Of all the years, this is one where I feel most dramatically like WAIT! I haven’t even knitted anything from last year’s Favorite New Favorites yet! I’ve gone back to the patterns on that list over and over this year, and several I’ve continued to go on about during 2018, and yet somehow it’s already time to look back through this year’s and pull out the ones I most fervently want to not lose track of.
It was a really good year in knitting patterns, better than I even realized. To scroll back through the year’s New Favorites (which I recommend!) is to witness a lot of ingenuity and beauty, and yet there are loads of things I saved on Ravelry that haven’t even made it onto the blog. (Yet.) Trying to narrow it to the ones I simply admired the most, I was at risk of putting about 40 or 50 patterns into this post. So I decided to limit myself to just 12 patterns for the year: the ones I’d most like to actually knit and have. Which also means this could function as a queue for the coming year — if only people would stop with the new distractions!
Simply based on how many times I’ve typed the words Carbeth Cardigan this year — and the fact that I did cast one on during my flight to Palm Springs last week — it’s clearly the pattern that bored the deepest hole into my brain this year. And then there are the ones I actually made: Grete and Hozkwoz.
I have two chief concerns right now, winter wardrobe-wise, being opposite sides of the same coin: First, how to knit myself a couple of sweaters that aren’t too warm for my climate and work well with my collection of pants. (What shape? What yarn? The internal debate is interminable.) Second, what to do with the assorted beautiful wool in my stash such that it is wearable in my climate. Of the two, the one I’m trying most to focus on is the latter, since it makes use of stash — and specifically of yarn I have because I’m dying to knit with it! So I keep going back to my dickey and what I said about Brandi’s neck pieces — the notion of sewing myself a couple of simple things that would fill in for lighter-weight sweaters (e.g., a sweatshirt instead of a pullover; a kimono jacket instead of a cardigan), and layering them with wool neck accessories that are easier and more flexible to wear than were I to commit the same yarn to a full sweater. Which brings me to Churchmouse’s Two-Point Cowl, pictured above in two different gauges. The simple but effective pattern — which wears more like a wrap than a cowl, and also looks great more bunched up — is easy to adapt to any gauge, making it a good candidate for the variety of yarns I have in waiting. And it’s a great pattern for just letting a good yarn shine.
(p.s. Sorry for my unintended absence yesterday. I was sick all weekend and didn’t get a post written. All better now!)
I’m endlessly amazed at how musicians can be given the same limited set of musical notes and yet come up with an infinite number of new tunes and melodies. I feel a bit the same about these two shawls — oversized rectangular wraps — both of which are based on the simple concept of squares knitted in alternating stockinette and reverse stockinette:
TOP: Ippen Shawl by Claudia Eisenkolb puts two twists on the classic big-basketweave effect: the squares give way to wedges at the center, turning the rectangle into a U shape; and there’s a stripe of color running the length of it that shifts depending on whether you’re in a stockinette or reverse-stockinette block, from a solid line to a ticking stripe [Link updated 11.13, original Ravelry pattern listing was broken]
BOTTOM: Sjal by Antonia Shankland is a subtle collection of nested squares that change scale along the way
Already our Fringe HQ next-door neighbors are cranking the shared A/C, and I’m sitting huddled over the space heater on perfectly warm days with my big grey shawl around my shoulders, trying to get it to stay draped over my goosebump-covered arms. I’m dreading those long months ahead where it’s 100 degrees outside and 65 inside. Thinking about my spring/summer clothes — and specifically the fact that several of my favorite things are wide-cut smock tops that don’t play well with cardigans — I started wondering if there was such a thing as a single garment that could be left over my chair at work and pulled on over literally anything, including those smocks. After a few not-useless hours spent combing through kimono- and batwing-shaped cardigan patterns on Ravelry, I finally realized the answer was right here on the blog, in a New Favorites post from three years ago: Flying Squirrel by Michiyo. It’s a wide rectangle shawl/wrap/stole (ok, it’s a blanket), and can be worn as such, but it also has cuffs. CUFFS! For those moments when you need your blanket-scarf to pretend to have sleeves. But given that it technically has none, there’s no garment interference to worry about. And it’s cute!
I found the unicorn! Now I just have to knit it (minus the sporty stripes) … which might take me a lifetime of frozen summers. That is a whoooole lotta garter rib right there.
I have got camping fever, people. West Texas road trip fever. Live in a van fever, even. I’m way past due for an outdoor adventure, and editing a book of camping recipes (with corresponding drool-inducing images of savory foods in cast-iron skillets over open fires) is not helping. Then along comes the preview for the new issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. Look! Oddly, I wasn’t factoring knitwear into any daydreams I may have been having, but I am now!
LEFT: These adorably slouchy Camp and Trail socks by Pom Pom’s Lydia Gluck would be a dream after a long hike into the backcountry or around a campground fire.
RIGHT: And this Flying Squirrel wrap by Michiyo (from the new Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 5 collection) would be equally perfect around camp. It’s a big rectangle shawl with anchoring armholes on two corners, which you wouldn’t always have to use. It cracks me up that the pattern is called Flying Squirrel (get it?), and that it’s defined as a “textured stole garment.”
Have I ever told you my friends Meg and Jo (mother and daughter), who taught me to knit, take camping trips together where they just camp and knit? I need to get in on that.
We all know how important it is to have a simple little stockinette project on the needles, for those times when you want something mindless to knit. Or when you’ve screwed up a row of your slightly lacy cardigan and aren’t ready to face fixing it …
LEFT: Cabinfour’s Nordic Wind is a super simple little triangle shawl with wide stripes — shown in four shades of grey, from dark to light, for a little bit of ombré effect.
RIGHT: The Purl Bee’s Beautiful Spring Scarf is nothing but a stockinette rectangle with fringe. But ooh la la, how curious am I about that cashmere-linen blend yarn it’s designed for. And the idea of nylon cord for the fringe is pretty genius.