Saturday, January 30, 2010

The KnittyBlog is somewhere else!

Those of you who subscribe to our RSS feed will need to update that link to stay in touch with all things Knitty. We've upgraded the blog to wordpress!

This is the new feed link:

[I've already set up the new blog, but realized after the fact that 1500+ of you would have no way of knowing it existed, so this old one is back temporarily until I can get the message out.]

Add this to your Google Reader or Bloglines [are there other aggregators?] and you'll be all set!

I have knitting stuff to blog, too, but I'll save it for the new blog. It's much purtier and easier to read, and I think you'll like it. No more comment spam, either. Wordpress rocks.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

First glimpse of Hawaii!

I'm flying!
Originally uploaded by amysinger
I arrived in Honolulu last night and managed to stay up late enough to acclimatize [reasonably well] to the time difference.

Today, my kind and fun hostess, Dorothy, took me up to the North Shore and killed several birds [nothing actually died except the shave ice] with one trip.

Everything's in the Flickr stream...take a peek if you'd like to see what I've been seeing so far.


BTW, in case you hadn't heard, I'm on Oahu to teach the Tuscany Shawl class and give two lectures [No Sheep For You and All About Knitty] at the Hickam AFB Arts & Crafts Center. Everything happens this Saturday, Nov 14th. Any remaining spots are now open to the general public [you don't need to be in the military to sign up]. Details are here. Come out and see me if you can! We'll have a blast!

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

WWW for October 7, 2009

by Melissa Gow

There is a tree near my house with some leaves starting to change and we all know what that means...SWEATER WEATHER is finally here!

The Bride wore Lincoln. That's a new one, but a beautiful one!

Wind-powered knitting art...

Knitpicks Options are now available in clear acrylic!

Do you still have some of your lego collection laying about? If not, I'm sure there is a small child with some of their own who will be more than willing to help you build your very own motorized ball winder!

Lexie Barnes showed off her new bag designs and fabrics and taught willing visitors how to knit at her salon at New York Fashion Week (September 10-17, 2009). Reports say it was a huge success, with lots of visitors of all walks of life -- including models -- getting a taste of why we love the craft so much. Thank you, Lexie!

Here's a great article for yoga for knitters and with holiday knitting getting closer, we're gonna need it!

A neat social knitting art project.

Although the Knitter's Retreat is now full, you can still get on the waiting list!

Go Knit! 2009 has been launched!

Help Seasalt Clothing Company raise funds for The Bumblebee Conservation Trust by knitting scarves that they display in their store window, then later auction off with the proceeds going to the chosen charity. Last year they donated over £3000 for The Cinnamon Trust, a UK charity that assists the elderly and their pets.

That telltale nip is in the air that remindes me of Rhinebeck! Oh, sweet Rhinebeck. I'm having to miss it this year but one day...Oh, yes, I will go back!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Since last we chatted...

...more has happened than I can possibly blog. Let's go to the bullet points!
  • the magical Sock Summit
  • a lovely vacation trip with my mom and sister
  • the fall issue of Knitty, celebrating 7 years of Knitty goodness and a gentle redesign
  • a trip to The Knitting Nest in a really comfy, not-hot Austin, TX [I didn't think the not-hot was possible!]
  • a trip to WEBS -- New England in early fall [heaven!]
You already know about Sock Summit [see the post below for wrap-up links all over the web], and the vacation was much needed.

The fall issue of Knitty was the result of months of planning, work and not a little fretting. We're all glad you like it, very! It was a huge relief to go live...a redesign of any sort is always a bigger undertaking than you envision until you're right in the mucky middle of it. I learned a lot, that's for sure.

The Knitting Nest was just a lovely, warm place full of great yarn and nice people. You know the reputations Texans have for hospitality -- well, Stacy and her crew [and her charming husband and daughter!] took more than excellent care of me. We had a great class and a lovely party to celebrate their anniversary and poof, I was home before I knew it!

I've been traveling mostly camera-less lately. Too much to shlep with the uke, I guess. But I did take a few pics with the iPhone on my last trip -- to WEBS -- and you've gotta see them.

WEBS itself is really indescribable. It has nearly everything from every company that makes yarn, and even the work of some smaller hand-dyers. Bags, tools, spinning things, weaving things. And then there's the back room where the bags of discounted yarnish goodies reside, and it's hard not to walk around with your mouth open. For a long time. Just wow. I was so stunned by it all, I took not a single picture inside the shop. But here's their highway billboard:

I had a great Plug & Play shawl design class with really excited and motivated students, and a lovely No Sheep lecture the night before. I bought a sweater's worth of, not kidding, Berroco Comfort worsted, to make this [rav link], and a little yarn for a few friends. On my last afternoon, it was decided that I needed to see a little of the surrounding area

My tour guides, Karen [the lovely shop manager] and Melissa Morgan-Oakes [who I'd never met before this trip, despite us being in the same places more than once over the years] made sure I got a little infusion of New England before I went home. Yankee Candle? Sure! A quick stop at Scandihoovians, yup! But here was the highlight of our spontaneous road trip:

I know that logo. No way. Lexie Barnes' showroom is within driving distance of WEBS? I freaked out.

Here's Lexie with samples from her brand-new line. And I finally got to put my hands on it...folks, the fabric we all know and love is BACK! The nearly bulletproof fabric that is the friend of knitting and the enemy of spills. It feels so solid and smooooth, and look at her new prints!

The little shiny thing in her hand? That's her brand-new circular needle case. It's brilliant! The page on her website doesn't give a hint at the insides, so this is your sneak peek! Lots and lots of pages to hold your needles and way more, plus it zips closed so nothing escapes. Wow.

Another [slightly blurry, sorry] pic of the new goodies. The Kiri print looks bright red on her site, but it really is this deep burgundy color, so I wanted you to see.

One of the other things I've been excited to see is Lexie's new bag shape, the McCoy.

Now, this print is called Lotus and it's not on her site because the factory screwed up and the color isn't what she'd ordered. I personally love the color as is, but Lexie is the designer, and what she says goes! Meanwhile, if you like this pattern, you can grab it if you move fast. Lexie is having a sample sale, this coming Saturday (Oct 3) from 10-5. She'll have bags in this Lotus fabric (limited quantity of course), special deals on sample Classic Lexie totes, and other surprises.

Anyway, back to the McCoy -- yup, she gave me one of them to take home with me and you'll never guess what fits inside this bag:

That's my sopranino ukulele. Fits in perfectly, with tons of room to spare for yarn and everything else a traveling knitter might want. My full review of the bag will be in the winter issue of Knitty, but I just couldn't keep my lips zipped about this one, especially for those who are close enough to grab a sample at the sale this weekend.


So that's a very spotty, very shwag-oriented catch-up post. I'm home for a two-month stretch now and you may see a little more action on the blog than you're used to.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WWW for August 19, 2009

by Melissa Gow, Editorial Assistant for

Summer is 3/4 are those summer knits coming along?

The internet is buzzing with wrap-up posts and pictures from Sock Summit. Here are a few for those who want to relive it, or those who missed it and want to see what it was like:

  • Knitty editor Amy's photo album
  • The Ravelry crew's wrap-up post, with pictures
  • The very knit-friendly Oregonian newspaper's blog wrapup
  • Lots and lots of people Tweeted all throughout Sock Summit...scroll to the bottom and start reading, and it'll almost be like being there (?)
  • Tons and tons of pictures on Flickr
  • A little something from Tina at Blue Moon Fiber Arts and something else from Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot
Amy was there and reports that, though there were no specifics given of any sort, Tina announced that she'd registered a new company with a less Sock-Summit-focused name and gave vague hints that this Sock Summit was their inaugural event. Having been part of it from the teacher's perspective, and being friends with vendors and students and hearing their reports -- and being so impressed at the Sock Summit team's first-class treatment of every participant in every way -- Amy's excited to see what they will do next, whatever it is.

Avon Canada has a great little contest to raise awareness for breast cancer. Create something in pink, post the photo to the contest website and for every vote Avon will donate 2$ to breast cancer organizations across Canada!

Hat Wars2 is gearing up! Deadline to register is Aug 24, 2009.

Do you spin? There's still time to enter the Spin Control contest we're throwing at Knittyspin! Details here.

Local Toronto textile artist Breeyn McCarney sent out a call for submissions of hand knitted items for her next project:

Rowan is changing how they do things on their website. As of July 31st, 2009, the general public will no longer be able to purchase books, shadecards and magazines online or by phone. However purchases/renewals of Rowan International memberships and for workshops will still be available.

Kathrene Petersen of is holding an online auction of knitted items to raise funds for the Durham Humane Society Phoenix Rising project to rebuild the Oshawa, Ontario, shelter that burned down last December.

Everyone's favourite Knit Grrrl, Shannon Okey, has started up Knitgrrl Studio, a fiber workshop, retail space and online store located in the Lake Erie Building at Templar Industrial Park in Lakewood, Ohio.

I am drawing a blank on a witty parting line...must be all the rain we are getting here!

Till two weeks from now!


Monday, August 03, 2009

I need to be packing...

So of course I'm going to write a blog post instead!

Hello, blog! How are you? I've thought about you more frequently in the last few days. Lots to talk about! [I promise not to continue this anthropomorphication of the blog any further. It's getting creepy already.]


If you've been following my Twitter feed, you know I've been in a Sock Summit preparation frenzy for the last month. I understand many of the other instructors have been similarly focused/freaked out and it's a bit of a comfort. See, these are two brand-new classes I'm teaching at Sock Summit: simultaneously exciting and terrifying. I can't even begin to go into everything that's been running through my head, so I just won't.

I do know that I'm looking forward to Thursday night when I will have finished teaching each class once, and can breathe a little easier. I want to kick ass with these classes [without actually kicking anyone in the ass, because I don't think the students would like that].


It didn't occur to me that I might need to get a massage before the trip because my neck and upper back would seize up, so I didn't book one. And I guess my favorite miracle worker is away for the weekend, so oh well. We pulled out the Thumper and hub went to town and it has helped!

I'll book her for when I return. Because man, will I have earned it!


You probably know I think the internet is a wonderful place, and this next story just proves it once again.

I'm enamored [understatement] with the ukulele. I adore playing it -- not that I'm fabulous, just that it makes me SO HAPPY. Here's a little something my BUFFs [best uke friends forever] and I worked up a few weekends ago...Take the Skinheads Bowling. Original version by the incomparable Camper Van Beethoven. Our take is the world premiere of our new girl group: No Skanks On Sunday.

One thing girl uke players have to deal with is that our natural appendages get in the way of holding the uke flat against our chest like guys get to do. This makes it harder for us to play -- or some of us, anyway. So I posted a query on my favorite ukulele forum asking if anyone had ever tried to alter the architecture of the ukulele to accommodate our protrusions, and the discussion didn't go got really positive, constructive and interesting, really quick! Here's the thread in case you're interested.

The summary: the back and forth discussion prompted one forum member to ask about making a concave-backed uke, which I thought was a brilliant idea. After the jokes about custom cup-sized ukes were finished [can't blame them], up stepped a skilled and kind luthier who wanted to give it a shot. In fact, he offered to build a prototype for me and just send it to me. As a gift.

I was floored. His name is Brad Donaldson and you can google him, but you won't find much right now. I offered to build him a website for his work as a thank you, and he's that makes me really happy. [No, I won't start work on it until fall Knitty has gone live, promise.] Brad lives about an hour and a half outside of Portland [you know, where SOCK SUMMIT is being held this week?]. So tomorrow, when I get off the plane, I'll be heading to pick up my rental car and driving out to get my brand-new first-ever concave-back ukulele.

Once Brad got into working on this project, he was on fire. Every day, I got a progress e-mail with pictures. He started upgrading the wood he was using, because he could tell it was working out well and he wanted it to be even prettier than he'd planned at first. So instead of solid mahogany [which is fabulous enough], it's now mahogany and quilted maple with rosewood trim and abalone fret markers and his logo. Here, some pictures of the uke without the finish on:

and the money shot:

Look at the curve in that back! He's already strung it up and says it sounds great, and since then, has applied a gorgeous gloss finish which has been curing for the last few weeks. Tomorrow, I get to pick it up and play it. I am so excited, it's hard to think straight.

I'll post pics when I'm back home in a week, so you can enjoy it with me, but if you follow the Twitter feed, you'll see a snapshot or two as soon as I have it. For Sock Summit attendees who are curious, yes, it'll be with me all the time during the week so you can peek at it.

I'm also quite certain that Brad will build one of these for other people as well. I believe he's already started on a few. So I'll share his contact details when it's okay with him.

Like I said, the internet is an amazing place where great things happen.


Underwear is washing, suitcases pulled out of hiding and my new treat to myself for this trip is ready to be loaded: it's an ePac rolling backpack. Key feature for me: easy access pocket for my laptop so when I get to airline security, I don't have to unpack my bag to get at it. [The bag I've had for the last 3 years only works when the laptop is on the bottom of everything else. Ack!]

I already feel my travel mood improving as a result. I'm just tired of fighting with luggage in front of every xray machine.

There's room in it for a little spindle and fiber, some knitting and even a pocket at the very back for my class handouts, so it's the perfect travel bag. And cheap at $79.

So there you have it. My pre-trip update. There will be no WWW news this week, for obvious reasons. Mel is going to collect more good stuff for the next week and it'll go up when I'm back.


I'm looking forward to meeting all sorts of people this week, and hope everyone has a great time at the Summit. And for those not going, I'm quite certain that the benefits of this event will trickle down to the entire sock-knitting community in the form of new patterns, books and ideas that we can all share.

Have a great week, everyone!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WWW for Wednesday, July 22, 2009

by Melissa Gow, Editorial Assistant for

Is it too hot to knit where you are yet?

Berroco is looking for the next SOCK STAR! Is it you?

Speaking of contests, if you've EVER knit anything from a Knitty pattern and love taking pictures, you've got to enter the Knitty 2010 Calendar Contest! The grand prize is crazy big!

We've got two other contests going on at Knitty, too -- read more about them here! We want you to win stuff!

Our favorite long-distance blogging pair -- the Mason-Dixon girls, Kay and Ann, have just released Knitting Outside the Lines on audiobook!

UPDATE: Yarn Forward's plans to offer a digital version of the magazine has been temporarily put on hold while they search for a new service provider. Watch their website for updates.

Amy Butler has a line of hand bags designed with crafters in mind: Sweet Life Bags.

Lorna's Laces and WendyKnits have teamed up to create WendyKnits Sunrise colourway based on the sunrise photos Wendy often takes from her office window. Wendy has even come up with a sock pattern [pdf download] to showcase the colour changes.

Knitter Nigel Pottle walked and knit the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route in Spain, back in May to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer Society of BC . His pilgrimage blog can be found here.

Namaste has expanded their Cali bag line with the new, classy Hermosa -- their largest bag yet, and it stands up on its own.

If you are living in or visiting Brooklyn, New York, you really should swing by SpaceCraft. It's a fabulous communal environment where you can learn all sorts of crafts in a community atmosphere.

Now that the sun is down and that nice lake breeze is making things cooler, I'm off to work on my current sweater!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

by Melissa Gow, Editorial Assistant for

Here's your next infusion of the bi-weekly fluffy stuff!

Are you in San Diego and want to help raise breast cancer awareness? From June 15 to November 15, the San Diego Affiliate offices are accepting donations of knitted items that will be sold at various Breast Cancer Awareness events. If you need more information check out the Events Page or email Barbara LaMark, Knit for the Cure Chairperson barbara.susangkomen AT

Thread Banger has complied a great Weekly DIY Roundup of spinning resources.

All I can really say about this hairy tale is WOW!

Along with the new look over at there is a new editor (or is it editrix?), Sandi Wiseheart has stepped aside (but will still be a regular blogger at Knitting Daily) and Kathleen Cubley is stepping up to be the new editor. Welcome, Kathleen!

The Tour De Fleece is off and running again!

I know it's a few days late (started on the 4th of July) but you can still join in the fun! There are two different Tours being run: The original and the Ravelry Group.

Still haven't planned a summer vacation? What about a weekend getaway to a working Massachusetts sheep farm owned by knitting author and designer Kristin Nicholas for an intensive weekend knitting course?

Be sure to also check out Kristin's new sock yarn! The yarns are dyed in the wonderful palette of colors that we expect from Kristin and may remind you of ikat dyed fabric! Expect it to show up in yarn store some point in August, just in time to start some holiday socks!

It's that time again: Interweave's Hurt Book and Overstock Sale! 50–75 percent off -- and Jaime from Interweave suggests this: sort from low price to high price in the pull-down menu on the main page to see the best deals.

See you in two weeks and remember your Sunscreen! It's very hard to knit with sunburned hands...


Monday, June 29, 2009

This blog is a BLOG, yes?

So I should talk about other stuff! It ain't all just business around here, even though it is often business. But business = fun, and vice versa and oh. My head hurts now.

Never mind.


Item one: Long-time blog readers may remember my obsession with Blythe dolls. I have 5, and still love looking at them and having them around. But I really don't need all 5, and one of them is being wasted in my cabinet since I don't have time to photograph or trick her out any further. The most posable of them all, Figue.

She's featured in the top two pictures in this Knitty pattern and in the shot at left. I know! Photogenic, ain't she?

She started as a stock Blythe. I first swapped out her body with a super-articulated Japanese Obitsu body. Then new eyechips [so her eyes are prettier colors than the boring blue/green/orange you get with a stock doll].

Anyway, she's now for sale, and her listing with lots more photos is here. I hope she goes to a good home.


So Knitty came out, I went to TNNA, stayed on for the Knitters' Connection and then home. And I haven't really stopped since then.

There's usually a blissful week or so after an issue comes out when I can be a happy sloth, doing whatever the heck I want to without having to obsessively check my e-mail or sit at the computer coming up with [cough] brilliant prose for someone. So there isn't this time, and I'm a little crumpled up, kind of like when you suck the water out of a plastic bottle and don't let air rush in to take its place. I'm getting stuff done, which is fabulous. I'm also having non-restful dreams so close to reality that when I wake up, it's like the dream gave me a to-do list for the day.

I'm not kidding. It happened this morning. The written thing I dreamed that I'd missed sending in time -- it sent me right off to the Starbucks where I got a reasonable first draft done [I've still got a few days to finish it, so I'm okay there]. And then Jillian called and we had the phone call we'd had in the dream. Really.

The good news is that the clog will clear in about a week and then it will be more summer-like around here. But until the immediate deadlines get met, I'm a bit of a bag of nerves.

I'm hoping the not-sleeping-well thing will stop then, too.


What else? Lots of knitting for Sock Summit. Frequently reaching for the uke for stress relief.

Actually, our group, the Corktown Ukulele Jam, performed at the Toronto City Roots festival this weekend. Half of us on stage, the rest in the audience [that's where I was]. And we were fabulous. We were so good that, even as it began to rain, the crowd continued to grow, clapping and singing along with us. It was a blast.


Okay, enough rambling and definitely enough venting. I'm gonna go try to find my sheet of shrinky dink material. I have an idea for something silly for my uke friends and am going to give it a shot, hoping I don't burn myself.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

WWW for June 24, 2009

by Melissa Gow, Editorial Assistant for

Amy's asked me to fully take over the WWW updates so that they're published on schedule. [sez Amy: "Thank you, Mel!"] I'll be bringing you an update every other Wednesday on the Knitty blog. Let's get started!

First off, some big news about Knitty! Amy hinted at it in her latest letter from the editor, and now we can tell you all about it!

Starting with the next issue, Fall 2009, we're going to celebrate our 7th Anniversary with a gentle redesign! The original site was designed in 2002 and everyone thought it was time for a little freshening.

Here's how we look now:

Kind of squished into the left side of your browser window and narrower than it has to be. That was for a reason in 2002, but now that we're making pages printer-friendly, it no longer applies! So starting in Fall, Knitty's front page will look a little more like this:

As you can see, the page content is now wider, the main content window is a smidge bigger, and we've even been able to enlarge our ad spaces. After all, it's the support of our advertisers that allows Knitty to come to you for free, and we think they deserve a little extra screen real estate. We're also tweaking navigation to make it even more streamlined.

We've also decided to shake up our publication schedule a little. We'll still be producing four yummy issues every year, but starting next March, they'll come out on a slightly different schedule. Here's what you have to look forward to:

IssueThemeIssue live
Winter 2009Knitted gifts, garments + accessoriesDec 2009
Spring+Summer 2010Warm-to-hot-weather garments + accessoriesMar 2010
First Fall + Holiday Headstart 2010

Transitional cool-weather layers + projects to knit early for holiday gifting

mid-July 2010
Deep Fall 2010

Cool-weather garments + accessories, quick last-minute gift knits

Oct 2010
Winter 2011Cold-weather garments + accessoriesJan 2011
Spring+Summer 2011Warm-to-hot-weather garments + accessoriesApr 2011

Yup, it's a lot of changes, and we're really excited about all of them. We'll talk more about what and why when the fall issue comes out, but we wanted you to know the great news we shared with everyone at TNNA earlier this month.

Lexie Barnes returns to the tote with her new series of bags, the shimmery metallic Classic Lexie Collection. Expect to see more designs and patterns for the fall!

Yarn Forward is working towards offering a digital edition of the magazine! Keep your eyes on the blog for when they go live.

The Boys of Summer are back for another season along with them is the Stitch 'n' Pitch.

For those of us in Toronto the date for the Jays game is the 25th of August. For everyone else, check the main Stitch 'n' Pitch page for the date of the game nearest you.

Remember when we told you about a social network site for weavers? Weavolution went live on June 8!

Knitting Daily has a new look and with the comes new features like being able to search through current and back issues for information on patterns and in many cases purchase that pattern you missed out on! The are other changes afoot to the message boards, too.

For those knitting font junkies, (we know who you are!) here's a knitting font plus a few more for other stitchy endeavors.

Looking to do some redorating of your abode? Why not incorporate your favorite craft in to the design by recovering a ratty old chair and a few pouffs stacked in a corner??

See you in two weeks with more knitting news from all over the web!

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What Neil wrote.

I do declare, someone get me a Mint Julep lest I faint dead away.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

full circle

Remember when I got this? The man who wrote the book the movie is based on saw it tonight, was quite amused by it, and then signed the button-sealed envelope for me.*

I will be shadowbox-framing this baby as soon as budget allows.

*I am not the first, nor will I be the last, to say that Neil Gaiman is a charming man, highly nice, a gentleman, and absolutely freaking hot. Oh, sigh.


Where's summer Knitty? Soon, my pets. Very, very soon. In the meantime, the rest of the pics from tonight can be found here. I've done the best I can to title them helpfully, including a few choice quotes from the man himself that I remember quite vividly. Much better than a wordy blog post, no?

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ode to Ishbel

Tess Designer Yarns - Petite Silk (450 yards), 1 skein. As you can see, I JUST made it. Had to change the pattern to get points on the shawl before the yarn ran out. Shawl is lovely and large. Weighs nothing.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

If it's quiet 'round the blog, must be coming up on Summer Knitty time!

Hi, y'all! How's it going?

Lots of Knitty production going on here, which is why it gets blog-silent for a while. I'm furiously busy, but writing about what I'm doing during production season is not the most scintillating reading. Never think I've forgotten you. I have had enough free brain-space to keep up the Twitter posts...because 140 characters is easy peasy!

Meanwhile, the iPod is on shuffle and this season, the Tragically Hip and a little Amanda Palmer are keeping me company as I code and Photoshop and try to keep up with the e-mail.


So, is that all that's happening around here? Well, actually, the biggest news is that I just found out I'm going to teach at WEBS! All the details are on my tour page. Northampton + vicinity Knittyheads...come out and represent!


What else? Well, I have set a goal for myself. I want to teach in Hawaii. There are quite a few knitting shops and dangit, I can't get the leis out of my head. And yes, the fact that it's the land of the ukulele, my newest and most sincere love, might be another reason I'm really hoping to go. Posting my travel/teaching dreams to this blog has worked before, so I'm going to try it again:

Anyone out there have LYS connections in Hawaii?
introductions most sincerely welcomed! you can reach me at
[my first name] AT amysinger DOT ca


Not in Hawaii, but you'd like me to come teach at your LYS? I would love to do that! Write me and let's see what we can get happening!


In knitting news, I am ready to bind off Ishbel , but the remaining yarn may not be enough. Yes, I know that the size I am knitting calls for more than 400 yards and this skein is about 400 yards. I guess I just believe in the power of positive thinking.

I had to frog back half a repeat and invent my own way to get the points in place on the outside edge, and will have no idea if it's worked until I actually sit down to bind off. However I have a lot of work to do [see 2nd paragraph above :)] and am saving this as a reward for work completed.

So I'm getting back to it.


Don't forget the Hawaii thing.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WWW for May 13, 2009

No song and dance this time, just knitting news from around the world!

Starting close to home, if you're in Toronto today [May 13th], come out and meet the author of the new book, Vintage Baby Knits @ Lettuce Knit tonight from 6-9pm. This book is absolutely stunning and you won't want to miss the chance to meet Kristen Rengren, the author, while she's in town, and see the samples from the book!

Need a little lift? You need a Wonder Woman beanie! A subtle-but-powerful message that shows you are the one in charge.

Or perhaps it's time for a Spiderman blankie?

Taking home your purchases in a plastic bag is becoming, finally, socially tabu. So kudos to Bags for the People who are helping to stamp out plastic bags, one at a time. From their website, "We are a non-profit organization(pending) that provides a sustainable alternative to plastic bags. We use all repurposed materials and give our bags out for FREE. We also perform community building workshops and events to not only get people to make the switch from plastic to re-usable, but to inspire people to take an active and creative role in life."

While you're thinking reusable bags, peek at the World Wildlife Fund project about making the switch to reusable bags. They're featuring pictures of people with their favorite reusable bag and even giving out prizes of groceries!

Our favorite reusable bag patterns:

Everlasting Bagstopper [Amy sez you might want to make it a few inches designed, the thing stretches to accommodate elephants, but can you lift an elephant?]

BYOB - a more substantial bag that's also very pretty

The first shopping bag Knitty ever published, the French Market Bag. Do stop by this blog for tips on improving the pattern.

Handknit Market Bag from Classic Elite

Crocheted hobo-style shopping bag

Mysterious scarf mystery [redundancy intentional]. Do you know where this scarf pattern originated?

Another goodie for Ontarians: can't make it to Maryland Sheep & Wool or Rhinebeck? Can you get to Grimsby? Yay! Get the car pool organized!

Are you in New York? There's still time to catch the Yarn Theory exhibit, which ends May 17th. The exhibit takes a look at the intersections between knitting, crochet, math and science.

Annie Modesitt fans, take note: her only stop in Canada on her next class tour will be at The Naked Sheep in Toronto. Full class details here. Don't miss out!

Visit Vickie Howell's latest project: Craft Corps, tied in with the upcoming book of the same name. Weekly profiles of crafters of all sorts. This week, it's Michael Auger, quirky painter whose work I like a lot!

Custom-fit your own sweater with this tutorial! A very practical approach which includes a little sewing -- totally worth it.

Mark your calendars: it's almost time for WWWKIP day!

And that's it for this time. Now go and knit something!


Monday, May 11, 2009

what did I bring home from MDSW?

In the big barn, the booth that grabbed my eye [on setup Friday before the fair was open] was Bullens Wullens. I might have grabbed the big bag on the right on that day. They've just started offering tussah roving, and in so many colors, I can't begin to describe them all. I went all bluey-greeny this time and found things I wanted to spin in random sequence. A tuft of this, a tuft of that. See what comes of it. The pale blue/green on the left is a direct result of watching Dawn spin her bag of same and finding it irresistable, going back at the end of the show and buying the other three.

What else?

Well, since I finished that 5-year-old skein of Tess Designer Yarns' Cascade Silk, I thought I deserved something to replace it with. These are 400ish-yard skeins of tussah [$20/ea!] that will become an Ishbel. The solid color for the lace section and the variegated for the stockinette section, with some sort of alternating transitioning to get from one to the other.

Also got a few bits of MDSW shwag [shirts] and that's about it. Was too busy having fun selling Jennie's pottery, meeting knitters and spinners and poking about the barns to see what was there for a non-woolly knitter and spinner [lots!]. And yes, had to remind myself more than once about the more than 20 spindles I already had at home. I brought the last two I'd bought at Rhinebeck last fall along with on this trip to remind me that I was not lacking in spindle power.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

You've got to hear this guy

YouTube - Buck Nix & Queenie Wahine -- worldwide debut!

I am posting this so you can see two things:
1: I didn't fall down while playing backup at the latest uke night and actually was enjoying myself.

2: My musical partner, David, kicks ass, and I really want people to hear him. He wrote the song we're playing, sings with a fabulous bass voice, does killer solos, and is a nice guy on top of that.

The two of us are working to combat long-term stage fright and it gets a little better for us each time we go up there. [When I was a teenager, I competed in the Kiwanis Music Festival on flute and was so nervous that my hands went completely numb as I was playing. Yick.]


I'm sure some of you wonder what is up with all the uke talk here. Well, when your hobby is your business and almost all of your friends are involved in that hobby/business, it makes for a rather one-sided life. I adore my knitting life and my knitting friends and wouldn't want to live without them. But I find that pursuing this uke thing makes me appreciate both sides even more.

I've never subscribed to the "this is only a knitting blog" concept. For those that do, it's cool, but if I'm gonna share what's happening around here, I'd rather share the full picture. Except for the private bits, because who wants to read that? No, you really don't want to. Trust me.


Okay, one last uke thing and then I'll go, with the promise that my next post WILL be about knitting. I've got stash enhancement photos from Maryland to share. And progress photos on my latest tube scarf. Yummah.


That little uke <-- over on the left? That's my newest baby. It's the one I'm playing in the video. It's an Ohana Sopranino, which means it's shorter than a standard Soprano uke by about 2". Proportionally narrower, as well.

I have freakishly small hands, and this uke is a great fit. It's also a perfect travel uke, since it weighs almost nothing and is just super teeny. And it sounds great. For those who care, David tested the intonation [this is a test of the accuracy of the notes it produces right down to the bottom of the fretboard] and it beat his classic 1920s Martin Soprano [which is saying something].

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WWW for April 29, 2009

What's the news across the nation?
We have got the a way we hope will amuse you!
We just love to give you our views. :)

Ladies and gents, Knitty gives you the news!

[see what happens when I write these posts late at night? I get punchy.]

Baltimoreans! Come out and see me

The 2009 KNIFTA awards are out. How many have you seen?

Another knitted bag made from bags!

When you buy Alpaca fiber from The Alpaca Spinner, you get a little card with the face of your alpaca on it!

The fascinating periodic table of knitting. An interesting work in progress!

Knitters and spinners, may we present The LambCam!

Help cover The Skye Bridge in knitting!

Up for a challenge? Try a recreated pattern for Sanquhar gloves, created by the fabulous team at Tata-Tatao!

Brenda Dayne wants to know what you want to know about knitting!

And finally, you can buy your very own village...handknitted, of course!


Monday, April 27, 2009

What is a person to do with all this technology?

I loves me some new technology. Shiny is good. And I have fallen for Twitter in a huge way. Writing a blog post can take an hour, depending on how much info I need to share. Writing a Tweet [a single twitter post, no longer than 140 characters] takes less than a minute, if even that. Perfect for short-attention-span girl. And perfect for communicating silly things and even important things quickly.

It's getting so that Twitter will spread news faster than the conventional news media does. It's an amazing thing to be witnessing, the birth of this new medium of communication.

Anyway, I'm *not* abandoning the blog; not at all. But I am blogging less frequently. So in order to provide ongoing evidence that I am still alive -- and to share little tidbits of news, some Knitty-related and some not -- I've added a Twitter feed to the right sidebar. It's under the little blue birdie icon. It'll show the last three things I've posted.

Big stuff and the WWW will continue to appear on the blog. And should I feel all expository, there will be actual real blog posts. I just didn't want to leave anyone wondering.


While I'm here, a few things of interest:

- I'm going to be at the Maryland Sheep & Wool festival for the first time ever [!] this weekend, and I hope to see you there! I'll be toting shwag [new buttons!] and if you are too shy to ask, just don't be. Come up and say hi. That's why I'm there! My homebase for the weekend will be Jennie the Potter's booth, so if you really need a button fix, that's where to hang out.

- I'm also going to be doing some cool pre-festival stuff at Lovelyarns. I've got my own button on their front page! [giggle] Anyway, I haven't been out that way since 2004 [!], so if you'd like to hear my No Sheep lecture and ask questions -- about No Sheep stuff or anything else Knittyish, please come and fill the auditorium! Details are on the Lovelyarns site. And if you'd like any books signed, just bring them with. I'll be glad to pull out the sharpie after the lecture.

- On the needles, because people like to know, is a chemo cap for a friend's mom who's just started radiation. I found this pattern and the mom in question liked it a lot. As I swatched, though, I couldn't imagine having garter stitch against a sensitive scalp, so I switched to stockinette and matched the gauge. It's a great pattern and swaps easily into stockinette, and worn with the smooth side in, it'll look quite similar to the picture anyway. And I'm knitting it in a variegated colorway of Fixation, so I don't even have to change colors. Knitting chemo caps is such a bittersweet thing to do. I'm sure we'd all love never to have to knit another one, but being able to help in a small way is a good thing.

- I'm also going to cast on another sweater. Another Liesl, this time with the higher neck and in a totally different yarn. Liesl is the sweater I find most flattering on my body and the one I never hesitate to reach for. So I should have another. I was going to use the Mission Falls cotton I have stashed, but a morning newsletter from Lettuce Knit suggested Rowan Summer Tweed for the sweater, and that's a brilliant idea. In fact, I have a sweater's worth in Brilliant [a super-sexy deep pink] and am going to cast on as soon as the chemo cap is done.

Okay, I've got prep to do for the trip, so I'll sign off. See you soon!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Watching the world shift a little...

It's easier with new glasses, sort of.

I have a great optician and visit him when I need new [multi-focal, very super expensive] glasses. The non-name-brand I'm currently wearing cost, no exaggeration, $600. A little of that cost is the photochromic lens that makes these work as sunglasses too, but it means I can see in all light, anywhere.

But those of you who wear progressives [aka invisible bifocals] know that working on computer or reading for an extensive period of time is a super-huge pain in the butt with the tiny reading area progressives give you. Lots of head-turning to follow a sentence or to see all of my laptop's 15" screen in focus. The only option is single-vision glasses that are set with a focal distance that matches where my computer screen sits in relation to my face. But they aren't cheap, especially if you like a nice-looking frame. And I do. Not surprisingly, I don't have $150 [and up!!] to spend right now.

So when I heard about GlassyEyes, I checked it out. Summary: if you wear single-vision glasses and don't need a brand name, you can have new glasses for $30 a pair. Including delivery. This is not a misprint. The GlassyEyes blog is all about just this thing and is very informative.

I found the frame above [I picked #16 -- black with turquoise] for $19. The anti-glare coating and delivery brought the total to $30.

I have heard good and bad about ordering online eyeglasses [mostly from Stefanie, who's had mixed results with the glasses she ordered], so I went into this knowing what came in the mail might be crap.

They came yesterday. They are absolutely perfect. The RX is right on [it helped that at my latest eye exam, I asked the doc for a detailed RX for single-vision glasses for computer, because there are fussy measurements she took for me that made the difference, I'm sure]. There was no duty or tax on the package.

That same eye doc warned me VERY STERNLY about ordering progressives from online companies. She said the measurements required are so specific to every frame that it's unlikely they'll be even close to what I would need. And yet, I just might take that $100 gamble, if I find myself with a spare c-note in my pocket at some time in the future.

But I did want to urge you to take a look at this as an option if you wear single-vision glasses. Zenni supposedly has a mixed reputation. However, in two transactions with them, I've been very pleased, and would go back to them again.

Nothing will ever replace the service and precise result you get from visiting an optician. But if you can't afford to see one, at least this way you're not walking into doors or getting headaches.