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





Monday, June 1, 2015

meet......BUBBA

and here is our beautiful but stunningly stupid cat, Bubba.   A picture tells all...!       svb



Back from Columbus!

Every year, the National Needlarts Association (TNNA) has several expos around the country -- in summer, for fall and winter wares, and in winter for spring/summer goods (there are also a couple of cash-and-carry shows, mostly for needlepoint).  Usually, though not invariably, the summer show is in Columbus, Ohio.  This is a show for retailers and designers only, not the public.   It features all of North America's (and some of Europe's) best makers of yarns, needleart fibers, tools, and other, related goods.  There are dozens of classes, some of them related to craft, others to retail.  It's huge, and it is especially huge in summer.  When you think yarn, after all, what do you think?  WOOL.   Winter.   Fall.  So -- that's the biggest show.

It's impossible to capture the scale of things in photographs.  But here are some examples.  Multiply things visually by ten or twenty times at each side.  Click to enlarge.

 
 
 
   I confess that I go as much to see good friends and to see what's in designers' minds as I do to see yarn.   Here's one of those friends -- Heidi from Trendsetter:



.......here is an amazing coat on display at the Koigu booth -- just stunning, a modular knit.  (If you don't know Koigu, it's a Canadian firm -- they make fingering weight handpaint (the best known iteration is a shawl called Charlotte's Web) and some other yarns.   Look at this up close!  Say to yourself, "This was knitted in fine, fingering weight yarn."


And -- blare of trumpets -- here is the wonderful Nick Sielicki, group leader for our Wednesday night knit-crochet group.  Master of multiple languages (Russian, Polish, French, Spanish, on and on) and master of the hook and needle.   He helped me make choices this time -- I just LOVED having young eyes along for the purpose.  We hope that his group will continue to attract not only old farts like me, but young people of both sexes. 



 This year, there was a cash-and-carry component -- a new feature.   So I brought back some beautiful shawl pins, some stunning Alpaca and Merino Bumps (with Big Tools), and samples of things we have placed on order for August and September.    Come have a look.  There bill be a Bag Smith trunk show sometime soon (with more Bumps!).         svb

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Columbus HO! (also Columbus OH!).



TNNA | The NeedleArts Trade Show











This weekend, Larry and I and the wonderful Nick (who leads our Wed. night knit-crochet group) take off for a long day in Columbus, OH, at the TNNA trade show.   This is the big-deal expo where we can see what the various yarn companies are offering for the upcoming fall-winter season, and where we also can study designs -- I confess that I go mostly to see what is going on in the design and color world.  But -- we get to hug friends.   I also want to introduce Nick to a couple of particularly good friends.   He's there to help me select new, exciting goods for the shop.  He's young; I am (shall we say) less young.   But he's also there to study the scene:   I think that Nick will be a sweater designer before long.   

I will make report when we return -- I hope with some photographs, if the camera works this time.  I am not permitted to photograph the individual vendor booths (the show is huge, and much is copyrighted), but I can sneak some general views of the terrifyingly large market floor with my cell phone, I think.       svb


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Children and Work

Tonight, with two wonderful part-time employees in attendance at the Wed. night knit group, there was a fabulous, though troubling, conversation at Artisan Knitworks about minimum wage and children.   We all agreed that nobody on this Earth can survive on less than 16,000 a year.  But then one said -- she thought controversially -- that maybe kids ought to earn less than adults for their first job.  It seems wrong, she reasoned, for a kid with no experience to earn the same fifteen (proposed) dollars as an older, more experienced household head.  I wondered whether kids HAD to earn money most of the time, in the sense of financial necessity, or whether they just wanted 'stuff'; if the latter, I said, maybe they should read books instead.   No better chance to read books will ever appear in any of our lives than when young.  Later, time never appears.   Time has to be made.

So -- what do I really think about this?   The historian in me hears "child labor" in any mention of reduced wages for kids -- that's more or less what people said in, say, the 1890s when they hired kids to run looms or heavy machinery instead of adults ("Kids don't have the life experience, so why should they earn the same amount?") and then of course they'd hire nothing but kids and laugh all the way to the bank.  On the other hand: Kids don't have families to raise.  Moms and dads have greater responsibility ordinarily, unless children are working under extraordinary duress.   I think of the kids who had to get special work permits (all of which began at the turn of the 20th century) to get out of school when schooling became compulsory in order to earn money for the family.

I guess I think, finally, that flipping a hamburger, or running a loom, or washing a car, is the same for kids and adults.   If we pay people based on what they DO, then I think wages should be the same -- maybe a better minimum wage would help kids spend fewer hours working and more hours reading (or walking, or painting).   The real question is how to persuade employers and the citizenry to take THEIR responsibilities seriously:  Work deserves good pay, regular pay raises, and fair treatment.  If unions really bite the dust, then it will be up to policy makers (popularly elected, remember) to insist on it -- that's why we have unions, by the way.  If we want smart leaders, we need to support kids in every sense of the word.  They need to have time to become whatever they COULD become.

This was really the other person's point.  He had a lot of friends who worked in high school, as did he, and most of them did it because, otherwise, they would not have been able to pay for anything -- They had been made responsible for insurance, clothes, etc.   And he reminded us that, in Europe, kids are supported by community and family until they are DONE with their education; they also don't seem to need their own cars -- blare of trumpets -- because they have excellent mass transit and compact cities.

Much food for thought here.   I'm melancholy at the idea that kids are still having to work each and every day, not just as students, but as wage earners.   I did it at age 12 and every year thereafter; I have wondered more times than not what my life might have been like if I could have gone directly to university instead of taking 8 years off to earn money; if I had not had four jobs at age 14, two jobs at age 12.   How many more books could have been read?   How many more books would I have written later in life?   And so on.   What would have happened if I had been able to accept the offer at Yale-- which I turned down because (you guessed it) I needed to continue to help support the family.  And so I went to community college for a year.    What is youth for, if not to gather unto oneself the tools and habits of mind required for later years?   We have forgotten perhaps.  Or perhaps we have never really learned the value of a person's need for quiet, for contemplation, for doing nothing more frenetic than thinking.  If you guys are reading this:  I get it.  I do think the real problem, though, is that we don't support children (we really don't); to spoil kids, or to try to teach them the value of the dollar by making them work at an early age, without serious help from the community or schools, is not to support; nor do we take care of our workers.   It's a sorry condition all around.

svb