a little online distraction

Five Quick Clicks

Sometimes it's just not possible to focus on one thing, when too many others are competing for your attention. This is one such week. Too many new and noteworthy things are pulling my attention in all directions.

In honor of curious minds and short attention spans, I'd like to present five people, places, and things that are inspiring me this week—and that I think may inspire you too.

Coastal Knits

1. The Power of Friendship
Coastal Knits is a new book by Alana Dakos and Hannah Fettig. Friends and accomplished knitwear designers alike, Dakos and Fettig just happen to reside on opposite ends of the country—one in Portland, Maine and the other in California's Central Coast.

In somewhat the same spirit as the blog 3191 Miles Apart, the two friends decided to collaborate on a creative project that would highlight their simultaneous geographic differences and creative similarities. The book features just 10 designs, but each is fresh and thoughtfully conceived. What touches me the most, however, are all the photos and notes about the local places and yarns that inspire each designer. Beautifully done.

2. Harvest
Speaking of collaboration, a while back Malabrigo announced a program for designers. The concept was simple: Malabrigo would supply the yarn, the designers would, well, create beautiful designs. It seems obvious enough, but for many knitwear designers, gaining access to yarn is a challenge.

Nichole Reese—better known as Bluegirl Knits—jumped at the opportunity. Her unfettered access to Malabrigo resulted in the recently released e-book Harvest. It contains five patterns total, including a most unusual pair of mitts whose magic relies on the felting qualities of different fibers. I got to play with the samples during Vogue Knitting Live Los Angeles, and they're definitely worth a second look.

3. Dream Hotel Room
Three cheers for the quirky Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton, England. Known for its peculiarly themed guest rooms, the hotel recently outdid itself when it unveiled its very punny Do Knit Disturb room. Designed by artist Kate Jenkins, the room features a decor only a knitter could love, including a knitted telephone, lamp, curtains, toothpaste and toothbrush, and, of course, a knitted bedspread. Although I might skip the toothbrush if I were you.

Chicken Boots needle accessories
4. Do Chickens Need Boots?
I recently picked up a colorful little gadget for keeping your DPN projects intact. Anyone who's experienced the horror of inadvertently removing a DPN loaded with tiny stitches, and watching those stitches quickly unravel, you'll thank me for this one.

It's called a DPN Keeper, and it's made by Etsy retailer Chicken Boots. Her stock will vary depending on the day, but the idea is simple: Two little envelope-like ends are connected by a piece of elastic, all of which is covered in funky, colorful combinations of fabric. Both sizes retail for $10, which includes free domestic U.S. shipping.

5. Proper Schooling
And finally, check out this recent New York Times story about a Waldorf school in Silicon Valley that is bucking the trend toward digital classrooms for kids. The Waldorf School of the Peninsula—many of whose students are children of über-high-tech Silicon Valley execs—hasn't a single computer in any classroom.

Instead? According to the article, teachers rely on such complex tools as pens and paper, blackboards and colored chalk, bookshelves that actually contain books, and—ding, ding, ding—knitting needles.

It's all part of the Waldorf methodology, in which knitting is used to help develop "problem-solving, patterning, math skills and coordination." While computers will inevitably enter the equation later, they won't show up until the children have had plenty of time to solve problems the old-fashioned way: By knitting socks.

Now it's your turn: What are your favorite daily clicks? Please do share.

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