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

Instant sweater No. 2

Instant sweater No. 2

Do you remember back in January, when I told you a story that started like this:

Last week, my friend Meg and I were at a dinner party at a semi-fancy restaurant. We were seated at opposite ends of a long table and I heard almost nothing of what was said down there all night … except at some point I became suddenly very tuned into Meg saying something about how she never wears the Big Rubble sweater she knitted several years ago (and later modified to a crewneck). You probably don’t remember me going on about this one back then, or more specifically, about how I wanted to be the kid in the kids’ version. Anyway, it was like one of those scenes in a movie where the protagonist is in the middle of some crowded, noisy scene and the camera zeroes in on their ear, which is isolating a single voice from among the din. Or maybe I have some kind of knitter’s sonar. Whatever, I heard her say it. Naturally what happened next is I politely shouted to the other end of the table “CAN I HAVE IT?” Being the best friend a girl could ask for — and a knitter who doesn’t like to see her efforts go to waste — she shouted back “YEAH.” After which I asked for another sweater from her collection, which she also said yes to and I’ll tell you about later.

Um, yeah. It’s her Amanda cardigan, from the original Fringe and Friends Knitalong, which I had always coveted. So now it’s my Amanda cardigan. You might remember that back in October I had auctioned off the Amanda I had knitted to raise money for Puerto Rico. So the fact that Meg’s came into my possession three months later is pretty damn amazing.

When I brought it home, I put it into my blocking bin on the shelf in my sewing room, which is where I put sweaters in need of some attention. I’m planning to give it a little fluff up and either remove or change out the buttons (for something a little smaller). It’s one of several sweaters needing a tiny bit of TLC before sweater season kicks in, and starting to work my way through that stack feels like the perfect way to prepare for Fall and assure myself it will eventually come!

Thanks again, Meg!


PREVIOUSLY: Instant sweater No. 1

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


Q for You: Would you rather knit the sleeves or the body?

Q for You: Would you rather knit the sleeves or the body?

A few years ago, my now-pal Anna Dianich and I launched a funny little project we called the Tag Team Sweater Project. We had gotten into a discussion about how she dreads knitting sleeves whereas I dread the body. (We both love the yoke.) So I suggested a swap: We each picked a bottom-up sweater pattern; I knitted all four sleeves; she knitted both bodies; and then we were each responsible for our own sweaters from the underarm join on up. That sprang to mind the other night as I was working on my current top-down yoke* and started thinking “Then I get to knit the sleeves (fun!) … and then the body (ugh).

“I’m stuck on sleeve island” is one of the most common refrains among sweater knitters, and I just don’t get it! Sleeves are inherently short, quick rows — especially if they’re knitted flat (including top-down flat sleeves) — which means visible progress, and there’s something to do along the way. (Regular increases or decreases, in nearly all cases.) But the body, to me, is just this long, dull slog — especially if it’s done in one piece. (For pieced sweaters, none of this seems to even come into play.) Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who feels that way. So that’s my Q for You sweater knitters today: Do you prefer to knit the sleeves or the body? If all sweaters were Tag Team sweaters, which team would you be on?

IN SHOP NEWS: Two of our most popular items this summer — the “Bury me with yarn and needles …” tote and the Fringe knitters tool kit — and both back in stock over at Fringe Supply Co!

Happy weekend, everyone. I’m hoping to be knitting sleeves by Monday!

*OMG, you guys, I honestly wonder I’m ever going to get to the separation round on this thing! It’s been so slow going, and when I finally got to what I had calculated would be the separation round, I double-checked my gauge to make sure it matches my swatch. It’s WAY more compact, so I’m still going …


PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: Do you sew tags in your handmades?

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

New Favorites: Summer bags, big and small

New Favorites: Summer bags, big and small

Back in April, I wrote about two Wool and the Gang raffia projects I still haven’t stopped fantasizing about, and they’ve since added more raffia projects that look super satisfying. Big round retro raffia bags are a bit on trend at the moment, and the new In A Dream Bag (above, bottom) hits that mark. (@sister.mountain made a beautifully lined one for Summer of Basics.) But I’m even more tempted by the smallest-scale project, the Money Honey Clutch (above, top). It looks simple enough for a lifelong crochet novice like me!

Unrelated: I’m working on picking the prize winners from the July #summerofbasics feed! To be announced very soon, hopefully tomorrow!


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Yoke fever

The perfect tiny summer leftovers project

The perfect tiny summer leftovers project

I have the digital equivalent of a scratch pad I’ve been randomly dumping snippets, URLs and half-thoughts into for several years now, and last night as I was perusing it, I found a link to a 2013 post on my friend Anne Weil’s blog, Flax and Twine. (Did I even know Anne when I copied that URL into the page, I wonder? Or has it been there that long.) Anyway! It’s such a tiny but stunning project: hoop earrings wrapped in embroidery floss. Obviously it’s perfect for embroidery floss or sashiko thread, but I feel like you could also do a version with some of the finer yarn bits rolling around your home. Anne’s original post is a reference to the full DIY which appeared as a guest post on Creature Comforts. Seems like an especially fun little summer weekend alternative to a pile of yarn in your lap, if it’s sweltering where you are.

Speaking of Anne, she was working on her next book while we were together at Squam last year. It comes out in August and I can’t wait to get my hands on it: Weaving Within Reach. For more of Anne’s endless crafty gorgeousness, follow @flaxandtwine on Instagram.


PREVIOUSLY: The moment my anti-“arm knitting” resolve crumbled