Favorite New Favorites of 2019

Best knitting patterns of the year (Bouquet by Junko)

I’m awed every single year when I scroll back through New Favorites to see how many fantastic patterns I’ve posted here, knowing they’re still only a fraction of everything that caught my eye and made me pause in admiration for a moment (or obsess for weeks or months). As is my annual custom, I’ve rounded up my very favorite favorites below — by which I simply mean the ones I personally have the strongest urge to cast on and wear. Each pattern listed includes a link to the post in which it originally appeared, if you want to see what I had to say about it at the time and more of what was featured alongside — or you can scroll through the entirety of New Favorites at any time or just the annual Favorite New Favorites roundups! So much beauty and talent to behold.

MY HIGHEST ESTEEM
In any given year, my absolute favorite pattern is not necessarily the most creative or innovative, and I tend to skew more heavily toward wearability regardless, but in my humble opinion the best pattern of 2019 is equal parts creative/innovative and wearable, above, and that’s Junko Okamoto’s Bouquet Sweater (from Junko’s abstract Bouquet). Her use of RS and WS floats in creating a variety of “bouquets” of flowers that are then asymmetrically scattered across the garment … it’s amazing in the concept and execution, and I have seen several really beautiful examples walking around in the world. I hope in 2020 I may have the courage to make it my colorwork project for the year. (Since I seem to pretty reliably do one per year.)

. . . . .

Best knitting patterns of the year (sweaters)

SWEATERS
top: Column by Hiromi Nagasawa (from Simple pleasures)
row two, left: Tarn by Claire Walls (from Textured yokes)
row two, right: Eva by Julie Weisenberger (from Eva)
middle: Streaks by Keiko Kikuno (from Amirisu 19, all of it)
bottom, left: Escala by Alice Caetano (from Amirisu 19, all of it)
bottom, right: ふっくらケーブル模様のセーター by Yokota/Daruma (from Bulky beauties)

. . . . .

Best knitting patterns of the year (scarves)

SCARVES and COWL
top: Dyyni by Sari Nordlund (from The ones I’ve been waiting for)
middle left: Isadora by Berroco (from Fall warm-ups)
middle right: No-Cable Cable Scarf by Purl Soho (from Cables for the Cable-averse)
bottom: Lierne Cowl by Bristol Ivy (from Amirisu 19, all of it)

. . . . .

Best knitting patterns of the year (hats)

HATS
top: The Dawn Hat by Brandi Harper (from Holiday hat knitting cheat sheet: 10 skill-stretching patterns)
middle left: Oleander Reversible Hat by Laura Chau (from Texture, please!)
middle right: Hatdana by Denise Bayron (from Head kercheifs)
bottom: Hjarn Hat by Amber Platzer Corcoran (from Stranded purl hats)

. . . . .

Best knitting patterns of the year (socks)

SOCKS
top: Open Heart by Ainur Berkimbayeva (from Serious sock temptations)
bottom left: Chunky Slipper Socks by Churchmouse (from Simple pleasures)
bottom right: Thaba by Dawn Henderson (from Serious sock temptations)

. . . . .

I should note that my New Favorites picks aren’t always published within the year, and some of these may not have been 2019, but I’d love to hear what your favorites of the year have been!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: “Cables” for the cable-averse

Merry Elsewheres

Merry Elsewheres — yarny links for your holiday week perusal

I may not be the most festive person in the world, but what I do love about this stretch around the holidays is the way the world slows down while we collectively shift our focus for a minute (a day, a week), away from the daily grind and onto the people and places we cherish. Whether you’re crowd-averse like me or a confirmed extrovert, have big news to celebrate or are feeling the presence of a newly empty chair at your dinner table — or whatever your particular circumstances may be — I hope you find peace and joy this week. I’m spending it with my sister and her family and will be back here later in the week with some news and some recapping, so meet me here then! But if you’ve got a bit of time on your hands in the meantime, here are some links to keep you learning, crying, laughing or swooning—

— First, speaking of family and complexities and all that — I want to say thank-you to everyone who has shared such incredibly powerful and personal stories in response to my post about Matilda’s cardigan. It turned into a conversation about loss and hope and grief and love and … life, and knitting’s place in that. And I’m grateful for it.

— I hereby co-sign @arohaknits “petition to rename these items …” (and now I’m also giggling remembering the great “arm leggings” of 2012, which why on earth have I not been wearing those?!)

Have you seen the knitted postage stamps and the knitting itself? (via)

I like both Michael Ruhlman and Kay Gardiner and am eager to listen to their conversation

— I’m obsessed with this granny-square sweater by the always-inspiring Jo of Kkibo

and wowed by this cardigan-driven look

Totally fascinated by Cocoknits’ pick-up-THEN-knit method

Christmas decor I can get behind (esp if done with proper pompoms!)

Mary Jane and her dream sweater

and the I’m Not Lost project is amazing — there’s the backstory and a PDF download here, and don’t miss the flash mob! (photo by @kristyglassknits)

I know there are loads of efforts along these lines — SO much knitting for good cheer, charity and more — and would love for you all to share as many of them as possible in the comments.

Merry holidays to you and yours, whatever you celebrate!

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PREVIOUSLY: Holiday Hewett + Elsewhere

New Favorites: “Cables” for the cable averse

New Favorites: "Cable" knitting patterns for the cable averse

Now me, I love cables and I love a chart. I’m a visual person and I also think cable knitting is a blast, so my idea of a dream pattern is a simple cable chart I can glance at and memorize, then settle in with my yarn and needles and cable away to my heart’s content, barely if ever consulting the pattern. That means my least favorite thing is a written pattern full of row after row of instructions to which I have to pay close attention and try to keep my place. HOWEVER, I know (and respect!) that the opposite is true for some of you — those who like a pattern written, not charted, and the fewer cables the better. But who doesn’t love the look of them, right? So this one is for the cable- and chart-averse: Two written patterns — both of them free, no less — for cable-looking designs without a single cable cross anywhere in the text.

TOP: No-Cable Cable Scarf by Purl Soho offers the look of diamond cables with none of the cabling

BOTTOM: Neighborhood Holiday Hat by Amber Platzer Corcoran likewise uses only increases and decreases but gives the look of sinuous traveling cables

UNRELATED SALE NEWS: Today is my birthday and I’m giving you a one-day discount! Everything under Tools & Supplies at fringesupplyco.com — needles and sets, pouches, OUR Yarn, scissors, balm and more — is 15% off today when you use the code TOOLTIME at checkout.
(Good only on orders placed December 17, 2019 CST, for in-stock items. Not retroactive, not redeemable for cash.)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Texture, please!

Knit the Look: the “Knives Out” fisherman sweater

How to knit the Knives Out fisherman cable sweater — pattern suggestions

Although it’s on my list, I have yet to see “Knives Out,” but as you may have heard there’s A Sweater — and the internet has gone mad for it. I don’t just mean the knitters. If you google “knives out sweater” you will see a remarkable number of search results for a big-screen sweater. And given how many inquiries I’ve gotten about fisherman sweaters generally since the Rambler satchel listing went up, it seemed like a good time to address this perennially pressing topic. (You know I am always happy to talk about fisherman sweaters!) Actually, based on the trailer, it appears there are a whole lot of cable sweaters in that movie, but let’s talk about this ivory fisherman on actor Chris Evans, above. With apologies to Jamie Lee Curtis.

To knit an equivalent, your best bet is probably Alice Starmore’s famous Na Craga* — just give it a ribbed crewneck to hew closer to the movie sweater, instead of the decorative funnel neck. And for yarn I’m going to suggest Scout in natural from my friends at Kelbourne Woolens because it’s the classic wool yarn I’m most eager to knit with right now! You could also try the free pattern from Drops called 59-6, same neckband note. And a great raglan alternative would be Strandhus by Veta Romanenkova, which includes both men’s and women’s options.

For those wondering about my fisherman sweater in the Rambler photo(s) (and the Porter before it), it’s a 10-year-old LL Bean. My all-time favorite fisherman sweater pattern is the vintage Bernat 536-145, which I knitted a couple years ago. It’s out of print but the 1967 booklet it’s in, The Bernat Book of Irish Knits, is not hard to come by if you search the Internet, and is a treasure trove of patterns. But even closer to the LL Bean one is the free Honeycomb Aran pattern by Patons.

Whatever you do, if you should knit yourself a glorious, richly cabled sweater, I hope that you will love it and wear it to tatters, and that every hard-earned worn spot will speak to that love and respect and longevity. As opposed to the fake wear-and-tear imposed on the movie sweater by costume designer Jenny Eagan (who can’t even remember who made it?!), who did it to convey that the spoiled-brat character, Ransom, “didn’t take care of it … the holes and the tatter gave him a touch of that disrespect. It was a disrespect to the family, a disrespect to the name, a disrespect to his clothes.” I don’t think the knitters in the audience will read it as anything other than that Ransom loved his sweater as much as the Internet does.

For more, see:
• Aran sweater legends
• Best fisherman sweater patterns
• Cable sweater amazement of the 1960s-80s
• Quest for the perfect aran sweater
• and the Amanda knitalong

*The one pictured in the lower left above was knitted by webgoddess on Ravelry

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Mister Rogers’ Smithsonian cardigan

Holiday Hewett + Elsewhere

Limited Edition Jen Hewett x Fringe Field Bag knitting project bag now available!

Before I get to the links list, today is the launch of our annual Limited Edition “Holiday Hewett” Field Bag! This year’s is a reprise of our December 2016 print (which was grey on grey), this time in toffee-colored ink on natural canvas, and it is a beauty! It will be available at 9am CT [UPDATE: It’s now live!], and I repeat: It is a Limited Edition! These sell out every year so if you want one, please don’t hesitate.

And with that, some Elsewheres!

— If you loved my Grace pullover, good news: The pattern, by Denise Bayron, is now available on its own

— If you’re a charity knitter in the US or Canada, here’s a chance to get some donated yarn for your cause

I’m obsessed with the new Hosta pattern from my friends at Fancy Tiger! (Did I say this already? I’ve been waiting impatiently for months …)

Fair Isle mini-me’ing

“Making my own clothes transformed my body image — and my life”

— How about making a peace and justice advent calendar?

— and I love these simple framed quilt blocks

Have a cozy weekend, everyone! Thank you for reading.

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PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere

New Favorites: Texture, please!

New Favorites: Texture, please! (knitting patterns)

This happens every time I’ve been knitting stockinette for weeks on end: I am dying for a cable or a juicy knit-purl stitch pattern! Any of these would do quite nicely:

TOP: Tallervo cardigan by Sari Nordlund, cables so plump you could lose small objects in them

MIDDLE LEFT: Starlight and Mischief Hat by Lavanya Patricella, straightforward and satisfying cables that do an about-face

MIDDLE RIGHT: The Stanley cardigan by Vanessa Pellisa, richly geometric knit-purl texture

BOTTOM: Oleander Reversible Hat by Laura Chau, simple reversible cables that look great and keep those synapses firing

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Amirisu 19 (all of it!)

Knit the Look: Mister Rogers’ Smithsonian cardigan

Knit the Look: Mister Rogers' Smithsonian cardigan

Arguably one of the most famous sweaters in American history — if not the most famous — is Mister Rogers’ red cardigan, which he wore on countless episodes of his legendary TV show and at least once to meet an American president, and which is now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian. As a knitter, you probably know that his mother knitted all of his cardigans for as long as she was able, and you may be wondering if the sweaters Tom Hanks wears in the movie are also handknits. They were, and here’s the knitter who knitted them. And if you’d like to knit one for yourself or some kindly person in your life, there’s a free pattern.

The sample is knitted in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Cinnabar, but it’s possible you could knit it in another color and not have people make Mister Rogers references everywhere you go. There are also those great vintage Mary Maxim patterns if you want something in the same vein but a little less on the nose.

I feel like I should acknowledge that as a small child I lived for Sesame Street and found Mister Rogers unbearable. But I do love the knitting angle.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: the “Love, Actually” cardigan