Queue Check — March 2018

Queue Check — March 2018

So I never did a February Queue Check. Life was turmoil, and I was just plugging away on the four hats. With those now complete (1, 2, 3, 4), the blue Bellows shelved till next year, and my last sweater having been finished on New Year’s Eve, I’ve found myself with something resembling a clean slate. Or, the more clear-eyed version: a selection of abandoned projects. I promised myself I’d be more focused on knitting from stash this year, plus I really want to clear things away, which means my attention has turned to the contents of the four Porter Bins on my WIP shelf:

– One of them contains my rotating pile of leftovers and singles that I’m still (and likely forever) transforming into Log Cabin Mitts. So that’s fine.

– A second contains a few odds and ends that need putting away, along with a skein of yarn awaiting my attention — for a pattern I’ve promised and won’t be able to talk about.

– The oldest of them is the long-abandoned Sawkill Farm sleeves, which I have every intention of knitting a sweater body for — now more than ever, most likely a Trillium cardigan — but not right away.

– And the fourth is the carcass of the grey summer cardigan I gave up on last year and have yet to frog. This is the one I’m dealing with first.

The yarn is one of my favorites — O-Wool Balance — and I have a cardigan’s worth. So what to do? I love this organic 50/50 wool-cotton blend, and love it best in stockinette. Every time Bob wears his green sweater, I just want to hug it. I mean, him. But this shade, Talc, is unlike the others — it has no heatheriness, no real variation in tone. It’s just a flat medium-light grey that leaves me cold. I thought it might benefit from some allover texture — from lights and darks being cast across the surface — and swatched for that cute little Massaman top, but the combination of this color and that waffle stitch was just plain homely. (This is why we swatch, friends!) The yarn wants to be stockinette but the color needs … something. So thinking further about it and my stash, I swatched it held double (on US8s) with some ivory Pebble left over from my striped raglan, washed it, and this I love. To the point of carrying it around with me, abusing it, petting it, whispering sweet nothings in its ear, not wanting to be away from it.

I’m stuck on the idea of a little sleeveless sweater that can be worn under a jacket or vest on cooler days and on its own on warmer ones, so I sketched three or four ideas and cast on for one of them (just stockinette with reverse-St side panels) before realizing what I really want is a sweater version of a top I used to own and wore to tatters. It was sweatshirt fleece sewn into a sleeveless top with crewneck and armbands and a wide waistband. Even that trademark V patch at the neck. So that may be what I’m making, or by the time I get to the upper region, it may become a sweatshirt. I do have enough yarn for that, after all, and with the cotton content and looser gauge, this would fit the bill of what I was talking about yesterday. So I’m torn, but planning to listen to it as it grows up and see what it wants to be.

Either way, it will factor neatly into my spring wardrobe planning, coming up next week!

OK, this is funny. In adding the links throughout this post, I found myself on last March’s Queue Check, subtitled “A whole new queue.” I’m writing above about the fate of that first item, and finished the second one earlier this year. (I’m wearing it as I type.) For the rest of the items listed in that post, there has either been progress (e.g. a grey Junegrass pullover, just a different pattern; a different chunky shawl-collar in progress, etc.) or the plans remain exactly the same. That makes me feel so good. ;)

Porter Bin and Fashionary sketch template from Fringe Supply Co.

Queue Check — March 2018

PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: January 2018



Queue Check — January 2018

Queue Check — January 2018

It’s been my goal for my blue Bellows that I would knit it start to finish (other than the partial sleeve-swatch) within the month of January. For two reasons: 1) I’d like to wear it. I have a bad habit of finishing sweaters just as it becomes too warm for them, and have to immediately put them away for next year. And 2) my sister and her family are going on a ski trip in March, and at Christmas I offered to knit them each a hat. In order to have any hope of having all four hats done on time, I’ve set myself a firm start date of Feb 1. Meanwhile, the cardigan is in jeopardy.

I was on track to have the back piece finished and bound off on Friday night, soaked and onto the blocking board before I went to bed, so it’d be dry and ready for next steps by Sunday morning. The collar on Bellows is a project unto itself, so it was imperative that I take advantage of a little window of opportunity Sunday morning to (at minimum) get the shoulders seamed and the collar stitches picked up, so I could knit that over the ensuing couple of evenings and be done on schedule. ALAS, at the last minute, I realized I should have been listening to the voice in my head that had been saying all night “this seems like a lot of fabric.” I am often smart enough to check stuff before bind-offs, and so just for good measure I spread the back out next to me on the couch and popped the unblocked front piece on top of it. And yup, I had gotten carried away the night before. I’d been dutifully pinning a marker on every 10th row, knowing the fronts were 60 rows from ribbing to underarm and thus that my sixth marker would mean I was ready to begin shaping. (Ref: Count, don’t measure.) And yet I’d knitted 70 rows. Did you know that marking your rows for easy tracking only works if you actually count your marks?

So I lost half of my Saturday to removing the bottom ribbing and first ten rows, and getting it back onto the needles before re-knitting the ribbing downwards. I thought this would be faster than ripping back 44 rows at the top and reknitting them on Saturday night, but that would have been the wiser move. Rookie mistake: I didn’t realize knit-purl rows aren’t so easy to rip upwards. In the end, fixing it this way took just as long and cost me a bunch of aggravation and a fair chunk of yarn. During which I also realized I might not have enough yarn for the collar anyway! So it’s not currently where I wanted it to be, and is now vulnerable to being shunted aside while I turn to the four-hats project.

Meanwhile, one of the hats is actually started — ostensibly the quickest one. It’s Lancet in charcoal-colored Quarry, and I say “ostensibly” because it’s a sort of annoying chart — wide and fussy and not predictable or memorizable — which could slow me down. But still, chunky gauge.

I’ll tell you about the whole set of four hats when I haven’t already gone on for three paragraphs about my 10 extra Bellows rows! And the other thing that has magically appeared during my time on my mini-stepper this month is most of another pair of my log cabin mitts, this time in cherished Hole & Sons leftovers from my vintage waistcoat a few years back. Mitts pattern imminent …

Unless any of the four hats prove conducive to mini-stepper knitting, the log cabin-while-exercising will continue into Feb.

Bellows pattern by Michele Wang in limited-edition yarn from Harrisville Designsall Bellows posts
• Lancet by Jared Flood in Quarry color Slate
• Log cabin mitts in Hole & Sons (no longer available, but see its cousin, Isle Yarns)
Lykke Driftwood needles from Fringe Supply Co.


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: December 2017

Queue Check — December 2017

Queue Check — December 2017

I had this notion that I was going to do a big forward-looking queue planning sort of post for today, but after so many hectic weeks I find I only want to think about what’s right in front of me at the moment.

I mentioned the other day that I expect to be wearing my grey Cline sweater by New Year’s, and I’m still on track for that, now most of the way through the second sleeve. (This photo is from Sunday.) What’s left is to seam it all together — a considerable amount of seaming in this case — pick up and knit the neckband, then finish the cuffs downwards, once I can see how it fits. I have a road trip coming up which should afford me the time to do all of that, except I’m still somehow hoping to have most of it done before I go.

– Once that’s done, I’m moving forward with the idea of replacing my Bellows (which I gave to my mom) with a new blue one, using my Harrisville Rhinebeck yarn. I took a sitting away from the grey the other night to knit this sleeve swatch and it’s interesting how differently the color reads from how it looked in the skein — not better or worse, but more of the purple tone comes through. I feel like it might be worn at home every night with my pajamas more than out and about, but either way I know this will be a fast, warm and well-worn sweater, and I hope to get it fairly well on its way during my trip.

– And then there’s the little matter of my Log Cabin Make-along project which I’ll be revealing and starting in earnest on Jan 1!

Both of those projects — textured/cabled cardigan and log cabin knitting — are so appealing right now, on the heels of the grey stockinette, and more than enough to satisfy my fingers for the time being. But out of curiosity, I took a look back at last year’s year-end Queue Check to see what I had said about what I wanted to make this year. Of the knits, two were since completed (striped raglan and camel Channel), one is on the needles (grey Junegrass pullover, above) and the other two are still next on the list in some form: big cozy shawl-collar (above) and big cozy turtleneck (i.e., my Charles fixation). From the sewing list, three of the four were completed (blue shirt, striped sleeveless tee, white linen shell) and the remainder is already/still at the top of my sewing list for January: a simple sweatshirt or two. Ok, technically I did make myself a sort-of sweatshirt, so I guess I completed that list, but I still want a good long-sleeved fleece and/or melton one.

So I guess I know what to do!

Have a magical weekend, everyone —

Cline pattern by Julie Hoover in Junegrass Batch One from Fancy Tiger Crafts (no longer available, see Batch Two) | all Cline posts
Bellows pattern by Michele Wang in limited-edition yarn from Harrisville Designsall Bellows posts


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: November 2017




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