Queue Check — June 2018

Queue Check — June 2018

I’m back from Portugal with SO much to tell you — and about 2700 photos to sort through. But this morning I can at least tell you about the state of my knitting from the trip! For the first few days, I was still finishing up a secret project, but then I finally got to do the math and get started on my Summer of Basics sweater. This project was cast on in the back of a van on a particularly twisty drive in the Porto region (one epic excursion among many) but caught a foothold on our one and only sit-still day, mid-trip, at a super chic mountaintop hotel called Casa das Penhas Douradas. While four of us went for a long hike that day, the other five made ourselves at home in one of the common rooms, which had half walls of sliding glass so the whole room opened up to the mountain breeze, and I know I’ll remember that day and that room every time I ever wear this.

That is, if it works out — I’m not yet 100% sure about it. To recap: I’m making an aran-gansey mashup, heavily inspired by the traditional Staithes gansey from the whole Daniel Day-Lewis hullabaloo, and its “seeds and bars” patterning. But figuring out the best version of that for an ivory, worsted-gauge, raglan situation isn’t as simple as it might seem. I’ve swatched it a few different ways — different “seeds” and different “bars” — and this yoke is sort of a bigger swatch, which may or may not be the winner. I won’t know for sure until I knit a couple more inches (at least to the next bar), add a neckband, and see how it looks after a wash. But it’s pretty promising, and it’s been perfect company while traveling.

Rosa mentioned while we were knitting that day that Portugal also has a gansey tradition, so you know I’ll be digging into that. And now that my whirlwind June is drawing to a close, I’m eager to start on my other two SoB garments.

Improv sweater in O-Wool Balance yarn in Natural
Jen Hewett x Fringe Field Bag from Fringe Supply Co. (available tomorrow morning!)


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: My Summer of Basics plan



Almost-perfect sweatshirt + Squam packing list

Almost-perfect sweatshirt + Squam packing list

This past weekend, I packed two totally different sets of clothes for two very different trips: Squam Art Workshops and Portugal. Pretty much all of my current favorite garments went into the Portugal pile (show you later), which left me combing through my remaining clothes looking for just the right few things that are A) reasonably presentable enough to teach in, B) appropriate for tromping around in the New Hampshire woods, and C) suitable for the cool, changeable, early-spring weather (as I sweat here in Nashville). And also, I seem to have entered some phase where each time I pack I’m in some kind of competition with myself to see how few things I can get away with! So, y’know, just a few complications there. But thankfully I left myself some very helpful notes after last year.

The Squam trip is just five days: travel there, teach, teach, playtime/art fair, travel home. (Although it feels so long and peaceful in those woods.) Having just watched On Golden Pond, which was filmed on Squam Lake, what I really wanted was to dress exactly like Katharine Hepburn in the movie — i.e., a daily diet of big button-down shirts over a jersey turtleneck and trousers.

In reality, there are two things going in both suitcases — my trusty old denim vest and my recently finished grey sweatshirt, above. It is perfect in every way but one: I cut the fabric the wrong direction. But it’s fine! And I’m looking forward to having it along for sleeping in, for knitting on the screened porch at night, and of course for those chilly mornings on the dock before class. It’s Grainline’s Linden Sweatshirt, and all I did was raise the neckline about an inch all the way around. The fit is utterly perfect, and I’ll definitely make it many more times over the course of my life.

So I’m takig 7 primary garments (outfit clothes) in my Squam suitcase:

Squam Art Workshops packing list

Black cardigan
– Denim vest (J.Crew, ancient)
– Chambray shirt (hand-me-down)
Black shell
Striped shell
– Clay wide-legs (Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Culotte, made in Nashville, sample sale 2017)
– Jeans (Imogene+Willie Willie, made in US, 2017)

(Lots of overlap with last year.) Plus for around the cabin: the sweatshirt, a tee, old cutoffs and my thick black leggings. And since apparently my good ol’ Chucks were the only shoes I wore last year, they’re the only shoes I’m taking this year — hopefully no rain. I’m tempted to throw in my black turtleneck, just in case.

Funny to think I’ll be seeing some of you in the dining hall tonight!


PREVIOUSLY: Squam 2017 reflections and outfits and Knitting in paradise




My pocket-sized life

My pocket-sized life: One maker's bullet journal

This is my heart, my mind and my life — the last six months of it, anyway — in the form of a pocket-sized bullet journal, and I’m so deeply attached to it I can hardly even tell you. I’ve been sharing some of the spreads on Instagram the past few months (collected together under #ktminibujo) and have had requests that I write more about it. Ok!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a lifelong blank-book junkie. I’ve had more diaries, sketchbooks and datebooks than I could count (many of them still in a big rubbermaid tub that moves around with us from place to place) — but it’s been quite a few years. In more recent years, I’ve been tempted by Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal system, just because I love both organizational systems and paper so much, but “bujo” is sort of a cross between a planner and a diary. A paper-based planner is not really an option when your days are as complicated as mine, and I’ve never stuck with a diary for more than a few entries at a stretch. Still, I’m drawn to how flexible and customizable the basic concept is, and I’ve incorporated certain aspects of it into my web-based planner system. But seeing examples on Instagram of the incredible spreads and concepts people have come up with, within the larger #bulletjournal ecosystem, is incredibly inspiring to me. And then came my making journal, with its slight nods to bujo here and there. And then came the prototypes for the beautiful memo books (and leather cover) that finally made it into the webshop at the end of last week.

My pocket-sized life: One maker's bullet journal

The samples came at a moment when I needed some help, to be honest. The first few months of this year were rough, and I was feeling both frayed and disconnected — from myself and everything else. One day, in looking at some of the “habit trackers” people have designed for themselves, I had an idea for charting my well-being and its influences, and I had the perfect notebook in which to do it! After that, I was besotted with my little book. It’s truly either in my hand, my pocket or right next to me at all times. Its very presence — the act of interacting with it — has done wonders for me.

There’s not much that’s core bujo in it, but it owes everything to the flexible, freeform, ever-evolving ethos of the system. There are no “dailies” or “weeklies” but there is a quarterly overview (a sort of “future log”) where I’ve listed top-level deadlines and initiatives for myself, to keep me focused on the big picture. In addition to my monthly “mood” charts with their occasional one-line entries about the day, there’s a page for each month that serves as a timeline, on which I record the highlights: travel, dinners out, time spent with friends. I’ve tried to make note of what we’re watching or reading or listening to, as I miss having a reading journal. And I’ve found myself actually writing a diary entry at the end of each month, sort of recapping life and where my head is at. But along the way, I’ve found myself craving more visual, dimensional, full-color representations of what I’m up to — to be able to actually SEE what I’m doing — which has taken all sorts of forms: from incorporating my spring make list into my Q2 priorities (which accounts for how much of it I’ve actually gotten done!) to enshrining my 10×10 outfits, logging my bathroom renovation measurements and shopping list, and sketching my Summer of Basics plan. I even included my little summer mood board because it makes me feel happy. I draw pictures and diagrams, glue things in, anything goes! And I have the notion that perhaps I’ll have prints made of a few relevant IG photos from the same time period, and enclose them at the end.

My pocket-sized life: One maker's bullet journal

For all the books I’ve filled (or half-filled) in my years, I’ve never had anything like this one — so much more a reflection of the timespan than any written journal or datebook. And I love that I’ve got six months of life rather beautifully encapsulated in this small volume (or will, once the final four spreads are filled with Squam and Portugal this month). At that rate — two of these per year — even if I kept it up for 10 years, it would occupy very little space in the world and yet tell such a story.

So yes, I’m deeply attached to this notebook — the first thing I would reach for in a fire — and thankful to Ryder Carroll and every bujo-er who’s inspired me so far.

. . .

There’s nothing to say a bullet journal has to be beautifully designed or elegantly hand-lettered or anything at all — it can be as simple as what Ryder demonstrates in his video or whatever you want it to be! — but if you want to look at some of the bujo Instagram feeds I find most inspiring, see @abulletandsomelines, @vestiblr, @tinyrayofsunshine (so many others!) and of course @bulletjournal

And you can find my perfect little notebook over at Fringe Supply Co.

My pocket-sized life: One maker's bullet journal

PREVIOUSLY: Do you keep a knitting journal?


The Clyde jacket-to-vest rescue mission: accomplished!

The Clyde jacket-to-vest rescue mission: accomplished!

I finished two more things from my spring make list this weekend and technically this is the latter of them, but I’m telling you about it first because I am so over-the-moon in LOVE that I need to shout about it immediately. This, you may recall, began life as the Clyde Jacket that fell into my hands at the Elizabeth Suzann sample sale back in early December for $35, mysteriously unfinished (as in: it had never gotten its sleeves). Upon close inspection, the stitching around the hem looks as if the machine was acting up, and it even chewed a hole in the fabric in one spot, at which point there clearly was a decision made not to bother attaching the sleeves. Thankfully, instead of being tossed on the fire, so to speak, it was tossed onto the sample-sale pile — and I’m SO glad, because rescuing it has given me some serious joy, and I also might never leave home without it.

To convert it from an unfinished jacket to a finished vest, all I did was put it on my dress form, put one of my State Smocks on over the top of it, and trace the big armhole of the smock onto the canvas of the jacket with a chalk pen. When I took away the smock and looked at the line I had drawn, it perfectly echoed the shape of the pockets, as if fate had intended it all along. The Clyde jacket has front and back panels flanking the wide side panels into which the crescent pockets are set, so all I did is adjust the markings a tiny bit so I had just enough fabric running alongside those vertical seams to be able to attach bias binding. As it happens, I also had a bunch of navy linen fabric from last summer’s ES garage sale, which matched the navy canvas perfectly. So I cut long strips of bias, attached them all the way around the armhole, then turned it all under and top-stitched, so in the end the vertical panels form the tops of the armholes, with nothing visibly added. It makes for a really nice detail!

I don’t even mind the aforementioned hole in the fabric. You can barely see it, the jacket is so dark, but it’s also a good excuse to try out the darning function on my machine at some point.

So in the end, what I have is a shorter version of the Clyde Vest, and it feels completely indispensable to me — like the garment I can’t believe I’ve lived this long without. In fact, I have a Clyde Jacket in Clay that I paid full price for last year (and adore), and I’m considering making the same alteration to it! I may even have some matching canvas for that from the garage sale …

The Clyde jacket-to-vest rescue mission: accomplished!

Worn here with my canvas pants. And the other thing I finished this weekend is over on Instagram.


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Recycled denim pants

Recycled pants (2018 FO-14)

Recycled pants (2018 FO-14)

On Saturday, while our beloved contractor was tearing an ever larger hole in the middle of our house,* I was on the other side of the wall from him, in my little workroom, keeping myself occupied by sewing up the other pair of pants I had cut out a few weeks ago. These are the same as all my other modified Robbie pants — my “toddlers” — with the caveat that each pair varies slightly in the rise and/or the thigh. (That’s in addition to the more major modifications shared by them all: my own pockets, longer legs, wider hems, totally different waistband.) Between the fabric and the particular tweaks I made when cutting this one, this is basically the pair I’ve been wanting the whole time; what I’ve always wished the denim pair to be. The fabric here is 100% recycled cotton — denim industry waste, woven into a heavy canvas. The light-denim color combined with this silhouette makes them feel a little bit 1970s, in a good way. And despite a hilarious number of thread issues along the way,** I’m extremely pleased with them.

These and the natural canvas pair are sure to be the cornerstones of my summer wardrobe this year, which I’ll be getting into the planning for tomorrow! I promise photos of them on me in the course of all that. These never look like much on the hanger …

Pattern: Robbie Pant by Tessuti (reuse No. 6, whoa)
Modifications: self-drafted pockets, assorted tweaks, modified 2″ waistband
Fabric: 100% recycled cotton canvas, not commercially available anywhere that I know of

*If you haven’t seen it in my Instagram Stories, we’re remodeling our bathroom, which — as they do — keeps turning into a bigger and bigger job than expected.

**Thread 1 was garbage, so I switched to thread 2, which ran out an inch shy of my finishing the waistband top-stitching, so then came thread 3, followed by the bobbin (still thread 1) running out just short of the second hem being complete (finished with thread 3). And since I only use natural thread in my serger, there are a total of four different threads used here! lol


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: The sweatshirt vest


The Details: That sweatshirt V-patch look

The Details: That sweatshirt V-patch look

I mentioned when I first envisioned this little sweater vest that it was inspired by a jersey garment I once owned and adored — a sleeveless fleece top modeled on a classic sweatshirt. Unlike my version (full post here), that one did have a waistband; and I don’t remember whether it had the side panels or not, but I believe it did. I’m certain, however, that it had that classic sweatshirt neck detail of the little V patch just under the ribbed collar. Does anyone know if there’s a proper name for this neck detail? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard one, which is surprising given how ubiquitous it is. It must have a name — and I’m sure one of you will know. Anyway, I knew I wanted this vest to have it, and it was simple enough to do!

I’ve seen various such treatments in many knitted garments over the years (a favorite being Ysolda’s Polwarth sweater), but rather than studying them, I just measured the V on a sweatshirt in my closet and got out my trusty pencil and Knitters Graph Paper Journal and charted it out. Because of the marl here, I was concerned about the V having enough contrast with the main fabric, being rather small, so to help it stand out I worked the adjacent stitch on each side as a twisted knit stitch (knit through the back loop, in other words) holding only the grey yarn, then worked the stitches within my V in reverse stockinette. For the first few rows, I thought the grey stitch wasn’t accomplishing anything meaningful (and you definitely can’t see the lower ones shown in the chart below, meant to mimic the overstitching), but in the end I think that subtle frame of grey twisted stitches does help set it off just enough.

Mine is basically 13 sts wide (and 8 rows tall), which is slightly more than the number of stitches I bound off at the center for the start of the neck shaping. That was a conscious choice and meant the V business continued upwards at the neck edge for a couple of rows into the shaping, as you can see in the upper chart below — which made it a little more complicated. (And I have no idea why I didn’t BO an odd number so it was perfectly centered; told you I was apathetic!) But the easiest thing to do would be simply to make your patch the same number of stitches wide as the center neck BO called for in your pattern, as shown in the lower chart below, and then all there is to do is begin knitting it that many rows before your neck BO. In the totally hypothetical 13-st example shown, 8 rows before you reach the neck BO, you’d start this. Make sense?


IN SHOP NEWS: We’ve got the indispensable Cocoknits Knitter’s Block back in stock, plus a full complement of Bento Bags once again, and all the other beauties over at Fringe Supply Co.

Happy weekending!


PREVIOUSLY in The Details: How I sew elastic waistbands

The sweatshirt vest (2018 FO-13)

The sweatshirt vest (2018 FO-13)

This little sweater vest — or sweatshirt vest, as I’ve been calling it — turned out so incredibly cute. It bored me to tears while I was knitting it, but I’m completely in love with the finished garment and will be wearing it to death. And best of all, it was a clever use of great yarn sitting idly in my stash: the grey Balance from my abandoned cardigan, held together with ivory Pebble left over from my striped raglan. I actually still have enough of both yarns to make another one just like it. And you know what? I might!

I knitted it on US8s, at 4.25 sts/in, and the fabric is an absolute dream. The Balance is 50/50 organic cotton/wool, and the Pebble is recycled silk, merino and cashmere — just a whisper of that blend wrapped around the cotton/wool. I highly recommend you try it sometime!

I did not take good notes while doing this, I think due to the apathy at the time, so don’t expect there to be a pattern. But you really don’t need one! You could take any plain sweater vest pattern — like this one, for instance — and simply leave off the waistband, work three or four inches at each side in reverse stockinette, and add the little V detail at the neck. I’ll post The Details tomorrow about that bit.

I’m actually not 100% sure I’m done. I’ve tested assorted waistband/hem treatment possibilities, but I like it like this — the slight roll of the stockinette reminds me of a cutoff sweatshirt, which is a common feature of my closet — and I love the length, especially when worn over a camisole as seen here. (This is the spring equivalent of my favorite winter outfit this past season.) So for now, at least, I’m leaving it. And as noted, there’s ample yarn if I ever want to add on!

• Pattern: No pattern / Like it at Ravelry
Yarn: Balance in Talc and Pebble in Ivory, held together throughout
Worn with: Natural canvas pants and ikat camisole


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Hipster painter pants