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TNNA Columbus 2012

June 28

I just got back from TNNA. That, in industry jargon, is the show put on twice a year by The National Needlearts Association. It’s where yarn manufacturers show off their new lines to shop owners, and where publishers show off their titles. It’s pretty much like a giant kindergarten, where we all get to see our friends in the industry. We have parties. We play (with yarn, mostly). And like little kids, we spend a great deal of time talking about and indulging in ice cream. It’s hilarious to follow the Tweets from the people attending the show – a huge percentage talk about what flavor they’re having at the aptly named Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream near the convention center.

The most exciting part of TNNA for me, besides seeing my buddies of course, was the poster in the Cooperative Press booth showing photos from my upcoming book. Shannon Okey (in the photo below) and her team work very hard to bring excellent books to the market, and I’m thrilled that my Reversible Scarves: Curing the Wrong Side Blues will be among them.

Shannon Okey, Cooperative Press, Reversible Scarves

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I’m working with CP’s miracle-worker-Assistant-Editor Elizabeth Green Musselman to comb through every detail of the book to get it ready for publication. It won’t be long now!

posted under Book, Events | 2 Comments »

Book Review: Ethnic Knitting

April 22

Abraham Lincoln once wrote, “I’m sorry I wrote such a long letter. I did not have the time to write a short one.” The book review that follows is long, but I couldn’t seem to pare it down any further without skipping some of  the book’s great qualities.

Ethnic Knitting Exploration: Lithuania, Iceland, and Ireland ek2_front-cover-rule

I love sweaters that incorporate ethnic designs, so I was pleased to read “Ethnic Knitting Exploration: Lithuania, Iceland, and Ireland”. The author, Donna Druchunas, walks you through all the steps and techniques required to design sweaters, and some smaller practice projects, with an ethnic flair. She clearly explains how to use color and texture stitch patterns from Lithuania, Iceland and Ireland in your designs.

Right from the introduction, I liked Druchunas’s approach. In a concise yet friendly manner she explains why she uses certain sweater styles, rather than others. This means you’ll end up with a sweater that is flattering rather than too boxy.

She goes on to cover some knitting basics: how to determine your sweater’s size, and how to knit in the round, including the two circular needles and the magic loop methods. This chapter makes a good primer for the beginning knitter and a nice reference for those with more experience. I’ve knitted sweaters before using short rows to shape the shoulders. But I learned something new in her description of short-row shaping for a sweater back. That said, I wished for more information on how to know whether to use this technique prior to starting the design process. Druchunas says that some body types like this adjustment, but I’d like to know what types those are.

I love the book’s format. The chapters on Lithuania, Iceland and Ireland include interesting facts about the origins of knitting in each region. Druchunas presents a variety stitch patterns from each – color ones from Lithuania and Iceland, and textures and cables for the Irish Aran tradition. Then there is a practice project and sweater project. Every project includes wonderful step-by-step instructions. You fill in the blanks on the worksheets and end up with your own design, customized for the fit and stitch patterns you’ve chosen.

I wanted to test out the book’s methodology. I chose the Fingerless Gloves project from the chapter on Lithuania. From making a gauge swatch to adjusting the stitch pattern to knitting the gloves, I found it very easy to make my own customized gloves. All I had to do was fill in the blanks on the worksheets. Each worksheet lays the foundation to make an entire pattern – painlessly.

fingerless-gloves-2

The project was so logically presented, my confidence is boosted for making a sweater next. The only hard part will be choosing from among all the lovely stitch patterns!

If you’re interested in buying “Ethnic Knitting Exploration: Lithuania, Iceland, and Ireland”, you can find it here on Amazon. Donna Druchunas’s  web site, Sheep To Shawl, describes the other books she’s written.

fingerless-gloves-and-book

Ugly Hat Public Debut

March 29

The SLO Knitters Guild presentation went great. (And no, SLO doesn’t indicate we’re so backward we can’t spell “slow” – it stands for San Luis Obispo!)

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Adrienne and I were happy to meet new knitting friends and have the opportunity to share about our experience with Level I of the Master Hand Knitting Program. We passed around our swatches and talked about the work involved. Adrienne had a good list of especially helpful references, like Monte Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook. We described the fantastic review process – the TKGA volunteers who critique the submissions are incredibly generous with their time and expertise.

presentation-1

Judging by the number of good questions, there’s a lot of interest in the program. Or else everybody was just hyber from the delicious coffee, tea and sweet goodies people kindly brought.

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I hope local knitters will continue to attend the twice-a-month SLO Knitters guild meetings. You don’t have to be a Guild member to attend. The group is wonderful (they are knitters, after all!), and willing to pass along their considerable knitting knowledge. Come on by, the second and fourth Saturday of the month at 10:00 am at St. Stepen’s Episcopal Church in San Luis Obispo.

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