Friday, February 27, 2009

Lisa's New Sock Pattern

Steel Toed Boot Socks

I haven't knit these socks yet, but after having the pattern in my hot little hands, you know I will. Lisa of Be Still and Knit sent it to me. I really like the look and format of her pattern. I know I don't love toe up socks, but I think I'm going to make an exception here. Really elegant and easy to read pattern, and just between us---SUCH the bargain. Check it out.
The fair Lisa

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fiber Untitled 1

A couple of weeks ago I was at a knitting meetup and decided I'd rather ball up some handspun and measure it than actually knit. Low attention span. Again, I was surprised by how much more l liked it balled up. It showed me more of what it will do, knitted. Enough for a shawl.
This is the merino I spun at the Pendleton event, using their merino top. Wow. Really spingy stuff after setting the twist. My irregular spinning was in no doubt because of all the talking I did. At least that's what I'm telling myself.
This past weekend, 21 people showed up at the monthly Portland Spinnerati event at the library. Really pleased with how that's going. That said, I'm still learning the social behavior of spinners. It's different than knitters, but mostly because we've got this big wheel in front of us. Other things too. Not sure yet though how to describe. Comments from the Spinning Gallery?

New patterns emerging in my life: melding of professional and fiber art life. Tune in for further developments...

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Pull Towards Spring

The rain stopped and the sun came out. I felt kind of sleepy but wanted some pictures. I opened the windows and this is what I saw.
(You do know you can click on any picture and see it really big, right?)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Meet Anne Hanson

Knitspot owner and designer Anne Hanson, a life-long knitter with a background in the fashion and graphic design fields, began designing knitwear sometime in the 1970s. Anne also teaches and writes about knitting, spinning, and designing at her blog,, and lives in Ohio with David, who loves wool, too.

Anne’s background as a patternmaker/draper, technical designer, and costumer in New York City’s garment district informs her work, providing a rich source of experience in garment construction and fit, as well as knowledge of a wide range of fibers and fabrics.

Anne’s design work has been included in Knitty, Interweave Knits, and Twist Collective, as well as several upcoming publications. In addition, her designs have been commissioned for several popular sock and lace clubs, including the Rockin’ Sock Club®, the Woolgirl Sock Club, the Yarn4Socks club, the Fearless Fibers “Seven Deadly Sins” sock club, and the Wooly Wonka Seasons of Lace Club.

(Let me to preface this with the comment that I thought that Anne would have an impossible time answering this. I was really having fun with this thought...until this morning when Anne answered it in the most succinct way!)

If you had to choose one element of nature with which to draw your inspiration, what would it be?


I love to look at light in all its forms and the effect it has on objects and air. I'm fascinated by the negative spaces in nature, the shapes that are created around light, almost anything from a spider web to criss-crossed twigs to flower create spaces between and translucent light effects that interest me. I assume that's why lace and textured fabrics appeal so much to me in my work!

Friday, February 20, 2009

100 Years of Pendleton

This weekend in Portland at the Home and Garden show at the Expo Center, Pendleton Mills is celebrating their century mark. I was really, really honored to be a part of that celebration yesterday. Last month I was tapped to find some spinners for their "wool story" exhibit.
In the picture above, you can see they had bleachers set up for the 3 demo's of the day. What actually happened is that folks just flowed through the space all day and we just kept going. The wonderful Kathy Monaghan was the organizer at Pendleton that I had been working with and the lady was on fire! She talked each person who came to see us through the entire process of making a blanket. I certainly learned plenty.
You can see here some of the fabulous fashions, past and present, on display.
Here you can really see the amazing display of 100 blankets representing 100 years of Pendleton.And there's my weird little wheel where I was sitting on a platform all day, yesterday. To the left you can see actual 50o lb bales of wool that they purchase for making their wool blankets, etc. Young and old alike were asked to take a bit 'o wool with them. The kids loved it! The orginal plan was to have live sheep there, but then upon the realization that it's lambing season and on top of that folks couldn't touch the sheep (because of hygene reasons) we had a lot of "stuffed" sheep instead. Still went over well...

I ended up talking to folks the entire time about just how it all works. I ended up spinning one whole bobbin of laceweight merino. They had this huge round of about 50lbs of sliver just to my left. Today I've been plying it. Really gorgeous stuff I had to work with. I actually tried first the "craft wool" that they sell for felting and that didn't go too well. The staple was too short.

So, "my people" will be there today, Saturday and Sunday. I'm not sure I could have done all four days even if it had been suggested. I actually carried my spinning wheel on the MAX train, after walking about 7 blocks with it. It rolled along on a carrier, but because of my height, I have to bend a little to use something like that. I did get a ride home though from my fellow demo gal, Lise who was weaving just in front of me, to complete the circle. The circle of the WOOL.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Marnie MacLean

This is the first in a series where I ask knitwear designers all sorts of probing questions. Since I'm really interested in the way nature "informs and inspires" design, my first interviews will focus on that. So, will a drum roll, I give you....

Marnie MacLean is a knitwear designer in lovely Portland Oregon, where she lives with her two adorable dogs and a spectacular guy, all of whom are endlessly patient with her ever-growing supply of yarn. You can find Marnie online at

Is there a singular inspiration for you in nature?

There is really no one inspiration for me in nature. I certainly combine various aspects of it into my designs, like Astoria, with it's wave motif and Lily with it's lily of the valley motifs. But neither of those were necessarily triggered by nature itself. I'm more inspired by the way shapes, color, and fit can flatter (or not!) the human form. So first, I have a concept that I think will be flattering, then I fill in the details. For instance, in the case of Lily, I wanted a motif that ran up the sides but would look good split to follow the raglans. The idea being that the details would draw a visual line inside the torso that would slim the whole body. With Astoria, I wanted a colorwork combination that would emphasize an hourglass figure, by drawing attention at the bust and minimizing the size of the waist. Dark color and darts in the waist area, are meant to achieve that. While the colorwork band is lighter and busier, adding emphasis to the area. In the pattern itself, I give suggestions for flattering other figure types by changing the colors and the location of the motif.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Blog Wasn't loading!

To test this problem and apparently solve it, I needed to put kittens on my page. Go figure....

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Color Trend?

I wasn't really thinking so, but perhaps it was my tribute to Valentine's Day. I had several pounds of natural aran weight and have been waiting on doing something with it. I waited no more. I had at it in two kettle batches. It was only as I was about to post this that I realized that in my last yarny post I was working with the same colors, kinda.
This is enough for a sweater so I think I'll blend the two lots in alternating rows and maybe take that one really scarlet one out for something else.Yes, this is the yarn I spun in a previous post that got make into a hat. It did fun color repeat stuff that accentuated the lace pattern. I like when it works in our favor!

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Cooperative Marketing Magic

As many of you may already know, I've had this blog, "just because", for many years now. I want to formally thank all my new and old faithful readers. You've been great to have along on my ride. Now I'm introducing a new "curve to the ride". I've never had any regular features here but right now, today I am announcing a brand new one:

Cooperative Marketing

This is the way it's going to work here on Days of Tea and Knitting:
Once a week, I'm going to do a feature on a bunch of fiberarts folks who want to get their products out there. I will show a lovely picture of what they are selling, I'll review it, I'll tell you where you can buy it. It's that simple. The artist gets a free advertisement for their product for the minimal cost of sending me something in the mail.

If I use the yarn or fiber (or whatever) in a project, I will link to them again with pictures galore.
This is cooperative because the Artist will then link to me and my readership will rise and there will be more and more people reading about the cool stuff you send me.

Listen, I know from doing one contest on this site how long this can take in terms of my effort, editing photos that may not be quite right, sending more emails to an Artist if something doesn't come through right. But, I'm willing to do this to support the Artist.

What I'm asking from everyone who reads this blog and has a blog is to now LINK to me, please. I know from my stats that most of my readers come from links from other blogs. Let's all benefit from social media and help each other out!

If you decide you want to send me your work to feature, I'll send you a Word file with an agreement of how everything will go, where to send, etc.

Meanwhile, I'll promise to still show you my lame and not so lame projects and pictures of Portland and all that other stuff you've come to expect from me.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Family Colors

This is fiber that my dad spun sometime in the 1980's and I just dyed it a month ago. I love the way the dye took. It's rather mottled because he apparently used different fibers carded together but didn't note that at all, so I don't know what kinds of wool he used. My mom made all these little notations on the labels that are very vague and cute though. Like: "thin", "heavier" in her little pencil handwriting.
These are some blocks that he carved for me in 1986 when I was in NYC and had a small business, block printing simple kimonos. I took the designs from a book and he carved them for me. Well used as you can see.
What you see here on the nostepinne above is what was spun below (plus some color correction on the photo) I knew that I was spinning to intentionally create a long color repeat thing goin' on here, I just couldn't see the success until I got it put up in a ball. Cool, huh? Fiber is silk/merino from RedFish, although they don't sell roving online so I got it at a show.
I'm knitting a hat from it right now but would rather blog a picture when it's done tomorrow. I know, deadline knitting but this one's personal.

Not feeling very "wordy" today. Just wanted to share some stuff I was looking at in my world. I'm doing much more blogging--daily-- in my biz blog right now. Have no fear fiber friends. I will never abandon you!

Monday, February 02, 2009

What, Finish Something?

When on Saturday night I was whining about "oh, I have all these projects and I don't want to work on them. I want something new..." a friend saw me on facebook and said 'only if you can finish it in one day.'
I decided that was reasonable, as long as it was 24 hours, not 8 or 12 hours. I mean, I started a new project Saturday night and finished Sunday night. Great, huh? Well...except for the fact that this is new ammunition in my desire to postpone working on anything I've started.
Ah, perhaps it's a phase. Seriously, I thought KNITTING was a phase, at first.
Okay, I'll try to be reasonable about this. But, I did start another hat tonight, and above it the one I finished last night. It's the Inga hat, made a bit shorter by starting on row 23 of the main chart.