Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Three New Patterns

I am using my upcoming trunk show as motivation to finish a few knitting patterns.  Nothin’ like a deadline to prompt action!  I’ve finished – just – three new patterns.  They will debut at the trunk show, and will also be available for purchase after this weekend.

First up, “Cabled Wrists”, a set of four fingerless mitt patterns.  Here’s a picture:

Next:  “Right Side Up?”  Yes, that’s a question mark.  This jacket is structured so that it can be worn right-side-up or upside-down.  Here are some pictures:

And finally:  “Petite Poncho”.  This dainty, lacey poncho can be worn in multiple configurations.  The lace pattern is not too difficult, providing interesting but not overly complicated knitting pleasure.

Reminder of details about the trunk show:  It’s at Wool & Honey which is owned by Melissa Kelenske.  The shop is located at 9031 S. Kasson St., Cedar, MI.  The shop’s phone number:  231-228-2800.

There will be a reception with wine and treats on Friday, August 3, 5-9pm.  The show and sale will continue on Saturday, August 4, 10am-4pm.

Monday, July 30, 2012

What's in a Name?

I get a great deal of satisfaction from giving names to the yarns I spin.  Here is a picture of some of the yarns that I’ll have for sale at my trunk show this weekend.

The trunk show is at Wool & Honey,  a yarn shop in Cedar, Michigan.  On Friday, August 3, there will be a reception with wine and treats, 5-9pm.  The trunk show will continue on Saturday, August 4, 10am-4pm.  I’ll be there both days.

Oh.  The names:

Cabaret, Fruit Heaven, Yowzah!, Pearls & Mink, Omena Bay, Copper Harbor, Berries & Cream, Superior Waves, Leland Lemonade, Black Willow Pond, Sheherazade, Morning Mist at Otter Creek, Bollywood, Box o’ Chocolates, Glen Arbor Breeze, Right This Way, Right That Way, Sand Dune Daydreams, Peppercorn, and Curly Girlie.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Slow Down!

I live in the very small village of Lake Ann, Michigan.  There are only two or three streets that make up this place.  And the speed limit on those streets is 25 miles per hour, as it should be.  There is a lot of pedestrian and dog walking traffic on these streets.  There is a small town park, a library, a post office, two churches, a family grocery store and a party store.  People are around.  Kids are around.  Pets are around.

The roads that lead into this lovely village have speed limits of 55 miles per hour.  The number of drivers who continue driving at that speed and ignore the plainly posted lower speed limit for the village just … make me so mad!  This morning’s walk with my dog was especially dangerous.  One couple drove by at high speeds chatting with each other, ignoring the road, and ignoring – well – me!  Another speeder drove by talking on a cell phone and using the other hand to put on her seat belt, leaving the steering wheel unattended.  

I don’t like those people.  When they drive by me, I loudly shout, “Slow down!” and then I mutter other things under my breath.  They hear neither the shout nor the mutter.

People are just in too much of a hurry.  They don’t realize that going slowly can be very satisfying and a lot healthier!

Last month, I had to not use my right wrist for over two weeks to let it heal from overuse.  After two weeks, I gradually added hand activities.  I began to knit, but slowly and not for long.  I began to spin, but slowly and not for long.  I would still intermittently rest and ice my wrist.  After a few more weeks, my wrist started to feel pretty good.  Now, I have no discomfort.  And I can type, knit, and spin without pain.

But I still try to do things slowly, paying more attention to how I’m doing them.  I’m convinced that the slowing down was – and still is – the right thing to do.  It’s so easy to want to Get Done, to want to Hurry Up, to want to Start the Next Thing.  But hurrying can hurt you.

And, hey, I like to write.  I like to spin.  I like to knit.  Why would I want to hurry when doing those things?  I want to slow down and appreciate every moment of this wonderful work.  After all, I quit a fast paced, exhausting academic career in favor of fiber arts.

Speed reading.  Speed dating.  Speed dial.  Not for me.  I have been reading Moby Dick for over a year now.  Sometimes I’ll stop and read a certain sentence several times because the words are so well put together.  I can’t imagine getting as much out of this book if I read it at lightening speed.

So, please, just slow down.  It’ll be good for you.  And good for me.  And good for my dog.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blog on Blogs

I’m not sure if blogs are now passé, but I still find them to be captivating.  I have certainly enjoyed the process of keeping my own blog up-to-date.  And I have enjoyed the occasional discovery of others’ blogs.

Sometimes I am told of good blogs by friends.  Such was the case when Melissa Kelenske turned me on to two food related blogs.  Melissa is the owner of Wool & Honey, the yarn shop in Cedar, Michigan.  One day we were chatting about birthday cakes, and she told about these two treasures:

Joy the Baker and Smitten Kitchen.  I warn you.  You will get hungry and your mouth will water when you visit these blogs.  The photos are terrific, and the cooking ideas will pester you until you try them.  And then you will make them regular items in your own cooking line up.  (Just writing about these blogs is causing me to think about a certain egg & cheese sandwich….)

I’ve started using Facebook in the past couple months, and I’ve discovered some wonderful blogs through FB postings.

Writability.  This blog is about the writing process.  Now, it’s not about fiber writing, but I have found many blog entries to be pertinent to my work.  Every time I visit this blog, I read the current entry from beginning to end.  The writing is insightful and interesting.

{fresh news}.  This blog is about color.  Really, it’s about color trends.  Now, I’ve said before that I am a color dunce.  So a resource like this one is quite useful.  The pictures and color analyses are eye-popping and mind-popping.  Go look for yourself!

Ulicam.  This blog is mostly about photography.  I don’t actually read this blog; but I get a lot out of the photographs and drawings.  They are filled with texture, rhythm, and motion.  Even the very still self portraits are active.  I really appreciate the compositional skill exhibited here.

Some blogs come and go.  I plan to continue writing mine, and I plan to continue visiting the blogs I’ve listed here.  I hope you like them too.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

Today is Bastille Day, a day that celebrates the beginning of the French revolution:  the storming of the prison, La Bastille.

On this date, who doesn’t think of the character from Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, Madame Defarge?  She was a knitter without mercy who passed judgement and insisted upon the execution of many individuals considered to be enemies of the French people.  In every one of her scenes in the book, she is knitting.  What she is knitting is gruesome:  a list of those whom she considers deserve to die.

I read A Tale of Two Cities for the first time about 15 years ago.  I have always been a big fan of Dickens.  I love his convoluted, coincidence-filled – yet logical – plots.  One thing about the book that I found especially satisfying is that it has one of the most famous opening lines and one of the most famous closing lines.  What other piece of literature can claim this honor?

The Beginning –

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

The End –

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

Can’t you just hear Ronald Coleman’s distinctive voice saying those last words?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Website, Consignment, and Trunk Show


I’m not traveling this month.  But I am busy!  Just this morning I think I’ve finally managed to tidy up my website.  I was forced to change the service provider at the end of April.  My good friend, Patti Haring, helped me move the website.  I’ve known her since high school.  She’s now an IT know-it-all.  Thank goodness.

It’s taken me since early May to straighten up and revise my website.  You can now find a list of my upcoming teaching events, new photos of some of my knit designs and hand spun yarns, my fiber arts resume, and updated descriptions of the spinning and knitting workshops that I offer.  Take a look:  http://www.stonesockfibers.com


I am happy to report that Michigan’s Gifts &Treasures  has reopened for the season.  It is a gift shop located in the heart of Interlochen, Michigan.  The proprietor, Paulette, carries only Michigan-made items from Michigan artists and craftspersons.  And, she’s got a few of my items for sale on consignment.  I’m especially pleased that she has my wall hanging, “Petosegay – Sunbeams of Promise”, in her shop. 

She also has some of my recently completed handwoven scarves; mostly cotton, bamboo, and rayon.  Perfect summer neck decorations!

Trunk Show

I am also happy to report that I will have a “trunk show” of my work at Wool & Honey, a very sweet yarn shop in Cedar, Michigan.  You can find my yarns, my knitting patterns, my knitted items, and perhaps some woven items at this trunk show.  Dates are Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4.

I’m especially excited about the yarns I’ll have there.  All my spinning wheels have been busy helping me make them.  You’ll find luxury fibers (cashmere, silk, mohair, alpaca) and hardworking wools.  You’ll find yarns of all weights, from super fine laceweight to super bulky.  There’ll be smooth yarns; there’ll be textured yarns.  Some of the yarns are brilliantly colored, some are more subdued, and some are natural colors.  Something for everyone!

I’ll blog more about this trunk show as the dates get closer.  I do hope you’ll join us!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Fiber Festivals: Michigan Fiber Festival

The summer fiber festival season is upon us.  First up for me:  The Michigan Fiber Festival.  It is one of my favorites.  It’s held each year in August at the Allegan County Fairgrounds in Allegan, Michigan.  That’s about half way between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.  This year, workshops start on Wednesday, August 15 and continue through Sunday, August 19.  The festival is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19, featuring dozens and dozens of vendors, all kinds of fiber animals, sheepdog herding demonstrations, and fleece and fiber competitions.  What could be finer on a steamy August weekend?

I’ve got confirmation that all my workshops are “a go”.  And my “Beginning Spinning at the Wheel” workshop is already full.  The other workshops I’m teaching include “Knitting Petoskey Stone Medallions” on Thursday, “Mechanics of Your Wheel” also on Thursday, “Spinning with Locks” on Friday, and “Slip Stitch Knitting” on Saturday.  Many of the other instructor workshops are also already filled, but you can find out what’s still available at the MFF workshop page.

I just love that I’ll be teaching both spinning and knitting workshops.  Here are some representative pics:

Petoskey Stones:



Slip Stitches:

One side trip that I may take while I’m down in that part of MichiganMacKenzie’s Bakery in Kalamazoo.  They make the best plain cake donuts ever!  And I dream of – and drool over – their cherry cheese coffee cake.  

Come one!  Come all!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More from Melville

I am still reading my way through Herman Melville’s classic, Moby Dick or The Whale.  Awhile back I shared a bit about weaving (March 21, 2012).  Last night I read a bit about rope.  Here are two paragraphs from Chapter 60, “The Line”:

“With reference to the whaling scene shortly to be described, as well as for the better understanding of all similar scenes elsewhere presented, I have here to speak of the magical, sometimes horrible whale-line.”
“The whale line is only two thirds of an inch in thickness.  At first sight, you would not think it so strong as it really is.  By experiment its one and fifty yarns will each suspend a weight of one hundred and twenty pounds; so that the whole rope will bear a strain nearly equal to three tons.  In length, the common sperm whale-line measures something over two hundred fathoms.  Towards the stern of the boat it is spirally coiled away in the tub, not like the worm-pipe of a still though, but so as to form one round, cheese-shaped mass of densly bedded ‘sheaves’, or layers of concentric spiralizations, without any hollow but the ‘heart’, or minute vertical tube formed at the axis of the cheese.  As the least tangle or kink in the coiling would, in running out, infallibly take sombody’s arm, leg, or entire body off, the utmost precaution is used in stowing the line in its tub.  Some harpooneeers will consume almost an entire morning in this business, carrying the line hight aloft, and then reeving it downwards through a block towards the tub, so as in the act of coiling to free it from all possible wrinkles and twists.”

I would like to think that I store my yarns equally carefully, although I do not fear that my yarns will ever “take somebody’s arm…off”.