Fall/Winter 2017 Colors and Knits

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When Pantone splashes a color, people swatch. Whether you are a fashion designer in NY or a fiber artist in New Haven, you take time to know the color trends. Winter is coming! Pantone color experts tell us warmth is the mood for fall/winter. Eiseman the Executive Director of Pantone Color Institute says; “While comforting, enveloping colors and ease are crucial to the seasonal feeling, standout shades include a pale pink Ballet Slipper, a refreshing Golden Lime, and a bright Marina blue. These hues add a striking touch when paired with the classic autumnal shades of Navy Peony, Neutral Gray, Butter rum and Tawny Port.”

So before you go out and purchase new yarns to be current for fall/winter, why not go through your stash. Besides, it’s the perfect excuse to sort and organize your stash. Find that one color of yarn you already own that complements this season’s colors. Use the savings to buy a beautiful cashmere or high quality yarn in this season’s color.

What will you be knitting? Hygge (‘hoo-gah’) is the Danish word for comfort. That is what this season’s knit look is all about. If this is a new word for you… you are now sure to see it everywhere in reference to knitting. Chunky, oversize  and exaggerated style are in. Colorful sweaters and pullovers, where the sides are longer are part of the look.

Fringe, tassels, pom poms and bobbles will be seen in knitting books, patterns and magazines. It is a good time to hone your skills for cables, stripes, intarsia, dropped stitch and fair isle. At least one sweater dress should be part of your wardrobe.     

Enjoy this season; the colors, new yarns and patterns. Let me know how often you see the word “Hygge” or see it in print. It’s everywhere and soon it will be the pattern on your needles.

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Handwoven Tape*

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During my sabbatical, I tried my hand at making tape* (also known as bands, belts, trim, ties and ribbon). I used an inkle loom, a knee paddle tape loom (page 58 shows similar but more decorative than the one I own) and weaving cards or tablet. Along with my hands on introduction, I came upon “Handwoven Tape” understanding and weaving early American and Contemporary tape. This is a Schiffer book by Susan Faulkner Weaver. If you have read any Schiffer books, you know they are thoroughly researched, well photographed and inspiring.

Tape was used as a way to fasten clothes, well before elastic and zippers were invented. They were also used for agriculture (to tie grain bags), cordage, chairs… Ever wonder where a tape measure came from? “Handwoven Tape” not only gives you the historical background but also, 27 early American and 8 contemporary patterns to try.

Susan shows you step by step how to set up the loom, warp the threads and weave tape in words as well as photographs. I used the tape on my handwoven towels, so they could be hung on a hook. There is information on the types of fibers and dyes traditionally used. Periodically there are side-bars called ‘tape tales’, very short stories that resemble diary entries from the past.

The Holidays are fast approaching, put this book on your wish list. It is one you will want in your personal library.  An inexpensive way to try your hand at making tape is with a deck of playing cards and a hole punch. The video will show you how to make your cards and the book will fill you in and energize you to go further. 

Happy weaving…love to hear about your adventures in weaving tape.

Living Fiber History

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Fiber runs through my veins; I love the feel, colors, creativity, my results (most of the time) and enjoy sharing my knowledge. Probably, if you could test for it, it would show up in my DNA. Periodically, I dress up in a 1790’s or 1890’s wardrobe and act the part of a spinner and weaver of that time.

This past weekend, I enjoyed spinning and knitting the day away in 1790 at the Maine Forest and Logging Museum. I have reenacted the part here before, as well as at the Wilton historical society in Connecticut. If you have ever visited Kings Landing in Canada, Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, Williamsburg in Virginia or maybe a local historical society near where you live, you may have enjoyed the interaction.

Historical societies and museums occasionally look for volunteers. The appeal for me is to expose children and adults to fiber and the process of where their clothes come from. Visitors can try their hand at a drop spindle, weaving on a barn loom, carding fiber, learning about natural dyeing, see a basket of flax: tools and diagrams of how it is turned into linen…

Questions are asked and answered. Suggestions on starting with a pot holder or pin loom (inexpensive) and if the interest persists to try a rigid heddle loom, join a guild and rent a spinning wheel or floor loom. And because it is the 21st century, I recommend you tube videos.

Whether fiber runs through your veins or wants to…the internet is a wonderful place to start. Besides spreading my knowledge I love learning and there is always something for me to research and try. If you have questions…ASK! The answer is only a few keystrokes away.  Photo: Two of the fiberistas (young and old) I wove and spun with.

Peg Looms and Weaving Sticks

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I enjoy weaving on all types of looms. I have my favorites but, love trying different techniques. Some I will get hooked on for awhile (tapestry, pin), other looms are experimental (triangular) and there are those that I find myself warping over and over (my floor and rigid heddle looms). About a year and half ago, I came upon the peg loom.

Being handy with a drill and making a jig to hold the dowels while drilling holes, I created peg looms of my own to give it a try. It was simple to get started and easy enough to get some children at a local “outdoor school” interested in weaving with me. After making some rustic looking wall hangings, we hung them in the woods off of tree branches.

Afterwards, I thought that was neat but, what next? My creativity was stunted so I put the loom on a shelf. I read Noreen Crone-Findlay was coming out with the book,  “Peg Looms and Weaving Sticks” a complete how-to guide and 30+ projects. That piqued my interest. Her book has finally come to market.

The book introduces you to the peg loom and weaving sticks tools, techniques and how to get started. Noreen also shows you how to change colors, weave circles and squares. Everything you need to create rugs, cowl, vest, home decor, dolls and toys, baskets, bowls, tapestry’s and more are included in clear step by step instructions along with photographs to prevent mistakes.

There is a quick reference glossary of weaving terms as well as sources and suppliers for ready made pin looms and weaving sticks for those who don’t have the ability or desire to make it themselves. It is time for me to dust off my peg loom and give it another go, Thank you Noreen.

A Mobius Cowl

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The mobius in knitting is a twisted cowl or neckwarmer. Easy to accomplish when you understand what a mobius strip is. They are popular this winter whether fine and delicate or thick and full of texture.

The cowl meets the mathmatican. It was in 1858 August Ferdinand Mobius discovered this mathematical band for which this strip was named. You can understand it better by taking a rectangular piece of paper and giving it a half twist, then taping the ends together; resulting in a mobius strip. Take a pencil and draw a line down the center of the strip, don’t stop until you end up where you started. It becomes one continuous line. How curious…it only has one side, one surface.

EZ, Elizabeth Zimmerman met up with the mobius back in the 1960s. She knit a cowl, then put a half twist and sewed it together (extrinsic twist -the twist is put in at the final stage). The key to Mobius knitting or crocheting is to use a stitch that on both the front and back looks the same. Then there is the intrinsic twist that is seamless.

The twist is incorporated when the stitches are joined. Circular needles make the cowl easier to knit. Cat Bordhi has a Lacy Mobius Cowl (intrinsic) for you to knit. Now, you can make a cowl into a mobius cowl. Here is an extrinsic scarf by the Knitting Fairy. Try this
hood mobius that can even be worn as a shrug. If you are a beginner, give it a go:

http://catbordhi.com/wp-content/uploads/Moebius-Cowl-Handout.pdf
http://www.knittingfairy.com/freemoebiusscarf.htm
http://www.knitpicks.com/cfpatterns/pattern_display.cfm?ID=50585221
Marian by Jane Richmond has a beautiful cowl pattern using size 19 needles. This mock mobius cowl is a one size fits all. It can be worn in several ways and is very quick to knit. If you are not a ravelry member…what are you waiting for? http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/marian-2

Weaving memories

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When my daughter finished her year at University, she came home with much more than a degree. She filled her room at our house with books, a refrigerator, clothes, memorabilia and the sheets she used on her bed.

She asked me what to do with the bedding. I enjoy weaving with sheets and took them for my stash pile. Finally, I have gotten around to creating with them. The results were five small area rugs that I named Yukon 11, 12, 13 & 14. I used Yukon, as a play on words for UConn. I wove using the clasping technique in two and three colors.  Why not try your hand at clasped weft weaving. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tT3ctJuZ7w4

Enjoy!

Color and its use in design

cvetovaya-palitra-3484When it comes to color, it is personal, emotional and we literally wear it on our sleeve. The book “Color: The Professional’s Guide” by Karen Triedman, goes way beyond color theory and into the ever changing way color has influenced our choices. It helps you to understand, appreciate and master color in art and design.

Color is so important in our lives that there is a color of the year. This color is used in fashion, home decor, marketing, advertising… What strikes you first upon entering a yarn shop is as simple as the colors. It is amazing when two or more fiber artists create the exact pattern project in their own color choices and one “pops”.

Every chapter starts off with an interview of an expert in that particular field. Chapters include the science of color, psychological and cultural context of color, appreciating color, color as a dynamic force in design, the color experience and color on the move.  There are over 300 images that help inform, inspire and illustrate color for the designer.

Fiber (knitting, crochet, weaving, dyeing) is a visual art that is affected and affects our day to day lives. This book is a comprehensive reference text that will help educate and elevate your understanding of color and relating it to your design work. If you are serious about your design work, Karen Triedman will show you how to look at color in a new in-depth way. 

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Come back soon, we will be talking about this seasons colors to weave, knit, crochet…into your textiles.