Monday, July 30, 2012

Retreat....and of course Third Coast....

I am SO looking forward to the WOol Gatherers' retreat up north this weekend -- It was wonderful to be asked if I wanted to offer a weekend course this year, and I do love teaching the one that I call "Create Your Dream Sweater," which is either about how to knit a sweater that will fit, or how to cook up a sweater from scratch -- depending on knitters' needs.   What fun.   Three days away from the rubble in my house (from house move) and the clear sense that the new semester is catching up with me well before I'm ready for it.   Knitting!  Talking!  Teaching!!!  HURRAH.

And Pam Champagne will be the project manager for Third Coast Fiber Arts festival!!!  Things are getting bigger and more complicated than either Larry or I anticipated, we have an experienced event manager who can foresee what might go wrong.  For those of you who have NO IDEA what I'm talking about, see the links to Third Coast at   I need now to go put away some more belongings!!!!


Thursday, July 26, 2012


On the Third Coast front:   Registrations continue to grow, as do  reservations for the Melville dinner, the Eisner-Strick FREE luncheon presentation, and box lunches.   DO IT NOW!!   I'm worried that we will have a last-minute crunch with people disappointed.   Go to and follow the Third Coast image!

On the home front:  Come to the big moving sale at my old house -- 8 Jefferson Court, Grosse POinte Park, tomorrow and Saturday, 9-5, mounted by the Marcia Wilk Company.  Lots of framed art, jewelry, pottery, some furniture, some knitting books.  And so on.  Enjoy!   svb

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Because I'm moving houses, it's going to be hard to find time to update this (FUN) blog very often.  So let me THANK everyone who is making the registration process such a fun thing to watch, and then URGE everyone who plans to register for some of our wondrous workshops to do it before mid-August.  At that point, we will have to make decisions as to which workshops will run and which will not.  If we decide to cancel something -- and as I look at these numbers, I'd say it's more likely that classes will surprise you by filling up! -- it won't reappear.  It's not common knowledge, I don't think, that festival organizers have to buy airfare, etc., at least a month before an event.  So grab your seats as soon as you can.  You won't end up disappointed, and we will have a sense of how many people we're dealing with.  Be sure, too, to sign up for the absolutely fabulous dinner with Sally Melville, and maybe our box lunches -- you can enjoy the Candace Eisner-Strick presentation on Saturday without leaving the building for lunch.

It's SO exciting to watch.  We have people coming from out of state!

Remember, too, that each registrant will receive one in-out card for the parking structure that's about a block from the conference center with your registration packet.  This is a good thing!!!

To register (in case you're stumbling on all of this for the first time):  go to and click on the Third Coast image -- then follow the yellow brick road (actually blue!) to registration.  One of the links has photographs and homework details!

Special note for our fabulous vendors:  Be sure to make good on full payment soon -- we need to be able to hold your space since we're sold out with a waiting list.  If I'm not mistaken, the final payment deadline was in late June.   THANKS, and how wonderful it will be in the marble palace!!!


Sunday, July 15, 2012


....and remember that we will mail a parking structure in-out card to everyone who registers for at least one workshop at the fab Third Coast Fiber Arts Festival.   The structure is only one long city block away from the Center!    svb


We've added a Sally Melville class, so you might want to revisit the festival page -- on Friday morning.  It's "Learn to Love Intarsia," which is probably my all-time favorite Melville colorwork class.  And just in time.  Intarsia and Fair-Isle knitting have made a big comback.  Sally works from published images -- you'll be asked to bring a magazine with cool stuff in it.  Anyway -- have another look.  She's really good at it.  In fact, I'm inspired to go back and finish a purple and gold intarsia piece that I started maybe ten years ago -- Wish I had enough stick-to-it-iveness to actually finish projects.  Sigh.  I will never reveal how many projects lurk around the house in knitting bags.  I send hugs to everyone.

I also send THANKS for your apparent eagerness in relation to Third Coast.  It's always hard to know how big events like this one will be received -- I am far less worried now than I was when we put it together.  It got even bigger than I had originally imagined, and while that was wonderful to behold, it was also kinda scary.  The idea was to bring something fabulous to midtown Detroit -- well, we surely did.  And I'm thrilled half to death that so many of you seem to like what you see.  It's always been about the city, the university , the hidden treasure of McGregor Memorial Conference Center -- blessings be upon all of your heads.    svb

Thursday, July 12, 2012

THIRD COAST EVENTS -- Not just classes!

Everyone, as you consider which of the fabulous Third Coast workshops to enroll in, don't neglect the other features of  the festival.  For instance:  Notice the FREE noon-time presentation on Saturday by Candace Eisner-Strick -- we need you to sign up so we have a head count.  Box lunches too -- though they're not free -- nice choice of sandwich, though.  And you MUST consider the Melville dinner event on Friday.  Remember that we need a fairly accurate count on these things so that we can tell the caterers what to do.   Hugs to everyone!!!    svb

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's All In the Mind's Eye...!

So now I'm in the middle of a horrendous house move -- thank heaven the Third Coast registration is up and running, and I do mean RUNNING -- people seem to be signing up fairly aggressively!!!!  The movers came today and took half the house away -- the rest goes in another two weeks, and then there will be a modest moving sale (not conducted by me).  In the meantime I still have a book to finish, don't I?  So I will put it all on a flash drive, transfer it (and the materials accompanying it) to my office at university, and spend blissful days there, away from complete chaos.  Even the cats are disoriented:  Last night, Sheba the Cat spent the night curled up inside a small marble vanity sink in the guest room!

But I'm thinking again about knitting -- how to SEE what's in our world, how to knit what we see.  I'm always drawn to amazing textures and colors when I'm travelling.  So take some pictures!  When you look at them later, you can almost always find something that's knittable.  For example:

Look at the amazing colors and shapes in this cornice over a door in Stillwater, Minnesota.  Double it in your mind's eye so that it's a complete circle with a square around it.  You can knit this.  There are checkerboard corners in the square, a blue stripe running through the center, gorgeous terra cotta (some kind of raised stitch), and a design to undertake in knits, purls, and elongated stitches -- or maybe embroidery when done.  It could be the front and back of a tee!!! 

Or how about this?

This, too, can be knitted -- what a wonderful exercise in blocking -- charcoal to black, taupe-y gray, some kind of broken copper line running across the piece connecting the blocks, a seed stitch divider where you see post tops.  TEXTURE!!!! 

or this:

Jane Thornley has a little book called "Knit a Beach," which forms the basis for a workshop that she teaches around the world.  When I saw this amazing family of ducks in a Minnesota pond right next to the motel, I saw Thornley's techniques -- you do too, I'll bet.  You start at the bottom, or wherever you want, and just knit -- olivey tones, some astrakhan stitch, some half-linen, on and on -- just lay in the rows and don't worry about whether it's properly square.  Make something beautiful with stitches that approximate the textures you see, again in the mind's eye.  Don't be literal.  This is about responding to something you see and making what you feel about it.

Do this kind of thing sometime.  You will feel MUCH less like jumping off a cliff when it's unbearably hot, or when you're too tired for words, or when you can't find anything at all to knit.  You can always find something to knit -- or crochet.  It's in the mind's eye.


Thursday, July 5, 2012


Ta DA!  What an ordeal poor Larry has been through.  But now he could hire out as a computer tech, couldn't he?   Registration for classes is open.   Go to our website ( and click on the Third Coast Fiber Arts Festival image.   If you have any trouble, call Larry Hart at  586-871-2884.  Blare of trumpets!  Roll of drums!   We have not yet added the fact that there will be charity tables so that people can learn the knit stitch and the single crochet.  But first things first.     svb