve claimed the very first stitch marker pouch for myself and am so looking forward to watching it age.

New Favorites: the Churchmouse wreath

Loop stitch knitted wreath

If you ever come to visit us at Christmas time (unless you’re my niece and nephew), you won’t find a tree at our house. We’re not anti-Christmas or anything, but we don’t have kids, we do have cats. If we’re home for the holidays, we’re home alone. It just doesn’t make sense to put up a tree. It’s also a little hard to get into the Christmas spirit when you’re surrounded by blue skies and palm trees. And where would I store holiday decorations in the off-season anyway? But I am susceptible to the charms of a really good wreath — the more minimal and rustic the better. So this Churchmouse Woolly Wreath is a holiday knit I can get behind. Such a clever use of loop stitch, and while I love the off-white version, it’s this ultra-rustic looking brown one that really gives me the swoons. If only I had the garden gate to go with it …

p.s. If ever I were to crochet a snowflake, this would be the one.

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Giving thanks and Elsewhere

Yarny links for the long weekend

I’m taking some semblance of a day off today — as I hope you are, if you’re in the U.S. — and celebrating Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. I also believe in taking life one holiday at a time, so I do have a little shop update, but it will happen tomorrow morning, along with a short blog post about that update. But I wanted to leave you with a few links to keep you entertained, and also with my most sincere thanks. Of all the things I’m grateful for, the opportunity to do this — to run Fringe — ranks way, way up there. I know I’ve said this a lot and recently, but I can never say it enough: It means the world to me that you find what I’m doing worthwhile. I am truly thankful for your time, your advice, your encouragement, and everything else.

So with that, a little Elsewhere:

— Is your pet turtle this well-dressed? (I love that my husband sent me this link.)

Adventures in historically-correct knitting

— What could be more 2013 than a Kickstarter for custom-fit, 3D-printed sweaters

— A campaign I’m seriously contributing to: Mendocino Wool & Fiber

— “Handmade is never small” — Meredith’s latest yarn bomb project

— and my favorite yarny Instagram of the week (read the caption)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

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