New Favorites: Quickies! (aka last-minute gifts)

New Favorites: Quickies! (aka last-minute gifts)

My long dark nights of grey stockinette have me yearning for something small, quick and satisfying (as so often happens). Those of you less selfish than me might be yearning for last-minute knitted gift ideas! Any of these could satisfy us both—

TOP: Varm cowl from Woolfolk is superbulky and supersquishy, and the pattern also includes instructions for it at scarf or throw blanket dimensions. The cowl looks like a one-sitting project.

MIDDLE LEFT: Exeter mitts by Alicia Plummer are sweet little abbreviated fingerless gloves, perfectly unisex too — my husband might need a pair in army green. (Alicia sent me a copy of the book these come from, and it’s a doozy! Lots of great patterns in there.)

MIDDLE RIGHT: Flaps slippers by Cindy Pilon are so funky I have to have them! Bulky and felted.

BOTTOM: Chunky Walnut hat by Katrin Schubert looks like a fun and fast knit, at bulky gauge.

For more gift knitting ideas, see Holiday hat mania! So many gems.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mildly mannish cables

New Favorites: Winter blues

New Favorites: Winter blues

The “Winter Blues” issue of Amirisu is out and it’s easily one of my favorite issues, not least because of the dark-yoked sweater in there. In fact, I’m obsessed with the idea of knitting all three of these pieces, each of which employs colorwork in an intriguing way:

TOP: Skaftafell by Beatrice Perron Dahlen is an updated lopapeysa with simplified colorwork at the yoke

BOTTOM LEFT: Tenchi by Olga Buraya-Kefelian is a cowl worked in modified two-color brioche

BOTTOM RIGHT: Jokull by Keiko Kikuno is a large wrap that combines three ideas — ombré, colorwork and houndstooth — and somehow winds up being mesmerizingly spare instead of a big mess

I also really love the art direction and styling here — all so good. Of course, I have a stack of them for you at Fringe Supply Co, but having now seen the issue in person, I think I should have ordered more!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Dark-yoked sweaters

New Favorites: from Olga’s “Capsule” collection

New Favorites: from Olga's "Capsule" collection

The week before Thanksgiving, Brooklyn Tweed released their first collection of knitting patterns by a single designer, in this case Olga Buraya-Kefelian, which was also the debut of a new series of printed books they’re calling Capsule. Olga’s Capsule 1 collection is a little bit of everything — cables, lace and colorwork; garments and accessories — and definitely shows her range. The peplum sweater, Nobu, is completely fascinating from a construction point of view (the back of it, in particular, is just stunning) but my favorite pieces in the collection are the simpler ones:

TOP: the Tatara curved/scrunchy fingerless mitts are reminiscent of those bendy straws and promise to be a fun knit

BOTTOM LEFT: the Ebb ombré dress is a 60s-meet-90s mini knitted top-down with contiguous sleeves and sweet pockets

BOTTOM RIGHT: the Jujika colorwork cowl features my favorite interlocking crosses motif, so I’m an easy target!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mega blankets

New Favorites: Fair-weather friends

New Favorites: Fair-weather friends

Summer has arrived in full force, after a really lovely and long Spring and pre-Summer, as I’ve been calling it. Which means the air conditioners of Nashville are all officially on full blast, my sinuses are on the fritz (TMI, I know), and all I can think about is how to keep my neck warm. These pale beauties are both calling out to me:

TOP: The Purl Bee’s Crosshatch Cowl is as spare and simple as it gets — and would make the perfect constant companion (free pattern)

BOTTOM: The Bonnie Banks Shawl has flirted with me twice in my inbox — first in a link from a Clara Parkes email about the yarn, then in an email from the designer, Beatrice Perron Dahlen, who had kindly sent me the pattern after I’d favorited it at Ravelry. I’ve sworn off shawl knitting, of course, but this one is mighty tempting.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Crochet temptations

My tiny giant cloud

blanket_gauge_lessons

Here’s a little anecdote for anyone who’s ever wondered why or whether gauge matters.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending Rebekka Seale’s blanket workshop in her beautiful studio, with a bunch of lovely women who had traveled from all over. I had provided Knit and Let Knit totes for everyone, and Rebekka had filled them with giant spirals of undyed merino roving and size US50 circular needles. We all introduced ourselves and then set to work knitting fluffy 3×2 ribbed blankets, while chatting and eating and oohing and aahhing over how beautiful the materials were. (And how the rose meringues for dessert looked just like our clouds of roving.) Of course, nobody ever thought to wonder about gauge or knit a swatch or anything — it’s a blanket; who cares, right? By mid-afternoon, we each had a substantial amount of fabric on our enormous needles and I suddenly noticed how vastly different my stitches were from Jennifer’s, who was sitting next to me. We were using the same exact yarn and same exact needles, had cast on the same number of stitches and were knitting the same exact stitch pattern. And yet, as you can see above, her stitches were almost twice as big as mine — as were pretty much everyone else’s at the table. The result being that I was knitting a baby blanket while everyone else was knitting one suitable for adult-sized humans.

In the end, in this case, no big deal. I was already wondering how on earth I would keep this beautiful thing away from my cats, so I took it as a sign, bound off, and seamed it into the biggest cowl known to man. (Just in time for 60-degree weather.)

The moral of the story: Knitting with the yarn and needles used in a pattern is no guarantee of matching results. If size matters, knit a swatch.

My tiny giant cloud

Knit the Look: Multi-marl infinity scarf

Knit the Look: Multi-marl infinity scarf

Not long ago, in one of my favorite installments of Knit the Look, I recommended adapting Stephen West’s free Ferocious Briocheous cowl pattern to knit a rich, cushy, all-black scarf. Today instead of paring that pattern down, I’m suggesting ramping it up! I love the multi-marl infinity scarf on this unidentified beauty, and again it’s Stephen’s pattern to the rescue. The pattern is written for fingering-weight yarn, while this scarf is much chunkier and marled. So we can kill two birds with one stone by holding the yarn double and casting on roughly half the stitches specified in the pattern. (Do a swatch to figure out the right needle size for this — US8, perhaps? — and what the stitch gauge works out to be, so you can multiply that by your desired width.) To get the mixed marl effect, knit most of the scarf holding one strand of charcoal with one strand of ivory, then swap out the charcoal for a bit and hold two strands of ivory, then hold one ivory and one red, and back to two ivory. I used luxurious Road to China Light in Hematite, Riverstone and Ruby for the photos, but these are easy enough colors to approximate that any neck-friendly fingering-weight wool would do. Or if you want it even chunkier, hold two strands of worsted!

See Vanessa Jackman’s original post for another shot of this gorgeous girl and her gorgeous cowl.

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UNRELATED: The Wabi Mitts kits were restocked on Friday and announced to the shop mailing list over the weekend (are you on the list?) so the stock is a bit depleted again, but there are still four colors available at the moment! More on the way …

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Preetma Singh’s rollneck sweater

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Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

New Favorites: Alicia Plummer’s clever summer cowl

New Favorites: Alicia Plummer's clever summer cowl

You may have picked up on the fact that the striped linen sweater-in-progress seen in a couple of recent photos (here and here) is my hybridization of those two Pam Allen linen tanks I recently fawned over. I’m using Quince and Co’s new Kestrel yarn. It’s my first time knitting with linen, plus it’s an unusual linen yarn: a worsted-weight, chain-plied tape. It’s quite odd, yet compelling, and I’m eager to knit more with it when this is done. The heft of it is peculiar, and I find myself wondering what it would be like to knit a summer shawl out of it. (I think it could work well for something like my beloved Orlane’s Textured Shawl.) Or what it would feel like to wear such a thing. But for the pattern collection that launched Kestrel, Alicia Plummer designed a cowl called Hudson — just a simple little spring/summer neck accessory — and that’s pretty clever, given the nature of the yarn. It also looks like fun: There’s a little mosaic panel that — as I understand it — is knitted flat and then joined into a tube, and from there you pick up stitches along each side to extend the short tube into a longer one. Quick, seasonal and gratifying, plus I know exactly who might like to have it.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Pam Allen’s linen tanks