I did something on Saturday that I almost feel just a bit guilty about since I like to consider myself a big advocate for supporting local yarn shops, farms, and fiber artists. I went to WEBS Yup, “America’s Yarn Store” the big yarn mecca with the super sales and endless selection of yarns. Some may know them only from ordering online, but their store in western Massachusetts is just as big, well stocked, and busy as you might have heard.
Yes, it’s that time again, the day when Punxsutawney Phil tells us if we’re getting an early spring or six more weeks of winter. At the time this post is going up, I won’t know what his prediction for this year is. Last year he predicted an early spring and I recall repeatedly cursing him through the end of March, threatening to track the little bugger down and turn him into stew or make a hat from his hide. His prediction last year was completely off. But this year I’m not sure it really matters what he tells us. If it’s six more weeks of the winter we’ve had so far, would it really be all that bad? It’s barely been winter as it is. Sure there have been a few cold days and a few dustings of snow, but only a few. Temperatures have been higher than what we typically get, with the past couple of days being a real treat with temps in the 50’s!
I sometimes wonder, if we get that global warming they’ve been promising us for years and our winters continue to be this mild, would we still need all the warm wooly winter gear we make? Continue reading “It’s Groundhog Day!”
It is no surprise that practicing one craft can lead to an interest and desire to learn another, especially with fiber related crafts. Many people who started with crochet have learned to knit and many who started with knitting have learned to crochet. There’s a lot of crossover between the two. My love of spinning definitely arose from my love of knitting, and more importantly, knitting with natural fibers. From there I have developed a healthy appreciation for the art of carding and combing spinning fiber to the point where I’ve invested in tools to help me with that task. I have even dabbled in dyeing yarn and fiber, but I will leave that for folks with a greater passion and skill for it than I possess.
So where is a crafty guy like me to go next? What is left to learn? Actually, lots! Some of you sharp readers might have picked up on the hints I dropped in last week’s Rhinebeck recap and if you guessed weaving, then you are absolutely right! Continue reading “One thing leads to another…”
<strong>The question:</strong> Do you really need MORE yarn?
Some possible answers:
• The color works perfectly with some yarn I already have.
• I wasn’t sure which colors would work with the yarn I already have, so I bought some of all of them.
• This yarn is perfect for this new pattern I just bought/a pattern I already have.
• I was worried about not having enough yarn for this project and I figured since I was in the neighborhood of the yarn store I should stop in and get a little extra.
• I don’t have anything in my stash in this color/fiber.
• I’ve never been to that shop before and I didn’t want to just leave without buying something.
• I reorganized my stash and found I had more room than I thought.
• It’s alpaca, and there’s no such thing as too much alpaca.
• It was on sale! Continue reading “Excuses, excuses!”
I spent some time over the weekend on Ravelry catching up on the conversations and threads in some of the groups when I came across this account of one Raveler’s Lendrum spinning wheel being stolen from the spinner’s circle at a fiber event in Oregon. To make matters worse, it wasn’t just the wheel but the carrying bag too which contained some personal items, hotel keys, and some fiber that she had just purchased from a vendor. It’s suspected that the thief is not interested as much in spinning but instead is interested in the cash value of the wheel. Continue reading “A Spinner’s Nightmare”
A long time ago before I became a regular on the Times Union Fiber Arts blog, I did a guest post about my first spinning wheel. I commented that the words made me think of a brightly colored plastic toy with the words Fisher-Price on it.
Well, Fisher Price didn’t make one, but in the late 50’s and early 60’s a toy company out of New Jersey called Remco made this little gem.
Back in February at the Anne Hanson Sweater Fitness workshop, I met a woman who was showing off the beautiful interchangeable needle set she had just bought. Those needles were the Darn Pretty™ Interchangables from DyakCraft in Vermont, and they sure were darn pretty! A few weekends ago on a trip into Vermont, I got the opportunity to catch up with Tom and Linda of DyakCraft, and learn more about these beautiful needles that are becoming wildly popular among knitters, and also place my own order.
The interchangeable needles, just like the straight needles, DPN’s, crochet hooks, spindles, and shawl pins that DyakCraft manufactures are made from Dymondwood. Dymondwood is an engineered wood composite where hardwood veneers are dyed, layered, injected with a resin compound, and compressed to form a product that is incredibly strong, durable and moisture resistant. It can be cut to expose the colored layers many different ways, including across the grains, without compromising the structural integrity of the wood.
Ahh the fair. I immediately think of midway games, rides, and all the fried bread dough I can eat. But county and state fairs have long history of being a showcase for the finest examples of all aspects of agriculture, fiber arts and other hand crafts from local communities.
Every once in a while I get the urge to do what you’re not supposed to do with your knitted wool. Throw it in the washing machine! A magical thing happens when your knitted wool meets soapy water and agitation. The tiny little scales that make up the surface of each individual fiber begin to interlock and all those beautiful stitches disappear, matting up into something thicker, sturdier, and yes, smaller!
Next Thursday morning I head off to the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat. I’ve already made my checklist of things I need to bring. Most of it reads like any checklist for any vacation. In addition to the clothes and personal items I need to pack, I need to bring my spinning wheel and folding chair, spinning fiber, yarn, a project or two to work on, and a finished project or two for show and tell.