What’s on our needles, a winner and a new giveaway!

It seems our needles are laden with socks at Knitty. Here’s what we’re knitting right now:

Jillian is knitting 2 socks on 2 circular needles in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport:

Colorway: Rockwell. Please don't notice the boo-boos from knitting in a movie yesterday.

On Kate’s needles: two pairs of socks for spring.


There’s the Knit Picks’ “Time Traveller” colorway – a limited edition from last fall inspired by our favorite Time Traveller, The Doctor .

But which Doctor, 10 or 11?

And a pair of socks in just about the loudest yarn imaginable: Filatura di Crosa Maxime Print in a “citrus circus insanity” (or something). Kate’s working them both at the same time on dpns, using the War & Peace inspired method. “I love this method – it guarantees no second sock syndrome, and lots and lots of amazed gasps from other sock knitters.”

Amaze your friends! Two socks in one!

Amy’s working on her Leftovers vest in Rowan Calmer…the first time she’s had the pleasure of making a sweater with this lovely stuff.


yes, everyone's already told me it looks like ice cream. they're right.

She managed to score closeouts on Calmer at the legendary home of such things, Colourway, when her friend Brenda casually mentioned it was near the train station in town. There was much plotzing and the yarn score ensued. Enough for a stripy vest for £20. I know!

For insurance, and because she’s like that, she added another ball of [discontinued! who discontinues black??] black and one of super-pale pink, recommended personally by the goddess of color, Barbara Gregory, once she got back Canada-side.

Our winner of one large and one small HiyaHiya Interchangeable Needle sets is comment #1779: Patricia Congratulations, and happy knitting!


A bunch of Knitty readers got hit by another winter storm last night. Jillian got 8″ of snow, after having two days in the 50’s F last week.

To help ease the pain of more winter weather we’re having a giveaway!

How about a kit to knit the 3 pairs of the Shelburne Mittens in our latest issue?

Cozy mittens for the family!

If chosen, one person will win enough Rowan Felted Tweed Chunky to make 3 pairs of mittens [7 skeins]

This prize is courtesy of the lovely folks at Rowan Yarn and Westminster Fibers.

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, February 23, at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

Prize value: $79.60

Good luck, good knitting and keep warm if you’re snowy!

*Spread the joy!*

Spinning Tuesday: Annis is Finished!

Don’t faint, but I’ve finished something else.

My handspun Annis:

Annis in the snow

I started spinning for this January 1 and have the shawl blocked and finished February 1. I still can’t believe that I worked on a project from start to finish, until it was done. No sidetracks (well, not many), no timeouts.

Handspun from Southern Cross Fibre

I spun yarn that was almost DK, so the shawl is larger than the original, but that’s what I wanted.

The spectacular thing about spinning your own yarn is that you can make exactly what you want, by blending color and fibers, and by the way you spin your yarn.

Annis swooping

I wanted my version of Annis to be a littler larger, so I made my yarn a little fatter. I wanted my Annis to be lighter rather than drapier, so I did two things: I spun my yarn woolen, letting in as much air as fiber to make a lofty yarn and I piled it to be just balanced, if not a little under plied, to cut down on the density of the finished yarn.

Now I love nupps

I am absolutely transfixed by the magic of spinning yarns, by how many different yarns I could make just altering spin and ply, and by how it makes my knitting come alive.

*Spread the joy!*

Knitting Monday: What’s On Our Needles and a Giveaway!

It’s Jillian and I’m on a finishing kick.

Monkey see, monkey do

I finally finished my Monkey socks. My first pair of sock knit two at a time on two circular needles. I love the technique, a little fiddly at first, but then smooth sailing.

I’m really hoping it will help me knit more socks because I have a chronic case of single sock syndrome.

I’m going to try a pair of toe up socks next. I would love pattern recommendations for a first time toe up sock knitter.

I used Dream in Color Smooshy in Chinatown Apple. The sock blockers up there are from Signature Needle Arts. Yes, the magical needle people.

We have a giveaway today!

One lucky blog commenter will win:

The stylin' LJ Kaelms bag by Jordana Paige

A LJ Kaelms bag by Jordana Paige in your choice of color.

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, February 2, at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a  skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

Prize value: $89.00.

Good luck and good knitting!

*Spread the joy!*

Spinning: Annis and Nupp Knitting

I’m not quite done knitting Annis, but it’s still gorgeous, even unblocked:

Nupp rhymes with stoop not shtupp.

I almost didn’t choose Annis to knit because it has nupps. I have issues with nupps; I love how they look and hate to knit them and this patterns has 7-stitch nupps.

So I went trolling the wonderful world of the web and found an amazing technique by Myra Wood. She calls it Easy Peasy Nupp, In fact,it’s so easy it saved this pattern for me, and tranformed my thinking about knitting nupps. No lie!

Brilliant isn’t it? I like it because it’s easy, but also because you can choose the size of nupp you want. I’m a girl who likes a big nupp, so I used a bigger hook than my knitting needle. It worked beautifully.

Next week I’ll show you finished and blocked Annis in all her handspun glory.

Meanwhile try out that nupp technique already!

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Spinning: The Woolen and the Worsted

This past Saturday my spinning group took a field trip to The Spinning Loft.

One of our group of our group is in the market for a new wheel, so we piled 6 spinning women into an SUV big enough to hold 4 Schacht Matchlesses in the way back. We may have sung the Partridge Family theme.

Surprisingly, our wheel shopper isn't buying a Matchless.

While our wheel shopping spin sister tried wheels the rest of us shopped and spun.

I feel deeply in love with this Yarn Hollow roving, 50% Cormo/50% Alpaca.

You cannot deny my love.

My question to the room was – how would you spin it, woolen or worsted?

The room answered, annoyingly, with another question, “What will you make with it?”. I have no idea. I’ve just hit first base with this fiber, I’m not ready to commit.

So I sampled. Yes, you heard me right, I did what the books and teachers all recommend, sampled. They are very wee samples, but samples all the same.

Boy are they different:

Woolen on the left; worsted on the right.

The samples were spun from a short length of fiber that I split vertically, so I was working with the same colors on both. They are both soft, but the woolen spun on the left is lofty and puffy, and softer than the worsted spun. It brings out the best qualities of the Cormo. The worsted spun is smoother, shiny and has a heavier, drapey hand. The colors are darker. It looks and feels more like the alpaca part of the fiber equation.

I like them both, and of course, the wee samples raised more questions, among them: What type of stitches would I use, both lace and texture would look crispy and shiny-fabulous in the worsted. But the woolen would give them a soft almost blurry look.

I decided to spin the fiber woolen. I like the soft look right now and I can spin woolen much faster than worsted. I also decided that I will sample more often.

Our wheel shopping spin sister decided on Majacraft Suzie.

*Spread the joy!*

Spinning: A Winner Plus a Little Something That Makes Me Smile

Our winner of a $30 Gift Certificate to any store at The Fiber Cooperative is comment number 29 – Betsy M.

Hooray! Happy spinning Betsy!

Some days all I need is just a little something to make me smile. I love color and I try to infuse as much as I can into every nook and cranny of my day.

Take spinning leaders, for example.

What else will you do with your leftovers?

I use leftover sock yarn as my spinning leaders. It works wonderfully and it’s all kinds of colorful. The bobbins above are strung with Koigu, aren’t they fun? Just what I need on a gray winter day.

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Knitting Mondays: What’s on our needles

A few of you blog readers have shown curiosity about what the Knitty staff is knitting, so we’re adding a feature to our Knitting Mondays called What’s on our needles. Literally what we’re knitting, or have finished knitting, dream about knitting or are struggling with knitting.

First up is Jillian, with a cautionary tale about gauge.

Thanks to a friend who is about to have her first granddaughter, I got to knit Joelle Hoverson’s Baby Bonnet from her newish book More Last Minute Knitted Gifts. It’s an adorable vintage-y knit , and a quick  3.5 stitches to the inch. I chose super soft Saphira, a superwash merino yarn from Southwest Trading Company. I swatched, got gauge, and knit the hat in just a few hours.

About halfway through I started to get that nagging feeling that I love to ignore. Something wasn’t right, the hat seemed really big for a newborn baby.

It was true. I had relaxed while knitting and my gauge loosened to 3 stitches to the inch. The hat was big. Before I show you just how big. I will say I knit another bonnet, with the right gauge, with needles two sizes smaller, in under two hours.

Let this photo be a warning, my knitting friends and neighbors, always check your gauge.

I call this photo Bad Baby:

No bad babies were forced to smoke cigars for this photo.

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Starting the year off with yarn & a giveaway!

Remember I was going to spin some Southern Cross Fibre BFL and Merino?

Well I did:

BFL left - it's a little hairy, and Merino right

Then I did some plying:

This marl I like!

I couldn’t wait to see what these two would look like as a piled yarn. I spun and plied most of this over 3 days – I actually woke up with sore calves in the morning! I love these colors together, and yes, they even marl in some places. I’m not usually a fan of marled yarn.

It’s about 500 yards, 15 wpi. I spun the singles woolen and piled it to balance, because I wanted a softer yarn to be knit into something where abrasion/piling won’t be an issue and that needs drape, this shawl – Annis.

I really enjoyed the thinking about the structure of handspun yarn and how it presents itself in knitting. More please.

How about a contest to kick off our spinning year?!

A $30 Gift Certificate to any store at The Fiber Cooperative!

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, January 5, at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a  skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

Good luck and happy spinning!

*Spread the joy!*

Dreaming about 2011

Lustrous locks

I am a list maker. I love making lists. This time of the year I carry a little notebook and dream of all of things I might do in the next 365 days or so.

Occasionally, I look back at the last year and take stock of what I learned.

In my spinning life in 2010 the biggies for me were:

  • Learning to spin fat yarn
  • Learning to spin art yarn
  • And it really, finally, hit home for me about how important and varied sheep breeds are, and how lucky we are to have so many to spin with.

For 2011 my big three (so far) are:

  • Knitting with handspun. I find handspun yarn so different than millspun yarn — it has a liveliness and feistiness that I adore. How do you knit it to its best advantage? What about the stitches used? What about the different breeds?
  • Travel for spinning. Gotta go this year and I want it to be a big one. Maybe SOAR, or Rhinebeck or Taos.
  • Color. I want color to click in my brain this year, and my brain likes to fight this one. Good thing The Spinning Loft is bringing Deb Menz to town.

What are on your lists? What did you accomplish in 2010? What are you dreaming about for 2011?

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How Do You Choose?

Southern Cross Fibre Club December 2010 Superwash BFL

When you find yourself with an empty wheel how do you choose what to spin next?

I was recently faced with this dilemma, and instead of just grabbing something I went through the choosing more methodically.

I didn’t have any have to spinning, my work and gift spinning are all done.

I didn’t want to do any should do spinning, practicing techniques or sampling breeds.

I have no projects that I specifically want to spin for.

Leaving me wide open to choose. I roamed my stash; friends offered suggestions that I loved: your oldest stashed fiber, a color or fiber you hate or love, a forbidden too special to spin fiber, a fiber with a great memory or story associated with it, something you dyed yourself. You can see why I love my spinning friends.

Then the mail came.

I was lucky enough to get a spot in the Southern Cross Fibre Club this year, and my first shipment came. Superwash BFL in the color Mercury Rising, you can see it above. I felt like the knitting fates (and my mail carrier – I had to sign for it, making it extra special) handed me my answer.

Then my brain started tick, ticking. I have some other Southern Cross fiber that was in the forbidden, too special to spin category because David’s beautiful fiber is so popular, it’s hard to get. But now, since I’ll be getting fiber every month the too special grip has loosened.

Here’s what I decided. A fine-ish 2-ply, for me, that’s probably DK. One ply Superwash BFL in the color Mercury Rising (my first club fiber) and one ply Superwash Merino in the color Katoomba (from my stash).

The mingling of Southern Cross Fibre beauty

How do you choose what to spin next?

*Spread the joy!*