WWW: On the Pink Hats

Everybody is talking about the Pussy Hat initiative. As I’ve mentioned before, the objective is that every attendee of the women’s march in DC this coming Saturday be outfitted in a pink hat. The point is for a visible symbol of unity, a symbol that absolutely cannot be missed.

The color and the design – and the name and its connotations — were very deliberate choices. The name and shape nod to a particular comment made by a particular politician, and of course the color is the one shade always and only associated with women. (Those who aren’t keen on that particular design have been making Donna Druchunas’s wonderful “Resist” hat instead, less whimsical but equally meaningful.) There has been some very good debate about the design. Some feel that the shape and color are too juvenile, and those wearing the hat are likely to be dismissed for not being serious. This Washington Post article seems to support that position. Others feel that the attendees of the March are going to be dismissed regardless, and that the color and style of the hat isn’t going to make any difference: indeed, the point of the hat is to own and subvert stereotypes and offensive language.

There’s been coverage in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, LA Times, the Guardian, and so many other outlets. Yarn shops are reporting shortages of pink yarn, and the hats are all over social media – and celebrities are talking about them, making and wearing them: Rosanne Cash, Patti Smith, Anna Paquin, Neko Case, and many, many others.

There are Women’s Marches taking place all over the world this coming Saturday. A lot of stores — including Yarns Untangled, my LYS — are collecting hats to distribute to marchers in both local and the DC event.

Both Jillian and I have made hats, and will be wearing them on Saturday.

2hats
Time is getting short, but if you can get your hands on about 75yds/70m of a super-bulky yarn, you can follow my notes to make a hat or two in plenty of time for Saturday. Friend of the show and crochet-master Kim Werker has published her notes for crochet version.

I will be attending the Toronto March with many members of the Toronto knitting community. #resist

Favorite Spinning Tools: My Steamer

Only 7" tall, but my steamer is mighty!

Only 7″ tall, but my steamer is mighty!

I have a little portable steamer that I use all of the time. It’s become one of those tools in my arsenal, along with my scale, that I had no idea when I bought it how much I would use it.

I use it the most when I’m sampling. I’m not a patient spinner and I want to see what my yarn and knitted swatches are going to look like as soon as possible. Steaming is perfect for that. My steamer is small and is best for small skeins of yarn. I used to just hold my skeins over our electric kettle until I got tired of finding wool in my tea.

I have used it for bigger 400 yard skeins, it took a couple of passes with my little steamer, but it was less time than waiting for the skein to dry after wet blocking. All I want to do was get started knitting!

I do need to say that if I am working with a fiber or blend that is new to me I will take the time to wet block my sample yarn.

A steamer is great for blocking swatches too. I pin them out first and then hit them with steam. I also use it to do touch up blocking on knitted or woven garments or accessories that are looking limp. A hit of steam can get a cable to stand back up, or get a quickly pinned out lace edge to open up.

Do you use a steamer?

 

Obsession Thursday: Continuing to breathe normally

This post is for my fellow hoseheads (CPAP users, or beloved of those who use CPAPs). It’ll bore the crap out of the rest of you.

this behemoth sits in my nightstand and has to be lugged wherever I want to sleep away from home. Feh.

This behemoth sits in my nightstand and has to be lugged wherever I want to sleep away from home. Feh.

I was diagnosed with Hypopnea (a form of sleep apnea) in April 2014, and have used a CPAP machine ever since. Still on my first machine, a ResMed S9 Elite ->. It’s what the sleep consultant recommended so I bought it. It cost something like $1600, of which my provincial health insurance covered a big chunk ($600, I believe) and my private health insurance covered most of the rest. Still, that’s a hell of a lot of money for this thing.

Especially when you do a google for CPAP machines, and find out that those in the US can get the same machine for $1000CDN or less.

My main complaint, though, is that it’s huge and heavy and I have to take it with me whenever I go anywhere that requires an overnight stay. I started looking into travel machines, and found a few, but none have humidifiers. But a recent search came up with this little bundle of joy: the Apex XT line.

thanks to esnoreandsleep.com for this image

thanks to esnoreandsleep.com for this image

Based on my needs, the base model (XT Fit) would have done just fine, but the place I ordered from (1800cpap.com) was out of stock, and looking at that Amazon link, it seems they’re out, too. Anyway, they upgraded me to the XT Auto at no charge, and preset the machine to my Rx. The whole thing, unit, heated humidifier, base, case and hose, came to me for $300USD plus $40USD shipping and $44CAD tax (charged on this end). Delivered in a day by FedEx.

The case is about half the size of the ResMed’s case, and weighs just under 6lbs. The power is contained within the main unit, which helps reduce the total weight. (My ResMed uses a huge, heavy power brick.)

I slept with it last night and found that, unlike the ResMed heated hose (it heats the moisture on its way to my nose), the Apex’s heated reservoir seems to do a better job…in that I didn’t notice it at all and slept very comfortably. I’m going to try it without the humidifier next. If I can travel with just the main unit, it’ll reduce the storage space needed (and weight!) by half, which is pretty cool. But I did choose it because it had a humidifier, so even if I need to bring it, I’ve lightened my load by at least a third, and space requirements by a half.

Because I didn’t go through a sleep clinic, I’m unsure about who will be able to check my numbers. I called my sleep doc and hopefully he’ll be able to compare the ResMed with the Apex and make sure I’m getting the therapy I need.

Note that these are anecdotal observations from a non-medical person, and you should always contact your doctor before you do anything that involves your health.

*The first link is an Amazon link, which gives us a little financial reward if you buy from there; the 2nd reward is just a plain ole’ link to the place I bought from.

 

WWW: On difficulty, k200tog, a different pink hat

Miriam writes on her blog about difficulty ratings in patterns: I agree wholeheartedly!


Style writer Nathalie Atkinson writes about the origins of the Cowichan (a.k.a. curling) sweater. The garment is considered a Canadian icon, popularized by Mary Maxim in the 1950s and 60s. Many knitters aren’t aware of their origins in the indigenous community of coastal B.C.


I like this very much: the Knit2o0Together project.

Driven by educator Maura Pfeifer, Knit 200 Together is intended to bring together people of different backgrounds and communities, united in fiber craft, to share and learn a little about each other. A group of 200 diverse knitters from around the greater Boston region will meet to knit, talk about their projects, their yarn, and their lives – and in doing so get to know someone new, and expand their world and perspective. The event takes place Saturday February 11th, at the Cary Memorial Library in Boston. Details at the website.


Image (c) Liz Honig.

Image (c) Liz Honig.

If you still need a pink hat for next week, but aren’t sure about ears, perhaps Donna Druchunas’s “Resist” hat might fit the bill.


Teaching at Loop

Reblocking some of my Twist and Ply swatches

Reblocking some of my Twist and Ply swatches

Who’s spinning with me at Loop next weekend? I got a few questions about my classes, so I thought I answer them here.

I’m teaching three classes, all day Yarnitecture, half day Twist and Ply and half day Cheaper By the Dozen: 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Top.

Yarnitecture: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want – This is a great class for spinners who either are beginner- ish, can make yarn and want to know what’s next, this class gives an over view of making yarn. This is also for spinners who have been spinning for any length of time who want have questions along the lines of , ‘how do I make this yarn?’ or ‘why does my yarn look like this?’ I once had a student tell me after class, “I’ve been spinning for 15 years and didn’t know most of this stuff!”

 

Twist and Ply: The Difference Ply and Twist Direction Make to Your Knitting – Plying has such a bad reputation in spinning and lots of spinners approach it like ripping off a band aid – getting it done as quick as possible, with not a lot of thought.  This is a great class for spinners curious about what the big deal is about plying. This is also a great class for spinning knitters who aren’t quite happy with their handspun knits, a lot of the time the fix is in the plying or the direction of your plying in combination with your style of knitting. The photo up there is a few of my samples for this class getting refreshed for next weekend.

Cheaper By the Dozen: 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Top – This might be my most popular class. Every spinner I know has a stash of variegated top and a not-so-secret lust for more. This class will teach you how to spin those braids fearlessly, including how to combine them. By the end of this class you’ll have the spinning of your current stash all mapped out and be shopping for more. In this class we use fiber from Into the Whirled.

There are a few spots left in all three classes, you can register here.

Don’t forget the Friday night spin-in, Yarnitecture trunk show and book signing. It’s going to be fun!

I hope to see you next weekend!

 

 

Obsession Thursday: Reorganizing for the new year

Not Knitty…reorganizing my apartment! It is rather small as 2-bdr apts go, but I do love it so, and it’s what I can afford, so I’ve gotta make it work.

Over the holidays, I started another wave of tidying and purging. My office started out like this:

mid-purge/tidy: notice the large quantity of Ikea bags, now empty after putting their contents in their proper places (sometimes that was the garbage). big black monolith is my desk chair. 

…and then I made it better. Took a few days and cleared away tons of crap, and properly put away tons of NOTcrap. There was more clear floor space in here than there has been since I moved in in Sept 2014 once I was done.

Of course, that meant that I had to fill it up again.

Tully has been living in the living room. He’s young (not even a year old yet) and he can’t be fully free range until he chills a bit. So he needed more space than he had in just his cage when he’s tucked in for the night.

Squeeze, having vacated the office for her new home on Toronto Island with her daddy (my ex), left more than enough room for Tully to move in. Today, he moved in.

The exercise pen around his cage came from a Facebook trading site called Bunz.

The exercise pen around his cage came from a Facebook trading site called Bunz (only in Canada, I believe). I traded two bags of dog treats for this baby.

The cage is his security, so I kept it. On the top right, that huge black thing is a Sterilite plastic bin which holds — get this — a half bale of hay. And it’s full. That’s how much hay this guy eats. It cost almost nothing to buy it from a hay farmer, which is much better than the $14/wee bag I was paying before. (Each bag lasted a week.)

Anyway, He’s been exploring this new room and finding out how it connects to the rest of the world he knows already. He seems quite happy. Has eaten, groomed himself and is now drinking from his water bottle. This indicates a relaxed bunny.

Job well done, I say! Woot me!

Intrepid explorer Tully susses out his new digs. Yes, there’s a lot of crap on my desk. That’s the next task.

 

WWW: Advice, sensible and otherwise; Pink Hats; This is Your Brain on Knitting

Some people are making pink hats to wear later this month. 


Sensible: an advice columnist – a knitter herself – provides advice to the non-knitters who might wish to ask a friend to make a sweater for them: “Don’t risk friendship over a sweater.


I’m in two minds about pieces like this: “How to Wear Chunky Knits“, courtesy of an online style magazine. I mean, the first thought that leaps to mind when I see a headline like that is “heck, it’s January – just slip it on over a tshirt and be warm.” But then after the snark, I will always click through: I enjoy a good fashion spread, and so look with interest on how stylists propose wearing these key items of winter gear. And then, in this sort of case, I get the additional value of a chuckle at the idea of an open-shouldered chunky sweater. (Yes, really! Go look!) Given that I live in Canada, I categorize these items along with with open-toed boots: fashion developed by people who have apparently never actually been outside….


Love this: a fabulous episode of VeryPink Knitting podcast, in which Casey talks with psychologist Dr. Art Markman about about your brain on knitting – process vs. project knitters, multi-task knitting, and other topics.

Spinning in 2017 – Your List of Dyers

hy-collage-2017

Hello Yarn before and after

For a lot of us it’s the dreaded work reentry week after the winter holidays.

I’ve put together a little diversion for you.

A few weeks ago I asked who I should spin in 2017 and I got so many great answers that I’ve collected them here. How about a little fiber browsing for today?

Let me know who you are excited to spin in 2017!

 

 

 

 

2016: Well, that was something, eh?

Challenging in ways many of us didn’t expect, 2016 has been a hell of a year. We’re starting to lose our cultural heroes, often unexpectedly, and we’re a bit raw with the changing political climate in the US, and crazy people with weapons worldwide. Yeah, 2016 has sucked.

But it’s also been joyous, surprising and a wonderful year for knitting and knitters.

Here are some things that happened:

    • Knitty didn’t close in Spring 2016. We would have had to without the financial support of our Patrons. We launched this new funding model in September 2015, and by March of 2016, Knitty Patrons had stepped up and were carrying 2/3 of the cost of producing the magazine. We are grateful on a daily basis for their support. Thanks to them and our fiercely loyal Advertisers, we…
    • Rewrote our website code, making our pages responsive, so that they’re much easier to view on mobile devices of all sizes. This was a big project and we completed it on time so that the First Fall 2016 issue launched when it was supposed to, and the cool auto-resizable pages worked from the get go.
    • Published four great issues, full of patterns like these:
Laurel, by Amy Christoffers, from the Deep Fall 2016 issue

Laurel, by Amy Christoffers, from the DF16

 

Anyadell by Senja Jarva from our DF16 issue

Anyadell by Senja Jarva from the DF16 issue

 

Pincha by Pinpilan Wangsai from our First Fall 2016 Issue

Pincha by Pinpilan Wangsai from the FF16 issue

 

Gocce by Paola Albergamo from the SS16 issue

Gocce by Paola Albergamo from the SS16 issue

 

Ennui by Justyna Lorkowska from our FF16 issue

Ennui by Justyna Lorkowska from our FF16 issue

And my favorite meta-meta crazypants pattern of the year:

Toilet Paper Toilet Paper Cozy by Christine Olea from the W16 issue

Toilet Paper Toilet Paper Cozy by Christine Olea from the W16 issue

On the personal side:

O Canada!

O Canada!

I became a Canadian (after living in Canada since I was 8), and took a train across the country to celebrate! I welcomed a new rabbit, Tully, into my family, got rid of my misbehaving uterus, and had both my Carpal Tunnelly hands surgically fixed. I stepped back from teaching and concentrated on healing and taking care of myself. Rather lovely.

 

Jillian and Gwen Steege from Storey Publishing, celebrating Yarnitecture!

Jillian continued her crazy busy and successful year of travelling and teaching at legendary venues, while (at the same time, mind you) finishing her brilliant book about spinning the yarns you want to knit: Yarnitecture. And continued to raise her kids, along with her hubby, with love and compassion. She’s on the road in 2017, too…will you be lucky enough to be able to catch a class with her?

 

Kate and her groundbreaking book!

Kate was on the move too! She taught all over the US and Canada, and popped over to her homeland, hitting Bath, Manchester and Oxford in the UK in spring, as well as taping several new online classes. She’s added video columnist to her resume, as Knitty’s newest columnist on the subject of techniques. She wrote the book all knitwear designers need to read. And just for fun, she and her darling husband and nutso dog Dexter moved house, too. She’s already got a busy schedule lined up for 2017. Go Kate, go!

 

So that’s a lot of good stuff that happened in 2016. I’m glad to be able to celebrate it with you, and I’m honored to work with such great people as Jillian, Kate, Chris (Sysadmin gift from above), Ashley and Rachel (our gloriously wonderful Tech Editors). Thank you for being here, too.

Here’s to a happier, more joyous 2017!

Looking forward to 2017: Kate and Jillian on the road

soxpertiseKate’s Teaching Schedule for the first part of 2017

January 25-27 – InTown Quilters, Decatur, Georgia
Introduction to Design, Continental Knitting, Best Methods/Expert Tips, Yarn Shopping Bootcamp, Soxpertise, Altering Patterns

Feb 26 & 27th – Sheep Shop, Cambridge UK
Introduction to Gloves, Two Socks at Once: The War & Peace Method, Introduction to Design

March 1 – Knit With Attitude, Stoke Newington, UK
Class TBA

March 4 & 5 – Purlescence, Leckhampstead, UK
Intro to Brioche, Advanced Brioche; -You do the maths” – a study in numbers and knitting patterns

March 9 – 12 – Edinburgh Yarn Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
Classes sold, out, sorry, but I will be doing a book signing or two at the Purlescence booth.

March 17-19 – Madison Knitter’s Guild Knit-In, Madison, WI

March 30 – April 3 – Interweave Yarn Fest, Loveland, CO
Pi Shawl, Two Socks at Once: Side by Side, Fiber Care & Blocking, Math for Knitters, 2 Socks at Once: War & Peace, Pattern Writing, Custom Fit Socks

April 7-9 – Make Wear Love Spring Retreat, Pacific Grove, CA
Fearless Finishing, Pattern Reading, Working with Handpainted Yarns

 

Spinning with Jillian means color!

Spinning with Jillian means color!

Jillian’s Teaching Schedule for Most of 2017

January 20-22 – Loop! Philadelphia, PA
Book Signing, Yarnitecture, Twist and Ply and 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Yarns

February 16-February 19 – Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat- Tacoma , WA
Yarnitecture #2: The Journey Continues: Sampling and Spinning for a Specific Project – Exclusive to Madrona for 2017
Twist and Ply #2: Texture and Color- new for 2017
All the Singles Ladies: Spin and Knit Sensational Singles – new for 2017

March 30 – April 3 – Interweave Yarn Fest, Loveland, CO
Yarnitecture, Twist and Ply 2: Texture and Color – new for 2017, Fractal Frolic, Cheaper by the Dozen: 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Top

April 26-29 – PLY Away 2 – Kansas City, MO
Yarnitecture – 2 days!
Kaleidoscope Yarns: Color and Singles – new for 2017
Sheep Sampler: Spin & Nosh – new for 2017

July 19-23 – Super Summer Knitogether – Nashville, TN
Classes to be announced

September 29-October 1 – WEBS Spinning Summit
Classes to be announced