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 …
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.
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
To call this Amanda cardigan a “new” “favorite” is the most hilarious of understatements. It’s been on my Ravelry favorites list for over a year, but it recently surfaced again. And it goes well beyond favorite and deep into obsession territory. I’ve long been planning to knit myself an ivory cardigan, to replace one I had to retire, and have been searching for just the right pattern. And you know I love nothing more than a good fisherman sweater. But I resolved to make my ivory cardigan an aran one after a layover in the Chicago airport in early June. Anna and I met up there on the way to Squam and found ourselves stalking a woman in the boarding area. We were convinced she was headed for Squam, too, and thought she might actually be one of our shuttle-mates. She was wearing flip-flops, jeans, a cute indigo floral-print top, and the most gorgeous handknit fisherman cardigan. We stared and whispered and speculated, and Anna finally worked up the nerve to ask her if she was Squamwardbound. She had absolutely no idea what Squam was and was definitely not who we thought she was. But in the aisle of the plane, standing around the baggage claim in NH, we couldn’t take our eyes off her sweater. So Anna approached her again and asked if she could take a picture. The girl was not a knitter, but she said she loved the sweater because she suspected it was handknit (I can’t remember how she said she came into possession of it), and it definitely was. It was gorgeous.
Not long after we were back, Anna texted me while I was out for a walk one night and asked me if I remembered that sweater. I said I hadn’t been able to get it out of my mind, and she asked if I knew a good pattern. I’ve bookmarked many over the past few years — remember it was the idea of knitting my own fisherman that made me want to know how to knit in the first place — and I eventually found my way back to this pattern, Amanda by Lena Holme Samsoe. I try really hard to focus on downloadable patterns here on the blog, but this one is from a book, Essentially Feminine Knits. I ordered it the moment I rediscovered the pattern, got it in my held mail upon return from NC, and there are a bunch of good sweaters in there.* I know this because I did flip through it quickly when I pulled it out of the envelope, but once I got to the Amanda page I laid it open on my desk and it’s been sitting there staring at me (and vice versa) ever since.
So I’ll be rearranging my to-knit list a little bit to make room for Amanda right after my Channel. (OK, there may be some overlap.) Anna wants it in wool and I want it in cotton or a blend (more Balance, perhaps?), and we’re thinking of knitting it together beginning in September. Not tag team, just knitalong. Let me know if you want to join in!
*Check out this woman who seems to be knitting her way through all the sweaters in the book! Including two Amandas.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Groovy crochet tunic
Do you know I have never knitted a wash cloth? It’s such a classic thing to knit by the dozens — and such a common starter project — but I don’t really use wash cloths, so it’s never really interested me. But suddenly it’s on my mind. In part because of this great new Purl Bee pattern, Washcloths and scrubbing mitt, and in part because I’m having a “coming full circle” moment over here. Bob and I are currently staying with our dear friends in Nashville, the dynamic brother-sister duo of Meg and DG. Meg (of KnitKnotes fame*) is the one who taught me to knit when we were visiting them in 2011. When I went to see her at Haus of Yarn before flying home, I bought a booklet of wash cloth patterns, thinking that would be a good learning tool, but then there was that whole wash cloth disinterest thing, so I never did it. Now here we are again and Meg just recently taught DG to knit. And what is he knitting in front of me each night? Not just wash cloths, no. He started out knitting these 50 states wash cloths (he’s cuckoo for map stuff) and promptly decided to knit them into a blanket. Maybe it’s that, maybe it’s watching my friend Leigh knit so many Grandmother’s Favorites over the last couple of years; maybe it’s the inherent logic of knitting small, quick, cotton things in the summer heat. Whatever the reason, wash cloths (and their upsized friends, the dish towels) are feeling super appealing to me right now, so I consulted my favorite patterns and it turns out they’re all from my friends over at the Purl Bee — i.e., all of them free:
TOP LEFT: Soft Cotton Knit Dishtowels — mmmm, garter stripes
TOP RIGHT: Washcloths and Scrubbing Mitt — fantastic use of that crazy Habu yarn
BOTTOM LEFT: Slip Stitch Dishtowels — you know I’m intrigued by that slip-stitch colorwork action (see also)
BOTTOM RIGHT: New Log Cabin Washcloths — I’ve also never knitted a mitered square (quelle horreur!)
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Martin Storey’s mega cables
*DG did the design work on the KnitKnotes, by the way. Told you they’re a dynamic duo.
If it’s anywhere near as hot where you are as it is where I am (hooray, we finally made it to Nashville!) this photo might make you recoil. But this is one of my favorite things I saw at the trade show in May, and I’m happy to see the pattern is now published. It’s Brecon by Martin Storey and it’s somewhere between a poncho and a cardigan, which I would expect to hate, but I love it. Or at least I remember loving it. Based on my reaction to it at the time, I feel certain I’ll be longing to knit and wear it once the temperature starts to dip. But it is kind of hard to imagine at the moment.
SPEAKING OF MY MOVE, things continue to not go as planned (which I guess I should have expected) so shipping is going to continue to be not-quite-daily for the time being. I’ve got a note at the top of the webshop about next projected ship date(s) and will keep that up for as long as it’s sporadic. Back to normal soon! (Or else somebody please shoot me.) But thank you to everyone for your patience in the meantime.
I never did knit that cable-hat palate cleanser I was on about last month. But I still have a yearning for cables (I always have a yearning for cables) and am reminded of my goal to knit at least one pair of socks this summer. Ergo, cable socks — or at least cable-ish socks — are my new fixation:
LEFT: The Planorbis Corneus Socks by Hunter Hammersen are actually lace stitches that look a bit like basic cables (free pattern)
RIGHT: The Cross-Rib Socks by Ann Budd are cable stitches that look more like gothic cathedral architecture than traditional cables
PREVIOUSLY in 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
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Alicia Plummer’s clever summer cowl