The Countdown is on …

Well, it’s only a few weeks to go now for the first episode of It Takes Balls To Knit – The Show to be released. As a matter of fact, I was just on the Sunshine Coast in beautiful Pender Harbour filming a segment for Dyeing To Knit You with Jenna Valley of Everlea Yarn! We had a great time filming and I learned a lot!! So much so, that I’ll be doing a return trip soon to film a second and possibly third segment. Turns out Indigo dyeing is an entirely different process to acid or natural dyeing! Can’t wait!

Jenna Valley of Everlea Yarn and I, in beautiful Pender Harbour!

Not only is Jenna the force behind Everlea Yarn, she started (and still maintains) Vancouver Yarn, a phenomenal resource for who’s who and what’s happening in the Vancouver knitting scene! She’s been keeping everyone connected here for over 10 years!! Make sure you tune in to see her telling you all about natural dyeing on the show and help support her in her foray into this area of the knitting world!

In regards to the show, I had a giveaway of a Stitchip® from my friends at XRX Publishing – the same great people that bring you the Stitches events every year. I’d like to announce the winner – Risa!! An e-mail has been sent out to her and I’ll update everyone on which of the 6 Stitchips she chose. Risa was eligible for the draw because she subscribed to this website to help support the production of the show. There will be many more subscriber giveaways in the future. I have 5 more Stitchips, and Jimmy Beans Wool has confirmed they’ve already sent some SmartStix that will be passed on to someone in the future (after a review on the show)! If you’d like to get in on the action AND show your support, please subscribe and help me get the show to you. Even if it’s just $1/month, every little bit helps and is greatly appreciated.

There’s one more little thing I’d like to ask you for with regards to the show. I’d like to make this show as interactive as possible, and several of the segments will rely on your feedback and participation. I’d like to start prepping some of those right now, with a little help from you of course! I need your input/feedback for the following segments in the show …

Show Us Your Knits … Do you have any fabulous knitwear that you made that you’re particularly proud and/or fond of? If you’d like it to be featured in the show, please send some pictures (being modelled by a person would be great) or even a short video. Include all information that may be relevant (yarn, special techniques, pattern name, designer, etc) in whichever format is easiest for you.
Knitflix … One of our show segments will focus on television shows and/or movies that feature/mention knitting. Are there any that you’ve seen that fit the bill? Just to name a few so you get the idea
Demolition Man : remember when Sly knits the sweater for Sandra while catching up on what he missed while in the freezer?,
Pushing Up Daisies : Chi’s character is a closet knitter of socks!,
Outlander : I’m sure you’ve noticed all the knitted pieces, and now we know Jamie’s character knows how to knit,
Gotham : young Bruce and Alfred sport some great knitted sweaters throughout the series,
Once Upon A Time : filmed here in Vancouver it’s loaded with knitting,
Elementary : I actually have two patterns on this site reverse engineered from the great stuff Joan wears in Season 1,
and others. Keep your eyes peeled and if you see/hear of one, drop us a quick note telling us the specifics (show, episode, how knitting is featured, etc).
Knitter Spotlight … Would YOU like to be on the show? Do you know someone who should be? Send us the details telling us who and why? We’ll contact you/them and have a short vetting process to see if we can make it happen! We really want to make this show about the entire scope of knitting, so we want to be entirely inclusive of all aspects of the craft, and all the people that participate in it.
Event Spotlight … Somewhere around the globe, I’m fairly certain there is an event going on every weekend in the knitting world. If you’re someone that puts on one of these events, or if you know of one, big or small, please let us know about it. We’re working on putting together a list of the events going on globally and need your help to do it. again, any information you can provide – event name, location, contact person, dates, # years running, website, etc – would be great! We’ll add it to our growing list and put it on out events page. We’ll have an Events Segment in the show so you never know. Your event may be in it one day!!

If you have any of the above information for us, you can send it to

itbtkshow@gmail.com

We appreciate all submission and look forward to including you in this!

Hugzzz 😎

Barrington is here!

The pattern for Barrington is finally live! This is without question, my favourite design to date, and I’m sure it will be at or near the top for quite some time. Why? Well, the story behind Barrington is a long one. It actually started very soon after I learned to knit. It was at this time that I discovered my fascination with cables!! While I love almost every aspect of knitting, cables remain my favourite thing to create. I have a difficult time creating something without a cable in there somewhere–you’ve probably noticed that. A little while back, I was playing around with the Saxon Braid, and developed the Barrington Braid. I got to name it, as it wasn’t in the mainstream kitting world as yet, and it’s called the Barrington Braid because that’s my middle name.

He has attempted difficult things … God is our refuge


There’s much more to that, and you may want to peruse more of this blog to find out more. Anyway, I’ve also discovered that I have Scottish and Irish ancestry mixed in with this Jamaican blood coursing through my veins(and who knows what else). I’ve gone so far as to find the family crest for Malcolm, which has 2 stags on it. Combining this with the Irish ancestry I have, I have always been fascinated by the Irish family sweaters. You may have heard the legend about fishermen being identified by their sweaters–that’s a story for another day. Suffice it to say that I went looking for a “family” sweater for Malcolm, and couldn’t find one. So, as is my way, I decided to make my own!
I decided to make this a true Aran sweater and incorporate traditional Celtic stitches along with the elements of the Scottish family crest I found. For this reason, the sweater has a Barrington Braid, front and centre as the main element. It is flanked by two cables, representing the fishermen’s ropes, and symbolizing protection. We can all use the feeling of protection, can’t we? Going outward, you have symmetrical staghorn cables, also flanked by two more cables. Again, added protection is a great thing. After the last cables, you have seed stitch to finish the design, representing abundance and growth.

Dino wearing Barrington


I chose to use the Barrington Braid again as the only cable element on the sleeves, but made them a saddle shoulder. The Barrington Braid transitions into a 4-strand open cable at the shoulder and continues into the neckline. I also went with stocking stitch on the sleeves to provide contrast to where they meet the seed stitch on the body. This sweater can be made with a mock turtle or crew neck, depending on your preference. Mine is definitely the mock turtle neck. I seems much cozier to me that way. Although I had a classic men’s sweater in mind when I made this, it is indeed unisex, and looks equally as good on a woman as it does on a man (see the photos throughout).
In actuality, I created this sweater roughly 4 years ago. The original one was made with an organic merino wool, and I have to be truthful say that I made it too small for myself. It did fit, but not with the positive ease I had intended. My dear friend Sarka is now the proud owner of that one (she’s the dark haired model in the photos). Unfortunately, the source of the yarn disappeared, and I wasn’t able to pattern and publish the design. It wasn’t until just over a year ago when I met Tom and Cindy for Stunning String Studios, that I found a yarn that I was happy with to replace the organic merino. That yarn is Lush, and it’s a merino/cashmere/nylon blend that feels like butter and is fantastic to work with. Tom and Cindy also dye it in 180 colours, so you’ll be certain to find one you like!

Yes, Sarka is now the owner of Barrinton!


I f you want to make this sweater, you can get the pattern either here on my website, or in my Ravelry store, where it’s just been uploaded! Also, subscribers to this site get a discount on the cost of the pattern, ranging from 5% – 25%, depending on your subscription level. Click on the Subscribe tab in the header for more information.

MrHugzzz wearing Barrington in Amsterdam!

If you have a Ravelry account and want to include this in your Library, you can get it from my Ravelry store. Just click on the link above. If you do decide to buy this pattern, you have my deepest thanks for your continued support!

Hugzzz 😎

Subscriber Giveaway

As a thank you to those of you who have shown your support of the upcoming show, I have a giveaway for you!!!

There will be many more in the future, as the initial response from the news of the show at Stitches West was very encouraging! As a matter of fact, I have already received quite a few items to give away to viewers of the upcoming show! Some of these will be open for everyone, subscribers or not, and others will only be for subscribers. Just a little tease as to what some of these things are (I’m not saying which are which):

  • various yarns (at least 10 brands have either given or have promised to give yarn)
  • knitting needles from HiyaHiya
  • Products from Jimmy Beans Wool (needles, yarn, and Namaste swag)
  • A personally autographed copy of Strange Brew from Tin Can Knits
  • A copy of The Complete Crochet Course and Designer Crochet by Shannon & Jason Mullett-Bowlsby, the Shibaguyz
  • One of 6 Stitchips® by XRX Publishing
  • … and many, many more!!

For now, we’ll start with one of the Stitchips®. One name from all subscribers (regardless of the level) will be drawn and that person can choose one of the following:

  • Arans & Celtics
  • The Knitters Handbook – Essential skills and helpful hints from Knitters Magazine
  • Socks – Socks – Socks
  • The Great American Afghan collection
  • Shawls and Scarves
  • A Gathering of Lace

For those that don’t know, Stitchips® are a digital representation of books and magazines published by XRX. They are a business card sized casing housing a .pdf file of the selected work. They attach to your device through the USB port and allow you access to the book, magazine, or collected works within. The .pdf files also contain clickable hyperlinks! You can find out more about them at this link:

Stitchips®

If you haven’t subscribed yet, there’s still time! Click below on the level you’d like to subscribe at and you’ll see the benefits of that level. All levels, other than wool, are a monthly subscription and can be cancelled/changed at any time. If you choose the wool level, you’ll be charged $12 for one year. Should you cancel your subscription during that year, you will be refunded any full, unused months remaining.

Level Price  
ITBTK-Wool $12.00 per Year. Select
ITBTK-Alpaca $3.00 per Month. Select
ITBTK-Silk $5.00 per Month. Select
ITBTK-Cashmere $10.00 per Month. Select
ITBTK-Qiviut $25.00 per Month. Select
ITBTK-Corporate Sponsor $62.50 per Month. Select

Make sure you do it by March 11th though, as that’s the cut-off date for the Stitchip® drawing! The winner will be announced in the next blog post after that date! Good luck to everybody!!
And be sure to watch this page for an upcoming review of Stitches West, an announcement about the launch of the show, and a new streaming platform for It Takes Balls To Knit! Your support is not only appreciated, it’s getting some great stuff going!

Huge hugzzz 😎


It’s Back!!

… with a little help from you, that is! Yes, you!

This was 5 years ago …

And now, I’d like to bring this back. As a matter of fact, I’ve already started creating content for the show, and it’s return is slated for early April! If you haven’t seen this before, please feel free to watch the Pilot episode from 5 years ago to get caught up and see what I’m talking about.

Back then, I ran out of funding 10 episodes in. What made this unfortunate was the fact that the show was just starting to get traction and we had lots of great content to bring you. Well, no good dream ever dies, and I’m glad to say this one didn’t! As a matter of fact, I think the timing is even more essential this time around and I hope to bring you great content from around the world every week to keep you informed and entertained!

In order to do this however, I’m going to need your help. While the cost of production has been reduced thanks to available technology, it’s still a massive burden to bring a show like this to you every week. As a result, I’m soliciting your help via subscriptions to this website. You may notice the extra menu items in the header of this website. Those are tabs for you to subscribe to this website and help me bring you the interesting and informative content that’s out there. If you haven’t already registered, and want to do so, simply click on the Register tab, and select the level you’re willing to subscribe at. When you click on the level you want, you’ll see the benefits of that level and a PayPal checkout button to process your payment. It is not necessary to have a PayPal account to pay, as you can use your credit card.

I know you have a lot of questions, so I’ve prepared a short little Q&A to answer some of the more obvious ones you may have. Please feel free to contact me if you have any others.

Q: When will I see the benefits of subscribing?
A:  Immediately! Membership at all levels includes a % discount on anything on this site. You will get the discount for the level you’re at applied to any on site purchases. Within the week I will be releasing 3 new patterns that you will get a discount on with your registration! This discount is on top of any other promotion or sale price. More benefits will be available on a regular basis and once the show is launched.

Q: I’m already a member of the Close Knit Community on this website. Is this the same thing?
A: No. The Close Knit Community is a way that I can contact people who have joined via e-mail. It is a free group. This a way that you can be a Patron to my cause of connecting the world through knitting and sharing our stories. Much the same way that Shakespeare had Patrons to allow him to create his works, I am asking you to assist me in bringing the world of knitting to everyone. (No, I’m not saying I’m Skakespeare–we’re just in a similar situation).

Q: If I don’t subscribe, will I still be able to view your website?
A: Yes! The website will remain and there will still be regular posts available to all–subscribers and non-subscribers. There will periodically be posts for subscribers only, with information on new benefits, or contests/giveaways that only they are eligible for.

Q: What will you be giving away?
A: All sorts of things! Since the segments of the show will cover all aspects of knitting, I will be working with all sorts of people connected with the knitting world. Most of them have already agreed to donate swag for me to give away! It’s a win/win as they get the promotion, and you get the swag! Anything from yarn (who doesn’t love yarn?) to books, needles, event passes, and more!!

Q: Will I be able to get any giveaways if I don’t subscribe!
A: Yes! There will always be giveaways available to everyone, but there will often be giveaways that are available to subscribers only.

Q: Isn’t this crowdfunding? Why don’t you use Patreon or Kickstarter?
A: Yes, it is. I am relying entirely on your generosity in order to see this project to fruition. In return, I will not only bring you information and entertainment I think you want (you’ll also have the opportunity to tell me what you want to see), I will work with the very people I inform you about to give you samples of their products.
I have chosen this platform because more of your money actually goes to the cause you’re supporting. Most crowdfunding platforms retain up to 10% or more of all monies collected. This way, only 3% is retained, meaning 97% of it goes towards helping create the content you desire.

Q: What if I don’t like the show? Can I cancel my subscription?
A: Yes! I’ll be sorry to see you go, and will try to do everything in my power to ensure you don’t leave (create great content and make this extremely interactive), but if you choose to leave, you may do so at any time. If you chose the Wool membership, any remaining FULL months in your annual term will be refunded. All other subscriptions are billed monthly, and partial months are non-refundable.

Okay, I think that answers the pertinent questions for now. Feel free to ask any others either in the comments below, or by sending me an e-mail directly to mrhugzzz@gmail.com.

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with this if you’re thinking about Subscribing to this website to help me get this show going. If you’re not sure which level to subscribe to, look at them this way …

If I’m the kind of person you could see yourself …

Buying a lunch once a year, Subscribe at Wool
Buying a coffee once a month, Subscribe at Alpaca
Buying a latte once a month, Subscribe at Silk
Buying a lunch once a month, Subscribe at Cashmere
Buying a dinner once a month, Subscribe at Qiviut


By donating here, you’ll help me keep my waistline in check! 😉

Regardless of what level you subscribe at, your support is invaluable and greatly appreciated!

Huge hugzzz 😎

Subscribe t our site and help revive It Takes balls To Knit–The Show! Great new content, contests, and giveaways!

All we need is hugzzz … and CABLES!!

Well, it’s been an exciting, interesting, informative, reflective, saddening, and emotional (yes, there are more I could add) few months in the online knitting community, hasn’t it?! If you’re unaware of what I’m talking about, head over to Instagram or Ravelry, and scroll through your feed. I’m sure in no time at all you’ll come across the “conversation” that has been going on. If you’re not following me on Instagram, you can do so, and you’ll see mention of it in my feed.

I’m going to bypass a summary for the time being, but I will be visiting this topic again. In the meantime, I’d like to get back to what I’m on this site for, sharing with you news and stories about knitting! And with that I have a couple of things to share.

Firstly, I was at Vogue Knitting Live in New York City last weekend, and have a lot to telll you about. Unfortunately, I have to edit and upload videos, pictures, and dessiminate notes before I can do that. That will happen next week so you’ll get a recap of VKL in case you weren’t able to make it. It might even convince you to get there next year! Or to another event this year!

The other thing I want to share with you is a new pattern. Malcolm. I’ve wanted to release this pattern for awhile now and was planning to do it in conjunction with VKL, but with all that,s going on in the online kntting community at the moment I thought it may be inappropriate timing. I think I may have erred in that assesment. Actually, it may be the very best timing possible right now. I was speaking with a good friend yesterday and she convinced me that right now “we definitely need cables, and hugzzz”, so I’m releasing the pattern.

Photo by Eric Stewart of @langaraphoto

The pattern is called Malcolm, and it is a sweater featuring the Barrington Braid in an asymetrical placement. You also have the option to knit the sweater with the braid on the sleeve as well, or not. I actually created this pattern 2 years ago for North Light Fibers using Atlantic, a Falkland Islands Merino wool. The yarn is a delight to work with and has an excellent hand. You can click on the link above to find out more about the micro mill on Block Island. They are definitely worth looking at for their yarns, colours, and kits available!

With regards to Malcolm, I wanted to have a cable in the sweater (I know, big surprise), but wanted it to be fairly simple otherwise. I also liked the though of off centering the cable to give it a unique look. While it is a man’s sweater, it can be worn by women as well, as Sophia shows in some of the images in the pattern. The cable pattern is both charted and written out in the pattern, so regardless of your comfort level, you’ll find the pattern readable. It is an advanced beginner or intermediate pattern. The cable may look daunting, but by the time you finish the first repeat, you’ll have it firmly in your head.

@sophiascalora wearing Malcolm

The pattern is on Ravelry, here, if you’d like to have it in your onine library, or you can get it on this site here. I hope you enjoy making Malcolm as much as I did and I know you’ll get lots of wear from it. Whether it be a layer for those cold winter months, or an outer garment for those cool spring and fall days.

Hugzzz 😎