Sunday, November 27, 2011


Many years ago I bought a skein of laceweight cashmere yarn after taking a 2-day workshop on Orenburg lace from Galina Khmeleva
. I had every intention of knitting an Orenburg shawl. I still have every intention of knitting an Orenburg shawl.

This yarn sat in my stash for a number of years. Then a few years back, I sold it -- needed the $ -- to my friend Molly L. Last week I was visiting her and she returned the skein to me. You see, her dog is quite the Fiber Hound….and not in a good way. He apparently loves yarn, especially high quality yarn. He got into Molly’s yarn stash and tangled up the skein of cashmere But Good!

Now, I like a tangle challenge. I consider myself to be especially talented at undoing knots and snarls. So, the other day, I put the messy skein on the dining room table to tidy it up. Here’s a picture of the start:

It’s not a particularly good picture. The composition is a mess. The lighting is terrible. The table cloth is too busy to allow you to see the yarn. The color is off; the yarn is really a most lovely layered rust color, not cranberry red.

I’d show you a picture of the untangled yarn…..if I had one. I worked for about 2 hours and was able to wind up about 1/5 of the yarn. Maybe that much. Maybe. Having other chores to do, I put the rest of the tangle on top of my dresser, where I’ll be forced to see it frequently. I hope the regular reminder will motivate me to finish the untangling job. I know it’s going to take time. And patience. But I think it’ll be worth it.

I remember in the book, The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, that each chapter started with a quote from The Ashley Book of Knots. One chapter’s quote was about untangling a rope mess. Same applies to yarn, I thought. I wish I could remember the quote.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Trunk Show Soon

The yarn shop up in Cedar, Michigan is called Wool & Honey
(fka “Inish Knits”). Melissa Kelenski is the owner. She has recently invited a number of Michigan fiber artists to participate in a trunk show at her shop over the Thanksgiving Day Weekend.

I will be one of those participating. I’ll have all my knitting patterns for sale there that weekend including:

Jog-in-the-Rib Socks
Diamond Anklet Socks
Victory Hat & Spring Break Scarf
Gradual Grace Scarf
Denim Duo Hat & Scarf
Both Sides Now Scarves
Quartet of Slip Stitch Hats
Summer Socks
Patch Pair Scarves
Dream Shawl

Three Bags Fulled
Wrist Wraps


…my most recent: “Brick Road Afghan”. It’s a very large afghan that I knitted from 3 skeins (1 pound each) of “Abundance” yarn by Briar Rose Fibers

Here’s a picture:

I will have knitted samples of all the patterns. At least, that’s my hope. I have most of them knitted, but I still need to finish 2 scarves, a hat, and 2 bags. My fingers are very busy with production knitting right now!

So, if you visit this delightful shop between Friday, November 25 through Sunday, November 27, you’re sure to find something Michigan-y and Fiber-y. Yes!

If you can't visit the shop, but you're interested in buying any of my patterns, you can contact me directly at

Friday, November 11, 2011

Family Portrait

The spinning group I’m in meets every Monday afternoon. I do my best to keep my schedule open for those get-togethers; the company is always delightful ... and so are the snacks!

I was in need of some pictures of various spinning wheels, so last Monday, I asked everyone if they’d let me take group pictures of our spinning wheels. The weather cooperated….the sun even came out (perhaps for the last time for a good while!). And here’s the family portrait that I took on that day:

Let’s see….I think I know who’s who. From left to right: Gerrie, Jenny, Ginnie, Carol, Marty, Amy, Joan, Libby. Nice family, eh?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Updates to Website - Stone Sock Fibers

At this time of year, I’m busy sending out teaching proposals for next year (and beyond). While preparing some of this year’s crop, I realized that I needed to update some information on my website
. So, for the past week I’ve been tweaking and cutting and pasting and revising and rewriting and creating. The biggest change has been to the descriptions of the workshops I offer.

I revised a few descriptions, and I created three new workshops. Here are the new ones:

Spinning With Locks (6 hours): Wool and mohair locks can be used “as is” or prepared in a variety of ways for spinning both highly textured yarns and very smooth yarns. In this workshop, we will cover a wide array of lock structures, from fine crimp to bold curls. We will play with undyed and dyed locks, we will spin yarns from the locks, we will combine locks with rovings in a variety of ways, and we will flick locks for spinning smooth, worsted-type yarns.

Spinning Super Stretchy Wools (6 hours): Some wools are especially elastic: Targhee, Cormo, Romeldale/CVM, Rambouillet, Columbia, Suffolk, Montadale, and others. In this workshop, we will work with these wools to create sproingy-boingy yarns. We will cover a variety of drafting techniques that influence the springiness of yarns; we will card and comb washed fleece of these and other wools to make the most of their elasticity; and we will explore the best uses of such wools.

Circles, Hexagons, and OctagonsorKnitting Petoskey Stone Medallions (3 hours): In this workshop we will knit a medallion that was inspired by the state stone of Michigan, the Petoskey stone. The medallions are flat circles, knitted from the center out. When a series of these medallions are crocheted together, you can change the circular shape to 4-, 5-, 6-, or more-sided pieces. We will cover a circular crochet cast-on, how to knit circularly with 2 circular needles, 2-stitch cable patterns, and crocheting medallions together. With this approach, you can make scarves, afghans, hats, pillows, and more.

You can find descriptions of all my workshops on my website. Click Here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Library Is Your Friend

As I kid, I spent many hours each summer at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland, Michigan.
I’d hop on my bike and ride over there, then I’d hunt in the shelves for reading miracles. I found plenty. One summer, I spiced things up by picking books randomly. I read some weird things that summer.

When I started ballet lessons, I scoured the library for All Books Ballet. The library did not disappoint. I read several books by Agnes de Mille long before I was able to execute a grand jeté en tournant. The library was instrumental in assuring my addiction to dance and to dance history.

Further cementing my dedication to libraries, I worked at University libraries as a college student. I got to work in several departments: stacks, US government documents, microforms, periodicals, and the medical reserve desk.

Later, I was teaching college students. During my stint on the faculty of the University of Nebraska Medical Center
in the Division of Physical Therapy Education, I taught courses in “critical inquiry”: evidence-based practice, statistics, and research methods. I often told the physical therapy students, “The library is your friend!” So many resources, so much information, such wonderfully helpful librarians…..What’s not to love about libraries?

Anyway…because of my love of libraries, I was thrilled when I got a recent request from the Interlochen Public Library
to teach a single session on the basics of knitting. I would never say “no” to a public library. I would have even done it for free, but they are paying me a modest honorarium. Um, I think it’s the Friends of the Library who are actually footing the bill.

So, the session is Thursday, November 10, 6:00 to 8:00pm at the Interlochen Public Library. You can contact the IPL librarian, Janette Grice, for more information. Her email address is: