Uncategorized

WWW: interview with Maggie Menzel; how flax becomes linen, with bonus Irish accent; knitting, animated; cool sheepy design prototypes

We recently published a beautiful-bright cabled sock called Vinculum. On the Apocalypse Knitting blog, read an interview with Vinculum’s designer, Maggie Menzel.


Those who know me know I am allergic to wool, and as a result, exceptionally fond of anything not-wool that’s worth knitting. Linen is at the top of my list. Thanks to the Mason-Dixon’s weekend newsletter, Snippets, I learned about the wonderfulness that is Colm Clarke of County Donegal (note his correct pronunciation: don-E-gal), who takes us, start to finish, through the process of growing flax and turning it into linen. Now you know why it’s so danged expensive.

(To sign up for your own copy of Snippets, scroll down to the bottom of any page on their site.)


I have no idea how this –> is done. Maybe you do, and animator Gustavo Gonzalez certainly does, but we can all just look at it and go “ooooooooh” together.

Here’s another one.

So soothing.


From graphic designer, Gwyn M. Lewis, this self-promotional design portfolio features woolly yarn and sheep in a very novel way. Although the yarn-ball packaging would only work for display, the bobbins and needle covers look very functional.

Anyone wanna license Gwyn’s work?

Please like & share:

WWW: The TCM Knitting club does Gable; missing Roger and his sweaters; an ode to our Kate

O the things I learn, writing the WWW blog post! Seems there’s an unofficial TCM knitting club which celebrates knitting + classic movies, and this month, their chosen patterns are inspired by “Gable’s casual yet snappy style.” They’ve picked out”a few patterns to suit a sharp-dressed man with outdoorsy tendencies.”

Oh, ROGER! <3

Sounds yummy. Read lots more here — I’m signing up for this newsletter. It’s full of good juicy stuff!


We lost Sir Roger Moore this week (he was my first Bond). Did you know he was also a sweater model back in the day?  —>


I got to speak at the Toronto Knitters Guild’s April meeting. Such a nice bunch of people, plus it’s very special to me, that guild, because I first announced the birth of Knitty at a meeting there in 2002.

There’s a bit of a wrapup of the April meeting in their latest Newsletter, but most importantly, an ode to our own Kate Atherley at the end.

Please like & share:

Obsession Thursday: current obsessions roundup

Oh, SO MANY THINGS are happening in my world. Here are two:

Something you didn’t know about me: I learned to code HTML in the late ’90s. In the early ’00s, I switched to Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver can make you a lazy coder. It made me a lazy coder. It is easy to look at the pretty WYSIWYG page result and think you’re done. At the same time, my ex taught himself to be a heavy-duty coder in Javascript, PHP and other such stuff. He bumped up Knitty’s back end, creating a database of all the Knitty content, an advertising system, printer-friendly pages. Lots more.

my new friends.

Meanwhile, I started noticing that I had a significant deficit in understanding how HTML had changed over the years. The word “deprecated” slapped me hard a few times. I looked at online tutorials, tried to absorb what I found at  and none of it sunk in. I resigned myself to being a words and pictures girl. But I wasn’t happy with myself. I felt lesser. So I signed up for an HTML/CSS class at the board of ed. The only good thing that came of that lame class was my meeting online, after a few frustrated tweets about its lameness.  The glorious is the person who made our site bottleneck-free (among other magical things). So I’ll never regret that class. Later, I was surfing HTML5/CSS training, bemoaning the $2500(ish) price tags. But I read the reviews and found one that seemed right for me (that link is just for your info — no compensation is provided to me for the link). And all of a sudden $2500 seemed cheap. Because at the end of the course, I would be qualified to be one of those people I had envied. So I signed up. I’m finding that I knew much more than I thought (yay me!). But there is still so much to learn. And I am LOVING IT. Now when I need to debug code, I paste it into a text/development editor. Because Dreamweaver now seems like a hindrance to making good code.

I am probably the oldest person in the course. I don’t give a crap. It’s working, and I’m so happy I did it. So what is the message? The Hollywood message is that you’re never too old to learn, as long as you WANT to learn. But the bigger message is this. Being focused on the dollars allowed me to avoid making the decision to do what I’d wanted to for years. In fact, the course tuition is ridiculously cheap when you consider that, at the end of 12 weeks, one would be qualified for a WHOLE NEW CAREER (entry level, but still).

No, I’m not quitting Knitty. This knowledge will make me a better editor, and already has made me a better coder. And it’s made me proud of myself. Excited about a new challenge, which infuses everything ELSE I do with new energy. So that’s all. I wanted to share this with y’all. It reminds me of the first time I turned a toe in a sock. I feel unstoppable.

Ok, one more thing. I had bought a very well-reviewed HTML5/CSS book back in the lame-class era. I got nowhere with it. I went back to it last weekend, and realized why. The course I’m taking teaches much more logically, laying down basic skills then adding a new layer on top. The book grouped like with like, with no consideration to giving the reader a base understanding first. If I were to write a new knitting book now, I’d make sure I followed this type of educational path. Not all cables are the same, you know? (ps: I just had to go into the code and debug this post. SUPASTAHHHH!)


I broke a molar a month ago. I needed a new dentist. Saw an ad for Opencare, waving a $50 gift card to businesses I frequent in front of my nose, offering to help me find one that worked for me. Put in my requirements in their search engine: near me, good with chickeny patients, accessible online, good reviews. Found one, booked and went yesterday. She seems just as great as the reviews said, and as a bonus, is respectful of my lack of dental insurance so she doesn’t order any procedures that are not necessary! And now I’ll get a $50 gc to Starbucks, which doesn’t hurt. If you want to try out their service to find a new dentist, use this link and we both will get a $50 gc once you go. www.opencare.com/invite/as217067 Because free is nice. And a service that works? That’s even nicer.

 

Please like & share:

Obsession Thursday: Continuing to breathe normally

This post is for my fellow hoseheads (CPAP users, or beloved of those who use CPAPs). It’ll bore the crap out of the rest of you.

this behemoth sits in my nightstand and has to be lugged wherever I want to sleep away from home. Feh.

This behemoth sits in my nightstand and has to be lugged wherever I want to sleep away from home. Feh.

I was diagnosed with Hypopnea (a form of sleep apnea) in April 2014, and have used a CPAP machine ever since. Still on my first machine, a ResMed S9 Elite ->. It’s what the sleep consultant recommended so I bought it. It cost something like $1600, of which my provincial health insurance covered a big chunk ($600, I believe) and my private health insurance covered most of the rest. Still, that’s a hell of a lot of money for this thing.

Especially when you do a google for CPAP machines, and find out that those in the US can get the same machine for $1000CDN or less.

My main complaint, though, is that it’s huge and heavy and I have to take it with me whenever I go anywhere that requires an overnight stay. I started looking into travel machines, and found a few, but none have humidifiers. But a recent search came up with this little bundle of joy: the Apex XT line.

thanks to esnoreandsleep.com for this image

thanks to esnoreandsleep.com for this image

Based on my needs, the base model (XT Fit) would have done just fine, but the place I ordered from (1800cpap.com) was out of stock, and looking at that Amazon link, it seems they’re out, too. Anyway, they upgraded me to the XT Auto at no charge, and preset the machine to my Rx. The whole thing, unit, heated humidifier, base, case and hose, came to me for $300USD plus $40USD shipping and $44CAD tax (charged on this end). Delivered in a day by FedEx.

The case is about half the size of the ResMed’s case, and weighs just under 6lbs. The power is contained within the main unit, which helps reduce the total weight. (My ResMed uses a huge, heavy power brick.)

I slept with it last night and found that, unlike the ResMed heated hose (it heats the moisture on its way to my nose), the Apex’s heated reservoir seems to do a better job…in that I didn’t notice it at all and slept very comfortably. I’m going to try it without the humidifier next. If I can travel with just the main unit, it’ll reduce the storage space needed (and weight!) by half, which is pretty cool. But I did choose it because it had a humidifier, so even if I need to bring it, I’ve lightened my load by at least a third, and space requirements by a half.

Because I didn’t go through a sleep clinic, I’m unsure about who will be able to check my numbers. I called my sleep doc and hopefully he’ll be able to compare the ResMed with the Apex and make sure I’m getting the therapy I need.

Note that these are anecdotal observations from a non-medical person, and you should always contact your doctor before you do anything that involves your health.

*The first link is an Amazon link, which gives us a little financial reward if you buy from there; the 2nd reward is just a plain ole’ link to the place I bought from.

 

Please like & share:

Who Should I Spin In 2017?

Three Waters Farm Finn, I can't wait until it gets here!

Three Waters Farm Finn, I can’t wait until it gets here!

I want some fresh color in my life, so I am on the hunt for new or new to me dyers to spin in 2017.  I certainly won’t be abandoning my go-to dyers, Into the Whirled, Cjkoho Designs, Sheepspot, Spunky Eclectic or Hello Yarn, they are always coming up with new tempting colors and fibers.

There is a world of color out there and some days I feel like I’m just scratching the surface. There are also dyers that I haven’t spun for years, that somehow have fallen off my radar, Like A Verb for Keeping Warm and Three Waters Farm (I might have just bought a braid of fiber from Three Waters Farm this morning, that one, to the left).

So far on my list Port Fiber, Hill Top Cloud, Fat Cat Knits  and Porpoise Fur.

So tell me you wonderful spinners, who are your favorite dyers to spin? Who should I check out in 2017? Who are you planning to spin?

Save

Save

Please like & share:

Obsession Thursday: All Tully, all the time…

Not really. But at home, it kind of is. He’s such a different bunny from any I’ve ever cared for before.

Last few nights, he’s decided he enjoys jumping on me when I’m on the couch and demanding to be petted. This, as you can imagine, is not a hardship for me. Except when I stop. And he decides I need to be back at it. So he tells me with a not-gentle nip. He’s still a baby, and only 3 weeks since his neuter, so testosterone is still in him. He gets the high-pitched bunny squeal of pain in return, which is a language he understands. Eventually, the nipping will stop. Or get gentler, anyway.

Meanwhile, I’ve been posting these videos the last few nights. People tell me it’s very soothing to watch. So here you go.

Should you want to see more of these, you can follow me on Instagram. That’s where I post them.

Please like & share:

Obsession Thursday: Rhinebeck 2016 recap!

As I haven’t been to Rhinebeck in years, this was an exciting trip for me. It’s hard to sum it up in paragraphs of prose, so I’d rather go with photos, and I think you would, too. Enjoy!

I set off very early, in time to drive into the sunrise as I neared the US border.

I set off very early, in time to drive into the sunrise as I neared the US border.

 

The first morning was deliciously cold and fog was everywhere.

The first morning was deliciously cold and fog was everywhere.

 

The fall colors were as beautiful as always.

The fall colors were as beautiful as always.

And then I went into the A and B buildings. The lighting for photography was best in these buildings, and I was able to get in before the crowds came. I loved so much in this year’s show, but couldn’t possibly feature everyone’s work, as much as I wish I could! These are just some delicious highlights.

Into the Whirled.

Into the Whirled.

Into the Whirled

Into the Whirled

Loop

Loop

Loop

Loop

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co. I loved these swatches in embroidery hoops!

Neighborhood Fiber Co. I loved these swatches in embroidery hoops!

Hansen electric wheels (now with the new Pro model!)

Hansen miniSpinner (now with the new Pro model!)

Look at that sexy wood!

Look at that sexy wood!

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

This is THE Lisa Souza, freaking out as we finally meet since working together for probably 12 years online!

This is THE Lisa Souza, freaking out as we finally meet after having worked together online for probably 12 years!

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Lanart

Lanart

Lanart and the nice man in their booth

Lanart and the nice man in their booth

Stephen Willette Fiber Art Tools

Stephen Willette Fiber Art Tools

Trunk Brooklyn

Trunk Brooklyn

Trunk Brooklyn (I think)

Trunk Brooklyn (I think)

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

trying on hats at Sankow's Beaver Brook Farm

trying on hats at Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm

Golding

Golding

Golding

Golding

a happy spinner trying out a Lendrum wheel

a happy spinner trying out a Lendrum wheel

Jillian and our friend Erica check out the fleeces

Jillian and our friend Erica check out the fleeces

As always, a crush at The Fold for Socks that Rock

As always, a crush at The Fold for Socks that Rock

The Fold

The Fold

Dragonfly Fibers and their Vote! colorway

Dragonfly Fibers and their Vote! colorway

Sheepses

Sheepses

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

The Sheep Shed @ Mountain View Farm

The Sheep Shed @ Mountain View Farm

Nicky Epstein!

Nicky Epstein! (she gives good hugs)

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

Katrinkles

Katrinkles

Loop of the Loom

Loop of the Loom

wool or maple cotton candy? which is which?

wool or maple cotton candy? which is which?

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

Chameleon Colorworks

Chameleon Colorworks

And then it was time to go home.

And then it was time to go home.

I can’t possibly compute realistic numbers, but what you’ve seen here is just a tiny fraction of what you’d see at Rhinebeck over the weekend. I had proclaimed on Twitter that it wasn’t going to be sweater weather (sweata-weatha!) during the weekend, based on the weather forecasts, and was delighted to find myself completely wrong. It was perfect sweater weather.

Saturday was, as usual, a crazy crowded day with so much browsing, eating and friend-reunioning, and Sunday was quieter and filled with catching up with those we missed the first day, and the booths we wanted to go back to before going home. There is never enough time to see it all, and this year, I was okay with that. I sat in front of the view above Sunday afternoon, and I watched people go by. Saw my first baby-manbun (omg, New Yorkers, you are so silly), met the nicest knitter/gardener (hi, Jane!) and we talked for a long while, and then Jillian and I sauntered back to the car and left before the traffic crush hit.

Not many pics of friends, because I’d rather talk to them than shoot them. But I saw so many, and missed many more. Till next time, Rhinebeck!

Please like & share:

A New Class Question and PLYAWAY 2017 Classes Posted

natural + singles collageHow often do you like teachers to have new classes?

I’ve been teaching a lot the past couple of years and don’t know when to add new classes. For 2017 I tried to have at least one new class for each multi-day teaching gig. I’ve noticed some teachers don’t add new classes very often.

What about exclusive classes for big shows and events? Is that something that appeals?

I personally love designing new classes, but they take about four months to develop. So I need to be sane about how many I add. And let me know if there is something that you’d like to see me teach.

 

Do you like to plan ahead? Jacey has already listed the classes for PLYAWAY 2017. That woman is organized!

The dates are April 25th-April 29th. The location is the same as last year, the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City. There is a fountain pen store just off the lobby, plan your budget accordingly.

I’m teaching three classes and two of them are new and one of them includes sheep cheese tasting!

 

Save

Save

Save

Please like & share:

Obsession Thursday: Finally knitting again!

FInally! Progress on my After the Rain in Rowan Revive.

Finally! Progress on my After the Rain in Rowan Revive.

The saga is coming to a close, at least for my right hand. (Catch up with the story here.)

It’s been 4 months since my surgery. I’ve tried to knit during the healing process, but haven’t found it very enjoyable. Which worried me.

Last week, I went on a road trip with a friend, and got to sit in the passenger seat for the first time in a while (being single means you’re the one driving all the time). I started to knit. It ached as the muscles aren’t even vaguely as strong as they used to be (or NEED to be), but I kept at it, with little breaks. In a while, I noticed it was less achy. And then it was easy.

What was the difference? Keeping at it? No. Up till now, I’d been continuing to try to knit combination, which is still new for me. On the road trip, I switched back to my autonomic knitting style: throwing. And poof, my mojo is returning.

I left the knitting down for the last week, and, picking it up again, it’s kind of like starting over. I used to knit every time I sat down to watch TV. With the pain I had, I broke that habit, and now I have to retrain myself.

This will be fun.

Please like & share:

We’re Going to TNNA – What Do You Want to Know About?

We'll be touching all of the things!

We’ll be touching all of the things!

Amy and I will be attending the summer TNNA show in a a couple of weeks. TNNA is the The National Needlearts Association trade show, the show that shops, designers and publishing types attend to see what’s new in our fuzzy world. The summer show has everything new for fall knitting (and spinning and weaving and stitching).

I’ve been in our wonderful, crazy industry for more than 25 years and I think this may be my 20th TNNA. I’ve gone as an exhibitor, an author, a shop, and a publisher. My question for you, Knitty readers, is what do you want to know, what tidbits of information, photos, giveaways do you want Amy and me to bring back?

Things like, what’s the hottest color for fall? Who had the busiest booth? What’s more popular this year spinning or weaving? What was our favorite new yarn? What was the most gorgeous knitting bag we saw? Who has new styles of needles?

What are you curious about?

 

Please like & share: