Great scenes from the Summer of Basics so far

Great scenes from the Summer of Basics

You guys realize next week is August? And you know what comes after August? SEPTEMBER! We’re almost through summer, and already 2/3 of the way through the Summer of Basics Make-along. There have been so many great garments and moments and photos on the #summerofbasics feed so far, and I thought today would be a good time to share just a few:

TOP ROW: From @ashleybennett88, this is such a clever way of solving the tricky problem of shooting pattern+fabric choices, while also spelling out her three-part plan for SoB. (NOTE: She’s just getting started — you can, too!)

SECOND: Likewise, this is such a gorgeous photo and sweet scene by @paddleboatstudio, which also happens to be a killer idea for showing off finished garments. Hannah appears to have been something of an SoB overachiever in June!

THIRD ROW: The “look at my new PANTS!” twins, @bethtais (her intro post here) and @sv_azimuth (her original plan here)

FOURTH ROW: Such a great, summery WIP scene by @hi.hilde, who is knitting her first-ever socks (her full plan here)

BELOW: And proving that “basic” doesn’t have to mean either boring or neutral, there’s this amazing shot of @callmedwj in her rainbow cardigan, which clearly not only thrills her but will work with everything in her closet and get a ton of wear. Basic at its finest. ;)

What are some of your favorites so far, and how are your projects going?

Great scenes from the Summer of Basics





Summer of Basics: A feed full of well-laid plans

Summer of Basics: A feed full of well-laid plans

We’re already a month into the Summer of Basics Make-along and the #summerofbasics feed is beyond amazing. You all are beyond amazing. All I have to show for myself so far is half of a sleeve (and a damn fine half-sleeve it is) whereas some people have already finished a couple of garments and others are still mulling their plans. All of which is perfectly dandy! This is meant to be casual — jump in any time. Before we get any further from the official start line, though, I had the urge to highlight a few standout planning posts and the people behind them—

Clockwise from top left; click through for the full images and to read all about them: @rachelbeckman, @shedabbles, @jennaashburn, @thestoryclubpdx, @valishungry, @a.klat, @kirsten_weis, @cutikula.

I particularly love the sentiment behind this remark from Jenna Ashburn: “Less than a year ago I would have said [making jeans] is something I could never do, but no one ever got a perfect pair of low rise skinny jeans with that attitude.” Perfect of not, I’m saying amen! to everyone who’s doing something they once thought unthinkable, whether that’s sewing a straight line or knitting a first garment or whatever the case may be.

PLEASE NOTE: None of the above has anything to do with any of the prize selection at the end — each of the sponsors will be making their own prize selections and mine is a random drawing. (Prize details are here.) As I said, these are just some of the many plans that jumped off the screen at me and that I wanted to share, especially for those who might not be following every post to the feed.

What are some of your favorites? And how are you own plans going so far?


PREVIOUSLY in Summer of Basics: Charting a course for my fisherman sweater




My Summer of Basics plan

My Summer of Basics plan

Ok, so I’ve thought and rethought (and rethought!) what my 3 garments will be for the Summer of Basics Make-along. This whole event grew out of my desire to push myself to sew an Archer button-down shirt, and wanting company in taking that leap, but it’s not the only thing my closet is lacking that I never get around to. (Hence, let’s all make 3 basics over the next 3 months!) So I really want to choose wisely. Let’s face it, I’ll almost certainly make more than 3 things in the next 3 months, but I want my publicly-declared SoB-3 to really challenge me and hold me accountable. Of course, I also want to make things that will be truly useful in my closet. So here’s where I’m at:

BUTTON-UP SHIRT: I’ve been saying for awhile that my beloved pale denim workshirt (which I wear for some part of almost every day — and look, I’m even wearing it in my avatar pic to the right!) was headed for a breakdown. That has now officially happened: both sleeve caps are in shreds. So that’s what I’m replacing with my first Archer, and that one was already a replacement for a nearly identical shirt before it. Between the two, I’ve had some version of that shirt for at least a dozen years. For the next generation, though, not only will it be handmade, but I’m planning on light blue chambray instead of the denim. (Gettin’ crazy over here!) But I still want it to have some of the character of the denim workshirts so, inspired by this J.Crew photo, I’m planning on slightly darker stitching (as happens to denim shirts as they fade and the thread doesn’t) and bone buttons (a nod to the pearl snaps on my old friends). I’m scared and excited.

SWEATER: I’ve been saying my SoB sweater would be the grey pullover I really truly need. But A) I’m a little leery of the idea of casting on a grey mostly-stockinette US6 sweater when I already have a grey mostly-stockinette US6 sweater on the needles. Plus why would I not use this opportunity to focus on the one sweater I want most in all the world — the whole reason I learned to knit in the first place — the fisherman sweater of my dreams. So I’m doing it. Since I plan to chart out the written directions from the vintage pattern, and likely do some tweaking, I’ll start with the swatching and charting right away and hope (hope hope hope) to be able to finish the whole thing by the end of August. I am elated over this decision.

PANTS???: I’ve got pants on the brain. As in, I’ve never made pants and I’m signed up for a jeans workshop in September, and it seems like maybe I should have made some semblance of a pants-like thing before that. Right? My very favorite old pajama pants have also passed the point of no return, and while I was taking them apart this weekend and trying to trace off a pattern to replace them, I was also thinking how much I love my simple elastic-waist Florence Pants (I seriously wear them at least 4 times a week) and about this Idea Log and that striped fabric on my shelf, a pair of striped Ace & Jig pants I almost bought last year … you get the picture. However, part of me also wants to reserve the third slot and not commit right this minute. So as much as I want and hope to do this, it’s currently ever-so-slightly tentative.

I’ve got a lot to do still in preparation for Squam next week, but am eager to get started on some part of this over the weekend! What will you be starting?

(Fashionary sketch templates from Fringe Supply Co.)

Big news from Fringe Supply Co!

SPEAKING OF SQUAM: There’s some really big Porter Bin news over on the @fringesupplyco IG feed. Hint: army green is coming! If you’ll be at the Squam Art Fair on the 10th, don’t miss your chance to snag one — check the Instagram post for details.

AND IN CURRENT SHOP NEWS: We’re temporarily out of the wildly popular Lykke interchangeable sets (more coming mid-month) BUT! we finally have spare tips and cords for sale! EDIT: And now the new Pom Pom is here!


PREVIOUSLY: Summer of Basic Make-along starts now!

Summer of Basics Make-along starts now!

Summer of Basics Make-along starts now!

Happy June 1st, also known as Summer of Basics day! I’ve been really impatient for it to get here and know from the #summerofbasics hashtag that many of you have too! It’s been fun seeing all of the assorted knitting and sewing plans that have cropped up so far.


• The idea is to simply spend the next 3 months making 3 basic items for your wardrobe — putting those extra daylight hours to good use!

• Your 3 can be all knitted/crocheted, all sewn, or any combination thereof. Totally up to you! It’s an excellent chance to tackle the projects you’ve been wanting to but maybe haven’t had the nerve. We’re all in it together!

• It’s also up to you whether you do literally one garment per month, or 3 over the course of 3 months. (For instance, my sweater will likely span the whole season.) All that matters is that you finish 3 by August 31.

• They don’t need to be summer clothes — whatever you consider to be basic items that your closet would benefit from, whatever season(s) they might be for.

• Apologies to our friends in the Southern Hemisphere: I realize June/July/August are not summer for you, but I hope you won’t let the name stop you from joining in!

• If you’re blogging, feel free to leave links to your post(s) in the comments here. On Instagram, use the hashtag #summerofbasics for everyone to see.


I’ve teamed up with my friends at Kelbourne Woolens, Grainline Studio and Fancy Tiger Crafts, who’ve offered up some great prizes (see below) as well as being excellent resources. If you’re looking for ideas and/or patterns, see my Make Your Own Basics series (or the Pinterest board for the at-a-glance view). Also Kelbourne Woolens has put together a list of sweater patterns to consider, and of course Grainline Studio and Fancy Tiger are both awesome pattern sources. And I would also suggest Improv and Sloper as excellent, highly adaptable sweater patterns. See also: Pullovers for first-timers and Cardigans for first-timers.

Check out the kickoff posts on everyone’s blogs today/tomorrow to see what they’re planning: Kelbourne, Fancy, Grainline.

And see what the whole community is up to by following (and posting to) the #summerofbasics feed at Instagram for the next three months.


To be eligible for any prize, you need to have completed 3 garments within the June 1-August 31 time frame. (Please do not enter garments you’ve previously finished.) To enter any of the categories below, use the appropriate pair of hashtags when posting your finished garments. Please only use the prize tags that your garments qualify for:

Best Modification/Alteration
PRIZE: 4 skeins of Fibre Co’s new yarn for Fall from Kelbourne Woolens
The winning garment might be either knitted or sewn, but the prize is yarn so only enter if you’re into that! Be sure to tell us what changes you made from the pattern(s) you started with.
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17bestmod

Best First-Timer
PRIZE: 4 sewing patterns + $50 gift certificate from Fancy Tiger Crafts
It’s cool if you’re a knitter entering your first sewn garment or sewer entering your first knitted garment, or it can be the first garment of any kind you’ve ever made!
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17bestfirst

Best Combination of Garments
PRIZE: $100 gift card from Grainline Studio
We’ll be looking for 2-3 pieces that work exceptionally well together. They might be sewn, knitted or a combination, but the prize is sewing patterns, so only enter if you’re into that!
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17bestcombo

Random drawing
PRIZE: $100 gift certificate from Fringe Supply Co.
I’ll draw a name at random from all qualifying posts!
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17finisher

All prizes will be announced at the beginning of September, so make sure to post by August 31. We’re all very excited to see what you make!


MY THREE: My plans have evolved since I initially proposed this. (Or even since my Queue Check on Monday!) But since this post is already quite long, I’ll post all about that tomorrow!

Patterns pictured, clockwise from top left: Archer Button-up from Grainline Studio, Adventure Tank from Fancy Tiger Crafts, Sloper from Fringe Association, Echo Lake from Kelbourne Woolens


PREVIOUSLY in -alongs: Sloper knitalong

A bevy of Slopers: highlights from the mini-knitalong

A bevy of Slopers: highlights from the mini-knitalong

It’s been so fun hosting this mini-knitalong for the Sloper sweater this month, as seen at #sloperKAL — and such a rainbow of results! We’ve got everything from hot pink to brown to denim blue (and many shades of grey, of course!). Stripes, solids, marls and texture. Turtlenecks, crewnecks and boatnecks. Linen, cotton, wool, you name it. And there are several people on their second or third one! Which makes me grin from ear to ear.

Here are a few of my favorite finishes,  although every sweater in the feed (WIP or FO) makes my heart melt a bit — thanks to everyone for knitting along!

TOP: @fabrickated has finished THREE this month — the photo up top is of her knitting a Sloper while wearing a Sloper! They are grey, hot pink and forest green with a contrast edge, and they’ve featured heavily in her fabulous #memademay outfit lineup, as you’ll see if you scroll through her feed. She layers them over dresses, under cardigans and jackets — with scarves, belted, on their own — and just generally shows off how versatile a garment it really is. Kate puts a shorter turtleneck on hers, so it can be worn either up (as in the hot pink photo link) or rolled down.

BOTTOM LEFT: @hellomister also put a shorter mock turtleneck on her adorable green Sloper. And how cute is this whole outfit? I love a Sloper over a shirt or tee, and stripes poking out of anything is always a good idea.

BOTTOM RIGHT: @mmlemichl got clever with her cheerful yellow crop top. Instead of binding off 3 sts for armhole shaping, she cast on three for more of a box top. She also gave it a big wide neck. (I’m eager to see how @tananose’s V-neck version of this turns out.)

Of course, it’s never too late to cast on! The Sloper pattern is free here on the blog, along with all sorts of adaptation ideas and guidance, and I always want to see what you make of it, no matter when. So please continue to use the #sloperKAL tag on Instagram and link your Ravelry projects to the pattern page.

(If anyone missed my linen V-neck version, that’s here!)


PREVIOUSLY: Sloper: Basic pattern for a sleeveless sweater

My Sloper mods: Longer linen V-neck

My Sloper mods: Longer linen V-neck

If you’ve read through the Sloper pattern and notes and the posts about resizing and reshaping it (congratulations! phew), you’ll see that what I’ve charted above, for my #sloperKAL sweater, is a combination of all of that. Knitting with two strands of Kestrel* on US13 needles, my gauge is 2.75 sts/inch instead of 2.25, plus I want this one to be more like 40″ circumference at the chest, so for both of those reasons I’ll need a few more stitches than the pattern calls for. (Here’s my swatch.)

My row gauge is actually more like 4 sts/inch (based on my blocked swatch) than the pattern’s 3.75, but I know from my striped tank that this Kestrel fabric will grow as I’m wearing it. So for my calculations, I’m sticking with the pattern’s 3.75. Which means I only have to recalculate the stitches (widths) and not the rows (depths).

20″ x 2.75 sts per inch = 54 sts

Technically that’s 55, but I’m rounding down to 54 stitches each, front and back, because I want an even number of stitches. I also want this version to be A-line, more like 42″ at the hem, so I’ll cast on 58 stitches (which conveniently works with the multiple for the [2×2]+2 ribbing) and decrease twice (2 sts per decrease row) on my way to the underarms. I’m also planning to knit 15″ (56 rows) from cast-on to underarm, for a somewhat longer sweater. (The pattern is 11.5″ to the underarm.)

I want the armholes to be even narrower — the shoulders even wider — than the original version, so I’m sticking with 3 armhole stitches, which at this gauge will amount to just under an inch difference between the side and the armhole edge after seaming. And I also want the neck width to remain somewhere around 7″, which at my gauge of 2.75 sts/inch means 18 sts (rounded down from 19.25). So when you subtract my 6 (3+3) armhole stitches and 18 neck stitches from my 54 sts, that leaves 30 for the shoulders — 15 each. As you can see in my chart above—

3 armhole | 15 shoulder | 18 neck | 15 shoulder | 3 armhole

All of which I’ll match on the back piece. I still have a little more thinking to do about the decreases and edge treatment for my neckline (I’ll report back about that) but the above is all I needed to know to cast on!


I hope you’ve found this series of Sloper posts informative and inspiring, whether or not you plan to cast on a sweater for the #sloperKAL. But of course what I really hope is that you’ll take a leap and cast on!

(Fashionary sketch template and Knitters Graph Paper Journal from Fringe Supply Co.)


*I have no idea if doubled Kestrel is a good idea or not! I’m basically making chunky linen, which is a weird concept, on its face, and might result in a tank that turns into a dress over the course of a day — who knows! But I’m excited to find out. And I have no idea how much yarn it will require. I’ll let you know when I’m done with the first piece.

PREVIOUSLY: Sloper mods, part 2: Reshaping the pattern

Sloper mods, part 2: Reshaping the pattern

Sloper mods, part 2: Reshaping the pattern

As I mentioned on Monday, there are lots of variables you can toy with within the existing parameters of the Sloper pattern to change the look of it in many ways — from playing around with the fabric and the seams to choosing between the crewneck and turtleneck options given in the pattern. And yesterday we talked about ways to resize the pattern without really changing the look of it. So today, let’s talk about how to actually make changes to the shaping of the pattern in order to change the style of the finished garment. (Download the side-by-side comparison of these diagrams in PDF form.)


Sloper contains no waist shaping — it’s a straight-sided, boxy little number.

• For a more curvaceous, form-fitting sweater, add traditional hourglass shaping at the waist. That is, decrease as you approach the waist, then increase again as you head toward the bustline. (For how the math on this works, see Improv.)

• For A-line shaping, cast on more stitches — being mindful of the multiple for the ribbing — and decrease out the extra stitches gradually as you approach the underarms. (Again, see Improv for how to calculate the spacing.)

Sloper mods, part 2: Reshaping the pattern


Sloper has quite narrow armhole shaping — it’s designed such that the fabric reaches out fairly far on your shoulders, with armholes that just slightly nip in from the side seams.

Fig. A: For an even boxier look, you could leave out the armhole shaping altogether — just work the sides of the garment straight all the way up to the shoulder, leaving an 8.75″ gap for the armholes when you seam the sides together. (Note the corresponding adjustment at the shoulder, since the original 3 armhole sts and 10 shoulder sts are now all 13 shoulder sts.)

Fig. B: For a funkier look, mimic the camel version and make a squared-off armhole by binding off all three underarm stitches at once, rather than gradually.

Fig. C: For an armhole that cuts in farther, bind off more underarm stitches. You could bind off 2-3 on the first BO row(s), and/or work one or two additional bind-off rows, instead of just 3 per side. What you’re doing is taking stitches away from the shoulder, moving the armhole edge inward, so you’ll be left with equivalently fewer shoulder stitches to bind off. However many you’re left with, bind them off in halves. (So for example, the pattern has 3 armhole stitches and 10 shoulder stitches on each side. You could shift that, e.g., to 5 armhole stitches and 8 shoulder stitches, bound off 4 and 4.) Do the math to determine how wide your changes will leave your armhole and your shoulder, based on your gauge. (See yesterday’s post for more on all of that.)

Fig. D: If rather than the clean slipped-stitch armhole edge Sloper is designed with, you’d prefer to add ribbing or another picked-up edge treatment, you’ll need an equivalent amount of room for it. For example, if you want to add 1″-wide ribbing around the armhole, you’ll need to start the shaping 1″ sooner (3 or 4 rows at pattern gauge) and move it inward an inch, as we did in Figure C.

Sloper mods, part 2: Reshaping the pattern


Sloper is written with a basic round neck for a picked-up neck treatment that can be finished as either a crewneck or a turtleneck.

Fig. E: For a V-neck, pinpoint how low you want the V to be (by calculating desired depth and your row gauge) and mark the tip of the V on the chart at the dead center of the garment, counting downward the appropriate distance from the top. Then rather than binding off stitches gradually as for a round neck, simply work that separation row [marked (D) on the pattern front] to the center stitch, place that first half of the stitches on hold, then work to the end of the row. To create the V, decrease 1 stitch at the neck edge every other row until your desired neck width, then work even to the shoulders. Repeat the process in reverse for the left front.

Fig. F: For a scoop neck, begin the neck shaping sooner (based on how deep you want it to be, calculated by your desired depth and your row gauge), so the front neck edge sits lower.

What you do with your neck edge is also up to you — pick up stitches and work ribbing or garter, or work a few rounds and bind off for more of a rolled edge. Or work a sloped bind-off and slipped-stitch selvage, same as the armhole edge, for a clean edge with no further treatment.


By combining different variations of armholes and necklines, along with changing up the neck edging, you can create a wide variety of garments. For instance, if you combine a scoop neck (Fig. E) with Fig C-style carved out armholes, you’ll have turned it into a tank top, whereas Fig A boxy armholes and a deep V-neck would give you a completely different look. Or what if you did square armholes and a low square neck! (I.e., just bind off all the neck stitches at once rather than gradually.) And when you factor in making it longer or shorter, hourglass or A-line, the possibilities really are endless.

As noted yesterday, just make sure any changes you make to the front are matched identically on the back, so everything matches up properly (same number of armhole rows, same number of shoulder stitches) when it comes to seaming the pieces together.

So once again, I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Link your Ravelry projects to the Sloper pattern listing, and use the hashtag #sloperKAL to share your plans and progress on Instagram in the coming weeks.


PREVIOUSLY: Sloper mods, part 1: Resizing the pattern