Jillian’s Spinning: Tour de Fleece and My Measuring Your Yarn Webinar

How is your Tour de Fleece coming along?

A bit of my Tour de Fleece spinning

A bit of my Tour de Fleece spinning

I haven’t spun a lot, about 8 ounces total; I’ve been working on consistency and measuring so I’m pleased with my bit of spinning. Frankly, I thought it would be easier to fit in spinning over the 4th of July weekend, but I spent more time frolicking with friends and family than spinning. And there may have been a nap or two.  I also thought I would be able to spin during the Women’s World Cup, I spun a little, but it was too exciting I spent my time cheering on Team USA. That final game was incredible! There are still many days to spin and I know I can finish at least a pound. Are you hitting your TdF goals?


How to measure yarn


Are you curious about how to measure your handspun yarn? I am doing a web seminar on just that next Monday with Interweave. All of the info is here. If it interests you and you can’t attend the webinar you can still buy an archived recording.  With the recording you won’t be able to ask me questions live, but you know I’m always around for any questions, right here on the KnittyBlog.

In the webinar I’ll talk about the whys and hows of measuring your yarn. I’ll go into things like WPI, twist angle, TPI and grist and talk about ways to adjust your spinning to get the measurements you want.

The live webinar is Monday July 13 at 1 pm EST.

Issue WIPS & FOs

I love looking at what everyone is making!

Amy Christoffers’ lovely Jamestown pullover has inspired some great WIPs…

Oooh… MadTosh. Nice!

CathV-S‘s Dragon’s Breath Cowl is gorgeous!

This will cheer up the most miserable of winter days.

Kourtneyfromks‘s version of the Pub crawl cowl is just perfect


Ramblybear is knitting the Circle within Circles Beret, and she loves the “ingenious” construction.

Looks great! Can’t wait to see it grow.

Zergling‘s Atomic Wristwarmers are most excellent. A brilliant stashbuster, so lots of colours.

Perfect. I love seeing a colourwork design truly made the knitter’s own through colour choice.

ChimaeraKnit‘s Ridge and Furrow shawl looks promising… what a wonderful yarn choice!

I love this this design starts simply, with some plain old stockinette stitch. Shows off the yarn so very well!

Welcome, Maryla & Chris!

If you read the blog regularly (and you should!), you may have noticed the first post from our newest Knitty staffer, Maryla Bianco. (How do you pronounce that? Mare-la, she tells us.)

marylaMaryla comes to us via an introduction from a trusted colleague and she’s just getting started with Knitty. Her official title is Assistant to the Editors (that’d be me, Jillian and Kate), and we’re easing her into this role, starting with the weekly WWW updates, every Wednesday on this here blog.

More about Maryla: Maryla comes to us after years in the white collar business world, and has accepted the mission to watch over and assist the editors of Knitty. She has an English degree, which she calls a B.A. in B.S.

She rules the roost of her testosterone-heavy home (a husband and three teenage sons), two terriers and two tabbies (all male).  When she’s not feeding teenagers, she’s knitting, spinning, bird watching, or singing ’70s music at the top of her lungs.

If you read the Editorial (and you should!) of our latest issue, you have already been introduced to our 2nd newest Knitty staffer, Christopher Gernon, our already beloved SysAdmin. Chris was not eased into his role. We asked him to plunge right in, as if he was leaping off the high board into an ice-cold pool. And he blew it out of the water. (OMG, Amy, enough with the stupid metaphors already.) The details are all in that Editorial linked above.
More about Christopher:  As System Administrator, Chris configures servers, manages databases, analyzes logs, researches new technologies, and generally makes sure the site stays up and running.
Chris lives in Rochester, NY, with his wife, kids, and way too many cats. He only discovered knitting in 2013, but immediately fell in love with it and has been trying to make up for lost time ever since. He is frequently known to spend evenings knitting and laughing at The Village Yarn and Fiber Shop.When he isn’t knitting, he enjoys reading, working on amateur electronics, playing videogames, and handing over large sums of money to The LEGO Group. He also collects books (mainly vintage science fiction), puzzles (mainly involving spatial manipulation), and board games (mainly European resource management games with 30-page rule books). He keeps thinking about looking into home brewing, but let’s face it, he already has more hobbies than anyone should.


Welcome Christopher and Maryla, would you? They’re a pair of awesome folks and we’re very lucky to have them!

WWW: On crossover art, sculpture and brainiacs

Devoted Knitty fan, Ilehlia of Ontario, shared the astonishing street art of Ann Arbor’s David Zinn.  His art is lively, humorous, engaging and appeals to all ages. Our particular favorite was his homage to knitting:

Knitting on the sidewalk with a flying pig as one does...

Knitting on the sidewalk with a flying pig as one does…

Oklahoma knitters are taking part in a massive knitted piece set to go on display in Tulsa in the Brady Arts District.  The project “The Unbearable Absence of Landscapes” requires 4,000 knitted squares and will cover the entire outdoor facade of the gallery.

I see trees of green.... ...I see skies of blue

Sing with me:  I see trees of green….
…I see skies of blue

As further evidence that fiber artists are brainiacs, look what happened when researchers and fiber artists combined science, technology and art!  These knitted masterpieces are designed directly via the brain activity of subjects listening to classical music!

Brain waves interpreted!

This is your brain, this is your brain knitted.  Any questions?

Geometric designs often inspire knit designs, and this piece is absolutely no exception.  Artist Atelier YokYok has created a courtyard string sculpture that is jaw dropping!  I see cables, but you may see increases/decreases or color work.  Magnificent!


We have great news for the world domination efforts of knitters and crocheters!  First there was this video game, and now there’s news that Yoshi’s Woolly World has just been released in Europe (and is expected in North America in just a few months)!  Yoshi’s promises to be popular with gamers and strengthens our worthy world domination cause!  (If only they can figure out a way to let us play and knit simultaneously…)


Proof that knitters and crocheters will someday rule the world!

Jillian’s Spinning: Upcoming Spinning Fun

Spin like the wind!

Spin like the wind!

The Tour de Fleece! July 4th-July26th

Are you ready for the Tour? Do you know what you are going to spin? Have you joined a team or checked with the Ravelry group? I have three projects to spin for, samples for two upcoming articles and a small sweater. I know that’s a lofty goal but it’s supposed to be a stretch, right? Since I don’t watch the Tour, I have my DVR loaded up with shows I haven’t had the time to watch: Wolf Hall, Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey. I’m ready!


Spin to win!

Spin to win!

Spinzilla! October 5th-11th

Spinzilla is coming and Beth Smith and I are co-captaining the Storey Publishing Team this year.

Come spin with us and see just how much yarn you can crank out in a week of focused spinning.

Sign ups start September 1. You know Beth and I will have something fun up our sleeves; there will be prizes, there might be tiaras!





PLY Magazine retreat

PLY Magazine retreat

PLYaway Retreat April 21-26, 2016 Registration: 11/11/2015

Ready for an all-spinning retreat? Head for Kansas City next April! PLY Magazine is hosting it’s first retreat and it’s going to be a doozy.

Classes will be posted soon, I can’t tell you what, but I can tell you that Deb Robson, Beth Smith, Amy King, Jillian Moreno (that’s me!) and a whole lot of other great teachers will be there. Registration is in November, be sure to mark it on your calendars.


WWW: A big crochet project, a big restoration project, and big recognition for a big name.

So much greatness in this.

This week is “Not Strictly Knitting But Entirely Awesome”: Man spends six years crocheting a Super Mario blanket. I think what I love most about this is that Norweigan crocheter Kjetil Nordin admits he wasn’t working on it consistently… there were other projects in between. So yes, even the ‘craziest’ crafters have problems with UFOs… in his own words

You get a bit sick of such long lasting projects.

Designer, yarn maker and all-around knitting-industry-good-person Debbie Bliss was recently awarded an MBE by The Queen, ‘for services to Hand Knitting and the Craft Industry’.

(New ambition: I want to establish a Knighthood for services to Technical Editing… I’m sure we can make that a thing, no? ;-))

Ooh! If you’re in the Glasgow area, or can get there, the last weekend of August, you should really consider attending this year’s In The Loop conference. The theme of this year’s event is ‘From Craft to Couture’, exploring the craft origins of Scottish knitwear and its current status as a key element of designer collections worldwide. The 3-day event will feature talks from leading knit and textile researchers and knitwear designers and entrepreneurs.

And it’s not all scholarly: there will be a fashion show and market place, too!

Painstaking restoration work.

Absolutely fascinating and jaw-dropping: an article about conservation of a Victorian-era theatre costume. The garment was partially knit and partially crocheted, all by hand, but the most remarkable feature is the decoration. Those aren’t plastic pailettes: there are over 1000 actual real beetle wings sewn onto the garment.

A team led by conservationist Zenzie Tinker spent over 1300 hours on this garment, worn by Ellen Terry, one of the most celebrated and glamorous actresses of the Victorian age, when she played Lady Macbeth at London’s Lyceum Theatre in 1888. She was painted in the dress by John Singer Sargent. The newly restored piece is on display at Smallhythe Place in Kent, U.K.

I actually think this a fantastic idea, and really wonderful, but the less mature part of me also just wants to have fun making up silly captions for this photo.

You might recall that Knitty published a pattern for charming if not entirely anatomically correct a Womb stuffie… here, we find documentation on what is likely the original knitted uterus pattern, conceived (see what I did there?) as a teaching tool.

Jillian’s Spinning: The Joy of Hitting My Numbers

Purple People Eater Yarn

Purple People Eater Yarn

I spun some gorgeous purple fiber into a worsted weight yarn to knit a snugly shawl. I sampled and kept notes. I paid more than my usual attention when spinning and regularly checked my yarn. Just like I teach in my classes. Guess what? I hit all of my numbers, my yarn matches my samples almost exactly. Win!

I wish I had paid such close attention when I was knitting. I’m writing the pattern and wrote several versions on the same sheet of paper. Can you guess what happened? Math. More exactly, math mistakes. The math mistakes that happen when my eye jumps from one version’s numbers to another.

Reknit with love

Reknit with love

The kind of mistakes that make a crescent shawl into an asymmetrical shawl. I had to rip out an entire 5-hour car ride’s knitting. It’s deadline knitting and couldn’t go into time out. I had to reknit right away. Two steps forward and one step back.

But I have another step forward! I plied my yarn based on this article I wrote for Knittyspin about knitting and ply twist. Since I pick when I knit, I plied my yarn less knowing it would get a little more twist in the knitting. The knitted fabric is exactly what I want.

Twist in the knitting

Twist in the knitting

Now I need to finish knitting, I have a deadline to hit!

What are you working on?

Geek Knits Charity Auction

You saw the cover, yeah? You saw our cover boy? 

Yup, that’s author Neil Gaiman, modelling a scarf designed by Joan of Dark. Joan has just released a book, Geek Knits, and it’s full of fun and geeky knits of all stripes and fandoms, modelled by all sorts of fun characters and people from the ‘geek-iverse’. Yes, that’s right, other nerd-heroes in knitwear. What’s not to love?

Because Joan is a good sort, she has decided to auction off the book samples for the benefit of Doctors Without Borders. The first item, the Blue Box scarf as modeled by actor Rene Auberjonois, is open for bidding until next Wednesday. The items will be auctioned off over the next few months – follow the Facebook group for details.



In memory: Lisa Grossman, The Tsock Tsarina

We were very saddened to hear of the death last week of Lisa Grossman, a.k.a The Tsock Tsarina. Lisa was a knit designer of wonderful and unrivaled imagination. Her particular metier was socks – socks of the craziest and most spectacular types – but she was also gifted in other types of designing, too.

I worked with Lisa twice, editing her beautiful Darrowby cardigan, and the Glomerata sock. Although we were so very very different in working styles, and I am quite certain that Lisa found being edited by me a chore (my insistence on stitch counts and precise instructions is entirely counter to her pattern writing method), she was cheerful throughout the process and we nevertheless bonded. It was Lisa who insist I buy a spindle, at Rhinebeck.

Lisa’s patterns were special. They were sculptural. They were art.

Her work first came to my attention when Stephanie, the Yarnharlot, was making one of her designs.  I laughed at Stephanie’s description of the madness, and laughed when I saw the pictures, but stopped laughing when I realized the work that had gone into the design. Yes, she made with the crazy; yes, she made with the insanely ornate and sculptural; yes, she made with flights of fancy like I had never seen before. But she also made them fit. We had many discussions about sock fit, and I loved the she paid attention to that detail, too.

But she wasn’t just a knitter. She was a spinner, she was a literary historian, she was a cookbook author.

Cancer is cruel. Cancer is heartbreaking. Cancer has robbed the world of a good person and a great imagination. And the knitting world is decided duller without Lisa and her flights of fancy.

WWW: Yarn in video games, knitted short film, GoogleSheepView

She’s coming undone?

Courtesy of BoingBoing, a history of yarn in video games, on the occasion of Electronic Arts’ announcement of its latest game, Unravel. In the words of BoingBoing’s writer, “you play as a tiny yarn character that slowly unravels as it moves through the level. Although that sounds a little like a metaphor for the slow but inexorable march that we are all taking towards death, in Unravel this thread is a versatile tool you can be use as a climbing rope, grappling hook, trampoline, fishing line, and whatever else the game can imagine.”

WOAH. Greg Climer, a fashion designer and faculty member at Parsons School of Design in NYC, is knitting a short film. Yes, every single frame of an animated short film is a knit fabric. He’s got 19 seconds already done, and is hard at work on the rest. He’s not actually hand-knitting it – that would take years and years, at 24 frames a second – but he’s designed it and he’s working with a knitting factory to produce the actual fabric.

Love the creative thinking that has gone into this – of course you can draw pictures with a knit fabric, so this is a natural (if slightly crazy) extension of that.

Well, this is what I’ll be wearing this winter: a Torus Knot cowl. Knitter and mathematician Sarah-Marie Belcastro has been at it again, and her latest design is this beautiful and witty and clever little piece of topology – and gorgeous winter accessory.  This post on the Scientific American blog explains the mathematics and the knitting very nicely.

Sheep on North Yorkshire Moors. Image courtesy Google and GoogleSheepView.

And if you need something a little less ‘thinky’, soothe yourself with GoogleSheepView… a tumblr of images of sheep found on Google Street View. Some fantastic ‘found’ art.


I don’t know that this will make it to GoogleSheepView, but it’s just as relevant:  Not far away from where that above picture was taken, a group of knitters in Baildon in the UK spent World Wide Knit in Public day yarnbombing a sheep statue.