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Sarah E. White

Knitting in the News: Mystery Knitters, Knit Bees and More

By March 17, 2012

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There's a mysterious knitter on the loose in the small town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea in North Yorkshire, England. She (we assume) has been leaving pretty knit bits around town for the past few months, but the latest installation, a 45-meter ode to the Olympics placed on railings around the city's pier, has captured a lot of attention. The only clue to the knitter's (or group of knitters') identity has been a note signed "The Yarn Junki." Locals are having lots of fun speculating about the identity of the artist, but some say it would spoil the fun if the knitter were to be revealed. You can see lots of pictures of the installation, which includes a gymnast, a kayaker and other athletes, at the local blog I Married a Shaman.

A 2-year-old Connecticut boy's battle with brain cancer was the inspiration for a knitting charity that has donated more than 600 hats to kids and babies at Yale-New Haven Hospital. PatPat's Hats started with the aunt of baby Patrick knitting a hat for him so his head wouldn't be cold after his hair was shaved, but, like a lot of knitters, she just couldn't stop with one hat. With the help of the Yarn Harlot the charity is now getting hats from all over, and you can learn more at the group's Facebook page, which happens to have reported that Patrick just finished his chemo this week.

In other charity knitting news, a Montana woman knits up scarves to sell to raise money for a local food bank; a group of Pennsylvania knitters has knit 612 sweaters for Knits for Kids; seniors in Kansas are busy knitting and crocheting for babies; a crafty group in Canada has knit up a bunch of Izzy dolls, which are given to Canadian troops to give to kids they meet wherever they're deployed; while a Canadian knitter who learned the craft just two years ago has knit up about 130 hats, some of which have been sold to benefit the Canadian Cancer Society; a group of British knitters is hard at working making beanies for soldiers in Afghanistan to wear under their helmets; the Knitting for Charity group in Chapel Hill is spreading its message by knitting in public (right now they're working on baby blankets); and knitters in Batavia, N.Y., have knit more than 500 squares to be made into afghans to benefit a local cancer institute.

Jimmy Beans Wool is once again accepting applications for its "Beans for Brains" scholarship program, which awards scholarships worth $2,500 to five students who knit or crochet and submit pictures of themselves with their original designs.

In other guerrilla knitting news, the Castro district of San Francisco was recently yarn bombed. And if you've ever wondered what happens to the remnants of a yarn bombing, check out this story from Scotland, which explains that squares knit for a public art project there have been converted into blankets, hats, scarves and even toys for a variety of charities.

Knit artist Hannah Haworth reported on a kind of strange finished object: 50 life-sized hand-knit bees commissioned for an exhibit on the plight of the bee. She knit the bees in Malabrigo, worked the wings in a lace pattern and "did the tiniest blocking I have ever done." That part's a little gruesome looking, but all in all it's a very cool project.

Finally, a tie-in to Women's History Month with the news that the Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y., is moving to the building that once housed the Seneca Knitting Mill. The building dates to 1844 and the mill was operational until 1999. The building will be renovated with help from a $2.5 million grant, but there's no word on how long the renovation will take or when the new museum will open. The mill produced millions of pairs of socks in its 155-year history, including a pair that went to the moon.

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