Fall Yarn Collection: Favorite Book Characters!

As a lifelong reader, I’m almost dizzy with excitement about our new fall yarn collection. Each Knitcircus Crew member gets to pick their favorite book character and we’ll develop a colorway based on each one.

My favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird, but I can’t pick just one character from that, since the setting, characters, plot and message are all so masterfully fused into one.

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The problem, of course, is narrowing down our choices to just one favorite character! My top pick will probably be Pippi Longstocking, because she was a huge hero to me growing up. She lived alone, defeated robbers, flipped pancakes, made friends with pirates, bested bullies, thoughtfully entertained her friends, bought candy for every kid in town, and did it all with a huge grin. We had the book pictured above. Note the price!

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Her real name, of course, is

Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking.

Thanks to Pippi, our family always referred to math as “pluttification” and sang songs like, “Now we will fry a pankye,” every Sunday morning.

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As a kid, I just loved Pippi’s free-spirited adventures; as a grown woman, I love her independence, resilience, loyalty and positive attitude. She always used her powers for good, even if she didn’t understand drinking tea in polite society. She’s still my hero.

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Here’s author Astrid Lindgren with the actress playing Pippi. I also loved The Children of Noisy Village, based on her own childhood on a Swedish farm.

Another top pick: Anne of Green Gables. Of course! Who could not be won over by Anne’s pluck, imagination and heartfelt desire to be part of a family? But you’ll hear more about Anne from another member of the Knitcircus Crew…

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kinopoisk.ru

Tied for third place for me are Ron Weasley and Samwise Gamgee.

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I’ve always had a thing for sidekicks, starting with someone probably nobody knows, Shoie Shoemaker, best friend to The Magnificent Brain, Alvin Fernald. I read all of Clifford B. Hicks’ books  and grew quite fond of the lanky, athletic kid who was always ready for an adventure.

My dad read to my brother and I every night growing up, all the way through my freshman year of high school. We listened raptly to all of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, probably some of my dad’s favorite books. Samwise Gamgee’s loyalty, love and determination totally captured my heart.

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Ron Weasley. Guess I have a thing for loyal guys. And funny guys. And guys who are a little insecure because they grew up poor.

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And big families. A lot of other books I read as a kid featured lots of brothers and sisters instead of just one. The Weasley Twins are also some of my all-time favorite book characters.

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(sorry, I don’t know who to attribute this awesome graphic to)

 

Also, I just found out in the course of this “research” (looking at internet pics of your favorite characters counts as research now, #lovemyjob) that Rupert Grint, the actor who plays Ron, bought an ice cream truck and went around giving away ice cream for free. Since I have a lifelong fascination with ice cream trucks, I also like Rupert Grint now, too. Ice cream trucks, parties, the circus, all of these have always seemed magical to me.

So, these are a few of my favorite things….watch for more from the other Knitcircus Crew members as the September release date gets closer!

Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary: Win Book and Yarn!

Welcome to the Knitcircus stop on the Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary Blog Tour! I’ve long been a fan of Wendy Bernard’s patterns, blog and books, so getting to talk about her new one is a true pleasure.

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The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary is a welcome follow-up to Wendy’s Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary.

I’ve been a big Wendy Bernard fan for many years; since back in the day when knitting blogs were new, Knit and Tonic has always been a leading voice in the fiber-blog community. Wendy’s California-chic designs captivated me from the start. Her Favorite Cardigan (below) has long been one of the sweaters I most want to knit.

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Wendy has a knack for breaking down large ideas (design your own hat, cowl, sweater) into manageable parts and reconstructing it so that you feel confident tackling your next project. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out her Custom Knits series, I highly recommend them. The Custom Knits 1 and Custom Knits 2  books show you how to design your own top-down sweater, with lots of tips and patterns by Wendy. The Custom Knits Accessories is my fave, since I’m mostly an accessories knitter. She gives you all the tools you need to create your own sock, hat and other accessories patterns, with clear guidelines so you can succeed.

The All -Around Stitch Dictionaries build on Wendy’s expertise in guiding knitters to technical success. Most stitch dictionaries give you a stitch pattern and written directions for working the pattern flat; the more modern ones often include a chart. Wendy noticed that changing from flat to knitting in-the-round could sometimes be tricky, so she includes charts for both. She also gives the reader insight into which kinds of stitches do well on both sides (when designing a scarf, that’s key), and indicates which patterns are fully reversible, two sided (look good, but are different on each side) or only to be used with one side showing.

The second installment, The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary, includes very clear photos and charts for every stitch, but in her usual inimitable way, Wendy includes a whole Designing From Scratch appendix, with basic recipes for Basic Top-Down Socks, Basic Toe-Up Socks, Top-Down Cap, Bottom-Up Cap and Triangular Shawls in Two Directions,  with beautiful photos for each.

IMG_6836                        Here’s a photo I snapped from my copy of the book (notice the user-friendly notebook binding?). This shows the Checkerboard Cables charts and photos. Thanks to the publisher  for letting me share this pattern! You can see they’re awfully nice, clear charts and photos showing both sides of the swatch.

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WIN THE BOOK AND YUMMY YARN

Stewart, Tabori and Chang are so generous, they’re giving away not only a copy of Wendy’s new book, but 2 hanks of yarn from Blue Sky Alpacas. (USA readers only for shipping, please!)

Now, I’m sure you’re all champing at the bit to know how you can win the Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary and the yarns. Just comment and tell us:

What would you be likely to knit with the Stitch Dictionary? Sweater, Socks, Hat, Cowl, Shawl? Which way would you knit it? Top-down, bottom up, in the round or flat?

Follow the rest of the stops on the blog tour to see more stitch patterns from the book!

 

5/18: AboutKnitting.com

5/23: Craft Gossip

5/11: WEBS

5/28: Blue Sky Alpacas

 

Knitcircus Podcast #58

It’s up!

Jaala has some HUGE news and Amy is about to go to Ireland.

Thank you to Mary R! She both gave Jaala a shawl and helped keep her from crying of exhaustion.

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes

SPOILER ALERT: TV talk starts at 21:10 and ends at 24:19

Linky Things

Baby Puppy and Gradient Clubs

We’ve always been a cat family, but with kids, never say never. Introducing Belle’s new puppy: Sasha!

baby Sasha
baby Sasha

Belle has wanted a dog for years, and with some help from Grammy and Buppa, she researched and found the perfect pup, a Shih Tzu girl, 10 weeks old. Her research even included a powerpoint presentation highlighting the breed’s friendliness, relaxed nature (did you know they were bred as lapdogs for Chinese royalty?) and hypoallergenic coat.

a girl and her dog
a girl and her dog

A very happy girl got her wish last week. And Sasha really is adorable. Her little legs are so short, her tail is actually longer, so when she trots after Belle wagging her tail, it looks like half her little fuzzy body is wagging.

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sleepytime

The little tail starts wagging as soon as she sees any person, and she loves to be carried and snuggle on laps. She’s so small she practically takes a bath when she walks into dewy grass.

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Welcome, Sasha. If any dog can make it in this cat family, it’s you! (Don’t worry, yarn mavens, Sasha’s not part of the Evil Lair scene).

Speaking of the Lair, it’s an exciting time: Gradient Club memberships for next year are now open!

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Eleven months, six packages of yarn showing up right to your door! Each Knitcircus Yarns package includes an exclusive self-striping, hand-dyed gradient colorway, notes about the color inspiration, list of suggested patterns and coordinating gifts.We’ll mix it up with colors to make everyone happy, with some warm, some cool and some neutrals.

Gifts will include products from companies like Lantern Moon, Knit Happy and hidden gems from Wisconsin sheep farms.  Below; Frabjous Fibers bag (treat from the first Summer Slice Club) with a happy gradient to give you an idea. Of course, the colors of the actual Club will be all new. 🙂

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Luxury fiber will be wool-based, featuring different blends like silk, cashmere, tencel and nylon. Luxury fibers will include favorites like Thrilling, Opulence, and Greatest of Ease, new yarns reserved exclusively for Clubbies, and early access to yarns not in the shop yet.

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This year I won’t be writing up patterns, since it just took too much time away from dyeing, which also makes this year’s Club a little more affordable! But I will ransack Ravelry every time to find and tell you about patterns I think would work perfectly with each month’s yarn.

 

Yarn weights include 4 skeins of fingering weight yarn and 2 skeins of heavier-weight yarn. Knitting-related treats in every package include collaborations with small woman-owned and fair-trade businesses, from one-woman operations to nationally recognized brands.

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And, just like last year, you can either purchase a year’s subscription and be all done, or sign up once and pay as packages are ready to ship (also a six-package deal, but you can break up the payments!). For the full year, please use the code WELCOME at checkout to get $10 off your membership!

Curiosity Satisfied!

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Guess what, Hunter Hammersen’s new book just dropped! If you’ve been waiting for the Knitters Curiosity Cabinet III like we have, you can check it out at Pantsville Press.

Happy Tuesday,

jaala

 

Books Galore and Scandinavian Inspiration

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Hi, Knitters!

First, I just wanted to let you all know that my friend Stephannie Tallent has a new e-book going live, The Wild West: Volume 1 Lace! Stephannie was a tech editor for Knitcircus Magazine and her designs combine impeccable technique with pretty and well-thought-out patterns. Stephannie is an expert at cables, twist stitches, colorwork and lace. In this follow-up to her California Revival Knits, she’s broken the collection up into smaller books based on technique, so you can pick and choose your favorites!  Just for the next couple of days: preorder the book on Ravelry and use the code LACE1 for $3 off!

HAPPY HOME COVER

This last week, I must have a touch of spring cleaning fever. My mom, the maven of all things home beautiful, had taken this book out of the library and let me borrow it form her: Happy Home, by Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau.  Charlotte’s lighthearted, bright but clean style captivated my imagination, so over the weekend our family made some changes inspired by her book.

Inspired by the bright textiles, we revisited Belle’s homework area and made it more cheerful.

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Lil Buddy’s space got a re-vamp to keep up with our skater boy.IMG_1405[1]

And some shelves from the kids’ room made a welcome behind-sofa storage for shoes and sports equipment by the back door.

Charlotte’s company, RICE, provides colorful, fun homewares compliant with the UN’s Global Compact for labor and materials. I loved looking at all of the storage, brightness and lively ideas in the book!

In fact, it got me hungry for more Scandinavian design, and starting ideas jumping for a new yarn collection.

IMG_1395I pulled out some fun books: Learn to Knit, Love to Knit, 55 Christmas Balls to Knit, Northern Knits Gifts, Shades of Winter, and Knitalong. Learn to Knit, Love to Knit for its cheerful colors, CHristmas Balls for the Scandinavian colorwork and stories, Northern Knits Gifts for the cheerful practicality of Scandinavia, Shades of Winter, photographed at Sweden’s amazing IceHotel, and Knitalong is just pure fun.

photo:Chris Furuya
photo:Chris Furuya

Here’s a sneak peek at some samples for upcoming colors from Knitcircus! And, of course, we’ve been busy in the Lair, so watch for a shop update tomorrow morning.

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Hitch Winner, Ne’er Do Well and Busting at the Seams

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Thanks so  much to everyone who entered the Hitch, Patterns Inspired by the Films of Alfred Hitchcock giveaway! And thanks to Stephannie Tallent and Cooperative Press for giving me a copy to give away!

The lucky winner is Liz G, and she’s been notified. Please check out the next stop in the Hitch blog tour tomorrow: indigodragonfly!

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It’s the time for giveaways! The amazing Hunter Hammersen has generously offered a print copy of Ne’er Do Well Knits for a lucky podcast listener. Check out the book review on the Knitcircus Podcast and leave a comment here to enter!

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Vampire Boyfriend is back!
Vampire Boyfriend is back!

The Lair is full of yarns! You’ll see them all very soon…

Take care, I’m off to teach my Elementary School knitters (all 17 of them) to make pompoms!

 

 

 

Hitch Blog Tour and Giveaway!

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Today I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour AND you can win a digital copy!

Hitch includes 29 patterns from different designers; you’ll find sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves, socks. And shawls!

As you may know, Stephannie Tallent, the editor of this volume, worked closely with me as a tech editor for Knitcircus magazine and helped develop our excellent templates and tech-editing workflows. She can edit a pattern like nobody’s business, designs gorgeous, intricate patterns and has a vision for beautifully-designed and executed garments of all kinds.

I was thrilled when Stephannie released her first book, California Revival Knits, and happy to get a chance to be part of this collection honoring the work of one of her favorite directors. If you look at the cover, my design, the Miss Fremont shawl, was lucky enough to get a cameo there!

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The Hitchcock film I like best is Rear Window, so I looked at Grace Kelly’s costumes, other sketches by costume designer Edith Head and other clothing of the time for inspiration. I was particularly struck by the full New Look skirt with flowers radiating from the waist, so took that as the inspiration for my shawl design.

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The Half-Pi shawl is a favorite shape of mine, so within that construction, I chose a lace pattern to echo the feminine floral of the skirt. Here you can see the original sketch, the lace swatch, and final shawl blocked and pinned. Believe it or not, this was designed before I began dyeing gradients, but you can see that the idea was definitely starting to unfold! The shawl is worked in Blue Sky’s Alpaca Sport Weight, 100% baby alpaca, which was a joy to knit, soft, fuzzy and drapey, so perfect for a shawl.

So many wonderful designers are represented in Hitch, which uses red, white and black to highlight the drama and suspense of the theme. Go check out all the Hitch Designs on Ravelry and tell me which one you’d like to knit first! Leave a blog comment, and the Random Number Generator will choose a winner for us Sunday evening, the 17th of November.

Want to participate in a Knit-A-Long or hear about more giveaways? Join the Hitch group on Ravelry.

The Full Blog Tour

9/28/2013: Sunset Cat Designs
10/5/2013: Knitting Kninja
10/05/13: Knit One, Heart Too Podcast
10/7/2013: Herrlichkeiten
10/8/2013: Knit and Travel
10/9/2013: Knit & Knag Designs
10/10/2013: Wooly Wonka Fibers
10/11/2013: Verdant Gryphon
10/15/2013: Impeccable Knits: Shifting Stitches
10/16/2013: Rewolluzza
10/21/2013: Knitwear Designs by Carolyn Noyes
10/22/2013: Peacefully Knitting
10/23/2013: Dark Matter Knits
10/24/2013: Turnknit: Dani Berg Designs
10/25/2013: SweetGeorgia Yarns
10/28/2013: doviejay knits
10/29/2013: Triona Designs
10/30/2013: Tactile Fiber Arts (you’re here!)
11/4/2013: A Knitter’s Life
11/5/2013: Catchloops
11/6/2013: Yarn On The House
11/07/2013: Ramblings
11/12/2013: Hazel Knits
11/13/2013: Knitcircus
11/19/2013: indigodragonfly
11/9/2013: Fyberspates
11/22/2013: A B-ewe-tiful Design
11/25/2013: knittingkirigami