When Worlds Collide

Jared FloodWhen two or more of my online/offline worlds collide in unexpected ways, it gives me a pleasant shock. The latest involves Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed on the Wacom community blog. Go read!

Embracing Digital Tools in Traditional Arts Leads to Thriving Design Business

18 Important Life Lessons To Learn From Knitting

What a nice change to see something like this buzzfeed piece instead of yet another getting down on knitters and knitting piece like mashable ran a few weeks back. (Ravelry is a “bizarre social network” right up with there with “My Free Implants?” What is this I don’t know even!?)


Lots of Yarnaholics leaving confessions in the buzzfeed comments. :)


November is just around the corner and while writers are sharpening their pens for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), knitters around the globe are gearing up for the knitting equivalent, National Sweater Knitting Month.

The weather here in Israel is being very cooperative. Daytime temps are now in the 25C range, with cooler mornings and evenings, and hopefully will stay that way for a while, although we know there are no guarantees of that happening! It does inspire one to pick up one’s knitting needles, especially if watching the occasional rain and lightning storm is involved.

My NaKniSweMo project is a reversible cable moebius wrap, very loosely based on this pattern. This is a good project for me since full sweaters are just too hot here for the most part and it will keep me warm in the summer months too in the sub-arctic office my boss insists on having. Plus it fits my old/new motto of “small projects that have a chance of being finished in my lifetime.”

So now you know what I’m knitting (though if you’ve been keeping up with this blog you probably could have guessed). What will you be knitting for NaKniSweMo?

Dear U.S. Olympic Committee

Following your recent encounter with the 2+ million knitters on Ravelry and elsewhere, I imagine that you might be feeling a bit like Greg Louganis after he hit his head in the 1988 Summer Olympics diving prelims. Greg miscalculated the distance to the end of the diving board and I still remember the pain and anxiety I felt for him following his accident. Ultimately he sprang back to bring home the gold medal for the US Olympic team. The Olympics can be full of such inspirational moments.

In the cease and desist letter your legal clerk sent to Ravelry, I believe you were within your right to assert the US Olympic Committee’s trademark rights on various patterns containing the name “Olympic” or the 5 interconnected circles in their patterns. Going after the name “Ravelympics” in my opinion might have been a stretch (it wasn’t “Ravelry Olympics” or “Knitting Olympics”), unless you intend to go after every US commercial enterprise that mashes up the word “olympic” (small “o”) with something else. Not being a lawyer has its downside when trying to respond to such things, but I do try to do my homework.

Frankly, at that point your legal clerk should have stopped. Instead he continued,

“We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work,”

Oh dear. This was a miscalculated communication, along with the equally miscalculated apologies you sent. Perhaps you should have run these communications by a public relations/media specialist, or at least an Olympic athlete who knits,  first, because if there’s one thing you should have realized is that knitters/crafters are passionate about their chosen craft, as passionate as athletes are about the Olympics. And the truth is non-knitters don’t get that and it really upsets a lot of knitters, to put it mildly.

Stephanie McPhee, The Yarn Harlot, wrote a wonderful reply to knitters about this olympic-sized dust-up, and she closes her piece saying (paraphrasing) that, after all, we’re millions of knitters and Olympic athletes are only a few. Of course, before there can be a few Olympic athletes, there are hundreds of athletes worldwide who endlessly train, with dedication and determination, in the hope of one day being good enough to qualify for the Olympic Games. Certainly training for the Olympics is a different and far more intense experience than knitting, but knitting (or any skill) that demands proficiency can take years to master, demanding equal dedication and determination.

We knitters also have our own Olympians, people like Stephanie McPhee, who we look to, to inspire us to perform better than we do now.

While I won’t boycott the Olympic Games this summer, I, like many other US and expat US knitters, will watch the US Olympic team march into the stadium in London, holding high the hand-stitched flag you had commissioned, and will shake my head wondering how the USOC could have gotten its public relations so wrong.

Best of luck at the Games.


Ms. Yarnaholic

P.S. for any knitters who might be reading this: Keep Calm & Knit On!

(hat tip: The Wifely Person Speaks)

Teh Sockmonkeh Coffee Cozy

Hands down this fun little piece of knitting has caused more cries of “Squee!” among my knitting and non-knitting friends, coffee shop baristas and waiters than anything else I’ve knit. Everyone wants George keeping their coffee warm!

I’ve knit about a dozen or so Georges for friends and family (and even family of friends) since the first one two years ago.

Here again is the first version with outline mouth and mini-sock toe ears:

And here’s the latest version:

Both versions were knit on US#4 needles, using:

Schoeller Wolle Wollspass (Discontinued. If anyone knows where I could find more…), DK weight: Gray/Black Ragwool
No Label (most likely at the bottom of some yarn bin or bag), DK weight: Off-white
Scheepjes Belluno (Discontinued), sock weight used doubled: Red

While I liked the first version, I felt that the mouth wasn’t really “sockmonkey” enough. So after knitting and rippping several times, here’s the alternate mouth that I came up with.

Instructions for Alternate Sockmonkey Mouth:

Cast on 8 sts with Red
Row 1 and all wrong side rows: Purl
Row 2: K1, M1, K6, M1, K1
Row 4: K1, M1, K8, M1, K1
Row 5: Switch to Off-white: Purl
Row 6: K1, K2tog, K6, SSK, K1
Row 8: K1, K2tog, K4, SSK, K1
Row 10: K1, K2tog, K2, SSK, K1
Row 11: Bind off, leaving a long enough tail that you can attach the mouth to your sockmonkey face with daisy chain or crochet.

The ears also got a bit of a makeover from the original pattern and are nothing more than two small pieces of garter stitch:

Cast on 3 stitches, increase over 2 rows to 7 stitches, knit 3 rows on the same 7 sts, decrease over a couple of rows to 5 sts and again bind off with a long enough tail to sew the ears on to the sides.

Happy knitting!

Since not a few knitters are also geeks, I wonder why it took so long for Silicon Valley to hop on the trend. While it doesn’t look like any of these cool looking socks are hand knit, it can’t be much longer before “ninja socks” are the latest thing in knitting. Oh wait!

WIPs Rule

Thanks to everyone to took the poll. While the WIPs ruled, I am really having difficulty loving this project. Really difficult.

Rip back #3 occurred after binding off the top of the mitt and coming back to the thumb opening and going, “Feh! What is going on here?” The instructions call to cast on 5 stitches after putting 10 stitches on a holder. Not looking pretty, so after ripping and reknitting (again), I’ve gone with a simple knitting the stitches on waste yarn, but decreasing K2 together across the waste yarn row to keep fewer stitches at the top part of the hand.

May need smelling salts before I finish this mitt.

Carry on.

Now with gratuitous photo:


WIP or RIP-You Decide

This past month has been a mad house for fingerless mitts. First off, a pair of k1 wristlets (sadly, still without photos) for a Texan twitter friend who was suffering cold hands in her office. Then a second pair of wristlets for me (see above) from a wonderful, natural, full-lanolin stash yarn to replace the old ones I’d worn out wearing around the house every single cold day (and night!) for the past 4 years. After a hot water bath they bloom and are the warmest things going.

Then, this: The “How Now Space Cow Armwarmers” from giftable designs.

Rip back #1: bye-bye cuff following our local S’nB, but that was my fault for being too involved in conversation and not involved enough with the cuff. Rip back #2: after knitting up to just beyond the thumb opening, trying it on and discovering folds upon folds of extra fabric across the area for the thumb. Is it the design (no thumb gore)? My gauge? The yarn? What?!

At this point I’m about to hit the RIP button, but figured cooler heads should prevail and help me  decide. So, what do you say? RIP or WIP?