Wednesday, August 17, 2011

American Brilliant

Our Guest Blogger today is Sharon Winsauer. Welcome Sharon!

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.

Connections & Coincidences

Pat Richie has a beautiful collection of American Cut Glass. Several months ago, she approached me with an idea; wouldn’t it be neat if we could replicate some of the cut glass motifs in knitting? The result was the throw, American Brilliant,  with each block design based on a glass motif.

American Brilliant  is a convergence of two time honored, creative skills, knitting and cutting glass.
The art of cutting glass appears to have originated in Egypt as early as  1500 B.C.  It slowly moved into Europe, appearing in the British Isles in the early 1700s. From there, it traveled to the colonies, with the first American Glass appearing around 1771.   Knitting followed a very similar path.  The earliest known examples were found in Egypt  and ad moved to Europe by the 14th century.  By the 17th & 18th Centuries, knitting involved whole families in areas like Ireland.  Knitting, likewise, traveled to North America with the  colonists.

To commemorate the 1910 appearance of Halley’s Comet, several cutting firms designed swirling, spiraling patterns and named them “Comet.”   It is fitting that the very center of this knitting pattern, American Brilliant, forms a similar large “comet” swirl as 1910 was also the year of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s birth.  Her influence continues to spiral outward and touch knitters all over the world today.

Perhaps it is more than coincidence that the fusion of cut glass and knitting took place in the Lansing, Michigan area.  The designers of the pattern, Pat Richie and Sharon Winsauer, are both from the Lansing Area, and one of the greatest designers of cut glass patterns, William Anderson, established his cutting house,  back in 1902, on Kalamazoo St in Lansing,

Sharon Winsauer
Ravelry’s CrazyLaceLady

Monday, August 8, 2011


I need some rules. I really want to start a new project, but I have a few that are very close to completion. I love FO's. The sense of accomplishment, the fun of showing off, the garment in my closet, or to give as a gift. But mostly I love that a finished project frees me up to start something new.

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

Sketching with Yarn

I took my rigid heddle loom on a recent lake vacation. I threaded two heddles to be able to do the Theo Moorman technique.  Ms. Moorman developed her technique as a quicker way to do tapestry like images in weaving. However, she soon discovered that her technique also allows for other possibilities. Because you have a ground cloth under the image providing structure, your images do not have to create the plain weave cloth, as is true in tapestry. The image is superficial.
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.