ebba & berit

If you happen to be subscribed to the Quince & Co. e-newsletter (or if you follow me on Instagram), then you’ve already seen that I have two new patterns out this week! Meet Ebba and Berit:

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I’ve gushed about my love for Quince & Co. on this blog before, so you can imagine how exciting it’s been for me to work with them on these two patterns. I love Quince for their yarns, which are amazing to knit with, but I also love them for their commitment to ethically sourced American wool and to the U.S. fiber industry at large. Working with them has been a dream.

I wrote a bit over on the Quince blog this week about the inspiration behind both designs, so I won’t go into that too much here, but you can head over to the Quince blog to check that out.

Both designs use Quince & Co. Chickadee, their sport-weight wool, in three colors. Both are definitely rooted in Norwegian knitting traditions as well, and make use of some traditional techniques many knitters may not have tried before: Ebba uses steeks to create the armholes for its drop shoulder sleeves, and Berit features embroidered embellishments. I’ve written a tutorial for working the steeks which can be found here (it’s also linked both in the pattern and on my support & tutorials page).

I’m so pleased for these patterns to be released in conjunction with my own move to Norway (somewhat serendipitously; Ebba was in the pipeline before I even knew I’d be moving!). And whether it’s just the back-to-school timing or whether it was intentional, the book and specs (that resemble my own) used in the photoshoot felt like a nice little nod to my newfound status as grad student:

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This bespectacled student approves! I’m very much looking forward to working with Quince again in the future, and I hope you love these patterns as much as I do.

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fringe hatalong

I was hoping to get this post up last week, but it’s been so busy with the semester start I’m only just getting it up!

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know I love the Fringe Hatalong series Karen is running this year, so when she got in touch with me to design pattern #4, I was thrilled! Let me introduce you to Laurus:

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Laurus is a free pattern available as a PDF download from the Fringe website right here. Most of the pertinent info is included in the Fringe blog post, including some info about swatching, knitting from a colorwork chart, and our featured charity for this pattern, Hats and More for War-Torn Syria. I don’t want to overlap too much with Karen’s post, but I did want to share some more about this pattern and how we arrived at it.

The recommended yarn is Quince & Co. Lark, one of my very favorites. I love the Quince & Co. concept, since their wools (and their new cotton yarn, Willet) are all grown and produced domestically in the United States, with an emphasis on sustainable practices. Lark is a worsted weight 100% wool yarn available in 55 different colors (at current count). I chose Lark for the pattern not just because I love it (though I do), but also because I find the built in “compare” tool on the Quince website particularly useful when choosing yarns for a colorwork project. On any of the yarn pages on the Quince site if you click “compare colors” underneath the large photo at left, you’re able to view up to five colorways side by side. Genius!

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One of the things I strive to do as a designer and a teacher is to emphasize the creative possibilities of modifications and the differences our creative decisions can make for our finished object. Since many folks knitting this hat for the hatalong may be doing colorwork for the first time (or have limited experience with colorwork), I suggested to Karen that we work up the hat in two different versions – but both versions would use the same two colorways, and simply swap the main color and contrasting color. I think this completely changes the feel of the hat, even though both samples use the same two colors.

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I wanted to illustrate that color placement within a project makes a huge difference – and that’s something you may not be able to visualize when looking at two skeins of yarn side by side. Swatching is a great way to work out what two colors might look like for your chosen pattern, but colored pencils and graph paper can also be a useful visualization tool.

We released the pattern last Thursday, but several speedy knitters have already worked up their hats! I’ve seen a version that omits the stripes and I’ve also seen a version that takes the Laurus chart and uses it on a Moon Sprites hat instead – both clever and creative, two things I enjoy the most when browsing FOs! I love watching the projects progress, and you can share (or just browse) Fringe hatalong projects everywhere with the tag #fringehatalong.

I encourage you to give this hat a try even if you’ve never done colorwork – this pattern’s a great starting point with only 7 rounds of colorwork and it’s a simpler and more repetitive motif than it appears to be at first glance. I’ll be on hand to answer any questions I see popping up as well. I can’t wait to see your hats!

All photos by Kathy Cadigan.

some recent FOs

I haven’t shared any knit FOs for a little while, so while I’m working away on projects for fall that I can’t show you just yet, I thought I’d share a few! (I’m using the term “recent” a bit loosely, here, since these stretch back to March, but let’s just roll with it).

First up: my very own finished Hearth Slippers!

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These are the slippers I designed for Tolt last year. I knit the three sample pairs photographed for the pattern, but those went to Tolt and I was left without a pair of my own. I cast on for my own pair during the joint Hearth Slipper KAL run by Tolt and Fancy Tiger, but it took me awhile to finish them up since I was traveling in December and working on other projects at the beginning of the year. I finally finished these in March, though, and they’ve been worn SO much since then! They’ve only been set aside in the last few weeks, as the weather’s warmed up here in Seattle. I knit the size Large, so that I could wear them over thick tights – I think I’ll be grateful for that once I get to Tromsø – so over my bare feet they’re a little slouchier, which I also like. I took these photos this morning, so this is what they look like after a few months of pretty regular wear. Not bad, right? That Fancy Tiger Heirloom Romney is sturdy stuff. I used Dark Natural for my Color A, Hubbard for my Color B, and Natural for my Color C. I absolutely love the moody, wintry feel of this color combination. My Ravelry project page can be found here.

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shared my yarn choice for the second Fringe Hatalong pattern, but I never shared my finished hat! I ended up putting a pom pom on top (hardly a surprise) and I hope the finished hat will see a lot of use once I get to Tromsø – knit up in Quince & Co. Osprey in the Glacier colorway, it’s incredibly warm and cozy and it just hugs my head. The Osprey’s almost a little heavy for this pattern, and I’d love to try it knit up in Lark, which might suit it even better. This is a super quick knit and I love how easy it is to memorize the four-round repeat. The pattern is the L’Arbre Hat from Cirilia’s beautiful Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads, but the hat (and matching mitts) are available for free in PDF format for the hatalong, thanks to the generosity of Cirilia and her publisher. Be sure to check the errata before you cast on. You can find the Raverly project page for my L’Arbre Hat here.

And keep an eye out on the Fringe blog for info about hatalong pattern #3! I think it might be time for another reveal sometime in the coming weeks, and I know I can’t wait to see what it is.

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Next up: OH, how do I love these socks? Let me count the ways . . . If you’re on Instagram, you’ve surely seen this incredible self-patterning sock yarn pop up in your feed in the past few months. I don’t usually go for self-striping or self-patterning yarns, but even *I* fell for this one. It’s the new line designed by Arne & Carlos for Regia, and it’s fantastic. Traditional Norwegian colorwork motifs provided the inspiration for the patterning, and the palettes for the six different colorways were drawn from different Edvard Munch paintings. Last summer when I was in Norway I had a chance to visit Åsgårdstrand, which was where Munch spent his summers for much of his life. His summer cabin there has been turned into a museum, and it was a really fantastic and idyllic place to visit that gave me a new appreciation for Munch, whose style isn’t really what I usually go for. Needless to say, I love this sock yarn. I’m all about it. And I’m super grateful several of my local stores are carrying it (and it’s going like hot cakes, from what I can tell!). This colorway is far and above my favorite: Summer Night (color number 3657). The best part is that these are the simplest stockinette socks, and simple socks are my favorite to actually wear. I worked them toe-up with an afterthough heel and did a picot bind-off. The contrasting yarn used for the heel and picot edge is Soft Like Kittens Noodle Sock in Cloud Watching. The Raverly project page can be found here.

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Last we have an FO I’m especially excited about. I fell in love with Chuck when Andi Satterlund released it in the fall of 2012, and I’ve wanted to knit myself one ever since. I love the simple but elegant cables and I love the cropped length. I’ve also been trying to make an effort to knit more sweaters that I can wear with my high-waisted dresses and skirts, so I decided it was finally time to give it a go. I picked up five skeins of Quince & Co. Lark in Kittywake at Tolt back in March, and after knitting so many fingering-weight sweaters, a worsted-weight sweater on size 8 needles felt impossibly quick (although this project did do some hibernating for a few months). I worked a tubular bind off for all of the ribbing, but otherwise made no modifications. Andi’s a wonderfully clear pattern-writer, so even though this type of construction isn’t my favorite to knit, I’m already looking forward to casting on for another Andi project (perhaps an Agatha?). The Ravelry project page is here.

Next, I’m trying to see if I can sneak in under the extension deadline for Shannon’s Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL (which ends tomorrow) with my Dubro. I’ve almost finished the body (one or two stripes left) and then all I’ll have left is the sleeves, so it might actually be doable! What’s on your needles at the moment?

very shannon’s tops, tanks, and tees KAL

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Today is the official start – cast-on day – of Shannon’s annual Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL. I learned about this KAL last year during the Vasalong, as many folks knitting a Vasa were including it in both KALs. I was pretty stoked to learn about the TTTKAL, as it’s ideal for spring heading into summer, and if I can swing it, I’d love to participate this year (though I’d better get going if I want to have something finished by the June 3rd deadline).

I’ve got a solid garment’s worth of Shibui Linen in my stash that I’ve been wanting to use for ages, but I haven’t landed on the right pattern yet. I’ll also admit that part of why it’s been languishing in the stash for so long is that once I fell in love with Quince & Co. Sparrow, the Shibui Linen seemed less appealing (while they’re both fingering weight and 100% linen, the Shibui is a chainette yarn, so it yields a more textured fabric than the Sparrow). Absolutely nothing against Shibui, who make wonderful yarn I enjoy knitting with – I just have a rather giant soft spot for Quince & Co. in general. Still, I’m determined to start knitting more from my sizable yarn stash, so I’d love to use this yarn for the TTTKAL. I have three skeins of grey, and two of navy, so stripes seem like the best use of the yarn. Because of the way the Shibui knits up, the fabric has some texture already and textured stitches might compete with it, so stockinette also seems like a good way to go. Here are some patterns I’ve been considering:

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Top row, from left:

1. The duh-totally-easy way to go about things would be to knit yet another Vasa – I love my linen Vasa (in Sparrow) and it actually gets a lot more wear than my wool version, so another linen Vasa would be a bit of a no brainer. I know I’d wear it. But on the other hand, I’ve already knit two Vasas and I don’t often knit garments more than once. I can feel myself itching to knit something different.

2. Saco Stripes, by Pam Allen. I’ve loved this pattern ever since I first saw it, and part of me still really wants to knit it. But as far as knitting things that will actually become wardrobe staples, I’m not sure how it would do. My hips are wider than my shoulders, and tanks tend to emphasize that with the narrow shoulder width. A top that extends beyond my shoulders tends to make me look a little more balanced, which means I may only wear a tank like this if I’ve got something to wear over it. I love it, but this probably isn’t the best choice for me right now.

Bottom row, from left:

3. A host of things from the new issue of Pom Pom Quarterly, that cover sweater Greco in particular. The summer issue of Pom Pom contains several patterns that would be perfect for this knitalong, and I was entertaining the idea of a Greco in plain stockinette – the lighter weight linen would lend the whole top an open, summery feeling, and the V-neck in back is a nice touch. The cropped length is cute, too, but again I’m not sure how regularly I would wear that. I suppose adding length would probably be fairly simple, though.

4. Dubro, by Michiyo, for Quince & Co. I think I’ve settled on this one – the finished garment is something I would definitely reach for and wear a lot, I don’t have anything like it in my wardrobe already, and Michiyo is one of my favorite designers. I love the use of blocks of stripes with a plain yoke – a little bit of a Breton sweater, but with a twist. Proportions are tricky to nail down with stripes, but I love the proportions of these! I might have to get a little creative with yarn here based on my yardage – the sleeves may need some modifications – but I think I can swing it.

Are you taking part in the Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL this year? I’d love to hear what patterns you’re working up!

the fringe hat-along

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Back in February, Karen of Fringe launched the Fringe Hatalong series, and I really enjoyed following everyone’s progress with the first pattern she picked, the Audrey hat from Tolt. I didn’t join in on that round, knowing that there would be more coming in the series, but I’m excited to say that I’m very much looking forward to hat number two.

The pattern won’t be revealed until Thursday the 16th, but there’s some preliminary information posted over on Fringe, particularly regarding yarn selection. Hat number two is a pattern with an all-over textured stitch pattern, and it calls for a heavy worsted/aran weight yarn. I’ve been doing some stash diving, trying to see if I have anything appropriate, but I’ve also been down in Portland for the weekend and I couldn’t resist popping into a new-to-me yarn store, Twisted, so… in the end, I picked up a beautiful skein of Quince & Co. Osprey in Glacier, pictured above. So much for knitting from the stash. Oops! Perhaps I’ll have to knit more than one hat so I can actually knit through some stash yarn as well.

I can’t wait for the pattern reveal on Thursday, and to see how this Osprey knits up! Will you be joining in on this round of the hatalong?

linen & stripes

I almost laughed out loud when Karen’s beautiful Togue stripes popped up in my blog reader today, because I finally have proper photos of my Vasa from the Vasalong. So I, too, am showcasing stripes in Quince & Co. linen. Here it is, folks: my finished Vasa, photographed and all! (Happily, that makes this the final Vasalong post!)

Forgive me for repeating myself if you’ve been following along, but in the interest of writing it up properly: it’s knit in Quince & Co. Sparrow (the five skeins shown in this post), and while initially I was worried I hadn’t bought enough yarn, those tiny hanks go very far. I had four hanks of Juniper and one hank of Little Fern, and while I had very little yarn leftover when I was done, the finished tee is pretty large.

I still haven’t put it through the washer and dryer yet, but I’ve worn it several times already. At this point, the finished dimensions are 25″ wide by about 21-22″ tall (it’s longer at the shoulders, since I’ve been wearing it), which makes it wider than it is tall (!). That’s about a 50″ chest circumference, which is 14″ of positive ease on my 36″ bust. Not everyone will want such a huge, drapey garment (it’s admittedly kind of a tent), but I think it works really well in the linen and gives you a good idea of why I recommend at least 4″ of positive ease in the pattern. 4″ of ease is actually not that much ease. I knit it up on US size 3 needles and the gauge is sitting around 18 stitches and 27 rows per 4″. At this gauge the fabric is quite airy and definitely see-through, so I wear this with a tank underneath.

Here are a few photos to show off the boxy shape and fabric quality:


It’s knit flat and seamed, as written in the pattern, but I did make two modifications: I picked up stitches and knit sleeve borders in garter stitch, binding off in the CC, and I only knit 14 stripes instead of 15. I’m pretty pleased with the garter stitch sleeve borders, even if I barely had enough yarn left to eke them out.

My favorite part of the whole Vasalong was definitely seeing everyone else’s Vasas in progress, though. Especially everyone’s mods! I loved the creativity! A few favorites:

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This one comes from Ines in Belgium, and I love the effect of the one dotted line stripe. So cool!

I loved Tien’s bright scalloped stripe version! Clever use of stranded colorwork to such nice effect (and I love the colors). You can check out the inside of it, strands and all, here.

I loved this photo of Sibhie, wearing the Vasa she knit for the Vasalong, knitting another Vasa, and to top it all off that’s the Vasa Museum in Stockholm behind her in the background. The most epic Vasa photo there will ever be:

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Ash got creative when faced with yarn limitations, and mixed up the stripe sequence (and I love it):

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all of the stripes, all of the stripes 🎶 #tttkal #vasalong

A post shared by ash (@sunflowerknit) on

You can check out the rest of the Vasa projects on Ravelry here, and huge thanks once again to all of the Vasalong participants!

vasalong: yarn!

I received an exciting parcel over the weekend; my yarn arrived for the Vasalong! I decided I wanted a lighter alternative to my original merino version, so I opted for some lovely linen: Sparrow by Quince and Co. It seems a little crazy to say it, but this is the first time I’ve ordered anything by Quince and Co., so I’m really looking forward to working with it. I’m using Juniper as my main color and Little Fern for the stripes. The muted tones of Sparrow are pretty dreamy.

If you’re interested in using linen but want something a little more saturated in color than Sparrow, I think Shibui Linen might be a good option, and of course I’d welcome other suggestions!

I’m planning to cast on this week, and I think the only mod I’m going to make is a little bit of sleeve opening detail – perhaps picking up stitches for a few rounds of ribbing, or maybe garter stitch? I’m not entirely sure yet, but as it’s knit from the bottom up, I have time to make up my mind. In the next Vasalong posts, I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite mods as well as the prizes you’ll be entered to win if you finish by June 6th! There’s still plenty of time to join in if you’re thinking about it, and you can read up on the guidelines here.