Friday, July 29, 2011

Don't forget about the giveaways!

I will not have internet access for a couple of days, so any comments posted will appear on Monday morning. 
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fiber College Blog Tour & Giveaway: Day Four

If this is your first time here, Hello and Welcome. Have you checked out Fiber College yet?  Here is a video featuring Fiber College 2010 on Bill Green's Maine, presented by WCSH6.  This year's line up is really exciting - I am counting the days!  It is held at Searsport Shores Ocean Campground, a gorgeous wooded wonderland on the shores of Penobscot Bay.

I am delighted to have been selected as a teacher this year - the competition was stiff!  On Sunday, September 11, I am teaching Fiber Reactive Dye Workshop with Reclaimed Plant Fiber Yarn.  What does that mean? We will disassemble plant fiber sweaters (cotton, rayon, linen, & silk too), and unknit them.  Then we will dye the resulting yarns using many different techniques, including solid color immersion dyeing, dye painting, gradient dyeing, and dyeing self-striping yarns.  Each student will go home with a self-made skein of each of these types, plus handouts describing how to repeat the procedure. 

Have you been to all the stops on the tour?  Please go visiting!

Monday July 25 Beth Brown-Reinsel

Tuesday July 26 Mary Jane Mucklestone

Wednesday July 27 Amy Herzog

Thursday July 28 Ellen Mason 
you're here!

Friday July 29 Gale Zucker

I have Giveaways!

Wool grown on my Brother-in-Law's Farm in Salisbury, NH
Spun at MacAusland's and dyed by me

Giveaway #1 (two items):  Yarn from me, see photo above, and a free pass for the Fiber College Saturday Evening Dinner. This includes a show and tell session which you may participate in, and a cocktail reception before the sit down dinner with slide show lecture by Artist in Residence Mary Jane Mucklestone.  Mary Jane will be lecturing on her trips to Shetland and Peru to learn more about their traditional knitting.  This pass may be given to a companion if the Fiber College Package you signed up for already includes the dinner.  Your prizes will be waiting for you at the entrance.

Wool grown on my Brother-in-Law's Farm in Salisbury, NH
Spun at MacAusland's and dyed by me

Giveaway #2:  Are you unable to make it to Fiber College this year?  Well then, just yarn for you, see photo above.  Be sure to indicate in your comment that you're unable to make it this year, and check back here on the 5th of August.

To win, just leave a comment here sometime before August 5th, when I’ll randomly select a winner.

In the spirit of learning, I'm trying to get up the intestinal fortitude to learn to drive my folks' 38 foot long camper the three hours to Searsport.  I really want to stay at the campground. 

Looks like an athletic shoe, but bigger

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Pinafore

It has been a while since I've done any illustrations.  Here's the dress I was toying with in this post.  It's machine knit with a crochet border at the hem, and meant to be worn as a pinafore. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Secondhand Knitting

This is a secondhand story, told to me by someone we'll call Sara (because that's her name). 

Sara commutes to and from work on a ferry.  Every morning the ferry fills up with familiar faces on their way into the city.  Later in the day, the same weary commuters pile back on to migrate home.  True to human nature, folks tend to sit in the same spots, and as a result, Sara has grown to know and love the folks around her.  She says they're like family to her.  They share news from their family, their workday, their personal lives.

Sara is a knitter.  She uses her ferry time to knit socks mostly, while chatting with her ferry family, or not chatting (because comfortable quiet is important too).  Her knitting helps her to unwind from her workday (if you're a knitter you understand).

One day on the trip home, Sara was not knitting for some reason ... I forget the why, paperwork that needed finishing I think.  One of the members of her ferry family had endured an unusually difficult day.  He stirred in his seat.  He was unsettled, searching.  Exhausted from his bad day, he finally queried,  "Why are you not knitting today?  I really need for you to be knitting today".

It seems knitting is soothing to others.  Secondhand Knitting.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Coming Soon : Fiber College Blog Tour

Searsport Shores Ocean Campground

Would you like to meet a few of the teachers at Fiber College?  Follow along this week on the Fiber College Blog Tour.  There will be giveaways!  Here's the schedule:

Monday July 25 Beth Brown-Reinsel

Tuesday July 26 Mary Jane Mucklestone

Wednesday July 27 Amy Herzog

Thursday July 28 Ellen Mason

Friday July 29 Gale Zucker

There are tons of fun classes - really hard to choose.  Vendors, too.  And Mary Jane Mucklestone is the artist in residence. Check it out!  I found last year that down-time was just as important as learning time.

I will be teaching an MX dye workshop using reclaimed yarn on Sunday, September 11. 

Self Striping Yarns

Recycled yarn and silk, rebuilt into a favorite vest

This used to be something entirely different

Enjoy the Tour!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gypsy Knitting

I started a sweater back in August of 2010 while on a road trip - something fun and mindless, and an opportunity to work out some ideas I had in my head. My Ravelry project page is here.  I have since picked it up again (I'm multi - knitting lately, out of character for me).  I'm at the yoke, and it looks like a great opportunity for some colorwork, something I have not done since I was in college (I think I lopied myself out). 

I did some quick dyeing last week, as I knew we would be away in the camper for the weekend.  I wound off some yarn that was around the house, most of it leftovers and hand-me-downs (my guilds are fantastic resources for hand-me-down yarn).  I placed it in Mason jars with some acid dyes and steamed it in my electric turkey cooker, eleven jars at once.  The colors are unmistakably Summer Vacation.

I had the Fair Isle charting all figured out, and then I saw Audrey's version of Kate Davies Paper Dolls sweater.  Suddenly the vine seemed too tame.  Now I need a motif with this clever sense of humor - maybe pickles, maybe peanuts, not sure.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This is an all cotton sweater I bought at a thrift store for $2.99.  But wait!  Since it was Half Off Wednesday, $1.49!  I liked the condition of the knit, the plain color, and it's smooth hand. 

See how there are two strands of yarn running parallel?  Each is a fine two ply twist.  As I unknit the sweater, I separated the two strands and wound them into hanks on my skein winder.  Have you seen my skein winder?  Here's an old clip of it in action (sorry, the audio of me is not very clear, but you get the idea).

Here's the resulting yarn, which makes me crave Ramen noodles.  It's soft like a pile of milkweed.

Pick a color ... top row is MX (for cellulose), bottom row is acid (for wool).

Dye.  This time in my washtub, but there are tons of ways to dye with MX dyes.  I'm teaching a day-long Fiber Reactive Dye workshop at Fiber College in September - join me!

And swatch.  This was knit on my old Singer 360 knitting machine, which I am trying to relearn.  I believe there's enough yarn to make a dress ... a strappy and lacey tank dress that can be worn over another dress ... maybe some beads or embellishment.  I'll get on a drawing - been a while since I've made a drawing.   But it could also be a lovely lace shawl, or a gossamer tee, ... what do you see?