What’s What Wednesdays

WWW: Winner of movie tickets; The Great Swatch Experiment

The two winners of our giveaway for tickets to see YARN THE MOVIE when it screens in Toronto are Marina and Claudia! We hope you enjoy it!

And I’m posting one article here this week because of how important I think it is. This week, instead of reading me, you should go read this blog post:

Kelbourne Woolens is running The Great Swatch Experiment, and they’ve posted the data from the first swatch.

If you’ve never really understood (or believed) that different knitters can get different results with the same yarn and the same needles – well, prepare to be blown away.

Image from The Kelbourne Woolens blog.

This post provides background on the series and the experiment. This is such an important thing to do!

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WWW: Rhinebeck Week!

Remember, if you’re near Toronto, enter to win a double-pass to see YARN THE MOVIE!

This week it’s THE WEEK. It’s the week of Rhinebeck, properly known as the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, held in Rhinebeck, NY.

If you’re wondering what the deal is:

On the newly relaunched Mason Dixon Knitting website, a primer on How To Rhinebeck.

And yes, part of the fun is in knitting yourself a sweater to wear there. Because of a change in my schedule, I was able to plan a last-minute day trip via NYC. With less than two weeks to go, I decided that a bulky lopapeysa was going to be about all I could manage. I’ve been chronicling my progress on my instagram, and I was very happy to finish it up on Monday night. (Well, it still needs buttons but my excuse is that I’ll be shopping for them at the event.)

Amy, Jillian and I will all be there, and we hope to see you!

People Knitting: A Century of Photographs‘. There’s a magnificent preview here. Note: one of the images is ever so slightly NSFW, in the most amusing way possible.

From Fiona Goble, the designer behind Knit Your Own Royal Wedding, comes Knit Your Own Election: patterns to knit yourself woolly replicas of the two candidates in the US Federal Election.

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WWW: When yarn and science collide; our very own “Knitting Humourist”

Love love love these: knitterly illustrations from this week’s New Yorker.

Image (c) Pat Ashforth.

Even if you are not mathematically inclined, these projects are absolutely beautiful. And if you ARE, they are also jaw-droppingly clever. Mathematicians Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer create yarny designs to illustrate mathematical concepts.

The blanket pattern on the left is derived from an image of a grid of superimposed sudokus puzzles, where each of the digits represents a different colour Sudoku grid…

Serves him right: a burglar broke into the home of a woman and managed to get away with only a briefcase full of knitting patterns. Although, if it was out-of-print and hard to find issues of the Rowan magazine, it wouldn’t be quite so funny…

Image (c) Allison Meier for Hyperallergic.

I had no idea: how the Pantone color system evolved from a way of categorizing bird colors.

A lovely profile of “Knitting Humourist” and friend-of-the-show Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, and her appearance at last weekend’s KnityCity event in Vancouver.

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WWW: Terrible knitting pun of the week; on knitting with dog hair; illustrators attempt to depict knitting

Thinking ahead: our own Kate (yes, that’s me!) is teaching next October 20-22nd (yes, 2017) at beautiful St. Andrew by the Sea, New Brunswick, Canada.  Knit East features a great list of instructors and classes, in a fabulous setting.

Famous Illustrators’ Depictions of Knitting, Ranked in Order of Competence.

Comedian and writer John Hodgman, in his ‘Judge John Hodgman’ Advice column for the New York Times weighs in on a debate about knitting with dog hair.

I was recently reminded of this lovely work: the award-winning short film The Last Knit, directed by animator Laura Neuvonen. Take a few minutes and enjoy it.

How Knitting Has Taken Over the Highlands – a piece about the upcoming Loch Ness Knitting Festival, and the value of handscraft to the economy in the Scottish Highlands.

And related to the same event, this week’s nominee for best-worst knitting pun: a Car-digan. (Geddit?)

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WWW: Mathematics, Love Monsters, #FairFiberWage response

Multiplication, as explained by Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer.

Very satisfying: 6 mathematical concepts explained in yarn, on Mental Floss website.

Not Strictly Knitting, but still wonderful: a short film about a project to recreate embroidery and needlework patterns of Jane Austen’s time, as part of celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Austen’s novel Emma.

Also Not Strictly Knitting, but a different spin (see what I did there?!) on yarn-bombing: cross-stitch street art.

Following up on a discussion from last week, John Bolton, the General Manager of Interweave has responded to criticisms of changes to the YarnFest teaching contract, and has promised to revise the terms. Wonderful to see a company being responsive to concerns and discussions.

Comforting: knitters make Love Monster dolls to give to young patients undergoing cochlear implant surgery at UNC hospital, in North Carolina. The program is run by yarn shop The Quarter Stitch, in Wilmington.

Speaking of mathematics, the genius Woolly Wormhead has written an amazing tutorial on hat crown shaping.

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WWW #FairFiberWage, Clever Patterns, FO Photos, Trailing of the Sheep

There was been a lot of talk all over social media about #FairFiberWage for the past week. It’s a discussion about what is fair to pay fiber arts teachers, particularly at large shows. It was kicked off by an article written by Abby Franquemont. It was quickly followed by blog posts by Mary Beth Temple and Miriam Felton. Then we heard from the people who hire teachers, Jacey Boggs disclosed what it costs to run the PLY AWAY retreat and Beth Smith talked about hiring teachers for her small shop. Yesterday Abby Glassenburg of Craft Industry Alliance posted an article about the changes in the contract for teachers at Yarn Fest. This is an important discussion, how do we keep having shows with excellent teachers and vendors where everyone makes a fair amount of money? There is even more discussion if you follow the hashtag #FairFiberWage on Twitter, Ravelry and Facebook.



Lee Meredith’s Game Knitting!


Thinkstuff chose 18 Impossibly Clever Knitting and Crochet Patterns, including longtime Knitty designer Lee Meredith’s Game Knitting.






Want to up your FO photo game? Karen Templar of Fringe Association has an excellent post on taking better knitting photos.


Trailing of the Sheep

Trailing of the Sheep


Will you be near Idaho on October 5-9? It’s the 20th anniversary of the Trailing of the Sheep Festival , a huge celebration of Idaho’s sheep ranching families. Please note, there is a sheep parade!



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WWW: “Hey, will you make me a hat”; Project Maple; Onions

This has been making the rounds again on Twitter, and it’s so great it’s worth mentioning again: all about the online knitting reference library at Southampton University.

Snort. I don’t know the origin of this, but I just love it. Tastefully Offensive offers up an answer to the “hey, will you make *me* a hat?” question. Clearly a photograph taken in-flight, this is an excellent answer to a fellow passenger making an all-too common request.

Another look at an another important topic: copyright. The Craft Industry Alliance debunks some common copyright myths.

Not strictly knitting, but: Project Maple for Canada’s 150th birthday. The Crochet Crowd is collecting crocheted Maple Leaves to decorate a tree in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, for next year’s 150th anniversary of the founding of the country.

I really enjoyed this piece about knitting as a way to distract oneself from digital distractions. The author’s approach is honest and realistic… we don’t stop checking email and Twitter and Facebook when we’re knitting, but we might do a little bit less often…. “Rather than being calming and contemplative on its own, knitting’s meditative properties allow me to engage more productively with digital media.”

A long read, but a lovely one: How to Caramelize Onions. I promise, there is a connection to craft.

In the Philly area? Free this weekend? Knitty’s very own Kate (yes, that’s me!) is visiting Loop, and teaching five classes: colorwork, brioche, short rows, an Expert Tips/Troubleshooting session, and of course a Custom Fit Socks class. More details here.

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WWW: Time and how it passes – history, tradition and the clock

From the original 2011 performance of the work.

There are knitting circles, and knitting circles. This is a Knitting Circle. In that it’s a giant circle of 80 people, all knitting, together, at the same time, on the same piece. This past weekend, a group gathered in Quebec to participate in the latest iteration of artist Kerstin Lindstrom’s work “Own Our Own Time”. Initially performed in 2011 with 83 knitters in the Faroe Islands, the work aims to explore our individual and group relationships to time… “In this activity the one who knits the slowest controls the pace of the whole work.”

Fascinating, if not strictly knitting: about MYB Textiles, a lacemaker in Scotland that is the last to use traditional punch-card coded looms. Watch the video, it’s wonderful.

I was excited to read about the latest issue of Donna Druchunas, Susan Santos and Ava Coleman’s Stories in Stitches book series. This issue, ‘Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose’, focuses on the era of the US Civil War, and how knitters approached with scarcity of resources.

During the Civil War era, knitters were frugal and used what was on hand. Tobacco twine was used to make bedspreads, tents were unraveled and the string knit into socks, rugs were knit from cut-up shirts and dresses, and old fisherman’s sweater from Europe became arm winter wear for Americans on both side of the Mason-Dixon line.

The books in this series always feature a mix of history and knitting patterns, and this volume includes four gansey sweaters, one sontag-style shawl, one rag rug, and three pairs of socks – some inspired by period projects, and others are directly from period patterns with modernized instructions.

More woolly art: Ballarat Museum in Australia is mounting a large scale exhibition around the piece “WARM”. Featuring hundreds of handknit pieces, the work speaks to questions about dependency on fossil fuels for heating and power, and aims to offer an alternative solution that is fun and community driven.

Knitted pieces including gum trees, native flowers and wind turbines to create an enormous collage which shows a landscape reclaimed from the devastating effects of environmental degradation.

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WWW: Knitted Athletes, More Knitting with Kittens, Ribbon Inspiration

(Photo courtesy Battersea Dog and Cats Home.) I MEAN COME ON.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in the UK hosts a fantastic event every month: Knitting with Kittens. The next one is September 15th… if you’re in the area, consider joining them. And sending me pictures.

I was chatting recently with a knitter who was attempting to get gauge for a Knitty garment project, and she was struggling. She had swatched, but then had the issue that the gauge when working the project was very different than the gauge in the swatch. I pointed her to this post on Amy Herzog’s blog about Why Swatches Lie And How To Stop Them Doing It.

Image credit: SWNS.

Also in London, the extended Haggerty family has created a knitted tribute to the Rio Olympics, and the British Team’s successes there.

Prepare to shed a tear: a 91-year-old man in hospice care for terminal cancer is spending his time making hats on a knitting loom, to donate to area homeless.

Inspiration: images from a collection of 18th and 19th century French ribbon samples. If you click through, you can browse the complete books.

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WWW: Pokemon and Cakes and the Other Sort of Knit Graffiti

Image from The Torontoist blog.

The other type of knit graffiti – out of paint rather than yarn. Love this one, spotted in the east end of Toronto. Click through to see a larger version.

Instructions for knitting a molecule. From the “Things and Ideas” blog, this post is older, but worth revisiting as you and the kids get ready for going back to school.

The molecule is specifically acrylonitrile, ‘as used in the production of acrylic fibres’.

A couple of knitting-related Kickstarters: Even if you’re not up for contributing, I always find it fun to look to see what people are up to. The first is a book of knitting patterns for tiny birds.

And the second is from Canadian yarn shop Ram Wools, for a series of open-source knitting video tutorials.

A hat tip to Knithacker, who brought this to our attention. Feast your eyes on this absolutely amazing ‘knitted’ cake, created by Cakes for Show. The video tutorial is mesmerizing.

They are crocheted not knit as being commonly reported, but otherwise I love this story: Nichole of Dallas is making little Pokemon characters and hiding them at Pokestops around the city. If you want one to keep for yourself, she has generously made the patterns available for free on Ravelry.

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