What’s What Wednesdays

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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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

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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. 🙂

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WWW: Faroe Sheep Cam, Kate Davies interview, visit to LYS as alibi?

You’ve probably heard about Google Sheep View, which helps you locate all the sheep in Google Street View images…

The Faroe Islands has launched a slightly different initiative: tired of waiting for Google to come and officially map their island, they’ve harnessed up five sheep with 360-degree cameras, and are gathering the results to submit to Google.

A lovely BBC radio interview with designer extraordinaire Kate Davies. She talks about her recovery from a stroke, and her career change from academic to full-time yarn professional. Well worth ten minutes of your time.

This looks really interesting. The Great British Wool Rampage: a TV documentary on the British Wool industry. It’s a Kickstarter page, but even if you’re not up for a contribution, it’s worth visiting to read about the project.

On the Classic Elite blog, an interview with knitwear designer Tonia Barry. A fascinating insight into the design process.

Interesting: a woman uses a drive to a knitting shop as her alibi in a road-rage case in Scotland. The judge has asked that she prove her knitting ability, as part of her sentencing…

A lovely little memoir of sock knitting for the war effort in Australia: a story of a very old FO and a decades-old acquaintance renewed.

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WWW: Canadian Red Cross booklet, Cliche-free Shop Profile, Knitting as Classical Music Score

I rather like the “if I hold them like this they won’t hurt me” look on his face…

A nice profile of The Sheep Shop in Cambridge UK, notable for having been written by a man, and yet without a single use of the old ‘granny’ or ‘ooh look men can knit too’ tropes.

An older piece, but it’s been making the rounds again recently: an Icelandic composer uses a knitting pattern as inspiration for classical music.

the score, for symphony orchestra and piano respectively, are completed — an ethereal soundworld with pauses where the knitting pattern has holes

Although the composer confesses that neither the score nor the knitting project are complete…

A little off-topic, but an excellent longer read for your lunchtime break today… The True Price of Fast Fashion.

New York Public library offers a weekly knitting and crochet gathering, 10:30am on Tuesdays.

Image from the Canadian Red Cross website.

A post on the Canadian Red Cross website about knitting patterns distributed to civilians during the two World Wars. The purpose of these booklets was not, however, what you might initially think… it wasn’t about teaching knitting, but rather establishing standards for the items to be made and donated.

Knitting booklets like this one also serve as a reminder that although the wartime Red Cross relied primarily on voluntary labour, it still had high standards. All items produced were carefully inspected, and any that did not meet the exact specifications outlined in the instructions were rejected. Knitting booklets like this one enabled women volunteers across Canada to produce items that they knew were needed and made the grade.

In which model, celebrity and rock-n-roll progeny Georgia May Jagger confesses that she used knitting to help her quit smoking and nail-biting.

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WWW: Yarn Documentary, Knitted Windows, On Copyright

Knitter and actor Kirk Dunn creates phenomenal large-scale knitting projects: full-size stained glass windows. You can watch a documentary about his work online.

A few weeks ago we mentioned the upcoming release of the documentary “Yarn”. It’s been released in the US, and the New York Times has reviewed it. You can watch the trailer here.

Love this: knitter Farzana Chaudry has created a woolly display for the front window of her house, commemorating the return of International Space Station astronauts Tim Peake, Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Kopra. She lives near a school, and enjoys creating these types of displays, “for the joy of the kids”.

Phenomenally useful: a guide to copyright for crafters and artists, in easily understood visual form. I promise it’s not boring or laden with legalese. With a hat-tip to KnitHacker for bringing this to my attention, and Ginger Davis of Blue Bottle Tree for putting it together.Copyright-Infographic-crafters-1024x795 - Copy

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WWW: Travel (with) Knitting, Vintage Films, Life-size yarny replicas

Two fantastic videos posted by the BBC in honour of World Wide Knit in Public Day:

Shetland Lace Knitters, filmed in 1964, working at a remarkable pace. Their language is absolutely fascinating, an almost Scandinavian lilt, to my ears. I adored the answer the one knitter gives about how she feels at the end of a long project.

And this gem from 1972:

In life-size-replicas-of-public-figures-made-out-of-yarn news, we have two stories:

A yarn shop in Devon won a competition for their amazing shop window display, featuring a pretty-close-to-life-size figure of the Queen.

And in the US, a crochet model of Bernie Sanders is out on the election trail…

travel-suitcase-clip-art-suitcaseIt’s vacation season! Do you have your travel knitting prepared? Some tips from us here at the Knittyblog for travelling with knitting.  And check the Knitter’s Review events list to see if there’s anything yarny going on near your destination… or to help you decide on a destination…

Heck, knitting can even help you work through a language barrier, when you’re travelling. On that note, I enjoyed this little vignette from a friend’s trip to Italy….

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