Eureka, I love you.

Eureka, I love you.

It’s almost embarrassing, but I am in love with my vacuum.

It’s not a Dyson. (I can hear the gasps.) No really. It’s a Eureka. It cost me $59 at my local vacuum store (who I love supporting because he only has good stuff and gives me solid recommendations every time I need something) and it’s possibly the most wonderful thing ever to enter the apartment of a woman who was stupid enough to buy a black fabric couch.

Why do I love it so?

It’s corded, so there is none of that “the battery life sucks”, like I read in every online comment of every cordless vac I researched.

It’s bagless.

It sucks like you would not believe and has a rotating brush for fabric/carpet/upholstery.

Mostly, it WORKS. I live with two mini-rex rabbits (well, actually one mini-rex and one rex, but that’s another blog post). Their fur is finer than baby hair and clings tougher than any pet hair you will ever encounter. I had a cushion that I hadn’t cleaned since before the move. COVERED in an embarrassing amount of clumpy super-fine fur. This thing cleaned it like new in less than a minute. LIKE NEW. And then I popped the plastic dust cover off (that clear thing in the pic above), and the super-fine fur was neatly gathered in the filter. Which is washable, btw.

I wish I had a before and after pic to show you, but I was so excited to test this thing, I completely forgot.  I did the couch, too.

Yeah, it’s heavy. I can deal with that. The thing WORKS.

Appliance love, ftw.

February 5th marks WWF’s National Sweater Day in Canada. It’s an energy conservation promotion, reminding residents of this cold county to put a sweater on and turn the heating down a little… We don’t need to be told twice!

A student teaches herself to knit, and ruminates on whether knitting is a better use of her spare time than “simply bingeing on Netflix”. Of course, as she gets better at it, she’ll discover that those two pastimes can be very well combined…

I’m excited about the release of this poetry anthology: Ten Poems About Knitting. Part of a series of poetry books, Ten Poems About…, this volume gathers verse both modern and classic. The publisher proposes these pamphlets instead of a traditional greeting card. I know I’d be thrilled to get one of these in the mail.

Although I hope that a mouse isn’t a mandatory piece of kitchen equipment…

I adore this: a Knit-chen. (Points off for the terrible pun, though!) Created by more than 50 artists, and bringing together knitting, crochet, felting and weaving, this yarn-kitchen was part of the last year’s Jumpers And Jazz Festival, in Queensland, Australia.

Simply beautiful.

Friend of Knitty Julia Farwell-Clay has just launched a collection of patterns with Classic Elite Yarns, From Folly Cove. Infused with her trademark classic design sensibility, the pieces are entirely accessible and wearable, but each with a touch of something special. This blog post talks a little about the design inspiration and the process of creating the collection.

On the Lunar Calendar, 2015 is Year of the Sheep. A wonderful excuse to celebrate our love for our woolly pals! A festival celebrating the Lunar New Year in Canada is inviting artists to decorate (plastic) sheep.

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions, intentions or ideas to start or grow a fibery business? Write, sell yarn or knitting patterns?

Here are four things I use to keep my writing, spinning and knitting work moving forward, and a new magazine that looks good.

1) Kate Atherley’s new book: Pattern Writing for Knit Designers

Kate Atherley is a designer and an amazing tech editor (she’s Managing Technical Editor for Knitty). If you are thinking about selling or submitting knitting patterns for publication this book will tell you exactly what you need to know to write the pattern.

2) Shoot It with Caro Sheridan, a Craftsy class.

Caro knows how to shoot fibery things, she was the eye and camera behind this Knitty cover image. This is a great starter class for fiber photography. She talks about composition, color, working with a model, editing and even has tips for a great self portrait.

3) Tara Swiger’s podcast

Great business advice without the business stuffy.

Great business advice without the business stuffy.

Tara Swiger wrote a great book on marketing and runs courses on running a business for makers, but it’s her podcast that speaks to me. I read a lot about marketing and productivity, but I still like to listen to Tara. She’s clear and concise and I think we read all of the same books. I like being reminded of what is important to my business and to stop planning and Do The Work. Her podcast, Explore Your Enthusiasm, is available on her blog, iTunes and Stitcher.


4) Pinterest

I like to look

I like to look

Pinterest is my favorite social media site and not becasue of the social aspect. Though I do like seeing what my friends are excited about. I love Pinterest becasue it lets me save ideas and follow things and new excitements straight down the rabbit hole. Also for me, looking at beautiful things is energizing, so cruising through Pinterest is my favorite 15 minute break in between work stretches to help get me to the end of the day.  If you want to see what I’m obsessing over these days (there’s a lot of embroidery and tapestry weaving right now) this is me on Pinterest.

5) Artists and Makers Magazine

This is a brand new special issue magazine from Interweave. It combines business information for makers with profiles of successful creatives. The first issue is impressive and inspiring though I would love to see more fiber artists in the future.

Love this: MIT’s Comparative Media Studies group is offering a workshop in Knitting for Programmers this week.  In their words:

A knitting pattern is actually a more or less complex algorithm with the difference being that the output is directly wearable like 3D printing.

Image from Melissa Leapman/Chronicle Books.

UK’s Daily Mirror publishes an excerpt from Melissa Leapman’s latest book Knit It! Learn The Basics and Knit 22 Beautiful Projectsa pattern for a giant floor pillow.

I saw this display myself at Vogue Knitting Live in New York last weekend, but wasn’t able to get any pictures. Pam MacKenzie writes about the amazing hand-knit food sculptures of Dominique Kaehler Schweizer (a.k.a. Mme. Tricot.

Speaking of unexpected yarn sculptures… Another new book, this one definitely not aimed at beginners or youngsters: Knit Your Own Kama Sutra. Graphic sexual content. But in yarn. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Image courtesy Inside Korea/ Jeon Han.

An article in online publication “Inside Korea” tells of a current fashion in Korea for giant chunky hand-knit hats. I love the insight into other knitting cultures and fashions. Although I’m somewhat familiar with the Japanese knitting culture, I was less aware of knitting in Korea. I love the idea of this monster-yarn hat, and love even more that it can be knitted in an hour!

I'm teaching, are you coming?

I’m teaching, are you coming?

I’m teaching at the very first Yarn Fest for Interweave in April. I’m really excited to be going back to Colorado to teach. I learned to spin, really spin – a continuous thread,  from Maggie Casey at the Estes Park Wool Festival many years ago, so my teaching down the mountain in Fort Collins makes one of those great fibery circles. I used to work at Interweave too and I’m hoping to catch up with some people.

The Loopy Ewe is in Fort Collins, did you know that? Along with the Yarn Fest Marketplace there will be shopping and possible beer drinking.

A couple of my classes are full, but I have spots in:

  • Thursday Afternoon – Cheaper By the Dozen: 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Top. This class is a fun playing-with-color-class, learn to make hand dyed top do your bidding without putting a dent in your stash.
  • Saturday All Day – Yarnitecture: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want. This is one of my favorite classes, we will experiment with all the major components that make up a yarn – fiber, prep, drafting, ply, color and finishing. How does each effect your finished yarn? How do you adjust each to make the yarn you want to use. This is a mad scientist type of class, we’ll sample until we drop.
  • Sunday Morning – Batts in the Belfry: Spinning Batts. If you have a bunch of batts in your stash and aren’t sure how to spin them, not sure how they’ll turn out, this is the class for you! It’s another playtime with fiber class, you’ll get to sample a variety of batts and try spinning them different ways.
Come make yarn with me!

Come make yarn with me!

I always have stories and jokes and I usually have candy to get though any hard parts in my classes. Som times I have give-aways and trivia contests. I really,really want to have dance breaks, maybe a Soul Train dance line, who’s with me?

I can’t help but adore Kathleen‘s Wavedeck. I mean, it’s my design! And I love the colours in this variegated yarn! Variegateds and lace don’t always work, but this one goes very well.


Mawie’s Alice cap is wonderful, and suits her so well.


Terrific colour choice for scass’s Minetta cardigan. Can’t wait to see it grow.

Love it!

And vstar1100‘s Dr. Quackers is fantastic.

The Dr. is in!

Inkic‘s Drogo slippers are just perfect.

Fantastic colour choice.

And because one Knitty project per issue isn’t enough, apparently, Kathleen (of Wavedeck above) has now started a pair of Drogo slippers.

We are having a cold winter. Kathleen needs a lot of woollies.

And then there’s NetKissa‘s absolutely jawdropping adaptation of the Irrational Skirt pattern, into a dress. Amazing. You should visit the project on Ravelry and look at all the photos.

Wow. Just WOW.

I loved this blog post… knitter Christine, who also happens to be a scientist and engineer, explains how knitting is like an engineering exercise. But perhaps not in the way you might think! As she says:

An integrated part of Engineering and Knitting is making mistakes in a safe space and learning from them.  Below are some of the lessons I’ve learned through my knitting experiments….

Courtesy the “One Hundred Years Ago” blog. Get your eyes tested so you can keep knitting and sewing.

Another wonderful blog: One Hundred Years Ago, is all about women’s lives in Britain during the First World War. It features articles and content from that time, and it often features contemporary knitting and sewing patterns, representing both everyday wear, and items specifically made for sending to the troops. I adored reading the various appeals and entreaties for knitters to ‘do their bit’ and knit for their brave soldiers. Fascinating.

We will miss it!

Eek… we have heard rumors that the manufacturers of the blue and white Royal Ball Winder are no longer in business… commence hoarding! There are other products available, but this one has long been a favorite. If anyone knows anything more, please let us know!

Last week, a call went out for knitters to make mittens for koalas whose paws had been hurt in wildfires in Australia. As many have said before, when these appeals go global, there are often too many items made… If you’re moved by the plights of animals far from your home, it’s always better to contribute money that can go to immediate needs.

Nope. Not a parrot. Although at a distance you could see how it might be mistaken for one…

I did rather enjoy this story that involves knitting, but no suffering animals at allAnimal welfare officers in Scotland were called out to rescue what looked like an injured parrot, lying in the middle of a road. Turned it, it was a hat.

This weekend, it’s Vogue Knitting Live in New York City. I’ll be there, teaching some sock-related classes. There are spaces still available in my Introduction to Sock Design, and “Go Your Own Way: Work Socks the Way You Want” classes. Come and say hello! (P.S. Signed print copies of my Pattern Writing book will be available at the indigodragonfly booth, #316.)



Look I actually finished something! It’s an infinity scarf knit from Polwarth singles and it is soft and yummy.

I finished knitting Sunday and blocked it yesterday. I pinned it to my Block and Roll and tucked it into my bookcase.

Floor-free blocking.

Floor-free blocking and uneven pinning.

Here are all of the particulars:

  • Fiber: Polwarth top
  • Colorway: Forest of Pies by Spunky Eclectic
  • Draft and finish: low twist woolen, slightly fulled finish
  • WPI: 25
  • Twist Angle: 20
  • YPP: 2,000
  • Yardage 395 yards from 3 ounces of fiber
  • Finished size 20″ wide x 44″ long

Here are some quick modeled photos. It even got the teenage seal of approval. It was missing after she left for school, presumably around her neck.

Wearing it long

Wearing it long

Worn doubled

Worn doubled

What will be your first FO of the year?

Darling Knitty readers, this post is a week late thanks to whatever  horrific bug has been travelling around my home town, striking down innocent editors and chaining them to their beds. What would I have done without knitting and Netflix?

So we’re into the brand-new year. 2015. What will it bring? Not even the Amazing Kreskin knows. So instead, let’s look back at some of the highlights of 2014 from our perspective:

We began including crochet in Knitty, and the world didn’t end.

crochet is our friend.

Crochet is our friend.


We continued to see designers innovate the construction of the humble sock with patterns like Carry on Solefully and String Theory

Carry On Solefully by Betty Salpekar

Carry On Solefully by Betty Salpekar

String Theory by Anita Grahn

String Theory by Anita Grahn

And introduced you to the world’s newest sock design star, who is only FIFTEEN YEARS OLD. Josiah Bain, designer of Mirror and Tauriel (so far…)

Josiah Bain, high school student and sock designer.

Josiah Bain, high school student and sock designer.

Paid tribute to cephalopods everywhere with Opus and Octopodes

Opus the Octopus by Cate Carter-Evans

Opus the Octopus by Cate Carter-Evans

Octopodes by Jennifer Raymond

Octopodes by Jennifer Raymond

One of the things that made a big change for the three of  us, was that our Knitty principals (me, Jillian Moreno and Kate Atherley) all finally had Craftsy courses available so that we could spend time on your computer screens, sharing our favorite subjects with you…

Kate started it all with Blocking Handknits:

Blocking Handknits with Knitty's Senior Tech Editor, Kate Atherley

Blocking Handknits with Knitty’s Lead Tech Editor, Kate Atherley

I popped in with my Plug + Play class

Plug+Play Custom Scarves and Shawls with Knitty Editor Amy Singer

Plug+Play Custom Scarves and Shawls with Knitty Editor Amy Singer

And Jillian completed the triumvirate with Ply to Knit.

Ply to Knit with Knittyspin editor Jillian Moreno

Ply to Knit with Knittyspin editor Jillian Moreno

Oh, yeah — and after doing this wonderful job for 12 years, we hit our FIFTIETH issue. Which was such a big deal, I kind of got a little silly with the issue’s banner. Did you spot it?

it's fun to be your own boss. you get to do stuff like this.

it’s fun to be your own boss because you get to do stuff like this.

On a personal level, I became a single girl again and much re-adjusting of addresses and perspectives resulted. Knitty is now brought to you from the new Knitty world headquarters: a lovely little 2-bedroom apartment in Leslieville. Do not fret — the rabbits settled in quickly. I knew you would worry.

I want to thank Kate and Jillian for keeping this blog vibrant and relevant with their posts…Kate takes charge of the WWW news from every corner of the web (every Wednesday), and Jillian’s Tuesday spinning updates are a big highlight in my week. I can’t believe how she never stops creating. Behind the scenes — along with Kate Atherley — Ashley Knowlton and Ruth Garcia-Alcantud continue to make sure our patterns are knittable and follow our easy-to-understand standards. To all the designers who continue to inspire us with their creativity and innovation — we love you!

And finally, to you, our readers, our biggest thanks. Without you, there isn’t much of us. Stick around. We have big plans for 2015 and we can’t wait to share them with you.

Oh, can we ask something of you? We’ve been heavy into Twitter for ages (well, I have, here: Twitter ), and I also decided our Facebook page needed more love, so we’ve been having a blast over here:  Facebook But we’ve never made a big fuss about hashtags. Guess what? That’s silly. That’s a wasted opportunity! So we’d love you to start hashtagging everything #knittymag wherever you post your Knitty projects in any form, whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, or any other place hashtags are sold. Because one way to help keep Knitty strong is by letting people (who might not otherwise) know that we’re here. The internet is like a gazillionty times larger than it was when we launched in 2002. Your support, as always, is what feeds us. That and a nice tuna melt.

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