Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dress + Cardigan: Installment 7

Dress no. 7 is sewn from a modified version of New Look 6871 in fabric I purchased from Marden's of Maine.  Marden's is my favorite fabric joint: The selection is huge and changes often, the prices are outstanding, and the staff is friendly and engaging. My first time there I thought maybe the girl cutting my fabric had given her notice five minutes earlier -- the "Marden's Yard" is generous.  But no, the other staff were also rolling off generous cuts, looking their customers in the eye with genuine interest in what the fabric was to become. Get there if you can.

This is my Karenyoung zippered hoodie, named after a college friend whose mother called her by her full name.  Karen was on the ski team, a wicked good sport (she participated in a keg toss with a full leg cast), and a knitter -- we used to knit in the hallway of our dormitory.

Hey, is that sweater machine knit?  Yes, my first.  And yes, I am a lover of machines -- sewing machines, printing machines, knitting machines, winding machines, automated looms, and tractors.  I am relearning how to use my Singer 360K, a gift from my folks when I turned sixteen.  A Gathering of Stitches offers classes that are on my list for 2014.

Here's wishing you health and happiness in 2014, and moments of peace filled with dreams and stitches.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Does this Line Ever Move?

Does this line ever move?

That's Eileen at the back of the line griping about the wait.  Her name is Eileen because she's always lurching.

The girls are wearing dresses 7, 8 and 9, and their matching cardigans.  If I had another dressform she'd be wearing dress 10 and it's partner cardigan, a just-about-done round yoke number.

But the girls are going to have to wait just a little longer -- I will present them one per week as this project wraps up. I have other news:

Are you busy on the weekend of January 17, 18 & 19? 
 I would love if you could join me for 

Friday, January 17: Opening Night Wine and Cheese Reception 6pm - 9pm, cost $10
Gudrun Johnston will be giving a presentation on the Shetland Islands and signing books, Thea Colman will have a trunk show of her exquisite knitwear, and I will have my Dress + Cardigan project on display.  

On Saturday, January 18, I'll be teaching
A Dozen Ways to Use Variegated Yarn
from  9 am until 1 pm. But it looks like the class has sold out!

On Sunday, January 19, I will be teaching
 Fried Chicken Mittens, Two at a Time  
from 9 am until 1 pm.
Learn to knit two Fried Chicken mittens at the same time.  I have rewritten my Fried Chicken Mitten pattern to include many sizes and detailed instructions on how to knit them simultaneously. The Fried Chicken Mitten has a sculpted thumb much like a chicken drumstick.  It fits well and serves well as a go to pattern.   Best of all, no second mitten to knit!  The pattern will not be launched until January 31; be first to learn the technique.
Notes:  Students will be learning the magic loop method of knitting two tubes simultaneously.  They will be provided a printed copy of an unreleased pattern, modified to cater to the time restraints of the class.  They will also be provided a digital copy of the same pattern, not modified.  I will supply the yarn and stitch markers, as well as a new circular needle.  I will need to charge a materials fee of $8 per student for the needle.  It is imperative that we have the right tools. 
Limit of 12 students.  Cost : $68.27 + $8.00

Link to Brown Paper Tickets ----->  here

Also, Thea will be teaching a design class on Saturday and Sunday. I have been a fan of Thea's for a long time: She has a keen eye for editing work and creating knitwear that is elegant and expressive.  

In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying your season, whatever it may be.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Rhinebeck 2013

I've been to the fair.  And it was grand.  

I stayed in a house with a group of smart, kind, fun, and hilarious women.  I want more of that, I tell you. 

We arrived Thursday in order to have
some down time before the main event.

First we shopped for beer.

And vintage goodies. Loved, but did not purchase.

Amy tests boot quality by huffing.

*Okay, this photo was taken months earlier, different state.  I think we should all pitch in and get her a pair.

I bought chocolate covered potato chips and a head scratcher.  My husband's calling card stayed on the table all weekend.   

The main event is full of people, and I am a touch claustrophobic, so I don't shop well in the crowded buildings.  But ironically, I love the fairgrounds for the people. I get the opportunity to see folks I rarely see, even if only for a short visit.  And the people watching is like none other. 

That's Jani on the left - she's wearing her gorgeous version of Mary Jane's Jenny at the Fair, and a freshly minted Anna Maria Horner Painted Portrait Dress.  Mary Jane rallied jet lag and a blockbuster head cold in her Valenzi Cardigan, all with her signature style, smile, and red clogs.  And she also did book signings.  For three titles.  Of her own.  Hard to see, but I am wearing another Jenny at the Fair, also knit by Jani, with my circus top.  On the right is Cal, in her Chevron Lace Cardigan and charming dress.  
(Just between you and me, Cal is one of my style muses.) 
(But I told her she looked lame.  Because she was moving so carefully, I thought maybe she had hurt herself.) 

Here's another of my style muses, Sonya Philip. She was also my fair buddy. She made everything she's wearing, including the buttonholes.  Sonya is with Kim of CraftStash.  We spotted her from across the lawn and had to know her, and so we did.  She is as captivating in person as she looks.

I am so sorry I did not get this gal's name - her's is my favorite outfit of the whole weekend.  Dress + Cardigan + felted cloche.  

This fellow looked about to sneeze.

Vicuna and cutie pie.

The Rhinebeck Fairy.

Jackie, me, Sonya, and Amy.

And this dude, playing Smoke on the Water on the pan flute, with full accompaniment.  Hard not to dance in his presence. 
Hard not to dance after a weekend in Rhinebeck.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dress + Cardigan: Installment 6

My sister Margaret scored the Best.  Name.  Ever.  In the real world she goes by Maggie. She married a peach of a man with a dramatic, musical name, that makes me want to raise my arms when I say it.  Magnifico!

Dress no. 6 is a mid thigh smock that started with Butterick 5356 and was heavily modified.  I have been coveting this circus performer fabric for years. The pocket is an applique I picked up for 25 cents at the Annual Salvation Army Fabric sale, and the horse is wearing a blanket fashioned from some trim I charted and wove way back when I was a weaver (1989). The sleeve fabric is a remnant from my daughter's homecoming dress, circa 2008.  I wear this top frequently -- it makes me smile.

The cardigan, Maggie Magnifico, is knit in Bartlett Fisherman 2-ply, and it started as the color spice heather.  I overdyed it last year, as I rarely wear tan (or black). The polka knots are made from my own variegated yarn.  They also make me smile.

I will be teaching the polka knot technique in January at Slater Mill, more details on that later.

While we are on the subject of names, I know a woman named Sarah Brand-New.  When we were introduced I said, "That is the best name."  Her response:  "I know."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Our youngest is a high school Sophomore today.

Our nineteen year old is waking up in Canada today, preparing for his Second Year of Electrical Engineering at UNB.

Our college Senior has already settled into her studies at Virginia Tech, keeping our food safe.

Today my husband is COO of New England Footwear.  He has been working from home, sharing my studio, for over a year.  He left in a collared shirt and a pair of Go Lite shoes.

And today I dive headlong into a new season with pockets full of goals and plans and dreams, and the fondest memories of the summery-est of summers.

Friday, August 30, 2013

I'm Dyeing Here

My favorite outdoor places are magically different each time we visit.  Lake Winnipesaukee blooms a new blue every day, and a spectacular grey to purple mountainscape across the Broads. The water either tosses us furiously or treats us to a fast smooth ride. Pinkham Notch shifts daily with the angle of the sun and the current weather.  The mountains of the Great North Woods in February, Oh.  I never get tired of these places.

Dyeing is like visiting one's favorite places. I'm doing a little sample dyeing for Fiber College next weekend.  I find myself winding off just one more skein, when really my priority should be elsewhere.  In less than an hour I can change four ounces of natural colored wool to this:

Eight colors, each about an arm's length long, in a self-striping yarn with thirty pattern repeats.  That's all one skein.

Or this, magenta, grasshopper, and every shade in between.  Again, that's all one skein.  

Or this, royal to teal, out of the steamer just seconds ago.

I never get tired of dyeing.
Well, never is a long time, but I'm not tired yet.
I'm thinking about Raisin Bran for supper tonight.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

AIR Recap

A photo recap of the sewing I did at Searsport Shores during my Artist in Residency.  (More about that event in the previous two posts).  I managed to sew a garment for each weekday while I was there.

All photos courtesy of Blake Hendrickson, Basic Explanations Studio in Brunswick, ME.

And here is a little video, again by Blake Hendrickson, if you're not already sick of me.

Next up, photos of the Camper Makers and their work.  

And you know what else?  I'm going back to Searsport Shores for Fiber College, teaching Trippin' on Acid Dyes, and also playing bartender at the dye tent on Saturday and Sunday.  Mark your calendars: September 5th to the 8th!