Queue Check — September 2015

Queue Check — September 2015

It’s colorwork season over here, y’all. (And knitalong season, obviously!) I’m finally sailing through my Laurus from the Fringe Hatalong Series — but I flubbed it! I was knitting while socializing the other evening, looked down at one point and realized I had knitted the final colorwork row all wrong. It’s just a few rows of stockinette back, so I’ll rip it soon and finish it up. I forgot how fast a plain ol’ stockinette hat knits up! Even with a few rows of colorwork thrown in.

And of course the big sweater on my needles at the moment is my Cowichan-style Knitalong vest, up top.

Honestly, I was a little perplexed about this vest. I chose grey, black and ivory for the “color” scheme because it’s my failsafe. But as much and as long as I’ve been wanting a Cowichan-style vest, I honestly wasn’t sure how I would wear it. (Which troubles me, given my “don’t make it or buy it until you know how it fits in” rule.) Over the weekend, I was plotting out some sewing projects, sketched a simple top-and-skirt combo for some plaid fabric I’ve been dying to sew up, realized the vest will look amazing with those two pieces — worn in various combinations with other things — and now I can hardly stand the wait. After casting on the ribbing Sunday night, I realized I don’t think I’ve ever been this eager to see a project develop. Fortunately, it shouldn’t take long!

I mentioned last month that I’m not planning a Rhinebeck Sweater, per se — this vest will be my Rhinebeck sweater. But there is one other thing I’d like to have for my Rhinebeck trousseau, which is that Linda scarf I’ve been talking about for months on end. I still want it in what’s left of my stash of camel-colored Shibui Merino Alpaca. So as soon as I finish Laurus, that will be next on the needles. I realize a whole scarf is almost as ambitious as a sweater (coming from one who has never knitted a whole scarf before) and Rhinebeck is only three weeks away — and I have a vest to knit! — but I’m fantasizing about it anyway. No pressure, Karen!


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: August 2015

Laurus your way

Laurus your way

I’m officially the Fringe Hatalong laggard — nearly done with my Hermaness Worsted and barely started with my Laurus. But oh how I love watching the hats roll in. Laurus is definitely creating the most diverse results, which I guess is not surprising given the extra level of opportunity for variation afforded by the colorwork. We’ve seen everything from the very pale to the dramatically dark, with the quite bright and everything else you can think of in between, but apart from the color choices I thought I’d highlight some of the subtle changes people have employed to tailor this one to their own liking:

TOP: There are a couple of ebony and ivory versions on Instagram — @ecr00neg and @simonesmanufaktur, above — both of which, coincidentally, omitted the stripes.

BOTTOM LEFT: There are lots and lots of pompoms and a couple of lengthened brims, but @kiyomibee made her brim long enough to fold up. Along with the contrasting pompom, of course.

BOTTOM RIGHT: I thought there would be a lot of people using three colors instead of two (although I failed to suggest that possibility up front). @wintiliviknits knitted her stashbuster with four: a forest-y green with both pink and purple (navy?) stripes, plus ivory for the leaf motif. With a four-color pompom.

Mostly I’m thrilled at how many people who’ve never tried colorwork before have jumped in with this simple little Laurus hat and reported back that I was right — perfect place to start!

SHOP NEWS: Field Bags and bonsai-style scissors are both back in stock, so go get ’em! Due to the postal holiday on Monday, we’ll be doing a special shipping session tomorrow morning for tonight’s orders. Note that orders from tomorrow morning through Monday will ship on Tuesday when the PO is picking up again.

Happy long weekend to those in the North America! Make it a good one, wherever you are—


PREVIOUSLY in Fringe Hatalong Series: Laurus by Dianna Walla

Queue Check — August 2105

Queue Check — August 2015

It’s a bit late in the month for my monthly queue assessment, but it’s also crazy to me that in the weeks since my July Queue Check — in the midst of the move and all — I knitted a whole turtleneck sweater that wasn’t even really on my radar at that point. (Which I finally added to Ravelry, by the way.) As promised, I’m working on a second version, with not discontinued yarn, and will be publishing the pattern as soon as I can make that happen. I’m thinking of doing this one as a marl, as seen in that swatch up there. But I want to do one more swatch in another yarn (not marl) before I commit.

The marl swatch is Lark — two crows and an egret — and it seems like Lark might be all I’m knitting with for the foreseeable future. The colorwork swatch, also in Lark, is for this fall’s big Fringe and Friends Knitalong! (And yes, there is a mistake in my swatch.) I’m keeping that a secret a little bit longer, but will tell you for now that it is a bit of a weird choice — in a good way. It does involve OPTIONAL colorwork, is a fantastic first sweater if you’ve not knitted one before, and I have an amazing panel lined up. This one is a much quicker, simpler knit than last year’s Amanda cardigan, but offers lots of great meat for discussion and room for people to get creative and so on. It’s going to be a blast and I can’t wait to tell you more! Just be ready for a really fun knitalong announcement in mid-September. (Here’s one more hint, it has to do with that green sweater I knitted in the spring.) Meanwhile, I’m swatching and deciding about colors. I like this grey/black/ivory combo but what I really want the finished sweater to be is navy and black. I just fear for my eyesight and my sanity if I decide to do that!

I also think I’m giving up on the idea of having a Rhinebeck sweater in my queue. The colorwork sweater will have be my Rhinebeck sweater. And why shouldn’t it? It will be totally worthy.

In addition to the big turtleneck and preparations for the big knitalong, I’m still working on my Hermaness Worsted (in Shelter, which got neglected during the move — no brain for lace — but has progressed quite a bit since this photo) and about to cast on my Laurus (in Lark) (Marsh and Egret). Telling you: it’s a Lark-fest over here right now.


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: July 2015

New Favorites: from Pom Pom 14

New Favorites: from Pom Pom 14

There is so much I love about this new Pom Pom Issue 14 — the deft color story throughout the gorgeous photos, the fact that three of the pieces were shot on both a boy and a girl, the abundance of great patterns. It’s definitely one of my favorite issues so far, and to my surprise, I find I’m most smitten with the accessories. The cute dala horse hat, Karusellen by Erica Smith, and Melody Hoffman’s pretty Woodland Tales mitts are both on my wish list. But these are the two pieces I most urgently want in my possession:

TOP: Oak Crest by Maisie Howarth is a hat I thought I disliked and now find I can’t stop thinking about. The crown looks almost like some sort of weird exoskeleton, which I’ve apparently decided I’m in favor of, and I’m obsessed with that topknot.

BOTTOM: Pianissimo by Thien-Kieu Lam is a scarf knitted with the most intriguing shifting rib texture, plus I’m a sucker for long stretches of ribbing at the ends.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: High school flashbacks

Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

Colorwork! I wanted to include some colorwork knitting in this little Fringe Hatalong Series and got in touch with my friend Dianna Walla, who has a knack for beautiful stranded designs. We agreed it would be fun to do a variation on her adorable Nordic Knitting Conference Mitts, and that we would keep the colorwork to a minimum — just enough to adorn the hat, while keeping it accessible for those of you who might be tackling colorwork for the first time. The result is this charming beanie, which we’ve named the Laurus hat, as it looks a little like a wreath around the crown of your head. I hope you love it as much as I do. And thanks so much to Dianna for the fantastic free pattern!

Laurus is written for three different head sizes and two heights — slouchy and fitted — so there are lots of options. And depending on your size and color choices, could easily suit any decade or gender. See the preview post for yarn guidance and download the pattern to get started. Remember to share everywhere with hashtag #fringehatalong.


This is a stockinette hat but colorwork typically affects gauge, as people tend to knit more tightly when doing stranded knitting. So you’ll want to swatch the colorwork motif and swatch in the round, for sure. The pattern gauge is 18 sts / 4 in and the chart is 6 sts wide. So to be safe, I would cast on 4 repeats, or 24 sts, to be sure you have at least 4 inches to measure. (6 chart sts x 4 = 24) I’ve been recommending Ysolda’s tutorial for how to swatch in the round, if that’s new to you.


Everything I said about lace charts hold true here — working from the bottom right corner, how to make it less intimidating, etc. So review that if needed. The obvious difference is that instead of knits and purls being charted here, it’s only the color changes. So in this case a white box is your main color (MC) and a black dot is your contrast color (CC).


Beyond the chart itself, Dianna has some great posts on her blog about colorwork knitting, which are listed right here. I also wrote a bit about the basics in Colorwork for first-timers. So hopefully those posts will all prove useful. And as always, we and the rest of your fellow knitters are happy to help, so post your questions below.


For the featured charity this round, I got in touch with Robyn Devine to see what she might recommend. Robyn has a blog called She Makes Hats, and the name is an understatement. She knits hats for charities, like many people, and it’s her personal mission to knit 10,000 hats for 10,000 people in her lifetime. (As well as persuading as many people as possible to knit at least one hat for charity.) So she’s an authority on which charities are a good match for which hats. For this unisex 100% wool hat, she made what I thought was the perfect suggestion: “Hats And More for War-Torn Syria is dedicated to helping the four million Syrian refugees around the world, with a focus on sending items to the refugee camps in Jordan most often. Items are sent to the Salaam Cultural Museum, which has volunteers bring everything from hand knits to medical supplies overseas on a regular basis.” As it happens, the Salaam Cultural Museum is in Seattle, where Dianna also hails from. So if you’re inclined to donate your hat, that’s our suggestion for this round — thank you, Robyn!

DOWNLOAD THE LAURUS HAT PATTERN and remember to share your progress with hashtag #fringehatalong wherever you post. And be sure to fave/queue the pattern at Ravelry. I’ll be on the lookout for photos everywhere, and will be answering questions posted in the comments below. (Sorry, I’m not able to reliably answer questions across multiple platforms!)

Happy knitting!

Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston


Photos by Kathy Cadigan

Hatalong No. 4 PREVIEW

Hatalong No. 4 PREVIEW

When I began this Fringe Hatalong Series of occasional hat knitalongs, I didn’t intend for it to become a progressive class in knitting techniques — I just wanted it to be stuff I was dying to knit! Turns out what I’m dying for is a full range of knitting experiences, to keep my queue from getting stagnant in any way. So we’ve gone from the simple knits-and-purls of Audrey to the clever stitch trick in L’Arbre to a simple bit of lace in Hermaness Worsted, and now No. 4 is a little taste of colorwork! So it’s inadvertently turning into a survery course, and I’m so thrilled to see so many knitters of every skill level jumping in, with lots of people expanding their skills along the way.

So yes: colorwork is next. I’ll tell you that it’s a brand-new pattern written just for us and it will be published here on the blog next Thursday, August 20th. Just like with the lace in Hermaness Worsted, I’ll have plenty of guidance for you if this is your first time. And because it’s a mostly solid hat with just a little bit of colorwork, it’s a particularly great place to start. Remember, it’s just stockinette in the round! You can do it.

Yardage: The pattern is written for three sizes (18-3/4″, 20″, 21-1/4″) and two heights (7″ fitted and 8.5″ slouchy). Depending which size and style you go with, you’ll need between 90 and 135 yards of your main color plus 16-20 yards of your contrast color. So it’s a good stash-buster.

Recommended yarn: The pattern is written for Quince and Co’s Lark yarn, which is a gorgeous, smooth, 4-ply, worsted-weight, American wool. It’s got excellent stitch definition (thanks to the smoothness and the plies), which makes it great for colorwork as well as lace and stitch patterns. It’s also really reasonably priced, available at a bunch of great stores (the ones with the orange triangle symbol at that link) plus directly from Quince, and offers tons of great colors to choose from. The samples are knitted in Marsh and Bird’s Egg. I have three skeins I’m trying to decide between, pictured above — Marsh and Egret? Kumlien’s Gull and Marsh? Egret and Kumlien’s Gull? Haven’t decided yet.

Stash-diving guidance: As I said, this is a good stash-buster, so if you’re stash diving, just look for a worsted-weight yarn with the same qualities as Lark: smooth and neatly plied.

Whatever yarn you go with, make sure to choose two colors with enough contrast for the colorwork motif to stand out.

If you’re an old hand at colorwork, you’ll very likely want to whip out more than one of this darling hat. And if you’ve never tried it before, we’ll all be here to hold your hand! But in the meantime, spend a few minutes reading this past post of mine: Colorwork for first-timers. Everybody excited? The big reveal next Thursday—

I better hurry up and finish my Hermaness!


PREVIOUSLY in Fringe Hatalong Series: A handful (or two) of Hermaness Worsted

FO Sightings: Lori’s generous hats

FO Sightings: Lori's generous hats

Sorry for my scarcity last week — it was a total rollercoaster of a week, with our house falling through twice before a deal was finally struck. We closed unexpectedly late Thursday afternoon and are suddenly moving tomorrow (yoiks!), after packing and working with the painter all weekend, so it’s been quite a time. But one of the highlights of last week was the appearance in my Instagram feed of these hats by Lori Graham, aka Lori Times Five aka @loritimesfive. The solid ones on the right in the upper photo are Hipster by Tin Can Knits, and they look marvelous, but the ribbed and striped ones are variations on my Stadium Hat (free pattern), and it makes me so happy to see them piling up like that. If you follow Lori, you know her husband is a sea kayaking guide in Southern California, and apparently his coworkers were envious of his handknit hats. Being a knitter of the most generous sort, Lori was happy to oblige. :) Thanks for the vicarious grins, Lori!

In addition to final moving preparations, I’m headed to the factory this afternoon to see how they’re doing on the project bags. Such a week! I promise more news on that once I’ve seen them.


PREVIOUSLY in FO Sightings: Woolenflower’s Faroese dream