Archive for the ‘Contest’ Category

Ghoulies, ghosties, and long-legged beasties

October 26, 2012

I’ve long been a fan of the awesome Teresa of Canary Knits, so I’m super excited to be the next stop on her blog tour for Ghosts, her new ebook!

Ghosts is not your typical knitting ebook. The knitting patterns are interspersed with essays exploring the very concept of ghosts and how they are tied to a culture’s exploration of death, gender role, technology, and history. It’s hard not to gush, because honestly, this sort of detailed research paired with art and crafting is pretty much my favorite way of looking at the world. Teresa’s research and analysis is fascinating. She starts with the Western tradition of ghosts, the one that is probably most familiar to an American or Canadian reader. We quickly learn that what seemed familiar is in fact a new myth in a historical progression of changing understanding of the returned dead. The transparent, vaporous humanoid forms that we think of as ghosts are a Victorian creation.

Galoshans, a lacy batwing sweater

A fun little digression in the book is a list, written by King James I of England, of rules for deportment upon encountering a ghost. It is apparently very important to avoid asking questions of the dead, being not only very rude and prying, but also somewhat useless, as good spirits would only wish to speak the word of God and naughty spirits are all about lying to you.

Calavera Catrina, a gorgeous bonnet like those found on Day of the Dead figures

Interspersed with these fascinating histories and definitions are photos of Teresa’s gorgeous patterns, each inspired by a particular tradition or myth surrounding ghosts. Galoshans, the lacy batwing sweater depicted above, was inspired by the idea of costume and disguise, but its white, light, transparency and flowing shape call to mind our Victorian ghosts with their fluttering, sheetlike appearance. The Calavera Catrina bonnet looks to Mexican Day of the Dead figures, referring to a 1910 print showing an elegant female skeleton in an elaborate flowered bonnet.

A print of a Calavera Catrina.

The book takes us outside the Western tradition and experience to explore realms of the dead less familiar to those steeped in Western tradition. Teresa’s elegant Hirtodama mittens are inspired by Japanese portrayals of blue glowing orb-like spirits.

Hitodama mittens, knit in dense linen stitch

It’s a joy to see meticulous research on such a rich and fascinating topic linked to the artistic manifestation of the thoughts inspired by the research. There is an almost abstract quality to Utukku, a capelet inspired by a monster of Akkadian and Summerian legend. According to Teresa, “Alû could envelop its victims like a cloak and squeeze the life out of them, and lived in darkness.” While this cloak is considerably more benign, its many ribbons add a visual touch that is beautiful at the same time as it calls to mind many tiny arms or tentacles poised to squeeze.

Utukku, a beribboned cape

There are 11 patterns in total, and you can see them here on Ravelry. Ghosts is a real labor of love and creativity, and I hope you’re feeling as inspired by it as I am!

If you’re interested in winning a copy of the ebook, Teresa has generously offered one up. To enter, please leave a comment telling me about which pattern is your favorite and why, or with a ghost story or legend of your own. I will do a random drawing of the entries on Friday, November 2nd. Happy haunting! (And don’t forget to include an email address in your commenter info so that I can contact you if you win!)

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Relief – win yarn and patterns

April 25, 2011

After the terrible earthquake hit Japan in March, relief efforts were almost instantaneous. The recovery process will be long and hard, though, and money will be needed continually for those relief efforts, long after the earthquake is gone from the news entirely. As always after a disaster, money is what is most needed. Donation of goods is costly and complicated and can hinder relief from going where it is needed, however good the intentions. Some knitwear designers have designed patterns, the income from which will go to charities doing work in Japan, and I may do something of the sort myself in the future, but for now, I’d like to hold a raffle to raise money for recovery efforts.

How to enter:

Donate $10 or more to a charity providing on the ground relief work in Japan. I used Charity Navigator to look up organizations working in the area, and am recommending donations to Direct Relief International, which gets a very high rating on Charity Navigator. If you’d prefer to donate to another organization, such as Médecins Sans Frontières or the Red Cross, that is fine with me.

Forward a copy of your donation receipt to knittingkninja AT gmail.com.

For each $10 you donate, your name will be entered once into a drawing to win one of the four prizes listed below. If you donate $20, that’s two entries. $50 is five entries. I will only give one prize per winner, though, to spread out the chances of winning.

The contest ends Monday, May 9th, when I will draw four winners.

Prizes:

#1: Becoming Art Gaia Fingering and Clothilde (click to see larger)

Becoming Art Gaia Fingering

Clothilde

This package includes a copy of the Clothilde  shawl pattern and a skein of Becoming Art Gaia Fingering in the Drawn colorway. If you already have a copy of Clothilde, you can either select a different pattern or I will be happy to gift Clothilde to the knitter of your choice. You can of course use the yarn for any pattern you so desire, but there is enough in the skein to knit a Clothilde shawl. Gaia Fingering is a 100% merino yarn in a single ply. It is NOT superwash, so care must be taken when washing it to avoid felting. I found this colorway unbelievably beautiful, and I hope you do, too.

#2: madelinetosh Tosh Sport and Beetle Tracks (click to see larger)

Beetle Tracks

madelinetosh Tosh Sport

This package includes a copy of the Beetle Tracks scarf pattern and a skein of madelinetosh Tosh Sport in the Charcoal colorway. The yarn is enough to knit a Beetle Tracks scarf, though of course you can use it for any project you see fit. If you already have a copy of Beetle Tracks, you can either select a different pattern or I will be happy to gift Beetle Tracks to a knitter of your choice. The yarn in this case is rather special, as I purchased it off of the madelinetosh Etsy store, and the full proceeds were already donated to charity work in Japan. This is a great way to pass it forward. Tosh Sport is 100% superwash merino.

#3: Rocky Mountain Dyeworks Bow Falls Fingering and Rosa (click to see larger)

Rosa

Bow Falls Fingering

This package includes the Rosa shawl pattern and a skein of Rocky Mountain Dyeworks Bow Falls Fingering, which is the yarn used in the original Rosa. I picked a skein in the gorgeous Strawberry Root colorway, a rich red with undertones of maroon and bright pink. If you already have a copy of Rosa, you can either select a different pattern or I will be happy to gift Rosa to a knitter of your choice. You can of course use the yarn for any project, but there is enough here to knit the Rosa shawl. Bow Falls Fingering is a 100% superwash Blue Faced Leicester yarn. I’m very fond of BFL, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

#4: Understory ebook

Understory is my new ebook of six accessory patterns knit in Malabrigo yarns. The winner will receive the ebook as well as each individual pattern PDF for Amanita Muscaria, Laetiporus, Lichen Beret, Light and Shade, Verdure, and the Woodpigeon Mitts. I had a lot of fun knitting the samples for this collection and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Here are some patterns available for sale on Ravelry that benefit charities working in Japan.

Sakaki, by Rosemary Hill

Mitered Crosses Blanket by Kay Gardiner

Comfort Slippers by Reiko Arato

Winner!

May 27, 2008

I’m sorry I didn’t post this sooner, but luckily, I’m quicker at posting packages than posting in the blog, so my package of brown yarns is currently winging its way to Christine, whose name was drawn at random from a hat containing the names of everyone who entered the Autism Awareness Month Drawing. Thank you so much to everyone who entered – I wish I could send all of you a little something.

Congratulations, Christine! I can’t wait to see what you make with the yarns!