Monthly Archives: January 2012

Spinning Tuesdays: This Is What Spinning Startitis Looks Like

I’ve been thinking about my spinning goals for the year, but I have a case of a particular crafting illness.

I have a bad case of Spinning Startitis. For the past week or so I’ve started a bunch of things.

Here are a few of the bobbins that I’ve been working on.


Yarn Hollow, Yarn Hollow, Spunky Eclectic and Bricolage

A bobbin spun from Shetland roving  from Yarn Hollow, spun woolen. This will become a tight three-ply and eventually mittens.


A bobbin spun from Cheviot and Shetland rovings from Yarn Hollow, spun woolen with a double marl to see how the colors work together. This will become a 2-ply, then eventually a shawl.


A bobbin spun from South African Fine top from Spunky Eclectic, spun worsted. It nearly killed me, the worsted spinning. It’s going to take a lot of practice to get to the point where worsted is a relaxing spin for me. But look at the blue color, that alone kept me going. This is going to be 2-ply, and eventually a lace crescent shawl, I even have the stitch pattern picked out already.


A bobbin spun from Bricolage  Studios’ handpulled roving. This one I just let rip, it’s lumpy, bumpy, thick, thin and all kinds of textured. Right now it’s just hanging out. I may ply it with some shiny thread.



So it’s seems I’m really getting the hang of my Spinning with Intention goal for the year. Not really a surprise if you know how much I like to plan things. I probably should add finish what you start to my list of goals. Maybe for 2013.

Our Knitting Goals for 2012: Update #1

Kate’s 2012 Knitting:

I’ve been focusing some time on the Must Have Cardigan, and I’m making decent progress.


I decided to be a clever-trousers, and knit both sleeves at the same time.


It’s actually a great technique for for ensuring that two pieces match completely – they will be the same length, and I can feel comfortable that the shaping rows are all worked at the same time in the same way.  And the cabling will all be lined up.

Coming along.

The challenging bit is that it significantly reduces the portability of the project.  I’ve got two balls of yarn attached, and it makes it bigger and more tangly.  It no longer fits neatly into my purse.


It feels slower, too.  I mean, of course it is, a row takes twice the time to work, since you’re working it twice.  It’s not, in that you’re done both at the same time, but it takes longer to see visible progress.


There’s also the tiny risk that if you’re not paying full attention, you get confuzzled and work too many rows on one side, and get out of alignment.  The green marker is there so I can keep track of which is which.  It’s easy enough to get back on track, once you notice it, but it is disconcerting. (I blame it on last week’s episode of Fringe.)


 Jillian’s 2012 Knitting:

I thought I had my Escargot done. I was flying along the decreases, and I noticed something strange. The hat seemed awfully long and quite the wrong shape. I reread the pattern paying attention this time.  I was only doing half of the decreases. Knitter error! Riiiiip just a few inches, and now onward.


I do love it!

Escargot in Dream in Color



Amy’s 2012 Knitting:

I missed posting my 2012 goals, due to a missing portion of my left  pointer finger. It’s since healed well enough to allow me to not only type [massive relief] but return to knitting! [Ukulele isn’t quite back to normal yet. Soon.]


Goals for 2012:

– Always have a new shawl design on the needles [after designing Tuscany in 2007, I haven’t really done another one since. Am rectifying.]

– One of these shawls will be knit with the handspun I’ve been making and hoarding for the last 3 years.

– Learn more about the new fibers I am discovering I can knit with after all and how they behave! [Camel, yak, alpaca.]


On the needles:

coming along nicely

Lanesplitter, of course. Holding it up to my body, it’s already long enough to reach my knees without a waistband, but it’s not even 18″ yet. And I’m 5′ 5″, so I’m not that short. I think I’ll get a 2nd opinion, and then perhaps start on the main body section. I really want this baby done.

The shawl thing is well underway, but as it’s meant for Brenda Dayne’s Welsh for Rainbow book [!], I can’t show you. I will tell you honestly that I constantly shock myself at the stupid mistakes I make in knitting. I spend a lot of time trying to find zen, making the pattern just go, resulting in forgetting essential pattern details like how many plain rows of stockinette go between the lace repeats, for example. This has resulted in much frogging. Despite the attempts of one kind knitter to help me avoid the frog by ripping down and reknitting two small patches of lace, I found another set of glitches that had me pulling everything off the needles. Reknitting lace, laddered down, is not a skill I possess, and may never. I’m okay with that.
Anyway, this shawl is now well on track, more than halfway done [properly, this time!] and will be in Brenda’s hands as soon as I can arrange it.

WWW: Olympic Knitting, Putting a Knitter’s Stash to Good Use, Design-Your-Own-Lopi

Last week we told you about knitters around the US making scarves to donated to volunteers at the Superbowl festivities. In the UK, a similar initiative is asking knitters to create cushion covers to be given as gifts to participants in this year’s Olympics and Paralympics being held in London.

Visualize your ideas

Wow. Just wow. An Icelandic software developer and husband of a knitter tells us that he has developed a software application to help knitters design their own Lopi sweaters. It allows you to choose and place patterns and colors, to experiment and create your own unique designs. It does require Microsoft Silverlight to be installed [a cumbersome experience if you need the latest version…you have to uninstall it manually before installing. But worth it, we think.].

All the best things in life.

Speaking of Iceland, Clara Parkes has announced her upcoming Iceland Fiber Experience. This coming September 18-25, the tour promises “a hefty dose of fiber, unforgettable sheep chasing and wrestling, Clara’s classes, world class chocolate tasting, all the Lopi from your wildest dreams and of course the usual; spectacular nature, delicious meals from the best local ingredients and excellent company of knitters from near and far”.

A “warm-hearted bequest“… a Cleveland librarian and avid knitter, Diane Mathews, bequeathed her collection of knitting books to her library, and her stash of yarn to local knitters, with the condition that the yarn be used to make scarves and hats to donate to the homeless. Thanks to her generosity and thoughtfulness, the program “Warm Up Cleveland” has gathered hundreds of items to be donated to the homeless and shelters around the city. Other knitters have added yarn, since Diane’s original stash has been used up.

Witty knitting alert: A knitter in the UK has been making wooly replicas of her colleagues, the gardening team at Paignton Zoo.

Spinning Tuesdays: Kate’s Spinning Goals

I have a confession to make: I haven’t been practicing.


After an initial, energizing success at spindle-spinning, I got distracted.  I picked up the spindle only a couple of times in the fall, and when all we got together in Waterloo a couple of weeks ago, I proudly got my spindle out, rakishly drafted a bit off the braid of BFL Jillian gave me, and started to spin.

So much potential... as yet, unfulfilled...

And it was an unmitigated disaster.  I dropped the spindle. I had lumps the size of grapes. I couldn’t draft. I kept breaking the roving. I couldn’t control the twist. It was a mess.


The worst part was that, naturally, I was surrounded by expert spinners at the time – goddess of all things fibre Denny, Amy, Jillian, our host Sue, and Tabi the spinning teacher from Shall We Knit.  At first, they were all smiles, but as it became quickly clear how badly I was doing, they averted their eyes. I think I might have heard a snicker.  (I kid, they were all very encouraging.)


Denny, sitting beside me on the couch, was very polite: she gave me a few pointers (including, most helpfully, to remember to spin the spindle in the same direction all the time… ), and refrained from laughing.


We all agreed that you don’t get better at spinning by keeping the spindle in a box, so I’ve made a plan. I need to practice every week. I teach a class on Thursdays evenings at Lettuce Knit, and Denny works a shift there Thursday afternoons.  My plan is to go to the shop early so that she can watch over me while I fumble my way through this, and hopefully expand my skills.


Once I’ve mastered the basics with the BFL, I’m keen to get started into a little sampler project that the lovely Sue put together for me.  I’ve got a collection of little bags of rovings from various breeds – each is enough to try it  out, get familiar with the fiber, and experiment.


So much to explore!

And then – THEN! – I am desperate to try this mittens-from-silk-hankies thing that all the cool kids are doing.


I figure that’s enough for a year.  Wish me luck!


Lanesplitter: Resistance is Futile

Lynne was Knitter Zero. The lovely Lynne showed up at a Knitty Roundtable wearing her Lanesplitter skirt, and we all fell over at the wonder of it and how flattering it was on Lynne, and Jillian and I almost immediately cast on for our own.


At least five or six other knitters who were there that night have made their own, including Susie L, Jennifer and Lynn W.


We had a mini-reunion last December, my skirt with Lynne’s, and Susie L’s terrific version.

It's all Lynne's fault.

The contagion continues to spread… Kate inevitably infected Denny (although their styles are very different, they are spiritual knitting twins), Lynne passed it to Sue, and Jillian and I finally found a sheep-free yarn for Amy to knit one of her own, Lang Yarns’ Sol Dégradé. Last weekend, we once again gathered around Lynne for a new photo op.


L to R: Amy with Lanesplitter-to-be, Sue, Kate, Knitter Zero Lynne, Jillian and at the bottom, Denny.

Amy may have cut the tip off her finger a few weeks ago, but it is healing well, and she’s resumed kniting…slowly. She’s making great progress so far, even with her injury.


not so bad for non-wool, eh?

WWW: Knitting for the big slopes and the big screen

Jimmy Beans Wool is very proud to announce that they have signed a multi-year partnership with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), the national governing body of Olympic skiing, snowboarding and freeskiing, to become the first ever-official yarn, knitting and crochet supplier to U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing.

A driving force behind the partnership is to build awareness of the yarn industry and to expose people to different crafts, fibers and companies. Jimmy Beans Wool has partnered with Red Heart® yarns to create “Stitch Mountain”, a marketing and promotional campaign that encourages people to be creative on and off the slopes.

The knitter and her aunt, hard at work on a secret project...

A fun and fascinating profile of Jane Whatley, a knitter in the UK, who has worked on projects for the wardrobe departments for  various movies, including the recent War Horse, and the Harry Potter series, and Love Actually.  She has even knitted for Colin Firth!

Knitters in the Indianapolis area will be eagerly watching the screen during the upcoming Superbowl, being held February 5th, in their city. Knitters contributed 12,494 scarves to be given to volunteers working at Superbowl activities over that weekend. The scarves were all knitted in blue and white, the colors of the Indianapolis Colts, the local team, and wearers should be easy to spot amongst the crowds when the game is televised.

Shibori Girl Studios has announced a new slate of classes for 2012, including an innovative online workshop about Indigo dyeing. More info here.

I know it's crochet, but that's a very cute kitten!

Special Caturday Feature! Knitters in Winnipeg are creating blankets for cats and kittens at their local Humane Society. Bonus video of adorable cat-on-knitting action!

Knitting Ninja! Veronik Avery received a really rather wonderful gift from her clearly talented 15-year-old daughter

Knitting for babies.

High-school students in Brooklyn are knitting blankets to be donated to babies with HIV/AIDS in the New York Area.

Spinning Tuesdays: Getting Started on Spinning Goals

I’m getting right on my 2012 spinning goals by choosing fiber – that’s the best part isn’t it?

I’ve chosen this to start making friends with worsted spinning.

Spunky Eclectic Peace On Earth

A club fiber from Spunky Eclectic, South African Fine in the colorway Peace on Earth. I’m going for a 2 ply, DK or a little fatter.


For sweater knitting I have this

Southern Cross Fibre Dirt

Southern Cross Fibre Falkland, colorway Dirt. I’m going to spin a woolen 2-ply, with probably a little extra ply twist.

I’ve even started sample spinning

Southern Cross Fibre Falkland

It’s looking a little too contrasty for me, but I’m going to spin more, a little finer and knit swatches.


How are your goals coming?

Knitting Mondays: Goals for 2012

Kate’s goals:

In the UFO category, there’s the Must Have Cardigan that I started in early 2008… I dusted it off a couple of weeks ago, and decided to finish up the body pieces and work the buttonbands so I could try it on.  I figured that once it felt like a garment, I’d be encouraged to finish.  My plan was a good one – I’m really excited about it now!

Getting there...

In the USO (unstarted object) category, there’s that bag of Noro Hitsuji which I’m sure will make something really terrific… something… am thinking a vest.

I'm sure it wants to be something nice.

And in the UEO (unending objects) category, more black socks of course.  Because a girl can never have too many pairs of socks.

Boring, I know. But I need them. Remember that I layer two pairs of socks in the winter.

The most urgent project for 2012, however, is to finish up the pair of Qiviut socks – the temperature is dropping.


Jillian’s Goals:

1) Knit from Knitty! I want to knit at least 6 things from Knitty this year.

I just finished my Lanesplitter, so I’m counting that as one project done! Look for a Lansplitter group photo in Friday’s blog post.

Next up:


Works for curly haired girls!

2) Knit Socks!

I want to love knitting socks. I am a very slow knitter, usually I finish 1 pair of socks per year. It’s sad, I know. This year I’m going to try for 3 pair, with at least 1 pair for me.


3) Knit with My Handspun!

One of my spinning goals this year is to spin and knit a sweater. I’m already doing some sample spinning for this one.


Amy’s finger needs to get better before she can even think about knitting!


What are your knitting goals for the year?

What I’ve Knitty-ed: Clapotis

Gorgeous, no?

Like every other knitter on the entire planet, I fell hard for the wonder that is Clapotis.


Did you know that there are over 18,000 Clapotis projects on Ravelry?


(It’s pronounced clap-o-tea, BTW, with the emphasis on “tea”.)


And like many other knitters, I’ve made more than one.  But my first will always be the one I love the best.


I acquired the yarn in a trade.  And I am quite sure that I got the better end of that deal.


I got 8 skeins of a long-discontinued Noro yarn, Sarubia.  It’s 60% silk, 40% Kid Mohair and I love love love love love it. (You probably saw that coming.  It’s Noro and it’s got silk and mohair in it.  How could I not?)  It’s a slubby, very wooly sort of blend, not at all like the Kidsilk-alike sorts of blends you often see.


And the color is tremendous: much more subtle than many of the Noro yarns. It reminds me, in the best possible way, of gasoline in a puddle. The background is an espresso brown, and there are stripes of a pale watery grey, a pale watery green and a pale watery pink.  There’s an iridescence to the colors, coming from the silk.


I traded 4 balls of a plain worsted weight wool in a solid dark green.  It’s a great yarn, and my friend said it was just what she wanted for a felted bag.  But come on! I got the world’s most beautiful Clapotis, and she got a green felted bag.

WWW: Preserving Ganseys, Sheep to Shawl Contests, Best Wallpaper Ever, a Winner, and a Giveaway!

All clothing handmade by Maude Richards.

An absolutely fascinating insight into the life of an early 20th century mother of seven…. In 1913, Maude Richards of Exeter, New Hampshire began keeping a record of all the sewing and knitting projects she completed. Each page of the journal contains a brief description, “kimono apron for myself,” or “marble bag for William,” and frequently a swatch of fabric. Barbara Rimkunas, the curator of the Exeter Historical Society, has given us this great snapshot.

Even butter sculptures!

This week marks the 96th annual (!) Pennsylvania Farm Show. It’s a traditional country fair, featuring all those fabulous traditional country fair events and foods and activities, including animal displays, baking competitions and all sorts of fibery goodness.

A member of one of the high school teams, brushing up on his skills...

Among the many events are the annual Fleece To Shawl & Sheep To Shawl Contests, which are being held today, Wednesday, January 11th, starting at 3pm EST. Teams compete by shearing a sheep (the Fleece To Shawl teams, comprised of high-school students who are relatively new to the event, start with a fleece), carding the fleece, spinning the fleece into yarn, then weaving that yarn into a shawl – all in a 3-hour time period. The teams are judged on many things: the quality of the shearing, the uniformity of spinning and the individual quality of the spun yarn and evenness of the woven shawl are just a few of the judging criteria. A highly anticipated event, the Fleece and Sheep To Shawl contests always draw a big crowd of onlookers… and TV cameras as well!

Blogger Yarny Marni live blogs the event, too, so even if you’re not there in person, you can follow it online.

When most people think of fisherman’s sweaters, they tend to think of lovely Irish “Aran” knits. The traditional English and Scottish fisherman’s sweater, the gansey, is less well known, and being a little simpler and less showy, perhaps a little less appreciated by the non-knitters. The BBC has produced an excellent radio documentary about a project to preserve the knitting heritage of the fishing communities on the Moray Firth coastline, in north-eastern Scotland.
Project workers are working to save existing ganseys, helping local knitting groups to create new ones and encouraging modern interpretations of this most traditional of garments.

Mme Defarge, hard at work

Following up on a story from a couple of weeks ago… the “Sticks, Hooks, and the Mobius: Knit and Crochet Go Cerebral” exhibition at the Williams Center Gallery, Lafayette College, Easton, PA, has just opened. The event was marked with a yarnbombing and an appearance from Mme. Defarge (well, an artist in a really fab costume). More activities and events have been announced for the exhibition, including a knit-a-thon, a lesson on knitting botanically accurate flowers, and a talk from Kathleen Greco, an artist who works with glow-in-the-dark “jelly yarn”.

A group of Yarnbombers from the UK has been invited by Vogue Knitting to their Vogue Knitting Live event in NYC this weekend. Can’t wait to see what sorts of things they do…

Best. Wallpaper. Ever.

Our winner in the Tom Bihn Swift giveaway is Eve from Vermont. Congratulations Eve and a huge thanks to the folks at Tom Bihn for a great prize!

Are you knitting a project with tangly, slippery or otherwise unruly yarn? Then this giveaway is for you! You can tame your yarn with a Yarn Cozy.

The creative folks at Buffy Anne Designs have donated 6 sets of three Yarn Cozies for a giveaway.

Three Cozies to hug your yarn

The usual rules apply for our giveaway: Leave a comment on this post before midnight, eastern time, on Monday, January 16, 2012. 6 comments will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If they answer correctly they will win our prize. Prizes valued at $12.00 each.