My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Archives for November 2011


The new project being knit from Rowan Calmer was, as a couple of you guessed, Cromarty.

Back in 2007 I knit Cromarty in Koigu Kersti. At the time, I mused that I thought it would be nice to knit from Rowan Calmer.

On Saturday I grabbed a skein of Calmer in the “Sage” colorway and started in on the back. Here’s what I did:

Note that I referred to this project in the past tense. Note that it is off the needle. This work-in-progress is no more.

While I easily got gauge, I did not like the way it was turning out. There is a lot of cable manipulation in this pattern and there were too many wonky stitches to suit me.

And the cables looked a little too skinny to suit me. In the version I knit in Koigu Kersti, those cables are nicely plump and really pop. In Calmer they look a little sad and anorexic. The knitted fabric seems rather flimsy as well.

I really thought that Calmer would be perfect for this pattern, and have had that idea in my head for years. I got gauge using the recommended needle size, a U.S. 5. I was surprised at how flimsy and wonky the fabric was, since I used a size 7 needle for 2 cabled Calmer sweaters about a year ago with great results. So I started wondering if this batch of Calmer is somehow not up to standards — was it thinner/frailer than usual? It did seem thinner while I was knitting it.

I pulled out a different skein of Calmer to compare.Wonky Calmer on top, good Calmer on the bottom.

Well, that explains why it felt thin and flimsy while I was knitting it.

At some point in the near future I’ll recommence work on Cromarty. Using a different batch of Calmer.

Lucy is strangely unaffected by my yarn woes.


Filey FO

I seem to have neglected the blog for the past few days. Chalk that up to the combination of subduing a turkey and wrassling it  into brine accompanied by an upper respiratory infection that lingered way too long (but is finally fading).

I did finish Filey, on Thursday evening. I took a photo pre-shrinking. It was dark and I took it without a flash (because the flash tends to obscure the patterning in a sweater), hence the odd lighting.

And here it is after a trip through the washer and dryer (hot water/cold rinse regular cycle, and dried at high heat).

I think it shrunk a good 20%, which is a good thing since it was hugely long before washing. Now it is perfect.

The yarn softened up amazingly. While knitting, Rowan Denim is not particularly soft, but once you wash and dry it, it changes significantly. If you are on the fence about knitting with denim yarn, I encourage you to give it a try.

The pattern for Filey is available in Alice Starmore’s book Fishermen’s Sweaters, which is in print and readily available.

After completing Filey, I did some work on a stealth project for a club pattern and got that finished up. Then I started this:

This is Hitchhiker, by Martina Behm, and I am knitting it in the lovely handspun that the Knitgirllls spun for me and gave me when they visited earlier this month. It’s about DK weight and was spun from a Tempted Yarns roving, in the “Tree Hugger” colorway.

Hitchhiker calls for fingering weight yarn, but since it is a “knit until it is big enough” kind of pattern, I didn’t see why it wouldn’t work in DK weight, using a larger needle size. I’m using a U.S. size 6 needle here. I think this is a great pattern for handspun. I love love love how the striping of the yarn looks in this pattern. Love.

I started something else yesterday morning and am on the fence about it. Huge time-suck but entertaining knitting. I’ll talk about that on Tuesday, but here’s a hint — I’m knitting it in Rowan Calmer. Speaking of Rowan Calmer, if you haven’t yet, please go sign the petition to keep it in production!

Click on the number in the widget above to go to the petition and sign to let Rowan know you want them to keep producing this yarn.

(I may or may not have panicked yesterday and ordered a boatload of Calmer, just in case it does go out of production.)

Anyhow, here are a couple of hints about what I am knitting:

1. I have knit it before, in a different yarn.

2. When I finished it the first time, I mentioned that I thought it would be nice knit in Rowan Calmer.

Can you guess what it is?

Lucy sez:

“Those turkey leftovers are delicious, Momma!”

Filey Progress

I’ve made some good progress on Filey over the past few days. I’ve completed the front, joined the front and back at the shoulders using a three-needle bind-off, and knit the neckband.

The pattern has you knit the neckband for 6″ but I did not want a turtleneck so stopped at around 2.5″

I’ve done some work on the first sleeve as well.

It looks like it is close to completed, but the sleeves are knit to almost 23″ to compensate for the shrinkage that will occur when the sweater is washed in hot water and dried in the dryer.

Tomorrow is my big Thanksgiving prep day, but you never know — I may get my sleeve finished too.

Lucy is exhausted just thinking about it.

Two Happys, a Sad, Another Happy, and a Shocker

I was happy to see that the pirate site that was illegally displaying copyrighted material belonging to others shut down so quickly. There was certainly a lot of discussion about it in the comments. To clear up a couple of points:

One commenter posted that the site was completely automated. While this is true of a lot of illegal sites, that was not the case with this one. Yes, it was automatically set up to pull in and post RSS feeds from my blog and others, but the posting of patterns was not automatic. Some patterns from Knitty were arbitrarily selected posted, along with a single selected photo for each pattern. Not every Knitty pattern was posted. A few other free patterns from other sites were posted as well. The patterns were organized into categories. (Incidentally, none of my free patterns were posted there — but my RSS feed was.)

When I emailed them and told them to remove my content from their site, they immediately removed the links to my blog content they had stolen (and links to other blog content) and rearranged the homepage. But left up the patterns.

There was advertising on the site from several large well-known knitting supply companies. Those companies were not making a conscious decision to advertise on that site. The ads were supplied by Google. Here is a wikipedia article that explains how the system works.

There are other sites out there illegally displaying other peoples’ work, but at least we found and took down this one.

Another Happy:

We have winners for the KnitCircus pattern collection! They are: Timmie, Eileen B., Orli, Lenore, Amanda U, Melissa, Kamilla M., “I’m Just Lori”, Gloria, and Meg. All of the winners have bene emailed a link from which they can download the pdf of the pattern collection.

And here is the Sad:

Rowan Yarns is planning to discontinue Calmer. Calmer is one of my favorite yarns, so this makes me extremely sad.

But . . .

There is a petition out there: Save Rowan’s Calmer Yarn!

Click on the widget above to go to the petition and sign to let Rowan know you want them to keep producing this yarn.

WIP Happy

I’ve managed to get most of the front of Filey done.

A Shocker

Teddy somehow got it into his head that he is royalty and was recently crowned King Rowan:

However, trouble was lurking — he was quickly deposed and lost his crown!

I don’t think he would have been a very good king anyway.

Two Goods, a Bad, and a Good

Good: I got an email from Shanti’s mom last night, letting me know that the Hats for Sailors project has received 337 hats this year! You can read about it and see some awesome photos of the hats on Shanti’s blog here. Wow!

Good: The winter 2011/2012 issue of KnitCircus is available here! My article for this issue (page 37) is a tutorial for creating a tubular cast-on for ribbing and includes a free basic watch cap pattern.

As you know, the magazine with the articles and reviews is free for anyone to view online. To get the patterns for the designs, you can either subscribe to the magazine or purchase pattern collections (for a very reasonable price!), or purchase individual patterns. All information about purchasing patterns or a subscription is here.

Would you like to win a free pattern collection for this current issue? Leave a comment on this blog post by 11:00am, Eastern Time, this Sunday, November 20, 2011 to be entered in the drawing. I’ll draw ten names at random from the comments and each of those ten will receive the pattern collection in pdf format.

Now for the Bad.

**ETA: I removed the links to the offending site because it has apparentl y been taken down — we seem to have gotten someone’s attention**

I really do try to keep a positive voice in my blog, but every now and then there is something that irks me enough that I feel the need to post about it. My topic today is this “free knitting pattern” website.

It was brought to my attention yesterday because there on the front page of the site were posts (without the photos) lifted from my blog with no indication of the source and author of the posts.To be more specific, they were lifted from the RSS feed from my blog. I know this because the copyright notice that displays at the bottom of the feed for each of my blog posts was also there:

“Copyright © 2011 This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites breaches copyright. If this content is not in your news reader, it makes the page you are viewing an infringement of the copyright.”

Can’t state it more plainly than that, can I?

There was also content from other blogs on the site, though I am not sure whose blogs they were, because nowhere were any of the posts credited to their authors.

And there were also a lot of free patterns — many from Knitty and some from other sources.

I sent a message to the creator of the site (there’s a line at the bottom of the page attributing the site to a web design firm) via the “contact me” form on the parent site. I pointed out that they were using my material without my permission.

I checked the site this morning and noted some changes. The blog posts were no longer displayed on the site. So someone read my message (but of course did not have the courtesy to respond to it.) However, if I type a title from one of my blog posts in their search box, the post pops up in the search results. They just removed the links to the stolen materials. The blog posts are still all there.

When I looked this morning the free patterns were still there. I note that the source for some of them are posted (I believe most of them are from Knitty), but in the ones I looked at, none of the designers were credited. Knitty does state very clearly on their site “Reproduction prohibited.” I did email Amy Singer, editor of Knitty, to let her know in case she has not seen the site.

Amusing things about this site: at the bottom of the page there is a line of text stating: “We have created a place for knitters to share knitting patterns, ideas & tutorials.” Ha! At no time did I submit my blog posts to be posted there.

There is a form you can use to submit a pattern. It amuses the hell out of me that someone submitted this as a pattern — I did a screen capture of the page from their site:

Click on the picture to enlarge it. I was so impressed be the creativity of the person who submitted that, I submitted my own pattern.

Can you tell that I am annoyed? It really does irk the hell out of me when content is taken from other sources online and reposted without permission and without giving credit.

An aside that is sort of on the same topic: I have noticed that people/entities who are violating copyright by illegally distributing patterns invariably refer to this as “sharing.” It has gotten to the point that I cringe when I see/hear the word “share.” I get a surprising number of emails asking me to make them copies of patterns I have paid for. When people email me to ask me to copy a pattern that I’ve purchased and send it to them they invariably say “Will you share the pattern, Wendy?” You know — implying that I am being greedy by not sharing them the pattern.

The request always starts out sweetly: “Will you share the pattern?” When I respond saying that the pattern is not mine to share, that it is someone else’s copyrighted work, the next email I get (99% of the time) states either that the requester wants the pattern to make something for a child with a terminal illness,  or the requester (or the requester’s spouse) is out of work and cannot afford to purchase patterns. When I respond to this email to say that distributing copyrighted work is still not legal no matter who it is for and that there are plenty of free patterns available to knit, the response I get is usually unprintable. But the gist is that I am an evil bitch denying a dying child his or her last wish, etc.

I wonder if these people go to the designer first asking for a free copy? I’m betting not.

But I digress.

So this is my public service announcement. If you are a knit blogger, check to see if your content is on that pirate site. Enter the title of one of your recent blog posts in the search box to see if it has been stolen. Don’t bother entering the name of your blog since none of the content is properly credited and the name of your blog is not displayed. If you are a blogger whose post has been stolen or a designer whose pattern was stolen, let them know that this is not acceptable behavior. This contact form worked for me. Let them know that just because you have made your work free that does not mean it can be copied and posted without permission or attribution.

I know this is not the only site that is doing something like this. But if we can get through to this site and get them to take done the unauthorized content, that’s one fewer site with stolen material, right?

Okay, I can’t end this post with a Bad, so here is another Good:

My little princess. 🙂