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Hey, is this thing on?

15 April 2017

As those of you who have seen my posts on Instagram and Twitter may remember, I lost the URL on which I had been blogging back in December. No one’s fault but my own, and isn’t that the worst. While I try to decide how to cope with that tangle, maybe I can just use this blog to try to chat to some of you again. 

Here’s what I’ve been knitting:

What about you? And — does anyone read blogs, these days? 

Much love to you all. 

Kathleen xx

5KCBWDAY2 Dating Profile

13 May 2014

I’m a day late starting Knit and Crochet Blog Week, but in the interest of not succumbing to perfectionism, I am going to just jump in where I am. The Day Two topic:

5KCBWDAY2 Dating Profile
Write a dating profile for one of your past finished projects.

Hat and Socks for Baby

Alex’s pink hat with some cute little socks, which Alex wore maybe once.

Wooly pink hat (Madelinetosh Tosh DK, Ms. Taylor) seeks companion for travel, outdoor adventure, learning new things. Began life as part of Tea Leaves Cardigan project, but turned into extra yarn and then stash. Finally found my calling as first item knit for new baby, when mother learned she was having a girl. Traveled with family to Wales:

The hat on a train to Wales.

The hat on a train to Wales. With three-month-old baby.


Alex Wears the Hat in America

Westward Ho! Hat discovers America. Baby discovers her own cuteness.

And Istanbul:

Alex and the Hat in Istanbul

Mr. Trask, Alex, the hat, and Sophie the Giraffe in Turkey.

The hat in Asia! [On the Asian side of Istanbul)

On the Asian side of Istanbul: a whole new continent! Also, some cute kid in the background.

I’m unable to reveal my current location. The child on whose head I resided for the better part of a year became disillusioned with headwear, and one day (it is presumed) she yanked me off and tossed me out of her buggy. This had happened several times before, but her staff always retrieved me. Then, one day, they didn’t. [It was the male staffer on duty that day. But I digress.]

In search of new head and/or fellow hat with whom to explore the colleges and thrift stores of Oxford with a view to attending a bop. Willing to consider hat of other colors and fibres, but machine-knits need not apply.

Have you ordered your copy of Silver Screen Knits, Volume Two yet? Copies begin shipping on Thursday, May 15! Use code SSK-BLOG for a 10% discount on the book, or sign up for the Silver Screen Knits Behind the Scenes newsletter to get a code for a larger discount.

October: That Went Fast (also, a party)

6 November 2013

Wow. The last month has gone pretty quickly, and I haven’t updated you guys as I should have. I think part of the problem is that I’ve been saving Silver Screen Knits news for the SSK Behind the Scenes Newsletter – I don’t want this blog to turn into a great big ad for my book. But I also don’t want it to go dark. It’s a balancing act, I guess. [In SSK news – the newsletter has featured some really fun  interviews with designers like Ann Weaver and Veera Välimäki. Do sign up!]

While we’re on the subject, the print books have arrived, and you can indeed order one if you like:

Silver Screen Knits, Volume One: Real Live Books.

Silver Screen Knits, Volume One: Real Live Books.

But that’s all I’m going to say about that today.

When last we spoke, I was supposed to be headed to The Small Wool Gathering, a reunion of sorts for Plug & Play Pembrokeshire alumnae and friends organized by The Small Crafters. From all I have heard, it was an amazing weekend, with great food and camaraderie, plus top-notch classes by our favourite knitting editor, Amy Singer. But no sooner had Mr. Trask and I gotten into our rental car (brave us! driving!) than Little Miss Feisty got the merest hint of sick and we had to turn back. I am sure you can imagine that the weekend was rather different than what we had planned, and we were so sad to miss everyone.

However! This offered an excuse to go to Wantage and take two of Amy’s classes there, at Purlescence UK headquarters. Wantage is a lovely little town near Oxford. Their marketplace was up and running when I arrived:

Wantage Market Place

Wantage Market Place on a recent Saturday morning

And I was greeted by the statue of King Alfred (born in Wantage):

King Alfred

King Alfred presiding over the market

And best of all I got to learn Auto-Pilot Socks and Silk Spindling with Amy.


Amy makes us all happy

Amy is such a wonderful teacher: calm and reassuring, with a lot of enthusiasm. [I learned much more than I expected, for example, about the life and habits of silk worms.]

I bought the tiniest bit of yarn (yes, that is a gradiance colorway of Unique Sheep Pashmi!):

Beautiful Yarn

Gradiance! Ooh aah.

And came home happy.

And the next day we tried on LMF’s Halloween costume:

Alex as Kitty

LMF as Kitty

Which was the highlight of the month.

Additional images from here include Little Miss Feisty’s new favorite food:


LMF loves marmite! Who knew? She calls it “mar-mighty.”

And holiday clothing for one of my favorite foods:

Cadbury Sweater

Cadbury Bar, Wearing a Christmas Sweater

Same Bar in a Winter Jumper

Same Bar in a Winter Jumper

Anyway, that’s the big news from here. What have you been up to in the last month? And would you like to come to a party?

Silver Screen Knits Book Launch
Friday, Nov. 8
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Oxford Yarn Store
3 North Parade Avenue
Oxford OX2 6LX

There will be drinks, and a discount on the book and on yarn purchased to make any of the designs in the book. And some of us will be dressed in vintage clothing. A lovely time will be had by all! I’ll be there signing books, so do pop in. Otherwise, who will I talk to?

Knitters Take London

3 October 2013

In all the excitement of releasing the book (eek!), I didn’t have a chance to tell you guys about the Great London Yarn Crawl. This was a new event, planned by crazy Rachel and crazy Allison, in which five groups of 10-15 knitters each dashed all over London, dropping into various yarn and crafty shops, knitting and crocheting and crafting and shopping and chatting. It was amazing.

My group, the Purple Route, started in Islington at Loop:

Loop! Loop. Oh, Loop.

Loop! Loop. Oh, Loop. I cannot tell you how I loved it.

I hadn’t been to any of the shops on the route before, and I was a little nervous. You know how it is. You hear of a popular yarn shop, it’s meant to be great – but then it’s only so-so, and…well. I needn’t have worried, because each shop was fantastic in its own way. Loop is stuffed full of yarns it’s hard to find in England, but the shop (two floors!) is laid out in such a way that it feels roomy and yet cozy and welcoming. As I type that sentence, I realize that the layout is a miracle of TARDIS-like proportions. The Handweavers’ Studio was full of beautiful, beautiful fibre, and I enjoyed looking at all of it. [Since I’m not a spinner, I also felt that I was saving money just by standing there. Is that wrong?] The Village Haberdashery has both spinning and knitting supplies, with such cute stuff and lovely staff. Check out their window:

The Village Haberdashery: Beautiful Wiindow.

The Village Haberdashery: Beautiful Window.

They had arranged for their knitting teacher, Monica Russel, to be in the shop during the yarn crawl. She helped us browse the patterns and yarn and signed copies of her most recent books for us, too. We paused for a group shot before going in, and the owner (pink, back row) popped out because she was so excited about the yarn crawl:

Purple Group at the Village Haberdashery

Purple Group at the Village Haberdashery – you can see me, grinning at the prospect of more yarn, in the back row. I have a problem. But it’s such a nice one.

I do wish that I knew how to sew. I mean, I can hem a skirt (by hand) and sew on a button, but nothing else. I understand sewing is a bit quicker than knitting, which sounds wonderful. But I also understand that it requires a bit more precision than knitting does, which…would probably not work for me. Anyway.

Enthusiasm was the word of the day, as we went from bus to tube to ThamesLink to stroll down the street (or, when pressed for time, frantic aerobic walking). We knit and crocheted everywhere we went:

Knitting on the Tube

Knitting on the Tube – I am trying to place my stitch markers correctly for about the fifth time. Off to the right is Shannon, one of our fabulous volunteer leaders.

The last stop was Sharp Works, another really welcoming shop. I had hit a wall by then, I’m afraid, and was missing Little Miss Feisty, and I now find that I took no photos. I was thrilled to see both Manos and Mirasol there, and bought some lovely sock yarn.

You all know I’m not usually a joiner, and feel sort of shy in groups (even groups of knitters). But the yarn crawl was delightful – a long, tiring day, but a worthwhile one. Would yarn crawl again!

So one housekeeping bit: do comment below or email me at KELT (at) knitlikeyoumeanit DOT com to let me know if you have knit squares for Alli’s Wool Week yarn-bombing, so I can enter you in the Brooklyn Tweed LOFT giveaway.

And tell me – were you at the yarn crawl? Or have you been to any yarn shops in London? Which would you recommend?

Silver Screen Knits: Today’s the Day

1 October 2013

Marilyn Monroe Sweater

Hurrah! The book is ready. [Marilyn Monroe Sweater, designed by me.]

So, deep breath: Silver Screen Knits, Volume One is available for purchase as an ebook or a print/PDF download combo. You can buy it! I kid you not!

Silver Screen Knits: Volume I (ravelry)

Silver Screen Knits, Vol. One (ravelry)

Silver Screen Knits: Volume I (ravelry)

Silver Screen Knits, Vol. One (Print+e)

Buy on Ravelry

Go to Ecwid to purchase the
Print Book plus PDF download

Obviously, if you buy the book as a Ravelry download, you’ll get it immediately. If you buy the print book, it will be shipped to you on Oct. 21, and you’ll immediately receive a link to download a PDF of the book as well.

I’ve mentioned before that subscribers to the Silver Screen Knits Behind the Scenes list receive a discount on the book; I sent that discount to them over the weekend, but you can still get it if you subscribe now. Additionally, if you purchase the book on Ravelry, you will receive a discount on the print book.

The 10 patterns in Volume One were inspired by some amazing classic movies, including Bonnie and Clyde, The Women, The Philadelphia Story, and Bullitt. The text includes descriptions of the films, memorable lines from each film, and even notes on where knitting appears in some of them.

Elizabeth Taylor Dress

The Elizabeth Taylor Lace-Edged Dress, designed by me.

The patterns in the book were inspired by the men and women who performed in the movies as well as the garments they wore. I started looking into knitting and classic movies because of some beautiful photos of Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, and other stars knitting on set between takes, but the book idea also grew out of the chic garments of the golden age of Hollywood and a bunch of fascinating movies, some of which we still watch today, and some of which we ought to.

As most of you know, this book has been in progress for a while, as I got permission to use film stills and lined up designers and yarn companies to participate, found an amazing photographer and stunning graphic designer, and stalked them all until they agreed to be part of the book. It took some time to pull together, but I am really excited about the result.

Faye Dunaway Traveling Top

The Faye Dunaway Traveling Top, designed by Danielle Romanetti of Fibre Space

I launched the sales of the ebook and the preorders of the print book over the weekend, but waited a few days both to give list subscribers a chance to order and to make sure that everything was working properly before really announcing it here. Thank you so much to everyone who has ordered already – I am bowled over every time an order comes in.

I had a lot of help on this book. Danielle of Fibre Space and Karida of Neighborhood Fiber Co. told me that it could and should happen, and then they talked me through all kinds of anxiety while I made it happen…and then they contributed patterns and helped me find other designers and yarn companies to get involved.

Meryl Streep Cardigan

The Meryl Streep Lace Cardigan, designed by Ann Weaver.

Ann Weaver has been involved in so many different aspects of the book, from designing patterns for Volumes One and Two to giving me feedback on my designs to modeling the sweater she designed and then becoming our model for several other garments as well.

Can you believe how cool knitters are? I just love them. Thank you, all of you, for helping make this book happen.

Joan Crawford Skirt

The Joan Crawford Trumpet Skirt, designed by me.

Right As Rainbow: More FOs, and Prize Winners

30 September 2013

Yes, it’s the post you’ve all been waiting for: the winners of our Spud & Chloë prizes.

First, a few more finished Right As Rainbow cardigans:


alcbrooks is finished!


scattyparis is finished!


amchart is finished!

And look at even more of them over on the Ravelry discussion thread. We’ve had several people come out of the woodwork in the final days, which is really exciting.

One wonderful thing about this pattern is how flexible it is – the different choices of colors and modifications really show that off. Check out the various projects on Ravelry to see how many different ways you can make this cardigan. Excitingly, Stephanie is working on adult sizing for the pattern, so pretty soon we might need to do this again.

And now…the prizes.

Prize One! For a random person who began the cardigan. The Random Number Generator, well-known to those who read this blog regularly, chose alcbrooks, whose sweater is among the FOs above (I love those buttons, don’t you?).

Prize Two! For a random person who finished the cardigan. The RNG chose ewehinger – who, coincidentally, lives very near my hometown of Chevy Chase, Md.

And…drumroll…Prize Three! The creativity prize goes to the divine Sallywool. Having seen this sweater in person, I can tell you that Stephanie made a fantastic choice. Here’s what she says about Sally’s cardi:

Sally Stripes

Sally wound strands of yarn around a piece of cardboard to test out different color combinations. Simple, yet ingenious.

Sally FO

Sally’s finished sweater – on a more willing model than mine.

Sally in Progress

Sally’s sweater in progress at the Great London Yarn Crawl, where she was a volunteer leader.

I LOVE how [Sally] added rainbows to the wrist and waist. There is so much color in her sweater.  She even added a little extra zing by adding buttons that alternate color. She made a lot of very conscious color decisions…ones I never would have thought of. Her cardi is full of surprises. It’s rainbow-tastic!

Thank you all so much for joining me on the crazy ride that this knitalong has been, and especially thank you to Catherine, my co-conspirator, and to Spud & Chloë, for offering such amazing prizes. Hurrah for all of you…I do love how knitters are willing to do crazy things together.

So tell me in the comments – would you want to do this again? What kind of pattern would excite you?

Right As Rainbow: Nonagon!

25 September 2013

Hey, did you guys see Les Misérables (2012) when it came out in the fall? Little Miss Feisty and I saw it at The Big Scream and basically as soon as the music started I got all teary. But then it was just a few months after the baby was born and I might have been the tiniest bit emotional. [I used to think my mother was a wimp for not being able to watch certain television shows without getting misty. Now, I totally get it. Sorry, Mom.]

Just have to weave in the ends.

Just have to weave in the ends.

Anyway, I was going to post yesterday and say something about the song “One Day More,” but couldn’t find a legal video of it. So we’re back to our good old Knitalong Theme Song, Nonagon, which is more appropriate anyway. And also cheery:

I finished my sweater yesterday and bought buttons today at the glorious Oxford Yarn Store (about which more later in the week). Then I (I am not making this up) went to a meeting and got stung by a wasp several times while trying to discuss those pesky scheduling issues that often come up at meetings. I wouldn’t mention it, because you know I never complain, except that somehow in the bustle of ice-getting and kind-advice-taking (“Put vinegar on the stings!” “Does anyone have an antihistamine?” “Get a lemon!”) I somehow lost the buttons.

I am finished!

I am finished! Second-string buttons, but they sure are pretty.

The horror, people! I usually have so much trouble finding buttons, and of course the one time I find the perfect ones they fly the coop. They were green and fit the buttonholes perfectly. Bah! I’ll go buy more tomorrow, but in the meantime the ones above look pretty cute, don’t they? They’re ceramic so I don’t think I can leave them on when Little Miss Feisty wears the cardi, but they certainly work as place-holders.

Pop on over to the Right as Rainbow discussion to see more FOs, or check out the knitalong projects. [If you are participating in the knitalong and you don’t see your project when you click on that second link, you haven’t tagged it “rar-knitalong” – make sure you do or we can’t enter you into the drawings for prizes.]

And use the comments section below to let me know what you think of the substitute buttons. Too much? Just enough?

I’m going to go take an antihistamine and lie down now. Anyone got a spare lemon?

Right As Rainbow: The Final Stretch

23 September 2013

We’ve got 48 hours or so until the Right As Rainbow baby cardigan knitalong ends. On Saturday, I went to the Great London Yarn Crawl, and Sally and I established that not everyone has finished their sweater yet:

Two RARs in Progress

Sally’s sweater on the left; mine on the right.

I have to say that I’m really grateful to Sally for the “slow and steady” attitude. Really, those of you who rushed on through don’t get the treat of deadline knitting today and tomorrow. [Right? That’s a treat, right? Oh dear.]

Sally’s sweater is gorgeous; look at those colors.

Sally's Sweater as of Saturday

Sally’s Sweater as of Saturday. Isn’t it pretty?

Meanwhile, amchart and her sister cast on last night and are already into the second stripe of the yoke (in other words, ahead of me).

And then we have deepcovegrl, who has joined the finishers:

DeepCoveGrl: Finished!

DeepCoveGrl: Finished!

Mine is coming together well, if I do say so myself. I merged sleeves and body on the train from Oxford to London on Saturday morning, with only a brief crisis of faith; then I spent some of our travel between various yarn shops trying to place the markers correctly.

Those who are still knitting and who may feel at sea, marker-wise, I strongly suggest you take a look at Catherine’s blog post on the markers, and her latest post in the Ravelry discussion about how to place the markers (which gives guidance no matter how many stitches you have after the marriage of body and sleeves).

Lastly, we have had a bit of a tragedy in our knitalong; Sara (GoalieGirl33) left her knitting bag on a business trip to San Diego. The hotel is trying to trace is for her now, but she may well be out half a cardigan. Boo! Everyone send homing vibes to that little cardi…and look forward to more updates tomorrow and Wednesday.

In the meantime, don’t forget that you can get a discount on Silver Screen Knits by starting a Sophia Loren project on Ravelry by Friday – and you can get a chance to win some lovely Brooklyn Tweed Loft by knitting squares for Alli’s Campaign for Wool yarn-bombing. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Sophia Loren (and an offer)

20 September 2013

Today is Sophia Loren‘s birthday! I wasn’t thinking about this when I submitted the pattern to Knitty several months ago, but it does seem appropriate that the sweater came out in the same month that she was born.

Anna Crow in Sophia Loren Sweater

Anna Crow in the Sophia Loren Sweater: an outdoorsy outtake from our photo shoot.

The Sophia Loren sweater in Knitty Deep Fall was inspired by Loren’s performance in Woman of the River, an Italian film from 1958 in which she plays Nives, a peasant who falls in love with a smuggler.

Ann Weaver in Sophia Loren

Ann Weaver in another outtake. Both shots were taken by Brandy Crist-Travers, the genius behind all of our Silver Screen Knits photo shoots.

Despite her success and legendary sex appeal, Loren is known for staying true to her impoverished roots by playing women like Nives. Her film career began in the 1950s, when her bombshell figure and attitude shocked and delighted both Italian and American directors. Loren remains a beautiful woman and a great actress, and still appears in films from time to time (remember her turn in Prêt-à-Porter? But let’s not talk about Grumpier Old Men).

Silver Screen Knits: Volume I

Silver Screen Knits: Volume I

In honor of Sophia’s birthday, and of the release of Silver Screen Knits on Ravelry next week, I’m offering anyone who starts a project in the Sophia sweater a 20% discount on the ebook of Silver Screen Knits: Volume I. All you need to do is start a project on Ravelry and tag it “happybdaysophia” by next Friday, September 27. I’ll find you and send you a discount code for the book. I can’t wait to see what yarns and colors you choose! Check out my blog post from last week to see some color ideas I came up with.

Cozy Sweater, Cozy Cup of Tea

Have a cuppa in honor of Sophia! Or, indeed, something stronger.

More Yarn-Bombing: The Campaign for Wool

19 September 2013

Special alert: tomorrow is Sophia Loren‘s birthday, and I’ll have a special post and offer for you all on the blog to celebrate. Remember to check back, or sign up for the Silver Screen Knits Behind the Scenes list to receive special news and a discount code for the book delivered to your inbox.

Today I want to remind you all of the day I arrived here in England, almost exactly two years ago (Sept. 22, in fact). I was jet-lagged and intimidated, and really unsure of what we were doing moving far away from everyone we loved. [Also, my stash was a lot smaller.]

At Dulles Airport, September 2011

At Dulles Airport, September 2011: A little overwhelmed.

And then I saw it: a sign for the Campaign for Wool. Kitten with a Whiplash had written about it in the comments of one of my stash giveaways, but I couldn’t believe there was an ad at the airport, for goodness’ sake. I had no idea what a big deal this thing was.

Royal College of Art Fashion Competition

When I arrived in 2011, the Campaign for Wool had inspired the Royal College of Art to hold a competition in which students designed all-wool garments. Amazing!

The campaign was convened by The Prince of Wales and is meant to encourage the use of wool in fashion, interior design, and even buildings as an environmentally sustainable choice. Wool organizations and industries that use wool join in the campaign to encourage the use of wool and to support sheep farming and the textile community.

As part of this year’s Wool Week, there will be a yarn-bombing display at the John Lewis Oxford Street in London. The display with start out a bare, white room, and its furniture will be taken over by yarn-bombings slowly throughout the week. I think this sounds lovely, and certainly in line with my teeny tiny yarn bombing initiative last month.

Alli of Champagne and Qiviut (as well as the Great London Yarn Crawl; for goodness’ sake, how does she get it all done?) is working with knitters to donate brightly-colored square bits of knitting (sound an awful lot like gauge swatches, don’t they?). The campaign has asked that yarn in which you make the squares have at least some wool content.

So you know what’s coming, don’t you?

Brooklyn Tweed Loft

Brooklyn Tweed Loft: 100% American Wool, for a British Wool project. In the background, a slice of our new back garden.

This yarn is gorgeous – Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Meteorite. I hate to let it go, but one lucky person who knits at least two squares for the project will receive it. Knit your squares, photograph them, and email me the photograph (then send the squares to Alli using the information on her site). I’ll enter you into a drawing to win this yarn, which is soft and tweedy and somewhat rare in England. A friend brought it to me when she came to visit last year, and I would love for one of you to use it to make something gorgeous.

Get knitting! Get gauge swatch locating! Alli needs to receive all squares by October 7, and I’ll use the Random Number Generator to choose the winner that day as well. And, hey, use the comments to let us know you’re making squares, and what they might look like.