Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 Posted in Fiber Arts Education, Knitting, Videos | No Comments »
How to knit! A work in progress. A series of how-to-knit videos. Enjoy!
Then, knit stitch:
Finally, sew seams:
How to knit! A work in progress. A series of how-to-knit videos. Enjoy!
Then, knit stitch:
Finally, sew seams:
We’ve reported before on the Institute for Figuring‘s beautiful, amazing, collaborative, traveling educational fiber-arts exhibit, the Crochet Coral Reef project. But like the reefs it highlights, the exhibit is changing. In it’s current iteration at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, the crocheted works incorporate whites and grays, representative of reef bleaching events; it also incorporates discarded plastic items from the artists day-to-day, acknowledge the role we each play, interacting with our environment. Very cool that this fiber-arts-phenomenon has such lasting appeal – here’s to hoping that the appeal helps preserve the reefs it seeks to protect!
Can you spot a “photoshopped” image? A corrupted image file? Alternately: can you communicate through woven tapestries? Are traditions set-in-stone? Finally: can you believe that the actually-handwoven rug above is not photoshopped? (hint: yes) In another exhibit in NYC, Faig Ahmed has some fascinating pieces that will help you to, if not answer, at least ponder those questions. And the rugs look simply amazing!
Have you ever wanted to teach a friend to knit (or weave, crochet, felt…) but thought “nah, they’re too old or too set in their ways”? If so, time to re-assess! The Today show has a great story up about Ed Moseley: He wasn’t hindered by never-having-knit-before! At 86, he joined a group that just donated 300 hats for premies for World Prematurity Day – 50 of which he knit himself!
Seriously though, in some respects he’s still a teen-ager. Perhaps if he keeps at it, he’ll join the ranks of elite charity knitters – such as Moorie Boogaart. We really couldn’t believe it when we read about this 91 yr old, who still knits daily, and has done for 15+ years. Hold on to your hat – he has knit an estimated 8,000+ hats for homeless shelters! There is a wonderful, thoughtful article in First Coast News on the role of knitting in Moorie’s life, helping others, and growing old. Well worth a gander!
Well, I started out reading about the trend of beating stress with felting (kinda like the adult coloring book craze – only nearer and dearer to our hearts). As happens on the ‘net, I pretty quickly detoured when we came across the wonderful story, and some wonderful felting examples from True Style Lab, the work of Japanese felting artist Terumi Ohata. OK guilty, I got sidetracked with the “wow” factor. The realism, the details, the beauty, well… Therapeutic benefit or not, it’s inspiring and now I’ll be felting this weekend! Christmas is just around the corner, after all. So, perhaps that detour took us full circle, as this time of year a little de-stressing while checking presents off the list is just what the Dr. ordered. Thank you for inspiring us, Terumi-Sensei! Ah, and PS, if you’re looking for a great way to get started needle felting, our kits, including many adorable animals, are in our felting kit section.
Time magazine is about to release their list of the “100 most influential photographs”, and it features a photograph of a Charka spinning wheel! And also, of course, one of the most amazing people, Gandhi, who was instrumental in the wheel’s development. The role of spinning and weaving, and Gandhi, in transforming a nation, and the story of the photograph, are discussed at India Samvad, worth a gander!
If you had to leave your country, would a piece of your loom be one of the only things you bring? According to the TwinCities Poineer Press, for Aye Lwai (left, above), it was. Coping with living in a new country meant giving up weaving for a time. But, “there was something missing in her heart” without weaving, and a new program is helping Karen women like Aye, originally from Burma/Myanmar, take it up again. Now their weaving group is supporting tradition and community with their weaving in Minnesota. We wish we were closer to check out the exhibit of their work that is up now in St. Paul!
As we all know weaving isn’t just about tradition, it’s also about creativity and innovation. Still, we were surprised and delighted to see a fabric that makes and stores it’s own energy coming off of what looks to be a Ashford SapleIt! Jayan Thomas at the University of Central Florida is developing the wonder-fabric as a way to harness energy from the sun in a wearable fabric, without needing a battery. He’s just published results from his fabric, hoping that it eventually could be used to charge phones, tablets, even cars. Who knows what crazy-new-tech will be coming off the crazy-old-tech that is the SampleIt! Now that ‘s tech that we get excited about…
We’re excited to announce the first round of classes for the upcoming winter months! There is something for everyone, with offerings for various fiber arts and levels of expertise. Keep an eye out, as we will be adding more for the spring soon – including Ann Budd coming back for two classes at Halcyon Yarn in April! For more information about each class, or to sign up, check out the full class list below, and in the online class calendar. Feel free to contact us with any questions, we look forward to seeing you soon!
Here are a few highlights…
On Sunday December 18th, some pre-holiday fun will be had at our back-to-back Needle Felted Sheep and Needle Felted Santa Claus classes. Join Romney Ridge owner, shepherdess, and fiber artist, Kelly Dodge, as she teaches classes featuring two of her wonderful needle felting kits. Take just one, or take both, and spend the day creating these whimsical little sculptures. The Santa class requires some prior needle felting experience.
Remember, the shop will be open Sundays during the holiday season, so stock up on all the adorable Romney Ridge needle felt kits!
This January, join Barbara Burns for Tapestry Weaving: Beginning and Beyond. This weekend-long workshop is perfect for all skill levels and serves as an introduction or brush up depending on your skill level. Barbara Burns studied tapestry at West Dean College in Sussex, England and has received awards from as far away as Serbia, and was recently included in the publication “Fiber Art Masters,” available from Maine Fiberarts. After the Tapestry Weaving class she’ll also be offering a series of afternoon follow up sessions and studio time, open to both class participants and others who’d like the opportunity to work on their own pieces with Barbara’s guidance. We’re excited to have Barbara joining us, check out her website to see her incredible artwork and learn more.
Please note, Barbara will also be hosting a series of follow-up afternoons of guided studio time each Thursday in February from 2:30 to 5:30, for $25 per session. Students do not need to have taken the class to participate and may take one or all of the sessions.
Winter class list:
Click through for full descriptions, prices, and to register for each class. Please let us know if you have questions, and register early as classes may fill up fast. Be sure to keep an eye out as we add more in the new year!
Weaving community… it just seemed like a nice thought to us at this time. This is a great reflection on the role that basket weaving has played in Tima Lotah Link’s efforts to preserve her cultural heritage. What seemed particularly moving – preserving her heritage required reaching out to traditional weavers and communities both near and far… and strengthening community as a result! Discovering and celebrating the crafts and traditions that connect us can be so empowering and positive. Weaving community, both literally and figuratively, now that’s something we get excited about!
Another knitting and crochet tradition that inspires: Knitting poppies for Remembrance Day in the UK. We noticed this last year, and it seems that there are many communities participating this year. Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, and our own Veterans Day, share a common origin, in honoring the fallen of WWI, and wars since. Knitting poppies is a long standing tradition in the UK, but the scale has grown larger in the last few years: the Thirsk Yarnbombers used over 450 miles of yarn for the display above! They also received contributions from all over the world. A wonderful way for fiber artists to share their love, honor those who served, and to make our world more intertwined and peaceful!
Wheat Ridge elementary school, in Colorado, provided another example of fiber-arts projects building community and caring. This community project helped remind us that the world is full of wonderful ways we can come together, give comfort, and reach out to our neighbors. In Wheat Ridge, students, staff, and parents knit scarves (beautiful!) and then tied them to trees around town. Each knit piece had a note “I’m not lost. If you’re stuck out in the cold, please take this to keep warm.” And while this community is rather far from Maine, well, the story did indeed make us feel warm. Thank you for sharing your warmth, Wheat Ridge elementary!
The bounds of knitting – well – sometimes it seems that there are few. The New York Times has a wonderful piece up by a pediatrician Perri Klass, who has made some wonderful connections between the knitting community (and Ravelry) and parenting, and how we could all learn some thing from the knitting community! Bravo we say!
It’s not just knitting either – we’re just plain jealous of these 6th grade students in Manitoba. Carding, spinning, knitting, making something to of their own from start to finish – these students are learning about historical production, working with community members, connecting “making” to family traditions, and so much more. Mrs. Elaine Owen, what a cool teacher! The boundaries of fiber arts really do seem boundless – and we count ourselves lucky each day to be a part of it!
The wonderful people at Schacht have introduced a new spinning wheel, Schacht - Flatiron Spinning Wheel Double-Treadle. The name pays homage to the beautiful Flatiron rock formations found on Green Mountain near Boulder, Colorado. Boulder also happens to be home to the Schacht factory. Schachtory, if you will. But it isn’t just the name that was created thoughtfully – this wheel has a function and story that it completely lives up to.
The Flatiron comes flat packed in the box. I was recently given the assignment to put this bad boy together. Once I had everything laid out, I eyed the instructions warily. I’ve have enough experience putting together a certain Swedish company’s furniture that I felt sure the instructions would be a challenge. Here’s the part where I fell even more deeply in love with the folks at Schacht… The instructions are so incredibly well thought out and clear, I had no trouble whatsoever!
I feel like now is an appropriate time to come clean about something: I know hardly anything about your typical spinning wheel. I know my drop spindle and my Louet, but those are both very simple in design. I was essentially entering this mission with no understanding of the piece of equipment I was about to build. I can confidently say, even the earliest beginner can put this wheel together. And if you happen to be a more visual learner, Schacht made a handy video tutorial for assembling the Flatiron – you can watch it here.
Now for the most important part, which is when I tell you about how it spins. You have the option, when putting the wheel together, to set it up with the flyer on the left or the right. The wheel also allows you to choose between double drive, bobbin-lead or Scotch tension (what does that mean? Find out about spinning wheel types here or with even more detail on spinning wheel drive types here). You’re also able to use any of Schacht’s current whorls, so you can spin a huge variety of yarn weights. I had no trouble spinning with the Flatiron right off the bat – as soon as I sat down and started treading, I was in business. There’s so much you can do on this wheel, I have a hard time not spending my day at it.
I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention another few clever things about the Flatiron: As it is fully adjustable, you have complete control over your spinning experience. The wheel sports a quick-release lever that makes changing bobbins a breeze. It also weighs only 15 pounds, so it’s pretty easy to move around. I don’t mean this as a sales pitch, but if you’re in the market for an affordable wheel that can do just about anything, this is the wheel for you.
If you’re interested in giving the Flatiron a spin yourself, come on by! We have it set up in the shop here in Bath. You might have to fight me for a chance to use it, but I’ll try to share!Related items of interest:
Weaving is often used in metaphor – and for good reason I suppose. It’s an art, craft, passion. This installation, in Brazil, certainly exudes passion. Many levels of interpretation, from Greek mythology (Penelope’s faithfulness to Odysseus via unweaving), to it’s Christian setting, to it’s fiber-artist’s sensibilities… One thing that’s for sure, the photos are striking! (and who’s buying me a ticket to see it in person?) Thanks to eNews friend Joy P. for sharing the article with us!
From the “well I never…” department: Feeding silkworms carbon nanotubes results in stronger, stretchier, and electronically conductive silk. Scientific American has a wonderful summary of the original research, which indicates 50% stronger silk could be made. Not only stronger, but still a natural product, the researchers see applications in biomedical implants, and eco-friendly yet techno-nerdy electronic textiles. Now, who’s going to be the first to entice sheep to slurp a solution of carbon nanotubes?
Who loves Halloween as much as we do? Well, actually, Stephanie Pokorny of Ohio does. We saw her stunning ET the “extra-terrestrial” costume on HuffPo, and knew right away that Stephanie is also a crazy good freestyle-crocheter. Reading the Q&A about this project is hilarious and inspirational (spoiler: there is no pattern available, only inspiration). Stephanie also has tons of other awesome (Halloween and other) creations, some of which do include free patterns!
Send us photos of your yarntastic Halloween costumes, won’t you?
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