WWW: Dedicated Knitters; “Knit Me, I’m Irish” weekend; knitting for science engagement

Warm and welcoming.

USA Today’s “10 Best” site profiles Toronto’s Lettuce Knit - one of my LYSs!


Residents of a care home for the elderly in St. Alban’s, UK, pooled their efforts to knit a blanket for a furry friend – Jane the Golden Retriever, a retired guide dog.


Knitter and history buff Judith Brodnicki

Dedicated knitter Judith Brodnicki responded to a tweet asking for help with a knitting project, and found herself involved in the project of a lifetime: knitting WW1-era costumes for a film.


And Judy Graham is a dedicated knitting teacher. Her YouTube channel, Knitting Tips by Judy, is one of the great successes of the video website. She’s had more than 12.4 million views, and nearly 35,000 subscribers. Meet the face behind voice and the hands!


Looking for a getaway? Consider the “Knit Me, I’m Irish” package for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend at the Caldwell Inn in the Hudson Valley, NY. A local shop, The Cornwall Yarn Shop, is offering a lesson in knitting an “Irish scarf” as part of a B&B weekend.

The Inn has an interesting history: The house was once a refuge to an Irish family fleeing the British during the 1798 Irish Rebellion. The Caldwells, including a dozen children, crossed the Atlantic to arrive in New York City in the early 1800s, and the house was part of a massive estate they built in the then-“wilds” of New York state.


Dr. Tina Chowdhury, , professor of Bioengineering at Queen Mary University of London, has received many accolades and awards for her engaging and innovation teaching style. She’s currently working on a program to engage school-age children in science, and she’s seeking knitters to help her, to knit samples of cells and a bioreactor. More info here.

Jillian’s Spinning: My Best Spinning Habit

Last week I talked about my worst spinning habit, the thing that drives me crazy about my spinning self. This week let’s talk about the good.

Cart of samples.

Cart of samples.

My best spinning habit is experimenting, sampling, playing. I could spend all of my spinning time following the ‘what ifs’ that pop up in my head. I have piles and boxes and baskets of samples, some of them becomes articles for Knittyspin, PLY or Spin Off, some become classes, some just stay little piles of fun. That picture above? Each box, bag and basket is crammed with samples. The picture below? That’s one box full of plying experiments with variegated yarn. These experiments are a big reason why I need to break my worst habit of not labeling things, ” exactly what are these four tiny skeins and swatches?”. I love figuring out the things fiber and yarn can do, that even the smallest variation can make a big change. I hope I never get sick of experimenting!

What’s your best spinning habit?

Plying samples.

Variegated plying samples.

 

 

My friend Carla of cjkoho Designs started a Kickstarter to build a bigger studio, to dye and to teach. I have used her fiber and yarn for years and she does beautiful work. Take a look and contribute if you are interested, and if not, help spread the word. We need more beautiful fiber and yarn!

cjkoho Designs fiber

cjkoho Designs fiber

Thinking of Summer

I know I can safely speak on behalf of the entire Knitty team in saying that we’re tired of winter. It’s been a cold and snowy one, and we’re all getting a bit grumpy.

To cheer myself up, I went cruising through our back issues to look for a spring-themed projects. It might be a while before I can wear them, but I can at least start the knitting…

Because I’m tired of my scarves at this point, I think a glamorous new shawl would be wonderful. Cold Mountain is big enough to wear now for warmth, and yet still lacy and light enough to wear on early summer days over a dress.

Make it in a really cheerful springy color!

And because even when the snow goes, there will still be cold winds… perhaps a new pair of fingerless mitts? These Queen City ones are chic and interesting to knit, but will go quickly.

A change is as good as rest. You might still need to wear mittens, but these are at least fresh and new!

There’s the Carnaby skirt, which I think would be a fantastic transitional piece… still warm, but with hints of springy flirtiness and fun.

Heavy tights now; lighter tights or even bare legs later!

In hopes that I might get to expose my arms again at some point, there’s the Petrie Shell

So chic.

And how could you not feel summery making a gorgeous Elenka dress for a little girl in your life?

So great!

And remember what Denny says: no knitting with grey or brown in February and March. Knit the colors that are missing from your life in this dull and muddy time of year: choose greens and reds and pinks and purples and oranges. Cheer yourself up!

Obsession Thursday: There is no substitute for intelligent, human copy editing and proofreading

A quick glance at this lazily worded headline might alarm my fellow geeks

A quick glance at this lazily worded headline might alarm my fellow geeks

As a recovering proofreader and editor (20 years in the advertising business), the hairs on the back of my neck go way up when I see something like the news headline at left that I spotted this morning.

No, Doctor Who didn’t survive Ebola. He didn’t get it. Keep reading. But our internet-trained brains scan text for key phrases, and when we see “hero” a few words later, it only serves to extend the period of confusion.

It’s actually a simple news story. But a little more attention to the headline probably was warranted.

When services like Grammarly claim to be “automated proofreaders”, I want to wave my hands in the air and flail about like a deranged muppet.  There is no such thing. We all know how fallible spellcheck is without a human to watch over it and choose which changes to allow. Nothing yet invented can replicate the skill of a properly trained (and caffeinated) proofreader or copy editor. See, Grammarly recently published a scathing (ha) critique of the lame writing in that 50 Shades novel based on the “errors” its service found. I’m sure you’ve seen it all over the place. Except what they wrote is wrong. This thoughtful rebuttal by a mystery writer explains why. If you can’t trust the article, not sure how you can trust the service.

Proofreaders and Copy Editors are often first against the wall when the revolution comes. (They’re the first to be laid off when the budget is cut or money suddenly becomes tight because so many companies see them as a luxury.) It’s a crime against language. If we don’t defend our words, who will?

Note: I don’t claim that Knitty is error free. We do our best, but we don’t have a dedicated proofreader. That’s why I’m so glad we’re online…we can fix typos after a launch without requiring new film, a new press run and a huge loss of revenue. 20 years of stress over typos that went to print was enough for me. We do our best, and we fix the rest.

WWW: Knitwear model hits the big-time; charity knitter hits milestone.

Pic courtesy Rowan Yarns.

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne started his career as a model; and not just any model… he was the featured model for Rowan Yarn’s Denim People booklet, published in 2004.

To celebrate his win, Rowan has made the Brooklyn sweater pattern available for free download.


Sibling’s Fair Isle dress. LOVE this.

I love this time of year in the fashion world… all the fashion shows for Fall and Winter provide some excitement and inspiration for cold-weather dressing, just as I’m starting to get tired of my own winter clothes.

UK designer Sibling showed some rather clever uses of Fair Isle knits. Full slideshow here.


A true labor of love.

Knitter Anna Taylor of Virginia is celebrating a rather wonderful milestone: in the past 9 years, she has knitted and donated 1000 children’s sweaters to a local charity.




Jillian’s Spinning: My Worst Spinning Habit

A basket full

A basket full of questions

We all have one, a spinning habit that we wish we didn’t have. Something that is deeply ingrained or in my case a stupid arrogance. Every time I realize I’ve done it again, I want to kick myself. I shake my head and say never again. But I always find myself in the same confused boat. My worst spinning habit? I don’t label my skeins or samples!

I am so sure I’ll remember, because I’ll get right back to this project or experiment. Yeah, right. The photo up there is a big basket full of skeins, swatches and experimental yards of yarn. I have no idea how, what, why, where or when about these yarns. And I bet they are at the most important, for something very specific or at the least important, things that would save me extra spinning recreating the yarn for an article or class.

I am getting a little better, but it is still my worst most maddening spinning habit.

 

What’s your worst spinning habit?

 

Obsession Thursday: DIY surf spray and body oil mist

When I went from short and flippy hair to past my chin and wavy, I started to need surf spray to make the hairstyle work. Stuff costs $20 a bottle and is MAGIC. You know how your hair is after you come out of the ocean? (Not a lake…has to be salt water.) This stuff does that, but is better for your hair and cheaper than airfare.

Enough ingredients to make countless bottles of Surf Spray and Body Oil Mist

Enough ingredients to make countless bottles of Surf Spray and Body Oil Mist

Guess what? All the ingredients to make many, many, MANY bottles of this stuff costs about the same as one bottle of the name-brand stuff. I’ve made and used up several batches and it always works. Spritz it into damp hair, scrunch and when it’s dry, finger combing gives me the wavy hair I always wanted.

I started out with some of the recipes on this page, and tweaked. This is about what I do now.

Amy’s magic hair scrunch spray:

  • 1/2 cup warmed distilled water
  • 1 tablespoon Epsom salts
  • 1 teaspoon hair gel
  • ½ tablespoon leave-in hair conditioner
  • 4-5 drops of coconut oil or Argan oil

Warm water helps dissolve the rest of the ingredients. I use less water than other recipes recommend, because the water is just there to carry the rest. It just slows down the drying time of your hair so why add more than you need? Choose your conditioner carefully — it seems to be most fragranced of everything and if you’re fussy about smells, that’s where you can control it best.

Next up, winter skin crawlies. All body oil mists I found had some kind of fragrance and they all have preservatives I didn’t want. Plus $$$. So now I make my own based on this recipe, and it’s amazing. It has no scent by choice — check out the recipe link above if you want to fragrance it.

Unscented body oil mist:

  • ¼ cup distilled or filtered water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vegetable glycerine
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 4-5 drops Vitamin E oil

I spray this on my arms, back and legs after every shower and I no longer want to rip my skin off.

I got most of the supplies at my local drugstore. You don’t need to buy huge amounts. It lasts a long time, and takes up just a little space in my closet until it’s time to make a new batch.

 

WWW: Hugs and Boobs; Spring Fibery Getaways

Image from The Guardian website.

Knitting as an aid to breastfeeding. Really. Knitters from the Isle of Lewis in Scotland have come together to knit 250 yarny ‘models’ for use in a government-funded breastfeeding campaign. The slightly silly nature of the models eases nervousness and aids the discussion…

“Popular with midwives and health visitors, they are used to show the best way to get a baby to latch on properly and how to mould or hold your breast to get the nipple in the right position for the baby’s mouth. They’re also used to teach how to express milk and how to deal with problems like blocked ducts.

Brilliant!


A lovely profile of knit designer and artist Rachel Matthews, in a larger discussion about the mental and physical benefits of knitting. Can you knit a hug? The answer is a resounding yes!


A video piece on the BBC about knitting in Sanquhar, Scotland. Sanquhar is known for distinctive and beautiful geometric colourwork patterns, notably used in gloves.


Spring is coming (I hope!), and with it news of a bunch of knitting events.  Fancy a fibery getaway?

Kate and Jillian are both teaching at Interweave’s Yarn Fest, April 16-19 in Loveland, Colorado.
Kate is also teaching at the Strung Along retreat April 9-12, in Port Ludlow, WA, at the Toronto Knitter’s Guild Frolic, the weekend of April 25 & 26, and at the Squam Arts Retreat in New Hampshire is the first weekend of June.

Remember, there’s always a list of events on the Knitter’s Review website.

Jillian’s Spinning: Those Special Braids – Enough Already!

Almost every spinner has a stash that they will never spin in their spinning lifetime. In that stash a certain percentage is special, the fiber that doesn’t get spun because of some attachment. For me it’s multicolored braids. I love them and so many have special memories, or the dyer isn’t dyeing anymore or the dyer isn’t dyeing that colorway or I dyed it as part of a dyeing party or it was gift or 1,000 rationales to keep the fiber from becoming yarn.

I noticed on a recent stash dive that, my specials are creeping up to be 25% of my stash. Sentimental is one thing, foolish is another. That is gorgeous fiber I am letting go to waste. Today I decided, no more. I went to the basement and picked three.

Super special no more!

Super special no more!

I just reached in and grabbed. OK, I’ll confess to skipping over the fibers of dyers no longer dyeing, but other than that it was random grabbing. I have a deadline coming up and needed fiber to spin for samples. Why not spin fiber I really love?

The spinning makes it special.

The spinning makes it special.

Anyone else spinning their special fibers this year?