Tag: news

This Neckline 2

Do you know about Mati Ventrillon? She’s the French-Venezuelan architect turned knitwear designer who made the news a couple of years ago when Chanel featured some of her designs without attributing them to her. She lives on Fair Isle (along with only 54 other people) and spends the year caring for a flock of sheep whose wool becomes the basis for her beautifully conceived Fair Isle garments.

There’s an informative video about her life and work in this article. And this article gives a pretty detailed description of her path to Fair Isle and her life there (be warned–the format is a little wonky).

The persnickety part of me wishes every stitch of her garments were hand knit, but at the same time, it’s hard to see how she’d stay afloat as a business without the aid of the knitting machine she uses for sweater bodies and sleeves.

That said, I absolutely love what she does with the collars, cuffs, and hems of her sweaters. These she does knit by hand. Some are a basic rib, but many are far more interesting. There are variations on what looks like i-cord edging, interesting hood constructions, and lots of unusual shaping for the necklines and hems.

That is actually the whole point of this post. I’m in love with this neckline.

 

If you follow the link to the Facebook page or go to Madi Ventrillon’s website where this is the cover photo, you can get a better look at it.

How did she do this? Is it just stockinette that’s rolled and been given an interesting shape by blocking? Or is there some sort of actual knitted shaping involved? I’m not even sure why I love it so much, but I seriously need to understand how to do this.

 

Things I’m Loving On This Monday 8

Since the ability to write meaningfully about ideas, even knitting ones, has apparently left me, here are some miscellaneous things I’m loving on this Monday.

These Chilean Men taking their needles to the streets:

 

 

The February #yarnlovechallenge happening on Instagram. I blogged about Lola’s short-lived sweater here:

 

 

 

Meryl Streep’s comment about knitting:

Streep admits that she spends much of her time on set knitting and finds the hobby to be therapeutic: “For me it was a place to gather my thoughts and understand the contemplative (life) … it’s a sort of clearing out place.”

 

This leftover Beef(less) Bourguignon I had for breakfast:

 

 

And most of all, my pink pussy hat, made with love by my wonderful Cari:

 

 

Wishing you peace, love, and lots of knitting, my friends!

 

My People 6

I’m lucky enough to call all of the people interviewed and mentioned in this article friends. During these days when counting blessings is essential, I consider this a big one.

Protests bringing yarn back to forefront

Yarn: The Movie 6

I am so psyched!

 

 

There’s an interesting article about Yarn: The Movie here.

Happy Friday! 0

WorkKnitting-sm

Since the current state of knitting here at Chez Knit Potion is mostly my looking longingly at my WIPs while I remind myself to get back to work, I thought I’d take a page out of last week’s book and share some of the  fun links I’ve come across online over the last few days.

The number one best discovery has to be The Secret History of Knitting.

 

 

I found this documentary by reading a post on Little Golden Notebook (another new-to-me knitting blog that’s full of interesting stuff). If you’re a knitter, the film is big fun to watch. It’s loaded with great visuals, and while most of the knitting highlights are things I was familiar with, there are a few surprises. There is actually a pretty convincing explanation of the origin of the Kitchener Stitch, one with more detail than I’d heard before (would love to know the source of their info), and there is a fascinating section on the secret codes women stitched into their knitting to pass along details of railway activities to the Belgian Resistance during WWII. In addition, there are interviews with knitting superstars and a satisfying overview of the ups and downs of knitting for the last thousand years or so. It’s thoroughly enjoyable.

The number two interesting thing was a post on the UK Hand Knitting blog about scrap yarn. Apparently, it was the thing the most knitters absolutely wouldn’t be without in their knitting kits. I’ve used scrap yarn for all of the things mentioned, but it was fun to see the run-down and, of course, the yarny pictures.

And in the news . . . I enjoyed this article about how a run on handknit Icelandic woollen sweaters is causing a knitting wool shortage in Iceland! And this one about a jaw dropping, knitted field of poppies created for the Chelsea Flower Show in the UK.

Finally, do you know about Twiddle Muffs? This is the article that sparked my interest. Twiddle muffs (or twiddlemuffs) are hand muffs with interesting textures and attached bobbles, and they are said to have a soothing effect on people suffering from dementia. It’s apparently common for those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and similar conditions to need something to do with their hands. Having a plush muff with buttons, ribbons, zippers, and other small points of tactile interest to run their fingers over helps keep their hands busy which makes them more at ease overall.

I had never heard of such a thing, but it makes a lot of sense, especially in light of what I’ve seen myself in a few people close to me. There are a number of free patterns online including these:

http://www.rdehospital.nhs.uk/docs/trust/pr/2015/Twiddlemuffs_Instructions_24-01-15.pdf
http://www.knitforpeace.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Twiddlemuff-Pattern.pdf
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/twiddle-muff (crochet)

For anyone who’d like to knit for charity but hasn’t found the right project or for those who have someone close to them who is in need, this might be just the thing. I will definitely be making a few.

In the meantime, it’s back to work and fitting in my knitting where I can.

DoctorKnitting500

Happy weekend, my knitters!

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My Best Companion 2

This video interview with Kaffe Fassett is absolutely wonderful. I came across it on My Sister’s Knitter and am so thankful I did. It’s been around since 2012, so I don’t know how I haven’t already seen it, but I’m thinking it’s one of those things that just came up at the right time, when I most needed to hear someone put into words the power of knitting.

My favorite part comes up at 8:13. The interviewer has asked Kaffe how knitting makes him feel, and this is his answer:

“It’s very easy to sort of lose the thread of life, and somehow the thread of knitting puts you back in touch with who you are, so it’s one of those extraordinary things. It’s my best companion when I’m traveling and when I’m in alien worlds . . . often dealing with the press, sitting in a hotel room, having an interview with somebody . . . if I can just knit a bit before and after those kinds of experiences, it just makes life more livable.”

I’m in Texas this week doing LOTS of knitting. Hope you get to do some too!

 

In The News 0

Check out this article: Oceanography Yarn-Bombed. The research vessel Falkor has an artist-in-residence, and she happens to be a knitter! I don’t know exactly why I love this so much, but I do.

 

A photo posted by spam KNITsubi (@spamknitsubi) on

 

While I was looking at Michelle Schwengel-Regala’s instagram feed, I also happened across this:

 

A photo posted by Makeful (@bemakeful) on

Pretty cool, huh?

On the homefront, I plan to finish Gramps today!! I don’t have buttons for it, but I’ll go ahead and do all the other finishing and soak and block it. Pictures soon.

Have a great weekend, my knitters!

F is for . . . 2

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “F”—as in, finished object, forests, and famous walkers.

Here’s the finished object.

Travel Shawl blocking

The Travel Shawl is off the needles! It was a great knit. I’ll say more about it later when I get some better photos, but the bottom line is that this was fun to work on and should be fun to wear. Here it is soaking.

Travel Shawl Soaking

And here it is on Rasta. I had to keep saying his name to get him to open his eyes. The shawl was like a sleeping potion. From the minute I put it over him, all he wanted to do was snuggle in and take a nap.

Rasta in Travel Shawl

Now I’m back to knitting Geek-A-Long squares. The current one is Sonic the Hedgehog. I’ll post a picture of it next time.

But moving on with the letter F, there was a shockingly wonderful article about forests in The New York Times yesterday. It’s about a German forest ranger named Peter Wohlleben who has written a book called The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate — Discoveries From a Secret World. Here’s the gist of it:

. . . trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the “Wood Wide Web”; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.

I thought the “Wood Wide Web” bit might be a joke, but it’s not. It’s the popular name for what scientists call the mycorrhizal network, a web of fungal connections that links trees beneath the soil. This makes so much sense to me. I can’t wait to learn more. An English translation of the book is scheduled to be published in September.

Winter Trees

And finally in the land of F — famous walkers. I came across this fun BBC article on walking the other day. Like the article on forests, it addresses something I’ve always felt was true and important but that doesn’t get talked about very much, the benefits of “purposeless walking.” It makes so much sense that a lot of great thinkers and artists were avid walkers. The article lists a number of them and describes some of the ways in which they found walking “just to walk” so valuable. Give it a look if you’re at all interested in this sort of thing.

Before I wrap up, I should note that the idea of stringing together a series of unrelated-in-the-big-picture-but-connected-in-my-world things with a letter comes from Barefoot Rooster, who used to do it all the time . . . back when she blogged. Sigh. I miss you, Barefoot Rooster.

Don’t Ask, Walk! 0

No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!

I came across this wonderful bit of insight from Neitzsche in a post on the Brain Pickings blog this week. It had a special resonance because it so perfectly describes a woman I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about. The woman’s name is Fukuko Katsuura, and weaving is her obsession. She is 88 years old. She started weaving at 60.

For decades the world said, “No, Fukuko Katsuura, you do not get to weave.” And she said, “Yes, I will weave.” And despite the restrictions of culture and geography and age and all kinds of other things, she did. She is. I’m making a list of unconventional role models, and she is at the top of it right now. There’s a juicy article about her here with lots of photos and interesting details. Coming across Nietzsche’s words at the same time as I’ve been thinking about her is one of those coincidences that makes me think I should pay attention. I mention it here mainly because the article on Katsuura’s weaving is a fascinating read but also because this idea of living authentically has been on my mind. It’s not easy, is it?

Knitting . . .

Weekend errands included a haircut with a few minutes to knit while I waited my turn.

Hari Salon Knitting

And here’s where I am with my first Geek-A-Long square!

Mario Kart Square

It’s absolutely every bit as fun as I thought it would be. There is something ridiculously satisfying about seeing the image appear in reverse on the opposite side. And the squish is insane. The idea of a whole blanket with this level of squish boggles the mind.

The weather here has been dramatic.

Weather

We’re in for the coldest night of the winter tonight, so I made soup for dinner. I used my new Christmas pot and made Hot and Sour Vegetable. Oh, my goodness. It was very, very good. I used this recipe for inspiration. Definite yum!

Hot and Sour Soup

Despite the way it appears, this is actually enough soup for days. The pot is huge!

Thursday 4

Hello, Knitting People!

I hope everyone is doing okay out there. I’m grading end-of-term papers and getting ready for my trip to Texas. On the knitting front, I’m making slow progress on the border of the Travel Shawl.

It was warm enough outside today to sit on the porch and knit for awhile.

Travel Shawl

I’ve also been keeping up with the Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar knit along. Here’s where we are so far.

Dec 10 web

Dec 9 v2 web

The top bar of the second sock, the part that looks like it says “POOP,” is actually “Woof,” written out in runes. We got to pick our word, and I thought “Woof” seemed like a fun one because, you know . . . dogs. Anyhoo, after I finished I realized it looked like it spelled poop. Shoot.

I really love a fun knit along. I’ve mentioned the Lattes and Llamas Geek-A-Long before. Some of the squares on the 2014 and 2015 blankets were absolutely inspired. I also love the idea of doing a double-knit blanket which is what you end up with if you do the Geek-A-Long squares.

The theme for the 2016 Geek-A-Long was revealed today in the Ravelry group. It turns out it’s going to be video games, from classic to modern. This actually seems less interesting to me than the 2014 theme, Fandom, or the 2015 theme, Mad Scientists. But Dr Llama says it will be “the most visually dynamic blanket” they’ve done yet. If that’s true, it will be one awesome blanket. I’m so tempted!

I also got a card in the mail this week for the Rowan Martin Storey Knit Along for 2016. It’s starting on January 28 and runs through the end of May. I’ve seen some pics of the 2014 blanket, and it’s really gorgeous, something that seems like it would have been fun to knit and wonderful to keep and use and use and use.

It’s funny—I love blankets. Love having them, love using them, love thinking about them, love working on them… The only problem is that, so far, I’ve never actually finished one! I think one of my goals for 2016 will be to start and finish a blanket. We’ll see.

Other interesting knitting news . . .

Have you heard about Chanel? Two of their team apparently visited Fair Isle and spent time with a Scottish designer named Mati Ventrillon. They claimed to be interested in learning more about the Fair Isle tradition. A few months later, a sweater almost identical to Ventrillon’s showed up on the catwalk in Rome as one of Chanel’s new designs. Not cool. Chanel has apologized. Still…

Also, if you haven’t read Gregory Patrick’s “The Time I Was Questioned By Police for Knitting in a Starbucks,” be sure to check it out. It’s a great story, and as someone who used to be a police officer, I can say that it doesn’t surprise me one bit.

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