Saturday, June 30, 2012

Classes, we gotcher classes

I'm teaching all over the place this fall, and class registration is open for everything (though early-registration prices will end tomorrow for the Michigan Fiber Festival). I hope to see some of you... well... everywhere!

Michigan Fiber Festival, Allegan, MI- August 18-19, Classes August 15-17

I was delighted to be invited back to the Michigan Fiber Festival. Early registration closes tomorrow for the Michigan Fiber Festival, but late signups are allowed. Information on registering is on the website, and here is a description of the classes being offered.  I'm teaching:   Thursday All Day: Nordic Christmas Stocking; Friday All Day Fair Isle Design. I can't find the listing for my Wednesday classes, which makes me think that they're full already.

NCFF North Country Fiber Fair, Watertown SD, September 14-16

Registration for NCFF, which is my local fiber fair, just opened. Here's a listing of all of the classes. On Friday, I'm teaching Mitered Square Cuffs; on Saturday I'm teaching Half-Day Fair Isle Design; and on Sunday it's Little Tips and Knitting Tricks.

North Country Spinners Fiber Fallout, Johnsonburg, NJ, September 28-30

I'm teaching dyeing classes at this cool spinning retreat. This will be my first visit to New Jersey, and I'm really excited about it. On Saturday it's Spiral Dyeing, and Dyeing Sock Blanks, and on Sunday it's Graduated Color Band Dyeing. The link to everything is above.

SAFF- Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair, Fletcher, NC, October 26-28

I'm heading back to SAFF for my 4th time, and I am thrilled. Registration for workshops has just opened for SAFF members. Registration for the public will open on July 15. Here's the class description list.  I'm teaching EEK! A Steek! all day Friday; Fair Isle Fingerless Mittens on Saturday morning; Fair Isle Stocking Design Saturday afternoon; and Little Tips and Tricks twice on Sunday (morning and afternoon), and Writing Patterns for Publication in the between the Tips and Tricks sessions.

It's going to be a busy couple of months!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Vintage Article- Stitch n Sew, Aug. 82, Craft Pattern Review

I reviewed patterns for assorted House of White Birches (and Tower Press) magazines for fourteen years total. I'm not going to post the rest of the reviews, but I thought I'd post this one for a couple of reasons.

#1. Because it has an official introduction to the the column that I wrote in this magazine, called "Craft Pattern Review", though the editor saw fit to mention my *reviews*, and I can just picture her using air-quotes. 

#2. Because the very first line of the review harkens back to a previous review, so it's obviously not my first for this magazine. Either that, or the reviews were printed out of order.

#3. Because though later on I did get patterns and kits for free, sent by manufacturers and designers specifically for reviewing, at first I had to buy all of my materials. Did I mention that my pay for each column was $50? And that's $50 total, with nothing allowed for materials, or postage, or photography (which the Hub did, and not too graciously, I might add. Seeing his name in print was never one of his ambitions, and being interrupted to take pictures was not one of his favorite pass times). Me? I was so delighted to have a regular gig, that I would probably have paid them for the privilege.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Tab- Whitman 4 Playmates

I can't read the date on this set, but it appears to be late '50s or very early '60s. It's wonderful, and thanks again to Dottie for sharing. I'm thinking that these four playmates are actually two sets of twins.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

True to my word...

TA DA!!!!!
 This may be the cutest thing I've ever done, and I can only take credit for adding the border and the quilting, since everything else was printed on the fabric by Spoonflower. But man, this is cute.

Every one of the squares is adorable.

Yellow was the perfect color for the border, though dark blue would have worked too. I just didn't want dark blue.
 Robots with ice cream cones... hee...

 The coordinating fabric has teeny little matching robots.

 That's a whole lotta stitches.

 It always amazes me how different a quilt looks after washing. This is intended as a baby gift eventually, and it has to be totally machine washable and dryable.
 So much more texture and interest now.

And once I finished the quilt, I could work on the needlepoint without guilt. There isn't going to be a whole lot of tonal difference between the blues of the water and the greens on the turtle, so I think maybe I need a splash of another color in there... maybe some muted reds. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cheating... sorta...

Okay, it's not really cheating- I couldn't work on the Robot Quilt in the car yesterday or the day before, so I did some work knitting.

This is the class sample for one of my SAFF 2012 workshops. It's an exclusive pattern, and will not be taught again until late 2013. I am thrilled with how it's coming out, though I remembered pretty quickly why I usually don't knit Fair Isle in the car.

When we got home yesterday afternoon, I couldn't bring myself to drag the sewing machine downstairs so that I could sew the binding to the Robot Quilt and get it finished.
So, really, I had no choice but to work a little bit on the needlepoint canvas that I bought on eBay. The name is Arhelon, and my friend Kathy tells me that it looks like an Australian Aboriginal design. I was drawn to it because it's cool (natch), but also because all those little areas will make for very little boredom in stitching. I assume that big blank areas of solid color needlepoint are like big blank areas of stockinette stitch, which is the most boring knitting possible. When I excitedly showed my needlepointing friends the design, they said, "Oh my, you certainly chose a challenging design", which is the story of my life.
At first, I tried to use the scrolling frame that I also bought on eBay, but it quickly became obvious that the frame wasn't going to work. It's flimsy, it wiggles, and worst of all, it doesn't hold the fabric taut. So when we were in Sioux Falls, I went to Michael's and bought some art stretcher frames- cheap and easy, and they work perfectly. The above frame? Going in the garbage- I am not going to inflict anyone else with it.

Though stapling the canvas to the frame wasn't quite as easy as it ought to have been...

I did manage to get it done. The canvas printed portion is 12" x 12", and the stretcher frames are 16" long (that's from outside corner to outside corner, the inside opening is about 13", which is big enough).

I am still on a strict stash-busting campaign, so I'm using leftover yarns for this needlepoint. This yarn won't be as sturdy as commercial tapestry wool, but though I don't know what this will grow up to be, I do know that it's not going to be a chair cushion or footstool cover, so it's not going to get a lot of wear and tear. I hand dyed all of these yarns, except for the yellow (which is also hand dyed, just not by me), and the black, which is a wool camel blend. They'll all be mottled, which will give the piece some lovely random shading.

This is a 14ct mesh, which means that there are more printed lines than there are squares for the design (I had the option of ordering the design printed on an 18ct mesh, but I wanted to finish this piece during my lifetime), so I'm having to simplify and condense a little of the design, but I think it's going to come out beautifully. I know that it's against Needlepoint Rules, but I'm saving the outside border until last, because I'm not sure what yarn to use, and want to make absolutely sure that I'll have enough. Also, I may do some kind of textured stitch.
Here's a nice closeup of the colors. It has been easily 20 years since I've done any needlepoint at all (and most of that was on plastic canvas). My stitching is okay for a beginner, but I'm not going to take a pic of the back side- at least not yet. I am certain that it won't pass muster with real needlepointers (most of the sections are too small for basketweave stitch, and my hands slip into half-cross stitch mode without thinking, which I understand is a no-no).

This is going to be an adventure, fer shure. And before I do any more work on it, I WILL finish the Robot Quilt.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Updates Tomorrow...

I'm in Sioux Falls, meeting up with a long time friend. I've taken lots of pics, just in case you all didn't know that Sioux Falls was an actual thing (you know, a real waterfall)...  But the mini is running exceptionally slow tonight. I'll be back home tomorrow afternoon, so I hope to write a real post tomorrow.

In the  meantime, here's a pic of my friend Melanie and me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday Tab- Merrill Army Nurse and Doctor, 1943

This set (with one page partially cut and one dress missing), is absolutely stunning. Thanks for sharing, Dottie!