Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sally's Coming!

Be sure to check out the latest issue of the Artisan Knitworks newsletter and/or the website for full information about Sally Melville's upcoming visit -- which will include a gala dinner on Sunday night at a Farmington (MI) area restaurant -- lecture, Q and A, book signing, plus supper.     Enjoy!   svb

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back from Allegan!

Each year, fiber artists and others gather at the Allegan County Fairgrounds in western Michigan for the Michigan Fiber Festival -- a lovely, good-sized event with very high quality offerings.   This year was no exception -- though I have to say the interiors of the various metal buildings (excepting only the comparatively remote, large "barn") were insufferably hot.  One thermometer registered almost one hundred degrees Fahrenheit.  That's just plain ridiculous, and if it continues, artisans may well decide not to come to Michigan.  Fans succeeded mainly in batting hot air around.  Someone needs to give serious, sustained thought to how this very serious problem can be remedied.  When you have hundreds of people milling around in that kind of heat, you court disaster, particularly since some of us are no longer 20 years old.   I know that the heat also suppressed sales.  Nobody buys heaps of wool in 100-degree heat.  I actually overheard two women talking about how they were just going to leave because they would be ill if they stayed.  Not good.   And one vendor told me that her sales were down dramatically as compared to last year.    Could be any number of causes -- but the heat surely had something to do with it.

More positively:  I saw many of my favorite people -- beginning with the wonderful Ellen Minand of Ellen's Half-Pint Farm in Norwich, Vermont.   Ellen makes big, beautiful skeins of hand-painted yarn, typically in DK weight but also in light worsted weight:   I got gorgeous hanks of wool-silk and some new fingering weight yarns with a subtle glint -- Angelina or something just like it.  They're all in the shop now in big baskets near the door.  One of Ellen's hanks makes a woman's sweater up to size large, and Ellen has been known to make additional yarn if needed from a couple of yards; I send it to her and she works hard to get a perfect match.   But it's only happened once.   And that was with a woman who needed a size 56.

Here are two general shots of the inside of the "barn" -- the only cool building among 5 or 6.   I do recommend that everyone drive there next year.  Call me -- I will be driving, and I can take up to 3 others in my cute little Beetle.   If a large number want to go, we can rent a van from Enterprise.  I did that one year, and the result was just incredibly fun.   Had I not been working to get a book to press the past couple of months, I'd likely have tried it again this year.

DO NOT MISS the guy with knitted antlers.

Please NOTE that Sarah Peasley comes to the shop this weekend to teach two workshops -- one on double knitting, the other on cables.   These are fabulous, and we still have a bit of room.  So call the shop pronto.   THEN on September 18-21, we have Sally Melville -- the legendary Sally.   Check your e-mail (and this site) for further information.     Love to everyone.  

Friday, July 31, 2015


Well, Larry and I negotiated the horrendous move from the east side of the Detroit Metro area to the west side -- a move that a lot of people think is like moving to South Dakota.   No.   In fact, it's like moving to Montana.    But.   That's because we hired a horrid moving company (do NOT hire Grosse Pointe Moving).  I am trying to forget all of the details.   Let's just say that a refund is in the mail.

At the west-side end, we have the usual array of boxes, bags, and other items to open and sort.  Things are made much worse by the quantity of YARN.   So we set up a big table in the shop with a huge pile (HUGE) of odd lots of yarn that I will not live long enough to use.   At some point (I need to get some energy back), I'll tag each item separately and put it in a real stash area in the basement; but, for now, it's 2.50 an ounce.   I will bring more in today.

On the academic side:   LOOK AT THIS!    It's in copy-editing stage now -- I have got through chapter 2, on to chapter 3-8 on Monday through Wednesday or so.   What a cool outcome.  Look at the fierce women on the cover -- they have KNIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  On the roof of a salmon factory.

  • Gender Remade
  • Citizenship, Suffrage, and Public Power in the New Northwest, 1879–1912

    VanBurkleo, Sandra F.
    Published: Not yet published - available from December 2015

    Price is not yet set




Sunday, July 19, 2015

DO NOT MISS This -- especially if you're having a bad day.

GET A LOAD Of THIS!!!   Copied from the dear Lana Niemeth's Facebook page.
Here's a precious giraffe named Misha kissing her newborn baby calf heart emoticon

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Visitations upcoming!!!

On August 22 - Another Saturday with Sarah!     Sarah Peasley returns with two new workshops - offered previously at national fiber-arts expos.   In the morning: Basic Double Knitting Techniques. In the afternoon: Basic Cable Techniques.  The prices are the same as her June classes: $60 for either class and $110 for both. Click the class titles above to learn details. Call or stop by to register.   Space will be strictly limited to about 16 for each workshop


Anothesally melviller Big Announcement: Mark your calendars - We are thrilled to announce that the incomparable Sally Melville will visit Artisan Knitworks for a long weekend on September 18-20.   Watch for details.


 As some of you know, Sally is an old friend of ours - she visited our east-side locations more than once, always to a full house.  She is doing a very bad job of retiring.  She is the author of many well-known and well-regarded books for knitters - among them, Style, The Knit Stitch, The Purl Stitch, Color, and Mother and Daughter Knits - and the creator of the now-iconic Einstein Coat.  


We can say this much:  On Friday night, September 18, somewhere in downtown Farmington, Sally will offer a public lecture about the process of working with our hands - why we do it, what difference it makes in the modern world.  (For those of you who have never met her - Sally is a fabulous teacher and lecturer).  There will be a small entrance fee and light refreshments.   This talk will be suitable for all crafters - young and old, women and men.   Then on Saturday and Sunday, she will offer three or four knitting workshops in house - topics to be decided with your help.  We have to limit seats to 16 or 17 each. 


Go to the Sally Melville Knits website, look at her 3 and 6-hour offerings, and give us a ranked list of 3.   Do it within the next few days.   We will be making a decision within the next 7-10 days.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

....rhe river runs deep

.....In America, the river of division, racial hatred, and violence runs deep.   Today, I wanted to weep (again) when the ex-governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford -- I think of him as Mr. Appalachian Fling -- said, in response to a question about whether Americans maybe ought to at least re-think the whole question of gun registration, "Oh I think that's premature...." and then he went on to say that he was sure liberals would SEIZE on the occasion of death, yet more death, to agitate yet again.

Well, when ARE people going to demand that lawmakers do something?  80% of the people in the United States, poll after poll, want gun registration laws revised and tightened.  A majority think it would be entirely proper to institute laws that would eliminate guns suitable only for warfare.  Will the citizenry really stand by like a bunch of  wooden soldiers and let lawmakers do NOTHING?  Year after year?   As if these demands are somehow radical.   It's time to stand up.  These bozos are elected to do the people's bidding.   Perhaps we don't know how to stand up and make demands.  We begin at the ballot box, maybe by running for office and standing for things that mean something.  In the meantime, we should be burying electing officials with petitions and written demands, with rallies and parades.  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Does nobody realize that the pastor and state senator shot down, Clementa Pinckney, has a surname linked directly to one of the most prestigious slave-holding families in South Carolina?   His relatives probably were slaves in Charles Pinckney's household.  He embodied the triumph of good over evil, and now he's dead at the hand of a skinhead.

A few short decades ago, it was three little girls in a church in Birmingham, blown to bits in the basement of their church by Klansmen.  People in theaters should not have to worry about whether some deranged terrorist is going to blast them in their seats.  Children in schoolrooms ought to be safe without armed guards and metal detectors.   Guns ought to be used for hunting, self-defense, policing, and wars.  They ought NOT to be in the hands of people who have them in order to blast away at other people, people they don't like, people who are differently colored.  They should not be able to buy them in order to massacre children and old women in churches while they attend Bible study.  An 87-year-ld woman was gunned down by a 21-year-old racist.  He was in the church because its members refuse to close the doors to people who want to be there.  A few miles from where all of this happened, there are confederate flags flying on government buildings.  No matter what their apologists might say, confederate flags STAND for the evils of race slavery and racism.  To fly that flag over public institutions is to grant legitimacy to THE most destructive racism ever to have existed in America -- the enslavement of Africans for three centuries under color of law.

This is an outrage.   We know that. But we sit here like FOOLS, guns blasting all around us, black people being targeted simply because they're black - more guns and more massacres than in any other nation on earth except for places like Yemen -- and we just let gun manufacturers' lobbies rule the roost.  We say that white terrorists are "deranged," but we call black shooters "thugs," as if it's in their character or genes.  We should be able to walk the streets, go to church, attend school, buy movie tickets without wondering if we will get shot.  Pure and simple.  And the ex-governor, Mr. Appalachian Fling, ought to be kicked out of office.  He cannot be trusted to ensure the safety and happiness of the nation.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

some favorite people....

This has been a very quiet week in the fiber-arts world.  Artisan Knitworks LLC has been so quiet that I have wondered why I was coming in each day.   School is over this week; parents are re-grouping; and the weather has been, shall we say, uncongenial.  But today I was reminded all over again why I come in.   Here are photos of two nifty people -- Wanda (in the gorgeous golden dress, fresh from church) and Eileen, otherwise known as Miss Wiggins....with her shiny new two-at-a-time socks.    Thanks to both of them for being in our lives.    svb