WIP of the Week No.2 // and Elsewhere

WIP of the Week // and Elsewhere

Before I announce this week’s WIP of the Week, I want to say something about prizes, because I think people have a tendency to put too much stock in them. Prizes are lovely, but PRIZES ARE NOT THE POINT. As I’ve said before, I feel like when you participate in a knitalong, the prize is your sweater! And never more so than this Top-Down Knitalong, where it’s a sweater you cooked up completely on your own — and for many of you participating, it’s also the first time you’ve done so. What you get out of the knitalong is a sweater, plus a lot of learning and experience and maybe even some new friendships. Priceless rewards. If you happen to be one of a few people who wins a prize along the way, that’s just icing on the cake, right? It’s the cake that really matters.

With that said, this week’s WIP of the Week is by Beth, who is @bethtais on Instagram and also beththais on Ravelry. I wrote an essay recently for an upcoming book about how we, as knitters and sewers, have the power to make treasures, and not just clothes. This sweater of Beth’s is such a beautiful example of that, so it really stood out to me in that regard. She’s knitting a little striped cardigan for her daughter, and really thinking of it as a part of an outfit and larger wardrobe of treasures.  The yarn is the last in her stash of a much-loved small-batch yarn, Flock, left over from knitting she’s done for herself. And likewise, the dress is sewn from fabric she dyed and made herself a dress out of, before using the rest for her daughter. It’s the sweetest little outfit (reminds me of Kathryn Davey) and I hope it gets worn and loved and saved and passed on to the next generation. And I just adore that touch of blue in the stripe sequence. So beautifully done in every regard.

So congratulations, Beth, you’ve won 7 skeins of Purl Soho’s Flax Down, in the color of your choosing! Please email me at contact@fringesupplyco.com to collect your prize! And big thanks again to my friends at Purl Soho for providing this week’s luscious prize. Next week’s prize is 10 skeins of the new Brooklyn Tweed Shelter Marls, so keep those photos and stories coming! Link your Ravelry project to the Improv pattern page if you’re using my tutorial (131 projects and counting!), and use the hashtag #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 wherever you post. I especially love it when you leave links in the comments to your blog posts, so everyone can see those.

Whether you’re participating or not, I really recommend clicking through the posts on Instagram — such an amazing range of knitters and sweaters and trials and errors and victories. It’s incredible. When you’re done reading through that, there’s Elsewhere:

Have you seen Brandi’s YouTube channel? Gorgeous

Have you heard about Ann’s Washalong idea? Genius

Tom’s sweater is a work of art

And Dianna’s queue is jaw-droppingly beautiful

Great tutorial on seaming perpendicular knits

LOVING this year’s Refashioners challenge

Darling

I might need to make this tank

And this hat

Happy weekend, lovely people! See you back here next week—

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: How to knit a compound raglan // PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere

Knit the Look: Nastya Zhidkikh’s sexy little pullover

Knit the Look: Nastya Zhidkikh's sexy little pullover

I just ran across this older photo of Vanessa Jackman’s I had bookmarked awhile back, and had a whole new reaction to it. It’s Russian model Nastya Zhidkikh wearing a sweater that Jess did the perfect swatch for in her first Swatch of the Month post! It’s fisherman’s rib knitted on proportionally large needles for an open, lacy fabric, but in this case it looks like there’s a little bit of gauge-blocking as well: The upper part of the front yoke is done at a finer gauge. If you skip over that little detail and do it all at one gauge, this would be super simple to replicate as a top-down raglan, using my Improv pattern. Seriously, it’s like Jess’ swatch, Jen’s knitalong sweater and my black lopi raglan all merged into this sweater. If you like the marl of Nastya’s sweater, you could hold two strands of fingering-weight yarn together and use even larger needles than Jess did. I like the idea of using a Shibui’s sport-weight Twig for this — a blend of linen, recycled silk and wool with an unusual texture that I think might hold up nicely to this use! And if you’re not into the visible bra trend, it would look fantastic over a little camisole.

See this post of Vanessa’s for additional photos of this sweater — same model, different day.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Windowpane scarf

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Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

Make Your Own Basics: The t-shirt

Make Your Own Basics: The t-shirt

In our continuing quest for handmade basics, we’ve talked about tank top patterns and about that very specific tee that’s a category unto itself, the marinière (both knitted and sewn, for all of the above). Liesl Gibson’s Maritime Top pattern linked in the marinière post is an excellent option for any boatneck, three-quarter-sleeve tee you might want to make — navy striped or otherwise! For a trendier, more boxy tee, there’s Fancy Tiger’s Wanderlust. For a baseball-style tee there’s Named’s Geneva. But when it comes to the ultra-basic, timeless t-shirt and you want to sew your own, I don’t know of a better option than Grainline’s Lark Tee pattern — especially since the variety of neckline options (boat, V, crew, scoop) and sleeve lengths (cap, short, three-quarter, long) means you can make 16 different t-shirt styles with that one pattern! As you know, I just recently made my first t-shirt and it was a revelation. Store-bought tees are always way too long for my taste, so I’m on a mission to get good at sewing knits!

For good knitted tee patterns, see Moon Tee, Nauset Tee and Edie.

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PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: The blue jeans

New Favorites: the Arranmore collection

New Favorites: the Arranmore collection

Do you guys remember those gorgeous skeins of charcoal and teal tweed yarn I posted about a few months ago and couldn’t say what they were? It can now be revealed that it’s the new Arranmore from The Fibre Co. — a yarn I cannot wait to knit with. (If only I could pick a color!) But what’s even better than the yarn is the collection of patterns that my friends at Kelbourne Woolens designed for it. The weirdly lit photos are bumming me out, unfortunately, but I saw these pieces in person at the trade show and there isn’t a single sweater or accessory in the whole collection that I wouldn’t want in my closet. And how often do you hear me say that? Pictured are the Killybegs cardigan and Swilly scarf by Meghan Kelly and Rosses hat by Courtney Kelley, but go look at the whole shebang. So good.

UPDATE: Check out the alternate colorway samples that went up on their blog late last week. GORGEOUS.

UNRELATED: I keep meaning to tell you the new autumn issue of Pom Pom has landed at Fringe Supply Co., chock full of good patterns and ready and waiting for you!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from Interweave Knits’ 20th extravaganza

Elsewhere

Elsewhere : Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Hey, so there’s been a death in my family and I’m on my way to Houston today. Rather than spending the weekend scrambling to put together blog posts for the next few days, I spent it making sure everything is in order for the knitalong kickoff next Monday.  So blogging may be a bit spotty this week — but never fear, I’m leaving you with lots to peruse:

(Oh, and DG is at his post, so Fringe Supply Co. orders will be handled just as quickly as always!)

KNITALONG

You may have noticed last week a little Top-Down Knitalong link list appeared over there in the right rail (if you’re on a full-size browser) and there’s a knitalong directory page with all of the pertinent info and links (browse it! bookmark it! pin it!), which I’ll add to as we go. I’ve also created a board for knitalong-related posts at Pinterest. and I am in the process of getting the full top-down tutorial updated, as promised. I’ve got a great summary overview of the top-down process in the works, which I think you’ll find very useful. For everyone in the planning stages, just a reminder that you need to take your stitch and row gauge measurements from a blocked swatch. (If you’re knitting your sweater in the round, knit your swatch in the round!) I’ve got 7 incredible prizes lined up for WIP of the Week, the first of which will be awarded a week from Friday, and the first week’s will actually draw on everything posted to the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 tag up to that point, so get your ideas out there! (More details on submitting and winning on the directory page.) See the Top-Down Ideas pinboard and the Instagram feed to get your juices flowing if they aren’t already!

PINTEREST

Speaking of Pinterest, I’m still working (slowly but surely) on the project of re-pinning the entire blog archive by category, and wow is that a wow-er of a project. Without seeming to be flattering myself (since I can only take credit for a fraction of what makes it so good) there’s just an incredible amount of great stuff in these here archives, and seeing them all spread out before your very eyes on Pinterest is incredible. I’m up through the end of 2014 at the moment, and just look at all of this! Please do take some time to scroll through, click through on things you missed, re-pin the ones that make your heart sing, and so on.

ELSEWHERE

Sweden is officially on my bucket list

– Which are you glued to: the Olympics or Norway’s National Knitting Evening?

3000-year-old ball of yarn (thx, Jess)

So happy guys like this exist; so sad they’re so rare

– What do the biggest swimwear companies have in common? Their origins in knitting wool

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PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere

New Favorites: from Interweave Knits’ 20th extravaganza

New Favorites: from Interweave Knits' 20th extravaganza

The Fall issue of Interweave Knits is a 20th anniversary extravaganza, that looks to be chock full of very wearable, cozy knits. I’m particularly loving these three sweaters:

TOP: Rawah Pullover by Kate Gagnon Osborn is a great interpretation of a classic LL Bean-style favorite

MIDDLE: Harvey Pullover by Hannah Baker looks like your slouchy Saturday best friend

BOTTOM: Neota Cardigan by Kathy Zimmerman is just the sort of wear-everywhere cable cardigan every closet would benefit from

IN UNRELATED SHOP NEWS, thank you for the absolutely overwhelming response to the new blue Field Bag. Between the unprecedented wholesale orders and your enthusiasm upon the launch, we are currently out of blue as well as grey and toffee, but we do have the original natural bag and the chicest of them all, black! And we’ll have more of the others just as soon as the sewers can catch us up. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a color we don’t have, check with the Field Bag store nearest you!

Have an amazing weekend, everyone, and thank you for being you. I’m especially loving all the sneak peeks on the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 feed as we head toward the big Top-Down Knitalong — don’t miss it! See you back here next week—

p.s. If Jess has piqued your interest in a dyeing adventure in Oaxaca, Hanahlie tells me there are a couple of spots open for this trip.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Swans Island’s S/M/L cable scarves

Make Your Own Basics: The blue jeans

Make Your Own Basics: The blue jeans

Back-to-school season means dreaming of new jeans, right? Which have to be the holy grail of the handmade-wardrobe world. For anyone attempting to have a partially me-made wardrobe, we all pick and choose which things we can and will make for ourselves and which we’re content (or stuck) with buying. For those who sew, jeans are probably the hardest mental hurdle to get over, and I would argue also the hardest physical/technical hurdle. That is some serious sewing. But in the past couple of years, it’s become amazingly common to see intrepid sewers making their own jeans, largely due to Heather Lou of Closet Case Files’ wildly popular Ginger Jeans pattern (skinny jeans), which she followed up more recently with the Morgan Jeans (“boyfriend” jeans, or what I prefer to call jeans — just regular old jeans, people). In between which, there was a Ginger add-on for a flared leg. Heather Lou not only offers what are reputed to be very good patterns, but she also has an ebook and kits to help you over the hurdles.

It’s unimaginable to me, at this juncture — I’m in awe of all of you who’ve done it. But at the same time, just like I’m always saying if you can knit a mitt, you can knit a sweater, my friends who’ve sewn Gingers tell me it’s just sewing — there’s just more of it, and yeah, you deepen your skills along the way.

Someday. Someday …

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PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: The marinière