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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!
Ponchos seem to be pretty popular right now.....not the fringed point in front and back. But both the rectangles folded and seamed for an asymmetrichang and the "capelets" that keep the draft off the shoulders and neck without the dangling ends that shawls annoy us all with.
I'm knitting up this rectangle poncho right now for a store model. The pattern is designed for Homestead, but since I already had a store model knit in that yarn, I chose Cascade's Aran for this project. It is a simple knit with a bit of interest in the cable that runs along the bottom edge...so you don't go completely batty knitting the same thing for 48"! Great project if you want to learn a basic cable!
This capelet is another really popular project - so easy to wear around the house and even over a coat when the weather gets a bit colder! No seaming as it is knit from the neck down and although the pattern features a bit of garter and lace stitches, you really could just do stockinette stitch and let Noro's Cyochin yarn take care of the design if you really wanted to simplify it!
My perennial favorite is the Andorra Cape knit in Imperial Ranch's Columbia yarn. The big neck is fun and dramatic and can swoop down in front or lay asymmetrically off to the side. Sometimes I wear it with the point in front...sometimes in back....sometimes to the side. It is warm and cozy, but never hangs in the way of cooking or cleaning, knitting or spinning!
My sister Joan knit up this beautiful Brioche Stitch cowl and had a lot of fun with it. And several customers have been in lately asking about Brioche stitch patterns, so I added a Brioche Knit=A-Long to the fall line up. You can find mroe details about it on the Events page.
Sara brought in her latest color creation for show and tell this morning. She has worked on it for over 3 years! It is crocheted in a lovely fine lace weight and this shawl/scarf has the loveliest drape to it! Every square is unique in pattern and color. It brings back such fond memories of a granny square afghan my sister Roby did for me when I was around 6 years old, I think. I still have it and cherish it. I remember during sleep-overs my friends and I spending hours looking at every square and picking out which were our favorite color combinations!
A customer who just started spinning on a spindle and stopped by to show us her first skein. I wasn't here at the time, but Carol snapped this shot and said the skein was beautifully spun. She (I think Carol said her name was Melanie - or Marilyn?) spun the skein using various colors of our Merino Top and rightly so, she was excited about her outcome! Those of you who have tried drop spindling....well... you probably remember how exciting that first skein is after sticking thru the stops and starts of learning to drop spindle! Well done!
Since I had to clear out the workshop in advance of Jean Gauger's Butterfly Shawl class the second week in July, I laid out and felted this reversible nuno felt dress (shown far right - and, yes... the way the sides bow out heading toward the knees is intentional-it is the way the pockets work which makes the dress both reversible (this is actually shown inside out!) and they way they fall actually makes it a flattering design despite what one would ordinarily think about what looks like a sack!). Anyway, while in the "nuno mode" of felting and while the 3 tables were set up (since I generally prefer to do traditional felting and make accessories and I'm not much into nuno felting myself), I figured I may as well work on some shawl and scarf designs I had been thinking about. So I worked up a couple of shawl and scarf designs for classes this fall (one shown in the left photo) ....and then having been inspired by the butterfly shawls participants made in Jean's class (tho' I wasn't lucky enough to take it myself....too busy making lunches for the group!), I decided to lay out a "butterfly shawl" to be worn as a skirt over leggings this winter. I realized just now that these photos were taken before the final pressing/steaming of the garments, so if you click on them to enlarge them....sorry that they don't quite have the finishing steps done yet! Oops!
So my sister Joany has been knitting - well that's nothing new! But she stopped by and here are a few of her show and tells...
She knit this shawl using an Icelandic laceweight yarn that is similar in gauge to Findley Lace. I can't remember which book she got the pattern from, but the latest lace book off the press (and I only have 1 copy left) is a new Hapsalu shawl book by Aasa "I'll butcher her last name" if I try to add it here. It has GORGEOUS patterns all nicely charted out for you! Stop by to check it out!
She knit these socks using Nordlys as a special request from a grand-daughter.
July 16th...well, I obviously have been busy since I haven't had a chance to update this page in a while....so much show and tell today that I've been accumulating, but I only have time for one so I'll start with Aubrey's latest sweater! She knit this new Ravelry pattern using an aran weight Imperial Ranch Columbia. She loved working with this yarn and it shows off the pattern nicely. She did a great job and it fits her beautifully! I think the big smile is a combination of being happy with her sweater and also because she's a teacher and enjoying a little summer off!
Jude got some fun yarns at the last First Friday Clearance Bin and put them to use in a new way that she's been having fun with.....coiling baskets. She shared this photo to show one of the Colinette (Point Five, I believe) that she picked up last month.
If you aren't aware of these....the First Friday of every month I put clearance yarns at discount in the back workshop. So come on by Friday July 3rd and enjoy some great savings!
My sister knit this simple garter stitch handkerchief scarf using just 1 skein of Revel (alpaca laceweight). The pattern is free with the yarn purchase. I don't have this yarn online yet....its been in the store for a few months and is available in 5 colorways. I'll try to get it online next week when I update the site again.
Spent some time on Easter Sunday starting to clean out the garden beds....what a mess it is this time of year! And , as usual, I got to one corner of the garden and began cursing myself for I having accepted a start of Japanese Lanterns from a friend years ago who had them in her garden and raved about them.....without warning me about how intrusive and hard to get rid of they are!
But on Sunday as I was enjoying being out of doors and digging around in the garden I experienced one of those "aha" moments, seeing these (now dessicated from the winter) little pods in a new light. Anyway, aren't they lovely? I'm going to try felting (the structure left behind is quite leathery and tough) the casings into wool....I have felted in dessicated leaves to felt garments in the past and think this should work. And I think I'll work some into silk paper too! Check back in 2 weeks to see how these experiements worked out!
I'm out of floor space so I'm hanging from the ceiling! These photos show some of the 23 colors of tussah silk that arrived....just $7.99/2 oz.
Participants in this past weekend's Felt Tunic workshop made some beautiful garments. One participant had to leave early on Sunday, so we're missing her from the shot, but here are the other 5 with teacher Linda. Hopefully Robin will come back with "show and tell" when she is done!
Here are 2 close-ups and one overall photo of examples of the shawl (or as in the photo far right, if you place some buttons strategically it can become a vest or armed cardigan of sorts) you can make if you join us for Jean Gauger's Butterfly Shawl workshop here July 9, 10 and 11th!
If you are local, you just must stop by to see the live samples of both pieces from both Nancy Evan's (below) and Jean Gauger's upcoming workshops.. As Lindy and Carolyn commented on Saturday when they were in the shop and decided to register for Nancy Evans Felt Lariat and Shibori Felt Pin classes in April, seeing the "live" pieces (Nancy sent in examples for her workshop as well) is so much more inspiring than the photos online. That is the case for both these upcoming workshops......in person they are so much better even than the photos I am able to take and show thru the website, that you really must see them in person to appreciate the artistry in them all.
And here are photos of the Lariat and Shibori Felt Pins/Brooches that Nancy Evans will be teaching on April 18th and 19th. Lots of great techniques here that can be applied to the making of closures for bags, lids for felt vessels, wall hangings and sculptures! So many possibilities !
I forgot to snap a photo of some adorable kids boots that my sister made, but she gave me one of the felt birds she's been making for a baby mobile, so I had that to share with you. So beautiful and light....they will make a gorgeous mobile for Lyra.
This is a kit she put together which is a fun kit for learning basic felting with a child....it makes a different sort of bird than I picture above. It is also lovely and fun for alll ages to make. Check out this page to purchase the felting kit for these birds shown below....
At the Open House this past weekend, several attendees chose to play with blending colors and fibers on the drum carder. Only Aubrey, who came by at the end of the day took the batt she made home (sorry to those of you who came by earlier that you didn't realize it was yours to keep...I didn't recognize that you left them behind until you were gone)!
So after putting away all samples from the Silk Table and repacking my felt and handspun samples from the Wool Fibers Table, I turned to the drum carding station and saw the pile pictured above of odds and ends of batts and fibers left. So since the drum carder was out and I hated to throw these bits out or try to find a plaace to put them, I ran them thru the drum carder and ended up with the batt shown below, which I spun into a 2 oz skein (shown on the niddy noddy) and then had only the few bits you see pictured in the far right photograph below to find a home for!
Even tho' these aren't the colors I usually work with, it was fun to take 10 minutes of "play time" on the drum carder and now I have enough yarn for a kid's pair of mittens! And, importantly, I had less fiber to find a home for!
Martha stopped by this morning to pick up another color of my Kettle Dyed Merino for a fabulous (sorry the photo doesn't show the colors off well because of the blue background I shot them on) hexagon pin cushion she is crocheting. OMG....the colors are so gorgeous together. I'm just about to dye up a new batch of this yarn to replenish the store stock....hope to get to that next week. She has 3 more (actually 4 more since she is going to rip out the hexagon I clipped out of the photo - from a design standpoint she decided she didn't want two of the same color hexagon next to each other) units to knit and then she will fold it, stitch the seams and stuff it with Corriedale fiber. Can't wait to see the finished cushion!
Gheez, Carol....you take a great picture! Carol has been coming to the Thursday night Knit-A-Long where we've been knitting the Inspirations pattern for a striped cowl. Several participants chose to buy new yarn for it, but Carol (as I had suggested since this is the perfect project for using up odds and ends) brought along some stash bits and pieces and after we talked about color and fibonacci and what she might use to bring the odd bits together, bought 1 skein of a Debbie Bliss Kid Mohair to carry along with one of the yarns and it tied it altogether beautifully!
Maybe I'll have some more to share next week after we meet tonight...I think several others are almost done with theirs.
I finished the leather trim around this eco printed wool bag I made. I love combining leather with wool and felt and was so psyched that my brother had the perfect color orange leather to compliment the eucalyptus I used to print the fabri!
Just finished this coat I sewed using wool I "Eco-printed" with Japanese Maple leaves from my friend's yard! If you're interested in learning the basics of this technique, it will be covered in the Dye Lab scheduled here in May.
Agathe brought in a gorgeous shawl she knit out of Findley Dappled and I forgot to get a photo of it! She picked up some Nuna Fina by Mirasol for the next one, so I'll be sure to get a photo of that when she brings it in for show and tell. I also cast on and started knitting Nuna Fina for a store model and it is lovely to work with....and the metal-like colors are to die for!
In the meantime, here are some more projects that BJ brought for show and tell, as well as a couple that I have.
BJ spun the wool (I think it was my Vermont Coopworth?) and knit these adorable traditional slippers from a pattern in the Icelandic Handknits book. She even knit and felted the insole like they did traditionally (here is a photo of a typical pair which I took at the museum in Reykyavik, for comparison). Traditionally, they make the outside out of fishskin and then felt and knit the insole.
BJ spun and knit both the sweater and the scarf. If I remember correctly, the sweater is spun from a gorgeous llama/wool blend fiber that I had for a while and the scarf is spun from the Corriedale by the Yard. Few spinners think about this fiber....I sell it by the yard for felters who are looking for small amounts of lots of colors...but it is a great fiber to spin too!
BJ brought in lots of show and tell last week and I finally decided on a collar for that felt vest!
This shawl BJ spun from the Nuble merino I am stocking. Tho' she said she loved the feel of the fiber, she apparently wishes she had not kept the color sequences so distinct when she spun and plied the yarn. I think the stripes look lovely but her comment is a reminder to spinners that when working with a hand-dyed roving/top, you control whether you get stripes in the final yarn or a tweed effect, and so it is worth taking a few minutes before you begin to think thru how you will strip, draft and ply the yarn.
If you've been in the store in the last year, you may have seen this vest (shown left, with a detail of the felt shown middle) hanging around here or there without a collar on it. Or perhaps with a different collar altogether, since this vest has had 5 different collars before the one shown!
This vest has been quite a project and although in many ways I think this final choice of collar (tibetan lamb) is fitting given the fabric I felted, it is a bit over the top for me and I may never wear it. But I am considering it done and after 2 years am finally taking it of my "to finish" list!
If you want to see the rather remarkable transformation of the bits and pieces shown in the right photo above, into the final vest, click here for the account of this felting journey!
BJ is on here way here with show & tell, so I'll have some fun things to show next week! For now, the only photo I have to share of a newly completed project is the eco-printed skirt I made over the holidays using some wool I printed with eucalyptus leaves in the fall (scroll down for those photos). This week I am making a leather and wool bag using the last piece of the eucalyptus printed fabric. I'll use the bag much more than I'll ever wear this skirt, but it works on the mannequin! Here's a closeup of the fabric, as well.
Unfortunately, I forgot to shoot a photo of the needle felted ornaments that participants in Saturday's workshop made before they left, but they all made some wonderful ornaments like these few that I made to give them some ideas ....
One of Neysa's monochromatic needle felted tapestries.....if you live locally and haven't had a chance yet to check out her exhibit and sale at Bagitos Bagel shop in Montpelier, it has been extended thru the end of the year. Check it out if you are looking for something really special to gift to a loved one.
I've had this woven wool fabric hanging around here since May when I started to play around with Eco-Printing. But after lots of experimentation this spring (scroll down for earlier pieces on silk) and realizing how arbitrary the results from my back yard can be (notwithstanding my Lancastershire geraniums which always give me something good but aren't blooming right now!), I was afraid to risk the (expensive) fabric on an unknown. So the fabric sat here, getting moved from shelf to cabinet and generally "in the way" when a felting buddy provided me the impetus to do something with it this week. She brought me a bouquet which included some Eucalyptus and I decided it was now or never to (at least start to) put an end to this 6 month old project!
And as it turned out, Chris was doing some Eco-Printing with her kids last week (she got some gorgeous results too, but the battery was dead on my camera the day she brought in the show and tell). She and the kids had been using maple leaves with great results, so while I had the iron bath going I went to a friends house and picked up the last of the maple leaves on her ground - ice chunks and all! So now I have printed 3 yards each in maple and in Eucalptus. I'm still not really sure what I'll do with the yardage....originally I had thought about a couple of jackets, but the fabric came out a bit "too busy" for that. And I can't bear the thought of making bags.....I've got so many felt bags going right now. But I feel good that at least this project is one step closer to becoming "something" and ultimately getting off my "to-do" list. And that counts for something!
Finally finished (well, as much as I'm going to finish it....it could use more time fussing to make the edges crisper and the felt harder, but since it is going to a 3 month old and I've already put in I-hate-to-think-how-many-hours, I'm calling it a day!) felting one of the interesting origami-inspired felt pieces we made when Andrea Noeske-Porada was here for a couple of workshops this month. Everyone enjoyed her and the felting techniques she shared with us, tremendously. If you ever get a chance to take a class with her, you should! Anyway....here is the toy in action:
Neysa started and we've all added to this little portrait to test out the new Addi Quick electric needle felting tool!
One of the techniques we're covering in the Skill Building Workshop this fall is "intarsia". Most people think of it for kids garments....knitting cats and dogs, frogs and dinosaurs into a background....but it has other interesting applications. Here is a wrap I knit in Kureyon using the technique. You can find out more about the class here.
Just wanted to share a few of the felt vessels participants in last week's workshop here made. Sorry not to have photos of everyones for show and tell, but you'll get the idea from these of what a great class it was....lots of creative energy at work! I think some of them are still WIP (works in progress as not everyone finished their intended embellishments, etc)
Susan's Robin's Maggie's
August 28th...when it rains it pours. Lots of Show & Tell was shared this week and I probably should dole it out slowly....but since I sometimes then lose track of what I've shared and not, I figured I'd post all three beauties this week.
My sister Joany knit this sweet drawstring bag for me using some naturally dyed Laotian Silk I used to sell at the store. This bag says a lot about my sister Joan....besides the obvious that she is a skilled knitter. The bigger reveal is this: I gave her the Laotian silk skeins so she could knit herself something special ( she helps me out so much at the store). And then she knits this beautiful bag for me! I guess she had enough to knit several bags and so also has one for herself. Still. The speed and volume of her knitting and her generous spirit always impress me.
My niece, Neysa, has gotten bitten by the knitting bug in the last year since she started working here (she is an amazing needle felter). These fingerless mitts were her first foray into multicolor knitting as well as the first time she knit a thumb....she is very excited about them, as she should be! She used my NFAC Fingering Merino that I dye here for the store. Not sure why the picture is so dark...I think if you click on the enlarge, you can see the colors better.
Joan Hathaway took my Intro to Felting class this last winter or fall and has had fun playing with it ever since. She entered this swan into the Charmplain Valley Fair's Mixed Media Art contest and won 2nd place and is thrilled. Congratulations, Joan! It's beautiful.
I've put some retiring store models up for sale to raise money to support the Haafel Goat Farm in Iceland's Indiegogo fundraiser campaign. Be sure to check out Haafel's fundraising site here at http://igg.me/at/savethegoats/x, as well as the page on my site where I've posted the store models that are available.
The weather has been great for dyeing so that's what I've been doing! I've dyed up the last 30 pounds of NFAC Fingering Merino (some of it seen drying here). Every time I walk past the bins of this yarn at the store my heart races! I've put aside a pretty assortment of colors to use in some mittens and gloves I have planned to knit over vacation.
Jan just stopped in this morning with a gorgeous wrap to show off. Knit using Swans Island worsted in color Lupine (my camera really washed out the color). She used a size US 8 needle and both the stitch definition and the drape are lovely. Pattern is by Jared Flood.
Using up odds and ends.....it feels good to clear out some fiber and it reminds me once again how challenging it is to be forced to use and combine colors you ordinarily wouldn't think of.
So last night some friends came over and between munching eclairs and catching up on each other's news, we started drum carding all the crazy bits and pieces of fiber that I felt like I was drowning in. We had such fun putting together this and that to creat new batts to felt and spin. I can't wait to see what we each do with the batts we made.... The first photo shows the table of scraps as we got started, the second photo shows one of the batts Linda was working on in progress and the thrid photo shows the 13 batts we made rolled up and waiting to be used for felting and spinning projects! It was lots of fun, but kind of depressing to still see what a big pile of scraps is still left even after we made 13 batts!!
Then, another scrap using project I finished this week was to embellish this pair of slippers I felted while testing out a new fiber I am considering for the store. I used up some bits and pieces of an odd assortment of colors of a great felting wool that were left over when we bagged the last shipment of CC Wool (a blueish teal, a pale orange, a light green, a brown, a faint salmony-white). I can't really say I like the end result - I don't hate them, but the slippers don't "speak" to me - , but the process was a good reminder of how much neighboring colors can affect each other (toning down, pumping up)! The first 4 photos show the evolution of the design and the change of colors while needling and the last photo shows the left slipper at the pre-fulling stage and the right slipper done (well, I'm calling it done since I got out of the exercise what I wanted - testing the new wool and using up fiber that was laying around - even if the design and colors still bother me and I keep seeing things I want to needle more or change! )
The pre and post!
I've been working thru some Eco-Printing on silk fabric and scarves since Eva' workshop here in April....trying to get some "predictability" and "control" into the technique, but also trying local plants (in class we worked a lot with eucalyptus...which I love, but can't grow in my yard!). Despite that these don't photograph at all well, I thought I'd share some results I've gotten using plants from my own garden, since it is a great time of year to be in the garden!
The scarf to the far right is an "everything but the kitchen sink" scarf...it tests a leaf from absolutely every flowering shrub and plant in my back yard except bloodroot (that leaf is so ugly I knew I wouldn't want to use it even if it gave good color). Once I test the plants and conditions (other variables of getting a good print), I then have been printing "cleaner" scarves using what I like best (i.e. left and middle photos). Eco-Printing has been a love-hate experience from the get-go! I've got a bunch of silk fabric and quite a few charmeuse scarves that I've done that I absolutely LOVE the pattern and colors in, but then I've also created some of the ugliest pieces of silk you can imagine! So it's been a few months of trial and error, but I guess that's the nature of it. Fortunately, I have had enough successes with the technique that I've sold several scafves, have loved enough of them to gift quite a few to family and friends, have now made 6 or 7 into cowls and infinity scarves and I will do more in the fall when the maple and oak trees are at their best! Quite a few of the silk scarves and cowls that I've made you can see here at the store like the one below, shown on the right just after taking it out of the pot and then on the left after curing it for 2 weeks, washing it and sewing it into an infinity scarf.
Just knit up this snood, based on a pattern from Icelandic Handknits. Instead of knitting equal stripes in sequentially darker natural shades of wool, I used Fibonacci numbers as the basis for my striping sequence and I used some naturally dyed Icelandic wool. Apparently, reviving my Icelandic wristlet pattern last week (scroll down for photo, free pattern link ) from the Vermont CSA Yarn Club I offered a couple of years ago got me binge-knitting on my stash of Icelandic yarn and on working wavy/chevrony patterns! It also got me perusing various books we sell on Icelandic knits, which I recommend you check out next time you're in the store!
I actually meant to share some photos of a lot of eco-printing I've been doing, but time always runs short and I don't have those photos ready, so here is a great summer project. Just 2 sks of Sublime Lace Merino .....its lightweight for the cool evenings we're still having and doubled (since it is big enough for that) it will keep you toasty beneath a jacket in the fall too!
Carol snapped some great photos of show and tell a customer shared of some crocheted amigurummi creatures she has been having a blast making , but Carol forgot to get the customer's name....so I'll post those in the gallery as soon as I get a name to attribute them to!
In the meantime, I resurrected a pattern I designed for one of my Vermont Yarn CSAs of years past, in honor of Spin Off's feature article on Icelandic wool which came out this week. I had this Vermont Icelandic wool spun locally from wool I purchased at a Vermont Icelandic farm and I designed this simple pattern based on the fact that "wave" motifs are popular in many of the north Atlantic countries in which fishing is a big industry. I have now posted the pattern under Free Patterns and the yarn is available here
Neysa is knitting up a storm of lace shawls lately. This is her newest and it is Elizabeth Zimmerman's pattern and knit using Harrisville Shetland (color suede). Be sure to click on the photo for a closer look at the beautiful pattern. She was in yesterday buying 5 more skeins of Harrisville to knit another as a gift...this time in purple!
I'm afraid in the month I've been dealing with computer problems and neglecting the website, I've lost some photos that customers have brought in for show and tell! But here are a couple of shots from the recent Eco-Printing workshop here, plus a few show & tells of felt and knitted projects that have been shared recently!
Some Eco-Prints on silk, silk, and felt (in order)...the felt piece is folded and pinned since I'm making it into a bag. The print on the far left came from a geranium leaf I picked out in the back garden!
Some lace wristlets knit using my NFAC kettle dyed merino and a pattern from the most recent Findley Dappled book.
A turtle pin cushion that was felted for me by a sister using the KAP wool!
I was so caught up in visiting with everyone who joined us for the Felter's Meet & Greet on Saturday that I forgot to get out the camera to take photos during the event....but I did snap a photo of Neysa's chair before everyone arrived and I took a photo of Carol's rug the day before when she dropped it off for Show & Tell.....so I have these 2 creations to share with you. Both so gorgeous.
Sue Johnson stopped by last week to show me the shawl she knit using my kettle dyed NFAC merino. The pattern is Sundry, from Ravelry, and knit in my merino it is absolutely gorgeous! Almost velvety and with such a great hand. I only have about 20 pounds of it left to dye but I'm trying to get another run of it because the customers who have knit with it come back for more...and more...and more!
My niece, Neysa, knit this beautiful pin cushion for me using my hand-dyed NFAC Fingering. She always picks such great designs!The cushion is so soft and the dyed colors knit up so beautifully....almost like velvet...at least that's what customers say in the store when they see the various samples I have knit using this yarn. I kind of hate to think about sticking pins or needles in it!
Ok...so I'm a little behind! Kathy brought this gorgeous shawl in for show and tell before the holidays. She spun and knit it up using the Cormollaca fiber I had here in the store last year - sorry, it's sold out.....it was so gorgeously silky and soft to spin that it didn't last long!
But...I just got back 35 pounds of new fiber from the mill and have a gorgeous VT BFL/Kid mohair blend in a creamy white and a pretty grey VT Romney/BL cross available now.
Elizabeth brought in some show and tell when she was in this week for more fiber. She spun up the Merino Gradient in the jeweltones colorway and then knit this wonderful scarf. She did a great job spinning it and the fiber is so soft and lovely, she came back for more!
The class schedule for Jan - April (plus a couple of felting classes planned for later in 2014) is now posted. Excited by quite a few of them!
I've been shooting and uploading some new technique videos (see the Tutorials button mid way down the blue menu bar to the left of this page) over the last week or two and will have another three to load up Thursday based on this hat I worked up based on a particular piece of music. This is the "prototype" in which I worked out some kinks and got lots of practice working duplicate stitch.Riddled with little issues, like spacing between notes and forgetting to duplicate stitch in the timing (9/8) I'm afraid this one will be relegated to teaching purposes and I've started fresh knitting the actual hat I'll be gifting (the baby is now too big to fit into this newborn size!)
eliminate the jog!
two color knitting
So check back Friday for some more new ones and be sure to keep your eye on Tutorials page in January for more new ones as Carol, Chris, Lynn & Ariel have compiled a list of about 30 different "how-tos" they frequently hear and I'll be working on those each week thru January. Most knitting tutorials, but some felting and spinning too.
Carol, Susan & Muffy all gave me permission to share their samples from this past weekend's Layered Resist Dye workshop. We all learned a lot, had fun, and ended up with some really interesting pieces.
When my sisters & I were in Iceland this spring I purchased 8 colors of Icelandic fleece with the intention of felting some rugs. I've only finished one of them....a house warming for one of my nieces (a gentle nudge, since she's thinking about raising Icelandics!). It looked better in my mind than it turned out in reality. I was rushing, and well, that's never good. So I'm relying on "it's the thought that counts"! The star shape I used is typical of the designs for the knitted insoles we saw samples of in the Reykyavik museum.
. Pam knit these hats using my Vermont Shetland and using a pattern from Williamsburg. She knit one for her mom and one for her dad.
Jan brought by some lovely beaded wristlets she made using Swan Island Fingering. They are so lovely and practical.....next to our heads, I think the second place we lose most heat is thru the inside of our wrists....the skin is so thin there and there are so many blood vessels at the surface. So all the traditional costumes from the Scandinavian countries that featured wristlets really made sense...not just beauty!
P.S......don't forget about the Swan Island Trunk Show this Saturday (Oct 19th)....we have new colors coming, lots of extra garments on display, the alpaca/merino blend coming and a special discount is offered to those purchasing the yarn and pattern to knit one of the garments.
Kathy shared this fun shawl from one of the recent KnitScenes....she used one of the Noro sock weight yarns...I can't remember if it was Taiyo or Silk Garden Sock.... and said it was fun & interesting to knit.
Chris, whom many of you know from managing the store on Mondays & Tuesdays, enjoyed one of the perks of working here and joined in on Dagmar's felting class last month. Earlier this week, she wore the vest she made in Dagmar's class to the shop. It came out beautifully and has apparently has garnered lots of oohs and aahs about town when she's worn it. It is a great testament to both Chris's creative aesthetic and Dagmar's teaching....
Just wanted to draw people's attention to a special pre-XMAS offer on Juniper Moon's Herriot alpaca. Because the first design pattern book has SO MANY wonderful patterns that require multiple colors, and that requires a significant upfront investment in the yarn, I'm trying to make it easier for you all to enjoy some fair isle knitting with this luxurious yarn by offering a Baker's Half Dozen. ...buy 6 and you get a 7th free! With 7 skeins you can knit up multiple projects, as I have been doing, which makes the cost per project really reasonable (even if the initial outlay of cash doesn't seem it!).
Although this photo shows the cowl knit as per the pattern, it could easily be half the width (since it is a tube and therefore doubled in thickness) and still provide a luxurious and warm covering for your neck this winter. So after knitting the hat and the cowl and seeing how much yarn I still had left, I figured I could either knit 2 more cowls (at half the width), 1 more hat AND the mittens OR I could do 1 more cowl at the full width and another hat OR I could knit 3 more hats and the mittens (with a spare)! Anyway, the point is that although it seems like a large outlay to use all of this yarns gorgeous natural colors, it actually ends up being a pretty reasonable cost per item when all is said and done (around $23-$28/item).
BJ brought in a lot of show & tell two weeks ago and I haven't had a chance to edit those photos yet to share with you...and I'm short on time right now, so I'm jumping this next show & tell ahead of BJ. Here is a wonderful shawl Kathy knit from a pattern in the last KnitScene using Silk Garden Sock - or did she say she used Taiyo sock? Hmmmm....well, either would work! Anyway, she said it was fun to knit!
Sept 2nd....Dagmar Binder's workshop here last week was a great success. Check out this group shot of the happy felters (from Montreal, Florida, Rhode Island, Boston, NY State, NYCity , Arizona, & a couple of locals!)showing off (at various stages of completion) their wonderful nuno wristlets or tops.
Since Dagmar's class closed and I had to turn several customers away, I decided I needed to add a seamless nuno project into the fall schedule so those of you interested in learning this approach to felting would have another chance at it. But for space and time issues, we are not offering a garment, but a smaller project.
Since I had taught these nuno wristlets a couple of years ago and since last year's nuno scarf class was popular and customers have been asking me to repeat it (but I hate repeating exactly the same thing), I've designed a cool new scarf and a nuno cowl that will teach the nuno seamless technique. So if you're interested in learning the seamless technique without undertaking an ambitious 3 day project such as those who participated in Dagmar's class this past week did, join me for this fun & easy scarf/cowl class. And in case you're wondering how/why a scarf needs a seam....it doesn't, but to learn the technique I've worked a clever seam into the scarf to create a self-closure....so you learn the technique and have a cool closure. Or join us and make a cowl (which does require a seam). For more details, check out the Classes page.
I enjoyed a few days of uninterrupted felting this past week. What a joy! Since there are so many distractions here at the shop, even if I close the curtain and try to create in the workshop space here, I get drawn into the store for something. So I find taking a workshop is sometimes the only way to "be one with the felt". And since Dagmar is coming here for a seamless workshop in a couple of weeks, I registered to take her class at Sharon's. I've worked a lot with resists in the past ...between the 3-D bags I make a lot of and some scarves I've done (the last scarf I did required 125 resists!). But I've been doing more nuno felting lately, and working on that series of Stitched Felt Bags more recently, so it was fun to get back into resist work. And although the technique was not new to me I always find there is something new to learn in every workshop. Whether it is a different approach to layout or a new "appreciation" of some design element, or the types of wools used for different applications, there is always something. My take away from this workshop was the element of "repetition" in the design process. I was just beginning to appreciate this recently when working my Felt Quilt Bags, and this workshop drove it home. The repetition of the same unit or same design over and over and over, makes for a very dramatic effect. So you can see from the two closeup photos I loaded above and from the (still wet) leaf collar below, that this was all about repetition. I've always resisted this in the past because I get bored easily and so hate repeating myself. But I've enjoyed the Stitched Quilt Felt Bags I've been doing and in some ways it is easier to just repeat elements than try to work in different ones, so there is definitely merit in this.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to Dagmar's workshop here the week after next She is a wonderful teacher and has an incredibly beautiful aesthetic in her work! If you're local and want to see her work, stop by Aug 30th in the afternoon.....she has brought pieces to sell (if they don't all sell at Fling!).
Seems like I've either been "deconstructing" or "reconstructing" felt projects lately! So I'm looking forward to returning from vacation with all these odds and ends out of my way so I can start a fresh project that doesn't involve tearing apart or building up!
The Orikiri Cape (scroll down to June 18th for a link to the experience of that piece!) and this pillow are my latest "deconstructions". This pillow was made from a piece of felt that I did using up all these leftover scraps of fiber and silk that kept getting in my way in the workshop. On the premise that 1 piece of felt is easier to move and keep track of than many little baggies of scrap fibers, I laid it all out and felted a big sheet (see top photo of it drying on the line). It looked like a galactic meteor shower to me and I didn't think it attractive...not that I was too critical since it was all about using up odds and ends, bits and pieces! Still... this week I cut it up into pieces for fun. Then at my sister's annual Felt Play Day on Sunday, I reconstructed the pieces into a pillow front and back...and added a little machine embroidery. Now, of course, I like the original flat piece better! Oh well, it was scraps, I learned some new things working thru the process, and I have a fresh pillow for the green wingback in the store. AND...most importantly, all the little baggies of fiber are out of my way in the workshop!
So much to share....BJ came by...need I say more! She is so prolific I'm always in awe. Thanks for sharing BJ.
BJ spun this yarn using Northern Lights and then knit the shawl. Absolutely stunning.
And Genie shared a sweater she knit for Eamon (my latest great nephew, which makes me "great" Aunt Jenny for the 17th time!) using an adorable pattern from one of the Sublime baby books (there isn't a bad one in the entire series) that she knit using Sublime Extrafine Merino The sweater (and yarn) is so soft and has a lovely hand...be sure to take a closer look at the detail photo (click on it to enlarge) to get a sense of how rich the colors are and how lustrous the yarn is. Wish you could feel how especially soft and plush this feels.
And tho' I don't think to do this with many classes, I did remember to take a few pictures during the Silk Paper Making class so I have those to share as well here
only 4 spots left in the Silk Paper Class next weekend....stitch it, felt it, bind it, print on it....endless possibilities
BJ stopped by last week with some show & tell and I finally worked thru finishing a couple of very old projects!
BJ wove this lovely scarf using a crepe (enregized) yarn as weft giving it that crinkled/seersucker looking effect that also results in a great drape. If you enlarge the photo you can see how she worked in beads to the weaving as well!
Over a year ago, I was playing around felting fibers with differential shrinkage to create texture in the felt and I worked this bag up using black karakul lamb on the inside and some border leceister cross I had dyed a gold color on the outside. When carding the gold, I specifically left some locks uncarded to add to the texture and when it was all felted, I loved the texture and the mingling of colors, but thought it kind of dull. So I added a bunch of stitching on it using some gorgeous gold silk embroidery floss my sister had dyed for me. To mimic the texture in the bag, I chose to work all French Knots in the shrub design. The back side also has a bunch of vine motifs embroidered on it now.
And I finally forced my way thru to "complete" (as much as I plan to, anyway!) a shawl from Sachiko's workshop here last summer.....the progression of this piece from gigantic rectangle thru vest to shawl/cape is documented on the blog if you're interested.
Gudrun, a botanist and natural dyer my sisters and I visited while in Iceland, sells her naturally dyed Icelandic yarn on Etsy. Several of the natural dyes they have to work with there are quite different (except the madder, seen left) than what I've worked with here (some different types of lichen and Icelandic Moss) and although I've always drained the leaf/flower/stalk/root from the dyebath once I extricated the dye into the water (partly so the dye takes up more evenly but also so that the yarn is not full of bits and pieces of vegetable matter), she leaves the vegetable matter in the pot along with the yarn. She gets beautiful colors and doesn't seem to have trouble shaking out the leaves et all after the yarn is dry. Further goes to reinforce the point that there are many ways to "cut the apple"! Check out her site on Etsy - it's called Hespa!
Be sure to Cast Your Kudo for a participant in the "Felt Challenge" we launched in March.
BJ wove this lovely basketweave blanket and brought it in for show antodayd tell a week ago or so. I had to laugh because, as happens to us all (and I have felt particularly prone to this lately) it is a project that BJ apparently kept second guessing herself on...you know, hemming and hawing at...not quite sure of the pattern or the colors was quite right? We've all been there. And kind of like the proverbial "analysis paralysis", we can get stuck in the abyss of the second guessing. So when she stopped by a few months back and told me she couldn't quite get thru this project I passed on what my sister Joanie sometimes tells me when I get stuck in that place - "just do it and move on". So she did. And when she brought it in for show and tell, it reminded me to take some of my own advice and so I have buckled down and am "just doing and moving on" with some stymied projects....not that any are done yet, but at least I'm beyond the paralysis stage....
I have begun machine embroidering a series of felt squares I made for a second "quilt bag". And I finally cut up the long strip of fabric Christine made from scraps of felt I had leftover from some jackets I made a few years ago using I camel, angora, llama, alpaca, cashmere, merino, and yak. I cut out vest fronts and back and the plan is to use some of the lovely Eco-Duo alpaca yarn to knit a shawl collar and button bands?
And finally, the only jewelry I finished after Renate's class here a couple of weeks ago! A jewelry designer I'm not! But I'm having fun and I've got lots of other pieces "in the works", but only this ring done. The ring is felted using the new KAP wool and then I stitched on a crocheted ruffle and a crocheted silver bauble into the center!
BJ stopped by today to share a whole bunch of show & tell....but I'm going to stretch it out a bit...so here is the first! She spun my Vermont Border Leicester/Wenslydale mix fiber and then knit this garter stitch cardigan....I so wish you could feel it and that I had the skills/camera to do it justice (the yarn is so rich and lustrous even tho' the picture may look dull and gray!)! It is soft, silky, lustrous and has such a great drape and weight to it. This fiber is sold out now, but the fiber I have in it's place which is very similar in hand but a medium brown instead of charcoal, is my Vermont Border Leicester/Blue Faced Leicester/Pygora blend.
Kathleen Crescenzo, who was here visiting from CT over the weekend for the Felt Jewelry workshop, brought with her the pair of felt boots she made during my Online Felt Boot Workshop. They came out great....thanks for sharing, Kathleen. Others who have taken the workshop have shared photos and comments, so I've posted them here for you to view if you'd like. Since I'm going to run my online Felt Hat & Millinery workshop after I return from our sister's trip to Iceland, I won't be running the Felt Boot again until the fall, but so many are asking about it, I will begin registration for it in May. So stay tuned.
Arielle knit these adorable booties for a friend using the Sublime Extrafine merino....and a pattern from Ravelry.
Some photos of the Felt Jewelry class in action....
Kathy started working on this Silk Garden headband on our last Downton Abbey Knit-Along. The pattern is from the most recent Noro Knits Accessories book....lots of other great patterns in it too. She brought it in for Show & Tell....and to find a button for it!
My sister has been exploring using her silk paper for binding notebooks, in anticipation of a silk paper class here later this summer/early fall. Here are a couple of her gorgeous trials. She's also worked out the right formula for making silk paper for basket weaving, so both she and another sister and I have been weaving baskets from the paper.....also in prep for the workshop here later this year. I can't believe how much fun it is!
I've shown some of Sara's fingerless mitt knits here before....each one is unique and shows off my own hand-dyed merino so well! Sara's got such a marvelous sense of color. Be sure to Friend/Like (not really sure the difference) on Facebook for access to a Facebook only contest for some of this yarn next week!
Sue Johnson has been knitting mittens like there is no tomorrow.... a couple pair for her grandkids using Baby Alpaca Grande (which I didn't get a photo of) and this pair using Noro Silk Garden as the pattern color and Vermont Border Leicester (she raises them here and I have about 70 pounds of her fleece just back from the mill and I'm dyeing it up right now for the store....but I also have about 20 pounds still left from the first batch) as the background. Great way to use Noro!
Aubrey brought this lovely shawl for show & tell at the last of the Thursday night knitting socials (Downton Abbey Knit-a-longs). She knit it using the yarn I kettle dye here and she worked beads into every yarn over! Lovely.
I finally finished the last of the handstitching on this felt bag I started almost a year ago! It's all lined in silk and was fun project I used to practice some machine embroidery (I got a new machine) and work out the kinks on this bag design I had wanted to make for so long! In various stages of completion, it has been photographed like a Hollywood celebrity by felters visiting from near and far... which I take as the highest of compliments. It wasn't a pretty process, since I was working out the dsign as I went, but I'm pleased with the results and have a second one in the works...now that I know what I'm doing! Ironically, the felting was the easy part....it was all the hand and machine stitching that gave me angina.
Marjorie Lemay knits so many beautiful one of a kind garments for her 8 (?) grandchildren.Her unique designs, wonderful color choices and gorgeous knitting are always a treat to see and share. This new series she is working on using Sublime Extrafine Merino is in preparation for next XMAS (wish I could plan that far ahead!). Two down, 6 to go!
France came by yesterday to get some deals on the coned yarns I had on clearance for weavers and brought this show and tell to share. She's been working on it during the Downton Knit Alongs Thursday nights (of course, tonight is cancelled because of Valentines day). The shawl came out beautifully.
Laurie took the Kumihimo class here last Saturday and sent this photo of her completed key chain to me to share. I'm not sure I did a good job adjusting the light (new camera), so the photo doesn't do her lovely work justice! She even worked beads into the braid!
Rhonda, who is one of my most prolific spinners, LOVES spinning this merino/merino superwash/bamboo blend fiber that I stock. She came in for more the other day and brought show and tell of her last batch....all dyed up and ready to knit! It has the most beautiful hand and what a lovely sheen....tho' I'm not sure you can appreciate those qualities thru my limited photographic skills and with an ailing camera, to beat!
Back in the fall, my felting buddies and I had challenged ourselves to experiment by exploring some small (6 inch square) felt pieces. Still wanting to explore some felting ideas inspired by a trip my sisters and I took almost 2 years ago, I chose to kill two birds with 1 rock and use this small scale felting to explore some designs inspired by the blue and white mosaics in the Church of the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia. The technique I chose to play around with is nothing new and earth shattering.....just layering colors with the intent of cutting down into the felt to reveal colors below. I had first played with this in a vessel class I took with Sharon Costello a decade ago....and some of the 3rd century B.C felts we saw from the Pzyryk burials in Siberia showed they cut into their felt in this same manner even way back then! Still it was something I wanted to play with a bit more and so inspired by the blue and mosaics of the church, I thought I'd make a series of mug-rugs (coasters) exploring this theme. I'm working them free-hand, so I don't really have a plan for cutting and I still have 1 more layer (it should be green) to reveal below the fuschia. This square has been kicking around and every few days I cut another bit of it away. I came across it yesterday and shared it with the group participating in the online felt boot workshop right now as an emellishment idea for their next pair, so I thought I'd share this WIP here today, too!
Couture seamstress and expert felter, Linda Veilleux sent along another photo to show the possibilities of what can be done with a great piece of flat felt and some good sewing skills! So DON"T MISS OUT....Linda is offering a workshop here the weekend of Feb 23/24 to help guide felters thru the design, cutting, and sewing of a piece of felt into a great handbag. She'll even show you how to add leather, pockets, zippers, etc. I'm so excited to be able to offer this workshop... Linda has made some wonderful luggage and bags using felt in the past and really has the sewing and technical skills to guide you thru the process of creating a one of a kind piece!
Sara shared her latest colorwork creation.....wristlets knit using my own hand-dyed NFAC fingering merino. As always, they are so beautiful and rich in color.
BJ stopped by today for show and tell....she handspun, dyed and knit this gorgeous faroese shawl. It has a lovely hand, the traditional long tails (so you can tie them around your waist and not get them wet while you're selling fish in the street) and the shaped shoulders so it stays on! She picked up some red corriedale to spin up a bit to add into a blanket she is planning with 2 shades of Vermont browns and some of the gorgeous Wenslydale she spun up. The natural colors were gorgeous together, but she wants to add a splash of red! Can't wait to see that when it's done.
And, I MUST show off some felting that my grand nieces and nephews did for XMAS...clearly my sisters (and then nieces) have passed on their fiber talents to the next generation!
Solon (7) and Liam (5) clearly spent some time felting lovely logs and geodes to make these gorgeous necklaces for my sisters and I. I wore it to see Les Mis over break and had numerous people stop me to admire!
Meanwhile, out in Michigan, my grand niece Ella (11) who has done some lovely felting in the past, needle felted me this lovely trivet (or it could be a wall hanging, too)....but I'm using it as a trivet, since I spent most of the month of December rolling logs to make a series of trivets and coasters for people for the holidays and I like to think that somehow, Solon, Liam, Ella and I were somehow interconnected on the same wavelength in December since....
I was .using the same technique that Solon & Liam were having fun with, to make some really thick and colorful trivets and coasters.
Sorry the photos are so odd in color, I think I dropped my camera one too many times now!
Dec 19th....I know a customer came by with a fabulous show and tell but I can't remember which customer (so I can't find the picture since I file it by customer!). So in the meantime, I thought I'd share a picture of a wall hanging my niece did that shows off both needle felting and Kumihimo. Since we have a Kumihimo class scheduled for February, I thought I'd share another example of how this Japanese braiding technqiue can be used. Be sure to blow up the images to look close up!
Dec 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.
My sister Joan completed her yurt bag and brought it over on Saturday for show and tell. She worked her sides differently, so I've shown both here. I love her elegant color selection. We learned when Annimie was here for the workshops that the nomads make these (much larger) and use them as cupboards! Makes sense since their life is nomadic (well, I guess now they just move the yurt twice a year...still it's a lot to pick up and move!) they hang yurt bags around the inside of the yurt to hold things like plates, linens, etc. As you can see from the next set of photos, they really do use these. BTW....the tufts of fiber hanging from the bag is yak hair (tho' any beast of burden is used) and these tufts represent the generations of the family. The central motif, featuring rams horns is a big motif for them....representing their livelihood since sheep give them wool, meat and dairy!
So I went back into the photos I took at the Ethnographic museum we visited in Russia last year and, sure enough, the yurt they had set up does have yurt bags hanging about it! In the left hand photo, if you look just to the right of the standing person, you'll see one and in the photo on the right, the bag is hanging over the head of the left most seated man.
My yurt bag is quite different in color choices...I'll get some pictures of it this week and post it next week.
Two weeks when Annimie was still visiting from Holland for some felting workshops, we took 1 day off from classes and went to visit a Shetland farm. Annimie wanted to see Vermont and I needed to pick up fleece for the next run of Vermont Yarns. So I thought I'd share some photos from the day....be sure to check out a new event I just posted ....it's a great way for you to test out some of the breed specific local yarns and fibers I stock!
Here are some of the locks....I'veI bought over 100 pounds of Shetland now from several different farms and am excited that I'll be able to offer 7 distinct, natural colors here in the shop (sometime after the holidays) for knitters to play with....shaela, emsket, moorit, fawn, moosket, light grey, charcoal...can't wait.
Oct 30th....several weeks to catch up on!
LouAnn knit this fun baby blanket for a shower for her husband's nieces baby. I think she used Taiyo by Noro? I wasn't here when she stopped by for show and tell so I didn't get a chance to confirm that with her.
Rhonda has been spinning up a storm ... and dyeing too...with a new fiber I've been stocking (at her request). It is a 40% merino, 40% merino superwash, and 20% silk blend. At first the idea of blending merino and superwash merino in the same top didn't make sense to me, since the proportions of superwash to non don't make this yarn machine washable. So why bother with the 40% superwash? Becuase the 3 fibers take the dye differently it makes for a really interesting spun yarn. So if you want to have some fun dyeing and spinning, follow Rhonda's lead and play around with this one.
Oops....I think I forgot to upload this page last week...and now I've added more, so be sure to scroll down for more good stuff!
So BJ stopped by last week with lots of show and tell. First she shared some placemats she did after a workshop with the Vermont Weavers Guild on share drafting techniques. Each of the three placemats shown here (and another 4 or 5 I couldn't fit in the photo) are all woven on the same threading. Lovely subtle effects and a nice way to make a set of placemats that go together, but don't match exactly! I love that!
She also spun (I can't remember which fiber she said she used for it) and knit this adorable sweater for her granddaughter using a Sir Dar pattern I have here and have always loved.
And this hooded cowl (aren't these popping up everywhere now.....there's a great pattern in the new French Girl Accessories book that arrived on Friday and we've got a really simple one on display here in the store that's our own pattern) BJ handspun and then knit using up odds and ends of several of the natural colored wool rovings we sell here.
My niece, Neysa, whom many of you may have met on Mondays when she works the store for me and most of you know as the artist behind the incredibly needle felted wall hangings I have around here, is on a knitting binge! She said yesterday that she needs to work up a couple more pieces for the galleries she's in, but all she wants to do at night right now is KNIT! She worked up this popular shoulder wrap pattern from Noro Knits and wore it the other day. I think she's already purchased yarn to make another! If you love working with color and are interested in some small projects to work up this fall, you really should check out Noro Knits, Noro Accessories, the latest Noro Magazine....they all have some really easy and fun projects to make and we have all of them here at the store.
Sept 20th....lots this week!
Sara stopped by this week for more Harrisville Shetland and my hand-dyed NFAC merino. She's been using these yarns and doing a lot of colorwork making felted bags....here are a few examples that show how she mixes crochet and knitting and works magic with her color sense!
And Chris finished her Taiyo skirt. Using a pattern from Knitty, this skirt came out great! And she wears it so well with black leggings
.Kathy spun up a couple of the newer fibers we're stocking last week while she was here. The first photo shows the cool colors of a Blue Faced Leceister/Silk Gradient (I'm felting the warm colors from the same package....oh it's so soft and lovely in felt) and the second photo shows the Opulence (alpaca blend fiber). She says about her experience:
This week I thought I'd show some gorgeous new handpainted yarns we have and some examples of them knit up, since some customers shy away from handpainted yarns because in the past they didn't like the way they knit up....they striped, pooled or maybe fought with a lace design. For that reason, I generally choose colors that are more monochromatic. However, like the skein on the end here or even the gorgeous blue third over from the left, sometimes I can't resist the more dramatically variegated colorways. The trick is to pick the right pattern for either!
If you want to knit cables or lace or a more intricate pattern, pick a more monochromatic colorway and AVOID the busier (whether like the blue above it is sharply light and dark or the one on the end that has so many colors in it). This swatch shown here (unblocked, since it's still on needles!) is knit using one of Art Yarns handpainted yarns, Beaded Mohair.I didn't want the colors to fight with the lace pattern I'm knitting, so I chose a color that was monochromatic. And further, to avoid any pooling of colors, work from 2 skeins at a time so the colors blend more; just knit 2 rows from 1 skein and 2 rows from the other skein and carry each up on the side. This will blend the colors
This hat was knit using Balder a machine washable merino that has been really popular for kids hats and scarves.,The colors of this yarn are very busy...ramatcially differen...so if you bother to knit an intricate pattern (there is a lacy cable in this hat!) you just won't see it....the pattern and the colors fight. A handpainted yarn that has many different colors in it or extremes of light and dark, or commercially dyed yarns like Balder should be reserved for a simple patterns, like that shown next.
This shawl is knit using a handpainted Rayon by Blue Heron and since there are a lot of colors in the skein, as there was in the Balder, I chose a pattern that is simple for the eye to see - no fancy lacework or cables - and so having so much color in the handpainted yarn doesn't compete with the pattern for your eye's attention.
August 30th....I can't believe I didn't take any photos of the New England Felting Group Meeting Show & Tell. About 22 of them met here this past weekend for a little workshop I did on Felting Beyond Merino. And after that, we did a Show & Tell and you would have been so impressed by the creativity and productivity of the group. Although I forgot to get pics of the Show & Tell, I did work a "trade" with Gloria Bilodeau from the group and so I am the fortunate owner (until my friend's birthday next Tuesday!) of this lovely clutch she felted using scraps of silk and her own handwoven fabric as embellishments! What a lovely sense of color!
Sachiko's workshop consumed the better part of the last 3 weeks.....1 to get ready, 1 to host it, and this last week to digest it and clean up after it! Here are a few photos of participants in action (top two)and my original layout (left bottom) and a detail of the ONLY part of my wrap that I like! I clearly don't have the knack for putting all the ori-kiri, colors, and weavings together yet!
This isn't done yet, but some of you have asked what ever happened to my orange felt squares, so here is an update....
One of my nieces asked me to post my hats online so she could see what I'd been working on for the last few months....so here are some of them. A couple of new felt designs and 4 fabric covered buckram hats that literally drew blood as I learned to work with this medium!
This felt hat was fun to make. It needs a little life....so I'm considering a bit of needle felted design on the underside of the bottom tier and making a large felted button to put on the top in place of the little ring....shades of turquoise for a little contrast!
A really basic felt cloche that, that as a felter was totally uninspiring to shape, but I really wanted a basic shape so I could practice millinery flowers and I had great fun putting the silk ribbon flowers on.
What a shame I made this in a small size, because the color is just right for me and I love the little velvet flowers.
This felt was originally an experiment for my felting group challenge....dyeing on felt. I was trying to mimic a leopard print. Then, it was so busy, I wasn't quite sure what, if anything to do with it! So I decided to go right over the top and accentuate it with a big black ribbon.
The bonnet was a great learning experience, tho' it's hard to imagine ever wearing it!
This one was about ruching the fabric on the underside. I had this done in time for the Derby, but we were at Maryland Sheep & Wool, so I had no chance to wear it to my friend's Derby party!
This one was sort of about learning to work concentric rings on the interior....probably my one and only time doing that!
This was fashioned after a Riding Hat designed by Elsa Schiaparelli in 1938.
Kathy, Chris and I have been using time between customers to card up some new and interesting custom batts for spinners (and felters?). Made from a mix of romney, border leceister, blue faced leceister wools hand dyed to a riot of colors and then blended with dyed kid mohair, silks or various forms (tussah, bombyx, reeled,etc) or even flax, these batts are not too outrageous, but offer some texture and lots of color and are really nicely suited to a wrapped or corespun yarn. See here the pile we started with and some examples of the process and end result!
This bag was felted from one too!
We have lots of them at the store....just a few online at this point. Since every single one is unique and some of them are subtle, it's hard to show them all. Plus, I'm excited to announce that we'll be stocking the Bricolage Studio Art Batts soon.....very exciting!
Come on by next Tuesday for our Fiber Tasting and you can try some out yourself!
Thought I'd share a picture of the Silk Paper class a couple of weeks ago, as well as a photo of a supersized dragon rug my niece needled. Also, here are some gorgeous monochromatice felts Neysa has done recently that she's selling at a gallery in Waitsfield and a photo of some fabulous felt & beaded earrings that Laura has for sale at the gallery in St. Johnsbury.....
Here are a few of the monochromatic felt series that my niece Neysa is working on right now....she uses the dyed felting batts for these...and just to contrast these....here is a photo of a dragon rug she did before these!
...Kathy spun these beautiful skeins using Tutti Fruitti Northern Lights.....
Christine, whom many of you know from her help in the store on Tuesdays and Thursdays, needle felted onto a commercial hat to make a Monster Hat....I believe for her nephew? If you look closely you can see all the textural elements....they got a little lost in the background noise of the photo!
This wonderful wizard was needle felted by using one of the Black Sheep Designs needle felting kits we have here. We've just received some new kits from Sharon, so be sure to check out the updated page!
Feb 15th....oh my goodnesss....so much new to show and tell! From helping to raise my nieces yurt to finalizing the Anniemae Kroenen classes here this fall to lots of customer show & tell!
BJ brought in this sweater which she spun and knit using both Northern Lights and the Merino Top we stock here at the store. I happened to just be updating the Merino Top page to reflect the more than 60 colors we stock when she came in......fate!
Jan brought by a shawl she knit using Cascade's Ultra Pima cotton. It was her first time knitting with this yarn and she loved it. The pattern she chose is beautiful and the yarn was a a great choice for it too.....great stitch definition and a lovely hand.
Jennifer, who loves to make pins, took the last introductory felting class here and is now incorporating felt into her pins and so she brought by some holiday pins she made for show and tell. They are wonderful.
Lastly, I went over to help my niece raise the yurt she has been building so she could get a final measure on the canvas for the top and wanted to share some photos. It is such a beautiful structure....even without the felt.
Leila knit this adorable doll using up odds and ends. It reminded me of a doll my sister did for one of the fiber challenges we held here. My sister Joanie's pattern can be found free here
nov 16th...I'm sorry not to have photos of the pieces done in this past weekend's workshop Interpreting Nature in Felt.....they were amazing!
Joan Hathaway brought in an interesting hat she knit with Encore. This Klein hat is a pattern from Schoolhouse Press's blog. It is a mathematical figure and quite fun as a hat.....and it looks like fun to knit too! On the Schoolhouse Press site they show pictures of several variations of this single sided, but double thickness hat.....not unlike the infinity scarves which are so popular right now, this hat has only 1 surface to it!
Lou-Ann brought in this cool hat she knit for her daughter using our exclusive, superwash, kettle dyed merino wool. Knit here at a d.k. gauge she used less than 1 full skein ($18) for the hat.
Kathy has been spinning up one of the merino/tussah blends I have here and brought in a skein and a swatch for show and tell. As you can see, the tussah gives it a lovely luster and the gentle blend of colors in each hank yield a nice heathery yarn.
.A few people came by last night to make "art batts" for spinning. I didn't get photos of each of their batts, but they promised to bring back their handspun skeins when they're done. In the meantime, here are a few photos of some batts/yarns from art batts that I've had fun spinning this week.
Also, Donna Piro (who always comes up with fun and creative ways to put to use her knitting and felting skills) stopped by last month with some new projects she's been having fun with and the colors of one of them just reminded me of one of my nieces, Ella (who also enjoys needle felting), so I purchased this cuff from Donna to send to Ella.
My sister Joany must knit in her sleep because she knocked off these 5 hats (which all have "I survived Irene" knitted into them) in the last couple of days! They are being gifted to some Vermonters who were so terribly affected by the storm (we hardly even had high winds in this area).
My "kiwi" scarf has had lots of felters intrigued and non felters asking me "how much". Since I've been designing quite a few so I have inspiration for the workshop participants (I'm offering a class on felting scarves in December) I decided I will post the finished scarves for sale here next month. So if you're looking for a one-of-a-kind silk scarf for a holiday gift, check back in a couple of weeks or sign up to get our newsletter and you'll be notified and given a link to the site where similar scarves can be purchased.
I just started stocking my nieces needle felting designs....she's packaged them up in a lovely kit which includes a design template, fiber, partial felt canvas, instructions, needles and even a board to needle onto. They (there are 6 different designs to choose from) provoked lots of oohs and aahs both at SOAR (a spinner's retreat that happened last week in New Hampshire) and here at the store since we put them out this morning!
Both BJ and Jody brought show and tell this week...
Jody knit this fantastic argyle vest using colors of our dyed NFAC merino. Owen (the young man who requested the vest!) chose some challenging colors for Jody to work with and she did a great job pulling it all together and had a lot of fun with the stripes on the back. After a couple of false starts....first carrying the colors to avoid intarsia before realizing intarsia was the way to go and another time to reposition the colors and start with half diamonds ....she ended up with a really satisfying result. The tonal nature of the colors makes for a really rich fabric.
BJ brought in these fabulous knee socks (I folded them at a funny angle to get both in the photo) for show and tell. She not only knit them using a Nancy Bush pattern, but she spun the Panda fiber (bamboo and machine washable merino) and dyed it too!
The Pediboo kits which raise money for Breast Cancer REsearch have been very popular. Kathy purchased the Lady Jane Wrap kit and brought what she had knit so far with her the other day for show and tell so I nabbed a photo of it to post!
I spent some time this last week making a few new models.....some nuno felt scarves and some fresh felt hats in anticipation of offering another felt hat class here this January. More details about the Nuno Silk Scarf class and the Felt Hat class can be found on the Classes page.
Kathy spun this Northern Lights up recently. It is the Mulled Wine colorway. I think she's still deciding what to knit with it, but hopefully we'll see it again when she's done with the finished project!
I'm pretty selective about what books I buy these days for my personal library....there are just so many out there. But the Noro Knits book that came out this past winter is full of lots of great projects. These gloves are knit using 2 different colors of Silk Garden Sock....so buy 2 sks at about $44 and you can get 2 adult pair of gloves....yes there is plenty left after this first pair to knit another adult pair and perhaps even a kids pair of mittens. So For $44 you get 2 great gifts (possibly 3!- check back when we're done with the additional pairs). In addition to these gloves, there are scarves (see the hint of one behind the glove), several fantastic afghans, hats, etc.
My neighbor stopped by with an unusual plant this week for show and tell so I've had this sprig of it in a vase at the register all week and it has been quite a conversation piece. It is oregano, and although it smells wonderful, it is so beautiful I'd hate to cook with it. I'm afraid I forgot to get a picture the first couple of days so you can't really see the spectacularly bright magenta flowers peeking out from each green petal, nor does the photo I took do even the veining in the leaf justice. So it's not related to fiber in any way....but it is beautiful and so I thought I'd share....it is Kent Oregano.
.I'd lost my felting mo-jo for months, but inspired by some doors I'd seen in Tallinn and the need to use up and get rid of some fibers I had collected, I felted this rug for my brother Eric last Monday. It's honestly not very well done....I didn't pay much attention to details so it's rather askew and I had wanted the center squares to look as tho' they were jutting out and the larger squares to appear receeding (and I'm not sure that worked) but I am just so glad to actually have felted something and I'm hoping I don't lose steam since I have several jackets and a top I really want to make.
And it feels good to have cleared out a few bags of fleece! And despite it rather falling below the quality I expect from myself, I think it shows off some beautiful natural colors of fleece really well. The outer edge of jet black is Karakul (2 twin lamb fleeces). The gray border is Gotland. The back side is also Karakul, but it is an adult fleece and of a fawn color, which I also used in the boxes. The lightest of all the colors is an Icelandic fleece and the reddish-brown color is a shetland fleece. I choose these fleeces because they are quite coarse and I purchased them specifically for a rug (not the Shetland, but the Icelandic and 2 Karakul fleeces, anyway) and they will wear really well. It is firm and dense....I haven't weighed it, but the fiber was piled a good 10" thick before felting! Here is the door that inspired me...
This beautiful baby blanket is knit in Noro's Furisode (cotton blend) bulky yarn. I can't believe I'm blanking on the customer's name right now.....she and a friend were in just 2 weeks ago and picked out this yarn and I was so glad she brought it back for Show & Tell. It is soft and striking....a real show stopper. The customer who knit this is working on another project in Noro's Taiyo....also cotton, but an aran weight and I hope she brings that in too. I'm knitting a pinwheel baby blanket it Taiyo right now and enjoying it....another fun way to use Noro's striping yarns....
A couple of mittens from the Koguva museum on the island of Muhu in Estonia. I couldn't get quite close enough to count the gauge, but it had to be 15-18 sts/inch! Very fine and what was so surprising was how often they used pink (and a really hot pink it was) together with orange and red! And it worked for them!
Shawls knit in crisp fibers are a great summer project.....they are easily portable, not hot on the lap or in the hands and are such versatile garments....well, who can't use several? They perfectly keep the breeze off your neck on an evening out on the town and can dress up a simple summer outfit and yet they are also perfect to snuggle under (or over) your winter coat for another layer in the winter! Both shawls shown here are easy since their pattern is generally repetitive once you get it established so they both fit the bill for mindless and portable summer projects. The shawl kit shown above is knit in Lavold's Silky Wool...a sport weight silk/wool blend and the white one shown below is knit in 100% linen.
This white shawl is a great example of how "finishing" affects a product. In the skein, most linens (including Euroflax which this shawl is knit from) feels stiff and a little harsh. But once knit and washed several times, it softens tremendously without losing the crispness that is so nice and fresh. Historically, linen was subjected to a process called "beetling" to finish it. Beetling involves actually hammering the cloth against a rock....this breaks down the fiber and results in a nice sheen too. We didn't "beetle" this shawl, but put it thru 2 hot water cycles. You can't tell this from the website of course, but it has a really nice hand and drape!
March 22nd.....Nancy Bush was here this past weekend for 3 days of workshops: Estonian Lace, Estonian Mittens, and Vintage Socks. So of course, this has to be the show & tell this week! Pictured below is a mini-shawl (I guess it is perfect for the American Girl Doll) that Betsy did in the Friday workshop; then you see the wristwarmer I did in Saturday's workshop; and since I the little sock sample we did on Sunday didn't photograph very well, the third picture is another Estonian Lace photo....this scarf my sister Joany knit for me and presented to me on Friday (she also knit one for my sister Wendy, my sister Roby and my sister in law Genie...aren't we all lucky!)
The scarf is a pattern from Estonian Lace....available for purchase here.
. BJ brought by another tam for show and tell, which reminded me that I hadn't even shared her first tam yet! So here are both.....the first one showing a lovely and traditional fair isle pattern (knit using some Harrisville Shetland) and the latest one spun out of her favorite hand spinning wool...Northern Lights (berry colorway).
March 9th - seems to be a big week for feather and fan projects! Both Lou-Anne and Pat brought in lap/baby afghans they are knitting.....aren't they fun?
3/1 Lou-Anne brought this adorable child's vest for show and tell at the Cascade Yarn Tasting last Thursday. She knit it using Sublime Extrafine merino. She said it's not for her grandaughter Chloe, so I think she is starting to stockpile in hope of another grandchild!
2/9Sue Johnson, from whom I have purchased lovely fleece in the past for a gorgeous Border Leceister yarn I offer here at the store, has been having fun knitting this popular shawl, which she brought in for show and tell. Often knit in Kureyon sock, the shawl is even more lovely in the Silk Garden Sock yarn as Sue used. Although she needed to buy 2 sks , she was able to knit the shawl much larger. And you can't beat the luminous nature of the Silk Garden yarn for this project....
I knit this vase out of a handspun yarn that was spun around a wire. So the vase can be twisted and reshaped to form different effects. Here it is holding a few of the remaining felt flowers I made for the store window boxes a few years ago. After several winters in the boxes, most of them got rather wind-ragged and faded (I have a wicked sunny southern exposure out front), so I have only a few remaining.
2/4 Here are a couple of hats BJ brought for show and tell last week. These ripple hats have been popular this year (on this one she used up some self patterning sock yarn in the stockinette grooves and a solid sock yarn in the reverse stockinette ridges) and the tam is a classic and "jaunty" hat (at least that's the adjective some crosswords use to describe this type of hat!). I believe the tam is knit from some handspun fiber (Mo Roving?) that she had. Thanks for the show & tell, BJ!
1/26....It's official. BJ is so prolific, I've had to created a new subfolder within my gallery folder just to hold the photos of the show & tell she brings us! Kudos to her for being so prolific.....I can't wait for retirement!
But I'm going to piece them out to you slowly so you can savor each one! Here's the first ... BJ wove this wonderful undulating twill scarf using some Paternaya wool. If you're a weaver, you can appreciate how even a beat she has! I think if we got out a protractor we'd even prove it is a perfect 45 degree angle! Nice job, BJ! Thanks for sharing.
1/25 I should have taken some photos from this past Saturday's Intro to Felting workshop.....I did something a little different and had the participant's first samples be white prefelt cut outs on dark brown batts like some pillows I've been working up. The samples were so striking! But I didn't have the camera handy and we had to move on to our nuno felt samples....so instead... I'm sharing a photo of one of my samples of felt from my Breed's Project (a little 2 year project to felt and spin 28 different breeds of sheep). This is California Red that I purchased at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival 2 years ago. It is not a very common breed of sheep and as you can see if you blow up the photo....it felts quite differently than you'd expect.....the batt is quite white and the felt quite a bit darker as the reddish outer coat of the breed predominates in the felt sample. When spun, much of the coarser reddish outer coat falls out so the yarn is closer in color to the batt....and much softer like the batt than the felted sample turns out.
1/18 Juanita brought in this colorful felted slipper-sock for show and tell. She used up odds and ends of yarns from other projects and lightly fulled the sock when done so it will be warm and wear well!
1/5 I've been playing with some 8 shaft double weave projects and thought I'd share them this week since we haven't been open and seeing customer show and tells for a couple of weeks. This first scarf I wove for a friend and was worried about it the whole time....colors really out of my comfort range....because all I could think of while I wove it was a childhood candy (maybe they still make it?) called Tutti-Fruity? Anyway, here are pictures of it just off the loom and then after felting it. Fortunately, my friend liked it (so did I after all was said and done, although I've made a few changes to the set and how I'll handle the weft on the next 2!). The last picture shows the loom warped for another couple of similar scarves,....except now I'm back in my comfort zone of colors!
11/30 I worked up this wimple/cowl pattern using Vermont Sled Dog yarn for this month's Vermont Yarn Club participants....just got their color choices so I'm off to custom dye the yarn for them. Since the yarn is spun from Vermont Samoyeds, I figured it appropriate to use the "paws" lace pattern in the cowl. Next month, the participants get a handspun beaded skein of Vermont mohair from Bennie (as in the Jets), Mick Fleecewood, and Morgaine, pictured above! That will keep me busy next month!
And my sister knit up these sweet "baby legs" for my grand-niece Parker (who just turned 2 last week). I guess leg warmers for todlers is really popular these days as my niece and all her friends find them an important garment for this age group. Knit in Indulgence, they are incredibly soft....the pattern is free with the yarn purchase.
11/23 My grand-niece Ella...could she be eight already?...has been needle felting up a great assortment of fantastic XMAS decorations! It is so exciting to see another generation getting creative with fiber! Go Ella!
If you haven't needle felted before and want to learn some basics, join us Wed Dec 15th to needle felt a snowman!
This past Friday a couple of felting friends and I got together for dinner and "catch-up". Afterwards, we went into the workshop and laid out the quick little "group" sample.....all three of us simultaneously were adding our own colors and embellishments. Our objective was to test out a new toy Linda bought for felting....the Maxi-Rub! After much conversation - sprinkled with lewd jokes, embarrasing references and lots of laughter - we wet it down and went to work with the Maxi-Rub. In the end, I think we all thought that for a small piece of felt (this sample ended up being maybe 16" x 20"), we think its faster to just roll. BUT, for a large or thick piece of felt...when you just need to change up the muscles used....using this tool might be a nice break from rolling. And, the benefit is that after your felt is done, you can give yourself a professional massage! I haven't purchased one yet (the vibration was a bit much for my hands) but I know Linda found it online....don't look under felting equipment though....it is a tool for massage. I definitelyl preferred it over felting with a sander, for those of you who like that method.
11/2 I worked this "beaded cuff" pattern up for the Vermont Yarn Club and Laurie brought hers by the store for show and tell over the weekend. I've been wearing mine most days.....I love the way the fancy little beads "peek" out from beneath my coat sleeve and they keep my wrists protected from the cool wind that sometimes creeps up thru the sleeves when I'm out walking Chloe. Given the temps today however, I think I'll be turning them in for something with fingers soon!!
10/26- Happy Halloween! In preparation for this festive and frivilous holiday, I finished my felt mask and we hosted a free tutorial on needle felting a pumpkin/jack-o-lantern here last night! Here are a few photos....works in progress and some of the completed pumpkins/jack-o-lanterns....What personalities! There seemed to be interest among the attendees to hold a "santa" event....not sure if that will work out since I was already working on a knit/crochet ornament event....but keep your eyes on the Events page for details about one or the other of those coming to fruition some night in December!
This month's Vermont Yarn Club just received a lovely Rambouillet yarn in both a natural cream and chocolate brown color. The patterns I worked up for them explored both mosaic knitting and double kntiting techniques.........a trivet and set of mug rugs and a pillow were the projects for the mosaic knitting and they got patterns also for a double knit headband and hat.
And I thought you'd enjoy seeing the wonderful creations from the felted mask class here this weekend....from left to right: Patty with her mask, 4 masks just waiting for embellishment, a bride skeleton mask made by the teacher, Abbot working on his mask, Linda helping Lindsay with her mask, Mason sharing a view of his mask midstream!
Donna Piro has been knitting, fulling, and then needle felting embellishments on hats and mittens for kids....this absolutely adorable set she just completed for the child of a friend of her son's! She also brough in a couple of fun hats she'd done using Kureyon and Lamb's Pride, but I didn't get a photo of those. This kid's set was just so much fun, I forgot all about the great hats she did!
I hadn't actually felted anything in about 10 months and needed something for Show & Tell at this past weekend's meeting of the Northeast Felting Guild meeting which met here. So I used the partial felts (since it needed to be done quickly) and an idea for a scarf that came from both an 8 harness weave structure I've woven and my current exploration of "plaids" . The scarf used 125 resists, the result of which you can't really "get" from the photo....but it gives it interesting dimension when it is actually worn.
7/14 A few yarn samples I dyed with bloodroot from the garden that was trampled when a tree was removed a couple of weeks ago....more about the experience on the blog.
Felt Flower Window Box