Holy moly. A new book arrived from Isager (of The Artisan fame, etc) for the shop yesterday and it is a stunner — packed full of gorgeous patterns I’d love to knit — but the one that immediately affected my heart rate and breathing is this big colorwork pullover called Goose Eye. The book is called ALJ: Ase Lund Jensen — a Danish knitwear desiger, and it’s a tribute to and history of the founder of the company we know as Isager. Goose Eye is one of the patterns that was adapted from an original ALJ design by Marianne Isager. It’s a drop-dead gorgeous motif, and I love the detail of what happens at the raglans and along the underarm (seen in that last image), and while I’d go not-so-oversize with it, I think this might really truly be the one that finally gets me to commit to an allover colorwork sweater. (I know I’ve said that before, but JUST LOOK AT IT.) I can’t cast on anytime soon, so I have time to mull: ivory and grey, grey and black, black and navy, ivory and black, ivory and camel …?
You can see more of the patterns and order a copy of ALJ at Fringe Supply Co. (Or if you’re quick and on Instagram, you can see a full flip-through in my Story this morning at @fringesupplyco.)
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Veronika
Knitters will always tell you about socks and sleeves: knit them two-at-a-time so you don’t have that dread feeling of starting over with the second one. I feel the same way about ALL the parts. As much as I love a seamed sweater, I don’t enjoy starting back at the cast-on edge 4 or 5 times, especially once I’ve gotten into the rhythm of a chart or stitch pattern. So no matter what I’m knitting, I’ve become a polygamist: I rotate between the pairs or component parts rather than knitting them in the ol’ serial monogamy fashion. (Same for a top-down sweater — you’ll usually see me moving back and forth between the body and sleeves, advancing them all gradually.)
In the case of this fisherman sweater, I’ve now blocked a half-sleeve (as previously discussed) and the partial back, so I can see what’s really happening with my stitch gauge between the two (their being quite different, due to the differing stitch patterns) and make decisions about the respective sizes of the body and upper sleeves before I get to the underarms. So each time a piece went into the bath, that was a perfect chance to cast on the next one!
PREVIOUSLY in Hot Tips: Count, don’t measure
Last month, Shannon Cook posted a pic on Instagram that made my eyes pop out of my head. It’s basically the shawl-collared-blanket-with-arm-slits of my dreams, and the finished pattern, Veronika, went live yesterday. I’m imagining myself curled up in the corner of the couch someday, wrapped in one of these — oblivious to the godforsaken air vent behind the couch, thanks to the voluminous shawl collar — while knitting another one.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Quick mitts
I started to type I’ve begun to think about Fall, but honestly, when am I not thinking about Fall? What I mean is I’ve begun to think in earnest about shapes — especially what shape I want my fisherman to be, and how I want to wear it in the near term. So naturally, I took a stroll through the Fall 2017 shows, which I hadn’t had a chance to do yet, and I am in love with the Elizabeth & James collection — so many lovely intersections of proportion and knitwear to be lingered over. Like the simple red mock-neck with slightly exaggerated skirt, the incredible cardigan-coat in grey and charcoal, and the chic little waffle sweater — the coolest long johns top ever — with narrow black pants. To name just a few.
PREVIOUSLY: Pre-Fall 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
This might be a bit whiplashy — we were just talking about ski sweaters two days ago — but happy summer! Have you thought about knitting a little summer sweater? Lots of good patterns lately, but these especially have caught my eye:
TOP: 217s-06 from Pierrot Yarns is garter simplicity incarnate. I can’t find the pattern where they told me to look, but it seems to be just four squares (or two squares and two tubes, if you prefer) UPDATE: It’s been added to Ravelry since last I checked!
MIDDLE LEFT: Auger by Pam Allen is more garter goodness, this time in tank form (See also: Pam Allen’s linen tanks)
MIDDLE RIGHT: Monterey Tee by Kate Gagnon Osborn is a dressier option, with lace as ventilation
BOTTOM: Fog Cutter by Thea Colman is more of a San Francisco or rocky-coast-of-Maine sort of summer sweater
See also previous summer sweater pattern roundups here and here.
QUICK SHOP NOTE: We’re still waiting for more of the full-size Lykke interchangeable sets, but the good news is the short-tip sets are here! (A set of 9 pairs of 3.5″ tips for making 16-24″ needles.)
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Colorwork plus
This a funny installment to fall at the start of summer, but there’s still one more sort of archetypal sweater I think every closet could benefit from and thus want to include in Make Your Own Basics. For the sake of being able to give this entry a label — and taking a mainstream-consumer-historical point of view (as opposed to a knitting purist’s POV) — I’m going to classify it simply as “a ski sweater.” That’s a term that has for a long time been very loosely applied to a woolly, generally brightly colored sweater with some form of colorwork patterning either on the yoke or all over, which was common outerwear for the slopes before the high-tech outdoorwear craze — look at this vintage chic-ness with the matching hat — but which, more importantly, is a useful part of any wardrobe. Colorwork sweaters have roots in many different knitting cultures of the world, but are most closely associated with Fair Isle and the assorted Nordic traditions. As far as knitters go, I definitely think everyone should knit one of one sort or another! And hey, if you want it in your fall/winter closet, summer is the time to cast on.
There are thousands of great patterns to choose from, but here are a few good options:
TOP: Dalis by Dianna Walla features Fair Isle-style bands of stranded motifs
MIDDLE LEFT: Dalur by Hulda Hákonardóttir is a fairly ornate Icelandic lopapeysa
MIDDLE RIGHT: Star Jumper by Oddvør Jacobsen is in the Faroese tradition
BOTTOM: Sigla by Mary Jane Mucklestone is sort of a pared-down lopapeysa with geometric punch
PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: Loungewear