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  • 31 Jan 2021 11:34 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Paula is bubbling over with ideas.  And, as she relays them to me, I will post here! Let's discuss at next Friday's V-circle this idea from Paula,

    https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/reverse-engineer-knits-pattern-doctor-who-outlander-star-wars/

    I've only a couple of times tried to reverse engineer something - it's best to use cotton yarn for testing, because it's easier to rip out and doesn't felt, like wool would. 

    And being really diligent about keeping track, row by row, and change by change, is both essential and difficult.  The words "oh, I'll remember" should NEVER pass one's lips or thru one's mind! 

    Let's ask the group next Friday how many of us have done that! 

    cheers, paula

    And another message, this is to Martha!

    for Martha!

    https://www.facebook.com/events/713107576014829/

    dyeing with kitchen waste!  The avocado made me laugh at the memory of Martha's experiments. 

    cheers, paula

  • 28 Jan 2021 4:48 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    This page summaries the work of the Local Cloth Spinning Study group from its inception September 2020 to the present continuing via monthly meetings. Eventually, we plan to produce a booklet detailing information on fiber obtained from farmers and producers within our Blue Ridge Fibershed.  Updated last: Feb 2021

    Below are snapshots of fibers spun at study group sessions since September 2020 to jog our memories and so that others can see our starting materials. 

    • I hope to add photos of finished yarn down the road from the participants! 
    • Please see the blog entitled Local Cloth, Fiber Farmers for more details on many of the fibers and where they were obtained.  

    For the study, fiber samples are transported to Echoview Fiber Mill where various characteristics are measured.

    • Here is a link to a glossary of measurements made of our study fibers using the OFDA system at Echoview Fiber Mill.
    • In particular, fibers with a comfort factor (CF) of at least 95% are best for for clothing worn next to the skin, such as scarves. This means that 95% of the fibers have a measurement of 30 micrometer (abbreviated μm) diameter or less. For comparison, a human hair is between 17 μm to 181 μm.  
    • To see a wool fiber at the cellular level click here with indications of how the structures in a fiber contribute to the fiber's overall properties, from Woolmark.

    Summary of Fiber Characteristics

    • Listed below are the fibers in alphabetical order with comfort factor, fiber diameter, and staple length data that is most relevant to spinners.  
    • Link to the Excel file for this data (Sept 2020- Jan 2021).  This chart and the reproduction below will be updated periodically.


    For reference, links to the actual data from Echoview Fiber Mill are listed below.

    Photographs of Fibers by Month

    September 2020

    Alpaca from Last Penny Farm

    Montadale from Windy Wool Windings

    Mohair from Good Fibrations

    Shetland from a farm in Henderson County

    October 2020

    Blue Ridge Fine #1 from Local Cloth


    Blue Ridge Blend #1 from Local Cloth (at top)


    Jacob from Hobbyknob Farm

    (CF = 73.3%, 74.2%; Micron 27, 27.1)


    Lincoln from Hobbyknob Farm

    (CF 28.8%, 28.2%; Micron 36.3, 36.1)

    November 2020

    3/4 Blue Faced (Border?) Leicester x 1/4 Leicester Longwool (first shear) from Love Handle Farm

    (CF= 54.9%, 59.4; Micron 30.0, 29.3)


    3/4 Cormo x 1/4 Corriedale from Martha Owen Woolens

    (CF= 93.5, 94.1; Micron 25.8, 25.2)

      

    Romeldale CVM from Windy Wool Windings

    (CF= 99.2%, 99.4%; Micron 22.2, 22.3)


    Tunis (Tebo Tete) from Wellspring Farm

    (CF= 59.7%, 60.4%; Micron 29.6, 29.5)


    December 2020

    Cormo from Sebette Hamil of Wooly Ridge Farm

    (CF= 99.1%, 99.2%; Micron 20.3, 20.5)


    Dorset from Brian Grimm of Blackberry Ridge

    (CF= 73.4%, 74.1%; Micron 28.0, 27.7%)


    Icelandic from Katie Gaddy of Hidaway Farm

    (CF= 40.1%, 73.7%; Micron 34.8, 26.9)


    Romney from Barnardsville 2019

    (CF= 51.8%, 47.3%; Micron 30.5, 31.0)


    January 2021

    Llama from Peace of Eden Farm

    (CF= 50%, 55.3%; Micron 31.9, 30.8)


    Merino from Khakalaki Farm

    (CF= 97.6%, 97.9%; Micron 21.1, 22.0)


    Black Shetland from Sourwood Fiber Farm

    (CF= 61.0%, 59.0%; Micron 29.5, 30.0)


    Teeswater from Dry Creek Naturals

    (CF= 18.6%, 15.6%; Micron 34.9, 35.0)

    Hand Spun Teeswater at Dry Creek Naturals

    February 2021

    Border Leicester from HobbyKnob Farm

    (CF= 40%, 43%; Micron 31, 32)


    Icelandic from Hand and Horn, Caroline Williford

    (CF= 30%, 71.7; Micron 27, 39)


    Merino from Wellspring Farm

    (CF= 100%; Micron 17)


    Mohair from Out-In-Jupiter

    (CF= 72%; Micron 28)


  • 24 Jan 2021 4:37 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    So far this month of January, we have been meeting, making, and literally, chilling out. Cold weather is the best inspiration for making woolen sweaters, socks, and shawls; they keep your lap warm. January has also been a good month for quilting and sewing small creatures.  

    At the start of our first session this new year, Martha and I were treated to a gallery of tiny attendees lined up on Kathleen's sofa. 7 of them!  Kathleen may have admitted that the beautiful quilt over the back of the sofa is the only one she ever made. And, did I mention?  She is a professional sewist and retired from a business that she developed to manufacture clothing and other items to order. A consequence of her retirement is that she has a huge inventory of various leftovers from all the orders over the years and that now provide a constant supply of small animal parts to sew up : )

    Martha is demonstrating something in the photo above, but for the life of me I cannot remember what!!  The problem is unless I take notes and write the blog immediately, details fade. Since I'd rather knit and chat, I fail to write enough notes. At least this push-pull is trivial compared with the push-pull of home versus work obligations that I used to experience as a working mother!

    ....I am still trying to remember what Martha was talking about....ah! Perhaps it was when we were discussing Shibui yarns, Shibori knits, and Michael Smith's Shibori t-shirts. 

    First off, I had never heard of Shibui yarn. As I understand it, not having read in depth on the subject and not an expert myself, Shibui Knits, a small independent company, was founded in 2007 by Darcy Cameron in Portland Oregon.  According to the Shibui Knits website,

    "On a visit to Tokyo’s Ginza market in 2004, Darcy Cameron picked up a handwoven bag dyed with persimmons. She loved the bag’s pure simplicity, described by her Japanese friend as “very shibui,” or “elegant with a touch of bitterness.” This inspired an enduring aesthetic." 

    The Shibui Knits website store boasts already prepared and mixed yarns as well as the resources and instructions to blend your own yarn.  Using different yarns, yarn weights, and blended fibers you have to power to design the texture and look of your yarn; i.e., you direct the production of your yarn to your specifications. Their mix of yarns is spun together to create different textures in the knitted fabrics. Check out their resources page for more explanation.  This shop gets into the finer, more subtle details of knitting to allow you to explore textures and colors, to knit the project in the correct size you want, and using the best knitting techniques.

    I have to admit, the first time I glanced at my notes, I misread Shibori for Shibui.  Shibori yarn means dyeing hanks of yarn using tie, clamp, or other shape resist techniques.  Shibori knitting or crocheting would be, similarly, using shape resist on knit or crochet fabrics. From Interweave: "Asian Influence and the Magic of Shibori Dyeing", one learns how to indigo dye a piece of cloth created by crochet.

    I myself have hand dyed a knit hat and headband using Shibori clamp resist. The making of this hat reaches back to this past fall when I Iearned to spin yarn.  In September 2020, I attended the Fiber Farmer's Day 2020, and joined the Spinning Study Group of Local Cloth (Sign up here)!  This hat was made from hand spun Shetland fiber from Sourwood Fiber Farm, knitted, then Shibori clamp-resist dyed using pre-reduced indigo.  


    Another part of this Shibori discussion included Michael Smith.  He is behind Manifest Color and you should check it out for stunning Shibori designs on silk for starters and an extensive line of men and women's t-shirts.  His website is beautiful. If you are/were participating in Conversations on Cloth led by Yoshiko Wade and Ana Lisa Hedstrom, you might be able to visually parse the Shibori patterns to determine the type of Shibori resist used to create these complex designs.  

    Conversations with Cloth, Series I is hosted by Slow Fiber Studios and it has been an amazing learning experience for me.  Yoshiko Wada covers the history of traditional Japanese Shibori forms showing many examples in photos and from her collection.  She describes the techniques, both old and new, used to create them.  There is rich inclusion of film clips as well. In the second portion of the 2 h presentation, Ana Lisa Hedstrom presents work from current artists producing high end Shibori art, including her own work. For those who missed it, these streaming 2 hour Zoom episodes were recorded and will be issued as DVD's with additional learning materials sometime in 2021.

    Behind the quilt, in the photo below, Paula is holding up a recently finished quilt. In the next photo you will be able to see the contrasting front and back of her quilt. I apologize for the bad color representations in these quick screen shots! The true colors of the quilt are better represented in the small picture showing front and back beneath the larger photo.


    Martha Brandon has been making sweaters and such for grandchildren.  She just finished a hoodie sweater from a book entitled Kids' Knitted Seaters and More- by Cabin Fever Designers (2006).  However, if you want to get this book, it will have to be a second hand copy or you might find individual patterns from Cabin Fever Designers on Ravelry.

    Kids' Knitted Sweaters and More - Over 30 projects by Cabin Fever Designers

    I learned from Martha that a mattress stitch is the perfect stitch for attaching the hood since it looks the same on both sides. I'll have to ask her more about it and get a close up picture of the front and back of the hoodie she made. An internet search turns up, at top of the list, a YouTube video from Borocco Knit Bits.  In this video they show how to use the mattress stitch for joining two stockinette knit pieces side-by-side. However, I imagined the hood attachment joins the top of the body to the bottom of the hood, so it might be quite different.  Someone educate me!!

    In our last session on Jan. 24, 2021, Myrna joined us for the first time from Burnsville.  Myrna is a knitter amongst other things and she sent me several pictures illustrating her recently finished projects. The first photo shows The Lotus Crescent designed by Kieran Foley; the color work and the lace patterns surrounding the small color work patches is very eye catching.  Kieran Foley's webpage is entitled Knit/ Lab, Inventive Knitting Patterns by Ken Foley. I think Kieran Foley is part of the current wave of interest in knitting, particularly multicolor and complicated patterns of fabric construction. I might have to buckle down and actually learn some new tricks for my knitting! Myrna's second piece is a scarf with frills from the Knitting Stitch Bible.  


    We were marveling at something else that I ran across.  The art of using two sets of circular needles to knit two socks at once (each in the round). A quickie exploration on the internet that we screen shared in our Zoom session, led us to Tin Can Knits, a website of patterns for knitted seamless garments. There we saw a detailed description of the magic loop method.  Martha, a fount of knowledge concerning knitting, led the discussion on the best circular needles.  I have a dozen or more circular needles, with different length cords and different sizes and style of points.  What a mess in a box.  I never have the one that I want. Martha suggested the interchangeable sets.  Although much more expensive, in the end you have greater flexibility.  Her first choice, Knit Piks, she would not recommend.  However, Chiaoggo Twist, 4" or the 5" tip for larger projects are excellent.  The cords are red lace and of interchangable lengths. I still will probably always knit socks and mittens on 5 double point needles (I have a complete set). However, one goal of mine is to make a seamless sweater of the top down variety, in the round.  A higher goal is to do it using hand spun yarn.  Even reaching higher, I desire to make a top down sweater using hand spun, hand dyed yarn, designed by me including some  color stranded work. I will let you know in the next 10 years how it goes!

    See you soon!  Join us 4-6 Fridays for our Virtual Handwork Circle! You can sign up on the Local Cloth Workshops page--look for "V-Handwork Circle".

  • 17 Jan 2021 7:34 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    For those just coming to spinning wool from the world of just buying finished dyed yarn from stores, like me, there is much to learn.

    The first major lesson from being a member of the Spinning Study group of Local Cloth is that wool is not just wool.  (And, wool is not the end of the story; there is fiber to spin from from alpaca, angora rabbits, angora goats, and cashmere goats). Fiber from sheep wool is composed of protein from the keratin family of proteins as is human hair. The structure of the skin epidermis and the hair follicle control the growth of wool fiber as well as its properties (see this article).  A great summary of wool structure is found in this article.

    Wool and other fibers come from particular breeds of animals and have characteristics that can be described (article).  You can find articles like this one that describe the development of quantitative measurements of wool characteristics.  Local Cloth's Spinning Study group gets reports on the micron count, crimp, softness, and other characteristics of each sample from Echoview Fiber Mill, which uses an OFDA machine.  

    Here is a summary of the fibers that our group have sampled and spun from September 20, 2020 to January 26, 2021. Many have been donated and are from the stash of Judi Jetson.  If any of you spinners in our group can clarify any of these entries, email me please with corrections and/or additions. I would like to add our observations as well.  I have pictures of most if not all, but send me your photos too!

    Here is a link to a Word doc with the most recent spinning label card.  Here is the pdf version link.

    Sept 21, 2020

    Alpaca, Last Penny Farm

    Mohair, Good Fibrations

    Montadale, Windy Wool Windings

    Shetland, a farm in Henderson County

    Oct 20, 2020

    Blue Ridge Mountains Blend #1,  Local Cloth

    • 30% Montadale, 25% Shetland, 25% Alpaca, 20% Mohair

    Blue Ridge Fine #1, Local Cloth

    • 60% Montadale, 40% Alpaca

    Jacob, Hobbyknob Farm

    LincolnHobbyknob Farm

    Nov 20, 2020

    Romeldale, CVM Windy Wool Windings

    Tunis, Wellspring Farm, Yancey Co, NC

    3/4 Blue Faced Leicester x 1/4 Leicester Longwool (first shear), Love Handle Farm, Alexander, NC

    3/4 Cormo x 1/4 Corriedale, Martha Owen Woolens

    Dec 28, 2020

    Dorset, Brian Grimm, Blackberry Ridge, Southwest VA

    IcelandicKatie Gaddy, Hidaway Farm 

    Cormo top, Sebette Hamil, Leicester, NC

    Romney, Barnardsville 2019

    Jan 26, 2021

    Teeswater, Dry Creek Naturals, Taylorsville, GA

    Llama, Peace of Eden Farm, Madison, NC

    Merino, Khakalaki Farm, Trenton, SC

    Black ShetlandSourwood Fiber Farm, Scott Spell, Fletcher, NC


  • 04 Jan 2021 11:06 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    One of my ongoing projects is to bring together information that would be handy for those who spin fiber, as well as knit and weave.  As a newish spinner, I considered that a list of local fiber farmers would be handy for us all in Local Cloth.  Although many farmers attend the yearly Fiber Farmer Day to sell their fiber, I wanted to know where to obtain fiber (fleece, dyed or un-dyed bats and combed top) and to know my choices of fibers that local farmers produce during the year.  And, I wanted accurate information so that I could buy not just fiber to spin, but fiber about which I knew the details and that was produced locally.  I want to know the sheep breed that produced it and whether it is pure or a blended fiber.

    My awareness of fiber farmers in the area began with meeting a fiber farmer in our Virtual-Handwork Circle that I host and blog about on this site at Local Cloth.  FYI, spinning is a prized handwork activity in our group as well as knitting, doll making, and needle felting. 

    I found that Local Cloth is currently hosting a Spinners Study Group to evaluate fibers from local farms.  This group meets monthly, virtually at present. Judi Jetson, the leader, mails samples to those that register prior to the date so that we can prepare and then spin and discuss each of four samples during the meeting.  Of course I immediately joined the group.  For me, being around these spinners is wonderful source of information.  We explore together the characteristics of different fibers. The spinners are generous with their time and willingness to share information.  Elizabeth Strub, (middle row, left image) is a fiber farmer who attends this group so we get feedback from her expertise. Judi Jetson, the leader of the group and a long time spinner is top left in the image. Boo-Hoo Covid Blues, I wish we could meet in person.

    Thus, I am collecting fiber resources for spinners beginning with a list of fiber farmers.  This list was gleaned from the membership list at Local Cloth, those who included farming as an activity. I have eliminated a few that do not farm fiber animals (fruit farmers etc). 

    Upcoming fiber resource lists I hope to generate include

    • sellers of fiber outside of farmer sources, such as dyed and undyed batts, roving and combed top in the area
    • informal hand spinner contact information to promote networking possibilities and social spinning events
    • events and educational opportunities for hand spinners

    All of these activities, part of the mission of Local Cloth, are to promote a local farm-to-product pipeline economy and to support hobbyists in our area and further afield.  

    Local Cloth

    A fiber-promoting organization based in Asheville, NC whose Fibershed encompasses an area within 100 mile radius of Asheville.

    RECENT EVENTS AT LOCAL FOR FIBER FARMERS

    Fiber Feel Day Vendor list,  A spinner’s paradise.

    Fiber Farmers Day (Formerly Fiber Feel Day) 2020 list of participants (and see my personal blog entry on this event)

    Members of Local Cloth with fiber farms include: (updated Jan 28, 2021)

    A Fistful Of Felt

    Angel Ridge Farm

    Cherry Mountain Farm

    Good Fibrations

    Dry Creek Naturals

    Jehovah Raah Farm,LLC

    June Bug Farm

    HobbyKnob Farm

    Last Penny Farm Alpacas

    Love Handle Farm

    Martha Owen Woolens

    Mountain Meadow Farm

    Out in Jupiter Farm

    Princess Ridge Farm

    SourWood Fiber Farm

    Two Roots Alpacas and Two Roots Fiber Mill

    Venezia Dream Farm

    Windy Wool Windings

    Wooly Ridge Farm

    ___

    1/6/21, Susette Shiver

    ___

    If I have missed anything relevant, contact me please! I will update this blog with any new information so that it can become a resource.


  • 12 Dec 2020 11:06 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Hi all,

    I seem to be falling behind on my regular blogging, so I am instituting or have already instituted my irregular blogging. It is not that nothing is going on, it is that too much is going on.  Who says we have too much time on our hands because of covid?? I love time on my hands.  Us "Virtuals" love time on their hands (Virtuals = V-Handwork Circle participants).  That means spinning, knitting, dyeing fabric and yarn.  For others in our circle it also means the same but broadening the categories including doll making; quilting and sewing;  using up stashes of all kinds of fiber and fabrics; making new fabrics; surface design; carding novelty wools into bats, felting for the holiday season; and contemplating social media and how to sell the items we love to make, marketing, the topics are endless.   

    WHAT WE ARE UP TO

    Kathleen Lewis and her fox


    Tiny! Pre-holiday knitting by Paula Entin.

    Tiny! Antique crocheted earrings (I think made by my great grandmother  Sarah De Bow Fasig, maiden name Perrine).  She was an amazing quilter and needle artist who made all the family quilts, table cloths, decorative pillow cases, and so on). 

    Paula Entin's quilting project (she has been processing some of her mother's unfinished quilting work).

    And, Martha Brandon's knitting project.

    Katya Hoke knits! A sweater vest in one piece (I think vest).

    Beth Sellars is making cutie felted creatures like this little pig with a red heart in the wrong place!!

    and a more flattering side view!  Pigs don't fly!  (Check out Curly Furr on Etsy and Facebook)

    Me (Susette Shiver) has been knitting fingerless mittens, on #1 needles, ouch! using @localclothinc #localcloth Joyce Tromba's naturally dyed wool.  

    Martha Brandon not only knits but also weaves.


    DOLL MAKING

    I got a little ahead of myself in the last blog of October 30, 2020 and so added in part of a discussion on doll making which I continue here.  

    Although Kathleen has a huge stash of cloth and accessories left over from her business, other doll makers were discussing on-line and store sources for materials: diverse colors as well as best types of fabric to use.  

    Doll making resources for supplies including fabrics and much much more can be found at:

    YARN AND KNITTING AND BLOGGING

    Susan Nadelson in NJ who is a spinner and dyer has been an inspiration as shared by one of us Virtuals. LuAnn of My Paisley World blog, has explored Susan Nadelson's work in a blog.

    Yarn Harlot is an ever popular source of blogs and is quite entertaining: knitting and life! Then one of us Virtuals (of the circle--sounds reminiscent of Lord of the Rings???) mentioned toes-up sock patterns in our discussion.  We finished up recalling argyle socks and their mystique.  I found a partially finished argyle sock that my mother had made back in her youth sometime; I wish I still had it. I was impressed at my mother's skill in knitting that multi-colored pattern on tiny needles.  So this sock fragment (memory) reminds me of her, as she must have been when she was younger. She taught me to knit when I was 9 or so.  I  found that I do still have that first bit of blue wool knitting as a memento.  Who could throw that in the trash filled with mistakes as it was?!

    GEOMETRICS AND KNITTING AND BLUE

    Wow, just wow, check out Tatter, a Gathering of Material Culture on-line.  The whole site is super cool and was highlighted in Alabama Chanin's blog about Tatter's Blue library in Brooklyn.  I want to highlight the Barbara Walters Knitting Project, March 6, 2019. In this project designed to connect fiber with the Blue library mission, Jordana Munk Martin reached out to knitters over the world with the request that they each knit a small swatch from a pattern found in A Treasure of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walters. This book was originally printed in black and white. They were to use yarn in any color of blue which is transforming to view.  Check out the absolutely beautiful photographs of groups of pattern swatches:  400 samples from 14 countries!  Some are in solid, some have white.  Many are geometric in design. Tatter does much more as an organization; they offer classes in hand making of designer level small projects (see the classes page); so delightful to look through. 

    Once thinking of blue (my favorite color), our Virtual minds turned to Indigo.  Check out the book The Indigo Girl: A Novel, by Natasha Boyd.  It is historical fiction based on a true story set in South Carolina beginning in 1739.  Indigo farming is central to the story, of course, and there is much drama involved.  Quite a few @localclothinc are involved in natural dyeing and in growing and dyeing with indigo, in particular.  Our western North Carolina, Local Cloth fibershed members have plenty of expertise on many aspects of natural dyeing including harvesting, processing, and preparing and dyeing the fiber. Check out LC's classes and teacher expertise.

    DESIGNING AND KNITTING SWEATERS

    For those of us who have our own particular gauge or who spin yarn, it is an advantage to be able to design your own sweater.  This can occur at two levels--how to make a sweater to the correct dimensions, or, how to design a fashion sweater.  Let's talk about the former.  The Sweater Workshop was mentioned and the use of proportions to design sweaters. Turns out, it's a book: The Sweater Workshop by Jacquelin Fee.  This book covers basic designs and multiple sizes with charts. 

    And then there is Ann Budd of Interweave and a knitter.  She has published a book of top-down sweater knitting patterns

    Both Jacquelin Fee and Ann Budd have patterns on Ravelry as well.  

    RECYCLE YOUR OLD GLASSES

    Our group covers discussions of everything practical and not necessarily fiber related.  But we were brainstorming over where one might usefully recycle old glasses.  This is what we came up with: Lions Club in a box drop off that might still be available, Target, Walmart, and Sams Club.  None of these are certain, so call ahead!

    JEWELRY REPAIR

    Where can one reliably and expertly get jewelry repaired in the Asheville area?  One possibility is Paula Dawkins the owner of Jewels that Dance business. Her web page advertises repairs. She is a member of the Southern Highland Guild.  The store is closed at present, but we can contact her directly according to the website. Another possibility is to seek out jewelers in the River Arts District, but again, none of us has had direct experience.  

    In this jewelry context, wire wrapping was mentioned.  Paula sent a note about sources.

    INTERESTING FACT:  If you do a search of doll making or anything else fiber related and include localclothinc you will get a surprising array of hits from us! Here is an example. To be on this hit list when you post your work that was inspired by a workshop at Local Cloth, or, if you are a member of Local Cloth, or, you have taught at Local Cloth, or your participation in our V-Handwork Circle has inspired or informed your work, include these social media hashtags when you post:

    @localclothinc

    #localclothinc

    #localcloth

    #lchandworkcircle  

    #fiberarts

    #ashevilletextiles

    #wnctextiles 

    Be part of the Local Cloth Fibershed movement, farm to product pipeline, and join in the local awareness of our wonderful resources.  Be part of the visual dialog on-line.

    Yours truly,

    Susette

    contact me via susetteshiver.com if you like!

  • 25 Nov 2020 10:48 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    October 30, 2020

    Kathleen Lewis's featured exhibit at the Woolworth Walk in Asheville will be up until November 29, 2020 so hurry down to see it!  Kathleen has been a regular at our V-Handwork Circle so we have seen some of her work in progress and heard lots of interesting stories of her present work as well as her previous professional sewist work.  If you don't make it, you can still go to her booth in the Woolworth Walk.  


    I was particularly interested in our discussion of Cormo fleeces since Sebette Hamil farms sheep including Cormo.  Apparently, Cormo is a cross between Corriedale and Merino sheep.  The "Why Cormo Sheep" page of The American Cormo Sheep Association explains.  Cormo is very soft with a 3" staple and 17-23 micron fiber diameter for you spinners and can be spun or felted.

    Katya mentioned the solitary bee house and some of us silently considered, what the heck is that??  Well these houses put together form a beautiful and interesting hotel for solitary bees.  This kind of bee lives and reproduces alone and doesn't make honey.  Here is a really interesting document with images entitled  "Building and Managing Bee Hotels for Wild Bees" pdf from Michigan State University Extension. 

    Doll making @localclothorg resource for supplies including fabrics and much much more can be found at:

    https://dollmakersjourney.com/fabrics.html

    FASTENERS FOR STABILIZING LAYERS OF CLOTH FOR  QUILTING:

    Safety pins, Kwik Klips, basting, and Q-snaps.  Guess the category!!?  Correct: quilting.  These are all things handy for stabilizing the layers in a quilt prior to topstitching either by hand or machine.  

    safety pins.  Everybody must be familiar with these, but extra large ones are handy for quilting since unlike straight pins, they won't prick you and cause blood stains on your quilt.

    Kwik Klips.  There is an amazing display of colorful kwik clips, wonder clips etc on amazon.  But how in the world would one use them on a quilt?  I must ask Paula which I failed to do during the v-circle, but in the meanwhile, a quick internet search reveals.....  another lesson on internet searches.  A trick that advertisers use? The trick of inserting "Kwik Klip" into the search tags for alternate types of products to bring page clicks. It is like searching on Etsy for handmade items--100 t-shirts handmade in China. Or, possibly the spelling alterations that are automatically inserted into the search when you type kwick or kwic or kwik?  Upon further research, I discovered that the Kwik Klip is tool, "The Kwik Klip Tool"  that is used to close safety pins.  It helps one avoid finger damage and speed up the process of inserting safety pins across your quilt layers.  Here is a blog link showing the tool and a movie demonstrating its use.  Paula Jean Creations is closing after 29 years apparently.  They are the holders of the Kwik Klip Tool patent.  Interestingly, they claim they are retiring the patent upon closing.

    Enough said.  Get out your needle and thread.  

    Q-snap.  The Q-snap is advertised for embroidering and stitchery.  Paula is an expert on using them for quilting and finds them very handy.  Here is the link for this item on Amazon where I snagged this image.  

    See ya'll soon.

    Susette


  • 01 Nov 2020 10:34 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    BOO!  Yesterday was Halloween.  Scariness from afar for most of us.  My grandaughter was Baby Yoda (The Mandalorian, Disney +, really fun to watch!!) and my grandson was a TIGER!!  

    Some of our group have never heard of Don Knotts in Andy of Mayberry (they missed the re-runs too).  The link is to a wonderful picture of Don Knotts (on the left) and Andy Griffith (on the right).  What a physical comedian he was on that show.  I am ready for some covid-winter-Andy-of-Mayberry binge watching!

    Speaking of comedy, we are all scrunching up our faces in an effort to see the detail on the small ornament that Katya has made, yes, a red bird!  This while we hold on to our stitching or knitting so as not to lose our places.  It requires facial contortions don't you think?


    Right along with that discussion came the great advice to use woven cotton tape to stabilize the side and neck seams of a top that I knit from bamboo ribbon yarn.  This is part of the show and tell and brag aspect of our v-circle. I hold it up to the screen and everyone oohs and ahhs; we validate each other, it is a support-entertainment-technical tips-grow your art group.  Paula not only gave me the yarn, but also has given me valuable tips during the making of the piece.  Thanks Paula!!  It hangs beautifully, but is prone to great stretching as Paula warned me.  Still, I haven't yet tucked the ends in or sewn in the tape, but no rush.  Add to the giant pile of stuff to finish. 


    Kathleen, who owns a shop in the Woolworth Walk Art Gallery in Asheville, mentioned that the gallery had re-opened in June.  Sales are picking up with the modest return of tourists.  The space has two floors and lots of open air for masked-ones to feel safe going in.  For shops such as Kathleen's that do well, there is a constant dash to keep it stocked.  There is also the terror of shoplifting which is increasing. The young women that run it probably have to spend most time at the checkout area and can't guard everything.  How terrible is it to hand make items, try to sell at a competitive price, and have people stuffing them in their pockets.  Sigh, the increasing cost of doing business. 

    Kathleen spent the hour sewing buttons on her handmade, multi-fabric hats (caps?) and in a more recent session, hand sewing tiny bears, and sewing eyes on owls.  You can check out her webpage.

     

    RANDOM TIPS:

    • "Shout" color catchers are great for limiting color bleeding.  Specifically, when washing quilts in a tub in cold water, add color catchers to prevent color bleeding especially those reds.  
    • Years ago I knew about wool felted balls in the context of children's toys.  Many folks use them in the dryer to fluff clothes as they are drying!  I also found out how to make them (it was a mystery to me before then).  The process involves 100% wool that felts (not superwash wool or wool containing other synthetic fibers), needle felting tools, stockings (so that the ball retains its integrity in the wash), and of course the dryer.  You can put the method together with these clues.

    Here is a question that we asked and never really answered:  Are Welsh quilting patterns in any way like or related to Amish quilt patterns?  Might immigration and mixing of Welsh folks with Amish folks be involved?  

    I use the app Paper to draw cartoons and preview new lettering that I design, and other visual ideas for surface design on textiles.  I was originally inspired by the digital art of David Hockney (who used a program called Brushes).  Check out his digital art and revel in the colors!!!

    Who knows where pinking shears can be taken to be sharpened?  This is a jagged problem.  

    ATTENTION: Fiber Feel Day is Nov 7, 2020, outdoors at the Farmer's Market.  Meet the fiber farmers (sheep and more), their products, yarn, and more.  Wear your mask and distance!  

    These fiber produces and spinners have drawn me in via virtual classes and previous in-person classes from Local Cloth. I want to learn to spin.

    Spinning Yarn

    The decision is made after trying to avoid going off on another tangent (or is it just learning a new tool to incorporate into my fiber art?) I will learn to spin the wool: I know how to dye it already, know how to knit it, know how to felt it, fun fun fun til hubby took her spinning wheel away........La la la.  I love my husband, we are moving stuff out of the room I use as a studio to a former bedroom-now-exercise room, leaving me more space to expand.  

    Gardening

    The v-circle folks love gardening.  Knit knit, sew sew, organize roving organize roving, sew dolls sew dolls, make bears make bears, AND discuss the flowers we love in gardens:  columbine, lupine, nasturtiums, peonies and the places we can now buy them (covid times) Reams Creak, BB Barnes, Sandy Mush Herb Nursery, but the Herb Festival was cancelled.  Boo hoo.

    Beading

    Shows we like to watch:  Poldark, Dr. Pol a veterinary show of which there are many, Downtown Abbey---oh my the fiber art there!! Fabric + beads = divine.  How to bead while you knit?  Two methods at least, involving fishing line;  "beading methods knitting fishing line" is a good search phrase to pull up many videos and products. Beading for jewelry, beading for knitting, beading on fiber cords you can make using Kumihini tools.  Kumihini is a Japanese cord making technique that I will give a try soon.

    I save old guitar strings every time my husband changes the strings.  They are beautiful I think, some wound some not, strings with that interesting circle end that catches the string as you tighten the nut, pulling the string taut.  I would like to bead them and make jewelry, necklaces.  I would like to use them in crochet jewelry projects.  Bits of these projects catch my eye on my dresser top, in my studio, saying "finish me would ya?".


    And this brought us around to our musical adventures, now and in the past (Martha and her band in high school, Kathleen and her friend singing Elton John songs and the like).  We are all friends, friends that have never met in person.  But wait, Kathleen and I had been, pre-covid, in the same swimming exercise class at the Asheville YMCA with Dee for quite some time. I haven't been since Feb 2020.  We didn't change in the same corners of the locker room ever (or I am sure we would have spoken), and we look very different wet in a bathing suit with bad hair rather than dressed, hair combed, visible only from the shoulders up on a Zoom call!

    See you virtually soon!

    Susette


  • 08 Oct 2020 5:59 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    EEK! Tomorrow is Friday again, and I am just now thinking to write about the previous two handwork sessions!  I am going to write this blog in pieces since it covers several weeks worth.  The first piece is to show you the progress of Katya's doll.  She was kind enough to send me photos which are much better than the screenshots using a phone.  

    Let me introduce you to Hope.

    Katya added detail to the base of Hope's stand using buttons she made during a button workshop at Local Cloth this past year.  Adding flowers, she created added decorative detail that reflects the colors of Hope's beautiful and magical clothing.  

      

    We look forward to seeing the final piece!

    _______

    September 25, 2020 V-Handwork Circle

    It is just too tempting to sit and knit and listen to John Lawton stories on Audible rather than use my brain to write blogs or design a new t-shirt silkscreen. That is the excuse tendered this time for falling behind on my blog making.

    Did I mention that Tiger Tail wire, typically used for jewelry making, is also excellent for hat brims?  It is wire encased by nylon.  And although it cannot be tied into a knot (must use crimp bead), it can easily be used to thread beads, sans needle.  I have a big floppy hat for the sun that has wire that can't be bent, and therefore I can't wear it inside a car or leaning back on a tall backed beach chair.  But I do have a much better hat with bendable wire in the brim so it is easily reshaped for style or convenience.  Note the style (mine, below).  

     

    And, remember back to an earlier blog, Katya's doll hat made for her grandchild where the brim benefited from some shaping.


    During our V-session, we discussed sales[wo]manship.  Kathleen knows (by personal experience??!!) that certain people can sell anything to anybody. Susette knows that certain people have trouble selling things.  But, all makers of art and craft need or want to sell their wares I think, to enable the buying of more materials or maybe living expenses, and to support their sense of self worth and value.

    But if you don't want to sell your artwork, you can always give it away, either to friends or to charitable causes. Friends of artists might prefer to be gifted your artwork anyway feeling that friends shouldn't charge friends.  The horrible alternative of why your friends don't buy your work might be that although they lavish praise on your work, they would never want it in their own homes (I prefer to think your style might not fit their home style) or they think it stinks but are too polite to say so preferring instead to give positive, encouraging feedback. 

    As we age, we have filled up our houses with stuff, and now is the time to get rid of stuff, but we feel guilty filling up the landfill with items that are tiredly limping into the next century. Or, each item is still precious, and holds a dear memory of the giver. Daughters are the receptacles for all those downsized home items from their childhood, willingly excited to be so, or feeling a dreaded and sinister requirement to be the one to go to Goodwill.  Or, back to the first theme, each item is not precious, just collected junk.  I might be revealing something about my dilemmas, mightn't I?  Let's not make it black or white.  Some stuff is good, some stuff is not.  (Check out George Carlin's rant on stuff if you dare and don't mind some rough language!)

    Judy has found multiple venues for her quilt art.  Through her quilt guild, Mountain Peace Makers in Burnsville, she participates in creating quilts for Veterans.  The guild raises money through raffles for quilt fabric, and the guild members construct patriotic quilts (i.e many in red, white, and blues).  Each quilt is given to a veteran in their surrounding area. The program is very successful; the waiting list still has not been fulfilled!  A priceless local thank you to aging veterans (WWII and Korea mostly); hand made quilts loved in the process of making and giving.

    The conversation, stitches, and thoughts flow on.

    Oh, and Ian Banks writes good Sci Fi I am told.  I will put him on the list to read!  

    _____

    October 2, 2020 V-Handwork Circle

    We had two new participants Martha from Weaverville and Machell (pronounced like Michelle) joining us from Hickory.  Machell has experience of industrial weavers, design teams, tabletop looms, and hand spinning.

    Anne, also a new attendee (from Weaverville) began our discussion of tie recycling or upcycling as she was deconstructing silk ties.  Leading Beth to describe her thrill of hand spinning novelty yarn including using Sari silk strips as warp on her rigid heddle loom.  In case you are wondering what a rigid heddle loom is, I present to you a screen shot from a Google Search.


    Dolls:  There are many doll makers in the Asheville area including several from our group all making a variety of doll types.  Kathleen is a member of the Skyland Doll Group, this might be the correct link as it is centered in Western North Carolina, Land O' Sky Doll Club.  The project she mentioned was sewing dolls that represent characters in story books.  Which led someone else to inquire whether anyone knows someone that can make repairs to antique dolls??? No one did, and if you are reading this and do know someone, comment please and tell us!

    And how did we get onto the topic of the olden days (the "olden days") in Kenilworth? Kenilworth is an Asheville neighborhood with historic Kenilworth Inn and the Kenilworth lake, between Biltmore and downtown.  Our handwork circle, it appears, has deep memories of the Kenilworth of years ago as several grew up there.

    Naturally, the discussion on Kenilworth led seamlessly into birthing stories of lambs, via Sebette the sheep farmer in Leicester, and then onto Ravelry where one can obtain a pattern informing how to knit a binding that is later used to steek a sweater. Steek, frighteningly, means to cut - with scissors, ouch - the front of a sweater that was knit in-the-round, converting it from a pullover to a front zippered sweater.

    Next, the group advised and participated in deal making over a 100 yard roll of fabric (weighs a ton, I exaggerate) and the logistics of divvying it up into 20 yard pieces.  Interestingly, Kathleen still has her equipment including an industrial type fabric cutter.  The gals got it done somehow.  I am hoping to snag a piece myself! 

    Machell is a wiz with a Cricket Joy machine which cuts via computerized direction 4-6" wide substrates.  We clamored for a virtual tour of her studio work place.  Her husband works for, or used to work for Restoration Hardware and so she has lots of expertise to fall back on for her projects.  I realize now that we need to quiz her for more details!  Another argument for virtual tour!!

    Oriole Mills apparently is closed indefinitely, but Echoview Fiber Mill still is engaged in fiber processing and has a wonderful catalog of all things fiber, yarn, knitting, and tools.  Support your local NC businesses!! 

    Judi Jetson runs a spinning study group the 4rth Monday of every month down at the Local Cloth Studio on Coxe Ave Asheville.  They are undertaking a broad study of local fibers and modes of spinning for each fiber.  There is also an on-line option to attend!  Goody.  

    FYI, Valdez Weavers are weavers for residential fabrics, in Valdez, NC.  

    That's all my little brain can handle this morning, next blog will be almost caught up (in time), our 10/16/2020 session!  

  • 19 Sep 2020 10:18 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    I've been a bit underwhelmed the last few weeks for obvious (the covid coaster) and other personal challenges, but I can always count on our V-circle buddies to cheer me up with new projects and ideas and those ever-valuable tips on where to...  how to... why to....  The V-circle activity also allows me the opportunity to drop stitches, knit inches beyond where I should have bound off for the neck and so-on: just a commentary on how distracted I become by the great conversation!

    Another valuable sewing resource from Kathleen our professional sewist, go-to, V-circler: sewing.net, Sewing Studio Fabric Superstore with stores in Florida.


    Look at what Judy is working on. It is a break from a more complicated knitting project, one that goes faster and has bright colors. 

     

    K nitting isn't just knitting.  Knitting has many subtle nuances of pleasure: texture, lanolin sometimes, wooly smell, color joy for the eyes, special wooden knitting needles, big needles (easy to see, goes fast), small needles (nice fabric, knitting in the round but makes the right hand sore sometimes) needles in the round, circular needles.  Oh, and then the pleasure when the garment fits, or the afghan fits into the decor on the sofa or bed like a glove.  Your eyes flit from one color to another piece with similar color bits, to the pieces hung on the wall, and back to your new piece in your lap. You know just where you want it to be.  Or, lo!  Without realizing it, a new sweater also goes with another dress and that skirt, and what about those pants too? 

    Knitting is knitting and crocheting is crocheting, and the fashionistas better get it straight!!! Case in point: New York Times article today, "Breezy, Colorful Pieces to Make Summer Feel Longer", link here. Note the beautiful sweater at #5.  Only it is not a crocheted piece, it is one knitted on very large needles with very bulky sized yarn, wish I could command $395 per sweater!  All the 10 pieces shown are fun to look at,  Ah, to be young, energetic, all over social media, designing sweaters with your uncertain revenue ahead of you (half full, me). 

    Sorry about the blurry iPhone shot of the screen with so-so internet, but Paula has finished a project started long ago by her mother.  Her mother's tiny 1" squares were the start of this finished quilt. 

    Katya is changing up projects, alternating between knitting a sweater, finishing quilting a project of individually designed squares (see previous blogs for pictures of her quilt pieces), and working on a new doll.  Some weeks back we saw the basic body constructed, then the hands. This past Friday, we saw the finished hands, feet, and a stunning face!!!  Katya promised to send good pictures since I was lazy with the camera and knitted instead during the handwork circle (!!).

    Here is a picture of a hat Katya is working on, but it escaped my memory as to whether this is for a doll for a grandchild.  It looks too big to be for her smaller art doll. 

    I recently over-dyed some wool that was knitted double stranded (orange and cream colored strands).  That was after I frogged a sweater I had already knitted (ha ha rip-it, rip-it).

    I had even made a button for this sweater.

    This sweater is no more (not practical to wear since the sleeves were stylishly way too wide.  Now it looks like this partway into my over-dyeing experiment:

    So for over-dyeing, I knitted all the yarn up loosely in a seed stitch on large needles, still double stranded.  Then one skein I left as a loose skein with ties to hold it together as per the traditional method.  Then I dyed them using Aztec gold, a Jacquard acid dye in a large rice cooker. The difference in dyeing the multiple seed stitch pieces and the single skein became apparent after knitting in stockinette using smaller needles.

    You can see that I started with one skein (the loose tied one), then switched to one of the pre-knitted pieces (about mid way up the image). 

     I had placed them in the steamer all together with dye liquid mostly covering them, but without intermittent stirring because I was afraid to felt the yarn.  So, the skein might have settled to the bottom and taken up the dye first and longest, or, the knitted seed stitch might have acted as a mild resist to the dye. I will find out in future by dyeing one skein at a time, using equal volumes and the same volume of dye stock. 

    From this experience I did learn that using this giant rice cooker, the liquid boils if on the "cook" setting, but stays at 190 oF on the "warm" setting. The latter setting is perfect for acid dyeing.  I wonder about using the steamer for indigo?  Would that be too hot?  Can anybody tell me?


    This past week we talked about indigo and shared past workshop experiences (years ago in the case of Kathleen, last year or so for me).  Local Cloth has an Indigo interest group that meets regularly (at least pre-covid).  I attended when Eileen Hallman led a group.  She had gotten hold of a ??? 100 gallons container filled with old indigo.  While we were there, she/we scrapped out the indigo that remained stuck to the bottom and sides of the container in order to recycle it.  Eileen used part of it to create a new, much smaller indigo vat for us to experiment with.  This involved lowering the pH (I use soda ash, but I believe she was using lye) and adding reducing agent (Thiox I believe).  We did some shibori/tie dyeing experimentation on cotton.  Lots to learn. Using those notes and the notes posted on Dharma and Earth Guild websites  has informed all of my subsequent indigo work.  There are two basic flavors of indigo to start dyeing with: pre-reduced indigo or naturally reduced (fermented) indigo.

    By the way, Joyce Tromba will be leading a natural dyeing, virtual class soon for Local Cloth.  Check out the Workshops page.

    Other noteworthy points of discussion and interest:

    • Sassy Jacks Stitchery, N. Main and Fl. in Weaverville for fabric and other items. During covid, they will bring your pre-ordered items to your car out front.
    • Helen Gibson has taught woodcarving of figures at John C. Campbell, a course that Judy has taken.  She showed us some of her figures and I am sorry I didn't get a screen shot of them!  Judy has gone on to carve wooden masks starting with wood she collects and splits.
    • An unfortunate women had a major anxiety attack in Walmarts after three separate people came us to her and abused her about wearing a mask.  Judy was there and spoke to her and helped her calm down, whereas everyone else steered clear.  Judy advised the women (and us all) to maintain direct eye contact, with an upright and confident posture when nasty people come at you to bully. Give the bully pause by using a confident stance.

    See you next Friday!! Send me picture of your work in progress or finished to include.  We all love pictures. Me especially.  


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