WWW: ‘Secret History of Knitting’ documentary; Body Parts; Wool Wednesday?

Click here to watch a new TV documentary, ‘The Secret History of Knitting, featuring our own Kate, Amy, and Kate’s LYS Yarns Untangled. Lots of other famous faces appear, too! Made for the newly lauch Makeful TV channel, it does a good job of telling the story of knitting – and of knitters.

We also absolutely loved the accompanying ‘slow TV’ event, ‘Knit Purl Knit: Three Hours in a Yarn Shop‘, filmed over a Sunday afternoon at Yarns Untangled. Soothing and beautiful.


If you’re in the Toronto area, this Saturday is the Toronto Knitter’s Guild annual Frolic! With retail and classes, this event is a highlight of the knitting year.

And if you’re in the UK, this Saturday is Yarn Shop Day. Shops all over the UK are offering promotions, activities and perhaps even tea and cake. A great opportunity to visit a new-to-you shop, remember that it doesn’t count as stash if it’s a souvenir…


“Whatya making?” “A brain.”

Love this: knitted body parts for use in primary school health classes! Volunteer knitters in Lancashire have been contributing to this clever educational project.


If you’re not tired of listening to Kate babble on, she was on Marly Bird’s Yarn Thing podcast this week, talking about the new edition of her Pattern Writing book. And a couple of weeks ago, Amy was on the show, too, talking about all things Knitty.


Students at an art school is Lausanne, Switzerland, have created a chair that knits a hat while you read. The article is in French, but the pictures tell you everything you need to know!


Yes, we know! Knitting appears on a list of hobbies that are recommended as a ‘mindfulness techniques’.


I agree!

Ply Away – The Haul!

I taught at Ply Away this weekend and it was amazing. It’s the biggest spinning-only retreat running right now and there were about 300 spinners swarming the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City. I taught 5 classes full of wonderful spinners.  There was also a marketplace. I usually don’t shop when I teach because I’m surrounded by fiber all day, but I tripped a little at this market.

Plyaway haul

Ply Away haul

I got a Clemes and Clemes blending board (squee!) I’ve wanted one for a long time and I need it for a work project, so there’s one heading my way. Huckleberry Knits was there with her new Targhee/Silk blend- 6 braids came home with me. I’ve never seen so much of her fiber in person.  There was a pen store in the mall attached to the hotel, many, many spinners went crazy in there. I got two pens and two new inks. I had to get that pair of socks too, they made me laugh out loud.

Ply Away Saturday Night Spin In

Ply Away Saturday Night Spin In – So Many Spinners!

 

What did you spin (or buy ) this weekend?

Stiorra: additional resources

The designer of this issue’s fabulous Stiorra sweater writes about the design on her blog. We adore this sweater: it’s lacy, but not too delicate, and just so very wearable. I think my favourite detail is the shirt-tail hem.

Ewelina’s blog post also has links to a bunch of helpful resources, too.

The sweater uses a clever “horizontal rib” technique around the neck, to avoid it stretching. She’s created a very helpful tutorial.

And she’s also got both written instructions, and a full version of the Back Lace chart.


Speaking of charts, we’ve also got an alternative chart for the lace pattern, courtesy of JC Briar’s Stitch-Maps tool.

 

This view of the sleeve pattern, shows the symmetry of the “flower petals,” and the pairs of yarnovers separating them, as highlighted below. These types of “flow” charts don’t work for all designs, but this view is a terrific way to help you visualize the fabric you’re creating.

stiorrasleeve

 

WWW: Myths and Legends; Yarnbombing At Sea

Spoiler alert! (Image from the Yarn Sub blog.)

File under: “this is what we’ve been going on about all these years”. A really really really illuminating and important post about gauge differences between knitters. Read it before you do anything else. Go on, I’ll wait.


Fabulous: a discussion of the history of Aran sweaters, focussing in particular on the myths and legends that surround them and their origins. Spoiler alert: No, there are not specific family patterns; no, stitch patterns weren’t used to identify drowned sailors; and no, they are not nearly as traditional as people would have you believe. Also worth a visit even if you don’t have time to read the whole thing to see pictures of some fabulous mid-20th century samples of the form.


Knitter wins Jeopardy TV game show, internet is faintly amazed by her honestly about how she spend her spare time.


A legend in a totally different way: the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, sends a hand-written thank you note to a woman who knitted him a pair of socks.


Looking forward to reading about this: a PhD study of the role of the Facebook groups in connectedness and community amongst crafters. Social media is so important in the resurgence of craft, and I’m pleased to see this being discussed.


All sorts of great: an oceanography study ship has an artist in residence program. And scientist and fiber artist Michelle Schwengel-Regala yarn-bombs the heck out of R/V Falkor while at sea.

Woolen or Worsted? Forward or Backward?

2 and 3 ply yarns.

2 and 3 ply yarns, woolen spun.

 

How do you draft? My default draft is woolen. I used to never draft worsted, but I have learned to (almost) love it. The type of draft can change so many things about your yarn, you better believe I use drafting style to help create the yarn I want to knit with.

When I draft woolen I draft backwards, when I draft worsted I usually draft backwards too. Some spinners find that odd, I’ve even heard the word, wrong.

So tell me how do you draft and in which direction?

 

 

 

 

Spin those singles!

Spin those singles!

Have you seen Amy King’s new Craftsy class Spinning Stupendous Singles? Amy is my singles spinning hero and this class is great.

If you are new to spinning singles, need some reminders or practice, or want tips to make your singles better, grab your wheel and fiber and settle in for an informative and fun few hours.

Jane’s Knitting Kits – A Giveaway!

Midnight Wrap Knitting Kit

Midnight Wrap Knitting Kit

The fine and friendly folks over at Jane’s Knitting Kits have a kit for us to give away! Knit from gorgeous Universal Yarns Rozetti Brand Bamboo Glam (96% Bamboo 4% Glitz), the Midnight Wrap is a little bit slinky and a little bit sparkly. An easy knit, it’s just the perfect little something for mercurial spring days and nights.

Think this is something you need to knit for this spring? We have one kit to giveaway!

Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Tuesday April 19th. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the Midnight Wrap kit.  Giveaway value $45.00

 

 

 

WWW: ‘The Knitterati’ pilot episode; Mill-Girl Shawl-Wearing; ‘Craft in America’ episode

We have the two winners of copies of my Pattern Writing book – Mary Kay Smith, and Sarah of Safdar. Congrats! Thanks for entering!


Featuring Amy’s LYS, The Purple Purl, watch the pilot episode of knitting comedy ‘The Knitterati’.

“Hipster darlings of the knitting community, Mary Crochet & Gerry DiLana struggle to keep their store afloat amidst a string of bad luck. It’s the least they can do to keep themselves and their loyal customers happy. But their lives are unraveling too quickly to keep it all together.”

Pun-tastic and pretty silly, it’s a fun couple of minutes.


janesknitkit

One of the kits available, the Ellen scarf.

Reader discount offer!
Jane’s Knitting Kits is offering 10% off of their kits to the first 50 KnittyBlog readers that use the code: KNITTYBLOG at checkout.


Attending the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival next month? Or looking for an excuse to? I’m teaching a full slate of classes: Intro to Design, Pattern Writing, Socks, all sorts of things. Come and see me!


Although not knitting, I really enjoyed this video about another craft…. A rock-and-roll guitarist quits his band to become a watchmaker.


Set aside an hour: A fantastic episode of the PBS series Craft in America, ‘Threads’ featuring interviews with fiber artists of all kinds.


Tee hee hee. “Fond of a good time.”

The Knittyspin Library

When I was teaching at Yarn Fest I ran into quite a few people who had never heard of Knittyspin, actually I ran into quit a few people who had never heard of Knitty!

I want to post a little reminder about Knittyspin. In every issues of Knitty there is a column about a spinning topic, usually written by me, Jillian, and one or two knitting patterns designed for handspun yarn. Just like Knitty all of those patterns are archived in the Knitty library and are free! There are almost 90 Knittyspin patterns in our library, take a look.

So many pretty patterns for handspun!

So many pretty patterns for handspun!

Already know and love Knittyspin and our library of patterns? Pass the word on to your spinning and knitting friends!

Bonus: Amy on Marly Bird’s podcast!

unnamedWell, this is fun! I get to talk to my friend, Marly, who is an awesome human being. We first hung out together (at length) when I taped my class for Craftsy a few years ago in her hometown of Denver, CO. But we chatted on one of her earliest podcasts, and though that file is lost in the ether, I remember it being one of the most interesting interviews I’d ever done. She’s a smart cookie.

So this Tuesday, April 12, I’ll be talking to Marly again, live on The Yarn Thing at noon eastern time. Click the picture to go to the podcast page. If you happen to miss it live, you’ll find in in the on-demand section.

Will I be clever or goofy? Probably a little of both. It’s my thing. Talk to you tomorrow!

“Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns”

NewEd_coverI’m very happy to announce the (re-)launch of my guide to writing knitting patterns.

Driven by my work as a technical editor, I self-published this book in 2014, under the title “Pattern Writing for Knit Designers” expecting to sell a handful of copies to professional knit designers. I was very pleasantly surprised by the demand from designers of all levels, and the feedback on the book was wonderful. I have chosen to work with Interweave Press to distribute the book further beyond the limits of what my local post office can help with…

The book gathers my ten years’ of experience as a technical editor into a guide for designers to help them write instructions that any knitter can follow.

Official shipping date is April 11th, and it’s available in both physical and digital forms from all the usual online sources. We encourage you to support your local yarn shop!


This book is the culmination of my work as a a technical editor and my previous career as a product communications specialist in the technology industry.

The book is a guide to writing knitting patterns: how to translate your great knitting project into a set of instructions that any other knitter can follow.
I provide concrete guidelines, with lots of examples, on topics including:

  • what information needs to be included in a knitting pattern
  • how to properly and clearly communicate sizing and measurement information
  • what schematics are, why you need them, and how to create them
  • how to use charts and written instructions to express special pattern stitches like cables and lace
  • stitch nomenclature (especially related to cables), abbreviations, and glossaries -how to handle multiple sizes and versions
  • use of brackets and * to indicate repeats
  • how to establish a personal style sheet And much, much more. So much more!

I discuss technical editing and test knitting – explain what they are how, why they’re important, and when they need to be done. I give tips for designers who wish to self-publish, and for those preparing submissions to a publication. And although it’s not a guide to layout or photography or grading or design, I give lots of guidance and references to help you.

And I’ve heard from knitters that it’s helped them understand how patterns are written and created, even if they’re not planning to write a pattern themselves. If you’re interested in being a designer, a test knitter, or a technical editor, this book is for you.

And people have said some very nice things about it…

Kay Gardiner of Mason Dixon Knitting reviewed the new version and declared it a “godsend”.

This book is AWESOME. Even if you’re an experienced pattern writer with a successful career, this book will help you catch up with the current trends in writing patterns for today’s younger knitters. – Donna Druchunas

Kate Atherley’s marvelous book is essential reading for any designer looking to create patterns that work well and sell well; and intriguing reading for any curious knitter who has ever wondered what goes into the creation of pattern. – Franklin Habit

If you are considering pattern writing, or want to become a knitter who understands how to read patterns more deeply, this book is for you. I certainly wish I had it when I was starting out! – Laura Nelkin


We have two copies to give away. The usual rules apply: leave a comment below, by midnight EDT Sunday April 10th. If you’ve won something from us in the last year, we ask that you give someone else a chance. Winners will be chosen randomly, and a skill-testing question will apply.