I Know What You Missed Last Summer

I Know What You Missed Last Summer

Now that we’re all settling back into our knitting chairs, putting summer behind us, I thought it might be good to take a minute to point up some of the highlights from the past three months here on the ol’ blog — in case you missed anything really good (if I say so myself) while you were out enjoying the warm weather and long days!

There was the whole of Summer of Basics, with three rounds of inspiring prize winners to check out: Round 1 (the planners); Round 2 (the WIPs) and Round 3 (the finished goods). My own SoB-3 didn’t turn out quite like I expected, but great nevertheless! (Plus my aran-gansey, which I finished on Labor Day.)

I offered a peek inside my mini bullet journal.

Sewed a sweatshirt (almost correctly!) and took it to Squam.

Then I took an epic trip to PortugalPortuguese knitting, hand-spinning (photo above),  a wool mill and sheep blessing … Definitely don’t miss the sheep blessing.

I interviewed Brooke Sinnes about single-breed yarns and her US Cormo in particular.

Revealed the other sweater Meg gave me — you won’t believe it.

Shared a video version of my folded neckband tutorial, which you’ll find anytime saved at the top of the @fringesupplyco Instagram profile (the written version is here)

Took stock of my entire sweater inventory as it stands, with notes about what NOT to knit next!

And of course, you’ve got about a dozen New Favorites to scroll through!

What’s on the horizon for fall into winter? We talked about that, too!

Summer also saw the release of the “Bury me with yarn and needles …” tote bag and the Jen Hewett “Hank” Field Bag, the butterscotch Porter Bin and the new canvas drawstring bag. I hope you didn’t miss any of those!

And if you have FOMO about what else you might have missed, you can always use the little dropdown in the right rail over there to skip back to any particular month of the blog archive and give it a scroll at your own pace.

Happy Equinox! Thank you for spending your time here, and I hope you have an amazingly restorative weekend. I’ll be unpacking from my SF trip, happy to be home …


Knit the Look: the mini Guernsey Literary Society henley

Knit the Look: the mini Guernsey Literary Society henley

If you’ve seen the Netflix adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (which is not quite as twee as the title suggests), you know it’s chock full of sweaters. No ganseys, oddly, given that it’s set on Guernsey, and it’s a little confusing whose sweaters look possibly handknit and whose definitely don’t, but we’ll leave that aside. The point is: sweaters! The thrust of the story is that a pretty young London writer visits a group of book-loving strangers on the isle of Guernsey, which is still reeling from the Nazi occupation. She is a first-rate packer. Although she’s meant to be there a night or two, her mix-and-match travel wardrobe carries her through a longer stay: tweed trousers and skirt, three or four pretty silk blouses with big collars, two sweater vests, a pullover with a little Peter Pan collar, a pretty great blue-marl cardigan, a brown suede jacket and a brown garter-stitch beret are all she needs, with just a pair of borrowed workpants for when she’s helping her unanticipated love interest with his pigs. (Oh, surely you can see that coming!) For my money, though, the kids and the men get all the best sweaters. Best of all being the tattered henley pictured on the little girl, Kit, above.

There are weirdly few images from the movie on the internet, and they’re all of the woven garments, despite the fact that every single character except the military fiancé wears multiple sweaters in the film. I mean, too many cardigans to even begin to count. (There may be more Knit the Looks about these.) But that’s why all I have for you is an iPhone photo of my laptop screen, and you’ll have to trust my eye and memory on the rest.

So about this little pullover, which obviously I want in my size and minus the post-occupation tatters: It’s just a mushroom colored, boxy little henley but what makes it interesting, as always, are the details. The sleeves are ribbed but it appears to be garter rib, which would be less bunchy to wear and also features strongly on a few other of the movie’s sweaters. There are two little chest pockets also in rib. (It makes me think of Marshal, in some ways.) But what really seals it is that henley placket that runs right down to the waist ribbing. To emulate it, you could use the free ’80s-era pattern from Drops known poetically as 4-24. Knit the sleeves in garter rib and fashion a couple of chest patch pockets to match, and instead of working the placket opening a few inches shy of the neck, start it just above the waist ribbing. (And refrain from inserting shoulder pads as Drops appears to have done!) The pattern is written for bulky, so I’m recommending Harrisville’s lovely tweedy Turbine yarn in Driftwood, but it would also be easy to adapt that pattern to a lighter gauge.


PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: The Crown’s cardigans

Hot Tip: Swap your needle tips

Hot Tip: Swap your needle tips

The first Hot Tip I ever posted was about using two different-size needle tips if knitting on interchangeable needles. When you’re knitting in the round, you only use one end of the needle for making stitches, and the other end is essentially just a stitch holder, and it’s easier to work the stitches off of a smaller tip. Many of you responded at the time that you also mismatch your needle tips for working flat to make up for gauge differences between knit and purl rows, which I found completely fascinating and sensible! (Bonus tip!) And then on Instagram over the weekend, I saw a whole ’nother angle on this from my friend Veronika of YOTH Yarns.

Ve is knitting what appears to be a cardigan with the body knitted in one piece, flat, so she’s got about 48″ worth of stitches on a long circular needle, and she’s working a lot of cable crosses on top of that, which causes her wrist strain. To help with the strain, she puts a smaller needle tip on the left end (or non-working tip end) of her interchangeable and the proper gauge needle on the working end, again making it easier for her to work the stitches (and especially the cables) off the smaller tip. That does mean every time she gets to the end of a row and is ready to start back the other direction, she has to swap out her needle tips. Seems tedious, yet according to her wrists it’s well worth taking the 30 seconds to do. But on top of that, she had a really clever tip for how to simplify that process, which you can kind of see in my screengrab of her video above. She slides the needle key doohickey through the hole in both tips at the same time, unscrews one, unscrews the other, then screws them back on in opposite positions. Like most great tips in life, that seems so obvious now that I’ve seen it!

Ve is a fount of stuff like this, so make sure you’re following her on Instagram @yarnonthehouse. Thanks, Ve!

p.s. If you’re not using interchangeables, I highly recommend them, and we stock the Lykke Driftwood beauties at Fringe Supply Co. If you’re reluctant to commit to a full set without trying them, I always suggest buying a pair or two of needle tips in your most-used sizes (which means you’ll want extras of them regardless) and a couple of cords. Then if you like them, you can either build a collection of the sizes you use, or invest in a set, which really does pay off quickly. Says the person who bought an ungodly number of fixed circs in her first couple years of knitting …


PREVIOUSLY in Hot Tips: Allow for adjustments

New Favorites: Those collars

New Favorites: Those collars

There are two new cardigan patterns in the world that are making me reevaluate my (eternally conflicted) position on this kind of collar — does it have a name?

TOP: Ridgeline Wrap Cardigan by Purl Soho caused my jaw to hit the desk when I opened the newsletter. In this case, the big wide collar also comes with that cascading front action that I’m normally slightly allergic to, but somehow here the whole thing just works beautifully — and is such a perfect marriage of yarn and garment, too.

BOTTOM: Henning by Mary Anne Benedetto is a dramatic cardigan of swooping cables, with an even more dramatic collar, and looks like so much fun to knit. The thing is, it could be either super cozy or super irritating. I absolutely love it in this photo and want it to be just as it looks here, properly seated around her shoulders, but the other photos make it look like might be a slip-slider, so I’m hoping for a chance to try on the sample one day!


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Way back to school sweaters

Q for You: Do you wind yarn as needed, or all at once?

Q for You: Do you wind yarn as needed, or all at once?

A long time ago, we had a very fun chat about hand-winding yarn versus having it done at the store. I still believe in hand-winding and, although I bought a swift at some point in between, I don’t like it and rarely use it. (In fact, I recently relocated it to the coat closet as part of the workroom cleanup.) So it’s still me winding yarn by hand onto my thumb, from a skein draped around my knees or my neck. And I have always been a wind-as-you-go kind of girl, since I don’t like to wind more than I actually need. (I’ve never actually returned an unused skein, but I like preserving the possibility!) Yes, I find it tedious to run out of yarn and have to stop knitting to wind more, and I am always thinking of the moment during the Top-Down Knitalong when I saw panelist-friend @jen_beeman on Instagram, winding all of the yarn for her sweater in one go, and feeling envious of the fact that she would be able to knit straight through without stopping. And yet, I can’t bring myself to wind more than a two or three skeins (at most) at a time!

So that’s my two-part Q for You today: If you didn’t weigh in before, tell me whether you’re a hand-winder or a store-winder, and if the former, do you wind in one go or as needed?

I look forward to your answers and wish you a very happy weekend!


PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: What was your first yarn?

Photo © Jen Beeman, used with permission


Elsewhere: Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Happy Friday! We’re halfway into the #fringemarlislekal (details here) and there’s still plenty of time to jump in.  Fancy Tiger — who, you may recall, are offering some of the prizes! — have a lovely interview with Anna up on their blog, and there’s still time to get a seat in some of her classes at Fancy if you’re in the Denver vicinity.

Other than that, here’s Elsewhere:

– Fascinated by this Yoke-u-lator that Kelsey Leftwich used for her amazing Summer of Basics sweater

This Ellsworth coat is perfect

So simple; so good. (Pattern here)

– I love that there’s a book of 40 of Norah Gaughan’s decades of Vogue Knitting patterns in the world (I’m into that texture-rich one pictured above)

– Ummmm …. somehow that’s all I’ve got! (lol) Man, I knew I had way too many plates spinning these past few weeks, but I have never not saved a boatload of links and references to comb through when it’s Elsewhere time. Wow, that speaks volumes.

So I’m putting it to you guys: What are the best things you’ve seen/read/heard lately? Please share!

And I hope you have an awesome weekend. I’ve got some really fun stuff lined up for you next week, so I’ll see you back here on Monday!




Packing a mixed bag for the Cities by the Bay

Packing a mixed bag for the Cities by the Bay

It looks like my brand fluffy new aran-gansey is going to get its first outing much sooner than I expected. Bob and I are headed to San Francisco and all the surrounding towns today. He’s doing the Alcatraz swim on Saturday! This has been in the works for a long time, and has been rescheduled more times than I can count, and I’ve honestly been feeling a little bothered that it finally landed in mid-September. The thing that made me craziest about living there (for almost 20 years; please note that I am very familiar with the place) was that it’s freezing all year and then September rolls around, and right when you’re actually in the mood for the sweaters you’ve been forced to wear all summer, it suddenly heats up! Sept and Oct are the only two months in which you’ll ever really get any warm weather when you’re by the Bay. So here I am in stinky hot Tennessee, about to take my first vacation to SF since we moved away, and fuming a little about the inevitability that it wouldn’t actually mean a break from the heat. But then by some miracle, the usual Indian Summer is nowhere in sight!

We are, in fact, going to visit some sweater weather today, and I could not be more delighted.

We’ll be all over the place — SF, Berkeley, Marin, Vallejo, Napa, possibly even Point Reyes — doing a hilarious variety of things (from the messiest to the most professional) in about a dozen different micro-climates, but all of the forecasts call for highs from the mid-60s to mid-70s. Those temps feel different there, with no humidity and that wind, than they do here. But I think I still have my Layering badge, and am taking the above (see the Summer closet inventory for details on the rest of the garments), which should cover all variables, along with a wool scarf, mitts, hat — and my trusty gore-tex jacket for over the sweater when I’m out on the water Saturday morning, watching Bob swim with the … nope, not making that joke.

Never fear: There will be no break in the blog action! There’s a full week of fun stuff queued up, and I’ll be checking comments as much as possible.

And of course Fringe Supply Co. is always open. Which, by the way, we have the new Mason-Dixon Field Guide No. 8 in the webshop today, featuring fun gifty accessory patterns by the always-delightful Thea Colman.


PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Sweater inventory