Quick Knits: Fingerless mitts

Quick Knits: Fingerless mitts (gift knitting ideas and free patterns)

Next up in this week’s short series of quick gift-worthy knits: fingerless mittts! My favorite snack-sized knitting. Mitts are beloved by all (or at least most!), although they can be a little more knitting than yesterday’s hats, due to there being two of them and all. But if you have a little more time—

TOP: Giving Mitts by Jenny Sauselein — look it’s right there in the name! I absolutely love these striped unisex cuties [UPDATE! And I somehow failed to notice they’re written for Lettlopi, so if you’ve got assorted balls for Solbein/Steekalong swatching, this is the perfect use for them!)

SECOND, LEFT+RIGHT: Log Cabin Mitts by yours truly — but really, what could be more perfect? They’re addictively fun to knit, the perfect use for leftovers or mix-and-match skeins, and lend themselves to an endless array of solids or color combinations (free pattern)

THIRD: McKenna by the Berroco Design Team are super-simple cable mitts at bulky gauge (free pattern)

FOURTH: Weekend Walking Mitts by Dianna Walla are a little bit more of a commitment at DK gauge but still cabled only on the back of the hand, this time with a helpful foldover top and a bit more of a wow factor (For superbulky gauge, see Dianna’s Chuckanut Drive)

If you’re really pressed for time — like Christmas Eve knitting — the cutest, quickest mitts are Hannah Fettig’s 70 Yard Mitts.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites / Quick Knits: Hats

Quick Knits: Hats

Quick Knits: Hats patterns for gift knitting

With gift-knitting season upon us and my having a backlog of eye-popping knitting patterns I haven’t squeezed into the blog yet, I decided to do a sequence of New Favorites alternatives this week: recent killer accessory patterns that also knit up quickly and would make great gifts. Starting today with hats, the ultimate unisex gift. These patterns have enough going on that they’ll be fun to knit and make an impression, but not so much as to slow you down too much!

The particular beauty of hats — or any small-scale gift knits, really — is that it’s a chance for you to have fun rotating through different techniques while you’re at it. A definite win/win—

TOP: Tamitik by Shannon Cook shot straight to the top of my hat list when I first saw it on her Instagram* — cute, simple and bulky is a perfect gift-knit combo

MIDDLE LEFT: Diamondback Hat by Mary Jane Mucklestone was on her needles when I saw her in September and it gave me instant cast-on-itis — rhythmic 2-color stranding at worsted gauge

MIDDLE RIGHT: Adam by Rachel Atkinson is a fitted cap in DK on 8s with gorgeous knit-purl patterning

BOTTOM: Pabst Blue Ribbon by Thea Colman is a striking use of cables on a simple cap at aran gauge (see also: Wild Dandelion)

You guys, I picked these thinking “slip-stitch, colorwork, knit-purl texture, cables,” something for everyone, and didn’t realize till I saw the photos together that I unconsciously assembled a collection of diamonds! But then isn’t that the ideal motif for a gift knit?

(Disclosure: Shannon has since sent me the pattern.)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Wearable superbulky

New kit + Towns in town + Elsewhere

New kit + Towns in town + Elsewhere

Hello, Friday! It’s an exciting day over at Fringe Supply Co. — we’ve got a new Stowe Bag Kit from our friends at Verb, a kit for bags so pretty that photos can’t even convey the hand-loomed khadi, naturally dyed, sashiko-stitched gorgeousness. The kit is available now in three different color/fabric combos, and we do have limited quantities of them — it would make a beautiful gift either in either kit or bag form. And it just so happens Jen at Grainline is hosting a Stowe sewalong on her blog in December!

BUT WAIT, there’s more! We’ll also have this week’s Town Bag update at 9am CT. That one’s a little tricky due to overwhelming demand, so take a second to read the notes on how it will work. And if you don’t get lucky this morning, we will have more next week! We’re doing all we can to catch up with demand, and are grateful for your patience and determination in the meantime.

We also passed the six-year mark this week, and I marked the occasion by updating our About page, if you’re new-ish here or would like to know more about the history and mission of Fringe. We’ve come a long way these past few years! And I’m so eternally grateful for your support.

Now how ’bout a little Elsewhere:

This story of a quest to make an American flannel literally brought tears to my eyes (thank you, Sarah!)

Conversely

– And back to awesome

A holiday garland I can get behind

– I’m officially not alone in my love of the dickey as all-day wear

– This week in Podcasts I’d Like Time To Listen To: Thread & Ladle

– Same goes for Gretchen Rubin on Love to Sew!

– The “Wiksten Kimono Jacket” is now the “Wiksten Haori” — cheers to Jenny for undertaking that (see also: Jamie & The Jones) and to @little_kotos_closet who was instrumental in both name changes

– Do you have a charitable knitting/crochet project? You might be able to win yarn for it

– Currently loving hats with a bit of mohair mixed in: exhibit A and exhibit B

Have a cozy weekend, everyone!

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PREVIOUSLY in Elsewhere: More comfort, more gauge range, and a spot of macramé

Winter ’18 closet inventory

Winter ’18 closet inventory

I had this notion that I could get away with not doing a closet inventory for this winter (for myself or to share) — just to say “hey, I have a few new things; recently did a whole sweater inventory; will work off last year’s mostly unworn Deep Winter Outfits (not enough deep winter last year); and here are a few new outfit ideas.” But when I got up to my elbows in trying to do that (by which I mean, up to about 2000 words), I realized too much has changed. Between my Slotober-inspired closet cleanout, some new things I’ve made this year, some of last year’s key pieces being dyed or deaccessioned, my recent Everlane staples order (itemized below), and my not being the exact same person I was a year ago (or last week), it’s really a different ballgame. I needed to do the inventory to get my head around what I’m working with. So here it is! And I’m feeling pretty good about the resonance between this and my mood board. (All-new outfits tomorrow.)

TOPPERS

Toffee cable dickey
Plum Anna vest
Black Sloper sleeveless turtleneck
Navy mod-Clyde vest (Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Jacket 2017, refashioned)
Army shirtjacket (J.Crew 2014, refashioned)
– Denim shirtjacket (J.Crew c.2003)

TEES & TOPS

– White graphic sleeveless tee (Everlane 2018, printed by me)
Grey wool muscle tee
Black silk gauze shell
– Grey and black long-sleeve tees (Everlane, new)
– Black silk tie-neck blouse (Everlane, new)
Plaid top
– Black silk smock (Elizabeth Suzann 2017, made in Nashville, no longer available)
– Chambray work shirt (secondhand)
Chambray button-up

The new little black Everlane top doesn’t look like much on the hanger, but it is so pretty and versatile. I’m as excited to wear it with a cardigan and jeans as to a fancy holiday dinner out.

PULLOVERS

Grey wool knit pullover
Grey sweatshirt
– Black sweatshirt (Everlane, new)
– Blue cashmere pullover (Everlane, new)
Ivory aran-gansey
Striped raglan
Fisherman sweater
Grey cline sweater
Charcoal sorta swoncho
Black yoke sweater

I could have sewn the two long-sleeve tees above and the black sweatshirt here (I already have the Lark Tee and Linden Sweatshirt patterns in my possession) but am happy not to have had to. The blue sweater I could also theoretically have made, but it’s about a billion stitches and I would never knit such a thing. This may be the first sweater I’ve bought since learning to knit — certainly the only one in five years or more — and it does feel soulless, but it also feels easy and warm and comfortable and greatly needed, and I expect it to be with me for a good long time. Also worth noting: The sweatshirt and sweater are both thin enough to wear like t-shirts — under cardigans and jackets — during the coldest part of the year.

CARDIGANS

Vanilla cardigan
Camel cardigan
Purple cardigan
Black cardigan
Mushroom shawl-collar

PANTS & JEANS

Natural canvas wide-legs
– Clay wide-legs (Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Culotte, made in Nashville, sample sale 2017)
– Recycled denim wide-legs
– Denim wide-legs
– Natural denim jeans (Imogene+Willie, 2016, made in LA, no longer available)
– Threadbare jeans (Old Navy c. 2013)
– Cropped jeans (J.Crew Point Sur, 2016, made in LA, no longer available)
– Other dark denim jeans

SHOES

Not pictured, but basically all I’ll be wearing the next couple of months are my boots. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed — of if I’ve ever noted — but I rely heavily on tan footwear. I typically don’t wear any colors from the warm side of the color wheel; I only wear neutrals, blues, greens and bluer purples. (The red-purple Anna Vest is the warmest thing in my closet.) So my mostly unconscious way of balancing all the cool tones is to incorporate shades of tan and camel and caramel and such, often in the way of shoes. I have sandals and flats in lovely shades of tan (and last summer went so far as to buy those amazing orange sandals!) but somehow since moving to Nashville I have only bought black boots. As much as I miss the tan effect in winter, I haven’t found the dream pair, but I finally broke down and bought the Everlane Modern Chelsea Boots in cognac, just based on how much I love my black pair. They’re not actually in my hands yet, but I can’t imagine there being anything wrong with them when they arrive.

. . .

So this is 39 garments (26 of them handmade or modified!), but in reality there are maybe 20 that will be crucial and worn on repeat, and a few that will be worn only a couple of times, whether due to weather or favoritism. For instance, there are 8 pairs of pants here, but on any given day the real question is: Am I wearing my natural wide-legs or my Point Sur jeans. Maybe I’ll do a wear count this season.

(ICYMI: How to make a closet inventory)

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PREVIOUSLY in Winter 2018 Wardrobe: Queue Check November 2018

New Favorites: Wearable superbulky

New Favorites: Wearable superbulky

Here I am in the middle of winter wardrobe planning, having gone through my mood board and gap fillers and to-knit list, on the brink of putting together some outfits and carrying on with my winter, and suddenly I am 100% distracted by these chic little superbulky raglans from Tara-Lynn Morrison of Good Night, Day. I mentioned the incredibly fabulous mixed-sleeve-stripe one in the last Elsewhere, and can’t get it out of my head, and then yesterday Tara-Lynn kindly sent me her latest ebook of her Minimalist patterns, since which time I cannot stop looking at the photos seen here: three variations on a simple top-down raglan. Top to bottom, above to below, they are Moosonee Sweater (abbreviated turtleneck), Kingston Cropped Sweater (solid or mixed-stripe crewneck) and Trefann (textured yoke).

The world is full of people hawking superbulky sweater patterns, and they often lead to garments that appear to have swallowed the wearer. Plus who has the closet space for some of those?! But what T-L gets so right is the proportions. Yes they’re superbulky (you can knit one in a day!), but the scale of them is wearable (even in my climate!) and every detail is just right — the yoke depth vs body length and sleeve proportion … they just work. And the way she’s styled them here has my name written all over it. Cozy sweater + slippery little dress + knee-high boots is one of my all-time favorite combos, and these pics are making me not only want to knit one or two of these sweaters to wear with pants and jeans right now (it’s 31 degrees as I type), but to actually dust off some of my dresses to go with them on our seasonal dissonance days. So yes, I’m slightly rethinking my day-old Queue.

New Favorites: Wearable superbulky

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the Two-Point Cowl

Queue Check — November 2018

Queue Check — November 2018

I did that thing where I convinced myself I was going to come home from my Thanksgiving road trip with nearly finished front and back pieces for Bob’s sweater vest. (Details on the pattern and yarn here.) Instead, of course, I knitted about two inches on the drive to Atlanta, an inch on the drive back, and not a stitch while we were with my family. Too many meals to prepare, kids to fling around, dominoes games to lose. But I have, at least, done my alt-gauge math and made it into the armhole shaping on both pieces, so it’s downhill from here!

Which means it’s about time to decide what I’m casting on for myself when this is done. As you know, I’ve been deliberating. And deliberating some more. Based on the notes in my mood board post last week and an assessment of my stash — as I continue to make slow but steady progress on my cleanout — I’ve got three yarns vying for my attention.

LEFT SKEIN: While I was at Tolt a few weeks ago, I bought a skein of black Luft to swatch with for another Grete, and when I got home a box arrived from my sweet friends at Woolfolk with enough to finish the job. This one is pretty much a sure thing, so very likely the next project on my needles. All there is to think about is the mods I want to make this time, beyond what I did with my first one.

MIDDLE SKEIN: The Our Yarn I’ve been saying I want to use for a Carbeth Cardigan, amplified by my trying on Shannon’s on that same trip. Shannon’s was knitted in the soft black Quarry and it really felt like a sweater that belonged in my closet, so as confident I am that I would absolutely love it in the toffee, I’m questioning whether I’ll regret not making a replica of the sweater that felt so entirely perfect to me. Especially since I also have other ideas for the toffee.

RIGHT SKEIN: The other sweater quantity in my stash that’s crying out the loudest is the YOTH Neighbor I bought at Stitches West back in February. I really love this nubbly, heathery wool and am dying to knit it up, but I’m also being mindful about my quest for less warm sweaters, which led me back to Kram, which has been on my shortlist for three years. I’m leery of these kinds of sweaters (basically triangular garments meant to sit on a square frame), so I still regret not trying on Tank’s when I had a chance at Knitting With Company two years ago, but it looked great on her and the fact that I’ve had it in mind for so long is a good sign. I’d probably need to hold this yarn triple, and believe I have just enough to pull that off, but I’m also considering holding an ivory or lighter blue with it to brighten up the color, since this is a pretty grey blue.

And then there’s the sewing queue. Writing about my wool muscle tee the other day made me think I might want to make another with the toffee-colored wool I have in stash, which was actually woven from the same yarn above. And fueled by the winter mood board, I pulled this purple fabric off my shelf. It’s a gorgeous deep eggplant with patterning in a lighter shade of lilac, woven in Thailand. I bought it a few years ago at Craft South when they had a pop-up with a woman who buys indigenous textiles on her global travels. (I can’t remember her name or brand!) I’ve been waiting for it to tell me what it wants to be, and I’m now thinking a pretty little sleeveless top of some sort. This fabric will go with every cardigan I own (including the to-be-steeked purple lopi) as well as my army and denim shirtjackets, and a little sleeveless top is of course useful year-round. I don’t know what exactly, but I’m picturing something feminine, with maybe a little gathering or pleating at the waist? If I can find the right pattern, I might have the time next weekend, and it would be my idea of a perfect little #sewfrosting project, just in time for the holidays.

(Fringe Town Bag and Lykke needles from Fringe Supply Co.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: October 2018

Winter Wardrobe problem solving

Winter Wardrobe problem solving

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking out loud here the past few weeks — have you noticed? — and think I’m very close to having a fully formed thought (lol) about how to solve the fundamental problem of my winter clothes being too warm, on the whole. Last week it felt like less of a problem: It was in the 30s and gloomy and rained like it might never stop. But this week we’re back in the 50s and 60s, the trouble zone for me. I’ve come to realize, though — in the midst of my closet cleanout — that it’s a classic case of missing connective tissue that’s fairly easily resolved. In addition to the sort of layering that the dickey has inspired, I’ve been thinking about what it means to have sweaters that are less hot, even if they are wool, which means finer gauge things, shapes that don’t hold in heat (such as the breezy Big Rubble I got from Meg), more abbreviated proportions (shorter, smaller, cropped, whatever), and — ta da — sleeveless! And we know I have plenty of sleeveless sweaters.

I wear those sleeveless things mostly when I can get away with being sleeveless, and what I’ve been missing to make them work in cooler weather is basically just long-sleeve tees, which I haven’t wanted to make — or had the time to. The other day it dawned on me there are these things called stores where you can buy clothes that are already made and ready to wear (seriously, it’s like I forgot!), so I went to Everlane and ordered a couple of skinny long-sleeve tees that will instantly change the equation considerably. But I’ve drawn up the sketches above to illustrate a few of the thoughts I’ve been having:

TOP LEFT: I made that wool knit muscle tee last year to wear under things and found it a tiny bit itchy for that purpose. I’ve since realized it’s fine with my linen sleeveless tee under it (which has become otherwise problematically thin), so it will work with cardigans and such as intended. But I also discovered it’s great over things — like the black jersey turtleneck in my closet that I never wear. It should be perfect with the long-sleeve tees en route, and an excellent opportunity to add a dickey!

TOP MIDDLE: Same goes for my two Anna Vests (black and plum), which somehow don’t feel quite like me over a button-down (although I love that on everyone else) but will be great over a long-sleeve tee. And then it’s easy to add a cardigan or shirt-jacket on top of that, weather permitting.

TOP RIGHT: Same goes for my Sloper — all it needs for extended life is the right tee! Although I do love Sloper over a button-down, and will wear it that way this year as well.

BOTTOM LEFT: This is the neck blankie situation I was postulating last week, along with a shrunken raglan sweatshirt or sweater. I have my grey sweatshirt and ordered two things from Everlane that also meet this definition, if I like them when they arrive. Otherwise (or maybe anyway) there’s another Linden sweatshirt in my future. I’m still debating the cowl but between this and yesterday’s mood board, I was inspired to pull out my eggplant State Street Cowl and take it for a spin.

BOTTOM MIDDLE: For a warmer version of the dickey situation, I was thinking about making something like a Top No. 2 in wool melton or somesuch, and realized I already have the wool knit sweatshirt thingy I made last year. I’d had that in my “maybe” pile from the cleanout and have just put it back in my closet! But still considering the other idea as well. I really like the idea of a couple of easy non-sweater pullover tops for layering with.

BOTTOM RIGHT: This is actually an outfit I wore in the cold snap last week that I want to remember: jeans, black muscle tee, dickey and cardigan. The dickey is so fantastic (obviously) under a cardigan or kimono jacket or shirt-jacket — a way to feel like I’m wearing much woolier, cozier clothes than I can actually get away with. More of that, for sure.

So those are some not-terribly-original thoughts that nevertheless lead me to a make list and some further outfit ideas, coming next week!

(Fashionary sketch templates from Fringe Supply Co.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Winter 2018 Wardrobe: Early Winter ’18 mood board