The Weekly Round Up: A New Knitty Issue, Record Setting Fleece and The Beginning of Pumpkin Season

Freshly Plucked Patterns

With the first week of September comes a fresh crop of fall patterns! At the top of my list is the new Knitty – Deep Fall 2015. I’ve loved Knitty with all my knitterly heart since I first started knitting in 2006, and that love has not waned. Some of my very first projects were from Knitty mags, and I’ve always found it to be a really fearless and interesting publication. Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 12.54.19 PM

Photo credit Knitty 2015. Pattern: Pierrot by Motoko Takahashi 

skeinFINALnotypeWhat’s extra exciting about this issue is that Knitty is now on Patreon! Committed to improving their website and paying designers more for their work, Knitty has reached out to the community and requested donations to achieve their goals. If you love Knitty as I do, consider becoming a donor. I’ve pledged what I can, because I think it’s an amazing publication and it deserving of support. Plus there cute buttons. I love me some cute buttons.

Knitting in the News

One story dominated my knitting news feed this week and with good reason: it made international headlines around the world. A feral merino sheep that hadn’t been shorn in six or seven YEARS was discovered by hikers just outside of Canberra, Australia. Now the coat of a merino sheep will continue to grow uncheck if not shorn, so this poor fella ended up becoming massive. 

SheepPhoto credit: Tammy Ven Dange

It was unknown if the animal – dubbed ‘Chris’ – would even survive the process of shearing, but it was certain that without his fleece being removed he would die. Already the weight was a serious health risk to the animal and an intervention was sought by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Champion shearer Ian Elkins stepped up and happily for everyone involved the wool was removed without incident. Over 40 kgs of material in total. Now that is one for the record books.

Random Things I Did This Week

In addition to my therapy sessions I did some writing this week. I published a short piece on my mental health entitled Post Traumatic Stress Stole My Intuition which you can read on Medium. I welcomed in Pumpkin Spice Season (sorry, autumn. Autumn.) with the first muffin of the season:

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I’ve just given in and embraced our spicy pumpkin overlords. 

I’ve also been knitting away at a deadline project that I can’t show you yet, but it’s keeping my fingers busy (and stained indigo) at all hours of the day. You can see a little teaser shot of it in the background of the above photo.

That’s all for this week. I must dash off to a wedding (!!) so I’ll talk with you later. Happy Knitting!

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The Weekly Round Up: Loop 10, Champagne Shawls and Awesome Charity Knitters

What a quick week! I blinked and it flew by!

Freshly Plucked Patterns

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Brand new this week is Loop 10. This book of twelve patterns celebrating ten years of Loop, London and features many of the designers they worked with over the years. It’s available for pre-order now.

Also new this week is the Golden Square Shawl by Jennifer Batt. I had the pleasure of seeing this beauty in person and it sort of reminds me of chainmail. If chainmail were champagne coloured, 100% silk, and squishy…

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Photo (c) Jennifer Batt

It’s available for free on Ravelry so if you’re looking for a simple and lovely shawl pattern, check it out.

Knitting in the News

After the devastating news out of Virginia this week, I had a lot of trouble looking at news articles about knitting circles and projects. Instead of seeing the stories they were telling, I was seeing the young reporters behind them. Instead of being able to focus on what they were talking about, I was hit by grief. This week’s section of Knitting in the News is dedicated to the memory of Alison Parker and Adam Ward. The vast majority of news stories about knitters isn’t hard hitting journalism, but necessary fluff-pieces done by young journalist that reminds us humanity isn’t always horrific, but mostly full of kind and generous people. So in the interest of highlighting the kind and generous stories these journalist tell I dove into the headlines of knitterly goodwill the world over. Here are some of my favourites:

Knitters in Germany spent last weekend covering old diesel locomotives with knitted objects to turn them into symbols of peace in a movement called Knitting For Peace. In the US twelve seniors have made over one hundred knit and crochet items since January to donate to women and children in need through organizations such as WomenRising and Hope House. In England one mother’s vision has turned into an organization of over 2500 people knitting baby clothing for premature babies (who are often too small for conventional clothing) and distributing the packages containing miniature cardigans, hats, gloves, and socks to care units in over 150 hospitals across the UK.  Male prisoners in New Zealand are knitting blankets for abandoned pets, providing both a rewarding activity for the inmates as well as vital supplies to the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals who say they are very grateful for the help.

The world over knitters are reaching out in their communities to help others. Do you do any charity knitting in your community? As winter approaches, I’m looking at increasing my efforts on that front. Hopefully I’ll have some projects to show you soon.

Random Things I Did This Week

My birthday was this week so I decided to treat myself to some birthday yarn! I’d been eyeing Riverside Studio’s Merino Cashmere Sock for some time, and finally bought myself some. I do have an idea of what I’d like to make with it down the road, (coughBLAMshawlcough), but for right now it’s just decorating my apartment shelf and looking all purdy…

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Colourway: “Morning” If I were to have a crush on yarn, this would be it.

That’s all for this week. Happy Knitting everyone!

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The Weekly Round Up: Custom Socks, Texture is the New Black and Knitting: a more deadly activity than last week.

Another edition of “what caught my attention in the knitting world this week.”

Freshly Plucked Patterns

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Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet by Kate Atherley came out this week. I fancy myself a reasonably competent sock knitter, but this one really grabbed my attention. The initial reviews are glowing, the author is a genius, and the pictures look amazing. Definitely one for my birthday wish list (did I mention it’s tomorrow?)

This amazing pattern collection also caught my eye this week:

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Texture is The New Black by Melanie Berg contain five different knits. The sneak peeks on her instagram have been teasing me for weeks, so I’m really glad to see the patterns go live. The collection contains two sweaters (one pull over, one cardigan), a shawl and a hat/fingerless mitts set. The Risen cardigan in particular makes me very excited. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go lengthen my Ravelry queue…

Knitting in the News

This concept for a bio-knit shoe using knit fabric with polymer yarns could make a shoe that’s 100% recyclable! A group of knitters in Oregon are knitting purple baby hats to raise awareness for shaken baby syndrome. Knitting needles are apparently really, really dangerous, particularly if you accidentally impale yourself with one. There is even a three digit identifying code for “knitting and crochet related injuries” among paramedics. Dude.

ANYWAYS, in MUCH HAPPIER NEWS, an organization in Pakistan called the Rawalpindi’s Darakhshan Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Centre for Women with Disabilities is having great success in helping people with visual impairments learn to knit and giving them a new way to make a living. Round of applause for an amazing organization!

Random Things I Did This Week

Hey! I finally got to unpacking my yarn stash after my move! Check out its happy new storage space. I sort my stash mostly by weight: lace weight on the top and bulky on the bottom. Living in a studio apartment means there is no space to hid away the yarn. Luckily I experience zero stash shame syndrome, so my response to comments like “that’s a lot of yarn, Nicole,” is a cheery, “not really!”
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I also earn myself a Liebster award so check out this post if you want to know some random facts about me. It is very very warm  this week so there was considerable knitting in cotton for most of it. More details about that project later. The aran weight wool hat that I planned on knitting up for the end of August is making me sweat just looking at it. Perhaps something for a later time…

I’ve also started a secret sample knit that should occupy me for the next month. Stay tuned for a menagerie of vague comments and the odd sneak peek shot. 😉

Hope you guys had a great week. Happy Knitting!

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Review of Sockupied Fall 2015

I was invited to review the Fall 2015 issue of Sockupied by the lovely Amy Palmer. Here is what you need to know!

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What is it?

This Sockupied issue contains six original sock patterns as well as some interest stories, including one about designer Debbie O’Neill and a piece on the history of sock knitting in Russia. The patterns are moderate to advanced in difficulty as far as sock knitting goes, and feature some really interesting colour work, textures, and constructions. The patterns might be a bit daunting for a brand new sock knitter, but for any established sock knitters out there this might be exactly the thing to spice up your pattern collection. There doesn’t seem to be a theme to the issue (unless the theme is “yarn colours Nicole finds personally offensive”) but the lack of theme kind of works. Not everything needs to be thematically connected, and what it means is six very different and unique patterns. So, along those lines, let’s talk…

Patterns

The backbone of any knitting publication is the patterns. This issue of Sockupied contains six sock patterns from various designers including Kate Atherley and Debbie O’Neill. What makes me excited to buy a pattern book is often the opportunity to experiment with new techniques and here the issue is really great. In terms of colour work you have the electrostatic lines socks (featured on the cover), as well as these checkers socks.

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Okay, so I am never going to love that colour combination, but those are some seriously rockin’ socks. The back of the leg, heel and sole are all worked flat, and then joined with the front of the sock. Colour me impressed. Pun absolutely intended. I personally would buy the book just to learn how to do that, but that’s me.

There are some texture based patterns including the walking in the woods socks, the riband socks and the hominy socks. The hominy socks are a little simpler, for those of you looking for something more straight forward.

PicMonkey Collage

My personal favourite are the Gladys Thompson socks by Kate Atherley. Inspired by classic Gansey stitch patterns, the look is classic and not too busy (a.k.a. I will actually wear them.)

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Aesthetic

Sometimes the appeal of something (yarn) is in what it looks like (yarn) or feels like (yarn) to you. I have bought pattern books on occasion solely because they were very beautiful, and I wanted to be able to flip through them for inspiration. Photography plays a big role here, as does layout. The photography of the book is good, but not knock-your-socks-off groundbreaking. I will say this though: the layout is excellent. If you are the sort that likes to print off your patterns, a clear effort has been put in to make them very easy to follow and printer friendly. A tip of my cap to whoever was responsible for that, very well done. Bonus points as well for the glossary at the back explaining the some of the techniques.

The Verdict

Let’s get down to brass tacts, is this something worth your $11.99? If you are an avid sock knitter that likes trying new things, or are looking to dive back into sock knitting with something exciting, this issue is absolutely worth it.  I would caution beginners away from it, unless you are particularly ambitious (and patient with yourself). Overall it’s a very solid collection and the side articles were interesting and well written. If you are interested, you can purchase the issue from Interweave Knits here.

Do you like to knit socks? Have any sock projects lined up for this coming autumn? Let me know in the comments. Happy Knitting!

**Please note that all photography in this post is credited to Sockupied/Harper Point Photography**

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Bottle Caps, Baby Blankets and #Playground Shawls: The Weekly Round Up

Knitters 4 the World

This week I wanted to feature a neat charity project by Age NI, a charity group that supports older people in Northern Ireland. One of their major fundraising event involves collecting knitted hats for smoothie bottles, and a portion of the proceeds going to Age NI for every hatted bottle sold.

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Dear Ireland Charities: could you BE more adorable?

The goal is 50 000 by the beginning of December and they have cute topper patterns available for knitters and crocheters on their website. It’s an adorable instant gratification project for a good cause – what more could you ask for?

Freshly Plucked Patterns

Knit Picks released a bunch of new indie patterns this week. My absolute favouriting being this gorgeous baby blanket by Kathleen Sperling. This is one of the patterns that makes my jaw go slack with awe. Love it.

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knitpicks.com

Also announced this week was Hygge (Knit Yourself Things You’ll Love to Wear).This mini collection is the first collaboration between Karie Westermann and Estelle Faust of Midwinter Yarns. Hygge is word that’s difficult to translate, but it roughly means “a feeling of comfort, cosiness, and happiness,” all of which sound delightful to me. You can pre-order the book on Ravelry now.

Favourite FO of the Week

This one has been all over my Instagram feed and with good reason! The #playground shawl by letesknits is everything you could want in a shawl and then some.

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Photo (c) letesknits

Knitting News From Around the Net

Well, we’ve another article that states learning to knit can make you happy to add to the pile. Fifteen years after the major knitting and crocheting resurgence in North American, spinning is now also reportedly making a comeback. A 3D knitting startup won $5 000 dollars in Michigan to continue their entrepreneurial venture. And finally a video of Melbourne artist, Casey Jenkins’ art installation piece entitled Vaginal Knitting (which is very much what it sounds like so click that link at your own discretion) went viral and sparked considerable disgust on social media. I’m very shocked. (I’m not.)

Random Things I Did This Week

I didn’t have all that great a week to be honest. I had some difficult therapy sessions, a migraine, a trip to the ER because I collapsed on the sidewalk with convulsions. Little time has been left for other things. I did write a piece on my health that I’m happy to report was picked up by The Coffeelicious. For more of my non-knitting related writing, you can check me out on Medium.

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The Weekly Round Up: Fall Twist Collective, knitting for black liberation and more

It’s been an interesting week! Here’s what caught my eye in the fibre world over the last 7 days.

Knitters 4 the World

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If you’ve ever knit in public, you may know how knitting can start conversations between two people that otherwise might never have spoken to one another. After the protests in Ferguson last year sparked a focus on policing in the US, The Yarn Mission was founded to continue the dialogue on race and police brutality. As a group they state their goal:

“use yarn to promote action and change to eradicate racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression.”

In a society where black women are often viewed as invisible, Taylor Payne says “knitting makes people stop and have a conversation with you. If someone asks me what I’m doing, I say, ‘I’m knitting for black liberation.” My personal admiration and congratulations, ladies. Keep up the great work.

Freshly Plucked Knitting Publications

This week *deep breaths* the Fall 2015 Twist Collective was released.
Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 8.49.21 AMThis issue celebrates 7 years of the twist collective. I’m a relatively new reader of the publication itself, but it’s quickly become one of my absolute favourites. Especially in the Fall issue, it’s 2 parts inspiring, 1 part cozy, 1 part I-want-to-crawl-into-the-pages-and-live-here. I won’t post any spoiler photos, but go. read. love.

Knitting News From Around the Net

This week Ysolda Teague interviewed Susan Crawford about her extraordinary Vintage Shetland Project which is a culmination of years of research into early 20th Century knitting in Shetland. Be sure to check it out!

What’s New with Queue?

My newest pattern crush is the Campside Cardi by Alicia Plummer. I mean look at it. Gor-ge-ous. Hopefully it’s something I’ll get to making this fall.

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Photo (c) Alicia Plummer 

Random Things I Did This Week

My brief foray into hair tutorials was done mostly for laughs, but if you are looking for a no-heat, no pain way to curl your hair overnight ragcurls are where it’s at. Caution: sass ahead.

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Step 1: wash your hair with some old anti-dandruff shampoo you found in the bathroom drawer. Aggressively towel dry it until you are bored. Contemplate the fact that you look closer to 16 than 24 while simultaneously wrangling your phone into taking a selfie.
Step 2: twist your hair up in rags that have been cut from your favourite childhood pj’s. Make dorky faces at yourself.
Step 3: go to sleep, with the lights on for some reason.
Step 4: undo the rags. Rock your new fragile curly hair. Beware humidity, for it is now your greatest and most powerful enemy.

Also this week I moved my things from my old apartment that I used to share with my boyfriend (sad) as well as belongings from  my temporary living situation for July all into my new place! My family and I were greeted with banana bread, help moving boxes, and cups of tea. Even the old tenant left me a message on the fridge to make me feel welcome.

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Follow me on Instagram for more stunning fridge magnet photography 😉 

I rearranged them to form a delta sign (delta, delta! Change is good!) and a heart. In the words of the little orphan Annie:

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Civic Holiday Knitting

Long weekends for me are for unplugging and taking a break from the world. A large group of us headed up to a cottage in Collingwood to hike, have fun at the beach, and spend some quality time together.

We learned some basics about philosophy…

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“Sorry Johnny, but Tao wasn’t exactly a person…”

Saw some wildlife from our porch:

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“One second, I’m counting.” – me, probably

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Because does it get any better than porch knitting?

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Well, there IS always beach knitting…
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Impromptu cardigan fitting session!

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On Sunday when the rain poured down, there was still lots to do!

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Cards + beer is always reliable.

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Catch Phrase! I still maintain that the girl’s team should have reigned supreme…

If you want to laugh until your sides hurt, may I recommend a round of Telestrations?

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I’m not sure what I loved more, the laughter or the variety of faces…

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A successful weekend without a doubt!

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How was your weekend?

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FO: Regency Blouse

It’s finished! It’s blocked! It’s been worn about town and deemed wearable! I’m still awash in shiny-new-FO love despite it being about two weeks old. It’s lasting a long time… normally I’m consider myself a process knitter and I really enjoyed the process of knitting this, but I fell in love a bit with the final product.
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I swear I love it, despite my awkward modelling…

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The neckline is a touch wider after blocking than I thought it would be, but it doesn’t slip off my shoulders so it works! I bought at least 1200 yards to make it but it took about 600 at most. Lots left over for a shawl in the future! I love the yarn – NBK l superwash merino in lavandula (great colourway name…) It’s a great summer top – warm enough for all but the warmest of days.

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I swapped out the picot bind off for a picot hem, which still lies flat and matches with the pattern but is a little more subtle. Other than that I didn’t change the pattern in any way. It’s the first project on Ravelry beyond the original one published in Jane Austen Knits, and I hope more people decide to make it. It’s a wonderfully clear pattern and the lace is surprisingly easy once you’ve done one repeat. If it’s your style, or someone in your life, I highly recommend making it!

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