In my first couple of years as a knitter, I had an idea for a book I wanted to do (I think I’ve told this story before) — a collection of patterns that would gradually build up your skills if you worked through them in order. Then Tin Can Knits put out The Simple Collection, which is wonderful and similar but also super different, and I abandoned the idea. I’d forgotten all about it until I saw the bit of simple brilliance my pals over at Kelbourne Woolens came up with for their new yarn, Germantown, which you’ve already heard me raving about. Dubbed “Building Blocks,” it’s three patterns that each encompass three variations on an accessory, of escalating difficulty. The Hats are just plain stockinette, then add a ribbed brim, then rib all over. But the Scarves take you from garter stitch to striped ribbing to cables, and the Mittens encompass stockinette, textured stitch and colorwork. Of course, the hats and mittens also introduce you to shaping, and the beauty of mittens is you can leave the tops off to make fingerless mitts, for even more variations. If you’re like me and like knitting simple things — especially at worsted gauge — they’re great little patterns to have in your arsenal, no matter how long you’ve been knitting.
(If anyone’s wondering, I have no stake in this yarn or anything — I just really like it!)
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Woolfolk does colorwork
Woolfolk released a new pattern collection that is 100% colorwork and 600% gorgeous. Dubbed Earth Elements, you can scroll through the whole gorgeous lookbook here, it’s six patterns with his/hers and other variations that make it seem like more. I love all three of the sweaters — Mane, Krater and especially the cropped pullover Klippe, with its textured yoke. And then there’s that lovely hat, Dele. Major swooning over here.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Those collars
There are two new cardigan patterns in the world that are making me reevaluate my (eternally conflicted) position on this kind of collar — does it have a name?
TOP: Ridgeline Wrap Cardigan by Purl Soho caused my jaw to hit the desk when I opened the newsletter. In this case, the big wide collar also comes with that cascading front action that I’m normally slightly allergic to, but somehow here the whole thing just works beautifully — and is such a perfect marriage of yarn and garment, too.
BOTTOM: Henning by Mary Anne Benedetto is a dramatic cardigan of swooping cables, with an even more dramatic collar, and looks like so much fun to knit. The thing is, it could be either super cozy or super irritating. I absolutely love it in this photo and want it to be just as it looks here, properly seated around her shoulders, but the other photos make it look like might be a slip-slider, so I’m hoping for a chance to try on the sample one day!
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Way back to school sweaters
When Dianna pointed out to me that the motif used on that mysterious and enticing Delta promo sweater was common in Cowichan sweaters, while that sweater is clearly not Cowichan, it got me wondering if Mary Maxim might have had something to do with it. You know, Mary Maxim — the Canadian company famous for the sporty, brightly colored, pseudo-Cowichan sweater jacket patterns of the mid-20th century and beyond. (Such as this and this and this.) Which of course sent me down the rabbit hole of their vintage men’s knitting patterns. Variously questionable Cowichan derivatives aside, there’s some really great stuff — from cardigans fit for Darrin Stevens and Mr. Rogers (honestly, that could be the pattern his mom used) to all kinds of great cable sweaters and so on. And these men’s sweater jackets I want for myself:
TOP: No. 1434BV reminds me that I’m always saying I want to knit a little bomber-jacket style cardigan; and I love the slant pockets on this
BOTTOM LEFT: No. 1449V has the Cowichan-style collar and zip front, but what I most love is the scale of the diamonds on this, or …
BOTTOM RIGHT: No. 1448V is even more graphic, and with just the little bomber collar
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Way back to school sweaters
It’s in the nearly-Fall air anyway, I know, but there have been some sweater patterns hitting Ravelry lately that are highly reminiscent of my school days and are giving me that back-to-school feeling in an extra big way—
TOP: Breakwater Beach Vest by Irina Anikeeva would have had me pleading with my mother to buy it for me then, and has me twitching to cast on now
MIDDLE: Varma (Unicolor) and Varma (Three Colors) by Sari Nordlund — do I have to choose?
BOTTOM: ボーダーセーター from Daruma is Japanese, alas, but so perfectly 1980s meets French navy sweater (and I love the allover aqua/white stripe version as well)
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: End-of-summer Sayer
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
Back in April, I wrote about two Wool and the Gang raffia projects I still haven’t stopped fantasizing about, and they’ve since added more raffia projects that look super satisfying. Big round retro raffia bags are a bit on trend at the moment, and the new In A Dream Bag (above, bottom) hits that mark. (@sister.mountain made a beautifully lined one for Summer of Basics.) But I’m even more tempted by the smallest-scale project, the Money Honey Clutch (above, top). It looks simple enough for a lifelong crochet novice like me!
Unrelated: I’m working on picking the prize winners from the July #summerofbasics feed! To be announced very soon, hopefully tomorrow!
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Yoke fever