New Favorites: End-of-summer Sayer

New Favorites: Sayer sweater knitting pattern by Julie Hoover

I’m in that phase where I start to wonder and speculate about when I’ll be able to wear something that falls broadly under heading of Sweater. It won’t be too much longer before I can dust off my little cotton-mix sweatshirt vest and eventually even my wool waistcoat-style vests. I live in a land where “summer sweater” isn’t really a thing, but a little early-fall sweater tee is! Which brought me to this recent Julie Hoover pattern for Purl Soho, Sayer. It’s a simple little stockinette tank/vest knitted in their Cattail Silk, and it can be worn with the V either in the front or the back. It looks lovely either way on the model, but for me I would love it worn in the back. And it occurs to me I still have enough Linen Quill (one of my favorite yarns against my skin, given to me by Purl a couple years ago) to knit myself one, which would be amazing. If autumn holds off as long as it did last year, there may even be time! Come winter, I might even be tempted to wear it as a twinset with this.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Summer bags, big and small

The Details: Selvage pockets

The Details: Selvage pockets

One challenge about these remnant fabrics I’m using for my alternate Carolyn pajamas is that the bolt size is quite narrow. (I think they’re Japanese?) For instance, it wasn’t possible to cut the two pattern pieces for the pant legs side by side. As I was cutting, and being left with these long narrow bits of fabric alongside each of the leg cuts, I decided to cut the waistband and the pockets on the cross-grain — meaning the stripes would run horizontally instead of vertically — thereby using that otherwise wasted bit of fabric and preserving my remaining yardage. It also meant I could lay the straight edge of those two pattern pieces along the selvage, which is a lovely red stripe. In the case of the pocket, that straight edge becomes the  bottom edge of the pockets, which also meant I didn’t have to do any kind of finishing on that edge, since it wasn’t raw — I could preserve the selvage and save a step in one fell swoop.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think it through with the waistband, which I was sewing via my usual elastic waistband method rather than with the concealed seam allowance as written in the pattern. I could have zigzagged the non-selvage edge of the band and been careful to make sure it got attached with the selvage side on view, but I had already prepped it the wrong way around, so that bit got serged off. Nevertheless, I’m happy to have that little strip of red across the pocket bottoms!

In deciding to turn the stripes sideways, I also decided not to even think about the pattern matching and just let it be however it turned out. (They are pajamas, after all.) To my great surprise and delight, the pocket stripes miter in a way that totally looks like I meant to do it! Love it when that happens.

Related:
See these Carolyn pajama pants
Lean how I sew elastic waistbands

The Details: Selvage pockets

PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Pajama pant perfection

Pajama pant perfection (2018 FO-16)

Pajama pant perfection (2018 FO-16)

You guys, I haven’t finished anything since the beginning of June, and it’s been even longer since I had had a major jolt of that “wow, I made that” feeling. These pajama pants are pure love. But wait: pants? That was neither the plan nor the revised plan.

To recap: As part of my Summer of Basics plan, I was making Carolyn pajama shorts in navy linen with black piping, but they were a little too fitted for comfort. They were also so gorgeous in the navy-black combo that I decided I wanted to do them as the pants instead of the shorts, with the intention of wearing them out of the house. So I resolved to make another, simplified pair of the shorts to work out the size, and then would go back to the navy pants.

So. Saturday morning I went into my sewing room and began tracing off the bigger shorts, then realized it would be easier to trace the pants and just make them shorts length, and then I’d have the pants pieces all ready to go (assuming the size was right). My plan to “simplify” things by doing them hemmed instead of with the cuffs was counterintuitive: As I was giving myself a migraine trying to figure out how to rework the side seams and inseam (in matching ways from front to back) to accommodate the wide hem I wanted, I realized that would be so substantially different from the pants that it wouldn’t tell me anything at all about the fit of the pants! So if I wanted this next pair to function as a fit muslin for the navy pants, I would have to make the pants.

Pajama pant perfection (2018 FO-16)

The bad news is: I still don’t have the pajama shorts I really do need right now. The good news is: I do also need pajama pants, and these are fantastic. If I hadn’t sewn them in such pajama-y fabric — translucent, no less — I would 100% wear them out of the house. So now I’m more excited than ever about the navy linen pair.

These are View A, no cuffs, but I like them enough that I might actually go back and add cuffs at some point. Meanwhile, I just turned the hem 3″ and 3″ and sewed it with a medium stitch in case I decide to take it out and do that. And sewed the waistband my usual way. No other mods — the cut and fit is spot on. For the record, these are a straight size 12, just with a wider hem.

And yes, I’m counting these as my first finish for #summerofbasics.

(Worn here with my omnipresent black Adventure tank)

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Linden sweatshirt

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Let’s go knit at the lake! A Fringe late-summer lookbook

Fringe Supply Co. Late Summer Lookbook

Fall is coming — it’s true! — but let’s not be in too big of a hurry, shall we? Summer has its pleasures, even for us knitters. What could be better than knitting on a dock with good friends and some magazines and a big tub full of cold drinks? Sunscreen, hats, feet in the water. The onset of back-to-school season gave me the urge to do just that — flee to the lake for one last hurrah with two friends and a camera. And we brought along some new bags I’m so excited to show you!

Fringe Porter Bin butterscotch, Field Bag natural waxed canvas, Drawstring project bag

– Times like this are why I love the Porter Bin. It holds a load; sits so neatly out of the way on a shelf or by your chair, always at the ready; and travels beautifully. And I love it more than ever in our newest color: Butterscotch!

– Our beloved Field Bag has of course been a major hit in all its iterations, but waxed canvas makes it just that much more durable and travel friendly. After hearing so many people say they love the original Natural version but fear dirt, and since the Waxed Camo is my most-used Field Bag, we decided to make it in Waxed Natural, which is just beautiful — and translucent! With the crackled surface inherent in waxed canvas, it looks like porcelain or waxed butcher paper, but it repels water and wipes clean with a damp cloth! The best of all worlds.

– And in response to countless requests for a smaller bag (the Field Bag being so much roomier than it appears), I’m happy to present our new Fringe Supply Co. Drawstring Bag. In true Fringe fashion, it’s made of durable cotton canvas and built to last, with French seams, leather double drawcord and an outer pocket (slightly tone on tone) sized to hold a folded pattern or small notebook.

Of course, they all play together beautifully with the rest our bags and tools, all of which you can see in the full lookbook. I hope you enjoy this little virtual late-summer trip to the lake and that it inspires you to savor knitting outdoors while there’s still time.

Happy weekend!

Fringe Supply Co. drawstring bag and Field Bags

Photos by Hannah Messinger © Fringe Supply Co.

Hot Tip: Don’t panic

Hot Tip: Don't panic

I wish I had a logbook of every time I’ve ever thought there was something horribly wrong with my knitting, only to realize it’s actually totally fine. Sometimes these occurrences are more phantom than others — like the time (during my first year) I had cast on for a sweater and there was something off about my ribbing. The multiple wasn’t working out but my cast-on math was correct and my stitch count matched, so it seemed literally impossible for there to be anything wrong, and yet there was. I looked at it over and over, counting and recalculating. I showed it to Meg, who did the same. Neither of us could make any sense of it, and yet it seemed clearly, undeniably wrong. Until the next morning, when I looked at it again and couldn’t even figure out why I thought it was off — there was literally no problem.

On the other hand, sometimes the “problems” are quite plainly right in front of me, in three robust dimensions. Like, oh, these raglans. After I blocked the yoke at the end of the first two bands of double seed, there was a tiny whiff of a notion that something might be a little wacky. But I blithely put it back on the needles and kept knitting, with it bunched up on a smaller-circumference circular for those last long rounds, like you do. The other night, I made it to the division round and could finally lay it out flat and take a look at what I’d wrought, and OH MY GOD WHAT IS UP WITH THESE RAGLANS!! The sweater seemed to think I had a little bonus boob at each raglan seam and was perfectly shaped to accommodate them. For a few minutes, I was holding my breath, hand over mouth, trying to think what could possibly have gone wrong and just how far I would need to rip to fix it.

But I have a rule: Do not panic. And above all, DO NOT RIP. If something seems off, I set it down — preferably overnight — and at least half the time, I find it was a moment of temporary insanity on my part. There’s literally nothing wrong. A good portion of the other half of the time, it’s not nearly as grave as it might seem. With these raglans, I had to think it was some weird result of where the increases ended combined with the mitering of the fabric at the raglans and the upper part being blocked and the lower part not. That all of that was just creating a temporary buckle. Or at least, I had to hope — and to find out for sure before I hot-headedly ripped anything out.

So I put it on waste yarn and into the wash, the same as the upper part had done. And I hoped that it would even out in the wash. That is the other lesson that must never be forgotten in times of don’t-panic: Blocking is magic. The upper and middle left images are Before; the middle right and lower images are After.

I’m pretty sure the raglans are fine and the four stray peaks will not reappear, but there is a chance now that I’ve gotten carried away and made it too big! Still not panicking and not ripping. I won’t know for sure until I knit a bit farther on the body and at least one sleeve. So that’s what I shall cool-headedly do …

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PREVIOUSLY in Hot Tips: Take a selfie

The fall/winter on Fringe Association

Fall Events: Marlisle Knitalong + Slow Fashion October

I know, it’s barely even August and we’re still in the thick of #summerofbasics, but in my world it’s November already (I’m up to my eyeballs in Fringe Supply Co. holiday plans!) and Fall is not only in between there, it’s right around the corner. Official knitting season! So I wanted to take a minute to talk about the big blog events of the coming months, so you can get excited AND get planning—

—Fringe and Friends Knitalong—
The first few FAFKALs were each held in September, but I postponed the most recent one (the Logalong) to January instead. While I liked being able to concentrate on it with the holidays behind us — and feel like you did, too? — I missed having a knitalong going in September. So this time around, I’m doing both! The big FAFKAL will be in January again, and I’ll announce the specifics on that in the next couple of months — it’s such a good one!! — so you’ll have plenty of time to swatch during the holidays. But in the meantime …

—Marlisle Knitalong—
For September, I’m thinking something less sprawling, quicker and still tons of fun. Since trying my hand at Anna Maltz’s brilliant “marlisle” technique is high on my list for this year, and I want to do a smaller project as groundwork for my pullover idea, I think a marlisle knitalong sounds like just the thing! So between Sept 1 and 30, that’s what I’m hosting. The challenge is simple: Just knit any of Anna’s marlisle patterns or invent one of your own using her technique. There will be prizes and further details, which I’ll post at kickoff, but meanwhile, pick your pattern!

The bulk of the patterns can be found in her book on the subject, Marlisle: A New Direction in Knitting, and there are several small-scale options very easily doable within the space of September, from fingerless mitts and mittens to hats, scarves and shawls — you can see all 11 of the book patterns here. There are also sweaters in the book, which you’re of course welcome to tackle, and another one available through Ravelry, called Humboldt.

The intro in the book is a great read, as is this interview with Anna on the East London Knit Podcast, so I highly recommend starting there, where you can see her holding up the samples and everything.

Again, I’ll post the nitty gritty about prizes and categories and quals at kickoff, but feel free to start using the hashtag #fringemarlislekal to share your plans at any time! Sept 1 will be here in no time.

—Slow Fashion October—
Following the Marlisle fun, we’ll dive right into our fourth annual Slow Fashion October. I’ve got some special plans and people and a little bit of a format shift in the works for this go-round, and I think it’s going to be amazing. So I’ll tell you more about that as time approaches, as well, but for now know that #slowfashionoctober is coming back around!

Are you excited?

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PREVIOUSLY in Make-alongs: Summer of Basics 2018

Instant sweater No. 2

Instant sweater No. 2

Do you remember back in January, when I told you a story that started like this:

Last week, my friend Meg and I were at a dinner party at a semi-fancy restaurant. We were seated at opposite ends of a long table and I heard almost nothing of what was said down there all night … except at some point I became suddenly very tuned into Meg saying something about how she never wears the Big Rubble sweater she knitted several years ago (and later modified to a crewneck). You probably don’t remember me going on about this one back then, or more specifically, about how I wanted to be the kid in the kids’ version. Anyway, it was like one of those scenes in a movie where the protagonist is in the middle of some crowded, noisy scene and the camera zeroes in on their ear, which is isolating a single voice from among the din. Or maybe I have some kind of knitter’s sonar. Whatever, I heard her say it. Naturally what happened next is I politely shouted to the other end of the table “CAN I HAVE IT?” Being the best friend a girl could ask for — and a knitter who doesn’t like to see her efforts go to waste — she shouted back “YEAH.” After which I asked for another sweater from her collection, which she also said yes to and I’ll tell you about later.

Um, yeah. It’s her Amanda cardigan, from the original Fringe and Friends Knitalong, which I had always coveted. So now it’s my Amanda cardigan. You might remember that back in October I had auctioned off the Amanda I had knitted to raise money for Puerto Rico. So the fact that Meg’s came into my possession three months later is pretty damn amazing.

When I brought it home, I put it into my blocking bin on the shelf in my sewing room, which is where I put sweaters in need of some attention. I’m planning to give it a little fluff up and either remove or change out the buttons (for something a little smaller). It’s one of several sweaters needing a tiny bit of TLC before sweater season kicks in, and starting to work my way through that stack feels like the perfect way to prepare for Fall and assure myself it will eventually come!

Thanks again, Meg!

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PREVIOUSLY: Instant sweater No. 1