What’s What Wednesdays

WWW: Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival; Summer Knitting Events; Forbes

Not to be missed!

This weekend marks the 38th annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. The event, held at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship, MD, is one of the highlights of the knitting year in the eastern seaboard.

The event boast over 250 vendors selling yarn, fiber and related goodies, a fabulous list of classes, and a long list of special events like sheep shearing demonstrations, sheep dog trials, and on Sunday, there will be a book signing event showcasing the latest and greatest in knitting, spinning and fiber books.

Festival admission is, as it always has been, free, but costs are increasing and they are taking donations at the door to help cover the expenses of the event.

Amy will be there – say hello if you see her! She has new Knitty buttons to give away…

Forbes Magazine published a list of “names you need to know” in the Yarnbombing world on its blog. Yes, that’s right. Forbes. It’s a nice summary of groups and activities in the yarnbombing world, and the piece reminds us that June 11th is International Yarnbombing Day.

Many cities and towns around the world will also be celebrating World Wide Knit in Public Day that weekend, June 11-12. Find a full list of events near you on the site.

And since the baseball season is well underway, so begin the annual Stitch & Pitch events. Check the site for listings for your area and team. The first major league event takes place May 13, at the Washington Nationals. And it’s not just major league… there are minor league Stitch & Pitch activities, too!

Well on their way.

A group in the UK is working on a knitted blanket to raise funds for the charity group Bliss, which supports premature babies. The blanket, to be the size of a football pitch (that is, 75m by 110m/83yds by 122yds) has been in the works for three years, and it is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Spotted at the Railroad Revival Tour music event in Marfa, Texas over the Easter weekend, a rather lovely yarnbombed trailer.

Design for Knitty! We are now soliciting designs for our Deep Fall Issue, which goes live in September. Deep Fall is traditional knitter-heaven time: warm sweaters and outerwear that takes you from what used to be summer into what will soon be winter. It’s the warmest fibers and coziest garments you can think of. It’s stylish knitwear that you show off at places like Rhinebeck [fiber festivals], and the first thing you want to grab and put on because it’s finally cool enough outside to wear it!

Submission guidelines are here.

WWW: Giveaway, Corgis and Sock Summit

Regal and beautiful

Ladies and gentlemen, we are honored to invite you to participate in a Royal Wedding giveaway. We don’t have the budget to send you to the wedding, but we can send a bit of the wedding to you…

<— Our friends at Fyberspates have created a kit for a fabulous shawl, including a hank of a unique Limited Edition lace yarn and shawl pattern to commemorate the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The Sparkle Lace yarn, in a stunning sapphire colorway to match the engagement ring, comes in a 1000m/100g hank is a magnificent blend of 65% Extra fine merino, 10% Royal Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk and 5% Sparkle (stellina, a non-metal fiber).

We have two kits to give away! Two! Leave a comment on this post by midnight Thursday EST and we’ll draw on Friday morning.

You can order your own kit here. As a special bonus offer for Knitty readers, anyone that buys Royal Wedding lace yarn gets a 15% discount voucher for their next Fyberspates purchase. The yarn retails for £25 per 100g hank, and the pattern for £3.

And they don't need to be walked, either.

Last week the Guardian published an excerpt from the popular Knit Your Own Royal Wedding book – the corgi pattern! —>

And if all the Royal Wedding sweetness is too much for you, consider Brutal Knitting – custom knits inspired by horror and science fiction.

Knitters in Fernie, B.C., Canada, have knitted a 32-foot scarf as a fundraiser for the Canadian Avalanche Centre. $1500 was raised for the organization that educates residents and visitors on backcountry safety.


<— Seattle yarnbombers Yarncore created a lovely Easter-themed display on a bridge in West Seattle this past weekend.

The long-anticipated teachers and class list for Sock Summit has been announced. You might recognize a few names.

We’ll have more on that early next week.

Although the focus of this article from BoingBoing isn’t necessarily of interest, I thoroughly enjoyed the insight into one of the knitter’s favorite beasties, the alpaca.

WWW: Art & Theft

"A labour of love."

Knitterly royal wedding fever continues unabated… a knitter in the UK has knitted a cake with Prince Wills and Kate cake toppers.

I’m sure there are at least a few knitters on the invite list for the big event – think anyone will be bold enough to take out their needles during the ceremony?

Speaking of labors of love, fiber artist Lauren Porter is seeking a permanent home for her knitted Ferrari. She created it as part of her university degree program, and it’s been touring the world for the past 5 years.

Steam blocked, presumably.

And on the topic of transportation, news of a knitted model of the Flying Scotsman train entered into a competition being held by the UK’s National Railway Museum. More pictures here.


Brings new meaning to "ribbing"...

Another fiber artist has completed a remarkable work “Just One More Row“. A fully knitted skeleton that is itself (herself?) knitting, it was exhibited at the recent “Beyond the Fringe” fiber art exhibition in Taos, New Mexico.

For kids & knitters to enjoy together.

Joanna Johnson’s blog features a charming time-elapse video of her knitting Phoebe’s Sweater, the pattern featured in her book of the same name.

An excellent story about one of the largest knitting graffiti projects you’re likely to see… adding a ball & chain to the giant bear statue outside the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

It wasn’t in place long, but there are some great pictures to preserve the feat for posterity.

Good for nest lining?

Lucy Neatby reports on Twitter that she was recently the victim of a yarn heist… perpetrated by very cheeky seagulls.


WWW: Knitters Doing Good; Men’s Knitting Retreats

A few weeks ago, Amy retweeted a link to a story on the XRX company blog about a fundraiser.  One of their employees,  Sue Nelson, has been suffering for a few years with a particularly nasty cancer, and XRX had decided to help Sue by raffling off the original sample of the Great American Afghan.  All funds raised were to go to Sue’s medical costs.

Last week, Benjamin Levisay, CEO of XRX, announced that $11,000 had been raised, and the winner of the afghan was Angela Tennant, of Florida. Upon being notified of her win, Angela told Benjamin that she didn’t want the prize – she wanted the afghan to go to Sue, to comfort her and keep her warm through her recovery. A wonderful gesture to cap off an excellent show of love, generosity and support from the broader knitting community.

We join everyone at XRX in wishing Sue the very best for her treatments and recovery.

Hundreds of prosthetics, lovingly made, ready to be fitted.

Judy, Knitty reader and breast cancer survivor, has written to us from her winter home in Mexico, telling us about an initiative she and her friends have launched to knit and donate Tit bits to a local breast cancer clinic. The Cancer de Mama Clinic in La Penita runs programs to provide support and services to breast cancer sufferers and their families from all over Mexico. The knitters have made nearly 400 tit bits, and they have been gratefully received by patients of the clinic, many of whom are from the poorest regions of Mexico and couldn’t otherwise afford to purchase any kind of prosthetic. In their most recent clinic event this past February, 348 women were outfitted with prosthetics, and donated wigs, bras and other supplies were distributed.

The 2011 schedule for the US Men’s Knitting Retreats has been announced.  The East Coast event takes place May 19-22 in Greenwich, New York, and there is a Colorado retreat in July, and a Michigan event in November.  These retreats have been taking place since 2008, and always attract a great group of male knitters looking to learn, share and show off their work. More details here.

Soon to be a movie.

News has broken that Katherine Heigl — actress and knitter — will be producing and starring in a movie adaptation of The Knitting Circle, made for HBO. An adaptation of the Ann Hood novel, the movie stars Heigl as a mother who seeks solace after the death of her 5-year-old daughter by joining a knitting circle.

Update: The US Special Olympics program tells us that they have received more 26,000 scarves, donated by knitters and crocheters, to distribute to participants in the 35 Special Olympics events around the US this year. The scarves were created and donated by thousands of participants including school children and community centers, knitting and church groups, school bus drivers, a 102-year old woman from Wisconsin, and a woman’s correctional facility who adopted the project.

A travel feature in the Guardian newspaper about the Yorkshire Dales points us to The Dales Countryside Museum, which is hosting a series of events and exhibitions this year exploring and celebrating the Dales traditions of textile arts, including knitting and spinning. Museum Manager Fiona Rosher said “The Dales Countryside Museum has a wonderful collection of knitting sticks, knitted gloves, rugs, quilts and crocheted pieces and, this year, these pieces have been the inspiration for our events programme.”

WWW: Art, craft and running.

Absolutely incredible.

A knitting group from the UK, The Materialistics, known for “extreme knitting” – including a boat cozy – has unveiled their latest project: yarny versions of 50 great masterworks of art. The works are faithfully recreated with knitting, crochet, embroidery and some applique.  They were exhibited at the recent Stitch and Craft show in London, and will be touring around the UK. Absolutely stunning.

An article on the Huffington Post, although starting badly (just rush past the bit where the author claims knitting is boring) discusses the National Women’s Hall of Fame, which is housed in a knitting mill in Seneca, New York, features a great interview with Debbie Stoller about craft and feminism, and takes a side-trip into profiles of key knitters in history.

Genius solution alert! The world’s easiest and best way to insert a zipper into a knitted garment.

A whole-body exercise.

A different sort of extreme knitting is being practiced by Susie Hewer.  She’s a marathon runner, who knits while she runs.   She currently holds the Guinness World Record for knitting the longest scarf while running a marathon, and is looking to beat that record in one of the four marathons she will be running this year.

Cooperative Press, run by friend of Knitty Shannon Okey has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the month of April. The indie publishing company is seeking funds to help the company grow to allow them to publish more books. Excellent rewards are available for backers. Watch the KnittyBlog for more on Cooperative Press in the next week.

Annie Modesitt has announced her fall retreat. A weekend of classes on colorwork and Entrelac, taught by the goddess-heretic herself, September 23-25, in Minnesota.


WWW: Fundraising updates; attracting a Prince with knitting?

Even cuter than chickens in sweaters.

Knitters in Australia are knitting little sweaters for injured penguins.

The Coventry Knitathon for Red Nose Day in the UK has raised over £6000 for Comic Relief. Although they failed in their objective to break the Guinness record for most knitters at the same time and the same place, a good time was had by all.

A great slide show of the event here.

Fundraising Update: Kay of Mason -Dixon Knitting reports that she has raised over $5000 for relief efforts in Japan with her Mitered Crosses blanket pattern.

Wendy Johnson has raised over $2500 with her Japanese Garden shawl pattern.

Janel Laidman has raised over $3000 with her Eiki shawl pattern.

The diaphanous dress worn by Kate Middleton in a university fashion show… the dress that is purported to have captured Prince William’s attention…. Did you know it was hand-knitted?

A great summary of the inaugural lecture given by the Chair of Knitting in the School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University. Although the focus is more machine knitting, it doesn’t mean I don’t want the job – or at least the title!

Not so much call for sweaters in their home town...

Do you mark Earth Hour in your city? While many knitters around the globe were spending an hour without electricity last weekend, knitting by candlelight, some friends of Knitty in the US Virgin Islands were using the wonderful natural light there to craft themselves a set of Everlasting Bagstoppers. These reusable shopping bags are a different but just as important way to save energy and think of the environment.

And just because we love it: an embroidered portrait with its own knitted scarf, created by mummysan, brought to our attention by KnitHacker.

Now that's multimedia we can get behind.

WWW: For Japan

They have brought us so much wonder; we want to help restore their peaceful daily lives.

Knitting Fever, the US Distributor of Noro Yarns, has announced a donation matching program for funds donated to the American Red Cross for their relief efforts in Japan. Mail checks made out to the American Red Cross to Knitting Fever, and they will match the donation from their own funds (up to $50,000), and take care of delivering it all to the Red Cross. More information here, and a letter from Eisaku Noro here. The Noro company itself was not affected, as they are far away from the epicenter of the damage.

Mitered Crosses Blanket

Kay Gardiner of Maxon Dixon Knitting has released a new log cabin blanket design using Noro yarns, with all proceeds to be donated to Mercy Corps for relief work in Japan. The blanket is absolutely beautiful, and already over $2200 has been raised.

Whatever it is, it will be beautiful!

Laura Nelkin has announced a new mystery knit-along project. She says “It’s got beads and you wear it around your neck! I think this would be a great first beading project, and will be a great challenge to those of you who are looking to build upon some of your knitting skills.” Laura does beautiful work – you will not be disappointed in the finished product, and the project will be a wonderful experienced. Between now and March 31, 25% of the proceeds will be donated to AmeriCares for their relief efforts in Japan.

Other designers have announced new patterns with proceeds to be donated to organizations doing relief work in Japan…
Janel Laidman’s “Eiki” shawlette.
Alexis Winslow’s/Knit Darling “Caring Cowl”.
Wendy Johnson’s “Japanese Garden” shawl.


Stitch Diva Studio announces the Offhand Designs Studio Sale, in Oakland, CA, Sunday April 3, 10am to 4pm. More details here. In additional to being an excellent opportunity to see and buy Offhand Designs bags and Stitch Diva patterns, this event also features classes in Hairpin Lace and Tunisian Crochet taught by Jennifer Hansen, the Stitch Diva herself.

Apparel design company “Peruvian Connection” is celebrating 10 years of collaboration with Kaffe Fassett. There’s a lovely interview on their website. He provides some insight into his design process and sources of inspiration, and you can see the sweaters he has designed for the company here.


WWW: Yarnbombing; Getting tangled up with the law; More assembly than usual required

Always wear the appropriate safety gear when yarnbombing.

Knithacker features a lovely photo-essay on the yarnbombing of the cherry tree at the childhood home of writer Joy Kogawa in Vancouver. The yarnbombing celebrates the declaration of the home as a historic site, and will be removed in time for the tree to blossom naturally in the spring.

Our own Mandy was involved in this wonderful work.

The New Police Chief of Langley, Whidbey Island, Washington State created quite a fuss in his second week on the job by investigating the activities of local yarnbombers, and removing a couple of street sign cozies.

Always have knitting handy to pass the time during travel.

And in more yarn-bombing news, likely to make our police chief friend even more uncomfortable, a knitter in the UK is seeking collaborators to create and install breast-themed yarnbombs for International Breast Cancer Awareness Day, October 1st, 2011.

A lovely profile of knitters in the US Army stationed in Afghanistan, from the Washington Post. Never again will I complain about having to travel across town to buy yarn… these knitters have to have it shipped around the world.

Knit your own royal wedding.

A toy company in the UK is selling a kit to knit your own Prince William and Kate dolls [pic at right]. Video story on the BBC.

And a designer has released a book with patterns for the entire bridal party, right down to the corgis.

The Spinning Loft in Howell, MI, is hosting Anne Hanson and Beth Smith for a 4-day retreat, May 11-14. The focus of the retreat is lace: the mornings will be spent on the intricacies of spinning for lace, and the afternoons will be spent with Anne working on the techniques of lace knitting. More info here.

Some additional assembly required.

And in the it’s-not-knitting-but-still-supremely-cool category comes this hack of an inexpensive Ikea table into a fabulous work of yarny-art.


WWW: Now with added Rachael!

The love started Monday…if you’re wondering what’s going on today, take a peek!

The lucky winner of yesterday’s “Name your heroine” contest, chosen by Rachael herself: Jennifer B who wrote “Anjuli – It was in a wonderful novel called The Far Pavilion by M. M. Kaye, and I have always loved it.” Congrats, Jennifer — you’ll be receiving a copy of Rachael’s brand-new book, HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME!

And now, onto day 3 of the week of Looooooove!

Knitty: Are you ever tempted to pull stories from the news into your fiction, or do you want the world you create to be free of that stuff?
Rachael: I can honestly say I’m never tempted to pull the news in—I listen to NPR three or four days a week, and I feel I’m usually pretty up on the news, but there’s nothing that dates a manuscript more than reading old news (unless it’s being done for a specific purpose, to ground a novel in a particular time). I like my novels to stand alone, politically neutral (although there is an occasional mention of current things that I really love, like Twitter and Ravelry—those things will still be big in a few years, right?).

K: Will Cypress Hollow have its own web page…or blog?
R: Actually, Mildred tweets! She gives us the low-down on Cypress Hollow.

K: How do you find the time to work full time, write novels, knit and still be a pleasant and lovely person?
R: You’re TOO KIND. Normally, in life, I run pretty fast. I wake up ready to go, and I go-go-go until bedtime. I’m not good at relaxing (until I try really hard, and then I get TOO good at relaxing and don’t want to do any work—that happened last week).

But really, the first thing to go is the knitting. After all, I have to write, and I have to work (luckily, I can sometimes knit in the down times at work, which is a blessing—at least a little bit gets done), but I don’t actually HAVE to knit to survive, you know. But we all have lots of hours in the day, it’s just about how you use them. No matter what, I have a pair of socks-on-the-go in my purse, and I knit them when I’m at the movies or standing in line. When I’m hanging out with friends, I knit. I write early in the morning, before work. Sure, I get tired, but it’s what I love, and it’s worth it. Also, I don’t have kids, like a lot of my writer friends do. I don’t know how THEY do it.

A few hundred thousand of the millions.

In honor of the centenary of International Women’s Day, a group called SitAndKnitABit in the UK has organized the 100 Million Stitches project.  Designed to mark the anniversary, and bring attention to the challenges and discrimination that women have faced over the years, and that continues today.

Let us introduce you to Mary Westwell, of Manchester, UK. For more than 10 years, Mary knitted dolls for sick children in the Manchester area, which she had her sons deliver to the children – entirely anonymously. She knitted over 2,000 dolls and toys over the years, and despite bids to find out who was behind the scheme, managed to keep it a secret. Mary gave her grandchildren permission to reveal her secret shortly before her death last month, at the age of 98.

In you’re in the UK, add WoolFest 2011 to your calendar, June 24 & 25, held in Cumbria. This year’s event promises to be the biggest ever, with a whole new floor of vendors added at the venue.

Let’s give away another copy of Rachael’s new book!

This time, to win, leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, March 9th at midnight, eastern time. In your comment, name the fictional town where you’d set your knitting-based novel. Rachael will pick her favorite and that lucky person will win a copy of HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME.

Good luck, y’all, and stay tuned…we’ve got prizes every day this week with a special big surprise on Friday, and lots more Rachael!

WWW: Marking an anniversary with yarn, Knitting for Health and the Periodic Table of Fibers


A stunning and very meaningful yarnbomb – a flower-festooned fence – created to mark the 1 year anniversary of the February 27th, 2010, earthquake in Chile that left many dead, injured and homeless.  The yarnbomb was installed on the fence of one of the destroyed buildings.  More pictures and detail at the link – note that the text is in Spanish.

A nice piece from CBS News’ “The Early Show” about a Mayo clinic study that proves that knitting can help your health – keeping older minds sharp, assistance with stress and pain management, and even strengthening the immune system.

Did you say there would be lobster, too?

Whitehead Light Station, a historic light station on an Island off the coast of Maine, hosts all sorts of fabulous retreats and workshops. This coming September 2-7, friend of Knitty, Shannon Okey, is hosting a retreat, “Knitting from the Yarn Up”.

This design and technique-intensive workshop is focused on understanding fundamentals such as measuring, sizing, and gauge, as well as exploring advanced knitting techniques and creating custom patterns and hand-dyed yarn. Developed for knitters with at least modest experience, this course will be enjoyed by all who strive to enhance their knitting skills and deepen their understanding of pattern development.

And the food and scenery are terrific, too! More details here.

Image copyright Nora Leonard Roy

Knitter and graphic artist Nora Leonard Roy offers this Periodic Table of Fibers for our enjoyment… Lots of excellent detail, the fibers are categorized by type – fine wool, longwool, down type, etc.

It’s raining yarn in this promo video for Canada’s Much Music TV station, featuring the band Hedley and their “Sweater Song”.

And if you’re in Toronto, consider spending the first Thursday of the month with the team from Worn Fashion Journal for their “Thursday night, your socks need mending” event. It’s a mending night – they invite you to bring your worn out clothes for a night of “fixing and refreshments”.