Month: June 2012

Who Wants to Knit Socks? A Giveaway!

It’s Thursday and it’s hot in most places. We need some pretty and a giveaway!

How about Alison Ross’ Cathedral Grove Socks from our current issue?

Cathedral Grove socks knit out of Sweet Georgia Tough Sock

Thanks to Felicia at Sweet Georgia Yarn, we’re giving away a yarn pack of Tough Love Sock for these socks to 2 different readers. Yay! Value of prize is $24 each.

Our usual contest rules apply, leave a comment on this post by midnight EST Sunday July 1st to be eligible to win. If you’ve won a giveaway in the last year, please give other knitters a chance.


WWW: Summer Knitting

Summertime, and the knitting is easy… la, la, la…

Looking for something to knit?

Ideas for sock yarn!

Have you seen the new Sock Report? Wonderful things to do with sock yarn.

Brooklyn Tweed’s WoolPeople issue 3 has just launched.

Long-time Knitty designer Laura Chau has published her first e-book of patterns, Afternoon Tea.

And of course, there’s lots of hot weather goodness in our 10 summer issues

Looking for somewhere to go with your knitting?
Check out the Stitch & Pitch events around the US.

And if you’re interested in actually watching the game, read friend of Knitty Indigirl’s baseball primer for knitters.

Too hot to knit? Just have a look around….

If you’ve been resisting the urge, today might be the day to kick back with an iced tea or coffee and enjoy the knitting-related gorgeousness at Pinterest.

And if you need ideas for making iced drinks at home, try theseThe Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Iced Coffee and
recipes and tips for Iced Tea from Canadian Living.

“Resist cold weather” with a knitted Borg mask.

Wow. Just wow.

Have you seen this stunner? The Pomatomus socks become a SWEATER Featured on Modification Mondays.

The Truro Nova Scotia Antique Farm Equipment museum has added a 1920s vintage knitting machine to their collection.

I’m not sure I fully understand it, but I love it anyway: an academic paper using knitted fabrics to explain the concept of anisotropy.

Spinning Tuesdays: My Aching Hands

My hands hurt. It’s not carpal tunnel or anything chronic, but simple overuse.

Most things I do for work and a lot of what I do for fun use the same hand gesture – a kind of cupping with fingers together, like a lobster claw. Spinning, knitting, typing on the computer and even holding a book to read or a steering wheel – all lobster hands.

I’m trying to do less (wah!) , stretch my hands and fingers and strengthen them. One thing in I never thought of that a friend and massage therapist mentioned to me is strengthening the backs of my hands and fingers.

That was a huge ‘d’oh’ moment for me. I’ve always stretched my hands and fingers in the opposite direction, but I never thought about how strong the insides of my hands are compared to the muscles in the back of my hand.

Here’s a big disclaimer: If you have hand or wrist pain – go see your doctor to make sure it’s nothing serious! Don’t assume your hand pain is the same as mine and will feel better with the same exercises.

I’ve been using Power Putty and doing hand and finger strengthening exercises similar to those that rock climbers and guitarists use. I found mine at REI.

Power Putty

It’s like a super resistant silly putty, and comes with a sheet of exercises to get you started. After a week of doing exercises (along with stretching and backing off of constant lobster hand activities) my hands already feel better.

How do you keep your hands and fingers in shape?


A big anniversary deserves a special logo!

And we’ve got one.

[Did you miss the beginning of this story? It’s over here…]

I’m not sure if you knew this, but I’ve been Knitty’s graphic designer since we began. Everything about the visual look of the magazine is in my job description, and I love the graphic part of working on Knitty just a little too much. When I’m stressed, I design stuff for the Knittyshop. It calms me. I’m weird, aren’t I?

Anyway, I worked hard on a logo for this big occasion, and came up absolutely empty. It was too important to me. I was dry. So I put out a call on Twitter, and a lot of really great designers came forward. One really stood out, though, as the most Knitty-esque, and I was very glad when she agreed to work with us! You’ll see why when I show you the result of our collaboration:

This is the work of Cynthia of Green Couch Designs. I think it’s whimsical but stately. Is that possible? Yes. I say so.

This logo feels a lot like us.  Cynthia was wonderful to work with, and I would recommend her without question to anyone looking for a designer. She has none of that pretentious ego that some designers I’ve met [in my past life…it’s none of you, don’t worry] can bring to a project. She simply gave me a lot of options, and was great fun to work with. And fast. Okay, enough of that.

This logo will be used throughout the 2012-2013 publication year, and yes, we’ll be putting up a special Cafepress shop with Anniversary merch for those who like shwag like we do. We’ll let you know with a blog post when it’s ready for y’all to browse.

Cynthia designed this logo to work the way I like to — the current seaside blue can be swapped out for any color we want. Here are a few examples of what we could do, edited to fix my error — I had the 10 in the contrast color, not black as it was supposed to be. Blame me, not the designer! 

So, tell us. What do you think? Do you like the logo? What color would you like to see it in?

WWW: Stompy the Bear; cruise knitting; model masterworks

Stomp along with Stompy the Bear

Tremendous knitted music video created for the song “Stompy the Bear” by Caspar Babypants. Not only is the video fab, but I challenge you to resist tapping your foot by the end of it. The video is the work of Charlotte Blacker, who received awards for her previous knitted animation, The Little Red Plane.

Circular knitting on a boat!

To promote Margaret Radcliffe’s new book, “Circular Knitting Workshop”, her publisher is running a sweepstakes. The prize is a trip for two to Maine and tickets for an all-inclusive sailing cruise off the coast of Maine with author Margaret Radcliffe. The cruise is a 6 day event, with knitting classes and instruction from the author. Fun!

Speaking of cruising, I loved this little tidbit about a group of knitters on a 112-day around the world cruise knitting for charity.

There are two big knitting events coming up this weekend: TNNA in the US and and Woolfest in the UK, and there’s a lot of travellers worrying about what knitting they are going to take with them – the concern is always that we might run out. I can only imagine how much knitting I would take with me for a 112-day cruise!

Inspired and inspiring!

A Canadian knitwear designer is collaborating with clothing retailer Roots to promote a line of sweaters inspired by Canadian cities. Lovely designs – I wonder if they’d be willing to release patterns?

Amazing work worth celebrating! An 87-year-old has knit a replica of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee carriage. 90-year-old Muriel has knitted 22 detailed dolls representing Olympic athletes. And another knitter has created an entire replica of the river pageant for the Jubilee. I know that the press often carry these stories for their novelty value, but we love them because we know how challenging these types of projects are. They deserve to be celebrated! (Although I do notice these tend to be UK-centric… I wonder if there are such projects being created elsewhere in the world?)

It was 10 years ago today…

[I’m hijacking Jillian’s Spinning Tuesday for a time-sensitive post. She’ll return next week!]

…And I had come home from another day of proofreading stuff like this.

The terms and conditions of the average Visa card. Which I proofread approximately 3 times per year…for the bank our Ad Agency represented, which had 6 different kinds of Visa cards. Each had their own agreement to be proofed. How I didn’t slit my own throat, I cannot say.

At my day job, there was also fun stuff to proofread, but the majority of it was this kind of brain-suckingly boring bank stuff. I had been doing this kind of work for almost 20 years. And so during the dull summer of 2002, I began dreaming of a way to escape proofreading…to become a copy editor.

At the same time, knitting blogs were few, and just starting to get interesting, and I had found tons of patterns being given away for free by their designers on blogs all over the place, held together by the most delicate of things: a blogring. Which often didn’t work. RSS was in its infancy, and we didn’t know how to keep in touch with each other without having links to our friends’ blogs on our blogs.

It hit me, sometime in the afternoon of June 19th, 2002, that I could actually start my own magazine, and thereby bypass the annoying process of applying for a job and getting hired by someone else. And wouldn’t this be good for my resume? Most importantly, after 20 years of proofreading things on paper, dealing with the stress created by the smallest typo I might miss after whatever-it-was had gone to print, my magazine had to be hosted online.

So after work that day, I was sitting on the couch with my little white iBook on my lap, and said, “I want to start an online knitting magazine. What should I call it?” Almost instantly, he said, “Knitty”. I looked it up, and no one had taken the URL. And so I did.

A few bucks, a few mouse clicks, and I had my own magazine. Now the work begins!

And that night, this appeared on what soon became the KnittyBlog:

The official announcement of the beginnings of

I still love that blog template…I designed it myself. Note the list of other knitblogs on the right.

Not sure what I thought being “the polar opposite of Vogue Knitting” meant, but hey, I was young and didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I also wrote “young and funky” in a non-ironic sense, so perhaps one could just chalk it up to noob enthusiasm and let it go. Note the mention of my new camera with accompanying bloggy hysteria. My first digital. This was a big deal 10 years ago, when most of us still used film in our cameras. Don’t you feel old now? Anyway, I digress…

Today begins our 10th Anniversary Celebration!

We’ll be recounting Knitty’s history on the blog, and starting with the Deep Fall issue, which goes live in September, you can expect a lot of celebratory Knitty-based fun for the next 12 months. Exactly what, you’ll have to wait and see. But we’re excited, and we hope you are, too. 10 years is a pretty huge milestone, and we’re going to celebrate the heck out of it!

I’ll see you back here on Thursday, when I get to introduce you to our brand-new 10th Anniversary Logo!

Obsession: Taking Better Photographs, Part 3

My journey to become a better photographer continues. Part 1 here. Part 2 here.

Step 7: Get familiar with basic photo editing software.
Cropping is your friend. Even the simplest of apps – the Windows Microsoft Office Photo Gallery application enables cropping and provides basic light tools. Crop out stuff you don’t want. Lighten up a dark shot.

And I know this isn’t directly related to being a good photographer, but it makes you a good friend: If you’re planning to email your photographs around, learn to create smaller copies so you don’t jam up your friends’ mailboxes.

And learn more about what else you can do with photo editing software. Franklin Habit, photographer extraordinare, recommends The National Geographic Field Guide to Photography. I learned tons from this book about what you can do with photographs once they’re on your computer. Adobe Photoshop is the grand master at this stuff, but there are others.

Step 8: Take your camera everywhere.
I know, this one seems obvious, but just today I walked past an amazing garden thick with daisies, and I didn’t have my camera with me. The worst photo of all is the one you never took.

Other Tips To Improve Your Photography From The Very Wise

  • Buy a reflector Laura says it best. $14 and it’s like you’ve got your own lighting studio!
  • If you’re taking photos of your work, or posed shots, take your time: don’t expect to be able to create a really great posed shot in 5 minutes. Set aside time so that you can experiment. Sometimes, you won’t know if the photo is good or not until you’ve looked at it on your computer, and you may want to go back and reshoot.
  • Play with clever settings on camera I bet your camera has some clever pre-programmed settings. Mine has settings for sports (a fast shutter speed with shorter time between shots), for low-light shots, for shooting in fireworks, for shooting in snow (tweaks the colors so that the white doesn’t blow out the other colors). Play with them!
  • Learn from your camera: when in Auto mode, your camera display should tell you what settings it’s using to take a shot. Make note of those, switch your camera over to manual and recreate those settings. Take a few shots. Then change one of the settings and shoot again. And set the first one back and play with another setting. Take notes as you’re doing this so you know which settings you changed in which order. Then when you’re going through the photos later, you can compare the adjusted settings to see the differences.
Fully automatic mode.

This is a tricky shot. Backlit, and it’s clear the camera wasn’t really sure what I wanted to emphasize more. And then I turned to manual mode and left everything the same but for the aperture, and what results is this:

F-stop 2.8 for shorter depth of field (i.e. blurry background); lets in more light, too.

In the second one, the sock is better lit and I love the way the sunshine lights up the beer.

And Steps 9 through 1,000,000: Take Pictures!
Remember, you can’t get better if you don’t practice.

WWW: Still Knitting in Public, I Hope!

World Wide Knit in Public Day continues all week! I know it’s raining in a lot of places, but knitting in a dry coffee shop still counts as being in public, you know.

Making excellent progress!

Artist Christen Mattix of Bellingham, Washington knits in public for an hour every day: she’s knitting a rope to reach through her town from her home half a mile down to the ocean. The artist is a sculptor and painter, and conceives of this rope as “an urban drawing”.

Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia knits in public – and has a special knitting bag labelled “Prime Minster” (I think we all would, in her position!).

A perfect target for a yarnbomb!

A group in Shipley, West Yorkshire, is knitting in public to yarnbomb the town. Wool has an important role in the area’s history – the village of Saltaire was founded in the mid 19th century to house the workers from the region’s important woolen mill – and the knitters are celebrating that with some fab public displays.

Wearing one’s knitting in public, for better or worse. Much discussion kicked off by a letter to an advice columnist about a small business owner’s rejection of a potential employee because of her discomfort over the interviewee’s vest knitted from dog hair.

Obsession: Taking Better Photographs, Part 2

Part 2 of a series documenting Kate’s efforts to take a decent photograph. Part 1 appeared last week.

Step 4: Get to Know Your Camera

My choice, but there are several available for most major models of camera.

The manuals for most cameras are pretty terrible for photographers in my position. They’re sort of like computer manuals – they explain what a button does (e.g. “Av sets the camera into Aperture Priority mode”) without actually explaining what that all means and why I would want to do it.

As soon as I realized this, I bought myself a copy of a guidebook specific to my camera manual: David Busch’s Canon Powershot G12 Guide to Digital Photography. Not only does it explain what all the buttons and dials and settings do, it shows you how to use them, and why you might want to use them.

Step 5: Practice, Practice, Practice

You can’t get better at something without practicing, and it was Caro who suggested a ‘photo a day’ project.  Every day, I make a point of taking out the camera and take some photographs. Easy.

And every day, I make a point of looking at the shots I’ve taken and posting one of them to my ‘Photo a Day‘ page on my blog. They are not all good – in fact, most of them aren’t – but being forced to look through them and choose which one I like best is making me really look at the pictures I’ve taken.

And all the shots have something to teach me. For example, I love this one, except for the edge of the table on the right side, and the stray sunglasses on the left. And if I’d cropped those out, I would have lost the top of the straw.

Not bad - getting better.

However, I like the composition and the colors – the red and white of the straw really pops –  and the light is pretty good.

This is the great thing about digital photography – you’re not paying for film or developing – it costs the same to take 200 pictures as it does to take 2. And as long as you’ve got space on your memory card, you can take as many as you want. Take the same picture from 10 different angles. Take  the same picture with and without flash. Take the same picture on fully automatic mode and in other modes. Take the same picture with different settings.

Step 6: Look and Learn
Caro, photographer extraordinaire, wrote this brilliant article “10 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Finished Object Photography” for Petite Purls. She teaches by example – showing pictures of good & bad photos.

Follow Caro’s lead – look at your own photographs, and look at everyone else’s too. What do you like? What do you think works? What do you think doesn’t?

For example, this one: great concept, but I don’t like the result. Rather than just deleting it, I spent some time looking at it.

Cute dog, nice knitting, but sorta terrible photo. Good learning opportunity!

It’s all very orangey-brown: orangey-brown dog on orangey knitting on orangey-brown floor. And the framing is pretty terrible: there’s a chair leg center left, a corner of our kitchen floor top right, and part of the seat of a chair bottom right. And this was taken at night, so the flash is reflecting off the floor just above the dog.

But it’s a picture, and it taught me a lot about color. Now, wouldn’t that blanket look great against the concrete I used for the background of the picture of the book, top left? Hmm….

To Be Continued
More next week!

WWW: WWKIP, International Yarmbombing Day

Flaming June

The winner of our Flaming June kit giveaway is Maylin from Toronto. Congratulations and happy knitting! Thanks to Lanaknits for the prize.

I'll be in public. You should join me!

Big weekend coming up! Not only is it the start to World Wide Knit in Public Day (which runs an entire week this year!), it’s also International Yarnbombing Day on Saturday.

Knit or be knitted!

Kate will be at Shall We Knit in Waterloo, participating in their activities. There will be a bake sale, nail polish applications (using Soak’s fab new kit), an Indigodragonfly trunk show & dyeing demonstration, sales and other shenanigans. I’m going to be playing Knit Guru Kate, offering assistance to any and all knitting problems for $3 for 5 minutes. (If I can’t answer the question, it’s free!) All proceeds are going to Canadian Breast Cancer research.

Amy will be knitting in the line up at her favourite coffee shop as she waits for an iced coffee, while taking a quick break from working on the next issue of Knitty.

Jillian will be knitting in the car on the way home from her daughter’s diving meet in Louisville, Kentucky and is determined to find a yarn shop between Kentucky and Michigan.

Genuinely a life-long knitter!

A fab profile of the very productive 96-year-old kniter Orpha Querry, who has been at the needles for 85 years! Her eyesight began to fail 8 years ago, and so now she is “only” knitting 25 baby hats a week for donation to a local hospital.

The record for most knitters knitting together in public has once again been broken, this time by a group led by the Dorset WI, in the UK. I love that this bar keeps getting set higher!

An article about fashion trends for the upcoming winter in the southern hemisphere showcases some fun knits, and can perhaps provide inspiration for those of us thinking about projects for the fall….

"The process of knitting is like threading a story."

A great piece about the role of knitting in the Waldorf school curriculum in the early grades.  It’s an excellent discussion of the skills that knitting builds, and how it prepares young children for building other skills.