Q for You: What’s your time-worthy detail?

Q for You: What's your knitting time-worthy detail?

In this instant-gratification world of ours, being a knitter at all is an act of rebellion, in a sense — knitting something, stitch by stitch, that others would buy, discard and replace in the same amount of time. And yet even though we’re committed to spending that time, we often still want things to be as quick as possible, right? There are the steps and details we’ll happily avoid or skip altogether, where possible — from choosing seamless designs to leaving ends dangling inside a finished object. But there are also the little details we each feel are worth that extra bit of time they take to elevate our FOs. Things that might be technically unnecessary (like adding seams to a seamless garment) or could be done in some briefer fashion (e.g., a plain neckband versus a folded one), and things that simply look too good not to do.

For me, a no-brainer is the little bit of extra time it takes to do a tubular bind-off on top-down cuffs. (This is my Grace pullover in progress.) The difference in how much better it looks than a standard BO is worth it all by itself, but the additional stretchiness of that edge is just so much more pleasant to wear, and I’m aware of it with every push and pull of the cuff for the life of the sweater. (I like Purl Soho’s tutorial, if you’ve never done it.)

So that’s my Q for You today: What’s the little knitting detail you consider more than worthy of the time it takes?

I look forward to your responses, and wish you a happy weekend!

IN SHOP NEWS: We’ve got the butterscotch Porter Bin back in stock at the moment! While they last …

(Stitch marker, yarn, Lykke interchangeable needles and DPNs, and tapestry needle all from Fringe Supply Co. lol)

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PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: What’s your progress blocker

Idea Log: Pleated tee

Idea Log: Pleated tee

I’m deep into the summer struggle. In need of tops with at least a little bit of sleeve for indoors, but in fabrics that are bearable outdoors. Really, this is the summer I absolutely have to learn to wear dresses (and make said dresses) — more about that coming up — but in the meantime, I just really need something to put on my top half with my trusty wide-leg pants, so I can get dressed in the mornings. And I’ve had this little tee in my head.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve had a fixation for a few years now about tops/dresses with volume stemming from neck pleats or gathers. I particularly love a placket combined with gathers. But as far as something simple to sew, simple to wear, I just want a linen tee made slightly more interesting with neck pleats. Rather than proper set-in sleeves, I’m imagining it as just a two-piece situation — front and back — and believe I can get here by manipulating the same old pattern I’m forever messing with. And if it works, I want it in like a few different weird/bright shades of linen.

I’ve never attempted a mod quite like this one, which makes it both a little daunting and a lot of fun. I just need to make the time to try it! Asap.

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PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Summer sweater-jacket

Elsewhere

Pattern rename + Elsewhere, yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Before we get to today’s Elsewhere links, below, I want to note that I’ve changed the name of my Wabi Mitts pattern to Mamoru Mitts. Cultural appropriation (vs appreciation) is a subject I’ve paid ever-increasing awareness to since becoming a knitter, and while I think most people agree there’s some grey area, I personally would like to avoid even the grey zones. Especially in this case, since the ancient term wabi-sabi, which has deep and hard-to-convey meaning, is increasingly abused and misused, and I don’t want to contribute to that. Shortly after first deciding to change it, I also ran across this blog post on use of the term, which solidified my decision.

The mitts were originally inspired by Takako Ueki’s beautiful yarn, Habu N-68, which we sell in the kits, and by my admiration for Japanese aesthetics. (The Book of Tea is a perpetual reread for me, if you’d like a recommendation!) In weighing the decision to change the name — and to what — I spoke with Takako about it and she ultimately suggested a perfect alternative: Mamoru, which means to protect. Questioning myself on this led to a treasured conversation with my friend Takako and a name I feel is an even better fit for the pattern, so they are happily henceforth known as Mamoru Mitts.

For more on cultural appropriation, I thought it was really beautifully addressed in PomPom’s interview with Emi Ito, along with the links in the footer of that post.

And with that, Elsewhere—

Major loss for the US yarn industry

Wow, a whole new way to think about finger knitting

— I LOVE the concept for He Sewed She Sewed but not so sure about Bluprint — your thoughts?

— Food for thought: “In many ways, finishing the insides of my makes is similar to taking care of my mind and body. On the outside, I can be as put together as possible, but if I’m frayed, messy and all over the place internally, my appearance is just a facade.” Discuss!

Exceptionally pretty crochet

— If you’ve ever wished for a video of my basting stitch technique: @wildandwoollyshop is here for you

Quilting advice for garment sewers — will this be the thing I need to finally try it?

— “Don’t wait to work on your wardrobe until you are the size you want to be.

— and This. Sweater.

Also, as I hope you know, we donate a percentage of Fringe Supply Co. revenue each quarter in an effort to pay it forward. Our Q2 donation has gone to KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) to help in their effort to provide legal assistance to children detained at the US border. If you’re looking for ways to help these children and the vitally urgent situation right now, in addition to making monetary donations, KIND’s front page lists a variety of steps you can take. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support of Fringe, which allows us to contribute to important work in this way.

With that, I’m out. I’ve got a houseful of company coming for an epic event in my husband’s life this weekend, so I’ll see you back here next week!

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PREVIOUSLY: New Field Bag + Elsewhere

New Favorites: Fall warm-ups

New Favorites: Fall warm-ups

Are you already (like me) imagining that moment when summer starts to let up and you can drape something woolly around your shoulders again? The precursor to actually being able to slide your arms into a real sweater? These two beauties would make for fun summer knitting and will fill that in-between gap as well as layering beautifully over sweaters and coats when the times comes—

TOP: Moon Sisters by Caitlin Hunter is a clever application of Anna Maltz’s Marlisle technique — a two-strand marl shawl with a strip of colorwork triangles running down the spine

BOTTOM: Isadora by Berroco is a sea of chunky scallop shapes formed (I believe) by nothing more than increases and decreases in chunky wool

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BY THE WAY: We’ve been having a Warehouse Sale over at Fringe Supply Co. this weekend to clear out some “seconds.” We’re down to just the last few items we had the most of, but there are some killer deals to be had. Ends tonight!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mesmerizing colorwork

Queue Check — June 2019

Queue Check — June 2019

With my smock vest all done (and already worn repeatedly), my Summer of Basics trio is off to a speedy start! I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I had cast on my modified Grace pullover (in dreamy toffee-colored Our Yarn from the shop) and had made it to the body/sleeve separation within the space of a very short trip. I’ve been sick the past week and spent a few days stuck on my couch, one of which I spent knitting most of the first sleeve so I could block it so far and see how it’s fitting. Remember I’m doing my own measurements and math, since I’m knitting at a different gauge than the pattern, and so far I could not be happier with how it’s shaping up. Now that I’ve been able to try on the blocked WIP, it’ll be full steam ahead again! And at this pace, it’ll be done long before it’s wearable. (I’ll tell you about that bit between the pink lines when it’s done, but here’s the backstory on that.)

Stuck at home sick also turns out to be the perfect time to start a crochet project, i.e. my Joanne hat. The one thing that keeps me from doing more crochet is having to pay close attention and count all the time; I worry about getting interrupted (or my mind wandering) and losing my place. So what better use of staring-at-the-wall-in-a-congested-stupor time, right? Step one, watch a YouTube video and remember how to crochet; step two, commence counting.

I didn’t do a gauge swatch. Getting used to working with this raffia is a thing, and there’s no way I’d be able to catch it with a smaller hook (I do like this Lykke crochet hook), so I’m just doing what I can do. My gauge seems to be a bit looser than the pattern calls for — meaning a bigger hat — but I also have a big head. Ergo, I’m winging it. I worked on the top disc part until it seemed perilous to go any bigger, and then I started working downwards. I figure I’ll just try it on as I go and fudge my way through the shaping. I have low hopes for this entire project, so there’s a fair chance of being happily surprised!

So far I’m having fun, but if anyone has advice on how to manage that cone of raffia, I’m all ears! It basically exploded like one gigantic continuous party streamer, and I spent another chunk of a sick day making my confinement all the more miserable by winding the tangled mess into four big raffia nests, now nestled in that Field Bag. Never doing that again, thanks.

As for piece three, the dress, I am now in possession of the English edition of the Japanese pattern book. Just waiting for my fabric to arrive.

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: May 2019

Standing with Ravelry

As someone who ran a large forum website for 9 years, I have an uncommon understanding of just how different that is from any other kind of job or business. A site like that is an organism, and I know what it is to try to set boundaries around it. So not only do I applaud Jess and Casey at Ravelry for taking a stand on what they are and aren’t willing to host, or be the conduit for, with their privately owned site and business, I hope it will embolden the owners of other social platforms to take a stronger stand on what they are willing to let people distribute through their sites.

White supremacy is on the rise in this country and elsewhere, indisputably, and it’s been emboldened and encouraged by the current occupant of the White House. It didn’t start with him and it won’t end when he leaves, but it’s out in the open now and there’s been nothing more important in my lifetime than to stand against it. So yeah, damn right I stand with Ravelry on this. 

(NOTE: This text originally appeared in my Instagram Story on June 24, 2019.)

Smock vest, part 2: Pocket and glamour shots

Smock vest, part 2: Pocket and (lol) glamour shots

Ugh, I am so bad at selfies but I’m pretty good at sweaters! And here she is in all her glory: the smock vest I’d been dreaming of, now with the detail that makes her complete. When I was knitting this pocket, I was convinced I’d gotten carried away. I had only the bind-off to do (took it with me on my northern adventure) but convinced myself I needed to rip it out and make it smaller both directions. When I got it back out on Saturday, I decided I might as well bind off and block it and see. And as is often the case, I was worrying about nothing! My original calculations were spot on. Being a big fan of asymmetry, and as is often the case with me and sweater/vest pockets, I decided to stop at one. I’m totally thrilled with it.

Smock vest, part 2: Pocket and glamour shots

I knitted and grafted the pocket as described here. Pattern tbd, but previous notes on this vest are all here.

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PREVIOUSLY in Finished Objects: Smock Vest, part 1