WWW: Thing of Paper; a very long bike ride; romantic socks,

We are very excited about designer Karie Westermann’s upcoming project, “This Thing of Paper”. Karie is a designer of great talent, and I know that the designs will be wonderful. But this book is more than that – in her words, it will absolutely be a beautiful book of knitting patterns inspired by the age of Gutenberg. 

“Manuscripts and early printed books also hold great visual appeal. I have worked extensively with primary sources ranging from 14th century illuminated manuscripts to 16th century embroidery manuals. This Thing of Paper has a defined colour palette and design vocabulary derived from my research. The whole book is steeped in one woman’s love of vellum, marginalia, and woodcuts.”

Kickstarter page here, but even if you don’t want to support, have a look to learn a little more about her plans and her inspiration. It’s a fascinating project.


As someone who worries about sock sizing, I much appreciate that KnitCircus is now selling gradient-dyed sock yarn in different size skeins for different size needs. The clever bit is that it’s not just a skein with less yardage, but that the gradient is dyed differently, so that you get the full run of color no matter what size sock you’re making.


Friends of Knitty, Yarn in the City, have just announced an exciting event for this autumn: the Yarnporium. The event, being held November 5 & 6 in central London, is a two-day celebration of ‘sweater weather, yarn, fibre, friends and the making community’. There will be vendors and workshops and cake. I went to last year’s, and it was fabulous. If you’re in the UK, this will definitely be worth a visit.


Once again, the Yarn Harlot is spending her summer training for an epic cycle ride. Every summer for the past few years Stephanie has participated in a fundraiser, the Friends for Life Bike Rally. The event helps PWA, an organization dedicated to providing assistance to those in Toronto area who are living with AIDS. They offer financial support, counselling, medical and therapeutic support, helping with food and other very practical activities. To raise funds, she spends a week cycling from Toronto to Montreal, a distance of 600km, or about 400 miles. (For context, I ride a stationary bike for about 25 minutes every other day, and it took me nearly 5 months before I hit that distance.) To support Stephanie and her team, you can sponsor a rider, or you can donate a Karmic Balancing Gift.


Lots of love in this pair. Photo courtesy Dawn Repotto.

I must confess when I saw the link to the article “The World’s Most Romantic Socks Are Knitted on an Active Volcano” I didn’t expect the story could ever live up to the potential of the headline. I was wrong. A small community – 267 strong – of mostly farmers lives on a tiny remote island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean – an actual active volcano. There are some fascinating traditions in the community, and one of them centers around knitting: specifically knitting gifts with hidden messages encoded in. Stripes signify depth of feeling. More stripes, stronger feelings: ‘Socks were the garment of choice for young lovers. Traditionally, a woman would knit a pair for her intended paramour, adding as many stripes as she saw fit.’ The islanders are knitting socks to order now, and they are shipped all over the world.

Amy King Spins Singles

Amy King  loves spinning singles. In her new Craftsy class she teaches all of her singles secrets. New to spinning singles? She’s got you covered with all of the basics – fiber, draft and finishing. Have singles experience? Get a refresher on the basics, plus learn to spin novelty singles and spin energized singles. Spindle spinners have a reason to be excited about this class. Amy shows most of her techniques on a wheel and a spindle. She also shows off a whole lot of projects, knitted, crochet and woven made from singles.

 

 

Don’t forget that Amy King is a spectacular dyer, the brain behind Spunky Eclectic. Every month she chooses a colorway to

Spunky Eclectic Sky on BFL

Spunky Eclectic Sky on BFL

feature at 15% off. This month it’s Sky. If you need some fiber to practice your singles or just jump in and make a whole project from singles head over to the Spunky Eclectic shop and have a look around. Want to keep up with what’s new with Amy and Spunky Eclectic? She has a newsletter you can sign up for here. Want to shop in person? She’ll be at these shows in the next few weeks May 28-29  MA Sheep and Wool  and June 4-5  Maine Fiber Frolic.

Do you work with singles? What have you made from Spunky Eclectic fiber?

Craftsy Turns 5 and Is Having a Sale!

Do you remember when Craftsy started? What was the first class you took? Mine was Felicia Lo’s Spinning Dyed Fiber.

Through Saturday Craftsy is offering 50% off of their best-selling classes including a whole bunch of Knitty designers fiber classes.

It's Craftsy sale time!

It’s Craftsy sale time!

It’s a happy birthday present to all the crafters who love on-line learning.

What class is next for you?

 

(All of the links on this page are affiliate links, using them gets us a little extra percentage of each sale)

WWW: Knitting puzzles; patterns in nature; Shetland exhibition on Fair Isle history

Image from Uber Den Traum blog, with thanks.

Love this piece on reading and working from those beautiful Japanese knitting books


Not knitting, but fascinating and inspiring all the same: a new book about visual patterns that appear in nature. Part coffee table book, part science book, this looks like an absolutely wonderful read.


Knitting research – there’s something really really special about seeing a previous generation’s work in their own hand.

Speaking of knitting puzzles, I very much enjoyed a recent blog post from designer Susan Crawford, notable interpreter of vintage patterns and knits. She writes about the “treasure hunt” of figuring out a stitch pattern from a vintage garment.


If you’re in London, U.K., this sounds like a must-see: Stoke Newington Library hosts a permanent exhibition of a knitted park. Specifically, it’s Stoke Newington Common. This community space had been badly neglected, and in the past few years, a group of nearby residents banded together to revitalize it, building a playground and planting the garden. In 2014, their knitting subcommittee – Common Thread – created a yarny replica of the space as part of an art exhibition.

The group is running three workshops at the library, around the project. The first runs May 21st, and is all about how the project was completed. Saturday May 28th there’s a workshop on how to knit a tree, for adults; and the following Saturday, June 4th, there’s a kids’ workshop on creating plants from yarn and fabric.


The Shetland Textile Museum has opened for the summer season, and this year it’s hosting an exhibition all about Fair Isle knitting. Looks like are some really great items on display… The colorwork collar on the cardigan… go look, it’s spectacular!

There’s a new Schacht wheel coming – Have you seen it?

Flatiron

Flatiron

 

There have been rumors for at least a year about a new Schacht, a different kind of Saxony wheel. I finally saw it and spun on it at PLY Away. I saw on Instagram many spinners trying it out at Maryland Sheep and Wool. It’s called the Flatiron, named after the mountains outside of Boulder.

 

 

I am not typically a Saxony wheel spinner, but I’m already saving my pennies for this wheel.

So smooth!

So smooth!

It comes packed flat (I’ve been calling it the Schacht-Ikea) and can be set up with the flyer on the left or right. It is not a folding wheel – that was a rumor.  It uses all the same whorls and bobbins as other Schacht wheels and can be used in Scotch tension, Irish tension  or Double Drive. It is a double treadle wheel and treadles as smoothly as silk. I was surprised at how smooth it was and how easily I could stop and start the wheel with just the treadles.

There’s no release date or price yet, but soon. As soon as I hear I will post it.

 

What have you heard about the Flatiron,  have you seen it or tried it?

Spring & Summer Issue Projects

I love Joline’s Stiorra sweater. It’s just so very elegant.

Just perfect.

This tweedy version of Inhabit  by Esuzabeth is a winner!

I love seeing a happy knitter in a happy FO.

Franzfranz‘s alpaca Gocce is splendid.

Beautiful

Making me wish the warmer weather would hurry up, Fishie‘s version of Lake Diamond is worked in fingering weight yarn held triple – very clever!

A perfect “transition” piece, for cooler days when you want to be dressed for summer.

Designer and friend of Knitty Laura Nelkin is proud to wear this lovely pair of Rectify socks, made for her by a friend of hers.

Obsession: Helping

Terrifying. Image from the RCMP.

If you’re in Canada, you’re probably aware of the story of the wildfires that have struck the city of Fort McMurray in Alberta. The city of 88,000 people was evacuated a week ago, due to raging wildfires that were moving rapidly in the direction of the city.

Thanks to amazing work on the part of the firefighters and other city and emergency services workers, there have been very few injuries and everyone got out fantastically quickly. The good news is that much of the city has been saved, including the hospital and several schools, but quite literally all of the city’s residents have been displaced, and it may be weeks before they are allowed home. Many have lost their homes, and the Canadian Red Cross is taking donations to support the evacuees.

Gorgeous!

Designer Lucy Neatby is raising funds for the Red Cross through sales of a new pattern, the Fiesta Bag. This gorgeous set of bags use Lucy’s very clever Flying Swallows stitch pattern, and features cables, slipped stitches and textured stitches. A project suitable for intermediate level knitters, this would be an excellent way to expand your skills while doing a little bit to help.

All proceeds of the $7.50CDN sales price (other than tax) will go directly to the Red Cross

WWW: On Celtic and Saxon Feet; very big flag; knitting with dog hair and the War Effort

Sock-fit-nerd alert: On Celtic and Saxon feet. Absolutely fascinating (well, to me, anyway!) article about different foot shapes, as observed by an English podiatrist active during World War II, who treated both English and German soldiers. Do you have have Celtic or Saxon toes?


A labor of love and patriotism: an Estonian man is knitting the world’s largest Estonian flag to celebrate the country’s centenary, in 2018. The knitter, Valtrik Pihl, estimates that it will take 3,000 hours and 139 kilometres (86 miles) of yarn to complete the project.


I’ve written about “extreme knitter” Jacqueline Fink before, but I hadn’t seen this time-elapse video of her working at her needles before. Turns out that even extreme knitting can be done while tucked up all comfy on the couch, watching TV.


Image from Royal Voluntary Service. Combing dog hair to be spun into yarn.

Important story: women’s history is far too often lost, because their efforts were not recorded, or considered “significant”. An organization in the UK – the Royal Voluntary Service – is embarking on a project to digitize and preserve the records of their critical work during World War II. Known then as the Women’s Voluntary Service, members were engaged in efforts to aid the people of the UK as they went about their daily lives during difficult times. Although there is a knitting connection, and a rather amusing one at that – combing dog hair for spinning and using for garments, when sheep’s wool was hard to come by – it’s part of a larger history, too. Members ran emergency rest centres, feeding, first aid, and assisting with the evacuation and billeting of children.


Love this: international students arriving at Lincoln University in New Zealand are being presented with a welcome package, which includes a pair of handknit socks, to prepare them for cold and damp New Zealand winters.


“How to wear a woollen work of art”: on knitwear as fashion, profiling Irish knitwear designers.


Next Thursday, May 19th, our Kate (that’s me!) is doing the first of a two-part webseminar series on her favorite topic: Math for Knitters. This first one is all about project and pattern math: yarn substitutions, checking gauges, and tricky instructions in patterns like “increase evenly across” and “reversing shapings”.

The second part is about garment alterations and adjustments – including what to do if you can’t match gauge – and runs June 9th at 1pm.

Both webseminars are recorded, and if you can’t attend live, you can watch/listen to the recorded version, at your leisure. For more info and to register visit this webpage. It’s $19.99 to attend live or on-demand, and if you enter the discount code MATH4KNITTERS you’ll get a discount on the registration!

You don’t have to be good at or love math to attend – precisely the opposite, in fact. The approach of this session is to teach you where numbers can help, and some basic calculations, but just as much to tell you how to avoid doing it if you don’t want to. Not everyone loves spending time doing arithmetic, and even if you do love math, chances are you’d still probably prefer to be knitting than calculating…

Sarah Swett – Always Inspiring

 

I'm just not sure 11" x 7" x 5" hand woven tapestry, hand embroidery wool, (hand spun and commercial), dye (natural and synthetic), steel wire, stone. ©Sarah C. Swett 2016

I’m just not sure 11″ x 7″ x 5″ hand woven tapestry, hand embroidery wool, (hand spun and commercial), dye (natural and synthetic), steel wire, stone. ©Sarah C. Swett 2016

Sarah Swett never fails to inspire me. I’ve followed her work for years, she’s a tapestry weaver, a spinner, a knitter, a dyer. I love  to watch her work. I love to watch her think about her work. She sits with it, she focuses, she lets it guide her, but digs in an works long hard hours. She blogs, and she’s on Instagram a bit, but mostly she’s working on her art.

Her latest pieces are small tapestry mobiles, woven from handspun (and commercial) yarns and embroidered. Interesting thinking and interesting art.

She tells stories with her art, always. It’s never just an image, but a piece of something bigger. You can take it for what your see or dig into Sarah’s writing and photos to get another view.

I could never work as focused and as diligently as she does (look a squirrel!) maybe that is part of her appeal for me. I am a process person. She is both process and product. She has the wide-ranging curiosity to sample the process, but also the the steely-eyed determination to visualize a piece and finish it, even if the piece finished is not the same as the original vision.

When I get stuck or just need something interesting to look at and mull over, I go to Sarah’s website and look at what she’s been working on. Take a look and tell me what you think!

 

 

 

Obsession Thursday: ending the uterine tyranny

The legendary Womb pattern by MK Carroll.

The legendary Womb pattern by MK Carroll.

This is the Womb pattern, designed by MK Carroll for our Winter 2004 issue. Back in our embryonic days (see what I did there?).  One of our most popular patterns.

And for me, one of my most-hated body parts. Mine has turned on me in ways I will not describe to you. Bottom line is that the sucker has to go, and it’s going. Next week.

Those of you who’ve been following along will note that this is my second surgery since the Spring+Summer issue came out. Having my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome fixed was planned so that it wouldn’t impact on Knitty’s production schedule. My stupid uterus, however, has no respect for deadlines. It needs to go, and it needs to go NOW.

This means that the First Fall issue of Knitty, which would normally be out the first or second week of June will now be out some time after June 13th, when Jillian and I return from TNNA (our industry’s trade show) in Washington, DC. I’m sorry about this, but I’m pretty sure you will understand.

Knock wood, I’ll survive the surgery (hey, I’m a neurotic Jewish girl…it’s what I do) and that should be the end of it. This surgery is unbelievably common, and so many of you lovely former uterus owners have tweeted me to let me know how much better life will be once the bastard is history.

Thanks for your kind wishes, everyone. If you want to follow along with how things are going, I’m tweeting without going into messy detail over here. We uterus-holders have to stick together and share our knowledge. The online sisterhood, baby!