WWW: Knitted Athletes, More Knitting with Kittens, Ribbon Inspiration

(Photo courtesy Battersea Dog and Cats Home.) I MEAN COME ON.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in the UK hosts a fantastic event every month: Knitting with Kittens. The next one is September 15th… if you’re in the area, consider joining them. And sending me pictures.

I was chatting recently with a knitter who was attempting to get gauge for a Knitty garment project, and she was struggling. She had swatched, but then had the issue that the gauge when working the project was very different than the gauge in the swatch. I pointed her to this post on Amy Herzog’s blog about Why Swatches Lie And How To Stop Them Doing It.

Image credit: SWNS.

Also in London, the extended Haggerty family has created a knitted tribute to the Rio Olympics, and the British Team’s successes there.

Prepare to shed a tear: a 91-year-old man in hospice care for terminal cancer is spending his time making hats on a knitting loom, to donate to area homeless.

Inspiration: images from a collection of 18th and 19th century French ribbon samples. If you click through, you can browse the complete books.

Sample Looms: A Little Obsessed


Swatch Maker Looms

Swatch Maker Looms

Have you seen these swatching looms? I can’t quit playing with mine. I don’t have time right now to warp and weave on my rigid heddle loom, but still want to play with weaving.

I have been carrying one of these in my bag for weeks, weaving a little here and there. It’s so satisfying and for me it’s the perfect thing for the winding down of summer, when all of a sudden there is no time left for all of the big projects I was going to do.

These three looms are different setts (sett is the spacing of warp threads, much like knitting gauge or wraps per inch in spinning. These are 12,10 and 8 ends per inch) and I woven on them with the same three colors of Brooklyn Tweed Loft.

I love being able to play with color without having to commit to a whole project. I can also work on getting my edges neat and even, something I always struggle with.

Yesterday it occurred to me to use my handspun yarn on these looms. I want to weave more with my handspun this year and am curious about twist and ply in weaving which is a perfect project for these looms. I don’t have to spin and warp for my rigid heddle loom to learn about handspun and weaving.

What are you obsessing over at the end of this summer?



The  folks at Purl and Loop sent me their Swatch Maker looms to review for Knitty.I reviewed the 3 in 1 loom in the current issue and will review the single Swatch Maker looms in the next issue.


WWW: Pokemon and Cakes and the Other Sort of Knit Graffiti

Image from The Torontoist blog.

The other type of knit graffiti – out of paint rather than yarn. Love this one, spotted in the east end of Toronto. Click through to see a larger version.

Instructions for knitting a molecule. From the “Things and Ideas” blog, this post is older, but worth revisiting as you and the kids get ready for going back to school.

The molecule is specifically acrylonitrile, ‘as used in the production of acrylic fibres’.

A couple of knitting-related Kickstarters: Even if you’re not up for contributing, I always find it fun to look to see what people are up to. The first is a book of knitting patterns for tiny birds.

And the second is from Canadian yarn shop Ram Wools, for a series of open-source knitting video tutorials.

A hat tip to Knithacker, who brought this to our attention. Feast your eyes on this absolutely amazing ‘knitted’ cake, created by Cakes for Show. The video tutorial is mesmerizing.

They are crocheted not knit as being commonly reported, but otherwise I love this story: Nichole of Dallas is making little Pokemon characters and hiding them at Pokestops around the city. If you want one to keep for yourself, she has generously made the patterns available for free on Ravelry.

A New Class Question and PLYAWAY 2017 Classes Posted

natural + singles collageHow often do you like teachers to have new classes?

I’ve been teaching a lot the past couple of years and don’t know when to add new classes. For 2017 I tried to have at least one new class for each multi-day teaching gig. I’ve noticed some teachers don’t add new classes very often.

What about exclusive classes for big shows and events? Is that something that appeals?

I personally love designing new classes, but they take about four months to develop. So I need to be sane about how many I add. And let me know if there is something that you’d like to see me teach.


Do you like to plan ahead? Jacey has already listed the classes for PLYAWAY 2017. That woman is organized!

The dates are April 25th-April 29th. The location is the same as last year, the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City. There is a fountain pen store just off the lobby, plan your budget accordingly.

I’m teaching three classes and two of them are new and one of them includes sheep cheese tasting!





Obsession Thursday: reclaiming my Ukeness.

One of the many things I had to stop doing, when my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome got really bad, was playing ukulele. It was gradual and then all of a sudden I realized I hadn’t played in months. And then a year.

Waterman glow-in-the-dark ukulele

Waterman glow-in-the-dark ukulele

Thanks to my CTS surgery, I’m back, people. And I am so damned happy about it. Tonight, I got to teach some basic chords to a lovely fellow who wanted to learn. Watching his light bulb turn on as his fingers started to remember where G, F, A and D are located reminded me of how much fun it was for me to learn.

I am planning a big cross-country train trip at the end of next month, and so I treated myself to a new travel uke. It’s plastic (like the popular ukes of the 1950s) and, get this, IT GLOWS IN THE DARK. Because can’t you see me in my little train cabin, playing my glowy uke in the dark as we chug along through the prairies at night?

It’s a delightful instrument that’s waterproof and plays like a dream. I love how it sounds, and I am veritably smitten. You can get one for yourself here. They come in tons of colors, and I am unreasonably tempted to buy the clear one and fill it with cool LED lights. But I think that would mess with the acoustics.

Are you interested in learning the uke? My (I’ve been told) quite-useful post on how to choose your first ukulele can be found here.


WWW: Profile of Kate Davies, Knitting with Cats, Journalist commits terrible yarn-related puns

Wonderful profile of designer Kate Davies, who talks about her own journey from academic to the world of knitting, with the matter of small bump in the road: a serious stroke that left her hospitalized and in recovery for many long months.

Love this: a knitter takes her craft with her as she travels around the world, leaving traces of her craft wherever she goes. In this blog post, she talks about her journey to becoming a ‘craftivist’, and her actual journeys. She speaks of ‘the great communicative potential of street art and the inherently inoffensive nature of craft and knitting’.

Members of the ‘Oxford Drunken Knitwits’ club.

Speaking of yarnbombing, I really like this display of over 1500 handknit and crocheted flowers that has been installed around The Radcliffe Camera, a beautiful building on the Oxford University campus

File under: not sure we should encourage this sort of nonsense. The subhead of this article about an office knitting group has not one but two terrible puns. Boo to puns!

A cat cafe in Manchester, UK, as launched a series of event evenings, offering yoga sessions, film nights and craft gatherings. Having a knit-night in a yarn shop or pub is so last year… let’s meet in a cat cafe! (I am not poking fun! I would be all over this! And I know a few others who would be, too.)

Here, There and Everywhere





I’ve heard that my new book has landed in the publisher’s warehouse early. Let me know when you get your copy and what you think about it. I’m equal parts nervous and excited to hear what everyone thinks!


While most of the staff was at Convergence Amy Greeman and I snuck into the WEBS Podcast, Ready, Set, Knit and talked about my book. Did you hear us? You can listen anytime here.



Spin singles with me

Spin singles with me



Are you interested in spinning singles to knit? I have a new video out this week from Interweave called Spinning Singles. It’s under and hour and full of tips on how to spin a stable, consistent singles yarn. And  of course I talk about manipulating color in singles yarns, too. I can’t help it, really. It’s available as a download now, with the DVD coming soon.




Because I have to do what everyone else is doing, I’ve dusted off my spindles. My family is going camping for a few days next week, where cell phones don’t work (I’m so excited). I will be the one spinning on a spindle in a hammock. We picked our campsite based on the number of trees for hammock hanging. So think of me here, spinning.

Camping time!

Camping time!

What are you spinning as summer winds down?

First Fall Issue WIPs and FOs

I know that many of us seem to be living in a heatwave at the moment – at least those of us in the Northern Hemisphere – but it hasn’t stopped the knitting.

Battie is thinking about fall, having turned the Prettified Thrash socks in a pair of very cool fingerless mitts:


The original Pyropa was worked in a gradient yarn, and it’s an excellent use of these fun yarns, but NotKnittingKnots took the project another way, and used two solids. It’s just as effective, in a totally different way.

I must also confess that I love a good blocking-in-progress shot!

The Ennui shawl is also inspiring some terrific color combinations:

Heno’s red-hot one

And Lorinne’s excellent use of a variegated yarn make it gorgeous in a very different way.


And definitely thinking about cold weather, TheBlueSquare has hot a lot of fun with Toketee gloves. Love the colour detail at the cuff.





WWW: On Creativity, *Very* Deep Stash, Tink

Very excited about this. Ravelry has added a new attribute for yarn information: source.

They’ve actually added a whole load of new attributes, but in particular we’re happy to see a place to add information about the source of fiber — where it was scoured, milled and dyed — and on its sustainability — whether it’s fair-trade, organic or recycled. Many thanks to the team of Ravelry who are always listening and always improving!

Photos taken by and copyright Kevin Horan, from the Washington Post.

Speaking of sources of fibers, enjoy these magnificent portraits of sheep and goats, taken by photographer Kevin Horan.

Designer Karie Westermann writes on her blog about creativity. In particular she addresses a question that I think many of us ask: I am really creative but things never look like they are supposed to. What am I doing wrong?

Deep stash. Very deep.

You think you’ve got old stuff at the bottom of your stash? This 3,000-year old ball of yarn, found at an archaeological dig in the U.K., is older than anything you’ve got, I promise.

(To call it ‘yarn’ isn’t entirely correct – this post on the Must Farm website describes it in more detail, using more accurate term ‘thread’.)

To quote from the Oxford English Dictionary blog: newly enshrined word tink is “an example of the linguistic inventiveness of knitting”. See, we’re not just creative with sticks and string, we’re creative with words, too!

Not strictly knitting, but I love this: textiles printed directly from sewer (yes, for once, I do mean sewer, not a person that sews :-)) covers.

Spinning and Knitting PSA : Rhinebeck

There are 73 days until Rhinebeck!

Is that enough time to spin and knit a sweater? Even if I have other work to do, lots of work, including other spinning and knitting?

I’m considering this handspun classic – Amy King’s Less is More

Less is More - Is there time?

Less is More – Is there time?

I don’t have yarn spun to make it, I checked. If I make the short sleeved version, that’s about a pound and a half of fiber to spin. This is what I will be deeply mulling over the next few days and tossing my stash . I could make it out of singles or fatter yarn or with less ease to cut time. Or maybe I should make something smaller. But I feel like making something!  Are you spinning and knitting something for Rhinebeck this year?