Every now and again, when things aren’t going the way I expect them to go, I announce loudly, “IF I RULED THE WORLD…!”, followed by some proclamation of how I would improve whatever it is that I’m finding frustrating in that moment. Usually it involves replacing all stop lights and stop signs with British-style roundabouts, or mandatory tea-making school for every food-server (warm the pot, tea bag in first, boiling water must hit the bag), or teaching all world leaders to knit or crochet (I’m convinced that if the G7 & G20 meetings were actually knit nights, everybody would chill and world peace would be that much closer). And after reading today’s fiber universe news, I think I might add ovine lawn mowers to that list.
In the last 48 hours, Pittsburgh’s weather has dropped from balmy and almost August-like to cold, windy, wet, and grey. Today I am holding a hot cup of tea in my hands and still thinking that perhaps I need to whip up a pair of mitts. And for as much as I have loved having summer stretch a little longer, the weather today feels so right. Time to pick up my needles and get busy! But first, I’ve got a ton of stuff to share with you, so get a cup of tea (maybe a pair of mitts too) and let’s jump in…
- Saturday Nov 11: Indie Knit & Spin in Regent Square, Pittsburgh. One of our favourite shows! Click here for details.
- Friday Nov 17: Gradient Explorers spaces may open — The Gradient Explorers is currently full and there are no spaces available, so I can’t open any in October but, if we have room next month, I’ll be opening the Gradient Explorers a week early in November (so it’s not all tangled up with Thanksgiving). Mark your calendar and keep an eye here for updates.
I absolutely loved reading this article in the NY Times about how, when the landscaper retired at Old St Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhatten, the church brought in three sheep to “mow” the cemetery. The move proved so successful — and popular — that the flock’s annual return has become a neighbourhood celebration. Read about it here.
This pair of crocheted pizza sweaters made me grin, partly because of the adorable “Mini Me” aspect and partly because of the way the dad totally nailed that post-pizza food-coma look.
When I looked in my inbox the other day and saw an email entitled “Trips for Knitters”, that sounded just about perfect. I’ve never travelled with this group, but if you like to combine your knitting with your travel, it may be worth checking out.
I can’t decide if I want to crochet a garland like this to go across my shelves (as pictured) or to do it all in white for my mantle at Christmas. Which would you do?
I’m a huge fan of Woolly Wormhead’s designs and just spotted that she’s been nominated for the British Craft Awards. If you love her hats as much as I do, click here, go to “knitting”, and fill out the survey (you don’t have to be a British resident to participate but, if you are, there are prizes too!)
Sometimes Mini-Skeins are Hard!
The other day, my assistant and I were developing the colour path our Mini-Skein Club will take over the next few months and, can I tell you… we were really struggling. Last month’s Ombre & Gradient mix was this really lovely blackened purple (top image, below) and, while I can’t show you this month’s colour mix yet, I can say that we were trying to think how to move from where we are now to something rich and festive and then onto something ethereal and wintery. Quite a transition!
But I had to laugh because, even though we’ve both been doing this for years and we’re usually pretty good at developing the new colourways, we really struggled at first with the upcoming transitions. Now that we’ve worked out how we’re going to dye them, I am super excited — they’re fun, intriguing, and everything I hoped they’d be — and I can’t wait to see how they come out. But if you’ve ever thought that creating our beautiful Never Ending Gradient and Start Anywhere Mini-Skein bundles is easy… well, sometimes it’s totally not!
Mini-Skein Club members, I can’t wait for you to see what’s on the way!
Ok, see if you can spot a theme. Every one of today’s pattern picks is about… me keeping warm — and quick!
double O seven by Jenny F
When I’m feeling cold, nothing makes me feel warm again faster than a nice squishy cowl wrapped all around me like a big hug. And this one looks so incredibly squishy, I want to cast it on right now. It’s designed in DK, which means you have a lot of options: Astrid would look fabulously bold in Mars and How Dare You, Lyra would be sublime in Feather and Sliver or Plume and Frigia, and if you’ve got a stash of our adorable mini-skeins, holding them double creates a DK-weight yarn and allows you to combine colours in ways that will make for an absolutely stunning cowl!
Zostera marina Mitt by Hunter Hammersen
Mitts can be so simple and functional but… do they have to be? Especially when something so straightforward as a beautiful stitch pattern can elevate them to a thing of real beauty. These mitts need a sublime semi-solid to show off the intricacy of the stitchwork, such as Vega in Breathless, Sage, Sliver, or Dark Skies.
Snowball Fight by handmade by SMINÉ
SPLAT! How could I not fall in love with this awesome design?!? I think it’d put a grin on my face every time I put it on — and I’d put it on every single day of the winter. Designed in DK, I’d go for Astrid in ice-blue Frigia for the snowball and Drizzle for the main colour, or Lyra in Sliver for the snowball and Gobsmack or Oxblood or Dark Skies.
all images © the respective designers and used with permission
Ok, we’ve got a super-busy day ahead of us — lots of parcels to send out and some fun dyeing to do — so I’d better get to it! If the weather is as cool for you as it (suddenly) is for us, I hope you’ve got plenty of handknits to keep you warm (I’m going to cast on that cowl!), and I’ll see you next time. Until then, all my best.