Knitting


Juggling each part of my life is a skill I’m learning quite well.  Fitting fiber into the daily circus is yet another challenge; but I would say it’s a necessary one. It provides me with satisfaction–making something beautiful hopefully, and it gives a focus beyond meals, children, and my day job.  Sometimes, the little projects keep things on an even keel.

I finished this little project last weekend.  It sat waiting for months and after my friend Annie got me back on track, I was able to finish it.

I’ve had a bag full of fiber in my closet for the longest time.  I finally grabbed three hanks and spun them individually before plying.  It was a combination of mohair, wool, and suri alpaca.  I thought I wanted to make socks, but the fabric was too dense.  Maybe a hat, but I’ll have to see.

I did manage to warp my loom a couple of weeks ago when I had two solid days to devote to it.  This week, I’ve carved out time to weave.  The fabric on the bottom is hand-spun as weft, the top half is the same yarn as the warp, creating more of a textural pattern.  I hope to use this fabric for a coat.

Finally, I am busy planning another weaving project.  One of my guilds is studying krokbragd.  So I’m trying to figure out the yarns for the project.  I often use my “Yarn Store in a Box” from Halcyon Yarns for planning because there are so many sample cards to work with.

So I may not be able to juggle like a circus clown, but I can juggle projects and other responsibilities like a pro– most of the time.  Until I drop the ball.

Advertisements

My husband and I took a trip to the city of Ann Arbor a few weeks ago for our anniversary. In addition to taking a tasting tour of some great restaurants, we enjoyed walking the streets to get a feel for the local culture.  When we came upon a small city park, I was surprised to find trees decorated with knitted items.

Then it hit me that I had heard about this kind of display before in other cities, but just hadn’t seen it up close.  According to the tags on the scarves, it was the work of the “yarnabomber.”

I think this group exists to decorate public spaces but I couldn’t find much about it on the internet.  Their work sure beats graffiti!

Every tree in the park had some type of lovely knitted creation wrapped around it.  Cheers to the yarnabomber; may they decorate many more cities with beautiful fiber.

My husband and son went away this weekend to indulge their auto racing interests.  My other two kids were off doing their own thing at various times.  Which left me on my own for the first time in a long, long while.  What to do?  There was a plethora of choices, but in the end, fiber won out.

I usually have several projects going simultaneously, but they have languished while I launched the Craft a Guild website and book last month.  Now that it is going along nicely, I returned to unfinished projects and started another.

A spinning group has just been started in my guild and it met for the first time at Cornerstone Yarns in Richfield.  Five ladies and I had a lovely time spinning and talking for a couple of hours.  I hope I’ll be able to make it a regular activity.  Especially since I was able to use some fiber I’ve had for several years.

Then, Saturday, my daughter and I attended the Lakewood Arts Festival where many talented vendors had items for sale.  I ran into my friend Deborah Yorde of Craftsman Hill Fibers in Mt. Vernon, OH.  She had lovely silk scarves for sale and they were selling at a good clip.

Last night, after a full day out, I finished the socks I’ve been working on for so long.  They are now in the back yard, blocked on a towel and drying in the breeze.

Finally, I managed to do the first dyeing step on the woven shibori stole.  I let the colors batch for almost 24 hours and they came out much brighter than my sample from earlier this summer. Today I decided to use water from my rain barrel to wash out the dye.  That worked out beautifully!  I used about 10 gallons to rinse.

Let’s just say, I was exhausted.  But in a good kind of way.

I’d like to announce a new venture I am launching today called Craft a Guild.  This name respresents both a website and an e-book that I have put together to serve the fiber guild community.

Many of us belong to a guild and invest our time and energy into serving it while also enjoying the learning and fellowship that it represents.  Craft a Guild was written to help people have healthy vibrant guilds in their fiber-focused areas.

If you’re a knitter, sewer, weaver, spinner, dyer, felter, lace maker, or beader this site is for you. You’ll find information about starting a guild, finding a guild that meets your interests, or advancing the mission of your existing guild.

On the site, I am offering the book for sale plus the chance to subscribe to a monthly newsletter.  If you subscribe, you’ll get a copy of my 12 Tips for Effective Craft Workshops.

Here’s a look at the front page.

I hope you’ll take the time to visit Craft a Guild and see what you think.  Feel free to leave comments and suggestions.

I will still maintain Between the Threads.  This will always be the place where I can talk about my personal fiber pursuits!

I usually have a small (okay maybe large) list of fiber goals each season.  It’s often wishful thinking.  But occasionally I actually make some respectable progress.

This year I really wanted to find an easy way to make socks.  I love hand knitted socks; it’s luxurious to put your feet into something thick and warm when the weather gets cold.  So I searched out some potential books and settled on Cat Bordhi’s Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters.

Cat’s the sock guru and her toe up, personalized method really worked for me.  And when I would get stuck on a particular aspect of her method, I found she had video support segments on YouTube.  What a brilliant idea.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the car this summer traveling with my family and I always take my knitting along.  My socks are almost done.

In the picture you can see the cardboard cutout of my foot with markings on it.  This is part of Cat’s wonderful personalized method.  You may have also noticed that I knit with double pointed needles.  In an age when everyone is fascinated with the circular needle method of knitting, I find that I still knit better with dpn’s.  Strange but true.

I have enough yarn for two more pairs of these socks. I’ll have to plan some more knitting road trips!

About two years ago, I got the urge to knit myself a sweater.  Winters in Northeast Ohio can be pretty cold and I needed something other than the Aran sweater I purchased in Ireland 20 years ago.  Despite my limited knitting skills I had some grandiose ideas about a complicated pattern.  Let’s just say those quickly got tossed as I struggled to make progress.

When a year went by with little to no advancement on the project, I finally got going and made it a goal to get it finished.  Problem is, I finished it last week…just as the hot, muggy weather hit. 

The pattern is very basic; the yarn is Jo Sharp Silk Aran Tweed and at least it fits.  So here I am, modeling the sweater with shorts on.

Now that it’s finished, I’ve put it away in my winter clothes drawer.  I’ll probably forget about it until the weather turns cold again.  Then it will be a welcome surprise when I’m looking for something to keep me warm.