new classes and events page

I’m busy with last minute Nordic Knitting Conference preparations this week, but I did want to pop in and let you all know that I’ve added a page for upcoming classes & events to the website! The Nordic Knitting Conference is listed there (for the next week, anyway), and I’m also teaching a workshop at Knit Purl in Portland, Oregon on November 15th. It’ll be a stranded colorwork workshop and we’ll be working on a brand new pattern for fingerless mitts using Brooklyn Tweed Loft and Spincycle’s gorgeous Dyed in the Wool! The cost for the three-hour workshop will be $55 and you can find more information and register on the Knit Purl website here. I’ll be keeping the classes & events page up-to-date as new events are scheduled.

nordic knitting conference 2014

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I have a little announcement to make today. It’s a rather exciting announcement, actually! There’s an event coming up in October that I’m really looking forward to…if you know me well (or if you read the title of this post), you might already know what it is!

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I’m teaching at this year’s Nordic Knitting Conference! Do you like Nordic knitting? Like the lace and mittens of the Baltics? Fancy some fair isle? Then it’s time to start thinking about coming to Seattle this fall. I’ll be teaching along with some pretty fantastic folks, I must admit. That’s reason enough to knit a pair of announcement mitts and take silly photos, don’t you think? This year’s conference takes place October 3-5You can find the class schedule and more details at the Nordic Heritage Museum website right here.

Arne & Carlos are the headliners this year, and it’s possible I squealed a little bit when I found out. You might’ve seen their book on knitted Christmas balls, or their Space Invaders Mariusgenser. These guys are masters at putting a new twist on old techniques, which I love. As headliners, they’ll be delivering the keynote speech on Saturday night, which is always worth attending.

Also on the teacher’s bill are Swedish-born technique master Susanna Hansson, handspinner extroadinaire Judith Mackenzie, all-things colorwork muse Mary Jane Mucklestone, the creative and talented yarn maven Cirilia Rose, and Laura Ricketts, an expert knitter who has lately focused her attention on Sámi knitting, which I find very, very exciting. It is an honor to be teaching alongside all of these folks; aside from my initial excited squealing when I heard about Arne & Carlos, as a colorwork lover I’ve been following Mary Jane’s work for years, and Cirilia and I actually met and became friends at the last Nordic Knitting Conference in 2012 (and come to think of it, Laura was in our Latvian mittens class, too!).

We’ll be teaching a variety of classes over three days, the class schedule is here (subject to change at this point). You’ll find classes on everything from introductory stranded knitting to spinning with Icelandic fleece, choosing colors for your colorwork, knitted braids, or even Lopapeysa-pimping. The only bummer about teaching myself is that I can’t take any of the classes! If you’re not a knitter or a spinner, there are also a few lectures you might be interested in attending. The conference is hosted every two years by the Nordic Heritage Museum, an organization right in my own backyard in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, and one of which I am a proud member. If you attend other knitting events like Vogue Knitting Live, Stitches, or Madrona, you’ll find that the Nordic Knitting Conference is much smaller – as evident by the much smaller list of instructors – but a cozy, friendly, and absolutely worthwhile experience. There’s an upside to specialization. Here’s a quick run-down:

– Classes take place over three days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (this year that’ll be the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of October)

– Friday night features a Happy Hour event so that you can get to know other conference attendees; mix, mingle, and knit, of course!

– Saturday evening is the keynote presentation, with dinner included. I’ve attended both times I’ve attended the conference and it’s always a wonderful experience.

– There’s a marketplace, featuring a variety of great local vendors!

– Registration opens June 2nd at 10:00 AM, so mark your calendar.

If you’re coming from out of town, the Hotel Ballard and the Ballard Inn (both on Ballard Avenue, about a 20-30 minute walk away from the museum but with easy bus access) are offering a 15% discount on rooms to conference attendees. Just ask for the Nordic Knitting Conference discount when reserving your room. If you’d rather not stay in a hotel, the Sunset Hill B&B is very close to the museum and would be a lovely place to stay. Other options could be found via airbnb.com, or if you want to try and room together with someone, you could try and coordinate lodging by posting in the Ravelry group for the 2014 conference.

Feel free to shoot any questions you have about the conference my way as well – if I don’t know the answer, I can direct you to the people who do. I hope to see some of you there! And for those of you who want to know about the mitts in the photos – I know you’re out there – I’ll be posting about those a little later on.

Tangentially related: if you’re in Seattle, or the Seattle area, the Nordic Museum hosts a monthly Knit & Spin gathering. Typically it’s the first Sunday of the month but you can check their Ravelry group to find out when it’s happening. I haven’t been for aaaages but I hope to make it back this year at some point!

travels &c.

Well, I’m all packed…

…and ready to go to Iceland! I’m headed to Reykjavík next week for Design March and the Reykjavík Fashion Festival, where I’ll be hanging out with Cirilia RoseStephen West, and my dear friend Peter (Peter and I are old friends from high school, and we used to get together to bake brownies and cake and watch Björk videos, so we’re pretty excited to hang out in Iceland). I always love a trip to Iceland, but it’s my first time going to Design March, so I’m looking forward to it even more than usual. I’m hoping to share some updates while I’m there (I’ve brought my laptop along for the ride).

On that note, after Iceland I’ll be visiting family for a week, so I won’t be back at Paper Tiger HQ until the second week of April. I’ve taken down listings for physical items from the shop (digital items are obviously still available), and any wholesale orders won’t go out until I get back.

knit fit! wrap-up and other updates

I took a day off yesterday after working all weekend at Knit Fit! and getting caught up on a few other things earlier this week, but I’ll be sharing the next post about the Fall/Winter patterns later this afternoon! In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few updates!

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I had the MOST fun at the Paper Tiger booth in the Knit Fit marketplace, and I want to extend a huge thank you to Hannah and Sasa, who put on this event. It was incredibly fun to have such a fantastic marketplace bustling with activity just up the road from the Paper Tiger HQ! I also want to thank everybody who stopped by my booth. So much of what I do involves sitting at a computer, whether I’m writing a pattern, sending emails, or spending time on Ravelry, and while I love being able to see the beautiful pieces knitters make using my patterns, nothing compares to actually getting to interact with them in person. I had patterns and samples on hand for the entire Fall/Winter 13 collection, as well as my bestseller Vasa, and it was so much fun to talk to knitters about the pieces and to see folks trying them on. And a HUGE thank you to everyone who bought patterns! I have to admit I was a little nervous going into this kind of marketplace with only patterns to sell, but I clearly didn’t have to be. It was such a worthwhile experience.

While I am working on a few new patterns (if you picked up a coupon card at Knit Fit, you got a little sneak peek at one of them!), I’m looking forward to things slowing down a little bit now that the collection’s finally out. As a result, one of my main goals for the next several weeks is to knock out some of my long-term WIPs that have been languishing for the last few months (some for much longer). Here’s a look at some personal projects that are on the needles:

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Row 1: faire du véloalpaca lily mittens
Row 2: lillebarns mariushansker til mor
Row 3: winter is comingnorske sokker

Some of these projects are closer than others to being finished; Faire du Vélo is really quite close so I’ve been working on that one, and the gloves for my mother (hansker til mor) just need fingers, and they’re long overdue, so they’re high priority. The Icelandic shawl (winter is coming) is actually also really close, but I don’t know how I’m ever going to figure out where in the lace repeats I am. The biggest problem with my WIP pile is that they really are all things I want to finish. How do you motivate yourself to finish long-term WIPs?

knit fit! and a vasa knitalong

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Have you been thinking about knitting Vasa? Then it’s the perfect time to head over to Ravelry and join the September knitalong hosted by Holland Road Yarn Co. of Wellington, New Zealand! Of course, the southern hemisphere is heading into their spring, which makes it the perfect time for southern hemisphere knitters to cast on, but if you live in some of the warmer places up here in the northern hemisphere (like my home state of North Carolina) you’ve still got a month or two of Vasa-appropriate weather. I was quite excited when I discovered that Tash, who owns HRYC, had chosen Vasa for her store’s September KAL, because I had *just* been reading about the store and her yarn, Knitsch, in Extra Curricular magazine. I love it when worlds collide and I’m hoping to work with some Knitsch sock on a design for winter or early spring release… but more on that later!

If you want to join the Vasa KAL for September, you can find the Ravelry thread right here. I’ve been enjoying seeing different Vasa tees pop up on Ravelry – it’s so fun to see what colors everyone chooses! I hope some of you will join in for the KAL.

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My other announcement today is that Paper Tiger will be a vendor at this year’s Knit Fit! marketplace. Knit Fit is a knitting even in Seattle with classes, lectures, and a free-entry marketplace. This year it runs November 2-3 at the Ballard Community Center, and the list of instructors can be found here. I will be releasing my Fall/Winter 2013 collection in the week leading up to it, so I’ll have printed copies of collection patterns available and samples on display in the booth! I’m also hoping to put together a few kits, for pieces from the collection and hopefully a few of my other patterns as well (Pine Bough Cowl, anyone?).

If you’re in the Seattle area and a trip to Chicago for Vogue Knitting Live! is a little out of your budget, Knit Fit is a fantastic local alternative. You can view the schedule of classes and events here, and registration can be found here. If you’re not up for any classes, you should still pop by the marketplace and say hello! Registration isn’t necessary for the free-entry marketplace. I hope to see some of you there!

the 2012 nordic knitting conference

Every other year, the Nordic Heritage Museum in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle hosts a Nordic Knitting Conference, and it’s something I look forward to with great anticipation. I love the chance to take a few classes and learn something new, to make new friends, and to nerd out about two of the things I love most in this world: Scandinavia and knitting.

As if “nordic knitting” weren’t enough of a niche already, this year the conference had a theme: mittens! Instructors were flown in from around the U.S. and the Nordic countries, and for three days conference-goers had the chance to learn about all aspects of mitten-knitting from across Scandinavia and the Baltics. The conference is topped off with a Saturday night banquet and keynote speech each year, and for the scholar in me, this is one of my favorite parts of the conference.

This year I elected to take two day-long classes, and I enjoyed them both very much. The first was a Latvian mittens class taught by Sandy de Master and Mary Germain (both teachers at Sievers School of Fiber Arts in Wisconsin). Sandy and Mary are wonderful teachers full of stories, and at the end of the day we’d learned all the necessary skills to knit a fully-lined Latvian mitten (and how these characteristics differed from other countries’ traditions). In a class like this you get a lot of history, personal and otherwise: there were tales of how Sandy and Mary started learning about Latvian mittens and got involved with their local Latvian community, a history of where the features of the mittens came from, and the role that mittens like this once played in Latvian culture. There *might* have also been some stories about the artificial insemination of sheep and knitting in jail. We all left for home with mini practice mittens in hand (I’ll be hanging mine on the Christmas tree, I think).

The other class I took was one I was looking forward to very much: Traditional Norwegian Design with Annemor Sundbø. Annemor is now recognized as a national treasure in Norway for her work and research in knitting, and the documentation and preservation of traditional Norwegian design. Over the course of the conference I was able to learn much of her backstory, and how she wound up doing what she’s doing, and anyone interested in textile & knitting history should take a peek around her website and maybe pick up one of her books. The short version of her story is that she amassed tons of old knitted garments while running a shoddy mill in southern Norway, and this “rag pile,” as she calls it, is the root of her work. She brought a very small piece of this rag pile to Seattle for the conference, which was on display during her classes and featured during her keynote speech on Saturday evening.

Annemor has collected different animal motifs she’s found on garments in her ragpile and knitted them all up in large panels, like a giant stitch dictionary.

In short, Annemor’s kind of a hero of mine, appealing to all of my senses as a scholar and a knitter & knitwear designer. It was a joy to hear her talk on Saturday evening and to take her class on Sunday. The premise of that class was to discuss the rules and guidelines that traditional Norwegian design followed, and to design our own mittens using those guidelines and the traditional motifs and patterns generally found on Norwegian knitting. I charted out and worked up my mitten, pictured below (still thumbless):


And my splurge for the weekend was treating myself to Annemor’s newest book, the fully bilingual (in Norwegian and English) Strikking i Billedkunsten / Knitting in Art:

From the back cover: “This book shows how artworks can be used to discuss knitting history even if the artists didn’t have that in mind when they painted. … Artworks also contain invisible lead threads tied to stories about knitting not immediately apparent in the pictures.”

I would be content to sit around and read this book all day, I must admit, but I’ve got things to get done and so that will have to wait. And on that note… I’m off to get some of that work done!