Saturday, March 30, 2013


Many years ago, Artisan Knitworks hosted a workshop by Valentina Devine of New Mexico -- and she left behind some garments for us to sell, one of which. was a long, long, long shawl crocheted of a simple trellis stitch.  Val added crocheted flowers.  And a wonderful woman named Marsha bought the shawl within a c ouple of weeks.   But the idea stuck with me:   Take a lace or trellis stitch, of which there are dozens, make a long length of it in a beautiful yarn, add some kind of embellishment, and Voila!  A shawl.  I've done up maybe a dozen in different stitches and yarns since then -- and, awhile ago, I used another open stitch that relies on tiers of chains separated with single and double crochet to make yet another one, a version that ended up in the Detroit News craft blog.  No flowers.  You can overdo that kind of thing.  Instead, I added a very thick, heavy ruffle with shells at the outer edge and some puffs along the short ends.  But here is the point:  All you need for this is 1500 yards or so of DK-weight yarn (or another weight) and an appropriate hook.  Just go to a crochet stitch dictionary, find a trelllis or other open stitch that you like (make sure it's going to work up in a linear and not wavy manner), make swatches in your chosen yarn until you get a fabric that you really like -- I've done this not only in Noro yarns but also in Tonalita from Trendsetter and in Saki fingering weight yarn from Prism -- calculate how many repeats you need to reach 20-22 inches in width (narrow if you're a small person, wider if you're my size), and start in.  Go until you reach about seven feet.   BLOCK the shawl.  The blocking is important.  Otherwise, you end up with a bunch of collapsed boxes.  Then add a very full ruffle around three sides and some kind of edging along the neck edge.   Here is one of our customers' rendition of my shawl (I called it Madrid and put it in a small pattern pamphlet, available at the shop -- but why buy a pattern?  You can do this yourself).  This one is done in Noro Silk Garden Light.  The thing that made me smile is that she didn't follow the pattern exactly -- which is half the fun of making things.  You can do what you jolly well want to do.  So make one.  Enjoy the coming of spring!     svb

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Festival Season!

Most years, I open the fiber festival season with a quick trip to one of the first -- the Greencastle Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana -- which permits me to drive through pretty, pretty countryside near Greencastle (we will ignore the ugly, ugly, endless freeways that get me there).  This year, though, Greencastle begins the very weekend my semester at WSU ends.  So I am going to take the occasion for a long, slow decompression -- and head on down to Townsend, Tennessee, after I spend a half-day or so at Greencastle.  There's another fiber festival the same weekend!  And I've never been to the Tennessee one -- it's newer than Greencastle and has a nice vendor list, some of which I've never heard of....that's always a sign that I should attend.   So -- I will take pictures.  It's the weekend of April 19-20 -- maybe it will stop snowing by then (????).    svb

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Third Coast Registrations

We are receiving a barrage of phone calls about workshop registrations.   So:   Tell everyone that we are aiming at May 1.   It could be earlier.  We are in the process of constructing a brand new website for both vendor and registration purposes.   If we open registration before then, I will let you know!!

This year, we will introduce some (a few) needlepoint classes and some needlepoint vendors!

Added good news:   We now proudly tell everyone that we have garnered a number of great, great sponsors -- among them, Skacel-Addi, Stonehedge Fiber Mill, Trendsetter Yarns, Prism Yarns, Crystal Palace, XRX Corporation-Knitters Magazine, Woven Art of East Lansing, Soak, Strickwear, Happy Fuzzy Yarns, and a range of Metro Detroit yarn shops including The Knotted Needle, Wool and the Floss, Crafty Lady Trio, Sweet Pea, and so on.   Thanks, everyone -- and the list will probably grow a bit longer.     WHOOHOO      svb