Friday, February 29, 2008

Tuesdays with Black Sheep

It is not a rule that knitting guilds shall be made up of women. It so happens that many women knit, and talk and like to do the two simultaneously. They often make up the bulk of local knitting guilds, but do not seek to exclude fiber loving men. I found a guild last year that interested me. It was in its fledgling state and I had a hard time getting the facts together enough to really check them out. I was not looking for a bunch of women who knit, but a group of fiber frenzied people with common interests.
So, as fate would have it, I found them (or they found me?) and I am now happily a member of the Black Sheep Knitting Guild. Within the first couple of meetings I knew that I was a good fit for the energy, interests and manic obsession that matches my own. I find them on Ravelry and get emails that encourage more opportunities to grow in my art and increase my stash. They share ideas and opinions. Within this guild I have found a great variety of friends and inspiration. It is no surprise that our guild continues to grow and with it, our skills and piles of finished objects, lovingly known as FO's.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Knitting among friends

I used to be a solitary knitter. Not totally alone, I had my husband or cat in the room. I did not really feel a need to knit in public or with other knitters. What would be the purpose? I took workshops with designers to learn tips and get the inside scoop on their knitting. Did that count?

In the past couple of years, I have made friends with other knitters. We talk knitting, shop knitting, share patterns and ideas. We encourage, discourage (when appropriate) and generally keep the knitting fire going. I look forward to knitting with my friends. It is not always my most productive knitting time. Usually socks or the never ending ribbing comes with me to these social events. It needs to be done anyway. But what I overhear, share or learn makes my knitting life more full.

When bringing new knitting friends into the fold, I realize something else. We speak a language that is generally understood or helps increase understanding among us! How wonderful to have read an article or tried a technique and hear others chatting about it, or even demonstrating!

If you are a lone knitter, and like it like that, fine. But if you find your eyes and mind wondering when you overhear a knitting conversation or see magazines or books on a knitter's cafe table at the book shop, make the connection. You will grow and you may help someone else grow. Who knows...that knitter may be your new best friend!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ahhh Tools!

I was once lucky enough to have been gifted with a knitting machine. It was a thoughtful donation to my collection, although, I must be honest.....I do not like the idea of machine knitting taking the place of my individually hand-formed stitches! But, as if in a dream, but probably more like a memory from bits that I have read and seen, I thought of a use!

I searched my library and found an article in Fall 2006 Spin-off Magazine about machine knitting for dyeing. Now the hard part...getting through the jam-packed fiber room and up the ladder to where the machine had been hiding out. Of course, I don't really know how to use it, but it couldn't be that hard. After all, I was thinking "rectangular blanks" not sweaters!

I read the knitting machine manual, (yes, I do that,) and proceeded with the set up. Not too difficult. The bad part starts when things go wrong. You know the things, the yarn jams the machine and starts to break the little hooks. Or maybe something simple like the yarn gets wound under the machine and when the part that rides over the hooks starts to UNHOOK the yarn, essentially dropping all of the stitches at once!

I persevered, and wound up with some good blank knitted bits to dye. The dyes were not in the place that they should have been, so I used some textile ink instead. A good start, good idea, bad ink. Once the results shown were set with the iron, they lightened slightly. Once washed.....almost gone. Think Spring pastels (yukky---unless you like that, I don't.)

I am getting the idea. The colors are garish, but the idea is what I am playing with for now. My plan is to unravel the dyed pieces and reknit them as socks or fair isle patterns. Think Noro with it's long color changes. I think I can do that.

So, for now, the pics tell it all, and when the yarn is re knit, or redyed, I will show that too! Wish me luck and send my your experience!!! Please, I need a bit of input.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The gypsy in me

I love to travel and seek out the fiber experience. So, I am adding a list, with links where possible, of the places and events that I like to frequent. Note...they are not always in Michigan. In fact, I find fiber a great reason to visit new places! As I go about my travels, gathering fibers in all forms, I will add the locations for the armchair shopper. Maybe you will pick up your traveling sock and see me "on location."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The new batch

A Sea of Toffee and Bunny

One of the most rewarding aspects of handspun yarn is seeing it interact with the rest of the stash. Sure, the roving is divine, the spinning is relaxing and washing the dirt and labor out of the final plied hanks is revealing, but in the end.....the yarn among its friends is by far the best.

Plus, it leaves a whole new possibility for its future! What will it grow up to be? No rush, I just enjoy looking at it and getting a sense of the color and texture and potential as it sits among its friends, waiting for me to recognize its real purpose.

These fine newbies are from my latest escapades at the Chelsea Fiber Fair, thanks to the Spinner's Flock, and Rae's Yarn Boutique.

Friday, February 22, 2008


It is not that I am a great procrastinator...I just like to mull the multitudes of options prior to actually committing to an idea. It is not like everything is permanent and that changes cannot be made, but I like to feel good about the way things begin. And so this first post had been "post-poned" until today.

The first struggle, naming the thing. That seems so important. Putting a label to what has become a daily focus. The theme that ties my interests and actions. The tie that binds, so they say. Fiber.

What fiber has been in today's diet? It started out the usual way, checking Ravelry! It is like reading the newspaper, only all of the news interests me! It ended with a bit of knitting on the second Earl Grey (ala Stephanie McPhee) sock for my husband (also my February Sock-down project) Then, of course, a wee bit of spinning.