4-25: Community…um… FRIDAY!

comm fri 2014
So…HI! I missed the Thursday goalpost for this weekly update, thanks to a crazy-fun week and a lot of personal allergy-related wonkiness. Are your allergies, if you have them, going nuts too? As much as I’m looking forward to next weekend’s Maryland Sheep and Wool goodness, I know that I am going to have to be totally hopped up on allergy meds. [the stuff I take has psuedoephedrine in it; I get a little manic during allergy season thanks to that.]

What’s been keeping me so busy? Well, there’s spinning and dyeing and making things, of course… and the gardening! So much gardening! I lost my cuke and broccoli seedlings thanks to a frosty dip in temperature combined with high winds that blew my greenhouse cover up – but it’s okay, I restarted and have bunches of little seeds in the process of popping up. There’s a bunch of radishes just rearing their heads, too, and lettuces growing big amongst a tiny field of microgreens. My spring onions overwintered and are almost big enough to start using – I did use one the other day as more of a “chive” style topping on chili, to great effect. The tomatoes in pink buckets are getting some flowers already! I’ll try and post some more photos here or on Instagram soon.

Another of the things that kept me happily busy this week was a day OUT with the lovely Arlene of Spin Artiste and Fibery Goodness… and fresh in from the Netherlands? Suzy Brown from Wool Wench and also Fibery Goodness! With Suzy was her daughter Ana, and our creative friend Jolene joined us for the lunch portion of our plans as well. The plan was to show Suzy and Ana as much of the interesting parts of Baltimore as one could do comfortably in a day, with lots of art and thought involved. The highlight – besides getting to have a marvelous day with my friends – was taking a class with self-taught artist Francisco Loza, hosted at the Creative Alliance in the Baltimore neighborhood of Highlandtown. Francisco lived with the Huichol communities of Mexico, and learned Arte en Estambre, or Yarn Art. This is what he taught us in our workshop, and it was SO fun. The basic concept is that you make a drawing on a hard surface, coat it with wax, and use yarn to fill in all the space by pressing it into the wax in different patterns. It’s a simple concept that can be taken to amazing levels, as he demonstrated with his own art.
Want to see examples? Here’s a great blog with many pieces!

My Arte en Estambre in progress!

My Arte en Estambre in progress!

Everyone really enjoyed the workshop, and made beautiful things. I found it a joy to learn to use yarn in a very different way. I’m definitely going to try again, using the tips I learned from my first piece to improve future works!


Here’s something using a craft I’m more accustomed to, but with a different medium:

Photo: Craft Passion

Photo: Craft Passion


If you’ve wanted to try giant knitting but have been a little reluctant to deal with the sheer size, this could be an introductory step for you! Using clothesline and size 17 needles, the blogger at Craft Passion made a really useful throw mat that will wear extremely well. I might even go up a needle size on this project, but it’s definitely an easy starter project for the person who wants to knit BIG.




Lately, I’ve been feeling a real urge to crochet more. I think seeing so many projects in colors like these above is really enticing me! When I found this helpful tutorial on making Standing Double Crochet, via Moogly, I knew that I should share it. How many of my readers are crocheters? Did you find this tutorial as helpful as I did?



Getting ready to spin fractal yarn. Photo: Grace Shalom Hopkins

Getting ready to spin fractal yarn. Photo: Grace Shalom Hopkins


There’s a boatload of what I call “Spinner’s Tricks” out there, with more to be discovered, I’m sure. This one is a really fun one to play with – what’s known as the “fractal spin.” The trick is to strip one’s roving or top down into two strips, then use one of those strips to make successively smaller strips that run from end to end through the length of the piece of fiber. My explanation’s just a gloss – to get a really nice overview with pretty photos and a video, just hop over to Grace’s blog and learn all about how she did her fractal yarn!


podcast-1024x1024 explore enthusiasm


Running a crafty business, or interested in starting one and just looking for some encouragement? My pal Tara Swiger, who started out as a yarnie then moved into the world of coaching other small, crafty businesspeople, is introducing her new podcast this week, so it’s the perfect time to start listening! I’ve found Tara’s insight invaluable in various aspects of my business, and I’ve supported her in each of her endeavors, because her fun and thoughtful approach is infectious. 😀
Do tune in, and fill out her five question survey on the page if you get a chance, too!


tying up ends

By the way, did you catch my new blog series about business ups & downs, advice and insight from the fiber trenches? I’m looking for questions from my readers to give my spin on, so if there’s something you’ve been dying to ask me, here’s your chance!


blending color



Working with color is one of the best parts of fiber arts, if you ask me. If you’ve been feeling lost when it comes to blending your own palettes of colorways, this is just the course for you! The lovely ladies of Fibery Goodness [whom I mentioned earlier!] have put together a self-guided study course on blending fiber for both specifics colors and to change shade and tint to any degree you desire via blending.There are also sheets to help you keep track of all your discoveries and a FIBER KIT to make it all happen!



Cyndi Minister of The Twisted Purl's Raspberry Pi Spinning Wheel

Cyndi Minister of The Twisted Purl’s Raspberry Pi Spinning Wheel


What happens when you combine a credit card sized “project” computer and a spinning wheel? A Linux-running electric spinning wheel, of course! Cyndi picked up a Raspberry Pi computer with the idea that she would enter a competition by using it to run an electric spinning wheel – combining two of her interests into one! After a lot of research and hard work, she wrote her own programs to run her wheel, controlling the spinning while she handles the drafting. Pretty cool stuff! Now she just needs to make a post about the actual competition. Cyndi, we’re all waiting to find out what happened!


My friends, I hope this was worth the wait! As always, I want to hear what YOU are making, what tutorials you’ve put together, where you’ll be and what’s happening in your fibery world! And thank you for reading!