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.

Bye Bye Black Sheep!

Black Sheep Knittery, a much-beloved knitting store in Hollywood, is closing. Rumor has it that the owner is growing tired of her commute and wants to relocate closer to home. Apparently, she already has a new site picked out.

Here in the Los Angeles area, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to yarn shops. Here’s the link to the LA Stitch ‘n’ Bitch (are we allowed to use that term anymore? what’s up with that law suit?) list of local yarn shops. Go ahead, look. I’ll be here when you get back…

However, with all this choice comes competition, and what with the cooling off of the Stitch ‘n’ Bitch trend and the approach of the hot Southern California summer, it’s sad to see a yarn store go away, even though it looks like it will be back soon. More than one of those shops on that list is experiencing difficulties and is planning on downsizing or going out of business. I suppose it was inevitable that the knitting craze was bound to taper off, but I am going to adopt an uncharacteristically optimistic attitude and predict that knitting is here to stay.

Although I am sad to see Black Sheep go, I must say that the deals were fantastic! I doubt that I will ever see deals this good again in my lifetime. No exaggeration–all yarn was 75% off. That’s lower than wholesale, folks. My only regret is that I didn’t realize sooner that this sale was the real deal.

Still, I got some amazing deals (more below) and here are a couple photos to give you an idea of the place. This shot was taken from the loft, where I was almost buried in lovely, luxurious bulky Rowan and Debbie Bliss. Mmmmmmm….. bulky yarn…..

Black Sheep Knittery Sale 1

And here’s another showing my roommate packing up all our yarn purchases in these amazing IKEA vinyl bags we just bought the other day:

Black Sheep Knittery Sale 2Check out those groovy lampshades! This sale was so amazing, that I went on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, each day vowing it would be my last visit. On Saturday, I ran into the amazing Ellen Bloom of LA is my Beat.

Here are all my purchases arrayed on my sofa and trunk:

Black Sheep Purchases

This should keep me off the streets for quite some time. And I just got my stash organized and cataloged in my characteristically geeky way–whatever shall I do? Unfortunately, I must go now! More to come soon….

Update 01/24/10: all the links in this post appear to be dead now; I’m not surprised about the Black Sheep Knittery link, of course, but the Stitch n Bitch LA link is something of a surprise. I guess the SnB trend really is over.