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

New Favorites: The solace of hats

New Favorites: The solace of hats

There have been a lot of great pattern collections released in the past couple of weeks. So many good sweaters I’m trying not to think about right now (but will definitely get around to raving about!) because I’d rather think about hats. I think it’s when I feel the least in control of my to-do list that I start to really crave a nice little hat to knit before bed. Is that an epiphany I’ve had a hundred times before? Regardless of circumstances, a hat is always so achievable and uncomplicated, so bite-sized. So satisfying when everything else is a sea of unfinished business (including, uh, the four sweaters on the needles). Any of these would do nicely  —

TOP: Phōs by Fiona Alice — from the awesome new Amirisu that just hit the shop — is colorwork combined with texture in a geometric motif I love

MIDDLE: Fluffy Brioche Hat by Purl Soho would be a sweet little intro to brioche and an eminently wearable hat

BOTTOM: Furrow Hat by Jared Flood — from his book Woolens — would be such a melodic knit, that simple combo of moss and cables

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Finn Valley and St. Brendan

New Favorites: the Arranmore collection

New Favorites: the Arranmore collection

Do you guys remember those gorgeous skeins of charcoal and teal tweed yarn I posted about a few months ago and couldn’t say what they were? It can now be revealed that it’s the new Arranmore from The Fibre Co. — a yarn I cannot wait to knit with. (If only I could pick a color!) But what’s even better than the yarn is the collection of patterns that my friends at Kelbourne Woolens designed for it. The weirdly lit photos are bumming me out, unfortunately, but I saw these pieces in person at the trade show and there isn’t a single sweater or accessory in the whole collection that I wouldn’t want in my closet. And how often do you hear me say that? Pictured are the Killybegs cardigan and Swilly scarf by Meghan Kelly and Rosses hat by Courtney Kelley, but go look at the whole shebang. So good.

UPDATE: Check out the alternate colorway samples that went up on their blog late last week. GORGEOUS.

UNRELATED: I keep meaning to tell you the new autumn issue of Pom Pom has landed at Fringe Supply Co., chock full of good patterns and ready and waiting for you!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from Interweave Knits’ 20th extravaganza

Someday vs. Right Away: Cables, please!

Someday vs. Right Away: Cables, please, for the love of knitting

It dawned on me the other day that I am stuck in the longest stockinette spell of my knitting life — by a looooooong shot. I looked it up: Not only have I apparently not knitted a cable since finishing my Bellows in February 2015 (!), I haven’t even knitted a textured stitch pattern since Hermaness Worsted, last Summer. There was some colorwork last Fall, with my Cowichan-ish vest and my Laurus, but that’s just fancy stockinette. I have literally knitted nothing but stockinette for over a year.

Think about that for a minute.

No wonder I’m so desperate for a cable to knit! I think there will have to be cables involved in my Top-Down Knitalong sweater. Or if not, I’m casting on something like Bronwyn, up top, immediately thereafter. But now that I know how long it’s actually been, I don’t even know if I can wait that long. The logical thing to do, for an immediate cable fix, would be to pick up my poor abandoned Seathwaite (bottom left) from October’s hatalong. (I set it aside until I could find a quiet, daylight moment to do the join round, and have yet to accomplish that.) But over the weekend I also saw Dianna’s version of Ysolda’s Inglis Mitts (bottom right) and had major nostalgia for my mitt knitting days.

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PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Crochet skills