Thursday, December 20, 2007

Count down

I have finished my gift knitting, 5 DAYS EARLY! 
To the right,  you will see socks, as requested. She choose this skein of hand-dyed Kona Superwash to become cozy, by the fire, socks.  She doesn't know about the twisted-rib lace leg, but she will appreciate it.  It would be a miracle for her not to have seen these yet.  She even wound the big ol' hank into a big ol' yarn cake. She better wear them. 

Pictured just below, on the right,  might just be a surprise. The recipient is likely to read my blog, though she has already left for the Windy City. But, she does tend to work away from home, and will have computer access. So, no details about this one.



Next is a scarf made from Diasilke hombre. Lusterous and soft, luxurious and yummy are my words for this yarn.  The color gradation doesn't even interfere with the trailing fuscia lace pattern (Fiber Trends). This is a gift for my friend Sharon. She already has it - we exchanged gifts this morning. She crocheted me a rug! Unbelievable.  I'll show you a picture of that later on. The colors are perfect for my kitchen. 



In the last week I have baked  a birthday cake, two batches of cookies for the shop, two batches for the family Christmas Calorie Fest. Three pans of butterscotch sticky buns. I tinkered with the recipe - the sauce is better than ever.  I can say this because I am certain my sisters don't read my blog. I know they would be disturbed by this claim.  

I do love this holiday. Giving presents! Getting presents! Eating and drinking irresponsibly. Still, my thoughts are already wandering to the next year.  We recently hosted a Habu Trunk show at Woven Art. You can find a thorough review of that event on Ava's blog.  I swatched for a cardi last night, and am looking forward to our Habu KAL Sunday, 12/30.  I am putting a warp on my loom, and dreaming of a million projects. Move over sugar plums! I've got other visions dancing in my head. 

Monday, December 17, 2007

More than one way to exchange a cookie!

This year I changed Woven Art's annual cookie exchange from the Second Sunday knit-in, to the Third Sunday Spin-in.  No special reason. And look what we woke up to on Sunday morning. 
That is about 8 inches of fresh snow.  Still, I made it into the shop,  and brought in some of these:











Striped cookies ( we love pattern of all kinds!) and chocolate dipped almond meringues. The recipe is from Cooking Light, November 2007

Meringues
4 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Glaze:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. preheat oven to 200 degrees
2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper
3. Beat egg whites at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat. Gently fold in almond extract and chopped chocolate. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 200 degrees for two hours or until meringues are dry and no longer sticky.
4. Remove from oven, cool on rack
5.  To prepare glaze, place chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring until smooth and just melted. Variation: I added a few tablespoons of hot coffee to make the chocolate more liquidy.  And I always have a cup of hot coffee nearby. 
6. Dip each meringue halfway in the chocolate, dry on rack.  Store in airtight container. 

The recipe for the striped cookies is in the same issue of the same magazine.



A new member of the Woven Art Family: A 36 inch weaving width, 8 harness Wolf. Isn't she lovely?  Below is a picture of the bench. Yes, most of Wednesday and Thursday was devoted to putting together toys.  Seems like the right thing to do in December. 



Monday, December 10, 2007

Weak-end

Fess up!  Who was knitting during Spamalot?
They were talking about you during my group exercise class this morning. Then they went on to discuss how some people will knit anywhere, and all the time.  At that moment I was helplessly stuck under a 35 lb barbell, but as soon as I pulled out of my "turtle", I informed the sweaty gym rats that I was one of "those" people.   That shut them up.  And then they started to ask if I could teach them.  Ha! Of course! Dry off first. 

I am catching my breath from a wonderful weekend of hosting Takako Ukei of Habu Textiles at  my shop.  The woman is as enchanting as her yarns.  Friday evening was a fiber lecture.  She showed us the most exquisite and unbelievable fibers, yarns and woven fabric.  By the end of the lecture, at least half the people in the audience were contemplating pulling weeds in their backyard to make yarn. Others were contemplating making paper yarn out of Japanese paper.  I was planning my next warp.  Woven Art gets a new loom from Schacht Spindle on Wednesday.  I believe it is my duty to weave off a small piece to make sure all is well. Right? Or maybe it is my prerogative to weave on any new looms that come in my door.  

One excellent bonus to the weekend was the opportunity to get to know these better. To see "these", please be sure to scroll down to the opera length arm warmers.  They came over for dinner on Saturday. Great new friends, and great inspiration, all in one weekend. 

Lots of sweater kits were ordered. Lots of new yarns, as well as a restock of all the ones that sold over the weekend.  It was a bit of a frenzy, and I did feel for a moment like I was loosing my mind.  A common occurrence for me in the presence of Habu.  I get kind of weak-kneed. 
I do feel a little sorry for my UPS guy.  "Are they here yet? Are they here yet?"  For the next two weeks.  Sorry Santa, you've been upstaged.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December


Happy December!  Here is the newest stitch challenge for you!


And some pictures of things from the dye bath. Here is a big lump of Superwash Merino. It is darker on the inside.  Sold by the ounce.  We'll rip off the amount you need.


This is green monte cristo on top, Tiara silk boucle (already sold) in the middle, and Rio, a rayon yarn on the bottom.  Same dye pot!
And this is two skeins of Kona Petite, a sock weight superwash merino, dyed for a customer request.  I dyed three of each, and she will only need one - so call Woven Art if you like them!
The bottom one is navy - not gray at all. 

This coming week is full of excitement.  Tuesday evening I get to teach 15 beginners how to knit at the East Lansing Public Library.  I am very happy to do this.  I really enjoy teaching, especially the newest knitters.  Then on Friday, Takako Ukei of Habu Textiles will arrive with her trunk show. I tend to loose my mind in the presence of too much Habu.  Really, my speech pattern is altered,  my knees quake, my breathing gets very shallow. Somehow I handle it better in the shop, but even so, every now and then I just stand and stare at the Habu.  I pick them up, put them down and ponder, whenever I get a chance.  So I am very excited about having the Trunk Show, with their fabulous sweater kits, for Friday and Saturday.  You owe it to yourself to come in if you are anywhere near Michigan.  Takako will give a talk on Habu yarns on Friday evening, at 7 p.m., and Saturday morning she will give workshops on how to read Japanese patterns.  They are written differently, that's for sure.  There are still a couple of spots in the Friday lecture, and more than a couple spots in the morning workshops.  Call 517-203-4467 if you'd like to reserve a place for yourself. 

On  these bitter cold days I am grateful that I have a cozy place to come too. What is cozier than a room full of yarn?  A room full of knitters!  And crocheters! And spinners! 

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Green Monte Cristo - a worsted weight softer than anything cotton boucle, and some tiny baby shirtsRed Tiara Silk - a boucle. And Red Montana, a worsted weight wool. Really Red, not the pink you see here.
Purple, Turquoise and Blue Roving. It has some white in it. It isn't glaring. My lighting needs work.
Thanksgiving is hard on this here foodie. I love to cook. But, yarnshop takes up much of my creative energy, and the rest goes to knittingcrochetingweavingspinningdyeingfelting...
So, it is with pleasure that I celebrate a day devoted to FOOD. Oh I am very thankful for that. But, the menu for Thanksgiving dinner is pretty much set. There is not a lot of room for experimentation. I am lucky to have an audience that is a little bit flexible, but Turkey on the grill is required, mashed potatoes:required, stuffing:required. I usually mess around with one or two elements. This year we didn't have any pumpkin pie. I was nervous about that, and even called the one daughter who could join us to make sure that it would still be Thanksgiving without it. Instead I made a chocolate walnut caramel torte. It took four hours to construct. I loved that. I made the caramel from white sugar. The walnut crust - very fragile- from scratch. And it turned out to be soo rich that you physically can't eat more that a half inch wide slice. At least not post turkey and stuffing. So I have this huge rich chocolate and caramel torte in my refrigerator.

Maybe I'll bring it to the shop tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bright Copper Kettles, and...

Warm woolen mittens.
Brad, who comes into my shop singing off the return addresses of the brown paper packages he is carrying.
22 pre-schoolers, curious about wool (they were just here - what a hoot!)
knitting dilemmas, easily solved
chilly days and warm fireplaces
baking chocolate chip cookies, and collecting accolades.

Most of all, sharing my favorite things with my favorite people. Therefore I am planning a first ever after Thanksgiving day Sale, on the best stuff. I am still working out the details, and will announce them in my e-news next Monday. This much I know: Jacquie Vaughan's handspun yarns, Qiviuk, hand dyed cashmere, Buffalo Gold, and Habu yarns will be 20% off regular price. And to help with what to make: all loose patterns will be 50% off. Three days only, November 23, 24, 25. At Woven Art.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Artist Co-op

I have been working on a project. Not really a secret project, but one I haven't talked about too much until now. There is space next to my shop that would be ideal for artist studios, with a small gallery in the front, and a big window out to the sidewalk. I mentioned this to the City of East Lansing, and to my landlord. All agree, it would be great to have artists working there, and selling their work. so, we are all working together to make it happen. My landlord even is going one step better, and will be providing outdoor work and sculpture garden space.

There will be room in the building for 6 artist studios. The rent will be very affordable, with subsidies available for artists that meet income requirements. There will also be a second tier membership available for those who are actively waiting for studio space, or who want to be involved, but don't need working space. This number will also be limited to about 6 additional artists.

My role is to get artists, and to provide some management for the co-op, until it gets off the ground. The goal is for the co-op to be self governing and self sufficient as soon as possible. If you are an artist and would like to see the space, please call Woven Art to set an appointment. 517-203-4467. If you know of any artists that might be interested, please pass this on!

Monday, November 12, 2007

A few more travel pics

First , one for Ragnar:A cathedral relic. I wonder who it is? One bad thing about tours, is that while they are full of information, they often leave out answers to questions like "Who is this?" Trying to figure out the owner of this carefully and reverently preserved skull and crossbones, I nearly lost the group, so I had to hurry on. A little later in the same tour, I did lose the group entirely, because of this owl:

He is in the contemporary section of the tile museum, located inside the cathedral, in Lisbon. Lisbon is widely known for it's hand made, handpainted tiles, and still has at least one factory operating today.
Can't you just see this knit as intarsia, or inspiration for entrelac? I really want to weave this into a tapestry. It is chaos, gridded out. Madness organized.

And here is some inspiration for lace. I can imagine how to crochet this. Solid, colorful medallions connected by long chains, but how to knit this? I know there are lace knitting geniuses out there ( and I know who you are!). How about it?
Just for context, and further inspiration:

I love travel, for all the obvious and common reasons. Just as satisfying to me is returning to routine. This past Sunday, fighting off a travel cold, I stayed home from the shop.
I roasted a chicken, baked chocolate chip cookies, did some knitting homework,
and also some gift knitting. I hate being sick, and I hate staying home from the shop. But, returning to routine is healing in a significant way. I guess my kitchen is my "center of normal".

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Patterns and color and texture, oh my!

This is the ruana I made to take to Barcelona with me. I wore it most evenings. It was just the right amount of warmth. It feels great on too! Just the right amount of drapey, and so soft. I can't really say that I felt like a native Barcelonian in it-as I didn't see anyone else with anything like it. Lots of shawls, and scarves. But no other ruanas. Sigh, ahead of the fashion curve again.
And this is a sidewalk in Lisbon. Most of the sidewalks I saw there were cobblestone mosaic. There were different patterns, lots of them floral. I loved them. Gary said running on them was a *^%$&, and pulled his hammy again.

I saw so much pattern and color that inspired me in both Portugal and Spain, I am going to have to dribble it out a little at a time, lest you feel you are being forced to see someones travel slides. (well, you are, sort of). But really I found much inspiration that could be translated into knitting, weaving or crochet, and it wasn't limited to items of clothing. After all, pattern and color are prevalent in most fine crafts, so why should there be cross over? For instance, wouldn't the above pattern be adorable as an intarsia pillow? Or a mosaic pattern for a handbag?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Neuva Entrada

Blogger is talking to me in Spanish! All the instructions, headings, etc are in Spanish. This must be because I blogged from an internet cafe in Barcelona. But does that make sense? Aren't I the same blogger the world over? And, at this moment I am in my own house, back in good old EL. Ha! Well it's a nice reminder of the time spent in the magical city of Barcelona. We might not ever have considered going there if our daughter hadn't found herself the opportunity of a life time in a study abroad program. She's been in Barcelona for the last three months, and has about three weeks left before she gets on a boat to Italy. We got to see the city in much more depth because of her. She aptly describes her experience there as like living in an advent calendar. The streets are filled with doors, many like garage doors that open and close depending on the time of day, day of week, and whim of owner. Everytime you walk down the very same street - it looks completely different depending in which doors are open. The part of the city we were staying in was built on the foundations of the Roman ruins. The streets are very narrow, with high stone walls. What might look like a tiny cafe or shop, often turns out to be cavernous, with many levels and rooms, one after another. Enchanting! And full of inspiration for fiber artists!


This picture was taken from a shop window on Passeig Gracia - in the high fashion neighborhood. Look very closely at the neckwear. It is three or four finger knit strands plus, a knitted swatch! Yes! Now you know what to do with all your samples!

I will try to post more pictures later this week, after blogger starts speaking English to me again.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ola from Catalunya

Hello from Barcelona! We are having a wonderful time, having eaten every shrimp in the Atlantic while in Lisbon. Our hosts were very generous with their time and expertise, and we got to see Lisbon in a way we couldn´t have. We even heard a very famous fado singer, in her nightclub-restaurant. I didn´t know what Fado was, but it is sort of torch, folk, blues music. Very emotional -ususally sad and haunting.

Now we are in Barcelona, and as I promised, I am taking photos of everything colorful. This afternoon we plan to go to the Picasso museum, the Textile museum, and then to see one of Gaudi´s masterpeices.
We will be back next week, and I´ll post of couple of pictures.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hats and capes

It has been a great Fall at the shop.
This time of year is always the best, with people picking up their knitting and starting new projects. It is infectious, even for someone like me, surrounded by it all the time. I find myself working up lots of small, quick, giftable projects like this hat. Knit from Diamussee, with Tilli Tomas Disco lights peeking through the ribbing. It is going to be a little bit hard to go away for 10 days, starting Wednesday. But I can't complain - I get to go here,
and then here.

And, I get to wear this:
I finished my Barcelona Ruana in the nick of time. I think it will be a perfect travel companion. It is light weight, and warm. The weather there should be in the mid 60's most days, and a little cooler at night.

I have also been working on using some of my huge skeins of cashmere - Embrace from Classic Elite. It is fun to see how much I can get out of one massive skein. From an orange to purple skein I got two large scarves, fingerless gloves, and a hat. I just started a new skein, and wrapped the first scarf around Kelly today while she was trying to spin. It is a 3/5 Sunday spin-in at Woven Art today, after all.

The light blue stripe is Tilli Tomas Flurries, and has tiny blue beads on it. I wish my camera could tell you that.

I am leaving the shop in the best of care while I am gone. Please stop in to see Jessy, Jenn, Kelly and Deidra.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'd rather be dyeing

I want a bumper sticker that says "I'd Rather be Dyeing". It would be appropriate today. Monday is my Dye Day. The shop is closed. I am careful not to schedule meetings or lunches. But today I am headed up to Baldwin to pick up some of my art work from the Pamela Tripp Gallery. She had some of my tapestries and accessories over the Summer. But now that Summer is really and truely over, I must go retrieve them. But, I'd rather be dyeing. Instead I can show you some of what I dyed last week:
Kona Superwash. What is wrong with my camera? This is in reality a very deep blue, purple, and turquoise combination.
And these are rich Fall tones, not Spring-like pastels.


This one is closer, but, it is also, in person, very rich and deep. The color seems right, but the intensity is way off. And what is the point of showing you pictures of yarn I dyed, if I am not showing you what the colors are really like? Note to self: learn how to use your camera! I am sure there is some simple setting adjustment I can make to rectify this!

Happy news! For me at least! I finished my Barcelona Ruana, and even wore it to a fancy dinner last night. I am very very very happy with it. Pictures soon!


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

First Sunday

Sunday was so much fun for me at the shop. In additon to our regular book club meeting, we hosted an opening for Della Reams. The turn out for both was great! Della Reams is a textile and design professor at Michigan State University. She is an award winning designer, and best of all, she is showing her garments and wall hangings at Woven Art through mid-November. Here are some of her dresses, and some scarves on the left:


And here is one of her wall hangings:





I have a few knitting projects in the works. Pictured below is a WIP, second edition.
I had planned to do an entrelac scarf
but, I thought the pattern too chunky for the yarn. The yarn is a lovely heavy worsted weight cashmere from Classic Elite, called Embrace. It comes in huge hanks - with 690 yards on each one. So far from this skein I have crocheted a ripple scarf, and knit fingerless mitts and a hat.
I like the way the cashmere feels in this drop stitch pattern from Barbara Walker's Second Stitch Dictionary. It is cushy, squishy, and I think it really shows off the fun dye job.

I also have been invited to Ravelry. If you haven't done it already, I suggest you get yourself on the list. I have just begun to scratch the surface. I am finding friends and joing groups. But I know I will love being able to see other peoples yarns,projects and ideas.




Friday, October 5, 2007

Where is McYarny?

This almost made me late for Grey's Anatomy tonight. It arrived at the shop late in the day, just before my weaving students arrived. The picture is a small sampling of the lovely yarns from Dancing Fibers. Oh, and patterns too! I think I'll make a sparkly tank out of the dia-misterio near the front of the picture, for dressy holiday wear.


I am also tempted to ditch my current entrelac design plan (in Sarah Peasley's class) in favor of the dia-silkhombre pictured at the right end of the pile. It is so soft and lustrous.

I also have been quite distracted by the arrival of the latest Tofutsies Sock club yarn. I love this color way - like tart green apples. And the Holiday Issue of Interweave Knits! Yes! Already! And it includes patterns for Tilli Tomas, and Jacques Cartier Qiviuk. Yum, Yum. Between the normal fall buzz, and the new yarns 'n things buzz, and the approaching holidaze buzz - who needs caffeine?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Happy October

Uncle!

I give. I am stressed out. Remember two posts back? I vowed not to cave in to stress anymore? And then we sanded the east half of my house? For 8 days? This morning we have a professional working on it and making good progress. This will be resolved soon. But my happy husband ran out of the house today with the salutation that the guy from Hager Fox was on his way over. So much for my pre-work workout. I waited for him, showed him all the furnaces, and the thermostats, negotiated the space with the guy who is finishing our floor, ( if you work on this part first, and then this part second, furnace guy will have time to replace the thermostat, if he does it right now). Then I decided - I am out of here! I got into my car, grumped at the downpour, and backed right into the ditch that some landscaping genius years ago thought would be pretty right next to our curvy driveway. This ditch has an agressive history. It swallowed up the moving truck the day we moved in. It has captured several teenage friends. But it had never gotten me before.

I would just go to the basement and do yoga, but my new TV is smack in the middle of my yoga spot.

I will take up my knitting, and be calm.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Whine and Entrelac

When I returned from my morning walk yesterday, the two guys were still, (after 6 days), were still sanding the whole right side of my house. When I walked in, one looked up - kind of panicked, and said "Do you have tools?" Just another bad sign in a very long string of very bad signs. You may recall we embarked on this adventure to get ready for a party. One that was to happen at our house tonight. The party was moved to a different venue - but the kitchen is still covered in saw dust, all my furniture is still crammed into our living room, our new TV (yay!) is in the basment, the cable guy couldn't do his job today, and I have no idea when this will all be resolved. They arrived back at 10 this morning, and resumed sanding, and began applying the polyurethane. The floor is still blotchy.
After seven days of sanding and re-sanding, it was clear that the two people we had hired didn't know what they were doing. Now, I have to find someone else to finish the job. I called someone today, who said maybe he could schedule us for this weekend. I told him I might be in love with him. This guy has sales staff, a receptionist and a website! Call me shallow - I just want the madness to stop.

In the meantime, Bogie has been at the shop every day, and is getting used to it. He gets many extra belly rubs - so he is a very happy dog.

Now - for some knitting:

Here is the start of the fourth project from the same ball of Embrace - a yummy 100% cashmere yarn from Classic Elite. The ball is huge. And the yarn has a very long color variation. This scarf will be mostly red with purple at the other end. The burgundy sparkly yarn is Tilli Tomas. A perfect pair!
And this is one of my swatches for my entrelac design class with Sarah Peasley. It is Rowan wool cotton. I might need to make the squares a few stitches smaller. But I am thinking of a very deep V -neck pullover, with solid gray sleeves.

And this is the other swatch. We are supposed to make two swatches - but with the same yarn. I am still deciding which project I want to do. Th green/brown yarn is Texas Bighorn, hand dyed. The oatmeal yarn is handspun silk and alpaca. I think it will be very warm, and wants to be a long cardigan/jacket. Now I have to decide which to knit for my class. However, I can't think anymore. I just want to curl up and watch TV. But I can't! Whine.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Never pick up a paint brush a week before a party

Now that I seem to have my virtual life back under control, my real life is a mess. Well, just my house. My life is fine. No real problems. I keep reminding myself. I think it was just last week ( after reading a headline that indicated that stress causes weight gain*) I vowed to not become stressed out about anything anymore. After all, most problems do become resolved, in a good way, most of the time. Worrying and losing sleep never helps.

I decided that it was just fine that my guy needs to have a work related party - a big work related party at our house on Friday. And he suddenly sees our home sweet home's many little flaws. Like a water spot in the living room, and some unpainted trim. No problem! But while we have a painter in the house, and the ladders out, I am suddenly quite tired of the bright yellow kitchen. The painter swears she can get it done - it won't take long! And since we are moving furniture, let's just "flip" the room. Couch over there now, and TV here. So far so good. So far, still floating along stress free. Then, my guy decides it is time to refinish the wood floors. So, all the spare bedroom furniture, kitchen furniture, closet stuff, and TV nook furniture have been moved to the living room. The floor guys start sanding Friday afternoon. One week before big party. They get one fourth sanded. Saturday morning, my guy decides to go for a bike ride, leaving me to wait for the floor guys. And wait, and wait. They show up late morning to a woman who is losing her resolve about not stressing out. After sharing my feelings, I leave for work. Luckily I can walk the mile in,( biker boy had to take my car (?) so he could drive his bike to his friend's house!) but this morning I had my dog with me, along with a couple of bags of things. My dog is no picnic to walk. He is all over the place, tugging in multiple directions, and blind as a bat - so he has to be steered. Biker boy's phone calls me - but it is just static. So I tell him I can't hear him. He calls again. Still static. I emphasize that I can't hear him, and hang up again. His phone calls my phone 12 times on the one mile walk to work, juggling a blind dog, and two bags. My responses become increasingly pointed. My resolve totally blown. One block from work there is actually a voice on the other end. He wants to know "what's up?" and doesn't quite understand why I am madder than a wet hen. It turns out he didn't know he was calling me- the phone was in his back pocket, and his butt was calling me over and over again.
So, today is Monday. My living room is still full of furniture ( and I've decided the yellow couch needs to be blue), they are still sanding. So what should I do?

I've decided to repaint the gallery portion of the shop.


* I never read articles anymore - just headlines

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hi Ho Good Neighbor!

I don't know which planets are doing the Virginia Reel in my sun sign, but it sure has been messing with my communication systems. I guess that would be Mercury - any one else having technology issues, or general mis-communications? Anyway, I am back, and posting. I don't know for sure if I'll ever get back here again - this had something to do with a change of hosts, coupled with a stubborn browser. I think. Maybe.

But I would rather go on and on about fiber arts. Here is a length of double weave "plaid" that will be coming off this sweet little loom today. There is someone waiting in line to use her, so it is time for me to be done. I am just about out of warp anyway. The warp is a combination of Sock yarn, and Merlin, a wool/linen blend from Louet. The weft is also the same combination. The sock yarn makes the fabric look even more complicated than it actually is. I have no idea what I am going to do with this. Or, maybe I have several ideas, and I am just waiting for the right idea to become obvious. I know that the next step, after taking it off the loom and securing the edges will be to throw it in the washing machine, on hot and heavy, then directly into the dryer, followed by a severe pressing. All this punishment should soften the fabric, and full and shrink it. I will let you know what happens. Maybe it will become handbags?

Below is some yarn I plan to use in an entrelac vest in a class that I will be taking with Sarah Peasley, Handknitter. What do you think, Sarah? The top yarn is a thick and thin, handspun alapca and silk. The bottom yarn is hand dyed Texas Bighorn - mohair and merino. I think they should knit at about the same gauge. Do I have to swatch?

Some of you shop regulars know that I have this cashmere yarn from Classic Elite that comes in huge hanks, for what seems to be an astronomical price. But when you divide it all up, its really no more than any other 100%, beautifully dyed cashmere. I finally gave into my own temptations, and started in on one ball. So far, I have made a crocheted ripple scarf, and a hat trimmed in Tilli Tomas disco lights. I plan to also make handwarmers, trimmed on either end with the same disco lights. Then if I have any left over, ( I know I will) I will make a "Pidge"
I have some great tagua nut buttons to add to the pidge. So, not so small projects, all gift worthy, from one skein of yarn. That's not bad!

And finally, though I resist on a normal basis, one really fuzzy dog:

He wouldn't hold still for the pose. He is now completely blind, and in need of a bath. But our kitchen at home is under going some tramatic redecorating. That is why my one eyed, yappy, scruff ball is here at the shop, and will be for the next few days. At least until they are done sanding and refinishing the floors. I left him there during all the painting - and while the painter and he got along swimmingly, there were little white paw prints on the floor every night when we got home.

I almost forgot to tell you about the Barcelona Ruana!It is warped, and about one yard is woven. I have until October 24 to have it finished, sewn together and washed. I figure I can crochet the edging on the plane if needed. Anyway, the details:

Warp: Prime Alpaca from Henry's Attic. The black is threaded in a straight draw on 8 harnesses. The tan stripe is threaded in a diamond pattern called "Periwinkle" from Davidsons. The treadling is 12, 23, 34, 14, (repeat 3 x), 34, 23, 12, 14 (repeat 3x). I am not using tabby. There will be two panels, each about 72" by 22", and one 36" by 4" panel for the middle back. So, I will have to thread the loom again for the back peice.
The blue string you see is a guide string to tell me when one panel is done and the next one needs to begin. I will weave 2 inches of plain weave in bewteen for hems. I am a little uneasy about having enough time.

Wish me luck! And, if you wouldn't mind doing me a huge favor - please send me a message if you get this far. It seems I can only get here from certain browsers. It would help me to know if you got here from yours! Thanks!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

testing

This is just a test to see what, if anything happens. There is major weirdness in the blogosphere, at least my connections seem all messed up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Go Green in East Lansing

Sunday was lovely! While it is well known that yarn shop owners don't actually knit all day, sometimes we arrange opportunities when there is an event that requires that we hang out and knit with others. The reception for "Hand Knit from Hand-dyed" was one. We had a delightful group. A few people who are new to the shop, one person who is new to the world, a couple of Mom's, and at least three offspring of those sitting around the round table. I managed to finish off a cashmere beaded mobious. And I also finished off most of the spinach-artichoke dip!

Here's some news! I had a meeting this morning with people from the City of East Lansing. We are working together on creating an artist co-op to occupy the space next door to Woven Art. The co-op will consist of studio space for 6 to 7 artists, and a shared gallery space. While all the details are not yet ironed out, we want to move ahead on this as quickly as possible. If you know of any artists who might be interested in studio space in downtown East Lansing, please have them contact me.

This coming Saturday we will host Southwest Trading Company "Go Green" event. There will be yarn and fiber samples, lots of educational materials, and the chance to knit on a tree sweater for the one in front of my shop. You know, environmentalists are often called "tree-huggers". Well, not only do we embrace our trees - we dress them up! The event will also include a free pair of Chai-goo knitting needles, and free beginning knitting instruction for anyone who needs it. Bring along your newbie friends! It will be easy to be green at Woven Art from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday, September 15

Friday, September 7, 2007

Reception for Knitters this Sunday

Here is a special invitation to all of you who live in the mid-Michigan area. On Sunday, September 9, Woven Art is hosting a reception for the fiber artists who have contributed to "Hand Knit from Hand Dyed" an exhibit of garments made from yarn hand dyed by Nancy at Woven Art. Also on view will be hand made shawl pins by Jill Valenzula. Please join me in applauding these talented and generous artists, and join me too in raising a glass of wine, or cider, and enjoying other refreshments.


Now that school is back in session, there is new creative energy in the air. There are more interesting ideas floating around Woven Art than I can shake a stick at. Or two sticks! Ha ha. I am trying very hard to be somewhat disciplined in which projects I pick up next. But it is really really difficult. Here is one:
I am calling this my Barcelona Ruana. That's because I hope to wear it to Barcelona this coming October. I am indeed going to Barcelona, and Lisbon too! I am uncertain about whether I can finish a large weaving project before I go. We will get to visit my oldest daughter, and attend a meeting. Anyway. I need clothes. I think a perfect outer garment would be a black alpaca ruana, with a pattern stripe at each edge, and one up the back. Hopefully the stripe up the back won't have a skunk effect, as it will be red, with a strong diamond pattern. And it will match the side stripes. I will try to post progress here as it happens. So far, as you can see, I only have the warp measured out, and the reed about half sleyed.

And here is another! Actually I can blame this one on Deidra. She causes many new ideas to fly around the shop on a regular basis. It would drive me nuts, if her designs weren't so intriguing! Anyway, below is Deidra's idea for a shop class. D knit the bag, and lightly felted it by hand. I made the crocheted granny square embellisments. There is nothing wrong with your monitor, or my camera. The square on the left is fuzzier looking, because it got lightly handfelted as well. We are still in the testing stages - and decided we like it felted. So - this will be a two-fer class. Deidra will teach the felted bag part, and I will teach the crocheted embellishing part. As I said earlier, the bag is still in process, look for I-cord and beads to top it off.
Another technique I have been wanting to play with is mosaic knitting. It is a method of two color knitting that is different from Fair Isle. I am still discovering things about it, but it seems like you can have longer color lines with Mosaic knitting. You only carry one color at a time, so there is much less worry about tangling. You work from a chart, and you have to pay attention - but each design line is worked twice, so you really only have to think every other row.
I just finished this slouchy sling bag:
I think it is pretty cute! Understanding the "sling" part was harder for me than understanding the mosaic part. You knit a tube - as long as it is wide. Do a three needle bind off. Then you put a zipper in at a right angle to the bottom seam. OK - I get that part. Then, you sew the cord to one corner, and to a center back, and you put a button on another corner, and a loop somewhere else, and it is supposed to end up doing these triangle things, with other options for different ways to carry it. Huh? I need to see one that someone else has made. Help!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back to School

And back to normal. I love the return to routine. Classes are starting up. I have most, but not all of my classes listed now on my brand new website: www.yarnandfiberart.com.
And Mondays are once again for dyeing. Except for next Monday, which will be for retrieving a very tired biker from the Mackinaw Bridge. Here is some of what I dyed this past week:

Black, brown and red on kona superwash.
Carmel-y brown, and shades of green on Kona Superwash. The camera didn't capture the correct color this time. Why is that? I need to take about 42 more classes on too many different subjects just to be as good as I want to be on all the things I do every day. Anyway. I took all these pictures in full sun, which explains the flashes of light. I like that, but it doesn't really tell the true story about the yarn.
This one is pretty close to accurate. This is a light red and gray on Prime Alpaca. I was dyeing it for a project of my own, but I want a deeper red, so I am releasing this batch into the wilderness of the shop.
This is red and purple on Kona petite. The real colors are much deeper. Wonderful for a shawl or for socks. And this is what I have been knitting:
The pattern is Sahara from Stitch Diva. The main yarn is my hand dyed Nassau, a silk and cotton blend. The trim is Tilli Tomas Disco. I have four more rows to knit on the neckline. Then it gets attached to the base of the neck opening, and stitched up to the level of propriety that you prefer. As this will be worn by my youngest angel daughter, I might stitch it up pretty high. The style is meant to be plunging however, and she is smart enough to figure out how to unstitch it, so maybe I'll just concede that it will look very "hot" on her.
That said, I loved knitting this pattern. It is written from the top down. It was a relatively quick knit, and a different approach than I have had before, so it was very entertaining. Because of the large skeins and the top down knitting, I bet I'll have fewer than 10 ends to weave in. I haven't counted - should I?