Wednesday, December 28, 2011
It's a fluid thing, changing with my interests, energy level, and time constraints. New ideas tend to derail current ideas-in-progress, making it hard to fully accomplish things sometimes.
I accept this fluidity as an important part of my creative process. But I worry about some of the better ideas getting away if I don't capture them somehow. A new idea actually causes me anxiety, because as much as I want to chase down "new idea", I am worried about dropping and losing the ones I already have brewing.
Did you see Ice Age? With the squirrel needing to keep track of his acorn? That cracks me up every time I see it. That is exactly how I feel about my fiber to do list. Ironically, just like with the squirrel and his nut, the harder I try to grasp an idea, the more likely I am to either have it slip through my fingers, or squeeze the life out of it.
The coming of a New Year is a great excuse to give a little solidity to ephemeral ideas. I am about to start a list of creative objectives to accomplish in the next year. This list will be a fluid thing, with a few rules. Starting today I will publish a list here of some of the things I really want to do. I am allowed to add more, and maybe even subtract some until and including January 1. On January 2 I will have a final list. And, friends, I expect you to hold me to them.
1. Start an Etsy Shop.
Weavings I think. But what should I start with? Little Theo Moorman tapestries? Kitchen Towels? Fabulous scarves and shawls? Results from weaving experiments?
2. Experiment with Weaving techniques. Collapse weave with handspun yarn for starters.
3. Write and publish 3 patterns. By publish I mean any public format. It could be in my Ravelry Shop, it could be in a magazine ( in which case I will allow for actual print in 2013), it could be for shop hop. It could be free on my blog. These patterns should be:
A knitting pattern - first one might be based on something second daughter wants - a 70's style puffy vest.
A crochet pattern - thinking about either Tunisian bathroom rugs, or Ipad cover
A weaving pattern - maybe the result of some weaving experiments.
4. Refine my spinning. I can be pretty specific about this one. I want to make a novelty yarn based on instructions in a recent "The Wheel", a publication put out by Ashford. And I want to try this.
OK there it is. Publicly announced, and therefore more embarrassing if I flake out. And, I still have the opportunity to refine, add or subtract for the next 4 days.
Note that this list does not include any ongoing, current, or about to be started projects. I should list them here so that they don't get dropped!
A tunisian entrelac blanket for my couch. Haven't started it yet, but the yarns have been picked out and are on my to do shelf in my studio. That makes it a committment
Mitered Crosses Blanket. I swear I will finish at least one square. It will make a cute, if impossibly tiny pillow.
And, now it's your turn? Do you have any creative resolutions for 2012? Put them in the comment box - I would love to have some company.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Our family fun starts tomorrow evening when everyone arrives. I will have very little time for anything but the most mindless of knitting for the next several days. I am ready!
Next year I will knit one for Kelly. Really honey! And the year after that, Ryan, my SIL. Then I will be all caught up - unless someone new joins our family in the next two years. What are the odds of that?
I like to knit hats from the top down. Especially with mystery yarn. Didn't know the gauge, didn't know how much I had. Turns out I had enough yarn to make a slouchy! I made the top roomy, and when I got to the headband part, I went down two needles sizes, and began the ribbing. I have about three inches of ribbing there - so the top part hangs nicely off the back of my head. It is super warm, and looks super cute on me. Thanks again honey!
Holiday deadline knitting now completely done. I have cast on for Peiga Cowl, using O'Paca from Fleece artist, held with some hand dyed silk I had in my stash. The O'Paca has the look of a fine mohair yarn, but with the ultimate softness of alpaca. It knits at a gauge of about 5 stitches to the inch on size 7 needles. Fleece Artist does genius color work with their dyes. There is a swatch now in the shop, and maybe the cowl soon - depends on how many holiday movies we watch, and who is mixing the drinks.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Maybe, more accurately by me, for me.
It is for me that I purchase identical tree ornaments for each of my daughters. It gives me so much comfort to think that when they decorate their own trees in their own homes, they will have a similar set of ornaments, and will think of each other, and of me.
It is for me that I am making a set of Judy's Colors Christmas stockings, one per person and in the order in which they joined the family. Not only are they very beautiful on my mantle - but also a reminder of home, should they be taken to another house some year. It happens.
Last year I added another tradition of weaving a set of 4 kitchen towels, one for each daughter's house, and one for mine.
Only problem is choosing who gets which towel. I think I might wrap them in identical boxes, and let it be random. I might be keeping the white one for myself. I am not worried about blowing the "surprise". It is a new tradition - but they are expecting towels. And, they never read my blog.
For the technically curious: these towels are woven with an "M's and W's" threading. Louet linen warp, cottolin weft.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
When I returned home, I found a huge pile of hats waiting for me! Thank you Cyndi, Kathy, Luann, Tamsyn, and others who sneeked the hats in without me knowing who. I am still collecting hats until November 20, but I may send off a batch sooner than that so that these wonderful hats can start their jobs sooner.
We have 23 so far! Way to go knitters!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
So, as it should be, Woven Art is just a small part of a greater effort to support those who are standing up against corporate greed.
Three more hats have come in:
Monday, October 10, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Here is some information about what is happening locally:
-A Rally and General Assembly is scheduled to take place on October 15th at 10am on the Capitol Steps. This event is in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City. A occupation may take place by individuals who choose to do so.
This is a peaceful movement. Like Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Michigan is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that we Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We plan to use the revolutionary tactic of mass occupation to restore democracy in America. We also encourage the use of nonviolence to achieve our ends and maximize the safety of all participants.
We are a grassroots, leaderless movement. This is not a hiearchy. This is a horizontal movement. Everyone is equal. Everyone is a leader. We are the 99%.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
It is starting to get cold in New York, Chicago and Boston. Wouldn't it be nice for us to send them some hats? Can you think of a more personal way to say "Thank you"? I hope to collect 99 hats and send them off before Thanksgiving. It would be really grand if I could get 98 more yarn shops to join in.
If you would like to help with this effort, you can send or bring a handknit hat, pair of mittens or a scarf to
325B Grove St
East Lansing, MI 48823
If you have a favorite LYS near you, please feel free to encourage them to participate in this effort. I have started a thread on the LYS group on Ravelry.
This information will also be posted on the Woven Art wesite: www.yarnandfiberart.com
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
A good friend recently had a baby girl, so I made a stroller blanket. Luck me - I have access to great yarn all the time. Most of the warp was found in my stash, and it turned out that the perfect weft was Madeline Tosh DK in the color called Wren.
While planning this project I accidentally wound enough warp for 3 stroller size blankets. So, 2 more will be woven. There will always be new babies.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
So, no posts for a very long time, and then four in a row? I was kidnapped by the knitting needles, and the yarnies. These posts might be a cry for help.
This one is Stephen Wests Clockwork, in Punta Merisock and shibui sock. I bought a shirt to go with it, I love it that much.
Started this years Christmas Stocking kit from Judy's Colors. Must say, these are fun to knit. This one is for Kathryn. My goal is one per year until I have made one for every member of my family. Starting with Gary and I, and in order of when they join. After Kathryn I need to knit for Kristin, Kelly and Ryan. Kind of hoping I never get all the way caught up.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Sharon will be teaching at class at Woven Art how how to knit this magnificent blanket. The real thing is at the shop for a few weeks. You must see this in person. Details about the class are on the WovenArt website.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Starting something new is kind of like new love. Choosing the yarn, determining which pattern, swatching and casting on is all foreplay. Then there are several days of progress when I can thin of little else. I dream about it at night. But then, it becomes routine and familiar. I still love my projects, but I crave a new thrill.
Don't think for a minute that I am monogamous. I just try to have one project of each of several types going at once.
Currently I have a sock that is 2 inches away from being finished. Then I can start a new pair of socks. I have been working on this pair for over a year. If I don't finish them before starting new ones, I never will.
I also have what I call a long knit, and that would be Volt. She is a beautiful shawl designed by Grace Anna Farrow. I have been working on this for several months. I am now working on the I-cord edging. When that is done I can start my Knit, Swirl sweater.
My loom at home was empty, so I could justify a new weaving project. Hand towels for the bathroom at Woven art
I just started a new crochet project, and have ten more in my head. None of them are small. Most are experimental.
I have two shop projects that I mostly work on while at the shop. They are definitely shop models, made in my size. But they don't count as projects.
Time to stop rambling, and start some finishing.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Using Mountain Meadows fingering wool for the fat warp, and moriah merino lace weight wool for the skinny weft, I threaded the loom about 12 inches wide. My though was to create a sketching surface that would allow me to capture my scenery in an intuitive way. What you see here is my first attempt.
I plan to return to Elk Lake, East side this time, and do s few more sketches. Get a series going.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Golden Rules for Living
1) If you open it, close it.
2) If you turn it on, turn it off.
3) If you unlock it, lock it up.
4) If you break it, admit it.
5) If you can't fix it, call in someone who can.
6) If you borrow it, return it.
7) If you value it, take care of it.
8) If you make a mess, clean it up.
9)If you move it, put it back.
10) If it belongs to someone else, get permission to use it.
11) If you don't know how to operate it, leave it alone.
12) If it is none of your business, don't ask questions.
I love these.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The first one:
An English newspaper asked its readers this question: "Who are the happiest people on earth?" These were the four prize winning answers:
- A craftman or artist whistling over a job well done.
- A little child building sand castles.
- A mother, after a busy day, bathing her baby.
_ A doctor who has finished a difficult and dangerous operation and saved a human life.
No millionaires among these, one notices. No kings or tycoons. Wealth and position, no matter how the world strives for them are not the things most people --in their wisdom, we might add-- consider the essential quality of happiness.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
The warp was threaded 18 inches wide in the reed, set at 20 ends per inch. I wound a 3.5 yard warp, and wove to 78" long. Not much warp was left! After washing and pressing, the final shawl dimensions, without fringe, are 16" wide by 72" long. Perfect! The fabric turned out to be exactly what I wanted for Onnie. The colors I chose to remind me, and maybe her, of her Florida home.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Positive Emotion: For many of us, just walking into a yarn shop, or touching soft yarn, or losing ourselves in color is enough to make us happy.
Engagement: "When we're truly engrossed in a task that demands our attention, our sense of self recedes and time feels as if it has slowed or even stopped" direct quote. Ever get lost in your knitting?
Relationships: This yarn biz is very different from most retail in that relationships are at the very core of a successful shop. People make new friends in classes, or they simply plop themselves down on a couch and stitch away until someone tells them their whole life story. Then there are the guilds, knitting groups, and other clubs that are offshoots. There are the on-line communities as well. Try bringing out your project at a festival sometime. Instant friends.
Meaning: So many knitters and crocheters donate their products as a matter of course. Sometimes it is a hat or a toy for a local child, sometimes it is to help raise funds for tragedies that happen on the other side of the world. Stitchers are always ready to help someone else, while still engaged in a favorite activity.
Accomplishment: Yes - occasionally you get to finish things. Then you get to show your yarn shop friends and post it on Ravelry, You might even get to wear it and receive compliments, or gift it and receive heartfelt thanks. Whether you have made a cowl, or a blanket, you get a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.
There you have it. I am really looking forward to reading the book, and getting more in depth information about all of these areas, but I am here to say: Stitching is here to stay - or rather permanent!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I presented the final 8 panel project to the Church last night, only to discover that the whole piece was way too big. Somehow, when looking at the blueprints I had it in my head that the space I was to be working with had a top height of 16 feet. Forgot about the doors, I really had only about 7 feet to work with.
That's a big problem.
We agreed to a bit of rearranging. Later, as I tried to go to sleep, I literally prayed, Oh God, please help me solve this problem. A good answer came to me pretty quickly, and involved removing some purple strands of yarn, and cutting a couple of the panels in half. The picture here is of what are now the center four panels. These will be flanked with a 4 foot panel on each side. On the other side of the gathering hall will be the two longest pieces, facing each other like a valley, instead of like a hill.
After I started breathing again, I decided I like this version even more.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Handmade sweaters are still going to classics with some interest. By this I mean that you will be seeing designs that you can make now and wear forever, but will have some interesting detail to make them stand apart. There is also a lot of emphasis on accessories - and that is also where some real fun is to be had! Fair Isle and intarsia mitts and fingerless gloves, cowls will be very present everywhere (yeah for that - think quick but special presents!), and the accessories also will allow you to play with luxury yarns without breaking the bank. Crochet continues to grow as more and more people are interested in learning, and more life long crocheters are able to find patterns written for pretty garments and in pretty yarns. Rowan has been on top of this trend for a few years now.
So, that's what I saw, trend wise. Wanna know what I bought? Look very soon for a wonderful wool and peace silk blend yarn from Frabjous Fibers. Peace silk is made from cocoons that have already released their worm. These cocoons can't be reeled, so the fibers are shorter. This yarn is not smooth and shiney, but has other wonderful silk qualities such as loft and warmth.
We spent a lot of time at Deep South - a pattern distributor that carries most of my favorite designers. I picked up a few new pattern lines; Tot Toppers, Grace Akhrem and others.
Then we went on to Rowan. Had tea with Martin Storey and Nicki Epstein! Rowan has several new yarns that I am super excited about. Colorspun has a soft, slightly textured spin on it, and long color repeats that are very subtle and rich. Plus, of course, great patterns. Then there is a yarn I am calling Lima Bulky. That's not it's real name, it is really called Alpaca Chunky - but it has that same tube construction that I love so much about Lima. Another new Rowan Yarn is called Fine Rowan Tweed. It is similar to Scottish Tweed 4 ply from long ago. I cannot wait to make the little kitty hand warmers from Tiny Owl Knits. And then finally, they showed me Kid Silk Stripe. This is a giant ball of Kid Silk Haze in a long color stripe, in colors by Kaffe Fasset. I have been fantasizing projects for this yarn ever since.
At Classic Elite I picked up a new to us line - Jill Eaton's Minnow Merino. This is a machine washable wool, with a gauge that is very close to Mission Falls 18/24 wool. It also comes in lovely kid and adult friendly colors.
At Skacel I got us some Crochet interchangeable sets to go with your Addi Clicks. This will be perfect for Tunisian Crochet, as well as some Portuguese knitting techniques. They come in a smart brown case, or you could keep them in your new Della Que case!
Here's some big news! We are bringing in Fleece Artist/Handmaiden. These yarns are very unusual, luxurious and heartbreakingly beautiful. In about 3 to 6 weeks we will have the Blue Face Leicester sock yarn, a wool and linen blend, a silk and kid mohair yarn they call Maiden head, and O'paca. This one reminds me a little of a lovely mohair, with the super soft feel of alpaca.
I made a stop at Habu, and got more metals! Copper and bamboo, steel and linen, and new colors of wool/stainless and silk/stainless.
I also stopped at Unicorn and got several new crochet books, the Fleece and Fiber source book, Knit Swirl!, some new weaving books and Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home. Now I need an ice cream maker. And some new running shoes.
I am pretty sure I am forgetting something - the last few days were a whirl for sure.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
This morning I have a crochet class with Mary Beth Temple, and then into the market to see all the newest yarns, books, patterns and tools.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
I am still waiting for yarn to come in, so I can finish weaving panels 7 and 8. In the meantime I am hemming. And hawing. And sewing on velcro to the top borders. This part is tedious and nerve racking. I must measure exactly right for these hangings to be all the correct sizes. Plus, I really, really want them to hang straight. I have found that it takes about two hours to hem and sew velcro on to one end. And, remember, I have 8 ends to do this too. The other ends are just finishing hems, so probably will only take 45 minutes each. The bright side is that I will be SUPER excited to get back to weaving!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
To console myself, I decided, at long last, to purchase a spinning wheel from WovenArt. I decided on the Matchless from Schacht Spindle. I feel like a teenager driving a Jaguar. Not yet worthy. But this wheel will take me from beginner to where ever I want to go. So, I love it. I have a sample of PMS from Rivers Edge to try out, and I have to say, it is like playing with kittens and yarn at the same time! But kittens with no claws or litter box to clean up. The color is a yellow to green that somehow reminds me of melons and spring time.
This weekend I will begin the process of hemming the panels and finishing them for installation. This is a daunting task, really has to be done just right. Nice to know I'll have a soft reward when I get them finished!
Friday, April 15, 2011
The weft is sari silk ribbon -also from Leilani Fiberarts. The weaver is Kathy Popoff - she was testing out the pattern for me, and I think she did a lovely job. She graciously said it was a really fun project to do. The first and last several inches are in a 4 over 4 leno lace, and the center section is a form of basket weave. Very loosely woven to preserve some softness and drape. There can be some migration of the warp threads, but you just tug them back into shape.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
As Gary was figuring out how to lash three boats to one very small trailer, I was deflating. Broke three fingernails getting the little valve things unplugged. Then I rolled around on the floating tubes and mattresses, while hugging the life out of the smaller rings and pillows. But, nothing happened. They would not deflate! Urg! It was pretty cold, and there I was wallowing in the parking lot in my black wool coat and my winter boots, on top of floaty toys. It took me too long to figure out that there is an INNER flap on all those valves. I said to Gary - I need a stick. But I can't find one strong enough. He offered up his keys, but no, I said. I need something long, and pointy, and strong, like a... like a knitting needle!
I had needles with me - but they were in a project. Volt, from a few posts back. Desperate now, I took Volt out of the project bag, and wadded it up, exposing one needle. Poked it into a valve, and it worked! But, only as long as the needle was in there. This was going to take too long - and expose Volt to too much dirt. If only I could take the tip off the cord. Hey! Wait! These were Addi Clicks! They saved the day. I took off both tips, and we got those floaty toys deflated in no time. I am pretty sure this is not an approved use of this high tech tool - but I didn't care. I saved the toys.
And, Volt is in progress again.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Many of you have seen me working on my Coco Knits Felted Bucket. It is the perfect pick-up, put down, pick up again project. It has been my shop project for the last few months. I finally threw it in the washing machine a couple of weeks ago. My intent was to line it, and have it filled with yarn. But after it came out of the washer, the mid section looked so much like a terra cotta pot that I just had to put a plant in it. Brilliant. There are so many reasons I like this! A felt pot won't scratch your table. If you happen to over water your plant, the wool will absorb most of the extra moisture. I want to knit cozies for all my plants now!
I only made a couple of modifications to the original pattern. I used Punta Merisoft for the yarn. I love how it felts and how pretty it is. I didn't feel like making i-cord handles and attaching them to the sides. Dunno why - just didn't wanna. Instead, I picked up and knit around the top edge, knit one row, bound off for a handle space, casting on again at the same spot on the next round. Then a few more rows of reverse stockingette. After binding off, I tacked the roll over the edge, all this before felting of course. Now I have two handles at the top, to aid in carrying my plant around.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
I made the bear for two reasons. I wanted to try out Riveting, (love it!) and I wanted to make a bear for the Lansing Police Department Comfort Bear project. Kristi Garcia has been coordinating this ongoing project in our community for many months now. All area yarn shops are collection points, with the next pick up in June. "Levi" (still not sure that is his name) has one friend at WovenArt (Thank You! Sarah!), but they would like more company. Don't you want to knit a smile?
Monday, March 21, 2011
I am in the process of threading the loom for panel number six. Panel number 7 has been dyed. There is more work to be done, but I feel that I am "over the hill". I am beginning to really anticipate installing these hangings in their future home.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Sally's mantra through the weekend was "Knit what you wear, and wear what you knit." I am a yarn shop owner. I knit all the time - but mostly it is for the shop. So, I tend not to wear what I knit. Two things wrong with that. One: I am missing out on the fun of wearing some great sweaters, and two - I should be a better role model.
Sally also spoke extensively about how to choose the garment shapes that will flatter each individual the most, and what to pair these shapes with. This was most eye opening. My shopping and knitting in the past has been a haphazard adventure in choosing what is trendy, or a pretty color, or intriguing, or would get the sales person to leave me alone. I have never considered how flattering a shape might be, or what outfits are best together. The result is that I have a closet full of things I liked well enough to buy, but not well enough to wear. Armed with new knowledge of flattering proportions, I have a much better idea of how to put together outfits that I will feel comfortable in, and that will make me look good. Don't you always feel more comfortable when you know you look good? Saddly I am pretty sure I recently threw away a beautiful long, full, silver skirt, because I never wore it. I never wore it because I couldn't figure out what I should be wearing it with.
Many thanks to "The closet knitter", who I enjoyed for many reasons. I am looking forward to her return - which could be September!
Monday, March 7, 2011
|After two days of skiing, we went here. See the beautiful beach? What do you think the perfect project would be?|
|A Teddy Bear out of Riveting by Kollage! This recyled cotton was the perfect thing to be knitting with on a hot, steamy beach. The bear is for the Lansing Police Department's Comfort Bear program.|
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
It turned out to be a delightful Winter Break. And the perfect project pairing?
Volt from The Fine Line in Isager 100% Wool. In addition to being easy enough for conversation and wine by the fire, the light weight wool kept my knees toasty.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
More progress on my Cross on a Hill project for Calvary Lutheran Church. Here is a close up threads going through heddles. There are 490 cotton threads and 245 silk threads for each panel. There are 8 panels total. That's a lot of threads going through lots of heddle eyes!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
In the fiber arts, which I know the most about, most ideas require repeated motions, by the thousands, to come to fruition. This might be true of other media as well, but I can't think of any good examples. It takes some will power to sit down at a loom, knowing that you are going to throw the shuttle and beat thousands of times before you can cut off your towel, or scarf. It takes inner strength to cast on several hundred stitches for a shawl that you might not finish for several months.
Though I complain and procrastinate, I return time and again to knitting, weaving, crochet, and spinning. The individual motion of putting spin on a spindle, results in almost nothing. It is the repetition of that motion, followed by many, many more repetitive steps that can finally add up to something beautiful and of value.
Somehow, the thing that I complain about the most, is the very thing that also attracts and compels me: the tiny incremental steps required to add up to anything of substance.
These three little balls of handspun singles were begun last August, from BFL roving dyed by Miss Babs, on a dyaKraft drop spindle. They are really nothing yet. Many more steps will be required.
They are nestled in a raku bowl made by a woman named Janka. She was my Mother's ceramics teacher. This tiny bowl must be 40 years old. My mother treasured it, and I treasure it. Janka must have thrown a thousand bowls before she developed the skills to make this one. I am grateful she did.