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A plaid August for me

E-mails have been flying back and forth across the Atlantic for a little while, and the result I can now share with you:

I’m going to UK Knit Camp this August in Stirling, Scotland.

I am so excited about this, I can’t even stand it. Have you looked at the website? A world of teachers are participating, many of whom  have never been to the UK to teach before. It’s only fair. North America has had an abundance of  super-cool knitting events, including (of course) Sock Summit, Stitches events, Knitters’ Connection, and tons more. So now the other side of the ocean gets a chance, and I’m so thrilled that I get to be a part of it!

I’m teaching three classes during the week, two of them brand new!

Here are the details:

Wednesday morning: Easy non-wool socks
This brand-new class is all about knitting socks without wool. As a bonus, Jo (head honcho of Knit Camp) has arranged to bring in a whole bunch of non-wool sock yarns not usually available in the UK for you to purchase, if you need to.

In this class, you’ll learn my super-easy toe-up sock recipe which I designed specifically to work with the characteristics of non-wool sock yarns.  It features an easy gusset and a heel flap built with my tweaked Japanese short-row technique, all 100% maths free.  Knit one, and you might just want this to be your sock recipe for life.  The pattern gives you lots of room to improvise, should you want to add texture, colourwork or lace to the foot and/or leg.

And if you want to use this pattern with wool yarn after the class, I won’t be bothered one bit.

Tuscany Shawl: Image © Interweave Press

Thursday morning: Tuscany lace shawl –>
This class will introduce you to the joys of knitting lace the easy way.  Our project will be the Tuscany Shawl, from my book No Sheep for You. Knit in a smooth worsted-weight silk yarn, it feels amazing against the skin, and most importantly, it looks way harder to knit than it actually is.

We’ll learn all the tricks that make knitting lace a pleasure, including how to read the landscape of your lace, and the easy way to block your finished shawl.

If you’ve wanted to knit lace but don’t like charts, or are just a little shy of the whole process, this is the class for you.

Friday morning: Making the next Monkey, Greenjeans or Mrs Beeton
In this class, I’ll share some of Knitty’s secrets with you.  I’ll talk about what makes a pattern stand out among the hundreds submitted to Knitty every year, what makes a good pattern, pattern-writing techniques that make a difference, what makes a pattern go viral, the five things you can do to ensure that you have the best possible chance of getting published, and the five things you can do that will blow it for you.

Please bring along any patterns you are considering submitting for publication, along with a knitted sample.  I promise to be gentle as I share my feedback with you — there is no meanness in my class! I got to evaluate lots of sock patterns at Sock Summit last year, and everyone — even those not submitting at the time — told me they got a lot out of the class.


I’m also going to be speaking at the Clapo-tea (can you stand the cuteness?). I’ve been asked to join the Luminary Panel (really? me? eee!), and the fashion show will be full of Knitty garments and accessories.

Because Jo and I just met at the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic and decided to make this happen in rather short notice, my classes have just been added to the website, which means they’re wide open right now. It’d make my day (month!) if they’d fill up quickly.

I hope to meet you on the other side of the ocean this August!

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Fresh from TNNA

crazy Columbus art car, parked near the convention center

TNNA [The National NeedleArts Association] is the organization of manufacturers of almost everything we all knit with, from yarn to needles to notions to bags and more. Going to the TNNA trade show in Columbus, Ohio, every June is a tradition for those of us in the industry. Knitty first attended TNNA in 2004, and every year, what we see gets more interesting.

Most importantly, we get to meet in person the folks that make the stuff we love, sometimes after having corresponded by e-mail for years. It’s pretty neat.

So this week’s What’s What Wednesday is devoted to what we saw and a few peeks at what you might see in issues to come.

All photos were taken with my iPhone, so they’re of modest quality. Next year, I bring the good camera.


Knitwear designer ##http://www.robinmelanson.com/##Robin Melanson## in super-fabulous sunglasses. We'll get her in Knitty one of these days.

Stephen West models ##http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall09/PATTcolonnade.php/##Colonnade##, this time in a new smaller version which you'll find ##http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/little-colonnade##here##.

Larissa from ##http://www.OffhandDesigns.com/##Offhand Designs## showing us her new bag hardware on a felted sweater turned into a bag...more on this in a future issue!

We loved these ##http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEss10/PATTwanderer.php/##Wanderer socks##, knit in ##http://www.lornaslaces.net##Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock##, shown at their booth!

##http://www.kauni.com/index.php?lang=english##Kauni## had a booth this year...it was 100% delicious.

One picture is never enough.

Welcoming new yarnies ##http://www.millamia.com/##MillaMia## from Sweden, run by two sisters with the loveliest British accents.

Millamia is a wool yarn with kid-centric pattern support...really fashionable and truly adorable

The awesome Norah Gaughan poses for a teaser photo...you'll be seeing something from her in a future issue, made from ##http://www.berroco.com/shade_cards/remix_sh.html/##Remix##, my favorite find from this year's show. Wool-free tweed, light as air, made from recycled fibers including silk, cotton and linen. Thank you, Berroco!

New from Knowknits, the ##http://www.knowknits.com/products_01.html##GoKnit bag## is now available in faux-fur. Can you stand it? Soft as anything, too. Two other new colors have been added: a pale purple and a soft gold, seen here.

##http://ysolda.com##Ysolda's## booth was the talk of the show...tea and cakes every day at 3! The booth was furnished like a living room, and was a great place to hang out. Previews of Ysolda's upcoming book -- Little Red in the City, due out this September -- could be seen as well as garments from ##http://twistcollective.com##Twist Collective## and ##http://shetlandtrader.blogspot.com##The Shetland Trader##.

I happened to stop by when Ysolda was taping a segment for Knitting Daily TV, with host Eunny Jang. Marilyn Murphy of ##http://interweave.com##Interweave## watches over the proceedings.

Stephen West, Casey (##http://ravelry.com##Ravelry Guru##) and Laura Chau (##http://www.cosmicpluto.com##Cosmicpluto##) watch on as Ysolda and Eunny prepare for the segment. Casey's not angry, just concentrating as he works.

Was this year's TNNA a success? Absolutely Yes! (Artwork by ##http://www.1800cartoon.com/##Paul Palnik## Â -- his studio is next to the ##http://jenisicecreams.com/##Jeni's## location on High Street. Frustratingly, it's never been open when I've been there.)

More of That Car

Overall, I found the show to be much more upbeat than it has been in the past few years. The floors weren’t necessarily crowded with attendees, but those there — from what I was told — were placing orders. Some booths were busy the entire show; others had spurts and quiet times. The trends this time? Well, I was a little surprised to see what seems to be a small resurgence of novelty yarn from a few manufacturers. But overall, I found most manufacturers were adding yarns with longevity to their lines…rich wools, creative new blends, and lots of deep fall colors were everywhere.

Jillian and I were also delighted to see much more spinning fiber on display than at any previous show. Beautiful indie-dyed wools of all description, silks and delicious blends. Watch Knittyspin, where you’ll see these beauties in an upcoming Fiber Fiesta feature.

There was an aisle mostly dedicated to newer products, many of which you’ll soon be seeing in our Cool Stuff section in upcoming issues. The Yarn Roundtable closet is now restocked with a huge selection of yarn, with more to come as manufacturers and dyers return home and start shipping their TNNA orders.

Yes, there was a lot of Jeni’s during this trip for Jillian and I. We needed to keep up our strength, you know! [This year’s favorites for me were the Meyer Lemon Blueberry and the Salty Caramel. Jillian favored the Goat Cheese with Roasted Cherries.]

There was more than I could ever capture at the show itself, but this gives you a taste of our weekend with the fiber peoples. For more coverage, don’t miss Clara’s post at Knitter’s Review, next Thursday — KR is on an every-other-week posting schedule for the summer, Clara tells me. Reading her event wrap-ups is a must, whether I’ve been at the event or not. The Ravelry folks did a great job of covering the floor during the show — you can find their pictures and video at their Hello TNNA twitter feed.

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Multiple personalities?

If you’ve been reading the KnittyBlog for a long time, it might be sounding a little different to you lately.

It used to be all Amy all the time. Which can be anything from amusing to annoying, depending on your perspective. But mostly, that didn’t really reflect the true backbone of Knitty. Sure, Amy does lots of stuff and is the big boss, but there are other super-important Knitty people that, if you don’t know yet, you will soon.

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What’s new?

Quite a lot!


The Knitgrrl Guide To Professional Knitwear Design

Many of us have been eagerly awaiting the publication of this book, written by Shannon Okey [the Knitgrrl herself].

Well, the book went from manuscript to finished, printed copy in significantly less than a year…which is one of the benefits of being a

1) motivated author
2) experienced self-publisher

…and Shannon is both!

This book has promised to be as honest a volume as has ever been written about what it’s like to design for a living [or part of a living]. “Written by an industry insider, the Guide takes a comprehensive, unflinching look behind the scenes that no knit or crochet designer can afford to be without. Includes interviews with top designers, editors and professionals who tell it like it is so you can hit the ground running, a guide to responsible social media use, information on distribution, printing, online publishing and much, much more.”

Can’t wait to read it!


Lots of knitters have been turning their hands to quilting lately. So this new Patchwork Pattern Maker from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London comes along at a great time. It’s free, and turns an image into a series of geometric shapes, which the quilter can then use as a template for a quilt top.

As a lapsed quilter [my current carpal tunnel condition is a result of that previous obsession], this makes me want to reach for my rotary cutter!


StitchinKnitâ„¢ font by Adriprints

For knitters who want to publish their designs, or just share their work with friends, having a good charting font can be a real help. There’s a brand-new font from Adriprints that looks fabulous: it’s called StitchinKnitâ„¢.

Three versions — regular, chunky and handdrawn  — cost a mere $6. Mac and PC versions both available. Awesome.

P.S. My friend Dawn reminds me to be excited also about the crochet font they have…right here!

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It’s Wednesday!

Have you been wondering if an iPad is worth buying? Read what knitter/designer Amy Swenson has to say on the subject. [Neither of us have any financial stake in Apple or iPads, by the way. We’re just geeks who like toys.]


O-Wool has new owners — the Tunney Wool Company. Glad to see this brand continue!


i ate the whole thing. and then wore the shirt home.

What is this TNNA everyone’s talking about? It’s The National Needlework Association, and people in the industry use the abbreviation as shorthand to refer to the semi-annual tradeshow.

The biggest one of the year happens next weekend in Columbus, Ohio, and yarn companies, manufacturers of bags and needles and notions, publishers and designers will all descend on the city to find out what’s new.

Many of them will walk across the street to the North Market for a daily dose of Jeni’s Ice Cream, too. Ice cream consumption doesn’t count when we’re working, right?


This weekend, many of our Knitterati are off to Squam. What’s a Squam? Not really sure, but it sounds fabulous. It’s an art camp in New Hampshire, and Toronto’s own Yarn Harlot is on her way there as I type this, as are Ysolda Teague, Jess and Casey from Ravelry, and many more.

Sounds like something to pencil into your calendar for 2011, no?

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Introducing Obsession Thursdays!

Around the KnittyBlog, Thursdays are for obsessing. There are four of us here, and each of us have our own obsessions. And they change, so this could be the most interesting-weird day of the week.

Only time will tell.

big smoke by butter LONDON

Today, I’m obsessing about online beauty shopping. I saw a link on a post by one of my favorite bloggers and it sent me off to investigate.

Jane Brocket has excellent color sense.  So when she recommends a list of colors, I look. In this case, it’s nail polish made by a company [from California?] called butter LONDON. I know, silliness. But their colors are awesome and the names even moreso.

The shimmery blue is called big smoke.

HRH by butter LONDON

The purple is called HRH. All their products are free of the big bad three: toluene, formaldehyde and no DBP. This is a good thing.

There are lots of other products on the website, none of which caught my eye. I just like color.  It’s not cheap, but for $14 a bottle, you can make your toes happy.

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What’s What Wednesdays returns!

Did you miss us?

wwkip logo Copyright © 2008 Danielle Landes

WWKIP day, which seems to frustratingly coincide with the big knitting convention [TNNA] every year*– well, this year is going to be a big one! Let’s look at what you can do on June 12th to share the knitting love!

Toronto, Canada: Another attempt at breaking the Guinness World Record for most knitters in one place [currently held by the knitters at Sock Summit 2009] will take place at Junction Square (2945 Dundas at Pacific) between 1 and 4 pm. Enjoy entertainment, refreshments and prizes. The count for the world record will take place at 3 pm, so please come early to register.

Dublin, Ireland: Don’t just knit — wear your knitwear! Dublin Knit Collective is promoting their 2nd annual Wear 2Be Seen on WWKiP Day 2010.

Lancaster, PA: Knit as you ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the countryside. Want a ride? The Lancaster Yarn Shop is offering rides in the LYS KNiTTING BUGGY, and it requires reservations, so book soon! What a great idea!

London, UK: The I Knit London ‘World Wide Knit In Public Day’ Treasure Hunt is legendary. The annual treasure hunt will take place on 12 June. Meet at 11.30am for send off at midday. People are invited to take part in teams of up to five people. This year’s event will have a bingo element to make it more fun. Participants will be knitting their way around central London hunting for hidden treasure and little bits of knitting.

None of these nearby you? Go check the list…there are events being held all over the world!

*Turns out, the WWKIP organizers know about the conflict and have tried to accommodate the largest possible number of people — the official WWKIP date is actually a time period! This year, it’s June 12 to the 20th. In Europe, organizer Danielle tells me that there are local holidays that would conflict with the later date, so they choose the earlier one.

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when last there was knitting content on this blog…

the buttons are temporary. really.

which wasn’t that long ago, I was working on my Shalom cardigan. Well, I finished it and I like it! I spent a day or two knitting and ripping the same 4 rows until I got the armholes to open at the right spots for my body. As written, the armholes go way into the back, which I didn’t find flattering. I’d love to show you how this looks on me, but there’s no one around to take a nice FO pic, so that’ll have to wait. I have to find permanent buttons, too. The ones there now are an amalgamation of a few things that function, but don’t suit the sweater.

By the way, I am grateful to Ysolda Teague for her Liesl, the sweater which made me like wearing sweaters again. This silhouette is a really great one for me, so I knew Shalom would work as well. Not everything I’m going to knit from now on will be top-buttoned with shortish sleeves, but don’t be surprised if you see this shape on me again.

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Join us at a Yarn Roundtable!

We’ve just announced 4 [yes, four!] new Yarn Roundtable dates, for May, June, July and August! If you’re going to be coming to Toronto this summer, check out the dates and maybe you can join us…we’d love to have you!

What’s a Yarn Roundtable? Think wine tasting, but with yarn. And prizes. And nibbles. And good company. All free. You can see the results of previous evenings in Knitty here, here and here.

You want to come, don’t you? Well, sign up now, then!

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You canna escape the math.

So yesterday’s glib I don’t need no stinkin math post wasn’t entirely sincere. I knew I’d gotten pretty far without any significant math. But I also knew there was no way I could accurately place the sleeve openings without pulling out the calculator.

Backstory: I hit my math wall in the middle of grade 10. I just stopped understanding the concepts in any way that would allow me to get even a passing grade. Word problems tie up my brain so that it cannot function at all. And math wasn’t important enough for me to get a tutor. I just wanted it to go away, so my parents [uncharacteristcally] let me drop the class.

Thankfully, I seem to have retained enough of the basics to get me through the knitting stuff I need to work out. Like these blasted sleeves. Actually, it wasn’t so bad. I took the original stitch count from the one-size pattern. Then I started randomly multiplying it by 1.something until I got a number that was very close to my actual stitch count. It turned out to be 1.27, I believe. I’ve already blocked it out — math is traumatic for me.

Then I multiplied each unit [front, sleeve, back, sleeve, front] by this number until I had what looked like workable numbers. Then I added up all the numbers and they DID match my stitch count. I was feeling rather clever by this point.

I went ahead with these numbers, and then, as I have been doing all along, pulled the work off the needles and onto spare yarn to see how it would fit and — like the original, found the sleeve opening went much too far into the back for my taste. With Lise’s help at The Purple Purl last night, we pinned where we thought the sleeves should start opening and closing, and then I counted how many stitches to move about. After that, I had to recalculate the number of stitches to cast on at the underarms [using my stitch gauge and the desired width of the sweater at the chest, minus the actual stitches left on the needle after all that binding off for sleeves]. Rip and reknit 4 rows…no biggie. I have one more try-on to do to make sure it’s a good fit, and then I’m going to motor on until I hit the hem.

All of this is to say that if you’re lucky enough to be able to visualize what changes need to be made and do the math before you cast on, good for you. But if not, and you want to wing it [ish], you can make it work. But there is never any escape from the math.

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