Monday, January 2, 2012

Episode 24: Retrospectively Speaking

On the Needles:
I thought I would never say this, but I got suckered into knitting a commissioned item, which is a cabled baby hat.

That is what is currently on and active right now because I have to finish this by the time we get to work on Tuesday. After this, I plan to cast on for some bookmarks as prizes for my students which can be done during the NYE party that Mel and I are planning which is now just a small gathering.

Off the Needles:
I never thought I would say this, but the Castle Pullover is COMPLETE.

In addition, I finished the Snapdragon Tam in Roman Hills Gruber worsted in the colorway Toasted marshmallow. I love how it came out - it looks like a spiral and I finally blocked a tam correctly!!! I used the smaller of my two dinnerplates and it came out nicely and the brim is not all stretched out as well.

Knitting Finds:
Two things of note for this episode: first, Faultline by Gabriella Henry. She is a New Zealand based designer, and designed this beautiful shawl after the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, NZ which was her hometown at the time. 25% of pattern sales (for the forseeable future) will be donated to the Red Cross NZ in recognition of the first response aid they have provided to families.

Second is a Etsy shop called On the Round by Rachel Jones from Owls Head, Maine.

Year in Review: 
I came across two great posts covering 2011 in the knitting world by Clara Parkes and Carol of Black Bunny Fibres of the blog Go Knit in your Hat.
1. The Knitting Show: For years there has always been the Sheep and Wool Festivals, but with events like Vogue Knitting Live, Interweave Knitting Lab, Sock Summit and Knit Nation, there is a growing demand for the knitting show itself where it is like a convention or a conference - people take classes, listen to lectures and attend a marketplace all in one centralized location.
2. Yarn and fibre: There was a huge outcry against discontinuing Rowan Calmer, a cotton acrylic blend which is a great alternative for those with knitting allergies. Mission Falls also closed its doors as well as some indie dyer companies, Such as Gaia's Colors and Kitchen Sink Dyeworks and the split of Sanguine Gryphon shortly after Rhinebeck which was a bit of a shocker for me at least and are reforming into The Verdant Gryphon & Cephalopod Yarns.
 That being said, there is some new yarn that I was happy to discover: Cascade 220 is now in Sport Weight yarn and Brooklyn Tweed came out with Loft, which is like Shelter but in fingering weight - mmm colorwork. Lorna's Laces came out with a new yarn called Solemate. Lastly, Martha Stewart introduced her line of yarns at Lion Brand Yarn Studio - interesting, but not for me.

There is an increased interest overall in terms of where we get our yarn, how it is made and where it is made - Jared Flood published a series of blog entries detailing the process of making the Shelter yarn at the mill in Maine and books like Knit Local also highlight where to get yarn made in the USA. In addition, Quince & Co. opened this past year.
 In the UK, there were events such as Wovember which promotes the wearing of 100% wool and appreciation for the term itself - there are alot of items that say they are Wool but in fact they are not, so there is a need to increase awareness about the misuse of the term. The slogan is "Celebrate real wool that comes from Real Sheep."
There is also the Campaign for Wool which was jump started by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, who had observed that the wool industry was facing enormous and unprecedented challenges.

3. Books, Clubs, Magazines and Knit Alongs: so many good books came out this year:  Vintage Modern Knits, Wendy Knits Lace, Teeny Tiny Mochimochi, Knitted Socks East and West, and The Knitter's Book of Socks. 

In addition, special issues came out this year such as Jane Austen Knits, which demonstrates a trend about looking to the past for inspiration and reinterpreting it for the modern knitter.

There was Little Red in the City which strengthened the connection between print and digital publications - with the purchase of the book you get a scratch off code for a digital copy, and many books and magazines came out with corresponding digitial versions.
 Stephen West came out with the Earth and Sky pattern and corresponding mystery KAL which fired up the Ravelry boards and Cookie A came out with a sock club that also featured cookie recipes as well.

Overall, the knitting community - large as it may be - is growing more aware and sophisticated in what we do with our knitting and even closer to one another what with so many people on twitter talking about knitting and spinning and on Ravelry as well. Shows like VK Live in addition to the fiber festivals help us put faces to the names and gives many of us the opportunity to meet one another whether it be a knitter meeting with a favorite designer, or a bunch of knitters that met up through a common interest group on Ravelry.

Events:
I will be attending Vogue Knitting Live this on January 14. I am not sure if there will be some sort of meetup, but I do plan to be there at the Marketplace preview on Friday and hanging out on Saturday before my class.

Queue-Along:
The first round of our Knit the Queue Along is over and we have winners! Thank you so much for everyone who played along both in the FOs thread and the chat thread and asking questions, which helps iron out alot of the finer details of hosting a larger-scale QAL. Thanks to those who donated prizes:

2 copies Faultline Shawl by Gabriella Henry
Skein of yarn (base TBD) in the colorway our choice from a selection by Apothecary Yarns
Set of Stitch markers by Velvet Hippo
Skein of yarn and corresponding pattern from Creatively Dyed

The winners of the QAL are:
katepricey, teenuh, jazzy-j stitches, lapurplepenguin, and kitty stitches. Congratulations!

Thanks for listening!
Closing Song: "Smile" by Madeleine Peyroux from Half the Perfect World

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