Linen Fen dress, take one

Linen Fen dress, take one

My weekend was all about making that Fen dress idea from last week come to life and I am exceedingly pleased with this first pass at the concept! You may recall the only thing I wanted to change from the tunic version was to bring the neck width in considerably, as I don’t like wide necklines on me. But I also had two design details in mind for the dress-length version that wound up being relevant to the neck situation: A center-front seam in order to have a front slit, and center-back pleat to keep the back of this thing from just being one big flat sheet. In planning the execution of those two details, I realized they were actually the solution to the neck width.

Rather than moving the neckline inwards to make it narrower, the back pleat is sewn 1″ in from the center-back fold, which removes 2″ total from the back neck width but leaves the width of the lower body unchanged. The front pieces were cut along the selvage instead of on the fold, and the seam is likewise sewn 1″ from the edge. This removed a matching 2″ from the front neck width, but also makes the entire front of the dress 2″ narrower. Because it’s a sack, that has no real effect on the fit, and that all made the neckhole exactly right — it fits perfectly over my head. Not wanting to lose even a quarter of an inch in neck circumference, I attached the bias facing in visible fashion rather than folding the whole thing to the inside.

And I totally and utterly love this. I have plans to make assorted variations in other colors — more on that to come!

The only other thing I’ll note about this one for now is that it’s made from some Roma lightweight linen I bought from Fancy Tiger and, although it’s perhaps a teeny tiny bit sheer for a dress if you’re concerned about that, it was an absolute joy to sew with and is a dream to wear. And this shade of yellow is exquisite — it’s neither bright nor muddy, and shifts beautifully with the light. Thankfully, they tell me they’ll get more, because I want a little linen tee in the same color.

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PREVIOUSLY in Finished Objects: Linen Fen tunic, take one

Linen Fen tunic, take one

Linen Fen tunic

It’s a funny paradox when your clothes are basically (or literally) pajamas and yet you feel overly dressy for your warehouse way of life. But that’s where I’m at!

The simple fact is I need more linen clothes for Nashville’s swamp season than the scant few I own. Everything else in my closet is unbearable in this humidity, and what I want is five or six linen sack dresses I can just wear on repeat, but what I have is the black linen pants I have worn nearly to tatters in only two years of nonstop hot-weather wear, and the natural linen-cotton Carolyn pants I sewed last September. So I’m trying to figure out how best to add more linen to my wardrobe and how to make any of it feel like me.

I had an idea for a slit-front sack dress with a kangaroo pocket (a mash-up of assorted other things I’ve seen and loved lately) and decided to test the top part of it using the Fen pattern I already own and some bright cyan linen that’s been in my stash for a few years to make a tunic that could be worn with pants and jeans. I’m quite happy with it comfort-wise — it’s probably as close as linen can get to that slouchy, cut-up sweatshirt vibe — but this particular outfit still feels like I’m wearing someone else’s clothes.

I’d made the Fen top in sizes 8 and 12 before, and for this one all I did is make the size 20, drawing out a straight hemline from the bottom edge of the original shirttail hem, and make a big kangaroo pocket for the front. This is the same neckline tweak I’d done before but somehow it seems bigger here, so on the next one (there will be a next one for sure), I’ll bring the whole neckline in and possibly shorten the sleeves a tiny bit, although I’m liking them rolled like I have them in the photo above.

But what I’m most eager to do is cut a dress-length version. So stand by for that.

SHOP NEWS: Speaking of linen, there’s a new Bento Bag in town: Eggplant! It’s stunning. We also have a new mini-scissor in the lineup, called Joji, and we’re retiring the Porter Bin in black — when our current stack is gone, that’s it for black. It will still be available in natural, army and butterscotch.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Smock vest with pocket

New Favorites: Puzzle wrap

New Favorites: Puzzle wrap

Can we talk about this beauty for a minute? It’s the new Easy Puzzle Blanket (free pattern) by Jake Canton for Purl Soho and it not only looks like it would be spectacularly fun to knit (log cabin forever, please) but would be a great stash buster and a perfect travel project. The sort of thing where a little bit of yarn would go a very long way and the project would grow relatively slowly while keeping your hands busy the whole time. (In other words, it’d take up time, not luggage space.) And I’m still so into the idea of a lightweight square that can function as a blanket or a shawl, folded or not. I’m that person who does not have a stash full of fingering weight yarn leftovers, so there’s that to consider. But I can’t stop picturing possible color combos …

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Fall warm-ups

Elsewhere

I apologize for being AWOL this week but I want to be perfectly honest with you. I don’t really care right now who has a cute new pattern out or what I’m going to knit when I finish my WIP. I mean, I do, obviously, but not nearly as much as I care about trying to do my part toward helping build a more inclusive knitting community. So to that end, I’m trying to facilitate a conversation on Instagram. The first two questions are here and here. I hope you’ll join me, or feel free to answer here in comments if you’re not on IG. But please be aware that comment moderation is on and I’ll only be approving comments from previous commenters and/or those who demonstrate a genuine interest in a productive discussion.

Thank you for understanding, happy weekend to you, and I’ll be back next week!

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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