All the News That’s Fit to Stitch — Part the Fifteenth

Well, we’re only five days in and somehow I’ve managed to miss a day during my own personal NaBloWriMo. I could say it’s because I was getting so much grading done, but… I think you see where this is going.

  • Guy Fawkes
    The Guy himself

    Remember, remember the fifth of November… these Etsy shops sell Guy Fawkes cross stitch patterns in the style of V for Vendetta. And here’s one from Sew and So which offers a little history lesson while you stitch.

  • And if you hate doing Kitchener Stitch, here’s a tutorial from Interweave Knits on an alternative. After all these years, I’ve made my peace with the dreaded stitch but I’m still eager to try out this technique which seems to work kind of like a three-needle bind off. Bonus: this includes a link to some free sock patterns from their magazine.
  • A funny riff on the stages of grief with “The 7 Stages Every Knitter Goes Through” from the LoveKnitting blog. Don’t worry; it ends with Joy.
  • The next featured item on Stephen Colbert’s Covetton House: Vicuna Royal.
  • Some adorable Mochi Mochi patterns.
  • Tea at Bletchley Park and a chance to see their famous museum collection of vintage knits while learning about the women who helped break the Nazi codes during World War II? Yes, please.
  • The new Alexander McQueen Fall 2017 collection features outfits with Jacobean sampler motifs (à la Merry Cox or C.A. Wells, for example). I swear that I own some of the patterns they borrowed ideas from. Scroll about three-quarters of the way down the page.

That’s it for today everyone–happy stitching!


All the News That’s Fit to Stitch — Part Fourteen

Sorry I haven’t been posting a lot lately. The semester began and I got so busy correcting my five-thousandth “its/it’s” error that I have neglected this blog. I can’t believe this month is already over and I haven’t updated you all on my Christmas craftiness or on my New Year’s goals (preview: 2014 was a mixed success). I can tell you that I have made the pledge to continue the monthly Smalls SAL in 2015.

2015 Smalls SAL
New year, new logo!

I have not been remiss, however, in collecting lots of links just for you. Please to enjoy the following:

  • A small Canadian hand-knit sweater company makes a pretty compelling case that Forever 21 is ripping off its designs. An interesting commentary on the differences between hand-knit (20-25 hours, 100% wool, approximately $400) and machine-knit sweaters (? hours, acrylic, $39.95). Bonus — Wyatt Cenac makes a cameo appearance!
  • These knitted Chuck Taylors are adorable. And, if those aren’t to your taste, how about these?
  • Looking for something a little different to knit? Look no further.
  • Some beautiful yarn bombing photos (these last two links thanks to martinimade)
  • And even more beauty with “Chilean ‘yarn bombers’ plot large-scale knitting attack.” Amazing. Granny count: two. (“Granny count” courtesy of my friend, StitchBitch)
  • Chickens wearing sweaters. Yes, you read that correctly. Chickens wearing sweaters. But don’t knit any more sweaters for penguins, please.
  • Is Buzz Feed obsessed with knitting? If so, just keep it coming. And coming.
  • A cheeky article from the HuffPo blog called “Bros and Rows” about the history of men knitting. Sadly, knitting seems to have followed the same gendered trajectory as every other skilled profession: when men do it, it’s a respected, well-paid craft; when women do it, it’s an oft-dismissed, underpaid hobby. Granny count: one.
  • Along the same lines, the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) is hosting an exhibit of works by male quilters. Granny count: one.
  • It’s raining men! I don’t know quite how I feel about this, but I do know that the comments are disturbing on so many levels. At least they’re not wearing these. I mean, I want to support all things Etsy, but no. Just, no.
  • A great 7Up ad featuring yarn-bombing.
  • Looking for a scarf that’s a little out of the ordinary?

I promise to post more in February so I hope you will all hang in with me.

All the News That’s Fit to Stitch: Lucky Thirteen

As the weather turns colder and the holidays approach (to my relatives and friends in the upper Midwest and Northeast United States — much love and much respect), my thoughts turn even more to knitting.

  • Knitting behind bars.
  • As if running a marathon weren’t difficult enough. And he’s set the world record,  for both hand-knitting and knitting with needles. An extensive Q & A by Runner’s World here.
  • Apropos of our past discussions on Sherlockian knits, I present Sherlock Holmes, unlikely fashion icon.
  • And speaking of Sherlock Holmes and knitting, Debbie Bliss has a new book, Woolly Woofers, coming out soon that’s all about knitting for dogs. Here‘s Daily Telegraph preview article with some free patterns, including one for “Sherlock Bones” that’s actually kind of cute and it looks very well-designed (although I don’t know what self-respecting dog would be seen with that deerstalker hat). She’s also selling some dog-themed mugs to coincide with the book.
  • And the Grand Central Market is looking good in turquoise, hot pink and yellow. Thank you, Yarnbombing Los Angeles!
  • I haven’t been watching Outlander, but the knits sure make me want to start. They remind me a lot of some of the imaginative accessories available on Etsy.
  • Sally Gilchrist does beautiful ink prints, including some colorful knitting-themed ones. Skeins!

That’s it for now, but I will be posting an update on my (as usual, belated) Smalls Challenge for November and at least one more special gift-themed version of “All the News That’s Fit to Stitch” soon. Now that the semester’s over, I will have more time to post. See you all soon!

All the News That’s Fit to Stitch: “These go to eleven.”

I don’t know if it’s the whisperings of autumn in the air, or the fact that schools are back in session, but, whatever the reason, things in the world of knitting are starting to liven up lately. I’ve been collecting these links from around the knittingverse, and I’m ready to unleash them now. Please enjoy the following:

All the News That’s Fit to Stitch: Quickie (Tenth) Edition

I’ve been out of town for a few days but I’ve somehow managed to complete/start/continue to make progress on many projects (except, of course, the Smalls Challenge project for July — I’ve completely missed the deadline there). However, those will have to wait until tomorrow to get the full attention they deserve. In the meantime, some links for you to enjoy:

  • I’m not much of a tattoo type (not that I think there’s anything wrong with them, they’re just not my thing), but I think these are gorgeous. Is it weird that I’m kind of disturbed by the ones with needles pictured as sticking through the skin? I guess I have a hard time maintaining proper representational distance; to me, the needles look like they would hurt.
  • A geeky trifecta: Doctor Who, cross stitch, and a twelve-sided die. (thanks, stitchbitch, for the last two links)
  • An article on the centenary of the outset of World War I that addresses the eternal fashion question: do the times dictate fashion or does fashion dictate the times? Read all about sleeveless sweaters and “bifurcated garments for feminine gardeners” here.
  • I love the idea of cross stitch designs being displayed in a gallery setting for charity, but my guess is that most of the designs are criminally underpriced (even for charity purposes).

Happy Stitching and Happy Knitting to you all!

All the News That’s Fit to Stitch: Part the Seventh

Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Knitting America — from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let’s go to press!

    • It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  The new fall Knitty is online and I’m like a kid in a candy store. My three faves are Jasseron, Indigo Cones, and Heart’s-Ease Bouttonière (I include the latter in no small part due to the fact that I worship the ground Franklin Habit walks on).
    • Three novels that feature the dark, figurative, “kick butt” complexity of quilting, as recommended by Tracy Chevalier. I’ve read two of them (Alias Grace and Beloved) and although I wouldn’t strictly call them “quilting novels,” they’re wonderful. I’ll have to read the Carol Shields novel now to complete my quilting trifecta. The comments section also has some suggestions. Alas… so many books, so little time.
    • For any knitter in the Los Angeles area: the Craft and Folk Art Museum (on Wilshire Boulevard across the street from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the La Brea Tar Pits) is having an amazing sale on yarn and other knitting- and crochet-related items from their yarn bombing campaign(s). Every ball of yarn is $1. Support a great cause and replenish your stash!
    • The Great Tapestry of Scotland. In keeping with the theme(s) of this blog, some of my favorite panels include, of course: “David I Fosters the Wool Trade c.1130s” — an important moment in history for any knitter to celebrate (in fact, sheep are a recurrent image throughout the tapestry which even includes a tribute to “Dolly the Sheep”), and “Mary Queen of Scots” which depicts the queen (and famous needlework enthusiast) working on her embroidery, the panel celebrating “Shetland Knitters” and the panel devoted solely to “Fair Isle Knitting.” The Victorianist in me loves “Victoria at Balmoral 1850s/60s” and “Robert Louis Stevenson” And, of course, I can’t possibly not mention “Charles Rennie Mackintosh Designs Glasgow School of Art.”  This entire project is so amazing; words fail me.
    • Il faut souffrir pour être belle.
    • And, speaking of fashion, the knits aren’t the only beautiful items in this collection, but they do remind us (if we needed it) that knits have a lot of contribute to haute couture. (Thanks to my friend, Ashley Gormley, for pointing out this collection to me).
Alas, there's a lot of truth to this...
Alas, there’s a lot of truth to this oldie but goodie…


All the News That’s Fit to Stitch: Good News/Bad News Edition

The Good News: Debbie Bliss has just announced a beautiful knitting-themed home collection, including some British-themed knitting accessories and baby gifts. Want, want, want! The colors are bright and joyful, the styling is modern, and the photography is, as usual, top-notch. In many ways, I think of Debbie Bliss as the Martha Stewart of knitting. Her designs are simple but timeless and she’s marketing a lifestyle almost as much as a craft. And, I admit somewhat guiltily, I aspire to that lifestyle, one much removed from my ordinary, beige-carpeted, California apartment life. I’d buy the entire collection if I had that kind of disposable income. For now, I will have to be content with drooling over the images on my computer. I’ve collected a few images here just to give you a little appetizer. Please to enjoy.



The Bad News: as many of you know from my “About” page (or might easily have guessed from the cross stitch design in the right-hand column), I am a big admirer of the Arts & Crafts design movement, and one of my favorite schools of design is the Glasgow School of Art. I am especially enamored of the architect/designer/founder of the school, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. You can learn more about the Charles Rennie Mackintosh society here. Yesterday, there was a big fire at the school which started in the basement and rose all the way to the fifth floor. The extent of the damage to the school’s interior, which is filled with design pieces by Mackintosh, his equally talented wife Margaret MacDonald, other contemporary Scottish Art Nouveau pioneers, and students and teachers from the past century, has yet to be fully determined, but if the news footage is anything to go by, it doesn’t look promising. In particular, it looks like the school’s library, which was meticulously designed by Mackintosh, has been destroyed (the previous link has “before” and “after” photos).

I am overwhelmed with sadness and the immensity of this loss. If you are able to contribute to the rebuilding fund, please do so. I will be contributing half the proceeds of my “Mackintosh Welcome” design to the fund for the foreseeable future.

If you want to work out your loss with knitting, try this Mackintosh Rose Jacket by Martin Storey, the Beloved Rose Beret by Shuttermonkey Designs, or this Glasgow Rose Stole by Lucy Hague. For cross-stitch designs inspired by Mackintosh and the Glasgow School of Art, Heartland House and Art-Stitch are the best American designers out there.

All the News That’s Fit to Stitch, Part V: Mother’s Day Edition (plus a giveaway!)


Mother's Day by Ewe & Eye and Friends
“Mother’s Day” by Ewe & Eye and Friends

Culled from the very best of the interwebs, I bring you:

  • Adventures in Knitting (thanks to martinimade for pointing out this little gem)
  • Yet another article on how knitting can benefit your health. This one recaps CNN’s “This is Your Brain” episode about the cognitive benefits of crafting in alleviating depression, stress, and anxiety. Here’s a recap of the recap on the Huffington Post UK. It’s like “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” but with links about knitting.
  • Apparently, the Washington Post has discovered knitting. Here’s an interesting article about a program to teach prisoners how to knit as part of their “resocialization” process. The photo gallery is worth a look; they sure look like they’re having a lot of fun.

On a personal note, it’s Mother’s Day here in the United States, the day we celebrate all the mothers in our lives and thank them for all that they’ve done for us. My own mother passed away from breast cancer in the spring of 1997. Not a day goes by that I’m not reminded of her and I think about all the time she was robbed of by dying at such a relatively young age. I especially feel her absence now that she has grandchildren and I know they would have brought her so much happiness, happiness she richly deserved.

To honor her here, I’ve posted the photo of the last Mother’s Day gift I ever gave my mother, a stitched design is called “Mother’s Day” by (the now sadly defunct) Ewe and Eye and Friends. Pardon the shadows, bad lighting and photography issues — my mother passed along many talents to me, but unfortunately photography was not one of them.

GIVEAWAY: Since this beautiful design is no longer in print, it’s very hard to find, but I am offering my used pattern in good condition (not the actual stitched version, obviously) to anyone who wants it. It would make a great gift for your mother too. Leave me a comment below to let me know you’re interested. Thanks for reading my blog, and please take some time out today to thank the mother(s) in your life!

All the News That’s Fit to Stitch, Part IV: A New Hope

Here’s the latest and greatest from the knitting world, my friends.

Simple ribbed scarf made from Noro Taiyo (color 1)
Simple ribbed scarf I knitted a while back with some Noro Taiyo (color 1) — some knitting-related eye candy to go with the post.
  • Another newspaper article (this time from the Washington Post) on the health benefits of knitting. I guess we can all give up our work-outs and all that healthy eating, and just pick up some Addi-Turbos instead (yeah, right). Seriously, though, the evidence is fairly conclusive about the benefits of cognitive and creative activities like crafting to help avoid the onset on dementia. Knitting doesn’t just help you stay sane, it also helps you stay sharp.
  • Don’t let the knitting needles and the embroidery hoops fool you. While I agree we should see “knitting not as necessity, but art,” I disagree with the writer’s conclusion that it’s for “women who have just too much time on their hands.” That’s a fairly sexist assumption on many levels, and it’s right on par with the granny reference (shout out to my good friend, Stitch Bitch), but the odd thing is that it’s right in the middle of an article that claims that, historically, the needlearts have “been a potent symbol of power.” Why not now?
  • Yarnbombing has been given the cultural theory treatment. At last my two loves — knitting and meticulously argued analyses of cultural phenomena — have found each other. I was really rooting for those two crazy kids to make it. Yesterday, Dr. Leesa Rittelmann gave a lecture at Hartwick College on yarnbombing as an example of Felix Guattari’s “micro-revolts” and Julia Kristeva’s “tiny revolutions.” I feel smarter just typing that out.

    Photo courtesy of my friend Jeff, knitter extraordinaire, who just had to have it!
  • Speaking of knitting activism, here’s a piece about the historical connection between crafting and war. The picture on the left is of the American Red Cross’s Commemorative Knit Kit celebrating the “Knit Your Bit” campaign. The “Knit Your Bit” campaign dates back to World War I and it encouraged knitters to make socks for the troops. The kit (which is, sadly, now unavailable) even came with its own “Knit Your Bit” poster. Such a great idea — I hope they bring it back one day so I can get my own.

All the News that’s Fit to Stitch, Plague Edition

I’m so sorry, my few faithful readers, that I have been silent for the past couple weeks, but I’ve been fighting off the Cold From Hell, a.k.a. The Cough that Would Not Die, for what seems like forever and I’ve had absolutely no energy to knit or stitch, much less post. If I were Daniel Defoe, I’d write my own “Journal of a Plague Fortnight,” but since I can’t claim such literary genius, you will have to be content with some updates from the “knittingverse” to tide you over until….

  • Knitting sweaters for penguins is such an adorable idea that it’s no wonder it makes the rounds every so often. Here’s the latest version of the story from the Phillip Island Nature Parks in Victoria, Australia, and it includes jumper patterns in US, British and Australian knitting lingo. And this story clarifies all the confusion about why this story was considered a hoax by some. It turns out there is a need for these sweaters but it’s perhaps not as urgent as knitters were led to believe by some websites with good intentions but bad information. Frankly, though, if you ask me, there’s no wrong time to knit a sweater for a penguin.
  • Here in the Los Angeles area, we are saddened by the closing of Wildfiber, a knitting store in Santa Monica. Ellen Bloom of L.A. is my Beat has a nice story with all the whys and wherefores (is that the same thing?). I agree with Ellen — Wildfiber was never my first choice of knitting store, mostly because of the prices, but it had everything and its selection of books was quite good. It had a reputation as being one of the “knitting stores to the stars” and the owner,
    Mel Clark, even co-wrote a book of knitting patterns with comedian Tracey Ullman, Knit 2 Together. Last year, I took a very informative photography class there from Gale Zucker, the photographer for the Mason-Dixon knitting books. It’s sad to see another knitting store go, for whatever reason.
  • From BuzzFeed, here’s a list of “19 Nerdy Knits You Need to Knit Right Now,” including patterns based on the BBC Sherlock series, Doctor Who (both classic and the reboot), Firefly, Star Wars and many others. My absolute favorite is #4, the “Baby Dalek Dress” by Allison Bitter. If only my nieces weren’t too old for it now…. Sigh.
  • And for some seriously nerdy knits, there’s this piece from Scientific American, “Knotted Needles Make Knitted Knots,” on the “torus knot,” a kind of infinite loop/knot thingie I won’t even try to describe here. Knitted versions of this torus knot were the centerpiece of January’s mathematical fiber arts session of the Joint Mathematics Meetings of the American Mathematical Society (phew! that’s quite a mouthful!). Just the fact that they have a “mathematical fiber arts session” tickles me to death. (Thanks, martinimade!)

    A wearable, knitted (5,3) torus knot. Image: sarah-marie belcastro.