WIP of the Week No.6 (and more!)

WIP of the Week No.6 (and more!)

The penultimate WIP of the Week award is going to Paige Sato, who is @purlingpaige on IG and purlgurl on Ravelry (and runs the Christmas at Sea program) and has been one of the Top-Down Knitalong standouts from the very first moment. I honestly was a little worried about Paige’s sweater at first. She was doing a circular yoke and short rows and colorwork and all sorts of stuff I knew I would be no help with if it didn’t go exactly right on the first try. It didn’t, of course — because creating things from scratch almost always takes some trial and error — and Paige also decided to complicate her complications! After beginning the yoke, she decided she wanted to add a steek for a half-zip neck, which threw off her math. I got more and more nervous as she tweaked and tweaked but she was completely unfazed, and before long she had this amazing yoke going on and a huge smile on her face. This sweater is ambitious and is turning out SO AMAZING. Check her feed for the whole delightful creative process she’s been through with it. And did I mention she stopped in the middle to whip up a pink cowl-neck sweater for a friend’s birthday? Incredible, Paige. So you’ve won 8 skeins of Arranmore in the color of your choosing — please drop me an email with your selection(s) and mailing address! Thank you Kelbourne Woolens for this week’s amazing prize!

Next week is the last week I’ll be handing out bonus prizes, although we’re still knitting and there’s no deadline! No pressure. I actually have TWO prizes to hand out next week! The first is 7 skeins of Father from YOTH Yarns (the yarn Jess is using for her fafkal sweater, and which I’m a huge fan of) in the in-stock color of the winner’s choosing. And the second is 15 skeins of Range from A Verb For Keeping Warm in either Lighthouse or Quartz, which I’m insanely jealous of. Coincidentally, both are US-grown and milled yarns, and both Rambouillet! I’ll be picking the winners for next Friday, so keep those sweater pics and stories coming, using #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 and the comments here to share!

SHOP NEWS

Veg-tan leather wrist ruler — only at Fringe Supply Co.!

I saw my friend Andrea Rangel at the trade show last summer and she was wearing an awesome leather ruler bracelet and I wanted it! For me and for you, but I wanted it to be natural veg-tan leather with a brass button stud, and thankfully the makers agreed to do that just for us! Mine hasn’t left my wrist since they arrived, and you can get yours today exclusively at Fringe Supply Co. And we’ve also restocked a bunch of bestsellers this week, so hop on over and take a peek.

MICRO ELSEWHERE

And once again this week, I have just one link for you but a really good one — it’s Stacy London (of What Not to Wear fame) on the weirdness [I know first-hand] of being and dressing 47 in 2016, [Here’s the part where I edited out a bunch of stuff I said on a sticky subject with not enough time to word it carefully so] I look forward to your thoughts on Stacy’s article!

And if you’ve run across any other great links lately, please share them in the comments!

Happy weekend, everyone — thank you for reading!

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: I’m joining the start-over club!

Best of Spring 2017: New York

Best of Spring 2017: New York

I’m trying something a little different this season: looking at the fashion week collections city by city (as I fall inevitably behind). Starting where it starts: New York. The NY Spring 2017 collections are an especially odd hodgepodge this time around — running the gamut from sporty to ’70s psychedelic to goth, with no particular through-line other than an inordinate number of white dresses. I’m into the flirty little cropped fisherman sweater at Tory Burch, intrigued by the space-dyed onesie (or is it a sweater and pants?) under crinoline-like skirts at À Détacher, and puzzled by the three’s-a-trend situation of pullovers with button-up sleeves worn unbuttoned, as seen at A.L.C., Michael Kors and Lacoste. Ok, that last one looks like snap-on sleeves worn unsnapped at the raglans — but still!

As far as Bests go:

ABOVE: I’m crazy about lots of other things about the A.L.C. collection — a brilliant meld of sporty and flirty — including the black ribbed sweater dress over wide pants and shrunken striped turtleneck. And then there’s that last look, which my brain sees as a simple stockinette pullover in ash Kestrel, paired with some Liberty-print Purl Soho City Gym Shorts.

BELOW: Great little sleeveless, boxy, cabled number at M.Patmos.

Best of Spring 2017: New York

New Favorites: For Bob (or himever!)

New Favorites: For Bob (or himever!)

My favorite thing about the Brooklyn Tweed Fall ’16 collection that came out last week are these three men’s sweaters, which I assess in terms of their Bob-ability:

TOP: Tamarack by Jared Flood is the sweater equivalent of my husband’s favorite shawl-collar sweatshirt, and very likely the next sweater I knit for him (with scaled-down pockets)

BOTTOM LEFT: Carver by Julie Hoover is spare enough in its overall cable-y texturedness that I might be able to coax him into it

BOTTOM RIGHT: Auster by Michele Wang is the sweater I hope to get him into once he’s comfortable in his Carver

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: The solace of hats

Knit the Look: Deepest, blackest turtleneck

Knit the Look: Deepest, blackest turtleneck

So I’ve been working on a sleeve of my Channel Cardigan and have developed a pretty serious obsession with the “half brioche” stitch that forms the pronounced rib portion of the overall stitch pattern. There’s something crazy satisfying about working those stitches, and I love the texture of it. After seeing Jen’s revised knitalong swatch using this stitch, I almost decided to copy her for my fafkal do-over! Then last night I was cruising Vanessa Jackman’s blog and ran into this photo of a girl in a black turtleneck with a pronounced rib stitch that looks a lot like brioche or half brioche! Luscious. So to emulate it, all you need is the Improv top-down tutorial, the half brioche stitch (below), and some gooshy, deeply black yarn. For this scale, I’m thinking maybe Quince and Co. Osprey (aran weight) in Crow. For the turtleneck, pick up stitches as for a crewneck and work in 2×2 rib for that slight contrast with the sweater body. (When knitting a turtleneck, I like to pick up stitches with a needle two sizes smaller than the main fabric and work half the height of the neck — i.e., to the fold — then go up one needle size for the rest. So the outer part is slightly larger than the inner part.)

HALF BRIOCHE WORKED FLAT:

RS: *p1, k1 below; repeat from *; p1
WS: knit

HALF BRIOCHE WORKED IN THE ROUND:

Row 1: *p1, k1 below; repeat from *; p1
Row 2: purl

See Vanessa’s original post for more pics of this sweater.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Nastya Zhidkikh’s sexy little pullover

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Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

I’m joining the start-over club!

I'm joining the start-over club!

It’s funny what a photo can show you. When I took the pic for last week’s blog post of my yoke laying flat, it was to accompany my paragraph about how I was chugging along exactly as planned. But what I noticed as I was posting it was (despite all my planning about how to get the stitch pattern to align correctly at the front neck) I had completely neglected to worry about how the stitch pattern aligned at the raglan seams. As a person who struggles with perfectionist tendencies, it’s funny that I didn’t notice or think to worry about it sooner, and it’s impossible to ignore now that I’ve seen it. So all last week I struggled with it. You’ve all made an incredible impression on me — all of the fearlessness and determination and good-natured ripping that’s been going on in the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 — and so there’s no way I was going to leave it. I didn’t even mind the idea of ripping back and restarting, in principle, but what was bothering me all last week as I thought about it was that I didn’t want to start this sweater over.

For me to knit an ivory cable sweater that isn’t the Aran sweater I’ve been talking about for the last five years is just silly. (I’ve already knitted a cardigan instead of that longed-for pullover.) And I also don’t think it’s the very best use of the Pebble, which is too good to waste on the wrong stitch for it. But with Slow Fashion October upon us, I’m more mindful than ever about not knitting a sweater just to knit it, or because it might be a cute sweater, or because there’s a knitalong going on. I’m determined to only to make garments that both A) I desperately want to exist an B) will have a distinct impact on my overall wardrobe. This ivory cable sweater was meeting neither of those criteria. So I listened to my apathy and decided to scrap it — and it truly felt like a #rippingforjoy decision, as Felicia calls it. The question was: What to do instead?

I spent several days pondering it, going back to my original thought of a light-colored, lightweight, lightly textured pullover, looking through the blog and Pinterest and stitch dictionaries seeking inspiration for what to do with this ivory yarn, and coming up empty. I kept finding myself wanting to incorporate a second color — a pinstripe? Mosaic stitch pattern? Stranding of some kind? Saturday night I found myself pawing through my stash bin, and my hand kept going to the two skeins of black Pebble in there. Karen, focus! Ivory Pebble, not black. Frustrated, I literally laid down on the floor of my little workroom, stared at the blank ceiling, and asked myself what my closet was really missing. Again my mind went to that black yarn and the idea of stripes. STRIPES! Not just any stripes — black and ivory awning stripes, à la Debbie Harry. I hopped up and pulled up the Fall ’16 Mood board I’d recently made to look for that photo I’ve loved for ages, and found it and a Jenni Kayne striped tee sharing space on the inspiration board I’d been neglecting to consult. The answer was right there the whole time.

And I have to tell you, the instant I settled on it, I could not wind that yarn and cast on fast enough. (I even already had a swatch!) The yarn is so happy now — the fabric is amazing! — and this is a sweater I cannot wait to be wearing.

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Speaking of things photos show us, Jen also made a decision prompted by her photo for last week’s post. Fisherman’s rib in-the-round is sort of like garter stitch — it leaves a mark where you switch from knitting on one round to purling on the next. She hadn’t noticed it was causing two of the ribs to sit awkwardly close together until she took that pic of Jon wearing it. So after some discussion and deliberation and swatching, she’s settled on “half-brioche” which is a version of fisherman’s rib that includes a resting row, which should obviate the issue. I love her new swatch even more than what she had going — and the hope is it will also eat less yarn, be less onerous knitting, and lead to a less heavy garment. So we’re both starting over!

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

WIP of the Week No.5 (+ mandatory Slotober reading!)

WIP of the Week No.5

I truly can’t say enough about how life-affirming it is to read through the discussions on all of the sweaters in the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 feed every day. (And “life-affirming” is not a term I use often — or maybe ever!) The knitting world is an amazing place, but the support and advice and encouragement here exceeds anything I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t be more wowed by you all. The sweater that impressed me the most this week and is thus earning the title of WIP of the Week is the cardigan (pictured above) by Brigit, who is @thewoolwitch on IG and themistwitch on Ravelry. Brigit set out to make a coat-like cardigan in lopi, and has been sharing generously every step and decision along the way. She patiently knitted and seamed a vertical button band to match the length of this garment, then she put it on and posted pics, asking openly whether or not she’d gotten the fit right. And when the majority opinion was that the sleeves were too large for her small frame and making the whole thing look too big for her (“tragically-too-large” rather than “cool-girl-oversized”, as she put it), without seeming to even bat an eyelash she ripped out the entire thing — save the button band! — and is starting from scratch, so she can really hone every single detail along the way. As she said:

“I am so excited to have this come out right, and so excited that we are heading into Slow Fashion October because, to me, taking the time to reknit a sweater so that it fits just right is part of what slow fashion is all about. What’s the point of making your own clothes if you aren’t going to love them?”

Dude.

Brigit is far from the only one to be ripping and tweaking and improving, but I think she is the first to rip a finished KAL sweater — and all the way to stitch one. But what has impressed me most about the whole thing is her spirit and attitude. Plus that’s going to be a great sweater. So Brigit, you’ve won 10 skeins of Woolfolk’s luscious Far in the color of your choosing. Email me at contact@fringesupplyco.com to collect your prize!

I also have a little more Far to spread around this week — two bundles of three skeins each — and have picked two winners at random because there are just too many amazing entries to choose from! @kirsten_weis you’ve won three skeins in Color 16, and @borealindigo you’ve won three skeins in Color 17. Please email me so we can send your yarn!

Next week’s penultimate bonus prize is 8 skeins of Arranmore, the new Fibre Co. yarn you all know I’m dying to knit with, donated by Kelbourne Woolens (who are taunting me with those killer patterns). So keep those pics and tales and general amazingness coming!

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MICRO-ELSEWHERE: Speaking of the Kelbournes (as I call them) and of Slow Fashion October, they recently included a link in their weekly newsletter that is the single best article I’ve ever read about the problems our gluttony and cast-off-itis creates, and I’m going to link it today and repeatedly as we head into Slotober, because I think it should be mandatory reading for all clothes-wearing humans on planet Earth: No one wants your old clothes. PLEASE READ!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Did you watch Rams yet? I loved it.

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

 

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