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Issue WIPS & FOs

I love looking at what everyone is making!

Amy Christoffers’ lovely Jamestown pullover has inspired some great WIPs…

Oooh… MadTosh. Nice!

CathV-S‘s Dragon’s Breath Cowl is gorgeous!

This will cheer up the most miserable of winter days.

Kourtneyfromks‘s version of the Pub crawl cowl is just perfect

Yup.

Ramblybear is knitting the Circle within Circles Beret, and she loves the “ingenious” construction.

Looks great! Can’t wait to see it grow.

Zergling‘s Atomic Wristwarmers are most excellent. A brilliant stashbuster, so lots of colours.

Perfect. I love seeing a colourwork design truly made the knitter’s own through colour choice.

ChimaeraKnit‘s Ridge and Furrow shawl looks promising… what a wonderful yarn choice!

I love this this design starts simply, with some plain old stockinette stitch. Shows off the yarn so very well!

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WWW: A big crochet project, a big restoration project, and big recognition for a big name.

So much greatness in this.

This week is “Not Strictly Knitting But Entirely Awesome”: Man spends six years crocheting a Super Mario blanket. I think what I love most about this is that Norweigan crocheter Kjetil Nordin admits he wasn’t working on it consistently… there were other projects in between. So yes, even the ‘craziest’ crafters have problems with UFOs… in his own words

You get a bit sick of such long lasting projects.


Designer, yarn maker and all-around knitting-industry-good-person Debbie Bliss was recently awarded an MBE by The Queen, ‘for services to Hand Knitting and the Craft Industry’.

(New ambition: I want to establish a Knighthood for services to Technical Editing… I’m sure we can make that a thing, no? ;-))


Ooh! If you’re in the Glasgow area, or can get there, the last weekend of August, you should really consider attending this year’s In The Loop conference. The theme of this year’s event is ‘From Craft to Couture’, exploring the craft origins of Scottish knitwear and its current status as a key element of designer collections worldwide. The 3-day event will feature talks from leading knit and textile researchers and knitwear designers and entrepreneurs.

And it’s not all scholarly: there will be a fashion show and market place, too!


Painstaking restoration work.

Absolutely fascinating and jaw-dropping: an article about conservation of a Victorian-era theatre costume. The garment was partially knit and partially crocheted, all by hand, but the most remarkable feature is the decoration. Those aren’t plastic pailettes: there are over 1000 actual real beetle wings sewn onto the garment.

A team led by conservationist Zenzie Tinker spent over 1300 hours on this garment, worn by Ellen Terry, one of the most celebrated and glamorous actresses of the Victorian age, when she played Lady Macbeth at London’s Lyceum Theatre in 1888. She was painted in the dress by John Singer Sargent. The newly restored piece is on display at Smallhythe Place in Kent, U.K.


I actually think this a fantastic idea, and really wonderful, but the less mature part of me also just wants to have fun making up silly captions for this photo.

You might recall that Knitty published a pattern for charming if not entirely anatomically correct a Womb stuffie… here, we find documentation on what is likely the original knitted uterus pattern, conceived (see what I did there?) as a teaching tool.


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Geek Knits Charity Auction

You saw the cover, yeah? You saw our cover boy? 

Yup, that’s author Neil Gaiman, modelling a scarf designed by Joan of Dark. Joan has just released a book, Geek Knits, and it’s full of fun and geeky knits of all stripes and fandoms, modelled by all sorts of fun characters and people from the ‘geek-iverse’. Yes, that’s right, other nerd-heroes in knitwear. What’s not to love?

Because Joan is a good sort, she has decided to auction off the book samples for the benefit of Doctors Without Borders. The first item, the Blue Box scarf as modeled by actor Rene Auberjonois, is open for bidding until next Wednesday. The items will be auctioned off over the next few months – follow the Facebook group for details.

 

 

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In memory: Lisa Grossman, The Tsock Tsarina

We were very saddened to hear of the death last week of Lisa Grossman, a.k.a The Tsock Tsarina. Lisa was a knit designer of wonderful and unrivaled imagination. Her particular metier was socks – socks of the craziest and most spectacular types – but she was also gifted in other types of designing, too.

I worked with Lisa twice, editing her beautiful Darrowby cardigan, and the Glomerata sock. Although we were so very very different in working styles, and I am quite certain that Lisa found being edited by me a chore (my insistence on stitch counts and precise instructions is entirely counter to her pattern writing method), she was cheerful throughout the process and we nevertheless bonded. It was Lisa who insist I buy a spindle, at Rhinebeck.

Lisa’s patterns were special. They were sculptural. They were art.

Her work first came to my attention when Stephanie, the Yarnharlot, was making one of her designs.  I laughed at Stephanie’s description of the madness, and laughed when I saw the pictures, but stopped laughing when I realized the work that had gone into the design. Yes, she made with the crazy; yes, she made with the insanely ornate and sculptural; yes, she made with flights of fancy like I had never seen before. But she also made them fit. We had many discussions about sock fit, and I loved the she paid attention to that detail, too.

But she wasn’t just a knitter. She was a spinner, she was a literary historian, she was a cookbook author.

Cancer is cruel. Cancer is heartbreaking. Cancer has robbed the world of a good person and a great imagination. And the knitting world is decided duller without Lisa and her flights of fancy.

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WWW: Yarn in video games, knitted short film, GoogleSheepView

She’s coming undone?

Courtesy of BoingBoing, a history of yarn in video games, on the occasion of Electronic Arts’ announcement of its latest game, Unravel. In the words of BoingBoing’s writer, “you play as a tiny yarn character that slowly unravels as it moves through the level. Although that sounds a little like a metaphor for the slow but inexorable march that we are all taking towards death, in Unravel this thread is a versatile tool you can be use as a climbing rope, grappling hook, trampoline, fishing line, and whatever else the game can imagine.”


WOAH. Greg Climer, a fashion designer and faculty member at Parsons School of Design in NYC, is knitting a short film. Yes, every single frame of an animated short film is a knit fabric. He’s got 19 seconds already done, and is hard at work on the rest. He’s not actually hand-knitting it – that would take years and years, at 24 frames a second – but he’s designed it and he’s working with a knitting factory to produce the actual fabric.

Love the creative thinking that has gone into this – of course you can draw pictures with a knit fabric, so this is a natural (if slightly crazy) extension of that.


Well, this is what I’ll be wearing this winter: a Torus Knot cowl. Knitter and mathematician Sarah-Marie Belcastro has been at it again, and her latest design is this beautiful and witty and clever little piece of topology – and gorgeous winter accessory.  This post on the Scientific American blog explains the mathematics and the knitting very nicely.


Sheep on North Yorkshire Moors. Image courtesy Google and GoogleSheepView.

And if you need something a little less ‘thinky’, soothe yourself with GoogleSheepView… a tumblr of images of sheep found on Google Street View. Some fantastic ‘found’ art.


Perfect.

I don’t know that this will make it to GoogleSheepView, but it’s just as relevant:  Not far away from where that above picture was taken, a group of knitters in Baildon in the UK spent World Wide Knit in Public day yarnbombing a sheep statue.

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WWW: Wooly grocery bags, Self-publishing, on Icelandic knitting language

Love these! Yes, it seems like all grocery stores offer reusable bags for sale, but only Waitrose is offering a wooly one. There are two styles, and they are available at two of the central London locations of this upscale supermarket in the UK. They’re made with the wool of the rare-breed Whiteface Dartmoor sheep, one of the UK’s oldest indigenous breeds. Gorgeous and practical.


Really enjoying this blog series about designing and publishing, from gifted designer Kate Davies. Part One. Part Two. Part Three. She writes about the whys and wherefores, and the challenges and rewards of deciding to self-publish, as an independent designer, and highlights some who are self-publishing.


An absolutely fascinating article about the evolution of the Icelandic language, and how a knitting-language committee is helping the language adapt and evolve to meet new needs and technologies and usages. It’s as much about globalization and history as it is about finding the right word for the cable cast on.


Interesting thinking on the overuse of the word “craft” in today’s marketplace, from UK furniture maker Gareth Neal.


It’s World Wide Knit in Public Day on Saturday. Ready?


Knit photo frames! Clever and adorable! The page is in French, but the picture is fairly self-explanatory.

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WWW: Great London Yarn Crawl; Crocheted Playground; World Wide Knit in Public

This is amazing. Seriously. Lisa P‘s version of my Bigger on the Inside Shawl. She used a wonderful variegated yarn for the lace portion, and then added her own lower edging… the Fourth Doctor’s scarf.

I bow down to your cleverness and fandom.


Today in Not Strictly Knitting: A Canadian couple, Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam and Charles MacAdam of Nova Scotia, has created a crocheted playground. The installation of hand-crocheted hanging nets is one of a series of playgrounds they’ve created. This version, called Harmonic Motion, is open for viewing and climbing upon at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.


It’s June! That means it’s time to start knitting outside! This year’s World Wide Knit in Public Day is Saturday June 13th, and look for events near you at the website.

Our own Amy will be joining the team at Shall We Knit in Waterloo for their annual World Wide Knit in Public celebration that weekend. She’s also teaching a couple of her popular and fun classes. More info here.


A little further along in the year, but still close enough to start planning, the Great London Yarn Crawl has announced a bigger and better event for their third year. In addition to the crawl, Saturday September 5th, there will be a pop-up marketplace at Chelsea Old Town Hall in central London, serving as the kick-off point for the Yarn Crawl and featuring over 30 indie makers, designers and artisans from London and around the UK. And stay tuned for news of special guests…


Friend of Knitty designer Kristen Jancuk talks sense on the topic of swatching.


Image courtesy the artists. Black walnut frame, black walnut carving, silk, linen, merino wool hand dyed.

Love this: a mini-film series of six interviews with makers from the Canadian maritimes who work in different media. In particular, I adored Fibre & Wood, a look into the work of couple Sanna Rahola and Douglas Drdul. Sanna is a fibre artist and Douglas is a woodcarver, and although they work independently, their pieces come together as beautiful collisions and contrasts of texture, light and structure.


Roadtrip?! Simply Socks Yarn Company is celebrating their tenth anniversary this month, with a whole load of festivities and sales and special events at their store location in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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Stalking Our Own Patterns

I do it all the time as a designer: I stalk my own patterns on Ravelry. I love seeing what yarns knitters have chosen; I adore seeing different versions and interpretations. And it makes me so happy to see my work being work, appreciated and loved all around the world.

And sometimes I have fun stalking Knitty patterns, too, for our Knitty Friday WIPs and FOs roundup. I love browsing through the projects for an issue to see what’s catching on, what knitters are enjoying making, and how a project is being received.

But something we’d never done until this week was browse all Knitty projects. Ravelry has this wonderful feature: you can see all the projects associated with our publication, from all issues.

As of Wednesday 3pm or so, there are 431,671 of them. It’s amazing and gratifying and wonderful.

Thank you!

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WWW: Great Canadian Knitting Tour; Pattern Writing Online Class; Alice In Wonderland Yarnbomb

Knitted music video of the week: Much less sad than last week’s, I promise! In which a yarny-girl starts her day. Cleverly created by artists Janey Moffatt and Adam Clements for artist Benbo, and entirely cute.


Sylvia and her husband, hitting the road

Author, knitter, designer and master storyteller Sylvia Olsen is partway through her “Great Canadian Knitting Tour“. She started May 1st in Victoria, B.C., and will reach St. John’s Newfoundland June 15th. Along the way, she’s visiting yarn shops, teaching workshops and telling stories about her life and the lives and work of the Coast Salish knitters of British Columbia.

Sylvia’s objective is to meet as many people in the Canadian knitting community as possible. To exchange stories about knitting and knitters in Canada. She’s visiting book shops, yarn stores, libraries, museums and private homes across the nation. When it’s all over, Olsen will share her discoveries in Knitting Stories II, the sequel to her best-selling recent collection of essays, Knitting Stories: Personal Essays and Seven Coast Salish-inspired Knitting Patterns.


A little bit of tasteful self-promotion: as a follow up to her book about Pattern Writing, our own Kate (that’s me!) is running an interactive online course on Pattern Writing. Suitable for designers of all levels who wish to write instructions for their knitting project, this class guides you through the entire process of writing a pattern – from the actual instructions through to the test knitting, technical editing and publication process. The class is all about discussion, and there will be exercises and activities focused on helping you develop your own style and style sheet, and getting you well on your way to writing patterns. If you’ve got something you need help writing out, or you feel your existing patterns need a bit of improvement, this class can help. Bring your questions and be prepared to chat and share and discuss with me. It starts May 30th and runs to July 12th – work at your own pace!


Image from The Northern Echo website.

Yarnbombers have struck Saltburn Pier in the UK again. This pier has seen many wonderful installations in the past – including an amazing one for the London Olympics, but this year’s Alice In Wonderland-themed work may be my favorite. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of the book.


Celebrity Knitter Alert: Actor Nicholas Hoult was taught to knit by Charlize Theron, on the set of Mad Max Fury Road. I would very much like to see some of those pictures…

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WWW: Preserving Traditional Newfoundland Knitting; Street Lace; On Cost of Making

Classic Newfoundland patterns and designs, including the famous “trigger mitts”. Image from CBC website.

Love this: CBC profiles two Newfoundland-based knitters who are working to preserve traditional Newfoundland knitting patterns. Shirley Scott – known as “Shirl the Purl” has been collecting samples of mittens, hats and scarves, and the patterns used to make them. She has passed her collection on to Christine LeGrow, the owner of Spindrift Handknits, who aims to keep these patterns in circulation, and keep this important part of Canada’s social history alive.


Wonderful, clever and moving: a music video for band James, created entirely with yarn.


I’m very excited about this upcoming exhibition ‘A Whole Other World: Sub-Culture Craft’ at the Racine Art Museum in Racine, WI.

The show, focused on artists inspired by Doctor Who, Star Wars, Steampunk, and Superheroes, explores the intersection of art with cultural subjects that inspire devoted “fan” followings. A Whole Other World features a variety of objects and images, from quilts to prints to sculpture – either works directly inspired by these themes, or by the winding of these kinds of topics in-and-out of popular culture,.

I’m excited because it sounds absolutely amazing. Oh and also, the original Bigger on the Inside scarf is part of the show.


Image from Huffington Post website.

Not Strictly Knitting, but utterly beautiful: Street artist NeSpoon uses traditional lace patterns, textures and structures in very non-traditional ways.


This week’s thought-provoking discussion: “What Is Your Cost of Making?” Looking at both the cost to the knitter in the retail store, and the larger issue of cost all along the production cycle of the materials, this blog post addresses head-on the question of how much we’re willing to spend to make a sweater.

Anecdotally, I see an interesting divergence in the way knitters think of the cost of the materials: is this an item of clothing, and should the yarn cost be considered in the context of a ‘clothing budget’, or is this a hobby, and is the yarn cost considered more in the context of ‘entertainment value’? Some of this is driven, of course, by the knitter’s available budget, but it seems to me to be an interesting demonstration of the shift in how we “use” knitting – we’re not (just) doing it because we need clothes. Many knitters do it because they want ‘entertainment’, or the satisfaction of making, or to express a creative impulse – and the money considerations become very different. Although paying $30 for a pair of socks is unquestionably outrageous, that figure can feel a little different if you consider the value of a couple of week’s worth of crafting pleasure and the satisfaction and comfort of making a custom-fit item that you are proud to show off.

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