Updates and Elsewhere

Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Thank you for the all the great knitalong input yesterday, everyone! You’ve given me a lot to chew on. Meanwhile, Elsewhere:

— A short history of steeking. And of mattress ticking. And also the gansey

— The Knightsbridge collection I was just raving about is now available for download(s), as is the Josh Bennett Grandson Cardigan that I modeled for you in May

— Still a few days to learn sculptural random weaving

— The aforementioned Hole & Sons yarn should be coming along any day now

— I’ll have the chevre, please (thx, Jo)

Care tags (more)

Such beautiful photos from Melody’s trip to the Latvian handcraft “museum.” See also, wow. And aw geez, people you’re killing me!

If I weren’t already a James fan, this would do it … (thx, Leigh)

— Yarny fundraising campaigns in progress: Canon Hand Dyes at Indiegogo and Knit Wit Magazine at Kickstarter

Making as a habit

— And @ashveen is killing it with the Iceland photos

.

Let’s talk about this Amanda knitalong

Let's talk about this Amanda knitalong

I’m thrilled that so many people responded positively to my suggestion that maybe you might want to knit the Amanda cardigan along with Anna and me this fall. I’m also a little nervous because I don’t really know anything about hosting a formal knitalong, having only barely hosted very, very informal ones in the past. So I’d love your input on this. Here are some questions I have:

1) Shall we all knit Amanda, or shall I declare it a Fisherman Knitalong and suggest some other patterns as candidates? (Both cardigans and pullovers.) It would be nice to all be knitting the same thing, so we can compare notes and strategies on very specific aspects. On the other hand, Amanda is available only in a book (albeit a very good book, with lots of appealing patterns) and is written for just four sizes (33, 35, 38, 40). So I can see the benefits of going either way with this. I can also imagine a Fisherman Knitalong becoming an annual (biennial? triennial?) event.

2) How formal or structured do we want this to be? Knitting to a deadline tends to make me dislike knitting, and I don’t have the bandwidth to create and monitor a Ravelry group or anything like that. But I also feel like a total lack of structure will not help any of us accomplish our sweaters. What if we set a fairly loose deadline for each stage of the sweater. I can do a kickoff post for each part, discussing things to consider before casting on, etc, and then we can have ongoing discussion of that component in the comments on that post. Everyone can post progress shots on Ravelry, their blog, Instagram, whatever publicly accessible web-based location they prefer, and link out to those from comments. Does that work? (Scheduling it out according to parts/pieces is an argument in favor of us all knitting the same sweater, or at least sweaters with the same basic construction method. Amanda is bottom-up pieces, joined at the underarm, then knitted upwards from there in one piece. Plenty of other sweaters take that approach.)

3) Can we start on September 15th? (Or maybe swatching starts on the 1st?) I need some more time with my Channel before shifting gears, plus I don’t have yarn for swatching Amanda yet, much less a decision and a sweater’s worth. I imagine many others will also need time to pick yarn and swatch. Swatching will be very, very important for a heavily cabled sweater, my lovely friends — you really want to be sure it’s going to match the pattern measurements and come out to the size you want! (We’ll talk about how to adjust for gauge, etc., no worries.)

4) How much time do we all think is reasonable for the various parts? Swatch, back (hem to underarms), left front (ditto), right front (ditto; and some people will no doubt opt to knit the body as one piece instead of three), sleeve 1, sleeve 2, yoke, button bands, neck, and seams if you’re doing them.

I don’t expect we’ll have unanimity on any of this, but let’s talk it over and then I’ll post a follow-up with details, yarn recommendations and some other thoughts before we get started. Yes?

What I really want is a Kathryn Davey wardrobe

What I really want is a Kathryn Davey wardrobe

I’m thinking idly about clothes even more than usual lately — wondering what it is I still own that’s not in the suitcase I’m living out of, how I’d like to dress myself for this new land of four seasons, what I might sew for myself when I get my machine back, and so on. The one conclusion I inadvertently arrive at is that what I really really want is a whole wardrobe of clothes just like the ones Kathryn Davey makes for her beautiful dolls. So chic, so simple, so color-coordinated. They’re like the clothes in my suitcase (I mean: black/white and indigo, right?) only with a uniqueness and handmade elegance mine are utterly lacking. Anyway, dolls as fashion inspiration — who knew?

For more of Kathryn’s amazing work, see her website and her Instagram.

Blog Crush: Cinnamon Girl of Maine

Blog Crush: Cinnamon Girl of Maine

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

New Favorites: Palmyre

New Favorites: Palmyre

I was at my friend Jo’s house recently and asked her what she’d been knitting. (She knits nonstop.)  She said, “Karen, I just finished my favorite thing I have ever knitted.” When she led me to it, I was surprised to see a shawl — and a rather basic looking one at that — but when I threw it over my shoulders, I fell instantly in love. It’s Nadia Crétin-Léchenne’s Palmyre, a simple stockinette shawl with a lace border. (That’s Nadia’s pictured above, to be clear.) Jo had knitted it as a sample for the Haus of Yarn Bus, using oatmeal-colored Kenzie, and it is so light and warm and lays so nicely on one’s shoulders. It’s just a magical combination of yarn and stitches.

Those of you paying extra-close attention will recall that the bus is driven by my dear friend Meg*, Jo’s daughter, and that Meg and the bus were also at Stitches Midwest this weekend, two aisles over from me. So when it got chilly in the convention center and all I had with me was all I have in my possession these days (living out of a suitcase and all), namely summery sleeveless tops, you can guess what I did. I borrowed that shawl, wore it for two days, and I did not want to take it off. Not sure I can live without one of my very own.

.

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from the Knightsbridge collection

.

*who we’ve been staying with, who taught me to knit, etc, etc …

So nice to meet you!

So nice to meet you at #stitchesmidwest!

Hi, everyone! I’m back from Stitches Midwest, equal parts exhausted and energized. Ok, maybe a little more exhausted than energized, but that will pass! It was absolutely stunning how many people came through that little booth over the weekend and introduced themselves as blog readers. It’s such a weirdly solitary thing, blogging — talking to thousands of people you can’t see. So it’s a real treat to gather faces and names, and I appreciate all of you who took the time to tell me what it is you like most about the blog. (Number one answer was definitely the Tag Team Sweater Project.) But I’d love to take this opportunity to check in with more of you about that. While I take a minute to try to get caught up around here, I’d love to hear what you like most about the blog and what you’d like to see more of as we head into high knitting season.

And of course enormous thanks to everyone who shopped the shelves at the show!

I’ll be back as soon as I catch my breath …

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.

.

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Lena Samsoe’s fisherman cardigan