What’s What Wednesdays

WWW: On difficulty, k200tog, a different pink hat

Miriam writes on her blog about difficulty ratings in patterns: I agree wholeheartedly!


Style writer Nathalie Atkinson writes about the origins of the Cowichan (a.k.a. curling) sweater. The garment is considered a Canadian icon, popularized by Mary Maxim in the 1950s and 60s. Many knitters aren’t aware of their origins in the indigenous community of coastal B.C.


I like this very much: the Knit2o0Together project.

Driven by educator Maura Pfeifer, Knit 200 Together is intended to bring together people of different backgrounds and communities, united in fiber craft, to share and learn a little about each other. A group of 200 diverse knitters from around the greater Boston region will meet to knit, talk about their projects, their yarn, and their lives – and in doing so get to know someone new, and expand their world and perspective. The event takes place Saturday February 11th, at the Cary Memorial Library in Boston. Details at the website.


Image (c) Liz Honig.

Image (c) Liz Honig.

If you still need a pink hat for next week, but aren’t sure about ears, perhaps Donna Druchunas’s “Resist” hat might fit the bill.


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WWW: Advice, sensible and otherwise; Pink Hats; This is Your Brain on Knitting

Some people are making pink hats to wear later this month. 


Sensible: an advice columnist – a knitter herself – provides advice to the non-knitters who might wish to ask a friend to make a sweater for them: “Don’t risk friendship over a sweater.


I’m in two minds about pieces like this: “How to Wear Chunky Knits“, courtesy of an online style magazine. I mean, the first thought that leaps to mind when I see a headline like that is “heck, it’s January – just slip it on over a tshirt and be warm.” But then after the snark, I will always click through: I enjoy a good fashion spread, and so look with interest on how stylists propose wearing these key items of winter gear. And then, in this sort of case, I get the additional value of a chuckle at the idea of an open-shouldered chunky sweater. (Yes, really! Go look!) Given that I live in Canada, I categorize these items along with with open-toed boots: fashion developed by people who have apparently never actually been outside….


Love this: a fabulous episode of VeryPink Knitting podcast, in which Casey talks with psychologist Dr. Art Markman about about your brain on knitting – process vs. project knitters, multi-task knitting, and other topics.

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Looking forward to 2017: Kate and Jillian on the road

soxpertiseKate’s Teaching Schedule for the first part of 2017

January 25-27 – InTown Quilters, Decatur, Georgia
Introduction to Design, Continental Knitting, Best Methods/Expert Tips, Yarn Shopping Bootcamp, Soxpertise, Altering Patterns

Feb 26 & 27th – Sheep Shop, Cambridge UK
Introduction to Gloves, Two Socks at Once: The War & Peace Method, Introduction to Design

March 1 – Knit With Attitude, Stoke Newington, UK
Class TBA

March 4 & 5 – Purlescence, Leckhampstead, UK
Intro to Brioche, Advanced Brioche; -You do the maths” – a study in numbers and knitting patterns

March 9 – 12 – Edinburgh Yarn Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
Classes sold, out, sorry, but I will be doing a book signing or two at the Purlescence booth.

March 17-19 – Madison Knitter’s Guild Knit-In, Madison, WI

March 30 – April 3 – Interweave Yarn Fest, Loveland, CO
Pi Shawl, Two Socks at Once: Side by Side, Fiber Care & Blocking, Math for Knitters, 2 Socks at Once: War & Peace, Pattern Writing, Custom Fit Socks

April 7-9 – Make Wear Love Spring Retreat, Pacific Grove, CA
Fearless Finishing, Pattern Reading, Working with Handpainted Yarns

 

Spinning with Jillian means color!

Spinning with Jillian means color!

Jillian’s Teaching Schedule for Most of 2017

January 20-22 – Loop! Philadelphia, PA
Book Signing, Yarnitecture, Twist and Ply and 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Yarns

February 16-February 19 – Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat- Tacoma , WA
Yarnitecture #2: The Journey Continues: Sampling and Spinning for a Specific Project – Exclusive to Madrona for 2017
Twist and Ply #2: Texture and Color- new for 2017
All the Singles Ladies: Spin and Knit Sensational Singles – new for 2017

March 30 – April 3 – Interweave Yarn Fest, Loveland, CO
Yarnitecture, Twist and Ply 2: Texture and Color – new for 2017, Fractal Frolic, Cheaper by the Dozen: 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Top

April 26-29 – PLY Away 2 – Kansas City, MO
Yarnitecture – 2 days!
Kaleidoscope Yarns: Color and Singles – new for 2017
Sheep Sampler: Spin & Nosh – new for 2017

July 19-23 – Super Summer Knitogether – Nashville, TN
Classes to be announced

September 29-October 1 – WEBS Spinning Summit
Classes to be announced

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WWW: Bristol’s Colours, Village-sized Yarn-bomb, Use Your Noodle

The winner of our Obliqua kit giveaway is Candi from Pennsylvania. We wish you happy knitting!


Ooh! Very exciting! The Yarn Collective has just announced a new line of yarns: Pembroke Worsted, in colourways designed by Knitty designer Bristol Ivy.  There are ten colors, described in Bristol’s own words:

“My whole collection is based on the rich, pure tones of gems and minerals. I’ve always loved these colors and their depth, complexity, and saturation. I think since they’re all based on naturally occurring colors, they all speak well to each other and come together into a coherent palette. I’m so excited to explore them further: the icy grey-greens, the deep copper oranges, the vivid coral-y carnelians, the soft neutral greys and sepias — all of them.”


Photo credit: Mayo Martin, from the Channel News Asia website.

Photo credit: Mayo Martin, from the Channel News Asia website.

I am willing to excuse the terrible pun – “noodlework” – in this story. Indonesian artist Cynthia Delaney Suwito has had a rather wonderful piece included in a show organized by the Visual Arts Development Association of Singapore… a fabric knitted from cooked instant noodles. It’s a statement about speed of life and gratification: knitting with cooked noodles is even slower than knitting with yarn, and highlights the contrast between the instant-readiness of the noodles with the slow and careful nature of handwork. She works on the fabric as part of the exhibition, treating with care and thoughtfulness a product that normally is prepared and consumed thoughtlessly, in moments.


Epic yarn-bombing: an entire village, Llwyngwril, in beautiful Wales. Click through for some fantastic images.

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WWW: Knitted chairs, baby rhinos in blankets and the TCM Knitting Club

IKEA launches a knitted chair. It’s hard to tell precisely what the fabric looks like from the photos, but I’m rather amused by the thought that I could have a knitted chair for knitting in.


And this week’s adorable-baby-animal-wrapped-in-handknits is a Rhino!

Although this horse is pretty fetching in his new blanket, too.


As the skies darken and the weather turns grim in the northern hemisphere, I find I’m rather excited about the announcement of Pantone’s colour of the year for 2017: Greenery!


Loved hearing some knitters on this BBC Radio program. It’s a series called The Chain, on the long-running Woman’s Hour program. Women are interviewed, talking about themselves, their work and their inspirations, and nominate the next woman to be interview, specifically a woman who has inspired their success.  Both Kate Davies and Felicity Ford appear, and talk about their yarny careers and work.


Love this: the TCM Knitting Club. I’ve enjoyed following The Nitrate Diva on Twitter for some time. She’s a lover of vintage movies, with an eye for an excellent photo, and a sharp wit. I was excited this week to learn of her new newsletter, highlighting classic movie-themed knits, knitting related anecdotes, and generally yarny fun. What’s not to love?

I rather enjoyed this, part of a meme that’s making its way around social media at the moment.

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WWW: City of Craft, STEELwool commemoration, “Abominaball Snowman”

Steelworkers at the University of Toronto, experienced knitters and beginners together, have contributed to an installation, STEELwool, in recognition of Bill 132, a program against workplace violence and sexual harrassment. 132 scarves were displayed yesterday at all three of the University’s campuses. The date of the installation, December 6th, was chosen specifically: it marks the anniversary of the event known as ‘The Montreal Massacre‘, a shooting at the University of Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique, in which 14 women were died, targeted specifically because of their gender.


If you’re in the Toronto area, this weekend’s City of Craft show is definitely worth a visit. A celebration of all things handmade, the event runs all weekend, and features 60 vendors, representing some of the best makers from our region. There are also workshops and installations.

City of Craft is a collective of craft-engaged arts organizers who aim to build community in the Toronto craftscape, support independent craft businesses, and encourage the larger community to get involved with crafty happenings in the city. We organize Toronto’s largest independently-run, juried craft show each December featuring craft-based installations, free workshops, and craft-related programming in local businesses and galleries, attracting approximately 4,000 attendees.


Love this! It’s pretty saucy, full of terrible puns and cheeky language… definitely NSFW for innuendo and woolly nudity… Make sure your sense of humor is fully operational, and maybe put headphones on?  The “Nudiknits” winter film: The Abonimaball Snowman. 


Some women are going for a walk in Washington this coming January. They might need hats.

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WWW: Hexagonal Needles, Scarves in the Park, How Much is Lifetime’s Worth of Sock Yarn?

The makers behind the needles.

You might not be familiar with the hexagonal needles made by Indian Lake Artisans. They’re a beautiful product, made in the US – and it was all inspired by an experimental attempt a knitting with pencils.


I’ve seen a number of initiatives like this pop up in recent years, and I think it’s an excellent idea: leaving scarves and other winter accessories in public parks, where those in need might find them. This CNN piece highlights one such project, in Manchester, New Hampshire.


The Centre for Art Tapes, in Halifax, NS, is a not for profit artist-run, charitable, organization that facilitates and supports artists at all levels working with electronic media including video, audio, and new media. Their latest artist in residence is Merle Harley, who explores the parallels between codes, algorithms, and systems within electronics, and knitting and weaving patterns.


sockforlife-top

How long would it take to work through this?

Notification of this contest arrived in our mailbox with the subject line: ‘Important Cause: Win Socks for Life’. I wasn’t sure, at first, if the organization in question was giving away actual socks, but upon further investigation, I discovered that YarnCanada is giving away “a lifetime’s worth of sock yarn” . This, of course, begs a discussion about the average sock knitter’s production. The prize includes 123 skeins of sock yarn, a variety of fibers and weights. How long would it take you to use that up?


Opinions on arm-knitting are divided, but I do love the speed with which you can create an apparently highly fashionable giant blanket. I find the gif of the designer working on her project really quite soothing.

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WWW: Knitting as a Political Act, The Sock Machine, Fashion Inspiration

I really enjoyed this profile of Karida Collins, the owner of Neighborhood Fiber Co. Karida is clear-headed and honest about the challenges of running a “creative” business.


Just in time for your holiday gift list… a lovely new coffee table book, “People Knitting: A Century of Photographs”. Lots of wonderful pictures at the link.


Photo courtesy CBC. Undated image from late 19th/early 20th century documenting a sock machine in action.

“How a Sock Machine Helped Win the First World War”. These sock machines were a marvel of modern technology at the start of the 20th century, and they played a remarkable role in supporting armed forces in both of the World Wars.


Knitty columnist and knitting historian Donna Druchunas blogs about the role of knitting in protest, knitting as a Political act. Important.


Eye candy? Design inspiration? Ideas for your next project? Whatever, it’s just nice to see a handsome man in a handsome sweater. GQ Magazine offers up a list of 10 chunky sweaters they have deemed fashionable for this winter. Sadly more sweaters than men, but still very nice to look at.

And Vogue Magazine offers up some suggestions for styling knits for winters. I’m not ever going to be able to afford to buy anything they suggest (although holy cow if I win the lottery I’m absolutely getting myself some of those cashmere leggings), but I love these fashion spreads for ideas and inspiration!


I think this is wonderful. If you’re out and about in cold weather, keep an a couple of pairs of warm socks with you, and hand them out to those in need.

They don’t have to be handknits, of course. Any socks are better than no socks.

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WWW: On Solace and Symbols

Craft as Solace.  “Beauty is not trivial. Connection is not trivial. It inspires us and lights us up. And when we are alive we can’t help but find hope.” Yes.

On a similar note: On the handknit scarf as symbol.


There was a fuss last week in the UK when news broke that department store John Lewis was planning to reduce their haberdashery (I do so love that word!) offerings. They’ve since reversed that decision, and this piece explains very nicely the value of this corner of the shop, “A trip to John Lewis’s haberdashery department is a journey into the centre of a Venn diagram of properly nerdy interests and interests which are culturally associated with women.”


Amazing: a knitter from Baltimore, who has been knitting for 17 years, has made 92 sweaters. More extraordinarily than that fact alone is that each is a unique creation, designed by the knitter, depicting a place in the world. “As an avid traveler with a satiable wanderlust, he knits sweaters that represent both his excursions and the places he dreams of traveling to.”


The Inclusive LYS program. Fly the flag.


Not specifically knitting, but still wonderful. An acquaintance of mine, Dai of Toronto, who has an excellent eye, has recently been to Iceland. Her Instagram feed is a wealth of delights, beautiful images of this most beautiful country.

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WWW: Academic Study, A Lifelong Habit, Epic Yarnbomb

With thanks to Donna Druchunas, who brought this to my attention.

Ruth Gilbert, textile historian and weaver, has kindly offered access to her 2009 MPhil thesis, “The King’s Vest and the Seaman’s Gansey: Continuity and Diversity of Construction in Hand Knitted Body Garments in North Western Europe Since 1550″. Fascinating reading.


And another academic study: a paper from University of Central Arkansas Theology department, looking at the work of the groups known as “Prayer-Shawl Ministries”. Quoting from the abstract: Prayer shawl ministries, overwhelmingly led and staffed by women, aim to give comfort to the bereaved. Shawl makers often want to respond to communal tragedy and grief such as mass shootings. This case study uses qualitative interviews with shawl makers from white and African-American ministry groups, placing their statements in the context of benevolent handwork, disaster response, and the culture of mass shootings.


Harriet Aufses, like many of us, knits scarves to donate to a good cause. She makes about 20 or so scarves a year, to be sent off to members of the US military serving overseas. What’s more remarkable about Harriet is that she is 90, and has been knitting for 85 years.


Whatcha doin’ in April? Come and hang out with me, Amy Herzog, Laura Nelkin, Catherine Lowe and Kim McBrien-Evans of Indigodragonfly in sunny California.


I write this on Tuesday morning, before we know the results of the US Election. No matter what the results, I couldn’t not share this fantastic work of yarn-bombing, by the very talented Olek:

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