What’s new?

Quite a lot!


The Knitgrrl Guide To Professional Knitwear Design

Many of us have been eagerly awaiting the publication of this book, written by Shannon Okey [the Knitgrrl herself].

Well, the book went from manuscript to finished, printed copy in significantly less than a year…which is one of the benefits of being a

1) motivated author
2) experienced self-publisher

…and Shannon is both!

This book has promised to be as honest a volume as has ever been written about what it’s like to design for a living [or part of a living]. “Written by an industry insider, the Guide takes a comprehensive, unflinching look behind the scenes that no knit or crochet designer can afford to be without. Includes interviews with top designers, editors and professionals who tell it like it is so you can hit the ground running, a guide to responsible social media use, information on distribution, printing, online publishing and much, much more.”

Can’t wait to read it!


Lots of knitters have been turning their hands to quilting lately. So this new Patchwork Pattern Maker from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London comes along at a great time. It’s free, and turns an image into a series of geometric shapes, which the quilter can then use as a template for a quilt top.

As a lapsed quilter [my current carpal tunnel condition is a result of that previous obsession], this makes me want to reach for my rotary cutter!


StitchinKnitâ„¢ font by Adriprints

For knitters who want to publish their designs, or just share their work with friends, having a good charting font can be a real help. There’s a brand-new font from Adriprints that looks fabulous: it’s called StitchinKnitâ„¢.

Three versions — regular, chunky and handdrawn  — cost a mere $6. Mac and PC versions both available. Awesome.

P.S. My friend Dawn reminds me to be excited also about the crochet font they have…right here!

Box of Love

box of love contents

I have a fiber shopping problem: my desires frequently exceed my monetary means, especially at fiber events like Maryland, Rhinebeck and SOAR. Adding insult to bank account injury, I often buy the same or very similar fiber/colorway when I’m on a fiber jaunt as I already have in my stash.

Discovering that we all have the same problem, my fiber sisters and I came up with a plan.

We call it Box of Love. When faced with a fiber show we bring along a box or bag of our “right now fiber obsessions”, what we love the most currently in our spinning lives. The Box of Love helps keep shopping within our budgets in several ways:

there is a LOT of love in that box

It reminds us we have a lot of stuff, so there’s no extra shopping due to impending fiber scarcity.

It fulfills the current fiber obsession because our Boxes of Love contain our most loved fibers, so we buy fewer duplicate fibers and colorways.

It lets us feel rich with fiber. At the end of the day at the hotel, when everyone spills out their purchases in a huge fiber wallow, we have our Boxes of Love to add to our modest, within-our-budget purchases, to create our own mountain of fiber love.

I’ve been bringing a Box of Love along on fiber excursions for more than two years. It lets me shop wantonly, but wisely.

love.

A peek into a current Box of Love shows my current fascination with: merino blended with anything shiny, shades of dirt, Briar Rose, Spunky Eclectic, Lynne Vogel and Tanis Fiber Arts spinning fibers.

Outdoor Knitting Kit

Kate Knitting in Public

If you’re planning to participate in WWKIP day this coming weekend – and especially if you’re going to be part of the Toronto-based attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for most knitters in one place – you need to be prepared. You want to have your tools with you, but you also want to pack light so you’re mobile.

Here are the tools I recommend you carry if you’re going to leave the house with your knitting:

  • a handful of safety pins or removable stitch markers – these are great for catching dropped stitches or using as extra markers, or to keep track of your progress – I tend to just stick them in my knitting before I leave the house
  • a crochet hook – for picking up any pesky dropped stitches
  • a photocopy of your pattern or chart, in a plastic bag or sheet protector & a waterproof knitting bag – waterbottles do spill

As to other tools – consider your project and where it’s at:

  • will you need scissors? Only if you will need to change yarn, or be seaming or weaving in ends.  Many knitters find nail clippers good for out-of-home knitting, or you may be able to break the yarn – test an end!
  • will you need a tape measure? Will you need to measure anything? Did you know a US dollar bill is exactly 6 inches wide?  Know the length of your needle and use that to measure!
  • using DPNs? Take a spare, or change to magic loop for the day.

The objective is to take only the absolute essentials, so be ruthless about paring down your kit for the day.

Ideal outdoor knitting projects:

  • something small – do you really want to be dragging that blanket around town? lace! socks! kids’ garments!
  • something for which you don’t need to consult the pattern very often, but bring the pattern anyway (ok, make that easy lace)
  • something in cotton, silk or smooth wool – if it’s summer where you are, you’ll want it to be cool to handle (no mohair or alpaca)
  • something you want to show off

My all-time favorite knit-in-public project is a plain old stocking stitch sock – I get the cast-on and ribbing done at home, and then I’m off to the races just plain knittin’ for a while.

Non knit-specific but still very useful things to have on hand:

  • sunscreen & hat
  • water bottle
  • wet wipes to clean your hands before you start knitting – because ice cream stains are hard to get out of wool
  • a big smile – you may well be photographed

And just as for travel knitting, it’s not a bad idea to thread a lifeline before you do leave the house.

The happiest day of the week?

Perfume oil from Bathing in Luxury

It’s Obsession Thursday again! Here’s what I’ve been coveting lately:

Bathing in Luxury

No alcohol, no plasticy smells. These perfume oils are luxurious smelling and last all day. Plus they come in glass roller-ball bottles – no spilling.

My favorites, so far, are Daydream – a bright smell with citrus and vanilla, and Stroke Me (hey, it’s really the name) – deep and warm sandalwood, musk and vanilla.


Roxanne earrings

Roxanne earrings

Huge (2″ x 2 1/2″) and light. I want to wear these every day.

The swirliness of them is so over the top girly that it makes me laugh. Amy’s surprised I didn’t buy the green ones! [editor’s note: yes, I am!]

It’s Wednesday!

Have you been wondering if an iPad is worth buying? Read what knitter/designer Amy Swenson has to say on the subject. [Neither of us have any financial stake in Apple or iPads, by the way. We’re just geeks who like toys.]


O-Wool has new owners — the Tunney Wool Company. Glad to see this brand continue!


i ate the whole thing. and then wore the shirt home.

What is this TNNA everyone’s talking about? It’s The National Needlework Association, and people in the industry use the abbreviation as shorthand to refer to the semi-annual tradeshow.

The biggest one of the year happens next weekend in Columbus, Ohio, and yarn companies, manufacturers of bags and needles and notions, publishers and designers will all descend on the city to find out what’s new.

Many of them will walk across the street to the North Market for a daily dose of Jeni’s Ice Cream, too. Ice cream consumption doesn’t count when we’re working, right?


This weekend, many of our Knitterati are off to Squam. What’s a Squam? Not really sure, but it sounds fabulous. It’s an art camp in New Hampshire, and Toronto’s own Yarn Harlot is on her way there as I type this, as are Ysolda Teague, Jess and Casey from Ravelry, and many more.

Sounds like something to pencil into your calendar for 2011, no?

Spinning Lessons

the precious abbybatt

I have a bunch of Abby Batts in my stash and I won’t spin them because then they’ll be gone. What if I want to use them for something better later? What if I totally suck spinning them? Abby herself would laugh her ass off knowing her batts had hit Most Precious Status in my stash. “Just [expletive] spin them” she’d say, and she’d hand me a beer.

So I did. And it was good.

Lesson: There are no precious batts.

advice taken.

Travel Knitting; WIPs on a Plane!

knitting at Newark airport

In the northern hemisphere, the summer travel season is upon us.  My friends and rellies in the southern hemisphere are planning their winter ski vacations.

And every traveling knitter, no matter where you are in the world, has one key question in mind: can I take my knitting on a plane?  The answer is an enthusiastic but qualified yes.

Within North America, the TSA clearly states that “Items needed to pursue a Needlepoint project are permitted in your carry-on baggage”.  Read their post for a bit more detail.  The Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority agrees.

Within most of western Europe and the UK, and between North America and Europe, they are also permitted.  These Heathrow Airport Security guidelines state that knitting needles are “widely prohibited”, and says that you should ask your airline, but doesn’t outright tell you not to bring them. I’ve flown in and out of Heathrow a number of times in the past few years, and not had a problem. The only exception seems to be France, which has an outright ban.

Although they have announced that the policy will change, right now Australia remains the most restrictive, qualifying knitting needles as “dangerous goods”. New Zealand permits them, however.

Ultimately, no matter what the airline and government regulations are within a given territory, you’re still at the mercy of whoever is manning the security checkpoint.

To reduce the chances of confiscation, take wood, bamboo or plastic needles rather than metal.  If you do want to take metal, I recommend short circulars – I’ve not had any problems with them.  And this sounds silly, but don’t ask the question or bring attention to them – just stuff your equipment in your carry on bag and send it through the x-ray machine.  “Needle” is a word that has many meanings, some of them scary, and you’re more likely to get attention if you’re overheard using it.  Have your knitting cast-on – I’ve heard of some people being questioned for having needles without knitting on them.

I also tend to pare down my kit when I’m traveling – to save space and hassle.  I leave my scissors, metal ruler and tins of safety pins at home or in my checked baggage.

You may be asked to surrender your needles, so don’t take your favorite ones on the plane. When traveling, I always transfer my knitting to inexpensive needles I wouldn’t be upset about losing.  If you don’t want to lose them, carry a self-addressed, stamped puffy envelope with you so you can mail them home.  Thread a lifeline before you leave for the airport so that if you do have the surrender the needles, your knitting can be salvaged.  And bring something to read, just in case.

And just because you arrived somewhere with your needles doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to leave with them – there may be different rules at your departing airport.

But most important of all, remember that yarn bought while traveling doesn’t count as stash, it’s a souvenir!

Introducing Obsession Thursdays!

Around the KnittyBlog, Thursdays are for obsessing. There are four of us here, and each of us have our own obsessions. And they change, so this could be the most interesting-weird day of the week.

Only time will tell.

big smoke by butter LONDON

Today, I’m obsessing about online beauty shopping. I saw a link on a post by one of my favorite bloggers and it sent me off to investigate.

Jane Brocket has excellent color sense.  So when she recommends a list of colors, I look. In this case, it’s nail polish made by a company [from California?] called butter LONDON. I know, silliness. But their colors are awesome and the names even moreso.

The shimmery blue is called big smoke.

HRH by butter LONDON

The purple is called HRH. All their products are free of the big bad three: toluene, formaldehyde and no DBP. This is a good thing.

There are lots of other products on the website, none of which caught my eye. I just like color.  It’s not cheap, but for $14 a bottle, you can make your toes happy.

What’s What Wednesdays returns!

Did you miss us?

wwkip logo Copyright © 2008 Danielle Landes

WWKIP day, which seems to frustratingly coincide with the big knitting convention [TNNA] every year*– well, this year is going to be a big one! Let’s look at what you can do on June 12th to share the knitting love!

Toronto, Canada: Another attempt at breaking the Guinness World Record for most knitters in one place [currently held by the knitters at Sock Summit 2009] will take place at Junction Square (2945 Dundas at Pacific) between 1 and 4 pm. Enjoy entertainment, refreshments and prizes. The count for the world record will take place at 3 pm, so please come early to register.

Dublin, Ireland: Don’t just knit — wear your knitwear! Dublin Knit Collective is promoting their 2nd annual Wear 2Be Seen on WWKiP Day 2010.

Lancaster, PA: Knit as you ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the countryside. Want a ride? The Lancaster Yarn Shop is offering rides in the LYS KNiTTING BUGGY, and it requires reservations, so book soon! What a great idea!

London, UK: The I Knit London ‘World Wide Knit In Public Day’ Treasure Hunt is legendary. The annual treasure hunt will take place on 12 June. Meet at 11.30am for send off at midday. People are invited to take part in teams of up to five people. This year’s event will have a bingo element to make it more fun. Participants will be knitting their way around central London hunting for hidden treasure and little bits of knitting.

None of these nearby you? Go check the list…there are events being held all over the world!

*Turns out, the WWKIP organizers know about the conflict and have tried to accommodate the largest possible number of people — the official WWKIP date is actually a time period! This year, it’s June 12 to the 20th. In Europe, organizer Danielle tells me that there are local holidays that would conflict with the later date, so they choose the earlier one.

What Happens In My Backyard When It’s Warm

katherine, amy, carla

As the weather gets warmer spinners head to my back yard like wild birds. Check out this photo from this Spring. This was the inaugural spinning in the backyard day. Carla (she of the orange pants) came over to spin. Then neighbor Katherine (she of the green, dyed by her own hand fluff) looked out her window, ceased whatever she was doing in her house and came to spin. Then Amy (she being the Knitty Goddess) after driving five hours from her house to mine came to spin (she stayed longer than the afternoon). The warmer it gets the longer the spinners stay and the more spinners come. There is always fiber trading, opinions and laughing. There may be dinner, or dyeing, or a nap in the hammock. It’s different every time. It doesn’t happen every week, but often enough for it to feel like a bit of summer camp for the grown ups.

The bags, boxes and pillows are all from Ikea (I know you want to know).