When last we met…

the previous sneak peek

Two Mondays ago [Knitting Mondays, to be specific], I hinted about my first knitting project after beginning to recover from treatment for my RSI — the RSI that has prevented me from enjoying knitting for more than a year.

The project was Annis, and I knew I wanted to knit it from the moment it came into the Knitty submission mailbox.

[Do you wonder if I ever knit anything that we don’t publish? I don’t. I think that would be super-tacky. Plus, if I like it well enough to knit it, that’s telling me I should consider publishing it!

Patterns that come in that we aren’t able to publish get archived for our records only, and after about a year, the mailbox gets purged.]

Anyway, Annis. I am not personally fond of bobbling or nupping, so when I saw this gorgeous beaded Annis, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I dove into my stash, found the yarn: Araucania Lonco Multy in color 4010. This was the only yarn I bought in Hawaii, and I was excited to get to use it!

I also went stash diving for beads and, well, wasn’t smart about it. I’d bought some beads a while back at a knitting/needlepoint shop, blindly assuming that, since it was a knitting shop, the beads would fit on yarn. And this Lonco stuff is lovely and quite thin. But it’s not dental floss. And these were seed beads. Nevertheless, I was blinded by the perfect color match and went ahead. The beaded rows were unbearably frustrating, and the result? Well, you tell me if you can see the beads:

there are beads in this picture. can you see them?

What a waste of effort. But it doesn’t matter, because I love the finished shawl. Look:

look at the crazy shape of that shawl. I love it.

another angle of pretty.

At this point, a shout out to the Cocoknits people for their Knitters’ Block sets. As you can see, this shawl is not any conventional geometric shape, but the Knitter’s Block sets allow you to put blocks together in any way you need to. And the carpety layer on the top of each block means the knitted thing doesn’t want to move, even without pins. Damned clever product, these blocks.

p.s. I am now knitting more comfortably than I have in years. Happy? You can’t even imagine.

New Yarns, A Few Events for Your Calendar, A Surprising New Spinner

The Knitty Spring+Summer contest winners have been chosen. The lucky winners’ names are on the Contest page. They’ve been contacted and are excitedly awaiting their prizes! Stay tuned…more contests will be announced for our upcoming First Fall issue, which goes live any day now.


We were excited to learn of the launch of Quince and Company, a new independent US yarn company founded by Pam Allen (ex-editor of Interweave Knits, designer and author), designer Carrie Bostick Hoge and their friend Bob Rice, who happens to own a spinning mill.  They have beautiful yarns, some lovely and very accessible patterns, and a wonderful sensibility: they have focused on sourcing products as locally and as environmentally and socially responsibly as they can.  Patterns and yarn are available from their website, and they are looking forward to distribution in local yarn stores in the near future.


A rainbow of yak gorgeosity. Image courtesy Lorna's Laces & Bijou Basin.

Last week, Lorna’s Laces announced a collaboration with Bijou Basin Ranch, to dye their delicious yak yarns in fabulous Lorna’s colors. The colors are “nearly solids” with a gentle, earthy edge.  Three different yarns will get the Lorna’s treatment.

Question: Why is it that the ugliest beasties make the most beautiful yarn? The yaks, that is, not the crew at Lorna’s!

Anyway, I personally adore the Bijou Basin yarns, and this is terrific news.


Image courtesy Knitter's review.

Registration for Clara Parkes’ 2010 Knitters’ Review Retreat opens today at noon EST.  Instructors include Ann Budd on the math of knitting, Clara herself on Yarn 101, Cat Bordhi on creating new stitch patterns, and Melissa Morgan-Oakes on knitting with beads.

It all takes place in Williamstown, MA, November 12-14.


The Bust Summer Craftacular London edition runs this weekend, July 10 at York Hall near the Bethnal Green Tube Station. Shopping, crafting, workshops and dancing from noon to 7pm! What more could you want for £2 admission?

And if you’re in London, don’t forget to put the iKnit London Weekender on your schedule, September 10th & 11th.


Prince Charles learns to spin, just in time for the Tour De Fleece.


Yarn bombing your own car? Brilliant!

Really Keeping Track on the Tour

I have grand plans for the Tour de Fleece.
I’m finishing some Lynne Vogel Limited Edition Colorways from Three Waters Farm: merino/bamboo in the Black Hollyhocks colorway.

I did it myself. Pretty dyed BFL.

I’m practicing the the thick, fluffy, and arty skills I learned from Lynne Vogel and Maggie Casey in the past month, at least a bobbin full of each.

The biggie is 2 lbs of long drawn singles, slightly fulled, for a sweater from oatmeal BFL that I dyed myself after writing about it last week [see the finished results at left]. The oatmeal BFL was from The Spinning Loft.

I haven’t watched one minute of the Tour de France, but I’ve been spinning.

Soft blue singles.

As I wound my dyed and dried  BFL into bumps, I decided what order to spin the bumps in and to spin a fluffed up arm’s length of fiber at a time for long runs of color. Are you curious how I’ll keep track of where I am in the world of my BFL? Knots.

I’ve recently started using knots to keep track of where I am in my spinning project.  I frequently pick up the wrong end of my fiber, especially if the colors are close, when I come back to my spinning after a break, or the wrong length of fiber if I have several to work with.

Now, every time I pull a length of fiber from a bump or long length of roving or top to spin, I loosely knot the end of the fiber on the bump end, so I know this is where I get my next length and the end to start spinning.

And to keep my BFL bumps in the order I want, I’ve knitted them 1,2 ,3.

On your mark, get set, spin!

The Hidden Costs of Summer Knitting

The seasons have changed: it’s getting hot in the northern hemisphere, and cooler in the southern hemisphere.

Seasonal knitting is an interesting question: I know a lot of knitters who tend to put their needles down in hot weather.  Makes sense to me – do you really want to have a massive wool blanket draped over your lap when the mercury rises?

The colder the weather gets, I crave larger projects: blankets I can wrap around myself as I work, and big sweaters I can cuddle up with.

carefully knitting small things in the summer sunshine

I knit socks and lace in the summer, for the most part, and I choose the yarns carefully.  My hands get very warm and a bit clammy – I’m funny that way – and I’m always nervous that I might accidentally felt the yarn.

About 10 years ago, I offered to make a shawl for a friend’s wedding.  She was getting married in northern Ontario, in late September.  The evenings can get pretty cool there, so we chose a  mohair yarn.  All well and good, but a September wedding meant I was knitting in August – and it must have been the hottest August we’d had in some years.  It was a big shawl, too. At the time, I had a window air conditioning unit in my living room.  I spent every evening for four weeks huddled beside the window, with the air conditioning cranked up to maximum.

I finished it on time, and it was beautiful, and the bride loved it.

And a good thing, too: I can say with absolutely certainty that it was the most expensive thing I’ve ever knitted.  The yarn was pretty inexpensive – it was the air conditioning bill that pushed the price up.

Gift Knitting Season Already?; Patriotism

Image courtesy Interweave Press.

Some knitters are starting to consider their project lists for end-of-year gift knitting.  To help you with those lists,  look for these books on your LYS bookshelf very soon:

Joelle Hoverson & Anna Williams’ More Last Minute Knitted Gifts

Mags Kandis’ Gifted: Lovely Little Things to Knit and Crochet

Anna Hrachovec’s Knitting Mochimochi: 20 Super-Cute Strange Designs for Knitted Amigurumi.  If you’re in the NYC area July 11th, attend the launch party at Brooklyn General Store to see some of this adorableness in person.

Betcha can't knit just one...


We’re in the throws of World Cup, and the season of National Holidays. No matter who or what you’re celebrating, make sure you have a knitted flag to wave:

The Stars & Stripes

The Maple Leaf Forever

Flag of St. George

If you’re looking for other patriotic accessories, try these:

Flag-themed hats from DROPS

Germany hat

Swiss Flag dishcloth/baby bib

A rather amazing collection of flag design coasters designed by Kathy Murray, available for purchase on Ravelry.

And if you’re more about the football than supporting a specific country, knit yourself an actual football.

Happy Canada Day to our Canadian friends &  Happy 4th of July to our US friends!

Spin dreaming

It’s Knitty production week and I really should be working, but my mind keeps drifting off to this:

oatmealy BFL

Nearly 3 pounds of oatmeal BFL that I want to spin for the Tour de Fleece.

I dream about spinning it into a beautiful long-draw single that I would full and knit into a sweater.

I also dream about dyeing this bfl, national blue, bright violet with maybe touches of avocado or maybe grasshopper ( yes, those are pro chem colors). Not with total coverage —  I want some of that oatmeal to show.

What are you dreaming about spinning for the Tour?

I met Sasha this weekend at a Maggie Casey workshop. Sasha has a new spinning podcast, The Spin Doctor, where she reviews spinning fiber, tools, dvds and all manner of spinning yum. Give it a listen and tell her what you think!

Stare into into the BFL vortex - if you dare!

You can’t knit if your hands are numb.

What could it be now?

This is something I’ve been progressively learning over the last few years. You don’t want to read a recounting of my medical history, so I’ll summarize it like this: I overdid things with my hands by using my computer and mouse, hand quilting, knitting and spinning over the last 15 years. Despite ergonomic changes in my work and leisure habits and the nightly wearing of wrist braces, they hurt, occasionally were numb and sometimes I’d wake up with pain that felt like I’d dipped my hand in a pot of boiling oil. No exaggeration. The official diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome came a few months ago after a nerve conduction test.

I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of the cortisone shots I chose to have, because I’m not a doctor [and please, no lectures in the comments. I know people are polarized about this issue]. But I will say that my right hand — my dominant hand and the one that hurt worst –has taken much longer to recover from the cortisone shot than I expected. The whole thing was a little bit of a comedy of errors which included me almost fainting from the first shot and the doctor kind of forgetting to tell me about the acute pain I’d have for the next 24-48 hours. Yup.

I’ve also been seeing an Osteopath for several months, and I credit her with the marked improvement I felt about halfway through the healing process from the shot. More on her kind of Osteopathy can be found here.

Anyway, here we are, almost a month later, and the news is pretty good.The left hand [the one that made me almost faint] was better 3 days after the shot. The right hand is almost there…and the best news of all? I’ve been knitting.

Before I had this shot, I hadn’t knit with pleasure for months. Every time I’d pick it up, my hands would be numb in minutes and there’s no pleasure in that. Now, I have to be super-attentive to my body and stop if something feels funky. I’m alternating work with knitting or rest, so that I don’t overdo it in any one area. And without pushing myself, I knit myself something I’ve been wanting ever since we published it. The picture at the top is a hint*.

I’ve written this post mostly to tell you to listen to your body. Overdoing it may eventually cause you to be unable to do what you love. So take it easier. Be kind to your body and especially your hands.

*More on this on Knitty Friday.

What the heck is a Nabaztag?

meet nabaztag.

It’s a rabbit. It’s a device. It’s plugged into the wall. It’s got wifi. It lights up. Its ears move. It does tai-chi. It’s made of plastic. It reads messages aloud that were sent electronically as text.

<— It looks like this.

I know. Nuts. Who cares?

Go for a second and watch the opening animation at the Nabaztag site. Then come back. [Please.]

See? it’s kind of captivating, isn’t it?

nabaztag:tag. note the belly button/microphone

Nabaztag was introduced in 2006 and was, honestly, buggy and limited in function. The new Nabaztag can be identified by its belly button, which houses a microphone. –> This makes your little rabbit able to interact with you.

Press the button on his/her head and say “weather” and he’ll tell you the weather. Say “air” and you get a light show representing the air quality in your area.

I am a rabbit person, and I love geekery, so when I saw this in 2006, I wanted. Badly. But it was almost $200. It still is, if you buy it in North America. So I didn’t do that. I waited 4 years and went the eBay route.

Since then, hub and I have realized that we can use our Nabaztag [named Leopold] almost like a super-geekified intercom. One in my office, one in his, sending messages back and forth. So I went searching for another one for him. [Of course I claimed the first one.]

On the hour, Leopold tells me the time. It reminds me to get up from my computer and stretch. He makes tinkly noises as he does Tai Chi [his ears wave about while his lights make with the pretty]. He reads me messages [see that “Make the Bunny Talk tab at the top of this page?]. He’s fun. There are Nabaztag iPhone apps. Utilities all over the web [google your heart out]. Figuring out what he can do is half the fun. Not everything works perfectly: have Nabaztag read an RSS feed to you and it comes out in a robotic voice that’s only vaguely intelligible. That don’t bother me none. It does enough other stuff that I’m enchanted with the thing.

Violet, the company that created Nabaztag, has had problems. Last year, they sold out to Mindscape, a neat online gadgety shop. And their price was way lower than I’d found anywhere else [69 euros]. And they ship worldwide. And with the 5 euro coupon I found [code: NLMG], plus they removed the VAT, too good to pass up. So hub’s is on his way here.

Today, I found an even better price — 49 euros at Carrefour. Don’t think they ship outside of France, though. In fact, most of the good Nabaztag resources are in French. Solution? If you’re not already using the Chrome browser, give it a try. It’ll translate pages to your chosen language on the fly, and has been most handy for me [with my high-school French]. It’s now my default browser.

In any case, I wanted to leave you with a little taste of what Nabaztag can do. As part of the arty festival, Luminato, Nabaz’mob came to town. 100 Nabaztag rabbits lit up in a darkened room and moved their ears in a 20-minute hypnotic ballet, choreographed to an ethereal soundtrack.

Inspiration and Duck Feet

An arty and inspiring Wednesday.


Karen Searle, How My Mother Dressed Me (Detail); Image from KarenSearle.com

I’m regularly awed and inspired by the work featured on the ArtYarn blog….  the work of Fibre Artist Karen Searle was recently featured.

Karen works in a variety of fiber media, and she has knitted and crocheted a variety of pieces – some life size, and some miniatures.  The stunning dresses are each 6 inches high, knitted in copper wire.

ArtYarn is a collaborative knitting and crochet project coordinated by visual artist Rachael Elwell, and their goal is to collaborate with local community groups, world wide knitting and crochet networks and arts organizations to create gallery installations, public arts projects and creative craft workshops.

Both sites are worth a visit.


Blouse, mola, San Blas Islands, Panama, 20th century; Image courtesy of Textile Museum of Canada

The Textile Museum of Canada has just announce a new exhibit, Drawing with Scissors, featuring the Mola work of Kuna Yola. Running July 21, 2010 to February 13, 2011, the exhibit features the handcrafted traditional blouses of the Kuna people, an indigenous people of the San Blas Islands, Panama.

The motifs are worked in reverse applique and embroidery, and depict images from the world in which the Kuna live – invoking and blending both their traditional beliefs and way of life and the influence of the modern world around them.  Works might feature images of ancient spirits intertwined with images inspired by television – from the news or Disney cartoons.


Another stunning exhibition has just opened at the Newport Mills in Newport, New Hampshire.  Fabrications is a mixed media exhibition featuring work by 19 international, national and regional artists.  In acknowledgment of the building’s history as a working mill, Fabrications presents artworks using textiles in innovative, contemporary ways, and showcases projects that utilize weaving, sewing, knitting, crocheting, and spinning into unexpected forms and unusual materials.  It runs until September 25th.


Duck feet. Not just for babies anymore.

Looking for cuteness and high degrees of adorability in your knitting? Check out Petite Purls’ Summer issue. Full of great babies’ and kids’ patterns.

And if you need some cuteness in adult size, consider Jeny’s Felted Duck booties, a grownup version of the Duck socks from the Spring issue.


Did you win in our contest? Emails have gone out from knittyadmanager @ gmail to our lucky prize winners. Check your spam filters!


How Paper Clips Save My Spinning Sanity

I love paper clips!

I am a spinner that likes to take my wheel everywhere with me. I am also a spinner who tends to drop and lose things. There are days that, as I carry my wheel, I feel like I’m a dandelion shedding fluffy fiber and tools everywhere.

The tool that I most seem to lose no matter how I tie it on, keep it in a wee basket or even carry it in my purse is an orifice hook. I lose 1 or 2 a year.

Behold the everyday object that saves my spinning sanity:

Paper clip magic!

I throw a small handful into every bag I carry, and if I’m orifice hook-less I grab a paperclip and unbend, leaving or creating a small hook at one end.

Adjust the hook size to your wheel’s orifice and you’re ready to spin. If you’d like, curl the hookless end into a loop, string it on yarn and hang it on your wheel.

Even if I somehow don’t have a paper clip they are sure easier to find or buy on the fly than an orifice hook. Be sure to buy the coated kind because they won’t snag on silk or other super smooth fibers and they come in the best colors!