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.


(524 Posts)

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

  1. duni

    oh i so need a yarn cozy for that silk bolero i’ve been meaning to knit for about 4 years now… πŸ™‚

  2. Lisha Collins

    I just would love to see the sheep to shawl contest. I am trying to learn drop spindle. Not going great so far, but I won’t give up!

  3. Pat

    As I watch the current ball of yarn fall apart, I am sitting here trying to think of what I can use as a yarn cozy. Obviously I need to win this prize! Love the bright colors.

  4. Betsy

    The ideal design would be a yarn cozy that can double as a beer cozy (not at the same time… or maybe so).

  5. Fleur

    How on earth did anything make that up, yarn cozies?! I recently knitted apple cozies as a request and that was fun. Perhaps I can use apple cozies on my yarn as well. Never ever, ever, ever thought of that!

    Have a nice day all! Ciao, Fleur

  6. Nike Eve

    I want that wallpaper for ALL the walls in my house! I don’t suppose my husband would approve though…

  7. Sandra

    timing is everything – I’m currently knitting a fair isle in sticky wool with 3 colours per row. (I designed it myself, so I have only myself to blame…)
    And I NEED that wallpaper!

  8. Kaia

    I would do more fair isle knitting if I had such smart cozies! Thanks for making this contest available.

  9. cobwebmsnd

    What a great event. I’d love to see what the 3 hour shawls look like, especially given how much is involved. I personally love knitting with tiny, slippery yarn, so those cozies are someting I’ve always wanted to try. Thanks for the opportunity.

  10. Kittenears

    oh wow! Very cool. πŸ™‚ a great giveaway and lots of fun information.

    And I pinned that wallpaper. I want that when we buy our house!

  11. Beth

    I’d love to win yarn cozies. I’m sure they’d be better than the plastic net tomato sack I am using now.

  12. Elaine

    I have never used a yarn cozy,maybe that’s why my cats have a fieldday when I leave my projects out and go to sleep at night. Would love to try one and see if it helps.

  13. julie barrett

    I do a lot of the traditional Irish fisherman sweater, the English one described above sound interesting to me.

    Also the marble bag. will be having the grandchildren here for the holiday season and marbles are on the agenda. thanks for the idea!

    Julie

  14. TravelingAnn

    I have long wondered if it would be possible to do a knitting print on wallpaper or with paint.
    I thought a cabled swatch in really chunky yarn then dipped in paint. Sort of like sponge painting.
    The wallpaper would be easier.

  15. Cynthia

    Love the wallpaper, wow… that was what drew me here, but I think what I love even more is the BBC radio documentary. That’s what history is all about, and I’m so glad the BBC is so savvy as to make this happen.

  16. Leticia

    oh how I nedd a yarn cozy!! I’ve been trying to manage silk yarn for some time, and I really could leave those plastic bags alone, uh? πŸ˜‰

  17. Meredith MC

    I’ve been using a sock who lost her mate to corral my wayward yarn. Those yarn cozies are so much prettier!

  18. Brooke

    Cozie me! From the year of the dragon flashback to the year of the sheep- 1979~~~~ I was born to lOve WOol;)

  19. Melanie Hayes

    Would love these,I am currently working with a bamboo that is constantly getting away from me !

  20. Stacey

    I only live 2 hrs from Harrisburg and have never heard of the Farm Show! Next year I will have to plan a visit

  21. Anne

    I ALWAYS love a cozy! If I get chosen I hope I don’t mess up the “skill question”… I’ve only been knitting for 9 months!

  22. Chrissie

    Did not know there were ways to prevent unraveling. I thought it was merely a challenge of the knitting gods.

  23. Cecilia

    Wow 6 sets? How generous! I’ve been looking at these cozies for a while, now that I finally have a ballwinder and my skeins get tangled in my purse.

  24. Cathy

    I love the historical aspect of handwork. As we are buried under items “Made in China”, it’s so heartwarming to realize that handwork still has a place. More and more of us are treasuring the handmade, not only as a way to connect to being “crafty”, but as a way to feed our spirits and care for those around us!

  25. Julie

    I’m not sure how I have managed to miss these so far, but it’s only a matter of time before I make them mine now! I feel like this would be a good way to minimize fur transfer from whichever pet is lurking around my ball of yarn at the moment….

  26. C.M.Lyttle

    Oh please let me win! I need to save my yarn from all the fluffy white dog hair on the floor. Or vacuum! πŸ™‚

  27. Michelle

    Thanks so much for the first link. Next week I start teaching a Textiles 101 class for homeschoolers, and am gathering historical data like this to share before I teach them to work with raw wool, spin, finger-knit and weave.

    And I would love to win the Yarn Cozies! I have Buffy Ann’s Knit Light and it’s GREAT!

  28. Lucianne

    Oooo, I love Buffy Ann stuff. Got one of the lights for Christmas! Now I just need a cozy or two….

  29. Terry

    Maybe the cozys would keep my Yorkie from attacking the yarn… Probably not, but at least it might not end up in parts!

  30. Jennifer

    Since I don’t read whatever language it is that was under the wallpaper, I can’t tell if it was actually knitted or merely printed to look knitted. Still very, very, very cool!

  31. Kristy

    I’m in the middle of a project that requires many, many balls of yarn to be active at once, and I have discovered how necessary a yarn cozy will be! Great giveaway πŸ™‚

  32. RichelleCK

    I’d be interested in checking out the yarn cozies. Might help keep a bit of dog hair off, eh? πŸ™‚

    1. Julie

      RichelleCK, I long ago found a way to fix this problem. I brush my dogs and put it in a large cloth bag. When the bag is full, I spin the’wool’ and knit it!

  33. KathyC

    Not only would these help contain yarn they would also keep nosy CATS out. Multipurpose uses are always better.

  34. Nicole Jamison

    so much work for wall paper…I couldn’t do it. The Exeter story is even cooler because I used to live near there. Great reason to keep a record!

  35. Linda

    I have the light and the cozy – bought at VK Live LA. I just wanted to recommend them to everyone, they are great!

  36. Pilaar

    Okay, the wallpaper is really cool, and I think it might be a Norwegian blog?? The cozies look like a great idea and much more stylish than my sandwich baggies, lol.

  37. Lenore Hopkins

    Yarn cozy! What a great idea for those really fuzzy balls of mohair. Hmmm… Can I get a cozy for my husband? He is a bit unruly too! ; )

  38. Lori

    I love the cozies! What a brilliant idea! If you ever have a Gansey pattern I would love to make one.

  39. Barb T

    Oh, those would be so handy to have. The older style ones (plastic mesh) don’t work well if you’re using balls of yarn and I’ll bet these would be perfect. Please!

  40. Becca

    Wish I’d known about the Pennsylvania fair when I still lived there. The cozies look great though.

  41. Teri

    Great issue of WWW. Lots of neat stuff – love the Exeter NH section. Of course,I would also like to win the cozys.

  42. Nancy Blocker

    Love the article on the Sheep to Shawl. Also the article on Ganseys. I have knit both sweaters.

  43. Christine

    I bet I would always feel warm in a room with that wallpaper! And my yarn wouldn’t be in a knot – Even better!!

  44. Purl_Maiden

    I just discovered your blog, and your website, it’s wonderful and I thank you for such a great resource!

    Also…
    I travel a lot and a yarn cozy would be really really nice to keep my yarn from getting tangled (which it does a lot).
    ~PurlMaiden~

  45. Philippa Olsen

    Oh, how I needed a “cozy” yesterday when my ball dissolved into an extraordinary mess. I spent more time untangling than knitting. YES I need one!

  46. Amanda

    Those yarn cosies would be perfect for the really fiddly novelty yarn I’m trying to use up right now (New Year’s yarn diet!)

  47. Joanna

    Oooh, I would love these, as would my husband! He’s the poor victim of all my tangled yarns, as I beg him to untangle knots for me.

  48. Miriam Schoon

    That is an absolutely fabulous idea!
    Although I would be very happy to win a set (obviously), I will either ask them for my birthday or go and buy them for myself (birthday being so far away πŸ˜‰ )

  49. Liz in Missouri

    Wonderful Post today! Loved listening to the podcast about the Ganseys and the article about Maude Richards. The Yarn Cosies are great.

  50. Dari Trout

    I very much enjoy your Wednesday posts! They are always so interesting! Those yarn cozies are the cutest!

  51. Erin

    Ooo yarn cozies. I have heard them called “ball sacks” before, and I have made myself some. Cozy is a much less scandalous term….

  52. Melanie

    The cozy is like a decoration for the yarn. It would be nice to keep the little fingers from my kids out of the yarn too!

  53. Steph

    Count me in for the drawing, please!

    I wonder if Madame Defarge was actually knitting that blanket in code?

  54. Elaine

    Everything should have a cozy – especially yarn – might keep the puppy out of the knitting (or maybe not!)

  55. Johnnie Boughner

    I’ll be looking for a gansey pattern for my two-year-old grandson. The yarn cozies are a great idea. Would definitely like to meet them in person πŸ˜‰

  56. StaceyD

    Cool… Would love to win a cozy. It was on the Christmas list that hubby didn’t read much of…

  57. Tara K

    I think the sleeves might help keep my toddler from mangling my yarn. He could still do it, but maybe it would take longer than 10 seconds so I’d at least have a shot at stopping him?

  58. Tisha

    Where were you yarn cozies when I was trying to work my first lace shawl and my yarn was tangling mercilessly? At least now I know the answer to my problem. πŸ™‚

  59. Maura

    I enjoyed the link to the wallpapaer. I really would love to have the wallpaper for my studio. How fantastic!

  60. Barbara Joy

    since my cats have lost weight (my new year’s resolution for 2011), they have regressed to kitten-ness and are all up in the yarn again. The cozies would help…

  61. susan

    If these work anything like thread cozies for sewing machines, they are awesome and I’d love to try some out! Thanks for the chance to win!

  62. Carla

    Love the cozies! I scored a couple of sets at Vogue Knitting LA last fall and I’ve been using them ever since.The owner and her hubby are lovely people.

  63. Mary Caton

    I would love a cozy, would keep the puppy fromt the yarn at least, the needles are another problem!

  64. Cheryl

    What cute little cozies!
    Love that wallpaper, but I don’t know of I could live with it on more than little sections of my wall. Seems like it would be slightly overwhelming if you did a whole room in it.

  65. blogless grace

    Yarn cozies are the greatest! I even use them on regular balls as I am a “pull from the middle” person and as the ball collapses from losing its middle, the cozy keeps everything coming out smoothly and untangled.

  66. Susan

    Sometimes I lose an hour of knitting time just untangling slithery yarn. A yarn cozy would be A GREAT HELP.

  67. Maggie Willie

    Very cute. I don’t believe I’ve seen yarn cozys before. They are just darling. I hope I win, I’d like to see them close up and use them.

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