Teaching at Loop

Reblocking some of my Twist and Ply swatches

Reblocking some of my Twist and Ply swatches

Who’s spinning with me at Loop next weekend? I got a few questions about my classes, so I thought I answer them here.

I’m teaching three classes, all day Yarnitecture, half day Twist and Ply and half day Cheaper By the Dozen: 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Top.

Yarnitecture: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want – This is a great class for spinners who either are beginner- ish, can make yarn and want to know what’s next, this class gives an over view of making yarn. This is also for spinners who have been spinning for any length of time who want have questions along the lines of , ‘how do I make this yarn?’ or ‘why does my yarn look like this?’ I once had a student tell me after class, “I’ve been spinning for 15 years and didn’t know most of this stuff!”

 

Twist and Ply: The Difference Ply and Twist Direction Make to Your Knitting – Plying has such a bad reputation in spinning and lots of spinners approach it like ripping off a band aid – getting it done as quick as possible, with not a lot of thought.  This is a great class for spinners curious about what the big deal is about plying. This is also a great class for spinning knitters who aren’t quite happy with their handspun knits, a lot of the time the fix is in the plying or the direction of your plying in combination with your style of knitting. The photo up there is a few of my samples for this class getting refreshed for next weekend.

Cheaper By the Dozen: 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Top – This might be my most popular class. Every spinner I know has a stash of variegated top and a not-so-secret lust for more. This class will teach you how to spin those braids fearlessly, including how to combine them. By the end of this class you’ll have the spinning of your current stash all mapped out and be shopping for more. In this class we use fiber from Into the Whirled.

There are a few spots left in all three classes, you can register here.

Don’t forget the Friday night spin-in, Yarnitecture trunk show and book signing. It’s going to be fun!

I hope to see you next weekend!

 

 

Obsession Thursday: Reorganizing for the new year

Not Knitty…reorganizing my apartment! It is rather small as 2-bdr apts go, but I do love it so, and it’s what I can afford, so I’ve gotta make it work.

Over the holidays, I started another wave of tidying and purging. My office started out like this:

mid-purge/tidy: notice the large quantity of Ikea bags, now empty after putting their contents in their proper places (sometimes that was the garbage). big black monolith is my desk chair. 

…and then I made it better. Took a few days and cleared away tons of crap, and properly put away tons of NOTcrap. There was more clear floor space in here than there has been since I moved in in Sept 2014 once I was done.

Of course, that meant that I had to fill it up again.

Tully has been living in the living room. He’s young (not even a year old yet) and he can’t be fully free range until he chills a bit. So he needed more space than he had in just his cage when he’s tucked in for the night.

Squeeze, having vacated the office for her new home on Toronto Island with her daddy (my ex), left more than enough room for Tully to move in. Today, he moved in.

The exercise pen around his cage came from a Facebook trading site called Bunz.

The exercise pen around his cage came from a Facebook trading site called Bunz (only in Canada, I believe). I traded two bags of dog treats for this baby.

The cage is his security, so I kept it. On the top right, that huge black thing is a Sterilite plastic bin which holds — get this — a half bale of hay. And it’s full. That’s how much hay this guy eats. It cost almost nothing to buy it from a hay farmer, which is much better than the $14/wee bag I was paying before. (Each bag lasted a week.)

Anyway, He’s been exploring this new room and finding out how it connects to the rest of the world he knows already. He seems quite happy. Has eaten, groomed himself and is now drinking from his water bottle. This indicates a relaxed bunny.

Job well done, I say! Woot me!

Intrepid explorer Tully susses out his new digs. Yes, there’s a lot of crap on my desk. That’s the next task.

 

WWW: Advice, sensible and otherwise; Pink Hats; This is Your Brain on Knitting

Some people are making pink hats to wear later this month. 


Sensible: an advice columnist – a knitter herself – provides advice to the non-knitters who might wish to ask a friend to make a sweater for them: “Don’t risk friendship over a sweater.


I’m in two minds about pieces like this: “How to Wear Chunky Knits“, courtesy of an online style magazine. I mean, the first thought that leaps to mind when I see a headline like that is “heck, it’s January – just slip it on over a tshirt and be warm.” But then after the snark, I will always click through: I enjoy a good fashion spread, and so look with interest on how stylists propose wearing these key items of winter gear. And then, in this sort of case, I get the additional value of a chuckle at the idea of an open-shouldered chunky sweater. (Yes, really! Go look!) Given that I live in Canada, I categorize these items along with with open-toed boots: fashion developed by people who have apparently never actually been outside….


Love this: a fabulous episode of VeryPink Knitting podcast, in which Casey talks with psychologist Dr. Art Markman about about your brain on knitting – process vs. project knitters, multi-task knitting, and other topics.

Spinning in 2017 – Your List of Dyers

hy-collage-2017

Hello Yarn before and after

For a lot of us it’s the dreaded work reentry week after the winter holidays.

I’ve put together a little diversion for you.

A few weeks ago I asked who I should spin in 2017 and I got so many great answers that I’ve collected them here. How about a little fiber browsing for today?

Let me know who you are excited to spin in 2017!

 

 

 

 

2016: Well, that was something, eh?

Challenging in ways many of us didn’t expect, 2016 has been a hell of a year. We’re starting to lose our cultural heroes, often unexpectedly, and we’re a bit raw with the changing political climate in the US, and crazy people with weapons worldwide. Yeah, 2016 has sucked.

But it’s also been joyous, surprising and a wonderful year for knitting and knitters.

Here are some things that happened:

    • Knitty didn’t close in Spring 2016. We would have had to without the financial support of our Patrons. We launched this new funding model in September 2015, and by March of 2016, Knitty Patrons had stepped up and were carrying 2/3 of the cost of producing the magazine. We are grateful on a daily basis for their support. Thanks to them and our fiercely loyal Advertisers, we…
    • Rewrote our website code, making our pages responsive, so that they’re much easier to view on mobile devices of all sizes. This was a big project and we completed it on time so that the First Fall 2016 issue launched when it was supposed to, and the cool auto-resizable pages worked from the get go.
    • Published four great issues, full of patterns like these:
Laurel, by Amy Christoffers, from the Deep Fall 2016 issue

Laurel, by Amy Christoffers, from the DF16

 

Anyadell by Senja Jarva from our DF16 issue

Anyadell by Senja Jarva from the DF16 issue

 

Pincha by Pinpilan Wangsai from our First Fall 2016 Issue

Pincha by Pinpilan Wangsai from the FF16 issue

 

Gocce by Paola Albergamo from the SS16 issue

Gocce by Paola Albergamo from the SS16 issue

 

Ennui by Justyna Lorkowska from our FF16 issue

Ennui by Justyna Lorkowska from our FF16 issue

And my favorite meta-meta crazypants pattern of the year:

Toilet Paper Toilet Paper Cozy by Christine Olea from the W16 issue

Toilet Paper Toilet Paper Cozy by Christine Olea from the W16 issue

On the personal side:

O Canada!

O Canada!

I became a Canadian (after living in Canada since I was 8), and took a train across the country to celebrate! I welcomed a new rabbit, Tully, into my family, got rid of my misbehaving uterus, and had both my Carpal Tunnelly hands surgically fixed. I stepped back from teaching and concentrated on healing and taking care of myself. Rather lovely.

 

Jillian and Gwen Steege from Storey Publishing, celebrating Yarnitecture!

Jillian continued her crazy busy and successful year of travelling and teaching at legendary venues, while (at the same time, mind you) finishing her brilliant book about spinning the yarns you want to knit: Yarnitecture. And continued to raise her kids, along with her hubby, with love and compassion. She’s on the road in 2017, too…will you be lucky enough to be able to catch a class with her?

 

Kate and her groundbreaking book!

Kate was on the move too! She taught all over the US and Canada, and popped over to her homeland, hitting Bath, Manchester and Oxford in the UK in spring, as well as taping several new online classes. She’s added video columnist to her resume, as Knitty’s newest columnist on the subject of techniques. She wrote the book all knitwear designers need to read. And just for fun, she and her darling husband and nutso dog Dexter moved house, too. She’s already got a busy schedule lined up for 2017. Go Kate, go!

 

So that’s a lot of good stuff that happened in 2016. I’m glad to be able to celebrate it with you, and I’m honored to work with such great people as Jillian, Kate, Chris (Sysadmin gift from above), Ashley and Rachel (our gloriously wonderful Tech Editors). Thank you for being here, too.

Here’s to a happier, more joyous 2017!

Looking forward to 2017: Kate and Jillian on the road

soxpertiseKate’s Teaching Schedule for the first part of 2017

January 25-27 – InTown Quilters, Decatur, Georgia
Introduction to Design, Continental Knitting, Best Methods/Expert Tips, Yarn Shopping Bootcamp, Soxpertise, Altering Patterns

Feb 26 & 27th – Sheep Shop, Cambridge UK
Introduction to Gloves, Two Socks at Once: The War & Peace Method, Introduction to Design

March 1 – Knit With Attitude, Stoke Newington, UK
Class TBA

March 4 & 5 – Purlescence, Leckhampstead, UK
Intro to Brioche, Advanced Brioche; -You do the maths” – a study in numbers and knitting patterns

March 9 – 12 – Edinburgh Yarn Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
Classes sold, out, sorry, but I will be doing a book signing or two at the Purlescence booth.

March 17-19 – Madison Knitter’s Guild Knit-In, Madison, WI

March 30 – April 3 – Interweave Yarn Fest, Loveland, CO
Pi Shawl, Two Socks at Once: Side by Side, Fiber Care & Blocking, Math for Knitters, 2 Socks at Once: War & Peace, Pattern Writing, Custom Fit Socks

April 7-9 – Make Wear Love Spring Retreat, Pacific Grove, CA
Fearless Finishing, Pattern Reading, Working with Handpainted Yarns

 

Spinning with Jillian means color!

Spinning with Jillian means color!

Jillian’s Teaching Schedule for Most of 2017

January 20-22 – Loop! Philadelphia, PA
Book Signing, Yarnitecture, Twist and Ply and 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Yarns

February 16-February 19 – Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat- Tacoma , WA
Yarnitecture #2: The Journey Continues: Sampling and Spinning for a Specific Project – Exclusive to Madrona for 2017
Twist and Ply #2: Texture and Color- new for 2017
All the Singles Ladies: Spin and Knit Sensational Singles – new for 2017

March 30 – April 3 – Interweave Yarn Fest, Loveland, CO
Yarnitecture, Twist and Ply 2: Texture and Color – new for 2017, Fractal Frolic, Cheaper by the Dozen: 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Top

April 26-29 – PLY Away 2 – Kansas City, MO
Yarnitecture – 2 days!
Kaleidoscope Yarns: Color and Singles – new for 2017
Sheep Sampler: Spin & Nosh – new for 2017

July 19-23 – Super Summer Knitogether – Nashville, TN
Classes to be announced

September 29-October 1 – WEBS Spinning Summit
Classes to be announced

Yarnitecture Giveaway!

Win me!

Win me!

 

What? You did’t get my book for a holiday gift?

Let’s fix that!

I am giving away a copy of my book Yarnitecture and 4 ounces of Into the Whirled Falkland in the colorway Vegetable Medley. So you can spin along with the book.

Our usual rules apply: Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Friday, December 30th. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the book and fiber. If you have already won a prize from us this year, please do give other knitters a chance. Giveaway value $49.00

Obsession Thursday: Getting back to cooking

This is an Instant Pot.

This is an Instant Pot.

You’ve probably seen these things everywhere on social media. I sure had. It’s an Instant Pot, aka an electronic pressure cooker. Everyone I know has one (or one like it) or wants one. There was (unsurprisingly) a sale on Black Friday where it was about half the regular price. So I jumped.

Why do you want one of these? Here’s why I did:

  1. Unlike a slow cooker, it keeps smells in the pot, not all over your house/apartment
  2. You can cook delicious dishes from frozen ingredients in just a short time…some as fast as 3 minutes, once the machine reaches pressure (remember, it’s a pressure cooker)
  3. It also does the functions of a rice cooker, slow cooker and even a saute pan

It was number 2 that did it for me. I keep forgetting to cook actual FOOD until it’s too close to dinner to do anything but defrost something I’ve precooked (I do batches of stuff from time to time, but not always) or order pizza. That is not healthy. And doesn’t feel very adult.

It arrived yesterday. Like others before me, I’m a bit intimidated by this large pot with a fancy lid and lots of buttons. I read the manual. I joined this Facebook group (it’s VERY helpful and encouraging). I started saving appealing recipes to my Pocket (I prefer Pocket to Pinterest, but that’s just me. There are TONS of recipes on Pinterest). And tonight, after I do my first water test, I’m going to cook some frozen chicken thighs into something delicious. I’ve been told that, once I get the hang of it, I’ll want to use it for almost every meal. You can even make cheesecake in this thing.

Do you have one of these? Share your tips and favorite recipes with me in the comments, will you?

*The link above takes you to Amazon, where Knitty will get a small fee if you purchase one of these things. Keep an eye out for sales…they pop up all the time.

WWW: Bristol’s Colours, Village-sized Yarn-bomb, Use Your Noodle

The winner of our Obliqua kit giveaway is Candi from Pennsylvania. We wish you happy knitting!


Ooh! Very exciting! The Yarn Collective has just announced a new line of yarns: Pembroke Worsted, in colourways designed by Knitty designer Bristol Ivy.  There are ten colors, described in Bristol’s own words:

“My whole collection is based on the rich, pure tones of gems and minerals. I’ve always loved these colors and their depth, complexity, and saturation. I think since they’re all based on naturally occurring colors, they all speak well to each other and come together into a coherent palette. I’m so excited to explore them further: the icy grey-greens, the deep copper oranges, the vivid coral-y carnelians, the soft neutral greys and sepias — all of them.”


Photo credit: Mayo Martin, from the Channel News Asia website.

Photo credit: Mayo Martin, from the Channel News Asia website.

I am willing to excuse the terrible pun – “noodlework” – in this story. Indonesian artist Cynthia Delaney Suwito has had a rather wonderful piece included in a show organized by the Visual Arts Development Association of Singapore… a fabric knitted from cooked instant noodles. It’s a statement about speed of life and gratification: knitting with cooked noodles is even slower than knitting with yarn, and highlights the contrast between the instant-readiness of the noodles with the slow and careful nature of handwork. She works on the fabric as part of the exhibition, treating with care and thoughtfulness a product that normally is prepared and consumed thoughtlessly, in moments.


Epic yarn-bombing: an entire village, Llwyngwril, in beautiful Wales. Click through for some fantastic images.

Weaving with Handspun Singles – Energy Edition

Liz's cool scarf. I want one!

Liz’s cool scarf. I want one!

Usually when I spin singles to weave or knit I reduce the amount of twist so I can finish the yarn to bias very little. There are weavers and knitters who do the opposite, they use regular and even high twist in their singles and make that electric energy part of their knitting or weaving. I have done some knitting with energized singles after taking classes with Kathryn Alexander, but have never played with energy and weaving.

Liz Gipson’s latest Get Warped column is all about weaving with handspun singles and using that twist energy to make something very cool. I’ve read about controlling twist with sizing before, but it never much tickled my fancy. Liz  makes everything seem easy and fun, so I’m all in.

Liz’s process involves spinning a singles yarn with regular or higher twist. When I say ‘regular twist’ I mean the twist I would need to make a balanced 2-ply yarn. She then coats the twisty yarn with sizing and dries it under tension. She weaves with it after it’s dry and controlled, then washes out the sizing and beautiful sproingy magic happens when the twist comes back. You can see the texture and collapse in the scarf.

Waiting to be spun and set.

Waiting to be spun and set.

 

I’ve chosen these fibers to spin. Cjkoho Designs (there’s an update coming Friday) Polwarth in the Tanya (variegated) colorway for the warp and Corriedale in the Jodi (golden) colorway.

I’ll be documenting it all here over the next few weeks.

I’d appreciate any and all tips from spinning weavers who have done this before!

 

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