Quickies: Little Yellow Chushki

left: обикновена чушка right: самодивска чушка
left: обикновена чушка right: самодивска чушка

My friend Lora has knit some adorable little Chushki with a kind of maryjane vibe. Chushki is part of my Woodstove Series, four fast, toasty little accessories for the chilliest part of winter. Here’s what she says about her mods:

I did a single crochet seam on the outside – I think it’s quite pretty. Sewed up the toe side for only about 8 selvedge stitches. Then folded the slipper and sewed from the top of the heel side for about 8-9 selvedge stitches. So it makes a cute little elfin slipper.


I bet these elfin Chushki would be great slippers for sitting out on my balcony on a sunny morning. As an awesome bonus, Lora shared a little glimpse of her Bulgarian childhood:

There’s a whole variety of ‘terlici’ [Bulgarian for ‘slippers’] that can be created from this lovely, quick, and easy pattern… In any case, I absolutely used to abhor terlici as a child – my great grandmother and grandmother would knit endless piles of them, from home-spun wool that I had probably helped to clean earlier in the year. Despite how romantic this all sounds now, I used to think they were prickly and horrendous looking, and as a young person with good circulation, simply could not understand why my feet had to be constantly swaddled in thick wool (the draft of course, the dreaded draft!).

It seems the younger you are, the better your body is at keeping itself warm, and the more your elders will worry that you’re cold. Many many times in Bulgaria, particularly on the train, an older person has remarked on how “naked” I am (post-Communist Bulgaria is not a particularly prudish place, but in winter, Bulgarian grandmas will accuse you of public nudity for having your collarbone exposed). If I assure them I’m warm enough, they bob their heads from side-to-side and say it must be my “young blood.”

Check out Lora’s project page for her “Zholti Chushki,” and see all of her gorgeous knitting here. Thanks for the story, Lora, and happy knitting!



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

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