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Articles That Irk Me Somehow

A selection of the kind of article I’m talking about, that definitely does heighten the profile of the fiber arts, but about which I have mixed feelings. I have seen links to these in some cases, but to collect a selection I just went to google news, put in “knitting,” and poof, all the same sort of articles crop up. I’ve been reading these articles for a few years now, in every local paper everywhere I go, in webzines, all over the place.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/19/fashion/thursdaystyles/19spinning.html

Unlike their colonial counterparts, whose clothing often depended on what was spun at home, many of today’s spinners are not concerned about turning their handiwork into fabric. Nor are they claiming to follow in the footsteps of Mohandas K. Gandhi, who spun every day to persuade Indian villagers to renounce imported textiles and resume making their own cloth.

Many spinners say they have no intention of making anything at all. They churn out skeins of wool, cotton or more exotic fibers like alpaca or camel, and pile up skeins, in their varied colors and textures, for display. Or they give them away to friends and relatives. It is the calming, rhythmic and even meditative effects of spinning that have won many people over.

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/01/16/Business/Wrapped_up_in_knit.shtml

Today’s bulky threads and bigger needles mean fewer stitches and less time. They also hide mistakes, which are obscured under embellishments.

“You don’t have to be really bright and know all the fancy stitches to make something beautiful anymore,” said Terry Schuster, a former JCrew and Urban Outfitters executive who took up knitting last year after moving to Tampa. “You just knit a pattern and the yarn does the work.”

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/cobb/stories/0112cobbizfea.html

“Knitting has definitely become the hip thing to do,” said Dana Lerner. “The yarns are so cool these days. You can make these gorgeous one-of-a-kind things. … It’s a timeless tradition that’s become new again.”

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-orspinners1206jan12,0,2161853.story?coll=orl-news-headlines-orange

“It was a very spiritual thing. All of that fiber went through my hands the whole time I was spinning and knitting,” O’Donnell, 46, said. “A part of me was in that shawl by the time I was done.”

Spinning, which dates back thousands of years, has been performed primarily by women, Colcord said.

Men, meanwhile, traditionally took on the more elevated roles of knitting and weaving.

On the way home from work last night, Chad and I were talking about this whole trend, and I commented that these articles seem to always interview these people who say the exact same things. “Well,” said Chad, “I mean, they make good copy, and all the people who’ve been involved with textiles forever aren’t going to say that kind of stuff.” I snorted. “Yeah, that’s a point — I mean can you imagine if they called up, oh, Alden Amos, and he said ‘Oh, it just makes me feel so connected to my ancestors to make spinning wheels — it’s so spiritually fulfilling!'” I don’t know Mr. Amos personally mind you, but from the things of his I’ve read, I don’t see that happening.

So, then I got to thinking — what would I say? What would YOU say? If I were going to write an article about this resurgence… well perhaps I should. But I’m also curious: how do y’all react to these articles and quotes?

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Denim-Look Mohair Silk Sweater!

From ages and ages ago, I had this yarn that I strongly felt should be a sweater, a sweater I even wanted, but which I had no desire at all to knit. A friend of mine kindly offered to knit it for me. We sat down together, talked it through, took measurements, and she designed and knit me a sweater. But, then she decided she didn’t really feel satisfied with how it came out, so she redid it! And now I have it.

Original post a bit about the yarn, which is a mohair and silk:

http://www.livejournal.com/community/spinningfiber/183539.html

Photo gallery: http://ucan.foad.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=denim-mosilk

My designated knitter, who’s been knitting longer than I’ve been alive, says she really enjoyed the yarn, and — as I hoped would be true — it didn’t shed, it was possible to frog the entire sweater, it was pleasant to work with, and it has bloomed in the garment finishing process and should bloom a little more still. All in all I’m pleased. 😉

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Projects, Projects…

A handful of recent projects. Lace knitting, even…

I started this in September as a “should take a while” project when we flew to Connecticut for my father’s memorial service, and finished it last week on vacation in Ohio:

http://ucan.foad.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=200402-shawl-01


It’s elann.com “Baby Cashmere,” which is a cashmere/merino/alpaca blend. One large panel with the leafy thing, two small end panels that are zig-zags, knitted; then each panel edged and straightened out some with single crochet then simple filet crochet border, then sewed together, then a simple crochet edging all around.

The major point of this project was prototyping for the shawl I figured on having made for my mother-in-law for this past Christmas, from this yarn that I spun last summer:

Impossible to photograph the yarn, and it turns out, even harder to photograph in progress

once it’s finished and blocked I’m sure it’ll look better. I’ll have to take pictures in daylight probably.

Included in the album are 2 photos of the swatch for it — it’s the leafy pattern, with central diamonds, and leaves have sorta diamondy vines around the center diamonds, which are going to occur throughout, and… well, okay, it’s just not gonna look right until it’s done and blocked and stuff.

Aaaaand a small amount of spinning:

I had 2 pounds of this commercial alpaca top in my stash when I sorted it the other week, and resolved to spin it all up reasonably fine, to get the hang of the new accelerating head for the Suzie that Chad gave me for my birthday. Turns out, inidentally, that I can cram about 8 ounces of this on a standard Majacraft bobbin:


That one’s not quite full yet. Once I get a pound — about 8 oz on each of 2 bobbins — then I’ll get back to the plying. I got about 6 oz onto the Woolee Winder bobbin, so I figure I’ll get another skein around that size off, then cram those 2 bobbins the rest of the way full again, using up the remainder of the yarn, and then ply for 17,000 years and be done with it. Then I’ll try to figure out what to do with the yarn.

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Summer Sweater, WIP

It’s been too hot to spin, so I’ve been covering myself in yarn instead.

This was a stash-reduction project. I had 9 balls of this rather nice cotton yarn, Skacel Tola, that I had picked up on sale at some point, and concluded I ought to be able to make a wearable object from it. So it’s a raglan I made up with some mild shaping, a lace panel from the Susanna Lewis “Knitted Lace” book that my dad got me for this past Christmas, with the “fern” motifs fudged a bit for shaping in the sleeves. I didn’t like how it sat with the rolled edge I had originally planned so it would be a slouchy sweater, so I added a few rows of crochet edging to the bottom. And I may do the same to the 3/4 length sleeves. It ended up using 6.25 balls of yarn — about 600 yards all told.

Photo Gallery for the green raglan


The front… or maybe the back depending on how glaring I really feel like the one major error in it is… of a tank I’m making up to use about 500 yards of sort of sport weight single-ply tussah that I spun and dyed this past spring. This is pattern #78 from that same Lewis book. I think I’m going to block this and then press it, once I’ve finished the pieces, and before assembly. But it’s too hot to keep working with sticky staticky silk yarn right now. So more another time.

Photo Gallery for the tussah lace tank