Northeast Fiber Arts Center

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

Gallery

As we have new class photos, fun new show and tell ourselves, or special projects our customers bring in to share, we'll post them here!


Gallery

Oct 13th....

I've had a lot of needle felters in lately looking to create some holiday decorations (acorns, gourds, pumpkins) or to keep the kids entertained! With these new tapestry kits featuring either a native American Thunderbird motif or another featuring holiday reindeer, added to the ever popular Pumpking Needle Felting Kits, we offer some great kits to make your fall and winter festive!

 

 

 

Sept 29th....

My sister has knit this sweater (Aileas from Ravelry) twice now. I had originally planned to knit the store model for Homestead using this pattern, but then I really needed a new model for Santa Cruz organic merino by Juniper Moon. And since Joany had knit it once already for a niece, she offered to knit the store model up as well. I love the simple details which show off Santa Cruz's stitch definition well. And I always love a pocket for a tissue, and this pattern has 2 built into the ribbing! The only aspect of the pattern that we didn't abide was that the cable/twisted stitch was supposed to be knit under the arm as well and we nixed that. If you're looking for a classic cardigan, this is a great pattern and you could knit it in Santa Cruz by Juniper Moon as we did, or Homestead by Plymouth.

 

 

 

Aug 25th....

Having been originally introduced to the use of a mustard poultice by a friend who recently passed from breast cancer, I found myself thinking about her quite a bit as I twice daily used the poultice to help clear my lungs last week while I was silk. And that got me thinking ahead to the usual Breast Cancer Awareness activities of October. So over the Labor Day weekend when I finally felt better enough to sit up and knit, I chose to knit up this simple hat in a soft pink using Juniper Moon's newest yarn, Beatrix.

What a lovely yarn to knit with! And the hat is lightweight but insulating and so soft and warm with the bit of angora blended in with the wool. It took 1 sk and I knit it o 10.5 needles. So if you know someone with breast cancer and/or are looking to knit a lovely cowl, wristlets, hat or sweater in the "breast cancer awareness pink" in honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, I highly recommend Beatrix as a great choice of yarn.

But if you would prefer a yarn that has no wool in it, another great option is Cumulus. This is a cotton yarn also by Juniper Moon. And from 1 skein of Cumulus you can knit (or crochet) 2 hats.

 

Aug 25th....

I really am knitting - honestly! I knit all the pieces for 2 sweaters last week (worsted & bulky so they went quickly and I did get sucked in following PBS's coverage of the DNC!) and chipped away on the Navelli I have going. So I'm hoping to have a massive session to assemble and finish 3 sweaters this week/end and will have some new knitting show and tell next week. I LOVE how the Tennen by Noro knits up - the colors blend in and out - not striping or grading, but moving like water in a river bed! And I knit the ever-popular Cloud pattern up - again - using Aereo by Plymouth. It is so cozy and soft!!

In the meantime, because the weather has been great, I'm still trying to finish up some eco=printing projects I had in the queue. This linen top I dyed with a sprig of tansy from the garden and an iron blanket. I like the front but am not happy with the back, so in the interest of "experimentation", I am going to cut the front from the back and try re-printing the back! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!!

 

 

Aug 18th....

Online Dye Lab registration is open......

Trying to keep to my goal of "doing something" with all of me "experiments" or "sampls" within a year of spinning, knitting or dyeing them, was compelled to finally sew the bamboo/cotton jersey that I eco-printed last August, into something! So now, instead of the 2 54" square pieces of eco-printed fabric being moved from shelf to cabinet and back to shelf or boxes in order to get it out of the way for some other activity, this 3/4 sleeve tunic is now hanging in the closet awaiting some cooler weather! Woohoo....another project checked off the proverbial to-do list. Along with.....

these four "project bags" that I sewed using up a couple small pieces of naturally dyed and eco-printed cotton I did last summer. Out of the "pile that's always in the way" and into the "gifts pile". I'm not muxh for sewing and I didn't have a pattern but this project not only helped me use up these cotton eco print samples, but move a couple pieces of random lining that I had laying around and some pieces of leftover commercial cotton that I had laying around! I love using up and clearing out ..... it feels good.....and it makes room for new projects!

So if eco-printing, natural dyeing, chemical dyeing or block printing is something you want to add to your repetoire, check out the Online Dye Lab workshop that is starting Aug 25th!

Aug 11th....

I had a chance last week to get back to some experimentation of adding pattern to chiffon (thru silk painting) for nuno felting. Now, I just need to get back to some nuno felting! Ah well.....for each passion there is a season and the spring/summer tends to be more for shibori, dyeing, and eco-printing, so felting's time will come - soon!

I just finished knitting up 3 cowls for the winter season= all using US 15 needles and featuring the "chunky" 2 st/inch yarns in the shop. And I chose a range of textured stitches that are fun to knit, provide some pattern interest in cowl and are super easy so customers can knock them off quickly. Patterns are free with the yarn purchase.

Here they are on a neck - I love the fit since they don't add a lot of bulk beneath the coat collar but keep the entire neck warm and protected from wind.

July 28th

Several customers who had registered for the Eco Print a Silk Scarf class enjoyed a beautiful day in the back garden last Saturday. I think a couple are hooked - I had several requests for a more intensive and comprehensive 2 day workshop covering other fibers and more detail on mordanting. So if there are others out there interested in a 2 day workshop in September, let me know (northeastfiberarts@gmail.com) and I'll put one on the docket!

Since Saturday's class was a really simplified "get acquainted" with the basics of botanical printing class, I limited the choices of natural dyes and mordants and everyone printed on a charmeuse scarf - here are a few pics:

 

July 14th

 

Ok - I know! These don't look very interesting. But they are my first pair of Nalbinded (nalbound?) mittens. I honed my nalbinding technique making headbands and hats and moved onto mittens. And, importantly, handspinning the yarn specifically to nalbind. So this is my "trial" pair of mittens. I hand spun the yarn from Icelandic roving my sisters picked up for me on our last trip to Iceland. I spun it S and bulky. Then I nalbound each mitten - working out the pattern as I went so the thumb gussets are a bit different. I hadn't initially intended to "full" them, but after one of my brothers-in-law asked me if I was going to, and then I had trouble doing the decorative stitching on them that I wanted to do, I decided why not? They are a trial pair anyway. So I got a soapy dishpan of hot water out on Sunday and put the mittens on (they fit great to begin with so I was nervous about fulling them and risking any shrinkage) and started rubbing the surfaces of each. Because I was doing this by hand and not "throwing them in the washing machine", I had a lot of control about how I fulled them and so I was able to shrink the length of the cuffs a bit (I had overdone the length of the cuffs anyway). They are now fulled and still fit great (the hand didn't shrink at all - the surface just came together more like a fabric so I have a better surface to embellish now). So this week, I hope to put my miserable stitching ability to practice and make them a bit more attractive. But even as they are, I love them. And they are SO warm. They'll be great for walking Winnie this winter.

Anyway, if any of you are interested in learning to nalbind, I put together a free tutorial that you can access here.

 

June 30th

 

Both the Japanese Project Bag and the Shibori Pillow workshops I offered here last year to introduce customers to shibori (a dye technique) and sashiko (a Japanese mending & embellishment approach to stitching) were so popular, that I came up with a covid-appropriate project I thought customers would like for a summer workshop - a Shibori n' Sashiko Face Mask!

In an effort to interest customers in this outdoor workshop I'm offering in July to learn these two techniques, I worked up a half dozen or more face masks last week. If I don't have enough registration by this Friday, July 3rd, the class will be canceled. So if you're interested, check out the details under Classes and sign up soon! We will be masked, everyone will have their own table to work on so we're socially distanced, and we will be working out of doors in the garden beneath the dye tents (in case of drizzle).

June 16th

I knit up this cowl using some merino yarn I hand spun over isolation. I spun this merino up to practice spinning bulky singles for my nalbinding and in order to show customers how easy it is to card wool in a "Noro-esque" way to create long repeats in your yarn-in case I could interest some in a carding/fiber prep workshop this fall! But as I was knitting it up I realized I also hadn't offered a drop spindling class lately and this is exactly the type of yarn that is easy to spin on a drop spindle - so I added an introduction to drop spindling class to the roster for July. I hope some of you can join us!

 

June 16th

Lots to share today.....

Kelly stopped by on Saturday and showed me her latest. This shawl is knit using Knit-Col. She used 4 sks, and it's a nice size now, but she decided to go for one more skein to make it really wrappable!

Joan used up a bunch of yarns over isolation (some Noro and some solids) to crochet this gorgeous baby blanket. She was going to work in half-hexagons on the end to even out the edge but decided to declare it finished. It's a lovely stitch - I recommend you blow up the photo so you can see it better. It looks really great in Noro. She did end up investing in 1 skein of Tenderfoot (the green outline) to put it all together, but felt good about using up the other yarns from her stash.

June 10th

Kelly stopped by to restock and brought by some Show & Tell. She has been knitting up a bunch of leaves from the Noro Blanket book and having a blast! She really enjoys knitting them and is planning on using them on some pillows. She picked up a skein or two of odd lots of Kureyon in the last First Friday Clearance Bin and the colors are just perfect for a VT fall!

May 13th

Last spring when I used frequent flyer miles and my sister and I went on a fiber and textile traditions expedition to Norway and Latvia, we visited a mill in Norway that I import fiber from. While there, I purchased some "test" yarn they spin thinking I would love to stock it in the store. I still haven't decided - partly because while I love working with the yarn (shown above int he cowl), which is spun from Pelsau sheep, it is not "soft" which is what it seems like most customers want. The other reason is that their labels are not in English and even tho' it is clear that it is 100% wool and the place of origin is Norway, apparently US import laws require the labels to be in English. So I would have to re-label every skein. That seems a daunting task in order to stock a yarn that is more about "structure" and "colors" than "softness". Anyway, I originally intended to knit a shawl, but ended up shortening it to a cowl...and now I have enough yarn to knit another cowl, but this time a twice-around-the-neck cowl. I love the colors and this simple garter stitch zig-zag was about all I could manage those first few weeks of "sheltering in place"!

May 6th

It's spring, so I'm knitting up a couple of the new models for the store using new yarns that have arrived for the spring. But I am also finding great comfort in knitting a few projects in wool and wool blends for next fall because they are colorful, happy , and simple patterns (like this Noro Square-In-Square afghan) that are giving me more immediate gratification. It has been interesting for me to discover the great comfort of knitting colorful yarns in garter stitch or no-brainer stitches that are either small so they are finished quickly, or have points of completion to give me a sense of accomplishment along the way (like this afghan's blocks). Usually my preference would be for knitting colorwork or more complicated stitches becuase they engage me more. But I found my mind couldn't settle down on that type of project this past month and so my Latvian Mittens have sat in their basket and instead I've been working on no-brainers! So if you are looking for a project you can dig your teeth into, get immediate feedback from with each square completed, and find joy in the colors as you work, I encourage you to pick up this afghan kit, the details of which can be found here. And you'll have it done in time to wrap yourself up and cuddle in it this fall when we are likely to still be cautious socially. Six great colorways to consider.

March 23rd

When Allison came for the Fiber Challenge Reveal party two weeks ago, she brought back the shibori pieces she did in the Shibori Pillow Workshop I taught here last month. Since everyone had taken the pieces home still stitched, it has been fun to see the participants bring their pieces back for show & tell. We were so engaged in the Fiber Challlenge creations, I didn't get to ask her what she plans to do with these three pillow covers, but she is creative so whatever she does with them will be fabulous, I'm sure!

March 17th

Latvian cuffs

Chris is having fun knitting Latvian cuffs and brought this pair in for show and tell - she used Cascade 220 sport.

Fiber Challenge

I've posted some pictures of the 2020 Quinquennial Fiber Challenge designs.

March 10th

afghan

Kelly purchased the yarn to crochet this gorgeous afghan while I had the Noro Trunk Show at the store and she brought in by this last week for show and tell. She is almost done with the 4th ball of ITO and has 1 more ball to go. It is gorgeous! And HUGE!

Felted Pillow Workshop

I didn't get photos of everyone's finished felt pillow from the Felted Pillow Workshop yet, but here are some photos of the group in action and one photo of the finished pillow sent in to me once dried and stuffed and sitting on the chair it was made for! Lots of great designs and a good time was had by all.

Felted Pillow Workshop Felted Pillow Workshop Felted Pillow Workshop

Felted Pillow Workshop Felted Pillow Workshop Felted Pillow Workshop

Felted Pillow

February 18th

Lots of fun stuff this week was shared by customers -

needle felting

Jody decided to try her hand at some needle felting and has been working on one of Neysa's larger kits and brought it by for some opinion about framing it.

poncho/wrap

Elaine has been knitting up a storm in Amitola Grande and brought by an example of her project - it is a short row shaped baby blanket pattern that I have here at the shop but modified to have an opening in the center so it can be worn as a poncho/wrap. She has been using a US 13 and making these with 3 balls. As a friend suggested to her, it could as well be a skirt to wear over leggings as a poncho too!

classic sweater

BJ stopped in to show a classic sweater (sorry for the odd angle that I took the picture from!) she knit for a daughter in law using the Juniper Moon Patagonia. Notice the coordinating scarf she hand spun from the Corriedale I sell at the shop. She also brought in a hand towel she spun and knit from the flax I carry.

hand towel

February 11th

Some friends came over for a play day last weekend and we made silk paper. I took some time this weekend to start to turn my silk paper into some notebooks to take on my next trip as "gifts" for locals that I meet. Since this coming trip is a textile tour of the Silk Road, I thought having some little notebooks made of silk paper might be nice to have along to share - I'll post photos of the notebooks next week. We have a silk paper making class scheduled for June, I believe - make lots of papers on day one and then on day two, learn some basic book binding to use the silk paper to make a notebook and also to weave a basket!

silk paper making silk paper making silk paper making

silk paper making silk paper making silk paper making

February 4th

scarf

Of course I'm drawing a temporary blank on this customer's name now, but she is both a knitter and weaver and she came in last week for more Silk Cloud by Shibui and while here, she showed me this scarf she wove using Edition Three and Silk Cloud. She said it is her absolute favorite scarf ever and when you feel how soft and silky it feels next to the skin and can feel the incredible drape that this combination of yarns yields in the scarf, you can see why!

January 28th

pattern in two different colorways pattern in two different colorways

Kathy brought by some Malabrigo Show & Tell yesterday and I wanted to share. She worked up the same pattern in two different colorways. Both are so lovely - one for her and one for her daughter! She had also worked a swatch in which she used the variegated as the knitted columns and the solid/tonal in the background garter stitch, but she ended up deciding that the variegated showed off better as the "background" color.

January 21st

I had a great bunch here for the Wet & Needle Felted Wrist Warmers on Saturday. I was so busy I didn't think to get out the camera until a bit late so only caught a few pics, but here are several pics of works in progress! Flowers, geometrics and landscapes seemed to be a theme....

Wet & Needle Fel Wet & Needle Fel Wet & Needle Fel

January 9th

Fiber Challenge art Fiber Challenge art Fiber Challenge art

Fiber Challenge art Fiber Challenge art

Happy New Year...above are a few photos of projects customers worked on in the previous Fiber Challenges held here. Our Quinquennial Fiber Challenge begins this Saturday- materials are picked up Saturday and we go thru a few fun exercises....then everyone goes on their merry way and has 2 months to create something with the materials I give them....then we gather on Saturday Mar 14th for a show and tell. I hope some of you adventurous knitters, felters, crocheters, and weavers can join in the fun! More details.

December 17th

Sue Johnson stopped by this week to pick up a couple of colors of Edition Three to knit The Shift in and she brought in her latest mittens for show and tell. This design is from an old pattern from Fox & Geese or one of the Maine books of knitting from back in the 60s or 70s, I think. Anyway, it has been Sue's "go-to" mitten for years. She has knit it using Noro Kureyon and/or Silk Garden for the contrast in the past (second photo over from a few years ago) , but this most recent pair (first photo in white and greens) is totally handspun using her own border leceister sheeps' wool.

mittens mittens

December 10th

yarns yarns

Tina brought some of her gorgeous handspun silk/merino yarns in for show and tell when she came to restock on a few colors she didn't work with yet! She loves spinning both the hand-dyed hanks of bombyx/merino fiber I stock as well as spinning the dyed tussah silk and the dyed extrafine merino fiber and then plying them together. You can see that she has a great eye for blending the different colors in each skein. I should have taken the bag of "oranges" out of the plastic for a better view, but I think if you click on the photo to enlarge it you can see that she loves to work with slight variations on the same hue. This is a trick that weavers use a lot - instead of choosing 1 green color for the warp, they choose several shades, tints or tones of green and/or a couple of blue/greens and/or yellow greens to the mix and it makes for an end product with so much more depth and interest.

Anyway, Tina shared with me a trick she uses for these 3-ply yarns. She uses the top of an empty spice jar (you know, the thin plastic piece that snaps over the opening just beneath the top and that has holes in it to sprinkle the spice thru?) to keep her three plies separated while she plies. It's a great suggestion that may help some of you struggling to keep the 3 strands separated so you can achieve an even tension while you work out the kinks!

Can't wait to see what Tina knits with all this lovely yarn!

 

December 2nd

botanical printing bags botanical printing bags botanical printing bags botanical printing bags botanical printing bags

I finished up the handles on a few knitting bags I made last month using cotton fabric I designed while doing some botanical printing this past September before all the leaves died! It was also sort of a test of four different weights & styles of interfacing - jury is still out on which is best for bags- as well as exploring the effect of a few different types of tannin and how the tannin choice affects the colors.

One has been gifted already....I need to sit with the rest a bit before I decide what homes they go to. And, of course, I need to figure out which one I keep for myself!

November 26th

poncho

Janet stopped in on Saturday as she and her husband walked home from an interesting program at the library to show me the wrap/poncho she knit using Noro's Kiri! I had given her the free pattern for Noro's Ito because it was just the type of garment she was looking to knit, but she wanted something more subtle. She has not been a "Noro fan" in the past, but this project may have changed her opinion a bit. All the Kiri colors have a background of black and grey with just a hint of a deep jewel tone mixed in.

I'm knitting Kiri up in a briodhe sweater for the store model - using 2 different colors so i can wear it with both sides out for a different look. I chose two colors that are "close" in hue since I also wanted to maintain the more subtle look of Kiri. Stop by to check it out after the holidays

Shibori Pillow Shibori Pillow

 I've added a new class to the winter mix - Shibori Pillows. Here is the front and back of the first one I've worked up - check back over the

November 19th

felt hat felt hat

I'm bummed that I didn't get photos of the slippers made in the Intermediate Felting last Saturday, but here are pics of the finished hats that two of the participants made. Well, they still have to sew on their headbands, but the felting and blocking was done when they took them home. Helen used merino for her brimmed hat and Bill chose Gotland for his trilby. Great job by both Bill and Helen (and the slipper makers in class too!) as every project fit to a tee and was even and well felted!

November 12th

Grace has been felting up a storm since her last two classes here! She took both Intro to Wet Felting and the Nuno Felt Scarf/Cowl class last winter. And as she's been working on projects this fall, she's been forwarding me photos of all her fabulous "tree creatures" and also of the new nuno felt shawl & scarf designs to share for Show & Tell. What a great sense of color and design Grace has - very inspiring and thanks for sharing, Grace!

Nuno Felt Nuno Felt Nuno Felt

November 5th

We had a full house of nuno felters here for a 2 day Silk Painting workshop last week. I made up a little slide show sharing some of their beautiful works in progress as well as a few of them in action!

The two days leading into the Silk Painting workshop, I also held a 2 day Nuno Felt Topper class. I call this garment a "topper" because it is meant for layering, but made a little longer one could call it a vest....and longer still and it would be a "tunic"!

Anyway, here are some photos of the group laying out their REVERSIBLE (that's right - they made this garment with 2 different sides/designs in one), as you can see from one participant modeling her creation inside-out and outside-in! Interestingly, all the participants in this workshop chose my Radiating/Boulders design, but I offered two other design options: Color Blocking Prints (which is a great way to use up odds and ends of silk) and Negative Space, which is a bolder more textural look that isn't for everyone, but is very dramatic!

Nuno Felt Nuno Felt Nuno Felt

Nuno Felt Nuno Felt Nuno Felt

October 15th

Student scarves from my eco-print class this past weekend-three chose to use a natural dye that produces a lively blue for their background (Marjolen Blue I brought back from Morocco) f and the others chose to use a natural dye from my brother's woodworking shop (Logwood sawdust) for a more subdued effect. The close up of Jessica's on the end honored our Ash trees - most of which are being hit hard by the borer that has infested the area.!

eco-print eco-print eco-print

eco-print eco-print

October 9th

Participants in the Paint & Dip a Scarf and Shawl class on Saturday left with 2 new lovely neck adornments each! I was busy checking people out at the end of class so didn't get any photos of the lovely indigo wool/bamboo shawls they shibori'd, but here are a few photos of the group in action painting their silk scarves and samples. Somehow I missed photos of both Deb and Chris...but here you can see the other's works in progress.

painted silk scarve painted silk scarve

painted silk scarve painted silk scarve

September 24th

yarn

I figured while I had all the natural dyes out for eco-printing and the natural dye class here, I may as well dye up a new yarn for the store for the fall using natural dyes! Something about this "harvest" time of year gets me in the spirit of it! And I had a generous amount of woodchips from good dye woods from my brother's woodworking shop, so after gathering goldenrod and rudbekia this past week, yesterday I had 6 burners of natural dyes going out back for the yarn while I had 2 burners in the house making applesauce!

Several of the colors are still drying, so I'll add them next week. And I not only dyed up this lovely fingering weight yak/silk/merino yarn, Silky Yak, but also have been dyeing up the last of my Gems merino. I'm so sad that yarn has been discontinued, but I had received 100 skeins right before they announced it, and its been sitting in the back room all summer - so it's about time I did something with it! It will be a nice contrast to the Silky Yak, since it is a clear white base so the colors, even from the same pots, are quite different than the Silky Yaks. It is the brown yak in this yarn that gives all these colors a lovely earhy undertone. Indigo blue and a lovely pine, and a deep red are still drying.

So check out the yarn online or stop by. When it's gone, it's gone and I dyed up only 5 sks of each color. This is a "one and done" project, so don't hesitate if you want to work with it!! It is lovely and would make a fabulous sweater, cowl, or shawl - it is so soft and silky, but the wool gives it some memory!

September 17th

Been busy eco-printing both abroad and here in Williston. Here are a couple of ponchos and a little girl's dress and below is an animation of lots of samples I did testing local plants on cotton. What's different with this batch of ecoprinting compared to those I've shared over the past 10 years, is that these are all on cotton or plant based fabrics (cotton, linen, bamboo, etc) and in the past I've only printed on protein based fabrics like silk and wool. Anyway, it has been interesting to play with different types of mordants and various tannins while printing the cellulose based fibers. And interesting to compare the prints from plants abroad and here - for example hibiscus vs. rose of sharon!

July 25th

natural dye yarns natural dye yarns natural dye yarns

Despite the heat and humidity last weekend, 10 enthusiastic participants in the Natural Dye Workshop here enjoyed learning about natural dyes, mordants, and modifiers while we dyed silk, cotton, and wool skeins for sample books for everyone. And with the leftover dyes, participants dyed lots of yardage of silk for nuno felting, silk for embroidery, some handspun skeins of wool and a bunch of cotton yardage as well! Between what we picked from the garden and gathered on our morning walk with Winnie, to saved from the kitchen scraps the night before and got from extracts of non-indigenous plants to this area, we had rich deep plums to true red, pinks to blues, teal greens to chratreuse, lots of really lovely neutrals from warm taupes to khaki greens as well as several greys and even black.... and lots of lovely yellows, oranges and blues! I see lots of colorwork in my future!

July 16th

stich pattern

Two customers dropped in this week to "show and tell" their latest Cumbria Fingering projects! I'm sorry I forgot to get a photo of Kelly's Letters from Russia shawl she knit using 1 skein of one of the newest colors of Cumbria Fingering. What a lovely drape and silkiness it had! And then Kathy stopped in to share (one of) her current projects - a sweater knit using Cumbria Fingering. See what lovely stitch definition this yarn has. Both projects were so different and both showed off Cumbria's lovely hand really well.

If this yarn isn't on your "to knit with next" list, it should be. And if it is already (as it is for me - balls already wound and all!) it should be moved up the priority list!!!

sweater pattern

And if knitting with a fingering sounds like too much for you to take on right now, this same yarn is available in a worsted - I knit this sweater with Cumbria Worsted 2 years ago and LOVED knitting with it.

July 2nd

shibori examples shibori examples

Because I had a busload of ladies from Minnesota stopping in this past Saturday for an indigo demonstration, a friend and I shibori dyed a lot of 50/50 wool/bamboo shawls, as well as some silk charmeuse scarves. There are still some available for sale ($30 - $60 range). So if you want to get a jump start on XMAS shopping for your daughters, friends or daughters-in-law, stop on by and check them out! They have a lovely drape and vary from simple ombres going from dark to light blue to extensive ori nui stitching, arashi pole wrapping and bold itajimes and kumos.

shibori examples

While dyeing the shawls, we experimented with some new stitches and folds on cotton, too. So now I have some bags to make with some of the experiments and because I cut the wrong size for my origami credit card holders (argh!!!), I now have lots of 6" squares of different shibori designs on cotton ready for some sashiko before working them ultimately into quilts or bags. This is the SECOND time I've mis-cut the shibori pieces for the credit card holders - so the next time should be the charm, I hope.

shibori examples

I did manage to cut the correct size cotton shibori to make several origami wallets - a couple of them are still available for sale as well.

May 14th

headband headband headband

Still working to improve my nalbinding tension! I worked up this headband the other evening. It is going so much faster for me now and I can tell my tension is getting better. Now I just have to remember that working a gauge swatch is really critical, just like knitting!

I worked a row of nalbinding that was long enough to fit my head, with a bit of stretch since I wanted it to fit snugly. Then I joined in the round and by the time I had worked 2 more rows, I could tell it was going to be WAY TOO SMALL! So I finished it figuring I could find the head of a little tyke that it would fit! And I measured my gauge so now I'm taking the same yarn with me on the plane tomorrow to make one I can actually wear!

I think my sister wants to learn to do it too, so we'll be chanelling our viking roots en route to Oslo!

If you're interested in learning the basics, I will be happy to get you started during our first of 3 summer "Knitting Socials". Be sure to check out the Events page for details and come join us!

April 23rd

So much Show & Tell today!

Here are photos of the fabulous felt coats that the 8 fun ladies who participated in the 4 day Felt Coat Class here last week made. And below these pics, be sure to see what gorgeous dresses they made in the 2 days afterwards! Whew...and then....for another 2 days one of them stayed on after the workshops and we were joined by some other local felting buddies and we spent 2 more days indigo dyeing!

I apparently missed a photo of the back of Joyce's coat, but trust me it was gorgeous. And I didn't get to photograph every dress (I was working the store, alas) but 4 garments from this 2 day class are shown below.

Every participant in both classes was lovely to have here and they all were fabulously creative and talented, so kudos to them all!

And if you're not overwhelmed by all my photos of the felt coats and dresses from this past week, I posted some photos from the indigo play day. So much fun and creative stuff happening.


felt coat
felt coat felt coat

felt coat felt coat felt coat

felt coat felt coat felt coat

felt coat felt coat felt coat

felt coat felt coat felt coat

felt dress felt dress felt dress

felt skirt

April 16th

blanket quilt blanket quilt

blanket quilt blanket quilt

Congrats, Cecile! What a fabulous baby blanket quilt featuring 9 great needle felted characters! Each one has such personality (where could that have come from? he he he!). I challenge anyone to look at these critters and NOT smile! I particularly love your story about the pink panther and it's symbolism through your family generations. I can't look at it and not have warm memories of my brother Keith who loved the Pink Panther movies and used to do such a great impersonation of Clousseau in various scenes of those movies!

Thanks for sharing and, I'm sure, inspiring some customers to have fun with their needle felting!!

April 9th

knit hat

And then there is also this perennial favorite - and we have new colors of the yarn in stock so if you want a quicker project for the new spring babe, check Knit-col (free pattern for this newborn hat is sent with the yarn purchase) out!

March 19th

tam yarn

BJ stopped by today to pick up more Shetland Yarn to knit another tam. The tam she knit (shown left) she knit using some handspun BFL she purchased here (see hank of fiber in the colorway she used pictured right). She did a lovely job Navajo Plying the yarn to keep the colors distinct and then she smartly chose to knit the tam in seed stitch because she wanted to "soften" the striping. That all prompted me to share with you some samples I have at the shop showing spinners how differently a handpainted hank of fiber can be spun and knit. In the photo following you see 2 samples of the very same hand painted fiber spun and plied Navajo (far left skein and swatch) or standard 2-ply (shown right, skein and swatch). It is just a good illustration of how your choice of spinning/plying can affect the end results! To keep the colors distinct and the colors bolder, navajo ply and your resulting knit fabric will look like the swatch pctured left. Spin and do a standard 2-ply and the colors get quite muted and the striping is not as demarcated. Both results are great - just different. As a spinner you have the control over which outcome you want for your intended project!

sample

January 22nd

kumihimo braidingkumihimo braiding

I worked up a quick sample of a dog leash showing 2 different patterns that you can use to weave a dog leash in the class starting early February. We will be using a traditional Japanese weaving/braiding technique to make a one of a kind dog leash. Getting a new pup this spring? Why not join us and tailor a leash for something a bit special. And once you know the technique, you will have great fun weaving/braiding other interesting cords and trim. From round to flat, square to spiraling, 2 color to 4! So many options. Check out the details about the upcoming classes.

July 31st

spinner spinner

So after the popularity of the Free Color Games event for knitters, felters and spinners on July 14th, I was disappointed that no felter or spinner showed up for a fun and FREE afternoon (with instruction) to card bits and pieces of fiber into "one of a kind" batts to felt or spin!

So, anyway, I just spent the 3 hours I had put aside to give the free instruction playing myself! And I used a lot of the fibers I had put aside for customers to play with and I turned them into lovely new batts! In the 3 hours I carded about a kg of fiber - about 700 gms of it took a bit longer because I decided to create a grey scale color gradient for my next felt coat (see photos above) and figuring the percentages to blend took a bit longer than carding up the "scrap batts"!

Be sure to click on the photos above so you can see how lovely the gradient is - and also notice that I added just a bit of sparkling white angelina to the lighter end!

felt

When the coat fiber was done, I opened up the bags of glorious scraps that I had pulled out for customers to use and I carded up another 400 gms worth of "scraps" (like that pictured in the photo on the left) into lovely usable batts to felt or spin (see photo below for what came out of this heap of leftovers).

So I had a lovely afternoon - the new British carders I am stocking are so lovely to work on. Wow. Really, what a pleasure they are so easy to use ad blend the fibers so briliiantly - whether you want to maintain some separation of colors as in the batts below or want to fully blend them. In each case, I did just 2 passes on each batt (whether the colors blended or stayed separated is a matter of how you load the fiber). And these new carders handled the "ugly" fibers so well. By ugly I mean that some of the "scraps" I had out were partly felted for being in the bag all winter; others I think were pieces class participants took to use in a felting class got wet and soapy and then put back in my bag! The fibers were a mess and yet the carder drafted them beautifully into gorgeous new batts!

new batts

Truly, I don't know how any felter or spinner manages without a carder! They are so inspirational and, if you're like me and hate to waste fiber and yet have bags and bags of bits and pieces left over, they pay for themselves over the life of your hobby!

July 24th

Oops! I missed last week's updates to the web. I got carried away between hosting a free event here about working with color on Saturday and then becoming insanely obsessed (fortunately, just temporarily) with eco printing papers!

Anyway, I had a lovely group of 8 ladies (not sure where Jennifer and Ceil are - or maybe they were just so quick in their first color choices that they were already sitting down and working by the time I grabbed the camera for this shot!) for the Color Games last Saturday.

 

Then I got carried away eco printing papers to restock my notecard supply! And I had so much paper that I dusted the cobwebs from my long term memory and used the paper to bind a few note pads. I found printing these papers and post cards much more gratifying than eco printing silk or felt which I did a bunch of years ago - not sure why except that when eco printing fabric and/or felt I was doing much larger prints and there were always areas I like a lot mixed in with areas that were disappointing. With the papers, I am printing just 5 x 7 max at a time so it is hard to get any areas you don't like. And, if you do, its just a piece of paper and doesn't represent a significant investment of time invested already in making the felt or the cost of a large piece of silk!

July 10th

fascinators fascinators fascinators

I finally got around to finishing a few fascinators I had in the works for the last year or more - nothing like a bit of pressure to push one onward! There are two others somewhere in this file, but I can't figure out what I saved them as, so maybe another time I can share those. And nothing like looking at a photo of a piece you think you finished and the photo helping you see how "off" it is! I see now that I need to reposition my pink feather flower lower on the felt fascinator brim as it looks really out of sorts where it is right now. Anyway, I had told the participants of the current Felt Hat and Millinery Workshop that I would add a module on making a fascinator, free of charge as a sort of spring promo. So I had a couple of videos to shoot about the process to add to the page. But between camera issues (I swear that I think they are programmed to die on me after 18 months!) and video editing software problems (I updated my Nikon Viewnx and it was a nightmare - rather like Quickbooks - they update so you feel like you have to buy in and then they give you less features and make you re-learn everything - argh!). Anyway, it feels good to get these long lasting creations off my to-do list!

June 27th

nuno vest/tunic/top class

After taking my seamless nuno vest/tunic/top class here last month, Ceil jumped in head first to the task of making 5 nuno shawls - each using the "seamless" technique to combine different colors of silk fabric - for the series of shawls she envisioned for her daughter's wedding party. They came out so beautifully, she shared this pic from the wedding last week in England. Looks like it was gorgeous all around - bride, wedding party, shawls and weather! And now that she made such a dent in the silk fabrics - paj, chiffon and margelin - that I had dyed for the store last month, I am setting up the pots again to dye more!

April 10th

felting class felting class

Just had 8 seniors leave after finishing a 3 week (once weekly for 3 hours for 3 weeks) felting class. They did so great! None of them had ever wet felted before and didn't really even know what it was about. But one of the organized this workshop so they could make felt hats. I taught them all the basics of laying out and felting the first week while they each make a small bag. Four of them went on in the second 3 hour session to lay out a hat and felt it and then this morning to block it. The others moved on to needle felting.

Anyway, they were a great bunch of very creative ladies that keep young by learning new things. They did really well and I think will be back for more! I wish I had gotten a photograph of the needle felted embellished bags the other ladies worked on, but that group finished a bit earlier and so left while I was sewing some hatbands for these ladies.

March 6th

Each of these scarves was knit with 1 skein of La Jolla superwash merino Dipped & Dappled. The original one which was knit for the store model (far right photo) my sister knit using color Venom. You can see the zig-zag arygle-like pattern develop but since that color way has more "speckles" in the white part of the skein, the design is not quite as crisp as the center photo showing the colorway that Kathy chose to knit up. And as the first photo on the left shows, you get yet a different design if you change the stitch count. So both Kathy and Joany knit the scarves they did on US 6 using 42 sts. Jody knit the green scarf and because she is a looser knitter, she decided to reduce the number of stitches and used only , well of course now I can't exactly remember what she said, but it was on the order of 34 or 36 sts. And the pattern came out differently! Since she is very musical, I thought it appropriate that her design sort of resembled a tuning fork! Anyway, all three kntiters agree this yarn is lovely to work with - soft and springy.

One of my sisters had never felted a collage before so I guided her thru the process and this is her first piece.

September 19th

I think yesterday might have been hotter than any day we had during summer! Ugh! I want "sweater weather". Despite the heat and humidity this week, I know it is coming, so I've been working up a lot of cowls. Here are some suggestions for you if you're thinking ahead to some holiday knitting (and if you missed a "new hat" review, scroll down to last week).

I knit this in Incan Spice yak blend! I give the pattern free with the yarn purchase. Features "mosaic" knitting

And I finished a few hats....

I had some felting friends over for "play days" on Sunday and Monday.We all worked on different things on Sunday and I neglected to get any photos of any of it! But after 3 of us carded up some bits and pieces of wool that were left over from projects last year, I did get a photo of some of the colorful batts (for spinning or felting!) that we made up. I thought we made a dent in all the scraps of fiber I had left....but when I looked at the workshop this morning and saw how much was still there to be done, I realized that we just scratched the surface! So I'll plug away at making up more between customers this week and some of these will be available for sale.....the others will end up in yarns like these!

!

Febraury 7th

I hadn't used this particular wool for a hat yet and decided to test it out....it made a great structured hat (as I expected given that I love this wool for boots and slippers and bags and rugs) which is what I wanted for this style of pillbox.

January 31st

I forgot to get photos of the needle cases we felted in the morning and only remembered to take a few photos of the wristlets participants in Saturday's Intro to Felt class made in the afternoon, but wanted to share what photos I did take. The three above show wristlets after laying out, but before felting - so they are large and unshaped at this stage, but you can get an idea of the lovely designs and fun the participants had playing with color. And after 1 full day they left with 2 useful items, a great understanding of the felting process, and having had a fun day!

There are still a few spots left in the nuno felt scarf workshop planned for Feb 18th.....so if you're interested, don't delay and sign up today!

January 10th

Been working on some new hats and fascinators in prep for the 3 day class I'm teaching at Fling in August. Check out those pheasant feathers, Jules!

September 27th

Our recent trip to Iceland reminded me how beautiful knits can be using just natural colors. Of course, in Iceland the knits we saw that inspired me were knit with natural colors of Icelandic fleece. But it reminded me that another island breed, the Shetland, also feature lovely natural colors. And I have a 100% Vermont raised and spun shetland yarn in 9 lovely natural colors that you could use for mittens, hats, or sweaters if you are interested in working with natural sheep colors. This photo shows my version of the Walk on the Moon ravelry pattern using all the natural colors of Vermont Shetland we have available at the store.

I hand selected the fleeces from 5 different farms around the state and had it spun here in Richmond. The fleeces I chose were lamb and/or single coated (no coarse kemp hairs) so this shetland is much softer than what most people associate with "shetland" yarns. If you want to see what the Icelanders have done with the natural colors of their wool, you can check out some pictures I posted on my blog - read the Textile Museum in Blonduos post and also the one titled Check out these handknit garments (featuring some handknits worn by the first woman president of Iceland) Both posts can be found here.

This shawl is knit using Herriot Fine, a lovely fingering weight alpaca by Juniper Moon. The company sent the model to me, so I wasn't going to complain or return it! But I never liked the colors they chose to knit together (left photo). So finally I threw it in a dyepot to overdye and see if I could achieve something more pleasing to my eye, anyway. I didn't want to turn it all black, which is the only way I could have made it a single color. So my goal was to achieve a more pleasing 3 colors than the green, orange and mustard that they sent. So I blended up a batch of dye and threw in the shawl and the second photo shows the results. Some may prefer the original, but I find the resulting overdye more appealing to my aesthetics. The shawl only takes 2 skeins if you decide to make it all in 1 color. In theory, too, you could keep it a 2 color shawl and just knit the first color thru the first two stitch patterns until you are out of it and then move on to the second color. Your bottom band might be a bit wider and your middle stitch pattern a bit narrower, but that is another design option! So just wanted to point out that most patterns are "suggestions" of what can be. As a knitter you are in control of changing it up to suit your preferences. They designed the shawl for 3 colors, but you could easily do 2 or even just 1. The pattern is free with the yarn purchase.

February 16th

I've been trying to finish up some felted runes that I started over a year ago and had originally intended for a bag....but now I'm thinking wall hanging? Or maybe multiple smaller bags since I've got about 30 of them? And in between doing the last 15 runes , I worked up a nuno sample with lots of dimension on it.

I didn't get much of what I had planned on done over the store's closure between XMAS and New Years. But that's ok, I read several good books, saw several fun movies, caught up with family and friends and got in some wicked good sledding with a great niece and nephew! So this is all I have for show & tell this week....a jellyfish I felted (and made bioluminescent) for one of my grand nieces who had put "jellyfish" on her list for Santa.

December 13th

I haven't attached the strap yet, and I can see now that I've taken the photo that I really need to trim my "generation tails", but since I posted Joany's bag last week, I thought I'd share mine this week....just so you can see the variation in yurt bag interpretations. I hope Janet, Roby, Bill or Helen will share photos of their when they're done.

Although my sister's and my color choices were quite different, it is interesting that we both chose ram horn and mountain motifs (one symbolizes the "lifeblood" and the other "protection"). The other interesting commonality is that we both, unbeknownst to the other, pulled out all our "quilting". Technically, the entire bag gets "quilted". This makes it really durable. But I thought it looked like poc marks on mine since I had used a dark color. So after quilting 1 full side and half of the other, I pulled it all out. So mine is not truly traditional, but I don't need to store pots and pans in mind and it won't be dragged around the steppes. So I decided to forgo this step for aesthetic reasons. Apparently, Joan had pulled all hers out too.

I went with big bold colors....I think that happened becuase Annimie kept telling us what different colors meant in the nomadic tradition and each symbolism sounded important to include so I ended up with "hope", "strength" "life" and, well, .....you get the idea. I had to use them all!

There wasn't enough yak to go around for the "tails" (which sympolize the generations of a family), but one of the other participants, Jante, had horse mane/tail and was kind enough to share. And since the only tradition on the "generation tails" is that it be from a beast of burden, I traded her some yarn/fiber for some mane/tail!

Oh, and the red circle on the 2nd side of my bag is the hole thru which the soul leaves the universe.