Friday, August 15, 2014

Piecework Knitting Traditions 2014

I love working with the staff of Piecework! Each time has been a blessing, a learning experience, and just delightful! This project has been one of my favourites. And there is no holocaust story to make ya'll sob this time!
I present to you Fritillary Mittens
Isn't the photography great? This is by Joe Coca, from the magazine spread.
The story:
Several years ago, a friend of mine made some delightful socks with singing birds on them. The pattern was so beautiful. It turned out they were a charted embroidery pattern she had fitted to colorwork knitting.
Intrigued by the idea, I began researching old embroidery pattern collections to see how I could apply them to my own knitting. Many of the designs I found were hundreds of years old. Some were spaced so that they stitch work would be better if duplicate stitch, others were perfect for basic colourwork knitting.
I love colorwork. I find I knit faster completing a section here and there. I am motivated to complete a picture in the wool I am knitting.
For the Fritillary Mittens, my botanic arts background drew me towards a particular motif. The checkerboard in the flower reminded me of Fritillaria meleagris. The common names for the flower include Snake’s head fritillary, guinea flower, or chequer lily. It is very rare to find square shapes in nature. They can be quite mesmerizing when you do. The name “fritillaria” comes from the latin word fritillus meaning “dice box”.

I added a knit border for the cuff from a 1912 filet crochet booklet. The main chart is modified from an old page that was tucked into a French embroidery book from 1886, source unknown. I charted the main flower, flipped it and manipulated it a bit so the floats between colours would not stretch endlessly.
you can find more info on ravelry...see projects and mittens in other colours.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Summer Catch up

This has been an incredibly hard and wonderful Summer.
The kids are all older and their schedules were insane!
Tirzah- Chicago 2.5 weeks, NY 4 weeks, Israel 2 weeks, 1 week home and then off to college in Chicago.
Malachai did what is called the "5 week challenge". 2 weeks as a camp counselor. A week Home, then 2 weeks in NY, 3 days home and 8 days of Adventure camp.
Kezziah's job kept her form the first 2 weeks as a counselor but she did the NY and Adventure camp with Chai. So.... whitewater rafting, backpacking, redwoods, San Francisco.
Jaden and Sam back packed Mt Lassen Volcanic park. Then they went off to another camp.
The smallest 2, Zemeira and Talia, also had 2 weeks of camp!
In 2 months, there were 6 trips to the airport. 3 to Sonora-and I did not get to By Hand Yarns once!
2 trips to San Francisco...
oh! and Then I ran off to Jimmy Beans Wool's Stitch Mountain Retreat!

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, our dear friend Sean, lost his battle with Lung Cancer.
In May, we were so encouraged, Sean looked so healthy and amazing. The decline was so fast over the next 6 weeks. This left us devastated. 28 years old, married 3.5 years, swimmer, diver, amazing son and brother, mentor and encourager....oh, there are not enough words to describe Sean or this hole, the void, that is left here without him.

I have back posts to add and get things caught up. Be patient with me, please. :)

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Knitting in Austria

I am amazed any stitches were done! We were so busy.

Around the corner from the Mirabell Platz in Salzburg, my friends found the yarn shop!

First the Mirabell Platz Gardens:

Amazingly beautiful!

While I roamed the other side of the river and discovered a book shop with Stricken buchs, my friends found the yarn shop:

And wait! there was YARN BOMBING!!!!!!!!!!

And some sock knitting on the train

Monday, May 26, 2014

Knit like an Egyptian

Some times, things do not go as planned.
Sock Madness 8 this year, has felt like each round has taken months rather than days or weeks.
So the optional round pattern I did for them, rather than being released during Spring Holidays (Easter/Passover) like previous years, is the Round 5 Bonus pattern.

I present to you Hieroglyphic Socks!

25 years ago, I had planned on a career in Egyptology. In 1992, I went to Cairo, climbed pyramids, went on what seemed to be a 30 min tour of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, made papyrus, walked into the heart of a pyramid, and ate chicken fried in camel fat.(Very gross! ) My friend Harry Musser saved me from some rather insistent Egyptians and their camel, by saying I was his wife (we were 17). Which lead to the "happy couple" having their picture taken in front of the Sphinx.

While I never did complete a degree in archaeology or egytpology, I still have an obsession with Egypt….ok, maybe with Brendan Fraser as well.
As I sat on Lisa Souza’s couch, the colour ways just jump out of the bin, golden yellows and lapis blues. While these two colours seemed perefectly egyptian to me, below is the link to look at more of her colours, so that you can find the ones that speack to you. (Lisa dyes to order, and has great prices). I love this yarn for doing colour work! It always turns out so well.
Color, or iwen, in Egypt, carried meaning. 
Blue (irtiu and khesdedj) This color represented sky and water. Important concepts such as the heavens and the primeval waters (the place from which all life emerged in Egyptian mythology) are connected with the color blue. Because of the Nile, blue is also associated with birth and rebirth because the annual flood of the river brought fertility to the land. 
Yellow (khenet and kenit) The color of the sun, yellow was linked with the concept of eternity and imperishability.
“Sock-sheptsut” had been the initial name for these. Probably a bit much. So here we are at Hieroglyphic Socks.

These are stranded colorwork socks with corrugated ribbing and a lateral braid. The knitting motif, read vertically, says “Knitting Socks” in hieroglyphs. (the K is there, even though it is silent…just because.)

Required Skills:
Knitting in the round
Long Tail Cast On
Short rows
Stranded colorwork techniques
Knowledge of basic sock construction
Lateral braid techniques
Basic Chart Reading
Kitchener stitch (grafting)
Sizes: S (M, L); show in size M
Circumference 7.5 (8.5, 9.5)”

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I make hats for guys named Sean

So I knit hats for guys named Sean.
The hat I knit for Sean Astin has garnered some attention. Seriously an amazing turn of events.
It has the Vox Fox for his Vox Populi podcast. This was pretty awesome. Hobbit hearts are happy.

But There is another Sean I knit hats for.

Sean Trank has been a family friend and some one my children have grown up with as a camp counselor.
A few months ago he was diagnosed with Stage 3b, inoperable Lung Cancer,at the age of 27 and because lung cancer is connected with smoking, it is sad to even need to say it, NO he never smoked. 
Sean is a runner, diver and all around awesome guy. 
He and his wife of 2 years, Sarah,  have been going through extreme chemotherapy, and intense pain.

Sean's Video on his cancer

There are 12 days left to help Sean raise money to cover costs that his insurance does not cover.
You can buy a rockin' shirt like the one he is wearing or make a donation just because you are a mensch!

Please pray for Sean, Sarah and their whole family.
And maybe knit a hat. Halos of Hope will be collecting hats next month at Stitches West in San Mateo, Ca. Maybe you want to knit a hat and donate it in Sean Trank's name. Maybe you want to run for some one you can't right now. Run for Sean Trank. Sean Astin has a #Run3rd group to run and dedicate races to others.

Our world is a better place because Sean is in it, and we want to keep it that way!

Knitting Auschwitz

In 2010, I went on my first trip to Poland to work on a reconciliation project, A Tour of Roses.
I have written about this organization  previously in Knitting Traditions and the Lizkor/remembrance socks from the trip to Sobibor.
On the first trip however, my friend Marie and I took a day trip from Krakow to Auschwitz-Birkenau (the others from my team had already gone on a previous trip). Marie is German. She had been there previously as she does work with catholic youth and projects that work between Jews and Catholics. I was so thankful for her willingness to take me. I could never have navigated the bus and trip in Polish by myself!

It was a cold and rainy day. There were very few people there. Our tour took us on a journey, we went in and out of buildings, walked into the gas chambers and stood in front of ovens. Stood in the barracks looking at the tiny spaces for sleeping, the degradation and striping away of the humanity a piece at a time.

After the official tour, Marie and I walked the grounds and the rain increased with the heaviness. We sought shelter in the empty bath house. The bath house has a plexi-glass floor so you hover over the ground. The wear and tear of visitors and time is having an effect on the building, so this "glass" floor is to preserve the witness of the past.
Marie and I sat on that floor, we had a small Bible and recited Psalms aloud. Marie, who speaks hebrew so beautifully from her time in Israel and her love for the Jews, said the kaddish with me. After we walked through the bath house. Each station removed a little more from the Jews who passed through. Here you are stripped of clothes, this one shaves your hair, the mass cold showers, the rags given to wear...your name is taken from you and a number is tattooed into your flesh. As you walk through, it just got worse and worse. At the end, the last room, the exhibitors have displays of photographs. Each photograph has a name. It is really powerful, they try to bring back the names to the nameless and show their faces as they were before Auschwitz. If you have seen Mattisyahu's Jerusalem video, you can see how the imagery of this room is captured in the video.

While we were there, in one of the display cases in Block 5, were some baby sweaters.

After several years, I pulled out the photo's, talked with Interweave's Editors at Piecework Magazine and began recreating the sweater from the above photograph.

In the Jan/Feb 2014 Historical Knitting Issue of Piecework, along with some amazing knitters like Nancy Bush, is my project.

This was such a difficult project for me. The knitting was simple and staright forward, knits & purls. But it was so emotional.

My version of the sweater:

It is not perfect. The original was not either. We have no historical data on who this sweater was made by or who it was intended for or worn by. There are an estimated 1.5 Million children who were murdered in the Holocaust. This could have been a sweater for any one of them.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tree of Life

I love Tu B'Shvat. This is one of my favourite holidays. Did you know that there was a new year for trees?

On Tu B’Shvat, we can do more than appreciate and celebrate the natural cycles of trees and the changing seasons. We can lend a hand to help sustain and restore forests, both in Israel and at home.

Do:Plant trees in Israel. Rockets launched at Israel land in fields and forests, cause forest fires. Replenish the forests.

Do:Plant trees on school/synagogue property. Start a community garden.

Do: Learn about forest management issues in your area

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A book to review

Theodor Herzl :A New Reading by Georges Yitzhak Weisz

Definition, definition, definition... 

At the heart of the arguments on Herzl is really definition of specific words and terminology used. What is zionism? Who is a Jew? Why a Jewish state? We assume that we share the same definitions so when we debate the issue and the words are used, some how there is shock at the amount of disagreement. Our beliefs define our words.

"Who is Theodor Herzl?" is one of these questions that have been defined and redefined. Herzl's lack of observance and degrees of assimilation have been used to call into question his "Jewishness." That would be another question waiting to be defined, "How observant should one be?" This issue is in constant debate whether you are in HaEretz or the Diaspora. Which rabbi performed your son's bris? your daughter's wedding? Where you Bar Mitzvah'd? and the age old "How Jewish are you?" are question that circle round and round. These basic questions divide our communities, even to the point of being able share a cup of tea together or say brachahs.

In an interview with Haaretz, Dr. Yitzhak Weisz, stated the he believes that Herzl is more relevant than ever today, and that the discourse should go back to focusing on Jewish identity, as he conceived it. “We must return to Herzl,” he declares. Herzl’s approach, asserts Weisz, provides the basis for redefining the religious debate: “We need to uproot the Jewish terminology of religious-and-secular and start to talk about Jewish identity.”
While on vacation with his wife, he happened to read Herzl’s book “Altneuland” ‏(“Old-New Land”‏) Reading the book gave me a shock, because I grasped intuitively that there was a fraud, a distortion under way here, which unites segments of society otherwise divided by an abyss: the Haredim on the one hand and the post-Zionists on the other,” he says. “When I got back to Jerusalem, I started to read Herzl systematically. Suddenly I understood how symptomatic Herzl is of the identity crisis that is wracking Israeli society.”
“Herzl thought that a Jew remains a Jew even if he discards all the precepts. But that never happens, because observing the precepts is a collective act.” Herzl’s approach, asserts Weisz, provides the basis for redefining the religious debate: “We need to uproot the Jewish terminology of religious-and-secular and start to talk about Jewish identity.”

The news lately has reported on the return to faith of 60-70 kibutz communities that are practicing a Reformed Judaism rather than Haredi. Many lesser observant or secular Israelis leave their own country in order to get married as there are so many difficulties placed in getting a legal marriage in Israel. An Inquiry is being made into the Aliyah process, as to how it is being/has been handled.

Dov Newmark, Nefesh B'Nefesh UK Director: “So really Aliyah is the process of emigrating to Israel. It’s a fairly straightforward process - under Israel’s immigration law, which is the Law of Return, if you, if you qualify then Israel has very much an open door policy. As far as the government basket of benefits it ranges from free ulpan - which is learning the language, there’s also health benefits as well, and there is a monetary gift depending on size of family that is also awarded to you, on behalf of the Israeli government”.

Depending on which Rabbi signed your papers....

This is why this book is relevant. Beginning with the infamous Dreyfus Affair, mentioning the legendary link between George Eliot's Daniel Deronda and Herzl, the need for a common tongue and resurrecting spoken Hebrew, Weisz seeks to create a whole picture of Herzl. Looking back from this place in time, with an established Israel, post Holocaust, with Hebrew being spoken and written in, it is hard to believe that there was a time when the Encyclopedia Britannica reported things to be as unlikely as Hebrew ever being a spoken language.

Besides history, there is a faith that enters into the equation of zionism and Israel. This book is an excellent resource to the great debate.

‘A return to Jewishness is an absolute condition for a return to the Land of Israel.’ - Herzl

Now that we have a book redefining Herzl, maybe we can find a common ground in our "Jewishness" ...if we can agree on a definition.

This book was provided to me at no cost, for review purposes. I receive no compensation and the opinions are my own. And all the legal stuff that tells you I am only biased by my own opinions.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Blogging from Bed

So I am sick. I was trying to just push through the morning, but here I am in bed.
I do not rest well. I can't knit. It keeps making me nauseous.
So I have been googling planning stuff for the new year.

With so many projects and the kids, and the one going off to college, this year looks challenging and we are at Day 2 of the Solar Year.

How are you doing? Feeling overwhelmed or charged with a fresh start?
I love organizers and calendars. I always start off the year with a new one, and I waste money b/c I do not actually use it thru the year. Am I the only one?
I hate the waste of it.
This is what I found so far. I think I may need to create my own so I can list yarn dyers and teachers, craftsy classes.....

Free Goal Setting pdf

Goals 2014

Free Goal Setting Kit pdf

Blog Planner Free PDF  and the Weekly version

Free 5 yr plan pdf

Goals and Dreams Free pdf

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Spark Experiment

One of the books I have been reading lately is Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey

"Neuroscientists have found that exercise increases blood flow and the release of beneficial chemicals including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, plus a substance known as BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which essentially fertilizes new neurons, or brain cells.

John Ratey, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has written a whole book on the brain-body-workout nexus, titled Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. A lifelong exercise junkie, Ratey compares physical exercise to medication, saying it offers some benefits of Ritalin, Prozac and morphine combined, without pills. He’s currently bullish on high-intensity interval training, which requires pushing hard for 30 seconds to a minute during a 20 to 30-minute session of running, biking, or swimming. “That will really pump out those brain chemicals, and is also good for your heart,” he says, although he warns that you need to be reasonably fit before trying this at home. Ratey uses a treadmill (“so I don’t cheat”), setting the angle at seven or eight, at least three times a week." - Forbes

The book Spark, discusses Naperville High School's Zero Period excercise program which you can read more about here: LINK
"Naperville's Zero Hour PE (refers to its scheduled time before first period), the latest in a long line of educational experiments, was initiated to determine whether working out before school gives these kids a boost in reading ability and in the rest of their subjects. At the end of the semester, Zero Hour classmates showed a 17 percent improvement in reading and comprehension, compared with a 10.7 percent improvement among the other literacy students who opted to sleep in and take standard phys ed."

"Despite groans from students, complaints from parents, and notes from doctors he was undeterred - although he quickly recognized that the grading scale discouraged the slowest runners. To offer nonathletes a shot at good marks, the department bought a couple of stationary bikes and allowed students to earn extra credit. This evolved into personal bests and what he dubbed the New PE: Students would be assessed on effort rather than skill. Soon heart rate monitors were incorporated, and Naperville’s gym students were graded on how much time they spent in their target heart rate zones during any given activity."

Results: Their test scores and reading skills went through the roof!

I searched all over for heart rate monitors so we could implement this in to our school schedule. I was so excited when I found these:

At this price I could get one for each of the older kids.

Each package has the watch and a fabric chest strap that wirelessly transmits continuous heart rate data. 
So this is the beginning of our own Spark Experiment. Already the do several laps twice a week. Now we will step it up and see what happens.

If you are not a student, and maybe have  ADD, OCD, anxiety, depression, addiction and even just aging, and want to join in... Let me know what you are doing to Spark you brain as well.

Students Workout Throughout the Day
School boards and teachers all were involved in selecting the schools and students to participate, based on scheduling, willingness to participate and likelihood of benefiting from the program.

Aerobic Physical Activity in Morning
Students start the day by doing at least 20 minutes of aerobic physical activity on treadmills, stationary bicycles and elliptical training machines

Target Heart Rate during Physical Activity
During the workout, students will target 65-85 per cent of their maximum heart rate. This means students can talk, but it's difficult to have a conversation.

Short Physical Activity "Boosts" throughout the Day
During the rest of the day, students will do a few short periods of aerobic physical activity to boost their mental focus.

Cardio Box 5 min example:
• The following exercises should be performed
for 15 seconds each:
- Jog in place
- Squat and jive
- Squat and jab (each arm)
- Squat and uppercut (each arm)
- Boxer jump
- Wall squat
- Boxer jump and jab (each arm)
- Lunges (each leg)
- Jog in place
- Squat and backward kick
• Repeat this circuit twice

Agility Touches
• Set five or more pylons in a vertical line, one
foot apart
• Form a vertical line behind pylons
• Run and weave through pylons, running
straight back to the start once you have
passed through the last cone (tag next
person in line)
• Repeat with each participant until they have
completed this activity
• Starting with the first participant again, jump
over each pylon (feet together), running
straight back once you have passed the last
pylon (tag next person in line)
• Repeat with each participant until they have
all completed this activity

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Eight Years ago....

Way back in 2005, I decided that 2 sticks and some string were NOT going to get the better of me. I was determined to learn how to knit.
All I wanted to do was knit socks.
I had no idea where that would take me. This year has been such a blessing, I have so many wonderful people who have been supportive of this endeavour, I wanted to show a lil appreciation.
Shizu socks, inspired by the tied rocks by Shizu Okino, are a free pattern.

and if you are feeling extra crazy...
Birth of a Star is now up as well.
Bavarian Stitches and Festive Intarsia

Monday, December 23, 2013

Creative Estonian Knitting with Merike Saarniit

One of my most life changing summers, was spent in Estonia, outside of Tartu. It was back before I could knit, but I did bring home beautiful Estonian socks and some small bits of the language.

Through Ravelry I met a knitter who was Estonian. I was so excited. One year I signed up for an estonian knitting class. It was only AFTER the class ended that I realized the teacher was the same person I had been conversing with all that time!

Merike has quickly become one of my most treasured friends in not only the knitting industry but in real life.

I have had the pleasure of taking her classes at numerous events. Merike's way of forming nupps (in her Nupps, Berries and Bobbles class) changed my lace knitting! The last class I took with her produced some amazing fingerless mitts for my daughter by just playing with different stitch patterns.

For years I have whined and begged Merike for more stitches. I was so excited to open my email and discover Merike finally has completed Creative Estonian Knitting: Textured Stitches to Swatch and Explore with Piecework. 

Maybe you know Mericke from her many magazine articles and patterns. Her classes sell out so often and it is a testimony to her teaching ability that many of these students become repeat students. If you have not been able to take a class with Merike, you will love this video. Not only does it capture the techniques and the stitches, but it captures Merike's passion.

In the video you will learn

Not many can find or afford a copy of Claire Hallik's SILMUSKUDUMINE, the estonian stitch library, let alone understand it. But with Merike, you have some one who can pull out fascinating stitches and decipher them so that we can understand them. Some of the stitches give an appearance of being WAY more complicated than they actually are.

You will learn some amazing techniques that will help you think creatively and move your knitting "out of the box". Rather than just making swatches, Merike will give you ideas on what to do with them, socks, hats, scarves....endless possibilities.

I love it when Merike says "Nupp is a 4 letter word." So many knitters have a love hate relationship with nupps. Merike will teach you in this video "flat" nupps, "wrapped" nupps and "knotted"  nupps. They are not as scary (or fiendish as Merike calls them) as they seem. If you have been struggling with your nupps, this alone will be well worth the purchase of the video.

Besides the video, you also receive a pdf file of the stitches in the sampler so you can take it with you. Any question on how to make the stitches, you can watch each on in the video.
I am so looking forward to seeing more of these videos from Merike. (Can those crazy colourwork techniques be next?!)

Questions with Merike:

From the publisher:
PieceWork Presents:
Creative Estonian Knitting: Textured Stitches to Swatch and Explore with Merike Saarniit

Merike Saarniit treasures the richness and creativity of her Estonian textile heritage. 
Reading the complex knitting patterns in her Estonian stitch dictionaries, Merike fell in love with the innovative designs and endless variations.
Learn to knit these beautiful patterns and expand your knitting horizons in this video workshop!

In addition to the traditional stitches, you'll discover how Merike's innovative cast-on and selvedge treatments transform a swatch into a useful start for a hat, cuff, or even a sweater. With Merike's guidance, you will knit:
Stretchy decorative elongated stitches
Surprising stitch manipulations
Several kinds of nupps
Elegant horizontal and traveling patterns
And more!
Plus! Follow along with Merike in this video and make your own Estonian stitch sampler using the free pattern included with this workshop!

Here are some of the questions I had for Merike: 

What can you tell me about the project in the video?
This video was originally meant to follow the written instructions that come with it, in order to create the swatch to be used for a hat or head warmer (or cowl). However, the editors felt it would be better to present the stitches in groups of related stitches for easier reference. Either way, the hardest part for me was to limit the number of stitches (and their variations) to present.

Who taught you to knit? Did it come naturally?
I can't even remember knitting my first stitches. Actually knitting projects were part of my Estonian Girl Guide troop meetings - along with other needlecrafts. Our leader, Linda Leibak, was truly a knitting maestro and she had us knitting round lace doilies, two-color knit/purl corn cob skillet handle hotpads, and other quite complex items for Mothers' Day gifts. She never presented anything as difficult but simply as something all Estonian girls could do. And, we did.

In the video you talk about how creativity and problem solving were displayed in an Estonian bride's handiwork. How has the innovation of Estonian knitting carried over into your own life?
Creative problem solving is best done when one is not afraid of thinking outside the box. That is a skill that needs to be practiced and I can't think of a more pleasant exercise than exploring the architecture of stitch patterns to see what variations I can develop.

Instead of just swatching you encourage the stitch samplers to be used as a base for another project. I believe you did this for start of the sweater you are wearing in the video. What is the strangest way you have seen a sampler/swatch used?
My favorite one was made by Marlene Miller (one of my students) in a Fiendishly Difficult Stitches class I taught in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 2010. Marlene turned her swatch into a stunning Barbie doll dress. Really. Photo :

You have a wonderful gift for teaching, where can we see a list your upcoming classes?
I have been limiting my workshops this past year and next year due to time constraints but I can usually be found teaching at most Stitches events.

Not only do you teach knitting classes but you also teach spinning. Do you prefer wheels or spindles? What is your favourite fiber to spin?
Thanks for asking! Watch for my spinning video coming from Interweave soon. Please.
No favorites here - both wheels and spindles. However, I do prefer the high whorl spindle wholeheartedly. My favorite fiber? I answer that with any WELL prepared fiber. Dane and I did have a sheep farm for 15years so I do love my wool since it is so versatile.

The country of Estonia is famous for its "singing revolution". Did you also inherit a love for music?
Oh yes indeed. Choral music, of course. I have sung (alto) in a number of choirs. Here again, my Estonian upbringing involved a LOT of singing.

 Thank you so much, Merike for taking the time out of the holiday season to chat with me! :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Craftsy Class Sales!

Save up to 50% on Craftsy Classes 12/21-12/24

Craftsy has some classes on sale!
The classes are such a wide variety....Knitting, Sewing, Weaving, Painting, Drawing, Photography...

You can watch them any time you want, like late night knitting while trying to finish Christmas presents, or deadline knitting. This is a great time to stock up on classes with some of them being up to 50% off.

In the past I reviewed a couple Craftsy classes, watch for a new review that I am working on.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grimm Tales from Adam Gidwitz


Have you ever read the original fairy tales? Some of them are down right scary. Adam points out in the beginning of his books that these are not the kid-friendly versions, but they are also not as adult as the originals. There may be some dismemberment but characters stay clothed.

More than a retelling of fairy tales, Adam Gidwitz is like the MST3000 of fairy tale narrators. Adam points out the life lessons in the fairy tales that you might over look, along with the "foolish" decisions of some of the characters,  His wit and humor are well used in pointing out why on earth a frog would fall in love with a beautiful cruel girl just because she is beautiful. 

The review copies I was provided with are just a tad long than the "nook samples" you can download from Barnes and Noble. (one full chapter in the first, and a section surrounded by blank pages in the companion.)
So I can not tell you that I enjoyed the whole book or even know where Hansel in Gretel come in. But what I did read was delightful. I would be interested in reading both books in their entirety. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I really am horrible about secrets, especially secret knitting. My friend Allison Sarnoff and I have created a book which will be released in early 2014 with Cooperative Press. We love this project so much! We were able to express all our sci-fi geekiness in yarn. Unobtainables: Fake Elements, Real Knits.

"Unobtainables: Fake Elements, Real Knits by Heatherly Walker and Allsion Sarnoff contains over 20 patterns. Each pattern is based on a fictional element from science fiction, movies, myths, comic books or video games.
Heatherly and Allison have designed 15 sock patterns and 7 accessories, including a hat, cowl, fingerless mitts, 2 shawls and 2 scarves.
The projects cover a wide range of knitting difficulties and techniques including cables, lace, colorwork, and beading."

This weekend however is the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. I am a huge Doctor Who fan. I even sent my daughter of to kindergarten with a Dalek lunch box.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary, A special sneak peak pattern is available NOW!
Presenting Dalekenium (Which is spelled 2 different ways through out time Dalekenium and Dalekanium.)

This is the medium size of Dalekenium. The full range of sizes are included in the book.

The Dalekenium Socks were inspired by those creatures of Davros, the Daleks.
indigodragonfly created the custom colorway for the book and gave it the awesome name, "Daleks Don't Give Pink Slips". Earth Faire had these amazing hexagonal beads, I used the gold ones. (see beading tutorial!) which desperately needed to be on Dalek socks!

If you can not tell, I really love them! Many Thanks to Austin O'Connor for the great photographs!

I hope you enjoy making them!
This pdf is for an accordian fold Sock-et. A sock Pattern for your Sock Bag Pocket! As it is a pdf, you can enlarge it on an ereader if you have difficulties with the font.

AS A BONUS!!!!!!!! Slipped Stitch Studios made us lovely Limited Edition Sock project bags. I adore Slipped Stitch Studios and as many of you have seen I have quite a collection of them! (You can still sign up for their next Doctor Who Club Bag!)
In addition Knitter's Pride Karbonz are my favourite needles and look like the needles of the future.

So I have a prize package for you: 1 Tardis Slipped Stitch Studio Sock Bag and 1 set of Karbonz DPNs to make the sock. You must enter the contest using the form. Enter now Until 3pm  PST Monday Afternoon.

Winner: csullysgirl who loves Doctor#9. Watch for an email!

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