My sister and I were talking last week about how it’s socially acceptable for kids these days to have a blanket or stuffed animal that they “self-comfort” with even up to early teenage years. The conversation made me think of Sara’s recent IG shawl pic, which she had hashtagged #sociallyacceptableblanket, and about those of us (grown-ups) who never leave home without a scarf or wrap of some kind. Living in the chilly Bay Area all those years, I never ever ever was without a big ol’ scarf. One in particular (the green paisley one pictured here, which somehow manages to go with everything) was always in my bag even if a different one was around my neck — it felt wrong to leave home without it. It accompanied me on countless trips over the course of a few years, including one to a small, very exclusive tech conference where I felt completely out of place and knew only two people, on top of which it was socially UNacceptable to be seen talking too long to anyone you already knew and verboten to sit next to them at a meal! We were there to meet new people — my worst skill. Throw in a really nasty cold, and I can tell you having that scarf around my neck that weekend veered past mere warmth or accessorizing and well into self-comfort territory. All of which got me thinking about how many blanket patterns I’ve saved up over the last few years with no intention of knitting them as blankets. That’s because every blanket that passes before my eyes (especially baby blankets) gets mentally resized into wrap proportions. I apparently only want a blanket if it can go everywhere with me. A few candidates from the top of my list:
TOP LEFT: Bairn by Julie Hoover
TOP RIGHT: Hambleton Throw by Martin Storey (free pattern)
MIDDLE LEFT: Umaro by Jared Flood (See also: Shale Baby Blanket)
MIDDLE RIGHT: Mosaic Blanket by the Purl Bee (free pattern)
BOTTOM LEFT: Chevron Baby Blanket by the Purl Bee (free pattern)
BOTTOM RIGHT: Ambrotype by Jocelyn Tunney (free pattern)
IN UNRELATED SHOP NEWS: The beloved folding rice baskets are back in stock in natural, as are the wooden gauge rulers. And we’ve also got a fresh batch of the loom kits. If you’ve been waiting, here’s your chance!
I’m trying to finish my grandma’s shawl before I cast on my L’Arbre Hat for the knitalong (am at the point of the loooong-slooooowww rows), and it’s sort of killing me to see all the hats forming on the #fringehatalong hashtag in the meantime! That stitch pattern is so addictive, I can’t wait to get back to it. But I was thinking the other day it’s sort of sad to have learned that nifty trick only to use it again rarely, if ever. Then over the weekend I was cruising around Pinterest and saw an image I’d seen before, had included in last year’s Pretty spring scarves roundup, and then forgotten about: the Purl Bee’s Trellis Scarf, seen above. This time my eyes popped right out of my head as I immediately recognized the same trick but used to very different effect. As with the stitch pattern used in L’Arbre, the stitch pattern for the Trellis Scarf is by Barbara Walker, from her beloved book A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. But in this case, the tucked strands are staggered to form a grid of X’s, or a lattice look. So if you’ve finished your hat and want more of that stitch, here you go!
Just as people’s attention is starting to turn toward warmer-weather pursuits, and the pace of new knitting pattern releases slows to a painful crawl, the Purl Bee shows up with three killer scarf patterns — all of them featuring engaging little techniques to hold your interest:
TOP: Jasmine Scarf features an insanely pretty stitch pattern that looks like a ton of fun to knit — go watch the little how-to video on the pattern page (free pattern)
MIDDLE: Cobblestone Scarf is a simple stitch but knitted with three different yarns held together — always among my favorite tricks — to create intriguing and subtle texture and color complexities (free pattern)
BOTTOM: Reversible Rivulet Scarf combines twisted stitches and reversible cables (free pattern)
UNRELATED NEWS OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS: We got in a nice little batch of several of the beloved vintage fiber mill spindles many of you have been asking about. There’s also a secret new addition in the dropdown (not pictured) — a light cherry red version of the green/blue one — but there are only a dozen of them so you might need to be fast! Plus Knitters Graph Paper Journal and both sizes of the Doane notebooks are back in stock. It’s an embarrassment of riches in the paper goods department right now!
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the perfect Summer aran
I’m truly savoring every cold minute we have left to us, living in dread of the swamp heat I know will be here soon, but also trying not to lose sight of the coming loveliness of Spring. I am eager to trade in my heavy wool pea coat for a cozy scarf or shawl, and there is one that shot straight to the top of my list last week: Linda by Deb Hoss, from Quince’s Scarves Etc. 4 collection. I love the proportions of this thing. And the dense side fringe? Even better than how great it looks is that it’s very cleverly achieved.
I have the exact right amount of yarn left over from my Bellows. Wouldn’t it make it easier on me, when I must give Bellows up for the season, to have this to take its place?
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Modified ganseys
Following last year’s Eek hat for the Giles Fall ’14 collection, my friends over at Wool and the Gang had more knits walking the runway at London Fashion Week yesterday. This time they collaborated with Christopher Raeburn on his shark-themed Fall ’15 collection. As seen in the photos here (from @woolandthegang and @jade_harwood) the pieces include a pair of shark-shaped mittens plus a killer multi-color slouch beanie and big fringed scarf. The mittens, dubbed the Bruce Knitmitts, are available on their site straight away, both as finished goods and a knit kit, and they’ve promised to let me know when the hat and scarf patterns are available later this year. My compliments to the Gang on what must have been another thrilling ride. And to Raeburn, who looks pretty pleased with those mittens.
p.s. They were kind enough to send me an Eek hat kit when I was crying for a fast break from my four months with Amanda, but I haven’t knitted it up just yet. Love. That. Hat.
p.p.s. If I had the sewing chops, I would totally be making my own version of that olive-drab duffel coat with Grainline’s pattern. That is my dream coat right there.
Jocelyn Tunney has an obsession with garter-stitch triangles and chevrons, and I have an obsession with these designs. Love this blanket. Love this scarf. And this one. But I think it’s all been leading up to this. When I walked into the Manos del Uruguay booth at the trade show last month and saw her Mariscos wrap, above, draped on one of the dress forms, it stopped me in my tracks. This thing is huge and gorgeous, and looks like it would be both interesting and soothing to knit. Jocelyn kindly sent me the pattern as soon as it was ready, knowing how much I love it, so now all I want to do is sit around picturing it in every possible color combination. Because as soon as I figure it out, I am casting on — it’ll make a perfect project to pick and put down amongst more mentally taxing things for a few months.
UNRELATED: the Etta+Billie skin balms are back. Let there be dancing in the streets!
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the chevrons of BT Winter ’15
Of the things I’d like to try my hand at this year, mosaic knitting is probably at the top of the list. And it seems to be in the air; it’s everywhere I look these days. Mosaic knitting is colorwork without the stranding or floats. By working one color per row, and strategically slipping the stitches from the previous row, you wind up with a reversible fabric. It sounds like magic! I’m particularly smitten with these two big fringed mosaic scarves from two of the winter knitting mags, both of which include multiple mosaic patterns—
TOP: #05 Long Fringed Scarf by John Brinegar from Vogue Knitting Winter 2014/15
BOTTOM: Tessellating Leaves Scarf by Ann McDonald Kelly from Knitscene Winter 2014
If I try the technique and it seems doable, I might have to go with the whole amazing blanket. And in fact, this looks like a very good issue of Vogue Knitting — I like this and this and this and this. Bonus points for the toned down styling!
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Favorite New Favorites of 2014