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

New Favorites: Swans Island's S/M/L cable scarves

I know I don’t have to tell you how happy I am that the annual July seepage of Fall patterns has begun. In a rare deluge, Swans Island published an incredible number of patterns this month, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to see them all collected together. Don’t worry, though — I’ve mined their complete archive in search of the latest additions and will be doling them out for some time! But what better way to ease into the season than to start working on a cable scarf? They’ve presented us with three options:

TOP: At the small end of the scale is the Woodlands Scarf by Talitha Kuomi, narrow and unisex, with symmetrical stacks of thin wishbone cables running up the center

MIDDLE: Clocking in at mid-scale wrap proportions is the Algonquin Wrap by Michele Rose Orne, with a mix of open diamonds and dense braids

BOTTOM: And then there’s the large-scale Fireside Wrap by Leah Coccari-Swift, with its big doughy cables


Thanks so much for reading this week, everyone, and for all the enthusiasm about the upcoming Fringe and Friends Knitalong! I know I’ll be spending a chunk of time this weekend starting to sort out what I want to knit, and I hope you will too! Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I hope it’s a good one …

And if you need anything from Fringe Supply Co., we’re here for you!


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Retro cable bliss

The momentary solace of sheep

Seeking beauty, seeking peace

I don’t know if you’re as stressed-out and alarmed at the state of the world today as I am, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” I believe in peace and believe the only path to peace is acceptance. I believe that all of the shootings and terrorist attacks and discriminatory legislation and divisive rhetoric and condemnations and name-calling all have the same root: fear of otherness. I believe if we can’t learn to love (or at least live with) each other in all our brilliant variety, we’re doomed. And I have no idea how to work at that, as Mrs. Roosevelt said, other than to try to live it every day and hope it rubs off on someone a tiny bit. But most days lately, I find myself doing the opposite — pointing my finger and cussing about whose fault it is, who is inciting or acting out the hate today — and in those moments I’m part of the problem.

And then there are moments where I feel like the top of my head might actually pop off from the anxiety of it all.

What do you do at a moment like that? When you can’t change the world in a heartbeat and need to get your blood pressure down, I find sheep help. Trivial, I know, but also true. My friend Jen sent me a link recently to a site called Google Sheep View (get it?) and then on Mason-Dixon I read about the Instagram account called @sheepwithaview, which is a balm for the soul. It works a little like valium, but it’s free and there are no side effects.

In 100% seriousness, days like these I’m just that much more grateful for this community I find myself part of, and the fact that I get to spend so much of my time concentrating on seeking out and sharing little bits of beauty in the world. You people mean a lot to me.

These photos belong to @visitnorway and their @sheepwithaview account, and hopefully they won’t mind my sharing how beautiful their country is! Looks like a very peaceful place.

Make Your Own Basics: The marinière

Make Your Own Basics: The marinière

Close your eyes and picture every layout you’ve ever seen in a fashion magazine under the heading “10 Pieces Every Wardrobe Needs” or variations thereon. It’s always the perfect jeans, black ballet flats, a white shirt, a trench … and a marinière. Also known as a “Breton,” it’s a version of the original French Navy tee from way back: boatnecked, three-quarter sleeved, blue-and-white striped. While the official marinière hewed to exacting specifications with regard to the number and spacing of the stripes, modern interpretations vary. But perfectly authentic or otherwise, it’s true that no closet ever suffered from the inclusion of a striped tee!

TOP: For sewing your own, Liesl Gibson’s Maritime Top should do nicely — all you need is the right fabric

BOTTOM: If you prefer your marinière knitted, Jared Flood’s Breton pattern is just the thing


PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: The tank top (knitted and sewn)


Elsewhere: Fibertastic links for your clicking pleasure

Happy Friday, friends!

Yes to pompoms on doorknobs, can we just agree on that right up front?

– I’m so excited about Summer Stitch Fest!

Great story and reminder of what an amazing time it is to be a maker

– How much do you know about where cotton comes from?

– “Sustainable agriculture is about more than food. It is a system approach and our clothing is part of that system. Please give us an opportunity to provide locally grown clothes!

– On ethical manufacturing … in China

– Good life lessons: What I’m really learning from my sewing project

– This notebook

This tiny story

This tiny fashion muse (and yes I want to scale that top pattern up to my size)

– And who but @loritimesfive would go traveling around Iceland with their own handmade fairy lights? (details on them here, and don’t miss the full range of Iceland pics in Lori’s feed right now)

QUICK SHOP NOTES: If you were looking for a grey Field Bag and found them sold out, they’re baaaack! AND the magical Etta+Billie balm is now available in Lemongrass Mint! It’s a dream.

Have a marvelous weekend, everyone —



Images: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right

Wardrobe Planning: Summer 2016 master plan

Wardrobe Planning: Summer 2016 master plan

I’m beginning to feel like I did when I first learned to knit. This new-found willingness to sew (I still can’t say “love of sewing” or anything like that) has me A) wanting to sew all the things, and B) mostly sewing the wrong things. It’s not quite as bad as knitting in that last regard — I’m basically making reasonable facsimiles as opposed to completely wrong things. By which I mean I keep sewing a thing I want out of a different fabric to make sure I really love it before I cut the right fabric. So then I wind up with alternate versions instead of the things I really want in my closet — which is equal parts smart and stupid. I know these are acquired skills, requiring practice, and hopefully I’ll become a better judge and more confident chooser, just as I have with knitting over time. Meanwhile, I’ve had to really strive to narrow down the short-term sewing plans if I intend to get any of the want-and-need slots filled. So I went back to the drawing board — or the Fashionary panels, as it were — and am prioritizing and specifying fabrics along with patterns, along with how these garments will be worn, to make it an actual plan of action! These are the five pieces I mean to sew while it’s still warm, although not necessarily in this order:

1. A little camisole-style top in some amazing black-and-white ikat I bought from Fancy Tiger (now sold out). One of the biggest holes in my wardrobe is going-out clothes, so this will be a good layering piece for colder days as a well as a slightly dressier option for the occasional date night or open-studio party around town. I considered April Rhodes’ Simple Slip that comes with the Date Night Dress pattern as well as Dottie Angel’s new Simplicity 8186 underslip. (Which is where my thinking was when I took this photo!) But I decided to use Grainline Studio’s Lakeside Pajamas top instead, since I also want to sew those pj’s, so I’ll get more use out of that pattern. For this going-out version, I’ll modify the back to one piece, make the whole thing a bit longer and give it side slits.

2. An easy full skirt in the same ikat, which you’ll see shows up in several of these outfits. I’m thinking it will be Seamwork’s Seneca skirt, which is designed for jersey. I tested sewing this pattern in a woven already (see above about making reasonable facsimiles) and I like how it turned out well enough. For my test, I sewed a straight medium in a lightweight cotton shirting and just left out the side-seam inserts. For this one (“the real one”) I’ll go up a size or two in cutting the skirt while sticking with the medium waistband, gathering the fabric down to fit it. I want more fullness in the skirt but not loaded up on the waistband.

3. Fancy Tiger’s brand-new Adventure Tank, muscle tee variation, which I’ve mentioned a few times before. I sewed my first one this weekend and am head over heels in love with it. Again, it was my first time sewing knits so rather than commit my cherished striped hemp jersey to it and having the top I really want, I made it out of the same jersey in black. Fortunately, the black one is a great addition to my wardrobe (and now I can goodwill my sad old black Madewell version), and again I cut a medium, which is great for the black but I want the striped one to be a small. I can see wearing this one with everything from jeans and skirt(s) to my black linen slip dress.

4. This one’s less pressing, but in the interest of making a purely summer garment and not pressuring it to work with sweaters later on and all that, I’d like to make a little Fen top out of that same blue stripe as my dress (maybe with a pocket added). It would look very Ace & Jig with my b/w ikat skirt! Among other uses.

So, summer silhouette-wise, those basically boil down to “little tops + crops” (middle column) and “little tops + dress/skirt.” Not terribly specific or original, but it’s working for me as a planning device! And despite what I said about summer dresses before, there’s one dress I’m still longing for every time I reach into the closet, which is just a super-simple sack dress:

Wardrobe Planning: Summer 2016 master plan

5. For this I’m imagining making an oversized Fen top at knee length and adding a big pocket. Because everything is better with a big pocket! Planning on using some bright blue Merchant & Mills linen for now (bought last summer), and charcoal wool melton later on.


PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Summer silhouette 1: Dresses with sweaters

New Favorites: Retro cable Bliss

New Favorites: Retro cable Bliss

Now that the 4th of July is behind us, it’s safe to start dreaming about Fall — which will be here in a heartbeat, people. I know I’m not the only one mired in reveries, because my Instagram feed is suddenly full of fall feelings. And you know more than anything, I’m dreaming of cable sweaters. I ran across this new pattern by Debbie Bliss last night, with the melodic and inventive name of Cropped Cable Sweater, and fell instantly in want. I love how evocative it is of all those vintage cable pullovers trapped in my stack of old pattern booklets, but I imagine this one would be merciful enough to include a proper chart! I’m already mentally scanning my stash for yarn candidates and imagining amusing outfits …


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Kveta

Someday vs. Right Away: Crochet skills

Someday vs. Right Away: Crochet skills

I keep saying I need to up my crochet game so I can think about making stuff like this and this and this, and instead I only talk about crocheting and have to turn to YouTube all over again every two or three years when I decide to give it a go. One of the first things I ever favorited at Ravelry was Roko’s Borsalino hat, pictured above, knitted from Michiyo’s No.5 hat pattern. (For a similar hat, see the free Novi Hat pattern.) I remember being floored at the notion that one could simply crochet such a hat. My noggin is problematically large (shut up, DG), rendering hats a challenge in general. I’ve developed a fair sense of what I can get away with beanie-wise, but structured hats are pretty much impossible. Which brings me back to that Yoko hat. If I had game, I could make one for myself and make it fit properly, right? So if I want to ever do that, I better get serious about those skillz. Two good places to restart would be Dottie Angel’s sweet and useful Imperial Mitt and Hot Pad and same for Mamachee’s Perfect House Slippers.


PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Outerwear