New Favorites: Colorwork practice

New Favorites: Colorwork practice

Every time I knit a stranded project (meaning, about once a year) I find myself lecturing myself about how I really need to not let so much time pass between efforts. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be more fluid at it? To venture into projects that are more than just a few rows of colorwork in a sea of solids? After more than a year hiatus, I finished the stranded portion of my St. Brendan-in-progress very quickly and I am hereby swearing not to go so long before I do it again! The solution: hats between sweaters.

TOP: Coronal by Erica Smith

MIDDLE LEFT: Banff by Tin Can Knits

MIDDLE RIGHT: Verso by Bristol Ivy

BOTTOM: Northdale Hat by Gudrun Johnston

The only trouble is I want them all to be black and natural …

For colorwork advice and pattern recommendations, see: Colorwork for first-timers

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Bulky cardigans

Favorite New Favorites of 2016

Favorite New Favorites of 2016

I never feature anything in New Favorites that I don’t truly love, but it’s always interesting for me, at the end of each year, to scroll back through them all and see which ones make my heart race and my fingers twitch the most. Or which I admire greatly versus really wanting knit and to have in my possession as finished objects. This year was not absent socks, scarves, shawls and blankets, but it was light on those things, and none of them made today’s list somehow. But what follows are my Favorite New Favorites for 2016—

PATTERN OF THE YEAR

There was only one pattern this year that had me lying awake at night thinking about it, and that’s Vidje by Kristin Ford, pictured up top. I’ve declared a year’s-best-pattern three times before — Stonecutter in 2013, and Aspen Socks (pattern of the year) and Marshal (sweater of the year) in 2015 — and I’ve yet to knit any of them.* But Vidje is the new Channel Cardigan for me — as in, the one I won’t stop fantasizing about until the day I’m wearing it, that I’ll spend months or possibly years knitting, and that I hope to love and wear for ages. You can read my previous remarks (and modification plans) on this one in New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection.

*Stonecutter looks terrible on me, unfortunately; Marshal still occupies my thoughts on the regular; and I conceded at the time that I would likely never manage to knit Aspen.

Favorite New Favorites of 2016

WOMEN’S SWEATERS
top: Sourcebook Chunky Cardigan by Norah Gaughan (as seen in Exceptional shawl-collars)
bottom left: Bue by Nele Redwieck (as seen in Every stitch of the Tov collection)
bottom right: St. Brendan by Courtney Kelley (as seen in Finn Valley and St. Brendan)

Favorite New Favorites of 2016

MEN’S SWEATERS
top: Tamarack by Jared Flood
bottom left: Carver by Julie Hoover
bottom right: Auster by Michele Wang
(all three as seen in For Bob — or himever!)

Favorite New Favorites of 2016

LOUNGEWEAR
Crazy Feeling Sweater and Heartbreaker Shorts by Wool and the Gang (as seen in WATG knitted denim jammies)

Favorite New Favorites of 2016

HATS
clockwise from top left:
Divide by Emily Greene (as seen in Bulky hats)
Sourcebook Balaclava by Norah Gaughan (as seen in Hoods)
Rille by Olga Buraya-Kefelian (as seen in Every stitch of the Tov collection)
Earlyrising by Annie Rowden (as seen in For the hat list)
Halus by Jared Flood (as seen in Mad hatting)
Buck’s Hat by Thea Colman (as seen in Mad hatting)

Favorite New Favorites of 2016

MITTENS
top: Ossify Mitts by Whitney Hayward (as seen in Mitten mania cont.)
bottom: Handspun Dreams Mitten by Hannah Fettig (as seen in Mitten mania cont.)

Those are my picks — and in this year’s case I actually already have yarn and plans for several of them! (More on that to come.) What were your favorite patterns of 2016?

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Bulky hats

New Favorites: Bulky hats

New Favorites: Bulky hats

I’ve got that certain combination of an itch for a quick finish and a few different skeins of bulky in my stash that I’m dying to knit with. And as it happens, there are also a couple of bulky hat patterns I’m dying to knit!

TOP: Divide by Emily Greene (her first pattern, apparently?) is the best hat I’ve seen all year, and will be mine

BOTTOM: Lancet by Jared Flood is written for both bulky and DK versions and looks great both ways

… and I’m still carrying a torch for Fidra and Halus, too, which has been going on since February.

By the way, one of the bulky yarns I’m dying to knit with is the TN Textile Mill yarn I posted about last Monday. I got news late last week that it is now available for purchase on their website, along with the matching DK, for those of you who were interested.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mitten mania (cont.)

Someday vs. Right Away: A spot of colorwork

Someday vs. Right Away: A spot of colorwork

We’ve talked about how eager I am to knit this sweater, St. Brendan by Courtney Kelley. It’ll be a while before I get to, and I’m also aware I’m in jeopardy of having done no colorwork at all in 2016 at the rate I’m going, which makes me sad! So my eyes lit up the other day when I saw Courtney had posted a free pattern for a hat version (“a swatch”) of it. If I had a minute to do that, would I rather knit the hat and have the fun of finishing something, or put those stitches toward my first sleeve? And if it’s some quick and striking colorwork I’m after, I’ve still never gotten over Kathy’s hat-sized rendition of Jón.

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PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Cables, please!

Hats for skill-building and gift-giving

Free hat patterns for skill-building and gift-giving

It’s that time of year when two things are happening: new and beginning knitters are looking for ways to learn, and knitters of all skill levels are looking for great hat patterns for gift and charity knitting. (Not to mention those of us who are just always on the lookout for a great hat!) As it happens, there’s a whole series of free patterns right here on Fringe Association that can satisfy all of the above! Last year, I had the idea to do a hat knitalong every other month, mostly to force myself to knit something other than sweaters — and have your company doing it — but the collection evolved into a pretty amazing little master class, as these hats escort you from the most basic knits and purls up through lace, colorwork and cables, with lessons in swatching, chart-reading and stranding along the way! So whether you’re looking to fill out your skill set or your gift pile, we’ve got you covered—

1. KNITS + PURLS: Audrey by Jessie Roselyn

2. KNIT-PURL TRICKERY: L’Arbre by Cirilia Rose

3. LACE: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston

4. STRANDED KNITTING: Laurus by Dianna Walla

5. CABLES: Seathwaite by Kate Gagnon Osborn

6. CLEVER CONSTRUCTION: 1898 Hat by Kristine Byrnes

Or scroll through the entire Fringe Hatalong Series. Depending on yarn choice, nearly all of them are unisex, and I can personally account for their popularity: My Audrey is one of most repinned posts in the history of the blog; my niece kept my L’Arbre; and my husband laid claim to my Laurus.

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PREVIOUSLY in Holiday Knitting Cheat Sheets: A hat for every head / Cowls all around / Warm hands, warm hearts

New Favorites: Hoods

New Favorites: Hoods

Eventually it will cool off, right? I’m not actually complaining — don’t get me wrong — this Indian Summer suits me just fine. It looks like Fall but feels like the sort of summer weather I can get behind, and because it’s October I can get away with boots if I feel like it. But it does feel very faraway to think about needing a hat. Here’s the thing: As much as I love to knit hats, I have trouble wearing them. I’ve only ever had one that didn’t leave my hair destroyed, so once I put on a hat, there’s no taking it off. Which is why I’ve always wondered if I wouldn’t prefer a hood, which has the added benefit of protecting your neck at the same time! Norah Gaughan’s pattern from her new book (Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook, which is now out, by the way) got me mulling it again, and brought me to the others I’ve saved in the past:

TOP: Sourcebook Balaclava by Norah Gaughan is the coolest dickey in history

MIDDLE: Icicle Hood by Kari-Helene Rane has an Amelia Earhart vibe about it and I especially like it worn unbuttoned

BOTTOM: F627 Hooded Neckwarmer by Vanessa Ewing (free pattern) is a little more Hunger Games

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection

New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection

New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection

I mentioned recently that I’d gotten a sneak peek from the set of the shoot for a new collection and that there was a cardigan I was losing sleep over. It turns out the entire collection — the Tov Collection from Woolfolk, for their latest yarn, Tov — is drop-dead ridiculously to-die-for gorgeous. For me, and what makes my heart race, it’s the single best pattern collection I’ve seen in the five years I’ve been doing this.

Here’s the thing: the day the lookbook first snuck into my inbox, I got the vapors. But before making a claim like “best I’ve seen in five years,” I have to stop and check myself. Let’s face it: the photography, the house, the ivory yarn and cables — it pushes every one of my buttons. Was I being swayed by all of that, or are these patterns as good as I initially thought they were? Having looked at it more times now than I care to admit, I can honestly say: Take away the house, make the garments colors I don’t like, whatever — they’re stupendous.

So here are my favorites: All of them! Starting, of course, with the sweaters:

Vidje by Kristin Ford, above, is the cardigan I was on about. This design is a tightrope walk; it could have so easily gone awry, but the bands of texture blocking are beautifully done. I mean, the shift in scale of the honeycomb is so gorgeous I’m hellbent on knitting this thing even though I hate knitting honeycomb! It might take me two years to finish it, but I ain’t lettin’ that stop me.

New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection

Bue by (newcomer?) Nele Redweik might manage to distract me from Vidje for a minute. I’ve been planning to do a pattern for a sleeveless cabled tunic, but now I don’t have to! This is perfection.

New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection

Gevir by Sarah Solomon represents that balance I think we’re always looking for, of a garment that’s striking — what I like to call a trophy knit — but also very practical and wearable. The combination of wide ribs and vertebrae-like cables, the way they’re deployed here, is slimming rather than adding bulk. And it feels extremely fashionable and classic at the same time. Absolutely gorgeous.

New Favorites: Every stitch of the Tov collection

And then there are the accessories:

TOP: Rille by Olga Buraya-Kefelian is just fantastic looking hat — must have

BOTTOM LEFT: Mont by Olga Buraya-Kefelian is a pair of long mitts that are just a good thing done well

BOTTOM RIGHT: Arkade by Antonia Shankland is the weirdest stitch pattern I’ve ever seen, makes no sense to my brain, but I find the dimensionality and pillowiness of it fascinating!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mitten mania