Friday, February 25, 2011

Madrona Recap

I haven't yet written a proper recap of my Madrona experiences, largely because I forgot to bring my camera (bad bad me), and also because it's so incredibly hard to capture the fabulousness that is Madrona in so many prosaic words. Madrona, that event that some of us pine for 51 weeks out of the year. Madrona, that some of us love and adore to a ridiculous degree.

Fortunately, I don't have to now because Franklin Habit just posted an end-all description of Madrona in his blog, the Panopticon. Do please give it a read.

And yes, I am so enjoying my 15 minutes of fame, thank you for asking.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I just had to release the pattern for the Fluency Gloves before the weather starts to warm. The flowing, sinuous ribs create a delicious hug for your hands that is also very stretchy.


Watch the ribs part to show the hidden beads glimmering when you stretch them over your hands, and don’t miss the special twisted stitch pattern that adorns the thumb.

Pattern fits a wide range of hand sizes. Gloves are fingered or fingerless. Beads are prestrung before knitting, but it’s so worth it!


Bead requirement: 96 size 6/0 beads for the pair.

The yarns I chose for this project are very special, and I am very picky indeed about what fibers contact my hands because they are so sensitive.

Abstract Fiber's Soprano is prime in the softness and strength department, with its mix of silk and wool. I chose the Turquoise colorway for my first pair of the gloves, and the Abstract Fiber folks dyed it just for me!! What a thrill!

Plucky Knitter
's Merino Alpaca Silk Worsted is as cozy as cozy gets, and feels wonderful! The fingerless gloves you see here are in the Satin Slippers colorway, so subtle and shimmery.

I do hope you enjoy this special winter treat. The pattern is now available on Ravelry and soon, on my website and all around, thanks to my lovely pattern distributors, Up North Fiber Art Supply.


Photos by the wonderful Vivian Aubrey. Please do go take at look at her masterful work on her blog.

Next: getting ready for Madrona! If you are going, see you there!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Finally, Charts Made Simple!

I have in my hands a treasure: an advance copy of JC Briar's new book, "Charts Made Simple: understanding knitting charts visually."

I didn't know it, but I have been waiting for this book for a very long time.

Every time I have ever taught lace, which is a frequent occurrence, I have wished for some sort of reference to offer my students who are unfamiliar with charts. Since I ask my students to become very intimate with their lace work.. even beyond "reading".. it is essential that they wean themselves off of the long strings of word descriptions and onto pictorial charts to follow.

This is a tortuous process for many knitters, and there are various learning styles to consider as well.. some of us are aural learners, some of us visual, and some spatial.

But enough about me and my teaching style. I want to talk about JC's book, which appeals wonderfully to almost every style of learner and feels so good in the hand. A small, beautifully organized compendium of common sense and wise knitterly advice, it also ventures into previously uncharted territory as it exhorts us to go beyond the obvious, not even taking a chart at face value. Each chapter ends with a summary and a set of test questions, making it an ideal self guided learning experience.

As most designers who have had the great fortune to have worked with JC in her previous career as a tech editor par excellence, JC knows just about everything there is to know about knitting, and there has never been a tech editor with a sharper eye or a friendlier tone. "Charts Made Simple" is a wonderful opportunity to glean chart pointers from a master.

Order online from Amazon. You'll be glad you did.