New Favorites: Blanket temptations

New Favorites: Blanket temptations

Purl Soho, always an amazing source of killer blanket patterns, has been back at it lately. I still think if I ever knit a blanket, it will almost certainly have to happen in modular (i.e. log cabin) fashion, but these two are super tempting — and by the way both are free knitting patterns:

TOP: Nature’s Palette Blanket by Joelle Hoverson is an even more lyrical and painterly version of her long-ago Ombré Blanket but also brings to mind one of the first patterns I ever fell in love with as a knitter, their Striped Cotton Cowl. (Both discussed in this 2012 post, The other breed of colorwork.) Whereas the cowl had you holding a strand of randomly changing color along with a persistent strand of natural, the new blanket has you holding a rich range of colors together, alternating them along the way to create deep, mesmerizing color shifts.

BOTTOM: Double Knit Blanket by Jake Canton is, on the other, such a simple but effective thought — just two layers of stockinette “glued” together with a single stitch here and there — and double knitting has been on my list of things to try since the day I bought Joelle’s book as a shiny new knitter, thinking its double-knit coasters would be one of my first projects. I’ve still never done it! But think how cozy the blanket would be, and how fun to pick your colors.

Both would also be amazing knitted in wrap proportions — the blanket you get to wear everywhere.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Date night sweaters

New Favorites: Date night sweaters

New Favorites: Date night sweaters

It’s good that you guys LOVE New Favorites, because fate has given us two in a row! I have Things To Say about this whole 10×10 Challenge I’ve been doing, coming up later this week, but one thing that has been highlighted for me is how lacking my closet is on date-night clothes. Not that we go out anywhere particularly dressy or anything, but it always feels a bit weird to me to go out to dinner with my husband on a Saturday night in the exact same clothes I would I wear to work on any given morning. I’ve realized during the challenge that I pretty much wear the same silk top every time we go out, because (even though I wear it to work all the time, too) it’s the only thing I have that’s sort of soft and pretty. But that means for much of the year I’m underdressed, shivering in my chair. So I got to thinking about the possibility of knitting a date-worthy sweater or two just before the new Helga Isager book arrived at our Fringe Supply door, like an answer to a question I’d only just started to form. You can read more about the book in the webshop, but it contains at least two strong date-night contenders:

TOP: C6 (Cable 6) is knitted sideways, with cables running up the arms and across the neckline. I love the soft marl constrasting with the non-marl cuffs and waistband.

BOTTOM: SSK (Slip, Slip, Knit) is similar in many ways [edit: also knitted sideways], with elbow sleeves and an eyelet detail rather than the bolder cables. It might also be lovely in linen or a linen blend.

They’re like the winter and spring/fall counterparts to each other!

Actually, nearly all of the sweaters in the book are date-worthy. Isager has such a way with making things pretty yet not too girly for me. You can see the whole collection on Ravelry and buy the book at Fringe Supply Co.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the Staithes Gansey and how to knit one

New Favorites deluxe: the Staithes Gansey and how to knit one

New Favorites deluxe: the Staithes Gansey and how to knit one

So, the question of the moment is “How do I knit a gansey like Daniel Day-Lewis’s?” In the voluminous comments on that post, a couple of commenters mentioned Penny Straker’s 1981 knitting pattern #796 Staithes Guernsey (photo above, top), and Fiona noted there’s a similar pattern in Gladys Thompson’s book, aka Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans. Thompson’s pattern is not available for download but there is a listing in the Ravelry database, where you can see samples, and it is called Staithes Gansey (1969). I also remembered, as I started writing this post on Friday, that my friend Courtney Kelley of Kelbourne Woolens put out a very similar gansey pattern just a few years ago called Seascale (photo above, bottom), which is literally in my Ravelry Queue! And which is in the same gansey-minimal style as the DDL/Straker/Thompson sweaters — just horizontal bands of moss or double moss broken up by purl ridges.

On Saturday, I opened Kelbourne’s newsletter and saw that Courtney had included a mention of my DDL post and is offering Seascale as a free download until this Friday with the checkout code GANSEYBABES. And their new yarn Scout even comes in a deep blue-black, which is one of the hardest colors to come by. (I get asked for good navy suggestions often enough that I have “dark navy yarn roundup” on my list of blog posts to do!)

I think the vague “navy pullover” on my wish list may be taking a more distinct shape.

. . .

New Favorites deluxe: the Staithes Gansey and how to knit oneCircling back about the origins of DDL’s gansey, I’ve gotten some answers. Back in the original comments, Dianna had uncovered a men’s fashion blog that had posited that DDL’s had come from Flamborough Marine, purveyors of handknit ganseys, and they do offer a version called, you guessed it, the Staithes Gansey.* You can see the sample — the bright yellow one — halfway down this webpage, and again on page 5 of this PDF of theirs about what a gansey is. However, it differs from the one on DDL in assorted ways — the waist ribbing, the number and width of the moss bands, etc., so I thought the blog had it wrong. Then I had an email yesterday from Deb Gillanders of Propgansey, who has the details. She says the one he is wearing in the magazine is one he commissioned from Flamborough Marine to match the one that had been left to him by his father. So the one he’s wearing is not the one his father left him after all, but a recent handknit replacement, and did come through Flamborough Marine.

Gillanders, who lives in Whitby (near Staithes) and curates an annual gansey exhibit in the nearby village of Robin Hood’s Bay, also loaned three ganseys to the costume department of “Phantom Thread,” and says you can see him wearing one of them in the scene where he decides not to go dancing for New Year’s. I’ve yet to see the film, but apparently much of the early action is set in RHB, so there are all sorts of connections here. This is all very fun to know — thanks, Deb!

*I’m now deeply curious about how and why this particular sub-type of gansey is apparently commonly known as “a Staithes” and am in search of answers. So I may have more to say about all of this!

RELATED:

– Another great source of gansey knowledge, Beth Brown-Reinsel’s highly regarded book Knitting Ganseys is being republished this summer.

– And Dotty left a comment saying there are still some openings in her upcoming FisherFolk gansey-inspired retreat.

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PREVIOUSLY: Daniel Day-Lewis and wow, that gansey

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New Favorites: Raffia

New Favorites: Raffia

Summer is coming, and I am totally into this collection of super-simple crochet patterns that Wool and the Gang has released for their new yarn, Ra-Ra Raffia. I have a big trip coming up this summer (tell you about it soon!) that I need a crushable hat for, which is basically a life-long wishlist item. I do not have a head for hats, so we’ve talked before about how if I could bring myself to crochet one, maybe I could actually get it to fit me right! This perfectly plain one makes me want to give it a try:

TOP: Joanne Hat looks so chic in black and a little like an upside-down planter in natural, but the latter might be more practical

BOTTOM: Paper Gangsta is a classic crocheted market bag that, once again, is making me want to make such a thing! (For knitted options, see: Market bags)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from the Scout collection

New Favorites: from the Scout collection

New Favorites: from the Scout collection

You’ll no doubt be hearing more about this (particularly about the muslin bag full of mini-skeins I have at home, destined to become Log Cabin Mitts) but one of the things I’m most excited about right now is the second new yarn from my pals over at Kelbourne Woolens, an easygoing heathered wool called Scout. In honor of its release, they’ve published a collection of six knitting patterns, all of which are lovely, but I’m particularly heart-eyed over these two sweaters:

TOP: Rainier by Kate Gagnon Osborn is just totally stunning from first stitch to last

BOTTOM: Powell by Meghan Kelly is another case of me being a total sucker for a nice subtle chevron pattern

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Grete

New Favorites: Grete

New Favorites: Grete (dickey knitting pattern)

Quick pause in my Spring 2018 Wardrobe Planning (my workload is requiring me to space it out a bit this time around) to tell you all I’ve fallen in love with a dickey. Or should I say another dickey. When Woolfolk was teasing the pattern above, now revealed as Grete, I instantly fell for the turtleneck sweater under the camel coat. The neck itself bothers me — turtlenecks that don’t hug the neck just look like wind funnels to me, counterproductive — but otherwise it struck me as perfectly proportioned. The scale of the cables, the width of the hem ribbing, the exact spot where the hemline hits the model. Love.

So I was momentarily stunned and disappointed when I learned that it’s actually a dickey! And then I stared at it, and stared some more. Imagined it walking down some painfully cool runway, like Céline or Stella McCartney, and could see myself wanting to copy it instantly. I mean, that model looks pretty chic wearing it with just that beautiful white shirt. Could it be cool to walk around in a dickey all day, as opposed to wearing it only with a coat? Maybe so! It’s certainly one way to deal with my want of all the wool sweaters and insufficient cold weather for them!

Plus as gorgeous as it is in Luft, which is actually a wool-cotton mix I’ve been eager to sample, it could also be a great match for that beautiful bulky OUR Yarn in the shop.

I might need to knit one and give it a go. If nothing else, I would love it under my coat.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Ply by Emily Greene

New Favorites: Ply

New Favorites: Ply

When Emily Greene’s cardigan pattern Ply first showed up on Ravelry late last year, I liked it but didn’t quite love it somehow. But then at Stitches West she came walking into the booth wearing it and I was instantly convinced that I want it in my closet. It’s a pretty simple V-neck, stockinette cardigan, but the details (especially all those doubled facings and hems) make it special. Officially in my queue.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Textured mitts

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