Hello, February! In knitalong news, today is the start of Black History Month and a BHM make-along — knitting and sewing, and open to everyone “no matter your race, gender, or where you live in the world,” but the challenge is to make something from an African American designer’s pattern. Use hashtag #bhmpatterndesigners and see @naturaldane for more details and suggestions. And we’ve got two weeks left of the #fringeandfriendssteekalong — review those details here.
— Also this month, QuiltCon! I’ve long wanted to attend, and with it coming to Nashville this month, I get to. Anyone else coming?
— On the Slow Fashion front, if you haven’t seen Roe of @brownkids’ In|vested series from the past month, click that link or go click the circle with that label beneath it in her saved stories, and then continue back through the subsequent weeks (marked Convo 1, Convo 2, etc) (photo above right)
This is anecdotal, but I feel like there’s been a significant trend lately toward combining stranded knitting (which is almost always stockinette) with texture in various ways — frequently through the introduction of bobbles. I’m particularly taken with these two hat patterns that take on just a little added texture by virtue of simply purling some or all of the colorwork—
TOP: Hat with Purled XO by Arne and Carlos features a classic motif at jumbo scale with purled colorwork boosting its impact
BOTTOM: Hjarn Hat by Amber Platzer Corcoran is also bulky gauge but with more delicate, three-color motifs (click through for the more colorful samples)
After knitting the body of this Carbeth Cardigan last month, I finally got to knit the yoke over just a few evenings at the end of last week, before finally casting on my kid-sized Sólbein for the #fringeandfriendssteekalong yesterday, on a sunny January Sunday.
The Sólbein is kid-sized by virtue of simply knitting the smallest size with worsted-weight yarn (details here) on size US8 needles, and it looks like it may be coming out even smaller than I anticipated. My plan is to finish the yoke chart, block and measure it, and see where the math puts me. I’ve been thinking it will go to whichever niece it winds up fitting, but it might actually be too small for the two smallest of them (they’re 5). I won’t know till I block it, which I expect to be able to do in the next couple of days, so the recipient is still TBD for now! But I’m loving how it’s knitting up.
The Carbeth fabric is so seductive — the black OUR Yarn bulky held together with Shibui Pebble — and every day that’s cool enough for a sweater, I find myself wishing for this one. My plan here is to knit the bands and collar before the sleeves, then see how it looks with a little bit fuller sleeve. And I think I might not do the I-cord buttonholes. For those of you who’ve knitted this and worn it awhile, how are those holding up — have they stretched out or anything? I may do vertical bands for it instead.
Both of these cardigans are relatively quick projects and I wish I could knit them sequentially, but instead it’s a race to see which will get done while there’s still hope of appropriate weather. And actually, it’s a three-legged race.
Meanwhile, no change in the status of the cowl-dickey-question-mark thing I also started last month, but I’m eager to figure it out. And then I’m still mulling what’s on the horizon. I have lots of thoughts and ideas about the sweaters I’m unable to wear and what to do about it, but not ready to put anything in writing just yet …
While there aren’t people taking really major liberties with the Sólbein Cardigan (which 99% of the #fringeandfriendssteekalong participants are knitting), there are numerous smaller modifications happening that illustrate all of the freedoms and flexibilities that excite me so much about knitting, so I wanted to point you to some of them. These are the sorts of design detail tweaks you can consider for just about any sweater you might knit:
MIDDLE LEFT: Short rows. Several knitters have added short rows between the neckband and start of the colorwork, so the back neck will sit higher. @caitmariejohnson shared her notes on how she did it (swipe to the third image in the linked post) as did @knitterbree.
It’s hard to believe we’re only halfway through the official timeframe, given how many finished sweaters there are. But again, the fact that so many people have completed sweaters in under three weeks tells you there’s still plenty of time to join in! And remember, you don’t have to be finished to be eligible for prizes. The details on all that are in the kick-off post.
I’m casting on this weekend! Happy Friday, everyone—
The number one thing you guys tell me, especially when I get to meet you in person, is that your favorite thing about this blog is that it’s daily. (Every weekday, anyway.) You tell me you look for the email first thing in the morning, or you just call up the ol’ URL, and you read the day’s post with your coffee. And it melts my heart every time. So this is a decision I’ve taken a really long time to make because you’ve told me it matters, but: I am slowing down the pace.
I’ve seen this happen to so many people who have blogs and start businesses, and the businesses get busy, and they stop blogging. I don’t want to do that. Blogging feeds me — it’s the part of the day where I feel most like myself, and most like I’m so lucky to get to do what I’m doing. But the reality remains that I am spread way too thin. I’ve been working 60-70 hour weeks for as long as I can remember, and being stretched so thin has affected my ability to feel good about what I’m doing with the blog. (Not to mention my time to knit and sew.)
I used to have a rule of thumb for how many posts were about what I’m doing versus how many about other people — whether a Maker Crush or an interview or who’s putting out great patterns or developing a new yarn or hosting an interesting event or whatever. And the more stretched I am, the less time I have to look up and look around and dig in, which has resulted in there being less content here about other people, and that’s my favorite kind.
I’ve tried to decide and declare this before and then I slide back into my 5-day habit, because that’s how habits work. But I’m holding myself to it this time. And I’m also thinking a lot about ways to make all of the amazing people and information buried in the archives more accessible, starting with the people. Starting with literally putting the word People in the top menu up there. Populating that means going back through the entire history of the blog and retagging the posts that are about someone other than me, and so far I’ve only done 2018, but right now you can click that and scroll and find everyone from Teresa who handspins Brusca in her home in Portugal to Daniel Day Lewis and his gansey, and the interview with gansey expert Dib Gillanders that followed. And so much else!
I’ve also included all the Elsewheres in the People scroll, because those are inherently lists I’ve made about other people doing and making interesting things. (Note that I’ve only included New Favorites in cases where they are hooked on a single designer’s work.) So I’ll keep adding to it, and I hope you’ll explore it. And then there will be more!
It means a lot to me that you take time out of your day to come read what I’ve written, and I want to do right by you. So I’m going to try a 3-days-a-week approach and see how that goes, and I hope you understand this decision! I’m so grateful to you for reading.
. . .
Pictured above are the most recent 12 people to have been individually highlighted on the blog in some way, so here are the shortcuts to those posts:
I haven’t gotten to knit the past couple of weeks — was hoping to cast on my Sólbein for the Steekalong this weekend, but work intervened. But there was a brief and shining moment yesterday afternoon where the sun peeked through the clouds for the first time in about 10 days and it made me suddenly desperate to do something in that momentary spot of light. So I grabbed my purple lopi sweater, ripped out the neckband, and placed a couple of stitch markers to mark the center front stitch and where I want the tip of the V of the new cardigan front to sit. Then I threaded some hot pink waste yarn onto a tapestry needle, basted a line where the center front cut will go, and continued upwards each direction toward the raglan seams. I basically just eyeballed it, since I can’t think of a more accurate way to do it that isn’t more tedious than I could bear.
The plan is to run two rows of machine stitching alongside these basting stitches before cutting it open, but as soon as I slid the sweater under the foot of my machine, the sun disappeared for the evening and I went back to what I was supposed to be doing. Which means if anyone has any advice they want to give me before I do this, here’s your chance!
Before I get to this round of Elsewhere links, I want to take a moment to reiterate something I said on Instagram last night regarding the Steekalong and indeed all of the make-alongs I host: Everyone is welcome. The kals and other events are designed to be safe, supportive groups where you can try new things and refine your skills and meet new people. Regardless of your skill level, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age or anything else, I would love for you to participate in any event I organize.