Elsewhere

This has been a distressing week in the US (one of far too many of its kind), and you know I feel so strongly that every one of us needs to be informed and engaged and to work for peace. (Boy have my thoughts on how advanced these past three years.) But we also have to take care of ourselves and keep up our strength, which means being present with the people we love and also allowing ourselves to disappear into our knitting or sewing for a minute, to catch our breath and boldly face the world again.

I’ve got a mixed bag of links for you today, for your edification and/or enjoyment; I’ll see you back here on the other side of what I hope will be a comparatively peaceful weekend—

— Squam’s diversity-and-inclusion panel from last month has since been posted online. It’s long, so maybe watch it in chunks if you need to, but I hope you’ll watch

— I love every word of this interview with Oaxacan weaver and natural dyer Porfirio Gutiérrez: No one told us we were artists (via)

— Podcast eps I’m eager to listen to: The Dressed interview with Joy Bivins on the history of the Ebony Fashion Fair and the debut of Ceci Knits the World

— I’m in MDK’s debt for linking to Lorilee Beltman’s brilliant video about how to memorize the Kitchener Stitch — I always have to remind myself which way it goes and will never need to again!

— … and also for asking Jillian Moreno the question I’ve always wanted to ask someone: the difference between fingering-weight yarn and sock yarn

— Remember that wrapped hoop earring tutorial? Anne updated it on her own blog — and look at this lovely espadrille project

Why the American shoe disappeared, and why it’s so hard to bring it back

— and totally fascinating use of a sock blank

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On an unrelated note, I want to acknowledge the loss of Toni Morrison this week, which feels especially sharp within this particular news cycle. I don’t really even have the words for it, but I loved this passage by Tracy K. Smith from one of the many NYT tributes I’ve read in the past few days:

“… the living monument of Ms. Morrison’s body of work assures me that the language of peace, justice, safety and stability must enter our imagination as they always have — not through the language of policy, but via our willingness to regard one another as worthy of attention and love. Such ideas must be sat with, moved through, married to our vocabularies for love, desire, loss, resentment, remembering, healing and hope. And those vocabularies are the primary terrain of the artist.”

I’ve been saying lately it’s been too long since I’ve read any of her novels. Time to dig back in …

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New Favorites: Little hugs

New Favorites: Little sweaters

I don’t know whether it’s the back-to-school air or wanting to “hug” the ones I love, but I’m preoccupied with the notion of knitting more little sweaters to send off to small humans of various sizes. These two patterns (one new, the other a longstanding fave) top my list for being both timeless and gender-neutral, all the better for future hand-me-downs —

TOP: Willard Mini by Alicia Plummer is a sporty little drawstring funnel neck I’d love to have in my own closet

BOTTOM: Arlo by Michele Wang is the one I wanted in my size at the time (and then along came Bellows) but now want to make in miniature

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Puzzle wrap

Wardrobe Planning: Latter 2019 (mood/palette)

Wardrobe Planning: Latter 2019 (mood/palette)

So how does a color-shy minimalist like me factor in significant color, as I’m itching to do? That’s what I’m trying to figure out as I pause for the first time this year to think about what I have and what I want/need to make between now and the year-end. As I alluded to before and will talk more about, I’m focused on the most potent needs right now: a Venn diagram of sleeves, dresses and linen, plus addressing the imbalance in my stack of pants, which are almost entirely heavy cotton/canvas and next to no linen or summer-weight anything.

The challenge of working with linen is it means mostly solids. It’s like a box of crayons. And whereas I have no problem combining solid neutrals (and the occasional stripe), it’s taken some thinking to figure out how to work with crayons in a way that still feels like me. I’ve determined that the secret lies in the specifics of the palette and in combining colors in offbeat ways. What got emphasized when I went to put this into a 2019 Mood board was that it also means tonal dressing, maybe even more than mix-and-mismatch, which again I totally get! I’m just used to doing it with neutrals. But now that I’m seeing it that way, it seems like a no-brainer.

What it comes down to in terms of the palette is augmenting my existing blues and camels and stripes with rusty-pinky-melon tones, yellow, and a hit of spearmint green.

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PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Me-Made May data

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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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