A Few Knitty Knits for Handspun

Knit me out of handspun please.

If you are in the US and like me, starting to get antsy thinking about what to knit over the Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve got some suggestions.

These are patterns not designed for handspun, but would look amazing in handspun, even some of your first handspun. They are all very straight forward to knit and can be worked on while chatting, watching tv, after a cocktail, or in a turkey coma.

 

First up is Calorimetry , it uses less than 100 yards of chunky yarn and would look fantastic in a bright variegated yarn. Look at all of the handspun versions on Ravelry! 

 

 

Next is Wolkig, a cozy ,cozy cowl. This is what I hope to be knitting over the Turkey Holiday. I have some merino/silk in dark blue that I think would look spectacular knit into this shawl. First I have to quickly spin the yarn. It’s about DK/ light worsted (5.5 stitches to the inch). Here are some handspun versions, there is a a yak/silk one, sigh.

 

 

 

 

Citron had been a favorite for spinners since it came out. There are 277 handspun Citron’s on Ravelry!

This one is perfect for all of you fine spinners out there. I’m sure you have the perfect skein already spun.

 

 

 

 

 

Lanesplitter is one I’ve always wanted to spin for, it looks fantastic in handspun. I have so many painted braids that would like to be this skirt. I only need to spin about 900 yards of heavy worsted yarn.

 

What will you be spinning and knitting over US Thanksgiving?

 

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WWW: Squam lives!; tube textile designers tell tales; KneuroKnits for teens with ASD

Like many of you, we were very sad to hear that Squam would not be continuing. But just this week, we heard that a new leader had taken up the reins, and Squam will go on! Hallelujah! Finally something good is happening in 2017.


If you’re lucky enough to be in London this Thursday, you can hear Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell of the Wallace Sewell Studio (that’s them above) talk about their approach to textile design through woven fabric.

Who are these women? Well, among other things, they’ve designed fabric for the Tube and Trains that run around London. Click the photo to hear a short clip of them talking about it.


And if you’re in Toronto (or nearby) and know someone 14-18 (or are one yourself) with ASD who’s interested in learning a new skill and interacting with other teens with ASD, you could participate in Holland Bloorview’s KneuroKnits research knitting project. What a cool way to contribute to science!

Alternate Fiber Craft Uses for Tom Bihn Accessories

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Tom Bihn products. I have several different bags and backpacks, I use one or another Bihn bag daily. One of my favorite things is to figure out different uses for Tom Bihn accessories I have. Here’s what I’m using now:

Snake Charmer for weaving and Hansen minispinner accessories.

 

 

Snake Charmer

This bag is for taming electrical cords, but I’ve used it for many other things.

My husband uses one for his travel espresso rig. I use one in my Hansen bag for my the power cord, battery, and foot pedal for my miniSpinner. I use another one to carry my Purl and Loop little looms, one side for looms and tools and one side for yarn.

 

 

 

Keeping my yarns untangled

 

Travel Laundry Stuff Sack

This is an ingenious accessory for travel. Pack clean clothes on one side and as you use them, your dirties get put in the other end. There is a floating divider inside that keeps the clean and dirty separate.

I use this bag to keep yarn separated for knitting projects. I keep my project and current yarn(s) on one side and yarns waiting their turn on the other.

 

 

 

Knitting Tool Pouches

This one is kind of a cheater, it’s not a travel accessory. These convenient little pouches are for knitting accessories; they are great for storing interchangeable needles and cords.

Currently, I use three of them for other things. One I use for lipsticks/lip balms in my purse. One I use for keeping receipts when I travel. I used to use paper envelopes, but I kept accidentally throwing them away. One I use for weaving needles and my Puppy Snips for my small looms.

 

What types of travel things do you re-purpose for your fiber crafts?

 

 

 

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WWW: poppies for remembering; poppy patterns; NICU babies in costume; a play inspired by knitting

red knitted poppies cover white pillars of a grand portico

photo courtesy ITV news

In countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, poppies signify remembrance of those who fought in wars and died. In tribute, we wear a poppy on our lapel.

In Godalming, Surrey, they went a step further this year. Volunteers covered the town center with 6000 poppies…–>

It’s beautiful.


Want to make some poppies of your own? Here’s a crochet version with 5 options and a knitted one by our friend, Laura Chau.


I can’t stand it. Tara Fankhauser is the coolest NICU nurse ever. Look at the costumes she created for the little patients she’s caring for.

In related news, when will people learn the difference between knitting and crochet?  It’s not that hard to spot, is it?


I think this may be a first: a stage play inspired by a children’s book about knitting. The Knitting Pattern will be on stage in London (the cool one in England) at the end of November.

Five Tips for Getting Gift Spinning (and Knitting) Done

Gift knitting with handspun

Tomorrow is November 1. All around the fiber world people will start thinking about making December holiday gifts. Some very organized folks have already started, some even wiser folks just don’t do it. But most of us will make at least a few gifts to give.

If you are like me the closer the holidays get, the bigger my list gets. I want to shower all of the people I love with handspun and handknitted gifts. I try to be sane about it, I try not to feel bad about it when it all doesn’t get done, but I do love the rush of planning and making to a happy deadline.

Here are five tried and true tips for getting the most done in time for holiday giving.:

  1. Have a dedicated wheel. If you are spinning yarn and have more than one wheel, dedicate a wheel to your gift spinning. I leave my wheel set up for my gift yarn, with my tools, control cards and fiber right next to it. Then I can use those little bits of found time during the day spinning, instead of resetting my wheel and hunting my fiber. The yardage adds up fast! The knitting version of this is, only one project per bag and don’t share needles between projects. I also keep all of the yarn for a project in the project bag.
  2. Media bribery. I pick a show or movie I’m dying to watch and I can only watch it when I am working on my gift project. This works like magic for me with fiber deadlines. Bonus, I catch up on all of the shows that everyone is talking about.
  3. Enlist your friends. This is the best twofer for getting things done. I get together once a week with my spinning and knitting friends and show and tell. I get to hang out with my people and have dedicated time to craft. I also get that special little kick in the pants to move along on projects that comes with having to report to my pals on how I’m progressing.
  4. Simplify. I pick very simple projects that have beautiful yarns. I reevaluate my list regularly. I NEVER tell my potential giftees that they’ll be getting a holiday gift. I always have back up gifts in mind (almost always books) for when I run out of time.
  5. Read the Harlot. I read the Yarn Harlot religiously every holiday season. I love to laugh along with her as she tries to finish her mountain of knitted gifts. I also tell myself, I do not need I holiday spreadsheet like she has.

What are you making for gifts this year?

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WWW: Cotton and flax back on UK looms; WWI sock club turns to books; all cashmere is not equal (you don’t say)…

Marion Glaser-Baur at the loom at Flax Mill Textiles © Sean and Yvette

A company that has been around for 156 years, and has been making bedsheets for the Queen for at least some of that time, is bringing cotton weaving back to the UK. It’s been done in Italy until recently. I’m so glad to see the historical fiber arts working their way back to the UK, one by one.

And lo and behold, flax is making a comeback too! Meet Flax Mill Textiles.


In heritage coolness, it seems this centenarian book club started out in WWI as a group who knit socks for soldiers. Started because they thought they should be multitasking beyond chatting when knitting, the group buys books for their library with the club dues, and discusses them at their meetings.


Knitters do this all the time, often in our heads, and usually with our hands, but the Daily Mail just figured out that not all cashmere (sweaters) are created equally. You mean not all yarn is the same? GASP.

PLY Away Registration is Saturday!

Ready for PLY Away?

PLY Away registration starts on Saturday at 8am CST! Are you ready?

Here’s a handy page that has a guide to registration, a registration cheat sheet and a downloadable schedule with class descriptions.

Here’s what I’m teaching:

Living Color: The Ultimate Braid Class –2 Day Class

Spin and Nosh: Sheep Sampler: Down Breeds – Half Day

 

Yarnitecture 2 : Shop to Shawl, Spinning for a Specific Project – Full Day Class

Pretty Maids All in a Row: Successive Color Plying – Half Day Class

 

I hope I’ll see some of you in my classes!

On the Road: The Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas

 

Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas

The Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas is one of the biggest and best fiber shops in the country. I might be a little biased since I lived in Lawrence for more than decade and started all of my fiber fun at the Yarn Barn. I recently went back to visit and remembered to take pictures.

The current location of the Yarn Barn used to be a bookstore and newsstand, it has a ton of floor space. They carry a huge array of tools, fiber and yarn for knitting, weaving and spinning, and have classes.

 

 

 

Need a new wheel? You can walk out with one here , no waiting. There were at least 20 wheel to try on the floor.  And they have a ton of spinning fibers, natural and dyed. If you need an autographed copy of Yarnitecture, I signed the copies they had on the shelf.

 

 

 

Weaving!

 

But the selection of weaving supplies, tools and looms is what had me drooling on this trip. Lawrence has always been a big fiber community, especially for weaving.

There are so many looms. Look at the shelves of shuttles! It was hard not to fall down and ask them to ship and giant loom to my house (I didn’t).  Though now I’m thinking about a table loom with shafts.

If you are ever near Lawrence and need a fiber fix, stop into the Yarn Barn chances are they’ll have exactly what you’re looking for, and yes, they ship.

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WWW: The Knit Show is LIVE!; everyone can wear horizontal stripes; the conundrum of Innocent’s smoothie hats; sheep to help you sleep

We’re thrilled that our friend Vickie Howell’s The Knit Show project, funded by Kickstarter (go crowdfunding!) is finally live and we can watch it! After watching the first few episodes, I’m very happy to have been one of Vickie’s supporters, and can’t wait to see what other cool people and techniques she’ll be featuring in future shows. Yay Vickie! Yay crowdfunding!


Vertical stripes? No thank you.

Via one of my favorite Brits, Eleanor  of Knit Nottingham comes this link to a blog post from the past (via the retired blog Knitting at Large) that needs to be read: it makes my heart happy: Horizontal stripes do NOT make you look fatter. Thank heavens, because I am almost finished my After the Rain pullover, which has horizontal stripes and I love it.

I have always thought that vertical stripes look like a circus tent on people of any size.


I confess that I have been charmed by the tiny hats on smoothie bottles that knitters have donated when I’ve visited the UK in past years. But the Knitting Goddess blog post brings up some very good points about their effectiveness in making change for the elderly, and suggests better ways for knitters to support them without adding yarn to landfill. Cute can only go so far.


Want to see the dullest movie ever made? May we present Baa Baa Land. An 8-hour movie designed to help you fall asleep. Here’s a little snippet:

WEBS First Spinning Summit

Webs Spinning Summit photos by Ashley Flagg

 

WEBS, the yarn store, yes THAT yarn store, the giant holy grail of yarn shopping, had it’s first spinning retreat, Spinning Summit and I was lucky enough to teach there.

WEBS has an excellent selection of both spinning and weaving tools. Here’ a peek at the Spinning Summit:

The teachers were Amy King, Beth Smith, Abby Franquemont and me. We each taught three, 3-hour classes over two and half days. The whole Summit lasted from Friday night until 2pm on Sunday. I think it was a perfect amount of time.

The Spinning Summit had an employee photographer, Ashley Flagg, so you can actually see pictures of me teaching and doing things, thanks to Ashley.

The party started on Friday night with a book signing. Then we had a spin/knit in on Friday night. I met so many wonderful new-to-me spinners. Everyone was so excited to spin together.

Saturday was a full day of learning. Classes were full and everyone spun a ton of yarn. There was time to go out and eat, Northhampton (home of Smith College) is an amazing little town. Lots of good restaurants, and cool little shops all walking distance from WEBS.

 

 

 

 

 

WEBS Spinning Summit photos by Ashley Flagg

 

 

There was also shopping. Because, I don’t believe I mention it before, the whole Spinning Summit took place INSIDE WEBS, even after hours.

After dinner on Saturday there was a scavenger hunt at the store. I don’t think I’ve heard grown women make that much noise in a long time – it was a blast!

Sunday started with a some yoga for spinners taught by Amy Greeman, queen of education and events at WEBS.

Sunday was half of a day of classes and a whole lot of shopping. Amy and Beth were two of the biggest shoppers. They have some amazing weaving projects planned.

My shopping was modest, but sincere. I have a project for everything I bought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My WEBS haul

 

I bought a limited edition, Autumn colorway of Frabjous Fibers’ Three Feet of Sheep. It’s dyed on 80% oatmeal BFL/20% tussah. I bought some of Sweet Georgia’s new fiber base Silk Puff (40% Merino/40%superwash Merino/20% silk).

I won’t ever stop buying commercial yarn, no matter how much I spin. Some of  West Yorkshire Spinners’ The Croft Shetland Tweed and The Fibre Co.s Arranmore Light jumped into my basket and came home with me.

If you are considering going ot one of WEBS’ retreats – do it! They are wonderfully run and a whole lot of fun, plus there is shopping…..