Contest Winner

WWW: On Being Expensive and Not; UK Wool Week; Craft, Creativity and Activism

The lucky winner of the Laura Nelkin book giveaway is Meg from East Lansing, Michigan. Congrats Meg, we know you’ll love the book!

“Knitting needn’t be expensive” – a nice piece on the Guardian Fashion blog highlighting British wools.

This is a follow-up to a piece on the same blog last week that discussed the Fashion and Textile Museum’s vintage knitwear exhibition. The article made an important point: “knitting wool is no longer the cheaper option”. It is entirely true that at one time, handmade garments were associated with saving money. And it’s also true that you can always find and buy a machine-made garment cheaper than hand-made. But it’s also true wool doesn’t have to be expensive. (Or scratchy or horrible… )

A great discussion to have!

2014-09-29 11.11.12Earlier this week, I was very pleased to see a nice display of woollies in the window of a Canadian clothing chain, Joe Fresh, with a Campaign for Wool sign.

Speaking of the Campaign for Wool, Wool Week is marked this year in the UK October 5th to 12th. Events and festivities are being held all over the UK.

Registration is open for January’s Vogue Knitting Live event in NYC. Kate is teaching – come and take a sock class!

  • DPNs, Magic Loop and 2 Circs: Working in the Round bootcamp
  • Going My Way: Work Socks the Way You want
  • Heels and Toes
  • Introduction to Sock Pattern Design
  • Toe Up Socks 101
  • Socks for Absolute Beginners

If you’re in Southern Ontario, plan a visit to Toronto’s Textile Museum, Tuesday October 14th. Our own Amy will be moderating a panel and book launch event, featuring three books by leading voices in the crafting world: Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles by Leanne Prain, Craftivism by Betsy Greer, and Make it Mighty Ugly by Kim Werker.
The event – “Make Your Voice Heard: The Intersection of Craft, Creativity and Activism” – aims to explore the modern uses and meaning of craft. It promises to be fascinating.

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WWW: Sheep Trekking, Lamb Races and Fall Fiber Fairs

Marisa from Minneapolis is our winner of the Mrs Crosby/Grantangle giveaway. Congrats to Marisa!

UK Magazine is sponsoring the 2014 British Knitting Awards: a nice opportunity to promote the craft of knitting, and some of the key players in the industry, small and large. Categories include yarns brands, shops, blogs, and books.

Image courtesy The Guardian.

A Walk on the Wool Side. A farm in Wales has announced a new option for those who like a nice walk: sheep trekking. Visitors roam a nearby national park with “specially trained” Jacob sheep.

They’ve thought of everything: the sheep guides will be fitted with a “harness that can carry a light lunch”.

The video is a winner: bonus adorable puppy!

And on this side of the Atlantic, the Mississipi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte, Ontario has announced the details of this year’s Fibrefest. High on the list of must-see events is a Lamb Race, rather sensibly not feature real lambs, but toy ones.

The event, held September 13 & 14th, features all kinds of fibery goodness, including demonstrations spinning, knitting, weaving, rug hooking, lacemaking, smocking and quilting; a vendor fair, and a vintage clothing show and sale. Their “Button Mania” event sounds amazing, with displays of WWI-era military and fashion buttons, and button vendors.

Also that same weekend, September 13th, it’s the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Guild Fair. It’s the second year of the even being held in its new home, the Kitchener Aud, and it promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Needle manufacturer DyakCraft posted on their Facebook group about a devastating fire at one of their suppliers, Rutland Plywood. Their post highlights the importance of small suppliers on artisan craftspeople and their businesses. We often think of an artisan and their work, but not their suppliers.


Clever: yarn company Quince has just launched an app that allows users to search for Quince yarns by gauge.

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WWW: Stories Winner, The Sweater Curse, Colors Before Pantone and An Abandoned Mill

It’s Jillian filling in for Kate while she teaches at the Interweave Knitting Lab.

Our winner of all three volumes of Donna Druchunas’ Stories in Stitches is Kristen from Elkins Arkansas. Congratulations!

Stories in Stitches No 3 , hot off of the press!

Stories in Stitches No 3 , hot off of the press!


Will you be in Dallas in May or Edinburgh in August? Grab your knitting and go see The Sweater Curse: A Play by Elaine Liner.

The Sweater Curse

The Sweater Curse

The one-hour monologue explains the old wives’ tale about “the sweater curse,” which says never to knit for lovers, as he or she will leave before the project is finished. Elaine weaves in tales of her own unraveled romances and unfinished sweaters, with detours into great literary knitters like Penelope and Madame DeFarge. She knits onstage and invites the audience to bring their own projects and keep stitching during the play (“a plus for knitters who usually avoid theater because it means two hours without needles in their hands,” says Elaine).

The show runs May 15-25 at the Dallas Solo Festival and August 1-24 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


 Before there was Pantone, artists created their own color books.

The art of color

The art of color

This 898-page watercolor mixing manual from 1692 has been all of the internet this week. If you haven’t been inspired by this meticulous and beautiful work, go take a peek. Book historian Erik Kwakkel has been posting pages on his Tumblr and the whole book and be seen here.


Photographer Dan Circa found inspiration in an abandoned Welsh tweed mill.

Photo by Dan Circa

Photo by Dan Circa

The mill has stood unused since 1980, with all of the machinery and yarn left in place.


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WWW: Yellow Submarines & British Socks

The very lucky winner of the Offhand bag giveway is Irene M of Staten Island, NY. Enjoy the bag!

On designer/historian Kate Davies’ lovely blog, “A Brief History of British Socks“. If you knit – or heck, wear! – socks, this is a fascinating read.

Well-equipped for an Antarctic voyage. This would also be useful for dog walking in a Polar Vortext.

Speaking of history, love this: Artlab Australia, the South Australian Museum and the Adelaide City Council have just launched the ‘Sir Douglas Mawson Balaclava Knitting Pattern.

Scientist and adventurer Douglas Mawson’s is well-known in Australia for this epic adventures in the Antarctic in the early 20th Century. His ongoing contribution to science in South Australia have ensured his place in the history books. There is an iconic image of Mawson wearing a knitted balaclava, and it was used on the first Australian $100 note. The original balaclava is now part of the collection of the South Australian Museum. It’s hand-knit….

and is clearly a one-off, hand knitted from a variety of different colours of grey and blue flecked wools, the crown even featuring a small amount of pink mixed. The stripes are random and without pattern – such as you might expect if you were using up scraps from your wool bag – and although it follows the general shape of many of the balaclava patterns available before WWII the ribbing is an unusual 7 stitches wide.

The Holbrook submarine, HMS Otway. Can’t wait to see it all dressed up.

And to celebrate two historical milestones – the 100th year of submarines in Australia and the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles’ visit down under – the Murray Arts Centre in Holbrook, New South Wales, Australia is yarnbombing a submarine. In yellow. Of course.

And then just went you thought it couldn’t get any better, the article explains that when the yarnbombing is taken down, the pieces are going to be donated to a local dog shelter to be used for dog blankets.

Terrific eye-candy: online vintage shopping site has listed some 1930s vintage knitting pattern booklets for sale. Whether you’re shopping or not, the photos are excellent.

Lovely little illustrated story about an intrepid girl and the sweater her aunt knits for her.

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WWW: Spring Festivals, 22,000 Yellow Jerseys, Knitted Wallpaper

The winner of our Lace Contest is Karen from Bangor, Pennsylvania. Thanks to Brooke Niko and Lark Crafts, Hiya Hiya, and Black Bunny Fibers for the generous prize.

Just wonderful.

Last week I mentioned the campaign in Cambridge to collect knitting to decorate the town for the UK stages of the Tour De France this summer. The Guardian has a lovely piece about the enormously successful campaign in Harrogate, Yorkshire, that kicked off the entire thing. Last summer, the Harrogate town council invited members of the public to send in hand-knitted mini replicas of cycling jerseys. The mini jerseys will be strung up as bunting around the town to celebrate the arrival of the Tour De France. They have received over 22,000, “rather more than anticipated”, with contributions from Switzerland, Canada and Bermuda.

How good is this?

On the Spoonflower blog, fantastic knitted wallpaper, in the studio of the Brooklyn Craft Company.

The spring fiber festivals are starting up… first up is this weekend’s Dallas Forth Worth Fiber Festival, being held at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas.

The Carolina Fiber Fest is held April 4-6 in Sandford, North Carolina.

That same weekend, it’s YarnCon, describing itself as Chicago’s Indie Fiber Fair.

April 10-13 is the Shepherd’s Extravanganza at the Washington State Fairgrounds.

Toronto’s Downtown Knit Collective annual Knitter’s Frolic takes place the weekend of April 26 & 27th. (And I’m teaching!)

As always, check the calendar on the Knitter’s Review website for a more detailed listing of fibery events.

Speaking of shepherds and sheepy festivals, the shepherd of the wonderful twitter account @herdyshepherd1 has kicked off an indiegogo campaign to secure funding to support the historic Borrowdale Sheep Show.

In their own words

Borrowdale Show is one of the traditional sheep shows and shepherds meets that take place each autumn in the Lake District, in the North of England. It is a gathering of shepherds and their best sheep, half competitive, showing to prove the worth of their flocks, and half a social occasion and cultural event. It is a scene to behold with more than 250 Herdwick sheep judged in one day, coloured with the traditional Herdwick Show Red and shown with great pride by their shepherds.

The show is run entirely by volunteers from the local community. But they have experienced several years of awful luck with the weather and have now limited cash reserves to pay for insurance and other necessities, and because of this the future of this timeless show is in the balance.

The campaign, launched last week, has done much better than expected, and has more than met its goal. I’m writing about it because I think it’s a truly wonderful initiative, and I want to publicize the event and thank those who were kind enough to contribute.

Image from the @HerdyShepherd1 twitter account, with thanks.

And whether you contribute or not, whether you want to attend a sheep show or not, if you’re not aware of the Twitter account, go take a look. The photos of sheep, and the farm, and the sheep dogs (#teamfloss) are magnificent. I’ve also learned a lot from their tweets, about sheep, about sheepdogs, about the challenges of joys of running a farm.

A nice piece on CNN about the cognitive and emotional benefits of knitting to relieve stress, to bring joy, and to fight depression and the effects of aging. Not news to most of us, I’m sure, but it’s always good to see mention in the press. (Especially those without the usual “not your grandmother” tropes.)

The article reports that in one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling “very happy.”

Not that we needed any justification for our craft, but it’s great to know that it really is good for us.

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WWW: Knitted Lamps, Peak Knitting Experience, Disagreement about New Year’s Resolution

The winner of our Wraptor yarn pack giveaway is Chelsea, from St. Paul, MN. Thanks to Twisted Fiber Arts for the prize.

Love this. Imagine the beautiful shadows.

More knitting in home decor: a knitted fabric is used as the basis for a lamp construction…

Did anyone catch the QI Christmas episode last week? Kingston University student Imogen Hedges made an appearance with her bicycle-powered ‘unknitting machine‘. Stephen Fry clearly doesn’t knit, or know any knitters, as he seemed more amazed by the unravelling than we might expect…

An excellent question posed on the Fringe Association blog: what’s your peak knitting experience? To quote from the blog post: Maybe it’s pulling off something you didn’t think you were capable of. Maybe it’s the anticipation of a gift recipient’s response. Or maybe it’s making a thing that proves to be endlessly comforting or useful to you or a loved one. Loving the replies in the comments.

Harumph: The USA TODAY thinks that knitting more tree sweaters is a “weird” New Year’s Resolution. I think it’s a lovely idea.

A great British knitter.

A nice profile of four knitters from the UKL Hazel Tindall, the world’s fastest knitter, designer Louise Walker, creative cafe owner Peter Allison, and teacher Louise Wilke, who is using knitting to help her cope with a serious illness…. It’s great to see the broad variety of knitters being represented, without resorting to old stereotypes.

I hope that when I’m 100 I’m still doing such beautiful and detailed work.

Haven’t the faintest idea what a Dumbo Rat is, but the picture is a win.

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WWW: Colorway Naming Winner, Your Own Flock of Sheep, Crafting in Space

Waltzing Lobelia. Just perfect, don’t you think?

We’re thrilled to announce that Kim in Colrain, MA won the Blue Moon Fiber Arts colorway naming contest.

She came up with Waltzing Lobelia for the yarn color Tina and Amy created.

New online class provider, The Amazings, is offering a free class to new users. The Amazings is a little different from other online class sites in that they are focusing on gathering the knowledge, experience and wisdom of our elders… In their words “Preserving knowledge. Celebrating handmade. Encouraging generations to collaborate. Sharing stories.”

To honor the fallen with the work of our hands.

Veterans’ Day in the US, Remembrance Day around the Commonwealth, and Armistice Day in the UK. A moment of silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month around the world, to honor those who have served for their countries in armed conflict, and who have lost their lives. The poppy is the traditional symbol, and a group of knitters in Stafford, UK, made a beautiful and moving poppy tribute.

Knitter Judy poses with some of the fruits of her labors.

We’ve all thought about this: this knitter actually did it! Wisconsin knitter Judy Mickel got herself some sheep to raise for their wool. She has a flock of 18 Shetland Sheep, and she says that although she knows she’s not making money from them, she is covering her costs and very much enjoying her new hobby.


Not knitting, but still absolutely wonderful: crafter Karen Nyberg made this little dinosaur pal for her three-year-old son. While IN SPACE, on the International Space Station. ‘Mr. Saurus’ is made from bits and pieces she could scrounge: his outside is leftover velcro-like fabric that lines Russian food containers and he is stuffed with bits of T-shirt.

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WWW: Knitting TV, Change in Amy’s Teaching Schedule, Caribou Knits update

Dianne in Aurora, Colorado is the lucky winner of our Offhand Designs bag giveway. Many thanks to Offhand Designs for the prize.

Change in Amy’s tour dates: If you’re in the UK and hoping to catch up with Amy for a class, note that there’s been a change in her schedule.  Due to the cancellation of Fibre Flurry, she’s now going to be teaching  the weekend of October 26 & 27 at Purlescence in Wantage, Oxfordshire.

What’s not to love?

The Norwegian national broadcaster, NRK, has announced that on November 1st they will broadcast 9 hours of knitting-related television. The centerpiece is a five-hour show dedicated to broadcasting a sheep-to-sweater world-record-breaking attempt.  (The previous record of four hours and 51 minutes is held by a group of Australians.)

To lead into that, they will also broadcast a four-hour documentary about the process of taking wool from fleece to sweater.

I sadly don’t speak a word of Norwegian, so I haven’t the faintest idea what they are saying in this preview video on the NRK website, but the video of the speedy knitters working away, shots of a yarn shop, and, images of beautiful hand knits is worth watching even without the soundtrack.

These programs are part of the “slow TV” movement. Imagine how far you could get with your holiday knitting with nine whole hours of this to watch!

Doubly useful.

If there can be sheep-to-sweater, why not mower-to-mittens? Delhi Township in Michigan is using a flock of 30 sheep to mow the grass of the public spaces in the community, and the sheep are being sheared, and the wool is being used to make hats, mittens and yarn sold in local arts and crafts stores.

Fibre Space, a yarn shop in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C. is offering free knitting classes to US government workers affected by the shutdown.

Update on the Caribou Knits program: as of October 4th, over 40 scarves have been knitted in response to the use of the #CaribouKnits hashtag on Twitter.

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Templeton Square Contest Winners

We are thrilled to announce the winners of our Templeton Square contest! In our Spring & Summer issue, in his Stitches in Time column, Franklin Habit unearthed and updated a lovely counterpane square pattern, original published in Weldon’s Practical Knitter series.

He proposed a contest: what could our knitters do with such a square?

We had 51 entries, and the range of work was wonderful and surprising and gratifying.You can peek at all of the entries over here.

We’re thrilled to announce the winners:

Best in Show: Wrap by Asimina Saranti


Very clever


Looks even better on.

Asimini wins an original Franklin Habit illustration and 10 skeins of Cascade Sierra yarn.

Most Creative: Fairy by Amanda Heyen

2. Seated

Makes me smile.

Amanda wins a set of Addi Turbo Lace Clicks and 10 skeins of Cascade Sierra yarn.

Most Ambitious: Tire Cozy by Karen Vradelis


If that’s not showing your colors as a knitter, nothing is.

Karen wins 10 skeins of Cascade Sierra yarn.

A big thank you to our judges: Ysolda Teague, Fiona Ellis and Shannon Dunbabin.

And thanks also to those who donated the prizes: Franklin Habit, Addi/Skacel and Cascade Yarns.

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WWW: Contest Winner, Mother’s Day Gift Idea, The Stockinette Market

The winner of the Amy Herzog ‘Fit to Flatter‘ giveaway is Jennifer from Van Nuys, CA. Thanks to Melanie Falick Books for the book, and Berocco for the yarn.

Bloomin' wonderful!

Bloomin’ wonderful!

The wonderful people at Jimmy Beans Wool have come up with a terrific idea for Mother’s Day – a bouquet of yarn! The bouquets include limited-edition hand-dyed yarns, accompanied by patterns, needles and beads. There are two different size bouquets, and there are a limited number available.

I plan to drop big hints to the dog – I’ll let you know if he delivers…

LOVE. So much to learn.

A brilliant, brilliant piece of work from Knitty Designer Bristol Ivy – the Stockinette Market. She has done a detailed analysis of the patterns that appear on Hot Right Now in Ravelry, with a view to understanding and tracking the trends in popular knitting patterns and projects. Every day – twice a day where possible – she looks at the 48 patterns that appear in the Hot Right Now list. She produces these amazing detailec charts showing various types of information about the patterns – garment type (e.g. hat, cardigan, shawl), the fabric type (lace, cable, stockinette), the yarn type (e.g. solid, tweed, self-striping), the color, and how the pattern is shown in the photos – on a model or not.

Read the introductory post here, and then visit the blog to see her regular updates.

A fabulous insight for designers into what knitters are excited about. A fun way for knitters to see what their friends are up to. And overall, an amazing way to quantify what we’re all doing. Even if you don’t spend time with the graphs, it’s worth reading Bristol’s analysis of the data she’s seeing – tracking project popularity to promotions and industry activity.

“A man walks down the street in that hat, people are going to know he’s not afraid of anything.”

The movie studio FOX kicked up a fuss last week by trying to claim ownership of the copyright of the “Jayne” hat, worn by the character Jayne Cobb in the short-lived, much-beloved and long-ago-cancelled TV show Firefly. The distinctive hat is often worn by fans of the show to show their love, and there have been various patterns, both knit and crochet, available for it almost since the hat first appeared on screen. FOX contacted Etsy sellers who were making and selling the hats. The story continues, and it will be interesting to see where this goes…

The third annual Garden State Yarn Crawl takes place this weekend, around the yarny spots of New Jersey. There will be discounts, promotions, contests – and of course, yarn!

This just makes me happy: the Aiken, South Carolina newspaper proudly announces that a local knitter, Mary Anne Todd, has received her “Master Knitter” certification from the Knitting Guild of America.

News of a spy who knitted himself a ladder to escape from prison (Daily Mail link).

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