Monthly Archives: June 2014

WWW: On the safety of knitted bunting; the Yellow Submarine; Fair Isle knitting history & evolution

The Fair-Isle Jumper by Stanley Cursiter, painted in 1923. Image from City of Edinburgh Council, City Art Centre.

A most excellent piece on the Fraser Knitwear company’s website, talking about the evolution of Fair Isle knitting in the 1920s and 1930s. Fascinating reading, and some lovely eye-candy.

Inverness College, a division of the University of Highlands and Islands in Scotland has just announced a new Honours degree program as part of its Business department – Craft Design.

The course will focus on ceramics, print and knitted textiles and jewellery design, with a view to helping individuals set up their own business or develop their skills further. The program will kick of this September, and interested candidates must contact the college by July 4th.

Members of Hartley Bay First Nation community, in British Columbia, Canada, are using yarn as a peaceful protest against the use of oil supertankers in the Douglas Channel, as part of the Northern Gateway Pipeline project.

Over 200 community members participated in the project, which saw a 4.6-kilometre (3 mile) long crocheted rope stretched across B.C.’s Douglas Channel in a symbolic blockade of the future path of the ships.

Knit designer and teacher Ash Kearns is hosting a 50-minute Knit In‘ at the Hillside Music Festival, being held July 25-27 in Guelph, Ontario.

Ash hopes to encourage existing knitters to bring their work and skills to share with others, to teach the basics and bring some new knitters into the fold, and to make some new friends.

Just makes me smile.

Following up on a story from a few weeks ago: the Holbrook submarine, HMAS Otway, is now officially a Yellow Submarine.

Hundreds of tiny little hand-knitted cycling jerseys. Just wonderful. And perfectly safe.

You might have been following the story about the initiatives to knit cycling-themed bunting to decorate towns in the UK that will be visited on this year’s Tour de France route. In a very silly turn, the council for one of the towns declared that the knitted bunting was “unsafe”, in the fears that if it became wet with rain, it might bend or otherwise damage the lamp-posts it was tied to.

Cooler heads have prevailed in Cambridge, and the bunting has officially been declared safe.

Speaking of sensible, wise words from a knitter about color choices for charity knitting.

Jillian’s Spinning: A Quick Trip to Portland

Our family went to Portland to celebrate my in-law’s 50th anniversary, it was a blissful 3 days. Why is it so hard to get my brain and sleep back in sync traveling west to east? I’m still a little blurry, but here’s a quickie recap.



We drank, we ate, I bought books at Powell’s, we stayed at the Kennedy School , I even spun at the Japanese Garden.

I squeezed in a trip to Twisted!  A super fast the-husband-and-kids-are-in-the-car-outside trip.



Mer helped me pick out some Knitted Wit yarn for a little fair isle. I saw Quince yarns in the wild. I visited a wall of Blue Moon Fiber Arts and petted a whole bunch of fibers from new to me dyers. I wish this store was in my neighborhood!

But what did I buy?

Twisted haul

Twisted Haul

Fiber from Knitted Wit and Wonderland Dyeworks, Knitted Wit Rambouillete yarn, Hazel Yarn sock, Swans Island fingering weight yarn, Socks That Rock – I didn’t have time to meet up with Tina, so I worshiped her yarn instead. And some Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails for stitching.

I’ve been home a couple of days and am already trying to figure out how soon I can get back to Portland.

Now for another cup of coffee!


I’m shameless. I knit in public pretty much every day. Although I remember a dark time when I didn’t. Not long after moving to Toronto — 20 or so years ago — I was given tickets to a Blue Jays’ game. I took my knitting with me, naturally. And naturally, I worked on it, but I confess I felt a little sheepish about it. In hindsight, it was perhaps that it was a colorwork project, and I had several balls of yarn attached and more than a few loose ends…

But now, I relish knitting in public, and I love the sometimes-funny looks I get. And that’s what June is all about, for knitters. We celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day (Facebook site). It used to be a single day, but it’s celebrated on a variety of dates, depending on where you are, and what else is on your calendar. And that’s sort of the point. Really, any date should be celebrated with a bit of knitting in public (well, maybe not on Polar Vortex days…).

I took part in a couple of Knitting in Public events over the past few weeks… At Shall We Knit, in early June.  Kim and Ron of indigodragonfly did a yarn dyeing demo.


Knitting, and related activities, in public.

I worked on my circular shawl yesterday, on the patio in front of Lettuce Knit.

In the great outdoors, outside Lettuce Knit.

In the great outdoors, outside Lettuce Knit.

A group in Toronto also knitted at Gibson House. Not only are they knitting outdoors, but they yarnbombed their own chairs.

How good is this?

How good is this?

Yarn-dyer Cat of Blueberry Pie Studios wins this year, for knitting on a rollercoaster. I believe it was a kiddie-coaster, but even so.

Bonus points for danger!

Bonus points for danger!

Did you Knit in Public?

WWW: The Great London Yarn Crawl; Franklin Habit wows in Vogue Knitting; Meet the Tech Editors!

glycLogoThe Great London Yarn Crawl is returning on Saturday 20 September 2014! As last year, their proceeds from the event will be donated to Refuge, the UK’s leading charity supporting women and children victims of domestic violence.

Brought to the UK by two North American ex-pats, Allison Decker Thistlewood and Rachel Brown, the Yarn Crawl is a great way to see lots of London’s Yarn Shop treasures and meet like-minded knitters during the journey!

Franklin Habit designed this beautiful vest for Vogue Knitting's Early Fall issue.

Franklin Habit designed this beautiful vest for Vogue Knitting’s Early Fall issue.

We couldn’t be prouder of our Franklin Habit — look at this delicious thing he’s concocted for the lucky people at Vogue Knitting magazine! Stunning, exquisite and really, just perfect.

We’re proud to know you, Franklin.

It’s your turn to get to know someone…two someones, actually. Our Garment Tech Editors, Ashley Knowlton and Ruth Garcia-Alcantud! You’ll find their lovely mugshots and bios on our Staff  page. Without our crack Tech Editing team (which includes, of course, Managing Tech Editor Kate Atherley), Knitty would, basically, suck. So go learn more about these amazing, skilled women.

We think they’re awesome.

I am off on a quick family vacation today for my in-laws 50th anniversary. We’re flying so there is not much space, but I’m still bringing spinning. Check out my little kit.

My plane travel spinning kit.

My plane travel spinning kit.

A little featherweight Bosworth spindle and 2 ounces of Spunky Eclectic 50/50 camel/silk (color Lakeside). Because I am ever the optimist, I also have straws to slide full cops onto and a collapsible niddy noddy from Ashford.  It all fits neatly into a small project bag from Madbird. I’m working on a new yarn idea, I don’t know if I want it to be a 2 or 3 ply. I should get enough spun for swatching on this trip.

How small is my kit? Well the new issue of PLY came yesterday & it not even as long as the magazine.

Spinning bag and plane reading.

Spinning bag and plane reading.

What do you take for travel spinning?

WWW: New Knitty, Knitter in Residence and Rhinebeck is Coming



First Fall Knitty is live!



Knitter in Residence

Knitter in Residence


The University of Glasgow has a job posting for a Knitter in Residence. I wonder how many applications they’ll get?




Delaware is for Cables from First Fall Knitty

Delaware is for Cables from First Fall Knitty



Chari on Ravelry is trying to collect 300 handknit hats by September for the homeless in Savannah, Georgia. If you can help there’s more info in her Ravelry group, Hatalanche. There are lots of hat patterns in the Knitty Library!






For those of you counting there are 129 days until Rhinebeck. Workshops are already up!


Taylor Swift did needlepoint for Ed Sheeran.


Jillian’s Spinning: Standing and Spinning

Lately I’ve been feeling really stiff after a long bouts of spinning, and I wondered if I could stand and spin with my miniSpinner.

Being a packrat and being married to a packrat has it’s distinct advantages, because the husband went into the garage and brought out something he had rigged for a tradeshow.



It’s an old tripod with a piece of wood attached. Bonus points for the oilcloth.

The underside

The underside

My miniSpinner sits perfectly on top. There’s even a bungee cord to hold it since the hub used it for a little laptop.

Secured with a bungee

Secured with a bungee

I need to play with the height a little, but so far it is fabulous!

Standing and spinning!

Standing and spinning!

Anyone want to come spin in my backyard?


WWW: Knitting in Public; knitting flora.

Once again, this month marks World Wide Knit in Public Day. Or Week. Heck, if it were up to me, I’d make it a month. Different cities and organizations mark this day at different points during the month, but no matter where and when you do it, we think that KIP-ping is an excellent way to spend an afternoon.

This Saturday, Shall We Knit is hosting a variety of shenanigans and yarny fun, and I’ll be there. Lettuce Knit in Toronto is hosting an event June 22nd, and I’ll be there with very special guest Dexter the dog.

Event listings can be found on the site: Canada, US, UK. So far, 27 countries have events registered!

Definitely counts as knitting in public.

Toronto’s annual TTC Knitalong date has been announced for this year: July 12, 2014. Toronto’s knitters will be taking over our streetcars and knitting their way around the city, touring yarn stores, knitting up some fun, and puzzling other commuters.

More details soon to be announced, on the blog. Registration opens June 14th, and this even sells out fast.

Image from the artist’s website. Click to enlarge and see the detail.

LOVE this: artist and former biology student Tatyana Yanishevsky knits plants and flowers. She studied biology and art at Brown University, and for her senior thesis in visual art, Yanishevsky knit eight anatomically correct flowers.

More info about her work on her website. The level of detail is incredible, and knitting is the ideal medium to represent her subjects: “You have these petals and these veins that bring water and nutrients to different parts of the plant,” says the artist. “I can copy that in knitting by having cables and ridges.” She uses yarn of different weights for different parts of the flower, and lace stitches create the airier and more ethereal parts of the plants.

What you can’t see from the photos is the size of the items… her tiger lily is five feet wide, a little larger than the actual item.

This past winter, nineteen of her works were on display at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Scientists and artists alike have praised her work for its beauty, but also its educational value: these large-scale models are an ideal way to examine the tiny details that we can’t always see or appreciate.

Speaking of plants, a group in Canberra, Australia, has kicked off a program to encourage knitters to make scarves for trees at the local arboretum. The trees will be dressed up for Australian National Tree Day, July 25th.

Celebrity knitter alert: apparently Harry Styles of boy-band One Direction is a knitter.

Jillian’s Spinning: Woolen, Worsted and Woolen-N-Worsted

Last week I accidentally plied a woolen singles and a worsted singles together, making woolen-n-worsted 2-ply instead of a woolen or worsted 2-ply.

I spun more singles and plied woolen to woolen and worsted to worsted and knit all of them into swatches.

Here are close ups of the woolen 2-ply and worsted 2-ply – they are both Corriedale.

Woolen 2-ply left and worsted 2-ply right.

Woolen 2-ply left and worsted 2-ply right.

As I’d expect woolen is fuzzier and worsted is smoother. The worsted stitches look crisper too.

Here is the woolen-n-worsted swatch:

woolenNworsted swatch

woolen-n-worsted swatch

Smooth-ish and the stitches are a little squirrelier than a worsted. Here’s a closer look:

woolenNworsted closer

woolen-n-worsted closer

I can see the two different plies in this one, especially in the garter stitch at the top and bottom. It’s interesting too, that this swatch is heavier than the woolen swatch but not as heavy as the worsted swatch. It hits the middle in all things. There is nothing wrong with this yarn, I would use it for any project, I would even sneak it in with a wholly woolen or worsted project, but probably around the edges.

Can you see the difference? Would you knit with it?