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. 

Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but I am getting a little sick of spinning samples. Well,  I think I’m getting sick of spinning samples. Here are my latest for my Happy Camper Retreat which is this weekend! I’m teaching spinning variegated tops, it’s one of my favorites!

I always think I’m sick of spinning samples and then another idea or ‘what if’ pops in my head and I’m off sampling again. I am exactly the same way with millspun yarn, I could swatch forever and just occasionally make things. I think that means I’m really a process person – a processing processor. I am getting the itch to finish a little something, a hat, mittens, a scarf. I’ll see if I can fit it in between sampling and thinking about sampling.

Happy Camper samples.

Happy Camper samples.



My Craftsy class, Ply to Knit: Spin the Yarn You Really Want, doesn’t launch for a week, but the fabu folks at Craftsy want one reader to have it for free on the day it launches. The class is a beginning plying class – tools, tricks, how to, when to and of course how it effects your knitting.

Ply to Knit!

Ply to Knit!

You can enter the giveaway here. You do have to be a Craftsy member to enter, though if you’re not, you can sign up on the spot. You can only enter this giveaway through Craftsy, not by leaving a comment on this post.

The contest runs until Monday September 22, Midnight EST. Only one spinner will win!

Laura Nelkin is a longtime friend and Knitty designer. Her first pattern Abrazo appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of Knitty. Her most most popular Knitty pattern is the ethereal Mythos from First Fall 2010. She’s even in the our current issue with Gusto. But I’m not here to talk about Laura’s work for Knitty. I want to make sure that everyone knows about her newly published book Knockout Knits: New Tricks for Scarves, Hats, Jewelry and Other Accessories.

Get yourself a copy!

Get yourself a copy!

It’s a fun and gorgeous book. Here’s Amy’s review from the current issue of Knitty:

Knockout Knits: New Tricks for Scarves, Hats, Jewelry, and Other Accessories

I love that this book is dedicated to the author’s Ravelry group. It shows her dedication to learning from her students and fans, the hallmark (in my opinion) of a great teacher.This book is more than a book of accessories, not surprisingly, then. It’s a teaching tool in itself. Full of projects, each designed to teach a skill or set of skills, it’s a portable classroom in 144 pages.

She focuses on three techniques: wrapped and elongated stitches, advancing lace skills, and — of course — Nelkin’s signature of late: knitting with beads. Starting with accessory projects as simple as a buttoned cuff, she’ll take you through each technique in a gentle and logical manner until you’re ready for the beaded lace gauntlets on the book’s cover (so beautiful!) or the lacy, Gyrus Tam near the back of the book. The Quadro Convertible Shrug is another stunner.

The section on knitting with beads is enough to make the book a knitter’s library must. Information about what yarn content works best with beads, how to choose beads suitable for knitting, and much more are essential reading for anyone wanting to add sparkle to their fiber. Hard to pick a favorite pattern in this section, but the gradient Halli Shawl is a jaw dropper. Want.

I love the Cha-Ching Mitts on the cover and here are some other patterns that I’m excited to knit.

Halli Shawl (upper Left), Gateway Cuff (upper right), Loco Shawl (lower left) and Folly Cloche (bottom right).

Halli Shawl (upper Left), Gateway Cuff (upper right), Loco Shawl (lower left) and Folly Cloche (bottom right).

Laura, Potter Craft and Craftsy have put together an sensational giveaway for KnittyBlog readers!

A copy of Knockout Knits!

The Book!

The Book!

A kit for the Cha-Ching Mitts!

The Kit!

The Kit!

Laura’s Knitting with Beads Craftsy class!

nelkin knitbeads

The Class!

One lucky KnittyBlog readers will win all three prizes.

Our regular rules apply: Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Friday,  September 18th. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the book, kit and class. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance. Giveaway value $96.98

Very well done.

Well, knitters do often spend a lot of time sitting in front of one… I rather adore these knitted televisions, created by Dutch artist Esmé Valk.

Andrew Salomone, the blogger who wrote about this project on the Makezine site, asks the question we all want to ask… “I just wonder if this was knitted while watching TV!”

Giving us a bad reputation? A knitter sparked an argument on a plane after reclining her seat to “make space to do her knitting”. The pilot elected to make an emergency landing at a nearby airport.

Sounds to me like the incident wasn’t entirely the fault of the knitter… I’m pretty sure that for me knitting on a flight prevents air-rage.

In response to a UK politician who suggested that charities shouldn’t engage in politics, but rather “stick to their knitting”, the Guardian published a brief but rather lovely editorial about the value of knitting.

With the news just breaking of a new royal baby on the way, feverish speculation begins about another possible shawl…

Simple yet very effective!

Very cool: a round-up of home-made spool knitters. I used to call this thing a French Knitter, the website calls the tool a ‘Knitting Nancy’. What other names are there for this tool?


I find endless amusement in the use of crochet for ‘sculptural’ projects. Now that Amy and I both are getting better at crochet, we probably have the skills to make this ramen bowl project. Complete with my fave bit: the eggs.

I don’t know if it’s the change in the weather or the change in schedules with the kids going back to school, but I am having a heck of a time focusing on anything for too long.

I’ve been spinning samples. Oh how I love blending colors while drafting!


A singles of drafted blended polwarth.

A single of draft-blended Polwarth.

I can’t stop playing this game and I’m terrible at it!

I haven't seen the sweater yet. :-(

I haven’t seen the sweater yet. :-(

I am giddy that there is going to be a Shaun the Sheep movie in 2015. I keep watching the trailer.

It's Shaun the Sheep!

It’s Shaun the Sheep!

Because I haven’t been paying attention, I just saw the article on Shaun the never-been-shorn Tasmanian Merino, getting shorn.

52 pounds of wool and it wasn't a record!

52 pounds of wool and it wasn’t a record!

I went for a walk today and saw this:

Rhinebeck is coming!

Leaves are turning!

Which of course means, Rhinebeck is coming! I just checked and it’s 39 days from today. You’re welcome.

Do you see what I mean that my brain is flitting? I hope you have more focus than I do this week!


Knitty readers are powerful. I linked to this awesome post on SpaceCadet Creations’ site and you guys took down their server.

Sorry about that, SpaceCadet.

Since SCC’s site is now out of commission for the next 72 hours, we thought it would be handy to repost the information here, where (hopefully) our server can handle the demand.

I know so many of us are frustrated with the way Facebook shares information. This informative post will help you understand what the heck is going on and how you can actually follow the news from your favorite companies, like Knitty and SpaceCadet, on Facebook.

Take it away, SpaceCadet Stephanie!

Facebook is an amazing resource — a way for everyone to keep up with their friends’ news, family photos, hear about upcoming events… and maybe even look up an old boyfriend or two.

And it’s a great way for me to keep in contact with you. Not only can I share with you what we’re up to at the SpaceCadet studio (or just what I’m up to on a Saturday morning) but, unlike many other channels, Facebook gives you and me a wonderful opportunity to interact — to ask and answer questions, to have a conversation, for everyone to share thoughts as a community.



Where has SpaceCadet gone?

But maybe you haven’t seen so much of SpaceCadet in your Facebook stream lately? Maybe you think I’ve gone quiet? Maybe we’re not up to much lately?


Nope, the real reason you don’t see much of SpaceCadet any more is that Facebook recently changed its policies for business pages like ours. Whereas in the past, our posts used to show up in the news feed of everyone who liked our page, Facebook now shows our posts to only a tiny fraction of the folks who follow us.

Let me show you what I mean. The SpaceCadet page has over 1200 followers, but look at the number who got to see these recent posts:

Collage,  how many people reached

200? 100?!? Sometimes it’s been as low as only 50! That’s hardly any of our followers, and it’s really disappointing when I want to share stuff with you guys but I know that only a few people are going to get to see it.

Now, the reason Facebook is doing this is that they want me to pay to “boost” my posts and to be honest, as a business person, I’m ok with Facebook wanting to make money. SpaceCadet has an advertising budget and I’m happy to spend it, but paying Facebook to “boost” every single thing I post is not really the best use of that budget, so I don’t do it very often.

Besides, if Facebook is a community, it feels a bit creepy to turn every comment I make into some kind of a paid advertisement. A lot of times, I’m just sharing cool stuff with you guys.

Saturday office

There’s an Easy (and Free) Solution!

BUT there is an better way for you to receive SpaceCadet posts again. I can’t increase the number of posts you see without paying for “boosting”, but YOU can pull our posts back into your news feed easily — and for free! All you have to do is start clicking “like” on our Facebook posts (or, even better, leave a comment or share the post). The more you interact with our posts, the more of our posts Facebook will share with you. That’s all you have to do — just start clicking “like”.

And it’s not just your timeline you’ll be affecting. When you click “like” and “share” or comment on a SpaceCadet post, everyone else gets to see more of what we’re up to as well. Want to see how powerful it is? Check this out…

The Power of Likes on Facebook

When you click “like” or share and comment on my posts, you’ll begin getting all the latest SpaceCadet news in your timeline again (along with behind-the-scenes pictures from the studio and some random shots of my lunch or my WIPs…). And, y’know, I’ll be so excited to see you again! I love sharing all the cool stuff we’re working on each day — and I love it even more when I get to hear back from you about what I’ve posted.

So here, hop over to our Facebook page right now and just click “like” on a bunch of posts (or please, leave us a comment or share a couple of posts). And before you know it, SpaceCadet will be back on your Facebook radar again!


Mauna Kea

PS –I really do love the interaction that happens on Facebook, and so I’d love for SpaceCadet to have more followers. If you think something I’ve posted would interest your knit-friends on FB, I’d be really grateful if you’d share it with them by clicking “share” as well as “like”. Thank you for spreading the SpaceCadet love!



You might have heard the rumour: Amy and I both like to crochet.

When your hobby is your work, you need to find a hobby to relax from your hobby, if you see what I mean.

I love crochet as a relaxation. I like to just follow a pattern and have fun, not worrying about design elements or writing the pattern or any of the other stuff I worry about when I’m knitting. I’m currently working on the lacy flower scarf that was in the spring/summer 2014 issue of the Noro magazine. I love how this uses the chaos of a Noro colourway and organizes it into something totally different.

The original:

(c) Noro Magazine 2014, Photo by Paul Amato for

Mine, so far:

There's going to be a few ends to weave in...

There’s going to be a few ends to weave in…

The best part about this project is that each little motif takes about ten or fifteen minutes, so I can get a quick hit in between other things. At this rate, it’s going to be a while before it’s ready, but I don’t mind.

And Amy has been working on a half-hex shawl in a fantastic array of colors.

A very promising start…

Making progress…

You can see more pictures on Amy’s Instagram account.

Yup, we both love crochet.

This is one of the reasons we were so excited to add our Plays Well Together column to Knitty: we know that many knitters crochet – and many crocheters knit – and we wanted to explore how the two crafts complement each other!

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