Sunday, November 7, 2010

Knitting the Threads of Time

Knitting the Threads of TimeKnitting the Threads of Time by Nora Murphy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This lovely little book was a pleasure to read. In sharp contrast to the many knitlit books on the market today, this is a nonfiction book that follows the author through a winter season while she knits her first sweater and explores the historic and cultural context of knitting. She does not whine, she does not meet any famous knitters and her knitting is eventually successful. Can you tell that I have not enjoyed most of those knitlit books?

I think the main difference is that this is a real story, gently and genuinely told. It reminded to me to think about both the process of a creative project but also about the larger experience of creativity in my life and in the world.

This one is worth sharing.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Upcoming Fiber Classes!

I will be teaching a variety of classes this fall and winter.

October 10-16, 2010 Acadian Weaving at the John C Campbell Folk School, NC

November 6 & 7, 2010 Acadian Weaving at the Round Hill Arts Center, VA

November 16, 17 & 18, 2010 Tartan Weaving 101 at WEBS in Northampton, MA

February 5 & 6, 2011 Traditional Fiber Preparation, Point Spinning and Color in Spinning for the Blue Ridge Spinners & Weavers Guild in Purcellville VA

March 6 - 12, 2011 Modular Knitting at the John C Campbell Folk School, NC

I'm also teaching a special sweater class for the BRSWG Knitters group this year, but that class is full! We have about 25 participants and it's a lively group.

If you are interested in any of these classes, follow the link to the sponsoring organization, or contact me for more information.

I hope to see you at a class this year!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tour de Fleece

I have watched the fun of Tour de Fleece for the last year or two from the blur of my very busy job - we typically run 55-75 concerts in ten weeks in the summer.

This year I decided to join in spite of my job. I decided that I would try to spin every day of the Tour and just see how much spinning I could manage.

I spun on my two low wheels at home in the evenings, and I brought a spindle to concerts and sometimes had time to spin a little.

Here is my grand total (roughly from left to right):
Lisa Souza Merino in Beachstone: spun 324 yds, plyed 108 yds (spindle)
Shetland top in grey, spun 132, plyed 66 yards
Shetland top in fawn, spun 174, plyed 87 yards
Lisa Souza BFL in Deep Sea: spun 150, plyed 298 yards
Blue Moon Sheep to Shoe in Bruiser, spun 500, plyed 587 yards
Spirit Trail Polwarth Luxury Blend: spun 424 yards
Merino in blue: spun approx. 200 yds (bobbin)
Grand Total 3,066 yards!

I finished spinning the Polwarth just before midnight on Sunday, July 25th - and then stayed up to wind the singles off on a nostepinne, wind this together with the first bobbin of singles and then I just had to go ahead and ply them so I could see what the yarn would look like! At 1:30 I wound the 2 ply onto the niddy-noddy and found I had 212 yards - a nice worsted weight 4 oz. skein.

I was also inspired to inventory my spinning fiber stash, so I pulled it out of all the cupboards and bins and weighed, photographed and made notes. I still have a little left before it is all done - I'll let you know what the total poundage is! I found spinning projects I had started and abandoned and I am hoping to keep spinning and finish up some of these, along with some new projects.

I also found a Jackie Bland Fleece Study kit - 1 ounce each of more than 40 breeds. I'd really like to dive in and work my was through this. It would make a great Spin-A-Long - would anyone care to join me?

Thursday, January 28, 2010


OK, I remain completely jealous of those of you who go to Madrona and Convergence and SOAR and such like, but I recognize that I am very fortunate in my proximity and relationship with the Campbell Folk School. I just spent a week there, being a student (for a change) in a spinning class with Norman Kennedy & Martha Owen.

I am very pleased with my week. I came with 3 specific projects in mind and I worked on two of them and prepared the third, and played with a few other things, too.

I picked,


and spun 3 ounces of fawn Shetland from a fleece I washed a while ago - Shetland from Shetland. I feel like I have finally nailed long draw spinning - the way Norman first taught me in 1980. It's amazing how you can hear the same words over and over and then one day, snap! It falls into place. I am very pleased.

I washed & picked 4 oz. a very fine black Shetland from Shetland that I plan to comb & spin for lace. I finally flick carded & spun some of the Border Leicester fleece I bought from Levin & Raja at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival last year, and also got Martha to show me how to spin from the locks in the grease - I have a nearly full bobbin of that. Norman prefers a "properly prepared" wool and disdains grease spinning, and as I have been his humble student, lo these many years, I have had little or no experience with grease wool spinning.

Martha is a pro.

And Martha showed me how she makes her funky multicolored yarn (that's one of her skeins above), by a technique she learned from Priscilla Blosser-Rainey years ago. She starts with a single of natural colored wool and some carded natural dyed wool and she feeds the single and sorta spins & plies the dyed stuff with the single in one go. Very cool!

This is one of Martha's creations. Don't you love the blending?

One of the students brought several pounds of Masham roving that had been gifted to her and she passed it on to us. I did a little combing demo and spun a small skein worsted, and then dropped it in a dye bath. I also dyed a few ounces of my light grey Border Leicester in each of the dyepots - from left to right: red onion skins/alum, yellow onions skins/alum, cochineal/oxalyic acid & tin, cochineal/alum. The undyed fleece is at the bottom.

Ain't it purty? think of the hours of fun - picking, carding spinning...

We also had a mock waulking

And Norman expanded his skills to teaching border collie pups wheel spinning - a first, I'm sure!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tartan Class!

I will be teaching a tartan class for the Waterford Weavers Guild on February 20 & 21, 2010.

It will be held at the Old School in Waterford VA, 10am-5pm each day.

There are 3 spaces left in the class, but you need to respond ASAP to have time to choose a tartan pattern for your loom.

This will be a round robin class, each student will weave samples on various looms during class, and then go home to weave 1 or 2 scarves on your own loom, in your own pattern.

$120 for Waterford Weavers Guild members, $150 for non-members.

Contact Cynthia Hull to register:

Contact me with any questions by leaving a comment below!