Thinking of Summer

I know I can safely speak on behalf of the entire Knitty team in saying that we’re tired of winter. It’s been a cold and snowy one, and we’re all getting a bit grumpy.

To cheer myself up, I went cruising through our back issues to look for a spring-themed projects. It might be a while before I can wear them, but I can at least start the knitting…

Because I’m tired of my scarves at this point, I think a glamorous new shawl would be wonderful. Cold Mountain is big enough to wear now for warmth, and yet still lacy and light enough to wear on early summer days over a dress.

Make it in a really cheerful springy color!

And because even when the snow goes, there will still be cold winds… perhaps a new pair of fingerless mitts? These Queen City ones are chic and interesting to knit, but will go quickly.

A change is as good as rest. You might still need to wear mittens, but these are at least fresh and new!

There’s the Carnaby skirt, which I think would be a fantastic transitional piece… still warm, but with hints of springy flirtiness and fun.

Heavy tights now; lighter tights or even bare legs later!

In hopes that I might get to expose my arms again at some point, there’s the Petrie Shell

So chic.

And how could you not feel summery making a gorgeous Elenka dress for a little girl in your life?

So great!

And remember what Denny says: no knitting with grey or brown in February and March. Knit the colors that are missing from your life in this dull and muddy time of year: choose greens and reds and pinks and purples and oranges. Cheer yourself up!

Obsession Thursday: There is no substitute for intelligent, human copy editing and proofreading

A quick glance at this lazily worded headline might alarm my fellow geeks

A quick glance at this lazily worded headline might alarm my fellow geeks

As a recovering proofreader and editor (20 years in the advertising business), the hairs on the back of my neck go way up when I see something like the news headline at left that I spotted this morning.

No, Doctor Who didn’t survive Ebola. He didn’t get it. Keep reading. But our internet-trained brains scan text for key phrases, and when we see “hero” a few words later, it only serves to extend the period of confusion.

It’s actually a simple news story. But a little more attention to the headline probably was warranted.

When services like Grammarly claim to be “automated proofreaders”, I want to wave my hands in the air and flail about like a deranged muppet.  There is no such thing. We all know how fallible spellcheck is without a human to watch over it and choose which changes to allow. Nothing yet invented can replicate the skill of a properly trained (and caffeinated) proofreader or copy editor. See, Grammarly recently published a scathing (ha) critique of the lame writing in that 50 Shades novel based on the “errors” its service found. I’m sure you’ve seen it all over the place. Except what they wrote is wrong. This thoughtful rebuttal by a mystery writer explains why. If you can’t trust the article, not sure how you can trust the service.

Proofreaders and Copy Editors are often first against the wall when the revolution comes. (They’re the first to be laid off when the budget is cut or money suddenly becomes tight because so many companies see them as a luxury.) It’s a crime against language. If we don’t defend our words, who will?

Note: I don’t claim that Knitty is error free. We do our best, but we don’t have a dedicated proofreader. That’s why I’m so glad we’re online…we can fix typos after a launch without requiring new film, a new press run and a huge loss of revenue. 20 years of stress over typos that went to print was enough for me. We do our best, and we fix the rest.

WWW: Knitwear model hits the big-time; charity knitter hits milestone.

Pic courtesy Rowan Yarns.

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne started his career as a model; and not just any model… he was the featured model for Rowan Yarn’s Denim People booklet, published in 2004.

To celebrate his win, Rowan has made the Brooklyn sweater pattern available for free download.


Sibling’s Fair Isle dress. LOVE this.

I love this time of year in the fashion world… all the fashion shows for Fall and Winter provide some excitement and inspiration for cold-weather dressing, just as I’m starting to get tired of my own winter clothes.

UK designer Sibling showed some rather clever uses of Fair Isle knits. Full slideshow here.


A true labor of love.

Knitter Anna Taylor of Virginia is celebrating a rather wonderful milestone: in the past 9 years, she has knitted and donated 1000 children’s sweaters to a local charity.




Jillian’s Spinning: My Worst Spinning Habit

A basket full

A basket full of questions

We all have one, a spinning habit that we wish we didn’t have. Something that is deeply ingrained or in my case a stupid arrogance. Every time I realize I’ve done it again, I want to kick myself. I shake my head and say never again. But I always find myself in the same confused boat. My worst spinning habit? I don’t label my skeins or samples!

I am so sure I’ll remember, because I’ll get right back to this project or experiment. Yeah, right. The photo up there is a big basket full of skeins, swatches and experimental yards of yarn. I have no idea how, what, why, where or when about these yarns. And I bet they are at the most important, for something very specific or at the least important, things that would save me extra spinning recreating the yarn for an article or class.

I am getting a little better, but it is still my worst most maddening spinning habit.

 

What’s your worst spinning habit?

 

Obsession Thursday: DIY surf spray and body oil mist

When I went from short and flippy hair to past my chin and wavy, I started to need surf spray to make the hairstyle work. Stuff costs $20 a bottle and is MAGIC. You know how your hair is after you come out of the ocean? (Not a lake…has to be salt water.) This stuff does that, but is better for your hair and cheaper than airfare.

Enough ingredients to make countless bottles of Surf Spray and Body Oil Mist

Enough ingredients to make countless bottles of Surf Spray and Body Oil Mist

Guess what? All the ingredients to make many, many, MANY bottles of this stuff costs about the same as one bottle of the name-brand stuff. I’ve made and used up several batches and it always works. Spritz it into damp hair, scrunch and when it’s dry, finger combing gives me the wavy hair I always wanted.

I started out with some of the recipes on this page, and tweaked. This is about what I do now.

Amy’s magic hair scrunch spray:

  • 1/2 cup warmed distilled water
  • 1 tablespoon Epsom salts
  • 1 teaspoon hair gel
  • ½ tablespoon leave-in hair conditioner
  • 4-5 drops of coconut oil or Argan oil

Warm water helps dissolve the rest of the ingredients. I use less water than other recipes recommend, because the water is just there to carry the rest. It just slows down the drying time of your hair so why add more than you need? Choose your conditioner carefully — it seems to be most fragranced of everything and if you’re fussy about smells, that’s where you can control it best.

Next up, winter skin crawlies. All body oil mists I found had some kind of fragrance and they all have preservatives I didn’t want. Plus $$$. So now I make my own based on this recipe, and it’s amazing. It has no scent by choice — check out the recipe link above if you want to fragrance it.

Unscented body oil mist:

  • ¼ cup distilled or filtered water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vegetable glycerine
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 4-5 drops Vitamin E oil

I spray this on my arms, back and legs after every shower and I no longer want to rip my skin off.

I got most of the supplies at my local drugstore. You don’t need to buy huge amounts. It lasts a long time, and takes up just a little space in my closet until it’s time to make a new batch.

 

WWW: Hugs and Boobs; Spring Fibery Getaways

Image from The Guardian website.

Knitting as an aid to breastfeeding. Really. Knitters from the Isle of Lewis in Scotland have come together to knit 250 yarny ‘models’ for use in a government-funded breastfeeding campaign. The slightly silly nature of the models eases nervousness and aids the discussion…

“Popular with midwives and health visitors, they are used to show the best way to get a baby to latch on properly and how to mould or hold your breast to get the nipple in the right position for the baby’s mouth. They’re also used to teach how to express milk and how to deal with problems like blocked ducts.

Brilliant!


A lovely profile of knit designer and artist Rachel Matthews, in a larger discussion about the mental and physical benefits of knitting. Can you knit a hug? The answer is a resounding yes!


A video piece on the BBC about knitting in Sanquhar, Scotland. Sanquhar is known for distinctive and beautiful geometric colourwork patterns, notably used in gloves.


Spring is coming (I hope!), and with it news of a bunch of knitting events.  Fancy a fibery getaway?

Kate and Jillian are both teaching at Interweave’s Yarn Fest, April 16-19 in Loveland, Colorado.
Kate is also teaching at the Strung Along retreat April 9-12, in Port Ludlow, WA, at the Toronto Knitter’s Guild Frolic, the weekend of April 25 & 26, and at the Squam Arts Retreat in New Hampshire is the first weekend of June.

Remember, there’s always a list of events on the Knitter’s Review website.

Jillian’s Spinning: Those Special Braids – Enough Already!

Almost every spinner has a stash that they will never spin in their spinning lifetime. In that stash a certain percentage is special, the fiber that doesn’t get spun because of some attachment. For me it’s multicolored braids. I love them and so many have special memories, or the dyer isn’t dyeing anymore or the dyer isn’t dyeing that colorway or I dyed it as part of a dyeing party or it was gift or 1,000 rationales to keep the fiber from becoming yarn.

I noticed on a recent stash dive that, my specials are creeping up to be 25% of my stash. Sentimental is one thing, foolish is another. That is gorgeous fiber I am letting go to waste. Today I decided, no more. I went to the basement and picked three.

Super special no more!

Super special no more!

I just reached in and grabbed. OK, I’ll confess to skipping over the fibers of dyers no longer dyeing, but other than that it was random grabbing. I have a deadline coming up and needed fiber to spin for samples. Why not spin fiber I really love?

The spinning makes it special.

The spinning makes it special.

Anyone else spinning their special fibers this year?

Twisted Circles and Variations

In shawl form, curvy and textured and fabulous.

Have you seen the wonderful Twisted Circles shawl we published as the last issue’s Surprise? The designer, Janelle has a way with texture, and I love how she has taken a cable pattern and used it to create an undulating fabric.  Her initial conception was a cowl,

Different and yet closely related.

but the idea for a shawl variation soon followed, and this is the one that the Knitty team fell in love with.

Janelle is a smart knitter, and when working on this shawl version, she noticed an interesting technical challenge with the fabric. Not one to shy away from such things – in fact, I know she enjoys them – she used some clever short-rows to solve the problem.

She writes about the design process and her passion for variations on her blog.

I can’t wait to see what she does next!

A big anniversary!

Isn’t it funny how time passes online? We launched in 2002, and just 3 years later, the immensely clever Tina Newton (one of my favorite people) launched her Rockin’ Sock Club with her company, Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Tina is the woman that invented Socks that Rock. The yarn that has caused more hours-long lineups at Maryland and Rhinebeck than (possibly) any other. It’s pretty gorgeous stuff.

Holy cow, look at all the cool stuff you get!

Holy cow, look at all the cool stuff you get! And that doesn’t even include the yarn!

So yeah, back to the anniversary thing. 10 years. TEN YEARS, people! This is huge. To celebrate, the 10th Anniversary Rockin’ Sock Club is going all out this year! Members get a kit every other month, and you can read all about what’s in that magical package here. One of the things that caught my eye was the special bag Tina has commissioned from Queen Bee Creations — it’s an optional add-on to the Club, and as someone who is a proud bag ho™, there’s no way I’d miss out on that.

Here’s something I really liked reading on the site about the club — this note on the FAQ page. “Note: Before purchasing, please take a minute to consider very carefully about whether or not a Sock Club that chooses the yarn, pattern, and color is right for you. We promise to challenge your color boundaries and expand your sock knitting horizons.

I love how beautifully honest this is. Be prepared to relinquish control and wonderful things will find their way to your mailbox every two months. It sounds pretty good to me.

To find out more about the Rockin’ Sock Club and sign up for the special 10th Anniversary edition, visit the Blue Moon Fiber Arts website.

Editor’s note: We’re not being paid to write this blog post, and we’re not getting free kits, either. We just love Tina and what she’s created at Blue Moon, and want to share the news about her Club with our readers. That’s one of the cool things about running your own magazine. We get to do stuff like this for good people who make good products.