Someday vs. Right Away: Cables and lace

Someday vs Right Away: Cables and lace

You guys, I’m stuck in the most boring knitting season of my entire knitting life. For months it’s been nothing but stockinette and ribbing and — hold onto your seats! — a little garter stitch in the round. I am in favor of all of the future finished objects I have in progress, but working dropped stitches every few rows doesn’t really make the stockinette any more thrilling to knit. The only bit of fun I’ve had were those precious few rows of nupps on my Trillium yoke, and that was two months ago. It’s starting to make me think knitting is boring. Aiieeeee! I’ve given myself permission to cast on a Channel Cardigan sleeve if I want, and to intersperse it with all the stockinette going on, but I’m not convinced those knits and purls (however luscious) are enough to really break up the monotony. I want all the fun right now. I want cables, and I want lace. Specifically: Anne Hanson’s Wheaten, which I will knit one day, in wrap proportions. But to satisfy this particular craving in quicker/smaller fashion, I’m thinking a hat would suffice. Maybe Amy Christoffers’ Manhattan or Robin Ulrich’s Bosc.


Acer: the final chapter in an epic tale of a girl and her cardigan

Acer cardigan as knitted by Karen Templer / Fringe Association

Raise your hand if you thought I’d never finish knitting this Acer. (It’s ok — even my hand is half-raised.) Now keep it up if you formed the impression I wasn’t enjoying it. Anyone? It’s perfectly understandable, what with my having spent most of eleven months neglecting it, but really, nothing could be further from the truth.

I first chose this pattern in part because I wanted to make myself seam something, and this has a body that’s knitted in one piece with separate sleeves seamed on at the end. It didn’t seem like a daunting project at all — I’d knitted more complicated lace patterns than this, although not worked flat; had picked up stitches for enough collars that nailing this one was no problem at all. (Would you pause for a second on that last pic and look at how perfectly symmetrical this neck is?) I was well-versed in figuring out the right ratio when picking up stitches along a selvedge, as for the button bands, and had read and imagined various buttonholes, without having actually knitted one. But somehow, despite all that, doing it all in concert for this particular outcome was like taking a really enjoyable master class. I loved every step of it: the portability of those standalone sleeves, working the very simple and pleasurable (easily memorized) charted stitches, becoming an ace at laddering back to fix mistakes, blocking the body and seeing the lace spread out, steaming the button bands and collar as each one got added. Even seaming on those sleeves! It seemingly didn’t teach me much that was new, but because it’s not a hand-holdy pattern — it assumes you know what you’re doing —  it put my skills to the test in a progressive manner. And passing that test — especially solving the fun little puzzle of the exact right neck decreases, row by row, based on where I happened to be in the chart — increased my confidence as a knitter tenfold.

But screw all that — have you seen the sweater I got out of it?! At one point, I was posting a progress shot in Instagram and I got a little self-conscious about everyone applauding my efforts. One very kind person complimented me on my determination to finish, and I said it was sad that I’d made it seem like some epic thing simply by not working on it for months on end. But once the sleeves were on, I held it up to show my friend Leigh and her eyes got huge, and she gulped, and she said to me: “It’s EPIC.” And I realized she’s right. It IS epic! And I’m super proud of it.

Acer cardigan as knitted by Karen Templer / Fringe Association

This is my fifth or sixth (finished) sweater, but it’s the first one that feels like a Real Sweater, somehow. I am completely smitten with it, even though I wish I’d done the button bands differently. I’m super judgy about button bands, not gonna lie, and this isn’t my favorite kind. I like the look of them, but think horizontal ribbing like this is often too flimsy, and to me nothing ruins a sweater like a gaping button band, all pulled into scallops. I’m not sure why I wound up doing it this way, after swearing all along I was going to do a 1×1 vertical band. But I did, and because I was concerned about the stability of it (even though most or all of the Acers I have bookmarked look perfectly fine!) I used seven buttons instead of six, which doesn’t quite quell my neurosis. So I might back the bands with ribbon at some point. Regardless, I’m wearing this forever, and can hardly wait for the first time someone asks me if I made it.


Pattern: Acer by Amy Christoffers
Yarn: Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed, in Nest
Buttons: from Fringe Supply Co.

For gory details, minor modifications and additional pics check it out at Ravelry. And thank you to every single person who cheered me on, and to Amy for creating such a fantastic pattern.

Acer cardigan as knitted by Karen Templer / Fringe Association

New Favorites: Amy Christoffers’ columns of cables

Amy Christoffers' cable sweater knitting patterns

There’s a sweater pattern very near the top of my to-knit list that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned here. It’s Amy Christoffers’ Wren, above left. There’s no end of what you can do when you abut cables, and Amy seems to have a knack for it. Those wide and shallow cable pairs, stacked in columns, look like plating to me — almost like an exoskeleton of some sort! I’m mesmerized by them, and also love the attention to detail in how the waist ribbing folds itself into the cables. I’m dying to knit it (and to have it). But then along comes the new Twist Collective and here’s Amy at it again with the beautiful columns of cables. In Calabash, above right, the cable pairs are narrower and inverted (as compared to Wren) and in this case they remind me of laurel branches. Such a totally different effect. For Calabash, she’s contained them to the yoke, in a V, on both front and back. And they lend just enough structure to that funnel neck to make it work. Both such simple, beautiful sweaters.


fsco_instagram_giveawayUNRELATED: You may have seen this if you follow me (as @karentempler), but over the weekend I started an Instagram feed for Fringe Supply Co. — and kicked it off with a giveaway. I’ll be posting more behind-the-scenes stuff than I have on my account, along with shop updates, etc. So if you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow @fringesupplyco!

Also, I want to let you know that I have (at the moment) 3 or fewer of the following: Kinfolk 10, the Fringe project bag, the leather tool pouch in both colors, and the round canvas tool case in the navy and natural. These won’t be restocked (although I may get more Kinfolks), so if you’ve had your eye on any of them, act now!

Thanks so much, and I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving weekend!

New Favorites: Mary Anne by Amy Christoffers

New Favorites: Mary Anne hat knitting pattern by Amy Christoffers

If I want to be knitting fabulous Amy Christoffers-designed cable-and-lace wizardry — and I do — all I need to do is pick up a certain neglected work-in-progress. And yet I just keep thinking about the low-investment, near-instant gratification that would come from knitting her beautiful new Mary Anne Hat pattern instead.


New Favorites: Slightly lacy cardigans

slightly lacy cardigan knitting patterns

I’ve been on a bit of an epic quest lately for one perfect cardigan pattern. Something that’s interesting to knit and a little skill-expanding, but that’s still stylistically simple enough that I’ll want to wear it in the end. It doesn’t take much for a thing to be too fussy looking for me, after all. Shape-wise, at this point, I’m pretty sure what I want is a nice, timeless crewneck, hip-length, no cables on the arms. Worsted weight. I think I’ve narrowed it to these three gems. What do you think?

Clockwise from top:

Acer by Amy Christoffers: killer cables on front and back; bottom-up seamless body with seamed-in sleeves

Lady Marple by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne: understated eyelet cables only on the front; bottom-up seamless with picked-up stitches for the sleeves

Neon by Joji Locatelli (pictured is bouillesdecoton’s version): allover lattice stitch; top-down with the contiguous-sleeve method I’ve been wanting to try