WIPs of the Week No.7 (and fun new stuff!)

WIP of the Week No.7: Kelsey

I’m going to say I’m at a loss for words and then proceed to write quite a lot of them, but I guess what I mean is that I’m not in possession of the right words to describe what the Top-Down Knitalong has been like. I’ve talked a lot about the amazing attitudes on display, but the variety and creativity is also well and truly remarkable. Participants have ranged from sweater novices to sweater aficionados who’d never done top-down to published sweater-pattern designers scratching a creative itch. The sweaters run the gamut from classic stockinette pullovers to elaborate colorwork and cables, and in every shape and proportion imaginable. (Check out the clever construction on this and this, for example.) And the stories! The sweater designed by her 10-y-o; the dude who said “I would totally wear this” and is getting one of his own; the top-down dog sweater; great-grandma’s yarn … If I were to try to post a highlight reel here, it would be hundreds of sweaters long — truly every single sweater deserves acclaim, and the whole thing is such a reward for time spent perusing it, both on Instagram and on Ravelry. Alas, I have two final bonus prizes to award, and picking them was both simple and impossible.

Above is the honey-colored cable sweater by Kelsey, who is @kelseyknits on Instagram and kelseyknits on Ravelry. She was so excited about her swatches she cast on a couple days early and has been one of the stars of the show ever since. There haven’t been many days when her latest pic wasn’t in the Top Posts section of the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 feed, so in love has everyone been with her progress. She’s said she wanted to get outside her comfort zone with both the color and the deployment of the cable patterns on her top-down raglan, and I’d say it paid off! Kelsey, you’ve won 7 skeins of Father from YOTH Yarns, gorgeous US-grown and -milled Rambouillet, in the in-stock color of your choosing. Drop me an email at contact@fringesupplyco.com and we’ll discuss how to get it to you!

WIP of the Week No.7: Orlane

And the remaining prize goes to Orlane, who is @tete_beche on Instagram and orlane on Ravelry (and the creator of the Textured Shawl Recipe I’ve knitted three times and explicated here). Orlane’s sweater is undeniably beautiful, but it gets better and better the more you know and the closer you look. She’s French and used some gorgeous farmy yarn from Brittany, one skein of which she avocado-dyed. She smartly didn’t start the colorwork until just below the neck join, then stuck with simple geometric repeats centered within the stitch counts between the raglans. My favorite detail, though, is not just the folded hem (which I’m totally into right now) but the fact that she gave it a striped facing. It’s amazing from start to finish. Orlane, you’ve won the 15 skeins of small-batch California-grown Range from A Verb for Keeping Warm in your choice of Lighthouse and/or Quartz colorways! Please email me at contact@fringesupplyco.com with your choice and mailing address!

Both have amazing IG feeds and tons more pics of their sweaters all along the way, so make sure you click through and check them out.

I want to say a huge thanks again to all of our prize donors: Shibui, Purl Soho, Brooklyn Tweed, O-Wool, Woolfolk, Kelbourne Woolens, A Verb for Keeping Warm and YOTH Yarns. You’ve been amazingly generous!

And I want to congratulate all of the WIP of the Week winners and, truly, every single person who took on this challenge. The knitalong doesn’t end here — all four panelists are still knitting and so are countless others — so keep using that #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 tag to share. If you’re following my tutorial, please link your Ravelry project to the Improv sweater pattern page so I can see. And I want to say again I’m truly so inspired and in awe of all of you. You’ve taught me so much about being a brave and determined knitter, and you’ve done the knitting community proud with all of the support and advice and camaraderie you’ve provided each other along the way. It’s been an honor! And I mean it: keep it coming! (I’ll do my best to keep up, but Slow Fashion October also starts tomorrow! So please understand I’ll be juggling.)

SHOP NEWS

New at Fringe Supply Co: bling, cleaner and wax for your beloved Field Bag

We’ve got some really fun stuff in the webshop today: bling, canvas cleaner, canvas wax, and even a small number of Field Bags to apply them all to! (More next week, universe willing.) Click through for details on all of those items, since this post has gone on long enough!

Happy weekend, everyone — see you tomorrow here and over at @slowfashionoctober!

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: Let’s talk about underarms

Let’s talk about underarms

Let's talk about underarms

This is the last official week of the Top-Down Knitalong (aka #fringeandfriendsKAL2016) in terms of blog focus and bonus prizes — the last of which will be announced on Friday — but the show goes on! We, the panel, are obviously still knitting, and I’ll have FO posts about our sweaters as they’re completed. But meanwhile, let’s talk about underarms!

There are two points I want to make:

1) You need fabric at your underarms in order for your arms to be able to move. There are people who don’t like raglan-sleeve sweaters for a variety of reasons, one of which is they’ll tell you that raglans will always leave you with too much fabric (and “bunching”) around the underarms. I say it depends. On your sweater, the amount of ease/fabric you’ve built in, your body type, where you positioned your raglans, whether they’re straight 45° or compound raglans, what kind of drape the fabric has … a million variables. But regardless of sleeve type or those variables or anyone’s point of view, you need some fabric there if you want to be able to move your arms. There have been a few sweaters in the knitalong where something went a little awry with the underarms (see below) but I feel like there are also a few sweaters where people have been concerned about what they see as “bunching” that is actually just a perfectly normal and healthy amount of fabric at the underarms. The hard part for me has been trying to gauge the difference based on tiny photos on my phone, rather than being able to see the garments in person and in motion. It’s awesome that this process has led to people being so tuned in to every detail of their sweater in a way they perhaps haven’t been when following a pattern, but I think it can also lead to overanalyzing and even over-fitting your garment! So if you’re someone who’s concerned about your sweater, put on some other clothes from your closet (of every type and fit, and then also of similar fit to your sweater) and take a look at how the fabric behaves around the underarms. I’ve included a few random images above of clothes of mine you’ve seen before — knit, knitted and woven; raglan, set-in and dolman — to demonstrate the point. There is fabric around the underarms; it’s good.

2) It’s been extremely educational for me to watch so many people knitting from my tutorial, as a way to see potential pitfalls that I hadn’t thought to address or emphasize. As it happens, there are a couple of sweaters in the knitalong where something did go a little off — and interestingly, it’s all to do with the underarms, which I would not have anticipated. When I tweaked the tutorial in August, I put more emphasis on EZ’s 8% rule of thumb for calculating underarm stitches, and less emphasis on my own rule of thumb of measuring your armpit. In fact, I completely removed the original line where I said “here’s an idea — measure your armpit!” I have cast on anywhere from 2-3 inches of stitches in the past, thinking of it only as a measurement and not a percentage, and never had a problem. It turns out the 8% rule can backfire on you if you’re making a big, slouchy sweater or otherwise working with a large number of stitches. So a few people wound up casting on problematically large numbers of underarm stitches, and I regret that enormously. And there have also been a few people who just chose really shallow yoke depths. I say in the tutorial to measure to a spot at least an inch or two below your actual armpit and use that for your yoke depth calculation, but I need to put more emphasis on the importance of underarm ease. If you’re making a sweater with a good amount of positive ease and you cast on your underarm too soon, you’re going to have a large amount of fabric … jammed right up under your armpit. And that will cause unsightly bunching of said fabric. It needs some room to hang! (Conversely, if the armhole were deep and the sleeve more snug, that would also cause the sweater to fit a little oddly.) So I’ll be tweaking that part of the tutorial to talk more about the need for the underarm ease to be in proportion to the upper-sleeve ease.

I totally get how shallow yokes can happen. You’re knitting along on your yoke, the rows are getting longer and longer, you’ve got that shimmering point ahead of you on the horizon — the moment where you get to separate the body and sleeves and put your arms through armholes for the first time — and the temptation is SO STRONG. It’s one of the funnest moments in knitting. I don’t think I’ve ever made a top-down sweater where I didn’t have to consciously force myself to keep going that last inch or so, rather than separating too soon and winding up with shallow armholes. You just gotta hang in there till the moment is right!

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: WIP of the Week No.6

WIP of the Week No.6 (and more!)

WIP of the Week No.6 (and more!)

The penultimate WIP of the Week award is going to Paige Sato, who is @purlingpaige on IG and purlgurl on Ravelry (and runs the Christmas at Sea program) and has been one of the Top-Down Knitalong standouts from the very first moment. I honestly was a little worried about Paige’s sweater at first. She was doing a circular yoke and short rows and colorwork and all sorts of stuff I knew I would be no help with if it didn’t go exactly right on the first try. It didn’t, of course — because creating things from scratch almost always takes some trial and error — and Paige also decided to complicate her complications! After beginning the yoke, she decided she wanted to add a steek for a half-zip neck, which threw off her math. I got more and more nervous as she tweaked and tweaked but she was completely unfazed, and before long she had this amazing yoke going on and a huge smile on her face. This sweater is ambitious and is turning out SO AMAZING. Check her feed for the whole delightful creative process she’s been through with it. And did I mention she stopped in the middle to whip up a pink cowl-neck sweater for a friend’s birthday? Incredible, Paige. So you’ve won 8 skeins of Arranmore in the color of your choosing — please drop me an email with your selection(s) and mailing address! Thank you Kelbourne Woolens for this week’s amazing prize!

Next week is the last week I’ll be handing out bonus prizes, although we’re still knitting and there’s no deadline! No pressure. I actually have TWO prizes to hand out next week! The first is 7 skeins of Father from YOTH Yarns (the yarn Jess is using for her fafkal sweater, and which I’m a huge fan of) in the in-stock color of the winner’s choosing. And the second is 15 skeins of Range from A Verb For Keeping Warm in either Lighthouse or Quartz, which I’m insanely jealous of. Coincidentally, both are US-grown and milled yarns, and both Rambouillet! I’ll be picking the winners for next Friday, so keep those sweater pics and stories coming, using #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 and the comments here to share!

SHOP NEWS

Veg-tan leather wrist ruler — only at Fringe Supply Co.!

I saw my friend Andrea Rangel at the trade show last summer and she was wearing an awesome leather ruler bracelet and I wanted it! For me and for you, but I wanted it to be natural veg-tan leather with a brass button stud, and thankfully the makers agreed to do that just for us! Mine hasn’t left my wrist since they arrived, and you can get yours today exclusively at Fringe Supply Co. And we’ve also restocked a bunch of bestsellers this week, so hop on over and take a peek.

MICRO ELSEWHERE

And once again this week, I have just one link for you but a really good one — it’s Stacy London (of What Not to Wear fame) on the weirdness [I know first-hand] of being and dressing 47 in 2016, [Here’s the part where I edited out a bunch of stuff I said on a sticky subject with not enough time to word it carefully so] I look forward to your thoughts on Stacy’s article!

And if you’ve run across any other great links lately, please share them in the comments!

Happy weekend, everyone — thank you for reading!

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: I’m joining the start-over club!

I’m joining the start-over club!

I'm joining the start-over club!

It’s funny what a photo can show you. When I took the pic for last week’s blog post of my yoke laying flat, it was to accompany my paragraph about how I was chugging along exactly as planned. But what I noticed as I was posting it was (despite all my planning about how to get the stitch pattern to align correctly at the front neck) I had completely neglected to worry about how the stitch pattern aligned at the raglan seams. As a person who struggles with perfectionist tendencies, it’s funny that I didn’t notice or think to worry about it sooner, and it’s impossible to ignore now that I’ve seen it. So all last week I struggled with it. You’ve all made an incredible impression on me — all of the fearlessness and determination and good-natured ripping that’s been going on in the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 — and so there’s no way I was going to leave it. I didn’t even mind the idea of ripping back and restarting, in principle, but what was bothering me all last week as I thought about it was that I didn’t want to start this sweater over.

For me to knit an ivory cable sweater that isn’t the Aran sweater I’ve been talking about for the last five years is just silly. (I’ve already knitted a cardigan instead of that longed-for pullover.) And I also don’t think it’s the very best use of the Pebble, which is too good to waste on the wrong stitch for it. But with Slow Fashion October upon us, I’m more mindful than ever about not knitting a sweater just to knit it, or because it might be a cute sweater, or because there’s a knitalong going on. I’m determined to only to make garments that both A) I desperately want to exist an B) will have a distinct impact on my overall wardrobe. This ivory cable sweater was meeting neither of those criteria. So I listened to my apathy and decided to scrap it — and it truly felt like a #rippingforjoy decision, as Felicia calls it. The question was: What to do instead?

I spent several days pondering it, going back to my original thought of a light-colored, lightweight, lightly textured pullover, looking through the blog and Pinterest and stitch dictionaries seeking inspiration for what to do with this ivory yarn, and coming up empty. I kept finding myself wanting to incorporate a second color — a pinstripe? Mosaic stitch pattern? Stranding of some kind? Saturday night I found myself pawing through my stash bin, and my hand kept going to the two skeins of black Pebble in there. Karen, focus! Ivory Pebble, not black. Frustrated, I literally laid down on the floor of my little workroom, stared at the blank ceiling, and asked myself what my closet was really missing. Again my mind went to that black yarn and the idea of stripes. STRIPES! Not just any stripes — black and ivory awning stripes, à la Debbie Harry. I hopped up and pulled up the Fall ’16 Mood board I’d recently made to look for that photo I’ve loved for ages, and found it and a Jenni Kayne striped tee sharing space on the inspiration board I’d been neglecting to consult. The answer was right there the whole time.

And I have to tell you, the instant I settled on it, I could not wind that yarn and cast on fast enough. (I even already had a swatch!) The yarn is so happy now — the fabric is amazing! — and this is a sweater I cannot wait to be wearing.

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Speaking of things photos show us, Jen also made a decision prompted by her photo for last week’s post. Fisherman’s rib in-the-round is sort of like garter stitch — it leaves a mark where you switch from knitting on one round to purling on the next. She hadn’t noticed it was causing two of the ribs to sit awkwardly close together until she took that pic of Jon wearing it. So after some discussion and deliberation and swatching, she’s settled on “half-brioche” which is a version of fisherman’s rib that includes a resting row, which should obviate the issue. I love her new swatch even more than what she had going — and the hope is it will also eat less yarn, be less onerous knitting, and lead to a less heavy garment. So we’re both starting over!

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

WIP of the Week No.5 (+ mandatory Slotober reading!)

WIP of the Week No.5

I truly can’t say enough about how life-affirming it is to read through the discussions on all of the sweaters in the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 feed every day. (And “life-affirming” is not a term I use often — or maybe ever!) The knitting world is an amazing place, but the support and advice and encouragement here exceeds anything I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t be more wowed by you all. The sweater that impressed me the most this week and is thus earning the title of WIP of the Week is the cardigan (pictured above) by Brigit, who is @thewoolwitch on IG and themistwitch on Ravelry. Brigit set out to make a coat-like cardigan in lopi, and has been sharing generously every step and decision along the way. She patiently knitted and seamed a vertical button band to match the length of this garment, then she put it on and posted pics, asking openly whether or not she’d gotten the fit right. And when the majority opinion was that the sleeves were too large for her small frame and making the whole thing look too big for her (“tragically-too-large” rather than “cool-girl-oversized”, as she put it), without seeming to even bat an eyelash she ripped out the entire thing — save the button band! — and is starting from scratch, so she can really hone every single detail along the way. As she said:

“I am so excited to have this come out right, and so excited that we are heading into Slow Fashion October because, to me, taking the time to reknit a sweater so that it fits just right is part of what slow fashion is all about. What’s the point of making your own clothes if you aren’t going to love them?”

Dude.

Brigit is far from the only one to be ripping and tweaking and improving, but I think she is the first to rip a finished KAL sweater — and all the way to stitch one. But what has impressed me most about the whole thing is her spirit and attitude. Plus that’s going to be a great sweater. So Brigit, you’ve won 10 skeins of Woolfolk’s luscious Far in the color of your choosing. Email me at contact@fringesupplyco.com to collect your prize!

I also have a little more Far to spread around this week — two bundles of three skeins each — and have picked two winners at random because there are just too many amazing entries to choose from! @kirsten_weis you’ve won three skeins in Color 16, and @borealindigo you’ve won three skeins in Color 17. Please email me so we can send your yarn!

Next week’s penultimate bonus prize is 8 skeins of Arranmore, the new Fibre Co. yarn you all know I’m dying to knit with, donated by Kelbourne Woolens (who are taunting me with those killer patterns). So keep those pics and tales and general amazingness coming!

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MICRO-ELSEWHERE: Speaking of the Kelbournes (as I call them) and of Slow Fashion October, they recently included a link in their weekly newsletter that is the single best article I’ve ever read about the problems our gluttony and cast-off-itis creates, and I’m going to link it today and repeatedly as we head into Slotober, because I think it should be mandatory reading for all clothes-wearing humans on planet Earth: No one wants your old clothes. PLEASE READ!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Did you watch Rams yet? I loved it.

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

 

Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

As you may know, I’ve been neglecting my official knitalong sweater (above) the last couple of weeks in favor of finishing up one of the two other Improv sweaters on my needles — the black cardigan. (Which I’ll post details and numbers for very soon!) But I’m now back to my cable sweater and making slow-but-steady progress toward my stated plan. My fellow panelists, however, have been having all sorts of adventures with their planned sweaters. So I thought today would be a good time for a little check-in!

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Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

JEN BEEMAN (@jen_beeman)

How far into your sweater are you?

Currently I’m about 2″ down on the body, below the split for the sleeves. Unfortunately, fisherman’s rib is slow going and even slower when you’re knitting a man’s sweater. I definitely understand why more ladies don’t knit for their dudes — it’s like 2x the sweater!

Have there been any stumbling blocks or setbacks along the way? And if so, how were they resolved?

Ohhhhh yes. My first mistake was casting on during the Olympics. Apparently I am completely unable to count while yelling at the TV. After I got that sorted I accidentally pulled out 5 rows of knitting right at the front neckline increases which meant 2 increases were pulled out. I couldn’t fix it well enough, because of the fisherman’s rib pattern, so I ripped everything out and started over, but with a lifeline this time.

This weekend I had to rip back again when I realized I’d cast on a few too many stitches at the underarm. Jon has very wide shoulders which are disproportionate to his arm and torso width. This means garments either fit him through the shoulders and are huge in the arms and torso, or they fit him through the body but are super tight in the shoulders. The amount of stitches needed to fit over his shoulders is greater than the amount of stitches I need for the body and arms so I’m in the middle of trying some fancy/strange shaping that I’m kind of figuring out as I go. I’ll update you guys on whether this bizarre plan of mine works or not once I figure it out. [Editor’s note: As this is a lifelong struggle of mine, I look forward to those notes!]

Upon looking at the photo of Jon wearing his sweater, I also noticed an issue with the ribbing that was not apparent while the sweater was laying flat. I’m currently blocking it to see how severe the potential problem is. I’ll get back to you on this situation later!

Has your plan changed at all from where you started, or are you still charging toward your original design?

Still charging! It’s been a lot of trial and error so far but I’m still excited about finishing this sweater for Jon … hopefully before the weather turns cold.

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Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

BRANDI HARPER (@purlBknit)

How far into your sweater are you?

I have one needle going on the sleeve about to hit the elbow and one needle going just at my hips. I created hourglass shaping on the side. So far I’ve ripped out one area or another at least 4 times!

Have there been any stumbling blocks or setbacks along the way? And if so, how were they resolved?

I was going to make the body about 14″ long, stopping at the waist. I picked up lengthwise at the border to start closing up the cardigan at the front, using the same lace and needle size I’m using for the body. It looked awful. LOL. The border was baggy. So I tried taking it down two needle sizes and it looked much better. After trying it on, I no longer liked it as a cardigan. With the lace, the border, side shaping and the crochet detailing I plan to add as a finishing, the whole thing started to feel like the ornamental sweater “I would only wear with” kind of garment. So I’m ditching the cardigan idea for a turtleneck pullover and I’m really excited!! Now it’s the “I always wear this sweater when” kind of knit. It’s not a layering piece for an outfit; it is the outfit!

Has your plan changed at all from where you started, or are you still charging toward your original design?

I planned to use 4 balls only. When I started to imagine the sweater of my dreams, I hopped a train to Purl Soho so fast and snagged 3 more balls of the Flax Down and lucky me they had the dye lot! I thought I would have to do some fancy short-row or bust-line shaping, but a simple 2 to 3″ border on each side will work perfectly and add some ease to bring it together. The cardigan is now a pullover, and since I have enough yarn I’m going to make it hip length like a mini sweater dress! Scratched the short sleeves for long sleeves with a slight bell at the cuff maybe. I couldn’t foresee any of these changes, but it’s evolving into something more than I could have ever imagined!

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Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

JESS SCHREIBSTEIN (@thekitchenwitch)

How far into your sweater are you?

I’m about 3 inches in. Ha! I cast on the neck for my funnel/mock-neck sweater using a tubular cast-on, instead of using the neck-shaping method in your tutorial, which has led to its own challenges. Nothing that hard, but it’s led to a lot of trial and error.

Have there been any stumbling blocks or setbacks along the way? And if so, how were they resolved?

I think I’ve ripped this sweater out to the shoulder-shaping section about six times now. Here’s why:

Frog 1: Raglans seemingly increasing too fast (working them every other row for front, back and sleeves)
Frog 2: Raglans increasing too slow (working them every third row for front, back and sleeves; did the math that I should have done, ahem, at the start of this project and realized that the armholes would be at my waist once I got enough stitches on the needles)
Frog 3-6: Decided to return to the first raglan increase method and add neck-shaping via short rows (which I had avoided before), which I ripped out a lot to get them to look right

After the latest and near-successful short-row shaping (wrap-and-turn method, neck-shaping length about 1 inch, or 4 rows), I still wasn’t satisfied – you can see in the photos why. The short rows are very visible despite my multiple rip/redo efforts, and it was bugging me. Then I hung out with my friend Olga Buraya-Kefelian (@olgajazzyknits) for an evening and picked her brain a bit, and she recommended two alternative short row methods: German short rows and Alice Yu’s method for shadow-wrap short rows. I’m hoping to give these a try early this week to fix the visible short row problem. There will still be a jog, since the short rows change the direction of the stitches by a slight angle, but I don’t mind that as much.

Here’s to the seventh time being the charm!

Has your plan changed at all from where you started, or are you still charging toward your original design?

Design is still unchanged – if I can make it past the yoke! Still aiming to finish my sweater by the time I head to Rhinebeck, but that’s looking like an increasingly challenging deadline to meet. Wish me luck!

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Thanks, everybody! And of course, you can keep up with all of the knitalong sweaters on the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 feed on Instagram or by checking out the projects linked to the Improv pattern page on Ravelry.

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: WIPs of the Week No.4

WIPs of the Week No.4: Ding and Sari

WIPs of the Week No.4: Ding and Sari

This week in the Top-Down Knitalong has been more encouraging and rewarding and heartwarming than I could ever have imagined. I think of knitting your first improvised top-down sweater as a life-changing experience — and honestly not just as a knitter — but the extent to which that’s been reflected in the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 feed the past few days leaves me nearly speechless. As does all of the boldness, creativity, determination, heart (as they say in sports), support, advice, and general awesomeness on display. As just a paltry few examples, I offer these notes by @aguillettefashion, @meganann_lynch, @wendlandcd, @kelseyleftwich and @schmidcr. Most charming caption of the week goes to @tinystitchers. And also, these are two of the cutest baby pictures I’ve ever seen: @armenuhik and @abigailrosechapin. So you can imagine the difficulty in choosing one sweater to feature as WIP of the Week, and in fact when it came down to it, I couldn’t choose between the following two:

This week’s bonus prize of 12 skeins of O-Wool Balance goes to Ding Ren, aka @halfcrystalline on Instagram and also halfcrystalline on Ravelry, whose photos are above. Ding is one whose planning and experimenting and enthusiasm and determination and openness has been, I think, encouraging to everyone watching. You’ll find loads of great WIP shots in her IG feed. The particularly nice moment this week, in keeping with the whole of her approach, was when she knitted her split hem, sought feedback, ripped and redid it for a more successful effect — and I’m eager to see it blocked. I’ve loved several of her remarks along the way, including “Live sts used to scare me but now they are exciting when it means the sweater can be exactly the way I want it to be” on this photo, and the number of new techniques she’s tried in the course of this WIP. Not to mention this great post about her yarn selection. Basically, her whole act of documenting this sweater has been epic. Congrats on your fabulous project, Ding, and on winning the generous prize from O-Wool. Please email me at contact@fringesupplyco.com with your color selection and mailing address! And thank you, O-Wool!

WIPs of the Week No.4: Ding and Sari

The second WIP I’m featuring this week is by Sari N, aka @sari_n_ on Instagram and sarijaotto on Ravelry — and it happens to be another of the many gorgeous ivory sweaters going on. It’s been fun to watch this amazing cable sweater develop since she first cast on — she’s posted copious great photos at every step along the way. But I especially loved her comment on this photo, ending with: “You can learn anything you want if you commit to it.” So Sari, please email me and I have a $75 Fringe Supply Co. gift certificate for you.

Definitely go look through all of the photos and discussion on both of those sweaters if you haven’t seen it all. Such good stuff. And next week’s bonus prize will be 10 skeins of Woolfolk Far, truly stunning merino (and a brand-new stunning pattern collection, by the way). So keep up all of the good work — keep those pics and stories coming with the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 hashtag, and link your Ravelry project to the Improv pattern page if you’re using my tutorial.

One side note I want to make about top-down, in response to this post of Sari’s about where to begin the waist ribbing. (Take a second and go read that caption.) Most published patterns are written bottom-up — it is way easier to write a graded pattern that way. What it means is the designer (hopefully) has thought about the right hem treatment for the yarn and design, and how that feeds into the stitch pattern, which progresses upwards from there. However, when it comes to separating fronts and backs, beginning armhole shaping or neck shaping, it just happens wherever you happen to be in the stitch pattern at the moment you reach whatever the prescribed length is. So there’s a chance your cable and your neckline might not intersect in the absolute perfect way, or whatever. With top-down, it can take a little more planning to get optimal placement of your stitch pattern around your neckline, but you get to do that by starting there, whereas the less obvious intersection of stitch pattern and hem is the one that’s left partly to the chance of where you are when you reach your desired length. So I find this to be one of the big benefits of creating your own pattern from the top.

SEPARATELY, first let me say thank you for the response to the new Woollelujah! tote. I’m loving the pics of this bag that are starting to appear under #fringesupplyco and #woollelujah and would love to see yours. Please tag them!

Second, this should be an Elsewhere week, but I have spent every would-be web-scouring moment glued to the knitalong instead, so I have no idea what’s going on anywhere else! Except that several very kind people have alerted me to the fact that the Icelandic movie Rams (previously noted here) is now available on Netflix and Amazon. And I will definitely be watching this weekend. Will you?

Have a lovely one, everybody — thanks for being amazing!

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: How to knit inset pockets (top-down)