Putting together the Sparkly Yarns article for this week’s newsletter was so much fun, thought you might like to see some more shiny, shiny yarn photos!
Check them out here:
And now, you could be one of the lucky winners who gets to try one of these glittering yarns for yourself! One winner will receive both of the Blackstone Tweed Metallic skeins, and another will get to take home the Squoosh Fiberarts Glint Lace!
In the last contest, people said by more than 2:1 that they like reading techniques and tips articles; please tell me which techniques you’d most like to learn! Colorwork, cast-on’s, lace, short rows, grafting…?
Leave a comment below making sure to let me know your Ravelry/Twitter handle or email; or mention/retweet on Twitter to be entered for a chance to win! US and Canada only, please. Winners will be chosen by Random Number Generator and notified Wednesday, February 23rd.
Very soon (within a number of hours), we'll have a new look, and a new focus; the weekly Knitcircus News articles landing in your inboxes!
Thanks to everyone who supported Knitcircus as a magazine from the bottom of my heart.
The new incarnation has lots of exciting possibilities, though, so stay tuned; sign up on the newsletter subscription widget to the right if you haven't had a chance yet.
Friend-of-Knitcircus, knitting teacher and handspinner Cindy K takes a new book for a spin (sorry,couldn't resist!):
Author Brenda Gibson brings us The Complete Guide to Spinning Yarn, a St. Martin's Griffin book originally published in the UK. Calling anything a complete guide sets reader expectations high, but happily this book really covers a lot and does it well. Each topic is explained step-by-step, usually over two pages, with ample photographs.
Gibson starts by introducing the equipment spinners use: fiber prep gear, spindles, wheels, and yarn management items like niddy noddies and lazy kates. The four-page introduction to fibers covers the major types of animal, plant, and synthetic spinning fibers. The technique chapter and yarn "recipes" really are the heart of the book. She begins with the techniques needed to process raw wool, from scouring to carding or combing, and even covers dyeing. Then it's on to spinning itself, where Gibson gives an introduction to spindle spinning before diving into wheel spinning, plying, and finishing handspun yarns. I got a lot of great ideas from the recipes chapter, which shows numerous examples of handspun yarn. Each recipe shows the unspun fibers used to make the yarn, a strand and skein of the completed yarn, and a swatch knitted from the yarn. So often it's hard to visualize how a particular fiber could be spun up and then how different it may look in the skein and the swatch, so showing all the stages is especially useful.
Next is a project chapter, showing four projects made from handspun, a woven pillow cover, a knit hat and mitten set, a curtain tassel, and a knitted case for a notebook, e-reader, or tablet computer. Gibson finishes up with a "what's next" chapter, discussing spinning yarn to sell and showing a gallery of really pretty yarns and a few garments.
Despite its title, The Complete Guide doesn't have enough space to talk about everything in the yarn-making universe. Bobbin lead and double drive wheels aren't covered. The spindle spinning section covers suspended spinning with a drop spindle; if you need coverage of the park-and-draft method or supported spindles, you'll need to look elsewhere. Plying from spindles is mentioned but needs a page of its own. Don't let that discourage you from taking a look at this book, however. Overall, this is a very good book for beginning spinners, especially those interested in using a spinning wheel, and its technique and recipe sections have lots of ideas for intermediate spinners like myself to explore.
The Complete Guide to Spinning Yarn: Techniques, Projects, and Recipes is a large format softcover book, 144 pages, copyright 2011.
Thanks to St. Martins-Griffin/MacMillan for providing this book for us to review!
Inspired by Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at TNNA this summer, I've been experimenting with ice cream making lately, and here are the two biggest winners; delicious desserts to share with your special person (or people).
The one above is Blackberry Ice Cream; I used this recipe from Food.com, without the cinnamon. Now, full disclosure, blackberries are one of my all-time favorite foods; the taste of a ripe blackberry picked from our California backyard is my earliest taste memory. So when I say that this ice cream, rich and creamy, peaking into the essence of fresh blackberries, is possibly the best dessert I've ever tasted, I may be biased. But my husband Mike was equally smitten....
And a little guy I love found it easy to eat, too!
It does take a lttle advance planning, because you have to cook the berries and sugar first, then cook the cream mixture, strain the berries and cool the whole thing down, but it's really no harder than making vanilla pudding on the stove, and whoever's lucky enough to eat it with you will enjoy the taste of artisanal ice cream right at home.
Our local grocery store had a special on blackberries, so I used fresh, but this should work just dandy with frozen berries, too.
This one is pretty soft in the picture, but goes pow on the tongue; we used this recipe from Simply Recipes, and frozen cherries from our cherry tree.
The recipe called for sweet cherries, and I didn't want to mess with it the first time out, but our cherries were the pie variety, so the ice cream turned out creamy, fresh and tangy. It's deifinitely a sophisticated taste, and pairs perfectly with a warm snickerdoodle; I found the cool sour notes of the cherry alternated with the vanilla and cinnamon cookie totally addictive. This ce cream takes one less step than the blackberry, since you don't have to strain the fruit; just stir all of the ingredients in a saucepan until it begins to make fragrant steam, then blend and toss in the fridge to cool.
I used the Betty Crocker Cookbook Snickerdoodle recipe; if you make up the dough once the ice cream mixture is cooling, you can roll the cookies in cinnamon sugar and bake once you actually start the ice cream maker going (about 20 minutes to stir the ice cream). Your snickerdoodles should be soft and warm when the ice cream is served, and your loved one(s) will have very warm feelings towards you!
The current economic situation means Knitcircus has to make some big changes; the current Winter Issue will be the last magazine.
But we've figured out a way to keep giving you great knitting content: Knitcircus will move to a weekly e-newsletter format, with interviews, reviews and techniques articles, beginning Tuesday, February 7th with Wendy Johnson's Three-Needle Bind-Off Sleeve Technique feature.
If you're not already signed up for the newsletter, you can get on the list on the blog, on the top right column. (Names never sold or used for anything but newsletter delivery).
Watch for a website redesign to go along with the new format soon!
More Knitcircus: Amy Detjen and I are recording Knitcircus Podcasts--listen in every second and fourth Monday! And join us at Knitcircus retreats; the Spring Retreat will be Madison, Wisconsin, April 14th, with designer and author Stephannie Tallent, Amy and me teaching classes on all kinds of knitting topics.
The new formats allow for more and different advertising; if you'd like to know more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you're a current subscriber, you should have received a notification this morning with special subscriber information. Please email me if you didn't see the notification and have purchased a subscription in the last few months, including the Paypal address you used for the subscription.
Take care and keep knitting,
Knitcircus Podcast #7 is up!
The girls talk about their recent experiences destashing, the upcoming Knitcircus Spring Retreat April 14th, the Centered Double Decrease, and a whole bevy of awesome yarns.
Mentioned this episode:
Oink Pigments and Malabrigo Twist
Our winners are:
All for Love of Yarn and Foofaraw shawl pin: sarahfay13 on Twitter
Juniper Moon Farm Findley and Pico Accuardi Mini-Skein: pipnmilly on Ravelry.
Winners have been notified.
Around Knitcircus Central (our house) the stash organization ball keeps on rolling; after I took so many needles out of projects I wasn't going to finish, a new way of keeping track of DPN's seemed the logical next step.
Yesterday, I took Belle to the University Bookstore to get a new notebook, and a new design sketchbook for me. Their displays included a whole wall of pens and mechanical pencils in tiny cubbies, and Belle couldn't stop looking at all of them, reverently touching the shiny casings and trying out the mechanisms for making pencil lead and erasers slide out.
"This is just so much fun, I never want to leave," she told me, making one of my maternal dreams come true. As a kid, I could wander through the colored pencil and paint sections of the store for hours, and the feeling of infinite possibilities, projects just waiting for me, still rises up when I walk into an art-supply store. Sharing that with my daughter filled the day with awesome.
While she sat in front of the pencil display, I saw some pencil cases behind her with an intriguing design: each one has a snap flap and opens like a little drawer. I knew exactly what to use those for.
The biodegradable little plastic boxes by C-Line were stunningly affordable, at $1.39 each; not sure how durable they are yet, but they're doing well so far...
Happy Monday and keep knitting,
Seems like it's time to perk things up; it's been cold and snowy long enough!
Today we're lucky to have some beautiful independent yarns and a shawl pin for you, to make this stretch of the calendar a little more fun.
We have two great prize pairs:
To join the giveaway, please leave a comment here letting us know which kind(s) of things you like to read or learn about knitting. Interviews with designers, indy yarn makers, techniques tutorials, funny personal stories, book and yarn reviews...what pops your toast? Or, visit Juniper Moon, Foofaraw, Pico Accuardi Dyeworks or All for Love of Yarn and tell us what else you like there! Make sure to leave your email info, ravelry or twitter handle so we can contact you if you win.Retweeting contest announcements/updates will also earn you a chance to win.
The giveaway runs through Sunday evening, January 29th, and the winners will be chosen by Random Number generation and announced Monday.
Can't wait to hear what you have to say, and good luck!