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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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WWW: On difficulty, k200tog, a different pink hat

Miriam writes on her blog about difficulty ratings in patterns: I agree wholeheartedly!


Style writer Nathalie Atkinson writes about the origins of the Cowichan (a.k.a. curling) sweater. The garment is considered a Canadian icon, popularized by Mary Maxim in the 1950s and 60s. Many knitters aren’t aware of their origins in the indigenous community of coastal B.C.


I like this very much: the Knit2o0Together project.

Driven by educator Maura Pfeifer, Knit 200 Together is intended to bring together people of different backgrounds and communities, united in fiber craft, to share and learn a little about each other. A group of 200 diverse knitters from around the greater Boston region will meet to knit, talk about their projects, their yarn, and their lives – and in doing so get to know someone new, and expand their world and perspective. The event takes place Saturday February 11th, at the Cary Memorial Library in Boston. Details at the website.


Image (c) Liz Honig.

Image (c) Liz Honig.

If you still need a pink hat for next week, but aren’t sure about ears, perhaps Donna Druchunas’s “Resist” hat might fit the bill.


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WWW: Advice, sensible and otherwise; Pink Hats; This is Your Brain on Knitting

Some people are making pink hats to wear later this month. 


Sensible: an advice columnist – a knitter herself – provides advice to the non-knitters who might wish to ask a friend to make a sweater for them: “Don’t risk friendship over a sweater.


I’m in two minds about pieces like this: “How to Wear Chunky Knits“, courtesy of an online style magazine. I mean, the first thought that leaps to mind when I see a headline like that is “heck, it’s January – just slip it on over a tshirt and be warm.” But then after the snark, I will always click through: I enjoy a good fashion spread, and so look with interest on how stylists propose wearing these key items of winter gear. And then, in this sort of case, I get the additional value of a chuckle at the idea of an open-shouldered chunky sweater. (Yes, really! Go look!) Given that I live in Canada, I categorize these items along with with open-toed boots: fashion developed by people who have apparently never actually been outside….


Love this: a fabulous episode of VeryPink Knitting podcast, in which Casey talks with psychologist Dr. Art Markman about about your brain on knitting – process vs. project knitters, multi-task knitting, and other topics.

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Looking forward to 2017: Kate and Jillian on the road

soxpertiseKate’s Teaching Schedule for the first part of 2017

January 25-27 – InTown Quilters, Decatur, Georgia
Introduction to Design, Continental Knitting, Best Methods/Expert Tips, Yarn Shopping Bootcamp, Soxpertise, Altering Patterns

Feb 26 & 27th – Sheep Shop, Cambridge UK
Introduction to Gloves, Two Socks at Once: The War & Peace Method, Introduction to Design

March 1 – Knit With Attitude, Stoke Newington, UK
Class TBA

March 4 & 5 – Purlescence, Leckhampstead, UK
Intro to Brioche, Advanced Brioche; -You do the maths” – a study in numbers and knitting patterns

March 9 – 12 – Edinburgh Yarn Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
Classes sold, out, sorry, but I will be doing a book signing or two at the Purlescence booth.

March 17-19 – Madison Knitter’s Guild Knit-In, Madison, WI

March 30 – April 3 – Interweave Yarn Fest, Loveland, CO
Pi Shawl, Two Socks at Once: Side by Side, Fiber Care & Blocking, Math for Knitters, 2 Socks at Once: War & Peace, Pattern Writing, Custom Fit Socks

April 7-9 – Make Wear Love Spring Retreat, Pacific Grove, CA
Fearless Finishing, Pattern Reading, Working with Handpainted Yarns

 

Spinning with Jillian means color!

Spinning with Jillian means color!

Jillian’s Teaching Schedule for Most of 2017

January 20-22 – Loop! Philadelphia, PA
Book Signing, Yarnitecture, Twist and Ply and 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Yarns

February 16-February 19 – Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat- Tacoma , WA
Yarnitecture #2: The Journey Continues: Sampling and Spinning for a Specific Project – Exclusive to Madrona for 2017
Twist and Ply #2: Texture and Color- new for 2017
All the Singles Ladies: Spin and Knit Sensational Singles – new for 2017

March 30 – April 3 – Interweave Yarn Fest, Loveland, CO
Yarnitecture, Twist and Ply 2: Texture and Color – new for 2017, Fractal Frolic, Cheaper by the Dozen: 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Top

April 26-29 – PLY Away 2 – Kansas City, MO
Yarnitecture – 2 days!
Kaleidoscope Yarns: Color and Singles – new for 2017
Sheep Sampler: Spin & Nosh – new for 2017

July 19-23 – Super Summer Knitogether – Nashville, TN
Classes to be announced

September 29-October 1 – WEBS Spinning Summit
Classes to be announced

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WWW: Bristol’s Colours, Village-sized Yarn-bomb, Use Your Noodle

The winner of our Obliqua kit giveaway is Candi from Pennsylvania. We wish you happy knitting!


Ooh! Very exciting! The Yarn Collective has just announced a new line of yarns: Pembroke Worsted, in colourways designed by Knitty designer Bristol Ivy.  There are ten colors, described in Bristol’s own words:

“My whole collection is based on the rich, pure tones of gems and minerals. I’ve always loved these colors and their depth, complexity, and saturation. I think since they’re all based on naturally occurring colors, they all speak well to each other and come together into a coherent palette. I’m so excited to explore them further: the icy grey-greens, the deep copper oranges, the vivid coral-y carnelians, the soft neutral greys and sepias — all of them.”


Photo credit: Mayo Martin, from the Channel News Asia website.

Photo credit: Mayo Martin, from the Channel News Asia website.

I am willing to excuse the terrible pun – “noodlework” – in this story. Indonesian artist Cynthia Delaney Suwito has had a rather wonderful piece included in a show organized by the Visual Arts Development Association of Singapore… a fabric knitted from cooked instant noodles. It’s a statement about speed of life and gratification: knitting with cooked noodles is even slower than knitting with yarn, and highlights the contrast between the instant-readiness of the noodles with the slow and careful nature of handwork. She works on the fabric as part of the exhibition, treating with care and thoughtfulness a product that normally is prepared and consumed thoughtlessly, in moments.


Epic yarn-bombing: an entire village, Llwyngwril, in beautiful Wales. Click through for some fantastic images.

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Early Winter Issue WIPs: The Frantic Gift Knitting Edition

It’s always fun to check in on an issue’s patterns, particularly so soon after launch. It tells me which patterns are catching on – and indeed, at this time of year, which ones are gifting-appropriate.

Love this Werewolf of Westport Hat, by EmmaE.

This photo shows off the construction brilliantly!

This photo shows off the construction brilliantly!

And ChaoticK’s is equally amazing, in a totally different way! This would be ideal for the dreariest days of winter!

Fantastically and ridiculously vibrant, in the best possible way.

Fantastically and ridiculously vibrant, in the best possible way.

PelicanGoddess’s Snowberry scarf is a winner. A statement in coziness!

Perfect.

Perfect.

HilaryO’s Obliqua cowl is coming along very nicely.

Beautiful colour choice: reminds me of roses.

And Zsazsazsu is making excellent progress on her Duvet mittens.

Are you doing any gift knitting this year?

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