Yarn for a Cause

On Saturday, November 14th, Knitty City will be holding a fundraising event to benefit Room to Read.  A certain GYI! blogger is one of the three organizers, and would really love to see some Gosh Yarn It! support!  A portion of the profits from every sale made next Saturday will go to Room to Read.  There will also be raffle tickets for sale for baskets of yarn from Berroco, Malabrigo, and Julie Asselin, so even if you don’t buy any yarn, you can still help out the cause.

Pictured above: yarn lovers flocking to Knitty City to expand their stashes.

Stop by Knitty City, on 79th between Broadway and Amsterdam, any time between 11 AM and 6 PM on Saturday, November 14th to show your support for Room to Read, an excellent cause you can read more about below:
“Room to Read focuses on two areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact: literacy and gender equality in education.  We work in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.”

See you all then!


Welcome (or Welcome Back)!

Great first meeting, GYI!

We had an excellent turnout tonight, and look forward to seeing you all next week!  New yarners, we hope you got hooked, and experienced fiber artists, we hope you found a place where you can revel in wooly goodness as the weather gets cooler (like today? I mean really.  It’s only mid-September.)

Anyways.  We are hoping to get a supply run together, possibly next weekend before our next meeting.  Info about that will probably go out via our facebook group, which you should all join immediately.

As always, our blog is looking for new writers, so if you have a story you want to tell about your first piece, or if you have an idea for a series, drop us a comment!  New series for the semester coming soon.

Finally, new members should fill out a Meet Gosh Yarn It! survey.  It’s a great way to learn more about your fellow club members.  And as an added bonus…

you’ll be famous.

A Story Worth PERUsing

Have you ever had those Andes mints?  You know how they’re the perfect mix of sweet and cool?

This post has something that’s both sweeter and cooler.  And actually from the Andes, not the American midwest.

Peru has the longest continuous history of textile creation in the world, going back almost 10,000 years to around the time of the beginning of agriculture.  One of the most distinctive creations is the chullo, the Incan knitted hat.

Traditionally, the hats are made to be worn by babies and grown men, who wear their chullo hats for warmth in the high altitudes of the Andes mountains, then layer a broad-brimmed hat on top to get some protection from the sun.  Though they’re not typically worn by women, the modern chullo hat likely would have gone extinct without the efforts of a young girl named Nilda Callañaupa.  In the 1980s, Nilda went to the only people in Chinchero who still knew how to make the complicated hats, asking to learn.  She taught her niece Yolanda, and this important part of Incan heritage was saved!

That’s not to say it’s easy.  Traditional chullos require lots of patience and very tightly-knit stitches.  It starts with scallop-shaped rows that make up the border.  The Chinchero-style chullo that Nilda worked so hard to preserve features edging in three colors.  Then, there’s a stripe and check border design, called ñaccha or k’utu.  The shaping on the head is adorned with images from the natural world, like foxes, geese, plants, and furrows.  Then comes the three tubular sections, topped with tassels, along with fringing, straps, and finally, the ear flaps.  Oh yes, and all of this is done in the Andean style, meaning the needles, yarn, and knitting are all held backwards.  This alternative to the English or Continental styles requires you to hold the right-hand needle like a pencil, while the yarn gets wrapped around the fingers of your right hand.  There’s a tutorial online for anyone interested.

The patterns for chullos aren’t recorded, which is why they were in danger of disappearing.  Different motifs and colors can signify regional identity or marital status, and different communities have different traditions surrounding the creation of their chullos.  For example, the men of the Chahuaytire community make their own chullos, adding buttons and braids for decoration.  Meanwhile, both men and women make the “bobble” style hat in Accha Alta, creating the strings of bobbles separately and then knitting them into the hat.  In the Taquile community, the women do the spinning, and the men do the knitting.

A Taquile boy doing his knitting


This page has more information about the type of yarn used, as well as a story about a woman learning the technique.

Here’s a course where you can learn from the woman who saved the Chinchero chullo!

This pattern is really colorful, and the page also has information about knitting letters into your chullo.  May we suggest “GYI!”

Remember your first piece of crochet?

This is what it looks like now.  Feel old yet?

Get it? Because it’s a GRANNY square?

Oh, the granny square.  A staple among crocheters, a harbinger of bad dreams for older crafters who lived through the 1970s, the granny square is actually even older than your granny.

Patterns as far back as the mid-1800s include instructions for the granny square, although in its younger days, it was quite the looker, and went by the name “patchwork square.”  It had probably been a crochet staple for quite a while before it made it into print, but the first record found so far is from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, which published its patchwork square pattern in 1897.

Even back then, crocheters were taking advantage of the granny square’s benefits.  The description for the pattern notes how handy it is for using up scraps of yarn.  Once you’ve collected enough scraps to make a bunch of squares, you can sew them together into blankets or rugs.

During the Great Depression, the ‘waste-not-want-not’ quality of the granny square made it an excellent way to get the most out of the least.

The Joy of Granny-Squaring, from 1974

Semesterly Recap

As the semester comes to a close, we at Gosh Yarn It! have a lot to be proud of, and a lot to look forward to in the future.

This fall brought in a huge amount of interest, with lots of new faces.  We’re always excited to have new members!  Also, we set up a Ravelry group, managed by Karen, one of our new members.

Gosh Yarn It! also set up a table at Night Market, selling cookies and handmade yarnwear and generally spreading the gospel of yarn.

In early autumn, we applied for official recognition under the Activities Board at Columbia.  Sam, our fearless leader, really pursued the opportunity to gain funding and the ability to book space.  As of now, GYI! has passed the first round of considerations (!!!) and is under review for the second round.

The Gosh Yarn It! weekly email was on point all semester, with different, clever themes each week.  The blog also had (intermittent) Technique Tuesdays postings for both knitters and crocheters.

Did we miss something?  Drop a comment!

Best of luck on finals, everyone, and remember that knitting and crocheting can relieve stress and improve mental health.  Plus, you can make all kinds of stuff, like a second brain.

This should come in handy for exams.

Weasley Wooly Wednesday!

When it comes to pop culture icons, there are a few knitters who stand out.  There’s Phoebe, from Friends, that one chicken from Chicken Run, and then there’s the Queen of them all:

Mrs. Molly Weasley.


She’s so good, she can knit without even holding the needles!

No, I can’t promise this week’s post will tell you how to knit with magic.  But I can bestow upon you the pattern for her iconic knitted good, the Weasley Sweater.  Check out this pattern from Canadian Living and get started on sweaters for the whole family.