Hot Tip: Take a selfie

Hot Tip: Take a selfie

Dianna Walla recently shared a great tip on her Instagram feed: Especially if she’s thinking of knitting with a color outside her closet comfort zone, she poses with the skein. Snapping a pic of the yarn held up to her face lets her see how she’ll look in that color and consider whether it’s really a shade she’s comfortable with and wants to wear.

For best results, stand near a window for natural sidelight — taking the pic under artificial lighting will throw off the tones of both your skin and the yarn.


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Popular patterns and “late” starts for the Summer of Basics

Popular patterns and "late" starts for the Summer of Basics

Somehow it’s already the dead center of Summer of Basics and I’ve only barely begun! I’m not even to the end of the yoke on my sweater (so slow going for some reason) and haven’t so much as traced off the patterns for my other two intended projects. My house has been in total chaos due to a bathroom renovation that went on way longer than expected, but I’ve now reclaimed my sewing room (and my sanity) and I’m not the least bit concerned! There’s still plenty of time. Which obviously also means I don’t think it’s too late for you to join in, if you haven’t yet and are feeling the urge. There are still new plans posted to the #summerofbasics feed on a regular basis — so come on in, the water is lovely and we’re having a wonderful time.

Last year I did a big roundup of popular patterns, and we’re seeing a lot of the same ones this year, with good reason — lots of Odgen Camis, Willow Tanks, Kalle Shirtdresses and Cline pullovers in particular. So I thought I’d take a minute to note a couple of patterns that have come out in the meantime that are also proving popular and/or that you might like to consider:

TOP: Wiksten Kimono by Jenny Gordy is probably the most frequently recurring pattern in the feed, although I haven’t made a scientific study of it. The newly released pattern includes a variety of proportions, and it lends itself to fabrics for all seasons, so the possibilities are endless.

MIDDLE: Persephone Pants by Anna Allen are the classic super-high-waisted flares that have made a raging comeback in the past few years, also with a shorts option. Jenny Trousers and Overall by Closet Case Patterns are a super-cute overalls riff on the same style, also with pants and shorts options. And the more retro-stylin’ Lander Pants are showing up in all sorts of fantastic variations.

BOTTOM: Uniform Cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hoge has been modified and updated from the original version, multiple varieties of which are showing up in the feed.

How’s your SoB going so far? Are you still mulling? Need more advice? Encouragement? We’re all here for you—

For more pattern suggestions, definitely check out this big roundup, as well as the #summerofbasics feed!


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New Favorites: Textural neckwear

New Favorites: Textural neckwear

Summer seems to me like the perfect time for knitting neckwear — scarves and shawls that fall just in the sweet spot on the continuum between interesting and mindless, that are portable, that don’t require you to worry about fit or to have a growing sweater in your lap, and yet last long enough to carry you through road trips or baseball practices or whatever the case may be. Plus they’re the first thing you get to use when the weather begins to cool off (or when the sun sets at the beach). So why don’t I tend to knit such things? These three recent patterns have me wondering hard:

TOP: Madison Scarf by Norah Gaughan, who must have been smirking if she happened to see that whole conversation we had about adding a back flap to the Grete dickey when this one would have been deep in the pipeline and is that very thing! A scarf with a headhole and lovely overall knit-purl texture, which can be worn a variety of ways.

MIDDLE: Adrian by Dianna Walla is a traditional scarf (designed for cotton) that takes typical colorwork motifs and renders them in purl stitches instead.

BOTTOM: Orthogonal by Emily Greene is a stunner of a shawl with a mesmerizing geometric-lace maze of a stitch pattern. I saw this on her at Squam, artfully bunched around her neck, and it made me want to be a fingering-weight shawl knitter.


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Aiding Sally Fox, swatching buttonholes and more Elsewhere

Do you know about Sally Fox of Vreseis? (I hope you do, as she comes up around here from time to time.) Sally is a legend in the fiber world, having spent decades developing naturally colored cotton plants, pursuing climate-beneficial farming, supplying the wool for one of my favorite yarns, Pioneer, among so many other things. Her farm is in the path of the wildfire that’s currently blazing near Sacramento, and she has had to evacuate and relocate her sheep to an irrigated pasture where they’re hopefully safe, but all at great expense and jeopardy. If you would like to help, you can do so by ordering any of the amazing goods she offers in her shop, or by making a direct donation. Don’t miss the heartmelting story of Sally’s generosity to one knitter in @beththais’ IG story. And you can keep abreast of developments by following @vreseis on Instagram. My heart goes out to everyone affected by the fires, and this is one way to be able to help someone who does so much good work in the world. (photo above, top)

Beyond that, Elsewhere:

– “So if I can feel joyful in mismatched wrinkled linen with dark lipstick and silver temples in June well, then, that’s what I want to wear. Not because someone told me I’d feel joy but because I discovered it.”

Have you ever done any buttonhole swatching? (I have, but rarely) (See also: What is your favorite buttonhole method?) (photo above, bottom)

Truck driver replaces smoking habit with knitting (via)

I’d like to take a turn on the scarf-knitting bike (thx, Barb)

– As a Danish-modern furniture aficionado, how did I never know about the knitting chair? (via)

– Belatedly, I love this mini tribute to Eugene Wyatt, who I first learned about during Clara Parkes’s Great White Bale project several years ago. RIP, Mr. Wyatt — wish I’d gotten to meet you. (Dear Clara, if by chance you see this: Any way you might make those Bale posts available to the public at this point? As a subscriber, I know I would not mind a bit — so much amazing info in that odyssey.)

– And another good overlap KAL for Summer of Basics: see Plucky’s #thedogwalkerkal

Happy weekend, everybody!


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The fight for what’s right

Happy Independence Day, for the Americans among you! I know we’re going through something of a national existential debate (to put it mildly) over what “America” really means and what this country stands for, but it’s heartening to know that nearly all of us agree that separating children from their asylum-seeking parents at the border is not what this country is about. You hopefully know that every quarter, I donate a percentage of Fringe Supply Co. revenue to Heifer International, which goes to “Knitters Baskets” — supplying needy families with sheep, alpacas, llamas and angora rabbits, from which they derive milk, fiber, income and offspring (and the first female offspring of each animal is passed forward to another family). I’ve just made our Heifer donation for the second quarter, and I thank you so much for the opportunity to do that. But in light of the recent atrocity at our borders, this time around I’ve also made a $3500 contribution to RAICES and their attempt to ensure that each and every one of those separated children has legal representation as everyone works to locate their parents and get them back together. So for today, I just wanted to say thank you, again and profoundly, for your support of Fringe Supply Co. and the many things that support makes possible.

And here’s a thought-provoking read for you today: God Bless America. You could have a lively discussion about it at your cookout! ;)


Summer of Basics June highlight: The planners

Summer of Basics June winners: The planners

Being away for so much of the first month of Summer of Basics was SO HARD, but I’ve also really enjoyed submersing myself in the Instagram feed over the past few days and getting caught up. There have already been so many amazing statements and contributions, plans, and even finished garments! As always, you’ve made it hard to narrow it down to just a few to feature here. For example, I was struck by the thoughtfulness of @saltairarts’s chosen three, the motivation behind @ephie_jg’s participation, @bookishnathalie’s decision to not overthink it, just let it happen. (“That in itself is enough of a challenge for a control freak like me.”) Among so many others! But I’ve settled on the following THREE as the June prizes winners (in no particular order):

TOP: @thestoryclubpdx
TSC had a nice, ambitious plan to stretch her skills in three directions: hacking a sewing pattern, doing some natural dyeing, and knitting her first adult-sized sweater for herself. Then she made a very sage and clear-eyed decision about that sweater.

BOTTOM LEFT: @moorejamknits
I loved what JM had to say about coming from a long line of black women who knitted (about that not being an anomaly!), and how her SoB 3 picks have been influenced by the women who handed down their skills — and their garments — to her.

BOTTOM RIGHT: @anelementallife
Sara, a school teacher, talked about how and why summer break is a struggle for her, and how she’s using SoB to lend some structure to her time off, while also filling some gaps in her closet.

Congratulations, you three! In addition to the magnificent plans you’ve embarked on, you’ve each won a full set of Fringe Supply Co. notebooks: 1 large notebook, 1 pocket notepad, and 1 leather-covered memo book, each in the color of your choosing.* Please email with your choices and your mailing address!

And three more participants have each won 1 leather-covered memo book** in the color of their choice, via the random blindfolded scroll-and-tap method: @kerknits, @weliketosew and @ebbandsew. Please email with your color choice and your mailing address!

July’s winners (prizes TBD) will be all about works in progress, the actual progress made, and how you share about it. So keep those #summerofbasics posts coming!

*A $70 value. No substitutions and cannot be redeemed for cash.
**A $32 value. No substitutions and cannot be redeemed for cash.


New Favorites: Clever garter colorwork

New Favorites: Clever garter-stitch colorwork knitting patterns

I’ve basically been asleep for four straight days (even when my eyes are open), since getting back from Portugal — I can’t get enough shut-eye or enough water, for some reason. Which means I don’t yet have my arms around the first round of Summer of Basics prize selections or how to even begin to tell you about the trip. But this is a rare summer in which, so far, the flow of droolworthy knitting patterns is uninterrupted. So can we talk about these clever garter-stitch beauties for a minute?

TOP: Picket Fence Afghan by Julia Farwell-Clay (from the new MDK Field Guide: Ease) is made up of 3-color garter-stitch blocks which somehow magically eliminate the weaving of ends and create a magnificent tapestry, which I think would be great at wrap proportions

BOTTOM: Ellsworth by Scott Rohr takes garter stitch, two colors of yarn, and short rows to a new level of magnificence

(Side note: If I owe you an email, I’m trying!)


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