WWW: Academic Study, A Lifelong Habit, Epic Yarnbomb

With thanks to Donna Druchunas, who brought this to my attention.

Ruth Gilbert, textile historian and weaver, has kindly offered access to her 2009 MPhil thesis, “The King’s Vest and the Seaman’s Gansey: Continuity and Diversity of Construction in Hand Knitted Body Garments in North Western Europe Since 1550″. Fascinating reading.


And another academic study: a paper from University of Central Arkansas Theology department, looking at the work of the groups known as “Prayer-Shawl Ministries”. Quoting from the abstract: Prayer shawl ministries, overwhelmingly led and staffed by women, aim to give comfort to the bereaved. Shawl makers often want to respond to communal tragedy and grief such as mass shootings. This case study uses qualitative interviews with shawl makers from white and African-American ministry groups, placing their statements in the context of benevolent handwork, disaster response, and the culture of mass shootings.


Harriet Aufses, like many of us, knits scarves to donate to a good cause. She makes about 20 or so scarves a year, to be sent off to members of the US military serving overseas. What’s more remarkable about Harriet is that she is 90, and has been knitting for 85 years.


Whatcha doin’ in April? Come and hang out with me, Amy Herzog, Laura Nelkin, Catherine Lowe and Kim McBrien-Evans of Indigodragonfly in sunny California.


I write this on Tuesday morning, before we know the results of the US Election. No matter what the results, I couldn’t not share this fantastic work of yarn-bombing, by the very talented Olek:

A Little Calm for Your Day

I don’t know about you, but this US election has me frazzled. I won’t be able to focus on anything today until the results are in. I will do a little spinning, a little knitting, a lot of making of many kinds while I wait for everyone to vote and those votes to be counted.

Here is an amazing short film by Andrea Animates for HansenCrafts to add a little calm to your day.

 

WWW: Poppies, Podcasting and Colors

With a hat tip to Bristol Ivy, I bring your attention to this magnificent way to spend the rest of the day: an analysis of 59 different color categorization systems from art and science, used over the past several centuries. Did you know that Isaac Newton published a colour theory?


Healthy cashmere goats. Images from The Times.

Important and illuminating reading: on Ethical fiber choices, written by Linda of Kettle Yarn Company. The article comes from research she did when sourcing her yarns and fibers.


Much discussion around Toronto last week prompted by this article in our local paper about a luxury hand-knit tuque being sold by a local fashion designer for $200. (And yes, there was also discussion outside of Toronto about the word ‘tuque’ – it’s Canadian for “beanie hat”.) The hat is made of a blend of merino, cashmere and qiviut. Honestly, the price sounds entirely reasonable to me, for that fiber blend and to compensate the knitter for the work that goes into it.


Jo of Shinybees

On The Guardian, a piece about how entrepreneurs use podcasting to help their businesses. Knitter Jo Milmine talks about how she uses her Shinybees podcast to connect with knitters all around the world, and how it opened up new business opportunities for her. Her work has been recognized as Best UK podcast at the New Media Europe Awards.


Image from Laura Chau’s website.

November 11th is Remembrance Day in various countries around the world – Canada, the UK, Australia and others. To commemorate the day, many choose to wear a poppy symbol. You might wish to make your own… patterns here. Traditionally, you buy a poppy from a seller, as a way of making a donation to groups who support veterans of war. If you do make your own, consider making a donation anyway. I made my own a few years ago, using Laura Chau’s pattern.

Have You Seen Spin+Knit 2017?

Spin-Off's Spin+Knit 2017

Spin-Off’s Spin+Knit 2017

Have you seen the latest special issue magazine from Spin-Off? Spin+Knit 2017 could keep spinners busy well into the winter knitting things from their handspun.There is a good balance of articles and projects in this issue – 10 articles and 20 projects for accessories.

I always wonder (and count) how many projects are reprints and how many are new. I don’t mind reprinted projects, many times it lets me see a projects in new light. I don’t want to buy a ‘new’  magazie or book that’s all reprints, unless it lets me know up front, by calling itself a ‘greatest hits’ or something similar. Of the 20 projects, 7 are reprinted from older issues of Spin-Off, or Interweave books two of those, the Wedge Hat and Swatch Mitts I’ve been hunting for in back issues and of the 13 new projects there are three or four I’d like to make, including the Leaf Cap, Eye of Partridge Cowl and North Road Hat. For me that’s a good balance, I bought a copy.

 

 

A New Slant Scarf. Photo: Spin Off: Spin and Knit 2017 © 2017 F&W. All rights reserved

A New Slant Scarf.
Photo: Spin Off: Spin and Knit 2017 © 2017 F&W. All rights reserved

 

 

I was lucky to have an article and a pattern accepted in this special issue. My article Under the Big Top: Spinning Striped Batts for Knitting,is about manipulating the color flow of striped batts to get the colors to behave how you’d like in your knitting. Do you want your colors separate and clear or jumbled and tweedy?

I have a pattern in Spin+Knit too, A New Slant Scarf, that utilizes two different techniques from my batt spinning article in a loop scarf. I spun and knit it from a gorgeous Lunabudknits Merino/Angelina Smoothie Batt, in the color Cuba Libre.

If you pick up a copy let me know what you think of this special issue!

 

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Obsession Thursday: New habits

I am a fat girl, and have been so for much of my life. I’ve also been thin a few times. It never sticks. I accept my size.

But last weekend at Rhinebeck, something changed. I saw myself in pictures and video and I wasn’t even me any more. I scared myself. The past two years’ worth of divorce-based-new-life stress eating has caught up with me. I also have IBS*, and my GI tract that weekend made me feel a drastic change in my food consumption was in order.

I’ve done everything from Weight Watchers (smart but exhausting) to Optifast (doctor-monitored and crazypants). I know what works, but what works for ME isn’t the same thing. So I did some research and invented my own program.

Keep in mind that this is what is working for me now, and you should do what works for you.

This is the stuff I'm eating for 2/3 meals every weekday.

This is the stuff I’m eating for 2/3 meals every weekday.

Breakfast and lunch every weekday is a glass of this stuff: Orgain Chocolate Protein Powder. I am experimenting with different recipes, but so far have enjoyed it mixed with unsweetened coconut milk and frozen fruit. (I tried it today with 1% Lactaid and strawberries, and it’s the best so far.)

For lunch, I tried it as a chia pudding but it was much too much food and not so great. Kind of grossed me out. So it’s 2 shakes right now. I also have an iced latte every morning with 1% Lactaid milk and sweetener. It makes me feel normal and keeps me full till past noon.

Orgain also comes as a premixed shake, but it’s a totally different formula. It tastes strongly of fermented legumes (or something else gross) and is just ICK. Powder stuff is vegan (!) and tastes much better. 

For dinner, I eat dinner.  That means it includes bread, rice or pasta if I want it to. It means I don’t weigh or measure, but I also don’t go nuts. The first week, my dinners were larger than I think they should be (probably by about 30%), and I’m not surprised by that. I’ve got to adjust from eating much too much, all day long. So I’m cutting myself some slack.

If I’m hungry during the day or at night, as much fruit and veg as I want. Popcorn, of course. No crap, period. I have always found it easier to say no to an entire group of stuff rather than picking which to say yes to. Remember, I have decades of Weight Watchers-based experience.

This allows me to go out with friends for dinners. It allows me to not think about what to eat for breakfast or lunch every day, which always was a bit of a pain and ended up with me making bad choices.

I’m writing this on Sunday at lunchtime, just after deciding that I get to have a normal lunch on the weekend as well to maintain sanity. I don’t want to get sick of the shakes. So today, lunch will be steamed rice and edamame and some sort of sauce and sesame seeds on it.

In this first week, the first two days, I went mental with cravings for candy and chocolate. Later in the week, I realized they had passed. The Orgain powder is about as decent tasting as any sort of drink like this could be (read the Amazon reviews to see what others say). And it helps quell the chocolate cravings.

After just under a week doing this, inches are starting to drop off. I hate the scale but will be going to my GP’s office to let him weigh me and just announce if I’ve lost or gained. Hearing my actual weight will likely derail me and it’s not the point anyway. The point is to get back to where I feel good again, can move again, fit into my clothes again.

Regarding how this stuff reacts with IBS, so far, so good! Having less bread is probably a huge part of that, in my case. Of course, YMMV. But I’m encouraged. And already am feeling pleased with myself as I ignore the crap in the stores that I was living off of for the last year or 2. I just walk the perimeter of the grocery store instead.

PS It’s my birthday today, Thursday. Yay me!

(the links to the product are affiliate links, which support Knitty.)


*ETA: It’s now November 1, and my IBS symptoms are almost completely gone. I’m thrilled. I realized that the corn maze I walked through on the weekend is something I wouldn’t have done 2 weeks ago…how the hell would I get to the bathroom in time if I needed to? This is a huge relief. Life changing, actually.

 

WWW: Amy’s Fave Yarn Shops, Yarnporium, Planned Pooling

Our own Amy was interviewed for this great piece on the USA Today website about her favourite yarn stores around North America.


If you’re in the UK, mark your calendars for the weekend of November 5 & 6 – that’s the first ever Yarn in the City Yarnporium. More than 40 vendors and instructors are gathering for a weekend of shopping and workshops, at King’s College on the Strand.


This is jaw-droppingly clever: Planned Pooling. It’s an app to simulate knitting with variegated yarns, so you can see how they pool. Yes, really!


From the New York Times: What Knitting Can Teach Us About Parenting (and life in general, I think).


Image from Etsy.

Lovely profile of yarn dyer Jill Draper, on Etsy’s “Quit Your Day Job” blog.

 

 

Teaching Almost Done for the Year and New Interweave Spinning Batts Kit

The Gathering!

The Gathering!

This year has been a whirlwind of teaching. I have met so many wonderful spinners and seen lots of beautiful places. I always get a little sad when my last teaching gig of the year comes up. Early next month Beth and I will both be teaching for The Northeast Handspinners at The Gathering, which means extra silliness since Beth and I are traveling together. My classes are full, but there are still openings in other classes, even the classes I would love to take with Cal Patch, superstar pattern drafting, crochet and embroidery teacher.

 

Essential Fiber batts

 

 

Interweave has just released the How To Spin Batts Kit that I worked on with Michelle from Essential Fiber. We came up with a colorway based on a painting, Red Canna, by Georgia O’Keefe who we both admire.

The kit comes with: 3 batts from Essential Fiber, my DVD, 12 (Plus) Ways to Spin Batts, and a copy of the new Spin and Knit 2017.

 

 

I finally updated my teaching calendar for 2017. Will I see you?

I’m spending the winter designing new classes to teach. Let me know if there’s something you’d like me to add to my class list!

 

 

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Obsession Thursday: Rhinebeck 2016 recap!

As I haven’t been to Rhinebeck in years, this was an exciting trip for me. It’s hard to sum it up in paragraphs of prose, so I’d rather go with photos, and I think you would, too. Enjoy!

I set off very early, in time to drive into the sunrise as I neared the US border.

I set off very early, in time to drive into the sunrise as I neared the US border.

 

The first morning was deliciously cold and fog was everywhere.

The first morning was deliciously cold and fog was everywhere.

 

The fall colors were as beautiful as always.

The fall colors were as beautiful as always.

And then I went into the A and B buildings. The lighting for photography was best in these buildings, and I was able to get in before the crowds came. I loved so much in this year’s show, but couldn’t possibly feature everyone’s work, as much as I wish I could! These are just some delicious highlights.

Into the Whirled.

Into the Whirled.

Into the Whirled

Into the Whirled

Loop

Loop

Loop

Loop

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co. I loved these swatches in embroidery hoops!

Neighborhood Fiber Co. I loved these swatches in embroidery hoops!

Hansen electric wheels (now with the new Pro model!)

Hansen miniSpinner (now with the new Pro model!)

Look at that sexy wood!

Look at that sexy wood!

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

This is THE Lisa Souza, freaking out as we finally meet since working together for probably 12 years online!

This is THE Lisa Souza, freaking out as we finally meet after having worked together online for probably 12 years!

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Lanart

Lanart

Lanart and the nice man in their booth

Lanart and the nice man in their booth

Stephen Willette Fiber Art Tools

Stephen Willette Fiber Art Tools

Trunk Brooklyn

Trunk Brooklyn

Trunk Brooklyn (I think)

Trunk Brooklyn (I think)

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

trying on hats at Sankow's Beaver Brook Farm

trying on hats at Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm

Golding

Golding

Golding

Golding

a happy spinner trying out a Lendrum wheel

a happy spinner trying out a Lendrum wheel

Jillian and our friend Erica check out the fleeces

Jillian and our friend Erica check out the fleeces

As always, a crush at The Fold for Socks that Rock

As always, a crush at The Fold for Socks that Rock

The Fold

The Fold

Dragonfly Fibers and their Vote! colorway

Dragonfly Fibers and their Vote! colorway

Sheepses

Sheepses

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

The Sheep Shed @ Mountain View Farm

The Sheep Shed @ Mountain View Farm

Nicky Epstein!

Nicky Epstein! (she gives good hugs)

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

Katrinkles

Katrinkles

Loop of the Loom

Loop of the Loom

wool or maple cotton candy? which is which?

wool or maple cotton candy? which is which?

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

Chameleon Colorworks

Chameleon Colorworks

And then it was time to go home.

And then it was time to go home.

I can’t possibly compute realistic numbers, but what you’ve seen here is just a tiny fraction of what you’d see at Rhinebeck over the weekend. I had proclaimed on Twitter that it wasn’t going to be sweater weather (sweata-weatha!) during the weekend, based on the weather forecasts, and was delighted to find myself completely wrong. It was perfect sweater weather.

Saturday was, as usual, a crazy crowded day with so much browsing, eating and friend-reunioning, and Sunday was quieter and filled with catching up with those we missed the first day, and the booths we wanted to go back to before going home. There is never enough time to see it all, and this year, I was okay with that. I sat in front of the view above Sunday afternoon, and I watched people go by. Saw my first baby-manbun (omg, New Yorkers, you are so silly), met the nicest knitter/gardener (hi, Jane!) and we talked for a long while, and then Jillian and I sauntered back to the car and left before the traffic crush hit.

Not many pics of friends, because I’d rather talk to them than shoot them. But I saw so many, and missed many more. Till next time, Rhinebeck!

WWW: Winner of movie tickets; The Great Swatch Experiment

The two winners of our giveaway for tickets to see YARN THE MOVIE when it screens in Toronto are Marina and Claudia! We hope you enjoy it!


And I’m posting one article here this week because of how important I think it is. This week, instead of reading me, you should go read this blog post:

Kelbourne Woolens is running The Great Swatch Experiment, and they’ve posted the data from the first swatch.

If you’ve never really understood (or believed) that different knitters can get different results with the same yarn and the same needles – well, prepare to be blown away.

Image from The Kelbourne Woolens blog.

This post provides background on the series and the experiment. This is such an important thing to do!

Spinzilla 2016 Spins 5 Million Yards and a Rhinebeck Quickie

Spinzilla spinners are awesome!

I’m growing more wool for Spinzilla 2017

Spinzilla Spinners spun 5,507,622 yards of yarn this year!

The top spinner, Monica Bittner of Team Louet North America spun 50,378. Her team, Louet North America took the top team prize with 296,849 yards. Just reading that makes my hands feel crampy!

Top 5 teams for 2016
1. Team Louet North America 296,849
2. Team Knot Another Hat 231,738
3. Team Edgewood Garden Studio 158,459
4. Team Hand Spinning News UK 151,647
5. Team Hilltop Cloud 146,299


Storey Publishing signing table at rhinebeck

Storey Publishing signing table at Rhinebeck

On Thursday Amy is doing a big Rhinebeck recap, but I wanted to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who bought my book, I sold out! And thank you to everyone who told me kind things about my book, it really means a lot to me.

I had so much fun talking to and hugging everyone. I got to see leaves, stay in a fab house with friends, I shopped a little and touched everything. I even manged to make it to the sheep auction this year.

I did not come home with a sheep, but I came home with so many ideas for fun and projects after Rhinebek that the inside of my head sounds a little like the sheep auctioneer.

 

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