New Favorites: BT’s best shawl collars

New Favorites: Brooklyn Tweed's best shawl-collar cardigans

When I was talking to someone recently (can’t remember who/where) about putting a shawl collar on my Amanda cardigan for the #fringeandfriendsknitalong, they said something about how on-trend that will be. And I suppose it will, but it got me thinking. There are definitely lots of shawl collars in the stores right now, but aren’t there always? I genuinely don’t think there’s ever been a year when there haven’t been amazing shawl-collar cardigans I’m dying to own. Certainly the shapes and details vary, and they may be more “in” one year than the next, but a shawl-collar cardigan is never out of style. And I think that timelessness is a big part of why I keep casting them on! It seems perfectly reasonable to me to invest large chunks of knitting time on a garment that cozy, and that I believe has a greater chance of wearing out than falling out of fashion. So that train of thought and yesterday’s Wool People release got me looking at the Best of Brooklyn Tweed shawl collars:

TOP: Field by Kazekobo, the newest entry, from Wool People 8. Honeycomb on the body, reverse stockinette sleeves, and compound raglan shaping — a total classic. Plus based on the gauge, it appears to be the perfect pattern from which to borrow the neck shaping and collar method for a shawlified Amanda. (Was there anyone at BT reading these posts thinking “Hold on! We have the perfect candidate!”?)

ROW 2 LEFT: Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood, from BT Winter ’14, knit-purl splendor already on my needles. Even though I’m planning to leave out some of the details that make it so exceptional, I think this is the Sweater of the Year.

ROW 2 RIGHT: Timberline by Jared Flood, from BT Men. I could stare at those intricately branching cables all day, and think the collar on this one is perfection.

MIDDLE: Little Wave by Gudrun Johnston, from Wool People 6, textured stitch panels with garter-stitch accents. And pockets! This one didn’t make that huge of an impression on me until I tried on the sample and fell in love. (I’ve also been taking a second, third and fourth look at Persimmon lately.)

BOTTOM LEFT: Burr by Veronik Avery, from BT Fall ’12, in stockinette with stylized shaping. Looks like such a simple sweater, and then you start to notice all the amazing, subtle details.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Bellows by Michele Wang, from BT Fall ’14, allover texture with cable accents. Seriously, it’s all I can do to not cast this on before finishing Amanda and Channel. And actually, my all-time favorite BT shawl collar might be another Michele design: the Arlo kids cardigan.

I wish I had every one of them in my closet right now and forever.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Offshore

New Favorites: In my size, please

New Favorites: In my size, please

Brooklyn Tweed published their first collection of knitting patterns for kidwear this week, BT Kids, and it’s predictably adorable, right down to the sweater-wearing teddy bear. The hats and scarves go up to adult sizes. (I love Spore — predictable me.) The blankets are universally useful. And there’s a somewhat cryptic note in the lookbook on Julie Hoover’s sweet Berenice pullover about how “full-grown girls will triple-flip at the chance to scale this up in Shelter,” which seemed to suggest that such instructions might be included, but apparently they just meant that the dolman construction would be easy to adapt. Regardless, there are four sweaters in there I want in my size:

TOP LEFT: Atlas by Jared Flood, the colorwork chart for which one might be able to impose upon Grettir?

TOP RIGHT: Arlo by Michele Wang, which has me pondering adding some of its cables to Slade

BOTTOM LEFT: Vika by Veronik Avery, which they really should go ahead and grade up!

BOTTOM RIGHT: Sock Monkey Sweater by Jared Flood, which shouldn’t be too hard to adapt from Brownstone

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Alicia Plummer’s clever summer cowl

Turning a sweater into an adventure

Tag Team Sweater Project update

To no one’s surprise, I’m not in the best shape on my Tag Team Sweater Project sweater. One week from today, I’ll be in Seattle, where I’m supposed to have a finished sweater. What I should have had by Monday, when my beautiful sweater body arrived from Anna (thank you, Anna!), was two sleeves to attach it to. Instead, I had one sleeve. One very wretched sleeve, plagued with ladders, which is a problem I’ve never struggled with before. (Except for that one time I attempted to knit a hat on four DPN’s, but that was sheer foolishness.) So instead of having one more sleeve to knit, I have two more sleeves to knit. And I also have a total loss of patience for knitting sleeves. The last thing I knitted before we started all this was Casey’s mitts, so I’ve been knitting nothing but stockinette tubes for as long as I can remember.

I can’t take it anymore!

I had originally envisioned being done with my four sleeves well before the appointed parts exchange date and had daydreamed about starting the yoke as a separate piece, with the completed sleeves and body grafted onto it later. So that idea was lingering in my mind, even as the sleeve due dates came and went. Since I can’t deal with the sleeves right now and am desperate to move on with the FUN PART — and after consulting Instagram and Michele Wang — I’ve decided to take the approach Felicia describes on her Craft Sessions blog. To wit: I separated the body into fronts and back and, as of last night, am working the phantom arms upwards from provisionally cast-on stitches. And just like that, this sweater went from feeling like a chore to an adventure! Wish me luck as I try to make great progress on it this weekend.

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Speaking of Seattle next week, I don’t think I’ve officially announced this: I won’t just be at VK Live taking classes and making the rounds. Instead I’ve taken Brooke up on her offer to share her booth again, so the Cabinet of Curiosities is going to Seattle! What this means, most significantly, is lots of drive time to work on my sweater.

New at Fringe Supply Co

In shop news for the weekend, two new things have arrived: Taproot 9, which includes a Carrie Bostick Hoge shawl pattern, Lola, that made me gasp out loud, and … cookies! My favorite cookies (to put it mildly), which you can read all about on the cookie page. Also, great news, the wildly popular repair hooks are back in stock in all sizes, in both bone and ebony. So you can find all that and more at Fringe Supply Co.!

Have a great weekend, everyone! As always, I’d love to hear what you’re working on—

New Favorites: Ebony and ivory

New Favorites: Ebony and ivory knitting patterns

There have been two new knitting pattern photos this week that have made my eyes widen and my mouth fall open. Both happen to be near-black and off-white, which is a combo I find irresistible. And in both cases, used to exquisite effect. First came Joelle’s Diagonal Pinstripe Scarf, a simple garter-stitch scarf (free pattern at the Purl Bee) knit on the diagonal with randomly placed single-row stripes, which creates a sort of ticking effect due to the garter stitch. Or as she says, “in Heirloom White with fine lines of Dark Loam, the effect is like a graphite drawing on cotton rag paper, loose and mysterious.” Then came Michele Wang’s Alloy, part of the latest Brooklyn Tweed collection, BT Winter 14. It’s classic Michele — an impeccable set-in-sleeve pullover with contrasting textures — but in this case she’s added color-blocked panels in the sleeves and sides. Had it been knitted in anything other than Fossil and Cast Iron, it wouldn’t have been the same. As is? Want.

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By the way, I know there are several of you who’ve been studying my Pullovers for First-Timers post, trying to decide what you want your first sweater to be. If you’re leaning toward a drop-sleeve pattern (i.e, no sleeve-cap or armscye shaping) there are two great options in that new BT collection: Abbott by Michele Wang and Benton by Julie Hoover. Both manage the proportions well.

Someday vs Right Away: Bobbles

Someday vs Right Away: Bobble

It might seem like I blog about Trillium every week, but c’mon — it’s really only every other week. I do, however, think about this sweater pretty much every day. Unlike some of the others, this one isn’t a pie-eyed sort of maybe someday Someday; it’s a someday soon. You know, as soon as I finish the other half-knit sweaters I’ve got going. But one of the things I’m looking forward to is the bobbles! (I’ll really be looking forward to them once I’m working my way up through all that stockinette.) I find them strangely appealing, as decorative doodads go, and have never knitted one. But there are snack-sized opportunities to rectify that in the near term: Jenny Gordy’s Snöflinga hat takes a similar judicious-geometric approach to the bobbles, and I love Grace Anna Farrow’s subtle Bump Scarf kerchief. (And that yarn: swoon.) Unfortunately, Grace’s pattern is not available for individual download, but Mary Lawson’s Covert Operation could be easily modified to kerchief proportions.

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p.s. The great answers to my last Q for You keep on coming. If you haven’t read all the comments, don’t miss What’s your peak knitting experience. I love these stories!

p.p.s. Knitters Graph Paper Journal is back in stock!

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PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs Right Away: Nordic delights

2013: My favorite New Favorites and your favorite posts

Best of New Favorites: Sweater patterns

You know there has to be some reflection and projection here as the calendar flips over from 2013 to ’14, starting with the patterns that caught my attention over the course of the year. Pretty much every week, under the heading of New Favorites, I post about the patterns that I not only like or admire but that make my fingers twitch with the urge to cast on — whether it’s great new releases, a designer who’s caught my eye, or some gap in my wardrobe or skill set I’m thinking about filling. Clearly I’m fickle, and some are more passing fancies than others. But some of these picks burrow into my brain and simply demand to be knitted. Here are the ones I’m still fixated on — I hope to cast on at least some of them in 2014.

SWEATERS
top left: Stonecutter pullover by Michele Wang (Pattern of the Year, as far as I’m concerned)
top right: Dwell cardigan by Martin Storey
bottom left: Trillium cardigan by Michele Wang
bottom right: Rook pullover by Kyoko Nakayoshi

Best of New Favorites: Fingerless gloves

FINGERLESS GLOVES
Antiquity mitts by Alicia Plummer

Best of New Favorites: Scarf/shawl patterns

WRAPS
left: Flying Squirrel stole by Michiyo
right: Imposter’s Shawl by Amber Corcoran

Best of New Favorites: Sock patterns

SOCKS
left: Climb socks by Jane Richmond
right: Cream socks by cabinfour

The hats I am most persistently obsessed with were both mentioned on the blog, but neither of them in New Favorites. They are the Bray Cap by Jared Flood and Gwyneth by Leah McGlone.

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And speaking of favorites, here are the ten posts that attracted the most views over the course of 2013:

1. How to improvise a top-down sweater
2. Holiday knitting cheat sheet: A hat for every head
3. Best summer sweater knitting patterns
4. Double Basketweave Cowl (free pattern)
5. New Favorites: Simply Great Cowls
6. Scarves to start now
7. Wabi Mitts (free pattern)
8. Fast, easy and warm: Jumbo Stitch Cowls collection (free patterns)
9. Knitter’s Delight: Beautifully textured hats
10. Holiday knitting cheat sheet: Cowls all around

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Someday vs Right Away: Complex mixed cables

Someday vs Right Away: Complex mixed cable knitting patterns

As you may have noticed, my appetite for amazing sweaters is vast — cables, colorwork, clever construction … yes, please. Sadly, my actual allotment of knitting time (not to mention my yarn budget) is scant. I keep pointing out to myself that it’s not like I need all of those sweaters anyway, and besides, where would I put them? And if what I want is to knit them, there are smaller-scale ways of scratching that itch. So I thought this might make a good little occasional series — useful for me and others similarly afflicted. I’m calling it Someday vs Right Away.

At the very top of my list of not-gonna-happen-anytime-soons is Stonecutter, Michele Wang’s remarkable take on the fisherman sweater. If it’s complex mixed cables we’re longing to knit, there are hats galore that might appease us — including two great options from Wool People 6, the most recent Brooklyn Tweed collection: Gentian by Irina Dmitrieva (bottom left) and Bough by Leila Raabe (bottom right). I can only imagine the tremendous sense of accomplishment that would come with a finished Stonecutter, but either of these might provide a rewarding little dose of that. Right?

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QUICK NOTE: I’m happy to announce three new Fringe Supply Co. stockists: Apple Yarns in Bellingham WA, Seaside Yarns in Juneau AK and my first international store, Sunspun in Canterbury, Victoria, Australia! Hit ’em up for some Fringe goods, will ya?

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