2017 FO-5 : The white linen shell

2017 FO-5 : The white linen shell

I want to tell you about the incredible week I had, being and teaching at Squam, but I’m gonna need a minute to collect my thoughts. For the moment, here’s the little linen top from my to-make list, which I cranked out the Sunday before I left, believing it would be useful on the trip. Lori took this photo on my third day wearing it, so that seems to have been a good hunch.

This is the same as the two I made last year — the black silk gauze and the blue striped cotton — with a few tiny differences:

– the neck and armholes are finished with bias instead of bands
– the front is as long as the back (no high/low)
– there’s a center front seam
– the pockets are bigger than on the striped one
– the neck bias is attached with the seam slightly off-center in the front

The latter three of those things are the result of mistakes on my part, from working too fast. (Didn’t add enough fabric at the front for the intended gathers, seamed the excess back out; grabbed the pocket I had drafted for my black pants instead of the one from the blue stripe top; thought I was attaching an arm band and realized too late it was the neck hole I was working on.) And all are happy accidents — I even like the little bit of patchwork effect at the neck. I might add a few sashiko stitches or something.

I’m not sure why — guess it’s just the extra length in front — but this one seems roomier than the others … which I’m also ok with. This was the perfect layering piece for the unpredictable and wildly fluctuating New Hampshire spring weather, the perfect warm-up to get me back to sewing after 10 months away from the machine, and is guaranteed to be worn incessantly. I’ll try the gathered neck idea on the next one.

Pattern: my own
Fabric:  off-white pure linen via Fancy Tiger, $12/yard
Cost: free pattern + about $18 fabric = $18

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: The Squam hats

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2017 FO-4 : the Squam hats

2017 FO-4 : the Squam hats

My latest finished object is actually a pair of them: the sample hats for my class at Squam this week. (Modeled by the lovely Silbia Ro.) I’m teaching (for the first time!) a beginner class in knitting cables and wanted to design a hat that met several criteria for that. 1) I want everyone to have a fair chance of leaving with a finished hat. 2) I want it to function as a good cable teaching tool while also being knittable in the social setting of a class, where there is all sorts of discussion going on the whole time. And of course, 3) I want it to be cute. I’m really happy with it on the third count, and will have to let you know how the other two work out! I’m calling it Debutant because it’s inspired by some vintage patterns in my old booklets, and because “debutant” is French for “beginner.” I hope my students will love it!

I haven’t decided yet whether or when I’ll be publishing the pattern — another thing I’ll have to let you know about. But for the moment, I’m at the lake, in the woods, in the classroom (and I’ll also be on Instagram) and taking the next two days off from the blog. If you’ve never seen my post about attending Squam in 2014, it’s full of lots of pretty pictures and might make a good stand-in if you need one. I’ll see a bunch of you at Squam — and at the Squam Art Fair; don’t forget about this little treat! — and will see the rest of you back here on Monday. Have a great weekend!

2017 FO-4 : the Squam hats

PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Sloper as a linen V-neck

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New Favorites: Whelk

New Favorites: Whelk

I keep telling myself I really need to make more things with sleeves (both sewn and knitted) but for the past few years, I’ve been dying to knit a sweater vest. Not a waistcoat — I’ve done that. A few times. — but a pullover vest. There’s an idea I’ve had in my mind a long time, and there’s Grille, and then Bue, and now there’s this fantastic Martin Storey pattern, Whelk. I’m showing you the kids’ version here because this photo is so darling, but it’s written for children through adult sizes, and is perfectly unisex. There’s something funny about essentially painting a bullseye on your own chest, but I just love it.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Crocheted slippers

Our Tools, Ourselves: Anna Dianich

Our Tools, Ourselves: Anna Dianich

I’m sure many of you know Tolt Yarn and Wool owner Anna Dianich is one of my dearest friends — we started our businesses around the same time and have sort of “grown up” together. But what I only just realized myself last week is that I’ve never seen where she knits at home or what her stuff looks like! Any time I’ve ever spent in Carnation WA has been at Tolt, and I was suddenly intently curious to see her knitting life beyond the store. So of course I asked if I could subject her to the Our Tools, Ourselves treatment. Thanks so much for doing this, Anna! For anyone left wanting more, make sure to follow @toltyarnandwool on Instagram.

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Do you knit, crochet, weave, spin, dye, sew … ?

I knit. I can spin, and when I do sit down at the wheel (which is not often!) I remember how much I enjoy it. I’m not a technical spinner — I just do it for fun and the feel of the wool, the meditative motion of the pedals and wheel, and the draw, not to get the perfect twist per inch or the exact weight of yarn for a project. I think that’s how I do most of my crafts, really. I’m not super technical with knitting either. I do it because I love working with my hands and creating something useful. I don’t like fussy patterns or complicated construction. My husband, oldest daughter and I just started taking pottery classes and it’s a familiar feeling. I love the rhythm of the wheel, the feeling of the clay and making something useful. And, like knitting and spinning, it takes a bit to get that muscle memory, and I hope that it will click soon because I love it!

Our Tools, Ourselves: Anna Dianich

Tell us about your tool preferences and peccadilloes.

When I first started knitting I only used bamboo needles — circular and double points. They were less expensive and easy to find, and less slippery for a newbie. I now use mostly my Addi Click interchangeable sets, and magic loop instead of double points. I love Addi’s — they are smooth, and the yarn seems to move swiftly on and off the needles. My only complaint is that, although I love how the needles click on and off the cords, sometimes that connection can get fussy on small needle tips, making the stitches hard to slide across that connection. I just got a Lykke set for this reason (and they’re beautiful to look at!) and I am really enjoying them.

How do you store or organize your tools? Or do you?

Organization is not my thing. I would like to blame it on my busy life as a working mom with four kids and such, but I think it’s just me. I’m just not organized. I don’t have a craft room or home office, so most of my supplies are stored in and on a cabinet that’s in our living room. There is a large room above our barn that could be used as a studio, but it’s so far from the activity at home that I don’t use it.

My interchangeables are relatively easy to store; if they’re not on a project then they are kept in the case. I keep the cases nearby, or in my project bag just in case I need to switch needle sizes. I do carry a small leather pouch (that I got from Fringe years ago) that I keep my notions in. I am constantly having to find my measuring tapes — I swear I own at least twenty, but can never find them! I guess that’s why the leather ruler bracelets are so handy!

Our Tools, Ourselves: Anna Dianich

How do you store or organize your works-in-progress?

Again, I’m not that organized. Such a bummer! I try not to have too many projects going on at once (maybe two or three at the most) and they store nicely in a project bag that can be found on my couch, chair, bed, in my car or in my backpack. If I’m going on a road trip I can usually fit two to three project bags, plus my needles, in my Porter Bin. That keeps everything together and gives off the impression that I am organized, haha!

Are there any particularly prized possessions amongst your tools?

Hmm, not really. I think we, our bodies and ourselves, are our most prized tool that needs to be cared for and looked after. I think this became real for me after breaking my leg. Eating well, staying active and also knowing when to rest so that we can stay healthy to do all the activities that we love.

Do you lend your tools?

I never really have, but I would.

What is your favorite place to knit/sew/spin/dye/whatever?

Most of my knitting happens after the kids go to bed. I plop myself down on the couch or in bed, and knit while my husband and I watch TV or talk. I also get a lot of knitting done in the car while waiting for kids to get done with school or dance practice or driver’s ed. However, my favorite place to knit would be by a campfire, or by a lake or river in the summer, and cozied up next to a fireplace in the winter.

Our Tools, Ourselves: Anna Dianich

What effect do the seasons have on you?

I pretty much knit year round. I also knit mostly wool, even in the summer. I’m not usually into “summer yarn” — although I did just finish a Vasa top using YOTH’s new Best Friend yarn, which is 75% cotton and 25% wool, and I really enjoyed working with it, and like the fabric.

Do you have a dark secret, guilty pleasure or odd quirk, where your fiber pursuits are concerned?

I’m kind of obsessed with books, all types of books. Knitting, cooking, decorating, travel, pottery, wood carving … I have shelves and shelves full of books.

Another little secret is that I still get very nervous when working the floor at Tolt. I spend most of the time in my office upstairs, but every once in awhile I work the floor, and I’m so scared someone is going to ask me something I don’t know the answer to, or I’m going to mess up on the cash register.

Our Tools, Ourselves: Anna Dianich

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on the Morrison socks by Jenny Blumenstein. Jenny designed these socks for our LYS Tour and they are super fun to knit. I also have a ton of things I’m excited about casting on so I’m trying to make a list, but, you know, I’m not that organized.

I am also trying to find more time to do pottery. I would really like to have a little studio some day with my own wheel. Like any craft or activity, you get better the more time you spend doing it. I’m working on the basics still: centering, opening and raising.

Our Tools, Ourselves: Anna Dianich

PREVIOUSLY in Our Tools, Ourselves: Brandi Harper

Photos © Anna Dianich

My Summer of Basics plan

My Summer of Basics plan

Ok, so I’ve thought and rethought (and rethought!) what my 3 garments will be for the Summer of Basics Make-along. This whole event grew out of my desire to push myself to sew an Archer button-down shirt, and wanting company in taking that leap, but it’s not the only thing my closet is lacking that I never get around to. (Hence, let’s all make 3 basics over the next 3 months!) So I really want to choose wisely. Let’s face it, I’ll almost certainly make more than 3 things in the next 3 months, but I want my publicly-declared SoB-3 to really challenge me and hold me accountable. Of course, I also want to make things that will be truly useful in my closet. So here’s where I’m at:

BUTTON-UP SHIRT: I’ve been saying for awhile that my beloved pale denim workshirt (which I wear for some part of almost every day — and look, I’m even wearing it in my avatar pic to the right!) was headed for a breakdown. That has now officially happened: both sleeve caps are in shreds. So that’s what I’m replacing with my first Archer, and that one was already a replacement for a nearly identical shirt before it. Between the two, I’ve had some version of that shirt for at least a dozen years. For the next generation, though, not only will it be handmade, but I’m planning on light blue chambray instead of the denim. (Gettin’ crazy over here!) But I still want it to have some of the character of the denim workshirts so, inspired by this J.Crew photo, I’m planning on slightly darker stitching (as happens to denim shirts as they fade and the thread doesn’t) and bone buttons (a nod to the pearl snaps on my old friends). I’m scared and excited.

SWEATER: I’ve been saying my SoB sweater would be the grey pullover I really truly need. But A) I’m a little leery of the idea of casting on a grey mostly-stockinette US6 sweater when I already have a grey mostly-stockinette US6 sweater on the needles. Plus why would I not use this opportunity to focus on the one sweater I want most in all the world — the whole reason I learned to knit in the first place — the fisherman sweater of my dreams. So I’m doing it. Since I plan to chart out the written directions from the vintage pattern, and likely do some tweaking, I’ll start with the swatching and charting right away and hope (hope hope hope) to be able to finish the whole thing by the end of August. I am elated over this decision.

PANTS???: I’ve got pants on the brain. As in, I’ve never made pants and I’m signed up for a jeans workshop in September, and it seems like maybe I should have made some semblance of a pants-like thing before that. Right? My very favorite old pajama pants have also passed the point of no return, and while I was taking them apart this weekend and trying to trace off a pattern to replace them, I was also thinking how much I love my simple elastic-waist Florence Pants (I seriously wear them at least 4 times a week) and about this Idea Log and that striped fabric on my shelf, a pair of striped Ace & Jig pants I almost bought last year … you get the picture. However, part of me also wants to reserve the third slot and not commit right this minute. So as much as I want and hope to do this, it’s currently ever-so-slightly tentative.

I’ve got a lot to do still in preparation for Squam next week, but am eager to get started on some part of this over the weekend! What will you be starting?

(Fashionary sketch templates from Fringe Supply Co.)

Big news from Fringe Supply Co!

SPEAKING OF SQUAM: There’s some really big Porter Bin news over on the @fringesupplyco IG feed. Hint: army green is coming! If you’ll be at the Squam Art Fair on the 10th, don’t miss your chance to snag one — check the Instagram post for details.

AND IN CURRENT SHOP NEWS: We’re temporarily out of the wildly popular Lykke interchangeable sets (more coming mid-month) BUT! we finally have spare tips and cords for sale! EDIT: And now the new Pom Pom is here!

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PREVIOUSLY: Summer of Basic Make-along starts now!

Summer of Basics Make-along starts now!

Summer of Basics Make-along starts now!

Happy June 1st, also known as Summer of Basics day! I’ve been really impatient for it to get here and know from the #summerofbasics hashtag that many of you have too! It’s been fun seeing all of the assorted knitting and sewing plans that have cropped up so far.

RECAP AND CLARIFICATIONS

• The idea is to simply spend the next 3 months making 3 basic items for your wardrobe — putting those extra daylight hours to good use!

• Your 3 can be all knitted/crocheted, all sewn, or any combination thereof. Totally up to you! It’s an excellent chance to tackle the projects you’ve been wanting to but maybe haven’t had the nerve. We’re all in it together!

• It’s also up to you whether you do literally one garment per month, or 3 over the course of 3 months. (For instance, my sweater will likely span the whole season.) All that matters is that you finish 3 by August 31.

• They don’t need to be summer clothes — whatever you consider to be basic items that your closet would benefit from, whatever season(s) they might be for.

• Apologies to our friends in the Southern Hemisphere: I realize June/July/August are not summer for you, but I hope you won’t let the name stop you from joining in!

• If you’re blogging, feel free to leave links to your post(s) in the comments here. On Instagram, use the hashtag #summerofbasics for everyone to see.

PARTNERS AND RESOURCES

I’ve teamed up with my friends at Kelbourne Woolens, Grainline Studio and Fancy Tiger Crafts, who’ve offered up some great prizes (see below) as well as being excellent resources. If you’re looking for ideas and/or patterns, see my Make Your Own Basics series (or the Pinterest board for the at-a-glance view). Also Kelbourne Woolens has put together a list of sweater patterns to consider, and of course Grainline Studio and Fancy Tiger are both awesome pattern sources. And I would also suggest Improv and Sloper as excellent, highly adaptable sweater patterns. See also: Pullovers for first-timers and Cardigans for first-timers.

Check out the kickoff posts on everyone’s blogs today/tomorrow to see what they’re planning: Kelbourne, Fancy, Grainline.

And see what the whole community is up to by following (and posting to) the #summerofbasics feed at Instagram for the next three months.

PRIZES

To be eligible for any prize, you need to have completed 3 garments within the June 1-August 31 time frame. (Please do not enter garments you’ve previously finished.) To enter any of the categories below, use the appropriate pair of hashtags when posting your finished garments. Please only use the prize tags that your garments qualify for:

Best Modification/Alteration
PRIZE: 4 skeins of Fibre Co’s new yarn for Fall from Kelbourne Woolens
The winning garment might be either knitted or sewn, but the prize is yarn so only enter if you’re into that! Be sure to tell us what changes you made from the pattern(s) you started with.
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17bestmod

Best First-Timer
PRIZE: 4 sewing patterns + $50 gift certificate from Fancy Tiger Crafts
It’s cool if you’re a knitter entering your first sewn garment or sewer entering your first knitted garment, or it can be the first garment of any kind you’ve ever made!
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17bestfirst

Best Combination of Garments
PRIZE: $100 gift card from Grainline Studio
We’ll be looking for 2-3 pieces that work exceptionally well together. They might be sewn, knitted or a combination, but the prize is sewing patterns, so only enter if you’re into that!
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17bestcombo

Random drawing
PRIZE: $100 gift certificate from Fringe Supply Co.
I’ll draw a name at random from all qualifying posts!
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17finisher

All prizes will be announced at the beginning of September, so make sure to post by August 31. We’re all very excited to see what you make!

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MY THREE: My plans have evolved since I initially proposed this. (Or even since my Queue Check on Monday!) But since this post is already quite long, I’ll post all about that tomorrow!

Patterns pictured, clockwise from top left: Archer Button-up from Grainline Studio, Adventure Tank from Fancy Tiger Crafts, Sloper from Fringe Association, Echo Lake from Kelbourne Woolens

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PREVIOUSLY in -alongs: Sloper knitalong

A bevy of Slopers: highlights from the mini-knitalong

A bevy of Slopers: highlights from the mini-knitalong

It’s been so fun hosting this mini-knitalong for the Sloper sweater this month, as seen at #sloperKAL — and such a rainbow of results! We’ve got everything from hot pink to brown to denim blue (and many shades of grey, of course!). Stripes, solids, marls and texture. Turtlenecks, crewnecks and boatnecks. Linen, cotton, wool, you name it. And there are several people on their second or third one! Which makes me grin from ear to ear.

Here are a few of my favorite finishes,  although every sweater in the feed (WIP or FO) makes my heart melt a bit — thanks to everyone for knitting along!

TOP: @fabrickated has finished THREE this month — the photo up top is of her knitting a Sloper while wearing a Sloper! They are grey, hot pink and forest green with a contrast edge, and they’ve featured heavily in her fabulous #memademay outfit lineup, as you’ll see if you scroll through her feed. She layers them over dresses, under cardigans and jackets — with scarves, belted, on their own — and just generally shows off how versatile a garment it really is. Kate puts a shorter turtleneck on hers, so it can be worn either up (as in the hot pink photo link) or rolled down.

BOTTOM LEFT: @hellomister also put a shorter mock turtleneck on her adorable green Sloper. And how cute is this whole outfit? I love a Sloper over a shirt or tee, and stripes poking out of anything is always a good idea.

BOTTOM RIGHT: @mmlemichl got clever with her cheerful yellow crop top. Instead of binding off 3 sts for armhole shaping, she cast on three for more of a box top. She also gave it a big wide neck. (I’m eager to see how @tananose’s V-neck version of this turns out.)

Of course, it’s never too late to cast on! The Sloper pattern is free here on the blog, along with all sorts of adaptation ideas and guidance, and I always want to see what you make of it, no matter when. So please continue to use the #sloperKAL tag on Instagram and link your Ravelry projects to the pattern page.

(If anyone missed my linen V-neck version, that’s here!)

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PREVIOUSLY: Sloper: Basic pattern for a sleeveless sweater