New Favorites: Kanoko

New Favorites: Kanoko

On the morning of our first full day at Squam a few weeks back, my friend and cabin mate Mary Jane Mucklestone popped out of her room, declared that she was ready to go, and proceeded to make pretty much every single person at the retreat fall in love with her. In her effortlessly MJ way, she was wearing a sort of prim, navy, polka-dotted shirtdress with her Kanoko Socks and a pair of black Doc Martens boots, and nobody has ever looked cooler tromping around the woods of New Hampshire. (I couldn’t take a photo that did the outfit justice.) This adorable spotted socks pattern of hers had been among my favorites of the many stunning projects in the third issue of Making, the Dots issue, from the moment it arrived, but that was the day I went from admiring them to coveting them, and I may have to knit them, even if I’ll never be as cool as MJM.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Summer sweaters






KTFO-2016.20 : Simple house slippers

FO: Simple House Slippers

Kathy’s been here this week working with me on the holiday photo shoot for Fringe Supply Co. (can’t wait to show you!) and while we were at it, she was kind enough to take these pictures of my latest finished object: a quickly knitted pair of slippers. I needed to be wearing slippers in one of the photos and mine are all a shabby mess — with my big toe having just recently broken through the end of my favorite pair. I’ll come up with a good patch for that when I have a minute to think about it, but since I also needed a break from the endless stockinette of my knitalong sweater, I thought these little quickies seemed like a good idea on multiple levels.

They are the Simple House Slippers from Temple of Knit, which are sort of a relative of the Tootsie Toasters, but much cuter. Going back through those Tootsie Toasters posts (from five years ago!) I was amused to see myself noting that Meg had cleverly converted the vintage flat pattern to in-the-round, and here I am now — as noted last week — converting Simone’s in-the-round rendition back to flat! In addition to that little mod, I also knitted the garter rows to 4.5″ instead of 32 rows, since at my row gauge that reached about to my ankles instead of the front of my foot. I wish I knew what Simone’s gauge is, or what dimension her 32 rows amounts to, in order to know how my version compares in that regard. (Note to self: then knitted to a total length of 8″ before toe shaping.) And on the last row of garter, I increased one stitch at each end to give myself selvage stitches. Since I was really just thinking of these as photo shoot props, I did the seaming pretty hastily and also had knitted them in Shelter, because I had it handy, which is not really a suitable yarn for a slipper. But I really like these little guys, so I’ll either wear them as socks inside my boiled wool scuffs, or maybe put leather slipper bottoms on them. And I’ll definitely be knitting more. Really fun, quick, satisfying and useful.

Pattern: Simple House Slippers by Simone A
Yarn: Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed, in Soot
Cost: Free pattern + one skein of Shelter = $13.25

(Nitty-gritty details on Ravelry)


PREVIOUSLY in 2016 FOs: Black linen-wool cardigan of my dreams


New Favorites: Sock season

New Favorites: Sock season

Here we are at that time of year where I start to imagine myself knitting socks — nice compact little projects to carry around all summer, resulting in warm socks ready for cold toes once the weather heads back the other direction. It’s so very sensible. It never happens, but I can’t let go of the idea of it! Two recent contenders:

TOP: Phyllis by Rachel Coopey looks like a fun stitch pattern to knit that also wouldn’t be irritating to wear

BOTTOM: Marlee by cabinfour (which happen to be named after my friend Marlee Grace), because you can never go wrong with a simple pair of ribbed socks


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Giant sheep

FO Sightings: Sina’s socks

FO Sightings: Sina's socks

When I first saw these socks in @threehazels’ Instagram feed I got instant heart eyes, but the more she tells me about them, the more amazed I am. Three Hazels is a young German woman named Sina, living in Sweden, and her socks were inspired by the Perianth Mittens pattern by Barbara Gregory. But Sina wanted the flowers on her feet. Like most devout sock knitters, Sina knows her preferred stitch count and heel method (“I like [the short-row heel] the most when knitting the heel in a different colour”) and can cast on with abandon. I assumed she borrowed Gregory’s colorwork charts and reworked them to fit neatly into her counts, but no: “At first I wrote down a chart containing all the different flowers, rows and stitches for the top part of the sock, but with getting  more comfortable with the patterns I started to place the flowers randomly.” That is crazy impressive, and the socks are beautiful. The yarn is a local Swedish wool, making them all the more special.

For more from Sina, check out @threehazels on Instagram, and she’s also vowed to post more about knitting and other subjects on her blog.


Fringe Supply Co. Field BagIMPORTANT UNRELATED SHOP NOTE: I previously announced that the final batch of army green Field Bags were earmarked for Stitches West. Unfortunately, I’ve had to cancel my trip and won’t be making an appearance in the YOTH booth at that event after all. ***So the last of the army green bags will be listed in the webshop in February instead.*** I’ll announce a specific date and time for that once the bags are finished and in hand. (Grey will be back in the shop tonight or tomorrow morning!) I’m super sorry to miss everyone who I’ll now be missing at West, but we will still be at Stitches South here in Nashville at the end of March, so put that on your calendars!


Photos by @threehazels, used with permission

Favorite New Favorites of 2015

Favorite New Favorites of 2015 — best knitting patterns

Just about every week of every year, I post about the knitting patterns that are occupying my thoughts — whether they’re new or just newly appealing to me — under the heading of New Favorites. Some are content to be admired for just that moment, while others bully their way right into my queue. Interestingly, this year not a single New Favorites pick actually made it onto my needles (Not yet, anyway. I still have projects in my queue from last year’s and the year before’s.) Oh no, wait: I did cast on Linda — I just didn’t get very far because I need to switch yarns. Given that it’s the one I cast on and sketched into my Fashionary queue, and that I’ve mentioned it on the blog at least 92 times this year, that must have been the absolute most magnetic pattern for me this year! I’m still dying to try my hand at mosaic knitting, and this is still my favorite colorwork pattern of the year. But what follows are the patterns I’d most like to not lose track of as more and more new ones distract us from that which we already loved:


Although I give myself a 1% chance of ever actually knitting them, I think Dianna Walla’s Aspen socks/legwarmers, pictured up top, is the best pattern of the year, so I wanted to mention that. It’s inspired by historical garments and yet perfectly new and original, and just completely enticing and memorable. (It’s from the Farm to Needle book that, disclosure, I also have a pattern in.) If you haven’t seen Dianna’s blog post about the inspiration behind the pattern, take a minute to give it a read.
(as seen in From Farm to Needle)


Favorite New Favorites of 2015 — best knitting patterns

For me, Norah Gaughan’s Marshal is the sweater of the year, despite the fact that the neck treatment doesn’t quite work somehow. If (when) I were to knit it, I think I might make it into more of a bomber jacket — with a crewneck and curved neckband. That, or keep the V-neck and just leave off the neck flap, which looks fantastic from the back but which I love less from the front. Regardless, I’m completely crazy about the pocket design, texture and placement, and the gauge shift from the body to the pockets — really fantastic use of simple detail to elevate a design.
(as seen in The chevrons of BT Winter ’15)


Favorite New Favorites of 2015 — best knitting patterns

Next year will absolutely be the year I knit myself a colorwork yoke sweater. Perhaps one of these three—
top: Stopover by Mary Jane Mucklestone, as knitted by Kathy Cadigan (as seen in Dark yoke sweaters)
bottom left: Lighthouse Pullover by Carrie Bostick Hoge (as seen in Dark yoke sweaters)
bottom right: Skaftafell by Beatrice Perron Dahlen (as seen in Winter blues)


Favorite New Favorites of 2015 — best knitting patterns

The rest of the sweaters I’m keeping on the don’t-forget list are good, hardworking wardrobe basics that also look reasonably interesting to knit—
top left: Grille by Bonnie Sennott (as seen in Grille)
top right: Trace by Shellie Anderson (as seen in Trace)
bottom left: Sanford by Julie Hoover (as seen in The chevrons of BT Winter ’15)
bottom right: Butte by Pam Allen (as seen in Big ol’ cozy pullovers)


Favorite New Favorites of 2015 — best knitting patterns

left: Lambing Mitts by Veronika Jobe (as seen in Foldover mitts) (free pattern)
middle: Bonnie Banks Shawl by Beatrice Perron Dahlen (as seen in Fair-weather friends)
right: Abyss by Wool and the Gang (as seen in the WATG x Raeburn beanies)
right: Crag by Jared Flood (as seen in The hats of BT Men Vol 2)

What were your favorite patterns this year? Cast-on or otherwise!


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Winter blues

New Favorites: from Farm to Needle

New Favorites: from Farm to Needle

First, can I just tell you: I am blown away by the response to the Slow Fashion October kickoff. I’ve been reading all of the comments and blog posts (linked from the comments) and Instagram posts and their comments and ensuing discussions and … wow! I’m a little fearful of my ability to keep up with it all! But so thrilled to see that this has struck a chord and that so many people are into it. I’m more excited than ever to see what everyone has to say and share this month.

Second: This post is weird. But New Favorites is all about patterns I’m dying to knit, right? And right now at the top of that list is my own pattern. Weird, weird, weird. A lot of you had asked me to write out my version of the vintage men’s waistcoat I knitted earlier this year, but I really wanted to rework it from the ground up — different weight, stitch pattern, shoulder shaping, the whole nine yards. So when Anna officially asked me if I’d like to design something for her book — now known as Farm to Needle — given that Anna is a vest fiend like me, I suggested doing just that. And the Anna Vest pattern was born. The thing is: I didn’t knit it, and it’s not my sweater. I wrote the pattern and enlisted my amazingly talented friend and master sample knitter Jo Strong to do the principal knitting for me. I did the finishing and sent the vest off to be photographed, and am left wanting one of my own. So there it is: on my New Favorites list, with all the usual longing. (I also want the model’s braids.)

There isn’t a single thing in the whole collection that I wouldn’t love to make and have, but to my great surprise, the one other pattern I can’t get out of my head is Dianna Walla’s Aspen legwarmers (and socks), which must surely be the most fabulous legwarmers in history. Yes, I did just profess my love for a pair of legwarmers.

Weird, weird, weird.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Dress-down sweaters

New Favorites: Faroese colorwork

New Favorites: Faroese colorwork

I’ve got a major Nordic knitting fixation going on at the moment (more on that to come) and last night I fell down a little rabbit hole marked The Island Wool Company. Among other things, they distribute Navia yarns and patterns from the Faroe Islands, between Shetland and Iceland. Faroese colorwork always reminds me of all the beautiful tile around the world, and I love tile. So while there’s more to Faroese knitting (and the Navia collection) than colorwork, these are the designs that are making my heart race at the moment:

TOP LEFT: the Faroese Star cardigan

TOP RIGHT: the 3 Border Jumper

BOTTOM LEFT: the Reflections Jumper

BOTTOM RIGHT: the Star Slippers


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Market bags