I’ve loved Opus The Octopus from the first moment I saw the pattern, and Spiral420’s project is exactly how mine would look if I’d had a chance to cast on… a Noro-underbelly!

The Brindled hat is a Woolly Wormhead classic – wearable and classic but with a nice stylistic twist. I love indigonightowl’s color choice for her project.


The Krydda sweater is a winner – elegant and beautiful and quick to knit. Nephele has chosen a wonderful color, and it’s coming along well. Can’t wait to see it grow!


Twist Again is a terrific shawl – super for handspun, but just as good in commercial yarn, too. A not-too-challenging but entirely beautiful project. Ando has chosen a perfect color of handspun alpaca for hers…


The Nachfalter fingerless mitts are exactly what you need as the seasons change – fast and fun and warming without feeling too wintery.

Katdriver‘s third pair are green, and she’s already working on a fourth… oh, to be on her holiday gift list!

And Gusto is another must-knit early fall accessory – not just because the result is beautiful… Look at Sonnydays‘ project

 but also because of the fun in making your own “magic ball” from sock yarn leftovers.

I adore how Sherinik’s Apiculturist crochet/knit combo scarf is coming along… the photo shows the difference in the motifs before and after blocking. (Yes, blocking *is* important!)

This coming Friday, October 10th is I Love Yarn Day. (Who’s kidding who, really? Every day is I Love Yarn Day in my house, but it’s nice to be able to take that message to the broader world…)

Check out the Facebook group for events happening near you… Activities are planned for the entire weekend, in fact. Lorna’s Laces is planning a flashmob in Chicago. Saturday October 11, 2014 at noon in Millennium Park, join the Lorna’s team for yarn and prizes and maybe even yarn prizes…

Courtesy of the National Film Board, a late-period short Buster Keaton film… he crosses Canada by train, knitting along the way. It’s also entirely charming for the footage of Canada in the mid 1960s.

Love this: an overview of knitting fashions and trends from the 1940s.

Those would be very useful come December, I think…

Tammy DeSanto has created a line of “Giants” – super-large knitting needles for super-large yarn, and super-quick knitting. She’s a finalist in this year’s Martha Stewart American Made Awards. Learn more about the needles and giant crochet hooks here.

(I actually think they’d look rather nice mounted on my living room wall, in the style of crossed swords… )

North American craft chain Michaels has just launched a new line of exclusive yarns, in a collaboration with designer Isaac Mizrahi. Bringing a bit of glamor to the Michaels’ yarn aisle…

In which a knitter learns an important lesson about valuing her work.

Not sure I really understand it, but the heading of this article made me laugh… “3D-Knitted Onesie Doubles as Air Purifier“.

This year I’m participating in Spinzilla on Team PLY.  If you don’t know what Spinzilla is you can check out all the information on the website. It’s basically a friendly contest where teams of spinners compete to see who can spin the most yardage in a week of spinning. It’s put on by The National Needlearts Association’s Spinning and Weaving group to raise awareness of spinning and to help fund a fiberarts mentoring program.

There are people who spin 8 or more hours a day and have goals they relate in miles and multiple pounds! I am not one of those spinners. I had lots of lofty goals at first then I quickly came to my senses as I looked at my work deadlines and the family calendar. My goals are modest and I vow not to beat myself up if I don’t meet them, because this is supposed to be fun. I’m trying to spin a pound of fiber.

Have a look at the fiber I pulled from my stash to choose from. Every time I look at my pile of gorgeous fluff, I want to spin it all instantly!

Spinzilla Fiber

Spinzilla Fiber

From the bottom left corner, going clockwise I have: Spunky Eclectic Targhee in Vulpes Vulpes, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Merino/Yak in Jasper, Sweet Georgia BFL in Ultra Violet, Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL in Rocktober and Spunky Eclectic Polwarth in Forest of Pies. That pile is 3 pounds 6 ounces of fiber, lots of variety to choose from. I have many things on the DVR and queued on Netflix, I am excited to spin.

Ready? Go!


Are you spinning for Spinzilla?

We loved them the minute we saw them…

Yvonne Feng, the designer of this issue’s Nachtfalter fingerless mitten pattern, is a first time Knitty contributor. Indeed, this is her first design published anywhere!

She tells us about her experience…

A Budding Designer’s First Submission

Submitting my first pattern to Knitty (and first knitting submission anywhere) was nerve wracking. Is the design too simple? Too complex? Are there many mistakes? Will others find the design worth knitting? Having these questions was a situation I had never expected just a couple of years after randomly buying needles, yarn, and a beginner’s knitting book while stuck for a few hours in Hamburg, Germany.

Yvonne’s designing desk…

I could never knit a pattern without adding alterations and flairs of my own – a section of cable, a stitch pattern, a concept for construction can inspire a project at any point of the day. When a good friend of mine, an experienced designer, suggested that I write some of my ideas up as proper patterns, I jumped at the challenge.

Although I have followed many patterns, I was unclear on basic terminology, formatting and charting. How do I write instructions so that another knitter can reproduce what I have done? How do I take decent photographs of a knitted work? What is tech-editing or testing? Over the past year, with the support of my knitting circle and the internet, I learned how to transform a concept from my needles into a pattern on paper. I loved sketching the designs and doing the arithmetic but was terrible at keeping track of abbreviations and explaining tricky parts of the construction.

Then it came time to send that pattern into the world. Hitting that final point-of-no-return submit button was the toughest part for me​.

Then Knitty emailed me – my pattern was accepted!

 The editor did the heavy lifting to get the pattern ready — they streamlined the text, fixed all of the mistakes and rendered the chart in professional software. It was so cool to watch the Word and Excel documents transform into the sleek online publication that I have seen for years.

In the last weeks, I have begun to see projects of my Knitty design pop up on Ravelry. Knitters are putting their own spins on the pattern and observing this has been thrilling. I am hooked!

The lucky winner of the Laura Nelkin book giveaway is Meg from East Lansing, Michigan. Congrats Meg, we know you’ll love the book!

“Knitting needn’t be expensive” – a nice piece on the Guardian Fashion blog highlighting British wools.

This is a follow-up to a piece on the same blog last week that discussed the Fashion and Textile Museum’s vintage knitwear exhibition. The article made an important point: “knitting wool is no longer the cheaper option”. It is entirely true that at one time, handmade garments were associated with saving money. And it’s also true that you can always find and buy a machine-made garment cheaper than hand-made. But it’s also true wool doesn’t have to be expensive. (Or scratchy or horrible… )

A great discussion to have!

2014-09-29 11.11.12Earlier this week, I was very pleased to see a nice display of woollies in the window of a Canadian clothing chain, Joe Fresh, with a Campaign for Wool sign.

Speaking of the Campaign for Wool, Wool Week is marked this year in the UK October 5th to 12th. Events and festivities are being held all over the UK.

Registration is open for January’s Vogue Knitting Live event in NYC. Kate is teaching – come and take a sock class!

  • DPNs, Magic Loop and 2 Circs: Working in the Round bootcamp
  • Going My Way: Work Socks the Way You want
  • Heels and Toes
  • Introduction to Sock Pattern Design
  • Toe Up Socks 101
  • Socks for Absolute Beginners

If you’re in Southern Ontario, plan a visit to Toronto’s Textile Museum, Tuesday October 14th. Our own Amy will be moderating a panel and book launch event, featuring three books by leading voices in the crafting world: Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles by Leanne Prain, Craftivism by Betsy Greer, and Make it Mighty Ugly by Kim Werker.
The event – “Make Your Voice Heard: The Intersection of Craft, Creativity and Activism” – aims to explore the modern uses and meaning of craft. It promises to be fascinating.

Spinning designer Jennifer Leigh wrote a great week long blog series on her pattern Viburnum.

Viburnum modeled by Cat Bordhi.

Viburnum modeled by Cat Bordhi.

She traces the pattern from the kernel of an idea all the way through publication. I especially enjoyed the posts on the making of  her lace version, the support spindle spinning, the plying and and excellent tutorial and video on using her beading tool.

Lace Viburnum in progress.

Lace Viburnum in progress.


Are you one of the people who has a plan for Spinzilla or are you like me and still casting about for ideas? It starts on Monday and I better do some sampling this weekend so I can bust out the yardage next week for Team PLY! What are you spinning for Spinzilla?

Ply to Knit: Spin the Yarn You Really Want

Have you enrolled in my Craftsy class? Have you watched any of it? I’d love to hear what you think! If you haven’t and want to here’s a link for $5 off the price of the class. Come on, ply with me!

Need more spinning inspiration? Amy King has a great Foundations of Spinning class and Felicia Lo has a class on Spinning Dyed Fibers.

Aretha Covers Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.  Listen and just try not to sing along.


Knitter, designer and author JC Briar developed the Stitch Maps charting tool, and in this blog post she shows the difference between a conventional lace chart and one of her “grid-less” stitch maps charts.

We thought you might enjoy seeing this alternate view of the stitch pattern, and JC’s illuminating analysis.

Being a chart geek, one of the things I enjoy most about perusing each new issue of Knitty is scoping out the charts: What stitch patterns do they depict? Are the charts straightforward, or do they have intriguing quirks? And, of course: are there charts that I’d rather see in the form of stitch maps?

In the Deep Fall issue, Hugga caught my eye.


Its double-leaf stitch pattern seemed symmetrical. But its chart?

The chart as published.

The chart as published.

Not so much. The chart appeared jumbled to me: Where were the leaves? What was with the random sprinkling of purl symbols? And why did “no stitch” symbols sit along the chart’s left edge only, on rows 3 and 4? Looking at the symmetry in the Hugga photos, I would’ve expected matching “no stitch” symbols at the chart’s right edge, perhaps on rows 7 and 8.

A stitch map was definitely in order.


With two vertical repeats on display, and “column guides” highlighting the stitch columns, the leaves pop into view.


And the purl symbols resolve into focus: some line up along the center of each leaf; others form a vine running between the leaves.

Looking closely at the stitch map, I was able to figure out why “no stitch” symbols appear only on the left edge of the original chart. It’s because the stitch pattern isn’t actually symmetrical.

huggaSM-3The decreases that join the leaves to the vine aren’t evenly spaced. Sometimes they’re four rows apart; sometimes they’re six rows apart. As it turns out, this uneven spacing means row 3 has an extra decrease, and row 5 has an extra yarn over. So in the original chart, only rows 3 and 4 need “no stitch” symbols.

Gleaning these bits of understanding from the stitch map was fun for me. I’m sure other chart geeks would find it fun too. But using a stitch map to understand a stitch pattern is decidedly useful too. Yeah, I could knit from the original chart – but I’m sure the knitting would flow a lot more easily now that I know how the leaves are formed, how the purls line up into veins and a vine, and where the leaves connect with the vine.

To learn more about JC’s tool, visit the website.

That’s a lot of socks-to-be.

Not new, but worth revisiting. This is Shrek the sheep, who, in 2004, was found living in a cave in New Zealand. He hadn’t been shorn in six years.

Sleeveless, side buttoned, heather grey knitted ensemble, US Vogue, February 1947 by Horst P. Horst © CORBIS / Condé Nast

Excited about this: London’s Fashion and Textile Museum has just launched a new exhibition: Knitwear from Chanel to Westwood. The display brings together vintage and modern pieces, from the high-fashion to the practical.  There are knit petticoats and Fair Isle “granddad” vests and swimsuits, as well as runway pieces from a broad variety of fashion designers. The objective of the show is to provide “a history lesson in the aesthetic and technical aspects of the practice”. Running until January 18, 2015, it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the London area.

On the topic of knitting and fashion, a nice profile of UK company Wool and the Gang, who are doing a great job of bringing hand-knitting back to the attention of the fashion industry.

Special Olympian Tyson Jessie is a knitter, and has contributed a number of scarves already.

As in previous years, organizers have launched a scarf drive for the upcoming 2016 Special Olympics, being held in Newfoundland and Labrador. The plan is to gift all participating athletes and coaches with a scarf, and they’ll need over 1,000. Local knitters are already getting involved, and organizers welcome contributions from all over Canada and further afield.

Fascinating: a story about a pair of socks knitted by then-Queen Mary, during the First World War – and how they ended up in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. The socks were sold at auction, to raise money for the Red Cross, and were purchased by Sir Hugh and Lady MacDonald of Winnipeg. Sir Hugh was the son of Sir John A. MacDonald, and the eighth premier of Manitoba. They gave the socks to a young solider, who was ultimately killed in the conflict. The socks then made their way back to Canada, and have been treasured ever since.

Registration opens today (at 11am MT) for Interweave’s Yarn Fest, being held April 16-19 2015 in Loveland, Colorado. Both Jillian and Kate are teaching – come and play with us!

Lots of excitement today in my spinning world!

Today is the launch day of my Craftsy class Ply to Knit: Spin the Yarn You Really Want!

Ply to Knit!

Ply to Knit!

This class is a beginning plying class, but I bet more experienced spinners will find some helpful tips too. I talk about singles, 2-ply, 3-ply and chain ply, how to spin them and what to knit with them. I do a little show and tell with tools and demo ways to finish your yarn.

I do it all with gorgeous Into the Whirled fibers, even their new semi solids make an appearance. Thank you Cris for providing such gorgeous fiber to work with!

If you use this code to buy my class you’ll get $5 of the price.  I can’t wait to hear what you think!



This past weekend was the Happy Camper Fiber Retreat, 18 spinners gathered and spun, carded and dyed. We had so much fun! Here’s a peek:

Happy Campers!

Happy Campers!

I think I’m going to celebrate the day by spinning!

A terrific first project.

Knitter and designer Sarah writes about teaching children to knit, and discusses how knitting can be a part of a mathematics educationPart 1. Part 2 (which includes the pattern for the finger puppet, as shown in the photo.) I particularly enjoyed the comments on the first blog post, from knitters discussing their experiences teaching children to knit.

A collection of BBC radio programs about knitting. All available worldwide. Excellent listening while you’re at your needles!

Nicole Reinders at the Fair; picture courtesy the Waterloo Region Record.

Points off for the “not for grannies” trope, but a nice piece about last weekend’s Kitchener Waterloo Knitter’s Fair in the local paper.

And again, more Grannie nonsense, but still. A great profile of knit designer Josh Bennett, and his work bringing knits to high fashion, and vice versa.

(Don’t get me wrong. I loved my Grannie, and she was a major influence on my life. And she was a knitter. But I think the “not just for grannies” thing is getting a little tired…)

Maximum Canadian-ness achieved?

Last week, two iconic Canadian companies announced a rather wonderful collaboration: a collection of Mary Maxim sweater design, exclusively for the clothing company Roots. Ready-made sweaters will be available for sale at the shop (with matching hats and mitts, too!); and patterns to make your own will be sold through Mary Maxim. You’ll also be able to buy a knitting kit for a scarf at Roots stores.


Game of Thrones fan? This might be enough to get you to learn how to crochet… Pattern for crocheted Dragon’s Eggs. 

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