New tote! + Elsewhere

"Bury me with yarn and needles" tote from Fringe Supply Co.

Sometime last year, my brain coined a funny phrase: Bury me with yarn and needles and I shall rest in peace. Morbid but lovely, right? I asked myself: If I were to print that on a tote bag, would anyone but me want to carry it around? Based on the response when we previewed it at the Squam Art Fair, the answer is a resounding yes! Thankfully, because when I love something, I really hope you will too! And am so thankful that you do. The tote is available today at Fringe Supply Co. and at yarn stores all over — ask for it at your LYS or order it here.

And with that, here’s a small but meaty Elsewhere!

– Off topic, but fascinating and so important — please read from start to finish! The nut behind the wheel

Lovely piece by Karen Peacock about her crochet life and her groovy Logalong sweater pattern

Comprehensive guide to sewing buttons onto your handknits

– And hooray! the custom croquis-maker MyBodyModel is now in beta


PREVIOUSLY in Elsewhere: Overlapping make-alongs

The most important of all the Hot Tips

The most important of all the Hot Tips

This came up in one of my classes last week, and it really can’t be said often enough: If you want your knitting to turn out a particular length/height dimension, don’t measure it! So today I’d love for you to give this post a read: Count, don’t measure. And share it with your friends!

Actually, it’s a great time to just give the whole Hot Tips scroll a read …


PREVIOUSLY in Hot Tips: Check the back

Summer of Basics: Snapshot, thoughts and the prize plan

Summer of Basics: Prize news!

I hope this is at least partially remedied by now, but I have been LATE getting started on Summer of Basics! By which I mean both casting on my first project and catching up with all the action on the #summerofbasics feed. There have already been almost 300 posts! (Totally random snapshot thereof above, which is not meant to imply or convey anything other than that.) My crazy schedule has kept me from it, but I’m dying to get into the thick of it all. The yarn for my sweater arrived just before I left for Portugal, and I still had secret obligation knitting to do on the plane, but my goal is to have a significant part of my yoke, at least, done by the end of this trip.

Meanwhile, I’m sure you’re all wondering about the prize plan! As you know, I love to feature work in progress here on the blog during the course of every knitalong/makealong, so that’s how I’m structuring the prize situation this time around:

– At the end of June, I’ll be picking one or more participants to feature here based on their PLANNING and documentation — i.e., how well you’ve told the story, in words and in pictures, of what garments making, how you chose them, whether you’re challenging yourself and in what ways, etc. So share your stories over on Instagram* using the #summerofbasics hashtag.

– At the end of July, I’ll pick who to feature based on PROGRESS made, and how well you’ve shown it.

– At the end of August, I’ll pick based on FINISHES and documentation thereof.

With each set of prizes, I’ll also be picking a few additional random winners from a blindfolded scroll-and-tap.

The actual prizes will be revealed on July 1 along with the first batch of winners!

*Remember that in order for your posts to appear in the feed, they must be posted from a public account. If you have a private account (or are not on IG at all!) and want to participate, create a separate public account for this purpose.


PREVIOUSLY in Summer of Basics: My SoB plan

Meeting my Blog Crush: Rosa Pomar

Meeting my Blog Crush: Rosa Pomar

Actually, I can tell you one thing we’re doing — right off the bat — is going to Retrosaria Rosa Pomar in Lisbon, a shop I’ve longed to visit for years and am proud to count as a Fringe Supply Co. stockist. I “met” Rosa on Instagram shortly after learning to knit, and wrote about her blog awhile back — a post a few of you cited when I asked for your favorites. The hat pattern of hers that I knitted in 2014 is still one of my all-time favorite knits. I knitted it Portuguese style, as taught to me by Brooke, and as much as I LOVED that, I somehow haven’t done it since — so I’m excited to relearn from Rosa and to finally get to see her beautiful shop and yarns and get to spend some quality time with her. Definitely check out these links and especially her Instagram feed @rosapomar.

*Which has probably already happened by the time this posts! 



Portugal packing list

Portugal packing list

By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be somewhere in Portugal, which is blowing my mind. I just finally made it out of the Americas last year, when Bob and I went to Paris. And now I’m off to Portugal with my globe-trotting friends, thinking maybe there’s still a chance for me to learn their ways! I’d tell you what we’ll be doing while we’re there, but I barely know; all of the most intense planning conversations happened while I was out for Bob’s surgery and then while I was away at Squam. But I have complete faith that the women I’m traveling with have made amazing plans for us, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it when I get back.

Not really knowing what we’re doing does make packing a little mysterious! Along with a forecast that has changed pretty drastically in the past few days — shifting from low 70s to low 90s — and still includes a 20-degree swing while we’re there. So this is what I’m taking (pictured above) in the hope it will suit whatever happens. 12 garments for 12 wildly variable days:

– Denim vest (J.Crew, ancient)
– Silk smock  (Elizabeth Suzann 2017, no longer available)
Chambray button-up
Striped sleeveless tee
Black sleeveless tee
– Grey linen sleeveless tee (Everlane 2017, available again at the moment)
Green camisole
– Black elbow tee (Everlane, new)
Recycled demin wide-legs
Canvas wide-legs
– Jeans (J.Crew Point Sur, 2016, made in LA, no longer available)

Shoes: Veja sneaks (new), Everlane orange sandals (new, sold out); black Salt Water sandals (old) and trail shoes (very old). Plus a swimsuit and a pair of old hiking shorts. And as I’m typing this, I’m thinking rather than throwing in a pair of pj pants for when we’re just hanging around, I might grab my black linen Eliz Suzann pants instead, which are glorified pj pants that could also step into service if needed.

I do have blog posts queued up for while I’m away — some new, some resurfaced — and I hope to be able to respond to comments during this time, but please forgive me if I wind up having to catch up when I’m home! And of course, I’m sure to be oversharing on Instagram @karentempler if you want to follow along in real time.


PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Squam packing list and outfits



Squam part 2: Knitting, dyeing, hiking, wearing

Squam part 2: Knitting, dyeing, hiking, wearing

Squam Art Workshops takes place at an old summer camp in New Hampshire, on the shore of Squam Lake (where On Golden Pond was filmed). It’s actually two camps, built one right after the other in the late 1800s by a civil war widow and her protegé, and combined into one after the death of the older woman. It’s about as picturesque a place as you could ever imagine, so you spend a lot of time just ogling and photographing your surroundings, from the rustic cabins with their screened porches and iceboxes (literally) to the docks and the woods and the paths and the phone-booth cabin and the dining-hall window … and the list goes on. My first afternoon, before my cabin mates arrived, I wandered around shooting Fringe bags everywhere, from the woodshed to the wheelbarrows. It’s the sort of place that makes everyone look like a brilliant photographer.

On the second and third days, I taught my cables class. And on Friday afternoon, when my second class let out, I was overcome with that school’s-out-for-summer feeling. I’d be working like a madwoman before I left, then teaching (which I sincerely love and enjoy) and then suddenly I realized I had almost 48 hours to just enjoy the place and the people and my cabin mates, which this year were Kristine and Adrienne from Verb, my beloved pal and two-time cabin mate Mary Jane Mucklestone, and Jessica Forbes, the co-owner of Ravelry, who’d I’d met briefly on many, many occasions but had never gotten to spend any time with. She is a HOOT! So there was a lot of dock-sitting and knitting, porch-sitting and knitting, fireplace-sitting and knitting. On Saturday, MJ and Adrienne and I hiked up to the top of Rattlesnake (point? ridge? peak?) and took in the incredible view of the lake. This is MJ at the tippy-top, below right:

Squam part 2: Knitting, dyeing, hiking, wearing

But I’m getting ahead of myself. So Friday afternoon: Class is over, I’m done teaching, and I’ve come prepared. The really hard part about teaching is not getting to take classes, when you’re surrounded by all these people learning to block print and macrame and make beautiful journals and … so many temptations. But before I left for camp, it occurred to me there might be the slight possibility of dipping a little something into Kristine’s natural indigo vats when her students were done. She was very sweet to indulge me (even though it was really wrong of me to ask) so these little bundles are what I had packed in my bags, just case:

Squam part 2: Knitting, dyeing, hiking, wearing

And here’s how they turned out:

Squam part 2: Knitting, dyeing, hiking, wearing

The upper one is the white linen shell I had sewn just in time for Squam last year. And the smock is my once-white State Smock, which was getting a little “ring around the collar”-y. The both came out almost exactly as I had imagined them, and I can tell you that dyeing with a few friends and a can of beer, on the wraparound porch of a lodge building overlooking a scenic lake, is one lovely way to spend a Friday afternoon. My biggest thanks to Kristine for the dyeing and to Mary Jane for the beer!

So I came home with two new-again garments, but I know you’re wondering how my ultra-minimal packing list played out in the woods. Here are all the ways the contents of my suitcase got worn (with a bonus tee I bought at the gift shop while I was there) —

Squam outfits

The cardigan was frequently in my bag (or over my shoulders) just in case, but it was mostly too warm for it. I wore the clay pants 5 out of 6 days, and the jeans only once. Those pants are PERFECT in this setting, and barely even showed dirt. And it was fine that I only had my Chucks with me — even on the bouldering part of the hike. (Although I did also have flipflops for shower shoes, basically.)

For the full inventory/origins on the garments, see my packing post. And to see the real-time Story of my week in motion, watch the highlight reel in my Instagram profile. I’ll be watching it anytime I need a moment of peace.

Squam part 2: Knitting, dyeing, hiking, wearing

PREVIOUSLY: Squam part 1, Gauge (and other) lessons





Squam part 1: Gauge lessons

Squam part 1: Gauge lessons

I have so much to tell you (or show you) about my six days at Squam Art Workshops (aka art camp for grown-ups) that I’m breaking it into two parts! First, let’s talk about my classes. This year and last, I’ve taught a class called In the Company of Cables, which is ostensibly a class about how to knit cables but is really a class about getting comfortable with reading charts, tracking your progress, fixing mistakes, seeing the pattern in a way that often frees you from needing to keep referring to the chart, and so on. Which is good, because this year all but six of the people who signed up already knew how to knit cables! I’m always saying you should take classes from people you find interesting, even if you already know the thing they’re teaching, because there’s always something to be learned in amongst all the dialogue that happens in a knitting class. I say that, and then I freak out a little bit when people who already know everything I’m teaching take my class! So hopefully even the pros in the room picked up a good tip or two. I certainly enjoyed spending the day with both groups, and feel very honored that people would want to listen to me yammer on about something they already know. So thank you to everyone who signed up, beginners and lifelongers alike!

(Gravest apologies to the half of the cutie-pie sister duo I accidentally cut off in the only still photo I took of Friday’s group! Everyone is in the frame in the video version found in my Instagram highlight reel.)

In Friday’s class, we had an amazing demonstration of why gauge matters. For myriad reasons, I don’t ask my students to swatch for the hat that I teach, but they do have homework. They’re asked to cast on 90 sts and work the first few rows of the pattern before coming to class. Everyone uses the identical yarn, Osprey, and size US8 needles. Obviously, because everyone’s tension varies, everyone’s finished hat size will vary, and my hope is that everyone winds up with a hat that will fit someone they know. But I do state that if you know yourself to be a loose knitter, cast on 80 stitches instead, so your hat won’t be gigantic. Check out this photo:

Squam part 1: Gauge lessons

Am (@oystersandpurls) is on the right, and she cast on the prescribed 90 stitches. Am is a tighter knitter than me, so her hat is smaller than my pattern/samples. Brienne (@brienne_moody), on the left, is a loose knitter so she cast on only 80 stitches, and her hat is still bigger than my samples! Think about this for a second: the hat on the left has 10 fewer stitches and is significantly larger than the hat on the right, even though they were knitted in the same yarn on the same size needles. Fortunately, they both still fit: One is a slouchy beanie and the other is a fitted skullcap. But it was an incredibly vivid example of the difference gauge makes in the finished dimensions of a project — even a little hat.

(And how cute are they with their matching toffee Field Bags? I just noticed that.)


PREVIOUSLY: Squam 2017 reflections and outfits