Thursday, October 31, 2013

Z L-W Strikes Again!

Zabeth has two more lacy shawl designs in the latest issue of Vogue Knitting.

They are stunning.
VOGUE Knitting Holiday 2013, photo by Rose Callahan
Item name: Plum Lace Shawl
Designer: Zabeth Loisel-Weiner
Yarn Information: Zitron/ Skacel Collection Filigran
For sizes: 46"x22" 
Amounts: Filigran 2 hanks in #2508 plum 

VOGUE Knitting Holiday 2013, photo by Rose Callahan
Item name: Turquoise Lace Shawl
Designer: Zabeth Loisel-Weiner
Yarn Information: Classic Elite yarns Silky Alpaca Lace
For sizes: 58"x28"
Amounts: 2 balls Classic Elite Yarns Silky Alpaca Lace in #2049 Lake Chad 

But I really didn't need to even say that, did I?  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Not Faking

At the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, I often hear people say things like, "These are my people."  Or "I feel like I have come home and don't have to explain myself here."  And while I totally understand the sentiment, it is not how I have felt.  No matter how much fun it is, no matter that I eagerly commune with as many wooly friends aka sheep as I can during that one, glorious day (and it is glorious), there is this distance between me and everyone else.  I love knitters and spinners - please do not misunderstand! - but that sense of deep releasing security in the knowledge that there is, in fact, a community of like-minded people to which one wholeheartedly belongs - no.  It isn't there.

You can't fake something like that.  It is like going to church.  For years, I went to church, various churches.  I looked around at the people there and felt jealous.  They all seemed to believe in what they were saying and hearing and singing.  I so wanted to believe too!  But there was this nagging problem, which was that I didn't believe.  Saying those prayers, I could feel - taste - the falseness the instant it came out of my mouth.  There was nothing wrong with what I was saying but I knew that I was faking it.

At Rhinebeck, I always feel, just a little, like a faker.  Sure, I knit and spin and I will roll around naked in a pile of Rambouillet - just point me in the right direction - but I have this little secret:  I don't just do this for the love of it.  I am not satisfied by this.

Honestly, this is not so different from how I feel at various art openings.  I so want to believe that these are my people.  Other artists, right?  We get each other.  But even here, there is that gap...I am not quite one of you.  You see, I have this little secret:  I don't just do this.  I am not satisfied by this.

Throughout this past weekend of events at A Handmade Assembly, I had a new feeling.  A feeling that I couldn't quite articulate until the very last event of the whole Assembly.  It was during the closing remarks, when the two moderators were trying to make some sense of the whole thing, that I realized that, yes, THESE are my people.  We make art.  We make stuff.  We let it ALL in.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Assembly

What this blurry photograph doesn't show, besides just about everything, is that the group who came for my artist talk was really great.  You can kind of get an idea of that by the number of blurry figures who are blurrily crocheting.  They listened politely and they asked great questions, added interesting comments and generally made me feel like it is ok to give an artist talk that is just honest and not about trying to be anything or do anything special.  

What with all that talking and questioning and commenting, we only had a short time for the workshop and a small group of dedicated people who participated.  And that was just exactly right.  They made their own version of Indra's Net using their interactions from the previous 24 hours.  We wove them all together.  

One (of the many) extra bonuses of being part of A Handmade Assembly is that I have been able to take two of the offered workshops.  On Thursday, I did a bookbinding workshop using recycled materials with Sarah Evans.  As I said to Lucy that evening, why don't we do bookbinding more?  It is so fun!  And then - you have a book!   Or, in this case, four books.

On Friday, I did a rug hooking workshop with Alicia Steeves.  Alicia's understated superpowers convinced me that I do, in fact, like rug hooking.  I really like it. 

 And if giving a talk, leading a workshop, and participating in a workshop wasn't enough, I was very generously invited to have supper with one of the other artists involved with the Assembly, Anna Torma.  She lives about 1/2 hr. from Sackville.  It was a gorgeous evening and really nice to have the opportunity to see some of New Brunswick beyond the Trans-Canada Highway.  It was even nicer to spend time with Anna and her husband, Ishvan Zsako, who also is an artist.  

How could you add any more to such an experience? there is the Heart and Pocket Revue, which is a craft sale.  For me, the highlight is to see the very dear Rilla Marshall.  Rilla used to live in Corner Brook, which is where we met, but she has moved back to her home province of PEI.  She makes the most beautiful weavings and is just a beautiful person all around.  Check out her blog here.

And alright already, I did buy a little hand-dyed yarn.  It was on sale!  Sheesh.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I Love Thee, Sackville

We shall not speak of how I arrived in Sackville, New Brunswick.  Suffice to say, I arrived.  And a lovely drive it was too.

I arrived to attend and participate in A Handmade Assembly, the event for which I was the online Artist in Residence this past month.  You can read all about it over here.

Sackville is home to Mt. Allison University and to Struts Gallery and Artist-run Centre.  Struts is the presenter of the Assembly and my AiR host.  I had the good fortune to be invited to be part of the inaugural Assembly back in 2011.  That year, we dashed in and dashed out but this time I am soaking up all that is on offer.  

Most of the events are being held in the Sackville Royal Canadian Legion Hall.  It is wonderful on so many levels.  From the outside signage... the paneled staircase... the regalia... the picture of Her Majesty (one of two).

Then, there is the minimalist settings at Mel's Tea Room for supper.  I don't need no stinkin' knife.  Or spoon.  Or napkin.  C'mon, man up!

And, also this sign seen in the entryway of Jack's Pizza.

Thanks for your understanding.

PS.  I will be giving an artist talk tomorrow morning at 10 am and leading a workshop/project at 11 am at the aforementioned Legion Hall, so please come if you can!  On Saturday, I will be selling some yarn along side many wonderful artists and craftspeople at the Heart and Pocket Revue.  Please stop by, especially if your drive is less than 12 hours.

Monday, October 21, 2013

World Domination, One Spinner at a Time

Rhinebeck was...well...Rhinebeck.  As always, my attention was directed towards the sheep.  Yeah, yeah, I may have purchased a small amount of Icelandic fleece from my favourite Icelandic fleece seller but shopping isn't really my thing - it is a bit too much of a feeding frenzy for my taste.  Communing with our wooly friends, however, is.  There was the sweetest little, black Shetland who was content to have her face scratched all day and I was content to do it.  No photo of her, but here are a few others...


Sheep in jackets.

There also were goats.

The fabulous sheep shearing guy.

Possibly the most beautiful Rambouillet fleece ever.  I coveted it but it was a display fleece so my covetous ways were not fulfilled.

Not sure if it was being around all those sheep that did it, but I suddenly have found myself plunged into fleecy goodness since returning home.  I received an order for some carded batts to sell at St. John's newest yarn store (hooray!! not sure if they have a website yet but I will link if/when they do).  I wasn't totally sure when I might get a moment to make them up before heading to Sackville, but some how, some way, I managed to make a bunch (quite nice too, if you ask me), package them up and - here's the real kicker - mail them off in less than 24 hours.  My sense of self-righteous glory marches forward unchecked.

But wait!  There's more!

Today, while I wasn't mailing packages to St. John's, I was teaching a spinning workshop to a group of homeschoolers, ages 5 to 13.  An awesome group!  Maybe it is because my kids' eyes glaze over as soon as the words "spinning workshop" are mentioned that it was so thrilling to be around a group of kids who are jazzed about wool and spinning.  I started the workshop by asking if anyone was wearing clothes (I like them to think about how much effort goes into making a set of clothes by hand - they usually have a new appreciation by the end of the workshop after they have given the spindle a go).  In this case, everyone raised their hand but they did it in total sincerity.  Could there be anything more beautifully heart breaking?  Me, miss!  I am!  Hooray - we were ALL wearing clothes!  And in our clothes, we all learned to spin.  I think I converted at least three of them.

It is a slow way to world domination, but it's a way nonetheless.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Interlude or Maybe Not

Well, yes, actually it is.  But blogging about it doesn't have to be, right?  On Rhinebeck Eve (as someone coined it), let's talk a little about yarn.

This is some recycled silk made into yarn that was given to me by the blogless Janine on a recent visit.  Have I ever mentioned how she also travels - by plane - from Wisconsin with three dozen eggs from her hens?  And never an accident (yet).  This time, however, the airport security person made a joke about the rule against carrying "shells" in her luggage.  Gotta love a TSA person with a sense of humour.  Anyway, this is the silk yarn she also carried with her.  I immediately put it in a jar of my marigold dye and let it stay there for two weeks.  It is a little pale because I didn't mordant it first but I kind of like it.  I might pop it in an indigo pot for a light green...yummy.

This also came from Wisconsin and Janine.  Her friend raised the sheep, sheared the sheep, processed the wool, dyed the wool and carded the batt.  Whew!  I spun it up into a thin single and chain plied it.   Gorgeous!  Janine knows that I love blue so mine were the right hands to put it in.  It is such a precious skein - so much love in that little guy.

Alright, so maybe this post also is all about relationship too.  But, you know, this time with yarn.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

An Online Artist in Residence Exists Where Exactly?

In case you are not so tempted to see what is happening at the "A Handmade Assembly" blog, perhaps I can lure you there with a couple of photographs of the piece.

My biggest realization is so far that been that I (possibly) communicate with people way too much.

If you want to see more, then click, click click!