Local Cloth Blog
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
You know you don't actually have to be working on something to join us if you feel like chatting about fiber arts and beyond! Certainly the interesting things we discover often causes me to put down the piece I am working on. Last Friday's group time was as interesting as ever.
RE: June 27 Yarn Yard Sale at Local Cloth parking lot (good weather). I promised first to post directions to the Local Cloth studios in the Refinery Creator space at 207 Cox Ave. Here is what the building looks like from the front and I will post a screenshot of the map. Essentially, directions are come down 26 and exit onto Patton Ave. heading into Asheville. Turn right on Coxe Avenue (next after Asheland) and continue down to 207 Coxe at the bottom of the hill. It is on the right.
The group began with a discussion loosely related to knitting socks using various methods. Judy's favorite is to use Scandinavian patterns and favors using two circular needles, one for the front and one for the back. Any size is good if it is long enough since you are using them straight. That does make a lot of sense to me, I use double pointed needles but the design of the sock takes you on two occasions to using 2 needles (at the heel and at the toe for the Kirchner stitch). More here on all the types of knitting needles with illustrations. Someone else mentioned another blog "The Yarn Harlot, where toe up with 1 circular needle methods was mentioned. Let me check. Ah, here it is, The Yarn Harlot.
Paula was doing her least favorite task, tucking in the loose threads on the back of her quilt. Here is a iPhone shot of the screen showing the quilt front!
Here is a quilt of Paula's from 2015. It was at the NC Arboretum show last year 2019. Her web page is here.
Paula mentioned that in competitions, tucking in the ends is a must-do. The judges don't accept messy quilt backs! I find the backs can be interesting, and unlike Paula, I don't submit quilts for competitions. My machine does have the advantage that it can cut and tie the threads at the end of a stitch run and they always turn out the same length.
Katya finished her hat from leftover materials that she has! She followed our suggestion from last time to paint the fabric blue.
Then we began reminiscing about play clothes versus school clothes, barn clothes versus dress-up clothes, remembering when in high school skirts were a must, no pants allowed, and then just 5 or so years later, pants but no jeans were the rule. At Wayland High in the Boston, MA area, skirts were a joke. It was too cold number one, and number two the campus was a grouping of buildings with outdoor walkways in between.
Clothing discussion transitioned to dyeing hair red with henna, then lemon-lightening hair as teenagers. Unrelated to hair color, staining cloth with coffee and tea was brought up by Judy. We must have started in on antique fabric stashes. Since coffee and tea do only stain fabric, it is not permanent if washed. Judy uses it for her samplers to lend an antique air to the piece.
Maybe at this point the chickens wandered up to Sebette who was Zooming from the front porch! Pretty girls. (This phrase pretty girls has also been applied to goats, sheep, and other critters). Judy has several times mentioned her flock, gaggle, bunch of cats both her indoor flock and outdoor mom plus kittens. We want to see a picture!!! By the way it is a clowder or clutter of cats. Paula watches the neighbor's goats wander around her driveway. And, Sebette has sheep, not just chickens! Sebette just made a sale I believe to Judy who is interested in spinning Leicester long wools that Sebette has. Of course, Leicester referred to in the sheep's name is not the Leicester (lee-sess-ter) of NC fame where Beth, Sebette, and I live!
Judy did send me the link where one can join a Facebook group "The Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep Page" to buy a collection of Kep (Fair Isle Hat) patterns. "This group has been established to promote the Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep knitting pattern produced by Anne Sinclair, which we send as a pdf to support the George Waterston Memorial Centre and Museum in Fair Isle, Shetland. "
These Keps are beautiful!! You have to apply to join the group answering three questions and the site is exclusively about Fair Isle Keps.
Signing off till next Friday!
Hello Friends of Local Cloth,
This is a short update to tell you that our pledged support is now at $5,280!
Many thanks to the twenty-one people who have donated thus far. We have a list of your names hanging in the studio.
Two thirds of our $15,000 goal remain ahead of us; with your support, we can do it!
Do you have a friend who loves fiber arts, taking classes, or learning new things? Tell them about us! Invite them to look at our list of upcoming classes. Let’s keep expanding our community.
(Treasurer, weaver, knitter, dyer.)
We love to look at pictures, and so I don't feel bad when I upload a bunch of them! We had two new folks yesterday in the V-circle which was fun. Everyone has multiple talents, it is interesting to see all the various directions we all take in our learning and growth as artists and makers. Lyn Burkitt hails from Silva and Judy lane lives near Celo, so once again, virtual togethers are a boon both for avoiding driving a long distance and keeping together and growing as a community during the pandemic.
Judy is a long time expert in twined knitting. Twinded knitting involves no carrying yarn on the back side and the piece lies flat and is stretchy. Knitty, for example, has a page on twined knitting with pictures of how to and says that Twined knitting dates back to at least the 17th century and was traditionally done using both ends of the same ball of yarn. Because it is two color and knitted densely because of the yarn twisting each stiff, the knitted fabric is very warm. Here are images of the front and the back of a hat that Judy is working on.
Front of the twined knitted had
Reverse of the twined knitted hat.
Judy also enjoys covering boxes with hand dyed material, crewel work on the lid, and silk lining within. In the very top picture at the start of the blog, the upper right hand section is a view of the side of her container, and here is a view of the top. Realize that this is a iPhone shot of a screen view during our Zoom get together!! The pictures of the knitted fabrics were emailed so we can really see the pattern and details of the stitches on the hat.
Katya gave us a fashion show of her finally completed bolaro. The piece was knitted as one with just increasing and decreasing. I forget the numbers, but #3 needles and 500-ish stitches at the widest. [Katya, correct me!!]. She's been working on it for a long time! Here are some shots Katya sent me:
During the V-circle, I made her turn and pose so many times so I could catch a screen shot with my phone that we started to crack up (insert emoiji's and smiley faces, and hearts here if you can, see pics below)!
Katya is currently working on a floppy outdoor hat using leftover fabrics. The lining (or reversible side) of the hat is a beige color whereas the reverse of the hat is a blue pattern, so we discussed the best possibilities for dyeing the beige. Since she doesn't have many of the materials required for dyeing the presumed cotton material, we ended up suggesting using an acrylic-based fabric paint, either Setacolor or the like, or a silkscreening paint. Both require heat setting using an iron, but are permanent. These paints add texture/stiffness to fabrics depending upon the amount of paint applied and whether it is thinned, but since the hat should be fairly stiff to keep it out of the face the extra umphh added by paint would be ok.
Then followed a long discussion of steeking. We hear most about steeking in knitting in the round used to convert a pullover to a cardigan. Katya and others have used this technique. Judy added that one could do it with crocheted pieces as well. Her project involves crocheting a rug like flat piece, then using steeking to create a poncho head opening. She has also used steeking to inset an arm hole for a pre-knitted sleeve in a tubular knitted sweater body. Such a variety of approaches to knitting. I am afraid my approach is simple stuff!
Several in our group are intensely interested in a thing called fiber share that I had not previously heard about. There is an international group and a Facebook page as well. Check it out! Maybe June 15th is the next date to participate. It is fun, you prepare a package, someone else does, you are linked with an exchange partner, wait for your package in the mail!
The miracles of wooly nylon for darning or reinforcing hand made socks, adhesive spray from Elmer's (I could have avoided the horrible blotches caused when I painted glue on the lamp shade when I made a new hand dyed covering for it), and Eileens tacky glue. The glues are availabe at Wally's World (you know what I mean!).
Ok, it is maybe quarter to 6, our tummies start rumbling. Guess what we talk about next!? FOOD! A great discussion on making sourdough bread, Judy gave us her take on how to do it, Lyn also bakes sourdough, and I am going to start! I love it. I jotted some notes.
Lyn and I also finished projects: socks. But no, we did not model them!
See you next week! Sign up through Local Cloth. Share your stuff on Instagram and Facebook so others know about Local Cloth!
Dear Members and Friends of Local Cloth,
Hello, it’s Sandy here, your friendly treasurer. I want to share with you that our Sustaining Donor Campaign is off to a fabulous start. Six members of our community and eight women on our leadership team have become sustaining donors, committing to support Local Cloth with a total of $4,560 over the next year. Thank you so much!!
We still have a ways to go until we meet our $15,000 goal, and we believe we can get there -- with your help! The funds you help us raise go directly toward rent and maintaining a studio space for classes, events, and interest groups, while also supporting our instructors who make so much of our programming possible.
I want to tell you why I became a Madder-level sustaining donor. It has to do with my love of weaving and knitting, but mainly it has to do with people. In the past two years, I have made connections and forged friendships with wonderful makers through Local Cloth. I choose to donate because I value the artists, farmers, and crafters in my fiber community.
I choose to donate at the Madder level because $25 per month is about how much I would spend treating myself to pastries and chai tea each month (normally). I am happy to forgo a weekly City Bakery visit in order to support a fiber community which nourishes my spirit! I also look forward to my free full-day class and using my two studio rentals each quarter. After the safety training, I will use the dye studio to create more cochineal pinks like the wool below!
I recognize that this is a time when many of us are re-examining the aspects of life that are important to us, and deciding where we want to commit our time, resources, and energy. Thank you for considering Local Cloth in your contributions this year.
Click on the words below if you want to read more about the campaign or donate:
Sustaining Donor Campaign
Hope to see you soon, be it on Zoom or in the studio.
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