Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Endless Blanket, Plus First Coast Stuff....

...and she knitted for 40 days and 40 nights.  The next time I say to ANYONE that I'm going to do a bias-knit cotton blanket of any kind -- no matter how gorgeous the yarn (in this case, it is -- it's FloraFil, which is grown and dyed in America), I hope the listener will YELL AT ME.  Say, "Do you remember that baby thing you were supposed to be making for your FAVE niece Natalie -- the one you were still trying to finish almost a month after the kid was born?"  I AM BORED WITH GARTER STITCH.  There is maybe an hour left on it, and still....... If I can finish it, though, it'll be cute.  I am putting in button holes and adding some big polymer buttons (RED) so that it can folded up and buttoned, in several positions, like a little papoose.....If I ever find the cords for the camera hook up, I'll take a picture.  I have a pattern, though it's on a scrap of cardboard.

AS TO THIRD COAST:  Some people have asked whether I could say more about the instructors, and of course I will -- let me do a bit of it here, and then we'll send out a mega-email with more information.  For the next conference, we will have a separate website, and we'll be a lot better at doing all of the things that need doing.  For now, I'm thrilled to see enrollments going up, and equally thrilled to hear people say they're looking forward to the marketplace.  Soon, there will be a way to buy a 5-dollar market-only ticket on-line.

What can I say about SALLY MELVILLE?  Sally is known to many of you -- a Canadian living now in Ottawa to be near her daughter, with whom she has been collaborating for the past few years.  Sally is the author of several wonderful books with XRX -- The Knit Stitch (home of the now-famous Einstein Coat), The Purl Stitch, and Color, and then a series of other books (Mother-Daughter Knits, e.g.).  My favorite is still Sally Melville Styles, her very 'painterly' first book.  I first met her through that book.  She teaches internationally.  We will have copies of books at the conference for signing.  She is a wonderful teacher, full of life and very smart.  She has a keen interest in cognition -- has to do with a former life at a university -- which will be evident in the "Why We Do What We Do" dinnertime talk on Friday night.

Bear in mind that I have taken multiple classes from most of these gifted people -- and the ones I haven't I have investigated through people who HAVE taken classes from them.  All are fabulous.

It's also hard to say enough about CANDACE EISNER-STRICK.  Candace is from Connecticut, near Storrs and the University of Connecticut.  She is a musician -- a cellist, in fact -- hence, the pattern names, which very often are the names of musical works.  She originated the Strickwear line of patterns and kits, many of which use delicately graduated, multi-stranded colorways. She is also -- and this is an understatement -- a wizard, a true master of ethnic and traditional knitting of all kinds.  Stitchery from every major tradition in her hands is updated and new again.  She is also wonderfully funny, a fabulous teacher, a whirlwind of help and imagination and encouragement.  There are, of course, many books -- ranging from Sweaters from a New England Village to Strick-ly Socks and a number of other treasure troves.

Her dear friend JUDY PASCALE, also from Connecticut, is another masterful stitcher, nationally known for her technical prowess, her stunning designs, and her teaching ability.  I first encountered Judy at a Stitches camp (those wonderful camps are no longer held) in the mountains of Colorado -- and I soon learned that she is a reigning "queen" of beadwork, someone who can show you how to do beading without pre-stringing in virtually every application imaginable.  She is also a technical genius -- hence, the class on reversible cabling.  And if I may say so, Judy is one of the most entirely NICE people you will ever want to meet.  They all are.  But Judy is just plain a sweetheart. 

Wisconsonite SHERYL THIES is also uncommonly gifted, with skills ranging across knit and crochet.  Recently, she published a book on Tunisian Crochet -- adding to a reputation first gained in knitting (look for her books, all of them, in our shop or in the marketplace) for designs inspired by nature -- leaves, vegetables (BRUSSEL SPROUTS!), in all manner of gorgeous stitches, some of them involving drop stitches (see the drop stitch class!), worked into shawls, scarves, on and on.  She did a gorgeous Tunisian Crochet Entrelac shawl that ended up on the cover of Interweave Crochet not long ago, and one of her classes will help you figure out how to do this reversible technique.  Knitters can learn easily how to do Tunisian; it's a hybrid of the two crafts -- and she is offering two other classes (beginning, intermediate).

And then there is SARAH PEASLEY, who comes to us with years and years of teaching experience in national venues.  She is a knitted entrelac expert.  She teaches knitted design classes and a  number of other amazing things at Stitches conferences and elsewhere.  But she also offers classes at Woven Art in East Lansing, owned by another of our instructors, Nancy McRay.  People have said absolutely wonderful things about this woman -- lots more than the usual "Oh yes, she's very good."  I really look forward to learning more about her -- if I could tell you who recommended her, you'd know why I completely trust my sources on this one!   They know good stuff when they see it.

NANCY McRAY, who is offering an all-day color theory course and another all-day weaving course, owns Woven Art in East Lansing.  I first encountered her when we both hosted some workshops taught by Sally Melville -- and then I went to East Lansing to visit her darling, imaginatively mounted shop.  What a gifted woman!  Make the trip sometime.  It's not very far, and you can visit any number of antique malls along the way.  She is a weaver and a yarn dyer as well as a formidable knitter, with a really engaging class list at her shop.  The color theory course involves PAINTING, for heaven's sake -- I don't know if I'll be able to resist sitting in.  Treat yourself to Nancy.

And then there are some stunningly talented people from the metro area.  I could say pages and pages about them.  How fortunate we really are in having talent just hangin' around like this!  But here are some thumbnail sketches.  LYNNE WARDROP (who has worked both for Artisan Knitworks and City Knits) is the owner of a sock pattern company, Avalon, distributed by Lorna's Laces Yarns in Chicago (see their website) and by a number of shops, including mine.  She is a seamstress, tailor, knitter, polymer button maker, crocheter -- on and on.   DANA MATUSKEY also teaches at City Knits (once, she offered classes at Indigo Rose, which is where I first met her).  She is a renowned teacher of many, many aspects of knitting and crochet, and she's a published designer.  She practiced her crafts initially in Europe.  If you learn continental knitting ("pick knitting") from Dana, you will have learned from a true master; and her slip-stitch (mosaic) course similarly will be splendid.  AMY FRANCISCO, with her husband Greg, owns and operates Jehovah Jireh Farm near Paw Paw, Michigan.  She is a frequently seen vendor at fiber festivals.  Greg makes felted garments, felted soaps, and a host of other amazing things; Amy is also a needle-felter, but she is best known for her spinning and imaginative use of hand-spun yarns.  Plus, she's a really cool person!!!  ELLEN TAYLOR and LOIS THIEME are both accomplished needle-arts people.  They both teach and work at Artisan Knitworks, but they could teach and work anywhere.  Ellen teaches spinning; Lois teaches tubular stuff (socks, mittens, etc.), knitting, and crochet.  Both can spin using either wheels or spindles, and they're good at it (though I have so far resisted learning, notwithstanding their splendid help).  MOLLIE FLETCHER is an instructor in weaving at the College for Creative Studies, near WSU.  She is just spectacularly good at it.  She will be offering a course in card-weaving, which is a good way to get into it.  But, heaven knows, she's capable of the entire gamut of woven fabric-related skills.  So ask her, and she'll tell you all about it.

How's that?   Nobody got quite as much as they deserve.   More later.

DO NOT FORGET TO SIGN UP FOR THE FREE EISNER-STRICK LUNCH GIG, the box lunches, the gorgeous buffet dinner with Sally's lecture, and ....... if nothing else, just come for the bobbin lace, spinning, and weaving demos in the atrium.  Go to  for details of everything.


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