Make Your Own Basics: The sweater vest

Make Your Own Basics: The sweater vest

I’m not sure why they’re so controversial, but in my view a sweater vest is an absolute closet staple. As a lifelong fan of androgyny and tomboy style, I love a vest over a shirt, but love it even more over a sleeveless top or dress. But best of all is its ability to go both under and over things at the same time — it’s a layer-lover’s best friend, in other words. Obviously when it comes to patterns, I feel pretty good about my own Anna Vest (top), which evolved from a vintage British military-man’s pattern. (See my latest favorite FO here. Love how she styled it.) I’m also a fan of my friend Kate Gagnon Osborn’s stockinette Cadillac Mountain (middle) with garter rib edgings. And for a pullover that has that classic borrowed-from-the-boys feeling, I’m into Blacker Designs’ free pattern called simply V-Neck Sleeveless Tunic. Can’t go wrong with any of ’em.

I would even go so far as to argue that a fair isle vest is a wardrobe basic! Even though I’ve never owned on, it’s one of those items that always looks fascinating and timeless, no matter where the trends might take us. I like Ysolda Teague’s Bruntsfield, Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Voe Vest and Yoko Hatta’s #05 Fair Isle Vest, to name just a few.

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PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: The t-shirt

Best of Spring 2017: New York

Best of Spring 2017: New York

I’m trying something a little different this season: looking at the fashion week collections city by city (as I fall inevitably behind). Starting where it starts: New York. The NY Spring 2017 collections are an especially odd hodgepodge this time around — running the gamut from sporty to ’70s psychedelic to goth, with no particular through-line other than an inordinate number of white dresses. I’m into the flirty little cropped fisherman sweater at Tory Burch, intrigued by the space-dyed onesie (or is it a sweater and pants?) under crinoline-like skirts at À Détacher, and puzzled by the three’s-a-trend situation of pullovers with button-up sleeves worn unbuttoned, as seen at A.L.C., Michael Kors and Lacoste. Ok, that last one looks like snap-on sleeves worn unsnapped at the raglans — but still!

As far as Bests go:

ABOVE: I’m crazy about lots of other things about the A.L.C. collection — a brilliant meld of sporty and flirty — including the black ribbed sweater dress over wide pants and shrunken striped turtleneck. And then there’s that last look, which my brain sees as a simple stockinette pullover in ash Kestrel, paired with some Liberty-print Purl Soho City Gym Shorts.

BELOW: Great little sleeveless, boxy, cabled number at M.Patmos.

Best of Spring 2017: New York

New Favorites: For Bob (or himever!)

New Favorites: For Bob (or himever!)

My favorite thing about the Brooklyn Tweed Fall ’16 collection that came out last week are these three men’s sweaters, which I assess in terms of their Bob-ability:

TOP: Tamarack by Jared Flood is the sweater equivalent of my husband’s favorite shawl-collar sweatshirt, and very likely the next sweater I knit for him (with scaled-down pockets)

BOTTOM LEFT: Carver by Julie Hoover is spare enough in its overall cable-y texturedness that I might be able to coax him into it

BOTTOM RIGHT: Auster by Michele Wang is the sweater I hope to get him into once he’s comfortable in his Carver

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: The solace of hats

Knit the Look: Deepest, blackest turtleneck

Knit the Look: Deepest, blackest turtleneck

So I’ve been working on a sleeve of my Channel Cardigan and have developed a pretty serious obsession with the “half brioche” stitch that forms the pronounced rib portion of the overall stitch pattern. There’s something crazy satisfying about working those stitches, and I love the texture of it. After seeing Jen’s revised knitalong swatch using this stitch, I almost decided to copy her for my fafkal do-over! Then last night I was cruising Vanessa Jackman’s blog and ran into this photo of a girl in a black turtleneck with a pronounced rib stitch that looks a lot like brioche or half brioche! Luscious. So to emulate it, all you need is the Improv top-down tutorial, the half brioche stitch (below), and some gooshy, deeply black yarn. For this scale, I’m thinking maybe Quince and Co. Osprey (aran weight) in Crow. For the turtleneck, pick up stitches as for a crewneck and work in 2×2 rib for that slight contrast with the sweater body. (When knitting a turtleneck, I like to pick up stitches with a needle two sizes smaller than the main fabric and work half the height of the neck — i.e., to the fold — then go up one needle size for the rest. So the outer part is slightly larger than the inner part.)

HALF BRIOCHE WORKED FLAT:

RS: *p1, k1 below; repeat from *; p1
WS: knit

HALF BRIOCHE WORKED IN THE ROUND:

Row 1: *p1, k1 below; repeat from *; p1
Row 2: purl

See Vanessa’s original post for more pics of this sweater.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Nastya Zhidkikh’s sexy little pullover

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Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

New Favorites: The solace of hats

New Favorites: The solace of hats

There have been a lot of great pattern collections released in the past couple of weeks. So many good sweaters I’m trying not to think about right now (but will definitely get around to raving about!) because I’d rather think about hats. I think it’s when I feel the least in control of my to-do list that I start to really crave a nice little hat to knit before bed. Is that an epiphany I’ve had a hundred times before? Regardless of circumstances, a hat is always so achievable and uncomplicated, so bite-sized. So satisfying when everything else is a sea of unfinished business (including, uh, the four sweaters on the needles). Any of these would do nicely  —

TOP: Phōs by Fiona Alice — from the awesome new Amirisu that just hit the shop — is colorwork combined with texture in a geometric motif I love

MIDDLE: Fluffy Brioche Hat by Purl Soho would be a sweet little intro to brioche and an eminently wearable hat

BOTTOM: Furrow Hat by Jared Flood — from his book Woolens — would be such a melodic knit, that simple combo of moss and cables

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Finn Valley and St. Brendan

A shawl for Fall

A shawl for Fall

IT’S SEPTEMBER! And you know what that means: Fall is on its way. Time to think about the beautiful reality of those slightly cool evenings when you just want to wrap yourself up in a little something cozy, before jacket and coat weather kick in. Here are some gems to consider:

1. Tensdale by Patricia Shapiro is such great garter geometry it actually has me itching to knit a triangle shawl again

2. Crosshatch by Jared Flood — from his gorgeous book Woolens — has succeeded in making me want to knit brioche

3. Florence by Bristol Ivy — from the autumn issue of Pom Pom — would be a ton of fun to knit, and to pick yarn for!

4. Ingwer by Melanie Berg is an enticing combination of textures, love to see it even bigger

5. Metronome by Julia Farwell-Clay is just so striking, and I love the shape

6. Meet Me at the Ryman by my beloved Jo Strong is a Nashville tribute that’s also just a really great lace pattern

7. Bittersweet by Amy Christoffers has a sweet allover cable pattern and just makes you want to cozy up in it (free pattern)

For more shawls I’ve loved lately, see my Ravelry favorites.

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New Favorites redux: Finn Valley and St. Brendan

New Favorites redux: Finn Valley and St. Brendan

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Arranmore Collection — how much I loved all of the garments and how sad the photos made me. Turns out there’s a second set of samples knitted in alternate colorways, which are even better than the originals, and they were in the middle of being photographed on a simple dressform. When I saw this whole new set on Kelbourne’s blog, I nearly fainted. How amazing does Finn Valley (top) look in this gorgeous camel-y tweed? And the dark version of St. Brendan (bottom) is a sweater I truly don’t think I can live without — I want it exactly like this. (Clearly I’m nowhere near over that whole dark yoke sweaters fixation.)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the Arranmore Collection