Contest!

On Wraptor: A Shorter History & A Yarn Giveaway!

So very clever, and so very beautiful.

As you know, we love an interesting sock construction, and designer Jeny Staiman has outdone herself with the Wraptor sock, as published in the most recent issue.

As Jeny describes it, Wraptor is the lovechild of two previously Knitty socks, Skew and Longitudinal.

She’s written about the inspiration and development of the design on her blog.  It’s a fascinating insight into how designs develop and change and grow and improve with every subsequent iteration – and a good reminder for all of us that if the first attempt doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. It began more than two years ago, with a project to yarnbomb a coworker’s headphones.

Where it all began. Sort of.

One of the things we love most about this design – in addition to it being one of the cleverest things we’ve yet seen, of course — is how it uses a self-striping yarn to great effect. We’ve all got skeins of self-striping sock yarn in our stashes, and after a while, a “plain” striped sock gets a bit boring.

Looooooong stripes.

As she developed the pattern, Jeny realized that to get the most impact, she had very specific requirements for a self-striping yarn: she needed a yarn with sufficient lengths of each color that even for sections with 200+ stitches, the integrity of the stripes had to be maintained. And in Twisted Fiber Arts’ most excellent long-repeat self-striping yarn, she found what she needed.

We’re giving away a kit of this wonderful yarn to make your own pair of Wraptor socks, courtesy of Anne at Twisted Fiber Arts. The prize, worth $46, includes a full skein and a mini skein. Leave a comment on this blog post to be eligible to win, by midnight EST Monday, December 23rd. The usual rules apply; if you’ve won in the past year, please let other readers have a go!

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Black Friday Giveaway: Plum Rondo a la Turk

I don’t know about you, but I’m spending Black Friday with my knitting and spinning on the couch, probably watching a Harry Potter marathon with the kids.

No shopping for me.

For all of you knitters hanging at home today, here’s a giveaway for you!

Beth at Lorna’s Laces has donated a yarn pack to make Julia Farwell- Clay’s beautiful Plum Rondo a la Turk.

You know what to do.

Regular contest rules: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday December 1st. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win a yarn pack for Plum Rondo. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.
Happy knitting, happy leftovers!

 

 

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Knit Companion Designer Series Giveaway: Romi!

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Romi’s App

Sally Holt at knitCompanion has turned her powerful system to Romi Hill and her gorgeous shawls. This is year four of her 7 Small Shawls Series, can you believe it? Wasn’t the first year just last week? This year her topic is Friends, she’s naming each one of her shawls after a member of her Ravelry group. There are 7 shawl patterns and 3 extra patterns. The first extra is a available now, A Cowl for Jeanne.

Jeanne's Cowl

Jeanne’s Cowl

This app updates with each shawl release, adding the new pattern to knitCompanion’s amazing system and a technique video featuring Romi.

If you haven’t tried the knitCompanion system the designer apps are a re great way to get a taste. knitCompanion allows a knitter to see the written and charted patterns at the same time, mark and save in many spots in a pattern with place holders and reminders – highlighters, stitch markers and pop up notes. It’s a wonderfully organized program.

I really like that I can keep very accurate track of my knitting, especially lace, with this app, but what I love is getting to see Romi’s smiling face, talking me through each pattern!

7 Small Shawls is also available as just a PDF series.

Romi!

Romi!

We have one Romi app to give away. Regular contest rules: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday November 10th. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win a copy of the Romi App. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.
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A colorway and a contest!

Chickens

Tina keeps chickens because she loves having them around. Eggs are a bonus.

In spring, I got a chance to visit the Blue Moon Fiber Arts world headquarters in Scappoose, Oregon. An unassuming barn/dye studio, full to the rafters (literally) with rich color, built by Tina as the perfect workspace for her and her team to produce the Blue Moon yarns we are so fond of. And occasionally, you’ll find her latest brood of baby chicks, until they’re big enough to join the rest of the flock outside.

The inspiration imageHere’s Tina’s recounting of our time together:

Almost everyone who comes to visit me wants to immerse themselves in the dye barn for at least a few hours. Some come just to play and some come with a clear vision. Amy had a very clear vision and even a photo. I love a woman with a clear plan.

She had this beautiful picture of lobelia in a grey metal bucket against a white wall. Great contrast between the white wall and the jeweled richness of Lobelia’s cobalt blue.

The blues and greens are what we decided we wanted to focus on since you can always knit it with white yarn as the contrast. I had a great time playing with colors and helping Amy translate her color ideas onto yarn. I think Amy did too.

I did! I took this photo outside a Farm Shop in Wales. The color is unretouched…Lobelia really is that deep blue color and I imagined it might be a challenge to replicate. Silly me! It was fascinating watching Tina pull a few jars of color from her well-stocked shelves, knowing exactly which tones would produce the result we wanted the first time. I was mesmerized with the way her eyes, brain and hands effortlessly translated the photo into this colorway!

Tina starts working out the colorway, taking careful notes so she can replicate it.

The final result! So lovely! What would you call it?

The colorway is the star of one of our Surprise patterns…Regatta, designed by Kate Atherley! But the colorway needs a name, so we’re turning to you! What would you name this colorway? Prize is two skeins of Socks That Rock: one in the new colorway and one in the colorway of the winner’s choice.

Contest rules: leave a comment on this post with your name for the colorway between now and midnight eastern time, Monday, October 28th. The winning name will be chosen by a Knitty committee and Tina. Our winner will be notified by email.

Good Luck!

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Offhand Designs Bag Giveaway!

It is no secret that the Knitty staff are big fans of  Offhand Designs Bags. The vintage feel, the select and limited edition fabrics and the quality workmanship of a handmade bag all speak to the bag collector and maker in all of us.

Beautiful Offhand Designs bags

Beautiful Offhand Designs bags

Because I’m curious (nosy) I ask owner Larisa Flint Snydal a few questions about Offhand Designs. She happily answered my questions and even sent over a couple of pictures of herself working on bags.

Larisa installing a turn lock

Larisa installing a turn lock

Why and how did you get started? I worked for 10 years reviewing internationally funded projects in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, but all the while was making extravagant gowns and bags and learning everything I could about textiles and design. My boyfriend, now husband, was in a popular funk band and I had every type of occasion to doll myself up in those days. Starting my own business came a few years later, but didn’t surprise anyone in my family. Extravagant but functional design was my destiny!

Larisa making leather handles

Can you describe the process – from design to fabric to finished bag ? I am inspired by literally everything and everyone but take my time to let new ideas simmer because they always become richer with time. Functionality is a key component and one of the design process steps that I absolutely love. My sense of style is a little timeless and a little whimsical or ‘offhand’. I do not roll out tons of new styles but keep the line exciting by having so many new gorgeous and eclectic textiles every few months. We are indeed limited editions. These days, we never make more than 20 of any given style and color and usually it is more like 12 or 15! That is not even enough for 1 in every State or Province. From sketches to prototypes to final prototypes which are carried and tested to make sure all of the details I want are there. As I said in my original business plan and repeat it every day: would I die to own this? If yes, then move forward with it. If not so much… what needs to change before it is?

Arya Bag

Arya Bag

What is your favorite bag right now? The new Arya bag was in the works for more than 18 months and at least 5 versions before I landed on my feet with the current, amazing design. I carried this bag to the trade shows this year, packed with my laptop and every last other thing and I was so proud of how painless it was to carry all of that weight and how nicely the bag held its pretty silhouette. It was (almost) embarrassing how many complete strangers stopped me in the airport and on the street to compliment my bag and ask about it!
What new bags do you have coming up? I am working on three new things: leather, Sage Luxury bags and Flint Snydal bags.

Larisa_SewingCanvasPrototype

Larisa sewing a canvas prototype

Leather bags: Dreaming big is something I have been known for my whole life and now we are hard at work setting up in studio production of some of the most luxe bags I have EVER seen in my life. Premium, eco-friendly and extremely small edition leather products which really do send shivers down my spine and astonish me. I wake up in the middle of the night and say, ‘wait, I didn’t actually make that bag, did I?’ Leather is an inspiring material and my current design work feels so full of potential it could not be more exciting.
We started leather a few years ago but found it impossible to keep up with demand and just as hard to find experienced help. My staff and I all agreed that the intense period of 3 months during which we only worked on leather bags was the best of Offhand Designs history by far. Our current goal is to make and sell these leather creations on SageLuxury.com.

Sage Luxury bags: We are also about to launch a very different looking, but every bit as functional, bag line under the Sage Luxury label. All of the bags will feature leather handles and trims. Please look for these to launch in the next month to be ready for the holiday season.

Flint Snydal bags: I also have 2 styles for men which have been way too long in the making, but SO fun. A doctor bag in two sizes (considering Samson & Goliath as names for these) and a messenger bag with a closeable pocket for knitting. The esthetic is high quality urban cowboy, featuring rich hides with high quality hardware.  If I am lucky, this bag line will show its face to the public for the holidays via SageLuxury.com as well.

 

My dear knitting friends and bag lovers, are you sitting down? Larisa has given us an Offhand Design bag to giveaway!

Regina offhand designs prize

Marcella in Regina print fabric. Squee!

Regular contest rules: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Monday,  September 30th. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the signed book. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.
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Clara Parkes Giveaway!

Clara’s new book!

Clara Parkes has a new book of essays out and it is wonderful!

Here’s Clara reading a bit from the book.

Clara talk about the essays here.

Here’s Jillian’s review from First Fall Knitty:
The Yarn Whisperer: Reflections on a life in Knitting
by Clara Parkes
STC/A Melanie Falick Book
$19.95

It’s not very often that a knitting book is a good read. Inspiring, beautiful, thought provoking, yes — all of those things. But a good read, almost never.
I know that Clara is an excellent writer because I’ve been reading her Knitter’s Review Newsletter every week for years, and have read all three of her books. But I wasn’t really expecting what happened with the Yarn Whisperer.
I sat in my chair and started reading and didn’t stop. Dinner time came and went, kids were ferried to sports and friends, and I put the book down when I absolutely had to, but started reading again the instant I could.

I read the entire book in an evening.I was utterly captivated by the book. It’s not about how knitting is funny or how it can change the world, but how it has been essential and ever present in one woman’s life. It’s a book filled with personal journeys, family reminiscences and, yes, knitting.
My favorite essays were the ones about family: her grandfather, her Aunt Judy, her grandmother’s farmhouse, I loved the stories and the truth where life and knitting meet. I enjoyed the essays that are about knitting too; those are the ones where I nodded along agreeing about bobbles and brioche stitch.

Over the years, Clara has grown into one of the most distinctive voices in our knitting culture, using knitting as metaphor and companion, and I am happy to be along for the ride. – JM

 

Thanks to Stewart, Tabori and Chang and Clara, we have three autographed copies to giveaway!

Regular contest rules: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday September 15th. Three comments will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the signed book. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.
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All about Tom Bihn, with a lot of little videos…and a contest!

When I was asked by the people at Tom Bihn (they make some of our very favorite bags ever) if I wanted to collaborate on new products, I said “Sure! Let’s Skype!”

They had a better idea. They flew me out to Seattle. I know. Rockstar treatment! I still can’t believe it happened. But I took videos, so there’s proof. Lots of it.

I had met Tom and Darcy (the head honchos of the Tom Bihn company) many years ago, when I passed through Seattle on the way to teach on the Sea Socks cruise. We’d been emailing back and forth for a while, and had collaborated on the fabulous Swift bag, which was designed by our readers and named by a really cool focus group around a table at the Dark Horse coffeeshop in Toronto. Meeting them in person was kind of like meeting bag-design royalty. I was dumbstruck.

This trip, I got over my fangirlness and we got down to work. I brought lots of products that exist but aren’t as good as what I think Tom and his crew can come up with. We looked over all the samples, played with them, explored them in combination, deconstructed, reconstructed and reimagined. There was discussion, lots of sketching, brainstorming, and at the end of the weekend, we had prototypes of our first product.

Here’s a little video of Tom with one of his expert sewers making up the first prototypes:

(These little 6-second videos are from Vine…they loop on their own. If the videos aren’t playing, click them and you’ll be able to see the goods!)

Can I show you any more than this? Well, okay. Because you asked so nicely. Here’s a shot of our prototype tool pouches:

We're not sure what to call this yet...but for now, we think of them as tool pouches

We’re not sure what to call this yet…but for now, we think of them as tool pouches. Click to see it bigger!

These are meant to store your DPNs, interchangeable needle tips and cables and even crochet hooks. They’re shown fanned out above, but normally hang tidily from that carabiner in the corner.

You’ll see there are three sizes. The smallest fits tools (including interchangeable needle tips) 4″ or shorter. The medium size fits tools 5-6″ long. And the large size fits tools 7-8″ long. This covers just about every interchangeable needle system on the market. The ends are reinforced so that the DPNs, interchangeable needle tips or crochet hooks you put in there won’t poke through the clear vinyl. And each of those reinforcements acts as a spot to hold a label, so you can make it easier to figure out what’s inside at a glance. You’d buy only the sizes of pouch you wanted, and they are kept together with a double-sided carabiner that (you won’t be surprised by this) clips into an o-ring in any of the Tom Bihn bags. Where do you keep the cables? In a square-ish pouch (it’s the wasabi-colored one above) that you clip in along with the rest of your pouches. The square-ish shape keeps the circulars from getting kinked. The backing is the same ballistic fabric used in many of Tom’s bags. It’s astoundingly strong and durable and doesn’t attract fuzz.

Don’t use interchangeable circulars? We’ll be adapting the square-ish pouch for your fixed circulars, to be produced in different sizes to accommodate the length of the needle portion. Those specs are still in development.

So, what do you think?

There were other products discussed, too. One was a new knitter’s bag that you can wear over your shoulder or across your body. Another, a case for a fiber tool. We got quite far along on the bag, but the fiber tool case is something for the future…perhaps. There are a lot of things that go into a Tom Bihn product, and unless Mr Tom himself is happy with the product, you won’t see it. That means patience is required. But it’s always worth it. The TB people tell me 2014 is the earliest we might see any of these new products, but it’s possible (if there’s enough demand) that the tool pouches could be released at the end of this year.

So what can I show you? How about these videos that I took in the showroom of some of my favorite Tom Bihn bags? Let’s do it!

Here’s the clever-as-anything Co-Pilot:

 

And another of my favorites, the Cafe Bag, shown here in a super-saturated Azalea pink!

One of my favorite ah-ha moments of the weekend came when Darcy figured out we could remove the (unused by me) waist strap from my Smart Alec backpack and, using the existing straps inside the bag, turn it into a cinch for my ukulele’s neck! This keeps the uke snug against the back of the backpack, in a vertical position, and allows the zippers to snug up at the top, exposing as little of the uke as possible. And leaves tons of room in the bag for all your other stuff.

Uke players, take note: this is a fabulous one-bag carry-on solution that will get your uke past the airline staff without even a sniff of “you’re carrying two items and you’re only allowed one”. (Ask me why this is important and I’ll tell you about almost getting barred from a KLM flight because they counted my small purse, tiny uke and regulation-size rolling bag as three separate items and I was only allowed two. Grr.)

 

One last little video to share:

His factory is full of vintage Singer industrial sewing machines, chairs and storage units. I covet it all. No, no relation.

So what else did we do while I was there? We had an astounding, eye-opening evening at Metrix Create:Space, a really cool place full of 3D printers, laser cutters and other gear so neat, I didn’t even know what it was called. We asked Seattle knitters to come and hang with us, knit with us, and show us their Tom Bihn gear in person. And did they ever. The result? This professionally produced video, all about the Swift and how knitters use it.

Enjoy.


We’ve had a lot of contests during our 10th Anniversary year, and we’ve been saving this one for the right moment. Which is now. Ready?

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We have TWO of these last-in-the-world 10th Anniversary Knitty Swifts to give away. They were made as a limited edition last fall, and sold out by December. But we saved two for you! Each has a retail value of $100usd.

Regular contest rules: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday, July 21st, telling us which is your favorite Tom Bihn bag (you don’t have to own it already — dream aloud!). Two comments will be chosen at random to answer a skill-testing question. If the commenter answers correctly, they will win one of the two bags. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.

Good luck!

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What to Knit When It’s Hot? A knitbot Linen Giveaway!

Hannah Fettig has released a collection of 6 gorgeous unconstructed patterns knit out of Quince & Co. linen yarn,  Sparrow.

There is nothing like knitting with linen when it’s too hot for wool. Quince & Co Sparrow is divine, smooth and crisp to knit with, then it gets buttery soft the more you wear it.

Hannah’s patterns in linen are fluttery and full of swing. Just looking at them just makes me feel cooler.

Beautiful pink tank

Beautiful pink tank

Swingy blue cardi

Swingy blue cardi

Just for KnittyBlog readers Hannah is offering 25% off Knitbot patterns, good thru end of day Friday EST. Just use the coupon code KNITTY.

I have one signed copy of knitbot Linen to give away.

Regular contest rules: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday July 14th. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the signed book. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.

 

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Knitty 10th Anniversary Giveaway: Jennie the Potter

Who remembers when Jennie the Potter made beautiful mugs and yarn bowls to celebrate our 10th anniversary?

We secretly asked her to stash one of each so we could have them as giveaways. Guess what today is? Jennie the Potter giveaway day!

Knitty 10th Anniversary mug:

Anniversary mug

Eat cake with the bunny!

 

Knitty 10th Anniversary yarn bowl

Anniversary yarn bowl

Knit with the bunny!

If you’d like to win one of these beautiful pieces you know what to do!

Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Monday, May 27, 2013. Two comments will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win one of the prizes. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.

 

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Stretch Your Knitting Mind – A Lynne Barr Giveaway!

Lynne Barr has an exceptional knitting mind. She stretches the boundaries of knitted fabric and encourages knitters to think about knitting with new eyes.

The wonderful folks at Melanie Falick Books have donated at set of Lynne Barr’s books for a giveaway.

I think spring is the perfect time to try something new and a little different, don’t you?

Lynne Barr's latest

Lynne Barr’s latest

lynne bar

More creative goodness

 

One reader will win all three book. Prize  value, $82.85

You know how it works: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Thursday, May 2. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the prize. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.

 

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