Day 5 Giveaway – ChiaoGoo Blue Flower Knitting Needles

knitting needles chiaogooChiaoGoo Limited Edition Blue Flower Knitting Needles – Size 10 (6mm)

Quick! You’ve only got 24hrs to enter!

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Double Crochet Giveaway Day!

There won’t be a Saturday giveaway so today we’re going to have two prizes, one each for two different winners!

Prize 1: A signed copy of Susan Lowman’s Jewelry to Crochet (Annie’s Crochet) crochet pattern book.51JmSAo7XjL__AA160_


Prize 2: Spry Twist Mitts and Ear Warmer PDF Crochet Pattern

photo copyright Vivian Aubrey photography

photo copyright Vivian Aubrey photography

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I Won & You Can Too – Knitter’s Tool Tin

When Sarah Wilson, aka The Sexy Knitter, had a photo caption contest, my submission won. Now the photo + caption is gracing the cover of one of her December exclusive tool tins.

knitter's tool tin alpaca

Photo courtesy of The Sexy Knitter

Sarah was kind enough to send me a tool tin as a prize. The tool tin is full of all the little goodies you need when you go out with your knitting. All items are approved by the FAA for U.S. air travel and include the following: White metal tin, stitch holder measuring 2 1/2 in/6.25 cm long, cable needle, double ended crochet hook, measuring tape, 5 handmade, folded paper star stitch markers, miniature scissors, and 3 needles stored on a magnetic strip in the lid – large eyed blunt needle, large eyed sharp needle, and sewing needle.

The double ended hook recently was a real life saver. I was working on a knitting project when I decided that those columns of knit stitches would look much better as seed stitch. It meant letting a stitch drop down 50 rows and fixing it back up. With the double ended hook it went very quickly – much faster than ripping out the whole scarf.

Double ended hook to the knitting rescue!

Double ended hook to the knitting rescue!

So how can you win too? Today is Day 2 of the 8 Days of Giveaways and thanks to Sarah you can enter to win your own tool tin in the Ishbel design. But you better act quick! Giveaway closes at 11:59pm ET tonight!

What’s even better?! Sarah has provided an exclusive coupon code! Use coupon code HappyHannukah from now till Dec. 24th in her etsy shop for free domestic shipping on orders over $10!

Enter the giveaway to win this style of tool tin!

Enter the giveaway to win this style of tool tin!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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8 Days of Giveaways!

It’s Chanukah! And whether you celebrate Chanukah or not, you’re invited to participate in Poetry in Yarn’s 8 Days of Giveaways!

chanukah menorah

How does it work? There will be a giveaway every day from Weds., Dec. 17th through Weds., Dec 24th. I’ll be giving away awesome knit and crochet tools, notions, and accessories. Each giveaway is open for only 24hrs, so act quickly for your chance to win.

As an Orthodox Jew, I don’t use electronics on the Sabbath (Saturday), so there will be a DOUBLE GIVEAWAY on Friday with 2 different prizes for 2 different winners.

Ready? Set? Let’s GO!

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How my traditional crafting is breaking traditional gender roles

I knit, crochet, sew, and embroider. Most people would categorize these crafts as traditional, domestic, and feminine, and your general assumption (no matter how enlightened you are) is probably going to be that someone engaging in these projects is female. When I advertised knitting classes for kids lately, a couple of people asked me if boys were allowed to attend. No one thought to ask me if it was for girls; that was a given. Major industry studies on consumer trends in needlearts make sure to cover the demographics of age and regional location, but don’t even bother with gender. It’s just assumed that they’re women.

Need further proof that knit and crochet are still considered effeminate? A Yahoo search for “what percent of crocheters are men” turned up a cringe worthy first page of search results including articles on the percentage of gay men in America and a Wikipedia article on the demographics of sexual orientation. Seriously, Yahoo? Ug. Stereotypes are alive and well in America.

Many people know at least one male crocheter or knitter- one knitting student gets help from her father who learned when he was little, and the Rabbi who performed my baby naming is an avid crocheter. Despite the male stitchers we know though, that does tend to be more the exception than the rule. And, for what it’s worth, this stereotype is at least lightly rooted in fact. A majority of needlearts consumers are female.*

As a female engaging in these crafts, I’m feeding into traditional gender roles. I’m a woman who does womanly things. I’ve seen at least one post from someone stitching in public who was chided for “setting feminism back 100 years”. What I’ve discovered however, is that by doing traditional crafting, I’m actually breaking down traditional gender roles for at least one important male- my son.

My little man learns to sew.

My little man learns to sew.

My house is full of yarn and fabric and all the notions needed for these crafts. Watching me stitch has inspired my son to do so also. He’s asked me to teach him to crochet and knit. He’s great at a chain stitch. With the proliferation of fabric coming into the house, he’s started some basic sewing, and is begging me for fabric and sewing supplies of his own. (That’s going to be his Chanukah present. Shhhh. It’s a surprise.)

I’d be lying if I said he hasn’t picked up on the gender bias in crafting. He asked me once, in his plaintive little voice, if it was true that yarn was for boys too. “Yes,” I replied, my heart breaking a little, “of course it is.” I wanted to warn him. I wanted to tell him that yarn is for everyone but that there are some hard headed people out there who don’t understand that. They might make fun of him. I wanted to prepare him for the gender politics that surround traditional crafts. But he’s too little to understand the complexity of the situation, so I didn’t. Instead I’ll just continue to help him to craft. He’ll learn from me, not that stitching is for women, but that stitching is something we can do together as part of quality time in a loving family. That’s a stereotype I’d be fine with.

*What’s a majority? 2 hours this morning on at least seven major industry websites fails to find me the numbers. Ravelry currently has over 70% female members, while The Knitting Guild of America is at 99%

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Perfect Travel Knitting + Kate Atherley Q&A

We went to visit relatives for Thanksgiving. 16 hrs in the car each way. While I stocked up on dvds and audiobooks for the kids, I knew I would need a knitting project to help keep my sanity. After hunting around, I came upon the Rickenbacker Shawl pattern by Kate Atherley. Perfect!

© Lauren Ogilvie

© Lauren Ogilvie

I used a sport weight yarn I had on hand instead of fingering, and upped the needle size. It was the perfect travel knitting. Since I’m a combination knitter, I used a slightly different right-leaning decrease that twisted the stitches. All in all I’m very pleased.

My finished shawl

My finished shawl

I’ve also decided that a Rickenbacker should be a new unit of measure. How long was your trip? 1 Rickenbacker long.

I enjoyed it so much, that I asked designer Kate Atherley if she’d be up for a short interview.  As the Managing Technical Editor for as well as tech editing for Annie Modesitt, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Laura Nelkin, Interweave magazines, Cooperative Press and Potter Craft, Kate has edited literally thousands of patterns for designers, yarn companies and publishers. She also teaches knitting regularly across North America and is also the author of Beyond Knit and Purl, Knit Accessories: Essential and Variations, and a regular contributor to knitting books and magazines, including Interweave’s Sockupied.

What’s your favorite travel knitting project?

I always have a sock project and a medium-challenging shawl project. The shawl project is for when I need entertaining – on long flights, for example — and the sock project is for times when I can’t necessarily pay full attention but I want to keep my hands busy – while waiting at the baggage carousel, for example.

This pattern was my first time using the lifted increase. Do you have a favorite increase or decrease?

Fave increase the backwards loop make 1 – I call it M1Z as I was reminded about it by reading one of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books. I love it because it’s easy and entirely neutral – doesn’t have a particular right or left lean, or a particular allegiance to knit or purl. Suitable for most situations, and you don’t have to remember M1R & M1L. I used the Lifted increase in this shawl as I liked how it looked, but M1Z works just as well!

How do you balance your design and tech editing work?

It can be challenging, I’ll be honest. Tech editing I do in the daylight, and designing I do after dark. Mostly!

As a tech editor, what’s your biggest pet peeve? (Mine is when designers leave out stitch counts.)

This question makes me laugh… in fact, it was a similar question that kicked me off on a six month odyssey to write a book! There are a few things that frustrate me as an editor, but to some extent that’s not material: I can usually figure out what’s going on! My biggest frustration is patterns that are written so poorly that knitters can’t figure them out.

Tell us a little about the new book you have coming out.

It’s a guide to writing knitting patterns, aimed at both experienced designers and those just starting out. It became clear to me that the skillset needed to be a good pattern writer isn’t one that’s naturally paired with the skillset needed to be a knit designer. My hope is to help designers help knitters by producing better, clearer, easier-to-knit from patterns, with a higher chance of successful outcome. It’s available  from, for $25.

Check out Kate’s new book (I know I will) or cast on a Rickenbacker of your very own!

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Great Gifts for Knitters and Crocheters

Ah, the day after Thanksgiving. I can practically hear the beginning strains of the William Tell Overture as people prepare to converge on their local shopping centers. If you’re shopping for yourself, or for a fellow knitter and crocheter, feel free to check out some of these sweet deals online. (You should also feel free to hint liberally, by sending a link to this post to your family with a note like “I would love any of these!”)

Craftsy – The online hub for craft classes is having major sales on both classes and crafting supplies. I bought myself a quilt top kit.

Knitters or Crocheters Tool Tins by The Sexy Knitter – I have one of these and it really is amazing. In fact, they’re going to get a whole blog post to themselves later this month where I talk in more detail about how awesome they are. You can get 30% off your entire purchase when you use the code, “CyberSexy2014″ during checkout.

10432101_10152628590829051_2788356535826884503_nProject Bags – Any stitcher would love a project bag. I have project bags from Ocean Patch, Zigzag Stitches, and Chicken Soup Designs. I love them all.






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Let’s Gift-a-Long

ravelry gift a lontTonight is the official start of the 2014 Indie Design Gift-A-Long! It’s a 2 month long event on Ravelry featuring massive pattern sales and fun crochet and knit a longs with prizes.


First, from Thursday, November 13th at 8:00 pm US EST – Friday, November 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm US EST tons of indie designers, including me, will be discounting between 4 – 20 of their patterns 25% for this event. Just use coupon code giftalong2014 when you check out. To see my eligible patterns, check out my bundle here.


Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, you can choose to join a relevant KAL/CAL on the Gift-A-Long Ravelry group! KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes but you gotta post to win! KAL/CALs will run from Thursday, November 13 at 8pm (US-EST) through the New Years Eve party, Wednesday, December 31 at midnight (US-EST). There are games, tons of prizes, great conversation, and a lot of fun, so pull up a chair and join us!

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Sharing the (link) love

What better way to end the week then with an awesome interview?

Penny from Little Acorn Creations posted today about her test knit of my crochet pattern, Diagonally, and an interview. Enjoy!

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Crochet & Knit News

Interesting stuff going on this week:

I was on a podcast. Check out my interview on Creative Yarn Entrepreneur where I talk about time management.

Krenik is making awesome pen kits. They’re intended for embroidery and needlepoint, but they’ve also worked up some awesome crochet versions.

cool crochet pens. photo courtesy

Tech editor and crochet designer Charles Voth has a new Craftsy Class.With See It, Crochet It: Reading Diagrams (w/ Charles Voth), you can learn all about crochet symbol diagrams. I love them!

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