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Faroe Islands Fit Cameras to Sheep to Create Google Street View

My husband sent me an email yesterday with the following article attached. It is the best thing I read all day and it had to be shared! If you subscribe to my blog via email, the Youtube video links may not show up. Click anywhere on the post to see them. Original article here.
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Faroe Islands fit cameras to sheep to create Google Street View

Tired of waiting for Google to map the archipelago, Faroe Islanders have launched Sheep View 360, enlisting their ovine population to do the leg work

Follow me … mounted with a 360-degree camera. Photograph: Visit Faroe Islands

Living across 18 tiny sub-polar islands in the north Atlantic, Faroe islanders are used to working in difficult conditions. So tired of waiting for Google Street View to come and map the roads, causeways and bridges of the archipelago, a team has set up its own mapping project – Sheep View 360.

With the help of a local shepherd and a specially built harness built by a fellow islander, Durita Dahl Andreassen of Visit Faroe Islands has fitted five of the island’s sheep with a 360-degree camera.

As the sheep walk and graze around the island, the pictures are sent back to Andreassen with GPS co-ordinates, which she then uploads to Google Street View.

“Here in the Faroe Islands we have to do things our way,” says Andreassen. “Knowing that we are so small and Google is so big, we felt this was the thing to do.”

So far the Sheep View team have taken panoramic images of five locations on the island. They have also produced 360 video so you can explore the island as if you are, quite literally, a sheep.

The islands have a population of 80,000 sheep and 49,188 humans.

As well as obviously helping promote the island to visitors, the project is part of a campaign to convince Google to come to the island to complete the mapping project. Visit Faroe Islands have launched a petition and the hashtag #wewantgooglestreetview to promote its case.

But would Google Street View ruin the beauty that comes from being such an isolated place? “I think that we’re ready for this,” says Andreassen. “It’s a place that has always been so hidden and far away from everything, but I think that we are ready to invite people to the place.”

Guardian Travel contacted Google to ask if they had any plans to map the Faroe Islands. They would not comment, but pointed out that anyone is welcome to create their own Street View experiences and apply to borrow Google’s camera equipment.

It’s not the first time a project has brought together Google Street View and sheep. Last year the Google Sheep View blog was launched, which collected images of sheep found on Street View to celebrate the year of the sheep.

Scandinavia

Hey, crafty folks! We just got back from a few weeks in Scandinavia. Denmark, Sweden and Norway were always places I wanted to visit and having my family there with me, surrounded by a deep sense of history but also modernism, LOTS of knitting, art, good food and absolute beauty made it the trip of a lifetime. I  could live in Sweden in a heartbeat and my head came back crammed with inspiration and my suitcase came back full of yarn. I loved every minute.

I came across this brief article recently and it reminded me of our incredible trip. Definitely worth sharing and if you’re interested, be sure to check out her Instagram account. Original article found here.

Guerrilla Crocheting Adds a Splash of Color to the Streets of Stockholm 

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Stockholm-based street artist Julia Riordan became obsessed with knitting and crochet at the age of 10 and eventually launched her own line of knitware in 2012. Soon after she started forays into yarn bombing around London and now continues in Sweden, where she recently installed this fun piece titled Splash. More on Instagram. (via StreetArtNews)

Mahalo Shawl

We love maps in our house. As a child, one of my favorite books was my oversized atlas I’d haul from one reading spot to another. The binding was frayed, the cover badly torn, some of the pages were smudged and borders were constantly changing. I loved that each country had a beautiful spread across two pages, that there were facts running up and down the sides, flags, traditional dress shown, topography, food, climate and agriculture. Anyone can tell you that growing up is difficult, and I could disappear into the pages of that book and become anyone, anywhere. I still have that atlas, despite it being long out-of-date.

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My son is starting to show signs of a love for maps. At his request, I recently hung a huge map of the United States in his bedroom. His playroom has a wonderful map of the world on the wall and he’ll point to a country and ask me to tell him about it. I got him an oversized atlas that we often pull down from the book shelf, open to a random page and dream together about places far away. Looking and talking about maps and ideas of distant lands, mysterious cultures and places we may never visit is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.

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Inspired by my old atlas, warmer climates and unique landscapes, I’d like to introduce you to the latest and penultimate installment of my series of KALs (knit-a-longs) for String Yarns in New York City. With visions of aquamarine Hawaiian and Caribbean waters, mountains and coral reefs, please welcome the Mahalo Shawl!

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An asymmetrical shawl knitting up in a scalene triangle (if you’ve forgotten your high school geometry, that means all sides are different lengths), this shape shows off contrasting colors, interesting stitch patterns and a scalloped short edge. 9 ridges of garter stitch sandwich an intriguing 6 row cluster pattern with wrapping, triple yarn overs and slipped stitches. Working the coral-colored sections was my favorite part of this shawl!

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Knit in String Yarns’ Windsong, a summery, breathable, light-weight blend of 50% silk and 50% linen yarn, this shawl needs only 2 balls of the main color and 1 of the contrasting color. With size US 10.5 needles, the open, airy stitches create a fabric that won’t be heavy on your shoulders, can fold up nicely in your suitcase for your summer travel and can be worn many ways. It’s the perfect size for travel knitting!

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As always, this KAL for String Yarns will take place in their Ravelry Group. The shawl will be broken down into 4 installments every Tuesday starting on July 12th, but I will be checking in, encouraging and offering advice to all as we knit our way through it together! The benefits to KALs are enormous – comraderie, the sharing of tips and tricks, working on the same project together all over the world and seeing the progress of new friends is an uncommon experience. After 1 month of installments, the group will remain active for an additional month to allow everyone to finish and continue to receive my help. I’ll be checking in on you daily!

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Head over to String Yarns here to order your kit and receive 15% off the Mahalo Shawl kit with the code JulyKAL16 at checkout. Pick your favorite color combination from 12 options or go with the ones I chose! Be sure to join the Ravelry group here and order your kit to be ready for July 12th. This is my favorite project so far in my series of KALs for String and I hope you’ll join us in July. See you there!

Mahalo!

 

Be Still My Crocheted Heart

Anatomy is endlessly fascinating. I did a large serious of plexiglass multimedia pieces at RISD that centered around anatomy and journaling during my time there. I’d like to get back into making those some day, but whenever I see any kind of art with a node to anatomy, I stop and look twice. Check out the work of crochet artist Anne Mondro below. Original article found here.

Artist Anne Mondro is putting the art in heart with these amazing anatomically correct hearts. She makes them by crocheting tinned copper wire and we’re sure you’ll agree that the results are nothing short of spectacular.

Mondro is an Associate Professor at the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan. She spent about a year researching the anatomy of a heart in order to ensure that her art was as anatomically correct as possible. She figured out how to make her hearts using 3D modeling software and she complemented the process by spending time in the university anatomy laboratory.

“This piece is very personal,” explains the artist. “I’ve been working with older adults with memory loss and their caregivers. It’s so intense to be a caregiver. When you care for a loved one, the two of you become intertwined. You take on their vulnerabilities but also their strengths. As I thought about that relationship, it was important that these forms be tied together somehow.”

More info: Anne Mondro

 

Introducing Modern Baby Knits

I am frequently asked “how is it to write a knitting book?”

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This is a difficult question to answer, as each book is an entirely different experience. I find writing books to be a similar experience to hanging out with friends – each one is unique, each has its own set of issues, some need to be treated more carefully because they are more emotional, while some like to banter back and forth. Occasionally it’s an effortless experience, like being with a friend who has known you your entire life and you immediately fall into an easy rhythm. Sometimes it’s an exasperating experience and you want to kick it in the teeth and ask it why it’s being so difficult. The short answer? It’s not easy, but it sure is fun.

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Diamond Pullover by Suvi Simola

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Elizabeth Tunic by Taiga Hilliard

My latest book (my seventh) is coming out on Friday, and it’s a special one. 3 Skeins or Less – Modern Baby Knits is a collection of 23 knitted baby garments, blankets and toys. It’s an ode to knitting mamas everywhere and my mantra for this book was “fuss-free knitting.” Moms are the busiest people I know. Often times we are the head of the household, we’re the maintenance staff, the medic, the teacher, the chef, the psychologist, the friend, the disciplinarian, the chauffeur, the maker, the kisser of boo boos and the giver of hugs. We wear a lot of hats, so when we sit down to knit something for the little loves in our lives, whether it’s for your own children or someone else’s, we don’t want to spend 168,729,359 hours making and finishing it on size 0 needles. I often hear “I started a sweater for my baby. My baby is now 38 years old and that sweater still isn’t done.” These knits are designed to be quick, satisfying, modern and most importantly, wearable.

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Stripy Romper by Kate Oates

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Wallie and Carter by Rebecca Danger

Another thing that was very important to me while working on this book was to have knits that children can live their lives in. Gone are the days of “children should be seen and not heard” (and good riddance) and that children should dress like small adults. Kids are in constant motion and when I pick my son up from morning preschool and he’s covered in mud, I empty out tons of sand from his sneakers, he has marker all over his face, and there’s play dough in his hair, I consider it a good day. I want my kid getting dirty, I want him exploring the world around him and getting into it. I want him to dig his hands deep into the earth and plant something, to hold worms and watch them wriggle around, to watch the birds at the bird feeder and to chase the butterflies. This is what kids do and one of my favorite hats to wear as a mom with my son is the “explorer” hat. Oh, and I want him doing all of these things in hand knits that I’ve made for him.

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Striped Jersey by Julie Partie

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Nuage Pullover by Nadia Cretin-Lechenne

I often marvel at how spoiled we are as knitters. We have glorious superwash yarn that has all the wonderful elements of wool without the worrisome issue of accidental felting. We have fantastic plant fiber blends for warmer weather or for children with sensory issues. Our LYSs are stuffed to the gills with beautiful fibers, stunning colorways and options we may never have dreamed of. Keeping this in mind, I chose the fibers quite carefully when curating this collection. We run the gamut of yarns in this book and there is absolutely something for everyone. Everything in this book can be made with 3 skeins of yarn or less! How great is that?!

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Eyelet Dress by Megan Grewal

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Polka Dot Pocket Pullover by Suvi Simola

Many of the designs in this book are unisex – another thing I like to think about when knitting for little ones. Many folks have more than one child, or are gifting a hand knit into a family with multiple kids. One of the very best things about hand knits is they can last forever, especially when cared for and stored properly. I love the idea of knitting a sweater and giving it to someone who has all their children wear it, then perhaps they pass it on to a cousin that puts all their children in it, then maybe it goes to a friend and they put all their children in it. Hand knits are like library books, being passed to a new person and living a new adventure with them. Knits tell stories and I always whisper to whatever I’ve made for a new baby as I wrap it up and prepare to gift it, “I hope you are loved and bring love to whomever you travel with. I hope you outlive me and bring warmth and happiness for generations.” I am by no means a superstitious person, but I always do this, sealing in my good intentions for the lucky wearer and those to come.

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Bunny by Melissa Schaschwary

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Rainbow Bonnet and Mitten Set by Lisa Chemery

With a roster of international designers including folks like myself, Suvi Simola, Justine Turner, Shannon Cook, Melissa LaBarre, Svetlana Volkova, Nadia Crétin-Léchenne, Kate Oates, Rebecca Danger, Ekaterina Blanchard, Julie Partie, Kelly Herdrich, Taiga Hilliard, Melissa Schaschwary, Karen Borrel, Megan Grewal, Elizabeth Murphy, Helen Rose, Terri Kruse and Lisa Chemery, many are mothers themselves and understood the modern, fuss-free aesthetic I was going for. Everyone did an amazing job with their design and I am so proud of them as well as how the book turned out. My toughest critic – my 5-year-old, loves everything in this book. Mission accomplished!

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Baby Tunic by Terri Kruse

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Geometric Baby Blanket by Shannon Cook

Finally, this book was dedicated to one of the three women who were instrumental in teaching me how to knit, encouraging me and throwing me into the deep in of knitting. Debbie Marchetti was the mom of one of my brother’s friends growing up. Our family became close with their family (and remains so today). Debbie lost her battle with cancer early last year as this book was wrapping up and heading off to the tech editor. Debbie was a wonderful knitter, a gentle soul, mother of three and gave me one of my favorite knitting books that still sits on my shelf today. She lived long enough to see her fourth grandchild be born and I’d like to think she’d have a copy of this book on her shelf, knitting for all the little ones in her life.

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Camero Pullover by Svetlana Volkova

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Modern Filagree Blanket by Tanis Gray

I hope you enjoy Modern Baby Knits. I hope it becomes your go-to book anytime someone announces they’re expecting or if you have a baby of your own on the way.  Maybe you know a child who needs a new sweater, blanket, toy or accessory and this is the book you grab off your shelf. I hope your copy becomes tattered and worn over the years as you keep coming back it to, knitting for the new life that constantly surrounds us.

Modern Baby Knits is available here and the complete collection can be seen here.

xoxo

Breeze Bolero

When I think of springtime, I think of mornings spent opening the curtains in the living room, surveying the backyard blooms as the sun comes up through the trees that are just beginning to get their leaves, mug of peppermint tea in my hand, bare feet on the hardwood and the near-silence of a new day. I think of coming in from an afternoon spent in the garden, smelling like dirt, neck sunburned, tired in the kind of way that can only be earned by hours of hard work tugging and pulling at weeds. I think of chasing my son around the yard, pinwheels in each hand, pretending to be airplanes. I imagine our early evenings spent in the tent we pitch in the back yard that has an open roof to watch the first stars come out, talking about our day.

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To me, the season of spring welcomes in an abundance of promise. New life, longer days, knitting on the porch at night, rather than bundled up in my office because it’s already dark and cold after dinner. We can take an evening walk, strolling through the neighborhood looking out for plants starting to pop up and push their way into the sun. The world seems to come alive this time of year and we’re all a bit like bears coming out of their caves after a long winter’s nap. We stretch, yawn, grab our knitting and head out into the world.

I find that my knitting changes this time of year. I reach for the lighter blends, head more in the direction of short cardigans or boleros, lace shawls and baby blankets. I beeline to the part of my LYS that boasts plant fibers with their easy drape and lighter weight. I explore new fibers and lighter colors – my brain and knitting thinking “spring” the whole time.

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Spring is still a fickle friend. Layers are essential as the day goes from chilly to warm to downright hot here in Virginia. With that in mind, I’m excited to announce the fourth installment in our yearlong KAL (knit-a-long) with String Yarns in New York City. I’ve talked about the wonderful feeling of camaraderie in a past post here while doing these KALs, of meeting and making friends across the globe as we all stitch together, working on the same project. But what I enjoy the most is seeing knitters go from being complete beginners or have scant knowledge of a particular technique or two, to finishing their project with confidence, having a completed garment to wear with pride and the ability to understand the mechanics of how and why we’re doing something specific in the pattern. It’s one thing to know how to do something, but to understand why is of equal importance.

I’m thrilled to share with you our next project, the Breeze Bolero! Knit in a classic top-down raglan style, this is an ideal first or second sweater project. The benefits to knitting a top-down garment are numerous, but my favorites are that we can try it on as we go, there is practically no finishing, no seaming and it’s easy to make adjustments if you wish. If you knit a sweater in pieces, you do so with a constant thought of “I hope this all comes together in the end.” If you work a sweater from the bottom up, you can’t go back and easily tweak the length of it later. Top-down is my favorite sweater construction method and I hope you’ll join me!

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This KAL is chock full of techniques for us to explore together. Not only will we cover top-down construction, but we’ll turn our raglan increases into cable twists, make buttonholes, discuss the best way to attach buttons, read a schematic, and my favorite thing of all in this project, create Vikkle Braids. Vikkles are horizontal braids running across a row, not only creating more visual interest, but adding more structure to a garment.

Each project for our yearlong KAL has an immense amount of thought put into it to teach you multiple techniques that you’ll come across again and again. I know this will be the best KAL chapter yet and I’m excited to get started on Tuesday, May 10.

How do our KALs work? Each Tuesday for a month starting on May 10, I’ll post in the String Yarns Ravelry Group here. This creates an open forum for all wanting to join to jump in with comments, suggestions, tips and encouragement. I’ll be leading the group and checking in daily, but it’s the group participation, the sharing of photos and progress that makes a KAL so much more fun than knitting on your own. Have a question? Speak up on the group page! After a month, the weekly posts cease, but I’ll continue to check in for another month until the start of the next KAL. The threads remain open so if you find yourself starting later or getting a bit behind, no worries! Just like they say on Friends, I’ll be there for you.

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The Breeze Bolero is knit using String Yarn’s Breeze, a cashmere, silk, cotton blend fiber, perfect for spring and summer. This lightweight DK blend has wonderful drape and a dozen lovely colors to choose from. Use the code MayKAL16 to get 15% off on the kit here exclusively for our KAL! The pattern is written in 6 sizes, ranging from a 30.75″ bust circumference to a 50.25″ bust circumference, just specify which size you’d like in the drop down menu on the kit page to ensure accurate yarn amounts. If you prefer an alternative yarn, String has options, just give them a call or pop in and they’ll be happy to help!

After ordering your kit here, you’ll get a 1-page pdf with the materials information, then on May 10th, the complete pattern will be emailed to you so we can all start together. Head over and join the String Yarns Ravelry Group to get up-to-the-minute KAL info and meet your fellow knitters. This is our biggest project yet for our KAL and I look forward to knitting and ushering spring in with you!

 

Water Turtles

UPDATE: 4.18.16: I’ve since been informed by a turtle expert that these little guys are Water Turtles! Thanks, Nancy!

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Sometimes you’re reminded how very interesting and instinct-driven nature can be.

This past weekend we continued on our quest to get the front yard “done.” By “done” I mean bulbs planted cozily in the earth, seeds tucked in under the mulch, grass mowed and front porch painted. We’ve really been enjoying making our new house our home and it’s definitely a work-in-progress and always will be.

While using my pickaxe to pull up some unruly bulbs we wanted to remove, I came across a small hole next to the wall of the garage. Thinking it might be home to a chipmunk or perhaps a snake, I set the axe aside and started pulling the dirt apart gently in case someone/something was living there. Simply wanting to assess the situation before moving on down the wall to tiling in new soil, I got quite the surprise.

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Nestled into the dirt about 3″ down was a green piece of rock. Thinking it was perhaps shale, or a piece of broken crockery, I moved more dirt only to discover more of these rock-like objects. Continuing to gentle sweep my way around, I found 5 little green stones. I thought, “Huh. Those look like turtles.” Much to my surprise, the stone started to wiggle and out popped turtle heads, arms, legs and tails!

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Grabbing my phone, I quickly researched what to do. Leave them alone? Cover them back up? Move them down to the lake next to our house? Put them in the woods? After much reading (and by this time, the little guys had started coming out to sun themselves) and determining they were not newly hatched because they had already eaten their shells for sustenance, we grabbed a plastic box and ushered them inside.

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According to National Park Service information, if they turtles are on the move and you live in a busy area, they should be brought down the shore of the nearest body of water. Rodents, skunks and large birds are their enemies when they are still small, and we read we should minimize human contact and move them quickly upon discovery. Being right next to a lake means their mother must have come up to our house, found a safe, cozy spot that gets full sun, laid and buried her eggs and sauntered off. Because the park next to us is very busy on Sundays, we swiftly brought them down and set them on the shore so they wouldn’t get run over by a bicycle or car. It never crossed our minds to keep them and if you ever make the same discovery in your yard, do not make the mistake of thinking they’d be great pets. Upon further research later that evening, we read that box turtles are extremely difficult to keep and frequently die in captivity. Bottom line – if you find a creature in nature, keep it in nature. Obviously, it would have been best to leave them alone entirely, but not knowing they were there or that finding turtles buried in our yard was even a possibility, we wanted to make sure they’d be ok.

It’s amazing to see instinct take over whether in people or animals. They all took their times, sniffed around, headed directly towards the water and swam off. It was a bit emotional, watching these little guys take their first swim and I imagined them giving each other a nod and a wave and saying “Catch you on the flip side.” Turtles don’t stay together like humans do. The mothers lay and bury the eggs and that’s the extent of their parenting. The siblings (usually born in groups of 1-7) go off on their own immediately and start their own adventures.

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After walking back up to continue to rip out the bulbs, another little turtle was sitting there waiting for us almost seeming to say “Hey, you forgot about me!” I sent my husband and son back down to bring him to the water and checked the area again for more turtle friends. Finding no more, I continued my work next to the garage wall, a space that will forever be remembered as the place we found the turtles.

What have you found in your yard that surprised you?

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