Knitting Feeds

I’m Obsessed With My Pom Pom Maker

Knitted Bliss - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 11:00

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Somewhere on Instagram, I came across the Pom Maker feed and fell instantly, madly in love with their adorable wooden pom pom makers and beautiful pom poms. I had to have one! The fact that it was entirely made of wood seemed especially attractive to me – until then, I had only ever seen plastic pom

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

7 Reasons Thumbless Mitts are Best

Knitting | Work in Progress - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 11:00
As you well know, I love fingerless mitts and have through the years made so many pairs, I've lost count. You also know that long or short, practical or pretty, all my mitts are thumbless as well.

This must seem incomprehensible to many of you, but there are seven reasons why thumbless mitts work best for me:

1. Less fiddly. Let's face it, working simple thumbless mitts means you can look forward to a quick, fuss-free project, whip up a last-minute gift, or work them when you need a break from larger or more complicated WIPs.

KINTRA BLACKBERRY


2. Adaptable. One of the things I like most is there's no second-guessing, because you can wait until the seaming stage to decide where you want to place the thumb hole and how large to make it.

KINTRA NEARLY NEUTRAL


3. Nearly mindless. Simple and soothing, thumbless mitts are ideal for knitting on the go or decompressing at the end of a demanding day.

WYNDFAEL TURQUOISE



4. Purposeful swatching. Because they're streamlined and compact, thumbless mitts allow you to play with different stitches, yarns, colors and needle sizes, while still creating something useful.

REVERSIBLE GRADIENT MITTS (WIP)


5. Practical. Wearing mitts while I work and knit keeps my hands and wrists warm and flexible, which reduces aches and pains, but my fingers and thumbs remain unencumbered and able to move freely. If I need my hands free for chores or something similar, it's easy to pop out my thumbs, push the mitts down and tackle the task.

KINTRA PLUM


6. Multiple wearing options. Because they can be worn as mitts, scrunchy gauntlets and folded cuffs, thumbless mitts are extraordinarily versatile, infinitely more wearable and less fussy because you don't have to keep putting them on and taking them off.

GREY DAZE MITTS & SHAWL



7. Short thumbs. Apparently, I have very short thumbs. I learned this when I was a little girl, just starting violin lessons. My teacher, a very talented musician from Czechoslovakia, was always bellowing (literally) that I wasn't holding the instrument properly. One day, he grabbed my hand, examined it intently, and declared my thumbs were too short to play the violin.

KINTRA OYSTER BAY



For what it's worth, I continued to study and play for years, but no, I never became a renowned violinist. Instead, I became a knitter, designer, author and blogger, and I'm okay with that.


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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Blur

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 01:20

No time. Only pictures.

Luis listens to Megan’s baby.

I made a million cookies, and piping icing is hard. (But I win, because they’re still cute.)

Ken is 51.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time with a peeler and made this tart. I thought I was crazy then Meg said “Oh Mum, I love pretty food!” and then it was all worth it.

Jen (knitter, cyclist, student midwife) brought her fetoscope. Best baby shower favour ever.

This picture is okay, but it’s not as good as the one I should have taken, which was 2 minutes later, when the baby moved, and Pato pretty much fell off a chair.

We are excited.  I am knitting.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Locksley Hat Mdification

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Locksley  Knitter Extraordinaire: Andrea (Ravelry ID, blog) Mods: Using the design from the Locksley sweater pattern as a base, Andrea created the hat version. Great details with lots of info on the crown decreases and can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Andrea knit this stunning sweater for

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

February Loves a little late...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 03/05/2017 - 14:25
Hello! Happy Sunday. :) With February being a short month my loves post is a few days late. Before we go visiting, a little update on happenings here at my casa. The test knitting that I spoke about for WOODS is happening. The pattern is secret for right now, but... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

How to Create a Simple Custom Gradient

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 03/05/2017 - 13:30
In the Ombres & Gradients: Create Your Own series, we've been exploring ways to make custom ombres and gradients using purpose-bought yarn or skeins from stash. Not only are they attractive, fun to create and easy to do, ombres and gradients are the perfect way to put orphan and leftover yarns to good use.

Some folks have asked for more details, so periodically I'll share the how-tos in targeted posts like this one. Let's start at the beginning.


1. Simple Custom Gradient: Color Check
(From Ombres & Gradients: 5 Ways to Create Your Own)

One of the easiest ways to create a gradient effect is to choose different shades from the same color family. The biggest challenge is to find the same or compatible yarns in the range of light, medium and dark shades you need.

With four simple gradients, Color Check illustrates the basic strategy quite well:



Yarn. Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep)

Stitch. The fast and easy slipped stitch creates an all-over windowpane check. 

Strategy. Each section consists of solid colors worked with black as the unifying main color. To achieve a similar look:
  • Choose one main color and three related colors for each strip.
  • Arrange related colors from dark to light.
  • Work each related color in sequence.

In this Color Check version, colors were worked in conjunction with MC Cavern as follows (left to right):
  • Strip 1: Blue Paradise, Malibu Blue, Nymph 
  • Strip 2: Raging Purple, Prairie Lupine, Lilac
  • Strip 3: Plum, Berry, Pink-a-Boo
  • Srtip 4: Barn Red, Cherry Moon, Tea Rose
This version incorporates 12 purpose-bought colors (plus black), and launched my addiction to Cotton Fleece yarn. It also played a pivotal role in building the stash, since each color block only used a portion of the skein. To see another example, look at Color Check Meadow worked in shades of blue, teal, green and yellow.

1. Simple Custom Gradient: Lucben Tidepool
(From No. 1, Ombres & Gradients: 5 Ways to Create Your Own) Yarn. Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep)
Stitch. The easy twisted double seed stitch produces a reversible fabric with identical textures on both sides. 

Strategy. Each section consists of solid blocks worked with cream as the unifying main color. To achieve a similar look:
  • Choose one main color and five related colors.
  • Arrange related colors on the diagonal from light to dark.
  • Work related colors in the sequence described below.

In Lucben Tidepool, colors are separated by MC Cotton Ball and worked as follows:
  • Strip 1 (upper left): Light Jade, Rue, Mint 
  • Strip 2 (middle): Wild Sage, Light Jade, Rue
  • Strip 3 (lower right): New Age Teal, Wild Sage, Light Jade
I find the resulting diagonal gradient appealing, so it also appears in shades of berry, rose and pink in Lucben Rose. As an added bonus, both Lucben versions were created straight from stash, using yarn acquired when I started working on Color Check.

Hopefully, these examples and simple how-to instructions will help you to look at new buys and stash yarn with fresh eyes, inspiring you to experiment with ways to create simple, custom gradients of your own.

If this is helpful, let me know, and if you have questions or need clarification, do the same and I'll do my best to respond.
To read more about ombres & gradients, click here.
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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Attitude is most of it – Right?

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 19:47

You know, I try to have a can-do attitude.  I’m reasonably clever, I know how to read, I’ve got access to the internet, and that means that most of the time, I look at a task ahead of me and I think “Well. How hard can it be?” This usually works. I’ve changed the brake pads on a mini-van with just a library book and some borrowed tools, I’ve ridden my bike really far, and I can make all sorts of things. A lot of the time I feel like I’m in over my head – but it usually works out. The problem is that since I usually feel like I’m over my head, sometimes I don’t recognize it when I actually am. I’ll be chugging along, feeling a wild and vague sense of panic and hysteria, and then think, well, that’s not too bad – and the next thing I know voila. I’m actually underwater.  Examples? You betcha.

I sat down last night to pick up all of the stitches around the edge of the shawl, and two things happened. First, it turned out that I’d counted hopefully rather than actually, and as a result, I had six rows to go before I was really done. (No problem. Will only take a minute.) The second thing was that it turns out that I’d tried a new provisional cast on (How hard can it be?) and I didn’t do it right. How do I know?

It took about an hour to unpick the waste yarn, stitch by stitch, snipping it into little pieces as a went along, punctuating every sixth or seventh one with unladylike language of a pretty creative nature. The sides didn’t go much better, and I finished the one stinking round that it took to get everything sorted at 1:40am. (How hard can it be? THAT HARD.)

Then,  I decided that I’d do something special for Meg’s baby shower on Sunday (yes, yes it’s that soon, yes I know, knit faster) and after cruising Pinterest (MEGAN LOOK AWAY)  I bought some special cookie cutters and signed up to make some fancy cookies. Like this. Or this. Or those. Up until about 10 minutes ago it hadn’t really occurred to me that I don’t actually know how to do that, and my general sense of “How hard can it be?” was dashed when a friend said that if I got “color flow mix” that would really be good and I realized that I don’t know what that is, and now I feel nervous. Also? I think maybe it takes longer to make them than I thought. I’ll let you know.

Finally, I kept meaning to post and say that Debbi and I have good news and bad news for Strung Along. Good news? We unexpectedly have some spots free at the Strung Along April Retreat, but the June and November retreats have waiting lists. Usually things move around and open up on the lists (that’s what happened with this April one) and there’s a chance that we’ll have some spots, but – particularly for November the list is long, and it’s not looking great, and the truth is that if you were hoping to get to a retreat with us this year, we think April is going to be your chance. We don’t have many spots, but we’ve love it if you could come, and I know you have questions.

Question: Hey, there’s like… 8 million retreats. Why would I go to yours?

Well, ours is different in a few ways. There’s three full days of classes, and everybody goes to all three classes. It’s two days of knitting, and one day of spinning, and some relaxed, fun, optional stuff in the evenings. You’re in a tiny class (only 10-15 people) and you move with that group through the three days. Some retreats have more time for socializing, but we’re all about the classes. To our way of thinking, a fibre arts retreat should be all about the learning. If that’s what you think too, you’re probably going to love it.

Question: Who are the teachers? What are the classes?

This time, the teachers are me, Debbi Stone, and Judith MacKenzie. (She’s the spinning part.) Our theme is “Around the world in three days” and it’s going to be all about techniques and materials from the world over. We’ll talk about the history and traditions of knitters and spinners worldwide, and what they use, and how they use it. It’s going to be pretty great. We’re excited. (Can you say Latvian Braid? Oh yes, you can.)

Question: I’m a brand new spinner, and I’m not that experienced a knitter… am I going to be okay?

Yes. Absolutely. We’ve got artists of every range coming, and you’ll fit right in, no matter what your skill level is. The classes are tiny enough that we can really personalize. You’ll be fine. We promise. (Also, if you don’t have a wheel, we can loan you one for the weekend. Don’t panic. We’ve got ya.)

Question: If I’m going to go away for a treat, I want it to be nice. Is is nice?

Dudes, it’s super nice. We’re ridiculously proud of the wonderful food, and there’s optional paired wine flights with dinner. There’s a fireplace and Jacuzzi bathtub in all the rooms, and the staff at the resort is fantastic. It’s nice. It’s so nice you won’t want to go home.

Question: I’m sort of an introvert and I would be coming by myself and I won’t know anyone. Do people come by themselves? Will it be weird? Will I be lonely?

You’ll be fine.  From one introvert to another, it will be fine. Lots of people come alone – most people, actually, at least at first. We’ve got lots of knitters who came by themselves and made friends with other knitters, and now they look forward to seeing them at the retreats. It’s a welcoming, open place, and there’s lots of time to yourself, if that’s how you like it, and I promise you won’t feel weird.

Question: I have other questions. What do I do?

Write to us at info@strungalong.ca and Debbi or I will answer you. There’s lots of information here on our retreat page too.

Last Question: I’m not able to come, but I hear you guys have goodie bags, and I wondered if I could put my stuff in it?

We do have goodie bags, and we’d love it if you put stuff in it. We’re happy to showcase anything you’d like knitters or spinners to see. Your product goes in the bags, and on our social media feeds, and we’re as grateful as you can imagine. If you’d like to talk about it, email us at info@strungalong.ca, and we’ll get you the details.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Struggling with perfectionism? 6 habits to help overcome perfectionist tendencies. Empowering quotes about women aging. The first one by Cameron Diaz is lame, but the rest are sooo good. Wait, cute flats made from recycled water bottles? Genius! The deeper reason we can’t remember people’s names after meeting

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Forever

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 23:44

I am going to be knitting this blanket forever. I see that now, as plainly as I understand that I am destined to never catch up on the laundry, and that email can never be truly finished. I also see that a large blanket knit from laceweight might have been a bit of an overshoot, if you catch my meaning.  I have only about a month left, and this blanket pretty much refuses to get done, despite much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Today, I have gleefully and delightedly finished the centre. It’s a small centre, as planned, and now I’ve got to make a move to get this thing sorted to be knit in the round. Tonight I’ll leave the stitches at the top live, and then pick up stitches down the first side, then unpick the provisional cast on along the bottom, and pick up more stitches along the second side. I don’t have time to make a mistake, so I’ve spent a little time today picking up stitches along the side of my swatch.

Obviously, one side had too many (you can see it flare out, there on the right) and the other one looks pretty good. That’s the rate I’ll be going with.

Forever. And ever.  Send wine.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Knitting Book Review: Alice Starmore Must-Have Classics

Knitted Bliss - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 11:00

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In our current time, it’s increasingly tempting to keep our patterns digital. I know I certainly have more than my fair share of purchased PDFs that I have knit but never printed off. But there’s a special place in my heart for knitting books, and I think they are a frugal knitter’s friend. If you would knit

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Legwarmers

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Garden Dream Mittens Knitter Extraordinaire: Victoria (Ravelry ID) Mods: Using the chart from the mitten design, Victoria made super warm stranded legwarmers. More images can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: How amazing are these legwarmers?! Victoria has done an amazing job, alternating the mittens charts (the flowers and

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

in bloom

Autumn Geisha - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 23:10

Hello! I hope that you are having a fun & relaxing weekend. We are spending a quiet Sunday at home. The guys are watching movies and playing on video games while I'm happily knitting wildflowers and playing with my new MINI Happy Planner. Can you tell that I'm already dreaming of springtime blossoms and blooms? It's hard not to when the February weather has been unseasonably balmy and warm here in Maryland.

I'm finally on the last color of my winter fade and had planned to finish it this weekend but couldn't resist casting on for a new pair of socks. The pattern is called fine and dandy socks and the yarn is by Lichen and Lace in the appropriately named wildflowers colorway. It's knitted toe-up which is a fun change from how I usually make my socks.

Here's a quick peek inside my planner at next week's spread:


Besides having something new to decorate with stickers and washi tape (always a cause for joy) I am on a mission to become more organized. My usual system of keeping track of appointments, errands, chores and special dates consisted of post-it notes scattered everywhere and half of them getting lost. I knew things had to change when the little guy and I showed up for his wellness checkup two weeks early. I'll go into more details on how I use my planner in another post, but so far it has made a tremendous difference. Do you use a planner and if so, which one? I'm amazed at all the cool choices out there and can now understand the hashtag #planneraddict.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Lazy knitting Sunday and happenings...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 16:16
Good morning to you! Maybe I should say good afternoon at this point, as this Sunday I am seeming to take things a bit slower. Then again, isn't that how all Sundays should be? Morning tea, David's Breakfast blend from my dear friend Antonella and some seriously gorgeous yarn that... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Grey Daze Mitts & Shawl

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 13:30
The last time you saw these pieces, the mitts were fresh off the needles and the shawl was about halfway done. Temperatures were well below freezing and the skies were overcast.




Today, the shawl and mitts are finished, and the timing couldn't be more perfect. After a few tantalizing days of occasional sunshine and mild weather, the temps have plummeted, winds are whipping, and the skies are once again grey as far as the eye can see. I'm especially delighted, therefore, to have these warm, worsted weight pieces completed.



Both the shawl and mitts were relatively fast, straightforward knits. For the mitts, I simply followed the Kintra pattern, adjusting the stitch count to accommodate worsted weight yarn. The shawl, which is worked sideways (tip-to-tip), is a concept piece, but it came together smoothly with only a few minor tweaks,



Right now, I'm relishing the light, lofty coziness of soft wool snuggled around my neck and warming my hands as I write. And as simple as these pieces are, they look especially nice set against the black turtleneck and sweater I'm wearing. I'm also wallowing in the satisfaction of finishing this project, along with the pleasure of adding another coordinating shawl and mitt set to my slowly growing collection.


Grey Daze Mitts & Shawl
Pattern: Kintra Mitts
Pattern: Shawl (personal pattern)
Yarn: Amherst (Valley Yarns)
Colors: Burgundy, Natural, ThistleNeedle: US 10 (6 mm)Mitts: ~100 yardsShawl: ~370 yards

With this set safely off the needles and already in the active rotation, the grey streak is coming to a temporary halt. I'd also love to cast on another shawl, but that will have to wait. Other projects, including a follow-up post on more ways to create ombres and gradients, are demanding attention, so I'd better get busy.

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week This woman’s hobby is to throw fancy parties for squirrels and photograph them. And I’m totally jealous. On getting comfortable with not knowing. This was very interesting- I was trying to figure out the origin of the term ‘ squad goals’, and fell down an internet rabbit hole.

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Randomly, on a Wednesday

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 01:52
  1. I finished the cowl that I was knitting, after several runs at it, and a mistake or two concerning gauge. (Note to self, still always knit a swatch, no matter how cocky and experienced  you feel.)

2. I am home from Madrona, and it was, as always, the event that fills my cup for the year to come. Wonderful moments with teachers I love, students I miss, and vendors that make me give them all my money.

3. I gave them lots of money. (Hello Creative with Clay, I’m looking right at you and my new salt and pepper shakers.)

4. A big chunk of my hair is purple. I can’t talk about why, because it has to do with the Teacher Talent Show for Charity that I host, together with Lucy Neatby, and mutiny. On the upside, the show raised more than $12 000 for the Global Fund for Women, MSF, and Heifer International. That’s worth purple hair. (Also, Lucy? It’s not washing out like you said it would.)

5. The blanket proceeds apace. I’m halfway through the centre. I need to get a move on.

6. I accidentally gave a whack of money to Habu Textiles, which is both unavoidable and normal. I also accidentally started knitting the kit I bought, but I’m putting it down. (It’s silk and paper. I can’t even.)

7. I’ve got to knit that blanket.

8. I leave for the West Coast Knitters Guild on Friday. (I think there are still a few spots.)

9. There’s no point in trying to fix the jet lag. If I stay messed up, I’ll be bang on for Friday.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

A Little Swatching

Knitting | Work in Progress - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 13:00
Remember when I said my primary goal for the year was to stay focused in order to finish projects that were already in progress? And remember when I also confessed that in a spirit of pure contrarianism, I had this overwhelming temptation to indulge in some swatching?

Luckily, reader Kat reminded me that finishing a swatch is in it's own unique way an FO, no matter how small.

So, let's take a quick peek behind the curtain.


From left to right, this snapshot of the studio work table shows:
Black swatches with CC bands (red, magenta, teal), which are stitch and gauge swatches for a design I'm itching to start. I'm convinced the concept will work, but it needs The Right Stitch.Red swatches, which are stitch and shape tests for a design concept that's been knocking around in my portfolio for more than a year.A purple and magenta swatch, which was a preliminary test for Lucben, using bulky weight yarn.Two purple swatches, which are stitch and gauge tests for an upcoming shawl wrap.Teal swatches, which have appeared before. I love both the yarn and color, so periodically, I pull them out to re-evaluate their future. (I think I have an idea that might work, but let's face it, I've thought that before.)Grey and cream swatches, which are gauge samples for Lucben to calculate how yarn weight (worsted, sport) affects finished dimensions.A blue feather and fan swatch, which is an oldy but goody that periodically creeps out of the swatch drawer as a reminder certain classics are worth fresh attention.A dark teal/blue swatch, which was a sample for the another gradient and ombre post, but the green and teal shades are so close in value, they're almost indistinguishable in photos. (The differences are more evident in real life.)A light green swatch, which was another Lucben test to see how two closely related colors (light green and mint) appeared when worked in alternating rows. (Answer: They blend into a For what it's worth, there are a few more swatches floating beyond camera range, but this captures the majority that are in progress or active consideration.

Swatching is by it's very nature both a process of discovery and a process of elimination. These 23 swatches, as simple as they are, revealed many things, but a few key questions remain unanswered, so I'm thinking just a little more swatching might be required.

What do you think?


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Categories: Knitting Feeds

everyone needs a sock buddy

Autumn Geisha - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 00:06

News flash! I just discovered something even more addictive than sock knitting: kiddie-sized sock knitting! All the fun sock parts but in half the time :) This mini-sized version of the popular vanilla latte sock pattern only took about a week to knit. Just one skein of knitpicks felici in the sweetheart colorway was enough to make both the socks (which should fit a child of 5-7 years old) and a teeny tiny matching sock buddy. Both will be on their way to hats and more for war-torn Syria, a charity knitting group whose mission is to collect warm items & other necessities for people displaced by the conflicts in Syria and the surrounding regions.


The awesome free pattern for the sock buddy can be found here. I followed the pattern exactly but used sock weight yarn instead of worsted weight. I also grafted the body closed instead of using a three needle bind off. I was undecided about whether or not to embroider the smiley mouth so I asked my little guy for his opinion. His answer: everyone needs someone to listen to them when they are sad or worried and the sock buddy looks like she would be a better listener without a mouth. I kinda agree :)
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Connecting through knitting...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 14:24
Hello there! Happy Sunday to you all. :) How was your week? Mine went rather fast and thankfully before I knew it Sunday was upon me. Sometimes life likes to throw in those fun treats for you, probably because it knows that Sunday is my favorite day as it means... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Did you know that the Danish have a tv show called The Great Knit Off?! Amazing!!! Don’t worry, there are English subtitles. As if it were possible to love Tom Hiddleston more. He’s so earnest!  This video was absolutely fascinating – it’s a camera and microphone set up

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

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