All the News That’s Fit to Stitch: the Third in the Trilogy so far

  •  This weekend we celebrate Yarn Crawl LA, a four-day event where yarn-loving Los Angelenos pile into their cars and drive all over the Southland (that’s what we natives call the Los Angeles area) visiting participating knitting stores and getting their “passports” stamped in order to be eligible for prizes. Along the way, they socialize with other fiber fanatics, eat snacks, buy yarn, sample local cuisine from parts of LA they rarely get to, buy more yarn, take mini-classes, collect free patterns and other little free trinkets, buy even more yarn, and, in general, have a lot oYarn Crawl LA Bannerf fun and return exhausted and happy. While many Ravellers, especially members of the West Hollywood Stitch n Bitch group, have made it their personal mission to go to all, or nearly all, of the participating yarn stores, I am only going to a couple this year. My budget and the pile of ungraded papers on my desk simply won’t allow me to go gallivanting around Los Angeles fondling yarn. Yesterday, I went to Needles & Niceties in Upland, and Sit n Stitch and Unwind, both located in “beautiful downtown Burbank,” as Johnny Carson used to say.* Needles & Niceties is not actually participating in Yarn Crawl LA, but I needed to go there specifically to ogle some hand-dyed cross-stitch floss; it’s nearly impossible to get a good idea what the floss looks like online. Although I found all the floss I needed for my 2014 goals, I did not have any luck finding the right linen for my cross stitch projects. It was still worth the trip though, and not only for the side-trip to Donut Man in Glendora, an LA culinary institution, for their famous strawberry doughnuts.
Strawberry Donuts from the Donut Man
The trip was soooo worth it!
  • Good news from Wildfiber! The Santa Monica yarn store has been saved from closing! The store is under new ownership and will reopen after a remodel and restocking. They are starting off with what they are calling a “pop-up shop” this weekend, the same weekend as Yarn Crawl LA (coincidence? I think not). Mel Clark, the former owner and co-author (with Tracy Ullman) of Knit 2 Together will be there and they have a bunch of new yarn from Zen Yarn Garden, Elemental Affects and Chic-a. They are also having a raffle and giving away discount coupons. Stop on by!
  • And here’s an endearing story about a doctor, Dr. Bob Sansonetti, who knits little hats for each of the babies he delivers.


*Of course, the Tonight Show didn’t actually film in downtown Burbank, but instead in the Media District a couple miles away. Johnny Carson must have referred to “beautiful downtown Burbank” sarcastically since the actual downtown Burbank is completely unimpressive and is famous largely for its IKEA. Burbank really does have to be one of the most character-free cities in America, if not the world. And I say that as a current resident.

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.

MYOKB: Clothespin Bag nears the finish line!

hespin Bag Almost Finished
Clothespin Bag with lining pinned to knitting

At last the knitting is finished, and the finishing begins!

The original pattern calls for the knitted part to be machine-sewn together when the lining is attached, but machine-sewing the lining to the knitted piece and then crocheting the knitted sides together seemed so much easier. Crocheting is so much easier and faster, and allows me to really control the seaming. The navy blue cotton tie you see at the top of the fold marks the center where the hook of the hanger will go through.

My friend Deborah, who is something of an expert seamstress, helped me with the lining and the machine sewing. I must admit, sewing machines still intimidate me a little bit. The fabric is some old calico-style print I bought on sale years ago — so long ago, in fact, that I can’t remember where or when. It matches well with the sage color of the yarn though.

Clothespin Bag Fabric Lining Close-up
Close-up of the fabric lining of the Clothespin Bag

Here’s the bag folded into the proper shape (note the fancy camera angle I learned in my recent “how to photograph knitting” class at Wildfiber in Santa Monica):

Clothspin Bag Almost Finished
Clothespin Bag, folded into proper shape, photographed at a rakish angle

And here’s the same bag photograph straight-on (as I would have done it before I took this class):

Clothspin Bag Almost Finished
Clothespin Bag, folded into proper shape, photographed straight-on

As soon as the lining is sewn on, I can begin using single crochet (size H hook) to bind the sides together. I have chosen a short, padded wooden hanger to hang the Clothespin Bag from. It should look quite sweet when done.