Deciding what to get for the holidays can be stressful. Fear not! I have created a list of suggestions for things I'm loving this season. Click on an image or link to be directed to the websites.
Handmade ceramic yarn bowls from Mud's Evolution Pottery! Crafted in Raleigh, NC, this cute bowl was thrown on the wheel and altered. Then the artist applied adorable little lambs cast from a hand carved mold.
As you know I love ceramics. If this bowl is gone, consider a beautiful bowl. Useful for display of yarns and also works to hold yarns in progress.
Darn Good Yarn is a fantastic fiber company founded by Nicole Snow. They use their business to empower women in Nepal and India while reducing waste.
Darn Good Yarn became the U.S. distributor of llama wool yarn from the Andes Mountains in Chile. Purchasing this yarn means helping out the Chilean farmers and their llamas.
For the fiber connoisseur, llama is super warm, strong, washable, and even flame retardant! It's a less common fiber and one sure to be admired (and enjoyed)! This particular line of yarn is of the highest quality and promises to be the beginning of a cherished finished object.
Darn Good Yarn also offers recycled silk and sari yarns, and a selection of ribbons. If you're unsure of what to get, consider a gift certificate.
50 gram, sport weight, 163 yards
I. LOVE. THIS. DOLL. Yes, It's true. Part of the "Lovey" doll collection and made in RI, it features a cashmere body and handspun art yarn for the locks of hair. Carefully (and wonderfully) made, this is an adorable piece that could sit on a desk at work to remind the fiber lover of the spinning/knitting/crocheting/weaving fun that awaits them after a long day.
Kate of Dragonfly Fiber Art is a fiber magician (and a good friend!) - I love her creativity and passion for making. There are a few pieces listed in her etsy shop, including this adorable piece!
Schacht Cricket Looms are a perfect introduction to weaving for someone who is interested in broadening their horizons. I'd recommend buying the 15" width between the two, but either loom will easily make scarves, table runners, and placemats!
They come with everything you need to get started (except the yarn) but if you talk to the good folks at Purlescence Yarns they can suggest some yarn to include in the shipment.
Call them to plan the ultimate gift!
(408) 735-YARN (9276)
Michael Woody from Long Beach, CA makes beautiful and simple drop spindles. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this walnut parasol spindle.
Hand turned with a special finish, this specimen is 3.75" dia x 10.5" long and weights about one ounce.
Here's a little-known secret: I owned a few drop spindles long before I ever spun fiber into yarn. They make me happy sitting in a vase and from time to time I will take one out and marvel at its beauty and simplicity... remembering how so much yarn was spun from a tool this simple.
Natalie of Namaste Farms offers beautiful breed boxes. If you are buying for a spinner, consider one of these carefully curated collections.
Each containing an ounce of 10 different breeds, it is a lovely introduction into cleaning raw fleece and trying out different fibers.
(Oh.. and Natalie is AMAZING! She runs her CA based farm and works hard to educate others about the work involved in caring for a fiber flock.)
Wild Fibers Magazine
Celebrating a decade of fiber excellence, Wild Fibers Magazine is the "National Geographic" of the fiber world. Dive headfirst into exotic destinations and learn all about the people (and animals!) that contribute to the crafts.
Beautiful imagery and writing educate and inspire.
A US gift subscription begins at $30.00
Stonehedge Fiber Mill makes fantastic yarn. My favorite (and a real eye-catcher!) is Stonehedge Crazy. Each skein is unique. They are made up of random bits of llama, alpaca, and wool in unpredictable colors.
$8.50 / skein
How about a knitting (or crochet!) bag that works for guys or gals? The SWIFT from Tom Bihn is still my favorite even after owning it for a few years. Offered in a variety of color and material combinations, it includes two clear interior zippered pockets, and an o-ring and key snap.
It also comes with a Yarn Stuff Sack which is a clear bottomed drawstring project bag that will also become a fast favorite.
Made in the U.S.A.
Starting at $90.00
A collection of 15 hat patterns donated by designers across the United States and Canada, I created this volume of Good Deeds to benefit Breast Cancer Connections (a nonprofit based in Palo Alto, CA that offers support and resources to women facing breast cancer).
This e-book is a great gift to give because it provides a library of hats to make, and all the proceeds from the sale of the project benefits a deserving nonprofit.
Spinning yarn takes time, patience, and skill. The artistry of Ilga shows up in her shop over and over. The time it takes to make yarn is worthy of proper compensation. I did a lot of searching for a good example of handspun yarn and settled on this WA based spinner because the pricing is set at a fair amount for the work that goes into the product.
Fiber: 25% silk / 75% BFLwool
Weight: 8.1 oz., 229 g
Length: Approx. 820 yards, 750 m
YPP: Approx. 1620
WPI: Approx. 18-22
Ply: 2 ply
The best set of needles I own? Addi Turbo Long Lace Clicks. I like the longer length and sharper points of these needles, and REALLY love that I can change the length of the cord to suit my project. For VERY VERY VERY big projects (think blankets), there's a connector to join two cords together.
Camilla Valley Farms has a great webpage that details the available sets and I'm sure if you get in touch with them they'd offer advice as to what they think your fiber lover will like based on what they knit.
Their online shop is not automatic - you'll need to fill out their order form or give them a call: (519) 941-0736 to place an order. They also have gift certificates... so if you're totally confused, that's always an option!
Begins at $169.00
What items are on your wish list this season? Share in the comments and include website links if you have them. Here's wishing you and your family have a safe, happy holiday season!
Kristin Omdahl has written the kind of book I can wrap my imagination around. Knitting Outside the Swatch spends half the book explaining all the different motifs, and then the second half shows examples of motifs in ten different projects!
I love the special bind off Kristin used for the motifs in the Shania medallion hat for the book cover!
Interweave/F+W Media; $24.95
Kristin is known for imagination and talent with mathematics... and it shows through the pages of this latest title. She's created a lot of really interesting patterns for this book, and I believe that this resource is well worth adding to your library. Over 40 motifs are included, and with clear instructions on each piece, it's like having Kristin right there with you, showing you the way!
As a lover of freeform knitting and crochet, I think of this book as an inspiration library. These small motifs use only a little bit of yarn, and they are creatively designed. One of my favorite motifs uses yarn wraps to hide a join, creating a beautiful finish. It's also a great chance to use up leftover yarns or for sample skeins. My plans include using this resource to knit up bits to include in a freeform wrap that I started a while back... These patterns are really a breath of fresh air!
I also believe that motif collections like this help us to come up with new motif variations on our own. Work a few new pieces, and add them to your freeform scrumbles. See how these new bits might inspire new experimentation in your other work.
The book is available in paperback or by digital download. Click the image above or button below to get yours right now, or head to your LYS to pick up a copy.
If you'd like to dive right in, Interweave has a solution for you! Take your choice (digital or paper) and go ahead and order it now:
Want a free copy of Knitting Outside the Swatch? I have one to give away to a very lucky reader.
Here's how to enter -
Post in the comments, and tell me what is your favorite thing to knit? It could be one of her designs from the book, or it could be some other project... as specific as a certain pattern, or as generic as "socks!"
Post your comment by 11:59PM PST Saturday, November 16, 2013 to enter.
Be sure to include your email address when posting your comment so that I can contact you if you're the lucky (random!) winner.
Thank you for sharing this post with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites!
As always, thank you for taking time to read the blog. If you have any questions or comments for me, feel free to send me an email using the comment tab on the website!
CONGRATULATIONS! to Cheryl! She won the copy of Knitting Outside the Swatch, and I hope she has a wonderful time working the new motifs!
Shooting photos for the Good Deeds e-book Photograph © 2013 Jill Wolcott
While so many fiber folks are posting, sharing, and commenting about their fluffy finds at Rhinebeck, I'm here in the studio working on layout and final edits for the upcoming ebook: Good Deeds, Volume One: Hats"! The project is almost ready, so I better get back to work. I just wanted to say "Happy Rhinebeck!" to everyone who is lucky enough to be there.
While you're perusing the fiber, perhaps you'll pick up a couple skeins of yarn to knit a hat for charity?
Full details about this design are included on the pattern page HERE
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With Autumn just around the corner, I'm happy to share my latest design: the Colton half-zip pullover.
The motif is based on houndstooth and uses a few simple repeats to create an engaging pattern. Using Cascade 220 in your choice of colors, it could be knit in traditional black and white, or a more subtle offering of navy blue and brown. What I liked about this concept was the gentle allover pattern. The sleeves and chest are fitted, and the lower part of the body is left with no shaping which helps to keep the wearer comfortable.
This design is offered in 5 sizes, and the pattern can be purchased online as a .pdf through Ravelry.
For the photo shoot, I selected the walls and doors of The Misión San Francisco de Asís. Built in 1791, it's the oldest standing building in the city! With over four feet thick walls and redwood ceiling beams, its sturdy construction helped it to survive the great earthquake and fire of 1906. Interested in learning more about this beautiful building and the neighboring basilica? Visit: www.missiondolores.org.
Exterior of the Old Mission Church, Mission Dolores, Dedicated in 1776
This men’s half-zip pullover uses a gently shifting motif to create a modified houndstooth motif. Carefully tailored with set in sleeves, and solid cuffs and hem, a zipper finishes off the neckline and completes this timeless design.
This pattern is worked flat and requires basic knitting knowledge, including knit/purl, increasing, decreasing, reading charts, stranded knitting, and finishing.
Back in mid-March, I mailed off a little bundle to Amy Clark Moore and her staff at Interweave. My very own contribution to the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits! Here it is, 4 month later, and I am finally able to share this project with you.
The Order of the Phoenix Winged Vest uses Zitron Lifestyle (100% extrafine superwash Merino) in #54 Nutmeg and #33 Corn. It features a solid front and, when worn with a jacket, others can't know the secrets it holds.
©Harper Point Photography for Interweave
The inspiration comes from the idea of the "hidden identity" of everyday superheroes. People (like policemen, nurses, and counselors) in our communities work hard to protect, educate, and serve. Out of uniform (or out of the office!) they blend into the crowd, unnoticed. We don't recognize they are the ones that do so much good when duty calls.
It is interesting to me how these individuals carry with them such strength and knowledge, and others can so easily be unaware. They walk by us... on the streets or at the mall... but at work; when they're needed, they dive in. Head-first. Selflessly.
While I was designing this vest I had in mind this idea of carrying around that "hidden identity"... it's more than the "secret powers" of heroes like Harry Potter - it's the real power of knowing what to do when a problem arises. It's also important to note that everyone has the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. Listening... Offering emotional support... Teaching "the tricks of the trade" to someone new to your field... Taking time to write a letter... Visiting people in the hospital. The small efforts we make turn us into true heroes in the eyes of others.
I hope the Order of the Phoenix vest will help others appreciate the heroes of their communities, and to find time to recognize the knowledge and talents of those around them.
©Harper Point Photography for Interweave
©Harper Point Photography for Interweave
The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits will be available at your Local Yarn Shop or through the Interweave website. If you can't wait to cast on this (or any of the other AMAZING projects) in the magazine, you can hop on over HERE
and download an electronic copy right now! (Due to copyright restrictions, this magazine is only available for sale in the U.S.)
Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms
I'm excited to announce I'll be interviewed on Natalie Redding's Blogtalk Radio on 2/28/2013 at 6pm. Check out the episode page HERE
We will talk about all kinds of things including learning about my move to San Francisco, some of my recent designs, and what's coming in the next months. Natalie is an amazing soul and she has worked hard the past few weeks taking care of my friend Janice Rosema in her last days. Since Janice's death on February 13, Natalie has worked to raise money for the final expenses by selling many of Janice's amazing works.
I hope you'll join Natalie, Kimberly, and me, as we chat. Natalie will be giving away something very special from Janice's estate during the show!
Natalie is owner and head shepardess at Namaste Farms. Visit her website http://namastefarms.com
where you'll have the opportunity to learn more about this energetic woman.
2/28/2013 - The show was amazing. What a treat to get to spend 2 hours with Natalie and Kimberly and all the people who joined us in the chat room. I was really nervous, but we had a good time. If you didn't get to listen live, you can still check it out by clicking the link to the right.
© 2013 Kyle Kunnecke
I'm happy to share with you my latest hat pattern! This time it's a design inspired by old quilt patterns. Using a number of different colors throughout the hat, it's fun to knit... and the pattern would be a great opportunity to use scrap yarn (perhaps some leftover sock yarn?)
What's involved in this pattern? It starts with a provisional cast on and a lining worked in the round using a main color and smaller needles. Once a turning row is completed, the stranded knitting begins. I worked most of this hat on circular needles, switching to double points for crown shaping. (Some people would use magic loop at this point.)
Once the project was complete, it was time to find a place to do photography. I did a lot of research, looking for an exterior location that would offer the right feeling. I settled on the Palace of Fine Arts
. San Francisco is an amazing city for photography - lots of hills, water everywhere... and even the fog can make things interesting. Anyway, The Palace of Fine Arts was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Expo. Built out of paper mache, It was only meant to exist for a few years and actually fell into disrepair until the 1960s. After some generous contributions, it was re-created out of concrete and lasted for a good while. The past few years brought a re-furbishing of the monument and visiting it was truly a magical experience. I look forward to discovering more places in my hometown for photoshoots!
© 2013 Kyle Kunnecke
We took photos in a few different spots at this location. The doors in the background of this photo are used in a lot of wedding photography. I thought it was really interesting how the pattern in the door is almost identical to the motif in the hat!
Knitting this pattern went pretty quickly. The chart is easy to follow, and the color changes encouraged me as I worked. I am excited to see the color combinations others come up with!!
I'll leave you with a few images of the architecture around the Palace of Fine Arts. I hope you like the new hat!
© 2013 Kyle Kunnecke
$4.00 (.pdf download)
I had a wonderful day yesterday at Stitches West
visiting with so many of my fiber friends! Of course, there were high hopes of making a huge documentary-style blog post about the event, talking to the booth owners and photographing their products, etc. and sharing all that information with you here... but the moment I enter the marketplace I am overwhelmed by all the yarn and fiber and inspiration! It's everywhere; in the booths... in the books and magazines... even on the others attending the event - it's a constant parade of beauty and color and that, my friends, is why posts like these are somewhat short (especially when I'm only there for one day!)
The big news of this event was that my design, Corydon, is included in issue 106 of Knitter's magazine! Made out of Kollage Yarn's Fantastic
in colors Bison and Burlywood, it was a really fun pullover to design.
The piece is named after Corydon, Indiana
(the first state capital from 1816 - 1825 and was also the only location in Indiana of a Civil War battle); the "big" town near my childhood hometown of New Middletown, IN. Combining this great textured stitch with short rows and an i-cord drawstring at the collar resulted in a comfy sweater with a casual but distinct style.
I'm proud of this work and happy to be included in the issue on page 54. If you don't already have a subscription for Knitter's, you can subscribe HERE
We also came across Jane Slicer-Smith
quietly sitting in a chair, lever knitting a mitered square. After a brief introduction, and my friend John's expressed interest in lever knitting, Jane gave a 3 minute impromptu series of tips for successful mastery of the skill. She was a delight to talk with while John purchased a copy of her book, Swing Swagger Drape!
These events are just littered with talent. Designers, publishers, owners of yarn companies and fiber farms... My hint for a memorable Stitches event? Take time to talk to those around you! You never know who you'll meet!
...and as I went around looking at all the amazing products on display, I happened upon the booth of KCL Woods
(Ken & Carol Ledbetter) - who make, among other things, finely crafted drop spindles, shuttles and yarn bowls. I was drawn immediately to his shuttles- they're GORGEOUS and smoothe as silk! I also happen to notice when I took this photo that in the background is none other than Michael Wade (Wondermike) who snuck away from our group and was, of course, picking up another drop spindle!
He has quite the eye for finding high quality products...
I also saw the great people at RedFish Dyeworks
- they offer beautifully dyed silk and silk blend yarns and fibers, and their colors are always so brilliang and make me smile.
Part of the beauty of coming to these events is seeing some of the people that I only
get to see at shows! Elf (one of the owners of RedFish) makes me smile every time I happen upon their booth at a show and it's like running into an old friend each time we meet up. The interactions are always too brief... if only there were some way to keep up with all the business of daily life AND get to stay in better touch with people like this who are such sources of inspiration for so many!Oh well... if nothing else, we have the luxury of seeing booth after booth of inspiration at fiber festivals like Stitches!
I'm always looking for the next new or interesting thing at these events - this year, it took maybe 2 minutes for me to sit down and fall in love with fiber hooking! Basically, it's using a wooden handled crochet-style hook to pull up loops of fiber through a fabric. This company is using linen as the fabric and has an artist hand draw the images in their collection. Once stretched on a frame, you just pull the loops up and fill the image with your fibers. I think working with this new craft could be a great and fun way to use up scraps from knitting or crochet projects and can't wait to try it out!
Stitches West 2012 inspired... as all Stitches events before did. This year, everywhere I turned, we were coming across a designer, yarn manufacturer or publisher and it felt really good to be surrounded by such talents. I look forward to the next event where we can all get together and share our passions. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to put on such an amazing event!
December 1st is World AIDS Day. It comes and goes each year and I remember how good it felt years ago to be involved in HIV/AIDS education and outreach. Today, I am proud to be certified as an HIV test counselor and to be working with UCSF AIDS Health Project
. One of the reasons I moved to San Francisco in 2010 was to make a difference and work in HIV/AIDS outreach. This morning I met with my coworkers in downtown San Francisco. We gave away around 500 little red ribbons with our cards outlining the hours for our free HIV testing. It felt really good to do this outreach - and one stranger actually came up and gave each of us a hug; telling us he was on his way to the Grove to spend some time remembering those he had lost to AIDS.
Years ago I did outreach like this; participating in AIDS walks, passing out condoms and participating in performances focused on HIV education. Today connected that past with the present and it feels really good. I found this newspaper clipping from 1991 from when I participated in the 4th annual Walk For Life in downtown Phoenix. If you look at the clipping date (1991) and follow the building in the photo down to the participants, you'll see a young Kyle (with a head full of dark hair!) carrying the end of a banner!
During my high school years, I was involved in the Positive Force Players; a teen peer education theater troupe sponsored by Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona. We spent the summer learning about around 20 different issues affecting teens: drinking and driving, suicide, teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, date rape and prejudice to name a few. After we learned from experts in each field as well as from those who had first-hand experience of whatever topic we were studying, we got in groups and, using our own stories, began to develop skits.
Those skits were revised and developed into scenes that we performed for schools, youth groups, community organizations and conferences. We performed all over Arizona and, in my senior year, I believe I was in over 100 different shows. We worked to make a difference as kids; doing our best to share education and be available to those who might have questions.
We created a longer show called "It's About Time" focusing on HIV/AIDS - and featuring the stories of three different characters. The photo above is from one of the performances of that show, and shows our version of the NAMES Project
quilt. The performances allowed us to work as a group to make a difference, and many of the friendships we cultivated during those years are going strong all these years later.
Back then, I knew that helping to raise awareness about social issues was important to me. I did my best to learn what I could and took advantage of each opportunity that came my way, including the chance to receive a panel into the Names Project AIDS Quilt when it was on display in Phoenix, AZ. These memories are what led me to the work I do today and are what seeded my love of HIV/AIDS outreach and education.
I ran the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon with the National AIDS Marathon Training Program and, with the help of my friends and family (and YOU), raised over $4,500.00 for AIDS Project Los Angeles. That took about 6 months of training and a lot of mental effort to accomplish but once I crossed that finish line I realized we really CAN do anything we want if we want it bad enough! OK - time to talk a little about knitting...
In preparation for World AIDS Day, I knit my CAUSE hat in red and dark gray to wear during our outreach. People asked to have/purchase/comission one of these hats so I decided to raffle this hat to raise money for AIDS Health Project. Those who work there have the opportunity to make a donation and from those donations we will draw a name. That person will win the hat while we gather some money for a worthy cause.
As you probably know, I have 2 knitting patterns that are connected to HIV/AIDS awareness. CURE is a hat featuring a "virus" on it and one red ribbon - and the proceeds from that hat go to Project Open Hand
. They are an amazing group that helps to feed folks living with HIV/AIDS, Breast Cancer and the elderly. CAUSE is a hat encirled with ribbons and was designed to raise awareness about Breast Cancer. Changing the color of the ribbons changes the focus of the project. Proceeds from this pattern benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer
; a nonprofit based out of Pennsylvania. The pattern is featured on their Shop to Support
Want to make a difference? Even something as simple as purchasing one of these patterns and knitting a hat could have an incredible impact on someone. It's just a hat... just a knitting pattern... but sometimes the smallest actions have the greatest rewards.
Interested in purchasing the CURE or CAUSE pattern? Visit the SHOP
. For all you do to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and the other issues that are important to you, today is a day to reflect on how much impact even one person can have. YOU have the ability to make a difference in this world; one tiny step at a time.
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November is here which means in the United States it's the month of our Thanksgiving holiday that, for me, evokes memories of big dinners (complete with pumpkin & pecan pie, banana salad, turkey, ham, oyster dressing for dad (and plain dressing for the rest of us), and usually sweet tea depending where we were celebrating. It also reminds me of dressing like early Americans (complete with construction paper pilgrim hat or paper feather headdress for the Native Americans) and of course, that this holiday marks the "real" start of our traditional holiday season.
Retail brings Christmas to us earlier and earlier every year; it's now happening a few weeks before Halloween in mid-October, but November 1st seems to be the indicator for me... With the start of this season, I am taking the opportunity to say thank you to those who make my world so amazing. This year, in addition to my personal reflecting time, I decided to put pen to paper and write notes to some of those who have really made a difference in my life.
I spent some time searching for an appropriate image (which, of course, I found at the Graphics Fairy
) and created thank you cards. Cut, folded, and ready to go, I spent an afternoon writing a few of those who have greatly impacted my life. It makes sense to me; "thank you" cards for "Thanks"giving... right?
If you'd like to make the same card, I have attached the file for you to download. Print it on heavy card stock, purchase some A1 sized envelopes and you'll be ready to be "Thankful" with this card featuring a vintage sheep graphic.
| Download the file and print your own Kyle William Thankful cards!|
|File Size: ||1031 kb|
|File Type: || pdf|
Simply print the cards on 8.5" x 11" white cardstock. Carefully cut them out, fold, then fill them up with words of gratitude for those that deserve it. The cards fit in A1 size envelopes. (Envelopes and cardstock can be found at most office supply stores. To cut the cards out (if you're not good with a sharp pair of scissors,) a paper cutter will do or rotary paper cutters can be used at copy/print places like FedEx/Kinkos.
No time to make these cards? No printer? A purchased "thank you" card would be a lovely subsitute, and of course, a simple, hand written note is always welcome in the mail or taped to a co-worker's keyboard or monitor! This doesn't have to be fancy; take the time to tell those around you how they impact your life. A few sentences can make such a difference.
Who could get a thank you note? The list could go on and on for years. Pick one (or a dozen, or two) and write. It feels good to send love (especially when it's unexpected!)
Your LYS (local yarn shop)
Family (distant or not, biological or not)
Favorite place to eat
Those who volunteer in your area (food banks, homeless shelters, etc.) - wherever someone is working to make your community a better place
Police or Firemen - address the card to the entire crew
The person who taught you to knit
(and many, many more...)
It feels good to put on paper a gesture of gratitude... an unexpected note of kindness can brighten a day and possibly change a life. Do some good. Be thankful. Print, write & share.
There's more knitting, weaving and creating going on here than I can talk about... but in time, I PROMISE to share all of it with you... every last stitch. OH - one more thing. Thank YOU for reading. I know that there are lots of blogs out there to read and I appreciate your reading this one... and while not everyone comments on the posts, I know you're looking and that fuels m. Having an online presence is a really fun thing - it affords me a place to sort out and organize my projects and thoughts and it has the added benefit of helping me stay connected to many of my online friends. For that, I'm thankful. Consider this post my "thank you" to you - for reading, being supportive of me (and other designers, knitters, artists), and for being the amazing person you are!!
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