Elsewhere

This has been a distressing week in the US (one of far too many of its kind), and you know I feel so strongly that every one of us needs to be informed and engaged and to work for peace. (Boy have my thoughts on how advanced these past three years.) But we also have to take care of ourselves and keep up our strength, which means being present with the people we love and also allowing ourselves to disappear into our knitting or sewing for a minute, to catch our breath and boldly face the world again.

I’ve got a mixed bag of links for you today, for your edification and/or enjoyment; I’ll see you back here on the other side of what I hope will be a comparatively peaceful weekend—

— Squam’s diversity-and-inclusion panel from last month has since been posted online. It’s long, so maybe watch it in chunks if you need to, but I hope you’ll watch

— I love every word of this interview with Oaxacan weaver and natural dyer Porfirio Gutiérrez: No one told us we were artists (via)

— Podcast eps I’m eager to listen to: The Dressed interview with Joy Bivins on the history of the Ebony Fashion Fair and the debut of Ceci Knits the World

— I’m in MDK’s debt for linking to Lorilee Beltman’s brilliant video about how to memorize the Kitchener Stitch — I always have to remind myself which way it goes and will never need to again!

— … and also for asking Jillian Moreno the question I’ve always wanted to ask someone: the difference between fingering-weight yarn and sock yarn

— Remember that wrapped hoop earring tutorial? Anne updated it on her own blog — and look at this lovely espadrille project

Why the American shoe disappeared, and why it’s so hard to bring it back

— and totally fascinating use of a sock blank

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On an unrelated note, I want to acknowledge the loss of Toni Morrison this week, which feels especially sharp within this particular news cycle. I don’t really even have the words for it, but I loved this passage by Tracy K. Smith from one of the many NYT tributes I’ve read in the past few days:

“… the living monument of Ms. Morrison’s body of work assures me that the language of peace, justice, safety and stability must enter our imagination as they always have — not through the language of policy, but via our willingness to regard one another as worthy of attention and love. Such ideas must be sat with, moved through, married to our vocabularies for love, desire, loss, resentment, remembering, healing and hope. And those vocabularies are the primary terrain of the artist.”

I’ve been saying lately it’s been too long since I’ve read any of her novels. Time to dig back in …

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New Favorites: Little hugs

New Favorites: Little sweaters

I don’t know whether it’s the back-to-school air or wanting to “hug” the ones I love, but I’m preoccupied with the notion of knitting more little sweaters to send off to small humans of various sizes. These two patterns (one new, the other a longstanding fave) top my list for being both timeless and gender-neutral, all the better for future hand-me-downs —

TOP: Willard Mini by Alicia Plummer is a sporty little drawstring funnel neck I’d love to have in my own closet

BOTTOM: Arlo by Michele Wang is the one I wanted in my size at the time (and then along came Bellows) but now want to make in miniature

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Puzzle wrap

Queue Check — Midsummer 2019

Queue Check — Midsummer 2019

I know some of you are thinking “midsummer?!” We’re moments away from kids going back to school; there was a football game last night; the stores are already putting out their pumpkin-flavored-everything displays. But I still have a good 2.5 months of heat to deal with and can’t afford to start dreaming of fall. Although — even as I tell myself it’s ok to make clothes that don’t work in every season, that that’s the only way to really address clothes for hot weather — I can’t help thinking about how the things I make now will both travel and transition. That’s what I’m loving so much about the color palette I shared yesterday, which is also reflected above: It’s a palette for all seasons. And with the focus on garments with sleeves, I’m dealing with those in-between times I truly am unequipped for.

The only thing that’s happened to my toffee cable sweater since late June is I finished the first sleeve and cuff. I hope to knit the other sleeve this weekend and get back to the body, wrapping it up soon, because I need to get serious about my fall travel project. You can see I’ve got that skein of green wool-mohair out again, and can’t stop petting it. I’ve decided the very simple everyday stockinette pullover I’ve been planning to knit in navy will be preempted by a cheerful green version, and this Andorra is the precise shade of green I want. Sadly, it’s a warmer blend than I should really knit it in, so I’m pondering that while I finish the toffee sweater.

Meanwhile, I’m all about Linen Quest 2019, as seen in the sketches above — dresses plus mix-and-match separates on the horizon. Sketches 1 and 7 are the Fen dress and tunic mods and I’ve posted in the past week, and sketch 2 is the next variation I’m after. Even more caftany. (Likely making that this weekend!) Sketches 3 and 6, shirtdress and shirt, are slight mods on Liesl Gibson’s Gallery tunic/dress that I’ve sewn and loved before. Sketch 4 is my Hemlock mod from a few years ago, the wool gauze that got away, and I don’t know why I never thought to make it in linen. Sketch 5 is a tweaked Scout tee — a pattern I’ve had for some time and have yet to sew. I want to shape it like the rust one on yesterday’s mood board. And the last two are my pleat-neck tee idea and my beloved modified Robbie pants I’ve made a handful of times but all in heavy fabrics. Time for some linen!

It feels good to have a plan, and to have dusted off my machine. We’ll see what I can accomplish before it wants to go back into hibernation again.

So that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend! I’d love to hear what you’re up to —

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: June 2019

Wardrobe Planning: Latter 2019 (mood/palette)

Wardrobe Planning: Latter 2019 (mood/palette)

So how does a color-shy minimalist like me factor in significant color, as I’m itching to do? That’s what I’m trying to figure out as I pause for the first time this year to think about what I have and what I want/need to make between now and the year-end. As I alluded to before and will talk more about, I’m focused on the most potent needs right now: a Venn diagram of sleeves, dresses and linen, plus addressing the imbalance in my stack of pants, which are almost entirely heavy cotton/canvas and next to no linen or summer-weight anything.

The challenge of working with linen is it means mostly solids. It’s like a box of crayons. And whereas I have no problem combining solid neutrals (and the occasional stripe), it’s taken some thinking to figure out how to work with crayons in a way that still feels like me. I’ve determined that the secret lies in the specifics of the palette and in combining colors in offbeat ways. What got emphasized when I went to put this into a 2019 Mood board was that it also means tonal dressing, maybe even more than mix-and-mismatch, which again I totally get! I’m just used to doing it with neutrals. But now that I’m seeing it that way, it seems like a no-brainer.

What it comes down to in terms of the palette is augmenting my existing blues and camels and stripes with rusty-pinky-melon tones, yellow, and a hit of spearmint green.

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PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Me-Made May data

New Favorites: Puzzle wrap

New Favorites: Puzzle wrap

Can we talk about this beauty for a minute? It’s the new Easy Puzzle Blanket (free pattern) by Jake Canton for Purl Soho and it not only looks like it would be spectacularly fun to knit (log cabin forever, please) but would be a great stash buster and a perfect travel project. The sort of thing where a little bit of yarn would go a very long way and the project would grow relatively slowly while keeping your hands busy the whole time. (In other words, it’d take up time, not luggage space.) And I’m still so into the idea of a lightweight square that can function as a blanket or a shawl, folded or not. I’m that person who does not have a stash full of fingering weight yarn leftovers, so there’s that to consider. But I can’t stop picturing possible color combos …

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Fall warm-ups

Q for You: What’s your time-worthy detail?

Q for You: What's your knitting time-worthy detail?

In this instant-gratification world of ours, being a knitter at all is an act of rebellion, in a sense — knitting something, stitch by stitch, that others would buy, discard and replace in the same amount of time. And yet even though we’re committed to spending that time, we often still want things to be as quick as possible, right? There are the steps and details we’ll happily avoid or skip altogether, where possible — from choosing seamless designs to leaving ends dangling inside a finished object. But there are also the little details we each feel are worth that extra bit of time they take to elevate our FOs. Things that might be technically unnecessary (like adding seams to a seamless garment) or could be done in some briefer fashion (e.g., a plain neckband versus a folded one), and things that simply look too good not to do.

For me, a no-brainer is the little bit of extra time it takes to do a tubular bind-off on top-down cuffs. (This is my Grace pullover in progress.) The difference in how much better it looks than a standard BO is worth it all by itself, but the additional stretchiness of that edge is just so much more pleasant to wear, and I’m aware of it with every push and pull of the cuff for the life of the sweater. (I like Purl Soho’s tutorial, if you’ve never done it.)

So that’s my Q for You today: What’s the little knitting detail you consider more than worthy of the time it takes?

I look forward to your responses, and wish you a happy weekend!

IN SHOP NEWS: We’ve got the butterscotch Porter Bin back in stock at the moment! While they last …

(Stitch marker, yarn, Lykke interchangeable needles and DPNs, and tapestry needle all from Fringe Supply Co. lol)

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PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: What’s your progress blocker

Elsewhere

Pattern rename + Elsewhere, yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Before we get to today’s Elsewhere links, below, I want to note that I’ve changed the name of my Wabi Mitts pattern to Mamoru Mitts. Cultural appropriation (vs appreciation) is a subject I’ve paid ever-increasing awareness to since becoming a knitter, and while I think most people agree there’s some grey area, I personally would like to avoid even the grey zones. Especially in this case, since the ancient term wabi-sabi, which has deep and hard-to-convey meaning, is increasingly abused and misused, and I don’t want to contribute to that. Shortly after first deciding to change it, I also ran across this blog post on use of the term, which solidified my decision.

The mitts were originally inspired by Takako Ueki’s beautiful yarn, Habu N-68, which we sell in the kits, and by my admiration for Japanese aesthetics. (The Book of Tea is a perpetual reread for me, if you’d like a recommendation!) In weighing the decision to change the name — and to what — I spoke with Takako about it and she ultimately suggested a perfect alternative: Mamoru, which means to protect. Questioning myself on this led to a treasured conversation with my friend Takako and a name I feel is an even better fit for the pattern, so they are happily henceforth known as Mamoru Mitts.

For more on cultural appropriation, I thought it was really beautifully addressed in PomPom’s interview with Emi Ito, along with the links in the footer of that post.

And with that, Elsewhere—

Major loss for the US yarn industry

Wow, a whole new way to think about finger knitting

— I LOVE the concept for He Sewed She Sewed but not so sure about Bluprint — your thoughts?

— Food for thought: “In many ways, finishing the insides of my makes is similar to taking care of my mind and body. On the outside, I can be as put together as possible, but if I’m frayed, messy and all over the place internally, my appearance is just a facade.” Discuss!

Exceptionally pretty crochet

— If you’ve ever wished for a video of my basting stitch technique: @wildandwoollyshop is here for you

Quilting advice for garment sewers — will this be the thing I need to finally try it?

— “Don’t wait to work on your wardrobe until you are the size you want to be.

— and This. Sweater.

Also, as I hope you know, we donate a percentage of Fringe Supply Co. revenue each quarter in an effort to pay it forward. Our Q2 donation has gone to KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) to help in their effort to provide legal assistance to children detained at the US border. If you’re looking for ways to help these children and the vitally urgent situation right now, in addition to making monetary donations, KIND’s front page lists a variety of steps you can take. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support of Fringe, which allows us to contribute to important work in this way.

With that, I’m out. I’ve got a houseful of company coming for an epic event in my husband’s life this weekend, so I’ll see you back here next week!

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PREVIOUSLY: New Field Bag + Elsewhere