Waxed plum Field Bag + Anna Vest update

Waxed plum Field Bag + butterscotch Porter Bin + Anna Vest

This was me last month, wearing the original Anna Vest and knitting the new Anna Vest while “modeling” for today’s debut of the waxed plum Field Bag! Can you even take your eyes off how gorgeous this all is — and especially that plum Field and butterscotch Porter situation? This is officially my new favorite color combo.

I can finally tell you this story: I’d been having a hard time deciding on a color for the new vest, and then I discovered that my friends at Kelbourne Woolens’ newest yarn, Germantown, came in a color that’s a perfect match for the Field Bag that was in production at the time. That felt like fate to me, and I couldn’t wait to see them together. (I do love a matching Field Bag and WIP situation!) The waxed plum Field Bag is available today at Fringe Supply Co. and at our stockists around the globe. The pattern, however, needs a few more days. I did finish the vest and we shot it on Monday, but the pattern itself is not quite finished, so look for that next week!

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to pull together a Weekend Reads list for Slow Fashion October this week — too many plates spinning, for real — but I’ll hope to share stuff on @slowfashionoctober over the weekend, so keep an eye on that. And I’ll aim for a mega list for next weekend. I also shared a peek into my actual, physical closet on IG this week and am hoping to start the clean-out challenge this weekend (if I get the vest pattern done, lol) — I’d love to see yours, too! Or hear how it’s going if you’ve already started.

Happy weekend! Thank you for spending part of your week here—

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Photos by Hannah Messinger for Fringe Supply Co.

New Favorites: Woolfolk does colorwork

New Favorites: Woolfolk does colorwork

Woolfolk released a new pattern collection that is 100% colorwork and 600% gorgeous. Dubbed Earth Elements, you can scroll through the whole gorgeous lookbook here, it’s six patterns with his/hers and other variations that make it seem like more. I love all three of the sweaters — Mane, Krater and especially the cropped pullover Klippe, with its textured yoke. And then there’s that lovely hat, Dele. Major swooning over here.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Those collars

Idea Log: Shrunken crewneck Charles

Idea Log: Shrunken crewneck Charles

I mentioned in my Queue Check last week that I only expect to knit one more sweater this year, and I really want to get it right, in terms of feeding what I’m yearning for while also filling a legitimate gap in my sweater collection, which means a non-wool pullover, and I’m really really really wanting navy. A feeling that was compounded yesterday by seeing (once again) that pic of Sofia Coppola in her perfectly plain navy sweater on my forever mood board. But the sweater I can’t get out of my head is Michele Wang’s Charles, which I’ve gone on about how many times since it published last year? That fixation is meaningful, and I want to heed it, and while I can make a case for adding an aran-weight wool turtleneck to my closet to replace the sad old storebought one currently playing that role, it’s by no means by most pressing need at the moment. Do you know about L’Envers? It’s a small-batch sweater company in France — a wonderful slow-fashion brand worth knowing about — and if I weren’t a knitter, they’d be getting some of my money. (They might anyway, at some point.) The other day on Instagram, they posted a sweater that brought ol’ Charles to mind again, their Jane & Serge jumper. Although I like it even better in ivory, I’ve well established that I do not need any more ivory sweaters! So I’m thinking about knitting Charles at a lighter gauge, scaling down the silhouette to more like my aran-gansey (not nearly as long as the L’Envers one), and knitting it in a blend of some kind.

This is the always challenge for me: What I enjoy knitting is more fanciful, shall we say, than what I enjoy wearing, but I think this idea would satisfy both. Still, I’m not quite ready to commit. It could be another fisherman sweater in navy, which would also be Sofia approved, if you know what I mean, or a navy version of my aran-gansey, or a navy-and-black marlisle sweater, which I’m also never not thinking about. But I need to find the perfect yarn: dk or light worsted weight, a nice deep dark navy, and not 100% wool. Which is even harder than just finding a nice deep dark navy wool, which is hard enough. (A vexation for many of us, I know, and I’ve promised a roundup!) If you have yarn suggestions that meet all of those criteria, please let me know! I’ve got a decision to make.

(And a ball of Navia Bummull headed my way for a round of speed dating …)

p.s. If you’re wondering, I promise I’ll have Marlisle KAL prize winners for you very soon! 

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PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Carbeth coat

Knit the Look: the mini Guernsey Literary Society henley

Knit the Look: the mini Guernsey Literary Society henley

If you’ve seen the Netflix adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (which is not quite as twee as the title suggests), you know it’s chock full of sweaters. No ganseys, oddly, given that it’s set on Guernsey, and it’s a little confusing whose sweaters look possibly handknit and whose definitely don’t, but we’ll leave that aside. The point is: sweaters! The thrust of the story is that a pretty young London writer visits a group of book-loving strangers on the isle of Guernsey, which is still reeling from the Nazi occupation. She is a first-rate packer. Although she’s meant to be there a night or two, her mix-and-match travel wardrobe carries her through a longer stay: tweed trousers and skirt, three or four pretty silk blouses with big collars, two sweater vests, a pullover with a little Peter Pan collar, a pretty great blue-marl cardigan, a brown suede jacket and a brown garter-stitch beret are all she needs, with just a pair of borrowed workpants for when she’s helping her unanticipated love interest with his pigs. (Oh, surely you can see that coming!) For my money, though, the kids and the men get all the best sweaters. Best of all being the tattered henley pictured on the little girl, Kit, above.

There are weirdly few images from the movie on the internet, and they’re all of the woven garments, despite the fact that every single character except the military fiancé wears multiple sweaters in the film. I mean, too many cardigans to even begin to count. (There may be more Knit the Looks about these.) But that’s why all I have for you is an iPhone photo of my laptop screen, and you’ll have to trust my eye and memory on the rest.

So about this little pullover, which obviously I want in my size and minus the post-occupation tatters: It’s just a mushroom colored, boxy little henley but what makes it interesting, as always, are the details. The sleeves are ribbed but it appears to be garter rib, which would be less bunchy to wear and also features strongly on a few other of the movie’s sweaters. There are two little chest pockets also in rib. (It makes me think of Marshal, in some ways.) But what really seals it is that henley placket that runs right down to the waist ribbing. To emulate it, you could use the free ’80s-era pattern from Drops known poetically as 4-24. Knit the sleeves in garter rib and fashion a couple of chest patch pockets to match, and instead of working the placket opening a few inches shy of the neck, start it just above the waist ribbing. (And refrain from inserting shoulder pads as Drops appears to have done!) The pattern is written for bulky, so I’m recommending Harrisville’s lovely tweedy Turbine yarn in Driftwood, but it would also be easy to adapt that pattern to a lighter gauge.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: The Crown’s cardigans

New Favorites: Those collars

New Favorites: Those collars

There are two new cardigan patterns in the world that are making me reevaluate my (eternally conflicted) position on this kind of collar — does it have a name?

TOP: Ridgeline Wrap Cardigan by Purl Soho caused my jaw to hit the desk when I opened the newsletter. In this case, the big wide collar also comes with that cascading front action that I’m normally slightly allergic to, but somehow here the whole thing just works beautifully — and is such a perfect marriage of yarn and garment, too.

BOTTOM: Henning by Mary Anne Benedetto is a dramatic cardigan of swooping cables, with an even more dramatic collar, and looks like so much fun to knit. The thing is, it could be either super cozy or super irritating. I absolutely love it in this photo and want it to be just as it looks here, properly seated around her shoulders, but the other photos make it look like might be a slip-slider, so I’m hoping for a chance to try on the sample one day!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Way back to school sweaters

The ivory aran-gansey (2018 FO-19)

The ivory aran-gansey (2018 FO-19)

Hey look, I knitted a sweater! Crazy how long that took me. Inspired by Daniel Day-Lewis’s perfect gansey but bearing in mind what works best for me and my frame, I sketched out this little aran-gansey mashup as part of my Summer of Basics plan, and cast on in the middle-row bench seat of a van lurching its way through the winding roads of rural Portugal. I hadn’t done any actual math or planning. All I had was my inexact-texture-but-gauge-ly predictive swatch plus the little sketch taped into my notebook. So in that van seat on that steamy late June day, I did just enough math to calculate a good-enough cast on, and in I went.

Because it was a slapdash start and I didn’t expect it to work, I also didn’t put any basting stitches in the raglans, or take many useful notes. I thought I almost certainly was just knitting a bigger, more texturally accurate swatch, which I’d eventually rip out. But I never did! And I just kept winging it the whole way. (Albeit with lots of intermittent blocking to make sure everything would work out ok.) So while I normally share all my stitch counts and measurements for any Improv sweater I knit, I’m sorry, I don’t have that for you today. Plus if I were to do this again, I’d make a thousand tiny tweaks. So perhaps at some point I will do this again (in navy!), make those tweaks, and take proper notes for sharing. But the short version is that it’s just a standard top-down raglan with a stitch pattern thrown in for the first 9.5″ or so — double moss stitch broken up every 3″ with two bands of garter stitch. And I put garter along the top of the waist ribbing as well. And used my favorite folded neckband technique.

Natural sweater inventory

You may recall the overarching aim of this one was to make myself a much-needed, easygoing, 3-season-ish pullover, and I couldn’t be happier with it in all those respects. I’ve knitted quite a few sweaters with O-Wool Balance at this point — organic, machine washable, 50/50 cotton-wool blend — and am thrilled to have a mostly stockinette one for myself, as I covet Bob’s every time he puts it on. This fabric is so incredibly cozy. (I like it best after a machine wash and a few minutes in the dryer, but do mind your gauge if that’s your intention! Don’t wet-block your swatch and then machine-wash your FO.) And if you’re thinking back to my recent sweater inventory, you’ll note this rounds out my collection of natural sweaters quite nicely: There’s the shrunken cotton fisherman (L.L. Bean 2010), this new cotton-wool gansey, the heavy-duty wool fisherman and the wool cardigan.

I also made those pants I’m wearing above, which I wouldn’t actually intentionally wear with this sweater — that’s a bit of a blah combo even for me! But it was convenient to take the sweater photos while I happened to be wearing the pants, so I’ll tell you about those tomorrow.

Speaking of the wool fisherman, I also sent it through the washer and dryer last week — being incredibly vigilant the whole way — and it finally fits the way I always wanted it to! (Assuming it doesn’t grow back to its former size when worn.) Officially all set in the ivory department!

Pattern: Improv
Yarn: O-Wool Balance in Natural

You can browse all the posts about this sweater and save/fave it at Ravelry.

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Wiksten Kimono, pajama-style

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New Favorites: Vintage cardigan jackets

New Favorites: Vintage cardigan jacket knitting patterns

When Dianna pointed out to me that the motif used on that mysterious and enticing Delta promo sweater was common in Cowichan sweaters, while that sweater is clearly not Cowichan, it got me wondering if Mary Maxim might have had something to do with it. You know, Mary Maxim — the Canadian company famous for the sporty, brightly colored, pseudo-Cowichan sweater jacket patterns of the mid-20th century and beyond. (Such as this and this and this.) Which of course sent me down the rabbit hole of their vintage men’s knitting patterns. Variously questionable Cowichan derivatives aside, there’s some really great stuff — from cardigans fit for Darrin Stevens and Mr. Rogers (honestly, that could be the pattern his mom used) to all kinds of great cable sweaters and so on. And these men’s sweater jackets I want for myself:

TOP: No. 1434BV reminds me that I’m always saying I want to knit a little bomber-jacket style cardigan; and I love the slant pockets on this

BOTTOM LEFT: No. 1449V has the Cowichan-style collar and zip front, but what I most love is the scale of the diamonds on this, or …

BOTTOM RIGHT: No. 1448V is even more graphic, and with just the little bomber collar

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Way back to school sweaters