What’s What Wednesdays

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.

Please like & share:

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!



Please like & share:

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.

Please like & share:

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.

Please like & share:

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.

Please like & share:

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.

Please like & share:

WWW: Profile of Kate Davies, Knitting with Cats, Journalist commits terrible yarn-related puns

Wonderful profile of designer Kate Davies, who talks about her own journey from academic to the world of knitting, with the matter of small bump in the road: a serious stroke that left her hospitalized and in recovery for many long months.

Love this: a knitter takes her craft with her as she travels around the world, leaving traces of her craft wherever she goes. In this blog post, she talks about her journey to becoming a ‘craftivist’, and her actual journeys. She speaks of ‘the great communicative potential of street art and the inherently inoffensive nature of craft and knitting’.

Members of the ‘Oxford Drunken Knitwits’ club.

Speaking of yarnbombing, I really like this display of over 1500 handknit and crocheted flowers that has been installed around The Radcliffe Camera, a beautiful building on the Oxford University campus

File under: not sure we should encourage this sort of nonsense. The subhead of this article about an office knitting group has not one but two terrible puns. Boo to puns!

A cat cafe in Manchester, UK, as launched a series of event evenings, offering yoga sessions, film nights and craft gatherings. Having a knit-night in a yarn shop or pub is so last year… let’s meet in a cat cafe! (I am not poking fun! I would be all over this! And I know a few others who would be, too.)

Please like & share:

WWW: On Creativity, *Very* Deep Stash, Tink

Very excited about this. Ravelry has added a new attribute for yarn information: source.

They’ve actually added a whole load of new attributes, but in particular we’re happy to see a place to add information about the source of fiber — where it was scoured, milled and dyed — and on its sustainability — whether it’s fair-trade, organic or recycled. Many thanks to the team of Ravelry who are always listening and always improving!

Photos taken by and copyright Kevin Horan, from the Washington Post.

Speaking of sources of fibers, enjoy these magnificent portraits of sheep and goats, taken by photographer Kevin Horan.

Designer Karie Westermann writes on her blog about creativity. In particular she addresses a question that I think many of us ask: I am really creative but things never look like they are supposed to. What am I doing wrong?

Deep stash. Very deep.

You think you’ve got old stuff at the bottom of your stash? This 3,000-year old ball of yarn, found at an archaeological dig in the U.K., is older than anything you’ve got, I promise.

(To call it ‘yarn’ isn’t entirely correct – this post on the Must Farm website describes it in more detail, using more accurate term ‘thread’.)

To quote from the Oxford English Dictionary blog: newly enshrined word tink is “an example of the linguistic inventiveness of knitting”. See, we’re not just creative with sticks and string, we’re creative with words, too!

Not strictly knitting, but I love this: textiles printed directly from sewer (yes, for once, I do mean sewer, not a person that sews :-)) covers.

Please like & share:

WWW: Knitting TV comes to Netflix! Knitted Yellow Jersey for bike ride winner! Sheep-shearing record broken!

Image courtesy the artist and The Yarn Loop website.

Amazing: a hand-knit portrait of Amy Winehouse, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of her death. Artist Lisa Bentman spent six weeks on the knitting, and then another week applying a sequin embellishment. You can learn more about the project in Lisa’s video diary. The FO is being raffled off for charity.

SlowTV comes to US Netflix! Overjoyed to learn that the legendary Norwegian Slow TV knitting shows are coming to Netflix August 6. Shall we have an internet knitting party/watch-along?

Reuters Image of a recent London Harris Tweed Ride.

Adore this: not only is there a Harris Tweed bike ride on the Isle of Lewis, in which participants must be decked head-to-toe in outfits of the Scottish tweed fabric, but the prize – a yellow jersey, in the style of the Tour de France – is handknit from Scottish wool.

Interesting… researchers at Disney have been working on a compiler for industrial knitting machines, with the objective of making them operate in the manner of an on-demand 3D printer.

In the words of the researchers… although industrial knitting machines can produce very detailed, seamless, 3D surfaces quickly and autonomously, they are almost impossible to program for small, customized batch production. This work aims to solve that problem.

Not knitting but utterly hypnotic: speed crochet! Crocheter Jayna Grassel was filmed by Condé Nast creating a flower in less than 90 seconds.

Speaking of speed: shearer Matt Smith (sadly not *that* one) breaks the world record for most sheep sheared in one session

Please like & share:

WWW: More Sheep-cams, “Farm to Needle”, Autumn Events

Mason Dixon Knitting brings to our attention a Norwegian Tourism promotion, which involves attaching cameras to sheep and exploring the country from a sheep’s point of view.  (And in case you’re wondering, I will never stop reporting on sheep-cams. I think they are wonderful.)

If you’re in London or environs, there’s lots of fun things going on this autumn. There’s the Great London Yarn Crawl on September 10th, and there’s the Yarnporium fair November 5 & 6th.

And staying in the UK for a moment, we were very happy to discover Woolsack, a website dedicated to promoting British wool products. In their own words, the website is intended to be

a ‘reference library’ listing and linking to everything and anything to do with British wool and British wool products from raw fleeces through to finished items & fashion garments, from local events to permanent exhibitions.

If you’re in Ontario, mark your calendar for September 10th, too: it’s the Kitchener Waterloo Knitter’s Fair.

BWRF_1We received a press release recently from Black Wolf Ranch alpaca farm, promoting their approach to what they term the “ranch to knitting” trend. They’re entirely correct, this movement is closely related to the “farm to table” approach in dining, and we embrace all these initiatives to make crafters more aware of the source of the materials they are working with, and how the materials were treated and processed all the way through the ‘lifecycle’. The emphasis on local products and sustainability is good for all of us. Any farm website that lists “About Our Animals and People” – in that order – is good in my books!

Cheeky: A nice review of my Pattern Writing Book, and if you read to the end there might be an opportunity to win a copy. Just saying. 🙂

Please like & share: