Elizabeth Street

Knit: Find Your Fade Shawl

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Like most of the knitting world, I fell in love with the Find Your Fade Shawl by Andrea Mowry (aka Drea Renee Knits) the minute I saw it.  I had some gorgeous hand dyed partial skeins in my yarn stash from my grandma that I really wanted to use for this project and I initially bought 2 skeins to fill out the fade and fit the yardage I needed.  


This wasn't a difficult pattern by any means, but it turned out to be an epic, almost year-long knit for me.  I ended up having to frog entire sections 3 different times - twice because I made mistakes in the lace sections (which you have to pay attention to when there's hundreds of stitches in a single row!) and once because I ran out of yarn.  Running out of yarn meant I needed to take out one of the fade sections and sub in a new skein which ended up working out nicely despite the extra work. 

After working this project, I realized that I like subtle color shifts the best.  The closer in color each skein is, the better the fade (in my opinion).  With that in mind, I'd really like to play around and knit another shawl but my fingers will definitely have to work up to it; those last 2-3 sections get really long.  The finished shawl is epic-sized which looks beautiful but I've found it a little challenging to wear to be honest!  I usually just wear it like a triangle-shape with the point in front and the ends wrapped around my neck. The ends hang down way past my waist though, so I have to be careful not to catch it on anything!  

Sew: Kalle Shirtdress

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I haven't been sewing much in the last few months with lots of behind-the-scenes knitting and a move across town, but one of the closet staples I made last year was a Kalle Shirtdress from Closet Case Files.  All of Heather's patterns are so well drafted to make garments comfortable and beautiful..  I made the dress version first with some fabric ( some kind of polyester blend I think) from Joann's, intending it to be a wearable toile.  Well, I haven't made a "real" version yet but this version has certainly got a ton of wear in the meantime. 

The whole dress went together really easily, and I especially liked Heather's method for the collar - it was simpler than some of the other methods I've tried, including the Grainline Archer collar and the results looked as least as good, if not better than some of the other collars I've done in the past.  I accidentally attached the sleeve cuffs the opposite way but I totally wasn't paying attention to the pattern and just skipped ahead without reading the instructions.  Even so, it's really only noticeable to me so I'm totally OK with it.   I decided to do flat-felled seams and I think they turned out well.  I really like making enclosed seams on handmade garments since they hold up much, much better in the wash.  I've tried french seams, but I always get mixed up starting with sewing your wrong sides together instead of right sides together.  


My sewing machine is terrible with buttonholes, so I brought it to my parents and made my mom help me put them in late one Saturday night - thanks Mom!  This is a really versatile pattern; it was in the 90s when these photos were taken and I've been wearing my Kalle layered one way or another all through the fall and winter.  It looks pretty great with a Driftless cardigan layered on top!  I'm definitely seeing a Kalle shirt and tunic version in my future sewing queue.

Pattern: Kalle Shirtdress (view C) by Closet Case Files

Size: straight 10 (next time I think I'll go down one size; there's plenty of ease built in)

Fabric: poly blend from Joann Fabrics

Mods: none, except flat-fell seams


Book Review: Texture by Hannah Fettig

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I am a total sucker for beautifully designed books, magazines, and paper goods.  When that beautiful book is not only well designed but includes gorgeous patterns AND techniques? Well, you know that baby is going to be on my shelf for sure!  Texture by Hannah Fettig is a book that's all of these things.  Hannah (of Knitbot) is one of the first designers that I started following back when I fell in love with knitting a few years ago.  I love her classic style; her designs are always simple and wearable without being boring.  

Texture is an exploration of different stitch patterns in a variety of garments.  The book features 12 patterns divided into 3 sections: delicate texture, everyday texture, and big texture.  Each design is gorgeous, and I can imagine almost each piece fitting seamlessly into my closet.  The patterns are super simple to follow and include gorgeous full sizes photos of the garments at all angles.  Interspersed throughout the book are technique sections that cover topics like planning out a knitted garment, reading your kitting, and increasing and decreasing within a stitch pattern.    

There are garments for every type of weather, so no matter when you pick this book up you'll find something you can knit and wear for that season.  My favorites are the Jennie Drop Shoulder, the Pierside Cardigan, and the West End Cardigan.

If you're like me, you'll pick this book up for beautiful photos and styling, but take if home for the patterns & knitting tips.  Texture is a knitting book not to be missed!  

Swatch Stories: Barrett Wool Co.

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Guys, I'm so excited to share a new edition of Swatch Stories with you.  Swatch Stories is a feature that lets me swatch and share a new yarn with you focusing on domestic, small batch, or indie yarn companies and dyers.

For this edition, I'm featuring the Barrett Wool Co. owned by Susan B. Anderson.  I came across this fellow Wisconsin yarn company through Instagram and I knew instantly that I needed to work with this yarn.  I bought two skeins of their Home Fingering Wool in the Field color way and I've been loving every minute I've spent with it.

Where does the yarn come from?

Barrett Wool Co. is based in Madison, WI and they proudly provide knitters with 100% American wool, as well as pattern, kits, and supplies for knitters.  Their Home fingering + worsted weight is sourced in the US and spun in local mills before being custom dyed in Maine.  Their WI Woolen Spun yarn, a blend of midwestern Merino + Corriedale wool, is spun and dyed right here in my home state of Wisconsin.

What does the yarn feel and look like?

The BWC Home fingering is a lovely, soft wool.  It's a 4-ply yarn that's nicely round and springy, making it a wonderful work-horse yarn that should stand the test of time.  I would knit anything from sweaters to socks with this yarn - a fingering weight sweater (maybe with some color work!) would be dreamy.

What kind of pattern or stitch would work best with this yarn?

The structure of BWC Home gives it a wonderful stitch definition that would show off cables or an all-over texture pattern beautifully.  I've also begun a garter stitch shawl with this yarn, and as much as I love cables, the squishy texture of that garter stitch is simply wonderful.  

Yarn company: Barrett Wool Co.

Fiber Content: 100% domestic American wool

Stockinette swatch: 12 sts and 18 rows  = 2 inches on size 3 needles

Cabled swatch: 10 sts x 13 rows 1.5 inches on size 3 needles in cable pattern (from Norah Gaughan's Knitted Cable Sourcebook)

Visit the BWC website for more details about their yarn, patterns, and accessories for knitters.  


Spring + Summer 2017 Making Plans

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Me-Made-May is here again! To celebrate the warmer weather and this month dedicated to handmade wardrobes, I'm sharing my sewing + knitting plans for the season.  I usually just make a mental list of patterns that I'd like to add to my making queue, but this year I've been using the collections feature on Instagram to gather inspiration:


Does anyone else love this feature as much as I do?? I would spend ages scrolling through my favorites looking for specific posts or images, but now I just organize everything into collections as I see it!  Once I had my inspiration images pulled together I got out my trusty Fashionary notebook to put my ideas down onto paper:


Kalle Shirtdress (both dress + tunic versions)

Woven Hemlock dress + tee in linen

Fen dress

Wool + Wax tote


River Light Tee (lengthened sleeves)

So Faded Pullover (lengthened sleeves, cropped body)

Kenton Tee 

Now to see how much I can actually accomplish before cool weather returns to my corner of the world!  Happy May making, friends!

Cutting Your Knitting & Learning to be Brave

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I joined in a fun little challenge on Instagram last month called a "stEEK-along" hosted by Very Shannon, Boyland Knitworks and Drea Renee Knits.  They all wanted to try steeking, a technique where you actually CUT your knitting. Crazy, right?? It's a technique used most often in knitting color work pieces like cardigans.  You knit the whole piece in the round (so you're always working the right side of the piece) but at the end, you cut the garment right down the middle to create the opening to get your cardigan!  These knitters + designers thought it would be fun to try this scary sounding technique together by posting photos along the way and then all cutting their knitting on the same day.  Check out the #steekalong and #steekal tags on Instagram for all the fun in-process photos!  I joined in a little late with my steeking, but learning a new technique like this was so fun and felt really adventurous!   For anyone interested, I used Kate Davies excellent tutorial.

Sometimes you hold back on trying something new because it sounds intimidating or scary, but when you finally go for it, you think, "what took me so long?"   I've been trying to be brave about trying new things lately, and I've got some tips for you when you're feeling hesitant about trying something new:

Break it down!  Take it one step at a time.  When you look at something (steeking, short rows, cabling, etc) that seems intimidating, break it down one step at a time.  Individually the steps will be much easier to tackle.  I feel this way about sewing projects all the time, too.  If you look at a finished garment like a coat or jacket it always seems like SO MUCH WORK.  But really, you sew one seam at a time just like you were making something simple, like a pillowcase.  Baby steps, friends.

Know you're not alone.  Seriously, it's impossible that you're the only one learning how to do something technique-wise.  Google it, YouTube it, visit your local library and check out a reference book.  Someone, somewhere, has tackled this before and has more than likely documented it for someone else just like you.

Mistakes encouraged!  Don't be afraid to rip it out or start over.  It's completely true that practice makes perfect.  The more you have to repeat something, the better at it you're going to be.  Your first attempt will be less than stellar and THAT'S GOOD.  As a total perfectionist, I often have a hard time being ok with making mistakes.  But how are you supposed to learn without mistakes?  We're not robots  pre-programmed with the knowledge we need, and that's a good thing.  

What new thing are YOU going to try?

Queue Check: April 2017

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Last month was full of knitting and prepping my Everley Cowl pattern, but I did find some time at the end of the month to finally cast on my River Light Tee by Olive Knits and keep going on my Find Your Fade Shawl by Drea Renee Knits:

This blue - green fade is totally my jam.  Only one more color change left for me!  I can't wait to wrap up in this baby - it's going to be huge!


I'm loving knitting with Quince and Co Tern - the color is gorgeous (I'm using Terra Cotta) and has a semi-solid sheen to it because of the way the silk fibers take the dye differently than the wool.  I'm really excited to see how this one knits up.

What's on your needles for spring this month?

New Pattern: Everley Cowl

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Meet my newest knitting pattern, the Everley Cowl!  This pattern has a special origin for me.  When my paternal grandma passed away, I inherited most of her knitting stash and supplies.  She was a master craftswoman who knit, quilted and sewed her whole adult life.  I didn't get serious about knitting until after she passed away, so being able to use her supplies and give them new life while carrying on the tradition of knitting and making is really special to me.  Tucked in amongst the yarn were all kinds of swatches and half-started projects.  One of the swatches was this intriguing knit and purl pattern that looked like ribbing.  I immediately knew I wanted to hold onto this swatch and look at it later.  One day I finally took the time to sit down and undo a few rows to figure out the stitch pattern.  It turned out that this mock rib was deceptively simple, and I immediately knew I wanted to use it in a design of my own.  That's how the Everley Cowl was born.  


Everley is designed as a simple, grab-on-your-way-out-the-door kind of accessory.  I knew right away I wanted to offer two different weights to maximize customization. The bulky version uses 1 skein of Brooklyn Tweed Quarry and the worsted weight uses 2 skeins of Quince and Co. Lark.  This is the perfect excuse to go stash diving!

I'm totally smitten with the texture created by the knit / purl stitch combinations.  It looks impressive but is so simple to create and easy to memorize.  I've been grabbing my own cowls the last few days with our cool Wisconsin spring mornings and it's just enough coziness in these transitional days.  

I can't wait to see what you knitters make with this pattern!  Share your work on Instagram with #everleycowl and #elizabethstreetstudioknits.

Grab your own copy of the pattern on Ravelry!

Queue Check: March 2017

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I knit pretty monogamously on these two projects in March.  I like having all my knitting lined up and organized, but I admit I'm missing the ones that are set aside in project bags.  The weather is starting to show signs of spring, but I'm still holding onto my winter knitting - give me wool any time of the year!  

Above: the green/blue shades in my Find Your Fade shawl are just enough spring for me!

Below: a new design currently in testing; it's a transitional cowl that will include a bulky and worsted weight version - hopefully coming at you on Ravelry really soon! 

Happy spring knitting!  What's on your needles this month?

This + That | No. 11

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This + That is a regular feature collecting making - related bits and pieces from around the web for your browsing pleasure. 

Did you know that March is Icelandic Wool Month at Tolt Yarn & Wool shop?  I've been following this beautiful shop based in Carnation, Washington on Instagram for several years, and have been continually impressed by their offerings and engagement with the fiber world.  I've also had a visit to Iceland on my bucket list since I become a knitter - staggeringly wild & beautiful countryside with a history of knitting? YES please!  So I've been loving following Tolt's Icelandic wool celebration on social media this month.  Here's a few blog posts + patterns to peruse that I've found really interesting:

Top row:

This Skogafjall sweater designed by Diana Walla for this year's Icelandic Wool Month; read about Diana's design inspiration here!

That post about Anna Dietrich's color inspiration for her own Skogafjall sweater

Bottom row:

That Icelandic edition of "Swatch of the Month" over on the Fringe Association all about the signature lopapeysa sweaters that have become a national symbol for Iceland

This Blaer Cardigan designed by Beatrice Perron Dahlen for Tolt's 2016 Icelandic Wool Month; I'm dreaming of a slightly cropped version of this gorgeous cardigan with bracelet length sleeves as an outer layer for some fall weddings I have coming up later this year!