WWW: Time and how it passes – history, tradition and the clock

From the original 2011 performance of the work.

There are knitting circles, and knitting circles. This is a Knitting Circle. In that it’s a giant circle of 80 people, all knitting, together, at the same time, on the same piece. This past weekend, a group gathered in Quebec to participate in the latest iteration of artist Kerstin Lindstrom’s work “Own Our Own Time”. Initially performed in 2011 with 83 knitters in the Faroe Islands, the work aims to explore our individual and group relationships to time… “In this activity the one who knits the slowest controls the pace of the whole work.”

Fascinating, if not strictly knitting: about MYB Textiles, a lacemaker in Scotland that is the last to use traditional punch-card coded looms. Watch the video, it’s wonderful.

I was excited to read about the latest issue of Donna Druchunas, Susan Santos and Ava Coleman’s Stories in Stitches book series. This issue, ‘Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose’, focuses on the era of the US Civil War, and how knitters approached with scarcity of resources.

During the Civil War era, knitters were frugal and used what was on hand. Tobacco twine was used to make bedspreads, tents were unraveled and the string knit into socks, rugs were knit from cut-up shirts and dresses, and old fisherman’s sweater from Europe became arm winter wear for Americans on both side of the Mason-Dixon line.

The books in this series always feature a mix of history and knitting patterns, and this volume includes four gansey sweaters, one sontag-style shawl, one rag rug, and three pairs of socks – some inspired by period projects, and others are directly from period patterns with modernized instructions.

More woolly art: Ballarat Museum in Australia is mounting a large scale exhibition around the piece “WARM”. Featuring hundreds of handknit pieces, the work speaks to questions about dependency on fossil fuels for heating and power, and aims to offer an alternative solution that is fun and community driven.

Knitted pieces including gum trees, native flowers and wind turbines to create an enormous collage which shows a landscape reclaimed from the devastating effects of environmental degradation.

All of My Tags

All the tags

All the tags!

I cannot spin anymore without tags. Not just one or two either, I have a whole range of tags for different things. See? Lots of tags. Some of them I use interchangeably, but most of them I use very specifically. Here’s how I use them, moving left to right:

The biggest tag I use for sampling. I wrap singles and hang my ply back sample on the tag so I can check that I’m on track when I’m spinning. I will add the wheel, wheel set up, fiber, dyer, colorway,  wpi , ypp and all of my yarn information before I’m done. I’ll also hang a plied samples (before and after finishing ) on it. It’s all there on one tag. Sometimes I rewrite the information in a yarn journal, most of the time I put it into a ziploc bag with fiber samples when I’m finished.

The second tag I use two ways. I use it on finsihed yarn to note yardage, wpi, fiber, dyer, color and possible project. I also hang one of these on my wheel when I’m in progress. This is where I note what’s going on when I stop spinning for the day or for awhile. I often have several projects on bobbins across a couple of wheels and I am not ashamed to admit I get lost. I note what project this is for, wheel set up, if I am spinning worsted (woolen is my default) any drafting lengths or treadling counts that are different than my default. Sometimes what I was watching while spinning. If I am leaving this project for a bit, I paper clip the big tag to it or hang it next to it. Note: this will not work if you have small children or cats in the house. The hanging tags mysteriously disappear.

The third tag I use to label finsihed yarn, when I only need yardage, wpi, ypp, and fiber. The round tag (and other fancy tags) I use on yarn when I am gifting or selling it. The orange stickers are for marking bobbins. I wrote about that in more detail on the PLY Magazine blog. The tyvek wristband I use to mark fresh yarn while it is still on my niddy noddy – all of the fiber and yarn info. Sometimes I transfer the info to one of the white tags after the yarn is finsihed and dried, sometimes not. You’ve heard me talk about these wristbands many times – they never come off, which means all of my info is there, with the yarn, all the way through finish.

If I all of a sudden became limited in the tags I could use, I would pick the tyvek wristband and the biggest tag. I can’t imagine spinning without either of those.

What tags do you use in your spinning?




WWW: Knitted Athletes, More Knitting with Kittens, Ribbon Inspiration

(Photo courtesy Battersea Dog and Cats Home.) I MEAN COME ON.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in the UK hosts a fantastic event every month: Knitting with Kittens. The next one is September 15th… if you’re in the area, consider joining them. And sending me pictures.

I was chatting recently with a knitter who was attempting to get gauge for a Knitty garment project, and she was struggling. She had swatched, but then had the issue that the gauge when working the project was very different than the gauge in the swatch. I pointed her to this post on Amy Herzog’s blog about Why Swatches Lie And How To Stop Them Doing It.

Image credit: SWNS.

Also in London, the extended Haggerty family has created a knitted tribute to the Rio Olympics, and the British Team’s successes there.

Prepare to shed a tear: a 91-year-old man in hospice care for terminal cancer is spending his time making hats on a knitting loom, to donate to area homeless.

Inspiration: images from a collection of 18th and 19th century French ribbon samples. If you click through, you can browse the complete books.

Sample Looms: A Little Obsessed


Swatch Maker Looms

Swatch Maker Looms

Have you seen these swatching looms? I can’t quit playing with mine. I don’t have time right now to warp and weave on my rigid heddle loom, but still want to play with weaving.

I have been carrying one of these in my bag for weeks, weaving a little here and there. It’s so satisfying and for me it’s the perfect thing for the winding down of summer, when all of a sudden there is no time left for all of the big projects I was going to do.

These three looms are different setts (sett is the spacing of warp threads, much like knitting gauge or wraps per inch in spinning. These are 12,10 and 8 ends per inch) and I woven on them with the same three colors of Brooklyn Tweed Loft.

I love being able to play with color without having to commit to a whole project. I can also work on getting my edges neat and even, something I always struggle with.

Yesterday it occurred to me to use my handspun yarn on these looms. I want to weave more with my handspun this year and am curious about twist and ply in weaving which is a perfect project for these looms. I don’t have to spin and warp for my rigid heddle loom to learn about handspun and weaving.

What are you obsessing over at the end of this summer?



The  folks at Purl and Loop sent me their Swatch Maker looms to review for Knitty.I reviewed the 3 in 1 loom in the current issue and will review the single Swatch Maker looms in the next issue.


WWW: Pokemon and Cakes and the Other Sort of Knit Graffiti

Image from The Torontoist blog.

The other type of knit graffiti – out of paint rather than yarn. Love this one, spotted in the east end of Toronto. Click through to see a larger version.

Instructions for knitting a molecule. From the “Things and Ideas” blog, this post is older, but worth revisiting as you and the kids get ready for going back to school.

The molecule is specifically acrylonitrile, ‘as used in the production of acrylic fibres’.

A couple of knitting-related Kickstarters: Even if you’re not up for contributing, I always find it fun to look to see what people are up to. The first is a book of knitting patterns for tiny birds.

And the second is from Canadian yarn shop Ram Wools, for a series of open-source knitting video tutorials.

A hat tip to Knithacker, who brought this to our attention. Feast your eyes on this absolutely amazing ‘knitted’ cake, created by Cakes for Show. The video tutorial is mesmerizing.

They are crocheted not knit as being commonly reported, but otherwise I love this story: Nichole of Dallas is making little Pokemon characters and hiding them at Pokestops around the city. If you want one to keep for yourself, she has generously made the patterns available for free on Ravelry.

A New Class Question and PLYAWAY 2017 Classes Posted

natural + singles collageHow often do you like teachers to have new classes?

I’ve been teaching a lot the past couple of years and don’t know when to add new classes. For 2017 I tried to have at least one new class for each multi-day teaching gig. I’ve noticed some teachers don’t add new classes very often.

What about exclusive classes for big shows and events? Is that something that appeals?

I personally love designing new classes, but they take about four months to develop. So I need to be sane about how many I add. And let me know if there is something that you’d like to see me teach.


Do you like to plan ahead? Jacey has already listed the classes for PLYAWAY 2017. That woman is organized!

The dates are April 25th-April 29th. The location is the same as last year, the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City. There is a fountain pen store just off the lobby, plan your budget accordingly.

I’m teaching three classes and two of them are new and one of them includes sheep cheese tasting!





Obsession Thursday: reclaiming my Ukeness.

One of the many things I had to stop doing, when my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome got really bad, was playing ukulele. It was gradual and then all of a sudden I realized I hadn’t played in months. And then a year.

Waterman glow-in-the-dark ukulele

Waterman glow-in-the-dark ukulele

Thanks to my CTS surgery, I’m back, people. And I am so damned happy about it. Tonight, I got to teach some basic chords to a lovely fellow who wanted to learn. Watching his light bulb turn on as his fingers started to remember where G, F, A and D are located reminded me of how much fun it was for me to learn.

I am planning a big cross-country train trip at the end of next month, and so I treated myself to a new travel uke. It’s plastic (like the popular ukes of the 1950s) and, get this, IT GLOWS IN THE DARK. Because can’t you see me in my little train cabin, playing my glowy uke in the dark as we chug along through the prairies at night?

It’s a delightful instrument that’s waterproof and plays like a dream. I love how it sounds, and I am veritably smitten. You can get one for yourself here. They come in tons of colors, and I am unreasonably tempted to buy the clear one and fill it with cool LED lights. But I think that would mess with the acoustics.

Are you interested in learning the uke? My (I’ve been told) quite-useful post on how to choose your first ukulele can be found here.


WWW: Profile of Kate Davies, Knitting with Cats, Journalist commits terrible yarn-related puns

Wonderful profile of designer Kate Davies, who talks about her own journey from academic to the world of knitting, with the matter of small bump in the road: a serious stroke that left her hospitalized and in recovery for many long months.

Love this: a knitter takes her craft with her as she travels around the world, leaving traces of her craft wherever she goes. In this blog post, she talks about her journey to becoming a ‘craftivist’, and her actual journeys. She speaks of ‘the great communicative potential of street art and the inherently inoffensive nature of craft and knitting’.

Members of the ‘Oxford Drunken Knitwits’ club.

Speaking of yarnbombing, I really like this display of over 1500 handknit and crocheted flowers that has been installed around The Radcliffe Camera, a beautiful building on the Oxford University campus

File under: not sure we should encourage this sort of nonsense. The subhead of this article about an office knitting group has not one but two terrible puns. Boo to puns!

A cat cafe in Manchester, UK, as launched a series of event evenings, offering yoga sessions, film nights and craft gatherings. Having a knit-night in a yarn shop or pub is so last year… let’s meet in a cat cafe! (I am not poking fun! I would be all over this! And I know a few others who would be, too.)

Here, There and Everywhere





I’ve heard that my new book has landed in the publisher’s warehouse early. Let me know when you get your copy and what you think about it. I’m equal parts nervous and excited to hear what everyone thinks!


While most of the staff was at Convergence Amy Greeman and I snuck into the WEBS Podcast, Ready, Set, Knit and talked about my book. Did you hear us? You can listen anytime here.



Spin singles with me

Spin singles with me



Are you interested in spinning singles to knit? I have a new video out this week from Interweave called Spinning Singles. It’s under and hour and full of tips on how to spin a stable, consistent singles yarn. And  of course I talk about manipulating color in singles yarns, too. I can’t help it, really. It’s available as a download now, with the DVD coming soon.




Because I have to do what everyone else is doing, I’ve dusted off my spindles. My family is going camping for a few days next week, where cell phones don’t work (I’m so excited). I will be the one spinning on a spindle in a hammock. We picked our campsite based on the number of trees for hammock hanging. So think of me here, spinning.

Camping time!

Camping time!

What are you spinning as summer winds down?

First Fall Issue WIPs and FOs

I know that many of us seem to be living in a heatwave at the moment – at least those of us in the Northern Hemisphere – but it hasn’t stopped the knitting.

Battie is thinking about fall, having turned the Prettified Thrash socks in a pair of very cool fingerless mitts:


The original Pyropa was worked in a gradient yarn, and it’s an excellent use of these fun yarns, but NotKnittingKnots took the project another way, and used two solids. It’s just as effective, in a totally different way.

I must also confess that I love a good blocking-in-progress shot!

The Ennui shawl is also inspiring some terrific color combinations:

Heno’s red-hot one

And Lorinne’s excellent use of a variegated yarn make it gorgeous in a very different way.


And definitely thinking about cold weather, TheBlueSquare has hot a lot of fun with Toketee gloves. Love the colour detail at the cuff.