LOCAL CLOTH BLOG
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:
See you next Friday!! Send me picture of your work in progress or finished to include. We all love pictures. Me especially.
I've much to tell you!! We love it when new folks attend. We learn so much. First, meeting new fiber artists opens doors. And as we say, it is all about sharing (not to say showing off!). That's what we love, to see new pieces and discuss how they are made, why they are made, their meaning, stuff like that. Second, new comers as well as regulars have so many questions and so during each get-together we share knowledge Together, we represent quite a breadth of fiber knowledge and experience upon which to draw. And then there is the relaxing idle chat. Good thing, else I would drop more stitches. After all, we are working on projects all along, hint hint, the handwork circle.
Dolls today! Both Katya and and Peggy make dolls and Katya is wrapping arms. You can see the arms have a long way to go, and you get a peek here of my highly sophisticated recording device (a picture of a computer screen, hence the so-so quality of the image. However, I hope you get a sense of our group this way).
The legs look more finished.
Turns out, we have multiple gnome makers in our group in addition to doll makers.
Peggy is currently on a gnome making streak, and years ago I make some under the influence of patterns of toys provided by our local Waldorf preschool (not to mention the chicks, cats, faceless dolls). In discussing dolls, we all did agree that we prefer them to have faces, however simple in design.
Fun fact: Katya and Peggy both have experience of Petaluma CA. So many interweaving stories (get it? Fiber? ha ha!).
Judy showed us her newly completed Tam (from Mary Rowe "Knit Tams" book, also many patterns on Ravelry). And, she told us a trick to prevent a ''jog" in the pattern while knitting multicolor items in the round. Knit one stitch from the previous row and then knit that and the stitch from the current row together. Her tam came out beautifully, I am inspired. And, it looks so very chic!!
I am taking a break, back soon with last Friday's blog!! .....
It was a full and busy/ exciting session with new and old (strikeout "old", use "familiar" instead) faces.
Michael and Sarah Forehand joined us for the first time. They have lived in the area for years in various places in and around Leicester. They are devoted to each other: witness the fact that he hand made a loom for her so she could begin to weave again!
Michael showed us the piece that is mounted on the wall behind them. It is the first fiber piece he made; it is composed completely from yarn and glue. Very hard to see on the photo of the screen sharing! Instead, check them out on his new website flyingfishdesign.online (not .com).
I did make some screen shots of his other creative endeavors. The owl piece as well as his other works were recently shown during the Leicester Art Tour, but the owl is special to him and wasn't for sale although many tried to buy it!
The next piece is hard to see on my reproduction but is a wool version of a bonsai tree.
Stephanie has some serious felting going on with her commissioned felted unicorn. Stephanie now is a serious needle as well as wet felter; she recently treated herself to an electric roller device that takes on the mechanical felting for you and spares your arms from feeling like logs afterwards.
Beth is also felting in preparation for the Christmas seasons,. Her specialties include small felted Santa's and such that can perch or be hung. Since she produces wool batts and is a dyer of wool, she has total control of the raw ingredients including the timely production of more greens and reds. Wish I took a picture of her red and green batts, but check out CurlyFurr on Etsy!!
Beth has partnered with Michael during our session to have him assemble the instructions for her kits using her own written descriptions and photos. She will be relieved to have more dyeing time and less computer time. Stephanie also is contemplating using her professional work experience with Work Element Sheets to support her fiber art. She is considering how to make best use of them to create instruction work flows for felting kits. This work element approach uses a structured form to indicate work flow and materials, as I understand it, so one can guess its utility for instruction manuals for individual projects.
Again dolls were amongst us! Katya is continuing with hers, specifically the very fine work of creating expressive hands.
Both Katya and Stephanie mentioned the influence of Sarafina. They have enjoyed Sarafina's Fiber Fairy Friday events (doesn't that sound fun and interesting?). Serafina's website Sarafina Fiber Art, Inc has a whole range of teaching, supplies, and original art. In addition to her current project, Stephanie has previously made some wonderful dolls that she showed us.
Well, I am tuckered out now and ready to stand up and go start a new project!! Have a lovely week and see ya'll next week. Do join us if you get the notion! Sign up on Local Cloth Workshops list for the V-Handwork Circle.
And, please volunteer your time to conduct a virtual studio tour so we can see your stuff and works in more detail!
Of snakes, riding mowers, cats, dogs, compound fractures, sheep, coyotes, lambs, tales and truisms, and of course fiber arts.
I am sorry I missed a week, was feeling poorly last week and left the group on their own so I can't say who in all turned up.
Yesterday we had a goodly sized group. Beth rejoined us at last after unexcused absences (haha )! I am afraid she was thinking of other things when I told everyone to smile for the camera.
Kathleen Lewis joined us for the first time. We were interested to learn of her shop at the Woolworth Walk downtown. She's been doing it for about 17 years now. Having professionally started a business centering on sewing, and subsequently working with interior designers, Kathleen has lots of fabulous left over cuttings of all kinds of cloth (sewing, upholstering). It is her goal to use up all these wonderful tidbits in projects such as hats, hip purses, pillows. Check out her website for a better idea of her accomplishments! No pics of her in progress needle felting because it was a leg and very small!
Stacey turned up again after missing a few sessions. She showed us her neat quilt that she is finishing. It involves special seams and cutting down the middle to create a decorative fraying. I am afraid that that doesn't show up well, but you can see the theme quite well.
Judy is nearly finished her pieced, self designed jacket! The pictures I took on the screen don't do adequate justice to the real thing of course. This time I have the option of using images that Judy had sent me, so you wont' have to see the phone shots of the Zoom screen with all its crazy interference lines.
from Judy: "The bargello jacket I am working on, pattern by Figure Flattering Designs. The denim coat I designed is from old blue jeans and men's ties."
Judy and I tired to think about how to do a virtual studio tour with only still pictures of some of her other projects. It doesn't really work since we would want to hear her talk us through them and show us where she works. Since she lives a distance away and it is Covid-time, instead I plan to highlight from time to time the breadth of the projects using the pictures she has provided.
Whoever shows ups, we chat about many things and if not already friends, we are becoming friends, sometimes never having met in person. Some discussion are rather personal to our group and perhaps better stay amongst ourselves!. Sometimes we get onto topics far afield of fiber art. One example is Judy's experience on a riding mower encountering a copperhead. I will try to repeat it in a bit. I call her one of our wild women, having moved to the NC mountains in her retirement, a wild mountain woman!
Katya is our other wild women. Both Judy and Katya appear at first very demure as they sit and work on projects during our sessions. Katya is a bit more reticent, but has allowed that she has had a free style youthful period sailing across oceans in a small vessel. Judy is not so reticent. Interesting how wild women can be either introverts or extraverts! You wonder how I define wild women. Well, not very explicitly to be sure. At first it was that both Judy and Katya both rode motorcycles in their youth. As I sit here and think about it, we are all more wild in our youth. However, I only rode a motorcycle once around a pond when a friend let me try. Mostly, I remember my mother telling me about a friend's son who was in a motorcycle accident, didn't die, but... That has always made me hesitant. Wild is relative.
Now for a Judy story having to do with postmen, shovels, snakes and riding mowers. I think she was responding to our conversation on postmen. I was telling the tale of what a rural postman encounters during his deliveries. Rex is Sebette's, Beth's, and my regular postman in Leicester. Matt, my stepson, is now the part time postman for our route! He and his family recently moved to NC to become our neighbor. Rural postmen end up in all sorts of situations involving dogs, things in mail boxes such as bees, black widow spiders, bird's nests, and so on.
Judy was mowing her yard on a riding mower when she encountered a copperhead snake with its head up and ready to strike. Totally terrifying. Her first response was to run over the back end of it and escape to some distance. Just at this moment, her postman was delivering. Still in an adrenaline state, Judy told the postman about the snake, running over its back end, and the fact that the snake's head was still up and potentially dangerous. The very nice, manly man postman rose up gallantly returning quickly to his truck to get a shovel, from whence he returned to bash the snake on its head. As Judy's adrenaline subsided and her brain began to function again, she remembered all of her shovels close at hand, just there, in the barn. No matter! The postman felt he saved the day, and thereafter, liked to joke about shovels with her.
Here is an illustration. It looked better in my head so I didn't bother with the other two panels showing the subsequent action.
And what do you know? We later were treated to another Judy story, and I am sorry, but I don't remember the context! It was about her biker/ nurse experience at a KOA biker meeting when a drunken/ drugged up biker did something stupid and broke his tibia and fibia in a compound fracture. Do you know the kind? You often see it: bone sticking through the skin? Judy is a nurse. She did a rough bandage, and the ambulance came and took him away, and she never found out what became of him. The End. But, there was a lot of good detail and comment that I wasn't able to include. I really must get her to record these stories for an oral book! Her telling is better; her words, tone, and timing make her a natural story teller.
We had one of those super fun, relaxing zoom times. Once you become habituated to Zoom, it becomes less distracting to the conversation. Quilting, knitting, old timey medicinal remedies were on our minds, if not before, then after our handwork circle!
We first discussed quilting a bit, since I am in the middle of making a full size quilt for my granddaughter. I want to show you some one of the beautiful squares (if I say so myself) that I made by hand dyeing using shibori and ice dyeing together. "I was gonna" photograph them individually before sewing together, but forgot. This photo was made when they were stacked up and so some of the leaf pattern from the square underneath shows through to the top.
I had many questions for the group about quilt-as-you-go since I can't face putting the whole quilt top, batting, and reverse pieces together before quilting. Although that might do for winter time, in summer it is way too hot to have all of that cloth on your lap! Although there are lots of versions of quilt-as-you-go on the internet, Judi mentioned that Georgia Bonesteel is credited with inventing it publishing an early book with details, "Lap Quilting" in 1987.
Looking her up on the internet, I discovered that she moved to Flat Rock in Henderson County in 1972 (according to Wikipedia). She has been a president of the International Quilt Association and was the first president of the Western North Carolina Quilters Guild. She has extensive quilting credentials and much teaching experience including a regular quilting show on PBS. She even continues to write an up-to-date blog at age 84. I plan to watch some of her videos on her website and learn more about her fame for lap quilting.
I also received more helpful info on preferred spray basting products for quilting (504 Spray Baste, but I think is officially 505 Adhesive Spray from Odif). We discussed quilting using smaller frames, as in quilting a large piece while sitting on your sofa. In addition to embroidery circles, you can make or buy more sturdy frames made from PVC piping--Q snap quilting frames. These can be floor standing or of various sizes for the lap quilting. Paula demonstrated one for us live!
Paula is working on an entry for a quilting competition and gave us a confidential peak of her partially finished piece. Very beautiful. Katya is also quilting and we had a peak of her first few pieces some weeks ago. She is up to 8 completed now including these three squares.
Katya is going wild with the square arrangements within each square panel!
Speaking of wild, Katya and Judy (with a y not i) were both motorcycle riders in their day! Never pigeonhole quilters, knitters, and sewists as dull!
Several of us were knitting. Judy showed us her completed Scandanavian pattern swan knit hat in blue and white, complete with tassel. Amazing! She has moved on to working on a Tam with a lovely intricate pattern. The secret in making a Tam that won't slide around or be lose fitting is to use needles several sizes smaller than those for the body of the hat so that the ribbing and brim are tight enough. By the way, Judy mentioned that KnitPicks.com is a great place to get reasonably priced yarn on-line. Paula brought up entrelac as being great for making hats. Entrelac looks woven even though it is knitted. I had trouble visualizing that, so in case you do too, a google search for entrelac knitting brings up many examples. It is fascinating to look at because your first reaction is that it looks woven and how the heck is that done? Of course done in many colors, the changes have to be numerous and time consuming. Judi mentioned that Noro yarn has long color changes and that gives the illusion of many color changes in entrelac knitting. Cool!
Some old timey medicine from Judy (an RN) and Sebette (trained in wilderness first aid).
*If you are bitten by a spider such as a brown recluse with venom, then you will want cotton balls and turpentine to draw out the venom. Judy has had personal experience. No ice, let the welt swell up so that the spot where the bite occurs is obvious. Brown recluse bites (they live in wood piles) in about 24 hours get a central necrotic spot (dead skin) in the middle of the welt. Apply turpentine on cotton balls.
Turpentine is derived from black pitch (pine pitch) and is a distillate with the same powers to draw out venom as the old time remedy of pine pitch.
*If you are bitten by a hornet/wasp and begin to show symptoms such as itchy rash, swelling, and difficulty breathing, break open two capsules of Benadryl and apply under the tongue for quick absorption into the blood (Judy, RN). Another approach is to cut the top off of a gel cap and apply the liquid Benedryl to the hornet/wasp bite. Of course if you already have an EpiPen, then use that!
Fun fact: "too poor to have a pot to piss in" derives from the indigo industry which uses ammonia as a mordent for dyeing, and tanneries that used it for tanning hides. At the time when ammonia wasn't available commercially, it was available in human urine. The poor would collect their urine in pots to sell to indigo dyers. The extremely poor couldn't afford a pot to piss in. Or, one could say they were "piss poor".
Lazy days. Rain and thunder filled afternoons. Last Friday was one of those days; it seems like everyday has that same weather pattern this summer. Lazy days applies to me. Maybe it is a COVID slump. I just want to sit on the sofa, listen to mystery stories on Audible or the library, and knit/hand quilt/crochet on one of my three "upstairs on the sofa" projects. I know, we should all get up and exercise from time to time because sitting all the time is not good, but how else can you knit? Hmm... Knitting while walking could be dangerous, just like looking at your phone and walking. Back to sitting.
Peggy Newell joined us Friday and I learned two new knitting terms during the groups discussions as a consequence as well as meeting another expert knitter.
One new term I learned is the Spit Splice. Doesn't that sound gross? Well, it accurately describes a method of splicing two ends of wool together so as to avoid a knot in the fiber. It works especially well for wool, but not so well for cotton or silk since the tendency of wool to tangle and hold together is greater than cotton and silk.
The Spit Splice is also known as the Felted Join (water not spit!). In the Spit Splice, described by one of us, one simply arranges the yarn with overlapping ends, spit and work between your hands or fingers by rolling.
I found a very nice blog from 2015 that describes an alternative method for joining balls of yarn, the Felted Join. Slightly different, in this method you loop the ends over each other so that the ends are pointing away from the join. Then, they are essentially wet felted together, agitating the wetted yarn by rolling between your palms vigorously enough to produce some heat. The three requirements for felting are present: heat, moisture, agitation.
At the microscopic scale, wool protein fibers have scales. Silk protein is the only protein fiber without scales. Man-made fibers have no scales. This contributes to felting and the tendency of scaled fibers to self adhere. Heating the fibers in the presence of a liquid begins to denature the fiber structure, a process whereby the 3 dimensional shape of the fibers begins to change and distort. I could imagine the scales beginning to expand and stick out from the fiber encouraging felting together of the fibers as they encounter each other during agitation.
The second knitting term that I learned during our session was "Life Lines". We had been discussing brioche knitting as Leigh was trying to decide which of two projects to work on (more later). I wish I had known about Life Lines when I attempted to learn brioche knitting. I was so frustrated that after 5 inches I discovered a mistake about 2 inches back that I ripped the whole thing out and gave up. Life Lines are a means of ripping out without losing track of your stitches. To do this, one runs a waste yarn through all the stitches on the needle from time to time during knitting a project. Helpfully, this piece of yarn should be an obviously different color to the one being used in the project. Doing this periodically as you knit serves as measured rows that you can confidently rip back to and then use the Life Line to reassemble the stitches back onto the needle. If they are not used, they can be pulled out of the project later.
Leigh ultimately decided on knitting a moderne log cabin quilt pattern after being inspired by Modern Daily Knitting emails (formerly known as Mason-Dixon Knitting). Check out their web site in the link above. Lots of wonderful knitting information, project ideas, and patterns.
Leigh and I might someday go back to brioche knitting, who knows? Nancy Marchant is the expert in the field and her website briochestitch.com is full of wonderful instruction and has a link to her Ravelry patterns. I have also been inspired by Leslie Anne Robinson and her patterns on KnitGraffiti (and Instagram)
We did get together last Friday even though I am late in posting!
Bonnie Parker joined us for the first time. She just moved in closer, to the center of Asheville to a smaller place and has a most efficient but small sewing space. Bonnie has been making cloth books, and she showed us one she was working on.
We got into a discussion on ways of transferring images to cloth and of course there are many ways. One Bonnie was pursuing was to use golden matt medium to cover and attach photos to cloth. I mentioned photo transfer and a heat press I have. I also suggested looking at Jane Dunnewold's book "Complex Cloth, A Comprehensive Guide to Surface Design" 1996 in which she has an extensive section on photocopy transfers.
As usual we had fun, Katya was playing hide-and-seek with her project. But, I confess, we asked her to show us, and I made her show her face!
Leigh, like Judi and Katya, likes to do largish, knitting projects and this is her current endeavor. Sad, but not unexpected that the resolution suffers when a phone camera shot of a computer screen falls short.
Beth was busy working on a new 9 oz batting and we got to see her carding machine (Beth is that right?). The first picture is of the drum spinning so it is blurry, and the second when it was the carding was finished.
I was knitting socks, Robin's Egg blue sock yarn by The Wooly Cabin (on Etsy). I liked the color so much I bought enough for two pairs of socks or socks and matching wrist warmers. What's the next project for all of us??
We had a big and happy turnout last Friday for our weekly V-get-together!
Weather-wise, it was exciting as we got to share when thunder and lightening and down pours shifted around regionally. As a group we represented Weaverville, Asheville, Leicester, Sylva, and Hendersonville! When the storm arrived at one place, the sunny porch/room darkened and thunder could be heard. It was interesting, and something that Zoom participants could experience only on gallery mode!!
The sad news that SAFF was cancelled left us a bit depressed since all of us enjoy attending either as a vendor or as shopper. Nobody wants to get covid-19 though. I notice that the Big Crafty in Asheville, which was to occur last Saturday, took place as "stories" by individual vendors who had been selected to participate. Links to their webpages and elsewhere helped us to sample their wares and see what is up around town. The Southern Highland Craft Guild will also be on line in July. A quick google search will key you all into the available information and checkout events on Facebook.
You might notice that in the middle of the group picture panel, there was a temporary absentee. Leigh was indeed with us! She was working on ripping out the window seat cover that moved with them from Illinois (did I remember that correctly?) to Asheville, this in preparation for re-sizing for their new window seat. She is holding up the seam ripper for all to see:
Beth had just finished a new batting; they are usually 6-8 oz and so bigger than they seem when you just see one end (my opinion, don't take that for a group consensus!).
Judi has finished a sweater with an experience of "what a beautiful sweater" (we were also us admiring it) but a personal experience of "never again, too complicated, irritating to make". The pattern involved dramatic arrays of dropped stitches. Assuming she doesn't get tangled up in a bush wearing it, she will enjoy it for years.
Lyn down in Sylva finished spinning some beautiful batting to create some beautiful, colorful yarn on a handsome spinning wheel. We non-spinners vow to take it up soon. Those in the know asked how she would finish the yarn. Would she leave it as single, or add other yarns to alter it's overall look? We will ask for an update next week!
Paula has finished her musically-intended wrist warmers. She is of the old time music camp, literally, outside at night playing music with a group and suffering from chilly hands. The perfect yarny-knitty solution.
Finally, almost, Sebette and her cuddly soft gray-shaded batting flashed us her sweet smile and a cuddle.
Why did she do that you might ask? Well two reasons: I was making everyone do an actual show and tell at the end of our session because as we are doing handwork most of the rest of the time, our heads are down and our projects are in our laps out of sight!.
The second reason I will illustrate in photos. Those who didn't have pets, or didn't have lap pets had to make do. Warning: the next photos have a high cuteness factor (including Judy, not a pet, but still cute)!!
It was a good session.
Susette (I was knitting)
Mary and Yoni hosted a studio tour for Local Cloth in June, showing us some of their creations and discussing their creative process.
Thank you, Mary and Yoni, for sharing yourselves and your art with us!
(Some of Mary's recent indigo rag rugs.)
How did you get connected with Local Cloth/western NC?
Yoni and I got connected to Local Cloth through our friend and fellow fiber-enthusiast Sandy, who lives in Asheville and volunteers with Local Cloth. We also have connections to Western North Carolina through having taken summer classes at Penland School of Craft in summer of 2018, which was a real turning point in both of our fiber journeys!
Where is your studio located? How did you come to be in this location?
Our studio is in our apartment in Northampton, MA. We live in an old mansion that has since been chopped up into several units. We live on the first floor in large, open rooms that flow into each other, as they were likely former parlors and sitting areas. We have repurposed one of these spacious rooms into our studio -- half for Yoni's sewing endeavors and half for Mary's weaving and knitting.
Tell me about a project you are currently making.
Yoni: I am constructing quilted pillowcases for a friend using garments that belonged to her grandmother, which she will distribute among her close relatives. I am interested in how materials have a voice and special meaning within family circles, and how collaborative repurposing can give them life into the next generation.
(A quilt Yoni made on the occasion of his brother's wedding.)
How long have you been working in this medium?
Mary: I have been weaving for almost 10 years and knitting for seven. I got my start in fibers as Earlham College, a small Quaker liberal arts school in Richmond, Indiana. While pursuing my degree in environmental studies, I was able to take three weaving courses and I was hooked! After graduating, I worked as an environmental educator locally and bought one of the older looms in the Earlham studio at a bargain price from my instructor, Nancy Taylor. I owe it to Nancy for keeping me in the weaving trade as a young adult just getting her start in the world!
Yoni: I started experimenting with paper and pressed flower collages when I was in school at Earlham College, then took my first fabric arts class during my final semester there. I've continued to learn and experiment with dying, piecing, and embroidery on my own for the past seven years, aided along the way with guidance from friends and short courses at the Hill Institute in Florence, MA and Penland School of Craft in Bakersfield, NC.
Who are some of the people who mentored/taught you along the way?
We have both been mentored by the incredible Nancy Taylor, who still leads the fibers program at Earlham College, as well as instructors that have taught at Penland School of Craft, including Tommye McClure Scanlin, Nick Deford, and Katherine Duguid.
What inspires you in your work?
Mary: I am inspired by geometric designs from cultures around the world and magnifying techniques that are usually done on a much smaller scale. One of my favorite rugs in this indigo rag rug series was created by experimenting with hachure, a shading technique traditionally used in delicate tapestry weaving. I try and balance planned design with the unplanned surprises from the dye pot and love weaving with variegated colors.
Yoni: I draw from my interests in Jewish history, botany, and found images to shape my pieces. I am often inspired to create things for friends and family based on their vocations or the pets in their lives. Fabric and thread are great mediums for considering disparate elements and tying together what is in my head.
(A quilted collage Yoni is working on, for a friend who owns a fermentation business.)
July 1, 2020
Sustaining Donor Campaign Update #3
Since we began our campaign at the end of May, we have made it almost halfway to our goal of $15,000. At the end of June, we had $6,100 of pledged support!
We know this is a difficult and strange time, and we so appreciate everything our members do: organizing groups, volunteering at events, teaching classes, taking classes, being on the board or on various leadership committees, and so much more. Donating your time and/or money are such valuable ways to contribute!
If you have been considering getting involved at Local cloth, I welcome you to think about becoming a Weld-level sustaining donor. By donating $10 monthly, you get to take advantage of a free studio rental per quarter! Not to mention you get to show off your Local Cloth tote bag at the grocery store or fill it with fiber projects.
By donating $10 per month, you will enable us to keep classes and events going on Zoom and in person. You will be supporting a truly local organization that connects farmers, makers, and artists; we value these connections and we know you do, too.
For many of you reading this, I will be preaching to the choir when I say that making things with our hands is more important now than ever. It keeps us grounded, it offers hope, it keeps many of us sane. Thank you for reading this, and for considering becoming a sustaining donor.
All the best,
We are a steady lot. We love to sit, chat and listen, but we keep our hands busy.
Audio books are great, but people becoming your friends with shared interests are the real deal!
Fiber. The central theme! In our group: knitters, spinners, doll makers using fibers, stitchers and cross stitchers; everyone has many fiber related interests. Some links at the end of the blog point to sources for undyed yarns that we mentioned in the course of our collective stream of information and consciousness.
This week, Judy was working on a poncho. Always something different and always many ongoing projects. She is a fiber maniac!
We discussed what lovely fabric mens ties offer up. I have a collection of old ties from my husband including Beetles ties from way back. Remember Jerry Garcia ties? Katya picked up old silk tie fabric seconds years and years ago and is still pulling material for various projects. Oh, and by the way, did you know that the comedian Stephen Fry loves ties? He posts different ones on Instagram regularly.
Katya showed us one of her dolls, it would be great if she gave a studio tour. Virtual tours are difficult though especially for shy folk And then there are technical challenges.
A melding of ideas came together when Katya completed her button workshop. She added the buttons to flowers and decorated her doll stand (sorry no pic!!). Next to her doll picture is a photo of the sorts of fiber wound buttons that can be produced (at right).
And here are the buttons as created by Katya.
Beth was untangling yarn and then working on her rigid heddle loom (Beth did I get that right?). She over dyed more yarn to match some earlier plum dyed wool. Sad we don't have Virtual in-home videographers to show us ALL!!
Nancy was stitching. Turns out she, and probably Katya as well, are participating in the 25 Million Stitches project to highlight the worldwide plight of immigrants. Each stitch represents one of the 25 million refugees in the world. Each participant creates one panel of a certain size with known numbers of stitches or at a prescribed density so that global participants will have created 25 million stitches.
Here is the panel that Nancy is working on. Again, forgive me, but these are iPhone shots of computer screens!! Good enough I hope to give you an idea.
Lovely seeing you all, look forward to seeing new and familiar faces next time!
From 25 million stitches website:
The new opening date for the 25 Million Stitches Project is June 12th, 2021, a year from our original date.
Our first full installation will be at the Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento, CA
Some sources for undyed yarn for those that don't spin their own:
Judy has had experience with KnitPicks.
Susette has ordered from
Judy has had experience with KnitPicks.
Susette has ordered from
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