FireFlower’s Trend Report for Fall (with Free Pattern Links)

I am the first to admit that I am not exactly a style maven. I am a stay-at-home mom of young children, I don’t read fashion magazines, and I choose my clothing in large part for its ability to survive frequent washing. However, I do have a long-standing interest in fashion as a cultural phenomenon, and I do my own particular brand of trend-watch each spring and fall. I canvass several of my favorite online stores, and come up with what I see as the trends for the season. This season, I decided to match these up with some free pattern links and post them for the benefit of my readers.

Here is what I am seeing:

  • elbow-length and 3/4 sleeves
  • empire-waisted and babydoll silhouettes
  • sweater coats
  • short sleeved pullovers and cardigans
  • cardigans cropped to level of natural waist or bottom of ribcage

Cari’s latest design, Trilce, gets special mention, even though it is not yet available for purchase. This is a fun design which is exactly on-trend for this season. How on-trend? Well, look at this one from Nordstrom. I bet you can knit your own wool version for less than it retails for. I’ll update with a link to the finished design once it’s up for sale.

Free Patterns

(and a few special designs available for sale online)

Sunkist Cardi— a great 3/4 sleeve raglan cardi, which you can customize to fit. (Scroll down to find a link to the PDF file in the sidebar).

Summer Sky— a short-sleeved cropped cardi, be sure to get the errata here.

Reversible Lace Rib Shrug— you can use this pattern from to make your own out of any yarn between dk and bulky weight.

Lara Pinwheel Sweater with Crocheted Edges–another sweater from Elann. You could easily modify it to be a twin for this one. If you don’t crochet, you can be like Wendy and knit on an edging. See her finished version in this post. Her original edging pattern is available on her free patterns page.

Circular Shrug–an innovatively constructed vest or cap-sleeved cardi similar to this one from Anthropologie.

Anthropologie-inspired Shrug–quick, versatile, customizable, and it’s back for spring.

Cloud Bolero–a lovely cropped cardigan, see a photo of a finished bolero here.

Vino Cardigan–a great sweater coat pattern available for sale from Laura Chau of Cosmic Pluto.

Brennan Cardigan–a great shawl-collared sweater coat design, and the pattern is available for free.

Serrano–a lovely lacy cardigan pattern made with sock yarn, also by Laura Chau.

Stardust–a lacy cropped cardigan with a tie closure.

Something Red–a charming short-sleeved cardigan pattern available for sale from Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic.

Starsky–a shawl-collared sweater coat with leaf-themed cable panels.

Brompton–free sweater coat pattern with neat reversible cuffs you can fold down to keep your hands warm or fold up to keep out of the way.

Just as a bonus, here’s a new men’s pullover pattern from Tiennie, the Fog Sweater.

How to Wash and Block a Circular Shawl

1. Weave in all the ends using duplicate stitch.
2. Fill washing machine with warm (not hot) water.
3. Dissolve a small amount of gentle shampoo (I just use what I use for my own hair) or wool wash (such as Eucalan or Soak) into the wash water.
4. After turning off the washing machine to prevent agitation, gently lower the shawl into the wash water, and allow to sit for 10 minutes or so.
5. Carefully set the washing machine to “Spin” and allow it to go through its spin cycle, stopping it when you stop hearing water draining from the machine.
6. If you have used shampoo and the shawl requires rinsing, lift the shawl carefully from the machine, refill the machine with warm water, turn it off to prevent agitation, and gently lower the shawl back into the clean warm water. Run the spin cycle again as in step 5.
7. Spread out a clean blanket on the carpet or a guest bed, and spread the clean, damp shawl over the top of it.
8. Place a single pin in the center of the shawl.
Shawl Center
9. Tie a loop in a piece of cotton thread or string, and measure out the desired shawl radius (this is half the desired circumference, in my case the radius was 30″). Mark this length with a knot in the opposite end of the string.
10. Place the loop around the center pin in the shawl.
11. Use the knotted cotton string to measure out the position for pinning each point or scallop of the shawl, starting with each of the four compass points. Placing each pin in the knit fabric adjacent to the yarn-over will make soft open eyelets and scallops instead of harsh points.
Edging being blocked
12. Continue pinning each point, placing pins at the 1/8 points, the 1/16 points, and so on, until all the points have been pinned out. Take breaks from time to time to prevent injuring your back or knees. (This process took me about 2 1/2 hours, so plan accordingly.) Now is a good time for taking pictures.
13. Leave to dry for several hours or over night, until shawl is completely dry.
Shawl blocking
14. Remove pins, careful to ensure that none are left in your carpet or bed to be found later by unsuspecting persons.
15. Admire your completed shawl. Happy twirling, and self-congratulatory remarks are acceptable, and, in fact, encouraged. Consider that it took you months (or possibly years) to reach this point, and enjoy your success. It will help you to have the motivation later to embark on another one.