New Favorites: Uncommon cables

New Favorites: Uncommon cables

As has no doubt become perfectly clear, I adore traditional cable motifs: braids, honeycomb, diamonds, even just plain old twists. Would even go so far as to say I could never get enough of them. But maybe I am in fact OD’ing on them a little with my beloved Amanda, because I am so, so attracted to not-so-classic cables right now, e.g.:

TOP: Catena by Courtney Spainhower — I can’t quite tell what’s crawling out of those arcs but the whole motif is sort of scarab-like, and I love it (there’s a matching cowl included)

MIDDLE: Hineri by Olga Buraya-Kefelian (this one’s actually an Old Favorite that won’t quit) — these extra-luscious cables are worked with additional fabric created on the wrong side (free pattern)

BOTTOM: York by Melissa Thomson — just different enough to be intriguing

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By the way, I’m not exactly sure how I did it, but I confused some people with last week’s installment of New Favorites, about cabinfour’s Pure shawl. New Favorites is about patterns I’m infatuated with and wanting to knit. In this case I was saying I had just gotten two skeins of Far in the mail, was thinking about a few different kerchief ideas for it, and wound up wondering if it would work to scale down the beautiful new Pure to kerchief size and knit it with my Far. Some took me to be saying that I had actually done so, or even that two skeins of Far are enough yarn to knit Pure to pattern dimensions. This is not the case — it is less yardage than the pattern calls for, which is why I was wondering aloud what would happen if one scaled it down. It was certainly not my intention to give anyone the impression that Pure could be knitted, as written, with two skeins of Far, nor that I have knitted Pure, with Far or anything else. (If only I could knit that fast!) Regardless, I apologize for any confusion I inadvertently created.

New Favorites: the Woolfolk collection

New Favorites: the Woolfolk debut collection

I promise we’re going to talk about sleeves this week, all of you following the whole #fringeandfriendsknitalong series, but home life took precedence over knitting this weekend so I don’t quite have that together yet. Which is good, because it gives me a minute to publicly drool over these new patterns. Kristin Ford has been a big cheerleader for Fringe for some time, and I’m so thrilled to be able to shout about her new yarn company, Woolfolk. (Named for her grandmother, Katherine Woolfolk — is that too wonderful for words, or what?) I got a sneak peek at the yarns in May — have had a gorgeous little canister of them sitting on my desk ever since — and this weekend it all went live with the launch of the debut pattern collection, which Kristin smartly enlisted Olga Buraya-Kefelian to design. Kristin is a former architect with a taste for clean lines and smart construction, and I’ve been known to describe Olga as “our foremost knitting engineer.” It’s kind of a match made in heaven. I wasn’t privy to the creative brief or anything, but Olga put together a capsule wardrobe of knits — eight understated but flawlessly detailed pieces — and it’s been beautifully styled and shot. I’m blown away by it. These four I can’t live without:

TOP LEFT: Flet is just a perfectly shaped raglan turtleneck with chained ribbing and a stand-up collar (and I’ll take the pants and shoes too, please)

TOP RIGHT: Fure is a simple pair of ribbed mitts (which you know I can’t get enough of) made irresistible by their length, suppleness and fold-back top

BOTTOM LEFT: Vinkler is the scarf I want for winter, plain and simple — love what the geometry of the stitch pattern does for the edge of the fabric

BOTTOM RIGHT: Knop, likewise, is exactly the shape I want a hat to be, with the added panache of that shaped front brim (I definitely prefer it in the front!) and gorgeous use of fisherman’s rib

You can see the whole collection on Ravelry and find out more about the exquisite yarns at Woolfolkyarn.com. Congratulations, K&O — amazing.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the City Cape

New Favorites: Slouchless beanies

New Favorites: Slouchless beanie patterns

Here’s a confession: I’m not the biggest fan of slouchy hats. They look super cute on lots of people, I concede* — I just personally prefer the look of a tidier, shorter hat. Given that slouchy beanies have been all the rage the past couple of years, I am always the one sussing out crown depth (multiplying the pattern’s row gauge by the number of rounds knitted for the crown) and modifying work-even height so my total hat height is about 7.5-8 inches. Not all hats lend themselves to this very readily. SO! I am thrilled to see the tides seemingly shifting and a number of fantastic patterns for what I’ll call knitted caps hitting the pages of Ravelry. These are all calling out to me: “Forget all those sweaters, Karen. Cast on a hat! You know you want to …”

TOP LEFT: Hutchin by Jared Flood

TOP RIGHT: Dauphine Hat by Julia Farwell-Clay

MIDDLE LEFT: Archway Hat by Adrienne Larsen

MIDDLE RIGHT: Mistake-Rib Beanie by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas (free pattern)

BOTTOM LEFT: Richting by Andrea Rangel

BOTTOM RIGHT: Apple Pie by Tin Can Knits [For a slouchier version, see Courtney Kelley's Kiva Hattu]

*Case in point: The gorgeous photo of the blonde model in the purple slouchy Skiff does make me want that exact hat. I think I have enough Thistle left from my Trillium to have it, too.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Stuffed toys

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Someday vs. Right Away: small-scale Amanda alternatives

Someday vs Right Away: small-scale Amanda alternatives

So the Brooklyn Tweed Fall ’14 Collection is out, and it’s a doozy. I don’t think there’s a single piece that won’t factor into some future post of mine, and a least a couple I can see myself knitting. (The one I most want in my closet right this minute is Docklight.) There’s nothing that quite meets the Amanda parameters, construction-wise, but if you just want to knit a cable sweater along with us,  there are lots of lovely choices there. However, it’s possible you’ve been wishing to participate in the Amanda knitalong (aka #fringeandfriendsknitalong) but feel like a densely cabled cardigan sweater is beyond your skill set and/or your availability. If that’s true, and you’d like to join in by knitting a smaller-scale piece with all the cable goodness, the BT collection contains two good Amanda alternatives:

LEFT: the Shackleton scarf by Michele Wang has a lot in common with Amanda, combining honeycomb and (softened) diamond cables

RIGHT: on an even smaller scale, there’s Jared Flood’s Skiff hat, which, like Amanda, has moss-filled diamonds as its main motif

Both would be great if you’re a cable addict itching to knit some lush cables, or if you’re newer to cables and up for the challenge of expanding those cabling skills and knitting from a moderately complex cable chart. All of which will factor into the knitalong discussion. Something for everyone!

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PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Cables and lace

New Favorites: from the Knightsbridge collection

New Favorites: from the Knightsbridge collection

I’ve been waiting forever to rave about these patterns and I can’t wait any longer! My friends Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley at Kelbourne Woolens (they sell the Fibre Company yarns) have been working for months on this collection for their newest yarn, Knightsbridge, and it’s so, so good. I saw the call for submissions last winter. Saw the teaser pics from the photo shoot last spring. Saw the yarn and the finished garments at the trade show in May. And nearly stole my favorite pullover right off of Kate when she was wearing it at Squam. (Remember I said then you’d be hearing more about that sweater she was pictured in.) They finally listed the patterns on Ravelry a few days ago and they should be for sale — along with the yarn — in a day or two. So I’m waiting no longer!

If you look at the whole Knightsbridge collection, you’ll see there are lots of good patterns by lots of good designers. And I love all of it far more in person than in the photos (which isn’t often the case). I’m particularly crazy about the stitchery on Maura Kirk’s adorable Harvey vest. I don’t think I could pull off that retro neck, but it would be easy to modify — and I will very likely knit that at some point. But as it happens, my very very favorites of the bunch are all by Kate and Courtney themselves:

ABOVE: Courtney’s Teegan sweater is freakishly similar to that little post-it sketch on my own pinboard, so obviously I’m gonna love it. And this is probably not the only time I’ll post about her Royston cap. Would you look at that amazing crown?!

BELOW: Kate’s Gillam is the One that Must be Knitted. (She slipped me a working copy of it awhile back, knowing the depths of my love for it. Thanks, Kate!) And her Henrietta hat is just a perfect cable beanie, complete with luscious doubled brim.

New Favorites: from the Knightsbridge collection

I have one and two half skeins of Knightsbridge in my stash, which is sadly all in storage at the moment. I’ll tell you that I saw the yarn the night before I saw the garments and I was a little underwhelmed by it. It seemed too soft to me — by which I mean too gooey for stitch definition and long-term wear. But once I saw how it knitted up, I was totally blown away. Look at those cables! I can’t wait to knit with it.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Lena Samsoe’s fisherman cardigan

Someday vs. Right Away: Cables and lace

Someday vs Right Away: Cables and lace

You guys, I’m stuck in the most boring knitting season of my entire knitting life. For months it’s been nothing but stockinette and ribbing and — hold onto your seats! — a little garter stitch in the round. I am in favor of all of the future finished objects I have in progress, but working dropped stitches every few rows doesn’t really make the stockinette any more thrilling to knit. The only bit of fun I’ve had were those precious few rows of nupps on my Trillium yoke, and that was two months ago. It’s starting to make me think knitting is boring. Aiieeeee! I’ve given myself permission to cast on a Channel Cardigan sleeve if I want, and to intersperse it with all the stockinette going on, but I’m not convinced those knits and purls (however luscious) are enough to really break up the monotony. I want all the fun right now. I want cables, and I want lace. Specifically: Anne Hanson’s Wheaten, which I will knit one day, in wrap proportions. But to satisfy this particular craving in quicker/smaller fashion, I’m thinking a hat would suffice. Maybe Amy Christoffers’ Manhattan or Robin Ulrich’s Bosc.

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Yarn and more yarn

Rebekka Seale in hat knitted from her handspun

I’m back home and mostly recovered from my whirlwind 7-day, 2-city tour. In case you’re wondering, I did do some knitting — although shockingly little. In the air between Phoenix and Indianapolis, I knitted a hat. (Ok, 7/8 of a hat.) Rebekka Seale had sent me some of her gorgeous handspun alpaca and this adorable baby hat pattern. After knitting a good chunk of the seed stitch for the hat, I didn’t feel like it was the best showcase for the black and white marl. So before I left, I downloaded the Caldwell Garter Cap pattern instead, which is plain enough to let the yarn shine. Because bulky 100% alpaca is heavy, I cut down on the number of crown rows to make a shorter hat, but I wish I’d also gone down a needle size. In any case, it’s lovely — and how great does it look on Rebekka, who I had the pleasure of meeting while in Nashville.

#knittingforhimalong sleeves in progress

I picked up the yarn for Bob’s Fort upon my arrival in Indianapolis, and despite spending three late nights surrounded by knitters, I only managed to cast on one sleeve and knit a few rounds of ribbing. But between a pleasant evening knitting outdoors with Nashville friends and the flight from Nashville to Las Vegas, I finally started making some progress on a sleeve. Unfortunately, I made it a little too small so I’m sizing up the second one and making sure it’s right before redoing the first. I was brain-dead enough to welcome the stockinette on the return trip, but I have to say, the increases and that rib detail running up the inside of the sleeve are just enough to keep it from being too monotonous. (Don’t forget to keep an eye on the #knittingforhimalong tag in Instagram — projects are just getting started.)

My TNNA haul

Of course, a little bit of yarn also followed me home from Indianapolis. It was a yarn trade show, after all. There’s a little retail event on the first night of the show, where I bought the two skeins of Cestari cotton-wool sock yarn (for $5!) and the denim-blue skein of Swans Island’s new American-made rambouillet-alpaca. Then during the course of the show, I was given the hot pinky bulky from Made in America Yarns; the two skeins of chunky, undyed, Italian-spun, Tibetan yak down from mYak (the most delicious shade of brown nature ever thought up); and the new Knightsbridge from The Fibre Company in a sagey brown-grey. I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the previews of the pattern collection Kelbourne did for this yarn — releasing in a couple of weeks (and you’ll definitely be hearing about it here) — but it is magnificent, and the yarn itself came as such a surprise to me. It’s baby llama, merino and silk, and feels so marshmallowy soft in the skein I would never have believed it would offer any kind of stitch definition. But the patterns are all manner of textured and cabled goodness, and the yarn pulls it off magnificently. I can’t wait to knit with it, and the same goes for that yak.

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