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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New Favorites: Raffia

New Favorites: Raffia

Summer is coming, and I am totally into this collection of super-simple crochet patterns that Wool and the Gang has released for their new yarn, Ra-Ra Raffia. I have a big trip coming up this summer (tell you about it soon!) that I need a crushable hat for, which is basically a life-long wishlist item. I do not have a head for hats, so we’ve talked before about how if I could bring myself to crochet one, maybe I could actually get it to fit me right! This perfectly plain one makes me want to give it a try:

TOP: Joanne Hat looks so chic in black and a little like an upside-down planter in natural, but the latter might be more practical

BOTTOM: Paper Gangsta is a classic crocheted market bag that, once again, is making me want to make such a thing! (For knitted options, see: Market bags)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from the Scout collection

Logalong FO No. 4 : Cal Patch

Log Cabin Make-along FO No. 4 : Cal Patch

One of my favorite things about this last fafkal concept, the Log Cabin Make-along, was being able to rope crocheters into it (no pun intended) — and particularly getting to include my friend Cal Patch on the panel. The crocheters have made so many amazing contributions to the #fringeandfriendslogalong feed (I’m particularly crazy about @peacockaren’s boxy sweater) and today I’m thrilled to show you Cal’s finished bandana-cowl, which she’ll be releasing a pattern for soon! For news on that and more of Cal, make sure to follow @hodgepodgefarm on Instagram. Here’s Cal—

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You initially set out to make what you were tentatively calling a “log cabindana” — a neckwarmer with coverage in both the front and the back. Did you veer at all from your original plan along the way, or did you make exactly what was in your head from the start?

This is a case where my end result is very much exactly what I envisioned! I guess the only real difference is that it did end up a bit bigger than I imagined … possibly more into mini-poncho territory than a bandana cowl-esque thing, which was my intention. I am pro-poncho so this is not at all a negative for me! I did consider crocheting around the neckline to build it up higher around the neck, and I’d like to try another version and do that. But I loved this one so much once I joined the rectangles together, that I wanted to keep it just as it is.

I also didn’t imagine it quite this big — I love the scale of it. And I take it you love how it turned out?

I LOVE IT!!! The log cabin technique is so fun; I had dabbled in some LC sewing but never tried it in crochet. (Which, in retrospect, seems unimaginable that it took this long!) As a scrappy improviser, this method makes my soul sing! I’ll be wearing my Cabindana for the next few months as Winter transitions into Spring here in the Hudson Valley — always a chillier season than we’d like to think. So having this snuggly mini-blanket around my neck will be a welcome comfort.

We talked about this a little bit before, but have you used one crochet stitch the entire time and it’s just the yarns giving it subtle variation in appearance, or have you changed it up at all along the way?

Yes, this project is 100% half-double crochet in the back loop, which gives the ribby texture. Half-double is actually my favorite stitch; it’s the “just right” middle size between single (too short and potholder-y) and double (too tall and open). Any variation you’re seeing would be due to the slightly varying yarn weights and textures. They’re mostly sock yarns, but some were definitely lighter single-plies, verging on lace weight, and others may have been sport or DK. There’s even some handspun in there, from a bag of bits of leftovers given to me by a friend.

And you’ve gone totally freeform in terms of both the sizes of your various blocks and your use of color — or did you map any of that out ahead of time?

I did not map it at all; my only plan was that I knew the destination, or the finished dimensions of the two rectangles, which I had worked out in advance using some T-shirt jersey. So I worked freestyle and occasionally held the two rectangles up to the sample to guide me. I knew I could always add on a few “logs” to just the short sides, if I needed to make up extra length. It worked out perfectly.

Will the pattern invite people to be freeform about it as well, or have you broken it down into established chunks of crochet?

I’ve been mulling this over in my head … I’d prefer the pattern, which I haven’t yet written up (maybe for this very reason), to allow the maker to freestyle within the blocks like I did. But I’m not sure if that method suits everyone. Maybe I’ll include both ways in the pattern. It wouldn’t have been nearly as fun for me to be told the size of every log, but I’m sure there are many who’d like to be told the sizes. Feedback is welcome!

I mentioned before that I kind of feel like crochet is inherently modular and log cabin-like, but did working on this project make you want to do more in the log cabin realm? Or did it have any effect on your broader sewing/making practice? How soon before you log cabin again?

Yes, I definitely predict many more Log Cabin Crochet projects and designs in my future! My wheels are turning … and the crocheters seem to have embraced it over on the Insta. We’re using the hashtag #logcabincrochet to share. I haven’t decided what my next LC plans are; I may need to make another Log Cabindana to test the pattern, or a sweater, or some crochet mitts, or … I guess you can safely say I’m HOOKED on Log Cabin!

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Thanks, Cal! Don’t forget there’s still activity on the #fringeandfriendslogalong feed, and we’ll have our final panelist FO q&a with Kay Gardiner once she finishes up her little gem of a sweater!

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PREVIOUSLY in Log Cabin Make-along: FO No. 3 Veronika Jobe

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Elsewhere

Elsewhere: Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Happy Friday! This has been one of those weeks that I’ve felt like I was dragging myself through quicksand trying to get through my to-do lists, so I’m extra excited about the weekend and some creative time!

But first, I’ve got a healthy stack of links for you to click around in today—

– One of my very favorite projects from the #fringeandfriendslogalong is @sari_n_’s blanket (photo above), and she’s now posted an in-depth video on YouTube talking about how she’s going about knitting it

– Also, Bonne Marie Burns has published the pattern for her beautiful rendition of “courthouse steps” blanket (20% off with code LOG for a limited time)

– I’m so excited that the long-awaited Vintage Shetland Project has come to fruition, and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy

– How are your favorites faring in MDK March Mayhem?

Here’s a guest list I wish I’d been on!

– “I’ll try anything,” I told her. “Just don’t make me stop knitting.”

– Meanwhile, studies continue to show knitting reduces depression, anxiety and chronic pain (thx, Rach)

– Pretty excited about Denim Days

Yes, please

These swatches. And these.

– “If you have ever wanted to crochet an eyeball …” is my favorite random phrase from Insta lately

– and What’s in your tool pouch? A little or a lot? (Tell me here or there!)

Have a fantastic weekend — see you back here next week!

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PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere + Mitts No. 6

Mini Porter + Elsewhere

NEW! the Mini Porter, limited quantity

Happy Friday! First things first: There’s a fun little oddball in the webshop today, which we’re calling the Mini Porter — cutest thing ever. It’s a happy accident, basically — the lemonade we made from a batch of wrongly cut canvas that was intended for Porter Bins, so the quantity is inherently limited. Get one while they last! (Also new or back in stock of late: black Porter BinPlain & SimpleWoods and A.L.J.; Lykke Driftwood interchangeable short tips and crochet hooks both now available individually; Wool Soap!; and mini matte scissors in highly amusing sheep shape.)

And, a wee Elsewhere:

“I love your look! Who’s the farmer?”

How the Faroe Islands got their landscape onto Google Street View (hint: sheep!)*

What Brandi said

Love this interview with a bespoke jeans maker

Gimme

Style muse of the week

I’ll have this crocheted blanket, and the pup to go with

– and I want to make a bullet journal so I can have a page like this

Have an amazing weekend, and remember: Just a few more weeks till I start doling out Logalong prizes! See you on the hashtag? #fringeandfriendslogalong

*gravest apologies — I’ve lost track of which of you sent me this link!

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PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere

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Insights and inspiration from the Log Cabin Make-along

Insights and inspiration from the Log Cabin Make-along

I’ve finished my log cabin mitts, and am trying to figure out how I would/could maintain this blog if all I ever knit henceforth are more and more and more of them. Which is to say I am extremely pleased with how they’ve turned out (already started another pair, now that I’ve made this little discovery) and totally addicted to log cabin knitting. I hope to have photos to share next week, with the pattern soon to follow. Meanwhile, the #fringeandfriendslogalong feed continues to be a hotbed of creativity and inspiration and observation — already approaching 700 posts!

In addition to designer Julia Farwell-Clay’s incredible Richard Diebenkorn-inspired shawl-in-progress pictured above, influences cited have ranged from Paul Klee and Josef Albers to weaver Margo Selby (thanks, Cal!), a photo of Kirsten Dunst in Rodarte, indigenous textiles of Togo/Ghana, and yes, even a pay phone. Once you get log cabin in your head, inspiration is everywhere! The scale of projects underway ranges from a beer koozy to a circle skirt to sweaters and blankets galore. There are people exploring keeping stitches live and others savoring the recurring sense of satisfaction that comes with each bit of bind-off; some free-forming their blocks while others map out every detail; and still others starting projects without any idea what they might become (gosh, what a lot of pretty knits). And then there’s the log cabin meets Hello Kitty meets pussyhat hat.

Basically, you never know from one minute to the next what marvelous knitted block or insightful thought you might encounter! If you’re still on the fence, I would urge you to pick up some needles and a bit of yarn fluff from your stash, and knit a square. Then pick up sts along the side and knit another square. Then a rectangle alongside those. See what happens to your brain and where the exercise takes you! And like I said, I’ll be along soon with that mitts pattern, and then we’ll see if you can stand to not cast on.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see the Log Cabin Make-along intro, Meet the panel and timeline posts. And whatever you’re up to this weekend (marching? knitting? cleaning house?), I hope it’s a good one! See you back here on Monday—

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PREVIOUSLY in Log Cabin Make-along: How to avoid, minimize and weave in ends

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