Sarah Swett – Always Inspiring

 

I'm just not sure 11" x 7" x 5" hand woven tapestry, hand embroidery wool, (hand spun and commercial), dye (natural and synthetic), steel wire, stone. ©Sarah C. Swett 2016

I’m just not sure 11″ x 7″ x 5″ hand woven tapestry, hand embroidery wool, (hand spun and commercial), dye (natural and synthetic), steel wire, stone. ©Sarah C. Swett 2016

Sarah Swett never fails to inspire me. I’ve followed her work for years, she’s a tapestry weaver, a spinner, a knitter, a dyer. I love  to watch her work. I love to watch her think about her work. She sits with it, she focuses, she lets it guide her, but digs in an works long hard hours. She blogs, and she’s on Instagram a bit, but mostly she’s working on her art.

Her latest pieces are small tapestry mobiles, woven from handspun (and commercial) yarns and embroidered. Interesting thinking and interesting art.

She tells stories with her art, always. It’s never just an image, but a piece of something bigger. You can take it for what your see or dig into Sarah’s writing and photos to get another view.

I could never work as focused and as diligently as she does (look a squirrel!) maybe that is part of her appeal for me. I am a process person. She is both process and product. She has the wide-ranging curiosity to sample the process, but also the the steely-eyed determination to visualize a piece and finish it, even if the piece finished is not the same as the original vision.

When I get stuck or just need something interesting to look at and mull over, I go to Sarah’s website and look at what she’s been working on. Take a look and tell me what you think!

 

 

 

Obsession Thursday: ending the uterine tyranny

The legendary Womb pattern by MK Carroll.

The legendary Womb pattern by MK Carroll.

This is the Womb pattern, designed by MK Carroll for our Winter 2004 issue. Back in our embryonic days (see what I did there?).  One of our most popular patterns.

And for me, one of my most-hated body parts. Mine has turned on me in ways I will not describe to you. Bottom line is that the sucker has to go, and it’s going. Next week.

Those of you who’ve been following along will note that this is my second surgery since the Spring+Summer issue came out. Having my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome fixed was planned so that it wouldn’t impact on Knitty’s production schedule. My stupid uterus, however, has no respect for deadlines. It needs to go, and it needs to go NOW.

This means that the First Fall issue of Knitty, which would normally be out the first or second week of June will now be out some time after June 13th, when Jillian and I return from TNNA (our industry’s trade show) in Washington, DC. I’m sorry about this, but I’m pretty sure you will understand.

Knock wood, I’ll survive the surgery (hey, I’m a neurotic Jewish girl…it’s what I do) and that should be the end of it. This surgery is unbelievably common, and so many of you lovely former uterus owners have tweeted me to let me know how much better life will be once the bastard is history.

Thanks for your kind wishes, everyone. If you want to follow along with how things are going, I’m tweeting without going into messy detail over here. We uterus-holders have to stick together and share our knowledge. The online sisterhood, baby!

WWW: On the meaning of knitting, knitted objects, and knitting objects

A lovely memoir of sock knitting…  “I learned to knit socks in a drugged state.”


“The Feel-Better Sweater”: a precious FO from years ago brings comfort.


Intriguing: a new history of Estonian Knitting. The book ‘trailer’ – a preview video – is definitely worth the watch, even if you’re not interested in a big book on the topic. You get a 2 and a half minute introduction to the history and the wonderful work of Estonian knitters.


Speaking of knitting history, June Hall, co-author with Donna Druchunas of Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions, has launched an accompanying exhibit at a museum in Coniston, Cumbria, U.K.


A mystery item for some, it’s true

Love this idea: San Bernardino County Museum in California has launched a new exhibit, “Mysteries of the Museum”, challenging guests to examine and identify antique objects. One such object is an industrial circular knitting loom.

(Reminds me of a funny story: the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto ran a contest last year, challenging people to identify a mysterious machine… They tweeted out a photo of the thing. I think they were fairly surprised by the speed of the response, and the number of correct responses: I’m not sure they realized how many sock knitters — and owners of antique sock knitting machines — there are in the Toronto area.)


If you’re at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, Kate (me!) will be there! I’ll be prowling the show on Saturday, fondling yarns, signing books at the Signature Needles booth, and eating my way through the goat cheese samples. If there are sheepdog demonstrations, you’re likely to find me there… If you see me, say hello!

Maryland Sheep and Wool is this Weekend

Maryland Sheep and Wool!

Maryland Sheep and Wool!

Maryland Sheep and Wool is one of the high holy fiber shows. Spinners talk about it with a sigh in their voice. This is the first big show, the cracking open of the fiber season. Spinners, knitters and other fiber folk burst out of their winter cocoons and throw themselves on fiber, yarn and sheep with the glee of a 5 year old at a birthday party.

I have never been to Maryland Sheep and Wool, it coincides with a big publishing week in New York. My husband is always gone and I have kids still in school, so Maryland will have to wait.

Every year I pretend I’m going to Maryland,  I scour the vendors and I make a shopping plan. It’s fun and no credit card is needed!

If I were going this year here are some of the things I’d check out:

  • The fleece sale. Yep, I’ve finally tripped and landed in the need for fleece. It’s going to be a dangerous spring and summer for my bank account.
  • Anyone selling sheep cheese. Another new desire. I’m reading and tasting all that I can.
  • The WooLee Winder booth. The have a new e-spinner, and I want to touch it.
  • The Bosworth Booth. I also have the itch for a new spindle.
  • Spunky Eclectic. For as many years as I ‘ve been spinning Amy’s fiber I only get it online. I’ve never seen it in the wild.
  • Into the Whirled. My stash of Cris’ fiber is dangerously low.
  • Cooperative Press. Shannon has released so many new books, I want to see them all.
  • Moving Mud. The have glass darning needles now and I might need a pair of new earrings.
  • The Ross Farm. My stash needs to be fed some rare breed roving.

That’s just a few, and it doesn’t count my favorite ways to find things to buy, other spinners. At any fiber show or sale my absolutely favorite thing is when I run across a spinning friend and I follow them on their show quest. That’s how I’ve found the best surprises.

Who’s going to Maryland and what is on your list?

 

WWW: ‘Secret History of Knitting’ documentary; Body Parts; Wool Wednesday?

Click here to watch a new TV documentary, ‘The Secret History of Knitting, featuring our own Kate, Amy, and Kate’s LYS Yarns Untangled. Lots of other famous faces appear, too! Made for the newly lauch Makeful TV channel, it does a good job of telling the story of knitting – and of knitters.

We also absolutely loved the accompanying ‘slow TV’ event, ‘Knit Purl Knit: Three Hours in a Yarn Shop‘, filmed over a Sunday afternoon at Yarns Untangled. Soothing and beautiful.


If you’re in the Toronto area, this Saturday is the Toronto Knitter’s Guild annual Frolic! With retail and classes, this event is a highlight of the knitting year.

And if you’re in the UK, this Saturday is Yarn Shop Day. Shops all over the UK are offering promotions, activities and perhaps even tea and cake. A great opportunity to visit a new-to-you shop, remember that it doesn’t count as stash if it’s a souvenir…


“Whatya making?” “A brain.”

Love this: knitted body parts for use in primary school health classes! Volunteer knitters in Lancashire have been contributing to this clever educational project.


If you’re not tired of listening to Kate babble on, she was on Marly Bird’s Yarn Thing podcast this week, talking about the new edition of her Pattern Writing book. And a couple of weeks ago, Amy was on the show, too, talking about all things Knitty.


Students at an art school is Lausanne, Switzerland, have created a chair that knits a hat while you read. The article is in French, but the pictures tell you everything you need to know!


Yes, we know! Knitting appears on a list of hobbies that are recommended as a ‘mindfulness techniques’.


I agree!

Ply Away – The Haul!

I taught at Ply Away this weekend and it was amazing. It’s the biggest spinning-only retreat running right now and there were about 300 spinners swarming the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City. I taught 5 classes full of wonderful spinners.  There was also a marketplace. I usually don’t shop when I teach because I’m surrounded by fiber all day, but I tripped a little at this market.

Plyaway haul

Ply Away haul

I got a Clemes and Clemes blending board (squee!) I’ve wanted one for a long time and I need it for a work project, so there’s one heading my way. Huckleberry Knits was there with her new Targhee/Silk blend- 6 braids came home with me. I’ve never seen so much of her fiber in person.  There was a pen store in the mall attached to the hotel, many, many spinners went crazy in there. I got two pens and two new inks. I had to get that pair of socks too, they made me laugh out loud.

Ply Away Saturday Night Spin In

Ply Away Saturday Night Spin In – So Many Spinners!

 

What did you spin (or buy ) this weekend?

Stiorra: additional resources

The designer of this issue’s fabulous Stiorra sweater writes about the design on her blog. We adore this sweater: it’s lacy, but not too delicate, and just so very wearable. I think my favourite detail is the shirt-tail hem.

Ewelina’s blog post also has links to a bunch of helpful resources, too.

The sweater uses a clever “horizontal rib” technique around the neck, to avoid it stretching. She’s created a very helpful tutorial.

And she’s also got both written instructions, and a full version of the Back Lace chart.


Speaking of charts, we’ve also got an alternative chart for the lace pattern, courtesy of JC Briar’s Stitch-Maps tool.

 

This view of the sleeve pattern, shows the symmetry of the “flower petals,” and the pairs of yarnovers separating them, as highlighted below. These types of “flow” charts don’t work for all designs, but this view is a terrific way to help you visualize the fabric you’re creating.

stiorrasleeve

 

WWW: Myths and Legends; Yarnbombing At Sea

Spoiler alert! (Image from the Yarn Sub blog.)

File under: “this is what we’ve been going on about all these years”. A really really really illuminating and important post about gauge differences between knitters. Read it before you do anything else. Go on, I’ll wait.


Fabulous: a discussion of the history of Aran sweaters, focussing in particular on the myths and legends that surround them and their origins. Spoiler alert: No, there are not specific family patterns; no, stitch patterns weren’t used to identify drowned sailors; and no, they are not nearly as traditional as people would have you believe. Also worth a visit even if you don’t have time to read the whole thing to see pictures of some fabulous mid-20th century samples of the form.


Knitter wins Jeopardy TV game show, internet is faintly amazed by her honestly about how she spend her spare time.


A legend in a totally different way: the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, sends a hand-written thank you note to a woman who knitted him a pair of socks.


Looking forward to reading about this: a PhD study of the role of the Facebook groups in connectedness and community amongst crafters. Social media is so important in the resurgence of craft, and I’m pleased to see this being discussed.


All sorts of great: an oceanography study ship has an artist in residence program. And scientist and fiber artist Michelle Schwengel-Regala yarn-bombs the heck out of R/V Falkor while at sea.

Woolen or Worsted? Forward or Backward?

2 and 3 ply yarns.

2 and 3 ply yarns, woolen spun.

 

How do you draft? My default draft is woolen. I used to never draft worsted, but I have learned to (almost) love it. The type of draft can change so many things about your yarn, you better believe I use drafting style to help create the yarn I want to knit with.

When I draft woolen I draft backwards, when I draft worsted I usually draft backwards too. Some spinners find that odd, I’ve even heard the word, wrong.

So tell me how do you draft and in which direction?

 

 

 

 

Spin those singles!

Spin those singles!

Have you seen Amy King’s new Craftsy class Spinning Stupendous Singles? Amy is my singles spinning hero and this class is great.

If you are new to spinning singles, need some reminders or practice, or want tips to make your singles better, grab your wheel and fiber and settle in for an informative and fun few hours.

Jane’s Knitting Kits – A Giveaway!

Midnight Wrap Knitting Kit

Midnight Wrap Knitting Kit

The fine and friendly folks over at Jane’s Knitting Kits have a kit for us to give away! Knit from gorgeous Universal Yarns Rozetti Brand Bamboo Glam (96% Bamboo 4% Glitz), the Midnight Wrap is a little bit slinky and a little bit sparkly. An easy knit, it’s just the perfect little something for mercurial spring days and nights.

Think this is something you need to knit for this spring? We have one kit to giveaway!

Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Tuesday April 19th. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the Midnight Wrap kit.  Giveaway value $45.00