Archive for fiber art

Geek is the New Chic: Yarn Theory in Practice

Posted in Fiber Friday, Knitting with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Growing up, when I heard the word “knitting” I thought of those haloed, plastic-feeling acrylic baby blankets, old ladies in rocking chairs, and the world’s most unflattering sweaters.  If you know enough to have found this blog, chances are you know the needle arts have come a long way.

Not only do we now have thousands of  amazing patterns available for funky clothing, accessories, and even lingerie, but we have BODY PARTS (just in time for Valentine’s Day)!

And in line with our total geekiness, I am writing today about one of my very own LYSs (that’s Local Yarn Store for people like me who are new to the lingo) whose name comes from the field of physics.  Yarn Theory in Bedford, Virginia, owned and operated by Jan Mosely.

The LYS is beginning to take the place of the coffee klatch, girls’ night out, and other forms of therapy.  Yarn Theory is no exception.  Every Thursday evening from 6 pm to 8 pm you can find anywhere from two to twelve knitters seated in the comfortable conversation area in the middle of the store.  The store itself is situated in downtown Bedford, in an old house with a lovely wrap-around porch.

Jan personally welcomes people to the store, which is soothingly tidy and homey.  She seems an unlikely candidate for a yarn store owner, as a former physics major (yes, she graduated), but she joined the cult of the knit and never looked back.

I figured I would pose the same question to her that I posted last week here – where is the strangest place you’ve ever knit?

Like many of you, she didn’t think it was all that strange that she knitted on the TGV (a high-speed train through France).  But when I asked her the oddest item she ever created – well, it puts Baby’s First DNA Model to shame.

While studying physics in college Jan handed in an assignment that included her interpretation of the origin of the universe.  Knitted.  She says it was many-colored, and had a series of ever enlarging triangles in a spiral.  The end was, of course, unfinished (whew!).  I would love to post a picture, but she left it there.  In fact, it was on display at Loyola University in New Orleans for a time, and for all she knows it still is.

While there, I of course fondled every single yarn in the place.  She keeps some Mmmmmmalabrigo, Auracania, some really gorgeous sock yarns, some specialty bling yarns, and some super reasonably priced wool in a great assortment of colors and a variety of weights.  There are really tons of others, but I’m so addicted to Malabrigo Worsted I had a hard time walking away.  As for her favorite yarn, Jan says, “Whatever I want to work on next is my favorite yarn, not necessarily what I’m working on now.”

If you are anywhere near the Lynchburg, Bedford, or Roanoke areas, her store is definitely worth the trip.  If for no other reason than being in a store with such a great, geeky name.

And so you know, I have no affiliation with Yarn Theory or its owner, nor is this a paid advertisement; I just wanted to highlight a local business.

Jan shares tips and techniques with Teresa

Jan shares tips and techniques with Teresa

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Wooly Goodness Everywhere

Posted in Fiber Friday with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2008 by Ms. Ex

I have declared Fridays “Fiber Fridays,” and in keeping with that theme I wish to point you in the direction of this lady, who is a master at finding great sweaters to use for all kinds of projects.  I am envious of her scavenging abilities, but it seems she lives in a bigger area than I so maybe it’s easier.  Her blog includes adorable projects she’s made for herself and her family, and my hat is off to her.  She hand sews some of them!

I have been in a sewing frenzy, and I can’t seem to keep things in my shop (actually, shops) very long.  The more I search etsy, the more ideas I get and the more strongly I believe we should not be making very many “new” things when there is so much incredible fabric languishing in thrift stores.  Last night I walked away with five, FIVE cashmere sweaters and one gorgeous silk blouse destined for I-don’t-know-what yet.

This time of year, when the catalogs start pouring in, I start to feel even more disgust for our throw-away culture.  It’s not that I don’t ever buy new.  I am known to attack Old Navy to buy $1.49 shirts for my kids.  But that’s just it – they can really sell those things for $1.49?  What are they made of, that cornstarch stuff like packing peanuts?  Will they dissolve in water?

(stepping down from soapbox)

Anyway, I would just encourage you to think outside the box store this year.  Think a whole sweater’s worth of incredibly scrumptious yarn that costs $3.50 because it’s from a Goodwill sweater.  Think decadent pillows made from silk blouses.  Think sweet stuffed toys that don’t contain phthalates or lead paint.

I’m no enviro-freak. I like to think I’m practical and logical (when it comes to this, anyway).  And this year, I am keeping it simple. I’m keeping it handmade.

Disclaimer:  Yes, I understand that we need to pump money into our economy right now more than ever. I am, after all, a capitalist at heart.  That discussion, however,  is beyond the scope of this blog, although that might not keep me from posting about it later anyway.

Like I Need Another Hole in My Head…

Posted in Fiber Friday with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2008 by Ms. Ex

Another hobby. Yes indeedy, that’s what I have found. Instead of figuring out where to bring my son for the therapy he needs, or addressing the fact that my daughter skipped two classes yesterday, I decided to make nuno felt. Because, you know, nothing says “good mother” like using craftastic sublimation.

But seriously – the whole rolling / felting process is grueling and makes a great outlet for anger, tension and fear, all while giving me kickass sculpted shoulders. What could be better than that? Of course, I just started doing this, so the sculpted shoulders aren’t quite visible beneath the layers of fat yet, but give me time! As with anything else, I intend to go balls out full speed ahead with this for a while then peter out and replace it with another void-filling obsession activity.

I found this simple felt making tutorial on flickr and adapted it to my own needs. It works beautifully, and is not as imprecise as I thought it might be. My results were lovely (this was the neighborhood ladies’ consensus), as you can see here. I am amazed at the possibilities – with some flimsy silk gauze from Dharma Trading and roving from our own Sedalia Center Fiber Festival I dyed and manipulated until I had this colorful piece. The wonders of modern technology.