What’s What Wednesdays

WWW: Knitting TV comes to Netflix! Knitted Yellow Jersey for bike ride winner! Sheep-shearing record broken!

Image courtesy the artist and The Yarn Loop website.

Amazing: a hand-knit portrait of Amy Winehouse, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of her death. Artist Lisa Bentman spent six weeks on the knitting, and then another week applying a sequin embellishment. You can learn more about the project in Lisa’s video diary. The FO is being raffled off for charity.


SlowTV comes to US Netflix! Overjoyed to learn that the legendary Norwegian Slow TV knitting shows are coming to Netflix August 6. Shall we have an internet knitting party/watch-along?


Reuters Image of a recent London Harris Tweed Ride.

Adore this: not only is there a Harris Tweed bike ride on the Isle of Lewis, in which participants must be decked head-to-toe in outfits of the Scottish tweed fabric, but the prize – a yellow jersey, in the style of the Tour de France – is handknit from Scottish wool.


Interesting… researchers at Disney have been working on a compiler for industrial knitting machines, with the objective of making them operate in the manner of an on-demand 3D printer.

In the words of the researchers… although industrial knitting machines can produce very detailed, seamless, 3D surfaces quickly and autonomously, they are almost impossible to program for small, customized batch production. This work aims to solve that problem.


Not knitting but utterly hypnotic: speed crochet! Crocheter Jayna Grassel was filmed by Condé Nast creating a flower in less than 90 seconds.


Speaking of speed: shearer Matt Smith (sadly not *that* one) breaks the world record for most sheep sheared in one session

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WWW: More Sheep-cams, “Farm to Needle”, Autumn Events

Mason Dixon Knitting brings to our attention a Norwegian Tourism promotion, which involves attaching cameras to sheep and exploring the country from a sheep’s point of view.  (And in case you’re wondering, I will never stop reporting on sheep-cams. I think they are wonderful.)


If you’re in London or environs, there’s lots of fun things going on this autumn. There’s the Great London Yarn Crawl on September 10th, and there’s the Yarnporium fair November 5 & 6th.


And staying in the UK for a moment, we were very happy to discover Woolsack, a website dedicated to promoting British wool products. In their own words, the website is intended to be

a ‘reference library’ listing and linking to everything and anything to do with British wool and British wool products from raw fleeces through to finished items & fashion garments, from local events to permanent exhibitions.


If you’re in Ontario, mark your calendar for September 10th, too: it’s the Kitchener Waterloo Knitter’s Fair.


BWRF_1We received a press release recently from Black Wolf Ranch alpaca farm, promoting their approach to what they term the “ranch to knitting” trend. They’re entirely correct, this movement is closely related to the “farm to table” approach in dining, and we embrace all these initiatives to make crafters more aware of the source of the materials they are working with, and how the materials were treated and processed all the way through the ‘lifecycle’. The emphasis on local products and sustainability is good for all of us. Any farm website that lists “About Our Animals and People” – in that order – is good in my books!


Cheeky: A nice review of my Pattern Writing Book, and if you read to the end there might be an opportunity to win a copy. Just saying. 🙂

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WWW: Faroe Sheep Cam, Kate Davies interview, visit to LYS as alibi?

You’ve probably heard about Google Sheep View, which helps you locate all the sheep in Google Street View images…

The Faroe Islands has launched a slightly different initiative: tired of waiting for Google to come and officially map their island, they’ve harnessed up five sheep with 360-degree cameras, and are gathering the results to submit to Google.


A lovely BBC radio interview with designer extraordinaire Kate Davies. She talks about her recovery from a stroke, and her career change from academic to full-time yarn professional. Well worth ten minutes of your time.


This looks really interesting. The Great British Wool Rampage: a TV documentary on the British Wool industry. It’s a Kickstarter page, but even if you’re not up for a contribution, it’s worth visiting to read about the project.


On the Classic Elite blog, an interview with knitwear designer Tonia Barry. A fascinating insight into the design process.


Interesting: a woman uses a drive to a knitting shop as her alibi in a road-rage case in Scotland. The judge has asked that she prove her knitting ability, as part of her sentencing…


A lovely little memoir of sock knitting for the war effort in Australia: a story of a very old FO and a decades-old acquaintance renewed.

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WWW: Canadian Red Cross booklet, Cliche-free Shop Profile, Knitting as Classical Music Score

I rather like the “if I hold them like this they won’t hurt me” look on his face…

A nice profile of The Sheep Shop in Cambridge UK, notable for having been written by a man, and yet without a single use of the old ‘granny’ or ‘ooh look men can knit too’ tropes.


An older piece, but it’s been making the rounds again recently: an Icelandic composer uses a knitting pattern as inspiration for classical music.

the score, for symphony orchestra and piano respectively, are completed — an ethereal soundworld with pauses where the knitting pattern has holes

Although the composer confesses that neither the score nor the knitting project are complete…


A little off-topic, but an excellent longer read for your lunchtime break today… The True Price of Fast Fashion.


New York Public library offers a weekly knitting and crochet gathering, 10:30am on Tuesdays.


Image from the Canadian Red Cross website.

A post on the Canadian Red Cross website about knitting patterns distributed to civilians during the two World Wars. The purpose of these booklets was not, however, what you might initially think… it wasn’t about teaching knitting, but rather establishing standards for the items to be made and donated.

Knitting booklets like this one also serve as a reminder that although the wartime Red Cross relied primarily on voluntary labour, it still had high standards. All items produced were carefully inspected, and any that did not meet the exact specifications outlined in the instructions were rejected. Knitting booklets like this one enabled women volunteers across Canada to produce items that they knew were needed and made the grade.


In which model, celebrity and rock-n-roll progeny Georgia May Jagger confesses that she used knitting to help her quit smoking and nail-biting.

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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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