Saturday, December 15, 2007

Yarnival, December 15, 2007

Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope the next few weeks bring you delicious food, presents filled with knitterly happiness, and the stamina to face yet another year of casting on, frogging, and staring hopelessly at Internet pages crammed full of expensive yarn.

Some Yarnivals have themes, but I couldn't come up with brilliant, cohesive topic. Consequently, this Yarnival is basically a little bag of stocking stuffers. I had a wonderful time compiling these entries, and I do hope you have an equally entertaining time reading them.

Tooling Along

I read this incredible story a few months ago, and still can’t believe that anyone could be so driven to produce the perfect, complete, set of Hybrid Mutant Ninja Interchangeable Knitting Needles. I am profoundly envious--my father was a man of many talents, but he had trouble differentiating one end of a screwdriver from the other.

Most of us cherish Colourmart with their mouth-watering range of inexpensive cashmere, but the cones of yarn can be awkward to work with. Z’s Momma solves this problem by inventing an inexpensive cone holder and posted instructions on how to make one for about eight bucks.

Like many knitters, I tend to scratch directions, tips, and modifications into a little notebook, where they promptly lose themselves amidst a forest of similar scribblings. For those of us with less-than ideal note-making skills, Kathryn Ivy presents well-organized, handsome journal templates for both knitting and crochet.

One of the standard items in my knitting bag is a crochet hook—invaluable for picking up stitches, binding off, making picots and bobbles, and snaring little onions out of mixed drinks. Girl On The Rocks is never without one, thanks to her nifty keychain crochet hook.

Don't put away the needle-nosed pliers quite yet. After you've finished making the mini-hook, you can wander over to Turtle Girl's blog, where she shows you how to make a customized row counter, using a few beads and an hour’s work.

Like sewing? Have a disorganized straight needle collection? Craftster shows you how to convert a used hardback book into a handsome needle holder. She used an old physics textbook and the results are unquestionably unique. The fact that you cheerfully tear the book apart makes me wish I had saved my much-despised organic chemistry text from college. Who knew?

Hate sewing? Have a disorganized circular needle collection? Check out pieknits’ no-sew circular needle holder. It’s cute and easy to rig from empty thread spools. Of course, if you hate sewing, you might not have any empty thread spools...

Like sewing? Need something to hold your knitting and all the other stuff you just made? UHandbag shows you how to make a pop-open/spring shut 14” tote with a useful little accessory pocket.

Photographing your work, be it proto-kitting, knitting, or a finished piece, can be difficult. A lightbox makes it a lot easier to take accurate pictures of your stuff. Professional light boxes are expensive, but LollyKnittingAround explains how to make a portable lightbox for less than $20.

Strobist uses a similar light box and explains how to use it for taking exquisitely detailed macro photographs.

A Few How-To's

The Experimental Knitter gives us a new, simple, elastic cast-on particularly appropriate for Guernsey sweaters. Best of all, it doesn't require a long tail.

Now that you've cast on, perhaps you want to embellish the fabric a bit. FluffyKnitterDeb’s wonderful beading tutorial shows you how to easily add beads with a crochet hook, so you don’t have to string trillions of little tiny beady things before you actually start knitting.

BadCat also has a wonderful beading tutorial on the same topic, complete with clear, easy-to-follow instructions.

And if you have finally completed your fabulous shawl, well, somebody actually submitted one of my own posts! How could I not include it, seeing as how this is my Yarnival? My faithful readers will already have blasted past this entry. The rest of you (fleegle who?), especially those to whom grafting is either a mystery or a nightmare, can check out my incredibly frothy description of Grafting for Dummies, complete with visuals of goofing up.

If you have a teeny-tiny doily pattern you adore and want to see it Writ Really Large, The Doily Underground gives an exhaustive analysis of doily-to-afghan conversions.

And speaking of lace (but also applicable to any knitting), MimKnits has a superb set of lessons on directional decreases. She shows numerous examples of yarnover/decrease placement, so you can see the visual effects of the variations. And once you finish reading Part 1, do go through the rest of her tutorials. They are all terrific.

Those who read my blog will understand that Harry, the Giant Knitting Spider, couldn't help but contribute a post about mending webs with yarn. Harry was also thrilled with Nina Katchadourian's Advertising Kit for Spiders, which allows him to integrate ads for karaoke machines and spicy cocktail onions (his favorite snack food) into his remarkably sloppy web.

Great (and Not So Great) Yarns

Fiber Fool clearly spends a lot of time knitting socks, and she has written an excellent, detailed comparative review of eight popular sock yarns. The sample socks are a bit of eye-candy, too!

Want to recycle an old sweater? Neauveau tells you how here. Frogging can be fun, especially if you use your future ex's knitted clothing!

Tired of knitting with ordinary yarn? Yearning to dabble in new media? Knit some marzipan, for a change. The results are amazing! And edible! First check our VeganYumYum's incredible cupcakes here, then motor on to her how-to tutorial here.

If you don’t have a sweet tooth, be aware that Ramen noodles make a splendid substitute for yarn. Watch the video and entertain yourself and your friends the next time you are in a Ramen restaurant.


If you are bored at work (or anywhere, for that matter), you can indulge in a bit of Knitting Boggle, courtesy of The Purloined Letter.

Double Helix obviously spent a lot of time defining variations of the humble swatch. Her lexicon is hilarious.

There’s no pattern here, but as the wife of a retired police lieutenant, I did enjoy this bit of knitted eye-candy.

And finally, if you are getting older and grayer by the second, rejoice! Go Knit In Your Hat has designed the retirement community of your dreams: Purlin’ Acres. Please do not apply for a few months, while I work my application over. Frankly, I wouldn't mind moving there now.


KSee said...

7:56 am-Good Morning, I got on the computer at 6 this morning and I am still not through your whole post yet. What great information! Thank you for taking the time to do this.

Knit Witch said...

And don't forget handmade pottery yarn bowls on!!!

Terri H. said...

Fabulous links, Fleegle (I am particularly taken with Ramen Knitting 101). Thanks!

Laritza said...

That is THE tool review. I like the row counter.

Kay said...

Love this! Must send to all my knit friends. A lot of great information and floor rolling hilarity! Thanks for all your time.

Lacefreak said...

Wonderful and hilarious information. What more could you want! The info on the light boxes was very illuminating :-)

LittleBerry said...

excellent Yarnival I particularly like the Tooling along section; loved those links especially the needle holder from a book and the cone spinerella..... and definitely will be printing some of those journal pages...

Thanks Fleegle....

Teyani said...

thanks so much for the link and the mention... I enjoyed your yarnival so much - and can appreciate all the work you put into it :-)
FYI - there is a link to a FREE pattern for the police tape scarf in the post that I wrote about it. Also, the designer is on Ravelry so folks can search there and find it as well.
Joyous Holidays

Anonymous said...

Wow, those are such great links. I haven't checked them all out yet, but will get to them in the next few days. Thanks for the Christmas presents :)

Mama Cat said...

Love it, love it!!! I've only skimmed some of the stuff you linked to but it is all great stuff.

Thanks for the wonderful holiday present. This one gets added to my permanent bookmarks.

Lolly said...

SO many great things! you really did a nice job compiling them all! Thanks for mentioning my photo tutorial amongst all of the other amazing things ;)

Batty said...

What a great post, thank you so much! Grafting for Dummies is a tutorial I definitely need. I do well in stockinette, but anything more complicated (or just garter stitch, for some reason) ends in disaster.

Debi said...

Great Yarnival issue - so much good info! Thanks for the shout out too :)

BeanMama said...

Fantastic! I'm bookmarking this, too much to absorb in one sitting. That cast on looks fabulous. The row counter - wow! Must make one... but not now, not now, not now.... make myself Finish what I'm doing Now.

KnitYoga said...

This made for fabulous reading! I'm definitely going to try to make myself one of those cone holders for a start! Thanks for taking the time to do this, Fleegle. Your blog is always such a mine of information!

Judith said...

this is a *great* Yarnival! I'm still working my way through the links, should take me nearly till New Year's day at the rate I'm going. Thanks so much for your time and effort in collecting these great sources!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much. Just a note to let you know that Nordic Fiber Arts now has Femin Strik on their website for sale. Or call Deb directly.

jp said...

Thank you for putting together such an interesting set of links!

One minor quibble: I am not Z's Momma. Her wonderful blog is at

Carol said...

Thanks for the link, Fleegle! I've seen your posts on Knitter's Review...
Carol at Go Knit In Your Hat