So much for a "once-monthly" newsletter! I know I missed getting one out in March - and quite possibly, February too!
With so much on the calendar the next couple of weeks I figured that if I didn't send a newsletter out today, it will be mid June before I get to touch base with you all!
So below is a quick summary of some upcoming events I wanted to let you know about-both here and elsewhere.
And I wanted to give you a heads up that I need to close a bit early this Saturday, April 15th to get to a sibling reunion, or sorts. I'll be "shoofing" (and knitting, of course) on the Outer Banks! And I will likely be closed on Wed May 3rd for a straw hat making workshop I'm attending Monday and Tuesday. Best to call ahead on that day to see if I get back in time! Chris will be here that Monday and Tuesday, of course.
Despite the fabulous weather this past weekend - I hope you all got to get out and enjoy the warmth and sun - there is rain in the forecast for this weekend, so come on by and pick up a fun spring knitting project. And if you're still looking for some items to fill an Easter Basket or two..... the needle felted spring bunny kits (pictured above) are in stock and just $20! Giving the kids (and yourself) the distraction of needle felting a bunny will help space out the consumption of chocolate and peeps.
Warm regards, Jen
|Spring Events to Keep in Mind...|
|Maryland Sheep and Wool - Howard County Fairgrounds, May 6 & 7|
I always find a great range of fleeces at this show, which is one of the largest (if not "the") in the country. So it is an opportunity to find some breeds that you might not find locally. Every knitter and spinner should get there once in their lifetime, but it's a hike down there, tho', so ....
New Hampshire Sheep & Wool - May 13 & 14th Deerfield Fairgrounds.
This is a great show too, and a lot closer. Be sure to stop by the Spinning Studio and say "hi" to my sister and niece (and scroll down to check out a new class Neysa will be offering here this fall!). I hope to get there on the 14th, but after the trek to MD Sheep and Wool, I'm not sure I'll want to get back into the car again!
VerdMont Button Club - VFW Exchange St, Middlebury. April 22 11 - 3
I didn't even know such a group existed! But they do! And they are gathering to share information about historic military buttons, button manufacturing in VT, showing games and crafts to do with buttons. There will be buttons for sale and you are welcome to bring your buttons to them to learn about your collection. The button shown in the left sidebar is one that Melissa Arnold is going to teach the participants in her Collaged Nuno Felt Wrap class in May, to make (scroll down for details)
Spring Yarn Tasting - Sat May 13th 10 - 5 (here at the store)
Come try out some of the new summer yarns by Shibui, Fiber Co.,Tutto-Isager and Juniper Moon. I'll have some new pattern ideas for working each yarn independently as well as some cool ideas to share for combining the different textures and weights of yarns for some easy but really interesting summer knit projects! All the yarns will be cast on so you can knit a few rows for yourself and see how you like them. There will be swatches knit at different gauges and showing different stitches, too!
First Friday Clearance June 2nd 10 - 5 (here at the store)
I'm clearing out the store's storage unit at the end of May and although I'm not entirely sure what yarn and fiber I'll find there, I know there's some good yarns - both summer and winter types - that I will be deeply discounting on this day in the name of creating "space"!
|a couple new fall classes are posted....|
|a few spots are still open in each of these upcoming classes....|
Collaged Felt Wrap - Thur - Sat May 25 - 27 with Melissa Arnold
Learn to collage nuno felt and use freeform machine embroidery to create a gorgeous, complex cloth. I'm so excited about her workshops.She has some really interesting techniques to share and for those felters wanting to take their fabric to the next level with stitching and collaging, this is a great opportunity to enjoy a really nice teacher/student ratio where you'll get lots of attention.
Poetic Surface Design Sat & Sun July 15 & 16 - Maria Friese - 3 spots open
I can't believe there are still spots in this class! Maria's work is so masterful. And there are so many applications for building dimension on felt I would have thought this class would have a wait list!
Symmetrical Felted Vessels - Wed - Fri July 12 - 14 - Maria Friese - I've just had a flurry of registration for this 3 day class, but there are 2 spots still available. It is mid week, so hard to get to if you work, but will be so worthwhile for those who make it!
Felt Hats - The Devil is in the Details. Aug 20 - 22, I'm teaching a 3 day felt hat making workshop at Felter's Fling in MA. I understand that there are still openings. Join me and make some combination of hats or hat/fascinator. From big brims to cloches, derby to fedora, free form to blocked. Feather and ribbon work - or not! We'll have so much fun!
I shared this video (link below) on the store Facebook page, but didn't want those of you needle felters that don't follow us on FB to miss out since this artist does such a great job creating eyes: WOW!
cool video showing an artist's needle felted eyes:
|A Bit About the Deadly Color Green!|
|During one play day this winter, my sisters and I did some natural dyeing with "chlorophyll". Pictured right are some of the range of colors I got using the chlorophyll as well as saffron and a blue dye I picked up in Morocco last year that is, essentially, ground up from seashells.|
Since it is easy to get greens dyeing with various wild and cultivated plants picked along the roadside or from the back yard, I'm not convinced using spinach to make a green dye makes much sense - why not eat the spinach and dye with the carrot tops, right?
But since it is out there and you may come across it since the chlorophyll is being sold now in powder form that is very concentrated, I figured I'd share our results. And thinking ahead to next St. Patrick's Day - you can use chlorophyll to safely dye food as well as yarn if you extract your own from spinach!
Green butter - or eggs and ham- anyone?
So here are links to a couple of interesting videos or write-ups I came across relating to green dye. If you follow the store on Facebook, you will have already seen these, perhaps. But since the vast majority of you receiving this newsletter aren't following our FB page, I decided to include it here.
If you're a dyer and come in to stock up on chemical dyes this month and you want to play around a bit with the chlorophyll, let me know and I'm happy to share some of the chlorophyll concentrate with you!
First up is a video on how to extract the concentrate from leaves yourself -
Then the quick read about the "deadly" green dye used in ladies gowns -
a chef's video on making chlorophyll dye:
An interesting read about the origin of green dyes and how deadly they were to begin with!:
|Some felting customers joined me for a "play day" in February to explore the possibilities of this new product.|
Thermofelts are sheets of fabric that is composed 90% wool and 10% of a man-made polymer that dissipates in heat, leaving you with 100% wool in whatever shape you stitched, scrunched or molded the fabric before heating!
Both Robin and I tried using it to make a vessel - you can see from the photo to the left how well the thermofelt holds the shape it is heated in! I simply took a sheet of green thermofelt, draped it over a metal vase I had, tied the fabric off tightly around the neck of the vase with twine, twisted a few ends and baked it for 25 minutes. Then I removed the vase and tie and voila! The felt holds it's shape.
We all tried different approaches to creating a form or texture using the fabric and experimented trying it for different purposes. We steamed some pieces, baked others and even boiled some directly in water and for different lengths of time!
Above you see gold and olive pieces of thermofelt that Sara stitched to scrunch for a "wrinkled" texture, baked and then when she removed the stitching, the felt was left in this highly convoluted state! She stretched it out flat and it 'bings" right back to the wrinkled state she baked it in!
Lynn tested whether it would hold an accordion shape - and it does, really well!
Both Nancy and Carolyn experimented using the Thermofelts to make jewelry as you can see in the next couple of pics.
I am not intending to stock this product immediately, but since I am putting in an order to this mill next month, if anyone wants some sheets to play with, let me know. It can be purchased by the meter or in 10 x 10 squares and it is available in about 30 colors. Shoot me an email if you are interested in getting some. Or stop by to see the vase above or hat shown below since they are on display at the store.
Thermofelts are quite affordable -
I used a 10 x 10 square to make this little hat and, given the exchange rate at the time in January, the sheet cost less than $5! So for $5 and about 30 minutes, you can make a fascinator without any previous felting experience! It took me about 3 seconds to twist the fabric, a couple of minutes to stitch the seam, and 15 minutes to steam the wool so that the "poly-whatever" would melt out and leave the wool behind holding the twisted and stitched shape!
Making the silk flowers to trim the hat with, however, took about two hours! But that's because I fussed with them :)
|KA Bamboo needle closeout , |
9" circular needle update and the new Ignites!
KA bamboo needles (straight, circular and dpns) are on special at 20% off, While supply lasts,
a couple of months ago I brought in 9" circulars since so many of you had been asking for them. So I now stock Knitter's Pride and Chiao Goo circulars in 9" lengths.
And I've just added the line of new Ignite needles. Made in India, the Ignites are handcrafted in laminated birch with electrostaticly powder coated brass tips. The powder coating makes it so that will never wear out, chip or crack.. I knit on a set of circulars and had no trouble with them catching. They had a nice glide, but no slip! And they were really nicely weighted. I've got 10" straights, 6" and 8" dpns, 16", 24" and 32" circs in sizes 1 - 17. And I've got them in interchangeable sets, as well!
So overall -
I now stock 3 brands of metal circulars: 9" Chiao Goo, 16", 20", 24", 32" and 40" Addi Rockets and 16", 24, 32" and 40" Inox (Prym) Express
2 brands of wood/bamboo circulars: 9", 16", 24" and 32" Knitters Pride and 16", 24" and 32" Ignites
1 brand each of straights - 10" Ignite as well as 10" and 14" Inox (Prym)
4 brands of dpns: 2 metal ( Karbonz and Inox) and 2 wood (Knitter's Pride and Ignites).
|Babies to knit for that you don't want to break the bank on? Consider these INCREDIBLY soft and easy care cotton/acrylic blends:|
Calico and Calico Jakur are d.k. cotton/acrylic blends
Babe Cotton Soft is a bulky gauge cotton/acrylic blend.
Got an extra special baby coming into the family that you want to spoil? Consider the newest Juniper Moon, Cummulus, shown left! It is as soft as it's name implies. Also perfect for a chemo cap.
A few new colors of the soft organic cottons by Bliss and Plymouth's Bio-Sesia arrived as well.
Looking for that crisp texture and stitch definition you get from linen or have in mind the lovely drape of hemp?
Well, you've got to come check out the new yarns I'm stocking
- from Shibui , I've got both the Reed (linen) and Twig (linen blend)
-from Tutto-Isager I've got Bomuld and Quartet - pictured here in complementary colorways with pattern support featuring the two yarns combined in interesting ways
- from Lavold, I've got the ever-popular Hempathy in new Prints!
- from Fiber Co, I've got Luma, shown below in a beautiful baby blanket
- from Indulgence, I've got a new super soft machine washable cashmere blend - just 1 skein (around $25) knits up the cozy Snuggle Bug Car jumper shown below!
- from Plymouth, Linaza which is a variegated version of the lovely Meadow yarn I stock from Fiber Co. Shown below in a 1 skein summer wrap, it has the same beautiful drape and feel of Meadow
- from Juniper Moon I've got a few new colors of Zooey cotton/linen blend
-from Friea Knits, a couple new colors of the Shawl Balls