New Favorites: High school flashbacks

New Favorites: High school flashbacks

Oh look, it’s Rowan’s Martin Storey and Sarah Hatton, making their way onto my wishlist again — this time by tapping into that annual back-to-school nostalgia with a couple of sweaters that look just like things I either owned or coveted in my school days. In most cases, garments that look like they’re from my real live past make me recoil, but these are forever good:

TOP: Mayfair by Martin Storey reminds me of the lice-stitch sweater I ordered from the L.L. Bean catalog (my first-ever mail order purchase, pretty sure) and couldn’t wait for it to arrive, only to find that the ragg wool was impossible for me to wear.

BOTTOM: Longdendale by Sarah Hatton just feeds directly into my sweater vest fixation, which dates back to the day.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from Interweave Knits Fall ’15

New Favorites: from Rowan 58

New Favorites: from Rowan 58

There’s one thing and only one thing I love about July — that moment where I can feel the sands almost imperceptibly shifting. We’re far from the floodgates of Fall, but the trickle of comfy-cozy sweater patterns is beginning to begin, with Rowan 58 as a whopping example. This volume of the illustrious British mag-book contains 35 sweater patterns and 5 accessories, but these are the ones I’d buy it for—

TOP: Glacier by Martin Storey — I’m slightly dubious about the neck shaping, but those chain-link cables are to die for

MIDDLE: Alderney Cardigan by Martin Storey — perfectly proportioned and I’m surprisingly into the giant leaf pattern; I want it in black and navy!

BOTTOM LEFT: Anglesey by Marie Wallin — another for the long list of classic stranded Wallin jumpers

BOTTOM RIGHT: Colonsay by Lisa Richardson — boxy plaid jacket that is just plain cool

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Grille

New Favorites: the perfect Summer aran

New Favorites: the perfect Summer aran sweater

One night last week, we went out for ice cream at the local hotspot in my sister’s tiny coastal Florida town. Bob and I were enjoying the warmth, but the temperature must have dipped below 80 or something — the locals were all wearing jean jackets or sweaters, and you could tell they were savoring the chance. It brought to mind this Martin Storey sweater I ran across recently and can’t stop thinking about: Naxos. It’s perfectly unisex and would also work beautifully as a woolly winter sweater, but I love it in this ivory cotton, pictured in a dreamy boatscape. Because, you know, heaven forbid there should ever be a time or a place where some form of fisherman sweater isn’t part of the equation.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Linda

New Favorites: Martin Storey’s mega cables

New Favorites: Martin Storey's mega cables

If it’s anywhere near as hot where you are as it is where I am (hooray, we finally made it to Nashville!) this photo might make you recoil. But this is one of my favorite things I saw at the trade show in May, and I’m happy to see the pattern is now published. It’s Brecon by Martin Storey and it’s somewhere between a poncho and a cardigan, which I would expect to hate, but I love it. Or at least I remember loving it. Based on my reaction to it at the time, I feel certain I’ll be longing to knit and wear it once the temperature starts to dip. But it is kind of hard to imagine at the moment.

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SPEAKING OF MY MOVE, things continue to not go as planned (which I guess I should have expected) so shipping is going to continue to be not-quite-daily for the time being. I’ve got a note at the top of the webshop about next projected ship date(s) and will keep that up for as long as it’s sporadic. Back to normal soon! (Or else somebody please shoot me.) But thank you to everyone for your patience in the meantime.

2013: My favorite New Favorites and your favorite posts

Best of New Favorites: Sweater patterns

You know there has to be some reflection and projection here as the calendar flips over from 2013 to ’14, starting with the patterns that caught my attention over the course of the year. Pretty much every week, under the heading of New Favorites, I post about the patterns that I not only like or admire but that make my fingers twitch with the urge to cast on — whether it’s great new releases, a designer who’s caught my eye, or some gap in my wardrobe or skill set I’m thinking about filling. Clearly I’m fickle, and some are more passing fancies than others. But some of these picks burrow into my brain and simply demand to be knitted. Here are the ones I’m still fixated on — I hope to cast on at least some of them in 2014.

SWEATERS
top left: Stonecutter pullover by Michele Wang (Pattern of the Year, as far as I’m concerned)
top right: Dwell cardigan by Martin Storey
bottom left: Trillium cardigan by Michele Wang
bottom right: Rook pullover by Kyoko Nakayoshi

Best of New Favorites: Fingerless gloves

FINGERLESS GLOVES
Antiquity mitts by Alicia Plummer

Best of New Favorites: Scarf/shawl patterns

WRAPS
left: Flying Squirrel stole by Michiyo
right: Imposter’s Shawl by Amber Corcoran

Best of New Favorites: Sock patterns

SOCKS
left: Climb socks by Jane Richmond
right: Cream socks by cabinfour

The hats I am most persistently obsessed with were both mentioned on the blog, but neither of them in New Favorites. They are the Bray Cap by Jared Flood and Gwyneth by Leah McGlone.

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And speaking of favorites, here are the ten posts that attracted the most views over the course of 2013:

1. How to improvise a top-down sweater
2. Holiday knitting cheat sheet: A hat for every head
3. Best summer sweater knitting patterns
4. Double Basketweave Cowl (free pattern)
5. New Favorites: Simply Great Cowls
6. Scarves to start now
7. Wabi Mitts (free pattern)
8. Fast, easy and warm: Jumbo Stitch Cowls collection (free patterns)
9. Knitter’s Delight: Beautifully textured hats
10. Holiday knitting cheat sheet: Cowls all around

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Q for You: What are your favorite knitting pattern books?

Best knitting pattern books

This Q for You comes from rachelalise in the comments, who is looking for recommendations on the best knitting pattern books:

I have an (unrelated) question for you and your most wise readers as I work out my Christmas list: do you have any favorite pattern *books* that a knitter should own? I realize that I almost exclusively knit from online patterns purchased one-off, and I’d love to build a collection of books that I can return to that contain patterns. (I have a good set of what I guess I’d term “technique books,” and all the most wonderful EZ books, but nothing else that is exclusively dedicated to patterns.)

I’m rather in the same boat and share her curiosity. For me, in my admittedly narrow experience, there aren’t a lot of books that have enough good patterns in them to warrant the cover price. So I have only invested in a few. Here are the ones I’m happiest to have bought, in no particular order:

1. The Knitter’s Book of Wool by Clara Parkes. Not “exclusively dedicated to patterns” — it’s about half education and half patterns, but both halves are well worth owning. (I believe the same is true of her Knitter’s Book of Yarn, but I loaned it to someone and never got it back, so can’t say for sure.)

2. More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson is the book that made me a knitter, and it is just wall to wall with excellent patterns.

3. Pom Pom Quarterly is like a really good pattern book that happens to be sold in installments.

4. Pioneer by Martin Storey. They may be classified and sold as periodicals, but the one-off editions of Rowan are actually slender, beautifully produced, paperback books. This volume (which I originally raved about here) contains more patterns I want to knit than any other bound object on my shelf.

5. Knitting by Design by Emma Robertson. Just published a few weeks ago, and I haven’t had a lot of time to spend with it. It’s very young and bright and funky, not designed or photographed like any other knitting book out there, but contains several wildly adaptable patterns. E.g., a knitted tank sweater happens to be white and dip-dyed, but you could make that tank a million different things by changing the yarn/color, dyeing it or not, etc. Same with the colorblock mittens, the adorable vest, etc.

6–8. Knit One Knit All, Knitter’s Almanac and Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann. It takes a little imagination to see how some of EZ’s garments and accessories can look modern, but they can. I did a riff on this in Street styling Elizabeth Zimmermann (a year ago today! how weird), but just look at Abigail Chapin in her light grey Icelandic Overblouse (from Knit One Knit All), which is just like EZ’s original and looks perfectly current.

Those are the ones I’m most likely to knit from, although when it comes time to browse patterns, I do turn to my PDFs. I’ll also mention that one book I really want but don’t own yet is Fair Isle Style by Mary Jane Mucklestone. So let’s hear it, please: What are your favorite knitting pattern books?

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PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: How do you join a new ball of yarn?

New Favorites: Martin Storey’s pioneers

Martin Storey's Pioneer sweater pattern collection from Rowan

How did I miss this? Apparently in July (!) a new Rowan collection by Martin Storey came out, called Pioneer, aimed right at my Midwestern-farm-stock heart. If you’re reading this and own or work in a yarn store that has a copy of this available, will you please let me know? It’s crazy-making to me that Rowan collections — much less individual patterns — can’t be bought in digital form. (Although my bank account is glad of it.) But this is one little Rowan booklet I definitely need to have.

TOP LEFT: Shelter cardigan, amazing long, cabled, pocketed cocoon to live in

TOP RIGHT: Wilderness pullover, would you look at that crazy texture?

MIDDLE LEFT: Dwell, and I will be dwelling on this until it is MINE

MIDDLE RIGHT: Crockett pullover and Quilt cardigan, both available in his and hers versions

BOTTOM LEFT: Almanac cardigan, beautifully shaped in front, giant feather in back

BOTTOM RIGHT: Homeland, that hip detail is gorgeous

You can see 14 patterns at Rowan or Ravelry. Really magnificent stuff.

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