I have fallen down the Rabbit Hole…

tissue paper

…again. I have a voracious appetite when it comes to fiber. Fiber Arts, that is. Taking a sabbatical was a wonderfully creative outlet. What I learned and started to explore then, continues to spiral out of control. I love it. So now it is onto experimenting with paper.

paper pin loom

Paper to spin, weave and dye for. Currently I am spinning tissue paper that is left over from gifts I have received. Yes, that inexpensive brightly colored wrap you find in clothes boxes and gift bags. My research is taking me to Japan (at least in books and videos) and learning the language and history as it applies to paper.

The art of Japanese paper weaving is from the Edo period during the 18 and 19 century. Shifu (cloth) clothes, hats, kimonos… are made from mulberry bark paper, Kozo, Mitsumata and Gampi. Thin continuous strips are cut from Washi (Japanese paper) and then twisted and woven into fabric. Paper was woven into garments for segments of the population because of the scarcity and expense of other materials. Today, paper garments are vogue for the upper class.

Susan Byrd’s book, “Song of Praise for Shifu”, can’t come fast enough for me. You can find me waiting at the mailbox. I will keep you posted on my shifu progress. Have you tried spinning paper, weaving it? Show me, tell me.

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Yarn Craft for Pre-K and K

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What is the right time to teach fiber crafts? If you have young ones who show an interest in your knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving…., that’s the right time. Even though they are excited to learn, they may not be ready to handle your specific hobby. So start them off with something fun and less complex using just their fingers and yarn to learn new skills.

Getting children interested in fiber crafts at an early age is a great way to share in your fiber pastime. I especially like when the craft is interwoven with learning. Part of the fun is they don’t realize they are learning.

A good way to start is with lacing cards for pre-k. Maybe you remember them? If not, there are numerous sites on the web to make your own. Let your child choose from your yarn basket the color they would like to use. They can learn colors as well as you informing them a bit about the yarn fiber ie: wool from sheep and goats, silk from silkworms, cotton from plants…

Make the cards in geometric shapes, numbers, letters, shape of a shoe for learning to tie, farm animals… Besides all this academic learning fun, hand-eye coordination of fine motor skills tops the learning list. Then it may be onto finger knitting. Usually at the age of five or six, children have enough dexterity to master this skill before it is onto knitting using needles. For older children seven and up a fun scarf can be created using your fingers and ruffle yarn.

Put this on your to-do list to interest a child in learning a fiber craft. Is there a fiber craft you do with your children or grandchildren that everyone enjoys?

Granny is no square

For those crocheters who don’t give granny squares a glance, try taking a look at “Granny Squares”. “Granny Squares” the latest book in this genre has over 25 creative ways to crochet the classic pattern and is written by Stephanie Gohr, Melanie Sturm and Barbara Wilder. It is worth a look.

There are many more than a dozen different square designs to crochet. That alone is worth turning the pages. Primrose, Netting and Cornflower squares are my favorites. Color choice and yarn fiber help to make these patterns fit into contemporary home decor and fashion. Granny squares are a great yarn stash buster. No matter what granny square pattern you choose, they all start from the center. For more about this book…

Vogue’s Crochet 2012 special collector’s issue

The last Vogue magazine dedicated to crochet was back in 1994. Seventy percent of today’s knitters, crochet. Crochet designs have come a long way. You can see them everywhere from the runway to the classroom.

There are jewelry designs you can crochet with thread. Baubles, bangles and beads can be incorporated into your crochet to accent your garments with flair. And crochet designs do have flair, just look at the cover. From the articles to the patterns, this magazine will have you taking out your crochet hook.
Read on

Skinny scarf trending for summer

The linen stitch, knit into a skinny scarf is the popular summer trend. Worked in lightweight variegated yarns makes a splash of any outfit. Knit in silk, linen, cotton or a blend of these fibers will result in a scarf with nice drape. The linen stitch makes a compact but not rigid fabric.

Following is a pattern for the linen scarf that is worked lengthwise. Tip: Using circular needles as straight knitting needles might be the best way to work with the large number of stitches. Five to six feet is a nice length for wrapping around your neck a time or two.
Here for the pattern.

The color guys

The best part of quilting is knitting it. That is what “Knitting with the Color Guys” book by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably is all about. They have a whole different take on color and you get a view of it. With more than 30+ designs you will be entertained with an explosive look of color and how they use it to create blankets, throws, stoles, mitts, legwarmers and more.

If your pocketbook will allow you to buy only one book on using color in knitting this year, you found it. This book is a collaboration of twenty years of friendship and a working partnership. The photographs are large, detailed and full of texture. The vignettes that are used in the photography are as colorful and interesting as the items being photographed. For more about the book and a slideshow of patterns.

Knit Local

Tanis Gray“Knit Local” celebrates America’s homegrown yarn and is written by Tanis Gray. The book includes 30+ beautiful fashions, accessories and home décor projects to knit and crochet. The projects are made with yarns manufactured and sold in North America.

“Knit Local” is all about preserving the local mom and pop businesses, protecting our environment and caring for the livestock as humanely as possible. Also, it is knowing as much about your yarn, what sheep or farm it came from and ending up with a shawl, hat, sweater, cowl, socks…(patterns included in her book), to knit a connection with. More on sustainability and Tanis’s book