A Spinning Giveaway!

Beautiful Indigenous

One lucky spinner will win 4 oz of BFL/ Tussah (a $22.95 value) from Three Waters Farm to make Lynne Vogel’s Indigenous shawl from the current issue of Knittyspin.

You want it don’t you? Leave a comment below by noon, eastern time, tomorrow (Wednesday, November 10). If you are chosen, you must answer a super secret question to be declared the winner.

Our winner will be announced on Friday, November 12.

Qiviut Sock Yarn & A NaKniSweMo Update

I’m a sock knitter who has poor circulation and lives in a cold climate, and therefore I’m always on the lookout for the most interesting and warmest sock yarn.

And just the other day, at Toronto’s Creativ Festival, I found it: Cottage Craft’s Qiviut blend sock yarn.  It’s a yummy blend of qiviut, merino, bamboo and nylon, so it will be wonderful to work with, fabulously warm – and hardwearing. (Be warned, there’s none of this currently listed on the site, it looks like they are sold out.  Sorry!)

Nom nom nom.

I bought it at the Rose Haven Farm both.  Linda, the lovely proprietor, only had one skein left.  She was very apologetic about the lack of color selection.  It happens to be a gorgeous rusty red, but honestly, it could have been the worst color in the world and I would have still bought it.

What’s the big deal?  It’s the Qiviut.  Qiviut is the undercoat of the muskox.  Muskox live in the arctic reaches of North America, and have the wooly coats to deal with the climate up there.  Qiviut is 8 times warmer (and significantly stronger) than sheep’s wool, softer than cashmere – and it doesn’t felt.

Muskox are aggressive creatures, so Qiviut is hard to collect, and therefore expensive. It’s gathered by hand during the molt, or from bushes that the muskox rub up against; or combed from pelts after the hunt.

The muskox is an important animal in the ecosystem, and to the Arctic peoples. They are still hunted and used for meat, their pelts, and their fiber. To learn more about this, I highly recommend Donna Druchunas’ book, Arctic Lace.

The most important thing to me right now is that I’m going to have very warm toes this winter.

Can you blame me?

A Quick NaKniSweMo Update from Jillian

I’m about 5,000 stitches in, my gauge is defying all logic, I’ve had to ‘fit in’ a few increases, I’m behind where I want to be and there’s not enough time to knit. In other words, I’m loving every minute of it. How are your NaKni sweaters going? Don’t forget there’s a group for us on Ravelry. Here’s a peek at my Goodale so far:

Goodale goodness

Cookie A. Giveaway Winner!

Our winner is… Mandy F.

If you’re not the lucky one, don’t forget that you can order a PDF of the book or preorder the physical copy, and shop for Lorna’s Laces yarn at your favorite yarn shop.

In the meantime, console yourself by revisiting Cookie’s amazing contributions to Knitty.

Pomatomus: the sock that started it all.

It's Po-ma-to-mus.

Monkey: a classic for our times.

Who hasn't knitted these?

Hedera, Beaudelaire and Clandestine: lacy and gorgeous.




And Red Herring: easy and unexpected colorwork.

Simple yet clever.

The rest of the trip

When last I blogged, I’d caught  you up about halfway on our recent trip to the UK and France. The first half was a real treat, being driven around in a luxury coach with really nice knitters and a tour guide I’m still crushing on.

One of the bonuses of this trip was that it took us right across the path of our good friends Brenda and Tonia who live in West Wales. So we planned to stay with them for a few days after leaving the group. We haven’t seen each other since the Sea Socks cruise in 2008, and we missed them! Here they are in Tenby, one of our favorite places on the trip.

Brenda + Tonia in Tenby, attractively windblown

I love these women. They rock. And yes, that’s the Brenda you think it is — she does this, and  does it very well. We spent some lovely time together walking around in Tenby.

Tenby is mighty pretty

And then off to the Welsh Wool Museum, where I could touch very little, but had lots to look at.

wool being spun onto bobbins. lots of bobbins.

I was most envious of the lucky bus trippers who chose beautiful wool blankets to take home with them.  Ah, sigh.

the hub and his seaside Ploughman's Lunch and pint.

The four of us parted from the tour after much hugging and waving, and it was weird all of a sudden to be responsible for getting our own selves someplace. Thankfully, B+T were on the job and soon we were at a lovely pub enjoying the afternoon by the seaside. Oh, where they live is heavenly, let me tell you. Here’s my favorite picture of our walk on the beach with Truman.

Truman never runs out of energy. Hub, not so much.

This is one of the beaches where B+T walk the new pup. Must be hard, eh, this life of theirs? We fell in love with Wales pretty much instantly and never wanted to leave.

how's that for a view from your back door?

Unfortunately, right around this time, hub started to show signs of a cold. A bad one. Which he left behind for Brenda [we’ve already apologized]. My body decided to rebel against being in heaven by having a massive allergy attack. So there was much tea made for us and gratefully consumed.

We had short day trips, including one to Narberth, where this was our motto:

yes, it means what you think it does.

Finally, it came time for us to leave, so we boarded the train for Cardiff and spent a very sniffly night there. We managed to stumble across Jamie’s Italian [yup, THAT Jamie — Oliver] and had a nice dinner which hub mostly could taste through his cold. The next morning, we were off to London.

And then on to the Eurostar, which was the super awesomest way to travel ever. Travelling with a sick hub, it made things much easier. Very comfortable, quick, painless way to travel.

Poof, we're in Paris!

By this time, hub was getting worse. Our hotel was a nice pitstop, and we tried to go for a gentle walk, but he was not doing well. By 7 pm, he asked to go to the hospital [and yes, he’s that kind of man who would never ask unless he was very sick].

The hospital staff were awesome, and they took very good care of him.

poor sick hub

The cold had turned into something more serious, and they were great about not brushing him off as a whiny tourist. They found the problem and told us what to do about it. [And since we’ve gotten home,  he has seen his GP, gotten further treatment and now is pretty much himself again. Whew.]

Not fun, but if he had to get sick, Paris clearly was the place for it.

Hub spent the next two days in the hotel room  [good patient] and I went for short wanders around the city. A little Bon Marche…

The yarn department. I purchased nothing, but it was fun to look!

a little Droguerie…

des petits fleurs

a little Samaritaine…

but sadly, it was closed for renovations.

I got to visit L’Oisive The, which was awesome [no pictures, too busy having fun]. And then hub pulled himself together for a visit [via cab, no metro for him] to the Eiffel Tower on our last night.


happy 20th anniversary to us!

And then we were home again.

It was a great, fun, exciting, exhausting trip and a great way to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We went to Paris on our honeymoon and then again on our 10th, so it made sense that we should return during this trip. It would have been nice for hub not to have been sick, but at least he was well taken care of and comfortable. And he got to walk to our favorite cafe every day, because we chose a hotel less than a block from it. I’ll leave you with a picture of Le Nemrod, our Parisian home.

Ah, we miss it already.

WWW: New Cookie A. Book & Giveaway!

We’re thrilled to hear of the release of friend of Knitty’s Cookie A. new’s book, Knit.Sock.Love.

Indeed we do!

Full of her wonderful and creative work, Knit.Sock.Love contains 19 patterns, 7 of them entirely new.  A PDF version is available now, and the book physical book can be preordered, from Cookie’s site above.

Marilinda: lovely.

German stockings: hot.

And, as I’m sure you’re hoping, our next ninja-bonus giveaway is a whole bunch of sock knitting love in the form of Cookie A’s brand new book Knit.Sock.Love  and a pairs’ worth of Shepherd Sock yarn from the wonderful people at Lorna’s Laces to make the socks Stalagmite from the book, a prize package valued at $49.95 USD.

Stalagmite: typical Cookie fabulousness.

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Cookie’s new book, first as a PDF download and then as a hold-in-your-hands-type book, when they become available later this month.

Want to win? Leave a comment to this post by midnight eastern time today Wednesday November 3rd. We’ll pick one winner, ask them a skill-testing question, and if they get it right, announce them as the lucky winner on our Knitty Friday post.

In Search of Fiber Fiesta Fiber!

Fiber Fiesta yarn spun from gorgeous A Verb For Keeping Warm fiber.

Do you dye fiber? Create spectacular batts or fiber blends?

I’m gathering fiber for  Knittyspin’s 2011 Fiber Fiestas.

Knittyspin’s Fiber Fiestas are held quarterly. We invite a group of spinners with varying levels of experience, and each samples your fiber.[We do have enough Fiber Fiesta spinners.] All reviewers are asked to spin, set, and knit with the fiber, putting it through the same process an average spinner would.

In order to have your fiber included in an upcoming yarn Fiber Fiesta, please send at least 8 oz of each type of fiber you’d like considered for review. Multiple submissions [more than one type of fiber, blend or put up] are welcome! Please include a short “bio” of your fiber and/or your business – this is especially important for unusual blends and small-batch fiber companies; where your fiber can be purchased and the suggested retail price for your fiber.

Samples will not be returned. I will contact you to let you know in which issue your review will appear, so you can make sure to have stock on hand.

If you’re interested in having your fiber in Knittyspin’s Fiber Fiesta or have a fiber artist to suggest  I contact, leave a comment here or drop me a line at jillianmorenoATgmail.com.


You might have heard for NaNoWriMo… National Novel Writing Month?  Started in 1999, the idea was to encourage writers to set themselves a goal to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, in the otherwise grey and uninteresting month of November.

Knit like the wind!

Our own clever Shannon Okey decided that she had enough novels, but needed a new sweater, so NaKniSweMo was born – National Knit a Sweater Month.  After all, most sweaters have at least 50,000 stitches – and goodness knows, knitting a stitch is easier and faster than choosing the right word…

Shannon’s  hosting a KAL on Ravelry, and has created a twitter tag for real-time updates, #NaKniSweMo.

Our own Jillian is in, and as of 6:05am this morning, she had already cast on. She’s knitting Goodale (Rav link).  Some brave knitters are turning this into an informal NaDesSweMo – National Design a Sweater Month.  Both Shannon and Annie Modesitt are creating new designs.

And it’s not just a US event – over 500 knitters from all over the world are signed up for the Ravelry group – knitters from Canada, the UK, Finland, the Netherlands and Australia are participating.  IntKniSweMo?

It’s not too late to join the fun. I bet there’s a sweater-to-be lurking in your stash – cast on tonight and you’ll be well on track.

Stay tuned for updates on Jillian’s progress throughout the month.  And do check out Shannon’s Ravelry group – she promises prizes!

Lizard Ridge Leftovers Vest

The minute I saw the Lizard Ridge blanket on Knitty – long before I was part of the team – I knew I had to knit it.  I’m a big fan of Kureyon, and the idea that I could buy and play with 24 different colors – well, how could I say no?

I worked on it over the winter and spring of 2007, and finished it up June 19th, 2007.  It’s a fabulous piece, and I adore my blanket. It sits proudly on the couch – often being rested upon by an animal.

Warm, comfy and gorgeous.

In the 3 years since I’ve finished it, I’ve held onto the bag of leftovers – 48 golf-ball sized balls of Kureyon.

From the depths of my stash

I knew I was going to do something with them, but I didn’t know what.  I tried some crochet, but it didn’t really work.  I knew I had about 400g (about 400m), so whatever I made wasn’t going to be big.

In the last few months, I’ve been playing with top-down vest construction.  I was reworking a pattern I had originally written for a worsted weight yarn, to convert it to aran weight.  And I needed some aran weight yarn to use.  And the lightbulb went on: Kureyon is an aran weight.

And so began the insanity vest project.  When each of the tiny balls of yarn ran out, I’d try to choose something that was contrasting, but otherwise I tried not to overthink the color changes.

Early on, I got a bit worried – I had chosen very different colors for the upper fronts, and it wasn’t looking good.

Too much?

And about halfway through, I had a huge crisis of faith because the stripes in the upper sections were much wider than in the body – this had to happen, since there are significantly more stitches in the body than in the upper portions.

Uneven stripes

Last week, I finished it.  I edged it in plain black, just as I had done for my blanket.  And I love it! I goes with everything and nothing and it’s my current favorite thing in my wardrobe.



WWW: An important date, wool bones and rubber balls

A very big Happy Birthday to Amy, our Editor-in-Chief. Lift a cupcake in her honor today!

With sugar on top

Seasonal, and utterly inspired.

This knitted skeleton is an absolute masterpiece.   Ben Cuevas, an artist based in California, created it as part of a mixed media piece for Wassaic Project (an arts collective and residency program located in New York state).  The skeleton sits in the lotus position atop a stack of cans of  condensed milk, with a cloud of screen prints on Flexi glass suspended above it. look and be amazed.

The artist uses a lot of fiber – specifically  knitting and crochet – in his work.  In his bio, he states that he enjoys “the rich cultural and social history that surrounds fiber arts, as well as blending the distinctions between art and craft.” A man with the soul of a knitter, he understands that the “time-intensive and repetitive nature of knitting allows me to meditate on a piece as it comes into being, further revealing the nature of the work as part of the process.”

Cat Bordhi blows our minds with yet another wonderful “unvention” – Spinning and Plying with Balls. Rubber balls, that is.  Just watch it.

The Tricksy Knitter has recently launched an online color chart-making tool. It’s free, and is designed to help you create your own charts for colorwork without having to resort to graph paper and pencil crayons. There are sample charts you can use as inspiration, or create your own from scratch. It’s like coloring, but for grown-ups.

The Lion Brand Yarn Studio store in New York has announced that they are accepting donations of knit and crochet blocks for the Warm Up America! program. Blocks can be dropped off at the studio and will be displayed in the window until November 30th, when the blocks will be assembled into afghans to be donated to shelters, hospitals and social service agencies. Info about the program here, about the studio here. December 12th, the studio is hosting a finishing party to put them together.

A few great events this weekend: the Knitting & Stitching Show in Dublin, Stitches East in Hartford, Connecticut, the Southwest Fiber Festival in Tuscon, Arizona, and the Seattle Weavers’ Guild Show and Sale.

Fiber Expo: I May Have Shopped

This is the fourth year that there has been a Fiber Expo in my town. Now, it’s not Rhinebeck, but with 77 vendors, I was still able to make my spinning heart cheer and credit card cry.

All the vendors I bought from are local to Michigan, but sell online. I’ve got a bunch of spinning to do.

Here’s what I got:

BFL fleece, all raw and crunchy

A BFL fleece from Cross Wind Farm.

cormo, warm and inviting

Two 8oz bumps of BFL/Cormo from Cross Wind Farm in colors to chase away the gray Michigan winter

sexy batt packaging

I may have gone a bit of  batt binge at this show. This one is from Hands and Notions. Her packaging is great isn’t it?

so pretty, it changed the way I look at yellow and pink

Yellow and pink are two colors I typically steer away from, but this batt from Bricolage Studios lept into my hands.

can't pick? get them all.

I couldn’t choose between these batts from Frankielove Fiber, so I bought all three. I’m going to randomly spin them together.


From Yarn Hollow, two new colorways: Crimson and Chai.

Fiberstory won me and my friends over, 100%

Every single person in the fiber gang I shopped with bought something from Fiberstory Our favorite new fiber supplier, can you blame us?

both happy AND fuzzy

Two from Happy Fuzzy Yarn. She does the best blues.