Elsewhere: Wool dogs and whaling wraps

Elsewhere: Wool dogs and whaling wraps

Hi!! I meant to have this ready to post on Friday, but last week was a week of (good) distractions and (non-tragic) complications, so here is it for your Monday enjoyment instead—

— Don’t miss this one: Andrew Sean Greer on the virtues of questionable taste (thx, DG)

Beautiful short video of indigenous Chinese textile artists and a Chinese-American designer attempting to keep these traditions alive (thx, Angela)

Short history of the Coast Salish wool dog, now extinct

After combat, a veteran finds solace in sheep farming

Kate Atherley’s dissertation on increases and their virtues

Make your own tiny woven pouch

Love the idea of colorwork sleeves on a solid cardigan

This is an incredible sweater collection

Nobody will ever crochet stones as beautifully as @resurrectionfern (bottom photo)

— And I’m super into everything about these knitted wraps for the Whaling Museum, from inspiration to execution (top photo)

Hope your week gets off to a great start!



Photos © @isobelandcleo and @resurrectionfern, used with permission

Elsewhere: More comfort, more gauge range, and a spot of macramé

Elsewhere: More comfort, more gauge range, and a spot of macramé

Friday! I’m so excited to have a real weekend, you guys, I can’t even tell you. (Cue the guitar: “Ooh, got the yarn / I’m gonna do some knitting”)

First things first: There is a hotly anticipated batch of the new Town Bag hitting the webshop this morning at 9am CT, and we also have the new MDK Field Guide: Revolution, featuring four interchangeable cable designs by none other than Norah Gaughan. AND! we now have the Lykke DPNs in standalone packs! So if you just need a set of 1s or 6s or whatever your heart desires, you can finally have that! If the bags are gone before you get there, please note that we will have more! We’re working as fast as we can to get stores restocked and keeping a small stack for ourselves each week, and I’ll keep restock dates and times listed on the page until we reach a point where we’ve gotten out in front of demand. Thank you so much for all the love for this latest brainchild.

And with that, Elsewhere:

Speaking of a bold stripe … (ref)

– The last bit of this really gets me: “I always have some small portable project that I can take with me to use as my ‘waiting’ time. This avoids me heading to my phone for my dose of dopamine (which does me no good) and instead offers me a way of including more comfort in my day.” (photo top)

These anonymous antique Chinese textile collages are so beautiful and are giving me an overwhelming urge to get back to my Log Cabin Mitts exploration … (via Jen)

This Jillian Moreno piece for MDK on why some yarns can stand to be knitted at a range of gauges is one of the best things I’ve ever read about knitting. (Did I tell you guys how many different gauges I successfully knitted Germantown in when swatching it for the Anna Vest? So fascinating when you meet a yarn like that)

– Were I in London, I’d be going straight to the Anni Albers show at the Tate

– Annual charity hat-drive time: Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies and Christmas at Sea. (Any excuse to make that 1898 Hat, so much fun.) What are others you’re a fan of? Share a link below

– My longstanding desire to make pojagi curtains for my bedroom just went into overdrive (See also)

Amazing (photo bottom left)

– And ummm, I might need to add “make macramé feathers” to my weekend list (via) (photo bottom right)

Actually, I’m not allowed to knit (or macramé, for that matter) until I make a further dent in my sewing room/closet cleanup, which is solidly in the “worse before it gets better” phase. But then: Ooh yeah, knitting. I hope you have a peaceful weekend!


PREVIOUSLY: New pattern, new muse, and Elsewhere

Weaving Within Reach: Or, what to do with your yarn leftovers

Weaving Within Reach: Or, what to do with your yarn leftovers

I recently did a blog post pointing to the tiniest possible use for yarn leftovers, designed by my friend Anne Weil. Since then, Anne’s new book “Weaving Within Reach” has published, and I now have it in my hot little hands. (Thanks, Anne!) And I think it’s fair for me to describe it as a whole book of projects for using up yarn leftovers, from a little to a lot.

As weaving projects go, these are perfect for people like me who love the idea of weaving, but only for like an afternoon. I like a little weaving project, which is exactly what these are. But they also make use of more yarn than the earrings! I’m especially into the throw pillow and the storage bin, pictured here, both of which are designed for superchunky yarn but which would be magnificent (if possibly more fiddly) done with a bunch of strands of lighter yarns held together. Think of the possibilities of that.

The book is organized into three types of projects: those that require no loom (including the throw pillow); those using an improvised loom (the storage bin uses a cardboard box for a loom); and those that use a frame loom. So this is all beginner-level weaving — every project with full step-by-step instructions — but with lots of interesting and polished results. It’s beautifully photographed and quite inspiring. So you may see me dabbling soon!


PREVIOUSLY in Books: Must-have books lately


Maker Crush: Kacie Lynn of Fiber Farm

Maker Crush: Kacie Lynn of Fiber Farm

Two farm girl crushes in a row, I know, but what’s not to love about a farm girl? Seriously though, while Kate is a produce farmer who is also an amazing knitter, Kacie Lynn of Fiber Farm is a “textile farmer.” Her farm is at the top of Monteagle Mountain in Tennessee (not far from me!) and I first met her through Stitches South this past spring, where she shared a booth with my friends from Reunion Yarn. Kacie grew up in the South, majored in apparel design in college, and has now committed her life to raising fiber animals and contributing in many ways to the effort to better understand the fibershed of this region for the sake of local textile production. She’s also a spinner and dyer, gives farm tours and teaches workshops in all sorts of fiber-related disciplines, and makes the most beautiful little weavings on wood blocks, which she was selling in that aforementioned booth and which are so well done. You can see currently available pieces (she appears to be in an indigo period at the moment!) in her Etsy shop, check out her blog and follow her on Instagram @fiberfarm. If you’re in the vicinity and interested in workshops or farm tours (or an overnight stay!) see her website for details.


PREVIOUSLY in Maker Crush: Kate of Fox’s Lane

Blog Crush: Voices of Industry

Blog Crush: Voices of Industry

It’s not at all uncommon for me to run across a blog that’s gone dormant — or is updated just once or twice a year — and feel sad that there isn’t more. It is uncommon, though, for me to be so moved by one that I would advise you to go swim around in what’s there and glean what you will from it, however much or little (past or future) there may be. But such is the case with Voices of Industry. Adele Stafford is someone I’m slightly familiar with: She is a weaver living in Oakland, and so we have mutual acquaintances. I’ve followed her off and on on Instagram, and am a huge admirer of her mission, the cloth she weaves and the garments it becomes. But it wasn’t until I clicked on a cryptic link from Heidi Swanson that I found myself at Adele’s blog, at which point my brain — which had been making me crazy bouncing off the sides off my skull all day — went silent and listened. Adele writes remarkably, with a voice similar to her weaving in some way — observant and poetic and intelligent without being precious. She also writes rarely. There are only two pages of posts going back a year and a half, but they deserve to be read slowly and savored. It’s the Friday of a long weekend today (in the US anyway), so perhaps you can pour yourself a nice drink, tune out the world for an hour or so, and read what she has to say. And yes, hope there will be more.


SPEAKING OF GOOD READS [UPDATED!] Issue 2 of KnitWit Magazine has arrived and is available now in the shop. — and it is gorgeous! I also got a few more copies of Issue 1, in case you regret missing it. So you can go ahead and order either or both, and if you haven’t already grabbed the latest Pom Pom or Amirisu, you might want to add those too.

Have a fantastically laid-back weekend, please! I’m actually going to observe a holiday for a change and take Monday off for making (and of course it’s a mail holiday too), but all will resume on Tuesday morning! See you then—


PREVIOUSLY in Blog Crush: Into Mind


Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Our forecast for a foot of snow yesterday proved to be way off base. But what we did get was a heavy coating of ice topped with snow. So it was a quiet, work-at-home sort of day — which may be repeated today, depending on what we wake up to. (I’m hoping the roads are safe enough for us to get to the studio and ship the weekend/holiday orders, but please bear with us if that’s not the case.) Whether you’re similarly cooped up at home or just in want of some good yarny links, these are for you—

• What a true knit lover looks like

• I fell into some kind of trance watching this rug being woven

• I’ve been loving the #knittertools tag on Instagram that cropped up in response to my lost tool pouch, but Anna Maltz took it to a whole ‘nother level

• Do you have an emotional support alpaca?  (thx, DG)

Tif Fussell is killing me with the  “woolly tattoos” that have followed her craft-life-changing embroidered mittens, but none more so than this sweater

• Adored the backstory on Dianna Walla’s Swedish Pancakes mitts pattern (which is in Pom Pom issue 12)

If I ever take up quilting …

• And this made me laugh


PREVIOUSLY in Elsewhere

How to weave on a hand loom

How to weave on a hand loom

You guys know I’ve been super curious about weaving the past couple of years (I never got a chance to tell you about my blissfully calm afternoon of Saori weaving in the midst of our moving mayhem) so I’m thrilled to have these little handmade, solid maple hand looms for the holiday collection at Fringe Supply Co. I own several frame looms and pin looms, and this design is a dream — it’s less fiddly to weave on since the sides are unobstructed. Plus it’s gorgeous. Not surprisingly, this has been one of the most popular items so far this season. When Kathy Cadigan and I were shooting the photos for the holiday catalog, she took a whole series of me using these tools. I love these images, and while the loom does come with a set of instructions, I thought a photo-rich tutorial here might be useful. Pictured in the bottom left photo above, the loom kit includes the I-shaped loom itself, the tiny shuttle, needle stick and bamboo skewer seen to the right of the loom, and the beater at the top of the photo. It also comes with a small amount of warp yarn, as pictured (although the color may vary).

Making small weavings on a loom like this is a great way to use up your scrap yarn stash. If you’re already a weaver, this is an excellent travel loom. And if you’re just curious about weaving, it’s a wonderful way to try your hand at it on a small scale. Fun for the whole family.

Step 1: Warp the loom

I don’t have photos of how to warp the hand loom, since I had done that ahead of the shoot, but it’s pretty intuitive. You simply tie or tape the end of your warp yarn (a nice sturdy, non-elastic cotton is best) at the groove in one corner — any corner will do — and then bring the yarn to the corresponding groove at the other end of the loom. Pulling it nice and taut, catch it around the back of the groove, wrapping the yarn into the adjacent groove. Then again, bring the yarn to the corresponding groove on the opposite side, catch it around the back and into the next groove, and so on. You don’t have to use the full width of the loom. If you want to do a smaller weaving, you can warp only as many grooves as you like, centering them on the loom. To tie off the warp, you can see in the top photo above that I just wound it around the top of the first and second notches at the beginning and the end to keep it secure while I weave. That will allow it to pop off later when I’m ready to remove the weaving from the loom. Same thing if I had just taped it on the back. Whatever works for you! Weaving is easygoing.

How to weave on a hand loom

Step 2: Create a “shed”

As you likely know from grade school experiments with paper plates and construction paper, weaving is under-over-under-over-under, and then on the next pass it’s over-under-over-under-over. (Whether that’s over 1 under 1 or over 2 under 2 is up to you. Experiment with it!) You can do this with a tapestry needle if you like, or by threading your weft yarn through the hole in the end of the needle stick, but it can be helpful to use the weaving tools to create a “shed” — a space between the warp threads — to pass the yarn through. The bamboo skewer is for creating a “fast shed.” Take the skewer and pick up every other warp strand — under-over-under all the way across — then push it up onto the top of the upper cross-piece of the loom, as seen in the photos, and leave it there. This creates a small gap, or shed, that’s easy to pass the needle stick through. Insert the needle stick into this tiny shed space, following the path the skewer took, and turn it on its side to widen the shed, as seen above. For the next pass, you’ll use the needle stick to pick up the opposite warps — over-under-over — then back to the fast shed created by the skewer.

How to weave on a hand loom

Step 3: Load the shuttle and begin weaving

Take a bit of your weft yarn and wind it onto the tiny shuttle as shown. You don’t want a big wad of yarn that will get stuck in the shed — just enough to make however many passes you want to make with that color. Then pass the shuttle through the shed. When changing colors, as seen here, or starting a new length of yarn, just leave the ends dangling — you can simply weave them into the back of the finished piece with a tapestry needle or your fingers. And you also don’t want to pull the weft yarn tight as you pass it back and forth each direction. Keep it loose, with a few inches between it and your previous rows, as seen above. Pulling it tight on each pass will cause the sides of your weaving to draw in. For the white roving seen in the images, I didn’t actually wind the shuttle. I just laid the end of the roving over the notch in one end of the shuttle and used that to push it through the shed.

Now pull out the needle stick, use it to pick up the opposite shed, and pass the shuttle back through the other direction. Continue in that manner, building your weaving upwards as you go. The closer you get to the top of the loom, the tighter it will get. You may find you’re not able to weave right up to the very top.

How to weave on a hand loom

Step 4: Beat the weft into place

As you work, take the beater and use it to press the new rows of weft down against the bottom of the loom and each other. Whether you compress your weaving a great deal or keep it looser it entirely up to you. If you’re weaving with strips of fabric for a little rag rug trivet, say, you might want to pack them very tightly. If you’re making a wall hanging, you might choose to leave some sections loose for a different effect — it just depends what you’re going for.

Tie in long sections of fringe, test out different weaving techniques, have fun with it.

Step 5: Remove the weaving from the loom

Once you’ve woven as large an area as you want, gently remove it from the loom by either cutting the warp or popping it off the ends of the loom. Again, depending what you’re going for, you can leave a gap and tie knots along the top for inserting a piece of driftwood or a dowel for a wall hanging. Or tie the warp into knots along both ends right up against the weft, either leaving the loose ends as fringe or weaving them into the back. Or use a sewing machine and stitch along both ends, then trim or weave in the warp ends.

Et voilà. The first weaving on your beautiful little hand loom.


In case you’re wondering, yes, the fingernails on my left hand are actually blue in these pictures. I’d had a little glove mishap doing some indigo dyeing the previous weekend. What was I dyeing? More on that later.