Northeast Fiber Arts Center

The candy store for knitters, spinners, felters & weavers.

Class Descriptions

Here are descriptions of a few classes that we've offered here in the past.

If you have a group of at least 4 that are interested in one of these (or something close to these that need a tweek to better suit your needs, skils and interests), you are welcome to email me to schedule a class.

You need to have AT LEAST 4 who are interested and you need to submit to me a few dates that your group has agreed would be possible, and let me know what if any changes/tweeks you are interested in having me accommodate from the basic descriptions below, and I will get back to you with the costs .

Introduction to Wet Felting- 1 Day

In this class we cover a lot about wool and the characteristics that make it feltable, including a discussion and review of samples to see how differently various breeds of wool felt.

While learning the process of laying out the wool and felting it well (there's a lot of really poorly felted items out there!), you will felt 3 small pieces. Each piece/project gives you a chance to work with a different breed of sheep so you experience the differences in wool qualities as well as learn how to work from top/roving as well as batt forms of wool.

While doing these 3 samples, you will also learn how to layout around a "resist" which forms the basis of any felting of 3 dimensional items such as vessels, slippers, hats, mittens, boots. It also gives you the opportunity to explore some color and design elements using silk, colored wool, yarns, per-felts, pencil roving, etc as embellishments to create designs.

At the end of the day, you will have a sample piece which can be sewn into an i-phone case or glass case, a needle case and a small accessory bag to show for it.

Introduction to Nuno Felting or Nuno Felted Scarf - 1 Day

This introduction to Nuno Felting (the art of felting fine wisps of wool into a fabric base to create a lightweight and drapey garment or textile) can be either "project" or "sample" oriented.

Chosse the make a scarf and you have a finished product at the end of the day and you've learned the basics, but most of your time is spent in designing and decorating your scarf.

Choose to learn a lot more about the process and the variations of nuno felt thru exploring the use of various different fabrics (from 3-4 different types of silk and some cottons) and their end results, as well as learning how various ways of laying out the fibers can create differential shrinkage. This option relies on laying out 5-6 different samples so at the end of the day you have a lot more experience and learning, but no scarf and simply samples to show for it.

Different strokes for different folks! The max number for the scarf is 6; If you choose do work samples I can go to 8.

Anatomy of a Mitten for Knitters - best once a week for 4 weeks

This is a great advanced beginner class for knitters and offers the advanced beginner who wants to learn about cables the chance to include learning a cable stitch as well!

But the focus here is on knitting a mitten. We begin with the choice of what cuff to choose, so you'll see the differences and many options and understand the impact of that decision on fit and function. Then in the second class, we'll look at several different thumb gusset approaches and consider fit and function suited to your tastes and needs. In week three, the top shaping of the mitten (again, there are choices which have ramifications!) is the topic of discussion and learning. And in week four you learn how to pick up neatly and without holes, for the mitten thumb!

Skill Building for Knitters - 2 hour evening per skill

Each of these various skills or stitches listed below can be covered in a two hour evening using scrap yarn and needles working swatches. Pattern ideas and suggestions will be offered at the end of a session in case you want to put into practice what you learned swatching in class!

Continental Knitting

Magic Loop Technique

Mosaic Knitting -

Brioche Knitting - 2 color

Short Row Shaping - what it is, how to use it, a couple of different approaches to doing it!

Fair Isle (stranded) knitting - how to carry two colors in a row and keep floats small and tensioned evenly. Yarn Dominance is discussed in this workshop as well since that is a critical element of any 2 color knitting outcome.

Socks that Fit - 3 evenings

There are a lot of different toe shapings and heels designs and they are each suited to a different type of foot. Do you have a high arch or narrow sole? Wide foot, pointy or round toes? What toe and heel shaping you use can make a big difference to how well a sock fits. AND, what about the cast on? What a difference that can make if you have large calves or poor circulation!!

We'll review all these - you can even try on the different heels and toes to find what suits you best - and knit a sock using whichever method of knitting socks you prefer (dpns or magic loop - this class is not about doing magic loop, so don't take it to learn that! You will knit the socks in whichever way you are accustomed to knitting them

Felted Slippers, pillow or Hats - each is a 2 day class (advanced beginner)

For those that have a strong grasp of the basics of wet felting , each of these intermediate projects is a great next step to build your skill set and, importantly, start to learn about "fit". In this class you'll not only make a great hat or pillow or pair of slippers but you'll learn about sampling and figuring shrinkage rate and how to figure your "pattern" based on the size you need to make and your shrinkage rate.

Time to be creative too and play with color and design in these items, as well.

Felted Boots, Gloves or Ottoman - 3 days for any of these (advanced intermediate)

For Advanced Intermediate wet felters, each of these projects requires a bit more finesse compared to the projects above and they are more extensive to layout, requiring more time. So you need to have some pretty extensive experience under your belt to take these on.

Discover Silk - 1 or 2 Day depending on the depth and amount of hands-on desired

From the fascinating biology of the silkworm thru the properties of this luscious fiber and how to use it in spinning, felting, weaving and knitting, we'll cover it all while Journeying the Silk Road thru photos and lots of hands-on experiences. All the while covering some interesting history -from ancient China to the silk industry in Vermont and New England!

In this amazing day, you'll actually harvest silk from the coccoons in 2 different ways (each geared for different purposes), you'll knit directly from the cocoon, study both spun and reeled silk samples, examine the many varieties of cultivated and wild type varieties from bombyx to muga, eri, peduncle, etc., have a hand at hand knotting silk rugs as they do in Samarkand and suzani stitch the silk as they do in Bukhara!

So if terms like paj and chiffon, organzine and organza, excelsior and gax, tussah and eri have ever confused you when buying silk to felt, spin or weave with, this is the class that will clarify all that...and more!

I have, hands-down, the most amazing samples from around the world I think you will ever see up close and in one place. From wild type cocoons from the Canadian Rockies to those in Yoruba to those raised in VT; from silk threads spun in India to those reeled in China; a huge sample library of commercially woven silk fabricss to examine; handmade textiles from the Silk Road from Ikat to Suzani.

If you use or are interested in Silk, this is the class for you!

Kyrgyz Style Felted Rug Technique 2-day

Learn the traditional process of the Kyrgyz style felted rugs while making a trivet.

From felting the 2 colors and a base for your trivet to exploring the many design elements of the rugs and choosing a pattern, to spinning the "Jakes" on a drop spindle (it's ok if you can't spin all you need, I got you covered!), to stitching the design elements down and applying the Jake to complete the trivet.

All while journeying thru Kyrgyzstan scenery (via slides) and learning about their wool and the nomadic way of life.

Natural Dyeing - 1, 2 or 3 day

Learn the fundamentals of natural dyeing from extracting the dye from the plant material to fixing it to the yarn with mordants (pre, post and co-mordanting), you'll learn about various extraction methods and how the mordant affects the color.

Whether the class is a 1, 2 or 3 day depends on the range of colors desired and what materials you want to dye - for example cotton requires 2 days because the preparation of this fiber to take on the natural dye best requires an additional step. If you want just a couple of colors and to dye just wool, 1 day could suffice for the minimal basics.

But if you want the complete complement of colors and mordants and wool and cotton, AND you want to put some of your own stuff into a dyepot, THEN you need the 3 day. Which is incredibly comprehensive and you'll leave with an amazing sample book. There is a lot to absorb and learn if you want to do a lot of different colors, so 3 days also makes it more fun and less rushed!

Top Down Commuter Sweater Workshop - 7 weeks

Finishing a sweater takes a fair amount of time, so this spans a lot of weeks. But I found that meeting each of those weeks from 5:30 - 7 is enough time to get you situated for the next step and still get you home from work at a reasonable time!

So many knitters unhappy with their first sweaters are so because they didn't get off to the right start! They either didn't knit the correct size sweater to begin with (you'd be amazed how frequently this happens), didn't pick the right yarn for the project or didn't check their gauge. So Week One is about discussing how to figure your correct size to knit and being sure you've got the right yarn for it! Week Two is about checking your gauge and adjusting your needle size to achieve gauge. Week Three is about casting on and short row shaping the back of the neck (whether your pattern has this feature or not!) for a better fit! Week Four is about the increases for the yoke - we'll examine a few options you have in choice of which increase to use. Week Five you'll be at the underarm based on your homework, so this week is about putting the sleeves on holder and getting the body situated AND discussing any alterations you might want to make in the body shaping to suit your figure (make it boxy or shape it a bit to bring it in at the waist - or maybe you want to create an A-line to accommodate voluptuous hips?). Week Six is about how you want to handle the bottom - ribbing or roll? side vent or not? And picking up the sleeves to complete them. Week Seven is about picking up stitches around the neckline to finish it off - how to pick them up neatly and easily!

Botanical/Eco Printing - 2 day

In this 2 day workshop you'll learn a lot more about the whys and wherefores and have a chance to eco print on silk, cotton and even paper! And because we're working samples, not yardage or scarves, you'll be able to test a few variations of mordant to see the impact of that decision on the outcome, as well as have a chance to do some samples with a color blanket and others without.

Botanical/Eco Printing a Silk Scarf - 1 day

This is a class focused on the end product - an eco-printed silk scarf! So you'll learn some basics of the process and have fun designing a silk scarf and it will be done in a day.

Shibori 3 Ways - Nui, Arashi & Itajime - 2 day.

Learn the basics of 3 different approaches to traditional shibori. Stitched (nui) , wrapped (arashi) and folded and clamped (itajime). You'll have an opportunity to work up several samples in each tradition so you'll have a range of patterns and experience from each.

Sashiko & Shibori Project Bag - 4 weeks

Learn the basics of sashiko while stitching the outside of a great project bag. And experience a simple shibori technique (itajime) to decorate the lining. We'll hand stitch the bag with lining, creating a channel thru which you can weave a cord to make a drawstring bag just perfect to hold a small knitting, nalbinding, crochet or stitching project!

2 hours/weeknight/week day each week

Intro to Weaving - 6 weeks

Using a 4 harness loom here at the shop (or your own rigid heddle loom if you prefer), you'll learn all the basics of weaving while weaving a scarf or tea towel - your choice. From planning a project (figuring how much yarn for warp and weft) to winding your warp, dressing the loom (putting the warp on the loom), to good weaving technique and trouble shooting errors, you'll do it all while making a scarf or tea towel.

2 hours/weeknight/weekday each week

Felt and Leather Bags - 3 days

I love the combination of felt and leather together and think bags/totes are well suited to this combination. While a small bag could be done in 2 days, it is a rush and nobody ever wants to make a small or simple bag! So 3 days it is for a more enjoyable, unrushed experience.

We'll make the felt on day one and on the subsequent two days I'll show you several ways to braid and add leather trim all by hand.

 

Nuno Felt Topper (cropped vest/tunic) - 2 days

Learn the technique of seamless nuno felting while making a cropped topper. While I first came across this term in a high end women's apparel magazine and it looked like what I'd been making in nuno felt, so I'm calling these "toppers", but so you understand what I mean by that - it is a cropped (not tunic length because space and time don't allow for that) pullover vest (not cardigan) that is roomy/boxy and not fitted and while it can have several different necklines (goat, V, crew, turtle) the sleeves are deep and not fitted. This makes this a great first project for someone who hasn't yet worked any nuno felt garments seamlessly. The attention can be on learning the technique well and having fun with color/design, but not getting perfectly fitted arm openings.

 

Kumihimo Dog Leash - 4 weeks

Learn the traditional Japanese weaving technique of "kumihimo" while making a great new leash (no longer than 4 feet) for your best buddy! I'll provide various design patterns, all in two colors, that are simple enough for beginners and show you how to make a great leash handle and then finish off the other end with a hook.

2 hours/weeknight/weekday each week

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