New Favorites: from Pom Pom 14

New Favorites: from Pom Pom 14

There is so much I love about this new Pom Pom Issue 14 — the deft color story throughout the gorgeous photos, the fact that three of the pieces were shot on both a boy and a girl, the abundance of great patterns. It’s definitely one of my favorite issues so far, and to my surprise, I find I’m most smitten with the accessories. The cute dala horse hat, Karusellen by Erica Smith, and Melody Hoffman’s pretty Woodland Tales mitts are both on my wish list. But these are the two pieces I most urgently want in my possession:

TOP: Oak Crest by Maisie Howarth is a hat I thought I disliked and now find I can’t stop thinking about. The crown looks almost like some sort of weird exoskeleton, which I’ve apparently decided I’m in favor of, and I’m obsessed with that topknot.

BOTTOM: Pianissimo by Thien-Kieu Lam is a scarf knitted with the most intriguing shifting rib texture, plus I’m a sucker for long stretches of ribbing at the ends.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: High school flashbacks

Queue Check — July 2015

Queue Check — July 2015

It’s possible I spoke too soon about that house we have under contract. We got a not-so-good inspection report this week and now the whole thing is up in the air. So instead of marching through the steps toward closing, I’m in limbo, daydreaming about it. All I can think of when I think about that house is that it will be Fall there. It’s almost like I think that will somehow be true on the day we move in! I imagine the leaves turning on the all the big trees, and picture sitting out on the covered patio (in the rain!) when the temperatures get milder and the humidity packs its bags and shoves off. For when it gets colder, I have visions of knitting in front of the fireplace. A fireplace! Then there’s that screeching sound in my head as I remember the fireplace needs extensive repairs before that can happen. Anyway, somehow that house and Fall are inextricably entwined in my mind, and it makes me want it more than I want to want it when it may not happen.

Between all of that and the fact that Fall really is coming soon (it is! it is!), I’m rethinking my knitting queue. June mayhem didn’t allow for that summer sweater to get cast on, and now it seems too late to start. Time to start in, instead, on the sweaters I want to be done with in time to wear them on that covered patio, right? But my plans feel a little scrambled. All of this secret and required knitting the past few months has amplified my aversion to knitting that feels in any way like an obligation, to the point of making me a tiny bit allergic to my own to-knit list. Next up was supposed to be whatever that dark grey Hole & Sons is meant to become, but I haven’t solved that riddle yet. And next after that was supposed to be my Channel Cardigan, finally and again, but there too I’m on the fence about yarn. My latest theory has been that I would use the camel Shibui Merino-Alpaca I stocked up on when it was discontinued, but I fear it will be too hot and heavy with all that fisherman’s rib and textured stitch. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s not to cast on a sweater before really knowing it’s right and worthy, but these past couple of months without a sweater on the needles have been agony! So for the moment, I’m enjoying my Hermaness Worsted (have you seen all the #fringehatalong hats?) and pondering the notion of turning that Merino-Alpaca into a Linda. A big cozy fringed scarf might not satisfy me in the knitting like a sweater does, but it would in the wearing.

I hope you all have a magnificent weekend! We got a fresh batch of Yarn Pyramids in this week, and there are tools allegedly arriving this afternoon — bonsai scissors and counters and crochet hooks, among other things — so if you’ve been waiting, check in later today or tomorrow morning! xo

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: June 2015

Socially acceptable blankies

Socially acceptable blankies

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!

If you can’t get enough of that stitch

If you can't get enough of that stitch

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!

New Favorites: the Purl Bee three

New Favorites: the Purl Bee three

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)

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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!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the perfect Summer aran

New Favorites: Linda

New Favorites: Linda

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?

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Modified ganseys

First of the best of Fall 2015: Wool and Gang walks again

First of the best of Fall 2015: Wool and the Gang walks again

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.