WIP of the Week No.2 // and Elsewhere

WIP of the Week // and Elsewhere

Before I announce this week’s WIP of the Week, I want to say something about prizes, because I think people have a tendency to put too much stock in them. Prizes are lovely, but PRIZES ARE NOT THE POINT. As I’ve said before, I feel like when you participate in a knitalong, the prize is your sweater! And never more so than this Top-Down Knitalong, where it’s a sweater you cooked up completely on your own — and for many of you participating, it’s also the first time you’ve done so. What you get out of the knitalong is a sweater, plus a lot of learning and experience and maybe even some new friendships. Priceless rewards. If you happen to be one of a few people who wins a prize along the way, that’s just icing on the cake, right? It’s the cake that really matters.

With that said, this week’s WIP of the Week is by Beth, who is @bethtais on Instagram and also beththais on Ravelry. I wrote an essay recently for an upcoming book about how we, as knitters and sewers, have the power to make treasures, and not just clothes. This sweater of Beth’s is such a beautiful example of that, so it really stood out to me in that regard. She’s knitting a little striped cardigan for her daughter, and really thinking of it as a part of an outfit and larger wardrobe of treasures.  The yarn is the last in her stash of a much-loved small-batch yarn, Flock, left over from knitting she’s done for herself. And likewise, the dress is sewn from fabric she dyed and made herself a dress out of, before using the rest for her daughter. It’s the sweetest little outfit (reminds me of Kathryn Davey) and I hope it gets worn and loved and saved and passed on to the next generation. And I just adore that touch of blue in the stripe sequence. So beautifully done in every regard.

So congratulations, Beth, you’ve won 7 skeins of Purl Soho’s Flax Down, in the color of your choosing! Please email me at contact@fringesupplyco.com to collect your prize! And big thanks again to my friends at Purl Soho for providing this week’s luscious prize. Next week’s prize is 10 skeins of the new Brooklyn Tweed Shelter Marls, so keep those photos and stories coming! Link your Ravelry project to the Improv pattern page if you’re using my tutorial (131 projects and counting!), and use the hashtag #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 wherever you post. I especially love it when you leave links in the comments to your blog posts, so everyone can see those.

Whether you’re participating or not, I really recommend clicking through the posts on Instagram — such an amazing range of knitters and sweaters and trials and errors and victories. It’s incredible. When you’re done reading through that, there’s Elsewhere:

Have you seen Brandi’s YouTube channel? Gorgeous

Have you heard about Ann’s Washalong idea? Genius

Tom’s sweater is a work of art

And Dianna’s queue is jaw-droppingly beautiful

Great tutorial on seaming perpendicular knits

LOVING this year’s Refashioners challenge

Darling

I might need to make this tank

And this hat

Happy weekend, lovely people! See you back here next week—

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: How to knit a compound raglan // PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere

Queue Check — August 2016

Queue Check — August 2016

My phase of serial monogamy seems to have officially ended. It was nice while it lasted, but now instead of completing any knitting projects, I just keep casting on new ones! There are currently five sweaters and two hats on my needles. One sweater and both hats are officially registered with Wool Protective Services as orphans at this point, but that leaves four active sweaters:

1) The black Linen Quill cardigan is the longest I’ve ever taken to complete a simple top-down sweater. In my defense, other sweaters with hard deadlines have pulled me away from it. But this continues to be the sweater I most urgently need. So in Stockinette Situations for the foreseeable future, this is the one I’ll reach for.
Current status: body is complete and one sleeve barely started; needs sleeves, pocket and button band

2) The purple Lettlopi pullover that was the basis of the new Improv pattern and revised tutorial would be the quickest one to finish, and it would be nice to have a photo to post and something to cross off! But it’s the least pressing in terms of being even remotely wearable, much less needed. Motivation will come blowing in around Thanksgiving.
Current status: body nearly complete; needs a second sleeve, another pass at whipstitching the neckband down, and some seams

3) The long-awaited Channel Cardigan in Clever Camel is finally on the needles! This is the one I simply want the most desperately — and I can’t stop fantasizing about somehow having it for my travels in early October — but I know it’s going to be a long road and I’ll have to be patient.
Current status: just half of one sleeve, with a dropped ply in the fisherman’s rib to be dealt with

4) My Top-Down Knitalong sweater in Shibui Pebble is a joy to knit and I know I’ll absolutely love wearing it, but I expect to be working on it for awhile!
Current status: yoke is just past the neck join, long ways to go

On the sewing front, rather than making those 5 things I said I wanted to complete before summer ends, I apparently decided to make 3 of 1 thing! I’ll post those FOs soon, but the other 4 pieces remain in the queue!

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: July 2016

Knit the Look: Nastya Zhidkikh’s sexy little pullover

Knit the Look: Nastya Zhidkikh's sexy little pullover

I just ran across this older photo of Vanessa Jackman’s I had bookmarked awhile back, and had a whole new reaction to it. It’s Russian model Nastya Zhidkikh wearing a sweater that Jess did the perfect swatch for in her first Swatch of the Month post! It’s fisherman’s rib knitted on proportionally large needles for an open, lacy fabric, but in this case it looks like there’s a little bit of gauge-blocking as well: The upper part of the front yoke is done at a finer gauge. If you skip over that little detail and do it all at one gauge, this would be super simple to replicate as a top-down raglan, using my Improv pattern. Seriously, it’s like Jess’ swatch, Jen’s knitalong sweater and my black lopi raglan all merged into this sweater. If you like the marl of Nastya’s sweater, you could hold two strands of fingering-weight yarn together and use even larger needles than Jess did. I like the idea of using a Shibui’s sport-weight Twig for this — a blend of linen, recycled silk and wool with an unusual texture that I think might hold up nicely to this use! And if you’re not into the visible bra trend, it would look fantastic over a little camisole.

See this post of Vanessa’s for additional photos of this sweater — same model, different day.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Windowpane scarf

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Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

Make Your Own Basics: The t-shirt

Make Your Own Basics: The t-shirt

In our continuing quest for handmade basics, we’ve talked about tank top patterns and about that very specific tee that’s a category unto itself, the marinière (both knitted and sewn, for all of the above). Liesl Gibson’s Maritime Top pattern linked in the marinière post is an excellent option for any boatneck, three-quarter-sleeve tee you might want to make — navy striped or otherwise! For a trendier, more boxy tee, there’s Fancy Tiger’s Wanderlust. For a baseball-style tee there’s Named’s Geneva. But when it comes to the ultra-basic, timeless t-shirt and you want to sew your own, I don’t know of a better option than Grainline’s Lark Tee pattern — especially since the variety of neckline options (boat, V, crew, scoop) and sleeve lengths (cap, short, three-quarter, long) means you can make 16 different t-shirt styles with that one pattern! As you know, I just recently made my first t-shirt and it was a revelation. Store-bought tees are always way too long for my taste, so I’m on a mission to get good at sewing knits!

For good knitted tee patterns, see Moon Tee, Nauset Tee and Edie.

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PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: The blue jeans

How to knit a compound raglan

How to knit a compound raglan

For this week’s Top-Down Knitalong post, I want to address the notion of a compound raglan, even though I know a lot of you are already past thinking about your yoke! But it’s interesting to think about and maybe play with on your next sweater, if not your current one. (I definitely think you want to have a grasp on the standard raglan method before messing around with this!) Shaped raglans are one of those things I started tinkering with when I was first knitting, just pondering how sewn patterns come together as opposed to how top-down raglans are created, and long before I heard the term “compound raglan.” What does it mean? When you knit a raglan the traditional top-down way (as detailed in my tutorial), what you’re making for the yoke is a flat rectangle with a hole in the middle for your head and mitered corners, which are the raglan “seams.” By increasing evenly in all four sections of the sweater, you’re creating raglans at a 45° angle to the neck, which isn’t necessarily the most flattering line running across the body, depending on the body in question and how high/low those angles start and so on. With a compound raglan, you increase at different rates in the sleeves and body, allowing you to create more of a curved raglan line.

My first attempt at it was just spacing out the raglan increases and then varying the rate of increase toward the bottoms of them, so that the fabric would sort of bend toward the underarms more gracefully, as explained in this old post. When I went to knit my black lopi pullover earlier this year, I wanted the ease of the raglan process but a look that was more like a saddle shoulder. I took a good look at (and some measurements from) a saddle-shoulder sweater in my closet, and wondered why I couldn’t just start out with a higher proportion of sleeve stitches than tradition calls for, and not increase them as quickly or as much. That would mean the sleeve-top sts would stay fairly constant in the beginning while the front and back sections got wider at a faster rate. Then I sped up the sleeve increases (to every-other row) while slowing down the body increases (to every fourth row), causing the seam to bend downward and creating something in between a raglan and a saddle shoulder. You can see from the stitch markers in the image above where I was increasing only every fourth row vs every-other row in each section, and what the resulting raglan seam looks like. There are precise details in the FO post about this sweater, but the key thing is that if you’re going to try this, you have to be really meticulous about your increase math, making extra sure you can fit all of your increases into the number of yoke rows you have available.

When I sat down to write this post yesterday, I thought about the fact that I now know there is this term out there, compound raglan (which I first heard on a knit.fm episode a couple of years ago), and I wondered what sort of norms or standards are reflected in people’s use of the term. So I googled it, which you’d think I would have done a long time ago! Apparently credit for the term goes to Maggie Righetti, who wrote about it in her book Sweater Design in Plain English long before I learned to knit. From what I can tell from the few blog mentions that come up in a Google search, her method involves increasing every fourth row vs every-other in certain places! Which means now I’m dying to know how close my approach is to hers. So if, like me, you want to know more about how to calculate for compound raglans, get your hands on a copy of her book.

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: WIP of the Week No.1

 

WIP of the Week No.1: Ashley (aka @callistoknits)

WIP of the Week No.1: Ashley General

You all know what a nerd I am about the planning parts of sweater knitting, so you can imagine my joy at this phase of the Top-Down Knitalong — seeing everyone sketching and swatching and calculating. Oh, my heart! There are already over 400 posts on the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 feed at Instagram, and so far 82 projects linked to the Improv pattern page at Ravelry, most of them “In progress August 2016.”* Some people are still swatching, while others have already separated their body and sleeves, and I keep seeing people saying they’re “behind schedule” — but there is no schedule! Dive in whenever you want; finish whenever you finish. The only part that’s on a schedule is the weekly prizes, which run through the end of September — and today I get to hand out the first one!

Among the many amazing plans, I’ve been super impressed with Ashley, who is @callistoknits on Instagram and ashleygeneral on Ravelry, and whose sweater I’ve chosen as our first WIP of the Week. Ashley is making a boatneck pullover with a pretty little lace pattern around the yoke, in charcoal grey Lettlopi. She posted her first swatch and sketch a couple of weeks ago and has been savoring the process — trying different needle sizes for her lace motif, doing the math to fit her measurements and her stitch pattern, casting on and trying on. It’s been extremely fun to watch, and I’m eager to see how it all turns out! Definitely go check out her feed and her Ravelry projects, and don’t miss her adorable Pineapple Socks pattern while you’re there!

So congratulations, Ashley — you’ve won 12 skeins of Shibui Pebble in the color of your choosing! Please email me at contact@fringesupplyco.com to collect your prize! And thank you SO MUCH to my friends at Shibui Knits for providing this week’s incredible prize.

Next week’s WIP will win 7 luscious skeins of Purl Soho Flax Down, so keep those projects coming! Photo quality counts, of course (in focus and natural light, preferably!) but so does a good sweater plan and a good story, so tell us about your sweater on Instagram or Ravelry, or if you’ve blogged or posted elsewhere, leave a comment on the blog during the week so I can see! And tag it #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 wherever you share.

Have an amazing weekend, everyone — more on the knitalong (and NOT) next week!

*If you’ve knitted a sweater from my tutorial in the past, please take a second to link it to the Improv page so I can see them all!

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: How to incorporate a stitch pattern in a top-down sweater

New Favorites: the Arranmore collection

New Favorites: the Arranmore collection

Do you guys remember those gorgeous skeins of charcoal and teal tweed yarn I posted about a few months ago and couldn’t say what they were? It can now be revealed that it’s the new Arranmore from The Fibre Co. — a yarn I cannot wait to knit with. (If only I could pick a color!) But what’s even better than the yarn is the collection of patterns that my friends at Kelbourne Woolens designed for it. The weirdly lit photos are bumming me out, unfortunately, but I saw these pieces in person at the trade show and there isn’t a single sweater or accessory in the whole collection that I wouldn’t want in my closet. And how often do you hear me say that? Pictured are the Killybegs cardigan and Swilly scarf by Meghan Kelly and Rosses hat by Courtney Kelley, but go look at the whole shebang. So good.

UPDATE: Check out the alternate colorway samples that went up on their blog late last week. GORGEOUS.

UNRELATED: I keep meaning to tell you the new autumn issue of Pom Pom has landed at Fringe Supply Co., chock full of good patterns and ready and waiting for you!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from Interweave Knits’ 20th extravaganza