This week in the Top-Down Knitalong has been more encouraging and rewarding and heartwarming than I could ever have imagined. I think of knitting your first improvised top-down sweater as a life-changing experience — and honestly not just as a knitter — but the extent to which that’s been reflected in the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 feed the past few days leaves me nearly speechless. As does all of the boldness, creativity, determination, heart (as they say in sports), support, advice, and general awesomeness on display. As just a paltry few examples, I offer these notes by @aguillettefashion, @meganann_lynch, @wendlandcd, @kelseyleftwich and @schmidcr. Most charming caption of the week goes to @tinystitchers. And also, these are two of the cutest baby pictures I’ve ever seen: @armenuhik and @abigailrosechapin. So you can imagine the difficulty in choosing one sweater to feature as WIP of the Week, and in fact when it came down to it, I couldn’t choose between the following two:
This week’s bonus prize of 12 skeins of O-Wool Balance goes to Ding Ren, aka @halfcrystalline on Instagram and also halfcrystalline on Ravelry, whose photos are above. Ding is one whose planning and experimenting and enthusiasm and determination and openness has been, I think, encouraging to everyone watching. You’ll find loads of great WIP shots in her IG feed. The particularly nice moment this week, in keeping with the whole of her approach, was when she knitted her split hem, sought feedback, ripped and redid it for a more successful effect — and I’m eager to see it blocked. I’ve loved several of her remarks along the way, including “Live sts used to scare me but now they are exciting when it means the sweater can be exactly the way I want it to be” on this photo, and the number of new techniques she’s tried in the course of this WIP. Not to mention this great post about her yarn selection. Basically, her whole act of documenting this sweater has been epic. Congrats on your fabulous project, Ding, and on winning the generous prize from O-Wool. Please email me at email@example.com with your color selection and mailing address! And thank you, O-Wool!
The second WIP I’m featuring this week is by Sari N, aka @sari_n_ on Instagram and sarijaotto on Ravelry — and it happens to be another of the many gorgeous ivory sweaters going on. It’s been fun to watch this amazing cable sweater develop since she first cast on — she’s posted copious great photos at every step along the way. But I especially loved her comment on this photo, ending with: “You can learn anything you want if you commit to it.” So Sari, please email me and I have a $75 Fringe Supply Co. gift certificate for you.
Definitely go look through all of the photos and discussion on both of those sweaters if you haven’t seen it all. Such good stuff. And next week’s bonus prize will be 10 skeins of Woolfolk Far, truly stunning merino (and a brand-new stunning pattern collection, by the way). So keep up all of the good work — keep those pics and stories coming with the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 hashtag, and link your Ravelry project to the Improv pattern page if you’re using my tutorial.
One side note I want to make about top-down, in response to this post of Sari’s about where to begin the waist ribbing. (Take a second and go read that caption.) Most published patterns are written bottom-up — it is way easier to write a graded pattern that way. What it means is the designer (hopefully) has thought about the right hem treatment for the yarn and design, and how that feeds into the stitch pattern, which progresses upwards from there. However, when it comes to separating fronts and backs, beginning armhole shaping or neck shaping, it just happens wherever you happen to be in the stitch pattern at the moment you reach whatever the prescribed length is. So there’s a chance your cable and your neckline might not intersect in the absolute perfect way, or whatever. With top-down, it can take a little more planning to get optimal placement of your stitch pattern around your neckline, but you get to do that by starting there, whereas the less obvious intersection of stitch pattern and hem is the one that’s left partly to the chance of where you are when you reach your desired length. So I find this to be one of the big benefits of creating your own pattern from the top.
SEPARATELY, first let me say thank you for the response to the new Woollelujah! tote. I’m loving the pics of this bag that are starting to appear under #fringesupplyco and #woollelujah and would love to see yours. Please tag them!
Second, this should be an Elsewhere week, but I have spent every would-be web-scouring moment glued to the knitalong instead, so I have no idea what’s going on anywhere else! Except that several very kind people have alerted me to the fact that the Icelandic movie Rams (previously noted here) is now available on Netflix and Amazon. And I will definitely be watching this weekend. Will you?
Have a lovely one, everybody — thanks for being amazing!
PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: How to knit inset pockets (top-down)