Monthly Archives: August 2012

Sock Knitting Giveaway!

Sock knitting is an obsession for a lot of people. I know it is for me.

For some people, sock designing is the obsession. And one of those people is Hunter Hammersen, author of the remarkable Silk Road Socks, and her latest book, The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet.

I want to knit them all.

This new book features 20 patterns inspired by vintage botanical illustrations, and all feature Hunter’s fabulous patterning and attention to detail. There’s a great mix of socks and accessories.

The Loasa Socks. I definitely want to knit these. And if you do, enter the contest!

And for today’s giveaway, we’ve got two prizes for obsessed socks knitters:

The Big Prize: a copy of the book + an e-book copy (value: $26.95), and a skein of Rune sock yarn from Barking Dog Yarns to make the Loasa socks (pictured above) from the book (value: $26.95). Total prize value $53.90.

The Excellent Second Prize: a copy of the book + an e-book copy (value: $26.95)

You know how it works: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, September 5th. Two comments will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question, one for each prize. If the commenters answer correctly they will win the prize. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.

Thanks to Hunter and Suzanne at Barking Dog Yarns!

WWW: “No Yarns of Danger Could Deter This Old Lady”

Celebrating 30 years.

September 15th to 23rd, The Bradford Guild of Handweavers, Spinners and Dyers will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. A special exhibition is being held at Gibson Mill, Hardcastle Crags, Yorkshire, (a fabulous historic venue, a site both beautiful and very important in the history of textile manufacture) and there will be demonstrations, opportunities to meet and talk to crafters, and see their work.

From the archives of the New York Times, a story from 1908 – “No Yarns of Danger Could Deter This Old Lady”. An encounter between a happy knitter and a safety-concerned train conductor. I love how timeless this story is – I had a similar conversation myself recently.

On a different note, wouldn’t that headline look terrific on a t-shirt… ?

Sue, “the knitting lady of Cleveland”

Australian knitter Sue is interviewed on radio talking about a 50-meter (! – that’s 55 yds) scarf that she made to donate to a charity program…. She is a keen charity knitter, making items to be donated to orphanages overseas.  She admits to knitting in front of the TV, and knits for the pleasure of being able to help others.

I want to join this yarn-bombing group from Northern Ireland – S.O.C.K., Secret Outdoor Crocheting and Knitting– just to get a t-shirt. Although I suppose if they’re supposed to be secret, they won’t have t-shirts…

Bonus points to the reporter for excellent punning in a yarn-bombing article.

Another profile of the SOCK group from the BBC. I adore the colorful masks the yarnbombers wear while being interviewed. (Only one pun in this report, though.)

Results from Colorado’s Morgan County Fair Home Economics Section include winners in knitting, crocheting and tatting. There’s a broad range of categories, from the expected afghans and hats, to 3 kinds of doilies, knitted edgings and doll clothes.

Fans of BBC Two’s mystery series Vexed were amused to see a knitting needle used as a murder weapon in a recent episode… (Don’t try this at home, kids!)

If you’re keeping track, this is the first reminder to get started on your Holiday knitting for 2012. And this is the second.

FO: Godzilla Ridge

Giant lizard, yes?

A few months ago, I started a giant version of the tremendous Lizard Ridge blanket, using Noro Hitsuji – the giant version of the Kureyon yarn that the Lizard Ridge design uses.  I called it “Godzilla Ridge” because my sci-fi fan hubby informs me that Godzilla is a giant lizard.  (If you don’t know the LiIzard Ridge pattern, I insist you go visit the page now and drool. It’s a masterpiece – a brilliant use for a sometimes challenging variegated yarn.)

I finished the Godzilla version this past weekend, and I am absolutely thrilled. It’s turned out better even than I had hoped.


I love it!

Finished size: an absolutely amazing 41 x 68 inches. What’s amazing about this is it’s just about the same size as the original blanket, the one I worked with 24 balls of Kureyon. It’s a good size for a small bed, or a big couch. Plenty of room for two people or one person and a big dog to cuddle under.

To give you a sense of how the Godzilla version compares to the standard version, here’s a detail shot of the two of them side by side.

Little and large.

New on top of original one, to compare size.

The details: I used 6 balls of Noro Hitsuji in color #4, and a long 8mm (US 11) circular needle.  Gauge after blocking is 9 sts/12 rows in 4 ins in st st.

The original blanket is worked on a pattern of 14 sts + 1. The full size one-color version is worked on 183 sts; the squares version created from 24 blocks worked on 43 sts. I cast on the equivalent of 2 squares worth of stitches – 83  (6 x 14 + 1). I worked the pattern as written, alternating two balls of yarn, until I’d just about run out. This gave me 12 repeats of the stripe pattern, which is the equivalent of three squares in length.

Quick, easy and gorgeous!

If I can get a full-size blanket by casting on two squares worth of stitches in width, and working the equivalent of three squares in length…. I had an idea for a further variation:  There are 14 colorways of the Hitsuji, all gorgeous and fabulous in their own way. You could work the squares as written, on 43 stitches, and create a 6-square (2 across, 3 down) blanket from 6 different colorways, in a nod to the original squares version.

(Note, if you choose to do this, another knitter told me that she ran a little short of yarn when she worked a 43-stitch square with the Hitsuji – skip the very first row of the pattern, thereby starting the first repeat with Row 2 rather than 1, but work 1-12 for the rest of the square.)

Note that I haven’t yet put a border on the blanket – my original has an applied i-cord border which I’m very happy with – I don’t know that the new one needs it.


WWW: Research & Academics Special Edition

A demonstration – “whimsical” indeed.

Computer researchers have developed a way for a computer to visually mimic a knitted fabric. Cem Yuksel, Jonathan Kaldor, Steve Marschner and Doug James developed the method while graduate students at Cornell University, and presented their work at the recently at the 39th International Conference and Exhibition of Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH).

To realistically simulate a knitted fabric in the past, a computer graphic artist would have to model the 3-D structure of each individual stitch. The method developed by the Cornell team creates a 3-D model of a single stitch and then combines multiple copies into a mesh, like tiles in a mosaic, that is projected onto a shape to form a “garment”. To demonstrate the method, they dressed a sheep in a rather fetching ripple-knit onesie with ribbed legs.

Knitting, Mathematics and Feminism: A nice piece on the BBC website profiling some “21st-century” knitters and the way that the craft has shifted since the writer’s granny did it. Dr Sarah-Marie Belcastro, knitter and professor of mathematics, was interviewed about how she uses knitted fabric to demonstrate complex concepts in topology. (It’s a shame that the main image looks suspiciously like crochet, but it’s otherwise great.)
Sarah-Marie has a whole page on her website dedicated to mathematical knitting, and she’s rounded up an amazing number of articles and projects that will appeal to both the numerically-inclined and the simply curious. There are also links to talks and classes.

I wish I could go.

There will be several sessions about knitting in the 2012 edition of Textile Society of America Biennial Symposium, to be held this September in Washington, D.C.

Quoting from the Society’s material: “Throughout human history and across the globe, whether as intimate artifacts of interpersonal relations or state-level monumental works, textiles have been imbued with political importance. Textiles can communicate and construct status, ethnicity, gender, power, taste, and wealth, and have functioned at the nexus of artistic, economic, and political achievement in human culture. As trade goods, creative medium, and social artifact, textiles have been instrumental in generating, supporting, and challenging political power. The Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium, befittingly held in Washington, DC during the presidential election this fall will explore the crossroads of Textiles & Politics.”

Sounds absolutely fascinating. The knitting sessions include a series entitled “New Scholarship, New Direction”, featuring Karen Kendrick-Hands reporting on the progress of the Knitting Heritage Museum, Susan Strawn of the Dominican University talking about Knitting and Scholarship, and Jennifer Lindsay of The Smithsonian Associates/Corcoran College of Art and Design on Mary Walker Phillips and the Knit Revolution of the 1960s.

Less academic, perhaps, but absolutely wonderful: Cast On, Baby! KnitKnack yarn shop in Maplewood New Jersey has created their own version of this summer’s hit “Call Me Maybe”. Knitty gets a shout-out, even. I dare you not to sing along!

Spinning Tuesays: Planning for Handspun Knitting (with a teenager imposed deadline)

I thoroughly sorted through my huge pile of handspun limiting myself to things I am excited about knitting with right now.

One basketful, thankyouverymuch.

Then I got the knitting spinner’s paralysis, “If I use it, it will be gone.” “What if I make the wrong thing with it?” etc, etc.

Then my daughter came to my recuse yesterday. The teen proclaims, ” I want several slouchy hats for this fall.” Then reaches into my basket of precious handspun and says, “I like these”, choosing 3 singles yarns.

Spunky Eclectic BFL, my own dyed BFL, CJKoho BFL

When any teenager asks you to knit, you know the window of opportunity is short. I quickly flipped through my stitch dictionaries and have a swatching plan. School starts on September 4 and she’d, “really, really, really, I love you mommy” like them by then.

On my mark, get set, go!


First Fall WIPs & FOs; Contest!

Contest! We’re giving away a yarn pack to knit the fabulous Bauble Shawl from the First Fall issue.

Don’t you want to knit one yourself?

The prize is two skeins of Miss Babs Yummy sock yarn, with a value of $48.

The usual rules apply for our giveaway: Leave a comment on this post before midnight, eastern time, on Wednesday, August 21, 2012. A comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If s/he answers correctly s/he will win our prize. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.

Thanks to Miss Babs for providing our prize!

There’s some excellent work going on from our First Fall issue…

To tempt you further, here’s an excellent Bauble, created by Megknitsalot

Perfectly wonderful.

Typewrittenlion‘s fabulous oversized Norma blanket.


Cheriknit‘s Portlander Mitts

Matching one’s nails to one’s mitts: it’s the cool thing to do!

Workwoman‘s Unleaving

Just great. Fab choice of color.

Sndra‘s Anja Beret. Now, it may just be because I love orange, but this picture makes me happy.

The rest of the hat is pretty good, too!

Knitbender‘s Gentle Teresais coming along very well.

Can’t wait to see this grow!

And Lusianne‘s Eisen is very promising…

Love it!

How is your First Fall knitting coming along? Will you be ready when the weather turns cool?

WWW: A knitter’s life of long ago; the ergonomics of knitting; a New York subway encounter

Image from the film ’55 Socks’ courtesy National Film Board of Canada.

Insights into life long ago of a knitter: an obituary in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper about a knitter who learned the craft as a child in her native Holland. Martina Sophia Zandbergen Van Egmond’s story includes surviving four very hard years of Nazi occupation, in a family of ten. This brings to mind the poem and the animated short film “55 Socks“, which tells a story about knitters unravelling a bedspread to make 55 socks to barter for food during the worst time of this occupation, the ‘winter of hunger’ 1944-45.

Knitting designer and teacher Ann McCauley draws on her years of experience as a dancer to bring us some insight into the ergonomics of knitting, and shares excellent tips for knitting in comfort and without strain.

We told you a while ago about the yarnbombing of a DC-3 plane that sits outside the Yukon Transportation Museum, in the northwest of Canada. This feature on the CBC website profiles one of the knitters who contributed to the project, and has a fun time-elapse video showing how the plane cozy was put together.

There are no words.

Kaffe Fasset strikes again: his pattern for the incomparable Jubilee Throw is available for free download from Rowan Yarns. A combination of both Fair Isle and Intarsia techniques are used to create the blanket. Rowan rates it as for “experienced” knitters. I would say “experienced knitters who are seeking a once-in-a-lifetime project that might take years to knit and aren’t afraid of a few thousand ends to weave in”. Honestly, though, I think this is the most amazing project I’ve ever laid eyes on.

A knitter discusses an encounter on the New York subway. I’ve done a lot of knitting on the New York subway myself, and because there are so many people from all over the world, you can expect every possible response: smiles of recognition, puzzled frowns, giggles and confusion. New Yorkers see everything on the subway, I love being part of that pageant.


Friend of Knitty Laura Nelkin has just returned from a two-week tour of Iceland with her family. She’s blogging about it here – the photos are incredible! She promises a post about the knitting scene in the near future.

Speaking of amazing family photos, Megan, the founding owner of Lettuce Knit, has started her new life with her family in Newfoundland. She’s started a blog, and although it’s not about knitting, it’s worth visiting to see her wonderful photographs of Newfoundland, and the joy in her kids’ faces. We in Toronto miss her, but we know she’s having a wonderful time. (Don’t worry, Lettuce Knit is safe in the hands of its new owners, Sylvie and Angela.)

Never knit a sock? Join the Sunday Swing-along!

© Kristel Nyberg

Posts on Twitter today alerted us to a new knitalong.,  says “Beginning next week, we will offer a step-by-step tutorial on how to make cuff-down socks from the cast-on to the bind-off. ” Read more here.

The pattern they’ll be using is our Sunday Swing sock, shown at left.

Lovely idea! We’ll be looking forward to seeing some completed socks when the knitalong is over! Have fun, everyone!


WWW: Omelet Parasol, Chicago Yarn Crawl and Knitting as Theater

Wow. Just wow.

As featured on Knitted Bliss’ Modification Mondays, the Omelet shawl, reworked as a parasol.

Love this blog post on a kid’s “Ziggy Stardust” cardigan. The best part is the time-elapse photo of the sweater-in-progress.

Organizers at Blackpool Grand Theatre in the UK are looking for knitters to help create the set for the upcoming world premiere of the crime drama spoof Inspector Norse. The show is the brainchild of comedy duo Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding, and promises to be an evening of mystery, laughter and yarn.

A week of events.

The Third Annual Chicago Yarn Crawl is underway. 27 stores are participating, and it runs until this Sunday.

Colorado knitter Jamie Drendel confesses rather poetically to her knitting addiction.

The knitter and singer in action.

Knitter, singer and podcaster Melanie Gall (of the SavvyGirls), has launched a one-woman theater show inspired by the WW1-era knitting songs featured on her “Knitting All the Day” CD. She launched the show this summer and it’s touring Fringe and theater festivals around North America.

Spinning Tuesdays: You Know You Are a Spinner When….

Your family goes on a 10 hour road trip and you try to take your wheel. Well, not just take it along, but try to take it to spin on while tooling down the road. Please don’t tell me you haven’t at least thought about it.

Sidekick in the front seat

My Sidekick is my smallest wheel. It didn’t fit in the front.

Sidekick back seat

Or the the back. Of course, now I have another reason to want a Pocket Wheel or a Hansen Mini Spinner.


Thank goodness for spindles!

A portable drying rack

Dashboards make wonderful drying racks.

Do you spin in the car? What do you use?

Happy trails on all of your late summer travels!