Into It: Drop Sleeves

Drop sleeves and Ladas: two under-rated relics of the eighties
Drop sleeves and Ladas: two underrated relics of the eighties

Good old drop sleeves. Since their glory days in the massive-shouldered 80’s, drop sleeves have been a bit neglected by designers, perhaps for good reason. Arguably, no other sweater shape is more associated with the cliché “unflattering hand-knit sweater” than drop sleeves.

Basically, drop sleeves reduce a sweater to its most elemental: a big tube, with two little tubes attached to it at a ninety-degree angle. They can be fun, and easy to make, and they lend themselves well to elaborate color and cable patterns. But, flattering to the human form? Not so much.

His and hers drop sleeves: for the couple that's shaped like Spongebob Squarepants under their clothes
His and hers drop sleeves: for the couple that’s shaped like Spongebob Squarepants under their clothes

Until recently. I’ve been on the look-out for cute drop-sleeve sweaters ever since I finished my Davis this summer. With short-row shaping, a cropped length, and very slim little sleeves, this sweater manages to avoid all the pitfalls of the drop-sleeve sweaters of yore, looking polished and modern while still slouchy and casual. Browsing through Ravelry’s “Hot Right Now,” I noticed the list was littered with drop sleeves. They are back in a big way, as are boxy, 80’s shapes in general, and lots of designers are doing beautiful things with them.

Top Left: My pal GreenOlivine in her beautiful Toujours, designed by Joji Locatelli

Top Right: Salted by Alicia Plummer, proof that drop sleeves don’t have to be boxy

Bottom Left: Natsumi from Brooklyn Tweed, a sexy update on the drop-sleeve cabled sweater

Bottom Right: Outlined by Suvi Simola, so seamless and elegant!

Also, this sweater:

I love you, little pocketed sweater
I love you, little pocketed sweater

PS If anyone reads Finnish and/or can find this pattern for me, I’d be eternally grateful.

Into It: Crochet Cowls (Plus Some Digressions)

teaching crochet to some lovely students
teaching crochet to some lovely students

A couple weeks ago, my friend Deni approached me with an amazing opportunity.

Deni works for UNHCR Bulgaria, which is unprecedentedly busy since Bulgaria became the ersatz home for thousands of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. Many Bulgarians have responded to this recent influx of refugees admirably and with characteristic hospitality. Even still, the poorest country in the EU has had a tough time mustering up the facilities, infrastructure, and care that all these newcomers so desperately need. Continue reading


A couple quick projects that brought me a lot of joy.


Top: Cocoknits Slouchy Hat, knit with Quince & Co Osprey, some cashmere I bought at Knit/Purl, and (swoon) Sue Reuser’s California Cormo, which I got at Verb.

Bottom: A modified version of Elk Tooth, designed by the inimitable Caitlin Ffrench, also made of Cormo. This is Clara Yarn Cormo 1.0 in Wisteria (it’s all gone, you can’t have any, sorry).

If you’re disappointed there’s not more Bulgaria in this Blog-area, stay tuned. In the meantime, Lorenzo published an illustrated guide to Bulgarian hospitality. Check it out!

WANT: Shinobi Pullover by Yoko Johnson

This sweater showed up in my Ravelry highlights yesterday (it’s like they know me).

I love the subtle shirttail hem and sweatshirt collar detail. And the texture!


Also, the story behind the name (from the pattern details page):

“Shinobi is another way of saying ‘Ninja’. My children, who are big fans of a Japanese Anime “Naruto’, named the pullover Shinobi when they saw my sample. (Shinobis wear a chain-mail like top underneath their famous black costume.)”

For another treat, check out Yoko Johnson‘s Octopus Mittens!

Into It: Cozy Vests

my luscious Danforth, knit with Fibre Co Savannah in Cabernet
my luscious Danforth, knit with Fibre Co Savannah in Cabernet

Maybe this is the Pacific Northwest talking, but I’ve always loved vests. I love how they fit nicely under jackets, and I love wearing them in the kitchen, and staying warm yet unencumbered by sleeves.

Back when I worked at Verb, one of my favorite store samples was a wooly, farmy Cocoon Wrap, made of Bodega Pastures Worsted. Kristine knit it, and in her wisdom made the collar out of Jade Sapphire washable cashmere. The wrap was big and neutral enough to be thrown over any outfit at all and look Mary-Kate Olson chic. I needed a big, cozy vest of my own, and decided on Danforth in Fibre Co. Savannah.

This vest delights Lorenzo, who says I look like Luke Skywalker when I wear it over black pants and a dark shirt.

The recent turn of the weather got me thinking about my favorite vests again, all with lots of ease and cozy collars.


Top left: Georgia Vest, in Quince & Co. Tern, by Cecily Glowik MacDonald

Top right: Knus, in WOOLFOLK FÅR, by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

Bottom left: Gale, in Swan Islands Merino Bulky, by Alicia Plummer

Bottom right: Frontenac, in Jones & Vandemeer Clever Camel, by Julie Hoover