About Me

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Minnesota, United States

23.5.14

Anoka Fiber Works and Amazing Threads

Throughout our marriage (38 years this year) Jim and I moved around the USA and in Germany.  Some places we liked better than others.  After Ben was born, where we lived became more important.  From 1996 to 1999 we lived in McKinney, Texas.  We lived in a nice neighborhood with lots of young families like ours and there was an amazing shop called Woolen Works.  It was a place to gather, to learn, and to experience all things fiber.  I sat in with a Wednesday group of spinners--I was the knitter.  They were so friendly and welcoming.  Fast forward to 1997 and the purchase of Louie, the Louet S10 spinning wheel...I learned how to spin and never looked back.  In 1999 Jim interviewed for a job in Minnesota, which meant another big move.  It was difficult to leave the friends we made and for Ben to change schools, but we were up for the adventure.  I continued to spin, although I missed the Texas Twisters.  When I began teaching knitting, I was able to add spindle spinning classes and later wheel spinning classes.  My attempts to start local spin ins was met with some success, but it was not until a group of women began a co-op in an Anoka yarn shop.  It was wonderful to see the wheels and the fiber for sale.  Wanting to expand, the group moved the co-op to another location and Anoka Fiber Works was born.  Talented fiber artists sell their wares (finished items, equipment, and fiber), there are classes, field trips, and most of all it is a gathering place to meet and share the love of all things fiber.

I have a couple of classes coming up at Anoka Fiber Works.  The Felted Amulet Bag is a wet-felted project.  To make the class sample I dug through my Lake Superior rocks and found a perfect size.  Last evening I worked up the sample and I am pleased with the outcome.  It's  a perfect size to wear around the neck and hold small tools or perhaps some emergency chocolate!  The class is June 12, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Wet felted Amulet Bag and the rock I used


The other project is a shawl pin with a polymer clay topper.  The samples I made are simple--a  figure (sheep), a bead covered with slices of canes, and then a wrapped bead.  Dawn gave me a couple of sticks to use and they worked well with a bit of sanding and finish.  The shiny finish on two beads is added on after baking and made for polymer clay.  It is supposed to be a satin finish...mmm...I don't think so...
The Poly Clay Shawl Pin class is on July 8, from 6 pm to 8 pm.
Clay bead covered with cane slices, wrapped bead, sculpted bead.

I am fortunate to be part of the teaching staff at Amazing Threads.  It is a great place to teach!  One of the upcoming classes at Amazing Threads is a skill-builder for illusion knitting.  Strategically placed knits and purls using contrasting yarns create a picture when viewed at an angle.  A circle is a simple shape and works up relatively quickly.  Once you learn how to read the chart it is easy.  There are some amazing examples and patterns on Ravelry of projects worked with the technique.  This class is June 14 from 10 am to 12 pm.    

Now you see it...
...now you don't.
Bobbi and Angel returned from Market recently.  It is always fun to see what is new in the fiber world.  I chose the Teggala Hat kit to make for a shop sample.  The yarn is a blend of cashmere and possum down (yes, possum down) from New Zealand.  Light and lofty, super soft, and a dream to knit with this little project has it all!  It comes beautifully boxed with the pattern and three 10-gram skeins of Zealana AIR yarn.  This will be the perfect finished project or just gift the kit.  It will be exciting over the next few weeks to see the new yarns arrive!

Luxury in a box.
I love the packaging and presentation of this kit.
Charcoal, red, and natural baby skeins.
I marked the spot for the centered double decreases and between the design repeats.
It is much easier to keep track of where I am in the design.

I am still on the circular needles and will switch to double points when the decreases get closer together.  It fits nicely and is so nice and light.  The fiber is so soft with a lovely halo.  Can you tell I really love this yarn and project?



20.5.14

24

Ben turned 24 years old yesterday.  I remember the day well, although from about 11:30 pm (German time) the memories are a bit fuzzy.  I am so proud of the man he has become.  I took a cake to his office and then we went to Mort's for lunch.  It was nice to spend time with him ON his birthday.  When he was in college this time period was for finals, so he spent his birthdays in the library studying.  It was good to see him and talk over a nice lunch.
Ben loved my little green chair.  Such a dear little fellow that has grown into a wonderful man.

I was finishing Pigment last night and ran out of the main color!  Arrrgh!  That is frustrating.  The scarf looks great.  I will get another skein, as I am not going to frog the project and re-knit it.  Today before class I want to have the small sample of double-knitting and the illusion circle finished.  Ambitious, but doable! Sample knitting is a constant to prepare for upcoming classes.  My personal projects are waiting...and waiting...

Pigment, color, easy stitching, a bit of shape--what's not to love?

15.5.14

Mom

Happy Mother's Day

This time of year is bittersweet.  I happily celebrate my son, Ben, for making me Mom.  He is the work of art of which I am most proud.  I think about my Mom, Arlene, and her love of her family and her limitless creativity.  My mother-in law, Maxine, was so sweet, kind, and loving and never hesitated to be there for me.  Growing up there was Mrs. Duffy, our neighbor.  She is like a second Mom to me and was a dear friend to my Mom.  I am fortunate to have had these women in my life to nurture and care for and about me.  Their influence in my life have made me a better person.  It takes time to gain wisdom and soldier on through life.  Thank you Mom, Mom Coder, and Mrs. Duffy.  You are and always will be a part of me.  Happy Mother's Day.

Ben and me.  The little chair was mine.  I can remember picking it out when I was not much bigger than him.

8.5.14

Projects and Yarn and Matisse

I have a couple of summer classes coming up at Anoka Fiber Works.   One is for the Felted Amulet Bag and the other is a polymer clay topped shawl stick (no photos yet).  I will post more information soon!

The Amulet Bag is wet felted over a smooth, palm-sized river rock.

Layers of colors are revealed when the rock is removed.
During Rastamania at the shop I was asked to design a one-skein scarfette, so the Snowflake was born.  I used one of my favorite stitch patterns--the star stitch and one skein of Malabrigo Rasta.  


Next is a new class addition, Fjord Rose Wrist Warmers.  The original pattern from Drops does not have the thumb.  I added the thumb to make them into mitts, which is practical for Minnesota weather.  This project is nicely done with five balls of Rowan Fine Tweed.  By changing colorways, I might be able to get a second pair out of the yarn!
Bright colors are cheery and chase away the chill.


I meet so many nice people through knitting.  Becky is one of them.  Sadly, she moved recently and it is nice to be able to stay in touch through social media.  Anyway, while she was downsizing her yarn stash she met me at the coffee shop with a bag full of TWEED!  Lovely yarn in beautiful colors.  What a treat and I will enjoy finding a project to do this yarn justice.


It was fun to arrange the colors on the table.

Recently we had a special visit to the shop.  Sally Melville had classes on Friday and Sunday the end of April.  Bobbi, the shop owner, is on the right.  It was such a treat to meet a knitter I admire and have followed for years.  Her classes were great!

This week I realized that the Matisse exhibit at the MIA was almost over.  I reserved my ticket and made a trip to the museum.  I got a parking spot right in front of the main door.  
The flowers in front were so pretty.

The exhibit was the Cone Collection from Baltimore.  While in Paris, sisters Claribel and Etta Cone visited the studios of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.  They acquired a large collection they displayed in their Baltimore apartments.  The group of Matisse numbers 500.


I think this was my favorite painting.  The pewter jug showed up in a few of his works.  I  particularly like the use of color and pattern in this piece.  

Detail of the Yellow Dress.  Matisse would work and rework some of his paintings.  They look deceptively easy and quickly executed. 

Delicate lines and strong brushstrokes.  The paint on the canvas was more like a wash.

This is a detail of a larger work.  

The last part of the exhibit was the paper collages.  Bold colors and designs.  One cannot help but smile when looking at Matisse!

All that beauty made me hungry.  A cup of hot chocolate and a ginger cookie was the perfect snack.