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WWW: Yarn Movie available for streaming, 1 Year of Stitches, KnitPetiteProject

Changes in attitude to clothing good for wool? Although not strictly knitting, I found this a very interesting and informative piece about where your clothing is made… And although this piece is thick with industry-speak and business terms, the key takeaway is that Woolmark, the industry organization for the promotion of wool  is sensing a global movement towards awareness of the costs of ‘fast fashion’, and as a result consumers are moving towards a different shopping approach, that could be very good for wool.


As a woman of less-than-average height (I was recently asked by an even-less-than-average-height woman to help her get something off a shelf in the supermarket, and we both had a good giggle about the idea that at 5 foot 2 I was the tall one) I’m following the #KnitPetiteProject with great interest. Designer Teresa Gregorio is gathering data to help develop a more accurate sizing model for the “less-than-average” sizes in knitting patterns.


Registration is now open for the TNNA Summer show, this coming June. TNNA is a professional organization for yarn companies, yarn shops and other players in the industry. The June show is the traditional showcase for new products, and a place where everyone gathers to meet and discuss business and strategy and all things yarny. Amy and Jillian always go (ed note: this year, it’s just Amy…Jillian will be traveling with her family before her eldest goes off to college!), and this year I’ll be there, too, teaching my Pattern Writing class.


Yarn the Movie is now available for streaming on Amazon, if you’re in the U.S. Featuring lots of wonderful visuals and interesting stories, it’s about the work of a number of different artists, who use a common medium: yarn.


Again, not knitting, but I absolutely adore this: a year’s worth of embroidery, created and documented by Hannah Claire Somerville in Instagram posts and a one-minute video over 2016. There’s lots to treasure here, include the artist’s approach to learning and dedication to her craft. No matter what, every single day, she stitched something. And she’s doing it again for 2017.

January 1, 2017. First stitches of the new year! I’m thrilled to be starting a new swatch and to have so many people joining in this year! One outcome from last year’s project is that I was able to feel present in my daily life again. This has been extremely important the past 10 days because I have been traveling and spending time with family and friends who live across country from me. I actually can’t remember the last time I have spent so much time with my loved ones, it’s been amazing. With that being said, I am so floored by all the positive feedback I have received and that so many people have started their own projects, it’s beyond what I could have ever imagined. I want to apologize that I have not been engaging as much on IG. I have many high hopes for 2017 and this project, which I will be sharing in the coming days. I hope everyone enjoyed their New Year’s Eve and has a happy and healthy new year! Thank you all for being a part of this project and I’m excited to be stitching with you all in 2017! #1yearofstitches #wip #embroidery #embroideryart #handembroidery #contemporaryembroidery #bordado #broderie #embroideryinstaguild #stitches #backstitch #white #2017 #firststitch #newyearsday #sunday #sundaynight #thread #fiberart #sewing #textiles #textileart #art #needleandthread

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WWW: The Knit Show; Knitter’s Yoga Warm-up; March Madness

Love this! Knit designer and teacher Vickie Howell has just launched a kickstarter campaign for “The Knit Show,” the first community funded and internationally accessible episodic how-to knitting web series.

Vickie’s “Knitty Gritty” TV series was enormously popular, and many were disappointed when it ended in 2009. Inspired by the messages she receives every day from viewers saying how they miss having a television show that speaks directly to the knitting & crochet community, Vickie has decided to launch a series online.

“The Knit Show with Vickie Howell,” will be a web-based series, and Vickie tells us that she aims to combining all the popular segments from her previous shows: industry experts and superstar guests; knitting & crochet tips and techniques, and modern, accessible high-quality projects in a range of levels.

For more info, visit the Kickstarter  page.


A yoga warm-up, ‘tailor-made’ (very very loose pun intended) for knitters.


Some wisdom on Garment Fit, on the Interweave blog.


In which we own up to knowing absolutely nothing about sports… Love that Mason Dixon has launched their own version of a March Madness Bracket. But this one is something I understand: knitting patterns. Brilliant!


Donna Druchunas and her friend, designer Annie Wenstrup, have partnered up to raise funds for International Rescue Committee, an organization that supports refugees from Syria. If you donate to the organization, you can enter to win a beautiful Qiviut cowl.


In which a crafter muses on the change in craft and craft-based relationships brought about by our current challenging political climate. Even this article is the subject of debate, as not all agree with the closing point… Worth a read, either way!

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WWW: Mathematics, Pink Hats, Edinburgh Yarn Festival, WEBS Spinning Retreat

LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS: A BBC Radio 4 segment on how knitting and mathematical principals relate. Featuring bonus sock chat.


webs logoWell, this is exciting! Our own Jillian is very happy to announce she’ll be teaching at WEBS’ first Spinning Retreat. The event, scheduled for September 29- October 1 also features beloved teachers Beth Smith, Amy King and Abby Franquemont. More info here.


Fab interview with Pussyhat project co-founder Krista Suh, in Paste Magazine. What’s wonderful about this is to see coverage beyond the usual craft-focused outlets.


A knitter in Brighton, UK, is seeking assistance from local knitters to help her create a double-decker-sized picture of one of Brighton’s famous piers. Designer Nina Dodd (a.k.a The Duke of Woolington) has joined forces with local bus operator Brighton & Hove Buses for this venture. It requires 5,000 10cm squares, in nine different colours, and they will be assembled and displayed on the side of a bus, driven around town for all to enjoy! Nina is hoping to recruit local knitting bus-riders, but will be happily for all contributions, I am sure.

This isn’t Nina’s first bus-related knitting project. It’s worth clicking through to the article to see her bus-seat-cozy-sweater project, that she created for a fashion shoot.


It’s the Edinburgh Yarn Festival this weekend. Are you coming? I’m going, and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be doing a book signing at lunchtime on the Saturday in the Purlescence booth. Come and say hello!


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WWW: A Sweater of Historical Significance; Algorithms; Pussy(c)hat

A modern example of the sweater. Image courtesy the Kickshaw Productions blog.

A modern example of the sweater. Image courtesy the Kickshaw Productions blog.

The history of an iconic Canadian sweater – the Cowichan, cribbed by Mary Maxim for their curling (or tractor or hockey or other icons of the time) sweaters. In 2011, the Cowichan sweater was designated by the Government of Canada as being of “national and historical significance”.


Fascinating and clever: In Finland, young children are taught the basics of working with a computer – without a computer. Knitting needles are pressed into service, as part of an overall approach to teaching algorithmic thinking and processing. One could equally say that you’re teaching knitting when teaching programming, as the instructions are indeed expressed (or if the pattern is written in a logical manner) as an algorithm.


There has been much chat around the internet – including on this blog – and in yarn stores about the phenomenon that is the Pink Hat. Many many thousands of hats have been worn and made – including by Kate and Jillian of this very blog! Much of the discussion has been around what the hat represents politically. There have been discussions about what the hat represents physically, too; not a few have been confused by the shape. No matter what side of the debate(s) you’re on, an online discussion panel to be held this Saturday is sure to be of interest. Hosted by PomPom magazine this coming Saturday, the chat will be recorded live and then archived for later viewing. The participants come from a variety of craft and activism-related backgrounds.


Models at the Missoni runway show. Photo: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images.

Models at the Missoni runway show. Photo: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images.

And further underscoring the message of the hats – and its longevity – all attendees at the recent Missoni runway show at Milan Fashion Week were given their own pink hat, and more than 40 models on the runway were outfitted with them.  It’s a fantastic sight!


Equally fantastic: I’m in the UK at the moment, on a mini-teaching tour. I visited the V&A museum, as I always do, and was bowled over to see a hat and its story on display. They have a “Rapid Response” collection, which aims to gather and document items of current social significance. Whether you agree with the hats and their message or not, I think you can’t help but agree that they are an item of significance.

A pink hat. In the ‘Rapid Response’ collection here at the V&A. Verklempt. We did something important, guys.

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WWW: Long Voyages, Celebrity Knitters, 13th Century Mitten

Image taken from the article, with full credit.

Image taken from the article, with full credit.

Amazing: a study of a 13th-century fabric fragment, believed to be part of a knit mitten – colourwork, no less!

It is rare for fabrics of this age to survive, and so this is particularly notable.


As seen in a 1938 issue of Photoplay magazine, Joan Crawford hosted regular knitting parties! (Staged knitting photoshoots remain the same, 80 years later…)


We knew that actor Krysten Ritter (of Jessica Jones fame) is a knitter, but we didn’t know she was a designer as well! She’s launched a kit for a gorgeous chunky cowl.


Williams Gansey Project leaders Astrid Adams and Janice Snowball pictured with Clive Grey, skipper of the Blyth Tall Ships project.

Williams Gansey Project leaders Astrid Adams and Janice Snowball pictured with Clive Grey, skipper of the Blyth Tall Ships project.

Historians are planning a rather remarkable sea voyage for 2019, and are seeking knitters to help. The voyage, from Blyth in north-eastern England to Antarctica (!), is to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the voyage of local resident William Smith who discovered the continent, but was never credited. The team undertaking the trip seek to do it in conditions as close as possible to the original: they’re travelling in a tall ship, and are planning to wear traditional gansey sweaters, which is why they need knitters. Funds have been secured, and the team is looking to have between 70 and 90 sweaters made.


Speaking of long voyages (not really!) our own Kate is spending three weeks in the UK as of today, teaching classes in a number of spots. I’ll be at The Sheep Shop in Cambridge, Purlescence in Berkshire, at Knit With Attitude in Stoke Newington, and at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. Perhaps I’ll see you at one of those events?

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WWW: On the Value of Making, Designing and Persisting

Although the focus on this article is getting children to be creative, the message about the value of making applies to all ages!

It feels so fundamentally good and right to use our hands to manipulate materials – to use tools to extend our ability; to put stuff out into the world.


The Craft Industry Alliance reports that both the size and scope of the craft industry have grown significantly since 2011. We can conclude, I think, that many are coming to understand the value and pleasure of craft.


Loving the cover of last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.


I really enjoyed reading this report from Clara Parkes’ Knitters Review about the most recent American Sheep Industry professional meetings.


I’m very keen to watch a new documentary series, premiering on Netflix. Abstract: The Art of Design tells the stories of eight different ‘professional creatives’ – an architect, an illustrator, an interior designer, a stage designer, a graphic designer, a car designer and a shoe designer. The episodes document the work and workspaces of these artists.


A chart, suitable for embroidery or cross-stitch, courtesy Kim Salazar. Click on the link to download a larger verison.

I also very much like this version of the quote as a cross-stitch chart: it’s a bit more modern in approach, with bonus pink hats! H/t Kim Werker who told me about it, and it was designed by Haley Pierson-Cox of The Zen of Making.

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WWW: Sizing Chart Update, Pats Hats for Newborns, Instagram Challenge

Very pleased to see that designer and student-of-garment-fit Ysolda has updated and republished her sizing chart. A boon for designers and knitters!


Two nurses at Newton Wellesley Hospital in the Boston area recently spent a Sunday afternoon knitting timely hat for new arrivals… on Superbowl Sunday, they made hats in the colors of the New England Patriots, the team that won the sporting event.


There is so much to love in this: news of competitive sheep-shearing and wool-handling, and a group of bare-chested New Zealand shearers performing the traditional Haka dance.


If you’re not a member of Instagram, you might not be familiar with the concept of a ‘photo challenge’. Instagram, a social media network, is centered on photography, and many like to take advantage of the medium by joining in group projects, dubbed ‘challenges’. The idea is simple: that you post a photograph every day, connected to a theme. For the month of February, many in the yarn community are participating in the Yarn Love Challenge, an idea originated by Mary Heather and Christina. If you’re not on Instagram, you can explore pictures here and here. And if you are, consider joining in! I’m doing it, and it’s lots of fun. The theme for today is “Where I craft”. I’m loving everyone’s photos, and seeing such creativity in interpretation of the themes, and in the images themselves.


I’m not sure I actually quite believe this story, but I’m willing to suspend my disbelief because the pictures are so great… Knitted scarves for cats have apparently become trendy in Japan.


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Knitting as a Political Act; Clones in a Pink Hat; A Lace Dress

Craft as resistance: Have you downloaded Donna Druchunas’s free ‘Knitting as a Political Act’ e-book yet?


Related: this talk about the role of knitting in the era of World War One sounds fascinating. February 9th, at the Rockport Public Library in Rockport, Maine. If I lived closer, I’d definitely attend.


Just a little reminder: Jillian and I are both reaching at the upcoming Interweave Yarn Fest, in Loveland, Colorado. The weekend of March 30-April 2, the event features a broad variety of classes on all topics yarny: knitting, crochet, spinning and weaving. If you’re in the area, there’s also a great retail fair.


Not knitting, but absolutely fascinating: a lace dress, made for Queen Charlotte, the wife of England’s King George III. The dress is rare for two reasons: very few pieces of the era have survived, and this one in particular is constructed entirely of lace – a process that would have been incredibly time-consuming and costly, and resulted in a very very delicate garment. The story is worth reading, if you’ve been following the new TV series “Victoria”, as Charlotte’s sad family history ultimately led to Victoria being crowned.


YES: Craft on the cover of the New Yorker. And here’s the story behind the artist, Abigail Gray Swartz, who is also a knitter. She submitted it to the publication on a whim!


Totally blowing my own horn here, but I can’t resist.

Due to a connection through my husband’s work, I had to make two pink hats, as a day or two before the march I ended up giving my first one away. My first hat went to none other than Tatiana Maslany, Emmy-winning actress and lead in the very popular TV series Orphan Black, where she plays a series of characters. Ms. Maslany was unable to walk in the Women’s March January 21st due to work commitments, but she did post pictures of herself, in character(s), wearing the hat I made.

Click on the link in the tweet to see the hat!

It was even mentioned in Entertainment Weekly. Squee!

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WWW: Painting the Town Pink; Madison, WI Knit-In; Sweaters for Elephants

Knitters, crocheters, sewists, all the makers who got busy in in the past few week with: you did it! Saturday, a sea of pink hats was visible all around the world. Kay and Ann over at Mason Dixon Knitting said it best.

Unattributed internet photo, as per Mason Dixon Knitting.

Unattributed internet photo, as per Mason Dixon Knitting.

I must confess to have been very amused at the confusion some apparently felt about how so many hats were made, in a short period of time.


Spinner and teacher Abby Franquemont penned an excellent response to this question, published on BuzzFeed Community.

No matter how you feel about the hat or the name, I think we can all be proud of this demonstration of the power of craft, the power of the work of our own hands.


Love this: a clever maker in Saskatchewan, Canada, has developed his own knitting machine to make socks to donate to shelters across the country. In the seven years he’s been doing this, he estimates he’s made over 10,000 socks.


On a totally different note, just a reminder that registration closes soon for the Madison, WI Knitter’s Guild Annual Knit-In.  The event takes place March 17-19th. I’m teaching there this year, along with Knitty designer Laura Nelkin, and double-knitting genius Lucy Neatby. The event features 35 classes of all sorts, and a number of fun social events. I’ll be teaching a number of sock classes, for different levels of knitters. An excellent way to pass a late-winter weekend.


This week, in the “not knitting but still pretty wonderful category”: Indian women living near the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in the northern city of Mathura are making blankets to keep the resident elephants warm, as the region experiences a highly unusual cold-snap.


Amazing: Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin offers a Mathematics of Knitting class. From the syllabus: “The goal is not only to show the connections between knitting and advanced mathematical concepts, but also to demonstrate the importance of problem solving and critical thinking found in mathematics.”  Where was this class when I was studying mathematics at University?

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WWW: On the Pink Hats

Everybody is talking about the Pussy Hat initiative. As I’ve mentioned before, the objective is that every attendee of the women’s march in DC this coming Saturday be outfitted in a pink hat. The point is for a visible symbol of unity, a symbol that absolutely cannot be missed.

The color and the design – and the name and its connotations — were very deliberate choices. The name and shape nod to a particular comment made by a particular politician, and of course the color is the one shade always and only associated with women. (Those who aren’t keen on that particular design have been making Donna Druchunas’s wonderful “Resist” hat instead, less whimsical but equally meaningful.) There has been some very good debate about the design. Some feel that the shape and color are too juvenile, and those wearing the hat are likely to be dismissed for not being serious. This Washington Post article seems to support that position. Others feel that the attendees of the March are going to be dismissed regardless, and that the color and style of the hat isn’t going to make any difference: indeed, the point of the hat is to own and subvert stereotypes and offensive language.

There’s been coverage in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, LA Times, the Guardian, and so many other outlets. Yarn shops are reporting shortages of pink yarn, and the hats are all over social media – and celebrities are talking about them, making and wearing them: Rosanne Cash, Patti Smith, Anna Paquin, Neko Case, and many, many others.

There are Women’s Marches taking place all over the world this coming Saturday. A lot of stores — including Yarns Untangled, my LYS — are collecting hats to distribute to marchers in both local and the DC event.

Both Jillian and I have made hats, and will be wearing them on Saturday.

2hats
Time is getting short, but if you can get your hands on about 75yds/70m of a super-bulky yarn, you can follow my notes to make a hat or two in plenty of time for Saturday. Friend of the show and crochet-master Kim Werker has published her notes for crochet version.

I will be attending the Toronto March with many members of the Toronto knitting community. #resist

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