Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ArtFelt Fun

If you've just downloaded your annual renewal and membership form, you'll notice there is a questionnaire. One of the questions is regarding how often you take mini-workshops and what kinds you would like.

Workshop project made by an AKG member.

Our June mini-workshop was with superstar Karin Skacel. And the workshop wasn't about knitting, but rather was about playing with fiber and getting instant gratification. For those of you who get caught in the holiday gift-making maelstrom, may I suggest you scribble the word "ArtFelt" into the margin of your December day planner page?

Karin brought lots of inventive and beautiful samples. This lovely shawl in browns incorporates commercial ribbon yarn! So you can even use some of your stash in you ArtFelt projects. You can add all sorts of interesting things to your project. Karin had little snippets of yarn that we added to create a speckled lining to our projects. If you have sparkly threads, or even beads or sequins on threads, you could add those to your project to add bling.

Some of the samples Karin brought used fiber in strips to create open spaces -- very modern and deconstructionist! You can be very free and inventive in the shapes and designs you make with ArtFelt. This technique is very much like drawing or painting with fiber. If you layer some of the colors, you can get effects that resemble marble or abstract painting.

Karin did share some important pointers:
  • Keep your fingers away from the felting needles! Sharp! For delicate work, use one needle to hold fibers in place while you stab with the other needle.
  • Use a straight edge to turn over frizzy edges and needle them tidy.
  • Be sure to overlap all the fibers. They felt better that way.
  • Fibers shrink more in length than width. In the striped scarf (below, left), the ruffle formed because the long stripes shrank more than the sideways ruffle.
  • Corollary: Be sure to layer background fibers in both directions so that your project will felt evenly to the desired shape.
In the picture at left, Karin shows us how a properly felted project does have some strength. A finished felted project should hold up over time.

There will be some leftover beginner's kits available for $10 at the July meeting. These would be great to tuck away in your craft closet for those last-minute gifts. Each kit will make a small project, such as a sleeve for an MP3 player or cell phone, as did in the workshop. But you could also make a pocket for circular knitting needles, a tall sleeve for straight or double-pointed needles, or a fold-over for tapestry needles. For non-knitting gifts, you could make a dice bag, a fingernail file sleeve, a pocket-pack for tissues, sunglasses case, photo case (for those who still carry printed photographs), or business card case.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June Show & Tell

My apologies that as your intrepid blogger, I'm a little behind schedule. (There was a vacation involved.) I did want to share some of the photographs from our June meeting, which featured Karin Skacel.
First up, Debra with the Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl in madelinetosh tosh merino light. Debra worked a few extra rows of the repeat to make a larger and lacier shawl. The result is a lace shawl with its own glow.

Diana (on left) is the knitter. Vicki is modeling. This was Lion brand with stainless steel. The cowl/wimple has its own structure, yet is still delicate and romantic. I am thinking this could be a stunning alternative to a bridal veil, especially for a later-in-life second wedding.

Gay Lynn brought her Christmas box. There were many things in it, including several socks from the Skacel 20 years of Trekking knit-along. Gay Lynn reminded us that it is better to have a box of ready knitted gifts just waiting. I've chosen to post the picture of the blanket because we have an intentional pooling knit along this summer, and I think it is nice to take inspiration from someone else's pooling project.

Lois retired last year, which has been just great for those of us who like seeing freshly-knitted lace. I believe she said this latest work had 1700 beads in it.

Karin Skacel brought all sorts of excellent goodies to show off. I thought this yarn, Blick Fang from Zitron, was rather interesting. It is merino with just a hint of nylon, and spun with a lumpy-bumpy texture. The saturated color contributes to the "wow" factor.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Party at the Silos

Elyse and Bill have been wonderful members of Atlanta Knitting Guild for several years. They are nearly always at meetings, bringing us new temptations each month. And Elyse has even served on some committees.

Many of you know that their store, Only Ewe and Cotton Too, has moved to a new location, The Silos Marketplace, 12315 Crabapple Road, Alpharetta, GA 30004. Tomorrow is the Grand Opening celebration! This means a party with refreshments, door prizes, and knitting and crocheting with friends. The new shop has more space and great lighting, which translates to more yarn and good spots for classes. So if you have time tomorrow the 18th, do drop in and congratulate Elyse and Bill on six years in business and a snazzy new location!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Knitters & Women's History

Here's an interesting post about knitters, women's history, and the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Friday, June 10, 2011

World Wide Knit in Public Week

As promised at the beginning of the week, here are some of the local yarn shops that are offering events for World Wide Knit in Public Week. Enjoy these many opportunities!

Inside the Perimeter, Needle Nook is hosting their usual shindig from 11AM - 2PM at Artuzzi's Restaurant. Drinks are provided, and you are welcome to order lunch. There will be door prizes and discounts!

Up north in Alpharetta, Milton, & Crabapple, be sure to check out the new location of Only Ewe and Cotton Too at The Silos. This in the same shopping area as Alpine Bakery. There will be festivities, and probably opportunities to knit great yarn and eat tasty treats!

In East Cobb, Lovin' Knit already has a yarn bombed tree. This shop will also be hosting Knit in Public Day events.

If all else fails, you already know that SEFAA is planning a yarn bombing in Freedom Park near the Carter Center from noon to 3 PM. Or you can just knit in public somewhere and e-mail the evidence to this blog. Happy knitting!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

SEFAA Yarn Bombing

Because our membership year runs from May to May and World Wide Knit in Public Day falls in June, Atlanta Knitting Guild rarely does a coordinated Knit in Public Day. In addition to the many local shops offering festivities, there are a couple options.

The first is that AKG encourages our members to Knit in Public on Saturday 11 June. If you can, take a picture and send it here to We'd love to see where you were and hear about your experiences!

Secondly, our friends at Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance are hosting a yarn bombing in Freedom Park (near the Carter Center) from noon to 3 PM also on 11 June. The information:
Bring small pre-made creations in any fiber technique and/or work on-the-spot.  We'll combine, stir, and stitch together all contributions into a semi-permanent (one month) fiber art installation.  For your comfort, plan on bringing snacks and drinks and chairs/blankets to sit on, sunscreen and bug spray. The spot has shade but no air conditioning.

Meet on the multiuse path near the intersection of Highland Ave and Albion Ave. You can park at the Carter Center. If you come from the Connector and take the Freedom Parkway exit, keep right at the exit for Carter Center/Moreland Ave and exit left for the Center.
If you have any leftover acrylic yarn, this is a great opportunity to use a hardy fiber outdoors!

Come back to the blog on Friday to see a list of the shops participating this year in WWKIP Day.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June Bear

Thank you to Debra who continues to invent new bear clothing designs each month. This one is a lot of fun -- mitered squares! Mitered squares are especially awesome in yarns with a color-change, as the color will pool up in a little square in the corner. You can get the same effect by changing yarns if you prefer to stash-bust. The modular technique allows you to knit a large project on short needles, because you are only working one little section at a time. If you hate counting to over 100, you may really like modular construction. And if you join modules as you knit, there is little weaving in of ends.  Modules can also be addictive, because you think, "I'll knit just one more, then I'll start dinner."  The next thing you know, you are watching the 11 o'clock news and dinner never did get done.

For the bear vest, Debra has you start at the middle of the back and work outward, joining as you go.  You'll need to sew just two tiny seams at the shoulders.  The lapel collar is created simply by folding back the corners of two miters.

A little technical tip on the miters.  Miters are formed by making a double decrease every right-side row in the center of your stitches.  Yes, the center!  You have two choices on how to deal with those three central stitches.  If you are working in garter stitch and want to maintain the horizontal ridges of purls, work the central three stitches as slip 1 knit-wise, knit the next 2 together, pass the slipped stitch over.  This will place the center stitch on the bottom of the stack, with the left stitch in the middle of the sandwich and the right stitch on top.

If, however, you would like to emphasize the miter with a rib of knits running diagonally across your work, work your decrease instead as slip 2 together knit-wise, knit the next stitch, pass the two slipped stitches over.  This is sometimes called a centered double decrease.  This decrease will put the left stitch on the bottom, the right stitch in the middle of the sandwich, and the center stitch on top.  If done in stockinette, you'll get a clear line of knits running across the work.  If done in garter or some other patterned stitch, in order to maintain the miter line you'll need to remember to purl that center stitch in the middle of knitting across on wrong-side rows.

A final note: the shape of mitered squares varies somewhat based on stitch pattern.  If you work in all stockinette, you'll get more of a diamond.  If you work in garter, as Debra has chosen, you'll get squares.  If you choose to play with stitch patterns, be sure to swatch to see what sort of quadrilateral you get.  Many people like this technique in garter ridge stitch, which is two rows stockinette (knit right side, purl wrong side) alternated with two rows garter stitch (knit right side, knit wrong side).  The courses of garter ridges emphasize the unusual construction.  And some people enjoy working in two colors, alternating out and back in one color, then out and back in the other, just carrying the unused color up the side of the work.

Whatever you do, enjoy experimenting with this fun technique!