Fringe and Friends Steekalong starts now!

Fringe and Friends Steekalong starts now!

FINALLY! I know it’s been hard for a lot of you to wait to start knitting (and some just couldn’t stand not to cast on), so I’m extra happy kickoff day for the Fringe and Friends Steekalong has finally arrived. There is no firm end date. The feed will have my focused attention through Feb 17th, but feel free to knit at your own pace. Ultimately, this is not about deadlines or prizes (although see below) — it’s about challenging yourself, having fun, and making a sweater!


The featured pattern for this year’s Fringe and Friends Knitalong is the Sólbein Cardigan by my dear friend Mary Jane Mucklestone.
– The introduction to the event, with more info, is here.
– This being the “Steekalong,” you may knit any steeked garment you like.
– Since the announcement, Mary Jane and I have discussed yarn considerations, possible color palettes, and alternative steeking methodologies, plus Mary Jane posted a whole tutorial on the slip-stitch crochet method of reinforcing a steek, so check those out if you haven’t seen them!
– Jump in anytime by posting in the comments here and/or using the hashtag #fringeandfriendssteekalong on Instagram to share and see what everyone else is up to.
(Remember posts only appear in hashtag feeds if posted from a public account. If you are private but want to participate, consider creating a separate account for this purpose.)


Normally, kickoff day is when I introduce you to the panel of knitters who’ll be featured here on the blog throughout the kal, but I’m doing things a little differently this year — or rather, taking a sort of hybrid approach from past FAFKALs. As of today, the “panel” consists of just me and Mary Jane, and I’ll be looking for standout contributors to the #fringeandfriendssteekalong feed, assembling a sort of panel on the fly.

For the next three or four weeks, I’ll pick projects that are of particular interest, and post a q&a with one of them roughly once a week. (Maybe exactly once a week, maybe less — we’ll see how it takes shape!) And then for any of those panelists that finish in a timely fashion (i.e. by end of Feb or so), I’ll also do an FO interview here just like I’ve done with panelists in the past, so everyone can see how those projects turned out.

So if you’d like to see yourself and your project featured here, the way to do that is to post about your plans on the feed! Photo quality always counts, but so does having an interesting approach or story or plan of whatever sort. Are you making some clever mods to the pattern, inventing your own, doing something interesting with your yarn choice? Setting some other sort of goal or challenging yourself in an inspiring way? Tell us about it! And you could wind up on the panel of featured knitters, which will also come with a gift from Fringe Supply Co.


Apart from the chance to be added to the panel and featured here, there will be random prizes everyone has a shot at. On February 17th, I will draw 5 knitters from all of the qualifying posts on the #fringeandfriendssteekalong feed and those 5 knitters will each win a Field Bag of their choice!

“Qualifying” means:
– You must be following @karentempler @mjmucklestone and @fringesupplyco
– You must have made at least 3 posts to your feed along the way (using the #fringeandfriendssteekalong hashtag obviously), showing your plans and your progress and sustained participation in the event.

Winners of the random drawing will be announced here on the blog on Feb 18th.

. . . . .


So there’s still the matter of telling you what MJM and I each have planned! You ready?

KAREN TEMPLER (Instagram: @karentempler)

Master plan: As we’ve just gone through a December that hovered in the 50s, 60s, even some 70s, and I’m unable to wear all of the sweaters already in my closet, I had to face the fact that I would not be making this gorgeous sweater for myself — so for who then? Partly because of my color concept (below), I started thinking about all of my beautiful little nieces I’ve never knitted for, and realized if I were to knit this at worsted gauge, it would come out kid-sized, and they could pass it around depending who it winds up fitting. So that’s what I’m doing! (And I’ll also finally be taking this opportunity to cut open my purple lopi sweater.)

Yarn: Obviously when you’re knitting for kids, you think a little harder about the yarn. I want a nice wool that will cooperate with a steek (so nothing too gooey soft) but that will be acceptable to the littles (so not too woolly). So I think I’m going with Germantown. I know from swatching with it for the Anna Vest that it is quite flexible about gauge, and since I may be mixing yarns for the colorwork, in order to the get the tonal gradation I want, that feels important. I’ve ordered some at the last minute, and will swatch and see the moment it arrives!

Palette: I’ve mentioned that I’ve really been craving yellow lately, and ever since reading about Mary Jane’s initial inspiration for the yoke — the flickering of sunlight — I’ve been wanting to see this sweater in a nice bright yellow with paler yellow and off-white colorwork. The reason I say I may be mixing yarns is that Germantown offers what I think (from online photos) will be just the sort of saturated, cheerful yellow I want for the main color, and a natural for the lightest, but not a nice soft buttery yellow in between. The skein pictured above has been in my stash for several years — it’s an older offering from my friends Camellia Fiber Co. , an aran-weight Merino that was naturally dyed with marigold petals, by my friend Rebekka. I’ve been saving it, not knowing for what, and I know the girls would love this story — plus that will give a little extra softness to the neckband. So I’m going to see if I can make it work with the Germantown. If not, I may try my hand at dyeing my own middle contrast color! The girls might rather it were purple or pink, but I’m pretty committed to the yellow idea.

. . .

MARY JANE MUCKLESTONE (Instagram: @mjmucklestone)

Plan: I think I’m going to put a zipper in this one. Either that, or knit the button band before I cut the steek. Both are things I’ve seen in real Icelandic Lopapeysas. 

Yarn: I’m using Léttlopi because I have it and because I love it!

Palette: I think it will be 3 colors of red because I have enough of them in my stash. Two of the colors are really close … I’m going to swatch first. I have a favorite discontinued red I might use if I can find it, otherwise it’s going to be kind of a fade effect, which could be nice!

The colors kind of remind me of melted candle wax. Might not be a great visual for some but I find it kind of intriguing.

. . . . .

We can’t wait to see what YOU do! See you over at #fringeandfriendssteekalong


PREVIOUSLY in Fringe and Friends Steekalong: More than one way to knit a steek

30 thoughts on “Fringe and Friends Steekalong starts now!

  1. On December 21st, I finally had time to sit down and order my yarn from the kind folks at Tolt. Sadly it still has not arrived. I’m frustrated beyond belief. GRRRR!
    I’m so excited to be taking part in this KAL (SAL?) because I’ve always wanted to learn to steek, and I love stranded knitting but don’t do enough of it. Who better than the awesome MJM to have as a teacher/mentor/guide!
    I’m so looking forward to this!
    Thanks, Karen, for hosting it!

    • Oh no, is it with the mail service? You’re not across the border in Canada, are you?

  2. When I woke up this morning, one of my first thoughts were – after coffee, of course – I can cast on the Sólbein today, for which the yarn, needles and the pattern are patiently waiting in my closet! I am terrified and excited at the same time when I think of cutting into that steek, which will be my first time. Happy New Year!

  3. For me, in addition to steeking, the challenge will be fit. I think a big take away from being a reader of Karen’s blog is that when you make or knit your own garments you can actually tailor them to your own body…regardless of where it falls on the bell curve of fit. So, followed Karen’s advice and checked out her top down tutorial and am reading about fit in Little Red in the city by Ysolda Teague. I have avoided making a sweater for myself all these years because of a reluctance to go off script, i.e. pattern, but not this time. May be an utter disaster but I am going to make every attempt to figure it out. Glad to join you all.

    • Thanks for this reminder. Yes, the beauty of top-down is that it makes it easy for you to experiment and try on and tweak — as long as you keep your blocked gauge in mind and don’t just measure you’re unblocked work. (Or soak it at key points along the way to see how it really fits!) So this is your very first sweater? If so, you’re in good hands with MJM!

      • First adult sweater. Baby and kid sweaters. Thanks for the information and encouragement. I appreciate all you do for us Knitters. And I have been a long time admirer of MJM. Made her fairisle socks pattern in Knitty. She is quite the artist.

  4. While all y’all are bravely steeking away, I’ll be watching and learning. If I don’t finish the Charles and Wolf River (yes, another one) pullovers by the end of the first quarter of the year, there might be a revolt, so I’m sitting this one out.

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  6. I am so looking forward to knitting my Sólbein… my personal twist is that I am attempting to convert the top down pattern into a bottom up version, since I do most of my knitting while riding public transit, and it is a lot easier to handle smaller chunks than an entire sweater (wish me luck, I’ve never done such a thing to a perfectly functional pattern before!) I splurged and got on of your Lykke interchangeable needle sets as a birthday gift for myself, and it has been very handy for swatching. With three different colors of denim-y blue Lettlopi, my cardigan will hopefully fill a very needed spot in my wardrobe, if all goes well.

    • Oh, cool — I’m glad to know someone is doing that! Looking forward to watching—

  7. The perfect swatch is a hat. For Lopi, cast on 88 stitches. An inch or so of 2×2 rib and give the pattern a go. For me that’s on 4mm or so. Decrease, weave in the ends, soak and block. Absolutely essential to block. Even if gauge is off you have a finished item. Perhaps a gift. Fantastic way to play with color combinations.

  8. So you have access to posts (using the hashtag) which come from private accounts? I want to make sure you are able to see my progress!

    • Unless someone follows you, they won’t be able to see any of your posts, including posts with hashtags.

      If you want to keep your account private, you can create a new, public account just for the KAL.

      • Thanks, Liz! I have just created an “alter ego” for posting about knitting. This way I can also follow and be followed by other knitters.

  9. For those of you first timers: I made my first steeked sweater when I was seventeen. It was a Bohus, but I didn’t know that, and I didn’t know to be afraid, so I wasn’t. And it was fine, and I did it again and again. The moral is: don’t over think the whole thing. People have been doing this forever. Go buy a cheap wool sweater at a charity shop and practice if you are nervous and steek the heck out of it till you are comfortable, but don’t over think: life just isn’t that hard!

  10. I have a Lopi sweater that I knit a couple of years ago, that is too tight on me. So I’d like to turn it into a cardigan. Does that count for the steekalong? Also, I have an even crazier edge case – I have a STORE BOUGHT pullover that is 100% wool, but so heavy that I never wear it. So I’m thinking of steeking it! Does that count for this kal?

  11. Karen, Has anyone ever asked you to bump up the size of your type font?
    I always have to do it on my end (and can, of course) but it would be a lot more
    pleasant to simply open your blog posts and be able to clearly read it. (I’m well over
    40 … younger eyes likely don’t have a problem at all! ha. )

    Just thought I’d throw that out there as something to consider.

  12. A bit late to the party but ready to start today — shiny new ‘public’ instagram at the ready to document my progress! I’m trying to modify the pattern to be a v-neck cardigan with a shawl collar — playing with the numbers right now, and we’ll see how it all works out…

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