What’s What Wednesdays

WWW: Yarn-bombers, chickens and other wild animals

"Darn cute"

The Edmonton Journal has a charming little piece about the final rush of gift-crafting. Perhaps the journalist herself is a crafter and was perhaps looking for a quick article to write so she could get back to her projects?

The staff at Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum were thrilled to see the museum yarn-bombed in November, proudly posting the pictures [one shown at left] to their Facebook page.

Planning for 2011? Take a peek at the comprehensive round-up of knitting and fiber-related events at Knitters Review.

We love that Sarah Keen’s book Knitted Wild Animals has made it onto a New York Times’ Style section list of notable books.

Insert chicken-related pun here.

Knitters in the UK are making “chickinis” for rescued battery hens. Many of the hens are featherless when they arrive at the Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, and are outfitted with the little jackets to keep them warm until they regrow their own feathers.

Pattern and more information here.

An absolutely stunning pair of hand-knitted gloves featuring Sanquhar patterning, on the website for the BBC’s series “A History of the World in 100 Objects”, contributed by the Dumfries Museum.

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WWW: Warming thoughts

one section of the scarf is your signature on the petition

MacMillan Cancer Support in the UK is running a campaign to raise awareness of and force the government to address the issue of “fuel poverty” among cancer patients. Fuel poverty is when someone has to spend more than 10% of their income on energy to heat and power their home. In the UK, 1 in 4 people having cancer treatment struggle to pay their energy bills, and 6 out of 10 people with cancer have had higher energy bills since diagnosis. Visit the site to participate. Enter an answer to the question “what makes you warm?”, and your name and answer will be added to the petition and a section of the giant scarf knitted. The scarf is going to be presented to the UK government.

Watch a live webcam of your section of the scarf being knitted!

A great article from earlier this month in the New York Times about Fair Isle and other colorwork design sweaters in men’s fashion. The slide show is fun.

A Finnish woman and her alpaca, Tess, cheered up residents of a hospital for the chronically ill.  Original story, rough translation. The pictures are magnificent.

Comforting in so many ways.

Eye candy of the highest order.

An online subscription is now available for the magnificent Selvedge magazine. Selvedge offers the superlative textile photography, unparalleled design and peerless writing. Directed towards an international, discerning audience, Selvedge covers fine textiles in every context: fine art, interiors, fashion, travel and shopping.

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WWW: 2011 Calendars

The new year is approaching fast, and that means it’s time for a new calendar. Here’s a few we’d be proud to hang on our walls…

Our very own Franklin Habit’s Stash of Knitting Cartoons.

It's funny because it's true.

Interweave, as always, has a lovely selection of fiber-arts related calendars – knitting and spinning, and others.

Vogue Knitting offers a stitch-a-day desk calendar.


Accord Publishing offers a pattern-a-day desk calendar.

A year's worth.

If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path, there’s the Dishcloth calendar, including patterns from a number of great designers like Kay Gardiner.

Practical and fun.

There’s also some goodies on Etsy…

Sworleybird’s hand-drawn desk calendar

A year of calm.

TheArtofJoy’s really rather adorable printable calendar.

So cute.

And last but not least, here’s the Whip Up calendar, which although isn’t strictly knitting, contains some truly beautiful work from crafters and artisans.


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WWW: Zombies, scarves & a Contest!

The always wonderful folks over at Berroco have provided a kit to make the amazing Beatnik sweater by Norah Gaughan, a prize valued at $60-$110.

If you like a chance to win, leave a comment to this post by 11:59 pm, eastern time, tomorrow (Thursday, December 2). If you are chosen, you must answer a super secret question to be declared the winner.

Our winner will be announced on Monday, December 6.

You know you wanna...

Zombie gotcha knit!

An outrageously excellent and nerdy art installation at Mediamatic in Amsterdam… participants play a video game – Multithreaded Banjo Dinosaur Knitting Adventure 2D Extreme! – and winners have their achievement knitted into a scarf.  The knitting is done by a Brother knitting machine, driven by code generated by the game itself.

The post contains details on the game and how it was built, as well as some truly wonderful photos of the design and construction process.

Inspirational spinning

Interweave is launching their first spinning emag today. Modeled after Sockupied, their new sock knitting emag, SpinKnit is a multimedia party.

Spinners can travel the world, learning about spinning and knitting in Peru, the Pacific Northwest and upstate New York. Through video, slide show and articles spinners will learn techniques from experts Kathryn Alexander, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and Judith MacKenzie.

A 10-day initiative at a shopping mall in Riga, Latvia has resulted in a scarf over 107 feet long. Shoppers were invited to stop and knit a row or two (or more) with the goal of producing a long scarf in the national colors of Latvia. The scarf will be divided up and sold off to raise funds for local soup kitchens.

The video is great, with some lovely shots of colorwork and continental knitting!

Scarves for unity.

Special Olympics Minnesota is an organization devoted to providing sports instruction and participation opportunities for adults and children with intellectual and physical disabilities. The organization has teamed up with Red Heart Yarn to kick off the 2011 Special Olympics USA Scarf Project.  The committee is looking to collect 1,000 handmade scarves (knitted or crocheted) for athletes, coaches and volunteers participating in Winter Special Olympics events across the US this winter

More info here.

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WWW: Numbers, Art and Travel

My two favorite things - knitting and mathematics!

A school in Bracknell U.K. has been working on a project to bring mathematics to life: a blanket with 100 squares, one square for each number between 1 and 100, each square showing how many factors the number has. A prime number (that is, a number that cannot be divided up evenly, e.g. 17) has a two-colored square, representing that it can be divided only by one and itself; a number that can be divided up more (e.g. 18, which can by divided by 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 18) has a square with 6 colors.

Some of the donated hats

B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, hosted an knit-in event this week aiming to help calm stressed parents and reduce the instances of shaken-baby syndrome.

The hats are purple, capturing the color of a crying infant’s face, and also highlighting the key facets of the “purple” message. “The Period of PURPLE Crying” provides educational information about the properties of normal infant crying that are uniformly frustrating to caregivers, and appropriate action steps that caregivers need to know. Inconsolable infant crying is the number one trigger that precedes a shaking event.

Knitters of all ages – including many children from local schools – worked on hats for babies to be donated to new parents.

We do indeed

Classic Elite Yarns is running a promotion (sadly, in the Continental US only) to encourage knitters to support their local indie yarn shops….

Between now and December 15th, spend $40 or more on yarn or books at any Classic Elite retailer in and send them your receipts. Classic Elite will send you a free recent pattern book and three mini-skeins of their yarn.

More details here.

A lovely little video talking about the 1860 painting “The Knitting Lesson”, by Jean-François Millet.

Bilbo Baa-ggins?

The Hobbiton village set constructed in Matamata, New Zealand for the Lord of the Rings movie productions has been taken over by sheep. The land is being used by a nearby farm for grazing their sheep.

Indeed, a company offering tours of the village includes “an authentic sheep farm experience” as part of the tour.


Speaking of knitting-friendly holidays, consider perhaps a trip to Iceland. The Icelandic Knitter website has information about tours, sells some gorgeous patterns and hosts some great articles  including a history of the Icelandic Knitting tradition.  It’s worth visiting the site for the photography alone.

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1 Million Ravelers, Naked Knitters Storm Again, and a Royal Sweater

And they think we're just a small movement...

Big congratulations to our friends at Ravelry, which recently hit the milestone of 1 million registered users.

Bolton UK’s Knitting Noras – also known as the Naked Knitters, thanks to their fundraising cheeky postcards – are at it again.  They will be yarnbombing the International Centre in Harrogate, the site of the upcoming Knitting and Stitching show, November 25-28th.

Wooly, warm and rescued.

Have you heard about The North Circular? Although they sell finished goods, they are running a unique and wonderful company in the UK. They make and sell products from a flock of rescued Wensleydale Longwool sheep. It’s all locally produced, and there are bios of their knitters, their shepherd and their sheep on the website. The designs are gorgeous, and they have a truly great business model.

I think I might have to start saving up for the Hook Cardigan

For the cat lovers among us, your daily dose of adorable, courtesy of Purina New Zealand. Kitties and yarn!

To get you in the mood for the upcoming Harry Potter installment, here’s a pattern for a hat inspired by the one worn by Ron Weasley in the movie ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’.

Launched a craze

The news of Prince William’s engagement brings to mind that wonderful red and white sheep sweater worn by his mother, Princess Diana, in 1983. I know I wanted one at the time…

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WWW: 25th Anniversary of Knitter’s Magazine, Interesting & Important Knitters and a Very Long Scarf

100th Issue

This year marks the 100th issue of Knitter’s Magazine, and the 26th anniversary of XRX the company that publishes the magazine and many terrific books.  As of this issue, the magazine is being distributed both in physical copies and in digital format through the Zinio service.

To celebrate the anniversary, Knitter’s has a special double issue with 50 patterns, and a digital version being distributed for free. More info here.

Even cartoon characters need scarves.

Arthur learns to knit! In a new episode of the popular and long-running kids’ TV series, “Arthur Unravels“, Arthur’s grandma Thora teaches him to knit. In the episode, he worries that he’ll get teased by his classmates if they find out. The episode shows (spoiler alert!) that regardless of gender or age, anyone can learn and enjoy knitting.

Definitely cuter than Tim Burton.

A nice little profile of artist Donna Wilson, in the New York Times style magazine “T”.  They describe her as the “Tim Burton” of knitting.

Not entirely surprising news that musician Sufjan Stevens is a knitter. Mostly scarves, apparently, and he has worked for Martha Stewart!

A group of knitters in northwest Wales is aiming to knit a scarf a mile long to wrap around the Cob – the sea wall – in Porthmadog. The Cob was built in 1811 to reclaim low-lying land from the harbor area for agricultural use, and the scarf is part of the bicentennial celebrations.

"Knitting Diva"

Saturday November 20th, a memorial, tribute and benefit event is being held in Madison, Wisconsin in honor of Melissa Mathay, noted knitting designer and author.  More info on Facebook.  Melissa was the original owner of Yarn, Co. in New York, and was a key figure in the revival of knitting as a design art in New York in the 1990s.

A contest!

Loop Shop and the Loop Knits site is hosting a contest on their site – The I Love Fall Knitting $100 Sweepstakes. Visit the website to learn more and enter to win a $100 gift certificate to use at the shop in Philadelphia or on the online store.

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WWW: An important date, wool bones and rubber balls

A very big Happy Birthday to Amy, our Editor-in-Chief. Lift a cupcake in her honor today!

With sugar on top

Seasonal, and utterly inspired.

This knitted skeleton is an absolute masterpiece.   Ben Cuevas, an artist based in California, created it as part of a mixed media piece for Wassaic Project (an arts collective and residency program located in New York state).  The skeleton sits in the lotus position atop a stack of cans of  condensed milk, with a cloud of screen prints on Flexi glass suspended above it. look and be amazed.

The artist uses a lot of fiber – specifically  knitting and crochet – in his work.  In his bio, he states that he enjoys “the rich cultural and social history that surrounds fiber arts, as well as blending the distinctions between art and craft.” A man with the soul of a knitter, he understands that the “time-intensive and repetitive nature of knitting allows me to meditate on a piece as it comes into being, further revealing the nature of the work as part of the process.”

Cat Bordhi blows our minds with yet another wonderful “unvention” – Spinning and Plying with Balls. Rubber balls, that is.  Just watch it.

The Tricksy Knitter has recently launched an online color chart-making tool. It’s free, and is designed to help you create your own charts for colorwork without having to resort to graph paper and pencil crayons. There are sample charts you can use as inspiration, or create your own from scratch. It’s like coloring, but for grown-ups.

The Lion Brand Yarn Studio store in New York has announced that they are accepting donations of knit and crochet blocks for the Warm Up America! program. Blocks can be dropped off at the studio and will be displayed in the window until November 30th, when the blocks will be assembled into afghans to be donated to shelters, hospitals and social service agencies. Info about the program here, about the studio here. December 12th, the studio is hosting a finishing party to put them together.

A few great events this weekend: the Knitting & Stitching Show in Dublin, Stitches East in Hartford, Connecticut, the Southwest Fiber Festival in Tuscon, Arizona, and the Seattle Weavers’ Guild Show and Sale.

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WWW: Spoooooky! + a contest!

the Hip Holster, by Namaste

Our next ninja-bonus giveaway is the Hip Holster from Namaste, which we reviewed in our Deep Fall issue.

Our reviewer said this: “A great little bag, when you want to take along the bare minimum…The quality is exactly what you expect from Namaste, bombproof. The nylon is tough and stiff enough to stuff the bag beyond full if you want, and it stands up by itself. There are two adjustable straps that come with the bag, one to wear it as a hip bag and one to wear it as a shoulder bag. This is a great little bag for days you want to take along just a bit of knitting.”

One lucky winner will receive a Hip Holster in blue, prize value: $45.00

Want to win? Leave a comment to this post by midnight eastern time Thursday, October 21st. We’ll pick one winner, ask them a skill-testing question, and if they get it right, announce them as the lucky winner on our Knitty Friday post the next day.

Good luck, everyone!

Halloween approaches! The young and young-at-heart are thinking thoughts of costumes and candy and spooky knitting…

So here are a few suggestions from our Library to get you in a frightful mood.

Felted pumpkins


The Frankensocks


My Vampire Boyfriend Socks


And a couple of wigs to help with your costume…

the classic Hallowig


and Desperate Hausfrau.


And of course, the Allete wings – angel or devil variants, as you wish.


We are also rather fond of the full-on Pumpkin costume for the little ones, courtesy of Berroco.

All the candy in the world to those wearing this costume...

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WWW: Sheep & Dogs

warm and woolly

This week is the kickoff of HRH The Prince of Wales’ Campaign for Wool, which aims to educate the world about the versatility and sustainability of wool in fashion and household uses. Many events are scheduled – lots of opportunities to ‘meet the sheep’ all around the UK. Even if you’re not in the UK, or a sheepy knitter, the website is worth a visit for its beautiful photography.

The Guardian hosts a slide show and free Jack Russell pattern preview for the book “Best in Show: Knit Your Own Dog”, by Sally Muir and Jo Osborne. The designs are all great, but the Old English Sheepdog is particularly good.

The 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee has organized the “Super Scarves” program. They are encouraging local knitters to create scarves to be given to the over 8,000 volunteers who help staff the Superbowl activities. Pattern and info on materials at the link above. Many stores in the Indianapolis area are selling the materials at cost.

Our very own Judy Becker, the creator of the world-changing Judy’s Magic Cast On has the coolest iPhone case in the world. Picture from Judy’s Twitter stream.

Something for every head

For those of us in the northern hemisphere – especially those of us with dogs or sheep to walk – we’re starting to think about hats.  Annie Modesitt’s recently published “1,000 Knit Hats” should provide some inspiration.  The book contains many phenomenal hats, and a well-chosen collection of patterns.

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