Queue Check — October 2018

Queue Check — October 2018

Raise your hand if you thought I would go another month without casting on a sweater. Anyone? Not me. I contented myself with that dickey for a little bit, and have been test-knitting my own mitts pattern — the Cascara Mitts they’re called — which Tolt is publishing on Saturday as part of their 5th-anniversary collection. (I’ll be at the store/party on Saturday and am actually teaching this pattern on Sunday but the class is sold out!) And I think Bob recognized an opportunity and rushed into the void, requesting a sweater vest for himself, and even picking out the yarn — the skein of Plucky Knitter’s Yakpaca that I bought at Stitches West earlier this year. He’s convinced that since it’s a vest, it won’t be overly warm for him; I’m dubious but I love the man so I’ll knit the vest and hope! I’ll be using Churchmouse’s simple little His Vest pattern, but probably raising the neck a tiny bit.

I do think I’m narrowing in on a final decision for my next sweater, but in the meantime I want to focus on Bob’s vest and on finishing up the unfinished:

My Hozkwoz hat is within an inch of done
My blue Bellows just needs a couple of seams and some buttons
My lilac pullover-to-cardigan-conversion is just one fun steek experiment away
– And I have a pair of Log Cabin Mitts awaiting their thumbs

It had been my plan to do these things for Slow Fashion October, but I have had myself stretched wayyyy too thin for that. Fortunately, they’ve all been waiting patiently for both me and the weather, which has more or less arrived, so I’m excited to tackle it all.

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: September 2018

Queue Check — September 2018

Queue Check — September 2018

Confession: I’m in jeopardy of not finishing my Hozkwoz Hat for the Marlisle Knitalong on time! (Speaking of which, review the prize instructions on that if you’re participating!) After a botched first start, I got the top of it squared away (literally!) and blocked before boarding my flight to SF, thinking I would knit the rest of it on the plane. Then it occurred to me that it would be the perfect thing to knit during the trip — you know, those times when you’re visiting with people and participating in the goings-on but your hands still want to be knitting? So I concentrated on my purple Anna Vest on the flight out there, finishing the back and starting the right front, and then I didn’t knit another stitch until my last day, when I got to spend the afternoon knitting with Mary Jane — and briefly with Anna Maltz! I knitted another good chunk of the right front that day, finished it on the flight home, and blew through the first half of the left front, which is the stage at which it’s pictured above. I’ve since finished the left front and returned to the hat, but it’s surprisingly slow going for a seemingly simple tube of knitting. So while I thought I would be done with it too quickly and likely casting on a second Marlisle project, I’m instead feeling nowhere near done! Of course, I’m not eligible for prizes and we’re nowhere near hat weather here — plus it’s fun to knit — so there’s no need to rush. And I’ve been so enjoying all of the creativity on display in the #fringemarlislekal feed this month.

There is some urgency about the vest, though. I’ve been promising you guys for too long that the pattern would soon be available for individual download, but now it really is coming! Here’s the hard evidence. The point of knitting this new sample was to recheck the pattern (which has been graded and edited since I first wrote it) and add an alternate button band option. And I’m aiming to have it published in the next few weeks!

So that’s it for me for now — just finishing up these two little gems, unsure what’s next.

Has there ever been a Queue Check that’s really so purely just a WIP Check? I’m not sure there’s been a minute since I started knitting in 2011 that I haven’t had a list of things I intend to cast on (or an assortment of things already on the needles). Don’t get me wrong: There are obviously plenty of patterns I love and think would fun to knit and all of that. But I will likely only make one more sweater this year (if that) and I want to be more deliberate than ever about making sure it really is a good mate for the rest of my clothes, suits my climate needs, and rounds out my existing sweater inventory. And I haven’t quite decided what that is yet! So next up is the plain little hat my husband has been patiently waiting for, while I decide on a sweater. Or perhaps I’ll cast on a Grete, if there’s a suitable yarn for it in my stash.

Hozwkoz Hat in Sincere Sheep Covet and Kelbourne Woolens Scout
Anna Vest in Kelbourne Woolens Germantown
Drawstring bag, blocking board and Lykke needles at Fringe Supply Co.

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: August 2018

Queue Check — August 2018

Queue Check — August 2018

Y’all, I have been doin’ some KNITTIN’. The past two weeks, I’ve had quite a few nights in a row where I actually got some knitting time before bed, during which I sailed through the sleeves on this aran-gansey mashup of mine and then returned the body stitches to the needles. I knitted on it both Friday and Saturday night, and then had all of Sunday afternoon off. So I curled up on my couch with a candle lit next to me, this sweater in my lap, and The Guernsey movie (whose title I can’t bear) playing for the second time, pretending that the slightly gloomy day outside was actually chilly rather than swampy. And I knitted and knitted and knitted. About 8:45, I found out Pose was expiring from On Demand that very night and I had four episodes to go! So I stayed up past my bedtime, binge watching and knitting — around and around and around. And as it turns out, I will almost certainly be done with the knitting before Summer of Basics comes to a close, although whether it will be blocked and seamed by then remains to be seen. Regardless, the next time you see this one, it will be on me. And there will be a grin on my face.

(Speaking of Summer of Basics, you’ve seen how to enter for the Grand Prize(s), right? Don’t miss that!)

The next thing I cast on will be my  project for the upcoming Marlisle Knitalong, and since it will be small — and in theory the “swatch” for a next sweater — I’m not rushing to get another sweater on the needles right now. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on the assorted tidbits of to-do’s that came up during my great sweater inventory of twenty eighteen.

And then, with all of those inventory learnings and assessments in mind, I’m going to take stock of the sweater quantities that live in my stash and make some hopefully wise decisions about how best to make use of them. Which means there’s a very forward-thinking Queue Check a’brewing …

(Lykke needles, stitch markers and leather stitch marker pouch from Fringe Supply Co.)

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Speaking of the Marlisle Knitalong: It kicks off this Friday! Are you ready? There are some people already popping up on #fringemarlislekal, and you can get the full scoop on the kal here. Anna is also teaching at several locations in Europe and the US over the next month or so — I’m SO bummed I can’t get to Fancy Tiger to take her classes there! — so check this list to see if you might have a chance to learn from her.

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: July 2018

Queue Check — July 2018

Queue Check — July 2018

Last week I took the yoke of my Summer of Basics sweater off the needles and put it through the wash before I went any further, since I was still a little bit on the fence about it and wanted to see if the washed fabric would win me over. One of the many joys of this yarn, O-Wool Balance — and why I knit with it so often — is that it’s not superwash (it’s an organic wool-cotton blend) but is machine washable, and I like the fabric better when it’s machine-washed and slightly machine-dried than I do when it’s just soaked and air-dried. It fluffs and softens and melds really beautifully. I definitely liked the yoke better post-wash, but it took adding the folded neckband to really get me excited about having and wearing this sweater. I’m not totally in love with my raglan placement, but I’m hoping it won’t bother me any by the time I separate the body and sleeves. So, y’know, onward! But as slow as this is going, I’m starting to question whether I’ll be done with it by end of August.

[UPDATE: I put a video tutorial for this neckband technique in the @fringesupplyco profile at Instagram.]

Meanwhile, I finally started the cutting for my other two SoB projects. To recap: Those are supposed to be some sort of eyelet-y version of the Tessuti Alice top plus a set of Carolyn Pajamas. That’s technically four things, if I make both the top and bottoms of the pj’s, and my thinking has been that I’d concentrate on the top, and if I got to the bottoms they’d be a bonus. At this point, I’m starting with the bottoms, since a little pair of pj shorts like that for when I’m at home is one of my biggest wants right now — and I’m counting them! They’re all cut and ready for the sewing part, which I should be able to finish before July is out, which leaves all of August to see what else I can finish.

Even if you’re not actively participating in SoB, I encourage you to follow along with the #summerofbasics feed. So much great stuff happening. And if you are participating, make sure to post a progress update! I’ll be choosing July winners in just over a week.

Related: How to improvise a top-down sweater and How I do folded neckbands

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: June 2018

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Queue Check — June 2018

Queue Check — June 2018

I’m back from Portugal with SO much to tell you — and about 2700 photos to sort through. But this morning I can at least tell you about the state of my knitting from the trip! For the first few days, I was still finishing up a secret project, but then I finally got to do the math and get started on my Summer of Basics sweater. This project was cast on in the back of a van on a particularly twisty drive in the Porto region (one epic excursion among many) but caught a foothold on our one and only sit-still day, mid-trip, at a super chic mountaintop hotel called Casa das Penhas Douradas. While four of us went for a long hike that day, the other five made ourselves at home in one of the common rooms, which had half walls of sliding glass so the whole room opened up to the mountain breeze, and I know I’ll remember that day and that room every time I ever wear this.

That is, if it works out — I’m not yet 100% sure about it. To recap: I’m making an aran-gansey mashup, heavily inspired by the traditional Staithes gansey from the whole Daniel Day-Lewis hullabaloo, and its “seeds and bars” patterning. But figuring out the best version of that for an ivory, worsted-gauge, raglan situation isn’t as simple as it might seem. I’ve swatched it a few different ways — different “seeds” and different “bars” — and this yoke is sort of a bigger swatch, which may or may not be the winner. I won’t know for sure until I knit a couple more inches (at least to the next bar), add a neckband, and see how it looks after a wash. But it’s pretty promising, and it’s been perfect company while traveling.

Rosa mentioned while we were knitting that day that Portugal also has a gansey tradition, so you know I’ll be digging into that. And now that my whirlwind June is drawing to a close, I’m eager to start on my other two SoB garments.

Improv sweater in O-Wool Balance yarn in Natural
Jen Hewett x Fringe Field Bag from Fringe Supply Co. (available tomorrow morning!)

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: My Summer of Basics plan

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My Summer of Basics plan!

Queue Check = My Summer of Basics plan!

I don’t know how it’s June already but I’m pretty excited about it because today’s the day — the start of Summer of Basics 2018! “Summer of Basics” being shorthand for “3 months for making 3 garments our closets are in need of, in the company of like-minded individuals, and maybe stretching our skillsets along the way!” For the full rundown on what Summer of Basics is all about (along with suggestions!), see the preview post, but that’s really the gist of it. What three things would make it easier and more delightful for you to get dressed in the morning? Identify them, make them, and share your progress on Instagram using hashtag #summerofbasics. (If you have a private account and want to participate — or be eligible for prizes — you might want to make a separate, public account for this purpose. Posts do have to be public to appear in hashtag feeds.)

I’m putting off any talk of prizes for the moment because the very idea of prizes — while they’re obviously fun and motivating — can make people a little nutty sometimes, and I don’t want prizes or categories to influence your planning in any way. Just figure out what you want to make (challenge yourself!), and those finished garments are the real prize! Anything else that might happen is icing on the cake. For now, let’s concentrate on the cake!

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So what am I making this year? I have gone around and around — and of course I reserve the right to alter this plan along the way — but I have tentatively decided on the following three gap-fillers:

1. Cool weather pullover: Improv
This is the most problematic hole in my closet. I’ve done a magnificent job of making myself deep winter sweaters, but we don’t have a lot of deep winter in Nashville. What we have a lot of is cool weather — cool enough that you might crave a sweater, and can get away with it, but not if it’s pure wool. And I have exactly one such sweater: a cotton fisherman holdover from my store-bought clothes life. So I’m making a lighter, more abbreviated, not 100% wool pullover! Haven’t quite decided on yarn yet, but my plan is to make the love child of an aran sweater and a gansey: the “seeds and bars” motif transferred onto a raglan yoke. (With apologies to the historical purists out there!)

2. Frilly white sleeveless top: Alice Top by Tessuti
As previously discussed, I need to replace last year’s white linen shell, and one of my all-time favorite warm weather garments is any kind of slightly frilly white top, especially sleeveless. So I’m taking this opportunity to finally try Tessuti’s Alice top pattern, which has been on my list for a few years now, and the idea is to add some frill in one way or another. This will largely depend on what kind of eyelet (or who knows) fabric I might come up with, so the exact details are TBD. But I’ll almost certainly make a more straightforward Alice in the meantime, with something(s) from my stash.

3. Pajamas!: Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case
I think a pair of pajamas is a total closet basic, and yet I have never owned proper pj’s like this in all my life. I’ve had lots of pajama pants — my very favorite thing (especially if they’re flannel) — but never a matched set, or this kind of top, so it feels to me like a luxury item! I also love the quite long-lasting trend of a fancy pajama top as street wear, so in considering fabrics for this, I may decide on something that would also work outside the house. I’m excited about the piping — have only ever done that on upholstery — and may even challenge myself to sew with a slippery fabric! Really not sure yet. I have a heap of navy linen in my stash, and the idea of linen pj’s sounds kind of dreamy. So I don’t know — fabric TBD! And will I make pants or shorts for the bottoms? Also to be determined, depending largely on which way I go with fabric.

(Fashionary sketch templates from Fringe Supply Co. And oh, hey, there’s some fabulous paper goods news over there today!)

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I just realized I didn’t manage to do a Queue Check post for May, as I’ve been finishing up my spring make list and my other knitting projects are top secret, but this SoB plan is the state of my queue as we head into June.

(If you missed it last year, I made a fisherman sweater, my first button-up and my first pants!)

So now how about you? I can’t wait to see what you have planned! Remember to use hashtag #summerofbasics when sharing on Instagram.

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PREVIOUSLY in Summer of Basics: Get planning! (introduction and details)

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Queue Check — April 2018

Queue Check — April 2018

My little sweatshirt-style sweater vest is coming along, as you can see. Between the stockinette doldrums of it, and working too many late nights the past few weeks, it’s taking longer than it rightly should. But it’s currently drying on the blocking board (and surely sleeveless weather is just around the corner), so I need to make some decisions about the edge treatments! I think what I’m going to do is pick and knit 2×2 ribbed bands around the neck and armholes, then see how it hangs. Depending where it hits at the hip, I might pick up stitches and knit a waistband — ribbed? folded and hemmed stockinette? not sure yet! Or, if the length is good as is, I might just do some kind of attached I-cord edge to persuade it to lie flat. Either way, let’s hope I’m wearing it soon. (No pattern; yarn details here.)

The only other thing I have in progress at the moment is the latest in my series of Log Cabin Mitts. They’ve been waiting for their thumbs since around the time I cast on this sweater. When I do get a little knitting time, it feels wrong not to work on that, and so these have languished. Also, this particular pair is not as conducive to being picked up and advanced a little in the gaps here and there, as the blue is natural indigo. In other words, knitting them in the passenger seat on the way to somewhere would mean arriving with blue fingers. That sort of thing! But I’m quite eager to finish them off and further the next pair.

Next up are two accessory projects I can’t talk about, which leaves me pondering what the next garment will be. At the same time, I’m plotting my Summer of Basics plans and other considerations. So for the moment, I’ll just get those secret accessories underway …

Blocking mats and stitch markers at Fringe Supply Co.

PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: March 2018