New Favorites: End-of-summer Sayer

New Favorites: Sayer sweater knitting pattern by Julie Hoover

I’m in that phase where I start to wonder and speculate about when I’ll be able to wear something that falls broadly under heading of Sweater. It won’t be too much longer before I can dust off my little cotton-mix sweatshirt vest and eventually even my wool waistcoat-style vests. I live in a land where “summer sweater” isn’t really a thing, but a little early-fall sweater tee is! Which brought me to this recent Julie Hoover pattern for Purl Soho, Sayer. It’s a simple little stockinette tank/vest knitted in their Cattail Silk, and it can be worn with the V either in the front or the back. It looks lovely either way on the model, but for me I would love it worn in the back. And it occurs to me I still have enough Linen Quill (one of my favorite yarns against my skin, given to me by Purl a couple years ago) to knit myself one, which would be amazing. If autumn holds off as long as it did last year, there may even be time! Come winter, I might even be tempted to wear it as a twinset with this.

.

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Summer bags, big and small

Hot Tip: Don’t panic

Hot Tip: Don't panic

I wish I had a logbook of every time I’ve ever thought there was something horribly wrong with my knitting, only to realize it’s actually totally fine. Sometimes these occurrences are more phantom than others — like the time (during my first year) I had cast on for a sweater and there was something off about my ribbing. The multiple wasn’t working out but my cast-on math was correct and my stitch count matched, so it seemed literally impossible for there to be anything wrong, and yet there was. I looked at it over and over, counting and recalculating. I showed it to Meg, who did the same. Neither of us could make any sense of it, and yet it seemed clearly, undeniably wrong. Until the next morning, when I looked at it again and couldn’t even figure out why I thought it was off — there was literally no problem.

On the other hand, sometimes the “problems” are quite plainly right in front of me, in three robust dimensions. Like, oh, these raglans. After I blocked the yoke at the end of the first two bands of double seed, there was a tiny whiff of a notion that something might be a little wacky. But I blithely put it back on the needles and kept knitting, with it bunched up on a smaller-circumference circular for those last long rounds, like you do. The other night, I made it to the division round and could finally lay it out flat and take a look at what I’d wrought, and OH MY GOD WHAT IS UP WITH THESE RAGLANS!! The sweater seemed to think I had a little bonus boob at each raglan seam and was perfectly shaped to accommodate them. For a few minutes, I was holding my breath, hand over mouth, trying to think what could possibly have gone wrong and just how far I would need to rip to fix it.

But I have a rule: Do not panic. And above all, DO NOT RIP. If something seems off, I set it down — preferably overnight — and at least half the time, I find it was a moment of temporary insanity on my part. There’s literally nothing wrong. A good portion of the other half of the time, it’s not nearly as grave as it might seem. With these raglans, I had to think it was some weird result of where the increases ended combined with the mitering of the fabric at the raglans and the upper part being blocked and the lower part not. That all of that was just creating a temporary buckle. Or at least, I had to hope — and to find out for sure before I hot-headedly ripped anything out.

So I put it on waste yarn and into the wash, the same as the upper part had done. And I hoped that it would even out in the wash. That is the other lesson that must never be forgotten in times of don’t-panic: Blocking is magic. The upper and middle left images are Before; the middle right and lower images are After.

I’m pretty sure the raglans are fine and the four stray peaks will not reappear, but there is a chance now that I’ve gotten carried away and made it too big! Still not panicking and not ripping. I won’t know for sure until I knit a bit farther on the body and at least one sleeve. So that’s what I shall cool-headedly do …

.

PREVIOUSLY in Hot Tips: Take a selfie

Instant sweater No. 2

Instant sweater No. 2

Do you remember back in January, when I told you a story that started like this:

Last week, my friend Meg and I were at a dinner party at a semi-fancy restaurant. We were seated at opposite ends of a long table and I heard almost nothing of what was said down there all night … except at some point I became suddenly very tuned into Meg saying something about how she never wears the Big Rubble sweater she knitted several years ago (and later modified to a crewneck). You probably don’t remember me going on about this one back then, or more specifically, about how I wanted to be the kid in the kids’ version. Anyway, it was like one of those scenes in a movie where the protagonist is in the middle of some crowded, noisy scene and the camera zeroes in on their ear, which is isolating a single voice from among the din. Or maybe I have some kind of knitter’s sonar. Whatever, I heard her say it. Naturally what happened next is I politely shouted to the other end of the table “CAN I HAVE IT?” Being the best friend a girl could ask for — and a knitter who doesn’t like to see her efforts go to waste — she shouted back “YEAH.” After which I asked for another sweater from her collection, which she also said yes to and I’ll tell you about later.

Um, yeah. It’s her Amanda cardigan, from the original Fringe and Friends Knitalong, which I had always coveted. So now it’s my Amanda cardigan. You might remember that back in October I had auctioned off the Amanda I had knitted to raise money for Puerto Rico. So the fact that Meg’s came into my possession three months later is pretty damn amazing.

When I brought it home, I put it into my blocking bin on the shelf in my sewing room, which is where I put sweaters in need of some attention. I’m planning to give it a little fluff up and either remove or change out the buttons (for something a little smaller). It’s one of several sweaters needing a tiny bit of TLC before sweater season kicks in, and starting to work my way through that stack feels like the perfect way to prepare for Fall and assure myself it will eventually come!

Thanks again, Meg!

.

PREVIOUSLY: Instant sweater No. 1

Q for You: Would you rather knit the sleeves or the body?

Q for You: Would you rather knit the sleeves or the body?

A few years ago, my now-pal Anna Dianich and I launched a funny little project we called the Tag Team Sweater Project. We had gotten into a discussion about how she dreads knitting sleeves whereas I dread the body. (We both love the yoke.) So I suggested a swap: We each picked a bottom-up sweater pattern; I knitted all four sleeves; she knitted both bodies; and then we were each responsible for our own sweaters from the underarm join on up. That sprang to mind the other night as I was working on my current top-down yoke* and started thinking “Then I get to knit the sleeves (fun!) … and then the body (ugh).

“I’m stuck on sleeve island” is one of the most common refrains among sweater knitters, and I just don’t get it! Sleeves are inherently short, quick rows — especially if they’re knitted flat (including top-down flat sleeves) — which means visible progress, and there’s something to do along the way. (Regular increases or decreases, in nearly all cases.) But the body, to me, is just this long, dull slog — especially if it’s done in one piece. (For pieced sweaters, none of this seems to even come into play.) Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who feels that way. So that’s my Q for You sweater knitters today: Do you prefer to knit the sleeves or the body? If all sweaters were Tag Team sweaters, which team would you be on?

IN SHOP NEWS: Two of our most popular items this summer — the “Bury me with yarn and needles …” tote and the Fringe knitters tool kit — and both back in stock over at Fringe Supply Co!

Happy weekend, everyone. I’m hoping to be knitting sleeves by Monday!

*OMG, you guys, I honestly wonder I’m ever going to get to the separation round on this thing! It’s been so slow going, and when I finally got to what I had calculated would be the separation round, I double-checked my gauge to make sure it matches my swatch. It’s WAY more compact, so I’m still going …

.

PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: Do you sew tags in your handmades?

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

It wouldn’t be Summer of Basics if it weren’t wildly inspiring and impossible to pull highlights from! But I’ve declared myself the lone juror this year (note to self: don’t do that again), so choose I must! For July, I’d said I’d be looking for progress and how well you shared it, and I’ve only been able to narrow it down as far as FOUR winners. For more on each of them and what they’re making, click through to their respective Instagram feeds. And truly, the whole #summerofbasics feed is full of people pushing themselves and making great clothes, so please check it out if you aren’t already following along.

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

@saltairarts (above)
I mentioned last month that I was really struck by how thoughtful Megan’s choice of garments was — essentially she’s replacing things she has had and loved in the past, knowing they’re sure to be long-lived wardrobe heroes — and since then I’ve also really enjoyed how beautifully she’s documented her projects at each step along the way.

. . .

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

@mkfwilliams
Having become a mother and also recently relocated to Colorado, Meredith is using the challenge to create pieces that suit her new life/style. She’s also a knitter taking on sewing by tackling three sewn pieces in order of progressive complexity, alongside a knitted cardigan. And again, she’s been sharing it all along the way, from the oopses to the hoorays.

. . .

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

@productbyprocess
Another knitter building up her sewing skills — working through the trial-and-error of bust dart placement and advancing to more challenging things. I’d been noting her projects as they streamed through the feed, and didn’t realize until I clicked to her profile to compile this that she’s Parikha Mehta. Parikha’s blog was a favorite of mine in my first few months as a knitter, and she very soon after stopped blogging to concentrate on photography. So on top of admiring her SoB projects, I’m so thrilled she’s on Instagram and is sharing her makes again!

. . .

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

@rarelyidle
As with so many people in these makealongs — and my favorite thing about doing them — Gabrielle’s tagged posts drew me into her whole feed, and I really enjoyed “getting to know” her, along with seeing what she’s making and how it’s going so far.

Congratulations to the four makers featured above — you’ve each won a Fringe Porter Bin in the color of your choosing.* Please email contact@fringesupplyco.com with your color choice and your mailing address!

. . .

And for the random blindfold scroll-and-tap winners from July, they are @kleverknitsdesigns, @handwashdryflat and @barbaramaeshaw. The three of you have each won a Fringe canvas tool pouch! Please email contact@fringesupplyco.com with your mailing address to collect your prize.

August’s winners (prizes TBD) will be all about the three finished garments and how well you’ve shared them. So keep those #summerofbasics posts coming!

*An $85 value. No substitutions and cannot be redeemed for cash.
**A $24 value. No substitutions and cannot be redeemed for cash.

.

PREVIOUSLY in Summer of Basics: June winners — the Planners

Elsewhere

Link list for fiber and textile lovers

Happy Friday! Oh wait, that’s not right. But happy last blog post of the week! And sorry about forgetting to actually hit publish on yesterday’s until mid-morning — thanks to Kate for telling me it wasn’t up. Oy! There’s a ton of exciting stuff happening at Fringe HQ right now — from fall blog events to new goods coming down the pike — and I’ve decided to take a two-day break from blogging while I concentrate on getting all these other ducks into their respective rows. But I’m leaving you with plenty of links to dig around in, and I’ll be back to blogging for Monday!

– In case anyone missed the late note on Monday’s post, there’s now a video version of my folded neckband tutorial saved at the top of the @fringesupplyco Instagram profile (the written version is here)

Good news and bad news with regard to how our clothes/fabrics are dyed (Related: Stony Creek Colors US-grown natural indigo dye is now easy to get!)

– And speaking of natural indigo: Wow, wow, WOW

– Excellent summary of 9 ways to take a conscientious approach to your wardrobe

Sienna’s handmade travel wardrobe is awe-inspiring

This beautifully drawn queue makes me want to resume my Fashionary one

Great interview with Jen Hewett about perfectionism, diversity and so much more

Felix might be the dress for me

Karyn has me considering a cut-and-sew cardigan

Want to invest in a yarn dye house?

Wear smiley-face overalls?

Hang a fringe chandelier in your bathroom?

It’s your life, friends — do your thing!

.

PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere

Top photo © Karen Templer; bottom photo © A Verb for Keeping Warm

SaveSave

SaveSave

New Favorites: Yoke fever

New Favorites: Yoke fever

Summertime, and the killer winter yoke sweater patterns are coming at us! Before I’ve even had a chance to obsess about possible colors for knitting Caitlin Hunter’s adorable Tecumseh from the spring, I’m already drooling over these gems:

ABOVE, TOP: Wool & Honey by Andrea Mowry puts whole ‘nother spin on yoke decoration

ABOVE, BOTTOM: Encompass by Carrie Bostick Hoge shows how effective simple can be (And you could tweak a Laurus Hat to match!)

BELOW: Umpqua Sweater by Caitlin Hunter is the bold one of the mix, with “cutout” motifs in wide bands of color

New Favorites: Yoke fever

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Carbeth coat