Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Stocking Request

My nephew, Ben, got married in early December. His mom, my sister-in-law, Elaine, asked if I would knit a Christmas stocking for the new bride, Brandy. She wanted a stocking that matched all the other family members’ stockings. Without hesitation – or knowing anything about the pattern – I agreed.

Elaine then sent me a copy of the pattern and her old stocking. It’s an old Bernat pattern, one with which I’m sure many of you are familiar: “Jumbo Santa Claus Stocking”.

The pattern that Elaine sent was an updated rendition, posted with permission by Ruthless Knitting. It is available as a free download through Ravelry

The pattern suggested using Cascade 220 or a similar worsted weight yarn. I took a quick trip into Traverse City to stop at Lost Art Yarns. I knew Gerhild would have appropriate Christmas-y colors of 220. I got some green, some red, and some white. And a ball of Angora yarn for Santa’s beard.

The pattern indicates that most of the bits of color should be worked in intarsia. Not my favorite type of knitting. Instead, I worked all the color bits in duplicate stitch, which I’m particularly fond of.

It was hard to get the full name, BRANDY, on one side of the stocking; I had to make the letters on the small side, and the “B” doesn’t look quite right. But I’m pleased with how the Santa head came out. And I like the postioning of the jingle bells. And I’m pleased with the red-green-white twisted cord for hanging the stocking.

I hope Brandy likes it and that her first Christmas as a member of the Tyler family was a good one.

I’m now in the mood to make more Christmas stockings. I’ve got ideas for using handspun, and incorporating loads of cables. Next year!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Message in a Towel?

Last year my friend, Marty F, gave me four towels that she’d woven. They are hand towels, made of cotton, and woven in Monk’s Belt patterns.

I have been using these beauties in my bathroom. They have gotten regular use and regular washing. And I love them. When I’m sitting on the pot, I stare right at my hand towel, so I’ve gotten plenty of time to examine these towels and their patterns. From the start, I’ve been quite fascinated by the designs. I wonder how Marty made decisions about the width and length of the patterns, and when to change colors.

I stare at these patterns and let my mind wander. Lately, I’ve been thinking that the weaving pattern is a code and I wonder what message has been woven into the towel. I don’t really want to figure it out. I like the puzzle, the mystery. I hope to continue to be entertained by the puzzle of Monk’s Belt. Thank you, Marty!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Spring Retreat and Summer Festival, Michigan Style

Last week I got my contract to teach at the Michigan Fiber Festival, August 13-17, 2014. This will be my eighth year of teaching at this delightful Michigan event. I can hardly wait!

I’m scheduled to teach Creating the Yarn You Want, Mechanics of Your Wheel, I Heart Duplicate Stitch, Beginning Spinning on the Wheel, Seams to Be, and The Surprising Yarn-Over. Wednesday through Saturday. So, I’ll have time to shop and sight see on Sunday.

The festival’s website does not have the full line-up of workshops listed yet; that information ought to be available by April 1. If you are interested in knowing a bit more about my workshops, you can read all my workshop descriptions on my website.

In the meantime, Michigan Fiber Festival, Inc is also hosting a Spring Retreat. And I’ll be teaching at that event too. I’m scheduled to teach Pull, Pleat, Curl and Bias, and Spinning & Knitting Goat Fibers. Other instructors include: Suzanne Higgs (felting), Ann Niemi (weaving), and Patsy Zawistoski (spinning). This retreat will be held at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings, Michigan, Saturday and Sunday, March 29-30, 2014. This is a small event, allowing a maximum of 40 participants. Registration is open now.

Michigan is a good place for fiber action!