Anchored down in Anchorage

Ok, ok, I’m showing my Aging Indie Rock Chick side with this post title (it’s from Michelle Shocked’s song “Anchorage“), but it’s all I could think of, having never been to the great state of Alaska — although Arctic Lace: Knitting Projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska’s Native Knittersby Donna Druchunas is making me think a trip would be well worth it).

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yes… (See, I wasn’t kidding about the ‘aging’ part). Jaime, Interweave’s publicist extraordinaire, sent me links to some awesome articles about and reviews of Spin to Knit, including this one from the Anchorage Daily News by Catherine Hollingsworth. Catherine hosted Tofu Bear on his travels, is interim president of the Alaska State Yarn Council and past president of Knitters of the North. A quote:

From a knitterly perspective, this book is important for its in-depth look at several spinners who design patterns for their hand-spun yarn. I believe this book can take you to new creative heights, and I highly recommend it. Maybe you can ask Santa for a copy to put under your tree this year. Learning to spin will be the perfect New Year’s goal.

Thanks, Catherine! I agree…but of course, I’m biased.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country in Maine (my future home, and home to several interesting guilds), the Bangor Daily News mentions the Spin to Knit swap.

Knitting News and KnitNet recently gave the book lovely reviews. And Library Journal’s review was awesome, too:

Okey (Knitgrrl) hits a happy medium with this introduction to handspinning
for knitters, which covers all the basics of the craft without overwhelming
the beginner with information. Some of the topics treated in this richly
illustrated volume are tools, fibers and their preparation, and spinning on
the cheap (e.g., by making a handspindle out of a discarded CD). Twenty
knitting patterns demonstrate the uniqueness of garments and accessories
knit with handspun yarn, and profiles of handspinners and how they fit
spinning into their lives make the book interesting to anyone who ever
thought of taking up this fascinating hobby. A good choice for public
libraries.

But wait, there’s more! A sneak preview of the January 2007 review in BUST magazine:

Know a knitter who’s done it all? Help her take it to the next level by giving her Spin to Knit: The Knitter’s Guide to Making Yarn. Short of shearing the sheep, author Shannon Okey provides everything knitters need to know to take fiber from fuzz to fab. Your friend can learn how to master spindles and wheels, then try out one of the included patterns with her homespun yarn.

There’s also an interview over at LoveToKnow here, and a review at Monsters and Critics here. Ok, that’s all the ones I know of for now. Like I said, my brain’s getting a little tricksy with age and if I don’t post ’em, I’ll forget. My birthday’s in January, it only gets worse from here.

Saturday book signing at Threadbear

Last-minute addition to the Shannon calendar!

This Saturday, 25 November 2006, I’ll be signing books at the Spinner’s / Dyer’s Showcase at Threadbear Fiber Arts in Lansing, MI. Come on down for the fun! I’ll be there from noon to 4:00 or so, probably longer knowing how much I love that store. Spin with us, grab a signed copy of Spin to Knit, it’s going to be great. From their mailing list:

Also that weekend, we’re hosing a Spinner’s/Dyer’s Showcase. All day, both Saturday November 25th and Sunday November 26th, we’ll have local artisans offering their beautiful handdyed and handspun fibers and yarns. There will be drop spindles available as well as demonstrations of how to use them throughout the day, and if the spinning bug takes hold and you want to learn how to make beautiful yarns yourself (and sign up for a spinning class!). Come by the shop and use us as your personal oasis, away from the noise and the bustle of the mall and other mass merchandisers (and those crazy people fighting for $3 fans at Wal-Mart!). We’ll see you here from 10-6 on Saturday and 12-5 on Sunday.

I’ll be duly fortified from breakfast with Jillian at Zingerman’s (yum). And maybe a stop at the jerky store. (Of all the crazy things there are on the drive north into Michigan, my favorite is a store that sells nothing but jerky and hot sauce. It’s like paradise for holiday shopping… well, if you’re shopping for my boyfriend, it is).

Spin to Knit swap deadline

Avast, yarn pirates! The Spin to Knit swap deadline is approaching fast! Join the hundreds of other spinners of all experience levels who’ve already signed up — grab a button for your website or blog (see here) — and you’re on your way.

With each skein you mail to your secret pal you should explain the process you used to make it. You can give some background on your spindle or wheel, how and when you learned to spin, dyes or other media you used, etc. As the website says, this exchange is about celebrating the wide, wonderful world of handspun yarn!

The website has been recently updated with skein size requirements for the various categories:

Beginner: at least 30 yds
Intermediate: at least 60 yds
Advanced: at least 90 yds

…but more is welcome, of course. We just didn’t want to overwhelm the newer spinners right off the bat.

Don’t forget: you are also invited to show off your handspun here on the blog. Send me a two-yard snip of each skein, which I will either knit or weave into a larger piece to show off at the end of the swap.

As I said previously, I love the idea of seeing everyone’s work side by side, joined together. It’s a physical representation of the kinds of connections these swaps create: hand by hand, we craft for each other and share both our love of spinning and skill.

Participants should identify their samples with their name and blog website address and mail them to me at PO Box 112312, Cleveland, OH 44111.

And speaking of weaving…look what the Loom Fairy dropped off yesterday!

(Try telling your boyfriend, with a straight face, that the Tooth Fairy’s cousin, the Loom Fairy, answered your prayers and just left a loom in the middle of the basement! POW, like that! I was only able to get to the point in which I explained that the Loom and the Tooth Fairy were cousins before I started laughing).

That’s not its final resting place, and it’s not opened up (it folds). But it’ll do for now. I have to teach in Kansas City this weekend, so no time to rip up the studio…

This weekend: 3 crafty events

This is going to be a long weekend, my friends! Here’s where you can find me:

  • Friday night: the Cleveland Museum of Natural History‘s annual members’ museum store preview party, Lark. (Non-members welcome, too, see the site for details). I’m bringing my big wheel to that one, so stop by and meet Queen Liz, aka my Ashford Elizabeth II. She usually gets stuck at home in favor of her little sister Joy…
  • Saturday: Handmade Arcade in Pittsburgh. I’ll sign books at my shop’s table if you bring your copy, and I’ll also have some to buy.
  • Sunday: signing Spin to Knit in the Barnes & Noble at Eton Collection from 1:00 — ?

Wow. I get tired just reading that! This is the first time I’ve done Handmade Arcade (I’m the city organizer for the Cleveland edition of Bazaar Bizarre, which is similar), so I’m looking forward to it. Natasha will be there, as will several other shopowners I know, so it should be lots of fun. Tomorrow I need to repack everything to fit it into the car — it seems like our dining room is a perpetual staging area for me going out of town somewhere — and try to figure out how to get Queen Liz into the backseat of my Corolla. Hey, at least it isn’t snowing…

Saturday in Chicago

Don’t forget! I’m signing Spin to Knit at Arcadia Knitting from noon to 1:00 tomorrow, followed by two classes, and then a mad dash to Franklin & Dolores’ knitting soiree of the season, the Dulaan Project Knit-In. See you there, Chicagoans! (and -landers). Photos to follow, unless Dolores gets frisky again, of course.

What am I up to tomorrow night? No good, of course. I’m going to sneakily measure my best friend’s baby and see if a last-minute holiday sweater is doable on top of my NaKniSweMo knitting. Lessee, he’s a year and a half old. That’s what, dachshund-sized?

Oh come on. Like I know how big an 18-month-old is? I’ve knit for chihuahuas, I’ve knit for dachshunds, but when it comes to kids, I have no idea. Except that their heads are big in proportion to their bodies, which I must admit freaks me out a little for some reason. (Yes, CYCA publishes baby size measurements, but his parents are both small-boned and I’m afraid he’ll be swimming in whatever I make him).

Chicagoist gets it

(Thanks, Chicagoist…now I’ve got Dead or Alive trapped in my head!)

Check this out: Chicagoist wrote about my upcoming teaching day at Arcadia Knitting. My two absolute favorite quotes from the article:

Think you’re hip there with your knitting needles and your little scarf? Aw, that’s cute. But really, just about everyone is knitting these days. Want to stay hip? Get into spinning. No, not that kind of spinning, we’re talking about spinning your own yarn, and all the cool kids are doing it.

and

We say why stop there? Why not go out and buy yourself some sheep and stop screwing around? Amateurs.

Afterwards, I’ll be dashing over to the Dulaan Knit-In sponsored by the fabulous Franklin Habit and Dolores van Hoofen (see here) — betting it’ll run long, it’s not like you can coerce a bunch of rowdy knitbloggers to put down their needles precisely at 6:00. Oh yeah? Just you try it. As the shirt says

Berliner nostepinne & Japanese knitting books

I love trackbacks — you can see what people are saying about things you’ve written or see who’s linking to you. Check this out: Lolly (not this Lolly) made a nostepinne as recommended in Spin to Knit… from a table leg. Too cool.

Emma Jane and I are partnering up to write an article for CrochetMe that relates to spinning. (Evil laugh:) Bwah ha ha ha! Now that I’ve started to convert all the non-spinning knitters, it’s time to start in on the crocheters, too. Hey, it worked on Kim!

What I’m reading at the moment: リメイクニット—ニットを縮めてみたら, aka Remake Knit (available here on Amazon Japan or in NYC at Kinokuniya, where I picked up mine). I could’ve spent thousands of dollars in the knitting & crafts section alone. Do what I did, kids… don’t go into Kinokuniya without a shopping buddy/chaperone who will help you remember that spending the equivalent of your mortgage on Japanese knitting books is just crazy. Fun, but crazy.

Podcasty goodness

Guido interviewing KimWhile on the road, Kim and I sat down for interviews twice: with Guido from It’s a Purl, Man (you can listen here) and with Wendy from Knitty D and the City (which will be posted soon).

I love podcasts. I love multimedia (in my yarn and my internet). My best friend had a really good suggestion re: internet video recently, so hold on — perhaps we’ll get that up and running.

In other news: I got all the classes I wanted at winter TNNA for once (thanks, Amy for the signup heads-up), and the class I’m teaching is already half sold out, so if you haven’t already, register soon.