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!

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:

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!

school, snow, and a vasa update (sort of)

When I last posted two and a half weeks ago I had every intention of returning to more regular blog updates. While that obviously didn’t happen, I have been keeping busy. Not much of it directly pertains to Paper Tiger as a business, but I thought I might share some of it here all the same (Paper Tiger was a personal blog and a place to share my thoughts and creative work before it was ever a business, after all).

Firstly, this is as close as I’ve gotten to a photo of my fully finished Vasa from the Vasalong:

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I’m holding out for a proper modeled photo (taken by someone else, preferably not on an iPod/iPhone) before I share all of the details, including my mods, etc. but the short version of the story is that I love it in the linen (yarn is Quince & Co. Sparrow, in the colors Juniper and Little Fern), I love the sleeve border I added, and this one has quite a bit of positive ease, far more than I recommended in the pattern (which was at least 4″ – I haven’t actually measured this thing yet, but I know it’s more than that). I promise I’ll wrap all that up soon! (The ravelry project page can be found here.)

As for why it’s taken me so long to get around to photographing and writing about my Vasa, as well as other projects I have going on, the reasons are many. The biggest reason, however, is that the summer school does actually keep me fairly busy, and when I’m not in class or hanging around the library working, I’m resting, cooking, exploring Oslo, or traveling. The International Summer School at UiO is something I have wanted to do for a very long time – nigh on a decade – and now that I’m actually here doing it I want to enjoy it and get as much out of the experience as I can. That makes PT work lower priority and it’s naturally fallen a little bit by the wayside. This has also been a time of reflection for me. I’m in the middle of something of a long transitional period, and coming to the summer school has been a deliberate part of that. It’s a transition away from creative work as my full-time daily work (though I will never give it up entirely) and back towards the world of education. It’s something I plan to write about more on this blog, because I have a lot of feelings about it all and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, but I’ll save that for another day.

In the meantime, to give you an idea of what I have been doing…

Most days look a lot like this:

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But some days look like this:

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14419725198_37634dab52_zOn top of Aurlandsfjellet in Sogn og Fjordane fylke. That’s the lopapeysa I bought on my trip to Iceland in March I’m wearing.

Or this:

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetVoss, in western Norway, in the rain & fog

I’ve been on one ISS-organized excursion (around the Oslofjord) and one road trip unrelated to the summer school to visit friends in Voss, which was this past weekend. The drive to western Norway is one I’ve done before, and it’s staggeringly beautiful. It was nice to stay in Voss as well, and we took a brief trip to the Folkemuseum there (I only have a few photos from it, but I think that still warrants its own blog post). I won’t be going on any trips this coming weekend, as I’ve only been in Oslo one weekend out of three since I arrived, and I’d like to do some weekend exploring (hitting up farmer’s markets, second-hand markets, and parks and the like that I wouldn’t normally get to on a weekday).

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the concept of home, my nomadic tendencies, and why I’m drawn to Norway in the first place. The visual ties to the Pacific Northwest are pretty obvious in many parts of the country. I found myself thinking about drives out to Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, Washington, as we drove through Hallingdal on the way back to Oslo on Sunday. I never realized Hallingdal looked so much like the Snoqualmie Valley.

14419752999_98d17cd655_zDriving through Hallingdal on road 7

In any case, I’m having an amazing time in Norway. We have a long weekend (no class Thursday or Friday) this weekend, so I’m planning to hit up some of the museums I haven’t had a chance to get to yet and hopefully catch up on some work as well. As always, you’ll find more photos on my instagram account (I’m @cakeandvikings) and you can follow me there if you’d like to keep up with what I’m up to on a more regular basis!

vasalong: results & the winners!

June 6th marked the last day and deadline for the Vasa KAL, so I gathered all the finished entries over the weekend, and today I randomly drew two winners!

First, I drew for the two skeins of Road to China Light: congratulations, Tien! And then I drew for the issue of Extra Curricular: congratulations, Ines! I’ll be getting in touch with you both about getting your prizes to you. (Tien blogged her beautiful version here, and you can see Ines’s on Ravelry!)

I’m also hoping to do a post showcasing several of the finished Vasas, because you all made some super creative mods and I love all the different versions!

In the meantime, I’ll share my own (barely finished) Vasa! It’s not truly finished, but this is where I got to by the end of Friday night; knitting finished & seams mostly sewn, but no ends woven in at all:

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I’ve now finished the seams, and I still plan to pick up stitches around the sleeves and work a few rounds of garter stitch to finish off the sleeves a little bit more nicely. The edges are curling a lot more on this one than they did on my original – perhaps a combination of the different fiber and my gauge. This one has quite a bit of positive ease, as well! I haven’t measured it for finished dimensions, but once I’ve properly finished it and thrown it through the washer and dryer, I’ll measure it, measure the gauge again, and share some real photos.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Vasalong, and if you’re still working on your Vasa, feel free to keep using the #vasalong tag! I’m still following along and I love seeing everyone’s different versions!

vasalong ends this friday!

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I can barely believe my eyes, but the calendar’s telling me it’s already June, which means that the Vasalong (the Vasa KAL) ends this Friday! That’s my own unfinished Vasa in Quince & Co. Sparrow pictured above – I’m sitting at around the 75% point, so I’ve got some knitting to do if I’m going to finish on time! Several of you have already finished your versions and shared them, and I LOVE seeing all the modifications you’re making! If you haven’t finished yet, here’s a quick reminder of the different ways you can share your Vasa that will automatically enter you to win one of the prizes (you only need to do one of these to be entered):

– Post a photo of your finished Vasa to Twitter or Instagram with the tag #vasalong
– Tag the project page of your finished Vasa on Ravelry with the tag vasalong
– Share your finished Vasa on the Paper Tiger Facebook page

If you do this by the end of Friday, June 6th (Pacific Standard Time), you’ll be entered into the prize drawing! And for a reminder of what you could win:

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On the left: Issue #14 of Extra Curricular Magazine, my favorite independent magazine for creative folk

On the right: Two skeins of The Fibre Company’s Road to China Light in Dark Amythest

These are a few of my favorite things, and I can’t wait to send them off to lucky winners next week.

If you have any last minute questions, feel free to post them in the comments! You can always check out the original post with guidelines right here. To those of you working on finishing up by Friday: good luck!

vasalong: a few of my favorite vasa mods

I haven’t forgotten that I promised to share a few of my favorite modifications knitters have made to their versions of Vasa! I’ve singled out two versions and I’m including Ravelry links to several others.

First up is this lovely version from Ravelry user kouvive. She knit hers in cotton yarn and made several modifications to the written pattern. She broke up the stripe sequence by adding a third color, and I love the effect.

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Other mods she made include knitting the body in the round to the armholes, adding garter stitch ridges to the sleeve openings (a nice alternative to picking up stitches to add an armhole border!) and across the top at the shoulder, and adding length to the tee. You can see the garter stitch detail a little bit better in this photo:

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Such a beautiful version in such lovely pastels! She left notes on her project page, but they’ll probably only be useful if you can read Japanese. This is also the case for the second FO I wanted to feature, by Ravelry user tsumiyo:

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I love the neutral colors! She added quite a lot of length to the top, but didn’t continue the stripe sequence, so the effect is akin to that of Breton stripes. I think the effect of the extra length is quite nice, and between that and tsumiyo’s color choices, I think this version’s very chic. You can view the project page (with notes in Japanese) here.

Other modified versions that are worth mentioning:

– Sylvie’s colorblocked Vasa hearts, worked in the round to the underarm and featuring stranded knitting

– Hiromi’s fresh grey and white Vasa, with a totally different stripe sequence

– jostrong’s linen VASA, an excellent example of how your choice of fiber affects the finished garment (beyond substituting yarn, I don’t believe jostrong made any mods). Look at that drape!

I’ve cast on for my own Vasa in the Quince & Co. Sparrow pictured in the last post, and I’m making good progress already. It’s a soothing project to pick up and put down whenever I have time to knit a few rows; the stripe sequence helps me keep my place and track my progress without having to take any notes, which I love. And I’m really loving the color combination, which is quite different from my original sample.

There’s still time to cast on and join the KAL, if you’re thinking about it! You can go back and check out the original Vasalong post with guidelines here: a vasalong!

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.