Month: April 2012

The Knitty Sock Project

MsMyrtle, a student of mine, relocated to the the southern Hemisphere from Toronto a couple of years ago. She’s been doing a lot of travelling in her exciting new life, splitting her time between Western Australia and New Zealand, and to help pass the time, she launched a project: The Knitty Sock Project.


She’s decided to knit all the socks published on Knitty…. Progress is good so far!  As of the middle of April, she’s finished 20 pairs.

An excellent collection

Did you know that there is a Ravelry group dedicated to the Knitty socks?  It’s a great place to go to see pictures of fab finished Knitty socks, to ask questions, and chat about the over 100 sock patterns (!) published on Knitty throughout the years…


MsMyrtle started her sock knitting career with my Socks 101 class, which is basically an in-person version of my Socks 101 article from way back when, so that counts as a pair of Knitty socks, too, I think.


How many have you made?

WWW: Extreme Knitting, Knitted Mayoral Candidates, Felting Workshop

Keeping the north warm with woollies.

Yarn Bomb Yukon, a group in the far north of Canada, famed for their transportation-themed yarnbombs, has announced plans for their most ambitious effort yet: knitting a cozy for a DC-3 plane!  When complete, it’s likely to be the largest yarnbomb ever created in Canada.  The plane is on display outside the Yukon Transportation Museum. It’s an important piece of the history of Canada and the Yukon, as such aircraft were critical in settling and supplying the remote northernmost regions of the country.

The project is being supported by the Yukon Transportation Museum and the Yukon Arts Centre, and  conservators, an aircraft engineer and an architect have been engaged to ensure that the care and safety of the plane is a top priority for the project. Yarn Bomb Yukon is looking for volunteers willing to contribute supplies or pieces to contribute to the cozy.

The candidates

Knitter Heather Brown of London has created knitted replicas of all the candidates in the upcoming London Mayor’s election.

Some of Ms. Pearl's fab creations

Crafters in the Ottawa area: this coming weekend the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte, Ontario is hosting an intensive 2-day felting workshop. Internationally known, UK-based felt maker and artist Sue Pearl is hosting and will share her felt-making techniques and innovations.

An obituary for Maurice Newble, a businessman in the North East of England who ran a chain of 19 haberdashery shops. The shops were successful enough to have their own line of yarn – they were buying the wool and having it processed and labelled with their own name.

It’s a fascinating peek into another time and another way of life, in post-war Britain, when knitting wasn’t just a hobby but the way to clothe your family.

"Extreme knitting"

Fabulous: knitters have started working with offcuts from the Harris Tweed factory in the Western Isles of Scotland.

For many years the selvedges from the looms of Harris Tweed weavers were just cut off and dumped, but these strips of fabric are now being saved and knitted on giant needles to create rugs, bags and dog beds.

The best part of this story about a young TV actor from Vancouver taking up knitting while on set for the show Once Upon a Time? The fact that the show has a knitting consultant!

Fox News includes knitting needles in a list of “surprising” things you can take on a plane.

Spinning Tuesdays: Who Do You Spin With?

Who do you spend your spinning time with? Outside of classes or events?


I have a tight group of spinners, 6 or 7 women, we manage to get together every 6 weeks or so in various combinations. We just hang out and spin and tell life tales.


I always  wanted to belong to a spinning guild. I love the idea of a guild. To me a guild is a larger group of spinners who teach each other and support each other to become better spinners.


I’ve been a member of a local guild for several years. It’s a pretty big guild, probably 200 active members. This guild has 4 big sales a year and that has become more and more of a focus every meeting. I’m not really interested in selling, I’m interested in spinning.  Instead of being frustrated at every meeting.  I didn’t renew my membership this year.


I even went as far as to ask a local spinning shop if she could have monthly spin-ins that would include talking about spinning and some fun spinning challenges. Spin a yarn based on a favorite book or movie character, anyone?


Who do you spin with?


My spinning goals are going slooowly but they are getting checked off.

This week I spun 3 of my 4 Fiber Fiesta fibers. Seen here on my elegant drying octopus.


Elegant drying octopus from Ikea

I fell completely in love with a yarn I spun for a holiday gift. The fiber is Birds and Berries on Targhee from Spunky Eclectic. I spun it as a single and fulled it.

Squishy Targhee

I want to make a hat, top down, just plain. I think there is enough yarn to make fingerless mitts too. The question is, will I be able to give them away come December?

Spring WIPs

I love looking at all the FOs and WIPs from our latest issue.

CaffeineGirl‘s Afternoon Tea Shawlette in progress.

Very promising!

And knitters are really loving the Carousel sock.

MrsMumpitz‘s version


And 101mystic has taken the idea and turned it into a pair of gloves

Brilliant idea! Brilliant execution, too!

A seriously radiant Good Day Sunshine by Lailai


And Haloroundmyhead has gamely taken on the knitting and fashion challenge that is the Pineapple bag…. (just kidding, it’s both fabulous and not too difficult to knit)


Space-cadet is ready for summer with her Gemini t-shirt

Great job!

Malin‘s Raindrop cardigan is coming along very well…

Terrific color choice!

WWW: Spring Fairs, Record Break Attempt, Beanie Festival

Come and play!

Get your fleece on! Lots of fun spring fiber festivals and fairs coming up.
This weekend alone, there’s a number of great events all over the US:

And later in the spring, looking further afield, there’s more:

If you’re looking for events near you, or planning a yarny vacation, consult Clara Parkes’ comprehensive calendar on the Knitter’s Review site.

The artist, modelling one of her own works.

A fascinating piece about knitter and artist Saki Chikaraishi, who describes herself as ‘hyper-knit creator’.  See more of her work at her website.  Her ambition is to “wrap the whole world up in knitting”, and is clearly a compulsive knitter in a way we understand. She says “as long as I have my fingers and any stringlike object, I can knit anything”.

Author Ann Hood talks about how knitting helped her recover from grief over the loss of a child, and kick started her writing again.

A few of the hundreds.

Fundraisers in Coventry attempted to break the record for most knitters in public, previously set a group at the first Sock Summit. Hundreds of people packed into Coventry Cathedral for the second annual Coventry and Warwickshire Knit-A-Thon.

Do you think Jon Stewart wears hand-knit socks? A profile of Beth Shorr, talent coordinator for The Daily Show and knitter.

Residents of Las Cruces New Mexico should look out for a yarnbomb being installed at New Mexico State University today.

Knitters in and around Torquay, Victoria, Australia, are participating in the fourth annual Torquay Beanie Festival. This month-long festival encourages knitters to make items to donate to the needy, and local businesses are getting involved by hosting displays of all sorts of knitted headgear. There will also be outdoor displays, and a display at Torquay Uniting Church where the beanie festival began.

Spinning Tuesday: New Fleece Washing Bowl

On a recent family shopping trip to Hua Xing Asia Market I found a fantastic fleece washing set up.


The store had a bunch of big plastic bowls and colanders that fit together perfectly .

There were many colors, I chose this springy combo

I chose an 18″ bowl and a 15″ colander

Perfect fit

This set up would be good for up to 6, maybe 8 ounces of fleece, depending on how dirty it is.

This is 7 ounces of dry Babydoll Southdown

I use Unicorn Power Scour for washing fleece, and for some fibers I use Unicorn Fiber Rinse in the last rinse.

4 oz soaking with plenty of room for more

The best part about my new washing set up? Total cost $6!


What spinning tools have you found in an unexpected place?

WWW: Traditional and not-so-traditional; spring knitting events in the northeast

Traditional and utterly timeless. Photo by Eric Walsh.

In 1972, Newfoundland knitter and designer Anna Templeton published a book of knitting patterns called “Operation Homespun.” The goal was to inspire and enlighten knitters across Canada with written patterns for traditional maritime items like trigger mitts and gansey-style sweaters.

The book was updated and reprinted in 1980, and the original was printed again by the Anna Templeton Centre for Craft Art and Design in 2010, as a way of honouring its namesake and inspiring a new crop of knitters.
The centre, in collaboration with the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, is presenting “Operation Homespun: The Next Generation,” an exhibit of contemporary knitting based on the patterns in the original “Operation Homespun” book.

New Jersey area residents: clear your calendar for the weekend of April 20-22. The Garden State Yarn Crawl (formerly known as the Northern NJ Yarn Crawl), is a free three-day event that encourages local support and investigation of the area’s popular yarn and craft emporia. In this second year of the crawl, 15 independent yarn retailers in towns in Northern NJ, from Westfield to Wyckoff – and many points in between – will participate.

The stores will be offering visitors special events, discounts and promotions along with a chance to win one of 15 incredible raffle baskets filled with yarn and other goodies. More info here.

All the cool kids will be there.

Toronto-area knitters will be gathering the weekend of April 27 & 28th for the 14th annual Downtown Knit Collective’s Annual Knitter’s Frolic. Our own Franklin is the keynote instructor. Even without Franklin, this is one of the highlights of the Toronto knitters’ calendar – add Franklin, and it promises to be the event of the year!

Photo courtesy Good Housekeeping/All About You

A great profile of knit designer, author and yarn bomber Lauren O’Farrell who learned to knit when she was going through treatment for cancer in her 20s.

A fun feature and slideshow about a colorful yarnbomb outside the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library at The University of Michigan. The work was created as an assignment for a class held at the University’s Arts & Design school, and the goal was to transform a public space. I love the yarnbomb, but I love even more that this was assigned schoolwork!

Clever suggestion for brides to be: consider knit and felted flowers instead of a traditional bouquet.

Spinning Tuesdays: Sometimes It’s Not What You Think

This is my wheel Suzie-Q, she has a squeaking problem.

Majacraft Suzie Pro, a naughty squeaker

To be frank, she has a naughty squeaking problem. When I treadle her she sounds like  honeymooners going at it on an antique iron bed. Funny at first, but it quickly gets annoying.

I love this wheel. I love to make singles and ply on her. She fantastic for big air or textured yarn. She’s heavy and sexy and spins forever. She got so noisy I almost quit using her altogether.


For a while, I thought she just needed oil or that it had something to do with how the treadles were attached in the back.

I thought it was the green bits

See the green bits? I call them rubber baby treadle bumpers. I thought they were the cause of the squeak and dusted them with cornstarch. Still squeaking, and probably laughing at me.


I took Suzie-Q to First Saturday Spinning at The Spinning Loft. She started doing her thing, everybody laughed, except Nora. She has a Majacraft Rose.  She said, “I know what’s wrong and how to fix it. One or more of the treadle screw holes is stripped”.

She was right. I never would have guessed it.



She fixed hers using wood filler to make the screw holes tighter. I used toothpicks and glue. I didn’t want to use bigger screws because I was afraid of splitting the wood.



I figured out that the squeak was coming somewhere in the left front.

The front bottom hinges

I unscrewed and rescrewed the screws to determine which hole was stripped.


The center screw in the right set of hinges wouldn’t tighten completely, bingo. To be thorough, I decided to tighten up all three holes in the set.


I used a wooden toothpick in each screw hole to give the screw something to bite into.

toothpick as filler

I coated each toothpick with Gorilla Glue and tapped it into the screw hole as far as it would go.

Gorilla Glue to set it

I let it dry, broke off the toothpick and lightly sanded the holes level. I cleaned and oiled the hinge and screwed it back into place, tightly.

I sat right down and spun. No squeak.

I have my Suzie-Q back in regular spinning rotation and she’s as sexy and swampy as the song she’s named for.

Toronto Public Library Workers Knit-In

Knitters were called, and we answered that call.

The City of Toronto Public Library Workers were on strike for 10 days or so as their contract ended and negotiations were underway to establish a new contract.

The striking workers were marching in Nathan Philips Square, a big open public space in front of Toronto City Hall. Some of the participants are knitters and spinners, and the decided to organize a Knit-In.

Showing our support

An estimated 100 knitters and spinners were there, some from the contingent of Library Workers,

Library workers knitting on the picket line

some supporters from the local knitting community, including our own Kate, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (a.k.a The Yarn Harlot), Knitty designer Natalie Selles, and friend of Knitty, Denny MacMillan.

Team Knitty loves books & libraries: Kate, Natalie and Denny

Some local press coverage here and here, and a summary on the blog of one of the striking workers, Erin, here.

We don’t know whether the knitters had anything to do with it, but within a couple of days of the Knit-In a deal was struck and the libraries were once again open.

How Jane Gaugain Drove Franklin Insane: On Interpreting & Modernizing a Vintage Pattern

Clever, and delicious. Just like the man himself.

Franklin, our vintage knits columnist, has once again done us proud with the Pineapple bag pattern in the Spring & Summer issue.
He’s written a post on his blog about the joys and challenges of reading vintage patterns.
Written in Franklin’s inimitable and hysterical style (although be warned, the language is a little bit salty), it’s a fascinating insight into what passed for a set of decent pattern instructions way back when. And the work that Franklin goes through every issue to turn these wonderful antique patterns into a set of instructions we can actually understand.