Two years ago, at the late-lamented Stitches South, I bought a piece of African indigo cloth from Veronika of YOTH. I posted a pic of it on Instagram, and got an incredible range of suggestions for what to do with it (including making a window shade, which would be amazing), but I’ve always pictured it as a kimono. A few weeks earlier, I had seen this photo of Ariele Alasko in an indigo kimono, followed shortly by a reference to this older tutorial for a quickie kimono, and the universe seemed to be trying to tell me something. I studied the dimensions in the tutorial and my fabric, did some diagramming and adjusting, and came within inches of cutting it … but my scissors literally hung in the air above the fabric, my brain unable to convince my hand to clamp the blades down on it. That “pattern” is the sort of thing where you just sew two pieces of fabric together halfway up the back, and the slit becomes the back of neck. It would be a fun and defensible thing to do with a less precious piece of fabric, but I knew I’d regret doing it with this. I wanted a proper garment. And was pondering pockets, of course. Always with the pockets. So I decided to wait, and think on it, and see if the desire would fade.
Meanwhile, it’s mostly been draped over the daybed in my living room, where Darla has enjoyed shedding on it liberally. Thankfully, it washes up beautifully!
The whole plan sprung back into my head in the past few days due to encountering two images on the web, again in close proximity: One being Liesl Gibson’s new Butterick B6464 kimono pattern; the second being this quilted linen kimono jacket by 7115 that is really just too good for words. (I mean: Quilted. Linen. With those pockets? Must have.) So now I’m fantasizing about tinkering with Liesl’s pattern a tiny bit, drafting some big pockets, and finally turning this bit of cloth into the kimono I’ve been dreaming of. Just need to figure out if there’s enough of it … and if I remember how to sew.
PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Cowichan-style cardigan, take two
Speaking of colorwork and my desire to do it more regularly, there’s a sweater idea I want to put a(nother) pin in for 2017 — a cardigan I’m pretty much never not thinking about. It’s partially the J.Crew sweater from my last Idea Log of 2015, which has been taped up next to my closet door ever since, and part Andrea’s vest from the Cowichan KAL, and part this sweater seen on Nashville leather-goods maker Annie Williams (photo by my friend Melody who shares space with Annie). Over time they’ve mashed up in my head into the sketch above. It was one of my many concept sketches for the Top-Down Knitalong, but it seemed wrong to do another Cowichan-inspired sweater for that. (And I’m so happy with the direction I went!) But like I said, this one is always on my mind. Hopefully some version of it will be on my needles before the year is out.
(Fashionary sketch templates from Fringe Supply Co.)
PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Three easy (Kayne-style) pieces
Among my pile of prettily bundled shirting remnants I bought last summer is one bigger, heavier-weight roll of striped cotton duck. When Seamwork released their Moji pants pattern last year, I began fantasizing about sewing up a pair in this fabric, with a widened lower leg. I haven’t done it yet because A) I don’t sew pants, and B) I’ve heard conflicting reviews of that pattern. But ever since I saw these pics from Jenni Kayne’s Resort 2017 collection — the striped pants with matching sleeveless tunic and raglan pullover sweater — I haven’t been able to get any of it out of my head. I have no idea what the top of the Jenni Kayne pants looks like (probably not drawstring and patch pockets, who knows) and I’m guessing they’re silk or some such (not like my utility fabric) but regardless when I saw the photo my first thought was “my striped pants!”
The tunic is a lot like the modified Wiksten tanks I made last summer — in which I had raised the neckline, lengthened the body and made it more A-line — only pushed just that much further. The upper part looks to me a lot like Grainline’s new Willow Tank, and if you were to graft that onto the lower half of Liesl’s Gallery Tunic (or, again, a wide tunic-length placement of the Wiksten hemline) you’d have this very top. Granted, my fabric might be too heavy for it.
And then there’s that navy tunic-length sweater. It’s the simplest, most basic of raglans and one could easily improvise it from the top. Just make sure you start out with an odd number of stitches for the back and the sleeve tops, put 5 or 7 stitches in each raglan seam, and work the whole thing in 1×1 rib (or fisherman’s rib, if you’re feeling fancy).
PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: The cinched shift, take two
Ever since I cut out that black sleeveless top, I’ve been imagining it with pockets (inspired by my beloved linen tunic’s slant-patch pockets) and also as a very simple dress. My idea of the ideal dress length has morphed as a result of the muumuu and my acquisition of an Earthen Slip, which I want to wear every day, every way. So the hemline on this imagined dress keeps dropping. And after seeing the Ulla Johnson jumpsuit I raved about in last Tuesday’s post, the pocketed top and dress ideas bled into one, now with an elastic casing a la Ulla. The funny thing is, as I was sketching this, I realized it’s really an iteration of the cinched shift idea I posted last July. Which means sooner or later (sooner, please!) some version of this is going to make it off the page and into my closet.
By the way, if anyone knows of an existing pattern for this — seems like it must be out there! — please let me know.
(Fashionary sketch template via Fringe Supply Co., as usual.)
PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Field Scarf turned sweater
My last Idea Log was about my obsession with Purl Soho’s new yarn, Linen Quill, and the sweaters I was dreaming of knitting from it. Since then, two things have happened:
- Before I had a chance to place an order, a box of skeins magically appeared on my desk. (Thank you, Purl!) And although I haven’t had a chance to swatch with it yet, it’s every bit as delicious as it looks in the photos.
- They published this pattern for their woven Field Scarf, which is so beautiful it makes me dizzy. That palette is just perfection.
However, I don’t weave and don’t have any plans to start. (No matter how desperately I want this scarf.) So what’s a knitter to do? Well, naturally I’m sitting at my laptop staring at these photos, imagining ways to knit a sweater that retains the spirit of this scarf.
The basis of the scarf is the three vertical bands — the warp is the ivory, then the ivory-grey marl, then the black, and they’re woven through with an ivory weft. The nearest simulation of that would be to knit with two strands of ivory, then one strand of ivory and one of the marl, then one strand of ivory and one of the black. It would be amazing to use intarsia to make those bands vertical on the sweater, but I’m not quite that clever. However, it would be simple to do it as horizontal bands. The trick is how to “weave” in the lilac and gold, especially perpendicular to the wide bands. So I’m thinking of vertical button bands where the persistent strand is the lilac instead of the ivory. And then how to get a bit of the gold in there? Maybe a thin stripe that’s gold and marl before switching to the ivory-black band? In which case it would be ivory-ivory, ivory-marl, gold-marl, ivory-black.
I also really love the starkness of the black fringe along one-third of each end, and think one marl cuff and one black cuff might have a similar effect.
It would be super fun to play with …
PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Three sweaters haunting my thoughts
This is a much less complex Idea Log than past installments, albeit in triplicate. Here we have three very simple sweater ideas, spurred by specific yarns, that I can’t stop thinking about knitting. So I’m recording them for the moment rather than making any queue commitments:
1. I think I’ve abandoned the whole Penguono project. (For me to ever complete a knitting project, I have to be entirely covetous of the FO, and I’m just not in this case.) But these insane skeins of black-and-white handspun yarn I got from Rebekka in the course of things keep begging to become a sleeveless tunic. I’m imagining a slightly oversized, crewneck version of my turtleneck.* It would be so quick and simple and delicious, but also a bit of an investment by the time I acquired enough skeins.
2. A little birdie pointed me to this new Purl Soho yarn, Linen Quill — I don’t think it’s even been officially announced yet — and omigod I cannot stop imagining the perfect sweater for each gorgeous color. (Held double, of course.) But the ones that are haunting me most are an easy wide-cropped cardigan (you see I’m debating the sleeve shape) in the Kettle Black — despite my having knitted 3 black sweaters in the last few months! —and …
3. … a simple little tank in the Rose Granite. I’ve been wanting a pretty pale pink top since seeing a certain J.Crew photo in late 2014 (blush top, lilac cardigan, army pants, so good), and have been imagining it as a slinky woven item, but now I think it would be amazing in this yarn. Only question is how it would look with my skin.
*I know, y’all. I would really love to write that pattern, but there’s never time. Hopefully one of these days!
Early Wednesday morning, I got a text from my sweet friend Rebekka, who was all lit up about knitting Stephen West’s Penguono cardigan and wanted to know if I would knit it with her. Like, starting tomorrow. Since I’ve long wondered what an understated version of this sweater would look like, I was quick to say yes, and the more I redrew and rearranged and recolored it in my head, the more I realized my version would be heavily influenced by these Joseph pants from the Pre-Fall 2016 collection that I cannot stop thinking about. (I might be starting a fund in the hope of having however much money they cost by the time they hit stores this summer. If, god willing, they do.) (Note to the reader who asked: Net-a-Porter carries Joseph.) I’m imagining the sweater all in ivory with slightly darker side panels and a big black patch pocket on the front. Possibly knitted; possibly boiled wool, with a flap. It’s fun to daydream about.
So in that moment, I got all excited about the idea of this sweater. And then I remembered I’m not supposed to be casting on sweaters willy-nilly. There’s Bob sweater still with hours upon hours of its stockinette body to be knitted. There are two unfinished hatalong hats waiting patiently in my Field Bag. There’s my very real need and very strong desire for that black pullover that’s supposed to be next. And there’s this crazy Penguono idea that could be a lot of much-needed fun or could be a lot of valuable knitting time poured into an idea that doesn’t pan out. And it’s soooo much knitting.
There’s the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, and this is the conversation they’re having. I’m in the middle, thinking I’ll most likely cast on, knit it in the designated hours with Rebekka and in the gaps among other things after that (for the next two years, prolly!) and see if anything ever comes of it. I mean, it’s a stash-buster and my stash needs busting, right?
IN EXCITING SHOP NEWS: We’ve got fresh stock of the Stowe Bag sewing pattern and the Maple Hand Loom Kit, as well as the elusive grey Field Bag (also in black and natural). Along with all the other beautiful things at Fringe Supply Co.!
UPDATE: We’re having major snowstorm in Nashville today and won’t be driving to the studio or anywhere else. We’ll resume shipping just as soon as road conditions allow!