WWW: Knitting TV comes to Netflix! Knitted Yellow Jersey for bike ride winner! Sheep-shearing record broken!

Image courtesy the artist and The Yarn Loop website.

Amazing: a hand-knit portrait of Amy Winehouse, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of her death. Artist Lisa Bentman spent six weeks on the knitting, and then another week applying a sequin embellishment. You can learn more about the project in Lisa’s video diary. The FO is being raffled off for charity.

SlowTV comes to US Netflix! Overjoyed to learn that the legendary Norwegian Slow TV knitting shows are coming to Netflix August 6. Shall we have an internet knitting party/watch-along?

Reuters Image of a recent London Harris Tweed Ride.

Adore this: not only is there a Harris Tweed bike ride on the Isle of Lewis, in which participants must be decked head-to-toe in outfits of the Scottish tweed fabric, but the prize – a yellow jersey, in the style of the Tour de France – is handknit from Scottish wool.

Interesting… researchers at Disney have been working on a compiler for industrial knitting machines, with the objective of making them operate in the manner of an on-demand 3D printer.

In the words of the researchers… although industrial knitting machines can produce very detailed, seamless, 3D surfaces quickly and autonomously, they are almost impossible to program for small, customized batch production. This work aims to solve that problem.

Not knitting but utterly hypnotic: speed crochet! Crocheter Jayna Grassel was filmed by Condé Nast creating a flower in less than 90 seconds.

Speaking of speed: shearer Matt Smith (sadly not *that* one) breaks the world record for most sheep sheared in one session

Knitting at Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley!

Diagon Alley!

A bonus of having a kiddo that does a traveling sport is sometimes you get to go to very cool places. My daughter competed in the AAU Springboard Diving Nations last week in Orlando, Florida. We are huge Harry Potter Fans, so in the few hours before our plane left we went to Diagon Alley at Harry Potter World in Universal Studios. I was giddy with the knitting.


Harry and Ron's Sweaters

Harry and Ron’s Sweaters


I saw the Harry and Ron sweaters for sale. These were acrylic, but they did a good job of looking like they were knit from Rowan’s Felted Tweed.



Yarn Shop!

Yarn Shop!


There is a a yarn shop! Spindlewarps sadly is a display shop not a shopping shop (just like the bookstore Flourish and Blotts), but can you imagine if it were open for shopping? I stood in front of the window filling it with inventory in my mind for a long time. Even if they just sold kits, it would be fantastic!



What I bought

What I bought


We had frozen Butterbeer, rode the Escape from Gringotts ride and shopped a little. I bought Molly Weasley’s wand and a Time Turner because  crafters always wish we had more time.




Our favorite thing was sitting a watching people. Everyone is so happy and excited to see everything and all of the other fans. It was a great way to recover from the stress of a big meet. I’ll leave you with a little video of Molly’s magical knitting needles, something I really wish I had!





WWW: More Sheep-cams, “Farm to Needle”, Autumn Events

Mason Dixon Knitting brings to our attention a Norwegian Tourism promotion, which involves attaching cameras to sheep and exploring the country from a sheep’s point of view.  (And in case you’re wondering, I will never stop reporting on sheep-cams. I think they are wonderful.)

If you’re in London or environs, there’s lots of fun things going on this autumn. There’s the Great London Yarn Crawl on September 10th, and there’s the Yarnporium fair November 5 & 6th.

And staying in the UK for a moment, we were very happy to discover Woolsack, a website dedicated to promoting British wool products. In their own words, the website is intended to be

a ‘reference library’ listing and linking to everything and anything to do with British wool and British wool products from raw fleeces through to finished items & fashion garments, from local events to permanent exhibitions.

If you’re in Ontario, mark your calendar for September 10th, too: it’s the Kitchener Waterloo Knitter’s Fair.

BWRF_1We received a press release recently from Black Wolf Ranch alpaca farm, promoting their approach to what they term the “ranch to knitting” trend. They’re entirely correct, this movement is closely related to the “farm to table” approach in dining, and we embrace all these initiatives to make crafters more aware of the source of the materials they are working with, and how the materials were treated and processed all the way through the ‘lifecycle’. The emphasis on local products and sustainability is good for all of us. Any farm website that lists “About Our Animals and People” – in that order – is good in my books!

Cheeky: A nice review of my Pattern Writing Book, and if you read to the end there might be an opportunity to win a copy. Just saying. 🙂

Spindles Are Everywhere!

Is it my imagination or are people spinning on spindles more right now?

I don’t know if it’s because of summer and they are portable, but I have seen more spindle spinning around in person and on social media.

I’ve heard rumors that there are fewer spinners now, that the spinning trend is leveling off and maybe dropping. The rumor is that spinners are turning to weaving and sewing and not spinning, not buying fiber or wheels.

I know spinners aren’t going anywhere and that this is part of the ongoing rhythm of fiber crafts in general. I also think that spinners are turning to spindles again. We are spinning on all spindles, but I have seen a crazy amount of spinning on Turkish spindles. I’ve also seen more spindle classes being offered at fiber shows and retreats.

Am I imagining things? Are you spindle spinning more?

Obsession Thursday: Finally knitting again!

FInally! Progress on my After the Rain in Rowan Revive.

Finally! Progress on my After the Rain in Rowan Revive.

The saga is coming to a close, at least for my right hand. (Catch up with the story here.)

It’s been 4 months since my surgery. I’ve tried to knit during the healing process, but haven’t found it very enjoyable. Which worried me.

Last week, I went on a road trip with a friend, and got to sit in the passenger seat for the first time in a while (being single means you’re the one driving all the time). I started to knit. It ached as the muscles aren’t even vaguely as strong as they used to be (or NEED to be), but I kept at it, with little breaks. In a while, I noticed it was less achy. And then it was easy.

What was the difference? Keeping at it? No. Up till now, I’d been continuing to try to knit combination, which is still new for me. On the road trip, I switched back to my autonomic knitting style: throwing. And poof, my mojo is returning.

I left the knitting down for the last week, and, picking it up again, it’s kind of like starting over. I used to knit every time I sat down to watch TV. With the pain I had, I broke that habit, and now I have to retrain myself.

This will be fun.

WWW: Faroe Sheep Cam, Kate Davies interview, visit to LYS as alibi?

You’ve probably heard about Google Sheep View, which helps you locate all the sheep in Google Street View images…

The Faroe Islands has launched a slightly different initiative: tired of waiting for Google to come and officially map their island, they’ve harnessed up five sheep with 360-degree cameras, and are gathering the results to submit to Google.

A lovely BBC radio interview with designer extraordinaire Kate Davies. She talks about her recovery from a stroke, and her career change from academic to full-time yarn professional. Well worth ten minutes of your time.

This looks really interesting. The Great British Wool Rampage: a TV documentary on the British Wool industry. It’s a Kickstarter page, but even if you’re not up for a contribution, it’s worth visiting to read about the project.

On the Classic Elite blog, an interview with knitwear designer Tonia Barry. A fascinating insight into the design process.

Interesting: a woman uses a drive to a knitting shop as her alibi in a road-rage case in Scotland. The judge has asked that she prove her knitting ability, as part of her sentencing…

A lovely little memoir of sock knitting for the war effort in Australia: a story of a very old FO and a decades-old acquaintance renewed.

Llamas Block Tour de France Route

I can’t tell you how much I love this.

Llamas in the Tour de France  (Photo: Joel Adages/Facebook)

Llamas chillin on the Tour de France route (Photo: Joel Adages/Facebook)

Last week llamas blocked the route of the Tour de France in the Pyranees mountains. They did not interfere with the race however.

Other animals including sheep (!) have caused trouble during the Tour, here’s an article about the recent history of animals interfering with the Tour, including a flock of sheep causing a slow down on a climb. I know it’s dangerous to both the animals and the riders, but I can’t stop giggling.




Craftsy Sale 50% Off of Best -Sellers

It’s hot outside and maybe you’re sick of binging Netflix. How about a new to you Craftsy class? Craftsy has a lot of their knitting, spinning and crochet classes 50% off this weekend. You could hang out and learn from Lucy Neatby, Amy Herzog, Kim Werker or Jacey Boggs Faulker for just a little less dough.

The links are part of the Craftsy affiliate program. When you use them to buy a class, Knitty gets a little money from the sale.

WWW: Canadian Red Cross booklet, Cliche-free Shop Profile, Knitting as Classical Music Score

I rather like the “if I hold them like this they won’t hurt me” look on his face…

A nice profile of The Sheep Shop in Cambridge UK, notable for having been written by a man, and yet without a single use of the old ‘granny’ or ‘ooh look men can knit too’ tropes.

An older piece, but it’s been making the rounds again recently: an Icelandic composer uses a knitting pattern as inspiration for classical music.

the score, for symphony orchestra and piano respectively, are completed — an ethereal soundworld with pauses where the knitting pattern has holes

Although the composer confesses that neither the score nor the knitting project are complete…

A little off-topic, but an excellent longer read for your lunchtime break today… The True Price of Fast Fashion.

New York Public library offers a weekly knitting and crochet gathering, 10:30am on Tuesdays.

Image from the Canadian Red Cross website.

A post on the Canadian Red Cross website about knitting patterns distributed to civilians during the two World Wars. The purpose of these booklets was not, however, what you might initially think… it wasn’t about teaching knitting, but rather establishing standards for the items to be made and donated.

Knitting booklets like this one also serve as a reminder that although the wartime Red Cross relied primarily on voluntary labour, it still had high standards. All items produced were carefully inspected, and any that did not meet the exact specifications outlined in the instructions were rejected. Knitting booklets like this one enabled women volunteers across Canada to produce items that they knew were needed and made the grade.

In which model, celebrity and rock-n-roll progeny Georgia May Jagger confesses that she used knitting to help her quit smoking and nail-biting.

Why I’m Not Spinning for Tour de Fleece or Spinzilla This Year

Cjkoho Designs BFL, Maya colorway with natural added.

Cjkoho Designs BFL, Maya colorway with natural added.

I love both the Tour de Fleece and Spinzilla! I get as excited about getting ready for them as I do for buying school supplies in the fall. You know I love making plans. Even though I’ve never hit my lofty spinning goals, I love the process of dreaming big and tossing my stash for the right fiber.

But I decided not to spin for either big event this year. Why? I want to spin how I want and I want a break from deadlines. The past 18 months have been really busy for me spinning-wise. I loved every second of it, but now I want to just float. I’m still spinning every day, but I want to follow all the spinning things that interest me right now, waiting for my next spinning obsession to carry me away. I wonder what it will be?

I am excited to see what everyone else is spinning and how much they are spinning! Sometimes it’s even better to spin vicariously, all the beauty and inspiration, none of the deadlines.

Tell me what you are spinning for the Tour de Fleece!