Thursday, August 30, 2012

Press Release: Annie's Acquires Knit and Crochet Now!

Annie’s acquires Knit and Crochet Now!

Leader in craft market adds Candice Jensen Productions

BERNE, Ind.—Annie’s, a leader in the crafts market, has acquired Candice Jensen Productions, creators of the popular PBS show, Knit and Crochet Now!
The move further establishes Annie’s as one of the largest and most diverse sources of craft designs and instruction in the U.S., with five magazines (Crochet World, Creative Knitting, Crochet!, Quilter’s World and CardMaker), three catalogs (Annie’s Crochet & Crafts Catalog, Annie’s Knit & Yarn Catalog and Annie’s Quilt & Sew Catalog), a variety of craft kit clubs, scores of new books published each year, 41 websites, and a strong presence on newsstands and in craft retailers across the country.
Annie’s is part of the third-generation Muselman family business based in Berne, Ind., near Fort Wayne.
In just four years, Emmy-nominated Knit and Crochet Now! has catapulted to the top of the PBS roster of knitting and crochet shows.
Knit and Crochet Now! reaches more people than any other knit and crochet show on TV,” according to Candi Jensen, the show’s creator. “The program is available to 250 million people and is the only knit and crochet show currently available on the Create Channel.”
A popular knit and crochet designer, Candi has over 400 designs published in national magazines, including Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, Family Circle, Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits and Interweave Crochet. As a recognized expert on knitting and crochet, she has been tapped numerous times for her expertise on national television (Good Morning America, Carol Duval Show, Knitty Gritty), and is the author of 14 books.
“I’m thrilled to be working with Annie’s on Knit and Crochet Now!. They have the expertise and vision to take the television show to the next level, and I know the viewers across the country will be overjoyed with the results,” Jensen said.
Each episode of Knit and Crochet Now! features host Brett Bara and a team of knitting and crochet experts. Kristin Nicholas and Maggie Pace cover the knitting side, and  Robyn Chachula and Drew Emborsky teach crochet techniques. In every episode, the experts demonstrate at least one knit and one crochet project, with patterns that range from afghans to sweaters and baby items to home decor.
Every episode also features an interview with an industry great. Past shows have included segments with Kaffe Fassett, Debbie Stoller, Mari Lynn Patrick, Debbie Macomber, the gang from Ravelry and the founder of Etsy.
            A full 26-episode season will be in production this fall for release in spring 2013.
            “We are very excited that Candice Jensen Productions is now part of the Annie’s family,” Michele Fortune, Annie’s executive VP, said. “Knit and Crochet Now! is the best show of its kind, and we are looking forward to working with Candi, expanding the reach of her show and creating others.”
Annie’s ( is part of the third-generation Muselman family business headquartered in Berne, Ind., near Fort Wayne. It is well known to crafters and nostalgia buffs for its print and digital magazines, pattern books and other related products, sold primarily via mail, websites and catalogs. The Muselman business began in 1925 with the founding of Economy Printing Concern in Berne. EP Graphics, as it is known today, is still owned by the Muselman family. It specializes in high-quality, four-color web printing for catalogs and magazines.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Living the Life Creative

I am in a mixed marriage. He's a Catholic.  I'm a Lutheran.  He's a conservative.  I'm a liberal. He's a mechanical engineer. I'm a creative. I know, right?!  That last one is a doozy, but somehow we make it work.  There are times though, that he looks at me with the amazement a child would display over seeing dogs sniffing one another.  It's like the old adage: Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.  Except in this case it would be: DH is from Planet Logic and I'm from Ooo, shiny! For those who are not natural born creatives, let me preemptively answer a few questions:

1.) Yes, I MUST touch or smell everything interesting to me.  I know this seems like the behavior of a toddler, but I can assure you I won't be putting it in my mouth, so all is well.

2.) Sometimes I just stare out the window or sit outside and do nothing but take in the sights, sounds, smells, and beauty all around me.  I find beauty in the simplest things: the curve of a leaf, the articulated leg of a grasshopper, the smell of the breeze passing over fresh water, the sounds of nature, and the color palette of the sky.  No, I'm not zoning out. No, I'm not "self-medicating."  ;)

3.) No, I cannot have too many "hobbies." I have an incredible need to express my feelings and thoughts via media, whether it be yarn, fiber, fabric, paint, or textiles.  Every medium is different and offers me the opportunity to create a mood based on a technique, a color, a texture, or a combination thereof.  No, I am not undergoing psychotherapy.  ;)

4.) I cannot force my creativity.  I need to feel in the moment.  Yes, that means I may flake out and not write, design, knit, or create for months.  The entire process is about self-expression, self-awareness, and enjoyment - not about mass-production.

5.) Yes, I make money creating.  No, it's not a lot.  No, money is not the reason I create.  And NO, money doesn't encourage me to mass produce.  Being creative is more of a personal pursuit, than a professional one for me.  I like that I can make money at it, but would not be devastated if I never earned another penny from it.

6.) Does being creative mean I must be unique? Nope.  It means that I'll be creating whatever makes me the most inspired at the moment, whether it's creating a beautiful shawl from a pattern that another artist wrote or writing one of my own patterns.

7.) No, not all artists are clad in Birkenstocks, Boho dresses, smoking dope, and saving the whales while making art that speaks to the socio-economic truths of our age.  Personally, I like to wear my husband's t-shirts, a pair of sock monkey slippers while sipping coffee, and reading blogs.  Oh, and I am a typical mom.  No, I don't live in a commune.  I live in a cape cod with too much laundry, dust on top of the cabinets, and am in a perpetual state of disarray.

8.) It may look like it is just knitting, like Grandma used to do, but it's actually keeping me from dozing off ( or poking my own eardrums out) while listening to the PTO moms ramble on about the perils of the pickup lane.

9.) No, I'm not ignoring you.  Yes, I can knit and listen/talk at the same time.  I'm a mom, for God's sake.  I can juggle, fold laundry, and bandage wounds at the same time.  I think I can handle listening and knitting together.

10.) Yes, I bring my knitting everywhere.  Yes, I talk about it.  I also listen to you talk about Fantasy Football, tail-gating, and your kids' wonderful soccer season while admiring your numerous sports memorabilia.  No, it's not that different.  I just happen to prefer knitting.  It's not any more obsessive than your need to watch, participate in, or promote year-round sports.

11.) Yes, I was born this way.  My mother was not a creative type. My father is into cooking and gardening.  Neither of them even own yarn.  It's not a lifestyle choice.  It's biology.

12.) Yes, I know I can buy socks at Walmart for $2.96.  Yes, I realize you wouldn't have the patience to knit your own socks.  Yes, they really ARE better handknit.

13.) No, I'm not a bored housewife.  Most housewives I know like shopping, spa treatments, PTO meetings, Girls Nite Out, Book Club, and the soccer mom life.  I could do any of those things, but I prefer a cup of tea, a circle of friends, and a hank of cashmere.

14.) No, I don't knit my husband sweaters.  He promises not to try to part me from my yarn and I promise not to make him a $400 sweater he'll never wear.

15.) Yes, there are other knitters under 90 - just like me!  In fact, there are millions of men and women who knit, crochet, weave, and spin - and we don't make toilet paper cozies and ugly holiday sweaters.  Yes, Vogue really DOES have a knitting mag.

16.) No, I don't want to spend 20 hours and my beautiful Merino-Cashmere-Nylon blend (which I stalked a shop update for) to make you a hat.  1.) You won't take care of it as instructed. 2.) You won't appreciate how much work went into making it.  and 3.) You won't want to pay me $40 for the yarn + $5/hr to make it.

17.) Yes, knitting, crocheting, weaving, and spinning are creative endeavors.  No, I'm not trying to find something to do with my time.  See #13.

18.) Yes, I know the yarn at Walmart is cheaper.  No, I don't want you to buy me yarn, especially novelty yarn. Yes, I know it's "just yarn", but I cannot feel inspired by something that is simultaneously chaffing the skin off of my fingers.  Yarn to a fiber artist is like paint to a painter.  You wouldn't take a professional painter (artist) a container of Crayola water colors from the dollar store, would you?  Yes, I'm a professional artist.  See #5

19.) Yes, I take pictures of odd things because I like the color palette.

20.) Yes, I have pictures of my yarn.  Yes, I have pics of my kids too.  No, I'm not crazy.  Yes, I know you all call me "crazy yarn lady." ;p


Monday, August 13, 2012

Press Release: Magic Count for iOS


Free Knitting App for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad

Magic Count, a new app available at the Apple app store for the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, takes row counting to your mobile device. The interface is clean and elegant with a short learning curve. Unlimited counters are available to track several projects simultaneously.

Counting is as simple as tapping. Yet, this row counter also does sophisticated calculations and features pop-up reminders for shaping instructions, motif placements, and miscellaneous notes. Do you need to increase or decrease stitches evenly over a range of rows? Rather than breaking out the calculator, just enter the information on the shaping tab to add reminders at the appropriate row counts.

This app even handles shaping instructions for circular knitting where you are knitting the front and back of a sweater at the same time. Shaping may occur at the beginning and/or end of the row or distributed across the row, on all rows or alternate rows.

The motif placement tab calculates placement of buttonholes, cables, and other design elements within a row. Use the simple reminder tab for anything else that needs tracking.

When the counter advances to a reminder, the reminder page appears automatically. The reminder page features a highlighter that highlights each section of the instruction as it is worked.

Independent software developer, Jennifer Schmidt, states that "being both a software developer and a knitter gives me unique insights to both endeavors. I am especially pleased with Magic Count; it solves an essential need for knitters and is a pleasure to use. I hope that you, too, will find my knitting apps useful and enjoyable."

Magic Count is free and includes a 5 minute tutorial video to get you up and running quickly.  More information is available at


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On The Blocking Mats: Lazy Katy

Lazy Katy, by Birgit Freyer, was a truly delightful knit!  This very simple, asymmetrical shawl is knit in stockinette stitch from the short side to the long side and then stitches are picked up to knit the lace edging.  The lace edging is bound off with a crochet BO that is difficult to understand from Birgit's chart, but thanks to Cheryl who posted a YouTube video, it was easy as pie!  This was knit in Noro Taiyo Sock, colorway #3, on US Size 8 needles and finished with a 5.00mm crochet hook.  I will most definitely knit this again!  However, I will likely not knit it in Noro Taiyo Sock again.  Although the yarn is a pleasure to knit with and the colorway is superb, the skein was such a PITA.  It was riddled with yarn vomit, knots, and tangles.  It took me nearly twice as long to knit this because of the skein issues.

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