Now THAT’S Bringin’ Sexy Back!

Josh Bennett (c) Deidre Schoo for The New York Times

Josh Bennett
(c) Deidre Schoo for The New York Times

The men of knitting. It’s wonderful to see men coming back to the fold – no pun – Sheep? Fold? Get it?

Fine. I’ll keep my day job.

This is a great article about Josh Bennett (click the photo or his name to view). His style, his method and how he recently shook up the knit world.

Things Knitters & Hookers Already Know

I often joke here about how sticks and string are my valium. Recently, I stumbled across a great article about the health benefits of knitting. If you’re already doing it – or any fibre craft, I believe, then you probably likely know many of things. This is it, all official-like to show to any scoffers in your life 🙂

Click the photo to read the full article – it’s really good!

My favourites, not listed: keeps me out of the bars, excellent boyfriend substitute, ensures you never need to share a seat on the bus/metro/tube, prevents reality TV watching… Kidding!

Knitfun kill bob


I will preface this by saying that I am as thin skinned as Fiona Apple.

Get it? Current events reference. I’m feeling very looped in.

What I don’t feel hip to is mean-spiritedness and so… Is there a point to the “Disagree” button on Ravely?

To disagree indicates that there might be a thought process behind an action. Disagreeing should engender discourse, the why of, countering points, constructive suggestion even. An opinion should be something that requires the conviction of it and not anonymity. For the record, preferring your colours of puce, chartreuse and shitbrickle brown and to disagree with a new knitter’s first proudly-shared finished knit is more indicative of one’s lack of manners. Opinion and personal taste should not be insulted – this is creativity, artistic expression. If we were all the same, the world would be a bloody boring place. Not to mention we’d all be fighting over the same skeins of yarn! It certainly is a shock to see so much cowardly ill-will displayed by fellow knitters.

Why doesn’t Ravelry rename it what it really is?

A “Vent your spleen” button”,  “I’m A Disagreeable Cow button”, I Didn’t Get Laid Last Night button”, I’m PMS’ing button” or most accurately; “Bully Button”.

There are enough ways that people can be unkind, rude and thoughtless in the world, especially in the online venue. I think Ravelry should consider removing this feature. It serves no useful purpose and only encourages cowards and boors.

If you have an opinion, state it – kindly and courteously. If you’re too afraid to type those words out, then you need to rethink your desire to click that button.

Just my opinion.

Educational… Interesting… Funny… Agree… Disagree… Love…

ETA: This vent prompted by the response to several lovely projects, in some cases there were many disagrees on one. I expected disagrees on mine – it is, unfortunately, a given with forum posts on Ravelry. My heart hurt for those who might be new or newly returned to the craft. They deserve nothing less than thumbs up and encouragement.

All Of The Stuff!

I think I showed admirable restraint in the face of all that fibre goodness temptation! The pink sari captured me completely. I love many traditional things East Indian and to see what is one of the oldest symbols of the Mik’maq people as the embroidered design feature was a wonderful surprise. I am a firm believer in the concept that sharing of cultural elements builds bridges and opens doors. This fabric length, such a simple thing, really touched me.

Festivals, Fibre, Friends

The Almonte Fibre Festival was on this past weekend and I was happily in attendance there this afternoon with my BFF, Francine and a few other friends that we bumped into or who there as vendors.

This was my first visit to a fibre festival – time and distance often being a mitigating factor in whether I could go –  now that I’ve had a chance to, I’ll be trying to get to as many as I can!

The day was perfect, sunshine and warm with the temperature being in the mid-20’s. Almonte is about a half hour drive from where we live and is a quaint and historic little town with much to offer tourists in general but also folks looking for art and artisans.

Previously held in the twinned locations of the well known Mississippi Valley Textile Museum and the North Lanark Agricultural Hall, the Festival was held under one roof at the local arena. We were greeted by four alpacas from a local farm. Another first for me as I’ve knit a lot of alpaca but hadn’t seen one “in person”. They are adorable! Unbelievably soft and good natured, unlike their camelid relations the llamas and camels. Oh Henry and Megatron were great ambassadors and greeters.

Venturing inside, we found so many vendors I was a little overwhelmed. The layout was good and there were lots of people in attendance but not cheek-by-jowl (which would have sent this introvert into a a skeeved-out state). We had bumped into some knitting friends and with them, did a quick walkabout to get a peek at as much as we could and also to plan our purchasing path for later in the afternoon. Vintage clothing upstairs and the Button Collectors Guild rounded out the themed areas. I can see how people get caught up in button collecting now and I don’t think I’ll ever put readily available commercial buttons on a handknit again! Cards and cards of buttons, vintage and more modern, beautifully uncommon. I bought a card for a future sweater that is still just some skeins and an idea.

There was quilting, smocking, spinning, rug hooking, knitting, crochet, beading, felting, Nuno felting, textile art and all the supplies that you might wish to stash enhance or learn a new skill. Against my better judgement, I purchased a drop spindle kit… I swore I wouldn’t do it because I know this will inevitably lead to a stash of fibre braids and batts; I suppose there are worse addictions though. My BFF had her lovely shawl pins ~ Fancy That Creations by Francine ~ for sale alongside another friend, Genevieve, the colour maven behind Turtlepurl Yarns and so there was a bit of stash enhancing that went on – I’m sure there is one more nook in the work room that needs filling!

A visit to the tea room for sandwiches and a regroup before a second round of shopping, ogling, squishing and yarn sniffing; was a nice break. The festival closed at four in the afternoon and after the takedown of displays and with my wallet much thinner than before, we headed for home.

A perfect afternoon, a perfect September day, spent in the best of company and colleagues. Golden.

I would have liked to take more photos but there was just so much to look at. Here are a few from the day and with the Yarn Pr0n photos to follow in a day or two:

The Wonderful Spinning – A Manx Poem

This hits the entire “Pointe Shoes Punk Rock and Purl (Plus Pen)” thing for me so well!

(I did leave out the Plus Pen – even I can carry that alliteration thing too far – ‘sides I have a separate blog and Facebook page for my writing!)

This is poem about spinning originating from the Isle of Man but coming to me via a page about Wales and all things Welsh. My Mum’s family originates from Wales and England, my Nanny (who will be receiving her Pax Shawl today) was born in Mardi, near Cardiff. The picture below shows a Welsh woman with a “Great Wheel” or “Walking Wheel” and I am the proud owner of just such a one that came to me by way of the American branch of my Dad’s family. The wheel arrived in Nova Scotia with my Loyalist family, who couldn’t bear to part with that part of their heritage that had come all the way across the Atlantic, from England to Cape Cod. I made a point several years ago to learn how to use the wheel at Upper Canada Village, a living history tourist spot in the province of Ontario. I’m not great at it and I think a drop spindle would simply fire my fibre addiction but I can keep it in working order.

The symmetry just caught my imagination and had to share. I hope you’ll enjoy the poem and how it ties in to all things fibre here.

(By what I’ve heard from Jemmy Dan,
Them Killyas out at Gliodn y Can
Once owned…well, this is how it ran.)

Old Moggy rose at break of day
And called the girl to waken;
She crossed to where her pallet lay,
And found the nest forsaken:
“Young Ibbot to the Fair has run
And all my wool is yet unspun
How will I get my spinning done?”

Out went she to the shady wood
That edged her apple-orchard,
To tell the Stones that in it stood
The way her mind was tortured;
She made the turn about them twice,
She made the turn about them thrice,
She stepped it Southward with the Sun
For help to get her spinning done.

In came she to the Trammon-tree
That leaned against her gable,
And prayed him most respectfully
To do what he was able;
She laid three fingers on a bough:
“Good neighbour Trammon, help me now
Young Ibbot to the Fair has run
And left me with my wool unspun
How will I get my spinning done?”

Up toiled she to the hoary Drine
That writhed above her garden;
She curtsied thrice and made the sign,
Then humbly begged his pardon:
“But Ibbot ere the break of day
To Laxey Fair has run away
And won’t be back till set of sun,
And here’s my spinning not begun!”

* * *
She stood and wrung her withered hands
“Auch, auch, not one that understands!”

Low knelt she by the River then
And wept into his flying bubbles,
His bubbles whirling down the Glen,
And told his water all her troubles:
“Young Ibbot to the Fair has run
And not a stroke of work begun,
And all alone I cannot spin
The rolls and rolls of wool that ‘s in
And must be balled ere daylight ebbs
To give the weaver for his webs;
O River singing ever by,
Swift River, tell me how will I
Get all my spinning done ?”

The River left his lazy song
And rolled a thunder loud and long
Up all the rushy gills that fed
The rapids in his rocky bed;
From Laxey Mines and Glen Agneash,
The Foss, the Lhaggan, and the Rheash,
From hedge and tussock, bush and wall,
Obedient to his drumming call
The Spiders gathered at his banks
And clustered thick in ready ranks.

He took them on his back and ran,
For he had hit upon a plan;
To where old Moggy’s ground began
He bore his hairy riders.
He took a boulder in his stride
And spilt them on the Raby side,
They scuttled up the ferny broo
That glistened yet with morning dew,
Through cracks that would not pass a mouse
They poured into the Raby-house,
They covered ceilings, walls and floors,
They crowded Moggy out of doors
And made a workshop of her room;
No need of wheel, no need of loom,
For each was loom and wheel in one,
And all day long till set of sun
They strove and spun and wove and spun
To get old Moggy’s business done,
These magic-fingered Spiders !

At dusk when she crept sadly home
Her window gray as midnight foam
Betokened to her sleepy head
Young Ibbot back and off to bed;
She plucked the sneg and peeped inside,
Her mouth grew round, her eyes grew wide,
She tossed her withered hands and stood
Dumbfounded in a deep jerrude;
For not alone her thread was spun
And round a score of cinders run,
But something stranger faintly lit
Her kitchen with the sheen of it,
As though the Moon an inch or more
Had pushed her horn above the floor
A Wonder by the Spiders left
Of their own silk in warp and weft,
A mist of gauzy gossamer
Enveloping her high-backed chair,
A shining SHAWL! more beautiful
Than moonlight on a river-pool,
More flyaway than thistledown,
And warmer than a woollen gown.
She wrapped it round her, danced and sang,
(Lame Moggy with the yellow fang),
Until the solid rafters rang:

“O spotted Spiders from the Glen,
My blessing on your spinning then,
And on your weaving twice again,
You long-legged airy gliders!
O River singing by the broo,
My blessing on your water too
That floated down this clever crew
Of swiftly-spinning Spiders!
The River ran, the Spiders spun
From rise of sun to set of sun;
They wove a Shawl that passes all,
And got my spinning done!”
Note: trammn = elder ; drine = thorn; jerrude = reverie, forgetfulness; broo = riverbank or bank of a hillside.

(source: A Manx Scrapbook by WW Gill 1929)

Traditional dress, traditional craft.

Traditional dress, traditional craft.