Archive for June, 2011

3rd Ward Open Call 2011 – NYC + Taipei

Jun 22

3rd Ward Open Call 2011

The folks over at 3rd Ward are holding an open call for artists of all disciplines to submit their work! So this applies to all those aspiring fiber artists in fashion, textiles, knitting, sewing, and crochet too! If you’d like to submit your work for the chance at 2 solo shows in NYC and Taipei, see below for more details.

Note: The early entry deadline for this open call is this Friday! So submit your entry in now, if you’d like a chance at a bonus $1000 Early Entry Award!

3rd Ward Open Call 2011

Early Entry Deadline: June 24, 2011, $1,000 Early Entry Award
General Entry Deadline: July 15, 2011 $5000 Grant
Enter Here: 3rd Ward

* New York City Solo Exhibition at 3rd Ward Gallery
* A solo feature in Art Taipei
* An online feature promoting your artwork internationally
* $5,000 cash grant
* Worldwide Exposure

3rd Ward
195 Morgan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 715-4961

Check out 3rd Ward for more details on their creative lab based in Brooklyn. Its facilities and creative classes are open to all walks of life and community. I found these guys while on the hunt for some knitting, sewing, and crochet classes and was really inspired by not only their classes but their philosophy in fostering creativity and innovation. To best describe it, it’s a creative incubator or think tank for artists with a slant towards the digital age.

Also check out their classes! They partnered with Etsy Labs from to bring lots of wonderful fiber art classes. Their disciplines also span classes like Photophonia: The Secret Music of Light Waves and Computing with Arduino for those Electronica nerds to Handmade Skincare for those into the Holistic arts to Digital Design and Multimedia to even classes for HTML/CSS to all the classic Fine Art and traditional crafts. And much much more. I think I even saw a class about Creating Your Own Religion! The program coordinators rock!! It’s a veritable art wonderland for savvy New Yorkers and artists alike. I can only imagine what the community is like there! I still have yet to take a visit but hope to soon.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

More About Taipei and Taiwan
Taiwan is where me and my family are from! It’s a beautiful island off the southeast coast of China. It’s shaped like a yam! I remember when we used to visit our family’s village back when we were little. A New York to Taipei flight would take close to 22 hours. It took almost a full day to travel from Taipei to our village in the south called Huwei or “Tiger’s Tail” in English. Still untouched by most of the world. Where modern buildings would stand alongside ramshackle huts with no electricity or running water, mountain people would carry water up to their abodes in ethereal landscapes not too far from our village, ancient monasteries and pagodas hidden deep in the misty jungles. All not too far from paved motorways. I remember our Big Uncle would take us to one of these monasteries to meditate. A weekly ritual for him. We’d have to hike up the mountain. It was an enchanting time and place that’s only a hazy memory for me now. These days there are high speed bullet trains that take you there in a matter of hours, road signs in English, and even German tourists in the heart of the Alishan Mountains.

The new Taiwan is full of life, creativity, and innovation. It would most closely resemble Tokyo but with a warmth, hospitality, and an openness that is a rarity in modern countries today. It’s known for its world class electronic devices (most of our leading mobile phone devices out there today are “Made in Taiwan”!) to its Night Markets brimming with culture, local wares, and food to one of the world’s tallest buildings, Taipei 101, and of course to its burgeoning art scene. Check out the below for some uniquely Taiwanese art and architecture.

UFO Village, San Zhi, Taiwan
From Cypheron on Flickr. Created with flickrSLiDR.

Treasure Hill, Taipei, Taiwan

Guerilla Architecture in Treasure Hill, Taipei City.
Photo by Marco Casagrande and Ruin Academy

Teach Yourself Circular Knitting!

Jun 15

Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski Hat

Check out this sporty cowl I made. It’s actually dual purpose, it’s both a neck gator and a ski hat, all in one! Yes, it’s unseasonably warm considering it’s June but I wanted to illustrate some Circular Knitting techniques from this new book!

Melissa Morgan-Oakes sent me a copy of her new book, Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting, $14.95. I was super excited to be included on her blog tour and of course to check out the book!

Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski HatWhat is Circular Knitting? In short, it’s knitting in a continuous ring that will ultimately form a tube. Rather than knitting a flat square or rectangular piece, you will knit in a tubular fashion!

Imagine knitting your stitches in a coil or a spiral! It’s not too different than knitting a flat square, just a slight variation. That happens to give you some great flexibility in your knitting!

Best of all, “Circular Knitting” or “Knitting in the Round” requires Circular Needles! My fave tools. I use “Circs” whenever possible for my projects because they can be used to knit regular flat pieces too. Without poking your neighbor in the seat next to you. Or having them stick out of your bag!

A popular form of Circular Knitting is Sock Knitting. Knitting socks nicely demonstrates this technique. Hats and cowls are also great examples of simple Circular Knitting. It can be adapted and applied to many types of knitting actually. Top Down Sweater Knitting is a good example. Sweaters can be knitted in separate shaped pieces and then sewn together. Or in one continuous piece (for the most part) using Circular Knitting!

Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting by Melissa Morgan OakesWhat’s In The Book?
It’s got everything you need to get started in Circular Knitting. And actually it’s a great reference guide for traditional Knitting too from how to measure yourself for a custom fit to reading pattern charts!

I had a great time reading it because it reminded me of some old techniques while giving me some great new project ideas. Some highlights include:

* A great overview of essential tools, notions, and supplies. As well as an introduction to yarns and fibers.

* Instructions on 4 different circular knitting methods using Double Pointed Needles and Circular Needles.

* A special chapter on special techniques in Circular Knitting, Stranded Knitting, and Instarsia. And solutions to common problems when knitting in the round like Jogless Stripes.

* How to plan and begin your first project including Measuring Yourself, Swatching, and Selecting Your Yarns and Tools. To finishing your project with Joining, Weaving in Ends, and Blocking.

* 15 Patterns in all – 3 Starter Projects; 3 Simple Projects; 3 Intermediate Projects including mittens and socks and a felting project; 3 Advanced Projects including sweaters; 3 Steeked Projects something I’ve never heard of before.

* A simple stitch library.

Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski Hat

Fun Fact: I’ve actually never bought a knitting how-to book before. Yes, believe it or not, I’m a self-taught knitter who taught myself to knit purely from books and the internet, yet I do not own a single comprehensive how-to knitting book.

I first started knitting when I was 14 years old. I went to my local New York Public Library to raid the Knitting section for books. I took out every book they had on Knitting! Since this was eons ago, I can’t remember for sure if I ever got my hands on a step-by-step how-to book. But somehow I managed. Cut to years later circa 2003 when I picked it up again and began collecting a library of Knitting books!

All the books I own are things are like Nicky Epstein’s Knitting On Top Of The World, Vogue Knitting’s Stitchionary, vintage pattern books for afghans, victorian garb, and various collectibles that I might find at a junk sale or consignment shop including books from different countries like Japan and Taiwan! Along with a myriad of pattern sheets and knitting publications like Berroco, Jaeger, Rebecca, Lopi, and Interweave. In general pattern, stitch, and special technique books are what I own. I use the internet to fill in the gaps. So this book is an especially nice addition to my library.

Another Ripley’s Believe It or Not Fact: I’d never taken a knitting class. Until a few months ago! And it happened to be Melissa’s Toe Up Socks, 2 At A Time class! Which is how I met her! Yes, I’d also never taken a single knitting class in my life until recently. So for those who are thinking of trying Knitting and want to take the plunge solo, you can do it. I did. And hopefully blogs like mine will aid you in doing so. Without sacrificing proper technique!

Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski HatWhat I Like
I especially liked the intro chapter. It features a nice listing of tools and notions. From different Straight Needles, Double Pointed Needles, and Circular Needles. It also includes a great list of supporting notions and supplies and goes into some basic yarn and fiber information too.

When I got back into Knitting several years ago, I switched almost exclusively to Circular Needles and to Knitting in the Round whenever possible. It’s slightly more efficient, there tends to be less stopping and less seaming! So I’m no stranger to it, yet I was still able to find quite a few new tips and tricks from this book. I discovered Circular Knitting that uses 2 Circular Needles. A great alternative for when you don’t have the right length circular needles for your project!

It’s great for a refresher or as a handy resource for any level knitter. If you’ve knitted before but haven’t in awhile or forget a basic technique, the book includes great foundation instructions. Like Long-Tail Cast On, Color Changes, and Magic Loop. It also reminded me of a color change technique I learned years ago in high school called Russian Join! It is great for joining yarns with fibers that do not felt well. Love it! The Pros and Cons sections are great too. I learned quite a few new Pros and some new uses too for old techniques!

Lastly, for those already knitting in the round, Chapter 3 is devoted to fixing some very common problems with working in the round. Like how to fix the gap you might have in your joins called Laddering and working with stripes for smoother color changes called “Jogless Striping”. It also goes into working with small motifs and Intarsia! It includes False Side Seams as well, an advanced optional technique. Chapter 5 is devoted to planning your project and is also a nice reference guide.

Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski HatRound-Up
It’s a nice essential how-to book suitable for everyone from the beginner novice to the experienced. It has everything a beginner needs to know displayed in an easily digestible format. I consider myself an Intermediate to Advanced knitter yet was able to find new insights, tips, and tricks. So it could be a great book for experienced knitters to check out too.

To read more about Melissa, check out my Toe-Up Socks post. It includes my first socks and an interview with Melissa! Or check out her blog, Melissa Knits!.

BONUS! CONTEST – You can own this book too! Melissa was kind enough to send along an extra copy to send out to one lucky winner! So if you’re interested in adding this book to your knitting library, then see here for how to enter.

The full pattern for the project on this page is also coming soon! It’s a simple pattern I made up inspired by the “Jogless Striping” technique and a beginner pattern that is included in the book!

Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski Hat

International Yarn Bombing Day!

Jun 09

Yarn BombingBombs Away!! It turns out this Saturday, June 11, 2011 will mark the first ever official International Yarn Bombing Day! And Michaels Craft Store is going to kick it off. Right here in Manhattan at their Upper West Side location!

I love shenanigans of any kind. So ones that include YARN are especially fun! I’d been hearing things on Twitter about International Yarn Bombing Day recently. The first I’d heard of it!

Yarn bombing has been gaining popularity and is typically a whimsical type of street art made of yarn. A fun little yarn surprise you might find walking down the street some random day. But a formal day to celebrate it is something new to me! I did some googling and it looks like may have come up with the idea and its taken on a life of its own!

Yes you can be a part of history, yarn history :) Or just go to celebrate your love of Knitting! If you’re here in NY, head uptown to the UWS Michaels Store. It will feature in-store yarn bomb installations and knit-a-thons. Along with a featured Yarn Bombing artist and one special bonus. The knit-a-thon will be supporting the Starlight Children’s Foudation. Knitters can come in and knit blankets and wagon liners to help support the foundation.

Micheals Craft StoreHosted by: Michaels
Location: 808 Columbus Avenue, NY, NY 10025
Date: Saturday, June 11, 2011, 1pm – 5pm

Coincidentally, Worldwide Knitting in Public Day will also be celebrated on that same day here in Manhattan! What to do?! Knitting overload!

Whichever you’d like to do or both, if you’re not in NY and would like to celebrate too, Michaels locations in Chicago (3131 N. Clark Street), Dallas (5500 Greenville Ave.), Burbank, CA (1551 N. Victory Pl.) and Toronto, Canada (30 Billy Bishop Way.) will be celebrating too. So go check them out! See this article for the full details on how Michaels Marks First International Yarn Bombing Day on June 11.

What is Yarn Bombing?
Yarn Bombing is a form of guerrilla street art that is simply any public display of yarn by “decorating” public property or objects with Knitting or Crochet! Or adorning personal property or objects and displaying them in public! Yarn Graffiti! Giving rogue knitters and crocheters alike a public forum if you will for their creativity! It can even be an indoor installation. A bonus is, it isn’t at all permanent and should not harm or deface the object of your decoration! Check out these sweet little yarn bombs you can do in your own backyard!

Agata Olek Charging Bull
Agata Olek’s Charging Bull

New York’s own Agata Olek, the mad crochet bomber, is known for decorating Wall Street’s Charging Bull sculpture seen above with her signature hot pink camo prints. In Crochet!

Knitta Please also did a lovely indoor installation at Etsy Labs in Brooklyn. Seen below. They run! Check out Knitta Please site for full details, you can see great photos of the yarn “bombing” in process. Or find out more about Magda Sayeg and her penchant for yarn bombing. In Knit!

Knitta Please Yarn Bomb at Etsy Labs
Knitta Please Yarn Bomb at Etsy Labs

Read more about Yarn Bombing here:
Yarn Bombing on Wikipedia
Yarn Bombing in the NY Times
Yarn Graffiti Documentary – Send them your yarn bombing footage!

Spring/Summer Crochet Patterns

Jun 03

Crochet Mania! I raided the Coats & Clark free pattern library. And found these lovely patterns. These free basic patterns are great for inspiration! Try them as is or modify them to create your own designs. From Coats & Clark. See also my spring/summer crochet patterns, they’re free too!

Bags & Totes

Grocery BagBeach Bag
Yes! Doesn’t get easier than this beach bag. It’s crocheted from the bottom up in one piece!
Simply choose a nice cotton yarn and go!

Grocery BagHobo Bag
Reminds me of this Noni Designs Adventure Bag.

Grocery BagEco Tote
Increase the bag dimensions for a messenger bag sized tote and lengthen the strap for a Boho Chic look. Use a straw colored Habu Yarn!

Grocery BagKnit or Crochet Evening Bag
I like the envelope shape. Add a super long strap to get a chic 70′s look. A great yarn would be any Noro. Felted! See Knitty for a post on felting Noro.

Grocery BagGrocery Bag
Switch out the yarn for something sumptuous (goto Loopy Mango for this) and you’ll have a utilitarian chic and eco-friendly bag for market.

Grocery BagEarth Bag
Runner-up to the Beach Bag. The bottom is rounded!

Grocery BagPosh Purse
This reminds me of a wonton or fortune cookie.

Grocery BagEasy Felted Bag
Felting! A free pattern is a great way to try felting.

Grocery BagPicot Purse
More felting! Shape is nice.