New Favorites: End-of-summer Sayer

New Favorites: Sayer sweater knitting pattern by Julie Hoover

I’m in that phase where I start to wonder and speculate about when I’ll be able to wear something that falls broadly under heading of Sweater. It won’t be too much longer before I can dust off my little cotton-mix sweatshirt vest and eventually even my wool waistcoat-style vests. I live in a land where “summer sweater” isn’t really a thing, but a little early-fall sweater tee is! Which brought me to this recent Julie Hoover pattern for Purl Soho, Sayer. It’s a simple little stockinette tank/vest knitted in their Cattail Silk, and it can be worn with the V either in the front or the back. It looks lovely either way on the model, but for me I would love it worn in the back. And it occurs to me I still have enough Linen Quill (one of my favorite yarns against my skin, given to me by Purl a couple years ago) to knit myself one, which would be amazing. If autumn holds off as long as it did last year, there may even be time! Come winter, I might even be tempted to wear it as a twinset with this.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Summer bags, big and small

Instant sweater No. 2

Instant sweater No. 2

Do you remember back in January, when I told you a story that started like this:

Last week, my friend Meg and I were at a dinner party at a semi-fancy restaurant. We were seated at opposite ends of a long table and I heard almost nothing of what was said down there all night … except at some point I became suddenly very tuned into Meg saying something about how she never wears the Big Rubble sweater she knitted several years ago (and later modified to a crewneck). You probably don’t remember me going on about this one back then, or more specifically, about how I wanted to be the kid in the kids’ version. Anyway, it was like one of those scenes in a movie where the protagonist is in the middle of some crowded, noisy scene and the camera zeroes in on their ear, which is isolating a single voice from among the din. Or maybe I have some kind of knitter’s sonar. Whatever, I heard her say it. Naturally what happened next is I politely shouted to the other end of the table “CAN I HAVE IT?” Being the best friend a girl could ask for — and a knitter who doesn’t like to see her efforts go to waste — she shouted back “YEAH.” After which I asked for another sweater from her collection, which she also said yes to and I’ll tell you about later.

Um, yeah. It’s her Amanda cardigan, from the original Fringe and Friends Knitalong, which I had always coveted. So now it’s my Amanda cardigan. You might remember that back in October I had auctioned off the Amanda I had knitted to raise money for Puerto Rico. So the fact that Meg’s came into my possession three months later is pretty damn amazing.

When I brought it home, I put it into my blocking bin on the shelf in my sewing room, which is where I put sweaters in need of some attention. I’m planning to give it a little fluff up and either remove or change out the buttons (for something a little smaller). It’s one of several sweaters needing a tiny bit of TLC before sweater season kicks in, and starting to work my way through that stack feels like the perfect way to prepare for Fall and assure myself it will eventually come!

Thanks again, Meg!

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PREVIOUSLY: Instant sweater No. 1

Q for You: Would you rather knit the sleeves or the body?

Q for You: Would you rather knit the sleeves or the body?

A few years ago, my now-pal Anna Dianich and I launched a funny little project we called the Tag Team Sweater Project. We had gotten into a discussion about how she dreads knitting sleeves whereas I dread the body. (We both love the yoke.) So I suggested a swap: We each picked a bottom-up sweater pattern; I knitted all four sleeves; she knitted both bodies; and then we were each responsible for our own sweaters from the underarm join on up. That sprang to mind the other night as I was working on my current top-down yoke* and started thinking “Then I get to knit the sleeves (fun!) … and then the body (ugh).

“I’m stuck on sleeve island” is one of the most common refrains among sweater knitters, and I just don’t get it! Sleeves are inherently short, quick rows — especially if they’re knitted flat (including top-down flat sleeves) — which means visible progress, and there’s something to do along the way. (Regular increases or decreases, in nearly all cases.) But the body, to me, is just this long, dull slog — especially if it’s done in one piece. (For pieced sweaters, none of this seems to even come into play.) Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who feels that way. So that’s my Q for You sweater knitters today: Do you prefer to knit the sleeves or the body? If all sweaters were Tag Team sweaters, which team would you be on?

IN SHOP NEWS: Two of our most popular items this summer — the “Bury me with yarn and needles …” tote and the Fringe knitters tool kit — and both back in stock over at Fringe Supply Co!

Happy weekend, everyone. I’m hoping to be knitting sleeves by Monday!

*OMG, you guys, I honestly wonder I’m ever going to get to the separation round on this thing! It’s been so slow going, and when I finally got to what I had calculated would be the separation round, I double-checked my gauge to make sure it matches my swatch. It’s WAY more compact, so I’m still going …

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PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: Do you sew tags in your handmades?

New Favorites: Yoke fever

New Favorites: Yoke fever

Summertime, and the killer winter yoke sweater patterns are coming at us! Before I’ve even had a chance to obsess about possible colors for knitting Caitlin Hunter’s adorable Tecumseh from the spring, I’m already drooling over these gems:

ABOVE, TOP: Wool & Honey by Andrea Mowry puts whole ‘nother spin on yoke decoration

ABOVE, BOTTOM: Encompass by Carrie Bostick Hoge shows how effective simple can be (And you could tweak a Laurus Hat to match!)

BELOW: Umpqua Sweater by Caitlin Hunter is the bold one of the mix, with “cutout” motifs in wide bands of color

New Favorites: Yoke fever

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Carbeth coat

New Favorites x Idea Log: Carbeth coat

New Favorites x Idea Log: Carbeth coat

When Kate Davies published her Carbeth Cardigan pattern back in February (photos above), it went immediately into my Ravelry favorites, and I’ve daydreamed about it often and watched all sorts of lovely examples pile up in the ensuing months. I’m especially tempted by ilo’s, Garnomera’s, VeryShannon’s and this incredibly creative mod by @suninthesixth. Like the latter, I keep thinking I want it in coat proportions — with even deeper armholes and wider sleeves, along with the longer body and, of course, some pockets. But it was just yesterday,* as I was pondering possibilities for it (in terms of both shape and stash), that it dawned on me how much it might satisfy the cocoon sweater-coat Idea Log I posted last November (sketch above). I even have a couple of good yarn options in my stash for it.

*The day we were talking about how it’s too hot to get dressed! And here I was fantasizing about sweater coats.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Textural neckwear

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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New Favorites: Dianna’s dream sweaters

New Favorites: Dianna's dream sweaters

It’s always fun to see a designer really hit their stride, which is how I feel about my friend Dianna Walla’s recently released mini-collection, Fog & Frost. It’s five pieces that feel completely true to Dianna, and while I love the hat and the mitts, I can’t stop looking at the sweaters! They’ve got me fantasizing about sweater weather in the thick of TN summer—

TOP: Mountain Hum is a fitted colorwork yoke sweater with a slight vintage vibe, which makes stunning use of a gradient yarn in a large-scale feather-like motif

BOTTOM: Polar Night is its sweet, slouchy cousin, with a hybrid raglan-circular yoke bearing a more understated stranded design

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: A little something to knit