WWW: Textile photography; crafting in space; Bolivian knitters saving lives

Fantastic post on the blog of the Surface Design Association about the importance of good photography, and sharing some tips for textile artists to make sure their photography is the best it can be.

It’s worth getting to know the Surface Design Association, a group out of New Mexico. The group aims promote awareness and appreciation of textile-inspired art and design through publications, exhibitions and conferences. There’s some really lovely and inspiring stuff on their blog.


Handmade wonders.

We’ve all heard that knitting is good for your health, and this proves it in a rather unexpected way: Bolivian knitters are helping babies born with heart defects by knitting up tiny occluders to block a hole a patient’s heart. Yes, really. The device is so small and intricate that the industrial equipment were struggling to make them – so cardiologist Franz Freudenthal turned to knitters to help.  The knitting is done in a special “clean room” to keep everything sanitary and safe. Amazing story!


Further to the Astro socks, I love this pic of Astronaut Karen Nyberg crafting in space. I know if I was planning for a stay on the ISS, I’d pack yarn and needles.


Ooh… that’s a nice one!

Love this story about the famed cardigans of beloved US children’s TV presenter Mr. Rogers. He always wore a cardigan to host his eponymous show, and we learn that his mother made them for him.


Knitting is indeed everywhere in Lithuania!

Knitty columninst Donna Druchunas shares details of her latest project: a book about Lithuanian Knitting traditions. She’s using Pubslush as a way to fund the project through preoders. Even if you’re not sure about preordering or contributing, Donna’s introduction video is interesting, and the traditional knits that Donna shows are really beautiful!


The key to expanding your knitting skills!

Have you heard about my new Craftsy class? “Perfect Knits Every Time: Understanding Knitting Patterns” is designed for knitters who are confident with their yarn and needles, but are just starting to work from patterns.

We’re offering a special 50% discount for our Knitty fans. More info here.
In this class I explain how to understand everything about a pattern: not just how to read the instructions and understand all those special terms and abbreviations, but also

  • where to find good patterns
  • how to identify the right pattern for your skill levels
  • how to make sure you’re using the right needles and yarn for the project
  • how to understand the sizing information given, and to make sure you always choose the right size to make
  • how to read and work from charts

The goal is to help you find a pattern that’s appropriate to your skill level and interests, and make sure that you’re able to work through it with ease. Along the way I share tips for working from a pattern, to ensure you not only produce a beautiful finished result, but also that you have a good time doing it!

If you want a sense of what it’s all about this, this video explains.

Jillian’s Spinning: My New Website and Fiber Expo

 

My new logo, like it?

My new logo, like it? Amy designed it!

I have a little bit of exciting news. I’ve launched my own website Jillianmoreno.com and blog.  On my website you can see my classes, where I’m teaching and sign up for my newsletter (coming soon). My blog is a spot where I can ramble more than I do here, there will be spinning, knitting, stitching, crochet and weaving (surprise!), but I’ll also talk about my kids, what I’m reading ,eating and watching, just generally chat. The blog will be image heavy until I get my book manuscript delivered, but then I promise crafty how-tos, experiments and other fun stuff. Stop by and let me know how you like it! Psst, let Amy know too, she did all of the graphic work.

 

 

cj logo

cjkoho Designs Kickstarter is a go!

 

 

Some excellent fiber world news – my friend Carla’s studio expansion Kickstarter was fully funded! cjkoho Designs is going to get a bigger home

 

 

 

I went to the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo over the weekend, mostly to see friends. There may have been a tiny bit of stash enhancement, but not much. So little that I didn’t take a picture of it.

 

I saw Sarah at Fiberstory. She dyed the beautiful yarn that Julia Farwell-Clay used for the cover sweater of the current issue of Pom Pom.

I got her to pose with her own version of the sweater. She dyes gorgeous spinning fiber too!

Sarah at Fiberstory and Pom Pom magazine

Sarah at Fiberstory and Pom Pom magazine

 

I saw Emily of Bricolage Studios. She is one of the most creative people I know. She makes fantastic wild batts and sells the fixins to make your own. But my favorite thing of hers is her amazing jewelry that combines metal work and handspun fiber.

Bricolage! One of her necklaces may have come home with me.

Bricolage! One of her necklaces may have come home with me.

 

 

Evangelina: Stitch-Maps Charts

Today’s post comes from guest writer, JC Briar, developer of the Stitch-Maps charting tool. She’s written for us before, and her clever tool permits interesting and illuminating analysis of complex stitch patterns and their behaviour.


Checking out the charts in the latest Knitty, I was struck by the charts for Evangelina.

Victorian
Evangelina’s Victorian Stitch Pattern is so clean and pretty. Did its charts have to be so disjointed? In particular, was it really necessary to slip stitches across the beginning-of-rounds marker at the end of round 6 and at the beginning of round 8?

To better understand the stitch pattern, I drew a stitch map for its instep version – that is, the version that features edge stitches, in the form of purls worked at the edges of Evangelina’s instep.

instep-v1

With the stitch pattern’s original red repeat boxes overlaid on top, we can see where the repeat shifts at the beginning of round 7. At that point, markers placed between repeats have to shift one stitch to the left, out of the way of the p2tog on round 7.

But is this the only way to define the pattern’s repeat? Viewing the stitch map again with column guides tracing the stitch columns, it’s possible to visualize a more convenient repeat for the pattern.

instep-v2

Markers placed between these repeats would run between stitch columns, and would never need to shift.

Going a step further and discarding the edge stitches, we come up with an alternate way to work the pattern on Evangelina’s leg.

leg

Voilà! The beginning-of-rounds marker can stay put.

Truthfully? The more I play with stitch maps, the more certain I become that almost all stitch patterns can be worked in the round without ever having to shift the beginning-of-rounds marker. It’s all a matter of paying attention to the stitch columns, and defining the pattern’s repeat in accord with those stitch columns.

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.