New Favorites: Mildly mannish cables

New Favorites: Menswear-inspired cable sweater patterns

Michele Wang has been teasing the internet with the her latest collection lately, and yesterday it materialized as the newest edition of Interweave’s Wool Studio. The whole thing is menswear-inspired (and male-monikered) and draped in cables so you know I’m into it. I do like the little hat, Morgan; the cabling on the Benedict Pullover is remarkably beautiful; and it would be hard not to love the Frederick Cardigan. But the two that really give me the wants are—

ABOVE: Charles Pullover is a big dream of a turtleneck with a gorgeous cable panel running each sleeve (knitted in my beloved Arranmore no less, and this is making me take a second look at that color)

BELOW: James Cardigan is a lovely slouchfest with an irresistible cable motif, dreamy in a nice tweedy grey (that appears to be Arranmore by another name?)

I already downloaded the whole set and am currently fantasizing about a James-Bellows mashup, which I would like to knit on my couch while wearing the turtleneck.

New Favorites: Menswear-inspired cable sweater patterns

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Aran-style hats

2017 FO 17 : Vanilla cardigan

Finished: Ivory cardigan (free pattern)

This here is a case of a sweater that was begun on a whim, aimed tentatively in a certain direction, took some turns over the course of the knitting, and wound up being exactly what I’ve always wanted.

I cast this on one night after finishing my fisherman sweater, having a couple of skeins left over, not wanting to be done with the yarn, and having been craving this cardigan in this yarn since as far back as my black yoke sweater. (Yep, this is my third sweater in this yarn, Arranmore. True love.) It wasn’t what I was “supposed” to be knitting next, and I thought I might get it out of my system just by knitting a few inches, so I didn’t even put a basting stitch in the raglans. But I was hooked in no time, bought enough yarn to knit it for real, and carried on.

My original sketch was significantly different, pocket-wise, but along the way I ran into this photo and was reminded how much I just really wanted this to be simple, old-school and snuggly. That I have wanted that for ages and can never quite get it. And now that I’m wearing it, I’m so glad I heeded that voice. Between nailing the scale of the pockets and taking time to get the cuffs exactly where I wanted them,* it’s pretty damn perfect. (Still without buttonholes at the moment, but it might stay that way!)

As always with my Improv sweaters, all my notes and counts and measurements are below. I highly recommend copying this one in some nice snuggly yarn — it’s a gem.

Pattern: Improv top-down (free pattern)
Yarn: Arranmore in St. Claire (6.5 skeins)
Buttons: Bone narrow-rim from Fringe Supply Co.

You can scroll through all of my posts on this sweater hereInstagram posts here, and like it at Ravelry if you do!

Finished: Ivory cardigan (free pattern)


4.25 sts and 6.25 rows = 1 inch (measured over 4″ = 15/25) knitted on US7; ribbing and band on US5


22″ back = 94 sts (46 sts/front) = ~44″ chest (9.5″ ease), inc to 46″ hip
14″ upper arm circumference = 60 sts (10 at underarm)
9.5″ yoke/armhole depth (60 rows)
17″ body length (2.5″ hem ribbing)
26.5″ total length
14″ sleeve length (2.25″ cuff ribbing)
9″ cuff circumference
6″ x 6″ pockets (30 sts, 1.5″ ribbing)


— CO 64 sts, divided with markers as follows ( 1 | 4 | 10 | 4 | 26 | 4 | 10 | 4 | 1 )

– Planned on 10 sts cast on at each underarm, and divided the raglan stitches evenly between sections when separating sleeves from body

— Increased at front neck edge every 4th row 11x

— Worked raglan increases as kfb on either side of the 4 raglan stitches

— Increased sleeves at raglans every-other row till 44 sts, then on 4th, 6th, 8th rows (50 sts), then work even

— Increased back/fronts every-other row until 84 back sts

— Separated for sleeves at row 60, cast on 10 per underarm

— Increased body at side seams 2x, at 2″ and 8″; stockinette for 14.5″ then ribbing on US5 for 2.5″

Knitted sleeves flat; decreased on rows 21, 41, 61; on row 81 dec evenly to 42 sts, the ribbing on US5 for 16 rows

— Worked patch pockets separately and grafted on (more on that to come)

— Picked up sts for garter-stitch button band, worked on US5: 14 sts along the hem ribbing (could have been 12), 56 up the front, 51 along the slope, 2 out of 3 around the cast-on edge, mirror down the other side

— No buttonholes (more on that here), may do aferthought buttonhole; buttons are symbolic in the meantime

*I have the sleeves very slight/unevenly pushed up in the photos of me wearing it. Despite how that hanger photo looks (taken just after wearing them unevenly like that), the sleeves are exactly the same length!


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Pants and more pants







Poor photos of me in a dreamy Cline sweater

Poor photos of me in a dreamy Cline sweater

Since I posted here and on Instagram last week about trying on and casting on the Cline sweater, I’ve had a lot of people asking about the fit. Anytime I get to try on a sample of something, I snap quick photos in order to be able to reference them later if I’m ever actually knitting it. (Now where did the sleeves hit me? Did I like the length? The neck? …) I did the same here and, as usual, they were meant only for me and my camera roll, not for public consumption. I regret not having gotten better photos, but I get why everyone is wondering about this, so here they are for all the world to see! Tweaked as well as they could be. But certainly enough that you can see how it fit me and my big shoulders.

This is the sample size (gorgeous in this mushroom-colored Rimu), 47.25″, and my bust is about 34.5″ — so it’s roughly 13″ of positive ease. You can see the difference in how my shoulders fill it out, versus the original model with slightly narrower shoulders or darling petite Jaime, who also tried it on that day and just finished hers in the same size. So what’s oversized and adorably funky on Jaime looks like a more traditional fit on me.

This one was knitted by Christine, a professional sample knitter, who goes as @a2kiwi on Instagram and a2kiwi on Ravelry. I’m so grateful to her for letting me try it on — thank you, Christine! You can see her project page for it here, and all of her knits here. She’s incredible.


PREVIOUSLY in Cline: Queue Check, November 2017



Q for You: What is your favorite buttonhole method?

Q for You: What is your favorite buttonhole method?

You know that thing where you decide to knit a buttonband on an airplane and wind up with no buttonholes? Here’s how it happened:

As you can see, I’ve put a picked-up garter-stitch band on this gem I’ve been knitting. As I was sitting on the flight to Rhinebeck, chatting away with Meg, I sort of unthinkingly knitted my favorite buttonhole — of the slot-shaped, bind-off/cast-on variety — losing track, for the moment, of the fact that that only works on a vertical band (such as my Anna Vest). Running up and down, in knitted fabric, a slot buttonhole like that would just pull right open. I realized it as soon as I’d done it, promptly ripped out those rows, and then puzzled for a minute over what to do. I don’t mind a yarnover buttonhole (in all its minute variations) in a case where it’s sort of lost in the fabric. You can barely see them in my black cardigan, for instance, but they disappoint me a little bit in my camel cardigan, where they’re more evident. That YO hole just doesn’t look as tidy as I’d like, and I knew on light-colored fabric like this, and at this gauge, I would not be happy seeing them. So what’s an impatient knitter on an airplane to do? Leave them out, of course. Knit on, and figure it out later.

You know I love to try new stuff, and I had the thought that it would be fun to try machine-sewn buttonholes, which would give me exactly the neat and tidy slots I want for it. Alas, only after knitting a swatch to test the idea did I realize the fabric is much too thick to even fit under the buttonhole foot of my machine in the first place! Curses. So I guess the new thing I get to try is EZ’s afterthought buttonhole. (At least I already have a swatch to practice on!)

All of this got me thinking about buttonholes in their endless (never quite satisfying to me) variety! Which brings me to my Q for You: What is your favorite buttonhole method(s), and why? I look forward to your responses!

(Bone buttons via Fringe Supply Co.)

IN SHOP NEWS: A few of our long-awaited copies of Woods finally arrived. This is a big, beautiful book with lots of great patterns, profiles, essays … and an interview with me about sweater construction. Hopefully the rest of our order will materialize soon, but we do have some in the shop at the moment, if you’re quick. (I’ll let you know if/when we get more!) Thank you for your excitement about the new notebooks and all your lovely anniversary wishes this week. And if you haven’t had a chance to browse through the Winter 2017 Lookbook yet, I hope you’ll take a moment to do so!

Have a great weekend — see you next week.


PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: What’s your picky fit detail?




Idea Log: Cocoon cardigan

Idea Log: Cocoon cardigan

In addition to everything I talked about yesterday, there’s one more idea rolling around in my head that won’t let go. I have this wool coat I got at Elizabeth Suzann’s sample sale a couple years ago (no longer available; you can see it on me here), and it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever owned. It just slides right on over everything, with its cocoon shape and dolman sleeves. So cozy and easy, and makes you look fabulous no matter what you throw it over. I actually wore it all summer at Fringe HQ (before we got control of our climate, finally!) and I find myself wanting a sweater version to snuggle up in through the winter. I even already have a swatch! What I’m envisioning is sort of in between the ES coat and something like Cirilia Rose’s Gezell Coat — less long and maybe slightly less voluminous than my coat, but with the stand-up collar and dolman sleeves. And pockets. But of course I still also want the sweater that swatch was originally envisioned as. Actually, I want about four sweaters with that yarn, but I think this idea might ultimately be the winner.

I haven’t searched for patterns, but it wouldn’t be hard to make up. If you happen to know of a similar pattern, though, let me know!

(Fashionary sketch templates from Fringe Supply Co.)


PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Big pleated top

Queue Check — November 2017

Queue Check — November 2017

My already beloved ivory cardigan is essentially finished — just waiting for me to have time to sew on the pockets and buttons — so you should be seeing it here soon. Doing the finishing on a voluminous cardigan didn’t sound like a good road-trip project when we were packing up for the recent family extravaganza, so instead I used the drive time to cast on my Cline sweater in Junegrass.* I’m so happy to finally be knitting myself a plain grey sweater, and to have this incredible yarn in my hands.

Through an act of kindness, I got to try on someone else’s Cline while I was in Denver in September, which is what made me a convert to this sweater. (More on that here.) The only change I’ll need to make is that the sleeves were several inches too short for me. They’re rather unusual sleeves, so I need to think through how best to implement a mod, which means I’ve started with the back instead of a sleeve. And as it happens, knitting a big stockinette rectangle has been the perfect thing for me here in the thick of crazy season.

All of that said, I haven’t given up the idea of casting on a big shawl-collar cardigan in a rush — there’s a red-hot debate about it raging in my brain. As I watch our forecast shift from mid-60s to low-40s in the next two weeks, I’m feeling increasingly nervous about having gone from two shawl-collars to none. I know from having knitted it once that I could cast on a Bellows with my blue Harrisville special and be wearing it by New Years’ (if not Christmas), and I would be extremely happy to have it as we roll into January. (The Sourcebook Chunky Cardigan thus being saved for another yarn, another day.) On the other hand, I have so many plates spinning in general right now that I’d rather be finishing things up, not starting new ones. Plus I might be a skein or two short on the yarn for that. Plus I don’t know how the back of my neck and that yarn get along.

Then there’s also the little matter of my planning and swatching for the Log Cabin Knitalong that kicks off in a month and a day. The smart thing to do would be to stick with the Cline and the swatching for the next month, and go straight into my knitalong project. But especially since that means going from stockinette into garter, I have a neurotic urge to cast on some cables in between! Which brings me back to those cable hats, and specifically the Bulletproof Aran Hat.

Decisions, decisions.

*Mine is from last year’s Batch One, no longer available. There’s currently a Batch Two.


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: October 2017

New Favorites: Aran-style hats

New Favorites: Aran-style hats

That beautiful aran yarn and what I said about it yesterday, combined with the sea of stockinette sweater knitting I have in my immediate future, has me yearning to cast on some serious fisherman-style mixed cables, and I’m trying to bait myself into fantasizing about hats instead of sweaters. A nice juicy small-scale project to keep my knitting life lively without being another sweater on the needles, in other words. So I went back through my years of favorited hats on Ravelry and picked out a few longstanding temptations:

TOP: Bulletproof Aran by Chuck Wright

MIDDLE: Bray Cap by Jared Flood

BOTTOM: Traveling Cable Hat by Purl Soho


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from BT Fall/Holiday