Monday, April 30, 2012

Candace's Departure

Well, she's gone.  I deposited the joy-imparting Candace Eisner-Strick at the Detroit Metro Airport a couple of hours ago -- and I miss her already.   More later when I can mount some photographs.   svb

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Some Greencastle Lore, Part 3 of 3....!

...........and now for the promised endless parade of Indiana and Ohio-bred Angora bunnies.

.....Some people just can't stand the excitement.  For instance:

On the way home, we took smaller roads, notably Highway 12, which snakes through a large number of wonderful Indiana and Michigan wee towns.  I won't tell you about the ice cream.  I WILL tell you that we resisted stopping at the many dozens of antique shops along that road -- on the sensible ground that we would never be able to scrounge through all of their button and jewelry holdings in the few hours remaining.  So we stoically kept going, and will take a Wednesday sometime before summer is in full bloom to drive down that road in earnest.  It's in the smaller towns away from freeways that buttons are the most glorious and diverse -- and typically better prices (the tour buses don't stop there).  At least we now have an objective for a May or June day away from work.

Off to bed.  Go to a fiber festival sometime -- most especially, come to ours!  See our website for a link to the glorious Third Coast Fiber Arts Festival, to be held in September!!!!    svb

Some Greencastle Lore...., Part 2 of 3!

In Part I, only humans inhabited the earth.  But of course that's not true, is it?  The Greencastle, Indiana, festival was loaded with gorgeous animals -- cuter than usual, in fact.  One of them was (shall we say) STUFFED.  See if you can tell which alpacas and llamas are real (!!!).  Choice No. 1 is this curious fellow:

and then we have Choices No. 2  and 3 (there will be a quiz):

But they get a run for the money when the angora bunnies arrives.  Yes indeedy.  To touch one is to fall head over heels in love.  Endless pictures of bunnies.....I can't resist.  Go to the next entry.  The computer/web page are balking at the number of photos.    svb

Some Greencastle Lore... Part I of 3!

So Larry and I took off in the Chrysler 200 (rented) on Thursday night -- made it as far as Fort Wayne, Indiana, or thereabouts (actually Gas City, if you can imagine a town with a name like that!  Sounds like a very bad case of too many lentils...).  A good night's sleep, no cat to bounce on me at 5:00 AM, no work nagging at me, and so on.  The weather was kind of nasty -- particularly while driving.  Incessant, often heavy rain, slick asphalt pavement. 

The Fiber Event at Greencastle, Indiana, which I attend almost every year, was something of a puzzle at first blush.  We thought that the bad weather had emptied the place out.  Look at how empty the outside stalls were (that's Larry mugging for the camera) -- they are usually chock full of vendors.

...but then, inside the first big building (this is the Putnam County Fairgrounds), it was a different story. Lots of good people, particularly in the second building. Here's a general shot inside bldg. no.1.  You can click on pictures to enlarge, you know -- no need to go blind!:

Here's an uncommonly happy maker of beautiful rovings:

And here is my wondrous Kim Leach of Wisconsin (who has been ill, which is positively forbidden) with equally wondrous husband.  Kim owns Happy Hands Yarns, and HE does all the winding:

...some great buttons and other fasteners, and then some beautiful, glossy yarn bowls:

I'm going to save all of the living creatures for a second posting -- they're very, very special.  And I'll say some things about the return trip.


Saturday, April 14, 2012


.....and, once this week's classes are over, the semester effectively ends for me -- and I'm off to the Greencastle, Indiana, fiber show, one of the earliest in the midwest and generally a productive, fun event.  Lots of friends to visit -- maybe some gorgeous one-of-a-kind wool to bring back.  It interests me how much more selective I'm being than I used to be -- has to do with the fact that Artisan Knitworks has so much beautiful stuff now that I worry about duplication.  Once upon a time, that wasn't a problem!  Anyway:  I will take pictures and make full report.  I do SO enjoy driving, and I'm so tired now that I really do need the revitalization that driving provides.    svb

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


If you are one of the vendors from which Artisan Knitworks has been buying beautiful handspun or hand-dyed yarn, particularly our midwestern vendors -- or if you have supplied handcrafted buttons, etc. -- please get in touch with Larry Hart at   or at 586-871-2884  to talk about signing on as a vendor for our fabulous First Annual Third Coast Fiber Arts Festival!   He can send you information by e-mail.  I assume (it's inevitable!) that our initial mailing, which went out yesterday, will miss a few of our friends, simply because we're dealing with SOOOO many bits of information.   svb

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Suggestions needed....!!

The posting below is now irrelevant, at least for the immediate future:  We decided to have a two-day festival for the initial event and extend it to more days thereafter, once we have a better feel for clientele and vendors and workshop preferences, and so on.  But!  I'd still love to hear  your thoughts as to what one might do to set an entirely-indoor festival apart from the masses!    svb

Dearest Readers (as we might have said in the age of Queen Victoria):  See previous post about the fabulous Third Coast Fiber Arts Festival..........The really exciting thing, in addition to the obvious thrill of mounting a major festival in midtown Detroit, where such things haven't ever happened, is the chance to draw in all our clients and allies as we begin to map the thing.   So let's try it:   If the festival is three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), with (say) 20-25 vendors and 6-8 workshops each day, with a Friday night dinner and 'meet the teacher' event and Saturday night reception with jazz combo (!), what should we do on Sunday?  It strikes me that Sunday afternoon COULD be a different sort of day.  Parents have time on Sundays to cook up exciting things to do with their kids.  They go to museums, shopping malls, etc.  Why not a fiber festival?  We could have some truly wonderful 'circles' for boys and girls (maybe ages 7-14?) in the conference center atrium, or in one of the big rooms converted basically into a playroom -- with people teaching such things as the knit stitch, single crochet, simple weaving, finger knitting, spinning with a drop spindle (made from a dowel, CD, and cup hook), and so on.  What else could be done on Sunday that would set this festival apart from others?  I'd LOVE to have your ideas in as much detail as you can muster.  Drop a note here, but if you have more to say, contact me at     svb

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Third Coast -- It's a Wonderful Name, Don't You Think?

I've wanted to use the name "Third Coast" for at least three decades.   Once, just after coming to Detroit to take up residence in my tiny but very cool office in an ancient hotel (it used to be called McKenzie Hall, and before that it was one of Detroit's nicest hostelries -- now it has ceased to exist, imploded because the Powers That Be thought they couldn't fix it for 11 million dollars.....I'll bet I could have fixed almost anything for 11 million -- how about you?), I had in mind starting a funky literary magazine called the Third Coast Review -- but I couldn't figure out how to get a stable of writers together across a number of disciplines and make money doing it.  And I didn't have tenure, so first things first. 

Then a small bookshop opened up in Grosse Pointe Park -- thrillling to see, because they were called Third Coast Books!  That wonderful name!  Sadly, they went out of business -- but not before they got a TICKET (I am not making this up) for daring to put a cart full of sale books on the wide, wide sidewalk.  Grosse Pointe Park is nothing if not up tight.

So now the name appears again -- this time in a perfectly brilliant logo designed by Larry that will grace (BLARE OF TRUMPETS) the First Annual Third Coast Fiber Festival, to be held in mid-September upcoming at the gorgeous McGregor Conference Center on the Wayne State University campus in midtown Detroit.  It even has a darling little blue wave in the lower right corner.

I've lined up an amazing array of workshop leaders and instructors from Michigan and beyond, in weaving, spinning, knitting, crochet, on and on.  We have have a nice, big marketplace featuring at least 20 mostly-Michigan fiber artists.  I have wanted to do this for at least five years -- so to hell with having to be retired first.  It's time. Besides, I have good helpers at Artisan Knitworks LLC.  Check the website for details or come talk to the staff at Artisan Knitworks.  The formal announcement goes out within a week.     svb