Elsewhere: More comfort, more gauge range, and a spot of macramé

Elsewhere: More comfort, more gauge range, and a spot of macramé

Friday! I’m so excited to have a real weekend, you guys, I can’t even tell you. (Cue the guitar: “Ooh, got the yarn / I’m gonna do some knitting”)

First things first: There is a hotly anticipated batch of the new Town Bag hitting the webshop this morning at 9am CT, and we also have the new MDK Field Guide: Revolution, featuring four interchangeable cable designs by none other than Norah Gaughan. AND! we now have the Lykke DPNs in standalone packs! So if you just need a set of 1s or 6s or whatever your heart desires, you can finally have that! If the bags are gone before you get there, please note that we will have more! We’re working as fast as we can to get stores restocked and keeping a small stack for ourselves each week, and I’ll keep restock dates and times listed on the page until we reach a point where we’ve gotten out in front of demand. Thank you so much for all the love for this latest brainchild.

And with that, Elsewhere:

Speaking of a bold stripe … (ref)

– The last bit of this really gets me: “I always have some small portable project that I can take with me to use as my ‘waiting’ time. This avoids me heading to my phone for my dose of dopamine (which does me no good) and instead offers me a way of including more comfort in my day.” (photo top)

These anonymous antique Chinese textile collages are so beautiful and are giving me an overwhelming urge to get back to my Log Cabin Mitts exploration … (via Jen)

This Jillian Moreno piece for MDK on why some yarns can stand to be knitted at a range of gauges is one of the best things I’ve ever read about knitting. (Did I tell you guys how many different gauges I successfully knitted Germantown in when swatching it for the Anna Vest? So fascinating when you meet a yarn like that)

– Were I in London, I’d be going straight to the Anni Albers show at the Tate

– Annual charity hat-drive time: Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies and Christmas at Sea. (Any excuse to make that 1898 Hat, so much fun.) What are others you’re a fan of? Share a link below

– My longstanding desire to make pojagi curtains for my bedroom just went into overdrive (See also)

Amazing (photo bottom left)

– And ummm, I might need to add “make macramé feathers” to my weekend list (via) (photo bottom right)

Actually, I’m not allowed to knit (or macramé, for that matter) until I make a further dent in my sewing room/closet cleanup, which is solidly in the “worse before it gets better” phase. But then: Ooh yeah, knitting. I hope you have a peaceful weekend!

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PREVIOUSLY: New pattern, new muse, and Elsewhere

Nice trick: The statement stripe

Nice trick: The statement stripe

Here’s the thing about knitting (or sewing) your own clothes: You have the opportunity throw in any sort of details and accents you like, when you like, whether it’s a subtle finishing detail like a folded neckband or a pronounced design feature like elbow patches. In the past 24 hours, I’ve run across two different sweaters (top and bottom left) that reminded me of a third (bottom right), all of which employ an incredibly simple but wildly effective trick: a bold stripe of randomness that makes an otherwise simple sweater memorable. At the top is the new kit from Wool and the Gang, the Little Honey Pot Jumper, which poses a wide stripe of rust stockinette against a field of persimmon seed stitch. The origins of the bottom left image are unknown to me (it’s floating around the Internet without context; I happened to see it most recently here), and bottom right is the Chloé Resort 2013 sweater I fawned over back in 2012., both of which use a wide red stripe to make an impact. I particularly love that they all employ a change in texture as well as color, and how bold the size of the stripe is. This goes hand in hand with what I love so much about basic patterns — they’re excellent canvases for pulling fun tricks like this out of the bag and making any garment your own.

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New Favorites: the Two-Point Cowl

New Favorites: the Two-Point Cowl

I have two chief concerns right now, winter wardrobe-wise, being opposite sides of the same coin: First, how to knit myself a couple of sweaters that aren’t too warm for my climate and work well with my collection of pants. (What shape? What yarn? The internal debate is interminable.) Second, what to do with the assorted beautiful wool in my stash such that it is wearable in my climate. Of the two, the one I’m trying most to focus on is the latter, since it makes use of stash — and specifically of yarn I have because I’m dying to knit with it! So I keep going back to my dickey and what I said about Brandi’s neck pieces — the notion of sewing myself a couple of simple things that would fill in for lighter-weight sweaters (e.g., a sweatshirt instead of a pullover; a kimono jacket instead of a cardigan), and layering them with wool neck accessories that are easier and more flexible to wear than were I to commit the same yarn to a full sweater. Which brings me to Churchmouse’s Two-Point Cowl, pictured above in two different gauges. The simple but effective pattern — which wears more like a wrap than a cowl, and also looks great more bunched up — is easy to adapt to any gauge, making it a good candidate for the variety of yarns I have in waiting. And it’s a great pattern for just letting a good yarn shine.

(p.s. Sorry for my unintended absence yesterday. I was sick all weekend and didn’t get a post written. All better now!)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: All square

New Favorites: All square

New Favorites: All square (knitting patterns)

I’m endlessly amazed at how musicians can be given the same limited set of musical notes and yet come up with an infinite number of new tunes and melodies. I feel a bit the same about these two shawls — oversized rectangular wraps — both of which are based on the simple concept of squares knitted in alternating stockinette and reverse stockinette:

TOP: Ippen Shawl by Claudia Eisenkolb puts two twists on the classic big-basketweave effect: the squares give way to wedges at the center, turning the rectangle into a U shape; and there’s a stripe of color running the length of it that shifts depending on whether you’re in a stockinette or reverse-stockinette block, from a solid line to a ticking stripe [Link updated 11.13, original Ravelry pattern listing was broken]

BOTTOM: Sjal by Antonia Shankland is a subtle collection of nested squares that change scale along the way

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Brandi’s neck sculptures

New pattern, new muse, and Elsewhere

New pattern, new muse, and Elsewhere

So I’m off to Tolt today for their 5th-anniversary weekend — the celebration at the shop tomorrow and then teaching my new Cascara Mitts pattern on Sunday (photo above, top). Remember the pattern will be downloadable on Ravelry tomorrow morning! Along with the rest of the whole gorgeous mini-collection.

Meanwhile, DG and Allison will be manning the Fringe Supply Co. booth at Fiber in the ‘Boro tomorrow, our beloved local fiber festival in Murfreesboro. If you’re in the vicinity, I highly recommend this sweet fest.

And next week at some point I get to tell you about the next Fringe and Friends Knitalong! Which will start on Jan 1 again, like the last. I’m soooooper excited about it, so look for that news midweek, hopefully.

But for now, a tiny spot of Elsewhere:

– This profile sent me to by reader Hanna is of my new hero, knitter, veterinarian and slow fashion muse Kat Bazeley, written by Mina Holland (photo above, bottom, by Elena Heatherwick for Toast) — the perfect read for the end of Slow Fashion October

– Speaking of which, I’ve saved a whole recap of the closet challenge steps, highlights and main discussions from this year’s Slow Fashion October — tap the “recap!” highlight at the top of the @slowfashionoctober profile page

Magnificent interview about Faroe Islands history and the origins of Navia yarns

– I always love the people at shows and festivals who come with an annotated map of which booths they want to hit up and what they’re looking for. Kay’s Rhinebeck bullet journal spread goes one step further, and applies well beyond Rhinebeck

Behold, a massive knitted map of the cosmos (thx, Barb et al.)

– and some major crochet temptation

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone — see you next week!

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PREVIOUSLY: Weekend Reads

Photos courtesy of Tolt Yarn and Wool and Toast, used with permission

Make way for Making Things

Make way for Making Things

I had this funny idea five years ago, it seems, to do a series of interviews called the 1-Q Interview, and then I apparently only did it once — one question to Julie Hoover about the value of seams. (An excellent and life-changing interview, I must add!) I was reminded of it the other day when I began to interview Megan Elizabeth, formerly of Wool Days yarn and now with a shiny new web app to talk about, called Making Things. I’d sent her an opening question and was planning to follow up with the rest, but in her infectious enthusiasm for what she’s doing she sent back a whole interview’s worth of an answer! So today I present you my second (unintentional) 1-Q Interview.

To find out more about Making Things, check the website and their Instagram feed @themakingthingsapp.

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When you first got in touch with me … how long ago was that? … you were working on an online tool for reading patterns and tracking your progress. An upgrade to existing pattern readers, basically. But in the meantime, the idea has really morphed and grown. Can you share a short history of the app?

I’d been running Wool days (a boutique Australian yarn company) for 3 years, and the same conversation kept coming up with our community: I want my making world to fit snugly into my fast and crazy world, so I don’t have to leave it behind. So I can still be me.

And while I loved what I got to do every day (visiting local sheep farms, creating yarn, talking with our community) I sometimes struggled to see how Wool days was going to keep up with the rest of my world. There are too many of us who are passionate about knitting and crochet for us not to have the support, infrastructure and opportunities we take for granted in the rest of our lives. (Netflix anyone?) So being a typical “too much to do, not enough time” person, I started thinking about what it would look like.

I shared my ideas with others, because I know how I make, and what I need. But I can’t speak for everyone. Turns out others had been thinking this way too! I had some of the most wonderful, in-depth conversations with people I knew, and more importantly, people I didn’t.

It became a thing. So at the start of this year we built a thing.

It was simple and awkward. And people were obsessed. The first week, makers spent an average of 10 hours in using the platform.

Working with designers, we took a small selection of patterns and reformatted them so they were interactive. Which basically means knitting and crochet patterns were now truly digital. They adapted to your screen size, there was a sticky highlighter to keep track on the page, row counters, dual axle chart reader, you could make notes directly in the pattern, and there was a scrapbook page to document your project.

It was all just as seamless as using a pen and post-its. At least it was supposed to be.

Every day we’d get feedback on improvements, changes and things that just didn’t work. And every night we’d make it better. Some things were massive changes, and some things were quick tweeks. We were all learning how we make things, and what was frustrating about it. Wanting to knit on the train and not need to mark a dog-eared chart with multiple coloured markers. Wanting to keep making with friends, even when they go home. Or they live on the other side of the world. Wanting to support others who find deep satisfaction in their creativity. We were co-creating our dream tool for making.

We were also working really closely with designers (they create the patterns at the centre of our making world!), and it didn’t take long for conversations around recognition, pay, support and safety to come up. Designers build communities, brands, stories. They dream up, design, test, do maths, redesign, tech edit, photograph, format, market, sell, teach and tech support each pattern they create. So we started rethinking how we access patterns, in a way that celebrates all the work of designers, and creates a predictable and sustainable income — one of the most powerful drivers of creativity.

Yarn stores, dyers, podcasters, teachers, tech editors have joined in the conversation too, and they have some epic ideas. We are a creative people, not only with our hands but our minds. We’ve all thought “what if …” Now we’re building it. Together.

So that’s where we’re at! We officially launched yesterday, which means you can become a member of Making Things to access all the patterns (1000+ tech edited, tested and beautifully photographed patterns), and all the tools. Our library of patterns is now your library of patterns. Our community is now your community. Our platform is now your platform as we build this together.

. . .

Thanks, Megan — I can’t wait to see how it goes and grows!

And for anyone wondering, yes, you can find a few of my patterns there (which automatically makes that link an affiliate link, fyi). Let me know if you try it out!

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PREVIOUSLY in 1-Q Interview: Julie Hoover in defense of seams

Maker Crush: Llane Alexis

Maker Crush: Llane Alexis

I recently started following textile-based artist Llane Alexis on Instagram (@llanealexis) after a tip from @jenhewett (you know), and I’m kind of stunned that I never knew about him while I was still in San Francisco, where I would for sure have shown up at his studio wanting to see his work in person. Born and raised in Cuba, he’s been living and working in SF for almost 20 years and made a shift from painting to textiles when he became aware of the level of fashion industry waste. He now uses industry scraps in his work, which ranges from fabric wrapped objects (furniture, chandeliers) to tied-rag orbs to dolls and assemblages like this dress made entirely of waistbands. As we talk about repurposing and refashioning, and about what to do with garments that are too far gone, this week for Slow Fashion October, his work seems especially relevant and inspiring. Go check it out on his website and follow him @llanealexis.

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PREVIOUSLY in Maker Crush: Natalie of The Tiny Closet

Photos by Peter Vanderpast (@pder), used with permission