The talented and the brave: Summer of Basics Grand Prize winners

The chic, the talented, the brave: Summer of Basics Grand Prize winners
The chic, the talented, the brave: Summer of Basics Grand Prize winners

LAST SUMMER, I was smart enough to invite other people to do the final-round judging for Summer of Basics, and I’ll be sure to do that again next year because choosing winners from the 140-ish submissions on the #sob18finisher feed was beyond difficult. (Y’all, in two Summers, we’ve racked up over 5000 posts on #summerofbasics!) In the end, I could only narrow it down to 6 Grand Prize winners (instead of 5) of a $100 Fringe Supply Co. gift certificate*, pictured above and listed below in order of appearance, top to bottom. Make sure you click through and check out each one’s reflections, pattern details and additional photos —

@lana_and_lino Such gorgeous pieces, and the way that she has styled them all into a micro-capsule speaks to just how effective they’re sure to be in her closet. If you only read one caption out of any of this, please make it this one! I’m applauding every word. “I bought my sewing machine in January and I could only sew straight lines …”

@the_german_edge was a front-runner and crowd favorite from the word go, with her ambitious and stylish plans, and following along with her has been pure delight. And yes, she made her clogs.

@francespaki contributing from down under, challenging herself to make some more tailored garments and hitting all three pieces out of the park. “I really feel they are true basics that reflect my style and will be worn winter after winter for years.” If you don’t wear them, Frances, I will!

@nomadiccharacter made six things for herself and three for her daughter, all of which demonstrate that basic doesn’t mean boring. And come on with that toddler lopi!

@teamajwarren Her whole recap is just pure joy, which is how I would love for us all to feel about the clothes we’ve made ourselves.

@aunthoneysestate I feel like she manages to convey so much about herself and her personal style with these three lovely garments, which she describes thusly: “Each fills a specific gap in my summer wardrobe. 1) A pretty embroidered top that goes with everything. 2) A dress that I can “put on and go.” 3) The camisole that I need at least two times a week but never made!” This is also one of many instances like this throughout the feed, which melts my heart every time: “The embroidered center panel is a vintage piece that I’ve been saving for a long time.”

Also, the 5 entrants drawn at random for a $25 Fringe Supply Co. gift certificate* are @tania.ho @hellomister @larosemarymakes @fieldwonderful @emilywools — all of whom also did a magnificent job!

Congratulations to all of you! Job amazingly well done. Please email me at <> to collect your prizes!

If you missed the round one and round two winners, do go take a look at those, too, and click through to see how their plans shook out!

. . .

Through it all, I was blown away by @ninaninawhy’s attention to detail; @blakandblanca’s jet-fueled output, tremendous style and willingness to just go for it (and omg that personalized Field Bag to match her tote); and just how many people made SHOES this year! I loved @hobbsfunk’s striking mirror selfies; melted at @clairemadeit’s mini-capsule for her baby on the way; and cheered @reddamzel’s attitude about her white-for-now sweatshirt. Then there’s @notaprimarycolor who is in a league of her own. And I want to give a special shoutout to @thestoryclubpdx, one of our first-round winners, just to say that I so enjoyed following along with her efforts all summer in such depth, and appreciated how generously she shared both her struggles and her victories.

If I could borrow garments, there’d be a lot of them: @sv_azimuth’s Twigs sweater, @malinerogne’s slip dress, @jessandhen’s back-pleat box top, @mwmmpls’s little yellow top, @megthegrand’s cheerful yellow pullover (I know: I keep saying I’m craving some yellow!), @rachelbeckman’s cardigan, @maloriehall’s … well, everything, but especially the knee-length kimono jacket, and so many other killer clothes!

As I was methodically combing through the finishers, I also made a folder for posts I wanted to refer to or quote from — so many incredible remarks and insights!. When I was done and went to see how many there were, though, I’d saved 35 posts! Which is a bit much to try to cull and link. So what I really want to encourage you to do is go read through the #sob18finisher feed — it’s truly so remarkable and inspirational, and I think every single one is a winner! Along with everyone who finished even one garment. As I’m always saying, it really is the clothes you make, the friends you meet, the skills you build that are the real prize in all of this.

Thank you all so much for making this another exceptional event! I can’t wait for 2019.

*Shipping fees will apply. Non-US winners will be responsible for any duties or taxes on their shipments. Packages cannot be marked as gifts. No substitutions, and prizes cannot be redeemed for cash value.


PREVIOUSLY: Round 1 winners (the planners) and Round 2 winners (the WIPs)

Time for the Fringe Marlisle Knitalong!

Time for the Fringe Marlisle Knitalong!

Yay, today’s the day! Or, well, technically tomorrow is the day, but it’s time to kick off the Fringe Marlisle Knitalong, aka #fringemarlislekal! I’ve been obsessed with Anna Maltz‘s clever technique — as explored in her book Marlisle: A New Direction in Knitting — since her pre-book Humboldt sweater pattern hit the airwaves, and I’m so excited to finally cast on. Anna is traveling all month but will be following along and co-judging with me!

I’m also excited to have Fancy Tiger Crafts on board as a prize donor, as noted below. Anna is teaching several classes at Fancy Tiger this month, which you can see and sign up for here.

Here’s the complete rundown on the challenge and the prizes:

. . .

September 1-30, 2018

The challenge:

Simply knit one of Anna’s Marlisle patterns — Humboldt sweater, Zazie cowl, AIA mittens or any of the 11 patterns from the book — or make up your own using her technique!

The prizes:

$75* Fringe Supply Co. gift cert:
– best rendition of an Anna pattern (could be use of color, beautiful knitting, suits you beautifully, etc)
– best modification of an Anna pattern
– best original use of Marlisle

$25* Fancy Tiger Crafts gift cert:
– 5 winners chosen at random from qualifying entries

To be eligible for a prize, you must do the following:

1) Post on Instagram declaring your participation by using the tags #fringemarlislekal @karentempler @fringesupplyco @sweaterspotter in your caption and telling us what you’ll be making.

2) Make at least one additional post about your work in progress along the way. Be sure to tag all of your #fringemarlislekal posts, for all to see!

3) Make a final post of your finished object with the same tags as above, stating which category you’re entering by including whichever additional tag is appropriate: #bestmarlisle #bestmarlislemod #bestoriginalmarlisle

Anna and I will begin judging on Sept 30 and the winners will be announced here on the blog shortly thereafter!

NOTE: For your posts to be visible and thus eligible, they must be made from a public account. If you have a private account, either switch it to public or make a new account to participate.

*Winners are responsible for shipping fees and duties

. . .

For my part, I’m making the Hozkwoz hat! In the spirit of Anna’s text in the book about how she chose the yarns all for personal reasons, I dug into my stash and I’m using luscious wools made by two good friends: Sincere Sheep’s Covet (CA Rambouillet/alpaca/silk) and Kelbourne Woolens’ Scout (100% wool). Black-and-natural is always my favorite marl, and this duo will make a fantastically soft and warm hat for the coming winter, so I’ve decided not to think of this so quite literally as a swatch for my sweater idea, which will call for a different mix of fibers.

What will you be making? I can’t wait to see.

Happy weekend!


RELATED: Learn more about Anna Maltz in Our Tools, Ourselves

The fall/winter on Fringe Association

Fall Events: Marlisle Knitalong + Slow Fashion October

I know, it’s barely even August and we’re still in the thick of #summerofbasics, but in my world it’s November already (I’m up to my eyeballs in Fringe Supply Co. holiday plans!) and Fall is not only in between there, it’s right around the corner. Official knitting season! So I wanted to take a minute to talk about the big blog events of the coming months, so you can get excited AND get planning—

—Fringe and Friends Knitalong—
The first few FAFKALs were each held in September, but I postponed the most recent one (the Logalong) to January instead. While I liked being able to concentrate on it with the holidays behind us — and feel like you did, too? — I missed having a knitalong going in September. So this time around, I’m doing both! The big FAFKAL will be in January again, and I’ll announce the specifics on that in the next couple of months — it’s such a good one!! — so you’ll have plenty of time to swatch during the holidays. But in the meantime …

—Marlisle Knitalong—
For September, I’m thinking something less sprawling, quicker and still tons of fun. Since trying my hand at Anna Maltz’s brilliant “marlisle” technique is high on my list for this year, and I want to do a smaller project as groundwork for my pullover idea, I think a marlisle knitalong sounds like just the thing! So between Sept 1 and 30, that’s what I’m hosting. The challenge is simple: Just knit any of Anna’s marlisle patterns or invent one of your own using her technique. There will be prizes and further details, which I’ll post at kickoff, but meanwhile, pick your pattern!

The bulk of the patterns can be found in her book on the subject, Marlisle: A New Direction in Knitting, and there are several small-scale options very easily doable within the space of September, from fingerless mitts and mittens to hats, scarves and shawls — you can see all 11 of the book patterns here. There are also sweaters in the book, which you’re of course welcome to tackle, and another one available through Ravelry, called Humboldt.

The intro in the book is a great read, as is this interview with Anna on the East London Knit Podcast, so I highly recommend starting there, where you can see her holding up the samples and everything.

Again, I’ll post the nitty gritty about prizes and categories and quals at kickoff, but feel free to start using the hashtag #fringemarlislekal to share your plans at any time! Sept 1 will be here in no time.

—Slow Fashion October—
Following the Marlisle fun, we’ll dive right into our fourth annual Slow Fashion October. I’ve got some special plans and people and a little bit of a format shift in the works for this go-round, and I think it’s going to be amazing. So I’ll tell you more about that as time approaches, as well, but for now know that #slowfashionoctober is coming back around!

Are you excited?


PREVIOUSLY in Make-alongs: Summer of Basics 2018

Revising my Summer of Basics strategy

Revising my Summer of Basics strategy

This is really more of a detour than a pivot or full-on rewrite, but after our discussion about my pj shorts last week — and after going ahead with the first cuff and inserting the elastic — I’m modifying my Summer of Basics plan. (I thought I’d be showing you my finished shorts today, but NOPE!) I’m still making a sweater plus pj top and bottoms, and I’m still making fancy Carolyn pajamas, just in a little bit different order.

The thing about the navy linen pj shorts — especially with that black flat piping in there — is that they are really lovely. And they are also just really too small, even if the linen does give a bit with wear. Because they’re fitted, rather than loose-fitting, the cuff doesn’t lay nicely and it’s quite unflattering. Plus the cuff itself, with the piping involved and the very nice finish it all gets, is a project unto itself. So rather than spend that much more time on the second cuff right now, I’m setting them aside, and following this course of action:

1) As I’m really kicking myself for not having made a muslin of the shorts (I do know better!) (especially for something with this level of construction), I’m going to cut a second pair in the natural/blue stripe fabric above — one of my Imogene+Willie remnants from a few summers ago — which has always struck me as pajama-perfect fabric. I’m going up two sizes, giving it an extra inch or so in the rise (I’m long-waisted and these are a bit low-waisted, which on me winds up being super low-waisted), and also elongating the inseam for a slightly longer hemmed leg as opposed to the cuff and piping. That’ll make it a much quicker sew. (I might also do the waistband my way.) And those will be my SoB pj shorts, which will still be cute and cozy with my sweater when the weather starts to break.

2) I’ve been desperately trying to resist the siren song of the Wiksten Kimono, to concentrate on my pajama plan, but after seeing so many in the #summerofbasics feed I’ve gotten it into my head that an unlined one in another of the I+W fabrics in my stash — the blue/white stripe — would make an excellent little housecoat sort of thing, which might also prove street-worthy. My strategy for resisting this was simply to not buy the pattern, but then Jenny kindly sent it to me, and since this is a very right-now sort of usefulness, and since it will be cute with the striped Carolyn shorts, I’m making this my SoB pj top. I think I have just enough of this fabric left to squeak one out, and I even have a pair of pockets I cut for something else and didn’t use, so I can resort to those for the pockets if need be.

3) Once I know I’ve got the size right on the Carolyn bottoms, I’m going to return to the navy-and-black idea, but do it in pants instead of shorts, and with the addition of back pockets. In this fabric (in my world) these are basically a tuxedo, so there’s a very good chance those will be pants I wear out of the house this fall, and not just pj’s.

4) And then I’ll make the matching Carolyn top to go with them. So the Carolyn combo basically becomes a fall project for me.

5) Somewhere along the way, I’ll put the second cuff on the navy shorts and find them a nice home …


PREVIOUSLY in Summer of Basics: July WIP winners


Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

It wouldn’t be Summer of Basics if it weren’t wildly inspiring and impossible to pull highlights from! But I’ve declared myself the lone juror this year (note to self: don’t do that again), so choose I must! For July, I’d said I’d be looking for progress and how well you shared it, and I’ve only been able to narrow it down as far as FOUR winners. For more on each of them and what they’re making, click through to their respective Instagram feeds. And truly, the whole #summerofbasics feed is full of people pushing themselves and making great clothes, so please check it out if you aren’t already following along.


@saltairarts (above)
I mentioned last month that I was really struck by how thoughtful Megan’s choice of garments was — essentially she’s replacing things she has had and loved in the past, knowing they’re sure to be long-lived wardrobe heroes — and since then I’ve also really enjoyed how beautifully she’s documented her projects at each step along the way.

. . .

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

Having become a mother and also recently relocated to Colorado, Meredith is using the challenge to create pieces that suit her new life/style. She’s also a knitter taking on sewing by tackling three sewn pieces in order of progressive complexity, alongside a knitted cardigan. And again, she’s been sharing it all along the way, from the oopses to the hoorays.

. . .

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

Another knitter building up her sewing skills — working through the trial-and-error of bust dart placement and advancing to more challenging things. I’d been noting her projects as they streamed through the feed, and didn’t realize until I clicked to her profile to compile this that she’s Parikha Mehta. Parikha’s blog was a favorite of mine in my first few months as a knitter, and she very soon after stopped blogging to concentrate on photography. So on top of admiring her SoB projects, I’m so thrilled she’s on Instagram and is sharing her makes again!

. . .

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

As with so many people in these makealongs — and my favorite thing about doing them — Gabrielle’s tagged posts drew me into her whole feed, and I really enjoyed “getting to know” her, along with seeing what she’s making and how it’s going so far.

Congratulations to the four makers featured above — you’ve each won a Fringe Porter Bin in the color of your choosing.* Please email with your color choice and your mailing address!

. . .

And for the random blindfold scroll-and-tap winners from July, they are @kleverknitsdesigns, @handwashdryflat and @barbaramaeshaw. The three of you have each won a Fringe canvas tool pouch! Please email with your mailing address to collect your prize.

August’s winners (prizes TBD) will be all about the three finished garments and how well you’ve shared them. So keep those #summerofbasics posts coming!

*An $85 value. No substitutions and cannot be redeemed for cash.
**A $24 value. No substitutions and cannot be redeemed for cash.


PREVIOUSLY in Summer of Basics: June winners — the Planners

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!


PREVIOUSLY in Summer of Basics: June winners: the planners


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.