Archive for the ‘Fiber Arts’ Category

This little heart-knitting gnome is pretty famous on the internet, I think. I have seen him used in knitting and non-knitting contexts, and pretty much never with credit to the artist responsible for the kntting and the animation.

The other day I learned that Anna Hrachovec is the artist behind this little gem and so many others. Her website is mochimochiland.com. She has patterns and tutorials and a blog and links to more animation and all of her social media accounts.

She is teaching a class in the fall as part of a program called KnitStars (there is a link on her website), so you can check it out, too.

Me, I am going to watch the little gnome knit hearts a while longer.

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Felicity “Felix” Ford is one of my knitting heroes.

She started out by connecting sound with wool. Well, that may not be where she started at the very beginning, but it is the first endeavor of hers that I found. She recorded the sounds of sheep grazing, and captured a landscape. She went to a mill and recorded the sounds of the machines. After collecting sounds, she put them together in a podcast. (There is another sound-related project she has been working on where she translates the punch cards from music boxes into knitting patterns, but I am not sure of the status.)

When it comes to knitting, her design aesthetic, her artistic approach, her attention to detail, and her seemingly limitless patience are incredibly inspiring. She breaks down and explains her processes with an enthusiasm which is completely infectious. She finds beauty, creativity, and inspiration in the details of the mundane and everyday, and she translates those details into colorwork knitting patterns. Not only has she published the patterns, but her methodology as well so that you can make your own observations and design your own patterns using the Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook and the Stranded Colourwork Playbook.

Colorwork and fair isle knitting are techniques which continue to intimidate me. I have made a couple of hats and one sweater involving stranded knitting. They turned out fairly well, especially the sweater, but the process of knitting stiches in different colors on the same row is a slow and tedious process for me. I love the results because they look like complicated magic even though every stitch is knit. What I really need to do is practice, and I could probably do with some encouragement and feedback along the way.

Also, trying to go from image to inspiration to pattern to project can be a daunting undertaking, making it feel like another project which was bigger than the time and energy it deserves. I could tackle it in the increments of which I have become so fond (which I may still try) … or I could sign up for the new pattern club and workshop put together by Felix and three of her friends.

In a nutshell, the Colour to Knit e-Book and Club Membership guides knitters through playing with color (or colour) and provides pattern templates for designs that you color in with pencils or pens (whatever your preference). Et voila! A stranded colorwork pattern! Four different designers means four different approaches and four different patterns which appear in your inbox from May until August. In addition there is an online group and there will be several hour-long video sessions.

From the detail page: “The four projects are ordered by complexity. The eBook begins with the easiest and most accessible project and concludes with the most ambitious. As a collection, these projects take you through different creative approaches, building your skills and confidence as you go. Each design is accompanied by enabling worksheets and colouring-in pages for you to print and recolour as many times as you like.”

That paragraph says to me: lots of opportunities to try ideas, see what works and what doesn’t, learning as you go, always with the option to go back and try again. No pressure.

Sign-ups close on April 30th, so there are only a few more days to sign up for the full club, but if you miss out, the book will be published and available in August.

I’m in for sure. (I couldn’t sign up fast enough.) Anyone else up for a knitting adventure?

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The wool, fiber, and textile world includes a variety of passionate, interesting, entertaining folks. Knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, dyers, designers, farmers, and ranchers are all advocates, but Clara Parkes is a true evangelist in the best sense and definition of the word.

I “met” Clara (and, yes, I am going to use her first name) through her website Knitters Review fairly early on in my knitting endeavors. She reviewed books and yarn and tools in great detail without ever being boring. Her tests and observations were practical and insightful. I was an avid reader. At this point the site is an archive of those reviews and posts as well as links to her books and online classes, but the fiber events calendar is current.

Her Instagram account is quite active. And delightfully opinionated. Some poor soul was recently brave or foolish enough to suggest that Clara “stick to yarn” and stay out of politics. That person inspired a series of educational posts from Clara. (I tried embedding straight from Instagram, and the embedded content was ENORMOUS, and WordPress help was unhelpful\inconclusive, so I opting for screen shots. I know that blocks are supposed to make life simpler, but I miss the old days of fumbling my way through HTML.)

Another passion is outing products masquerading as wool or fleece when they contain little to no actual wool or other animal fiber. Her review of the L.L. Bean holiday catalog last year was epic.

Clara’s current project, celebrating its first anniversary, is The Wool Channel. The free option gets you a newsletter, but the subscription opens up a whole world. There is a community with lively discussions. There is a monthly Flock Talk with Clara in which she answers questions and shares information. There are interviews with fiber farmers and processors and scientists and video tours of facilities collected into a series called Voices in Wool.

The platform and its founder definitely do not just stick to yarn (or even sheep for that matter, although they are the focus). There is a larger discussion of textiles and manufacturing, how fiber is farmed and harvested, the people doing that farming and harvesting, and what words like “sustainable” really mean in the context of clothing and home goods.

You don’t have to be a fiber artist to benefit from and appreciate what The Wool Channel has to offer. If you want to move away from fast fashion made of synthetic materials and disposable home goods, if you want to learn about the many personal and environmental benefits of wool, or if you want to learn about the many (and I mean MANY) possible uses for wool, The Wool Channel is the place to be.

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