Favorite Characters from Literature #2: Katie

 

Hello!

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Jaala asked me to say something about myself this week, which is strange for me. My name is Katie, and I love being behind the scenes helping to make things tick.

Every day is something different for me at Knitcircus; today I’m in the office with my puppy curled at my feet but yesterday I was busily dyeing up batches of gorgeous yarn to send to online customers and for us to take to Stitches Midwest.

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Roscoe Likes to Help in the Office

 

What am I doing tomorrow? Who knows?!? When I’m not dyeing yarn or working on the website listings, I am prettifying displays and ordering needles and notions for the Studio Store and at most of our shows working the booth.

At home I am busy raising my son Cole and step-son Jacob with my husband James. We also have two cats, Captain Fitzwilliam von FancyPaws, Fourth Earl of Bigglesworth (Fitz) and Cleo, in addition to our puppy, Roscoe.

I can often be found knitting or crocheting on the couch watching Midsomer Murders or any BBC Masterpiece Classic in the evenings.

Fall Collection Color

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For my Fall Collection literary character I decided on Elinor Dashwood from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

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It’s not that I directly identify with Elinor but I do feel an affinity for her. Elinor is steady, mature, soft-spoken but well-respected, and the rock of her family during a sad and turbulent time.

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Elinor always makes me think of a lighthouse during a storm; strong and steady and still standing after the storm passes.

Aside from my love of English literature, I have a deep and abiding appreciation for anything funny and awesome. So I will leave you with this thought: Go see Ghostbusters.

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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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!

WIP Wednesday

Hi, Knitters,

This week, Katie and I wanted to make some quick-knit gifts, so we each laid claim to some 50g cakes of worsted for gifty satisfaction.

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I’m working on a Barley hat in Ringmaster Worsted for my niece. She’ll look adorable in this rainbow! I’m a big fan of Tin Can Knits; I love their simple patterns. This hat was cast on yesterday and should be finished by tomorrow.20151209_100838

Katie took her 50g cakes in a different direction; she’s designing her own mitten pattern! She’s using our new manly color, Mithrandir, to make some teen-sized mittens. The pattern will give you options for teen and adult sizes too!

Amy’s go-to gift knitting is Cat Bordhi’s Moebius Cowl pattern.

What gifty goodies are you knitting? We’d love to know..

Happy knitting,

Jaala

 

I Love Yarn Day, Kung Fu Knits and Secret Yarn

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I Love Yarn Day is this Friday! As part of the Yarn Group with TNNA, we’ve been looking forward to this for months. And we’ve got a big, big announcement coming out this Friday, so stay tuned. Here’s a spoiler: it has to do with a new kind of yarn and a totally unique dyeing process.

If you check out the I Love Yarn Day Facebook page, there’s a contest and all kinds of other events going on, including yarny Flash Mobs. (local knitters: do we have one? It seems like the Sow’s Ear might cook something up…)

Kung Fu Knits

As the mom of a sixth-grade boy, I know how hard it is to both knit for, and find great patterns for, kids this age. My son recently requested a hat; plain. And black. I talked him into a gray-to-black gradient, but it was a tough sell. Designer and Dark Matter Knits podcaster Elizabeth Green Musselman specializes in high-quality knits for men and boys. I love her men’s Dawson sweater, boys’ Langstroth (from the Cuteboysezwhat e-book)  and the super-fun Frankenfingers mitts. My daughter and I would both wear those in a hot second.

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photo: Cooperative Press

Elizabeth has written a new pattern collection, Kung Fu Knits, which ingeniously combines comics and martial-arts-themed knitting patterns for kids. The official synopsis:

It’s a familiar scenario: it’s freezing outside, and a nine-year-old boy wants to go out to play. His mother keeps piling him into more and more knitwear. Groaning ensues. Until that glorious moment when the boy realizes that knitting just might save the day.

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photo: Elizabeth Green Musselman
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photo: Elizabeth Green Musselman

Author Elizabeth Green Musselman says: The book is aimed particularly at boys aged 4–12 and the poor people who try to knit for them. It can be so hard to get kids this age to wear handknits.The comic book storyline at the beginning ties knitting into one boy’s martial arts adventure in the backyard. His mom just wants him to be warm, but these knits are also the tools for pure fun.

Knitted nunchuks! And throwing stars! A backpack to carry them in! And an entire kung fu uniform. (My son has declared these The Most Comfortable Pants Ever, and refuses to take them off when it’s cool out.)

The illustrations are by a local artist / kung fu teacher. All projects use Berroco Vintage.

The martial artist in our family is my daughter, and she would definitely wear every one of these garments, because she loves to be warm and comfortable. I can also totally see my five-year-old nephew rocking the adventurous outfit and knitted nunchucks.

You can order the Kung Fu Knits collection from Cooperative Press as either a print book or downloadable pdf.

Sasha’s New Look

We took Sasha to a real groomer, Tabby and Jacks, where they gently and patiently clipped her with scissors because the clipper panicked her.

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Now we can see her little face, instead of just a big pompon. I have to admit, I did love the big puff, but she can actually see what she’s doing now.

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What she’s doing now is napping. 😉

Oh, local knitters, The Knitting Tree is celebrating its Grand Opening tomorrow afternoon! They’ll have cheese and snacks and a chance to win prizes from 4-6pm. If you haven’t seen the beautiful new space, it’s definitely worth stopping.

Have a lovely Tuesday, knitters!

Knitting Tree’s New Home, Night Circus and Captain Tightpants

Hi, Knitters,

One of our local yarn shops, which has been around since my brother and I would walk to the drugstore to purchase candy bars for twenty-six cents, has a new, improved home! (We would literally walk right y it then, when I had not idea how important knitting and yarn would be in my life).

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The Knitting Tree, run by the sweet and fabulous Jackie, is just a block away from its old space on Monroe Street, but now boasts a spacious, modern place. Not only is there room for lots more gorgeous yarn, but you can actually hang out and knit!

Dreamlike Reading

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I recently read The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern; I don’t read fiction that often, because I know it’s so exciting I’ll want to do nothing else. This dreamllike, steampunk-ish story had me spellbound and I really enjoyed it. The premise of two magicians bound together in a lifelong contest I found extremely original, and ahistorical Victorian London where magic can be learned by anyone and women can be entrepreneurs and nobody bats an eye is a very pleasant place to visit. I’m so excited that the group The Ravelry Book Club is doing this book for October! Can’t wait to hear what other people think about this story. Please join in if you’d like…

Satine

Moulin Rouge, with its swirling dancers, romance, Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman, and modern soundtrack, is one of my favorite movies. I designed several yarns based on it last year (like The Can Can Can, inspired by the Moulin Rouge dancers’ petticoats). I’ve been a huge fan of director Baz Luhrmann’s over-the-top musical vision since my mom and I watched Strictly Ballroom many times together on our VHS…

The “Sparkling Diamond,” featured Moulin Rouge dancer Satine, falls in love despite herself, and the colors in the Satine colorway were inspired by a rooftop song with pink moon and blue Eiffel Tower against the backdrop of a Paris twilight.

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Now, the Satine gradient, kit and shawl pattern are available to everyone! Diamond lace is a girl’s best friend…

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Not exactly a Paris nightclub, but then our model (a yoga teacher) is definitely healthier than poor Satine, and luckier in love!

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The Satine lace is trickier than some of the lace patterns I use, but only because it takes a number of rows to create the diamond patterns. There are no strange or difficult stitches, and it’s still only worked every right side row, so if you keep the chart nearby, it should be just fine.

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Fun Magazine

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Knit.wear has changed to Knit.Purl and gotten a pretty new makeover! I liked Knit.Wear already, a specialty twice-yearly publication with a fun, modern twist on the classics Interweave is so well-known for. I was happy to see that the sensibility and the articles, etc are not different, only the cover and some of the graphic design.

I really liked the article on the design student with a featured knitting/sewing combo fashion show and was thrilled to discover that the lovely Stephannie Tallent has her own Aran Cables and Lace video class with Interveave! Congratulations, Stephannie!

Captain Tightpants

Another director I love, this one mostly televison: Joss Whedon. Of course, Buffy rocks, but I’m an even bigger Firefly fan. I was skeptical about the concept of space and cowboy together, but Captain Mal and his ragtag crew drew me in until they became some of my most favorite tv characters of all time.

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Just for fun, I’m bringing back two of my favorite Firefly-inspired kettle dyes for the month of October. The first: Captain Tightpants.

Loyal, courageous and resourceful,  former battle captain Malcolm Reynolds held his crew together, doing whatever it took to keep flying another day. It’s not terrible to think of Nathan Fillion in leather pants as you’re knitting, either.

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The Firefly crew circles the outer edges of the ‘Verse, always on the edge of The Black. Here’s a yarn interpretation of the vastness of space. You can order both The Black and Captain Tightpants in either Greatest of Ease or Opulence yarn.

Have a great Thursday,

Jaala

TNNA, Giveaway and April Showers

Indianapolis, prepare yourself for knitters like you’ve never seen! Chris and I can’t wait to join the fun at this year’s National Needle Arts trade show! We are not exhibiting this year, so not stressing about putting together a gorgeous booth, just looking forward to seeing our wonderful designer and yarnie friends. We’ll have plenty of Knitcircus Yarns gradient and kettle dye samples along, so just say the word if you’d like to try out our yarns!

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We’ll be staying with Stephannie Tallent and Toby Roxane Barna, which should be a hoot. If you’re going and would like to meet up, please shoot me an email (jaala@Knitcircus.com).

We’ll be at Sample It, the Stitchcraft Designer Meetup and as many Yarn Group events as humanly possible. Anybody familiar with Indianapolis who can tell us where to eat or have coffee? I wonder what will be the new Jeni’s?

Hunter Hammersen Yarn Giveaway!

We first met the talented Hunter Hammersen when she submitted a stunning sock design to Knitcircus way back when it was a paper magazine. Since then, she’s gone on to publish five gorgeous themed pattern books, including Silk Road Socks and the Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet series (Volume Three comes out soon!).  Hunter is giving away two skeins of Knitcircus Yarn on her blog!

New in the Lair

We’ve been busy in the Lair as always, so here’s the news from yarnland!

We’ve added an 150g custom order option to all of our dyed-to-order yarns, which means you can have that beautiful gradient in the perfect amount for your Hitchhiker or other larger project. We’ve also added the Turquoise Pool, Summer Afternoon, Apricot, Toast and Cranberry Relish color options.

After an unplanned hiatus, we have a new supplier and now have an even better Greatest of Ease base; 80% Superwash Merino, 20% nylon for lovely and practical sock knitting. So you can choose that for any custom order and we’ll have more ready-to-go in the shop soon.

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The April special colorway Come What May was a spectacular success and is now joining our regular lineup of custom orders! Anyone who ordered it, we’re dyeing them up right now and expect to have them packaged up and in the mail next week.

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Following one beautiful day, we’ve now enjoyed rain, hail and high winds. But the fruit trees have tiny buds, and the daffodils are in bloom, so we’ll take it!

Sending good thoughts to all of those dealing with dangerous weather. Stay safe!

Jaala

 

 

Knitcircus Podcast #44

Back so soon! Jaala goes all Yarn Con and Amy’s stashbusting continues apace.

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes.

Mentioned this podcast:

Yarn Con Chicago (And the Knitcircus Greatest Show on Earth sale!)

Yarn Hollow

Blue Tulips

Sun Valley Fiber Farm

Jelby

Chicago Knits Magazine

The Amazing Thing About the Way it Goes, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Studio S

Celtic Journeys

YarnOver

StevenBe’s

Amy’s Secret Destash: Rainbowbeard on Ravelry (Direct link here)

Wonderful Wallaby

Ella Rae yarn

Socks from the Toe Up, by Wendy Johnson

Melissa Leapman’s Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook

Wendy Bernard’s upcoming Stitch Dictionary

West Wing

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives