What’s What Wednesdays

WWW: Yarn Documentary, Knitted Windows, On Copyright

Knitter and actor Kirk Dunn creates phenomenal large-scale knitting projects: full-size stained glass windows. You can watch a documentary about his work online.


A few weeks ago we mentioned the upcoming release of the documentary “Yarn”. It’s been released in the US, and the New York Times has reviewed it. You can watch the trailer here.


Love this: knitter Farzana Chaudry has created a woolly display for the front window of her house, commemorating the return of International Space Station astronauts Tim Peake, Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Kopra. She lives near a school, and enjoys creating these types of displays, “for the joy of the kids”.


Phenomenally useful: a guide to copyright for crafters and artists, in easily understood visual form. I promise it’s not boring or laden with legalese. With a hat-tip to KnitHacker for bringing this to my attention, and Ginger Davis of Blue Bottle Tree for putting it together.Copyright-Infographic-crafters-1024x795 - Copy

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WWW: Travel (with) Knitting, Vintage Films, Life-size yarny replicas

Two fantastic videos posted by the BBC in honour of World Wide Knit in Public Day:

Shetland Lace Knitters, filmed in 1964, working at a remarkable pace. Their language is absolutely fascinating, an almost Scandinavian lilt, to my ears. I adored the answer the one knitter gives about how she feels at the end of a long project.

And this gem from 1972:


In life-size-replicas-of-public-figures-made-out-of-yarn news, we have two stories:

A yarn shop in Devon won a competition for their amazing shop window display, featuring a pretty-close-to-life-size figure of the Queen.

And in the US, a crochet model of Bernie Sanders is out on the election trail…


travel-suitcase-clip-art-suitcaseIt’s vacation season! Do you have your travel knitting prepared? Some tips from us here at the Knittyblog for travelling with knitting.  And check the Knitter’s Review events list to see if there’s anything yarny going on near your destination… or to help you decide on a destination…


Heck, knitting can even help you work through a language barrier, when you’re travelling. On that note, I enjoyed this little vignette from a friend’s trip to Italy….

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WWW: WWKIP, Indy PopCon, Icelandic Yarnbombing (the greatest ever?)

This coming weekend it’s the Indiana PopCon pop culture convention. Designer Joan of Dark – of the famous Baker Street Neil Gaiman scarf – is speaking at the event about her experience getting her Geek Knits book published, Saturday 3pm.


This weekend it’s World Wide Knit in Public Day. What are your plans?  I’ll be at Shall We Knit in Waterloo, for our annual shenanigans. I look forward to seeing pictures on Twitter and Instagram.


Although not specifically a WWKIP event, I’m rather amused by list of events at the Wildfire Adventure Camp event this weekend in Kent, U.K… Advertised as summer camp for adults, one of the activities scheduled is “naked knitting”. I just hope that there’s lots of sunscreen available.


Just the greatest. Love the faces! Photo from Prjónagraff á Blönduósi, Facebook.

Yarn-bombing Iceland style. Of course Icelandic yarnbombing features gorgeous colorwork and excellent sheepy details! The Facebook page of this group is absolutely amazing.


From James’ Global Knitting Party blog.

A familiar story, no less wonderful for it: knitting as a way to fight depression. The chef and cookbook author is touring the world – travelling 15,000 miles with yarn and needles in hand, telling the story about his fight with mental illness. Lots of great photos on the blog.

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WWW: Study of knitting as a way to alleviate arthritis pain; a pleasant little ditty; a knitter’s life commemorated

Image courtesy the Ottawa Citizen.

A research group at the University of Ottawa’s School of Rehabilitation Sciences, led by Lucie Brosseau, is examining the impact knitting has on pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis. Can regular knitting help relieve pain and morning stiffness associated with the ailment? A local knitting group, the Pacesetters, is participating by keeping records of their yarny activity, and the level of pain they experience.


Found on the US Library of Congress website: a musical score for a 1917 composition entitled “Knitting”. Written for vocals and piano accompaniment, it’s a catchy little ditty. I was amused to find that even a century ago, they were referring to knitting as something grandma would do…

“This war has brought a custom back, that seems to be most fitting.
It was the vogue in grandma’s time: it is the art of knitting.”


So great!

Love this: Linda Barks has created a full knitted town, for a local children’s playgroup. The level of detail is fantastic: there’s a supermarket and a farm and buses and even an airport.


In which a knitter realizes a terrible truth: that you rarely actually get a lot of knitting done at a knitting retreat! There’s always lots of learning and socializing and fun, but somehow not many rows actually get worked…


I wish I knew more about this story. It’s a wonderful idea, very moving: a church on the Isle of Wight, UK, has curated an exhibition of the knitting work of a late resident of the area. It’s a fundraiser for the hospice in which Margaret Palmer spent her last days. Called ‘Casting On — a life in yarn’, the exhibition featured more than 50 pieces, including the project she was working on when she died, still on the needles.

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WWW: On the UFO, Leeds Wool Festival, Knitting Mathematics workshop

I’ve written before about the use of fiber arts in the teaching of mathematics, and the links between math and knitting. Oh how I wish I could take this course, Knitting Mathematics” presented by educational organization Math for America The group is focused on supporting teachers of mathematics and science at all levels in the US, and this particular workshop is all about how fiber can be used an way to teach mathematical concepts in an innovative and interesting way.


An unfinished Cezanne. Image courtesy the museum.

Not Strictly Knitting, but entirely relevant to my knitting experience – and everyone else’s, I suspect. A new exhibition at The Met Breuer Museum in Manhattan explores the UFO in art: the unfinished object. This NPR piece shows some of the pieces, and discusses the inspiration for the exhibition and significance of the pieces and their incomplete state which offers “glimpses into the creative process and sometimes reveal artists’ anger or despair”. (Been there!) Fascinating and actually a huge relief.


Also Not Knitting, but wonderful anyway: a short video depicting the process of couture hat-making.


This Saturday is the Leeds Wool Festival, held at the Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills. If you’re in the north of the UK, it sounds like a fantastic day out. The setting is fabulous: the museum, on the site of an old textile mill, has a remarkable collection of antique industrial textile machinery.


Love this: over 300,000 hand-knit and crocheted poppies were installed in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, as part of the Chelsea Flower show. The poppy is traditionally a symbol of remembrance for those who have lost their lives while serving in armed forces, and this gathering forms a remarkable and moving tribute. Crafters from around the world — of all ages, countries and religions — contributed, to commemorate those who have served in all wars, in history and in current times.


Faintly not-safe-for-work, in that a couple of the topics discussed relate to sexuality… a Guardian article talking about the role of the internet in finding community and support. Very happy to see Ravelry mentioned! (Less happy about the mis-identification of crochet as knitting in a photo caption…)

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WWW: Thing of Paper; a very long bike ride; romantic socks,

We are very excited about designer Karie Westermann’s upcoming project, “This Thing of Paper”. Karie is a designer of great talent, and I know that the designs will be wonderful. But this book is more than that – in her words, it will absolutely be a beautiful book of knitting patterns inspired by the age of Gutenberg. 

“Manuscripts and early printed books also hold great visual appeal. I have worked extensively with primary sources ranging from 14th century illuminated manuscripts to 16th century embroidery manuals. This Thing of Paper has a defined colour palette and design vocabulary derived from my research. The whole book is steeped in one woman’s love of vellum, marginalia, and woodcuts.”

Kickstarter page here, but even if you don’t want to support, have a look to learn a little more about her plans and her inspiration. It’s a fascinating project.


As someone who worries about sock sizing, I much appreciate that KnitCircus is now selling gradient-dyed sock yarn in different size skeins for different size needs. The clever bit is that it’s not just a skein with less yardage, but that the gradient is dyed differently, so that you get the full run of color no matter what size sock you’re making.


Friends of Knitty, Yarn in the City, have just announced an exciting event for this autumn: the Yarnporium. The event, being held November 5 & 6 in central London, is a two-day celebration of ‘sweater weather, yarn, fibre, friends and the making community’. There will be vendors and workshops and cake. I went to last year’s, and it was fabulous. If you’re in the UK, this will definitely be worth a visit.


Once again, the Yarn Harlot is spending her summer training for an epic cycle ride. Every summer for the past few years Stephanie has participated in a fundraiser, the Friends for Life Bike Rally. The event helps PWA, an organization dedicated to providing assistance to those in Toronto area who are living with AIDS. They offer financial support, counselling, medical and therapeutic support, helping with food and other very practical activities. To raise funds, she spends a week cycling from Toronto to Montreal, a distance of 600km, or about 400 miles. (For context, I ride a stationary bike for about 25 minutes every other day, and it took me nearly 5 months before I hit that distance.) To support Stephanie and her team, you can sponsor a rider, or you can donate a Karmic Balancing Gift.


Lots of love in this pair. Photo courtesy Dawn Repotto.

I must confess when I saw the link to the article “The World’s Most Romantic Socks Are Knitted on an Active Volcano” I didn’t expect the story could ever live up to the potential of the headline. I was wrong. A small community – 267 strong – of mostly farmers lives on a tiny remote island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean – an actual active volcano. There are some fascinating traditions in the community, and one of them centers around knitting: specifically knitting gifts with hidden messages encoded in. Stripes signify depth of feeling. More stripes, stronger feelings: ‘Socks were the garment of choice for young lovers. Traditionally, a woman would knit a pair for her intended paramour, adding as many stripes as she saw fit.’ The islanders are knitting socks to order now, and they are shipped all over the world.

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WWW: Knitting puzzles; patterns in nature; Shetland exhibition on Fair Isle history

Image from Uber Den Traum blog, with thanks.

Love this piece on reading and working from those beautiful Japanese knitting books


Not knitting, but fascinating and inspiring all the same: a new book about visual patterns that appear in nature. Part coffee table book, part science book, this looks like an absolutely wonderful read.


Knitting research – there’s something really really special about seeing a previous generation’s work in their own hand.

Speaking of knitting puzzles, I very much enjoyed a recent blog post from designer Susan Crawford, notable interpreter of vintage patterns and knits. She writes about the “treasure hunt” of figuring out a stitch pattern from a vintage garment.


If you’re in London, U.K., this sounds like a must-see: Stoke Newington Library hosts a permanent exhibition of a knitted park. Specifically, it’s Stoke Newington Common. This community space had been badly neglected, and in the past few years, a group of nearby residents banded together to revitalize it, building a playground and planting the garden. In 2014, their knitting subcommittee – Common Thread – created a yarny replica of the space as part of an art exhibition.

The group is running three workshops at the library, around the project. The first runs May 21st, and is all about how the project was completed. Saturday May 28th there’s a workshop on how to knit a tree, for adults; and the following Saturday, June 4th, there’s a kids’ workshop on creating plants from yarn and fabric.


The Shetland Textile Museum has opened for the summer season, and this year it’s hosting an exhibition all about Fair Isle knitting. Looks like are some really great items on display… The colorwork collar on the cardigan… go look, it’s spectacular!

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WWW: On Celtic and Saxon Feet; very big flag; knitting with dog hair and the War Effort

Sock-fit-nerd alert: On Celtic and Saxon feet. Absolutely fascinating (well, to me, anyway!) article about different foot shapes, as observed by an English podiatrist active during World War II, who treated both English and German soldiers. Do you have have Celtic or Saxon toes?


A labor of love and patriotism: an Estonian man is knitting the world’s largest Estonian flag to celebrate the country’s centenary, in 2018. The knitter, Valtrik Pihl, estimates that it will take 3,000 hours and 139 kilometres (86 miles) of yarn to complete the project.


I’ve written about “extreme knitter” Jacqueline Fink before, but I hadn’t seen this time-elapse video of her working at her needles before. Turns out that even extreme knitting can be done while tucked up all comfy on the couch, watching TV.


Image from Royal Voluntary Service. Combing dog hair to be spun into yarn.

Important story: women’s history is far too often lost, because their efforts were not recorded, or considered “significant”. An organization in the UK – the Royal Voluntary Service – is embarking on a project to digitize and preserve the records of their critical work during World War II. Known then as the Women’s Voluntary Service, members were engaged in efforts to aid the people of the UK as they went about their daily lives during difficult times. Although there is a knitting connection, and a rather amusing one at that – combing dog hair for spinning and using for garments, when sheep’s wool was hard to come by – it’s part of a larger history, too. Members ran emergency rest centres, feeding, first aid, and assisting with the evacuation and billeting of children.


Love this: international students arriving at Lincoln University in New Zealand are being presented with a welcome package, which includes a pair of handknit socks, to prepare them for cold and damp New Zealand winters.


“How to wear a woollen work of art”: on knitwear as fashion, profiling Irish knitwear designers.


Next Thursday, May 19th, our Kate (that’s me!) is doing the first of a two-part webseminar series on her favorite topic: Math for Knitters. This first one is all about project and pattern math: yarn substitutions, checking gauges, and tricky instructions in patterns like “increase evenly across” and “reversing shapings”.

The second part is about garment alterations and adjustments – including what to do if you can’t match gauge – and runs June 9th at 1pm.

Both webseminars are recorded, and if you can’t attend live, you can watch/listen to the recorded version, at your leisure. For more info and to register visit this webpage. It’s $19.99 to attend live or on-demand, and if you enter the discount code MATH4KNITTERS you’ll get a discount on the registration!

You don’t have to be good at or love math to attend – precisely the opposite, in fact. The approach of this session is to teach you where numbers can help, and some basic calculations, but just as much to tell you how to avoid doing it if you don’t want to. Not everyone loves spending time doing arithmetic, and even if you do love math, chances are you’d still probably prefer to be knitting than calculating…

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WWW: On the meaning of knitting, knitted objects, and knitting objects

A lovely memoir of sock knitting…  “I learned to knit socks in a drugged state.”


“The Feel-Better Sweater”: a precious FO from years ago brings comfort.


Intriguing: a new history of Estonian Knitting. The book ‘trailer’ – a preview video – is definitely worth the watch, even if you’re not interested in a big book on the topic. You get a 2 and a half minute introduction to the history and the wonderful work of Estonian knitters.


Speaking of knitting history, June Hall, co-author with Donna Druchunas of Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions, has launched an accompanying exhibit at a museum in Coniston, Cumbria, U.K.


A mystery item for some, it’s true

Love this idea: San Bernardino County Museum in California has launched a new exhibit, “Mysteries of the Museum”, challenging guests to examine and identify antique objects. One such object is an industrial circular knitting loom.

(Reminds me of a funny story: the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto ran a contest last year, challenging people to identify a mysterious machine… They tweeted out a photo of the thing. I think they were fairly surprised by the speed of the response, and the number of correct responses: I’m not sure they realized how many sock knitters — and owners of antique sock knitting machines — there are in the Toronto area.)


If you’re at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, Kate (me!) will be there! I’ll be prowling the show on Saturday, fondling yarns, signing books at the Signature Needles booth, and eating my way through the goat cheese samples. If there are sheepdog demonstrations, you’re likely to find me there… If you see me, say hello!

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WWW: ‘Secret History of Knitting’ documentary; Body Parts; Wool Wednesday?

Click here to watch a new TV documentary, ‘The Secret History of Knitting, featuring our own Kate, Amy, and Kate’s LYS Yarns Untangled. Lots of other famous faces appear, too! Made for the newly lauch Makeful TV channel, it does a good job of telling the story of knitting – and of knitters.

We also absolutely loved the accompanying ‘slow TV’ event, ‘Knit Purl Knit: Three Hours in a Yarn Shop‘, filmed over a Sunday afternoon at Yarns Untangled. Soothing and beautiful.


If you’re in the Toronto area, this Saturday is the Toronto Knitter’s Guild annual Frolic! With retail and classes, this event is a highlight of the knitting year.

And if you’re in the UK, this Saturday is Yarn Shop Day. Shops all over the UK are offering promotions, activities and perhaps even tea and cake. A great opportunity to visit a new-to-you shop, remember that it doesn’t count as stash if it’s a souvenir…


“Whatya making?” “A brain.”

Love this: knitted body parts for use in primary school health classes! Volunteer knitters in Lancashire have been contributing to this clever educational project.


If you’re not tired of listening to Kate babble on, she was on Marly Bird’s Yarn Thing podcast this week, talking about the new edition of her Pattern Writing book. And a couple of weeks ago, Amy was on the show, too, talking about all things Knitty.


Students at an art school is Lausanne, Switzerland, have created a chair that knits a hat while you read. The article is in French, but the pictures tell you everything you need to know!


Yes, we know! Knitting appears on a list of hobbies that are recommended as a ‘mindfulness techniques’.


I agree!

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