Tour results are in!

A bowl full of yarn

I didn’t hit my lofty goal for the Tour de Fleece but I spun a whole lot of yarn: 34 ounces.  I spun 22 ounces of the dyed-by-my-hand BFL, 4 ounces of fat 2-ply, 4 ounces of Lynne Vogel colored Merino/Bamboo/Silk, and 4 ounces of lofty thick-and-thin. It was enough and I had fun.

I learned that I need a lot of variety in my spinning. There were days at the wheel when I just couldn’t face any more of my blue/purple BFL, that more than lack of time kept me from spinning my dreamed-about 2 pounds of BFL yarn.

I also learned I need a whole lot more practice on my thick-and-thin yarn.

What about you — did you hit your  Tour de Fleece goal? Any tips for thick-and-thin yarn?

You could win! This time: Kolláge square circular needles

Kolláge square circular needles: what a mind-blowing concept

Remember how, in the new issue of Knitty, we announced that we’d be holding contests on the blog from now on? And to watch for a contest post?

This is a contest post! You found it! Can you stand it?

We’re so excited! We love giving stuff away, and this first contest is extra fun, because it’s a set of needles that we just reviewed in our First Fall issue. Scroll down to read the review, with opinions from both a woolly knitter [Jillian] and a non-woolly knitter [Amy]. We both were impressed with the unique feeling of knitting on square needles and how it tidied our stitches.

What’s the prize? A set of 4 Kolláge square circular needles, one in each of their most popular sizes.

How do you win? It’s just too easy. Leave a comment to THIS POST only, making sure your e-mail address is somewhere in the comment. Comments will be accepted until 5pm EST Monday, July 26th.

How do we pick a winner? We’ll choose one of the comments at random after 5 pm EST on Monday and announce the winner on Wednesday in our WWW post.

Thanks to our friends at Kolláge for donating this very cool prize! Good luck to you all!

WWW: Alice Starmore, Classes and Knit Chicken

Back in print this September!

Alice Starmore will be appearing at the upcoming IKnit Weekender in London, September 10 & 11th. This coincides with the republication of her books Aran Knitting and Fisherman’s Sweaters. Many of Ms. Starmore’s classic books, originally published in the 1980s and 1990s, are slated for republication, and they are must-haves in any knitter’s library.  Fair Isle Knitting appeared last year. Copies of the old editions can be hard to find, and sell for hundreds of dollars, so these republications mean that we can all have copies.


Also in the UK, in August, don’t forget our Amy’s classes at Knit Camp in Stirling, Scotland.


And while we’re talking of classes,  Stitches Midwest takes place in Chicago, August 19-22nd.  Expect the usual full slate of classes, shopping and general yarny fun for all.


A group of over 500 grandmothers in South Africa – many of them living in poverty – knitted more than 23,000 hats that were sold to tourists at the World Cup. Video news item from Brisbane Times in Australia.


Own a piece of your very own sheep farm! Read about yarn CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture share). Buying a share in a CSA helps support the farm and the flock, and you are repaid with a share of the shearing.


The Daily Mail tells us that crocheted fashions are making a comeback. We’re amused by the callout that says “Crocheted fabric uses a third more yarn than knitted fabric, but only one hooked needle is required to crochet – knitting requires two.” Because using two needles makes it so much harder? Silly mainstream journalists.


Image courtesy S. Caspar.

Firmly in the knitting as art category, Knit Meat from Etsy Seller Stephanie Caspar.


Add another name to the roll-call of glamorous knitters around the world…

How Do Your Hands Learn?

6 wpi, Merino/Columbia blend, 100% chubby love

In the past year, I have taken three classes, from three different teachers, that in some part taught spinning fat, lofty yarn.

After ten months, I can finally spin fat, lofty yarn; it takes my hands a long time to learn. I have to watch and listen to other spinners, have teachers watch me and I have to practice, a lot.

I practice by slipping my learning yarn into my daily spinning and I practice by having special learning sessions. Spinning new in between regular spinning works the best for me, it feels like playing. The other feels like have-to spinning.

My hands started learning lofty yarns last September and this skein from last week is the best I’ve done yet.

How do your hands learn?

Obsession: Iced Coffee with A Shot of Vanilla

Slurp, slurp

It’s hot where I am – you may have already heard that.  I know it’s hot where a lot of our readers are.

When I was younger, my favouritest hot weather treat in the entire world was ice cream.  Now I’m a lactose-intolerant grown-up, my favouritest hot weather treat in the entire world is an iced black coffee with a shot of vanilla syrup.  It’s like a grown-up version of a coke float, in an odd sort of way — but with more caffeine!

Without giving any too many of our secrets, I can tell you with absolute authority that more than one iced coffee was consumed during the production of the First Fall issue of Knitty.

WWW: Time; things to do while you’re knitting

German industrial designer Siren Elise Wilhelmsen has created the ‘365’ knitting clock.

The designer’s objective was to make time tangible and visible.  The clock features a 48-needle knitting machine.  Working clockwise, of course, each day it works a round, and over a year, creates a  2m-long scarf.

The clock was exhibited at the DMY International Design Festival in Berlin in June.


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Stitch & Pitch is coming soon to a city near you. Check out the site for dates and event details for each city.


Image courtesy Jumpers and Jazz Festival

The Jumpers & Jazz Festival kicks off July 15 in Queensland, Australia. The festival is a charming and eclectic mix of jazz and textile sculpture. There are contests for both yarn-bombing and sweaters. 150 trees are slated to be decorated, and there’s a wide range of musical gigs to enjoy over the two-week festival.


While we’re on the topic of yarnbombing, Knitta, Please has been spotted around NYC, working their yarny magic.

And more great yarnbombing here and here.

Image courtesy nyc the tumblr


Brilliant knitterly tool pointed out by a reader: printable rulers! Basic ones and more sophisticated ones. Print them out and laminate them or cover them in tape. They’re light, and they don’t take up too much room in your knitting bag.


A knitting group in Tacoma Washington, the Knotty Knitters for Autism, have posed for a 2011 calendar to raise funds for therapy, education and support for local children with Autism.

Tour Update: 16oz and Counting

Liked the fiber, love the yarn.

I’m 4 oz behind where I want to be for the Tour de Fleece. So far I’ve spun 12oz of my BFL singles and I was hoping for a pound by now. I’m going on a short hang out at a cabin vacation later this week, so I think I can catch up.

Softy Singles

I absolutely love the yarn I’m making. The colors and loft are exactly what I was hoping for. I haven’t finished any of it yet. I want to just slightly full it. I’m hoping it will have a wonderful hand at 5 stitches to the inch, because I’d love to make Goodale.

My last 4oz of the Tour so far are a merino/bamboo from Three Waters Farm in the Lynne Vogel colorway Black Hollyhocks.

How are you doing with your Tour goals?

Black Hollyhocks in merino/bamboo

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!