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Fiber Arts Education

FiberME to Visit Susie Stephenson Fiber Arts

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 Posted in Current Issue, Fiber Arts Education, General News | No Comments »


We close out our FiberME 2015 tour with a visit to rug hooking artist, Susie Stephenson’s new studio/gallery, Susie Stephenson Fiber Arts.  Susie and her husband bought the abandoned 1846 one room schoolhouse across the street from their farm in 2014 and hosted the ‘official opening’ late that year. Renovating and updating the building was a labor of love requiring countless hours of ‘elbow grease’.  The studio is now an ideal spot for showing off her original hooked rugs, hosting fiber groups and holding workshops. We’re ecstatic to be able to stop by for a visit during our FiberME tour.


As the author of  Designing and Hooking Primitive Rugs, Susie is an authority in this realm of the fiber arts world.  She is a Primitive Folk Artist who derives her designs from commonplace things around her: her kids drawings, farm animals, coastal and marine scenes.  She recycles materials to create her works:  2nd hand wool sweaters, wool clothing, and yarns, many of which family and friends donate or customers ordering custom hooked designs want incorporated into their pieces. She washes, drys, and sometimes overdyes these ‘leftovers’ to create new colors.  Sometimes she dyes these fabrics in her old iron pot over an open fire.  After washing, drying and dyeing she cuts the fabric into strips.  She also uses ‘non-conventional’ materials such as mohair locks and novelty yarns in her work.  Each of her rugs is a creative expression in which she compiles these once cast-offs, now treasured materials, into a work of art. There’s no doubt her bountiful imagination and whimsical style motivates and stimulates creativity in those around her.

Between her many teaching dates, rug hooking cruise dates, caring for all her animals and working on her next book Susie is always on the go. We’re fortunate to be able to carve out a bit of her time during our FiberME tour. Come join us and experience her infectious spirit first hand!

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Just 2 Spots Left for Our FiberME 2015 Tour

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015 Posted in Events, Fiber Arts Education, General News | No Comments »


Be part of FiberME 2015 and join us on our visit to The Maine Top Mill and Cloud Hollow Farm, as well as other tantalizing fiber excursions. We have just 2 spots left on the tour so sign up quickly.

The tour begins on Monday August 3rd with a stop at The Maine Top Mill in Waldoboro and concludes the day with a visit to Cloud Hollow Farm.  As you’ll learn, these two gems in Maine’s fiber world are intimately linked. The Maine Top Mill’s creation is the result of Bob Weintraub’s daughters’ breeding decisions with their first Alpacas in 2007 at their Cloud Hollow farm. They were producing fiber but they found existing Mini Mills could not spin their fine 18 micron alpaca fiber and the mills that did process the woolen spin fine micron fiber demanded a much larger amount than they produced.  Cloud Hollow Farm’s goal with their breeding program was to produce these very fine fibers but the stumbling block was to find where to process their fibers.

To this end The Maine Top Mill was founded. Bob searched for used textile machines they could repurpose to process these fine protein fibers measuring 20 to 13 microns.  The machines arrived in Maine in 2012 with their Textile Engineer and so The Maine Top Mill was established.  Initially The Maine Top Mill began processing Domestic 18.2 Rambouillet Top, local Merino Top and Cloud Hollow Farm’s own Chiri Cloud 80’s Top.  Hand spinners were the customers for these products.

Now The Maine Top Mill also provides the service of processing small lot Top Making from clean qualified fiber and uniform carded or Pindrafter silver and have added new Blended Top and blending services to fiber producers.  We’ll see their new 2015 offering, the Lightspeed Top Blend, in black and grey as well as 18.5 Merino and 18.2 Rambouillet Blends and other blends using silk, bamboo, and superwash Merino blended top.

Maine Top Mill supports the Nunoa Project in Peru and the US and International Veterinarian Students working to improve Alpaca in Peru with the sale of shawls and other knitwear items made by Quechua hand spinners and at least one weaver.

The Maine Top Mill sprung up from a need to have a processing plant for these fine micron fibers now being grown and produced at Cloud Hollow Farm and other farms in Maine and New England and it has been adding services since it opened.

Fiber arts news

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 Posted in Fiber Arts Education, General News | No Comments »

Brown cotton – new world native, acadian marvel



The brown cotton fiber, a native to the americas, sounds delightful. Here, a bit of history on the fiber and the blankets that early acadians made, as it relates to a just-premiering documentary.

Weaving exhibits at Brattleboro Museum and Art Center


Children of the oasis – Tapestry works by children from Cairo

The hand towel project

The Gnome Project

An inspirational story of felting a gnome a day, while moving with you family across country (to Maine!) and other adventures. Read this for encouragement to make fiber arts a daily activity, and for adorable gnomes! A gnome a day also has an adorable blog.

What size are those needles?



David Cole, an artist with wide-ranging interests that have had fiber-arts themes, is having a retrospective in Providence, RI. Somehow we’d missed his back-hoe “knitting machine” performance art piece in 2005; he knit an american flag. The video is worth a gander – pretty impressive… but what size are those needles?

Fiber arts news

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 Posted in Fiber Arts Education | No Comments »

A knitting group 34,000 strong?


Quebec, Canada, is a provence blessed with strong arts presence. One example? Cercles des Fermières, a 100 year old women’s organization who’s members focus on fiber arts. This spring and summer, as part of their anniversary celebrations, they’re collaborating with locations across the provence to adorn trees with members handywork. Montreal has some great installations – see above. There’s even a map on their website (in french) of locations!

Grand Rapids celebrating Peruvian women, weaving empowerment


If you’re local to, or passing through, Grand Rapids, Michigan, this looks to be a fascinating exhibit. Beautiful weaving, and, a beautiful model of empowerment. Examines how a weaving collective has enabled women fiber artists to sell their works to a broader audience – and critically to maintain control of the financial rewards.

May the force [of the felting needle] be with you!


cNet has an interesting story up about how Jack Wang and twin brother Holman Wang created “Star Wars Epic Yarns” picture books. Using mostly painstakingly detailed needle felted figures, the scenes delight Star Wars and fiber arts fans alike! …Give it up for wool: “Luke, I’m your fiber”.


Knitting group rock: Bock,bock,begowwwwk



Well, it was the chicken vest that got our attention. Still, this seems like one fun knitting group. Then we had to google chicken vest patterns, and it turns out it is serious business and can really help a hen out!

Katharine Cobey’s Studio, FiberME 2015, last chance for early-bird!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 Posted in Events, Fiber Arts Education, General News | No Comments »


With only 6 spots left and our special early bird pricing of $750 (regularly $850) due to expire at the end of April, now is the time to sign up for our annual FiberME Tour, running August 2nd-7th, 2015. Don’t be left saying “if only I had signed up earlier”. With that said, here is another highlight that we’re looking forward to for this summer…

As a knitter, writer, teacher, artist and recipient of the Maine Crafts Association Artist Award in 2010, Katharine Cobey, is quite simply a living legend in the fiber world. On Monday, August 3, 2015 Katharine will welcome Halcyon Yarn’s FiberME tour to her studio overlooking a lovely little cove in Cushing. It is a quintessential “Maine” setting surely to be remembered.  Her studio is full of her works and the materials, equipment and inspirational items she uses daily. What a treat to enter her world of creation, if only for a brief time.

Katharine has taught extensively at Haystack Mt School of Crafts, Penland School of Crafts, Split Rock Arts Program, Vogue Live, New England Knitting Lab and the Surface Design Association.  She was chosen for the 2010 Maine Crafts Association Master Craft Artist Award because of her exceptional body of work, her career of service to the Arts, her inspired designs, and her singular voice / style.  I can also attest to fabulous enthusiasm for her craft and to people she teaches in her classes and folks she encounters in her studio.

Katharine is also author of Diagonal Knitting.  “This treasure of a book goes beyond patterns. It is a work of art. It explores diagonal knitting from the core, with beautiful photography and illustrations on each page. With great techniques, rich history, and visuals, this book is sure to become an American classic.” quoted from Living Crafts Magazine, Winter 2010. When you see examples from this book on display in her studio you’ll understand the kudos.

We are very fortunate to have Katharine in Maine and to have her share all this with the FiberME participants. Come join us.

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Fiber arts news

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 Posted in Fiber Arts Education, General News | No Comments »

Weaving with glass?


Jenni Kemarre Martiniello is an Australian artist with who is recreating and reimagining traditional forms in a new media: glass. The resulting works are beautiful, and her vision is very interesting. Here she talks about and shows some of her recent works.

Weaving – Solitary and social


Weaving can be such a mix of tradition and innovation. Here, an interesting article on efforts at collaboration between traditional weavers in different towns in India. Brief though the article is, it caused us to reflect on our balance of being social vs. solitary weavers. A good reminder of the importance of keeping weaving community ties strong!

Textile Museum revamped


The Textile Museum has been moved and renovated.  What a great excuse to plan a visit to this wonderful and inspiring resource! Their current exhibit looks worth a trip and runs through summer.

Private collection, public

55328daa9d97e.imageIt’s an opportunity that comes once a year, for 10 days, and that once is now. We don’t know much about this private collection and art dealership in Wilton, CT, but if we were in the area we’d definitely take a look! Perusing their website finds many interesting works… Interesting too to consider the commercial trade of fiber arts works, and the influences it places on the direction of the fiber arts.

Super real felted feline

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We saw a couple of news posts commenting on this super-realistic felted cat mask / costume, and were intrigued. It was on display at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, but the exhibit has passed. Regardless, it was fun to see this after having so admired the locally made felted costumes from last week’s post. Some commenters thought this kitty costume was so real as to be a little unnerving, but we think it’s really cool!

Fine art works reimagined in fiber arts



This exhibit popped up in our news perusing, even though it’s now past by several years. The Guardian has some excellent representative photos… It was too good not to share. What a creative and fun group is the Materialistics, and they work across fiber arts – crochet, knit, felt, embroider, quilt!

Cat-tastic knitting club!


We haven’t seen this before, but hope to see a lot more! Keeping knitting social, for both humans and kitties, seems like a match made in heaven(ly animal shelter)!

World Record crochet blanket: all for peace



In an effort to raise awareness of the ongoing struggles for equality in South Africa, as well as to provide blankets to those in need, 67 Blankets set out to break a world record. Volunteers from around the globe have contributed to a massive crochet blanket at the foot of Nelson Mandela’s statue at Pretorius Union in South Africa. At over 11,000 square feet, the record is officially broken – with the new record 3 times as large! A heart-warming success amid ongoing struggles.




Wildlife Sightings You Have to See to Believe

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 Posted in Fiber Arts Education, General News | No Comments »


When customer, Elizabeth Drucker, sent us an image of the needle felted head pieces she made for her upcoming ballet production of Alice in Wonderland, we knew we had to share. Simply wonderful. Bravo Elizabeth!

By the way, if you’re local you can see these head pieces in person by  attending Elizabeth Drucker’s Ballet School’s production of Alice in Wonderland to be held at the Orion Performing Arts Center in Topsham, Maine on May 2nd & 3rd at 2pm.


FiberME 2015 Tour Highlight: Jagger Brothers

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 Posted in Fiber Arts Education, General News | No Comments »


FiberME 2015 ventures south from Bath on Thursday, August 6th to Springdale, Maine where we’ll visit Jagger Brothers, manufacturers of high quality worsted spun yarns since the late 1800’s. They manufacture custom spun yarns, as well as produce their own yarn lines under the Jagger Spun division of the company. The Springdale mill has been the home of Jagger Brothers since 1956.

Previous visits to Jagger Brothers have elicited fantastic responses from FiberME participants. They are amazed at the many steps involved in producing these high quality yarns: blending, drawing, roving, spinning, winding and twisting. On this year’s tour we’ll travel through the mill following these steps and seeing the combination of old and new, state of the art equipment used in these processes and the wonderful Jagger Bothers employees who produce the yarn.

We love Jagger Brothers, but then, we’re biased… They spin our own Botanica Yarn!


Don’t forget, the early bird price of $750 for the FiberME2015 Tour ends April 30 and then the price goes up to $825. It’s a great opportunity to save. Act fast, it’s filling up quickly.


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