KNIT CamBRIDGE

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!

mythos!

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!

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

Cardiff:
@ 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!

oops.

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.

How do you sort your stash?

my new stash spot. blink and you'll miss it

I’ve culled and reorganized my main floor  stash space.

As I was deciding on what to keep upstairs and what to banish to the basement stash, I realized I have very particular ideas about the sorting of my fiber stash.

For my new upstairs stash I have:

  • a cubby of my own handspun yarn, waiting to be patterns
  • all of my Briar Rose fiber, because I wanted all of something for that feeling of abundance and it’s gorgeous
  • a cubby of new to me fiber, right now it’s Southern Cross fiber
  • a cubby of inspirational fiber, right now it’s Lynne Vogel fiber
  • most of my spinning tools – bobbins, niddys, etc
  • a cone of yarn for core spinning
  • my last round of dyed by me fiber because I like to stare at it

Downstairs I also have:

  • fleeces
  • fiber to dye
  • fiber to card into batts
  • 8oz+ of the same colorway
  • luxury fiber
  • more specific dyers: Spunky Eclectic, Hello Yarn, Lorna’s Laces, Abby Batts, more Lynne Vogel
  • natural colored fiber that will stay natural

I also have a stash for Knittyspin.

So I’m happy that while it may not look, or sometimes feel, like my stash is organized, there is certainly a method to my madness.

How do you organize your fiber?

Just like a pill

I bought a recumbent exercise bike in a fit of panic a few years ago when I was prepping to go on Knitty Gritty. Cable television. In reruns for ever. Me and my generous body on tv for all to see. [Ironically, the episode has aired a total of 2 times, as far as I know. But I digress.]

I rode it for a while, and it soon became exactly what most of these devices become: a nagging reminder of  failure to stick with it. A clothing horse. An embarrassment.

Flash forward to me now, and I’m in a bit of a state. My body isn’t working well, and things are breaking down all over. I need to do something, but my choices are suddenly limited. I’d love to walk for exercise, but my plantar fasciitis has gotten so bad, nothing relieves the pain except Birkenstocks. [Yes, I’ve tried everything you’ll suggest. Trust me — Birks are my only solution until this heals.] Exercise walking in Birkenstocks is not ideal. My recently injured knee makes walking at all pretty uncomfortable at the moment. Must rest, doctor says. Oy.

So I’ll ride my outdoor bike, right? That won’t hurt my knee! Except my hands are a delicate issue [carpal tunnel and now I’ve got some fun tennis elbow as a result of favoring the hand that took so long to recover from a cortisone shot], so leaning forward on handlebars of a bike is not a good idea.

i ride something sort of like this almost every day. this surprises me.

Suddenly I remember the albatross in the basement. Chiropractor and Osteopath both give it the green light and I force myself. 22 minutes I decide is an appropriate amount. I put it on resistance level 2 (level 1 is nothing at all) and go. It’s hard. I stop multiple times. I do it.

Next day, I do it again. And again. And all of a sudden, I realize my Restless Leg Syndrome [I told you I was a mess] stops bothering me so much. I go for several days like this and then miss a day. That night, legs are jumping all over the place.

The penny drops. The recumbent bike is not an exercise bike. It’s not a weight-loss solution. It’s a pill. Taking this pill makes me feel better.

Suddenly, instead of finding reasons to avoid going near the albatross, I find myself planning my day around my 22 minute ride, followed by a well-earned shower. Two days ago, I barely made it through the 22 minutes. Yesterday, I pedalled like a madwoman with almost no breaks. Not sure what today’s ride will be like, but I’ll do it, which is all that counts.

My knee is healing and I’m walking more comfortably. My body is working better. I can’t believe it took me this long to stop resenting something that would make me feel better. I like feeling better.

My companion as I pedal is not knitting [my hands need resting when possible; see above]. Instead, I listen to really good audiobooks as another incentive to ride and excellent distraction. I can’t listen to them unless I’m pedalling. But that’s another post.

WWW: Publication, Relocation, Cooperation and Audio Exploration

Live today, the new Knitty Surprise patterns include the Crosswaves sock, perfect for hand-dyed yarns, the Brunello cardigan, named after a full-bodied Tuscan artisanal wine, short-sleeved, lace trimmed, and just the thing to ease you into cooler days and nights.

By the way: when we launch a new issue or surprise, the server gets bogged down (despite our best efforts to keep it zippy). If you can’t get through, maybe go get a coffee or knit a few rows and try it again later!

Happy knitting!

Crosswaves by Sarah Wilson

Brunello by Amy Swenson


There, on the third floor

Artfiibers in San Francisco proudly announces their reopening in their new location, less than a block away from their old location. The new store has 75% more space, and the both staff and customers are excited about the possibilities the new space provides for an expanded collection of yarn, fiber art and other exhibits and sales.
The official reopening celebration takes place over the weekend of October 1-3, but they hope to be open a little sooner than that for sneak previews. More info at their website.
Online shopping is still available at the website, of course.

Bigger and brighter!

Another beloved yarn shop, Toronto’s Lettuce Knit, has also just reopened in their new location. In what may be the fastest yarn store move ever, the shop was open on Sunday in its old spot, and open Tuesday in its new spot, 8 doors further west.

The space is significantly expanded, includes new comfy seating, and the team is looking forward to stocking lots more yarn and fiber.  Attendees of their very popular Wednesday knit night are extremely happy about the additional space.


The Fiber Cooperative is a very exciting new online store – a gathering of all your favorite indie dyers fiber companies. It’s an easy-to-use and friendly online shop, dedicated solely to yarny sorts of products – yarn, fiber, patterns and goodies like bags and yarn-themed jewelry.

It’s a cooperative venture that allows small independent companies without big marketing budgets to get the word out about their products.


Don’t miss this wonderful BBC radio program wherein a journalist visits Fair Isle to discuss the role of knitting in the tiny island’s history and economy, in light of recent news that knitting has been removed from the formal school curriculum.

It’s worth it just for the very atmospheric background sounds of wind, rain and sheep.


Kollage Yarns has kicked off a new program to support yarn stores: “Feed Your Creativity”. The program provides 10 kits over 10 months: each kit containing patterns, yarn, instructions and notes to allow shops to teach classes on the pattern. It’s a great way for yarn shops and knitter to sample yarns they may not be familiar with. Kit #2, the Cassandra Cowl, is available now. Visit the website for more info, whether you’re a store or a knitter.

KnittySpotting: My (Creating Lots of) Leftovers Vest

Stripey!

I’m a vest girl, and when the Winter 2004 issue was published – long before I was an official member of the Knitty team -  I knew I would need to make the Leftovers vest.

Now, something you may not know about me is that I have a remarkable streak of discipline in one area of stashing: I tend not to buy sweater quantities of yarn if I don’t have a specific project in mind, and I tend to either repurpose or give away my leftovers, so I don’t have lots of bits and pieces lying around.  (Don’t worry, though, I make up for this in sock yarn.  I have nearly 50 pairs’ worth of socks-to-be in my stash, and another 10 or 20 pairs’ worth in partial balls.)

This vest is indeed, as the designer says, a great way to use up leftovers.

But I didn’t have sufficient quantity of any leftovers to use.  So I decided to make some.

I’m a Noro lover, that’s well known.  I chose five different colourways of Silk Garden, all in the green family, and went wild.

I alternated the five balls, working one- or two- or at  most three-round stripes, as color dictated.  The objective was to capitalize on Noro’s long lengths of color, and have each stripe be a single, distinct color. This meant that I skipped sections of each ball, where the colors were blended.

It was actually a real great exercise in working with Noro: there are always surprises in every colorway. Given that I worked pretty hard to find balls that were all in the green family, you can see there are surprising pops of red and pink. At first, it was stressing me out a bit – I wanted a green vest, after all – but now I love it. The pops make it, I think.

Of course, working two- or three-round stripes of five different balls meant that there were some pretty big gaps between uses of a particular ball, and because I was skipping some sections of each ball, it meant that I was breaking the yarn pretty much every time I started a new stripe.

Tidy!

Which, as you can imagine, led to rather a lot of ends. I gamely wove them all in around the armholes and neck so that they didn’t pop out, but I must confess I gave up when I came to the body of the vest. I did make sure they were all secure – I tied overhand knots and basically just turned them into tassels. I figure it just makes it a bit warmer…

Less tidy!

And of course, all of this breaking of yarn and skipping of lengths also meant that I ended up with a ton of leftovers, much of it in short lengths. Perhaps I should make a Leftovers vest from my Leftovers vest leftovers?