Hello, old friends!

What a minute it’s been. When I put this blog on hiatus in January 2020, I could never have imagined all that was about to happen in the world, and I hope you’ve fared as well as possible through all the turmoil. I have missed talking with you!

That said, I have a lot of big news to share today and will keep it as brief as I can— 

You likely know that in the summer of 2020 (foreseeing supply-chain issues and so on), I made the difficult but healthy decision to halt the retail/wholesale/consumer goods functions of Fringe Supply Co. The big exciting thing that has happened with the brand in the meantime has been collaborating with my friend Jen at Grainline Studio to turn the Field Bag into a home sewing pattern — and kits! So the Field Bag lives on in that way, alongside its predecessor, the beloved Stowe Bag pattern. But since these Grainline patterns are the lone way in which the FSCo brand is still in use, it increasingly made sense to me for Jen to own it, and we’ve now made that a reality! So you will see the Fringe Supply properties start to come to life again in service of promoting existing and future co-brand projects, only now under Grainline’s stewardship. Yes, you read that right — there will be more Grainline x Fringe projects going forward! And I’ll continue to have a hand in that, but now as a contractor to Grainline. So if you’re already subscribed to the FSCo mailing list, you don’t need to do anything, and you’ll continue to receive updates from Jen with GxFS news. If you’re not subscribed, sign up here for future news on that front!

But wait, there’s news on that front TODAY! Those pics up top are of the second installment of our Artist Series Field Bag kits, each one individually hand-painted by my talented husband, Bob Bechtol — no two of them alike. The kit would make an excellent gift, as would the finished bag, or of course you can buy a kit and sew it for yourself. There are only 60 of these kits, so if you want one, please do read the product description and caveats carefully but then don’t sit on it — the previous edition didn’t last long!

You may also know that in early 2021, we moved to Florida. With that move necessitating a name change to my business entity — from Fringe Industries to KT Studio — plus the above-mentioned change to ownership of the Fringe Supply Co. brand, I’ve also rebranded this blog from Fringe Association to KT’s Slow Closet. (Its third name and second rename. Don’t worry, all the old links still work!) So for anyone who buys any of my for-purchase knitting patterns at this point, the charge will show up as KT Studio. And will I ever begin posting to this blog again? I won’t swear one way or the other, but …

… in addition to the Grainline x Fringe projects on the horizon, I have a few different irons in fires at the moment, some of which readers of this blog will want to know about. For those of you who’d like to keep up with future news of me, I’ve started a new mailing list, which I’ve given the very creative title of “KT Studio News.” If you’re interested, you can subscribe to that here.

I remain eternally grateful for all your time and support over the years, and look forward to keeping you updated on what happens next! 

. . .

Gone makin’

I’m writing this with a conflicted heart, but I’m here today to let you know that I’m putting the blog on hiatus. Short-term? Long-term? I honestly don’t know. I just know I’ve been writing this blog for 8+ years and I need a break — and a chance to focus on some other projects I can never quite get to. It’s a very hard decision to make because I value your company more than you know, but I’m not going away. I’ll still be knitting and sewing, obviously, and will strive to be better about sharing my makes on Ravelry and on my @karentempler feed on Instagram. I’m also aiming to do more with the @fringesupplyco feed, and I’m thinking of adding links and such to the shop newsletter, so make sure you’re following and subscribed accordingly. (There’s a newsletter signup field in the page footer here). I’m hoping this will lead to MORE creative output from me, and I still want to share it with you — just in different ways, for now.

Of course, Fringe Supply Co. marches on! And there are years’ worth of content in the archives that might be new to you, so I encourage you to explore it:

– All of the free patterns and how-to’s, including the top-down Improv tutorial
– The trove of pattern recs and links and stuff that fall under Finds
– The Hot Tips that make knitting life simpler and less stressful
– The Beginning to Knit archive of posts for anyone starting out or wanting to advance their skills
– And a peek behind the scenes with so many talented makers in Our Tools, Ourselves

Among many other things!

I’m so grateful to you for being here so far, and for all you’ve shared with me and taught me, and I hope you’ve found my work here useful in exchange. There’s definitely a next chapter, and I’m eager for the chance to figure out what shape it takes! So stay tuned, and thank you.


2019: My sewing year in review

My Sewing Year in Review: all the Fen mods

Any year that includes that magical striped dress up there is a good sewing year, in my book. But I think this was easily my most successful — if most myopic — year as a sewer. I sewed 12 things, some of which were never blogged but all of which are pictured here. Every one of them was completed during my Linenpalooza of summer-into-fall, fueled by the actual and neurotic need for suitable clothes for my India trip. (Although not all of them went with me.)

I think I mentioned before that this came about because I didn’t own clothing that was appropriate. Essentially all of my hot-weather clothes are sleeveless; my dresses are sleeveless and knee-length. It was going to be in the 90s the whole time and we would be outside for most or all of every day — everything I owned that was sufficiently modest would have been suffocating. Buying a whole travel wardrobe was not an option, so I bought some linen to augment what I already had in my stash, and I pulled out some of my tried-and-true patterns and began cutting.

The six garments above are all made from the same two pattern pieces of the Fen top, just modified in various ways: the striped and blurple dresses, the yellow dress, the black top, toffee top and cyan top. The four pants below are all from the Robbie pants pattern I’ve also made (with my modifications) many times before: pomelo, striped, blurple, toffee. The striped and blurple ones were both made from the scraps of the dresses, and I cut both a top and pants in the toffee color. From the scraps of the pomelo pants, I also scraped together the little pomelo top, below, which is from the Hemlock tee pattern (modified along some of the the same lines as before) with the amount of fabric determining the length of the body and sleeves.

Sewing year in review: Hemlock tee and Robbie pants

I had a lot of fun making the matching tops and pants, which can be worn together like faux jumpsuits but which also mix-and-match with the other pieces. And ultimately 10 of the above got packed for the trip, along with one RTW linen top (so I took 3 dresses, 4 tops and 4 pants) plus an 11th-hour surprise, the jacket below:

Sewing year in review: linen Wiksten Haori with travel pockets

The Sunday before we left, as I was neatly rolling my clothes and laying them into one side of my suitcase, I began to get anxious about the flights. And I convinced myself I needed to sew a jacket. I have no fear of heights or flying, but I am a little claustrophobic and I always told myself I couldn’t be sealed in a plane for 14 hours. So naturally when it came time to do that, I decided it would be fine if only I had a linen Wiksten jacket (lightweight! but fends off a/c! doesn’t take up too much suitcase space while not in use!) with perfectly scaled secret pockets for my passport and kleenex and earbuds and phone … . So that’s what I made for myself. And it worked.


PREVIOUSLY: 2019 Knitting year in review

2019: My knitting year in review

My knitting year in review: Smock Vest, Grace pullover, garter stitch shawlette kerchief

There’s always something surprising to me whenever I look back through what I’ve made in a given year. This year it’s the fact that I made things! For some reason, I don’t feel like I did, and it may be because this is the first year I knitted more for others than for myself. I also sewed more than I knitted (more on that tomorrow), which is easy to do — especially when you’re as simple a sewer as me — but it turns out I did, in fact, knit this year. And I even crocheted.

For me, I knitted only three things, above, but I’m well pleased with them: my smock vest (improvised), my toffee-colored cable pullover (Grace pattern by Denise Bayron), and the little black kerchief (modified from a Purl Soho pattern) that is my constant companion these days.

My knitting year in review: Solbein cardigan, Gramps cardigan, April Hat, Anker's Jacket

I knitted four things for tiny nieces: The little colorwork cardigan being shared by Misses M and T; the bobble beret for their big sister R; the sunny cardigan for their new baby sister E; and the keepsake cardigan in memory of their baby cousin.

My knitting year in review: Cabled Dad Hat, Joanne hat

And then there are the two slight disappointments. The cable hat for Bob is a thing of beauty but the yarn has no recovery whatsoever and so isn’t well suited to this particular task. He gave it back to me and I’ve been wearing it on the trail, and need to knit him another one in a more elastic yarn. Similarly, the summer hat I crocheted for myself has sort of … wilted. I need to try it again at the nice tight gauge the pattern calls for.

All in all, a pretty successful knitting year — especially given how much those girls loved their gifts.

Please note that each of these things is linked to the original blog post about it where you can find further photos, links and details on patterns, yarn, modifications and so on — please click through to find out more! And if I left anything out, feel free to ask.


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Matilda’s cardigan

Favorite New Favorites of 2019

Best knitting patterns of the year (Bouquet by Junko)

I’m awed every single year when I scroll back through New Favorites to see how many fantastic patterns I’ve posted here, knowing they’re still only a fraction of everything that caught my eye and made me pause in admiration for a moment (or obsess for weeks or months). As is my annual custom, I’ve rounded up my very favorite favorites below — by which I simply mean the ones I personally have the strongest urge to cast on and wear. Each pattern listed includes a link to the post in which it originally appeared, if you want to see what I had to say about it at the time and more of what was featured alongside — or you can scroll through the entirety of New Favorites at any time or just the annual Favorite New Favorites roundups! So much beauty and talent to behold.

In any given year, my absolute favorite pattern is not necessarily the most creative or innovative, and I tend to skew more heavily toward wearability regardless, but in my humble opinion the best pattern of 2019 is equal parts creative/innovative and wearable, above, and that’s Junko Okamoto’s Bouquet Sweater (from Junko’s abstract Bouquet). Her use of RS and WS floats in creating a variety of “bouquets” of flowers that are then asymmetrically scattered across the garment … it’s amazing in the concept and execution, and I have seen several really beautiful examples walking around in the world. I hope in 2020 I may have the courage to make it my colorwork project for the year. (Since I seem to pretty reliably do one per year.)

. . . . .

Best knitting patterns of the year (sweaters)

top: Column by Hiromi Nagasawa (from Simple pleasures)
row two, left: Tarn by Claire Walls (from Textured yokes)
row two, right: Eva by Julie Weisenberger (from Eva)
middle: Streaks by Keiko Kikuno (from Amirisu 19, all of it)
bottom, left: Escala by Alice Caetano (from Amirisu 19, all of it)
bottom, right: ふっくらケーブル模様のセーター by Yokota/Daruma (from Bulky beauties)

. . . . .

Best knitting patterns of the year (scarves)

top: Dyyni by Sari Nordlund (from The ones I’ve been waiting for)
middle left: Isadora by Berroco (from Fall warm-ups)
middle right: No-Cable Cable Scarf by Purl Soho (from Cables for the Cable-averse)
bottom: Lierne Cowl by Bristol Ivy (from Amirisu 19, all of it)

. . . . .

Best knitting patterns of the year (hats)

top: The Dawn Hat by Brandi Harper (from Holiday hat knitting cheat sheet: 10 skill-stretching patterns)
middle left: Oleander Reversible Hat by Laura Chau (from Texture, please!)
middle right: Hatdana by Denise Bayron (from Head kercheifs)
bottom: Hjarn Hat by Amber Platzer Corcoran (from Stranded purl hats)

. . . . .

Best knitting patterns of the year (socks)

top: Open Heart by Ainur Berkimbayeva (from Serious sock temptations)
bottom left: Chunky Slipper Socks by Churchmouse (from Simple pleasures)
bottom right: Thaba by Dawn Henderson (from Serious sock temptations)

. . . . .

I should note that my New Favorites picks aren’t always published within the year, and some of these may not have been 2019, but I’d love to hear what your favorites of the year have been!


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: “Cables” for the cable-averse

Warehouse Sale!

WAREHOUSE SALE at Fringe Supply Co.!

Hi, friends — just a quick note today to let you know there’s a Warehouse Sale happening over at Fringe Supply Co.! Meaning clearance prices on seconds and odds and ends, while they last. There’s even more variety than what’s pictured here (including a few Porter Bins), and we have very few of some things and quite a lot of others, so click quick! But please do read the listing thoroughly before placing your order.

Back to regular programming tomorrow …

Merry Elsewheres

Merry Elsewheres — yarny links for your holiday week perusal

I may not be the most festive person in the world, but what I do love about this stretch around the holidays is the way the world slows down while we collectively shift our focus for a minute (a day, a week), away from the daily grind and onto the people and places we cherish. Whether you’re crowd-averse like me or a confirmed extrovert, have big news to celebrate or are feeling the presence of a newly empty chair at your dinner table — or whatever your particular circumstances may be — I hope you find peace and joy this week. I’m spending it with my sister and her family and will be back here later in the week with some news and some recapping, so meet me here then! But if you’ve got a bit of time on your hands in the meantime, here are some links to keep you learning, crying, laughing or swooning—

— First, speaking of family and complexities and all that — I want to say thank-you to everyone who has shared such incredibly powerful and personal stories in response to my post about Matilda’s cardigan. It turned into a conversation about loss and hope and grief and love and … life, and knitting’s place in that. And I’m grateful for it.

— I hereby co-sign @arohaknits “petition to rename these items …” (and now I’m also giggling remembering the great “arm leggings” of 2012, which why on earth have I not been wearing those?!)

Have you seen the knitted postage stamps and the knitting itself? (via)

I like both Michael Ruhlman and Kay Gardiner and am eager to listen to their conversation

— I’m obsessed with this granny-square sweater by the always-inspiring Jo of Kkibo

and wowed by this cardigan-driven look

Totally fascinated by Cocoknits’ pick-up-THEN-knit method

Christmas decor I can get behind (esp if done with proper pompoms!)

Mary Jane and her dream sweater

and the I’m Not Lost project is amazing — there’s the backstory and a PDF download here, and don’t miss the flash mob! (photo by @kristyglassknits)

I know there are loads of efforts along these lines — SO much knitting for good cheer, charity and more — and would love for you all to share as many of them as possible in the comments.

Merry holidays to you and yours, whatever you celebrate!


PREVIOUSLY: Holiday Hewett + Elsewhere