Sunday, April 29, 2018

May Madness

Yay! May is a month of action for me. I will be travelling both north and south to share fiber goodness.

First, I will be driving to Duluth, Minnesota. That means I get to drive over the Mackinac Bridge and through the Upper Peninsula. The Duluth Art Institute  is hosting my spinning workshops “Creating the Yarn You Want” and “Blending Colors at the Wheel” on Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6.

Creating the Yarn You Want

Blending Colors at the Wheel
Before these workshops, on Friday, May 4, I will be giving a presentation for the DuluthFiber Handcrafters Guild, “Sources of Inspiration: Show Me a Miracle”.

A couple weeks later, I go north again to teach some knitting workshops. I am so excited to be part of the Spring Fiber Fling, an annual fiber retreat sponsored by the Country Spinners and Bridge Shuttlers. This retreat is the weekend of May 19-20 and it’s located in Pickford, Michigan (north of The Bridge). I will be teaching “Knitting Ribs and Welts” on Saturday, May 19.

Knitting Ribs and Welts
Then I drive down to Petoskey (a bit south of The Bridge) to teach at the Tip of the Mitt Fiber Fair. This annual festival is in its second year and is also the weekend of May 19-20. I am teaching “Matching Yarn to Project and Project to Yarn” on Sunday, May 20.

Matching Yarn to Project & Project to Yarn

At the end of May, I travel south to Wooster, Ohio to take part in the Great Lakes Fiber Show. I was there last year for the first time and loved it. This year, I’m teaching “Variations on Long Draw” on Saturday, May 26. That afternoon I’ll be judging the skein competition. The following day, Sunday, May 27, I’m teaching “Spinning Luxury: Cashmere, Camel, and More”. 

Variations on Long Draw

Spinning Luxury: Cashmere, Camel, and More
So, May is a month of packing, unpacking, driving, teaching, and doing laundry. And interacting with wonderful fiber folks. It will be a non-stop month, but a good one, I am sure!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Trips to Toledo

This part of Michigan – where I live – experienced a significant, multi-day winter storm, starting April 13 (Friday the 13th, of course) and ending April 16. The average April snow fall for nearby Traverse City is 2 ½ inches. Over that weekend, TC got over 20 inches of snow…and sleet…and ice…and other forms of frozen precipitation. I like winter. I like snow. But. Gah!

It started to warm up significantly by Thursday, April 19. Good thing, too, because I was preparing to drive down to the Toledo area to teach some workshops.

The Holey Toledo Knitters Guild had invited me to teach workshops on Saturday, April 21: “Extended & Manipulated Slip Stitches” and “I-Cord Edges and More!” I had so much fun sharing some knitting excitement with 16 of the guild’s members. What a delightful group of knitters! They were engaged, cheerful, friendly. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer day of knitting. And the guild members gifted me a bag of Toledo-specific goodies: yarn ("Bad Amy Knits" How appropriate!), candy, pickles, coffee, and soap. I was blown away. Thank you all, again, for your generosity. In addition, I was treated to two nights out for dinner. Apparently, the Toledo area has a lot of Lebanese and Middle Eastern restaurants. I got to enjoy some delicious kabobs and falafel. Yum!

The workshops were held in a nearby public library. It was a terrific setting; good light, plenty of room, plenty of table space. And the guild members brought snacks for our enjoyment. Wendy’s ginger cookies were out of this world! She let me take some home. They did not last the drive. I hope I can persuade her to share the recipe with me. I stayed overnight both Friday and Saturday at the home of the guild’s president, Sue. To my delight, Sue had two cheery dogs: Ezra and Josie. And Sue herself was also cheery, and a perfect host. I couldn’t have been more comfortable.

Back to the weather. When I left for this trip, there was a covering of about 12 inches of snow in my yard, and I was a bit concerned that I might not make it out of my driveway. I am happy to report that I did make it out of the driveway. When I arrived in Toledo, it was actually spring. Greening grass, daffodils, and all kinds of bird sounds. Here is a picture of Sue’s back yard.

On my drive home, I didn’t see any snow until I got to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, where there were just hints of sad, melting piles. When I got home, this is what my front yard looked like.

I am confident that all the snow will be long gone by the time I take my second trip of the year to the Toledo area. I have been invited to teach two days of spinning workshops for the Black Swamp Spinners Guild, June 2-3, 2018 in Elmore, Ohio. I’ll be teaching “Blending Colors at the Wheel” on Saturday, and “Variations on Long Draw” and “Ply This Way, Ply That Way” on Sunday. I am so looking forward to another trip to that fibery corner just over the Michigan border.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Nobody's Perfect

I couldn’t be more pleased that there are two of my articles in the Spring 2018 issue of Spin Off magazine. My “Energized Cinder Blocks Cowl” is a featured project. And there’s my article, “3-D Effects with Energized Singles”.

I have truly enjoyed writing articles for Spin Off, ever since my first article was published in 2006 (“A Study in Zig. Six Energized-Singles Scarves” Spin Off, Spring 2006, pp58-64). I’m mean, who doesn’t like seeing their writing in print?

This time, however, there were some minor mistakes in the editing of a photo caption that resulted in a confusing explanation of my intentions. So, Anne Merrow, the editor of Spin Off graciously fixed those errors and made the revisions available on line for free. Thank you, Anne, and all of your editorial staff for your good work.

Click here to see my “7 tips for knitting with energized yarns”.

Click here to see the corrected version of my article, “3-D Effects with Energized Singles”.

Click here to see the charts for all the stitch patterns in my swatches.

Click here to purchase a copy of the Spring 2018 issue of Spin Off.

On that last "click here" you might also notice that I’ve got an article in the Winter 2017-2018 issue of Spin Off: “Mittens from the Mitten State”. And those mittens are on the cover!

I know it’s mid April, but here in northern Michigan, we are still experiencing winter, so I’ve been able to make good use of those mittens. They are sweet!!!

Friday, April 6, 2018

New Website, and Coming Out of My Shell

Well, folks, my fall and winter have been tough. Emotionally, financially, physically, and psychologically. So, I played the hermit. I’ve been quiet.

One specific I’ll share is that I had developed significant right elbow epicondylitis (aka “tennis elbow”) which forced me to rest my arm and not knit and not spin for well over 6 weeks. Torture! At least now all is well, elbow-wise, and I’m happily spinning and knitting again.

It’s time to force myself out of my shell.

Let me share some good news with you. I have a new website!

And a new business email address:

The back story: My original website was generated though Microsoft Office 360. But last year, they stopped supporting websites. So, I was unable to edit. Maybe you noticed that my list of “Upcoming Events” was woefully out of date. But no more!

With some invaluable help from my friend, Joan Watson. If you are interested in using her skills, check out her website:

Joan has some mad IT skills. She got me using Weebly to generate the website content and format. Weebly basic tools are free, by the way. And she helped move from the old website to the new website. And she helped extricate me from Microsoft. And she helped me deal with domain name issues.

Joan lives in Tucson. I live in northern Michigan. We communicated by phone and email and some other computer ways that I am not informed enough to explain. She made it all work beautifully.

On the Homepage, you will find “buttons” for

Resume: an up to date listing of my recent fiber teaching and publications

Upcoming Events: an up to date listing of places where I will be teaching and/or presenting

Workshops: descriptions of the spinning and knitting workshops that I offer

Gallery: a selection of yarns and knitted projects that I’ve created

Blog: a link to this blog

Contact: a page for contacting me by email 

In addition, on my homepage, you will find a link to my Ravelry knitting patterns.

So, check out my website. I’d love to hear what you think.