Saturday, May 23, 2009

Head Hugs?

Our friends at Cascade Yarns -- one of the sponsors of STITCHES South -- have graciously donated 52 skeins of Cascade 220 Wool, Cascade 220 Heathers, and Cascade 220 Superwash to our helmet liner initiative. This is in addition to the many, many skeins they have donated previously. In turn, AKG has donated more than 400 helmet liners to our armed services. Thank you Cascade Yarns for your generosity to us and to our armed forces!

If you are making helmet liners, some reminders:
  • They must be 100% wool.
  • They must be in military-approved colors.
  • You can find the pattern here or in the community service portion of our website.
  • Do be aware that an earlier version of the pattern had a too-short neck. The 2x2 ribbing for the neck should be at least 6-inches long, so that it can pass from the nose, over the mouth, down the chin, and to the neck.
I've made a fair few of these over the years. If you are a newish knitter looking to practice knitting in the round, please consider trying one of these. You can work on a 12-inch or 16-inch needle for most of it, or you can work other methods such as double-pointed needles, two circulars, or magic loop. This is also a fairly portable project for travel knitting, and much of it is mindless enough for television, knit-night socializing, or even reading! And as it requires only one skein of Cascade 220, it really doesn't take all that long to complete.

Whatever your political persuasion, it is proper to remember this Memorial Day weekend that the women and men of our armed services often give great sacrifices for the security and freedom of the rest of us. Even those fortunate enough to avoid harm's way spend precious time away from family in places that can be inhospitable to downright scary. A little time knitting to keep someone far from home warm and well is a compassionate gesture.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Alexis Xenakis has a lovely blog post about our flowers here.
And don't forget, there will be more of Atlanta in Knitter's magazine this summer!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cheryl Oberle & Snow Leopard Trust Knit-In

The knit-in at Whit Robbins' home last Saturday was a great success. Guild members got a chance to meet Cheryl Oberle and hear about the Snow Leopard Trust from one of their representatives, Siri. On top of that, we got to eat delicious food, knit, and chat with our friends. A truly perfect evening!

Cheryl shared some recent experiences, including spending two weeks at the John C. Campbell Folk School. She also signed some books, and told us that her husband creates the linocuts found on her books. On Cheryl's needles was a multi-directional scarf in Noro sock yarn.Siri Talking About The Snow Leopard Trust

Siri joined us shortly before 8 pm, because she was busy minding a Snow Leopard Trust booth at the Alive Expo earlier in the day. She told us about the history of the Snow Leopard Trust, their research to learn more about snow leopards, and how yarn and felt help conserve the snow leopard population. Snow leopards are killed for two main reasons: first, for food and traditional medicine ingredients, and second, in retaliation for killing herd animals. If the herders have other ways of getting food and money, they won't kill the snow leopards for their meat, pelt, and bones. And if they have enough money to provide for their families, they don't feel the need to retaliate when a snow leopard kills one of their herd.

To help herders improve their economic situation, the Snow Leopard Trust has taught them to spin high-quality yarn, and then buys that yarn at a fair price. Siri told us about a Mongolian woman who was spinning with a drop spindle made out of an old spoon when they first contacted the herders. Now women can take out microloans for spinning wheels. The women also make felt, and then make slippers, booties, ornaments, hats, glasses cases, toys, and many other things out of the felt.

Siri brought several lovely items that the Snow Leopard Trust sells. She brought several skeins of hand-spun and hand-dyed camel yarn in brilliant jewel tones. She also brought some undyed yak yarn. Both yarns were soft, but the camel yarn was surprisingly downy. The herders had never tried spinning yak yarn - and so they have found a new source of income that they never had before. Siri also brought the aforementioned felt items - baby booties, mouse-shaped cat toys, and ornaments. She told us the two ways that felt is made - by several women wetting and manually kneading the wool, or more traditionally, rolling it up in a mat and dragging it behind a horse. She showed us an album with several photographs of Mongolian and Kyrgyzstani women preparing the wool (by whipping it), spinning it, and turning it into felt, in and around their yurts.

Everyone had a fantastic time - we learned from a knitting master and discovered a new aspect of knitting that we had never thought of before.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stitches Flowers Video

XRX has released a video on the Atlanta Knitting Guild's centerpiece flowers. Check it out at

A Good Cookie

Many of you have already discovered this top-down sock book. It is full of wonderful patterns and a great discussion about design. Definitely two thumbs way up. Alas, it also has some errata. If you have this book and need to find the corrections, they are here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Caution: Busy Weekend Ahead

Cast-On Cottage is having an anniversary sale tomorrow, Saturday 16 May, from 9 AM to 5 PM. The deals:
10% off everything in the store (needles excluded)
15% off Araucania sock yarn & needlepoint canvases
25% off DoggiKnits, Lamberino, Encore DK, Ambrosia, Kimono Angora, Jameson & Simply Shetland, Gedifra, Nautical Cotton, Big Kureyon, Inca Cotton, Ella Rae Classic, Ulmo
Pomaire, and more!
40% off all Tahki Stacy Charles
50% off Plymouth Royal Cashmere & selected needlepoint canvases

Selected shop samples and additional lines will also be on sale.

And when you are done with that don't forget:
4 PM Saturday at Whit's house for Cheryl Oberle and, after 7 PM, Snow Leopard Trust.
11 AM Sunday for the pre-harlot party at The Whole Nine Yarns, then Yarn Harlot Stephanie Pearl-McPhee at 1 PM in Woodstock.

Edit: Just got an e-mail. Knitch is also having a sale this weekend, as they'd like to have less to count next week for inventory. The details:
This Saturday and Sunday all merchandise on the main floor of the shop is 15% off! And, Inventory on the second floor is 10% off! All hardcover books are 25% off and we have more special deals as marked in the shop including a sale bin with fabulous yarn 50% off!

Sale applies to in-stock inventory only and excludes needles, special orders, holds and prior purchases. For online orders, simply put the word "sale" in the comments section and we'll take the discount at the time of shipment. All Sales final. You will receive credit for sale purchases towards loyalty program discounts but discounts cannot be combined during the sale.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Not Just for Eggheads

Local shop Knitch has come up with a very inventive contest:
We're really Egg-cited about our latest contest and we hope you'll have fun participating! Just pick up a copy of Blue Sky Alpacas Knit Chicken pattern at Knitch and let your imagine go free range - after all, this knitting is for a great cause- no yolk! The first five entries will receive a half dozen fresh eggs from Kim's chickens. All chickens will be judged on originality of theme, creativity and execution. All yarn used must come from Knitch (new or stash) but you can add other materials as you wish! The wackier the better! The grand prize winner will receive a $25 credit at Knitch EACH MONTH FOR ONE YEAR! The contest runs through June 15th and all chickens will be posted on the Knitch blog. Once the judging is complete our happy brood of chickens will be donated to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (known locally as EGG-leston!) to comfort and delight children undergoing treatment.
For more information, follow this link.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Good Laugh Coming

This Sunday, 17 May, the famous Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, will be speaking in Woodstock. You can find information here or here.

Event will be held at The Cherokee County Recreation and Parks Facility (7545 Main St., Woodstock 30188). Ticket includes two $5 coupons redeemable at the event and at sponsoring stores, FoxTale Book Shoppe (770.516.9989) and The Whole Nine Yarns (678.494.5242). Call today for your ticket!

Additionally, The Whole Nine Yarns will be having a pre-speaking party, beginning at 11 AM at the shop.

For those of you unfamiliar with the location, Woodstock is north of Atlanta. Take I-75 north to I-575. Follow I-575 to either exit 7 or 8, depending on which approach you like into the town. You can get driving directions here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Gift from New Friends

We've made lots of new friends throughout the region and beyond thank to STITCHES South. Among them are Yarn Bazaar, an online vendor based out of New Jersey. Yarn Bazaar came all the way to Atlanta to be in the STITCHES South market. You may remember the stall with all 170 colors of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn? Or maybe you recall the merging colors kits by our upcoming October 2009 superstar, Candace Eisner-Strick? We were delighted to meet Jo Ellen and her group and look forward to seeing them again next year.

She has been very encouraging of our group, and has given us a gift. This lace blocking wire kit, a $45 value, will be available for check-out. If you have never used blocking wires, one of the new benefits of AKG membership will be that you can take these home and try them. Wires can be especially helpful for blocking delicate lace. They are almost essential for scalloped edges. And they can simplify sweater assembly by making sure the edges of garment pieces are straight and square. Additionally, Yarn Bazaar will be offering AKG members an ongoing 10% discount. Information about how to get the discount will be in the June newsletter.

Many thanks to Jo Ellen and Yarn Bazaar!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bonus Double-Feature Potluck

Whit will be hosting a potluck on Saturday 16 May at 4 PM. Originally, this was going to be a chance for us to share our experiences at STITCHES South. Instead, we hope to do that at our July guild meeting. Why wait until July? Because some awesome people are going to be in town on Saturday and we want to spend time with them.

Cheryl Oberle, author of Folk Vests and Folk Shawls, will be passing through Atlanta after a trip to John C. Campbell Folk School. Cheryl plans to join us for the evening. The vest knitted and modeled at right by Joyce F. is a design from Folk Vests. Be sure to bring your copies of the books with you so you can get autographs. We will be able to visit with Cheryl beginning at 4 PM and throughout the evening.

Sometime between 7 and 8 PM, Siri from Snow Leopard Trust will be joining our merry group. Snow Leopard Trust, as you might guess from the name, is an organization that aims to protect the critically endangered snow leopard. One way in which they do so is by helping Mongolian people who live in the same areas as snow leopards to find sources of income that do not involve practices harmful to the big cats. In this case, local peoples are learning to spin yak and camel fibers. Siri will be speaking to us about this interesting nexus between conservation and commerce. And she will be bringing some yarn to sell. You can learn more ahead of time by going to the website here or viewing the items in their shop here.

See you Saturday evening for food, excellent company, and interesting discussions!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

STITCHES memories

Robyn Putz, our outgoing VP of Communications, has graciously agreed to put together a special STITCHES South version of our newsletter. Members, if you have any stories to share -- and I know you do -- please e-mail them over to Robyn by Friday 15 May.

Also, Elizabeth Clause is moving from VP of Programs to Webmaster. Elizabeth will be organizing the photographic material and probably be putting together something grand on our website. Please e-mail photographs to Elizabeth, or e-mail to her the link to where you have posted them (such as Flickr), or send her a CD of them.

Our historian, Pat O'Grady, would like to have some photographs for the archives. If you don't mind printing a few pictures and mailing those to Pat, that would be great. Please be sure that with any photographic material, you've identified who the subjects are and where and when the photograph was taken.

As for the photograph at the top, that's our founder Whit Robbins and centerpiece designer Megan Brightwell. This picture was taken on Wednesday 22 April, the day before STITCHES. Whit and Megan are here unloading centerpiece flowers on the loading dock at Cobb Galleria Center. You can all see how glamorous behind the scenes really is.

Friday, May 8, 2009

May Beauties

It is always a delight to see what guild members show off at a meeting. This month's meeting started off with show and tell.
First up is Linda W. with a jacket that incorporates ribbon yarn. (Joyce is graciously assisting Linda.) Ribbon yarns can be fun and interesting, but sometimes they aren't well suited to an entire project. Sometimes they are expensive, further discouragement from knitting a whole garment from ribbon yarn. Linda has shown us a lovely way to incorporate ribbon yarn as stripes. This doesn't require a lot of extra calculations. It is a lovely way to jazz up a fairly plain pattern and also economize with an expensive material. Linda is well-known in our group for the knitting she does for her grandchildren. You can see the stack of new child garments on the podium.

Marie showed off this true magnum opus. A Kaffe Fassett vest is always an exciting and challenging project. And this much intarsia with this many ends to weave in is truly an act of devotion and love. Wow! Thank goodness there is a multi-billion dollar industry in Southern California dedicated to keeping us amused while we swatch or weave in ends.

This beautiful shawl by Joyce is here presented by Joyce, Marjorie, and Linda as Marie looks on. It turns out this is a stash project. Joyce used a variety of yarns that were in similar colorways. A beautiful and successful project that reminds us sometimes all we have to do is open our closets and look around.

As always, more pictures can be found in the members only section of the guild website.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May Business Meeting

Is everyone still basking in the afterglow of STITCHES South?

Tomorrow night is our annual business meeting. Additionally, we've invited the shops for a Market Night. TNNA, the big trade show, is in June. So this meeting will be a chance to talk to the local shops about upcoming trends. What do you want to be knitting with this fall? What have you heard about but not yet seen? What are the shops eager to show you?

For a change of pace, we'll start the meeting off with show and tell. As the shops have been encouraged to bring some of their bargains -- things that have fallen out of season, a discontinued yarn, or just the last ball from a dye lot -- members are encouraged to show off any stash-busting or one or two skein projects. What can we do when we find a great bargain but there's only one skein? Tomorrow night, ya'all can show us!

In the business part of the meeting, there will be a few announcements and lots of thank-yous for this unprecedented year. Finally, we'll end with voting on the proposed by-laws changes and the new slate of officers for the Executive Board.

See you tomorrow at 6:30 PM for socializing, 7:30 PM for the meeting.

Monday, May 4, 2009

STITCHES South 2009 links

We'll keep updating this post as new and interesting links become available. For now, here are a few to get you started.

Even before the convention began, Woofgangpug gave us ten reasons to attend. She also reminded us why the market is such a wonderful thing. And pictures on her Flickr account.
BavGirl writes about the market and dinner at Scalini's.
Knits4Bears scored well in the market, including a baby camel/silk blend, lots of Bugga, Schoppel Wolle Zauberball, a cone of alpaca/silk, Kauni, and Lisa Souza bombyx silk/merino.
The Knifty Knitter has two posts. In the first post, she reviews a class with Sandi Rosner, puchases from Indie Dyer, Malabrigo, Sanguin Gryphon, Creatively Dyed Yarns, Mass Ave. Yarn Shop, and Schaefer Yarns. In the second post, she describes vanquishing her yarn budget by acquiring Cascade Eco + from The Yarn and Fiber Company, Cascade 220 in assorted colors (including a rather nice red tweed) from Cast-On Cottage, and handmade sock blockers from Purrfectly Catchy. She also reviews a cable class with Melissa Leapman.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sheep Incognito

Ya'all remember the great sheep pictures at SAFF and STITCHES South? Connie and Peter Togel will be at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend. More information can be found here. I don't know how many AKG people will be in Maryland this weekend, but at least some of us do have relatives up north. Maybe a good opportunity for Mothers' Day or Birthday gift acquisitions?