Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Knee sock to the rescue!

These socks are life savers. They distracted me during the college graduation ceremony of the youngest one. Oh, that pomp and circumstance did get to me, but by focusing on my sock, I was able to keep from wailing "my baby"! over and over. Then a few days later, my car died at a gas station. Well, I thought that was a pretty lucky place to break down. I went inside and asked for a jump. Nope - couldn't do it. The nice young man was as nice as he could be while saying he couldn't leave the store at all. And they don't have jumper cables. Would I like to buy a hookah? (yes - this gas station sells hookahs, but not jumper cables. Love the college town atmosphere!)

Good thing my sock was there to help me maintain my patience and good manners while I waited for the dealership to come get my very dead car. Knit from a Conjoined Creations sock flat, the knee sock is on top (Making Strides - free download on Ravelry), of the twin of the flat it was knit from. Lots more colors of Flat Feet at Woven Art.

In other news, a few weavers finished projects this past week. On the left is Joann with her first ever rigid heddle project. Her shawl is made from hand dyed Nassau silk/cotton, and Starburst from Fiesta yarns. This picture doesn't begin to show how pretty it is. The shine from the rayon makes it really dressy. Did I mention first project? Joann - you rock! On the right is Kerry with a complex 8 harness patterned twill scarf. She choose a silk weft in an identical color to the wool warp. Both yarns are Woven Art hand dyed. The effect is very subtle, but very beautiful.

Barb made a cushy afghan from hand dyed kona and hand dyed panda wool. The kona was a variegated brown, black and deep red. The panda wool was a silver and brown combination. The weft was a dark brown yarn. The result was a luxurious warm, cozy and beautiful blanket. Moments after taking it off the loom whe wisked it off to be wrapped.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


They've been shipped! And, you can see, they mutiplied. The recipient saw some of them on her last visit, and said that the small one reminded her of a "pill". She also said she would keep the small one upstairs, so she could lob them over the railing at her unsuspecting hubby.

Well, there are lots of way to stay warm. The whole idea for these "Pill-ohs" is to help keep the draft away along their window sill. But a good game of chase will do as well.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Big Green Pretzel

Woven Art got in an Addi Express knitting machine last week. It is a great way to make big pieces of knitting for felting! I made a Christmas promise to knit, and felt, snakes for a long window in chilly Chicago. Much as I love knitting, it seemed like a lot. The answer? Addi Express!

The short brown one, above, is 100 turns on the machine, and it felted down to about 12" long. The big green pretzel was 400 turns on the machine. I kind of thought that would give me a four foot long snake. Nope. The snake is more like 6 feet long, and a bit thinner. Actually, perfect for my purposes. The knitting took about 90 minutes, then there was the felting in the machine, and the stuffing. Total project time - a little more than 2 hours.

I'll make a few more, in different combinations of the same colors. I hope my Chicago kids are not reading this. But if you are - are the colors OK?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And I didn't even get to the knitting...

The present for my pirate is coming along. I have a skein of lace weight (well mostly lace weight) yarn. I am very happy with how the colors blended, and with the effect of the added ply of stainless steel. I have decided to weave this. Yesterday I dyed some 20/2 silk a light variegated purple for the warp. I also have a dark purple cashmere and silk blend from Jojoland. I plan to choose a complex 8 harness twill weave. I am going to look for one that has a textural quality more than a pattern with a strong repeat. What I visualize right now is that the handspun yarn will be at each end, for as long as it will go, and the dark purple cashmere will be in the middle, where the scarf will wrap around her neck. As super cool as the stainless is in the yarn, I am a little bit worried that it might be picky. Like pin-pricky picky.

I love having a plan.

Today, I will take the kitchen curtains off the loom, and be ready to warp as soon as the silk is dry.

Recently I came upon a couple of fun resources for you. Knitters might enjoy a trip over to Vogue Knitting. Check out VK360. You can see all of the Holiday issue projects moving around on people! It gives you a much better sense of how it will look and wear on a semi real person. You know what I mean. I entertained myself for an hour just looking at these video clips - with my reaction ranging from " oh I want that" to "never mind after all". Isn't it so much better to find that out ahead of time?

The other fun resource is for weavers. Go to Weavezine. It is full of technical advice, and lots of cool projects. I get so excited when I see weaving getting out there into the wide world. I do believe a weaving resurgence is upon us.

This afternoon I am playing with my rigid heddle loom. My study course for this year is to find out how much I can do with one of these very simple, portable looms. The short answer so far is: way more than I would have thought. I will post some pictures soon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A present for My Pirate

I am still pretty new at this spinning game.  Not in years or months mind you - just in the amount of time I have been able to spin.  I am happy to know many people who spin frequently, and are very good at it. They inspire me. Sometimes they  inspire me to do crazy things. Below is yarn I am making for my traveling pirate.  The plan is to  ply the turquoise together with the the orange, and the micro stainless steel. I am hoping for yarn that is about lace weight. 

Sorry for the blurry picture, but the picture below at least shows haw the colors are working together.  The micro steel is super fine - like thin hair. Seriously - the hair off  my head is thicker. You can barely see it - but I am hoping it will give the yarn a bit of a glint. 
Below is the work of  another inspiring person who is often at the shop. 
This is white linen, and silver being warped onto her loom.  
And this is Jill. Jill made me buy the micro steel for this project. So I guess I can blame her. 

And this is one small box of four that we took to the Black Child and Family Institute yesterday.  Woven Art and Rae's Yarn boutique were involved in a charity knit-off against Knit A Round and Flying Sheep in Ann Arbor. We had until the end of the Michigan/Michigan State game this past weekend.  We won with 307 hats, mittens and scarves to give to our community!  The Ann Arbor shops had an excellent showing with over 238 items.  All in all, a fun way to get hats and scarves to people who will need them this Winter. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My lucky day

Just before heading into work the other day, a DHL truck pulled into my driveway and handed me a package from Mexico!! It is from my traveling pirate, who knows I love textiles. It contained a book on Mexican weavings. The cover said "Bilingual". There may be two languages in that book -but neither one is English.  The pictures are all I care about anyway. They are wonderful.  Also in the box were some actual Mexican textiles.  Yippee!

This is a detail from a tapestry made from bits of colored Roving.  I very carefully pulled back on the tufts of wool to make sure it isn't painted onto something prewoven.  I am impressed by the vibrant colors, and the detail the weaver got with roving! 
Above is the whole image.
Here is a small embroidered bag - so cute! Just the right size for a home for my I-pod. Thanks sweetie - I love them all. 

So, that was a very nice way to start my day!  Imagine my surprise later  at the shop,  the MailMan handed me a package with this in it:
This little weaving is from Maureen Mason Jamieson, who had visited us a couple of weeks ago for some splendid workshops.  Thank you  Maureen!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Last weekend we hosted Maureen Mason Jamieson for a weekend of knitting workshops. 
In collar obedience training, I learned how to give a nice roll to my collar, just where I want it, and how to do a double pick up, to enclose the seam at the back of the neck.  This will be valuable when knitting for anyone easily annoyed by "things" inside their clothing. This includes everyone I am currently related to.  

In the Shadow knitting class I made a darling little pouch that has been sent off to my favorite finisher 
so that it can become a place for my ipod.  This will help me not lose my ipod.  I can't believe how much these workshops have saved me! 

The third class was a Japanese Knitting class.  This one made my head explode, and I know I was not alone.  I can't wait to apply the Japanese three needle bind off on a sweater, and the short rows!  Yes, my "gotta do that' list grew and grew.  As a follow up to that I ordered several more Japanese knitting books, but this time they are more centered on techniques, and stitch dictionaries.  They should be here  by the end of this week. 

On the finishing front - still working on a swirl shawl, a Lady Eleanor, a linen paper and silk coat.  I did take a pretty tofutsie scarf off the loom yesterday.  I want to finish the ends, and wash it before I photograph it.  I did it on a rigid heddle loom, but added a lace texture by using a pick up stick behind the heddle.  Next on the Rigid heddle loom: I want to make doors for my office. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October Fun

We had a rare family outing with two of our daughters this past weekend.  Family fun is a little different now that they are of legal drinking age! First we went to October Fest, where I saw some guys in big gray pointy felted hats.  I knew I needed one. Right away.  Between beers and brats I began to think about how I would go about it.  We went to a play, put on by Peppermint Creek Theater, which was a very twisty version of what might have happened to the Peanuts Gang as they grew into teenagers.  Though the play had some very surprising moments, as soon as it was over I started to think about pointy felted hats again. Then we went to the Unicorn Bar, and listened to some great blues by School Boys.  Still couldn't get the hat out of mind. So, the next day, I went into the shop
and made this:

This is a close up.  If you want the pattern, drop me an e-mail.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Toss me some needles...I am drowning in yarn!

Woven Art is having a growth spurt.  Lots of new yarns are coming in.  This makes me happy - as I am in love with yarn of any stripe, twist or fiber. However,  yarn, books and needles come with tons of paper work, inventory management, organizational problems, (where, oh where, do I put it all?), etc.  And all I want to do is play with it.  On one level I can justify my "play" by making "shop models". These are items that are already made up to give the customers ideas, and to help them know better how a yarn behaves.  

Above is a picture of 3 swatches of Jojoland Rhythm.  A worsted weight yarn, long and subtle color gradation.  These three swatches are from one ball.  Left to right: crocheted, felted and knit in stockinette. 
And this blue-purple shawl above is 1/2 of a Lady Eleanor. The pattern for Lady Eleanor can be found in "Scarf Style", and is done in a knitting technique called entrelac.  I will finish it, but I can share along the way - right? It is knit with two colors of Feista La Boheme. The whole shawl will take a total of 6 skeins.  And it will be, let's say, generously sized.  
And this is my "Swirl" shawl. Made from Jojoland's Melody, a superwash fingering weight yarn, in color 14.  The shawl is completed with 5 rows of hexagons - here I have almost two done.  It is not yet blocked. 

I know what some of you are thinking - she is only working on two projects! Not true! There is also a Habu paper/silk coat on the needles, cafe curtains on my large loom, a tofutsie scarf on my rigid heddle loom, and bright blue fiber on my wheel. 

Time to go make stuff!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Back to Life

I am a bad blogger.  

My excuse is the same one everyone else uses - time.  In truth, it doesn't take long.  And now I am faced with either not documenting a half dozen projects that I did over the Summer, or posting a reaaaaly long post.  

I'll just talk a little bit about my current projects.  

1) I am making the Jojoland  Swirl Shawl out of Melody.  No pictures yet. I'd promise pictures - but, right now it would sound kind of hollow now wouldn't it?
    This yarn is new to my store, I brought it in on the recommendation of  some knowledgeable fiberistas.  The yarn is a sock weight wool, with a very long, subtle gradation.  Still, it goes gracefully from green to red, and back again in just 50 grams. The pattern is a series of small lace hexagons, and you  pick up and knit one to the next.  I have 15 done now - and am just about to turn the corner.  

2) Lady Eleanor- published in  Scarf Style and designed by  Kathleen Power Johnson.  I am making it in Feista La Boheme. Two colors - a solid periwinkle (light blue violet), and a purple family varigation with a touch of light green.  The yarn is a mohair combined with a shiny rayon slub. I am knitting on 10.5 needles.  It is moving along pretty quickly - it is now about 50" long, and I am still in the second set of skeins.  Originaly I thought this would be an 8 skein project, but now I know it will be done in six, maybe just four.  I'd like to promise to post about that later - but, well, you know. 

3) A paper and silk coat, designed by Setsuko Torri, and provided in kit form by Habu Textiles.  I really want to wear this coat.  I love the texture.  And the design is going to be great for this Fall - I am seeing sweater coats everywhere.  I made very good progress over the Summer, only to discover, when I read the pattern more closely, that it is to be knit in stockingette - not garter. Months of garter.  Miles of garter - to produce a very oddly shaped little 'coat". 
I like it much better now.  It is my project for when there is other stuff going on in the room.  It should be done in no time.  I'll post it when ... nah. 

4) Curtains for my kitchen windows.  Black linen warp, blue 
linen weft for tabby, and variegated  turquoise, blue and green for the pattern weft. The weave structure is a diamond shaped crackle weave. I took a picture of it - but it is blurry.  

5) A "something' for my middle daughter, who is traveling through South America for the next few months. She is often on my mind - so I wanted to design a project that will give me a way to focus my thoughts about her.  I am spinning a very bright, lace or fingering weight yarn.  You can see it on the spinning wheel above.  My "plan", which is evolving with each step, is to ply it with a bright turquoise, blue and purple strand.  Then, perhaps knit a  lace scarf.  I intended to do a 3 ply yarn.  But then, today I listened to an interview on WeaveCast with Judith McKenzie McKune.  Her talk was about spinning for weaving.  For those of you who are interested, it is a recent  issue. Grkgrl, - do not listen to this podcast.  Get someone else to tell you about it.  There is lots of good information about spinning for knitting in it too - but mostly it'll just make you want to weave.  Anyway- Judith said that for Knitting, you usually want a three ply yarn, unless you are making lace.  A two ply yarn will pull away from the center of the stitch, and a three ply yarn will roll into it, creating a smoother fabric.  I found that tidbit fascinating. In fact, I listened to the whole interview twice, back to back while I was dying yarn today.

Which brings me to: dyeing yarn today!  It has been way too long since I have been in the dye studio.  My finger nails are purple now, and my arms are tired from lifting pots. I smell a little like washing soda, and I couldn't be happier. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


See this hat?  I made the yarn!  A previous post shows Victoria posing by the lake with the roving that became the yarn that became the hat.  I made a yarn that striped!! I am so excited.  I chose a roving that was extra bright, and plyed it with an even brighter yellow.  That's the top.  The next stripe is the roving plyed on itself, and the bottom is plyed with purple.  It was too much fun to knit with, causing me to become more addicted to spinning.  Be warned - those of you who have so far resisted the wheel. 

You can imagine how sad I was when I plopped the hat on the head of the intended daughter, and saw that it was too big. Way too big.  Couldn't see her pretty eyes. Couldn't see her perky nose. So, in a snit - I tossed it into the washing machine and dryer.  Yes, my too cool for me hand spun yarn.  I said I was in a snit?  So, it felted - but it did not shrink. Argh!  I was able, with the superhuman strength that comes with most good snits, to rip the hat back and reknit it.  While wet.  But now, it fits, it is cute, and in retrospect, worth all the trouble.  

Back to the spinning wheel.

Monday, August 18, 2008


My First Wonderful Wallaby:

Made with Feista Yarns Boomerang, a machine washable wool with an amazing hand, and beautiful colors.

It would look better on an actual 3 year old.  I don't have any three year olds in mind - I just wanted to make one, so that I can say I did.  Loads of people come into the shop with Wallaby questions.  It was fun to make.  The construction is very clever. I want to make a bigger one for myself out of Monte Cristo - a super soft cotton. 

More finished projects, and more new projects coming soon!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Things to come

As expected, I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I thought I could during my vacation. There are stacks of books and magazines yet unread. I have lots of yarn unknit, roving unspun. So what did I do? Why, I took a trip to Stonehedge Fibermill, and bought lots and lots of their beautiful Shepherd's Wool yarn,  and, for my spinners, some of the Shepherd's Wool roving.  I had to keep a close watch on it, as Kelly was verrrry interested in how it might spin. OK - I gave her a little.  We are both in love. 

I also designed a bag, two stitch challenges, spun some hemp from tow, and a very bright karaoke, plied with solids. I also made good progress on my Habu Paper coat.   All of this is crammed into the picture below, partly because my camera battery is flashing red. Mostly because some of these are somewhat secret.  You'll see. When I'm good and ready!

Most days I called back to the shop to see how things were going. From what I hear, it has been plenty busy.  When I placed my Fall orders at the Trade show in June, I asked that most orders not arrive until after July 15,  so that my shop-sitters wouldn't have to contend with boxes, and boxes, and more boxes of yarn rushing in the doors.  However, it appears orders from Habu, Plymouth, Dale, Louet, Stitch Diva, Mac and Me, Frabjous, Lantern Moon, Unicorn and Feista yarns are pouring in.  I won't recognize my own shop when I get back!  You'll see me next week, in the gallery studio, surrounded by mountains of brown boxes spilling out yarn and fiber, with a perplexed look.  It will take a bit of determined creativity to display all these treasures to their best advantage! 

But, right now I am savoring the last bits of time at the lake. Maybe one more trip in the Kayak. 

Friday, July 4, 2008

Arts and Crafts at Camp McRay

I took a class at the Crooked Tree Arts Council on Japanese Woodblock printing with Mary Brodbeck.  I think I did this type of printing 15 years ago in college - so I am way out of practice. I am thrilled that I was able to carve a shape, and using two colors, register the print. I even got a tiny bit of depth to the image - something I initially wasn't even going to try for.  I don't know how much of this I'll do in the future, though I hope I do again before another 15 years pass.  I consider this to be cross training.  I had a moment of that "homecoming" feeling when I first walked into the large sunny studio with the huge work table in the middle.  Anyway, below is the result. I made 8 prints, and gave one to Mary.

I have found lots of time to spin!  This little skein here is Karaoke fiber, dyed in a very bright, primary colorway, plied with purple.  Next up - plying the same karaoke with acid bright yellow. Find your sunglasses before my next post!

Unfortunately I have tendonitus running across the top of my right foot. This is not caused by spinning! No!  Doc advised no more spinning until foot heels, and no more long walks either.  Good news is - I can spin with my left foot. Now I just have to figure out how far I can hop!
And this above is my bag. On a puzzle. We have a boatload of girls,  ahem, young women with us.  They love to do puzzles, so every surface that is not covered in yarn or fiber, is covered in puzzles.  Can you guess the puzzle?  Can you see how this will be a bag? 

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vacation plans

My two week vacation starts today.  Yesterday was mostly packing, driving, unpacking, and heading into town for provisions. So today begins the process of concentrated relaxation. 
On my vacation I plan to:
1) Read

2) Make a Bag. pattern pending

3. Play Colorku!  Like soduko, but with colored marbles!

4. Play with Vicky 
5. Take a class.

6. Blog, with pictures, to document  how reality matches up with plans.  Does it ever? 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What happens at Patriarche...

Stays at Patriarche. I brought a camera to our World Wide Knit in Public picnic at Patriarche Park in East Lansing, MI. But the batteries died. So, no pictures. But, of course I had friends there who had working cameras. Lynn H
took fabulous pictures, and video too. Rae also took pictures, and promises to put them, here
very soon.

We want to do it again next year, but TNNA will coincide with WWKIP. What to do? I think it is a big boost to knitting world to have yarn shops celebrating WWKIP, so should we hold our event one week later? Tell me what you think y'all.

Friday, June 13, 2008

World Wide Knit in Public

Celebrate World Wide Knit in Publicday with a  picnic tomorrow at Patriarche Park in East Lansing.

Woven Art is teaming up with Rae's Yarn Boutique to knit in public at a public park!  Bring whatever you would like to grill, a dish to pass, your projects, and your sense of community fun. 

There will be free knitting classes on site, so bring your new-to-knitting friends.  

As we used to say a gazillion years ago - be there or be square!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

TNNA hangover

I slept in this morning, recovering from the boondoggle that is TNNA. In a good way. Too much fun, too many ideas, too much yarn to choose from. Ti many martoonis. But seriously, after 5 years of shopownership I am much more confident about my yarn choices. I know my customers better, and feel I found a good mix of yarns that offer quality, value, and fashion.

The classes I took are what left me reeling with too many ideas. I could spend all my time taking advantage of what I learned in Web 2.0. The Planning special events class also gave me more ideas than I have time to do. I also attended "Easy Being Green". I have been interested in environmental issues for a very long time. My MFA thesis was based on extensive research I had done on the Great Lakes environment. So, I am intrigued by the organic yarns, and the yarns that are more environmentally friendly. This class gave me some language and questions to be asking to discern between companies that are employing marketing smoke and mirrors, from companies that have truly beneficial practices. One aspect of the discussion centered on "carbon footprint". How many times has that yarn been around the globe to get to you? This supports my desire to buy locally when possible, which is a good thing on many levels.

But now for knitting fun. Here is the Sweetheart top from Lana knits in All Hemp 6. It is pictured on littlest sweetheart, but was knit for middle sweetheart's birthday. I think it will fit her perfectly.

And now that I have put it on my blog, I can mail it to her. Hey - girl - once you get it, how about posting a picture of it on you, on your blog?

Sunday, June 1, 2008


A brand new month! And that means, a brand new stitch challenge. Here is the stitch challenge for June 2008, designed by Angie Tzsoumakis.  

I should explain the stitch challenge for those of you just joining us. Every month Woven Art offers a new pattern block.  So far it has been primarily lace, and lace cables.  It is kind of like doing a small knitting puzzle.  For $1 you get the pattern, and a ball of Montana (100% merino wool), just big enough to complete the square.  You may keep these as a great dictionary of stitches that you have done, or stitch them together into a blanket or wrap. Past patterns are available for $2 each. 

To encourage people to finish their stitch challenges, I have offered a reward. If you show me your completed stitch challenge before the end of the next month, you will get a 10 spot marked on your loyalty discount card.  

And, to make it more interesting, we are sponsoring a design contest.  Using a stitch pattern from any of the stitch challenges (17 so far!), design a garment, or blanket, or a whatever knitted thing.  You may use any yarn, any scale.  Entries will get points for creativity, and for design integrity.  Deadline is August 31, judges will be Jessy Henderson, and Nancy McRay. The prize is one 8 ounce skein of Montana, dyed to your specifications. 

Remember what I was about to put on my loom in the last post?  Here is a close up of it in progress.  The color isn't doing what I had predicted or planned for, not at all.  I envisioned the purple pooling on one side, and the green pooling on the other side.  So, deep breath.  I think this is OK.  And with the complexity of the lace pattern, maybe even a better, more cohesive color distribution.  The warp is a rustic silk, and the weft is a slubby, but soft cotton. This should be very dreamy on a cool Summer evening.  Now I just need to find time to weave it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"M" is for...

May - almost got by with no blog entries
Mother's Day in
Memorial Day Marathon (not me, silly - I spectate)
Mayhem, beginning Friday with a 20% off sale at my shop.
That's 20% off the marked price on all yarn, books, needles and patterns. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 5/30 to 6/1



The Sweetheart Top from Lana Knits, in allhemp6. A birthday present for my Tucson daughter. She turned 25 last Friday. The construction of this sweater is very clever. Above you see the back. It is knit side to side, with short row shaping. The front is knit in very similar fashion, with some changes to the shaping. I am almost to the second underarm gusset - so I may finish it before she is 25 and a month.

And this, on the loom will be a swedish lace shawl in decidedly untraditional colors.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I want to be your "something".

I was showing a new friend a baby blanket I had made for my trainer, and then a baby sweater I was working on for my hairdresser, and she said "I wanna be your something!" 

" Can I be your nutritionist? Gardner?" 

Here is a baby blanket woven for my trainer, and his wife and impending daughter. I inquired about colors, and pink is the winner, with a touch of green.  I wanted a lightweight, super soft, machine washable blanket.  I wanted some visual interest, but subtly.  So I dyed some yarn. I dyed Alpine Cotton Petite in a pink and green variegation, as well as solid pink.  I also dyed some Safari III in the same pink and green variegation.  Then I warped the loom in subtle texture stripes, 20 ends of Alpine P, 20 ends of Safari III.   The structure is plain weave with 30 shots of solid pink alternating with 20 ends of the variegated safari.  Actually, as the effect is very subtle, my process was more like a bobbin full of alpine, then 20 shots of safari.  

Anyhoooo. This is the result.  Oh, the fringe. Tied tiny tight knots, cut 'em short.  Threw the whole thing in the washing machine. Washed on hot, rinsed in cold and then dried on hot again.  It softened everything and shrunk it as far as it will go. 

Looking at the picture I notice you can hardly  see the green. Told you it was subtle!

And here is the sweater.  Isn't it cute!?  It is the Baby's and Bears Pattern from Cottage Creations.  The yarn is Rowan Pure Life. This yarn is a dream to knit with - many plies so be careful of splitting it.  But is is wonderfully soft. 

I like this sweater so much, I think I'll make another. Any one up for a knit along? 

Of course, in addition to the above projects, I have been dying tons and tons of yarn. No pictures here, you'll have to come into the shop to see.  I am very excited about Kona Sport.  Same machine washable wool as my best seller - Kona Superwash, but, you guessed it - in sport weight.  Maybe a B&B sweater out of that?  

I also have been busy planning Summer events, and new yarn acquisitions. I am going to need new shelving!  I met up with Rae Blackledge of Rae's  Yarn Boutique last Saturday.  We both skipped lunch in favor of caffeine.  And one result is that we cooked up a picnic!  On World Wide Knit in Public Day, we are jointly hosting a picnic at Patriarche Park in East Lansing.  We have reserved a shelter and tables.  Please come!  Bring along a dish to pass, and/ or whatever you want to grill. We'll bring soft beverages.  And, of course knitting and crocheting.  The more the merrier of course - we want the world to see that knitters are a force to behold. And join!  Let me know if you are coming. Drop me a comment or call 517-203-4467. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cross Breezes

The weather cracked moments before I did. It was suddenly warm enough to open the  doors on either side of my kitchen, allowing a warm-ish breath of air to float through.  My little blind dog raised his nose to sniff, checking for squirrels.  

It is the perfect weather to inspire trying new techniques. Call it a cross breeze for the brain.
On the left, below, is the start of a Stash Buster Blanket, using a three yarn tunisian crochet technique.

I am using all yarns from the sale bin - don't they look lovely together? This easy technique uses a HUGE crochet hook, with a long "tail" on it.  It is easy, fun and fast. Like a breeze!

On the right, above, is the beginning of a double knit hat. I am designing as I go. And learning as I go, as well. A few favorite customers requested a double knitting class. So, I spent an afternoon with a Lucy Neatby DVD, and then another afternoon, and learned so much my head nearly exploded. But, as Lucy explains, walk away from it for a bit, and when you come back, it just makes all kinds of sense.  
I will be ready, in two weeks for the one night workshop.

The fuzzy picture over on the right is a top down design from Stephanie Japel's book "Fitted Knits".  The yarn is Louisa Hardings "Glisten", with the trim in Nassau, a hand-dyed (by me!) silk and cotton blend.  The picture is fuzzy in part because the yarn has a subtle little glitter to it.  It will be perfect for  Summer dinner party.  I have to admit, I had doubts about this sweater every stitch of the way. But, finished, I love it!  

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Weaving, and a contest

I would like to share with you some of my latest explorations into loom controlled shibori, and on the same warp, collapse weave. I used the Monk's Belt threading , #455 from A Weaver's Book of 8 Shaft Patterns. The picture above shows the supplemental wefts going vertically. Sorry! I used 4 shots of plain weave, and then a pattern weft, in nice, stiff, carpet warp. These were pulled tight before dying:
Below is the same threading, same 12/2 cotton warp:
The weft is Diacosta from Diaketo yarns. The color changes all by itself! It is currently about 70 inches long and 12 inches wide. I plan to crochet an edging all the way around to sexy it up a bit. You'll see!
And finally, here is my high twist crepe yarn scarf. Same warp, same monks belt threading. In this case I used 12/2 Tsumugi from Habu for the plain weave, and high twist wool crepe (also Habu) for the pattern weft. It was REALLY boring, until I gave it a hot bath, which released all the twist, pulling it into these pleats. Then, I picked up and knit along the ends to create a ribbed ending, using the silk coupled with a strand of silk/stainless steel. I can think of several more ways I could have done this. So, now I have to do some more.

On top of that, I am sorely tempted by the "Think Outside The Sox" contest promoted by XRX, and several yarn companies. Woven Art is a designated "Sox Hot Spot", which means I just got in a ton of sock yarn. It also means that I got in several bags of Tofutsies Collector Pack. This includes a cute purple bag, 4 skeins of tofutsies in collector colors, and a DVD with 10 patterns. All for $64.

Anyway - the contest! There are several categories to choose from. My two favorites are "Get Hosed" making Kilt socks, and a dye-your own contest. Alas, as a shop owner, I would have to enter the professional category. That means stiff competition. My socks would have to be extraordinary, and out of this world. I'll think about it. I just never know when an idea worth doing is going to hit.

By the way - there is some serious prize money. I have application forms - stop in and get one!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

art and knitting

Woah! Didn't expect to see that on a knitting blog did you? The big red head is part of one of my latest creative adventures. There is going to be a local art show called "Social Discourse" this Spring at the Lansing Art Gallery, and I felt called to make a piece for it. Ten years ago, or so, my grad school career was focused on making political statements with my art. I did a lot of work about environmental issues, and also a a large weaving about the first war in Iraq. I found making art to be the best way for me to express my concerns. My only goal for my artwork was to encourage others to at least think about the things that had me worried. Bring it up to the surface. I have never intended to tell other people what to think, as many politically based artworks seem to do. Instead I use it as a platform to illustrate what I think, and perhaps to spark a dialogue.
Here another picture, including all the heads. The working title is "One, Two, Three, What are we Fighting For?", and the opinion I hope to illustrate is that throughout the current Iraq War, the reasons for being there have shifted several times. Between our press, and our administration, it is very difficult to get a clear understanding of what our goals are in Iraq. And in the meantime, it is very, very costly.

Each head will have a hat, with an inscription in Fair Isle. (I am very lucky to have two dear friends who are knitting two of the hats for me. Thank you!) The text of each will refer to a different reason of set of reasons that have been offered to us. 9-11, WMD, Iraqi Freedom, and the last hat will be a flurry of words that have been in the media a great deal lately. On the cheek of the Red Head, is a paragraph citing Americans for not being well informed about the War. I am suggesting that our misinformation is due in large part to a spectacle driven media, and shifting rationale from our leaders. But that is just what I think. What do you think?

OK - now back to knitting. It is April! To prove it I offer you a picture of the April 2008 Stitch Challenge! It is a Tulip designed by Kristina Zwick. And it is ready for you to pick up at Woven Art. For those of you who don't know, Woven Art offers a stitch challenge every month. For $1 you get the pattern and a ball of yarn just big enough to knit your little square. Those who have been playing along, now have about 16 seven inch squares. That's a decent little stitch library, or it could become a beautiful blanket or shawl. For the fabulously creative, (you!), there is a contest. Using one of the stitch challenges as a starting point, design and create something. Could be a scarf, sweater, socks, wallhanging, etc. Jessy and Nancy will be the judges, the prize will be one skein of Montana (the stitch challenge yarn) dyed to your specifications. Deadline is August 30.

This is my Flair sweater. Washed out by the flash. But still pretty cute. Designed by Wendy Bernard,(Knit and Tonic) and knitted with Ty-Dy yarn. I can not wait to wear it. Next week maybe. I am looking for a day over 60. Right now the sky is spitting snow.

April Fool!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Silk Obessesion

I dyed so much yarn yesterday that I collapsed a drying rack. And today I am dying roving. Happy, Happy me! 

Pictures next week!

This past Saturday, Jacquie Vaughan taught a silk spinning workshop at Woven Art.   We learned a bit about the history and cultivation of silk. I briefly thought it would be fun to raise silk worms.  I think I am over that.  Then we boiled up some dyed silk cocoons and stretched them on wooden frames ( or cardboard for disorganized me):

Above is one stretched cocoon.  After you get about ten stretched out together they make a very pretty "hankie". Then, you can spin from it.  During the course of our class we got a chance to spin from a silk cap, a silk hankie and also from a Bombyx silk brick.  
I quickly fell for spinning silk on a drop spindle.  Currently I am spinning it fairly fine, and alternating spinning from the cap, with spinning from the brick.  Spinning from the cap gives you a little bit of a slub as bits of the cap hang on.  And the bombyx brick yields a very smooth yarn.  Well, I  get some thick and thin parts, but I am just still learning. My guess is that these two plyed together will make a beautiful, somewhat rustic silk yarn.  So my spindle is always near by, in a little bag my oldest daughter made me ages ago.  I pick it up when I have a minute.  I have one cocoon shaped lump, and am working on the second.  Maybe I can ply tomorrow! 

I am a nerd. 

Go here for fun.  I am not the only one who likes to dress up trees!