Idea Log: Summer sweater-jacket

Idea Log: Summer sweater-jacket knitting concept

That pic up top is my friend/colleague Cara wearing a little jacket I haven’t been able to get out of my head since I saw the photo long before I knew her. It had been designed by Hackwith Design House for my fellow Nashville small-biz owner Goodwin, and was out of my price range. I keep going back to this image thinking what a useful little thing that could be for much of year here, and it would not be hard to recreate in linen or something, but then you know when it’s summer and you long for that feeling of a sweater knit on your skin? So I’ve been pondering the possibility of a sweater equivalent in a linen-cotton blend or something. Knitting pattern designer Elizabeth Smith seems to be feeling a similar vibe with these two patterns of hers: 1979 (lower left) and Layla (lower right), which could just as easily be single-color stockinette. Either one would be a good jumping off point for a summer jacket like this.

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PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Everyday vest (now in progress)

It fits!

It fits! Mini Solbein Cardigan on my nieces

Last week, holding my breath, I finally sent the tiny Sólbein Cardigan off to Texas to see who it would fit, and whether they would like it — either or both of my two littlest nieces. Friday afternoon, I got a text message from their mom saying it had been waiting for them when they got home from school and they couldn’t wait to try it on. When I saw the photos, my heart popped right out of my chest. It fits Miss M (above) perfectly, and she’ll likely still be able to wear it in the fall. Miss T (below) probably has a full year or more to outgrow it. And omg the cuteness of these two — I can’t even. Fortunately they’re good at sharing, since they apparently both love it and have been trading off since it arrived, as evidenced by the additional pics that came on Sunday. (There are a couple more on Ravelry.)

It fits! Mini Solbein Cardigan on my nieces

Their mom just found out she’s pregnant and expecting in October, and dropped a not-subtle hint that she’d love something for the baby in this same goldenrod yarn. Not having any idea how big the Sólbein would be (and assuming more like the pre-teen size of their older sister), I bought 5 skeins of the MC and only used about 1.25, so there’s plenty left over for matching projects. But I’ll keep any further details on that to myself for the moment …

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PREVIOUSLY in Fringe and Friends Steekalong: Sunny little Sólbein cardigan

New Favorites: Leeni Hoi’s halos

New Favorites: Leeni Hoi's halos (sweater knitting patterns)

Wandering around Ravelry late last week, I ran across a new-to-me designer named Leeni Hoi and fell for her lovely halo-y sweaters knitted in fingering weight yarn held double with a strand of silk-mohair. This is one of the tricks I remember being awed by when I first took up knitting, and I have bought two or three skeins of silk-mohair over the years with a plan to try it, and yet I’ve still not done it. Which is ridiculous, because in addition to creating an incredibly soft and supple fabric — just look what it does for these three beauties — it’s also a good way to boost fingering yarn to a gauge I’m happier knitting at, while still creating a garment lighter than a worsted-weight sweater. Win/win/win.

ABOVE, TOP: Shimo Sweater has a pretty cables-and-bobbles motif that dovetails neatly into the hem and cuffs

ABOVE, BOTTOM: Vaña Sweater is a simple reverse-stockinette pullover with a few graphic lines of ribbing to set it off

BELOW: Uhuru Sweater looks like a super-basic pullover, but offers the surprise of a triangular detail at the cuffs and back of neck

New Favorites: Leeni Hoi's halos (sweater knitting patterns)

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mega wraps

Sunny little Sólbein cardigan (2019 FO-1)

I know, right? It’s so cute. This is my first finish of the year — my miniaturized version of the Sólbein Cardigan from the #fringeandfriendssteekalong. The palette was inspired by Mary Jane’s pre-steekalong remarks about the inspiration for this motif having been the idea of fractured daylight falling across the surface of the sweater, which made me want to do it in a sunny yellow combo. And you’ll recall I decided to knit it at worsted gauge and let it come out child-sized, in the hopes that it would fit one of my little nieces. (Details on how I scaled it down — including yarns, needles and gauge — are all here.)

The only changes I made were to leave off the colorwork at the hem and cuffs, and to do the button bands in garter stitch (on US6) instead of ribbing. I had used an incredibly soft merino for the middle yellow and felt it was not going to have enough heft as a ribbed button band. Garter has that added density, and I think in this case it also contributes to the little-girl looks of it. The bone buttons came from Fringe Supply Co., and the ribbon (a gift) came from Fancy Tiger Crafts.

Sunny little Sólbein cardigan

It’s not my very best work, if I’m honest. You can see my colorwork is a little bit bunchy, especially in the 3-color rows, and this was my first time sewing ribbon onto a button band — despite having sworn I would how many times? My whipstitching is, um, inelegant (although I kind of like that about it) and the act of lashing the ribbon onto the knitted fabric caused the bands to lengthen a bit. It’s all fine — it’s full of love! — and the imperfections just make it less precious. I’m definitely not worried about anyone wearing it and messing it up!

I just hope they can wear it. I opted not to do any math ahead of time and just let fate determine the outcome, and it came out smaller than I’d imagined. I was secretly hoping it would fit either the 11- or 8 year-old in the group and be handed down from there. But in the end, I’m concerned it may be a hair too small for the youngest, two 5-year-olds. After finishing, it clocks in at about a 24″ circumference at the chest, 11″ sleeves, and 15″ from shoulder to hem. Which is sort of a 4-5 range?

Time to send it off and see! With fingers firmly crossed.

Happy weekend, everyone—

IN UNRELATED SHOP NEWS: We’ve got the new MDK Field Guide No. 10: Downtown in the shop this morning, patterns by Isabell Kraemer, along with a fresh batch of Bury Me totes, the waxed plum Field Bag and lots more …

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PREVIOUSLY in Fringe and Friends Steekalong: Highlights and random winners


Idea Log: Everyday vest

Idea Log: Everyday vest

As my mini Sólbein awaits its buttons and ribbon backing and sleeve seams, and the bulky black cardigan I started knitting and didn’t finish in December is now useless until next year (if then), I’ve been really weighing my next cast-on, wanting it to be imminently wearable. Yet another mild winter here has proven that cardigans are smarter than pullovers, and vests are even better. And in addition to (always) craving a good shawl-collar cardigan, I’ve become fanatical about protecting the back of my neck. I’m also really into this photo, his whole look, but in particular his ivory waistcoat. So a garment has formed in my mind, and will hopefully soon be forming on my needles.

My goal is for this vest to be the sort of thing I throw on over whatever else I’m wearing on any given day — the sweater-vest equivalent of a smock. I want it wide and slouchy, but not too much, with deep armholes (similar to my converted Clyde vest) so it can go on over all shapes of sleeves.

For optimum wearability, it should be ivory, of all things, and I have enough natural worsted in my stash to pull it together, albeit in the form of mismatched yarns that are identical enough in color that I think I could knit different pieces from different yarns and all would be fine. But it would be even more useful if it weren’t 100% wool. So I’m torn between patchworking it together from stash or acquiring a cotton or cotton blend for this.

Not sure yet if I’ll adapt it from the Anna Vest or create it from scratch.

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PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Shrunken crewneck Charles

New Favorites: Simple pleasures

New Favorites: Simple pleasures (knitting patterns)

Maybe it’s because I’m wrapping up my annual spot-of-colorwork project, I don’t know, but for whatever reason, I’m finding myself soooo drawn to the idea of knitting something really simple and straightforward but also beautiful and useful. Such as …

TOP: Column by Hiromi Nagasawa is a bulky or superbulky pullover with an unusual construction method that also gives a simple sweater a different look

BOTTOM LEFT: Chunky Slipper Socks by Churchmouse is a bulky version of their fingering-weight Turkish Bed Socks, one of the first patterns I ever bought (but still haven’t knitted!)

BOTTOM RIGHT: Classic Ribbed Hat by Purl Soho is exactly that (free pattern)

Happy weekend, everyone! If you happen to be at Quiltcon today, here in Nashville, hey me too! Please say hello.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Junko’s abstract Bouquet

Fringe and Friends Steekalong highlights and random winners

Fringe and Friends Steekalong results and winners

While there are still people knitting — some of whom have started in on a next sweater — today marks the close of the official Fringe and Friends Steekalong coverage. But please do keep knitting! And I’ll keep tuning in to the #fringeandfriendssteekalong feed, where there is so much splendor to behold.

In addition to an assortment of other beautiful sweaters and even a shawl or two, we’ve literally seen a Sólbein Cardigan in every color of the rainbow, plus all the neutrals, and one rainbow-hued take on the yoke, above, by @mettosaurus. Not to mention pockets, zippers, handspun — and a couple of reversals, converting Sólbein to a pullover, such as the beauty seen on @carolinefrett above in the great group shot from @wollenberlin.

I just have the finishing to do on my mini and can’t wait to show it to you — it’s gotten cuter and cuter with every step completed.

The FIVE WINNERS drawn at random from the qualifying entries are: @fletch1800 @knitterbree @thehavelockzoo @madknitter51 and @kbzelazny. Congratulations, you’ve each won a Field Bag in the color of your choice! Please email <contact@fringesupplyco.com> to claim your prize.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated or cheered participants along. It’s always such a joy join in with knitters stretching skills and sharing insights and making beautiful garments, and that’s never been more true than with all the steekers in this crowd. And thanks especially to Mary Jane Mucklestone for the amazing pattern and for joining in with so much great advice and cheerleading along the way!

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PREVIOUSLY in Fringe and Friends Steekalong: How to knit a mini Solbein