Attention non-woolly sock knitters!

The day has arrived. Sock Candy, the non-woolly version of Blue Moon’s Socks That Rock, has returned in beautiful hand-painted glory! Says Tina, “We are offering our Sock Candy for a very limited time as a hand paint. It is not our intention to continue to hand paint this yarn. Instead we’re venturing into having it mill dyed in multicolors.”

One last chance to grab the most beautiful hand-painted cotton sock yarn ever!

Sock Candy, hand-painted by Tina. YUM.


[Yup, Singer was made for me. Literally. How flattering, and irresistible, is that? No worries, I placed my order before I posted this. Because I know what you knitters are like. Because I’m one of you. :)]

WWW: Squids & Bridges

Congrats to the winners of our most recent contest, chosen by Shannon Okey herself:

Big winner [prize: a copy of The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design, plus the choice between one of her online classes OR an one-one consultation with the pro herself]
Allison
August 4, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Cracked Shannon up by mentioning zombie apocalypse winner [prize: a copy of The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design, plus one online class]
Susan
August 4, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Mentioned tweets about this contest winner [prize: a copy of The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design, plus one online class]
Rachel Erin
August 4, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Winners, watch your e-mail for a message from contest queen, Jillian!


You'd get more knitting done with all those tentacles...

Stitch London and the London Natural History Museum invite you to join them on August 27th to Stitch-a-Squid.  This event is part of their Deep Sea exhibition, celebrating all the weird and wonderful creatures that live in the depths of the oceans.

Six knitted specimens have already been found in and around the exhibitions…


Biggest yarn-bomb ever?

Sue Sturdy is leading an initiative in southwestern Ontario to complete the KNIT CamBRIDGE project.  The objective is to cover Cambridge’s Main Street Bridge entirely in knitting, as a collaborative large scale piece of outdoor public art, to raise the profile of knitting in a region of Ontario that used to be a home to many spinning mills.  Over 1000 knitters have already contributed to the project, and about half the bridge cosy is complete.  It will be installed starting September 9th for it unveiling on September 11th.  The piece will remain in place until September 26th, when it will be taken apart, washed and remade into blankets and scarves. Many pieces will be distributed to social services agencies, including shelters for the homeless, and other pieces will be auctioned off with proceeds also being distributed to charity and the Cambridge Arts agency, which is supporting the project.

Knitters from the Cambridge area and all over the world have already participated, and knitters are encouraged to get involved in these last few weeks.  Even a small 8 inch wide strip will help! More info here and details on how to contribute here.

Visitors to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair that weekend should take a detour to see it.


If you love lace...

Interweave Knits has announced a new edition of the beloved Knitted Lace of Estonia, by Nancy Bush, to be published in September. This edition includes a bonus 1 hour DVD with videos and bonus material on the traditions, the patterns and the various techniques used in the book’s designs, as well as instructions on designing your own Estonian style lace shawl. Nupps lessons straight from the master herself!


Rest a while and knit.

Popular yarn shop Loops is opening a second location in Tulsa, OK. The shop was designed in collaboration with Interior Design students from Oklahoma State University, and is a bright, open and welcoming space for crafters and their families. A “man cave” provides a corner for ‘muggles‘ to read magazines, play hand-held video games, and rest while their crafting companions shop, and a playroom keeps the kids busy.  There’s a classroom, and a “yarn bar” where visitors can hang out, surf the web for patterns and idea, or even just knit or crochet.

A Grand Opening celebration takes place the weekend of August 27-29, featuring workshops, giveaways, and live alpacas in the parking lot.


Shannon Okey’s Cooperative Press announces two new books coming this fall: Hunter Hammersen’s Silk Road Socks, and “literary knitting romp” What Would Madame Defarge Knit?, edited by Heather Ordover of the popular knitting and books podcast CraftLit.


Milwaukee’s Stitch & Pitch Night gets some love from ESPN.


Sheep take over a Hobbit village in New Zealand.

5 Tips for a Dye Day

Pile of fiber

Two or three times a year, my fiber gang gets together for a dye day.  Here are 5 tips from our group to yours to keep your dye party running smoothly.

1) Plan and work ahead and after.

Know how many people are coming and what’s for lunch. Mix your dyes ahead of time and soak your fiber the night before. Plan on rising and drying your fiber at home. Just dye and play on dye day.

2) Time and space for all.

No one wants to wait on dye day. Have spots for everyone to work their color magic and enough pots, crock dyers, burners, etc to set the fibers.

3) Have some color ideas, but let it flow.

I usually come with three or four colorways to get started, but inevitably the best colors are those that hit me on the spot. Have a notebook handy to keep track of your colorways. Trust me, you won’t remember.

4) Slow down, you’re having fun.

It’s not a race, it’s not your job. If you work at frenetic pace you won’t enjoy yourself. Bring your wheel or your knitting and take breaks. I’ve learned my actual limits are about half of my dyeing aspirations – so I soak only half of the fiber I think I can get done, and bring dry fiber along. Sometimes I add more fiber to the soaking bucket, but usually not.

5) Try something new.

If you usually pour your dyes, try painting. If you usually steam set, try crock pot dyeing. Challenge yourself to break out of your color rut. You’ll be amazed at how much fun you have just playing.

1.75 lbs of fiber dyed in 5 hours. Next time, not so much purple.

Knitting quickie

Something I realized while frogging [to fix the extra repeat of the lace pattern I somehow decided was necessary to insert between vertical columns — aka a real mess] last night…

[Knowing that I almost always choose simple lace with a purl- or knit-back row will help this next  part make more sense.]

When it comes to frogging lace off the needles, which I often do with simple lace, I always frog with the wrong side facing me. This means I’m undoing decreases and increases that I’ve just done, and for some reason, it’s easier for me to keep things tidy and not drop stitches or former yarn overs. It also means that many stitches will get mounted on the needles incorrectly, but that’s super-easy to fix on the next row, which is that right-side row again, now being reknit properly.

Pictures? We don’t need no stinking pictures. We’re knitters.

[Okay, I went looking for pictures, and instead found validation: Pam Allen says the same thing. See point 3.]

Knitting from Knitty

I don’t choose what to publish based on what I want to knit [especially since I have stupidly annoying restrictions in my knitting due to my wool allergy]. But lately, I have found two Knitty patterns that were just up my alley for right-now knitting:

Annette, knit here in Knit One Crochet Two Babyboo

First to cast on, Annette. Cute, quick to knit, because it’s lacy and it’s not a huge body-coverer. I chose to go a different route, yarnwise, pulling some gorgeous Hempathy from my stash [bought at my LYS, The Purple Purl] in the most amazing deep dark purple (color #12). I’m almost at the 2nd buttonhole [it starts at the hem] and it’s an easy, almost mindless knit. It also uses a surprisingly small amount of yarn, even for a big girl size.

Then, as a result of my spontaneous trip to Ann Arbor, I found myself within reach of Knit A-Round, so Jillian and I went this morning. I came home with this, irresistible when found in colors I never knit [but love] and also half off.

Araucania Lonco Multy, in color 4009 this time.

I recently used this yarn in a different colorway for Annis. It’s for Coquille, of course. I can’t get the colors right in this pic [it was too hot to fiddle with white balance outdoors], but it’s mostly deep yellowy-greens, chocolate and super bright orange. Not exactly like, but a little reminiscent of, the colorway in Knitty. This is to be saved for vacation knitting when I go on the London, Bath, Wales trip this October. I want to finish Annette now.

Obsessed with linen

layers of breathable wrinkles. be still my heart.

I hate hot, and I don’t do summer well. But about 3 or 4 years ago, Jillian took me to Acme Mercantile before a speaking engagement at the Ann Arbor Public Library, and she introduced me to my new summer love. Flax Designs.

Brenda Dayne, goddess of the Cast-On Podcast, tried to do the same thing with me, calling the style Lagenlook [the German word for “layered look”]. But I kept finding pages like this and never quite got the fever for it that she had.

That’s because I had been looking in the wrong place. Flax Designs are also Lagenlook, but pared down. It’s about layers of linen, sometimes in bold colors, sometimes soft and almost vintagey, like the picture at left.

There are styles upon styles, and years of different cuts and shapes to find for sale online [eBay is great for Flax].

What I love, more than just being able to put on easy, breathable shapes for summer is that the sizing is very friendly, to all body shapes. It starts S, M, L and then moves to 1G [g = generous], 2G and 3G.

Jillian and I stopped into Acme today and they’d just marked down their summer stock. I scored a white tank, my favorite pants [the Floods style] in screaming turquoise and a round-necked jacket in a rich, vibrant peony for layering when the temperature starts to finally go down. Here…take a peek at the crazy-fabulous summer Bold color palette for 2010 [thanks to TenderTreasures.com for the great photo — also a great place to find Flax]:

Like softer colors? There are tons of those. I dare you not to google.

WWW: Getting ready for fall in the Northern Hemisphere; An Important Birthday

Although we’re having a hard time imagining it right now, we know that fall is coming.  And with that in mind, we offer some things to get you in the mood for cooler weather knitting…


The oldest woolen mill in Canada, and manufacturer of truly great yarn, Briggs & Little is offering a free download of the pattern for the 2010 Canadian Olympic sweater.  Styled in the tradition of the “Mary Maxim” or Cowichan sweaters, this sweater had a modern twist, and would make an excellent jacket for those crisp and cool days.  Adult version, youth version (PDF links).


Entirely sheep-free!

The yarn companies are rolling out their fall products, and Knitty’s editor, Amy, is particularly excited about Berroco’s Remix. It’s a gorgeous, tweedy yarn that’s machine washable, and made entirely of recycled fibers. It’s a blend of cotton, silk, acrylic, nylon and linen that looks remarkably like a tweedy wool. It’s also, says she, light as air.

It’s made with a new low-impact manufacturing process patented in France, from leftover knitted fabric from the garment industry.

Best of all, it’s wool-free!


A face only a knitter could love?

On a less Amy-friendly but equally important note, Rowan is hosting a Knit Along event August 21st in the Lake District in the UK to raise funds for Wool Week 2010, to be held in October. Rowan designers and experts will be on hand August 21st to provide knitting lessons and help, and Rowan will be showcasing some of its great wooly products.  There will also be wool-related poetry readings, contests and demonstrations of dry-stone walling.

Wool Week is an event scheduled as part of  The Wool Project, sponsored in part by HRH Prince Charles.  The project is designed to promote use of and educate consumers about  wool and wool products.  The ultimate objective of the initiative is to help sustain the sheep farming industry by increasing demand.


Image courtesy Rodale Publishers

Julie Turjoman’s new book, Brave New Knits, to be published August 31st, celebrates the convergence of knitting and modern technology, with profiles and designs from knit bloggers and designers, both established and up-and-coming.  Many Knitty friends are featured, including Norah Gaughan, Shannon Okey, and Melissa Wehrle.

Photography is by Jared Flood, so you know that it’s going to be gorgeous to look at!


Harlequin Medallion Quilt, Courtesy American Folk Art Museum

Knitters often look to quilts for inspiration, as shown by the popularity of the Log Cabin design, and you’ll find no better source of inspiration than at the American Folk Art Museum’s Masterworks exhibition from its quilt collection.  Running October 5, 2010 to October 16, 2011, it’s a must-see if you’re in the NYC area.


Excellent yarnbombing in Johannesburg, South Africa.


The Birthday Girl

And last, but definitely not least, this week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of another of knitting’s great heroes – Elizabeth Zimmermann. Ms. Zimmermann can be credited with popularizing circular knitting in an era of straight knitting; and through her writings, TV shows and books, she taught knitters to think for themselves.  Her objective was to free knitters from the tyranny of the pattern, to empower knitters to make their own designs to suit their own needs and tastes.  She leaves a legacy of fabulous books, innovative designs like the Baby Surprise Sweater, and a secret wish in all knitters to be able to duplicate her feat of knitting while on the back of her husband’s motorcycle.

Her books, patterns, newsletters and DVDs are available at Schoolhouse Press, the publishing company run by her daughter, Meg Swansen, who is a knitting hero and celebrity in her own right.  To quote the goddess herself, “knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises”.  Ms. Zimmermann, we salute you.

The Walker Treasury Project

Here at Knitty, we’re big fans of the Barbara Walker Treasuries.  There are four books, each containing hundreds of stitch patterns – lace, cables, ribbings, texture patterns, color patterns, you name it.

The legend herself, Barbara Walker, teaching a class at Sock Summit 2009.

They’re revered by knitters all around the world, and Ms. Walker herself is a genuine treasure in the knitting community.

An international group of knitters, inspired by Nicole Hindes, is leading a giant knit-along, with the objective of swatching up every stitch pattern in the four books – and the unofficial fifth book in the series, Mosaic Knitting.

It’s all at The Walker Treasury Project blog.

A high-quality picture of each swatch knitted is posted to the blog, complete with information about yarn and needles used. It’s an incredible way to improve an already outstanding reference library.

The search facility is remarkably sophisticated – you can look up a stitch pattern by book, by name and by type, of course – but you can also look them up by number of stitches in the repeat.  And patterns are also categorized by whether they are the same or similar on both sides, or attractive or interesting on both sides – with photos of both sides provided! – or whether they are simply not reversible.

As a designer, I use this resource on a regular basis when exploring the Treasuries.

To date, there have been over 600 swatches photographed for the project, and new ones appear regularly. Get involved by adding a swatch; the instructions for how to contribute are posted on the blog.

Read more on the Ravelry group.  In addition to Nicole, the group is maintained by a great group of volunteers, and credit goes to them, also: Emilee, girlontherocks, veiland, VictoriaJicha and zephknits.

Knitty Spotting Around the Web

Some more gorgeousness from our readers.

Uncoolhelen‘s stripey and handsome Flo the Elephant.


OnlyLouise
‘s Mad for Plaid quartet


SophieBegonia
‘s nearly-solid, slightly modified Coquille

And WinterFoliage‘s absolutely stunning, knock-your-socks-off upsized Trellis. Upsizing notes on Ravelry.  Thanks to KnittedBliss for bringing this one to our attention!


CraftyBrooklyn
‘s Hourglass socks.


DocSteph
‘s Skew socks.

And Orangeus‘ summery Minty hat.

Obsession: Dexter, Roxy and Microchips

Settling in nicely.

World, meet Dexter.

Dexter is a stray dog who came into my life recently.  My hubby and I had had a dog, a lovely yellow lab called Avery, and she died of cancer four years ago.  We’d been talking about bringing another dog into our family, but the time hadn’t seemed right.

And then three weeks ago, a stray dog appeared in the yard of a dog-owning neighbor.  The stray was handed over to the joint care of me and my hubby, and another neighbor who had recently lost her own dog.

He had no tags on his collar, and no microchip, so we launched a massive campaign to find his family.  We posted with the city animal services and the Humane Society; we made him a trending topic on Twitter.  We put up ads on Craigslist and Kijiji, and posted on Facebook.  We blogged about him. We made posters and distributed them around the city with the help of friends and family; we toured him through all the local vets, pet shops and groomers.  And nothing.  No one knew the little guy, and we had no idea where he had come from, or where he belonged.

After a week of searching, we had a tag made with the name Dexter and our phone number on it, and he moved in with us.  We’re thrilled to have him living with us, and he seems to be enjoying it. He’s a good dog, and someone had clearly cared for him: he’d been neutered and he was healthy and groomed.  But someone, somewhere, has lost a beloved family pet.

If he had had a microchip, he could have found his way back to his family.

Happy and safe.

I told Mandy this story, and she told me the story of her cat, Roxy.

Roxy, too, was a lost animal, and Roxy, too, was chip-less. Mandy rescued Roxy from the streets when she was a kitten – she was sick and injured, and likely wouldn’t have survived if Mandy hadn’t taken her in.

We’re glad that these particular lost animals landed with people who could look after them, but as any shelter will tell you, that doesn’t always happen.

I know that Knitty readers are animal lovers. The help you’ve offered in the course of the search for Dexter’s family is proof of that. And I know that many Knitty readers have pets of their own.

The lesson in this is that if you have pets, please have them chipped.  A tiny little microchip is injected under the skin of the animal, usually around the shoulder or neck area.  The microchip has an ID number which is registered in a master database, along with information about the animal and its people – a description of the animal, and contact information for the animal’s owner and vet.  A vet can do this, or any animal shelter or rescue organization.  A scanning device can find the chip and instantly access the information about the animal – and any vet will scan a lost animal, free of charge, to see if it has been registered.

It’s quick, inexpensive, and utterly painless for the animal.  And it means that your lost pet can find its way home to you.

Needless to say, we’re having Dexter chipped.