Month: November 2013

Black Friday Giveaway: Plum Rondo a la Turk

I don’t know about you, but I’m spending Black Friday with my knitting and spinning on the couch, probably watching a Harry Potter marathon with the kids.

No shopping for me.

For all of you knitters hanging at home today, here’s a giveaway for you!

Beth at Lorna’s Laces has donated a yarn pack to make Julia Farwell- Clay’s beautiful Plum Rondo a la Turk.

Plum Rondo
Plum Rondo

You know what to do.

Regular contest rules: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday December 1st. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win a yarn pack for Plum Rondo. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.
Happy knitting, happy leftovers!



WWW: The value of our work; yarny home decor ideas; festive turtle suit?

Blogger Karie Bookish writes a blog post on an important subject: the value of the work of our hands, and how to price a custom-knit project.

We may have seen these before, but it’s entirely worth looking again: Actor Eddie Redmayne modelled for Rowan 10 years ago.

Yarn-bombed light fixture! Love it!

Speaking of beautiful things to look at, French magazine Marie Claire shows knit-themed home decorating ideas for winter. The text is in French, but the pictures are self-explanatorily gorgeous.

Twitter-powered knitting machine. Funny, when I’m on Twitter my knitting productivity drops…

The UK marketing team for beer brand Budweiser has launched a new campaign to highlight the importance of designated drivers. Like the #CaribouKnits campaign, it’s driven by the use of a specific hashtag on Twitter, this time “#jumpers4des”. A knitting machine will be powered by mentions of the hashtag, making sweaters featuring snowflakes and the Clydesdale horses used in countless Budweiser marketing campaigns in the UK. The resulting sweaters will be given away in a contest.

Yarn-bombers have been at work in Indianapolis. There’s a nice video story, with a nod to the history of the activity.

A knitter discovers that math is awesome! Blogger Amanda Watson talks about how her algebra studies helped her figure out a sweater neckline. Love it!

I know it’s crochet, but can you blame me? A shark costume for your pet tortoise!

Jillian’s Spinning: Not Spinning – My First Sampler

Dropcloth Sampler
Dropcloth Sampler

I’ve finally finished my first embroidered sampler. It’s from Rebecca Ringquist. I had great fun learning all of the stitches and can’t wait start another one.

There were some stitches that I really loved.

Split stitch
Split stitch
French knots and stem stitch
French knots and stem stitch
Filling with chain stitch
Filling with chain stitch

And some things I definitely need to work on :

Not so knotty
Not so knotty
Loose threads
Loose threads and wonky satin stitch

I’ve found that buying embroidery thread is as much fun as buying yarn and fiber, and embroidery stitch dictionaries are every bit as tempting (and numerous) as knitting stitch dictionaries.

I already have a few embroidered holiday gifts in mind. I think I am thoroughly hooked on my new fiber hobby.



It’s that time of year again…

If you’re looking for ideas for gift knitting, here’s a few suggestions…

For someone you’re seeing next week:
Nozky leg warmers – especially quick in littler sizes.

For your little dancer.

The Grey Gardens turban/headband – tres chic, and a single skein!

Bonus: actually practical, too!

Mr Popper’s Penguin hot water bottle cover

Would make a pretty great stuffed animal friend, too!

Spatterdash fingerless mitts.

Love these, and they’re particularly great if you’ve got a good button stash to dive into. Who says the buttons have to match?

A coffee cup cozy.

Works both ways – protects your hands, also keeps the coffee warm. Or hot cocoa, of course..

The Knotty But Nice Hat

Perfect for fussy men (Would work for the ladies, too!)

For a generous host:

Venezia beaded napkin rings.

Simply beautiful.

Wine cozy.

Again – practical! Stops the bottles banging around in a gift bag.

For someone who takes an off-kilter approach to the season:
Marley’s Ghost

To begin with.

The Nosewarmer

Also wonderfully quick and sure to generate laughs at a secret santa gift exchange.

The Vegan Fox

I made one of these ten years ago, and I love it still.

For someone you love very very much, and who doesn’t mind if the gift is a little late:

The Hibernate blanket. 

Because it’s perfect.

The Bauble Shawl

Simply stunning.

The Latvian Vest

A tour de force.

Need Other Ideas? Go visit the pattern archive!

WWW: The 50th Anniversary; Knit Is A Feminist Issue; The Railway Knitter

This hand-knit doctor and his TARDIS are owned by Joanna Woodward of Birmingham, UK. Photo from the Guardian.

It’s no secret that we’re fans of Doctor Who here at Knitty… we’re very much looking forward to this Saturday’s 50th anniversary episode. There’a  lot of press in the UK right now, and this slideshow of items from a fan art exhibition impresses with the quantity of knitting.

I also rather like this round-up of Doctor Who themed knitting, and not just because that’s my leg…

Friend of Knitty Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, is making a special visit to Simply Socks Yarn Company in Indiana, the last weekend of November. Classes are filling fast!

Knit Is a Feminist Issue. A fantastic and thought-provoking opinion piece written by blogger The Knitting Geneologist. She writes about her knitting habit over the past few decades, and how attitudes – her own and others’ – have shifted towards gender roles and gender expectations of the craft. You may or may not agree, but it’s definitely worth the read for the insights into knitting history.

Victims of the Japanese Tsunami have banded together to help others: a group of 30 elderly women whose homes were destroyed set up a knitting group as an informal support mechanism during their stay in temporary housing. These knitters were the beneficiaries of yarn donations from around the world, and they are paying it forward by donating the fruits of their labors to Syrian refugees.

And crochet, too!

We adore this profile of Delia Wilkins, Via Rail Canada’s “Railway Knitter”. Delia crosses Canada by train four times a year, knitting all the way – wouldn’t you? – and a few years ago the staff on the train approached her with an idea: they wanted her to become official “on board entertainment”, teaching knit and crochet classes through the journey. She’s been doing it since 2011, and the response has been tremendous.

Although it’s just about the lace place you’d expect to see knitwear, knitter and knitwear designer Lindsay Degen got the call to design some items for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show… (Pictures in the article are slightly NSFW – lingerie modelling.)

It’s kinda great, isn’t it?

Although I object on principle to the use of the word “ugly”, I do rather like this line of tshirts with knittish prints… the Sere-knitty one is the best.

Jillian’s Spinning: Spinning Variegated Top in a Progression

I’m on a deadline and playing with fiber is one of my favorite ways to procrastinate. Come look at what I played with this weekend.

I love variegated top and I love playing with the colors in variegated top. This weekend I took a variegated top from Abstract Fiber (50% Merino/ 50% Silk) and made it into a progressive colorway. Instead of the color pattern being ABCABCABC I took it apart and make it AAACCCBBB. Sometimes I do this as a gradient (dark to light) sometimes I just do it in an order I like.

I took this lovely stuff with a repeating color pattern.

Abstract Fiber Vineyard colorway
Abstract Fiber Vineyard colorway

Split it in two and divided one half by color.

Divided fiber, yes, those are scissors.
Divided fiber, yes, those are scissors.

Yes, I did cut the top with scissors. I can get cleaner breaks between colors and it goes faster with scissors. The spinning police did not come and take my wheels.

I arranged the colors in the order I wanted them that day.

KB progression cut fibers lined up
Color train

Sometimes if there is a color I don’t like I just take it out. I do that all of the time with Noro yarns, there is a turquoise in Noro that I just don’t like (shhhh). That grass green kind of bugs me in this colorway, I didn’t take it out completely, but I took out half.

Then I spun. I spun low twist singles and felted them. I practiced spinning from the fold with fibers of very different staple lengths with the cut up colors. The intact half I just spun sliding longdraw.

Here’s what I got:

Regular and color progression yarn.
Regular (top left and right yarn cake) and color progression (bottom left and left yarn cake) yarn.

I like them both and I really like them together. My brain is cranking on an idea that will show both to their advantage in knitting, Hmmmmm.


Wool Week UK: A Guest Post

Today’s post is written by Allison Thistlewood, knitter and Torontonian relocated to London. Alison threw herself into the UK knitting scene, and was lucky enough to be involved in the UK Wool Week Festivities held this past October.

Kate and Knitty were kind enough to help spread the word about Wool Week (and a special yarn bombing project) – a weeklong series of events started by the Campaign for Wool in the UK and I’m happy to report back on how it all came together.

Every year sees Wool Week try something different to capture people’s attention (such as last year’s giant ball of wool and knitting needles affixed to the front of high-end department store Harvey Nichols) and this year’s Wool Week was no exception. This year John Lewis (another major department store here in the UK) donated one of the windows from their flagship store on Oxford Street in London to be dedicated to the Campaign. It was to be set up as a sparse, white living room, and slowly gain more colour as the space was yarn bombed over the course of the week.

The yarn-bombed window, getting woolier...
The yarn-bombed window, getting woolier…

Yarn bombing is one of those crazy things that’s really organic and fluid – you can’t plan for it and you can’t know what you’re going to get. Even with a picture in my mind’s eye of how the space might look, it was completely different and made even better by the creativity and talent that came together to take over the space.

The almost 130 yarn bomb bits collected from knitters and crocheters who responded to the call through Knitty and various friends’ blogs were woven into the larger installation of the window as it slowly evolved over the course of the week. Most bits were from the UK but two lovely cabled pieces came all the way from the States, and a friend from Canada coming over for a visit brought more from Toronto in her suitcase. One woman even went so far as to hunt up bits of gauge swatches she’d knit over the years and sent me a huge bundle, which I loved seeing turned into bits of book covers and “clothing” for the old patterns used as pictures on the living room wall of the display.

UK model Daisy Lowe in the wooly window
UK model Daisy Lowe in the wooly window

Various UK celebrities and crafters also knit and crocheted in the window during store hours that week – also contributing to the evolution and leaving it a little more colourful than when they arrived. One woman even crocheted a whole slipcover for the couch whilst in the window for a couple of days! And tastefully at one end of the window was a calendar of the week’s events happening in store, to let passersby know how they could participate in Wool Week.

I was lucky enough to take two classes during Wool Week, one with Rowan and one with designer Erika Knight – whose love of colour and enthusiasm was infectious – and from chatting with organisers, all of the classes sold out and the drop-in knitting circle was full every day. Conversations overheard ranged from experienced knitters helping newbies, to lapsed knitters slowly coaxing the skill back into their hands, to the delight of new knitters creating something where before there was only string.

Knitting in the women's wear department, very comfy!
Knitting in the women’s wear department, very comfy!

Wool Week may be only a week to some, but to the rest of us it’s a lifestyle, and one I’m happy to share with so many. A big thank you to everyone who contributed and helped spread the word!


Things that have made Amy’s life better, vol 1

Jillian wants me to learn how to write shorter blog posts. I expect she’s not the only one. So here goes…my first installment in a series of things that have made my life better (and hopefully will be helpful to at least one of you who reads this).

Macintosh thing:
Ever since updating to the Mountain Lion OS, I’ve had problems with my usually reliable Mac system freezing up in an un-force-quit-able way.

Both times, the problem was one of the little handy apps that mostly sit in the background and I forgot were there. First it was the Gmail notifier. I had to disable that a year ago. When the freezing started up again recently, I finally found that the culprit was an outdated version of the Dropbox app. Updated, and POOF! No more freezes.

Check your background apps for outdated versions if you’re having similar problems. The Software Update utility missed this one.


WWW: Colorway Naming Winner, Your Own Flock of Sheep, Crafting in Space

Waltzing Lobelia. Just perfect, don’t you think?

We’re thrilled to announce that Kim in Colrain, MA won the Blue Moon Fiber Arts colorway naming contest.

She came up with Waltzing Lobelia for the yarn color Tina and Amy created.

New online class provider, The Amazings, is offering a free class to new users. The Amazings is a little different from other online class sites in that they are focusing on gathering the knowledge, experience and wisdom of our elders… In their words “Preserving knowledge. Celebrating handmade. Encouraging generations to collaborate. Sharing stories.”

To honor the fallen with the work of our hands.

Veterans’ Day in the US, Remembrance Day around the Commonwealth, and Armistice Day in the UK. A moment of silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month around the world, to honor those who have served for their countries in armed conflict, and who have lost their lives. The poppy is the traditional symbol, and a group of knitters in Stafford, UK, made a beautiful and moving poppy tribute.

Knitter Judy poses with some of the fruits of her labors.

We’ve all thought about this: this knitter actually did it! Wisconsin knitter Judy Mickel got herself some sheep to raise for their wool. She has a flock of 18 Shetland Sheep, and she says that although she knows she’s not making money from them, she is covering her costs and very much enjoying her new hobby.


Not knitting, but still absolutely wonderful: crafter Karen Nyberg made this little dinosaur pal for her three-year-old son. While IN SPACE, on the International Space Station. ‘Mr. Saurus’ is made from bits and pieces she could scrounge: his outside is leftover velcro-like fabric that lines Russian food containers and he is stuffed with bits of T-shirt.

Jillian’s Spinning: Rhinebeck Fibers Up Close

I couldn’t just leave you with an image of a pile of yarn and fiber I bought at Rhinebeck, I know you need details, you need up close.

Rhinebeck goodies!
Rhinebeck goodies!

You saw my Lisa Souza haul last week, now here’s the rest.

Into the Whirled
Into the Whirled

First stop Into the Whirled. I bought a pound of Element Number 5 in Shetland (far left) for a textured shawl, and Rhinebeck in BFL/Silk (second from left) because I had too. I also bought two Falkland batts in Bigger on the Inside (left) and Captain Tightpants (right) because of pretty and becasue the slash fanfiction that instantly jumped in my mind made me laugh out loud.

Miss Babs
Miss Babs

Miss Babs was one of the booths that had a long winding line all day Saturday. I finally elbowed my way in on Sunday and bought a little yarn. Left is three skeins of Yummy in (L to R) Space Truckin, Bat Sh*t Crazy and Blue Ridge for a Color Variation shawl that I will keep for myself. I also got two skeins of Tarte in (L to R) Slate and Shaken not Stirred I will swatch with this, but I think it would be beautiful woven. Yes, you heard me right.

Enchanted Knoll
Enchanted Knoll

I finally got to shop for Enchanted Knoll batts in person! I bought two batts of Gargoyle Brownstone, shown closed, far left and open, middle. A couple of braids of Bruised Ego (SW Merino and Tussah) also leapt into my hands. Funny how that happens.

Jill Draper Makes Stuff
Jill Draper Makes Stuff

Oh, Jill Draper, how I love your yarn. I bought four skeins of mini Empire, two in Cranberry and two in Brown Sugar, and two skein of Hudson in Night Ruler. I started swatching the Cranberry Empire in the car on the way home from Rhinebeck and haven’t been able to stop. I ‘ve swatched an entire skein. I know the Cranberry is going to be a cabley long cowl. Night Ruler may become socks and Brown Sugar is destined for mittens. I went back at least three times to her booth and just stopped short of buying a sweater’s worth. Maybe the winter elves and fairies will bring me some if I’m especially good.

Yesterday she did a shop update and I noticed she has spinning fiber………..

I am astonished that I have plans for at least half of what I bought. I usually go hog wild and just buy without thinking. A new level of fiber crafting maturity or am I just running out of space for stash?