Why has Ravelry never gotten its own post on my website!? It’s been an institution online for the Knitting and Crochet community since its inception. And something that is such a given sometimes people forget to mention it! I’d been knitting for years but only found out about it around 2010. I guess I was knitting in my own bubble without many friends who shared my hobby and oblivious to such a thriving community. So perhaps a post like this may help other ninja bubble knitters (and crocheters!).
There’s lots of groups and networks for whatever your knitting or crocheting heart desires. Ask questions in the forum, look for pattern help, plug in and make some new friends, share your expertise, or simply post your completed projects for the whole community to see. Trolling the groups is also a great way to get a birds eye view into the knitting and crochet subculture.
There are lots of great tools too like a project tracker, stash manager, needles and hooks manager, you can favorite your favorite projects, place them in a queue, keep track of works in progress, and check out what others have to say about the pattern you’re working on. And the tools don’t suck. All the yarns actually link to the manufacturer, colorway, etc. You can even include when you bought it and the price. They’ve really thought of everything.
For crafters who also sell their handmades online, it’s a great way to maximize your exposure. Kind of like Facebook but for Knitting or Crochet only!
What I Like Best
The really advanced pattern finder. You can search for very specific things from hats for kids in worsted weight yarn only to all free patterns for skirts to only projects using Size I9 hooks or US Size 5 Needles. It’s really handy. For crafters looking for just the right pattern or some inspiration it’s really one of the best pattern finders out there. Simply because it’s crowd sourced!
You can also find lots of helpful pattern insight. For example, if someone or some people have already worked on your pattern and posted it up, you can find it there, check out their comments and errata to see if they’ve stumbled across the same problems you have! There are so many projects and patterns, especially free ones found online, that it’s probably been done by someone on Ravelry! Yup, it’s that great.
The only cons are you must be logged in to see anything. So someone cannot simply link to a page, me on Ravelry, and just see some content. Which I find really restrictive. They should make some pages public or at least partially public like on Facebook! It would at least give people a taste of what they might be signing up for before they sign up. Other than that I hope they never change how well it works or how many great features they offer!
Ravelry now has 3 million users! So it’s popular and definitely a powerful resource. 3 million knitters and crocheters from all over the world is in itself a cool concept. It’s really a knitter or crocheter’s dream online buddy. For those who are especially organized, it’s got everything you need to satisfy your obsession. Really. If you’re not already on there, check it out. It’s free to join, and you’ll find there’s something on there to suit every fiber need from dabblers to die hards!
Look at these cute little crochet bows by Adaiha. They remind me of Hello Kitty bows! The pattern is easy and comes with really nice detailed photos too.
She provides step-by-step photos, the pattern, and even a downloadable PDF for your convenience. She’s also been working on a “Granny Square A Day” project since 2011! Her page also includes a list of great resources and books for crocheting granny squares.
Original Pattern by Adaiha – [pdf]
Materials: Worsted Weight Yarn
Crochet Hook: US Size H [5.00mm]
Approximate Size: 2.5” X 1.5”
Make a magic ring.
Ch 5, 3 tr in ring, ch 5, sl st in ring, ch 5, 3tr in ring, ch5, sl st in ring.
Cut yarn leaving a tail at least a few inches long. Weave yarn tail through the first ch stitch at the very beginning and fasten off.
Create the center of the bow by wrapping the two ends under and then back over the bow a few times until satisfied. Create a chain of stitches to wrap around the bow if desired. Fasten off and weave in ends. Done!
Note: Leave an extra long yarn tail and do not trim if attaching the bow onto something else.
Variations: Increase or decrease the (tr) stitches to make the bow fatter or skinnier as seen in Photo #2.
e.g. Substitute “3 tr” for “2 tr” or “4 tr”.
Here’s a random list of handmade marketplaces online I’ve been compiling for awhile. Perhaps they will provide artisans some options and/or give shoppers more places to shop!
Bonanza (1000 Markets) http://www.bonanza.com/
Uncommon Goods http://www.uncommongoods.com/
Goodsmiths (Craft.ly) https://www.goodsmiths.com/
Lily Shop http://www.lilyshop.com/
Silk Fair http://www.silkfair.com/
Made It Myself http://www.madeitmyself.com/
Shop Handmade http://www.shophandmade.com/
Not Mass Produced http://www.notmassproduced.com/
Indie Public http://www.indiepublic.com/
Craft Juice http://www.craftjuice.com/
Ravelry (Patterns Only) https://www.ravelry.com/
Big Cartel http://directory.bigcartel.com/#handmade
Blue Caravan Australia http://www.bluecaravan.net/
Made It Australia http://www.madeit.com.au/
Indie Australia http://www.indie.com.au/
Artis & Grove Australia http://www.artisandgrove.com/
Felt New Zealand http://felt.co.nz/
Toggle New Zealand http://www.toggle.co.nz/
Paper N Stitch http://papernstitch.com/
Poppy Talk http://www.poppytalkhandmade.com/
Firefly Handmade http://fireflyhandmade.com/
Above photo album can also be viewed at my Imgur Gallery.
Hello, Maker Week NYC 2012!
The 3rd Annual Maker Faire just blew through town. It also happened to mark the 1st Annual “Maker Week” here in NYC! As declared by Mayor Bloomberg, September 24-30 is officially Maker Week and is an entire week dedicated to DIY science and crafts! Yay yay yay!
We saw a cool Cupcake Man Car which was a guy driving around in a cupcake shaped car he built. Saw some butterfly bikes, the Katy Perry Unicorn complete with flaming unicorn horn, ate some gyros and shish kebab on a stick, and checked out some craft booths and stalls.
It poured buckets of tornado rain when we got there but we holed up at the Kollabora booth to wait it out. We ended up meeting some of the lovely Kollabora Team and Finger Crocheting some necklaces!
Last year at The Faire there were so many knitting, sewing, and textile booths and demos like Free Motion Quilting, Fabric Dying, Singer Co. etc. More of the fun attractions/events/booths like Craftzine machine knitting cosby sweaters, the solar sewing guy who powered his sewing machine with his bicycle, steampunky bike contraptions, super mario radio-controlled car races, and oddball independent artists were not there this year either.
This year they had less than half the textiles and crafts featured as last year. It was mainly overrun with arduino and 3D printing booths. Also, much larger name companies like ASUS were there with a Speed Build Competition and 3D graphics video games complete with special glasses. Crif Dogs was there!
And… it was about 3 times more crowded! It was jam packed and food lines were atrocious. Blecch the Rat! It felt a lot less organized in general. Perhaps it was because I went at the tail end (2pm ish) of the last day (Sunday) and missed an entirely different schedule on Saturday? On top of Maker Faire not expecting such a huge turnout? Oh well.
Top Right: Micro Amigurumi Garden Gnomes by Mochimochi Land. Each are sold in kits with everything you need to create your own.
Right: Boombox Bag and Cassette Tape Pouch in Needlepoint by Jenny Henry. Each are sold in handy Needlepoint Kits.
Bottom Right: Toasty Time Hoodies w. Mitten Pockets. Yup, they’re knitted!
Notable Crafties @ The Faire
Mochimochiland.com, Mochimochi Land – Micro Amigurumi Knitting Kits
Mondaysprojects.tumblr.com, Mondays Project – Handmade Pottery
Billywolfnyc.com, Billy Wolf – Fine K-9 Coatery
Romanhills.com, Roman Hills Yarn by Lisa Roman
Loopoftheloom.com, Loop of the Loom Saori Weaving
Kollabora.com, Kollabora – Online DIY Community for Makers
Intheseam.com, In The Seam – Dog and Cat Pillows
Jennyhenrydesigns.com, Jenny Henry Designs – Needlepoint Kits
Lifewithtigers.com, Life with Tigers – Handmade Toys and Gifts
100actsofsewing.com, 100 Acts of Sewing by Sonya Philipp
Ambushbog.com, Ultra Lite Spindles – Yarn spun with cat hair! Eep!
Sprysprout.com, Spry Sprout – Geeky Kid Clothing w. comic-printed fabrics
Toastytime.com, Toasty Time – Hoodies w. Mitten Shaped Pockets
Dearsweetdarlings.etsy.com, Dear Sweet Darlings Handmade Rabbits
What is Kollabora?
Kollabora is a new online crafting community that’s just joined the “block” party! =^..^= It’s a cross between PS I Made This, I Spy DIY, and Craftsy. It has a fresher focus IMHO featuring projects that pair classic crafts like Knitting or Sewing with edgier materials and fabrics and modern takes on those same classics with projects like Big Stitch Knitting! Where Craftsy has a more Martha Stewart feel, Kollabora might appeal more to urban hipster or fashion industry creatives. Find out all about them in my post.
Above: Lindsey, on the far right, is wearing the Bushwick Cape, a featured project on their site. It’s a classic Simplicity Sewing Pattern you can sew yourself! It’s simply matched up with a more contemporary fabric (red/black flannel check) to give it a fresher look. If you got to check out their booth, it was filled with yarn and Berninas, and mobbed by tween girls!
Read more about Maker Faire and my trip last year here:
Literally, it’s a thread that conducts electricity! So iPhone 5 dropped today (if you pre-ordered and hit the option to pickup in-store that is…) and “Apple Fans are Jubilant”. Big Whoop! $800 for a phone is really incredible especially considering advanced technology these days (should be readily available and definitely affordable) and it’s never $300 better than its predecessor so… But it does make this post somewhat more fitting.
Don’t you hate it when it’s freezing cold outside and you have to text a friend or answer your smartphone but can’t because your gloves are on? I do! But not enough to have to wear one of those types of “digital-ized gloves” you see in a lot in sporting goods stores. But now I have another option, I CAN MAKE MY OWN PAIR!
I just discovered this thread while browsing through a Knit Picks flyer on the train the other day. The photos above are from Knit Picks and if you look closely at the Pointer Finger and Thumb you can see a little added embellishment on the fingertips. Those little embellishments are stitched on using Conductive Thread! The Conductive Thread allows the wearer to operate touch devices like iPhones, iPads, Galaxy Tabs, your new Galaxy S3, (my Android HTC Inspire) etc.
How Does It Work?
This Conductive Thread is a 2-ply thread made of steel fibers and can conduct electricity and complete circuits just like a wire. It comes in a little bobbin containing about 4-10 meters of this special thread. Simply sew it on to the fingertip of your next hand-knit gloves and voila! Instant “E-Tip” gloves. I don’t know just how effective this Conductive Thread is in practice but it could be worth a try for my next glove project.
E-Textiles and Conductive Clothing
There’s been a lot of “digital” clothing and accessories for awhile like jackets that are wired to charge up your mobile phone when placed in a pocket or plugged into a panel and of course sport gloves by the likes of North Face or Marmot with conductive pads on the fingertips that allow you to operate your GPS tracker while scaling the iciest peak on Mount Everest. So this little bobbin of conductive thread is especially nifty because now it means we can add this to any one of our own homemade projects! GO DIY TECH!
Electronic textiles (e-textiles) are fabrics that have electronics and interconnections woven into them, with physical flexibility and size that cannot be achieved with existing electronic manufacturing techniques. Components and interconnections are intrinsic to the fabric and thus are less visible and not susceptible to becoming tangled together or snagged by the surroundings. An e-textile can be worn in everyday situations where currently available wearable computers would hinder the user. E-textiles can also more easily adapt to changes in the computational and sensing requirements of an application, a useful feature for power management and context awareness.
–E-Textile Research Lab, Virginia Tech
Makezine has a nice little blog post about it here. Googling “e-textiles” or “conductive thread” will also generate a wealth of info on anything from conductive fabric to wearable computers to programming arduinos (which is what threads like these are especially useful for).
Where To Buy
Conductive thread comes in bobbins or spools and can come in varying diameters, lengths, and resistances. Knit Picks sells this thread in bobbins of about 4-5 meters each for $4.99 each. Spark Fun sells this Conductive Thread in various lengths and diameters for more advanced projects. Prices range from $2.95 for 30ft to 175 yards for $39.95. They have a wide range of 2-ply, 4-ply, thick, thin, extra-thick, and even thread with different connectivity resistances. So check out their page for the best option to suit your needs.
Love that Batman is knitting!
Happy Labor Day Weekend! It’s the last official weekend of summer. Le sigh. But hopefully these new comics I discovered will keep you in good spirits. CHECK IT OUT!!!
Worsted for Wear, a comic strip created by Rachael and Josh Anderson, does not always feature Batman in his knitting stance! But it does have a lot of knitting anecdotes I can relate to. It’s a nice geeky little slant too with nods to nerdy pop culture from comics, movies, guy knitters, work etc.
I’m not so into Batman personally but love that they’re both featured together. And, of course, love that there’s a comic strip dedicated to knitting and crochet anecdotes.
P.S. I saw Dark Knight Rises and thought it was a really fun action movie, so I gave it an A+ for Action! However, my BF, who is a Batman fanaticus maximus, hated it… Too much side story that deviated too far from original story lines, not enough Batman, and no new cool gadgets for the wow-factor… The Batman purist in him was downright insulted! Ah well. Onward to more knitting comics…
Oh, Crochet is not THAT bad!
Yay! “Famous guys” knitting!
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Rachael and Josh will have a new knitting, crochet, or yarn anecdote for you to enjoy! According to her bio, Rachael is “an avid knitter and life-long Batman fan!” who also happens to love to draw and make comics! AWESOME SAUCE!
If interested in more knitting-related comics, check out their website. All their comic strips are posted there. You can Buy a Print through their site too.
Via Worsted for Wear by Rachael and Josh Anderson
Check out these totes adorbs crochet amigurumis!! Love how these cute yet classic amigurumis have so much personality. And not unlike the internet meme site Cute Overload in the cuteness department. *scream* Below are some of my faves. Check out Teri Crews Designs for many more lovable designs to discover like Koala, Giraffe, Sloth, Owl, Fox, Panda, Elephant, and Raccoon not seen here.
These heirloom collectibles also have a uniquely American style that I love to see in amigurumis. The classic teddy is just so perfect! And, yes, the Dachshund pattern does include the Hat and Bow-Tie! Also, the patterns knit up to full teddy bear size (not miniature amigurumis) and range from 7-13″ tall.
All patterns by Teri Crews, $4.95
Where To Buy
Teri Crews Designs http://www.tericrewsdesigns.com/Shop.html
Ps. She gets her safety eyes from the same etsy shop I do! http://www.6060.etsy.com/
Pps. Teri Crews also shares the same exact name (although slightly different spelling) as one of my fave actors, Terry Crews, of The Expendables and Everybody Hates Chris fame. Funny!
Giant Circs on display at Paradise Fibers!
Paradise Fibers, 225 W. Indiana, Spokane, WA 99205
The above Addi Turbos (circular knitting needles) are on display at Paradise Fibers located in Spokane, Washington! They were custom built for Paradise Fibers by metal artist Tim Biggs to Addi specifications all the way down to the nickel-plated tips. They are Size 150, 7 feet tall, and weigh 56 pounds. I’m curious what diameter those needles actually are!
According to the Guinness World Book of Records, the largest knitting needles in the world are from the U.K.. They measure 3.5m long and have a diameter of 8 cm. That’s about 12ft tall and 3.15 in. in diameter. On March 10, 2008, Ingrid Wagner used the needles to knit a 10 sts x 10 row tension square at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
Right: Julia Hopson of Knit Wits knitting with one of the largest knitting needles in the world in Cornwall, England on September 23, 2006. They are 3.5 meters long and 6.5 centimeters in diameter.
Are you interested in Big Stitch Knitting?
“Big Stitch Knitting” or “Mega Knitting” is actually a form of knitting too. The needles usually aren’t so gargantuan as seen in the above but they are BIG! It’s been a popular trend recently too. Below is an example of Mega Knitting, also check out this Pinterest for some great photos on Mega Knitting and tools! Look at all the lovely knits!
I personally love the look of Mega Knitting. If you’re interested in big stitch knitting, BagSmith makes lovely “big stitch” tools for both Knitting and Crochet! Don’t forget you’ll need big stitch yarn too, which Bagsmith also makes, find it here. Purl Bee has a lovely blog post on big stitch knitting! Loopy Mango, right here in NYC, carries lots of Bagsmith gear including some big stitch knits on display!
Here are a bunch of free dog sweater patterns I found while trolling Ravelry for some, well, free dog sweater patterns! I’ve been looking to try some for awhile but still haven’t gotten around to it. I have not tried any of the below yet but will in the near future hopefully!
OMG! Heart these. Just discovered these handy little accessories for knitting and crochet! I always drag some crochet or knitting with me wherever since I commute on the train to work and I always just throw my knitting into the smallest plastic bag I can find. I also always find that I need a yarn ball container/bag when working at home because it keeps the yarn from rolling around but never quite found one I wanted. Until now! I found both of these at Lion Brand Yarn Studio. The only major con I see is they’re both on the pricey side. Crafters on a budget can easily poke 2 holes in a bag or something to come up with a similar, albeit less durable, solution. For more avid crafters, it can be well worth the splurge!
GoKnit Bags $26
I’ve been carrying around my travel/commuter knit and crochet projects in plastic bags! Great in a pinch but if you do it a lot, you’ll find your needles poke thru, the bags tear, and of course it’s unsightly. So when I saw these simple yet durable looking bags, it was the perfect solution! Super lightweight, durable, easy to keep clean, and can ball up into nothing when not in use. I also love that there are many loops and drawstrings so you can attach to whatever you desire.
It’s simply a drawstring bag that has 2 snap close loops. One on the inside (to feed your yarn through) and one on the outside to attach to a purse or bag! Plus, you can swap out projects whenever you want. You can snap open the inside loop to pull the yarn through without having to cut it, so projects already in progress can be removed and replaced whenever you like. Awesome. These bags are offered in a variety of materials. I got the Nylon Medium in Bright Yellow.
Where To Buy: GoKnit Pouches by KnowKnits.com
YarnPop Pouches $29
This is a handy yarn pouch with two little holes for pulling yarn though. Fabulous for keeping balls and skeins from rolling around everywhere, yarn from tangling, and getting dirty. And it’s a lot less bulky and lighter than most yarn holders. A small con is you cannot use this pouch for projects you’ve already started without cutting the yarn, pulling it through the holes, and then rejoining.
The pouch I got has 2 holes on one side so I could use it to carry 2 different yarn colors! It also comes in other varieties, one pouch has a hole on each side with an additional inside zip to separate your yarn balls. They have so many different variations. Check out their site for the one that best suits you! I got the Large with 2 holes on the same side.
Where To Buy: YarnPop Pouches