What’s What Wednesdays

WWW: Fishes & Fashions; 92 Years and Counting

Kirk Dunn's marvelous contribution to the event. Image courtesy Textile Museum of Canada.

The Textile Museum of Canada has announced their annual fundraiser, the BMO Financial Shadow Box silent auction. Over 150 textile artists are participating – each has contributed an original work of art, all within the same basic shadow box. The items are available for viewing now online and at the museum between February 23 and March 3rd.  The auction takes place at a gala event March 3rd at the museum. All proceeds go to support the museum’s exhibitions, collections, and education programs.

The Fashion Museum of Antwerp has announced “Unravel“, a new exhibition about Knitwear in Fashion, running from March 16th to August 14th.

The exhibition includes a wide variety of exquisite knitted garments and accessories, with a focus on high fashion pieces. Pieces by international designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Sonia Rykiel and Missoni will be showcased beside historic couture pieces by Schiaparelli, Patou and Chanel, and more avant-garde and cutting edge pieces by established designers and newcomers on the international fashion.

To quote the museum’s press release, “The exhibition will address the important decades of knitwear in fashion, demonstrating knitwear’s popularity both on and off the catwalk, and unravelling the changing status of the relationship between knitwear and fashion. Thematically, it will showcase the various roles knitwear has played in social and fashion (r)evolutions and will address knitwear’s different and fluid association with comfort, wellbeing and chic.”

We at Knitty are officially looking for an excuse to travel to Antwerp to visit!

Jimmy Beans Wool has announced their second annual “Jimmy Beans for Brains” scholarship program. Open to any knitter or crocheter who is attending an accredited post-secondary institution this fall, there are six $3,000 merit-based scholarships available.

Ms. Kenick with her latest FO

The Nashua Telegraph, in Nashua, New Hampshire, profiles a local resident, 101-year-old Polly Kenick, who has been knitting since third grade. That’s 92 years at the needles, and going strong!

Polly is participating in a program to knit helmet liners for soldiers.

A warm and stylish tree in Park Slope.

Laurie Russell of Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, knits sweaters for trees along her street. These aren’t just quick-knit pullovers, they are very nice cardigans, featuring some excellent textual work, and well-chosen buttons.

WWW: Every day is Sweater Day; Fundraiser for MSF; Grannies for Hire

At Knitty we celebrate every day!

This Thursday, February 17th, has been designated National Sweater Day in Canada. This initiative of the World Wildlife Fund is designed to help the environment by encouraging Canadians to put on a sweater and turn their furnaces down.

Our very own Franklin participated in a radio show on NPR about the resurgence of knitting. Listen to a wonderful wide-ranging discussion here. There’s also some great historical knitting images and posters on the site, here. “Remember Pearl Harbor, purl harder!”

Pennies Per Hour of Pleasure, also known as P/hop, is a knitting fundraiser for Doctors without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (UK site, North American site). P/hop was launched a few years ago by an indie dyer in the UK, Natalie Fergie. To date it has raised over £23,000 in the UK and $4,000 from North American knitters. Designers have donated a whole range of wonderful patterns which are free to download, in exchange for a donation to p/hop according to the amount of pleasure it gives. Money is also raised via yarn swaps, raffles and other knitting related events.

Fascinating news of a different way to gather silk, without harming the silkworm, pioneered by designer Elsbeth Joy Nielsen.

On the topic of silk, the owners of beloved Treenway Silks have announced their plans to sell their business so that they may retire. The business is going strong, and they are keen to find a buyer. This is an amazing opportunity!

A classroom in 1950s UK.

The Daily Mail in the UK reports on a trend we love: knitting making a return to the classroom. Worth Primary in Kent has introduced knitting throughout the curriculum: in math classes, in history classes, and as a lunchtime club. It’s turning out to be popular with students, and teachers report very positive results.

Residents of the tri-state area should make sure that the Northern New Jersey Yarn Crawl is on their calendars for this weekend. I can’t think of a better way to spend a late-winter weekend.

And if you’re on the other side of continent, the Portland Oregon Yarn Crawl is scheduled for the weekend of March 4-6th.

Let a Granny help you use up your stash

And if you find yourself with too much yarn (!) and not enough time to knit, consider hiring Grannies Inc, an organization of knitters in the UK who will take your custom design and knit it to your specifications.

WWW: Knitted Living Room + Garden; Not Quite Fully Knitted Scarf

LJ Kalems bag
by Jordana Paige

Our winner of a fabulous LJ Kaelms bag by Jordana Paige is comment #706: Irene from Toronto [way to represent, Irene!]. Congratulations, and happy knitting baggery!

Monica Crowe, a volunteer at a homeless shelter in the UK has knitted a living room. The room will be available for the public to view in the spring, and it’s raising awareness of the charity Emmaus, which provides living accommodations for the homeless and raises funds by taking unwanted items and fixing, rebuilding or remaking them into items for sale.

Sending hand-knitted love.
The Red Scarf project is organized by the Orphan Foundation of America. It gathers donations of hand-knitted red scarves to send to orphans who are away at college. The recipients are all current or former foster children enrolled in college who receive scholarships through the foundation.

A group in Coventry UK will be gathering on March 17th in an attempt to break the Guinness World record for most simultaneous knitters. The record was previously set in 2009 at Sock Summit, with 937 knitters. The Coventry group is hoping for over 1000 participants, as part of a fundraiser for Comic Relief.

Organizers of Sock Summit 2011 will be paying close attention, I’m sure.

A self-described “horrible knitter” tells the tale of her knitterly education, and a few mistakes along the way….

Yes, that is truly a WIP. From the collection of Italian designer Frankie Morello.

And if, like the writer of the above article, you find yourself struggling to finish a project, know that you are very much in fashion.

The Charlottesville Trade School in Charlottesville Virginia is offering a course called “Knitting and Other Guerilla Activities.”

Students at a primary school in the UK are being taught to knit and crochet by teachers and volunteers with the goal of making a woolly garden sculpture to decorate their school.

And here’s a cat getting revenge on behalf of the entire species for that shrug

WWW: Upcoming Events, Knerdy Knitting and Floating Yarn Shop

Dream vacation?

HolidayVacations has announced the details for the upcoming Craft Lit “Road to Rhinebeck” tour, scheduled October 8-16, 2011.

This autumn adventure for book and fiber lovers starts with a tour of the literary haunts of Alcott, Thoreau, Dickinson, Hawthorne and more, includes a sprinkling of yarn shops, a visit to Kristin Nicholas’ fiber farm and ends at the fabulous New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. Amy Detjen of Knit Circus and Schoolhouse Press and Heather Ordover of CraftLit will be your hosts.

More info here.

Speaking of wooly events, this weekend is Toronto’s Downtown Knit Collective’s Winter Workshop.

Stitches West takes place in Santa Clara California February 17-20th.

Looking further ahead, Interweave Knits has announced their Interweave Knitting Lab for November 3-6 2011 in San Mateo, California, and Vogue Knitting Live tweeted news of their fall event, to be held in Los Angeles, September 23-25, 2011.

Have yarn, will travel.

And if you’re on the other side of the Atlantic, consider tracking down Colin and Carole’s Creations, in the UK, the only yarn store we know of on a canal boat.  They also sell completed garments, including their own design Boatman’s Gansey, and photo art.

Yay for science!

The world’s first three-dimensional model of a chemical structure made out of knitting needles and balls of yarn, made in 1883 by knitting enthusiast and chemistry professor Crum Brown, has gone on display at Edinburgh University’s School of Chemistry to mark the UNESCO International Year of Chemistry.


The nerd’s favourite blog, BoingBoing, featured Sanguine Gryphon‘s really rather wonderful Beowulf socks last week.

Here’s a follow-up post from Mary Scott Huff about the response she’s had to the news of the awful theft of her samples.

And the internets were abuzz last week with the news that Jennifer Aniston has taken up knitting. We can always use another one of us, Jen. Welcome aboard.

WWW: Heartbreaking loss; more on the Wall Street yarnbomber; helmet liners

Kelly C, comment number 821 is our winner for the Silk Road Socks book giveaway.

Didn’t win and still want to knit those amazing socks?  You can buy your copy here. You can look at all the patterns on the book’s Ravelry page. Looking the Silk Road Socks KAL?

Hoping for a happy ending.

Mary Scott Huff, a knitter, designer, author and teacher based in Oregon had more than her knitting needles stolen from her car: a collection of 17 very valuable, important and beautiful samples were stolen from her car outside her house last week. She has written a heartbreaking and wonderful open letter to the thief on her blog. If you’re in the Portland area, keep an eye out for her sweaters…there are peeks of them on her blog.

It’s still not knitting, but here’s a profile of Olek, the artist responsible for the yarnbombing of the Wall Street bull last month.

A nice TV news item about the store Tangle, in Grand Junction, Colorado, running a program to encourage knitters to make and donate helmet liners for soldiers overseas. (As a sidenote, the journalist’s attempts to come up with synonyms for “knitting” aren’t always accurate, but are sort of sweet.)

Doubly comforting - soup and knitting!

A slide show on the Guardian of knitted home decor items, including what is possibly the greatest lampshade in the history of the world.

Following up on a story from last year, Special Olympics Maine reports that they have received donations of hundreds of scarves from generous knitters for their upcoming winter games. The Special Olympics organizations host many events across the US every year, and they collect scarves to give to participants as mementos and thank you gifts.

And then there’s this: a cat shrug.

WWW: Yarnbombers Needed in Scotland, Grand Theft Needle & Hot Knits!

Wow. Just wow.

The Knitted Bliss blog brings to our attention an absolutely stunning modification of a Knitty pattern: a shrug inspired by the Pomatomus socks. Bravo Jen!

The first Vogue Knitting Live event takes place this weekend in New York City. It promises to be a fun weekend of shopping, classes and socializing.

Organizers of the annual Leith Festival in Scotland are seeking contributions from knitters with the aim of “dressing” the woodland area where the festival is held.

A enterprising 14-year old 8th grader in Wisconsin is knitting her way to Europe: she’s selling hats and scarves at a local arts marketplace to raise the funds for an educational trip this summer. You go, girl!

Awesome: a knitting chart generator developed as a demonstration application of the Mathematica mathematical programming language.

Ms. Zappa

For your calendar: Diva Zappa, daughter of late musician Frank, has an exhibition of knitted works at the Maison Bertaux Gallery in Soho, London, running February 4 to June 1st.

And in other news, a Cincinnati man was recently arrested for stealing knitting needles from a car.

WWW: Wool for winter; end of an era; giant birthday cardi.

Crafting a recovery: a wonderful piece in the New York Times. Ready a hanky.

A giant cardigan to celebrate the 900th anniversary of Cardigan, in Wales.

Also in the UK, a great story about a new-generation company helping to bring the British wool industry back!

Want to bring us home?

If you’d like to create your own little wool industry, consider the contest from Juniper Farms. Enter to win a flock of sheep. Really!

The Globe and Mail suggests that sweaters might be just thing to keep us Canadians warm through this cold winter… Seriously, some excellent sweater fashion eye-candy, a sensible video on how to care for wool fabrics, and a fun bonus demonstration from a stylist on how to wear scarves like a red-carpet queen.

So sorry to see you go!

We spotted an announcement from Mags Kandis on her blog about the end of Mission Falls yarns and patterns. We’ll miss the Mission Falls yarn and Mags’ charming designs for it very much. Mags has colorful new things in the works, the blog hints. We’ll be looking forward to seeing them!

A nice piece about graffiti knitters in New Zealand.

Image courtesy Sandra Dea/Toronto Star.

A knitting club started by an art teacher at a high school in Toronto has attracted participation from both boys and girls, and is bringing together students from all backgrounds in a very multicultural neighborhood.

WWW: Contest Winners; How to Crochet A Bull Cozy; Woolen Octopus Attacks!

The winner of the Lisa Souza BFL sock yarn is comment number 742, Bridgette.

The winner of the Cuckoo Mitten kit using The Loopy Ewe Solid Series yarn is comment number 3005, Eileen.

Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to the wonderful fiber folk for donating prizes!

You thought I was kidding about the octopus, didn't you?

Some truly excellent guerilla knitting (woolen octopus streetcar attack!) in Japan [see right].

A video of the Wall Street Bull yarnbombing in progress – outstanding finishing skills on display.

The Toledo Main Library is hosting a collection of rare and wonderful knitting images.

Rare Purls: Knitting Images from the Victorian Age through World War II, features 85 images and items from the private collection of Ellen Foley, a local resident.  The collection includes lithographs, engravings, photogravures, magazines, children’s books, and ceramic plates, all showing knitters in action.  A portion of the exhibition focuses on war-related items: patterns for knitting for troops from World Wars I and II, and even a replica of a World War II-era Red Cross sock knitting kit.

The exhibition runs until February 1st.

An article from the Times in London about how knitting is part of a program to help schoolchildren from non-English speaking families in the UK improve their English language skills.

Sadly only available on the UK, a BBC program from the series Great British Railway Journeys. The host takes a trip along the eastern coast of England from Filey to Scarborough, and learns about traditional gansey knitting patterns.

WWW: Rare Beasts & Art

Rare and beautiful.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust in the UK is a charitable organization dedicated to conserving Britain’s native farm livestock. Founded in 1973, not a single breed has gone extinct since then, and they are doing important work to protect both the animals and small farms and holdings who keep them.

They have recently launched a Wool Exchange, allowing members to advertise wool and fleeces from rare breed sheep for sale or exchange. The listings are fabulously breed-specific. (Note that the advertisers are small, independent suppliers – they likely would only ship within the UK.)

Bonus adorable sheep pictures on the site, too!

Hand-knitting would be ok, though, yes?

Toronto’s Drake Hotel is currently hosting an exhibition called “Wrap Your Head Around This“. The exhibition is interested in how the physical features and the iconography of cloth combined with traditional textile practices contributes to overall meaning. Collectively, the artists included use traditional methods in textiles for political, social, historical and cultural commentary.

Los Angeles-based artist Lisa Anne Auerbach knits political messages into sweater sets, simultaneously rendering them comfortable and uncomfortable. Her work “Take This Knitting Machine And Shove It” has pride of place at the entrance to the hotel.

The exhibition also features some of Jenny Hart’s embroidered portraits of rock stars.

Ok, it's not knitting, but it's still pretty cool.

The Wall Street Bull in New York City was (briefly) yarnbombed this past week, just before the big storm hit.

Martha Stewart apparently will be needing us in the new year….

And even sheep get the winter blues… photo of the front page of The Guardian newspaper last Thursday. Sheep in County Antrim, Ireland, have been dyed blue so that they can easily be spotted in the snowdrifts.

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.