View From My Wheel: Friends

Everyone was alseep when I took the picture, shhhh.

I just got back from a blissful weekend away with fiber friends. There were seven of us holed up in a cabin for 2 1/2 days, doing nothing but fiber, watching movies and overloading on carbs.

This weekend got me thinking about how I spin with friends. Spinning with friends is all about relaxing. It’s impossible for me to learn or teach something new, because I might miss out on my share of the conversation.

I did find I can practice skills that I already have a seed planted for in my head and hands, thick and thin or trimming my yarn diameter. But something new or something not in my realm of my usual woolen yarn was a no go. I brought some beautiful merino/silk I wanted to spin as a fine worsted yarn, and as many times as I touched it, I couldn’t even take it out of my spinning bag.

For me the key is the calm and easy feeling I get when I spin with my friends. It’s my grown up version of a playground. When kids play on a playground they are 100% there with their friends, playing their favorite games, nothing else matters. When I spin with my fiber tribe it’s the same, I am 100% there, my hands doing what they love best, and my heart happy and light. Why spin something new?

WWW: NYC Yarn Crawl, Considering the Environment, Knitted Wonder Wheel

Get on board!

The second annual NYC Yarn Crawl is scheduled for October 9, 10, 11th. More info here.

Each of the 14+ stores participating will have prize draws, special offers and other goodies. Each store visit entitles a participant to a raffle ticket for one of the many great prizes donated by the stores and participating yarn companies.

And to add to the fun, there’s a scavenger hunt… themed for the Big Apple, of course. Find the knitted apples hidden on the crawl route to win more prizes.

If you’re interested in the environment impact and origins of the yarn you’re working with, check out Green Knitter. The site has a great discussion of the various terms that are used to designate different facets of green-ness and environmental friendliness – “organic”, “local”, “vegan”, “natural”, “sustainable” and so forth. It provides detailed information on the processes used to turn various fibers into yarn and their environmental impact, and provides a list of products and producers that are “greener” options, with less of a negative environment impact. The links page is great -providing a list of books and other online information resources, and links to stores with a particular eco-friendly focus.

On that note, a really great article about the benefits of wool in home construction – notably, for use as insulation.  (Excellent justification for ongoing stash acquisition?)

Another great Fiber Festival to add to your list: the Woodstock Fleece Festival, October 23rd, in Woodstock, Ontario.

Great pic of Lion Brand’s knitted replica of Coney Island’s famous Wonder Wheel, from this past weekend’s NYC Maker Faire. Photo from Craft Magazine’s Twitter stream.

What’s Your Groove?

Not too long ago my friend Erica & I both spun worsted weight-ish types of yarn. We’re both part of a group of fiber friends who meet weekly at a coffee shop to spin, knit and generally laugh off our weekly stresses. Our worsted weight yarns, hers worsted spun, mine woolen, were our groove yarns, our sitting on the couch go-to yarns. What our hands and wheels just spun when left to their own devices.

Erica decided she wanted to spin thinner, she used smaller whorls and weekly I could see her yarn getting finer and finer. I decided to spin fat lofty yarns, I took some classes and practiced a lot and my yarn got thicker and thicker. I didn’t think our groove yarns had traveled that far apart on the the wpi road, until I shot this issue’s Fiber Fiesta. Take a look at our versions of Three Waters Farm, Lynne Vogel LTD, BFL/Tussah:

These mamas have a brand new groove

Erica’s has a wpi of 20, mine a wpi of 5. I say were were successful in finding our new groove yarns.

This weekend coming up, our little fiber group is going away for a long spinning weekend, four days of spinning with friends. I think I’ll take a smaller whorl or two and see if I can’t get started on another new groove.

What’s your groove yarn?

WWW: Town and Country; Habu Trunk Show

Congratulations to the winner of Monday’s Ninja-bonus contest: Monica E! The yarn for Mythos will soon be on its way to her! Make sure to share a picture of the finished sweater when you’re done, Monica!

Gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

The fabulous Habu Textiles has just announced a trunk show for three very lucky west-coast stores… In addition to a showing of their designs and yarns, Takako will be running a workshop on how to read Japanese patterns.

September 23 they will be at Little Knits, Seattle, WA; September 27 at Knotty by Nature, Victoria, Canada, and September 28 & 29 Urban Yarns, in Vancouver, Canada.  Contact the stores to register for the workshops, or just drop in to say hello.

If you’re not in New York, this is a terrific opportunity to see firsthand why Habu’s products are so beloved.

But if you are in the New York area, this weekend is the New York Maker Faire at the Hall of Science in Queens.  The Maker Faire is an offshoot of Make Magazine, and is designed to entertain, educate and inspire people to – quite simply – make things. The magazine and its websites – including the internet home of its sister publication, Craft magazine – are full of amazing projects for everything from pumpkin cinnamon rolls to LED hula hoops to a knit Ferris Bueller vest.

Lion Brand has a booth, and is sponsoring a number of events, including the yarn-bombing of one of the museum’s rocket ships.  The Lion Brand booth will include a display of a yarn-crafted cityscape with the Coney Island Cyclone and Wonder Wheel, as well as landmark buildings such as the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building.

Wool, direct from the source

Several major woolly festivals are coming up soon:

The 14th annual Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, September 24 & 25 at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby, Oregon.

The 11th Northern Michigan Lamb and Wool Festival is takes place on the same dates at the Ogemaw County Fairgrounds, Michigan.

In Wales, the first Llandovery Sheep Festival takes place this coming weekend.

And of course, the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival, in Rhinebeck, New York, October 16 & 17th.

All these events have a great line-up of vendors, selling fleeces, yarn and other knitterly and spinnerly goodness.  There are workshops, demonstrations, and livestock to visit – and of course, buy.

If you prefer your yarn to come in skeins rather than on sheep, there are a few crafting shows coming up:

In the UK, the Crafts for All Festival takes place in Bristol, October 1-3, and the
The Knitting and Stitching Show, held at Alexandra Palace in London, runs Oct 7-10.  In Toronto, the Creativ Festival is October 22-24.  And Stitches East takes place in Hartford, CT, October 28-31.


KNITcamBRIDGE progress Sept. 9

photo courtesy Annie Bee

The KNIT CamBRIDGE project is the brainchild of Sue Sturdy, an fiber artist based in Cambridge, Ontario.  Cambridge used to be a major textile production and manufacturing hub in Ontario, and her project was designed to mark and remind residents of that often-forgotten history.

The idea was simple: cover Cambridge’s historic Main Street bridge with textiles – specifically, knitted textiles.  (Although some crochet did sneak into the project, the vast majority of the thousands of pieces were indeed knitted.)

The work started in April of 2009, and was completed on September 11, 2010, when 16,000 zip ties were used to wrap the bridge in knitwear.  Over 1,000 knitters from all over the world contributed – from the Cambridge area, from further afield in Canada, from the US, and from as far away as New Zealand.  The oldest knitter participating was 103, the youngest 5. And it wasn’t just women, as some expected – a significant number of contributions came from men.  Bob Miller, a retired lawyer, proudly contributed his first completed knitting project.

Some of the knitting was new, created especially for the bridge; other pieces were repurposed.  Marg Grapes contributed pieces of a fireplace cover she knit (but never got around to assembling) in the 1960s. Another knitter contributed an unworn scarf she had knitted for her then-boyfriend when she was a student at University of Toronto in the 1970s.

Bill Wellsman, a local resident who used to walk the bridge every day, was memorialized by his wife with a contribution, embroidered with his name.

When we spoke by phone, Sue told me she is thrilled and amazed by the way the larger knitting community came together to complete the collaborative work of art – and not just in the knitting, but also in the assembly and mounting.  She stresses that everyone deserves to share in the credit and accolades she is receiving.  A list of contributors is here.

photo courtesy Sue Sturdy

And the community has wholeheartedly embraced the project – one resident commented that it was like the bridge had been given a hug. Visitors to the city are loving it – they are utterly taken aback by the collaborative transformation.  Sue says that even the few who voiced doubts at the start of the project – about its feasibility, its practicality, and perhaps even her sanity – have all taken their words back.

Even after the installation and official unveiling, pieces are still being contributed.  A colleague of Sue’s proudly gave her a pair of socks to be added just this week.

KNITcamBRIDGE progress Sept. 9

photo courtesy Annie Bee

The bridge cozy will be in place until September 27th.  At that time, the pieces will be taken down, cleaned, and refashioned into scarves that will be sold to raise money for charity.  Other pieces will be shaped into blankets to be donated to shelters in the Cambridge area.

If you’re in the Cambridge area, do make a point of going to see it, and if you’ve got time on the 27th, volunteers are needed to help take down the pieces and prepare them for cleaning and eventual donation.

Mythos kit ninja-bonus giveaway!


Our next ninja-bonus giveaway is a kit for the gorgeous Mythos sweater, designed by Laura Nelkin, which was published in our First Fall issue. The sweater is designed in Schaefer‘s scrumptious Audrey yarn [50% merino wool/50% cultivated silk].

Here’s what one lucky winner will receive:

3 skeins of Audrey
Color: winner’s choice,
based on availability

Prize value: $114.00

Want to win? Leave a comment to this post by 9 am eastern time Wednesday, September 22st. We’ll pick one winner and announce the lucky person on our WWW post later that day.

Good luck, everyone!

Amy’s coming to the UK!

It's almost time!

This trip has been in the works since before Sock Summit ’09 — aka more than a year. And finally, it’s almost here!

It’s the brainchild of my friend, Craftlit host, Heather Ordover. I almost fell off my chair when she asked if I would be her co-host! It’s extra-exciting for me, because this trip also coincides with hub’s and my 20th anniversary and he’s coming with me. Yes, twenty years. Insane. [There are rumors we were married in the womb. I will neither confirm nor deny.]

Anyway, I’m not posting this to brag about the trip. I’m excited because our brilliant [and super-professional] tour organizer, Dianne, has given us two opportunities to have meetups with UK readers and listeners while we’re there!

@ I Knit London, Sunday, October 3 from 3-4pm

@ Rummer Tavern, Wednesday, Oct 6, from 7-9pm

If you can make it, please do! I’ll have Knitty shwag with me, and both Heather and I are really excited to meet all of you!

What’s with the pink?

You may have noticed text in pink in a Knitty pattern and wondered what it means…

Pink text indicates an update or correction to a pattern.

Mistakes do happen.  We try very hard for them not to: our technical editors review everything, but no matter how many sets of eyes proofread and no matter how closely our two technical editors review a pattern, sometimes a mistake can creep in. This is one of the reasons we love publishing on the internet: we can make corrections and updates in real-time at any time!


As soon as we are alerted to a possible issue, we check it out, and update the pattern as required.  For example, after publication, there was an update to the yarn requirements for Clapotis. We found that some knitters were using slightly more yarn than the designer originally called for.  It’s not uncommon when knitters’ gauges vary, and we wanted to let knitters know that they might need another skein of the called-for yarn.

If you do find a mistake, or see something that needs to be clarified or improved, please contact the designer at the e-mail address at the bottom of their pattern. The designer will contact Knitty and let us know about it so we can fix it. [Why do we do it this way? Because sometimes it’s not an error, it’s a misunderstanding between knitter and pattern. The designer can clarify the issue and make sure the change needs to be made.] Designers, don’t forget to let us know if you’ve found something that needs changing in your pattern!

And before you cast on, if you’ve already printed out a Knitty pattern, check back and see if any pink has been added since your last visit. We want your knitting to be as enjoyable as possible!

I’m obsessed with plastic glassware.

my introduction to Tervis Tumbler madness: the peace sign mug

This is the dumbest post I’ve ever written, but I guarantee someone reading it will have used these things and agree…Tervis Tumblers are awesome.

A year ago, my sister and my mom took a vacation in Venice, FL, and kept driving past the Tervis Tumbler factory. “What’s a Tervis Tumbler?” we wondered. So we made mom stop [yes, we can still do that when we’re in our 40s…oh, the power of children over the mama] and went into a crystal-clear plastic wonderland.

Tervis Tumblers are kind of a stupid idea, and yet I love them. Understatement. I love them. They’re a hollow-space insulated mug or tumbler [lots of different sizes and shapes available], and each is decorated with an embroidered patch stuck between the two layers of plastic. The patches vary from sports teams and colleges to “let’s get drunk” emblems and cutesy girl icons. Lots of ticky tacky to be found.

hub's favorite Big T Tervis

This is a really stupid idea. Who thought of this? How lame is it to use patches like this? But go look in my cupboards. Clearly I’ve gotten over the stupidness, because I have 6 of these in different designs and shapes in my house.

They keep drinks cold or hot forever, come with really awesome lids that will let a straw in if you want, and I just love the things. Also, if they break, there’s a lifetime warranty. Hub loves the ridiculously huge 24-ounce Big T. I’m fond of the 17 oz mug. Yes, there’s a Tervis Tumbler for everyone.

Sometimes you just have to embrace your lameness.

[p.s. looks like they’re branching out…now they’ve got Fiestaware inspired designs that are actually printed on the glass. Way to go, Tervis!]

WWW: Good causes

Keeping precious heads warm

Save the Children has just launched the Caps for Good initiative. They are collecting small handmade hats to help keep low-birthweight babies warm during their first few weeks of life. These caps will be delivered through Save the Children’s newborn health programs in Indonesia, Mali and Guatemala.

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in the US.  Ronda’s Closet, a clothing store in San Diego, California is hosting an event on September 22nd to raise funds for Tête-à-Tête Hats.  Tête-à-Tête Hats was founded by students of a local school with the goal of providing handmade hats to patients, hospitalized infants and children, and others in need of head coverings.

Seasalt, a clothing company based in Cornwall, UK, has kicked off their annual Go Knit! campaign. Go Knit! asks knitters to knit decorations which are sold in Seasalt stores and online, with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Society. Knitters of all levels are encouraged to participate, and all decorations are welcomes – in all manner of sizes, colors and yarns. Each year, a different charity is chosen, and in previous years thousands of pounds have been raised and donated.

Kim Werker is hosting a fundraising contest to support the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Donate and be entered for a chance to win yarn, fibre and other knitterly goodies generous donated by friends of Kim.

And the Big Knit program in the UK is seeking volunteers to knit little hats for a fundraising program at Sainsbury’s supermarkets. The hats will be put on top of smoothie bottles, and for each one sold, money will be donated to programs to support the elderly. More details here and pattern here.

If you’re interested in knitting for charity, the Interweave Knits website has a good list of international organizations that accept knitted goods. And if you’re cleaning out your stash, many schools, retirement homes and care facilities take donations.  Do call any organization before you donate to get details on what they want.

Many cities have programs like Toronto’s StreetKnit, that accepts donations of knitted good to distribute to the homeless to keep them warm through the winter. New York has Hats for the Homeless. Your local yarn shop may well know of an organization in your area.