Queue Check — November 2017

Queue Check — November 2017

My already beloved ivory cardigan is essentially finished — just waiting for me to have time to sew on the pockets and buttons — so you should be seeing it here soon. Doing the finishing on a voluminous cardigan didn’t sound like a good road-trip project when we were packing up for the recent family extravaganza, so instead I used the drive time to cast on my Cline sweater in Junegrass.* I’m so happy to finally be knitting myself a plain grey sweater, and to have this incredible yarn in my hands.

Through an act of kindness, I got to try on someone else’s Cline while I was in Denver in September, which is what made me a convert to this sweater. (More on that here.) The only change I’ll need to make is that the sleeves were several inches too short for me. They’re rather unusual sleeves, so I need to think through how best to implement a mod, which means I’ve started with the back instead of a sleeve. And as it happens, knitting a big stockinette rectangle has been the perfect thing for me here in the thick of crazy season.

All of that said, I haven’t given up the idea of casting on a big shawl-collar cardigan in a rush — there’s a red-hot debate about it raging in my brain. As I watch our forecast shift from mid-60s to low-40s in the next two weeks, I’m feeling increasingly nervous about having gone from two shawl-collars to none. I know from having knitted it once that I could cast on a Bellows with my blue Harrisville special and be wearing it by New Years’ (if not Christmas), and I would be extremely happy to have it as we roll into January. (The Sourcebook Chunky Cardigan thus being saved for another yarn, another day.) On the other hand, I have so many plates spinning in general right now that I’d rather be finishing things up, not starting new ones. Plus I might be a skein or two short on the yarn for that. Plus I don’t know how the back of my neck and that yarn get along.

Then there’s also the little matter of my planning and swatching for the Log Cabin Knitalong that kicks off in a month and a day. The smart thing to do would be to stick with the Cline and the swatching for the next month, and go straight into my knitalong project. But especially since that means going from stockinette into garter, I have a neurotic urge to cast on some cables in between! Which brings me back to those cable hats, and specifically the Bulletproof Aran Hat.

Decisions, decisions.

*Mine is from last year’s Batch One, no longer available. There’s currently a Batch Two.


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: October 2017

Queue Check — October 2017

Queue Check — October 2017

October is by far the busiest and most stressful month of the year for me, with everything that goes into having Fringe Supply Co. stocked and ready for the holidays, trying to keep up with #slowfashionoctober, travel and guests, photo shoots, and all the normal day-to-day of running the shop and the blog. I did finish the purple pullover since last month, though, and have somehow managed to make late-night progress on this big, delicious cardigan (Improv in Arranmore). I even took it on the Rhinebeck trip* with me, hoping to get deep into the second sleeve, but all I got done was the buttonband. Instead of casting on a sleeve of my grey Cline sweater by now, as I had proposed last month, my tiny alternative project has been this tweaked Stadium Hat for Bob (in the squishy smudge-colored yarn Purl Soho sent me last year), which has only a few stitches left to go.

At this point, I’m still eager about the Cline, wardrobe-wise, but I’m also desperate to be knitting something more engaging, so I’m back to pondering what will take up the shawl-collar role in my closet (after I went from two to none). I’m about 90% decided on Norah Gaughan’s Sourcebook Chunky Cardigan, and think that might be what the blue Harrisville yarn I got at Rhinebeck is destined for. So getting to knit that swatch is now the carrot at the end of my stick!

*If you fly with a Porter Bin tucked into a Woollelujah! tote, like I do, there’s no reason not to take an entire gargantuan sweater with you!


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: September 2017

Queue Check — September 2017

Queue Check — September 2017

Last month I declared that September would be finish-it month — an attempt to prevent myself from casting on anything new before doing my Fall wardrobe planning. Then I promptly cast on something new, the cardigan pictured up top (details here). I did make progress on the purple sweater (from the top-down tutorial) — just the last sleeve to knit, once the humidity goes away and I can stand to be near it. And I also finished the two tees that were awaiting their top-stitching, and ticked off a few other bits from the fix-it list. But I’ve still not lengthened the black cardigan, and I have abandoned the grey one altogether. It’s just too much apathy to bear.

So the vanilla cardigan (another Improv) is sailing right along. I’m about 7″ into the long slog of the body, another 9″ or so to go, and rather than setting it aside and finishing the sleeves first, like I often do, I’m eager to finish the whole body, the button band and possibly even the pockets before I knit the sleeves. I’ll tell you more about that down the road — still mulling the details. Happily, this spontaneous cast-on fits right into my fall/winter plans, so no regrets!

And then there’s that grey swatch up there, what? During the Summer of Basics I got a little obsessed with all the Cline sweaters everyone was making — especially this one (click to the second pic) and this one. I found out a couple of friends were casting on, and that Fancy Tiger and Drygoods Design are co-hosting a Junegrass knitalong, and I got sorely tempted. Cline is designed by my friend Julie Hoover, and it’s honestly not one that earned my affection when she first released it. It fits the model in the exact way clothes tend to hang, tent-like, on my scarecrow shoulders — the fit I spend my life in avoidance of. But then it was so cute on so many other people and I started wondering if there’s any way it might look ok on me. Through Julie’s kindness (and that of a stranger), I was able to try on a sample while I was in Denver to make jeans, and it’s surprisingly cute on me, although I’ll need to lengthen the sleeves and watch the neck width. So I came home and swatched for it with my Junegrass (batch 1; there’s now a batch 2), and I’m pretty sure that’ll be my next cast-on. (In which case I’ll be twinning with Jess!)

So much stockinette.

Happy weekend, everyone! If you require anything from Fringe Supply Co., we’re always here for you, and I’d love to hear what you’re working on!


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: Reader, I cast on


Queue Check Addendum: Reader, I cast on

Queue Check Addendum: Reader, I cast on

I’m in Denver for the weekend, at Fancy Tiger, learning to sew jeans with Heather Lou from Closet Case. I feel a million times more confident about this after my Summer of Basics makes (button-down! pants!), but still, please send positive thoughts toward Colorado! I didn’t get to pull together an Elsewhere before I left (although there are a million links that are potentially new-to-you in the scroll) but I did manage to cast about and cast on for a new project, despite my solemn vow not to start anything until I finished my WIPs. If there was an office pool on this, I hope you were smart enough to bet against me.

HERE’S THE THING! A) None of those were suitable for travel. B) I can’t knit the grey thing. I just can’t. It has to go. C) I did work on the purple sweater, finished the body, but it is still too warm (even in air conditioning) to be anywhere near lopi. So the second sleeve will have to wait a minute.

So what did I cast on? The most vanilla sweater imaginable: an ivory V-neck, stockinette, top-down cardigan. This is the sweater my closet has been missing for several years, after I said goodbye to a beloved old Chanel-ish sort of boxy ivory crewneck one I wore with everything. Plus I can’t let go of this Arranmore and have been dreaming of a cardigan ever since I knitted a stockinette swatch while working out the details on my fisherman sweater. (Ok, truthfully, I’ve been dreaming of the same thing in black Arranmore ever since finishing my St. Brendan, and actually have conversations with myself about not lenghtening my existing black cardigan and knitting the black Arranmore one longer, so I can have both!) (I have “seek help” on my to-do list for after Denver.) This will be a very plain sweater, but richly and deliciously so, and I’m also scheming about some interesting pockets, so we’ll see. The first inkling of a top-down sweater is my favorite travel project, and I’m happy to have this one with me.


– If you haven’t already done so, make sure to visit the blogs of Kelbourne Woolens, Grainline Studio and Fancy Tiger Crafts to see who won all the #summerofbasics prizes (in addition to the prizes I announced on Tuesday) and what the Kelbourne/Grainline/Fancy ladies made!

– I did hear back from Dress for Success of Houston and they are currently seeking not just women’s workplace-appropriate clothing, always, but also casual wear for Harvey recovery. (They’re doing a clothing drive tomorrow including kids’ and men’s clothes as well, but I’m not clear on whether they’re accepting those things after today.) Please make sure they’re clean, presentable, no holes or buttons missing or anything like that, and send to Dress for Success, 3310 Eastside Street, Houston TX 77098.

– And we’ve restocked a bunch of bestsellers that sold out during the recent SPLC fundraiser: bonsai scissors, wooden gauge rulers, bone repair hooks, many of the Bento Bags, Knitters Graph Paper Journal, Stowe Bag patterns, nearly all sizes/lengths/parts of the Lykke Driftwood needles …. the list goes on, and you can find all of that and more over at Fringe Supply Co!

I hope you, too, are doing something fun and challenging this weekend! I’m sure I’ll be sharing liberally about my jeans workshop on Instagram @karentempler for the next three days. Keep an eye on my Story, especially.

(Lykke Driftwood needles from Fringe Supply Co.)


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: August 2017

Queue Check — August 2017

Queue Check — August 2017

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that (while fretting about my Texas relatives and everyone else in the vicinity) I had a very productive weekend seaming my fisherman sweater and sewing my first pants. The good news is I’m going to make it across the Summer of Basics finish line in time! The bad news is my fisherman sweater is done, which leaves me with three stockinette projects to choose from:

  1. Finish the purple lopi sweater from the top-down tutorial
  2. Finish the grey summer cardigan
  3. Lengthen the black cardigan

As eager as I am to cast on another meaty project, I’m feeling anxious about the WIPs hanging around too long, so I’m declaring September finish-it month. I also have the two tees that still need their top-stitching, and some assorted mending/repairs to do. And this forced pause should prevent me from starting anything new before I’ve done my proper Fall planning.

I’ve been knitting ol’ purple while the fisherman was blocking and awaiting seam time, and I should be able to do the finishing on it next weekend. It’s so quick! Then next up will be the grey cardigan, which I’m dreading. Every time I think about picking it up, I am overwhelmed with ugh, so I’ve been reaching for the purple one instead. You know I have this idea that if I’m not knitting a given thing, I must not want it very badly, so I keep thinking I should either frog this one or give it to someone else to finish. But then I look at my sketch (from back in March) and I really do want this sweater. I just don’t want to knit it!

Merely typing this plan is making me squirmy, but if the promise of funner projects (including the big-pleated top) gets me to tie up all the loose ends, so be it.


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: July 2017

Queue Check — July 2017 (Summer of Basics)

Queue Check — July 2017 (Summer of Basics)

Ummmm … grey cardigan? What grey cardigan? That poor thing has definitely not seen the light of day since my last Queue Check. No, it’s been all about the Summer of Basics dynamic duo up there, my vintage fisherman sweater and my first button-up.

I can’t believe it, looking at where it was a month ago, but the sweater currently sits at 4 parts all now at underarm height, so it’s time to start the yoke decreases. Thank heaven! Even knitting the parts round-robin style like this, the stitch pattern has gotten monotonous — as amazing and simple but oh-so-repetitive as it is — and I’ve been dying to get to the shaping. It will speed up from here, but I’m still nervous about getting it blocked and seamed and neckbanded by the end of August since I’m only working on it in the late evenings and allocating any weekend time to sewing.

The lovely Archer button-up is proving to be way more fun than I could have expected … so far. I’ve got the front/bands, pocket (made up my own), back/yoke all assembled, sleeve plackets sewn (ok, that part wasn’t so fun) and one sleeve basted on. My goal for yesterday was to have both sleeves attached and the seams serged. (I’ve decided to serge them, because I want to use my serger!) So I’m slightly behind schedule and gonna have to pick up the pace. The hardest parts are all still ahead of me — the collar and cuffs — and I don’t know how long to expect them to take, but I still need to fit SoB piece #3 in here, so I need to get this one wrapped up!

Speaking of which, you were all immensely helpful with the pants suggestions last week, and then on Saturday morning I totally scored at Elizabeth Suzann’s garage sale — the most exciting bit of which was some light army-green cotton canvas (garment weight) which I’m hoping will become my pants for piece 3 — I just need to commit to a pattern purchase. But all of that said, I’m still reserving the right to claim one or both of last week’s tops/tees as my third SoB if it comes to that! I sewed them in the time frame and they are definitely basics (and were under original consideration, even) but I don’t want to let that fall-back prevent me from trying to get the pants done. I can do it!

And for the moment I’m trying to not even think about what comes after any of that.

• Sweater is a 1967 pattern, Bernat 536-145, in Arranmore
• Shirt is Archer Button-up in sold-out fabric

(Porter Bin from Fringe Supply Co.)


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: June 2017

Queue Check — June 2017

Queue Check — June 2017

I’m in Kansas right now — I came for a family reunion and have stayed for a funeral.* My eldest aunt, who had been ill for a very long time, succumbed just at the moment when eighty-something of us had already come from near and far to be together, which was characteristically polite and organized of her. May she rest in peace. So I’m about one-third of the way into the first sleeve of my Bernat fisherman sweater (in Arranmore) for the Summer of Basics and already there’s Squam dock time and this precious family visit knitted into it. And if that weren’t enough, this is the most joy I’ve ever gotten from two sticks and a ball of string. I crave it when it’s not in my hands and love working every stitch. (My top three Joy of Knitting projects — pure pleasure in the stitch patterns and the yarn in my hands — are this, Gentian and Channel.) Having charted out the vintage written-instructions pattern and seen what is happening, which is quite straightforward, I have no need to look at either the pattern or the chart and can just knit away at this happily, with just the right amount of brain detachment and engagement, watching the textures develop. It’s true love in every way.

I even made a tiny mistake in the very first cable cross, and left it, so that’s out of the way!

I did make some more progress on my so-called Summer Cardigan (in Balance) before casting on for the fisherman, but at this point it’s going to be impossible for it to get my attention. Hopefully the same won’t be true of my Archer shirt for #summerofbasics, which I plan to cut the muslin of this coming weekend.

*Hence the lack of response from me on Friday’s Q for You answers, but I have read them all and hope to respond when I have a chance — great conversation as usual.


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: May 2017