WWW: Politics in Quilting, Brain Hat for Science, London Craft Week Film Festival

Fascinating…. a story about politics in needlecraft – quilting, specifically. A discussion not just about political arguments amongst the quilting community, it illuminates the long-standing use of quilts for communicating political messages, and about the essential tension between an item of tradition and “comfort”, and the power of expressing your voice the only way you are able. I wasn’t aware of historical ‘quilt activism’, and was very happy to learn about it.


Reel to Reel: London Craft Week, held the first week of May, offers a film programme: 44 shorts, screened over 3 nights. Subjects are broad: there is a music video from Lorna HB – the knitting MC, there’s a documentary about the people who paint lines and markers on roads, and a 1960s-style sci-fi short about a crystal planet that was commissioned by Swarovski.


Very pleased to hear that Vicki Howell’s kickstarter campaign for her Knit Show project has been fully funded.


Image (c) Kristen McDonnell

There’s still time to make a brain hat for the Science March this weekend.


What are you doing the weekend of October 13th-15th this year? Signature Needle Arts is holding a retreat. Teachers include our own Kate (that’s me!), Susan Anderson, Romi Hill and Ann Budd. More info here.

Hand Cards Vs. Blending Board

Purple ‘n’ Pink fiber ready to go.

I’ve long been curious what the difference is between yarns spun from hand carded rolags and blending board rolags. I know that hand cards actually blend the fibers and a blending board mixes rather than thoroughly blends fiber, but I want to know what the yarns look like side by side.

Ideas always sink in best for me when I can compare things next to each other. I have a good idea of what both yarns will look like, but after I do these samples I will be better able to predict and plan rolags and yarns I want to make in the future. Plus the playing is fun!

I should be working on deadline projects that are coming up and getting ready for teaching at PLY Away, so it seemed like an ideal time to take a break play with yarn.

I got out two of my favorite tools,  my Louet extra fine cotton cards and my Clemes and Clemes blending board.

For fiber I used Louet Corriedale in purple and Merino/Tencel in Garth from Cjkoho Designs. The ratio between the two fibers was somewhere between 70%/30% and 75%/25% Corriedale/ Merino-Tencel.

 

 

 

Rollin’ rolags: Blending board rolags on the left and hand carded rolags on the right.

 

I spread the fibers randomly on the the blending board and did about five passes with my hand cards.

It was very hard not to upend my stash to make seventy-billion different versions on the blending board, it’s addictive!

I rolled my rolags pretty loosely and pulled them into roving.

I spun a quick 2-ply with each, using a woolen draft.

 

 

 

Mixed or blended?

 

I like both yarns, but would use them differently. The carded yarn is blended well, the pink lifts the purple color-wise and I really like the flashes of shiny that the Merino/Tencel brings. I’d use this type for detail-y knitting, imagine a Fair Isle pattern with a little shine or a sparkly Brioche.

The blending board yarn is just so happy! I like the big splashes of Merino/Tencel. I could spin this yarn quite chubby and the Corriedale would keep it from being too heavy. I’d use this yarn  for something simply knit with a texture stitch or just stockinette, when I want the yarn rather than the stitch pattern to sing.

Now back to work.

Which do you like, mixed or blended?

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Issue Design: Maryjane

In a post on her blog, designer Merri Fromm tells us about her Maryjane pullover design, from the current issue of Knitty.

The designer, in her own creation.

It’s a terrific summer knit: suitable for warm-weather wear, and warm-weather knitting. This would also make an excellent first top-down seamless sweater project – quick and easy to knit, and an excellent demonstration of the virtues of this sort of garment construction. Seamless knitting isn’t suitable for all garments, but it’s perfect for this type of relaxed t-shirt.

She provides a ton of great tips for working the project, and some extra detailed photos to entice you!

Subtly clever stripes!

Obsession Thursday: Bunny behavior

photo of my hand with healing rabbit bite marks

I got bit.

So this happened. —>

My first reaction, as Tully clamped down on my hand intentionally and angrily, was to be angry back. I didn’t lash out; I just removed him from my flesh.

As I treated the wounds, it changed to sadness. This is the 2nd time he’s done this.

The next morning, I remembered what I learned the last time he did this.

Flash back to the two days before the bite: I’m trying to deal with the disaster that was Tully’s corral. A cage that he liked because it gave him a 2nd level to hide in (bunnies like to feel safe), and a big enclosure so he can run about when I’m not around to supervise. Except he was peeing all over the place, no matter what I did.

So I stripped it down to the bare essentials. I dismantled the cage and cleaned the whole area. I replaced his body-sized litterbox with one 3x his size with high walls. And because I’d found him shredding his foam-square floor, I covered the whole area with a plastic floor protector (like you use in offices under rolling chairs). I gave him several places to hide (a cardboard box with holes at two different places), an area to cuddle on that used the same fuzzy mats as he’d always had, and then I introduced him to it. He seemed fine. He liked it. He hid in the hiding places and lounged in the lounging places. He didn’t pee anywhere but the litterbox. Success, right?

That night, because his water bottle’s bracket had broken in the changeover, I used his food dish for water instead. I reached in to deposit a scoop of pellets (his favorite) on the floor in front of him, and he lunged for my hand and bit down hard and wouldn’t let go. WTF?

See, I had made an agreement with him, and I’d broken it. Previously, I picked up his bowl, filled it with pellets, and he lunged for the bowl when it hit the floor. That last change was one change too many in such a short time, and he had had enough.

I told my boyfriend that Tully speaks English, and got a stare back like “why am I dating this nutjob?” Except this is what I mean: Tully tells me what he wants. When he follows me to the kitchen, he wants food. When he jumps on the couch, without exception, it means “pet me”. He is a clear communicator. This bite, then, was a clear message that he’d had enough changes for one day. It was a harder bite than was necessary (or than another non-rescue bun would give), but I understand it.

(I have no idea how he was treated in his first 10 weeks before he was rescued, but based on his aggressive food-motivated behavior, I expect he was starved. Frequently.)

Here’s some good reading I’ve done since bringing Tully home. I’m so grateful for the internet and how people are willing to share their experience.

Prove that you love me (lots more on that site about behavior!) | Aggressive rabbits

 

WWW: Handknits on Doctor Who; Woolfest; ‘Verbose Mode’

Well, this is just wonderful. Handknits on Doctor Who! 


The Quiet Joy of Watching Other People Knit: another excerpt from the book People Knitting: A Century of Photographs. I’ve linked to these before, but I agree that there is a lot of joy in there.


That’s some excellent bunting, on display at last year’s Woolfest.

There will be plenty of opportunity to watch people knit at Woolfest, an upcoming fibre festival in Cumbria, U.K., taking place June 23rd and 24th this year.


“Verbose mode”: A fascinating, clever and funny talk about the relationship between programming languages and craft instructions, from technology guru Heidi Waterhouse. Even if you’re not in the technology industry, it’s worth a watch. (And I’m not just saying this because Knitty is mentioned.)


Sheep onstage? Imagine the mess…

6 TED Talks for Fiber Artists

A sculpture by Janet Echelman photo by Janet Echelman

 

I have several deadlines looming simultaneously, so my head is down over my computer and spinning wheel.

I do take frequent short breaks and explore lovely things to look at and watch. Yesterday I found this TED playlist: Talks for the Fiber Artist

There are six and each is fascinating and inspiring. My favorite is Taking Imagination Seriously by Janet Echelman. Look at her portfolio! After I watched her TED talk I read her entire web page, then I was refreshed and excited to get back to my own work.

Which of the six inspires you?

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WWW: Next-gen knitting machine; 10th-century textile recreated; wool under the microscope

A couple of interesting knitting-related doo-dads on Kickstarter:

A next-generation knitting machine, describing itself as a 3-D printer. It’s closer to a commercial knitting machine than one of the semi-manual domestic machines, and offers interesting possibilities for small-scale production, and faster results for the home-maker.

TINK, from Kickstarter page.

And then there’s TINK, the Fiber Artist’s Wearable Notions Bracelet. I am rather intrigued by this knitting toolbelt-like contraption, and will be following the project with interest.


Fascinating story about the reconstruction of a textile from a fragment found at an archaeological dig in Iceland.


Hmmmmm… Love the idea – hoping that the hourly rate is fair! New fashion line Wooln is employing retirees to make accessories for sale.


Some facts about Knitting, from the Boffins of QI. I will never tire of reading about knitting as code – and I love the idea of the Belgian resistance knitters recording train movements in their work.


Wool Facts:

Photo Attribution in the New Knitty, Spinning Blogs, Podcasts and Vlogs

Adorable Akerworks Flyer Threader, photo by Evantia Montalvo

 

A photo attribution was left off of a photo in the new Knitty in Cool Stuff. It is fixed on the page, but I want to let everyone know that the photo of the orange hedgehog Akerworks Flyer Threader was taken by Evantia Montalvo.

I apologize Evantia for leaving off the attribution, it’s a great photo!

 

 

 

 

 

I am on the hunt for spinning (or spinning heavy) blogs, podcasts and vlogs. I need more spinning in my life! Tell me your favorites and I will list them here. While you’re at it, tell me which Ravelry groups you love for spinning. I feel like I’m in a rut, always reading and listening to the same things over and over. It’s spring and I need something new for my spinning brain.

 

I am off to Yarn Fest! I hope to see some of you there!

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Tudor Roses Giveaway!

Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore, photography by Jade Starmore

The kind folks at Dover Publications have given us a copy of the newly released paperback version of the glorious Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore.

This is a paperback reprint of the exquisite Alice and Jade Starmore’s 2013 recreation of 1998’s Tudor Roses. 2013’s Tudor Roses had new sweaters and all new photography. The designs span the women of the Tudor dynasty from Elizabeth Woodville to Mary, Queen of Scots.

To say the sweaters and the photography are stunning is to just scratch the surface. This is a knitting book of sweaters so finely wrought that just looking at the pictures will excite and inspire you. Even if you never plan on knitting one, you will go back to look at the designs like they are fine art.

 

 

Our usual giveaway rules apply. Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday April 9, 2017. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win a copy of Tudor Roses.  Giveaway value $29.95.

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Obsession Thursday: current obsessions roundup

Oh, SO MANY THINGS are happening in my world. Here are two:

Something you didn’t know about me: I learned to code HTML in the late ’90s. In the early ’00s, I switched to Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver can make you a lazy coder. It made me a lazy coder. It is easy to look at the pretty WYSIWYG page result and think you’re done. At the same time, my ex taught himself to be a heavy-duty coder in Javascript, PHP and other such stuff. He bumped up Knitty’s back end, creating a database of all the Knitty content, an advertising system, printer-friendly pages. Lots more.

my new friends.

Meanwhile, I started noticing that I had a significant deficit in understanding how HTML had changed over the years. The word “deprecated” slapped me hard a few times. I looked at online tutorials, tried to absorb what I found at  and none of it sunk in. I resigned myself to being a words and pictures girl. But I wasn’t happy with myself. I felt lesser. So I signed up for an HTML/CSS class at the board of ed. The only good thing that came of that lame class was my meeting online, after a few frustrated tweets about its lameness.  The glorious is the person who made our site bottleneck-free (among other magical things). So I’ll never regret that class. Later, I was surfing HTML5/CSS training, bemoaning the $2500(ish) price tags. But I read the reviews and found one that seemed right for me (that link is just for your info — no compensation is provided to me for the link). And all of a sudden $2500 seemed cheap. Because at the end of the course, I would be qualified to be one of those people I had envied. So I signed up. I’m finding that I knew much more than I thought (yay me!). But there is still so much to learn. And I am LOVING IT. Now when I need to debug code, I paste it into a text/development editor. Because Dreamweaver now seems like a hindrance to making good code.

I am probably the oldest person in the course. I don’t give a crap. It’s working, and I’m so happy I did it. So what is the message? The Hollywood message is that you’re never too old to learn, as long as you WANT to learn. But the bigger message is this. Being focused on the dollars allowed me to avoid making the decision to do what I’d wanted to for years. In fact, the course tuition is ridiculously cheap when you consider that, at the end of 12 weeks, one would be qualified for a WHOLE NEW CAREER (entry level, but still).

No, I’m not quitting Knitty. This knowledge will make me a better editor, and already has made me a better coder. And it’s made me proud of myself. Excited about a new challenge, which infuses everything ELSE I do with new energy. So that’s all. I wanted to share this with y’all. It reminds me of the first time I turned a toe in a sock. I feel unstoppable.

Ok, one more thing. I had bought a very well-reviewed HTML5/CSS book back in the lame-class era. I got nowhere with it. I went back to it last weekend, and realized why. The course I’m taking teaches much more logically, laying down basic skills then adding a new layer on top. The book grouped like with like, with no consideration to giving the reader a base understanding first. If I were to write a new knitting book now, I’d make sure I followed this type of educational path. Not all cables are the same, you know? (ps: I just had to go into the code and debug this post. SUPASTAHHHH!)


I broke a molar a month ago. I needed a new dentist. Saw an ad for Opencare, waving a $50 gift card to businesses I frequent in front of my nose, offering to help me find one that worked for me. Put in my requirements in their search engine: near me, good with chickeny patients, accessible online, good reviews. Found one, booked and went yesterday. She seems just as great as the reviews said, and as a bonus, is respectful of my lack of dental insurance so she doesn’t order any procedures that are not necessary! And now I’ll get a $50 gc to Starbucks, which doesn’t hurt. If you want to try out their service to find a new dentist, use this link and we both will get a $50 gc once you go. www.opencare.com/invite/as217067 Because free is nice. And a service that works? That’s even nicer.