WWW: The Gay Sweater Project; The Skein Minder; If You Were a Yarn…

A clear message, communicated in a fascinating way.

Like all good art, The Gay Sweater Project is unexpected, challenging, and thought-provoking. In a bid to make people think about the the use of the term ‘gay’ as a derogatory descriptor,  advertising agency Saatchi Canada collaborated with the Canadian Center for Gender & Sexual Diversity on a recent project.

In their own words…

The Gay Sweater project teaches us that words like ‘gay’ shouldn’t be used to describe anything negative. Please help the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity in continuing initiatives like these that work to eliminate bullying, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination in schools and youth communities.

The Gay Sweater is indeed the only gay object in the world, in that it was created from the hair of over 100 people who identify as homosexual. The hair was spun and then knit into a sweater by two Toronto knitters, Amelia Lyon and Brenna MacDonald, at Lettuce Knit.


Oh, I like this: a Kickstarter for a tool called The SkeinMinder to automate yarn winding. It’s targeted at indie dyers, and those who need to wind multiple skeins of yarn in a small production environment. Although this technology exists for large-scale operation, engineer and knitter Carrie Sundra aims to bring the idea to small organizations, in an affordable way.


Also useful: Sally Holt, the developer of KnitCompanion, has just launched Pattern Genius, a charting tool for iPads.


It’s true. You can see everything on the NYC subway.

I have to be honest: I checked the publication date for this one, thinking it might have been April 1st.

An orphaned lamb has been taken in by a foster family in NYC, and has been enjoying life in the big city. Even if it’s not real, the photos are great!


Not news: knitting is good for you. But I do like that formal research studies are being done on the topic of “textile therapy”.


And for your amusement, designer Bristol Ivy poses a fun question on Twitter:

If you click on the time and date in the tweet above, you can see all the fun replies.

Jillian’s Spinning: Not Much to See

More samples, you'd think I had deadlines....

More samples, you’d think I have deadlines….

This past week has been a blur. I’m getting ready to teach in Iowa (Hi Greg!), film two videos at Interweave, teach at Yarn Fest and turn in my book manuscript. I’m a little focused and frantic all in one package. I haven’t even had time to look around the internet at fun spinning things. That picture up there is yarns spun from batts, it was so much fun. Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?

This week is all about getting teaching materials ready. I have lots of fiber to organize.

I’m already compiling my list of events to propose classes for 2016, any place you’d like to take classes from me? Any particular classes you’d like to see me teach?

The Stars and Stares Pillow

Have you seen the Stars and Stares eye pillow in our latest issue? One of the reasons I like this pattern for some many reasons: it’s a different way to use knitting, it’s uself, and it provides a great project on which to practice your colourwork skills.

Clever and fun! Just the sort of thing we adore.

The first-time Knitty designer, Ruth Roland, has written a series of blog posts about the design and the process of being published in Knitty.

She writes about the filling options for the eye pillow…  the pros and cons of different materials to create the stuffing, and various options for scent.

She writes about variations of the design….

And the process of being published. I blushed and chuckled about being referred to as “heroic”…

WWW: Principles of Knitting website; Shetland Knitting Traditions; Lace in Fashion

Author and all-around knitting genius June Hemmons Hiatt has launched her new website, The Principles of Knitting. It’s named after her seminal book. The website contains the story of this masterpiece – about writing the two editions, and the long awful period when it was out of print. (You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you? I’m not. Read my review of the second edition . The website even answers my quibble about the renaming of various techniques – in a very calm and sensible manner.

In addition, Ms Hemmons Hiatt provides a wealth of information about a favourite knitting method of hers: the “supported” method, and the knitting belt. Fascinating stuff.


A must-read.

The Shetland Tourist Board has put the winter 2014 issue of their magazine online, which features extensive coverage of Shetland knitting traditions, and the role of knitting in modern Shetland life. Great stuff! And such beautiful photography.


Knitting as therapy, but in a different way entirely. An interesting story about knitters making things they call “twiddlemuffs” for dementia patients. These are based on the old-fashioned “muff” handwarmers, but designed to provide tactile stimulation and comfort for patients suffering from severe dementia. They have buttons and other items attached, for patients to touch and play with.


File under ‘not strictly knitting but relevant and wonderful anyway‘: a slideshow on the Guardian website, on the history of lace in fashion


Neat: designer Joanne Seiff has just released the second in a series of short-story & knitting pattern combos. A short story and a related pattern – nice idea!

Jillian’s Spinning: Handspun Needed for Art Installation

 

Some of my extra handspun.

Some of my extra handspun.

Do you have a little handspun yarn to contribute to a community art project?

You may have read or heard about Jo Israelson community weaving project Welcoming the Stranger in Portland Maine.  She’s hoping to collect 30,000  42″ long handspun yarns from around the world by the end of April. Her official press release is below.

Welcoming the Stranger: Building Understanding Through Community Based Art is a site-specific artwork. As part of the installation, volunteer weavers and community participants will create a 50’ x 10’ weaving. City-wide weaving events will take place at locations throughout Portland, Maine from May 1 to June 15, 2015. This community weaving – “Abraham’s Tent” – will then be exhibited at the Maine Jewish Museum.

I am seeking donations of 42” lengths of hand spun yarn – any gauge, any color, something meaningful to you. Non-traditional fiber materials will be accepted. Your yarn and a tag with your family’s country of origin will be “woven” into the panels in “Abraham’s Tent.”

When: February 14 – April 30, 2015
What:  Yarn –  42” lengths of hand spun yarn –  any gauge, any color, non traditional materials accepted. Other yarn also accepted but prefer wool.

Please include your name, email address and your family’s country of origin.

$1.00 bill or check made to Welcoming the Stranger Fund a 501 (c)(3). Funds will used to defray costs of processing yarn and name tags.

Mail to:
Welcoming the Stranger Art
PO Box 10419
Portland Maine 04104

For more information see Jo’s website or email her at welcomingthestrangerart@gmail.com

Evangelina Socks

Yay Spring and Summer issue! Yay for summery knitting!

And delicate lace socks are just the thing for summery knitting! We loved Ruth Churchman’s Evangelina sock pattern the minute we set eyes on it.

Beautiful!

And then to learn of its wonderful inspiration – even better.

Ruth works at National Museums of Scotland library, and she found this book in the library collection: Scrivenor, M. Elliot. Collection of Knitting and Crochet Receipts. John Paton, Son and Co., Alloa, 1896.

The design is based on a Victorian baby’s Bootee pattern Ruth found in its pages… More about it on her blog.

WWW: A Reality Show?; Not for Wearing; 1861 Mitten Pattern

The man himself, demonstrating his trademark style.

We are always amazed and entertained by designer, yarn shop owner and yarny entrepreneur StevenBe… and his latest idea may be his most amazing and entertaining yet: a reality show. He’s launched a KickStarter for it. Even if you’re not up for contributing, the video is a fun watch, exploring how you might build a reality show around a yarn shop and the personalities you find there! Plus zebra prints! :-)


Not strictly knitting, but I love this casual series on the Nerdist blog, ‘Behind the Costumes’, all about costume design for TV series. So far, they’ve covered Outlander and Agent Carter, both series I’ve enjoyed, and who have done really excellent work with period costumes.


Jade Harwood & Aurelie Popper, founders of ‘Wool and the Gang’

Yarn shop/knitwear designers Wool and the Gang, based in London, brings knitting to high fashion, and high fashion to knitting. They recently collaborated on an exclusive range of accessories for one of Britain’s big names in fashion at London’s esteemed Fashion Week.


If you’re on Twitter, you might have seen this making the rounds last week. Amazing directions indeed. Fascinating to see how the standard for knitting patterns has changed… you had to have a lot of skill to be able to read and execute these.


Indeed – not for wearing, but beautiful sculpture.

Great profile of knitwear designer John Brinegar, a.k.a. knitboy, focused on his show at New York’s Daniel Cooney gallery in New York. The objective of the show, titled “I Would Never Wear That“, is to separate the understanding of knitting from its “make to wear” origins, and explore it as a sculptural medium. Although many pieces begin as garments, they head off in different directions – some surprising, some comical, some fantastic. The show is available for viewing until March 14th.

Jillian’s Spinning: Calling All Discworld Fans!

Are you a spinner and a Terry Pratchett fan? Do you know about the monster Spin Along that revolves around Discworld?

The brainchild of Southern Cross Fibre’s David Schultz, this SAL involves 6 dyers who are creating Discworld inspired colors ways.

The SAL runs from April 1- June 30, and in addition to the spinning there will be a read along for spinners interested in exploring the books.

I know, you want to know which dyers are playing. Here’s the line up:

Most of the links are for previews or preorders. Except for FatCatKnits who is ready to go!

Feast your eyes on some of the colors!

I’m not spinning along on this one due to deadlines, but I may buy some fiber (no judging!) and I’m hunting for the first book on audio to keep me company while I spin samples.

Are you doing the Discworld MegaSAL?

 

Obsession Thursday: passing it on

An occasional friend died last year — someone I knew because she was friends with my close friend. I really liked her but we never saw each other much just because…life, you know? Except the one time she wrote me out of the blue and asked to stay in my guest room.

Her favorite musician, Greg Brown, was coming to my town. I’d never heard of him. She came, stayed with me, took me to the concert. I got to enjoy her giddiness at seeing her favorite musician up close, and really enjoyed the concert. I’ve been listening to his music ever since.

Now when one of his songs comes on my iPod, I think of D and wish she were still here. And thank her silently for passing on her love of this man’s music to me.

Here’s my favorite song of his:

And now D has shared him with you, too.