My Summer of Basics plan

My Summer of Basics plan - #summerofbasics make- along

For anyone new here, Summer of Basics is a very simple concept: Spend the next three months making three pieces your wardrobe could really benefit from. The definition of “basic” is completely up to you — one person’s outlier is another person’s core wardrobe item. You be you! They can be knitted, sewn, crocheted, or any mix thereof. If you take this as an opportunity to stretch your skills, awesome! And everyone is invited and welcome, whatever your age, race, size, gender, ability, you name it — including those in places where we’re headed into winter, not summer. Please don’t let the word “summer” or “basics” deter you!

Remember, this year is Low-key SoB — no eligibility requirements or judging or prizes, just the joy of making good stuff for yourself. You can share your progress — or follow along and chime in — by using the #summerofbasics hashtag on Instagram and/or by posting on your own blog or wherever on the internet and leaving links in comments here for others to see.

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For my trio this time around, I’ve decided on 1 knit, 1 sew and 1 crochet project! (Life circumstances permitting.) Hilariously, they all come from the same color family, which is pure coincidence, albeit born of my obsession with this part of the color wheel at the moment:

1. KNIT: Grace pullover by Denise Bayron
Denise is a good friend but I knew nothing about this design until it was revealed a couple of weeks ago as part of the Laine issue that launches today. The instant I saw it, I knew I had to knit it — in the toffee-colored Our Yarn from Fringe — so it was a no-brainer to make it one of my SoB picks. I’ll be knitting at a little bit finer gauge than the pattern (chunky rather than superbulky), but it’s top-down so will be easy to adjust. This will be such a simple, versatile sweater — and in this abbreviated shape, hopefully well worn.

2. SEW: Dress N by Naomi Ito
I’ve been obsessed with this Nani Iro dress pattern, simply known as pattern N, since it first crossed my radar last year. I ordered the book at the time — Atelier to Nani Iro, in Japanese — and thought I would brave it. But I’d be lying if I said I weren’t thrilled that the English edition publishes in just a few weeks. I’m determined to form a dress habit this summer (more on that soon) and this one is the obvious place to start. Plus I’ll be using a fabric designed by my pal Alexia Abegg — part of the debut collection for the new Ruby Star Society line launching this summer — which is called She, in a gingery spice color they call Earth. (As it happens, she’s talking about all of this on this week’s episode of the Love to Sew podcast.) Everything about this is a little outside my comfort zone and I am SO excited about it.

3. CROCHET: Joanne hat by Wool and the Gang
I desperately need a crushable hat and have never found one that works for me. And I think I’m actually going to try two here — the first being the crocheted Joanne bucket hat from Wool and the Gang (from last summer’s New Favorites), in a tawny colored raffia (the natural was sold out!), and the second being a sewn hat pattern in the Nani Iro book (left image above), which I’m planning to make out of natural canvas, just to see! Hopefully one or the other will actually suit my head and solve my problem, if I can manage to tailor the fit.

There’s also a new Fancy Tiger pattern coming sometime this summer that scratches one my longest-running itches, and I’m considering it a bonus item. I decided to make the hat one of my official 3 instead, to help ensure I actually tackle it!

So that’s my plan, and it seems so doable! How about you — will you join me?

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PREVIOUSLY in Summer of Basics: Low-key Summer of Basics (2019 plan)

The Details: How to make a pompom

The Details: How to make a pompom

It occurred to me as I was shooting my beret the other day that I’ve never posted about how I make pompoms, although I’ve taught it in my classes. Here’s the tried-and-true method for making pompoms that I’ve been using since childhood, no special tools required:

1.) Wrap yarn around the fingers of one hand (or piece of cardboard, a spatula, anything that’s a bit bigger than you want your finished circumference to be). It takes more yarn than you might think. For a loose, shaggy pompom, use less yarn. For a denser, fuller pom, use more. Experiment!

2.) Carefully slide the bundle off your hand and lay it across a separate strand, then use that strand to tie a knot around the belly of the bundle. Pull it tight, but don’t break the yarn. If you need your pompom to have tails for attaching to something else, leave them long and keep them out of the way as you proceed.

3.) Insert your scissors into the clump of loops on each side of the belly band and cut through them, being careful not to cut the strand holding them together. You now have a limp, shapeless pre-pom.

4.) Start pruning! Trim the ends just like you would a hedge, shaping it into an orb. The more you trim, the denser the pompom will be. (Especially if you use a loosely plied yarn that unplies as you work.) Again, experiment to see what suits you! 

The Details: How to make a pompom (free tutorial)

That’s it! For a hat, run the tails down through the top of the hat, secure on the underside and weave in the ends. (Pictured above is my version of Courtney Kelley’s April Hat, a free pattern.)

If it’s going to be attached to any surface, I like to leave the bottom a bit flat. For any other purpose, you’ll want to make it fully round. Pompoms are a great use of yarn leftovers, and you never know what you might find to use them for!

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PREVIOUSLY in The Details: That sweatshirt V-patch look

Elsewhere: Wool dogs and whaling wraps

Elsewhere: Wool dogs and whaling wraps

Hi!! I meant to have this ready to post on Friday, but last week was a week of (good) distractions and (non-tragic) complications, so here is it for your Monday enjoyment instead—

— Don’t miss this one: Andrew Sean Greer on the virtues of questionable taste (thx, DG)

Beautiful short video of indigenous Chinese textile artists and a Chinese-American designer attempting to keep these traditions alive (thx, Angela)

Short history of the Coast Salish wool dog, now extinct

After combat, a veteran finds solace in sheep farming

Kate Atherley’s dissertation on increases and their virtues

Make your own tiny woven pouch

Love the idea of colorwork sleeves on a solid cardigan

This is an incredible sweater collection

Nobody will ever crochet stones as beautifully as @resurrectionfern (bottom photo)

— And I’m super into everything about these knitted wraps for the Whaling Museum, from inspiration to execution (top photo)

Hope your week gets off to a great start!

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PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere

Photos © @isobelandcleo and @resurrectionfern, used with permission

New pattern, new muse, and Elsewhere

New pattern, new muse, and Elsewhere

So I’m off to Tolt today for their 5th-anniversary weekend — the celebration at the shop tomorrow and then teaching my new Cascara Mitts pattern on Sunday (photo above, top). Remember the pattern will be downloadable on Ravelry tomorrow morning! Along with the rest of the whole gorgeous mini-collection.

Meanwhile, DG and Allison will be manning the Fringe Supply Co. booth at Fiber in the ‘Boro tomorrow, our beloved local fiber festival in Murfreesboro. If you’re in the vicinity, I highly recommend this sweet fest.

And next week at some point I get to tell you about the next Fringe and Friends Knitalong! Which will start on Jan 1 again, like the last. I’m soooooper excited about it, so look for that news midweek, hopefully.

But for now, a tiny spot of Elsewhere:

– This profile sent me to by reader Hanna is of my new hero, knitter, veterinarian and slow fashion muse Kat Bazeley, written by Mina Holland (photo above, bottom, by Elena Heatherwick for Toast) — the perfect read for the end of Slow Fashion October

– Speaking of which, I’ve saved a whole recap of the closet challenge steps, highlights and main discussions from this year’s Slow Fashion October — tap the “recap!” highlight at the top of the @slowfashionoctober profile page

Magnificent interview about Faroe Islands history and the origins of Navia yarns

– I always love the people at shows and festivals who come with an annotated map of which booths they want to hit up and what they’re looking for. Kay’s Rhinebeck bullet journal spread goes one step further, and applies well beyond Rhinebeck

Behold, a massive knitted map of the cosmos (thx, Barb et al.)

– and some major crochet temptation

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone — see you next week!

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PREVIOUSLY: Weekend Reads

Photos courtesy of Tolt Yarn and Wool and Toast, used with permission

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!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Yoke fever

True Confessions and Our Tools, Ourselves

Funny moments in Our Tools, Ourselves

If there’s one installment of Our Tools, Ourselves that pops into my mind on a regular basis and makes me laugh every time, it’s the interview with crocheter-stitcher-knitter-sewer Tif Fussell (aka Dottie Angel) with one of the funniest confessions of all time. And of course, the whole series is a trove of wit and wisdom!

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PREVIOUSLY in Our Tools, Ourselves: Jenny Gordy of Wiksten

Top photo © Tif Fussell

New Favorites: Summer blues

New Favorites: Summer blues

So I’m thinking about summer sweaters, and what jumps into my path right on its annual cue? Crochet. Namely, these two cuties from Wool and the Gang, both simple as can be—

TOP: Walking On Sunshine Sweater, which is just so much beachy goodness that I find myself wanting it even though it’s all the things I don’t like on me! (Boatneck, drop-shoulder, wide sleeves … and yet.)

BOTTOM: Hot in Here Dress, which is tunic length, but I would do it cropped and bigger/boxier (And wear with a tank or camisole underneath!)

I’ve still never knitted/crochted a WATG pattern but I’m super into that recycled denim yarn used for the top one, while the bottom one has me wondering whether you could crochet with Kestrel. Anyone ever tried it?

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Baby cardigans

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