Fiber Arts Education

Portrait of Amos
by: Amos

Rectification: none is possible

Thursday, May 26th, 2016 Posted in Current Issue, Fiber Arts Education, General News | No Comments »


Towels of a feather? Not after one was washed…. But first of all, we were not aware of the fine journal “Laundry and Cleaning News International“. Now that we are, we’ll have to check back, even if it is really for cleaning professionals… or is it? Anyway, some wry writing, some interesting back story on fibers, mixing fibers, moisture, and who’s to blame when cleaning goes wrong can be found in this article that is well worth a gander.

A moving and beautiful display from passionate fiber artists:
300,000 hand made poppies strong


What do you get when you coordinate the efforts of 50,000 people, from ages 2 to 102, knitting and crocheting toward a common goal? A beautiful and moving exhibit, through this June, of over 300,000 hand made poppies, in front of the Royal Hospital in London. The exhibit returns to Australia in July. Well worth a visit here to get the full story and see more photos.


Portrait of Amos
by: Amos

Island arts: Labors of Love

Thursday, May 19th, 2016 Posted in Fiber Arts Education, General News | No Comments »

Orang Ulu weavers, on island of Borneo, weave way into World Records Book


As quoted in the Borneo Post: “When we were born, we were laid on a mat during the naming ceremony. When we die, our bodies will be wrapped using a mat. It symbolises our entrance into this world and also our departure from this world.” With the collaboration of a number of Orang Ulu tribes, the weaving tradition is being kept alive and even growing. Case in point? Participants from 30 different “longhouses” have made worlds longest woven rotan mat at 1128 meters (0.7 miles). There is a documentary on this culturally cool creation in the works, we’ll let you know when it’s out.

Love socks or “Love Socks”? Remotest island says yeah!


We know that many knitters love to knit socks. But have you knit “Love Socks”? The inhabitants on the world’s most remote island, Tristan Da Cunha, half way between South Africa and South America, have a tradition of showing their affection and intentions with Love Socks. Whether you love to knit socks or not, this story is sure to inspire. If you don’t love to knit socks, you can order them directly from the island.  (Just be prepared to wait, the only way to the island is a once-monthly, 6-day ferry, so shipping is slow). According to the Tristan Da Cunha website:

“In the old days the community of Tristan was rather shy and so were people of few words. Love and affection was often shown by gestures and one particular gesture was the knitting of socks, which held a special significance.

“When a young man wanted to court a young lady he would visit the parents house bringing a small gift and sit with the family in the kitchen. The father would know this was a sign that the man had an interest in one of his daughters. The young lady in question would in turn knit a pair of socks for her young admirer, depending on the number of colours and stripes on the socks, the young man would know how fond she was of him. If the young man was happy with the message his socks showed, he would take this as a sign of the young lady’s affection and make her a pair of moccasins, which was always previously done by her father. The young lady would then offer to wash his clothes and this was a sign that they were formally engaged and a marriage would follow shortly.”

Or, if you’re up for knitting your own (or get impatient while waiting to propose to your love) their website also has a “key” to the meaning of the stripped socks… Knit up some sock love! Oh, and please, pretty please, if you propose with socks, write back to us and let us know!




Portrait of Amos
by: Amos

Something about weaving: from dhaka to thermocromatic threads

Thursday, May 12th, 2016 Posted in Fiber Arts Education | No Comments »


Scanning the news this week, couldn’t help but notice the juxtaposition of two weaving adventures: First, there was the high tech color-changing threads (watch the awesome video here) that are part of a research project at UC Berkely in conjunction with the Google funded Jacquard Project. (We should mention that the Jaquard Project is interesting in it’s own right!) Then, the simple but imagination-inspiring story of one Nepalese journalist who spent days venturing far, far afield in Nepal, via creaking buses, to help a visiting friend to find authentic dhaka weaving.


What ties these articles? From ancient to modern, weaving of course – it’s fascinating, has been for millennia, and will be for millennia to come. We certainly haven’t gotten bored yet!

Portrait of Amos
by: Amos

Learn to Weave, Knit and Spin this Spring

Thursday, May 5th, 2016 Posted in Events, Fiber Arts Education, General News, local news | No Comments »

Spring is the time for new things to grow – why not a new fiber art skill! In May and June we’ve got some great basic classes coming up.
Socks are the perfect summer knitting project. Even better, skip the double points and learn to make them on two circular needles! They’re quick and easy to bring with you as you head outside in warmer weather. With so many fun yarns to play with, you’ll want to make a new pair every weekend. Deb’s two session class meets Saturday June 4th and 18th. Deb will show you how to cast on and get your socks started on June 4th, then give you a little time to practice and work some length on your socks before meeting back up on June 18th to complete the heel and gusset, or troubleshoot any tricky spots. You’ll be cruising on two circular needles before picnic season is underway!
If you already have a little spinning experience, now is the time to hone your plying skills with Linda Clutterbuck in her Why Ply? class on June 11th. Linda is a terrific teacher and she’ll cover 2-ply, 3-ply, Navajo ply, and cabling. She’ll guide you through the fundamentals of creating a balanced skein, and explore when to over-ply or under-ply depending on what yarns you want to create. You’ll leave ready to take your handspun yarns to the next level!
More and more people are discovering (or rediscovering) how much fun it is to weave! If you love yarn (and who doesn’t?) you’ll be thrilled by what you can create on a loom. It’s easier than you think and our step by step classes offer plenty of personalized attention and hands on practice so you’ll leave ready to keep weaving on your own!
Intro to Rigid Heddle meets Saturday June 25th and Sunday June 26th. All materials are provided and you can bring your own rigid heddle loom or rent one when you register. Sherry will teach you how to elect yarns, warp your loom and get started weaving, as well as how to finish your piece. You’ll leave ready to try more projects on your own. You can make beautiful scarves, towels, and yardage for small projects like a bag or pillow cover all on a loom small enough to carry under your arm.
Weaving on a Floor Loom opens up a world of fiber arts possibilities! You’ll learn all the fundamentals of weaving on a loom with four or more harnesses. Instructor Sybil Shiland will cover planning your project, reading a pattern draft, selecting the right yarns, warping your loom, and lots of tips for successful weaving. Plus you’ll learn finishing techniques and troubleshoot common challenges. Our “round robin” style weaving class moves students through several different techniques on an array of looms and materials so everyone gets a chance to see what they like and try out a wide range of styles. A great class for anyone who has ever bee intrigued by weaving, or by the beautiful textiles you’ll learn to create.
Feel free to email with questions, and register early, as weaving classes often fill up fast!
Portrait of Amos
by: Amos

Local weaver’s work on display in Rockland, Maine

Thursday, May 5th, 2016 Posted in Events, Fiber Arts Education, General News, local news | No Comments »

Hector Jaeger’s handmade contemporary rugs will be on display in Rockland this May. Asymmetrick Arts and Black Hole Gallery are co-hosting a Spring Exhibition featuring works by Maine artists. Jaeger is a midcoast based rug weaver and one of the original founders of Halcyon Yarn. His hand-dyed and woven wool rugs are skillfully crafted and completely unique. Jaeger’s rugs feature striking interplays of color and his work blurs the line between functional craft and fine art.
The Spring Exhibition opens this Friday May 6th and runs through May 27th, located at 403 and 405 Main Street in Rockland, Maine, a collaboration of Black Hole Gallery and Asymmetrick Arts
Portrait of Amos
by: Amos

How to choose a spinning wheel

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 Posted in Fiber Arts Education, General News | No Comments »

What type of spinning wheel should I get?

A great question, and one that will set you on an oh-so-rewarding adventure! You win by simply asking…

Luckily, spinning wheels these days are built to be good all-around performers. They are also generally made by small companies that are passionate about spinning, quality and service: Ashford, Louet, Schacht, Kromski and Majacraft are great supporters of the spinning community and we offer a complete selection of their products. Plus when you buy a spinning wheel at Halcyon Yarn it ships free within the continental USA!

Except for a few specialty wheels, most all models will help you learn to spin quickly, and make a great variety of mid weight yarns. That said, there are important differences and you can definitely give yourself a head-start with a little planning. Some things to consider at the outset…

Do you:

  • Have limited space or lots of space?
  • Want to be able to take your wheel with you to spinning groups or for travel?
  • Find yourself drawn to traditional looks, or prefer a modern take?
  • Want to spin mostly mid weight yarns, or know you’ll concentrate on either super bulky or super fine yarn?

Some terminology to get to know spinning wheels:


With a little looking, you can get a wheel that will feel just right, look just right, and spin yarn you’ll LOVE! Making a “good choice” for a first spinning wheel will keep you smiling for many years to come!


First decision: Traditional vs. modern spinning wheels


Traditional Spinning wheels:

  • Are the ones in storybooks. The Saxony style is what Rumpelstiltskin used.
  • Often have ornate construction and may take up more space than modern wheels.
  • Not typically able to fold for travel.
  • Do still take advantage of modern components; they can be versatile, and spin easily and well.

Modern Spinning wheels:

  • Are diverse, with many shapes and sizes
  • Tend to focus more on function than traditional design per-se (though some are very cute).
  • Often are able to fold, are lighter, and have a smaller “footprint”.
  • Evolve more quickly to incorporate new ideas, trends and improvements.


The verdict: which style is right for you?

Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of Amos
by: Amos

In the news: Where the fiber arts take you…

Thursday, April 21st, 2016 Posted in Fiber Arts Education | No Comments »



Where will fiber arts take you? For  Michelle Schwengel-Regala, the middle of the Pacific Ocean! Building on her education as a scientific illustrator, and her passion for fiber arts, Michelle became a resident “artist-at-sea” on the research vessel FALKOR out of Hawaii. She knit binary codes, temperature and salinity profile graphs, and sent yarn creations down thousands of feet below the surface. Checkout her wrap-up post here!

Did you have a Street Weaving Day in school?!


Well, we tip our hats to Cyprus for organizing and celebrating a Street Weaving Day for students! In preparation for World Art Day and the city of Paphos’ upcoming role as Cultural Capital of Europe next year, students all across Cyprus took to the streets to create woven and other fiber-arts installations. Ah, super jealous! We need more people weaving in the streets…

Speaking of Yarn and education…


The ways that knitters and other yarn lovers share and inspire others is… well… inspiring! Here is a wonderful example from the UK, where a group of knitters organized to knit internal organs for educational models. The fun-to-handle organs are used to teach primary school students about their bodies and healthy living… Turns out the knitters learned a thing or two too! If you can stomach it, no kidney, it’ll warm your heart :-)

Portrait of Amos
by: Amos

What if your weaving… could play music? Cool craft competition. 100 years and weaving.

Thursday, April 14th, 2016 Posted in Fiber Arts Education | No Comments »


Does your weaving, knitting, cross-stitch, tapestry, crochet, or other fiber arts object sometimes seem to sing to you?

The work of Zsanett Szirmay is fascinating, and it turns out your designs may sound as interesting and as beautiful as they look. How could that be? Ms. Szirmay’s inspiration was to turn designs into music using punch cards, similar to those used on Jacquard looms! Working initially with traditional Hungarian cross-stitch designs, and subsequently in traditional Afghani rug motifs, the exhibits are interactive and allow visitors to reel the design cards through music boxes while admiring the patterns as full works. You can see photos of the works, and play samples of the music for both the Hungarian and Middle Eastern exhibits. Keep an eye out for this show to tour the US later this year!

Craft & fashion competition


We have some of the most wonderfully creative customers in the world. So, we figured it’d be worth passing along the newly announced Loewe Craft Prize. This is a call for submissions from all fields of crafts – with special mention of textiles – for works with exceptional fashion and artistic appeal and that utilize traditional crafts. The reward is valuable, 50,000 euros!

Weaving happiness at 100 years old


Trust Esther James, it’s never “too late” to take up weaving! Ms. James, in Kalamazoo MI, has been weaving for almost 50 years, nearly half her life. In this inspiring story and video, you’ll enjoy a wonderful glimpse of the fulfillment that comes from a long time passion for weaving. Esther is a member of the Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo, where creativity and good company go hand in hand. It seems that some of Ms. James’ remarkable vitality can be attributed to the art of weaving, so be sure to order your yarns and loom today!

All of us at Halcyon Yarn wish this inspirational weaver a very happy 100th birthday this April!


You are currently browsing the archives for the Fiber Arts Education category.

News & Blog

Previous posts by date:
link to facebook page for Halcyon Yarn
link to twitter page for Halcyon Yarn
link to pintrest page for Halcyon Yarn