New Favorites: Baby cardigans

New Favorites: Baby cardigans

You guys, I’ve still never knitted a baby sweater, despite lots of babies being born and adopted in my world recently, and there have been two super cute cardigan patterns published lately:

TOP: Cockleshell Cardigan by Amy Christoffers is quick, adorable and clever, from the newest MDK Field Guide: Transparency

BOTTOM: Knit Layette from Purl Soho, by comparison, is a fine-gauge little beauty with an heirloom quality about it, and the pattern also includes a hat and booties


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Blanket temptations

Knit the Look: The Crown’s cardigans

Knit the Look: The Crown's cardigans

I’ve heard it said that Neflix’s spectacular “The Crown” has the biggest budget of any TV series in history, and it’s easy to believe — the sheer number of extras, sets, locations, costumes. It often seems you’ve seen an entire movie’s worth of people and outfits before the opening credits begin.  And gosh, the young Queen Elizabeth’s cardigans alone — a truly dizzying array of them (pink, black, peacock, khaki …) — must have cost a pretty penny! It leaves me wondering whether she really spent nearly every day of her life in one, and how many there were in her royal closet. (Just a few on repeat? She seems so sensible.) But if it leaves you wondering how to knit a similar one for yourself, I’d recommend Churchmouse’s Quintessential Cardigan pattern, which is written for lace-weight yarn held double and knitted on 5s for a nice light fabric (though not as ultra-fine-gauge as the machine-knit costume ones), and which also includes details on how to customize the length of both the body and sleeves. One of the recommended yarns is Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze, and while I don’t think I’ve seen the Queen wear a mohair sweater, it was certainly all the rage in the ’50s. Kidsilk Haze comes in several of the show’s colors, including “Drab,” which looks about like the one she’s wearing above. The other recommended yarn is Shibui’s Lunar (pictured), a luxurious merino-silk blend that might suit Her Majesty. Or of course, there’s always cashmere.

Does anyone here know, seriously, what the Queen might have preferred?


PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Marthe Wiggers’ vintage-chic pullover

Big shop news + LYS Day + More

Big shop news + LYS Day + More

Dear friends, there is so much happening I hardly know where to start! So let’s just take it in chronological order, shall we? Deep breath; here we go:

– In the shop today are two pretty new publications you’ll want for your library: Volume 5 of Making: Color and MDK Field Guide 6: Transparency — AND we finally got a box full of all the gorgeous horn and bone buttons you’ve been waiting on plus the ebony repair hooks are back in stock!

– BUT WAIT! In the shop tomorrow will be something many of you have dreamed of and begged for: Toffee Field Bags! You heard that right — the late, great, deeply loved, loudly lamented Toffee is making its return, as first announced on Instagram.

– BUT WAIT! If you want Toffee and there’s a Field Bag Stockist near you, you can get it there tomorrow, which happens to also be:

– LYS Day! Stores around the globe have all manner of exciting things planned, from special guests to limited goods to who knows what! And those shops that are Fringe Supply Co. stockists will have the Toffee Field Bag among their exciting offerings, and also the ever-popular Grey Field Bag! (Going forward, Grey will only be available through our stockists, and not through us.) So if it’s Toffee or Grey you seek, and you want it in your hands tomorrow, check the stockist page to see if your local yarn store is a Field Bag stockist. If not, you’ll also be able to order Toffee at Fringe Supply Co. as of Saturday morning. Either way, plan to visit your LYS tomorrow and see what fun stuff they have in store for you! And let them know how much you appreciate them.

– Sunday is Earth Day, and also the launch of a small business I’m very excited about: Rove + Weft. This is two women who come from the fashion industry and wanted to find a way to bridge the gap between textile artisans around the globe and those of us who want traceable, responsible fabrics to sew with. They’re launching with a small set of absolutely beautiful, gossamer cotton khadis from India, which you can see on their Instagram and will be able to order through their website as of Sunday. Sarah and Abby were kind enough to send me a few yards of two of the fabrics recently and they are lovely.

– And then Monday is the start of Fashion Revolution Week!

Which part are you most excited about? And whatever your plans, I hope you have a magnificent weekend—



New Favorites: Blanket temptations

New Favorites: Blanket temptations

Purl Soho, always an amazing source of killer blanket patterns, has been back at it lately. I still think if I ever knit a blanket, it will almost certainly have to happen in modular (i.e. log cabin) fashion, but these two are super tempting — and by the way both are free knitting patterns:

TOP: Nature’s Palette Blanket by Joelle Hoverson is an even more lyrical and painterly version of her long-ago Ombré Blanket but also brings to mind one of the first patterns I ever fell in love with as a knitter, their Striped Cotton Cowl. (Both discussed in this 2012 post, The other breed of colorwork.) Whereas the cowl had you holding a strand of randomly changing color along with a persistent strand of natural, the new blanket has you holding a rich range of colors together, alternating them along the way to create deep, mesmerizing color shifts.

BOTTOM: Double Knit Blanket by Jake Canton is, on the other, such a simple but effective thought — just two layers of stockinette “glued” together with a single stitch here and there — and double knitting has been on my list of things to try since the day I bought Joelle’s book as a shiny new knitter, thinking its double-knit coasters would be one of my first projects. I’ve still never done it! But think how cozy the blanket would be, and how fun to pick your colors.

Both would also be amazing knitted in wrap proportions — the blanket you get to wear everywhere.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Date night sweaters

Craftlands: Slow Fashion retreats

Craftlands: Slow Fashion retreats

One of the sure signs that the Slow Fashion movement is growing all the time is the number of slow-fashion-focused retreats that have been cropping up. At present, I’m aware of 4 that are happening in the coming months, and no doubt you’ll know of others — please do mention them in the comments! Some of these are sold out while others still have openings, but I believe all of them have wait lists and will also be repeated. So make your interest known to them!

Slow Fashion Retreat / Saco, Maine / July 22-27, 2018
Launched by Samantha Lindgren of A Gathering of Stitches last summer, this was the first one I heard of. Sam organizes 30 students into smaller groups that rotate between in-depth classes taught by Cal Patch (garment sewing), Katrina Rodabaugh (mending) and Jessica Lewis Stevens (dyeing), so everyone gets to learn everything. There’s also a clothing swap, guest speakers and more. Katrina says, “It’s held in a summer camp venue in Saco, Maine … we have a private classroom that’s literally across the street from the ocean.”

Slow Textiles Retreat / Hudson Valley, New York / September 21-23, 2018
Katrina and fellow dyer Sasha Duerr hosted a retreat last fall, which they’re repeating this year in Katrina’s own barn-studio. This one is more intimate, at 12 guests, and the focus is on foraging for and working with natural dye plants as well as incorporating dyeing and stitching/mending into a slow-fashion practice. In other words, a serious consideration of our relationship to the textiles we wear and how to make it as meaningful and long-lasting as possible.

A Study in Slow Fashion / Oceana County, Michigan / August 23-27, 2018
This will be the first retreat from newly formed Kinship, and will explore various aspects of building a handmade wardrobe, all in a gorgeous yurt in rustic Western Michigan.

New England Fiber Arts Summit / Wing & A Prayer Farm, Vermont / Spring 2019
Tammy White has been hosting small-scale gatherings on her beautiful Vermont fiber farm the past few seasons and has one in the works for next year that’s slow-fashion-centric, with an incredible lineup of teachers, but that’s not quite public knowledge yet. So I’m just giving you a heads-up on this one! Watch @wingandaprayerfarm for further news.

I’ve been invited to attend or guest/speak/teach at a few of these and have yet to be able to make it, but I hope one day my schedule and a gem of a retreat like this will line up!


PREVIOUSLY in Craftlands: Lost and found at Stitches West

Photos courtesy of Katrina Rodabaugh

New Favorites: Date night sweaters

New Favorites: Date night sweaters

It’s good that you guys LOVE New Favorites, because fate has given us two in a row! I have Things To Say about this whole 10×10 Challenge I’ve been doing, coming up later this week, but one thing that has been highlighted for me is how lacking my closet is on date-night clothes. Not that we go out anywhere particularly dressy or anything, but it always feels a bit weird to me to go out to dinner with my husband on a Saturday night in the exact same clothes I would I wear to work on any given morning. I’ve realized during the challenge that I pretty much wear the same silk top every time we go out, because (even though I wear it to work all the time, too) it’s the only thing I have that’s sort of soft and pretty. But that means for much of the year I’m underdressed, shivering in my chair. So I got to thinking about the possibility of knitting a date-worthy sweater or two just before the new Helga Isager book arrived at our Fringe Supply door, like an answer to a question I’d only just started to form. You can read more about the book in the webshop, but it contains at least two strong date-night contenders:

TOP: C6 (Cable 6) is knitted sideways, with cables running up the arms and across the neckline. I love the soft marl constrasting with the non-marl cuffs and waistband.

BOTTOM: SSK (Slip, Slip, Knit) is similar in many ways [edit: also knitted sideways], with elbow sleeves and an eyelet detail rather than the bolder cables. It might also be lovely in linen or a linen blend.

They’re like the winter and spring/fall counterparts to each other!

Actually, nearly all of the sweaters in the book are date-worthy. Isager has such a way with making things pretty yet not too girly for me. You can see the whole collection on Ravelry and buy the book at Fringe Supply Co.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the Staithes Gansey and how to knit one

New Favorites deluxe: the Staithes Gansey and how to knit one

New Favorites deluxe: the Staithes Gansey and how to knit one

So, the question of the moment is “How do I knit a gansey like Daniel Day-Lewis’s?” In the voluminous comments on that post, a couple of commenters mentioned Penny Straker’s 1981 knitting pattern #796 Staithes Guernsey (photo above, top), and Fiona noted there’s a similar pattern in Gladys Thompson’s book, aka Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans. Thompson’s pattern is not available for download but there is a listing in the Ravelry database, where you can see samples, and it is called Staithes Gansey (1969). I also remembered, as I started writing this post on Friday, that my friend Courtney Kelley of Kelbourne Woolens put out a very similar gansey pattern just a few years ago called Seascale (photo above, bottom), which is literally in my Ravelry Queue! And which is in the same gansey-minimal style as the DDL/Straker/Thompson sweaters — just horizontal bands of moss or double moss broken up by purl ridges.

On Saturday, I opened Kelbourne’s newsletter and saw that Courtney had included a mention of my DDL post and is offering Seascale as a free download until this Friday with the checkout code GANSEYBABES. And their new yarn Scout even comes in a deep blue-black, which is one of the hardest colors to come by. (I get asked for good navy suggestions often enough that I have “dark navy yarn roundup” on my list of blog posts to do!)

I think the vague “navy pullover” on my wish list may be taking a more distinct shape.

. . .

New Favorites deluxe: the Staithes Gansey and how to knit oneCircling back about the origins of DDL’s gansey, I’ve gotten some answers. Back in the original comments, Dianna had uncovered a men’s fashion blog that had posited that DDL’s had come from Flamborough Marine, purveyors of handknit ganseys, and they do offer a version called, you guessed it, the Staithes Gansey.* You can see the sample — the bright yellow one — halfway down this webpage, and again on page 5 of this PDF of theirs about what a gansey is. However, it differs from the one on DDL in assorted ways — the waist ribbing, the number and width of the moss bands, etc., so I thought the blog had it wrong. Then I had an email yesterday from Deb Gillanders of Propgansey, who has the details. She says the one he is wearing in the magazine is one he commissioned from Flamborough Marine to match the one that had been left to him by his father. So the one he’s wearing is not the one his father left him after all, but a recent handknit replacement, and did come through Flamborough Marine.

Gillanders, who lives in Whitby (near Staithes) and curates an annual gansey exhibit in the nearby village of Robin Hood’s Bay, also loaned three ganseys to the costume department of “Phantom Thread,” and says you can see him wearing one of them in the scene where he decides not to go dancing for New Year’s. I’ve yet to see the film, but apparently much of the early action is set in RHB, so there are all sorts of connections here. This is all very fun to know — thanks, Deb!

*I’m now deeply curious about how and why this particular sub-type of gansey is apparently commonly known as “a Staithes” and am in search of answers. So I may have more to say about all of this!


– Another great source of gansey knowledge, Beth Brown-Reinsel’s highly regarded book Knitting Ganseys is being republished this summer.

– And Dotty left a comment saying there are still some openings in her upcoming FisherFolk gansey-inspired retreat.


PREVIOUSLY: Daniel Day-Lewis and wow, that gansey