Quickies: Beach Tank Duo

And now for something completely different.


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You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m an all-wool-everything kind of knitter. As much as I love cashmere, my desert-island fiber would probably be Bluefaced Leicester. I love wool and not even particularly soft wool. Mohair is pretty neat, too.

When it’s hot, I’ll knit a little something in cotton or, preferably, linen. While I like the way the projects turn out, the process of knitting plant fibers is just not nearly as satisfying to me as working with wool. Obviously I’m not alone in this; wool is king for a pretty big swath of the knitting population.

The first time I was in Spain was in Seville, in April of 2015. It was already 80F in Seville, and the hot streets emptied every afternoon until dinner at 10pm. I, however, tracked down the only yarn boutique in Seville, found the lone basket of 100% Portuguese merino, and bought five skeins.

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little bit of yarn haul: Portuguese merino

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On my most recent trip to the Iberian Peninsula, I wanted to “integrate” a little more, and I had to admit that wool just doesn’t cut it in a Spanish summer.

I’ve had my eye on Jess Schreiberstein‘s Beach Tank pattern since the thermostat climbed above seventy degrees. It’s the perfect summer knit: fast, simple, and somehow universally flattering (seriously, check out the project photos, everyone looks cute as hell).

These tanks are made with yarn I found at a huge department store in Madrid. The orange one is a prudent 100% cotton, but it’s held together with some novelty abomination that includes polymide. And I love it! The gray one has a little linen, but also viscose, polyester, and (gasp!) sequins. I also love it!

Wool is my first love, but I’m so happy I tried something I don’t usually go for. It’s nice to know that my tastes and experiences can still evolve after all these years of knitting.

The pattern calls for two light DK yarns held together, so the possibilities are pretty endless. I see at least a couple more of these in my future.

Do you have certain fibers you usually shun? Ever change your mind about a yarn or fiber that you previously didn’t like? Do you have a yarn “comfort zone?” Tell me about it in the comments!



WANT: Lora’s amazing hand-dyed sweater

My dear friend Lora Angelova, who introduced herself on Ravelry, is one of my knitting role models. Not only does she have impeccable taste, but one look at her Ravelry projects and you can tell she’s someone who sweats the details, which I really admire. Every one of her projects is beautifully finished and fits perfectly. Take a look at her most recent FO and you’ll see what I mean.


Lora modeling her masterpiece
Lora modeling her masterpiece

The pattern is one I’ve loved for awhile, called Dessine-Moi Un Mouton. The designer describes it as “something cropped to wear over my everyday uniform of leggings and long tops,” which is already pretty irresistible.

original pattern photo from La Maison Rililie

Lora, though, really went deep with her version of Dessine-Moi un Mouton: she dyed the yarn for the stripes herself, using 100% plant-based dyes (and apparently, some strawberry-flavored high-fructose corn syrup, LOVE).


Happily for the rest of us, Lora took beautiful photos of the entire process, and documented her work throughout on her Rav project page.


all photos courtesy of Lora Angelova, used with permission

Lora is a scientist who specializes in art restoration. Her writing is featured in the latest issue of Pom Pom Quarterly, where she talks about her job as something called a “Heritage Chemist.” Awesome!

WANT: Fairchild and Clover

lovely Fairchild
lovely Fairchild

I’m crushing hard on Bristol Ivy’s latest design, Fairchild, featured on the cover of Pom Pom Quarterly. The subtle yoke shaping, the cute front pleats that look like mini-pockets, and the back pleats that have a sort of racerback look.

To be honest, though I’ve admired Bristol’s sweaters from afar for months now, I have yet to make one. Fairchild might have to be the first.

And, wouldn’t you know it, A Verb For Keeping Warm just unveiled another beautiful hand-dyed yarn, Clover, that apparently knits up to just the right gauge for Fairchild.

beautiful naturally-dyed Clover (swoon)
beautiful naturally-dyed Clover (swoon)

I still have a little stash of Verb’s first original yarn, Pioneer, that I’m saving for just the right project. I had a front-row seat to Kristine’s planning and dyeing process for Pioneer, and saw just how much work went into that yarn (and boy was it worth it). Now she’s teamed up with Sweet Grass Wool to make a brand-new DK-weight wool/silk blend. I’m so excited to see what Verb will do next to help re-invigorate the domestic wool industry, and I’m *dying* to get my hands on some Clover. A naturally-dyed swingy sweater might have to be a wedding present to myself (more on that later)…

WANT: Studio Pullover


When I first heard from Cirilia Rose that she was publishing a book, I knew it was going to be good, of course. Since way back in our Web’s days, I’ve admired Cirilia’s style and design sense. Something that stands out in all of her designs, is her talent for integrating the perfect knit into every facet of style. She’s no cloistered knitter; rather, she’s a writer, explorer and fashionista who applies those sensibilities to her amazing knits.

The designs in Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads are all fun and eminently wearable, but the Studio Pullover is the one that really has me drooling. The gorgeous mohair intarsia reminds of me of a Rhodopi cherga, a homemade shag rug/bedspread with long mohair ties, that you’ll likely find yourself lounging on or under if you spend any time in the Rhodopi Mountains.

photo courtesy of Guest House Geranitsa (благодаря!)
photo courtesy of Guest House Geranitsa (благодаря!)

Only Cirilia could come up with something covered in a rainbow of mohair, yet flattering and easy to wear. She also includes some great insight into her design process (and it IS a process). Love it.

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!