Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Franklin Habit is coming to Common Cod Fiber Guild!

Franklin Habit
In July, on the weekend of the 11-13, Common Cod Fiber Guild is excited to welcome Franklin Habit to speak and teach! Franklin will be teaching four classes, with each class capped at twenty. There are still seats available, but they are going quickly. Go to the Common Cod Event Brite page to sign up for classes, each class will be priced at $80, $75 for Guild Members. Please be sure to read the class description carefully, as Franklin has a list of materials you are expected to bring with you for each class. Come prepared!!
Chatting with Franklin at Squam Lake Arts Festival, June 2013
 Friday, July 11
7-9 PM Franklin will speak to the Guild, topic to be announced soon

Mrs. Roosevelt's Mittens, Knitty 2009
Saturday, July 12
10 AM-1 PM Working with Antique and Vintage Patterns
Do you read Knitty, the free, online magazine? If you do, you may have read Franklin's Stitches in Time feature of antique patterns that he has decoded and translated into working formats for today's knitters. This class help you to navigate the language and tools to create your own nostaglic handiwork.
(As of Sunday, April 6, there are 10 tickets available for this class).

Princess Franklin cowl, free Knitty pattern
2-5 PM Knitted Plaid
Go have a look at this, Princess Franklin, a free pattern, designed by Franklin. In the class the topics discussed will include selecting colors, and the technique of making a knitted plaid cowl that can be further accented by colors of your family or school.
(As of Sunday, April 6, there are 11 tickets available for this class).

Image imported from
10 AM- 1 PM Photographing Your Fiber
This very popular class will help you to create the best conditions to capture the beauty and color of your yarn and finished projects.You will learn the basics of lighting, color and composition along with styling tips and making a simple light box.
(As of Sunday, April 6, there are 9 tickets available for this class).

Scrolls by Alice Starmore, large example of tessellations.
2-5 PM Knitting Tessellations 
Perhaps you are interested in Knitting Tessellations? Wait, you say, wait just a second.... what do you mean tessellation? I  Googled images of knitted tessellations, go have a look around. A tessellation is a repeated shape that is connected, think Escher but in fiber. Franklin will teach you about the technique and get you started on your own journey into creating a unique piece.
(As of Sunday, April 6, there are 9 tickets available for this class).

We are so pleased to have Franklin come to speak and to teach. If you aren't a follower of his blog, go to The Panopticon to read his humorous views on knitting and the fiber community. And be sure to sign up for a class soon! Bring a friend!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Project Bags, KnittinginBeantown Etsy shop

Louisburg Square, small
Louisburg Square, medium
Louisburg Square Arc
I have been sewing project bags and selling them in my Etsy shop. I started with some of the novelty fabrics that are so popular in the Etsy market, but friends at the Virginia Beach Retreat advised me to consider using more of a carpet-bag style fabric and shape. I have been lurking in my local fabric stores, searching for patterns and colors that appeal to me. I have had success with decorator fabrics.

When I say decorator fabrics, I mean to include things you might use for drapery or light to heavy upholstery. The body or drape of the material is stiffer so it doesn't require the addition of interfacing and the sheen is more lustrous than the typical quilter's cotton fabric. Above are three size bags in the same fabric. The bags are great for organizing your knitting or they can be used for cosmetics or keeping other small items together in a bigger tote bag. I have had such fun pairing fabrics with linings and zipper pulls.  Do you have a craft that makes you happy?

Louisburg Square, small
Louisburg Square, large
Louisburg Square Arc
These bags are all in the same sizes as the Red Dot fabric above. The largest, the Louisburg Square Arc easily holds three skeins of Cascade Sock yarn with room for your knitting and a few notions. The fabric has a shine to it and it has enough body to stand open easily.

Louisburg Square, small
Louisburg Square Arc
This criss cross fabric has less stiffness and more drape that the other fabrics shown. You can see the golden lining which makes for a nice contrast with the exterior fabric. The yarn shown for scale are two skeins of Cascade Heritage sock yarn and a cake of Cascade Silk.

The photos above show the results of my searching for fabrics that might appeal to men who knit. I do know a number of men in my guild who knit and I often wonder if the fabrics would be an option they would consider? I think the fabrics have a certain urban appeal, many of the bags could easily serve a dual purpose as a clutch.
Louisburg Square, small
Rowes Wharf, small available in two color ways
Rowes Wharf, large
Well, I did succumb to whimsy; this fabric made me think of JuniperGrace. She had a phone accessory that featured Hello Kitty when I met her in Maine and Hello Kitty on Hot Wheels seems so cool. The lining fabric is printed with balls of yarn, perfect together, right? The tallest bag is able to hold four skeins of Brown Sheep Bulky, so a sweater project or a large shawl would easily fit in this bag.

Periodically I will share new bags and fabrics with as I update the shop. If you see a bag you like but you want it in a different fabric, I can do custom orders (if I have the fabric available). You can PM me at Ravelry where my username is 19VesperStreet, or message me directly on the Etsy shop. Thanks for looking, give me feedback if you'd like.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Escape to the Cape with Northampton Wools

Each year, Linda Daniels, owner of Northampton Wools, hosts a knitting retreat on Cape Cod. Last year I went, and met in person my previously virtual friend Julie/Inky077. Since then, Julie and I have traveled to and enjoyed a number of knitting retreats. On this trip, we stayed at the Hampton Inn in West Yarmouth, MA and learned some color theory and double knitting. Here a long view of the hallway, I do so love staying in hotels!

A view down the long hotel hallway. I do love the repetition!
On the agenda for the weekend were classes with Gail Callahan on color theory using her Color Grid tool.  We also worked on the technique of double knitting with Linda on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday Gail had a large array of yarns displayed from her Poet Seat collection. This yarn is a 50/50 superwash merino/silk blend. The merino fiber lends softness and the silk allows for the saturation of deep hues. Also on display were a number of accessories Linda had knit up in the Poet Seat fiber, with copies of the patterns for us to take.

Fingerless Mittens by Petra Strickt
Gale Callahan lives in Western Massachusetts and dyes for her own company Kangaroo Dyer, as well as for WEBS. (Here is a link to the Etsy shop). Her Poet Seat line of yarn is a palette of saturated jewel tones, the skeins are variegated with hues that create a pop of color excitement.

Kangaroo Dyer's Poet Seat Yarn
More Poet Seat Yarn
The first night was an evening of snacks, beverages. There were tables displayed with Kangaroo Dyer yarns and hand dyed silk scarves. There were also Color Grid pamphlets displayed; I got one to use for the color theory lesson that Gale was going to talk about.

Age of Brass and Steam Shawl and the Color Grid
The discussion of color included first memories of color and the effects of color on mood. As we learned more about the color theory, Gail had us create a line of circles that we colored in according to a formula that gave us the blended hues of the rainbow. We used watercolor paper and pencils that when sketched with and dampened, created a controlled watercolor.

The notations of numbers and letters equaled how many quarters of the circle were filled with color.
This is the same grid after water was painted over the circles. The diamond was made by using all primary colors.
Some of my classmates seemed surprised or puzzled by the exercise, I was eager to hear more about Gail's dyeing techniques and where she finds inspiration. There is a short video that tells a bit about the growth of the Gail's dyeing adventures. Gail will be teaching two classes in fiber dyeing in Greenfield, MA this June and August, go here to read more.

So, maybe you are wondering how the color theory has affected me in my knitting planning? I do have some long range plans to look through my stash, and using the Color Grid theory, make Ann Weaver's Alber's Cowl. Alber's Cowl is a play with color sort of pattern, easy garter stitch but with the potential to become a favorite accessory.

Alber's Cowl by Ann Weaver
I had never tried double knitting before, though I knew of its potential, thanks to Alasdair Post-Quinn's designs. Alasdair is the former president of Common Cod Fiber Guild and he has shared with us the evolution of his designs at meetings and through classes. One of my favorite designs might be within reach if I practice the skills I learned at the retreat. Corvus is a free pattern and one of Alasdair's most popular, it is a long scarf featuring a raven.

Here is the sample of my work. I wished I had chosen different yarn, but I did learn a new technique and color work at the same time! I will try again!

Narrow cowl with a flower motif, not my best work. =/
For those of you interested in reading more about double knitting, check out Alasdair's book, Extreme Double Knitting or his Craftsy class.

So again I implore you to consider going to a knitting retreat, bring a friend or meet new friends. I have been on four different trips and each time I come home feeling bereft of the company of knitters and those people who can relate to my need to knit All The Things.

Poet Seat, Golden Crest
Poet Seat, Atlantis
Another fun part of retreats would be the stash enhancement! Here are photos of my Poet Seat fiber. I am in search of the best pattern, probably a shawl or a cowl. I think I will use them together, they compliment each other so well, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Knitting Icelandic Sweaters, Fiber Camp 2014

Yoke of an Icelandic Sweater
Icelandic sweaters hold magical powers, at least in my estimation. They are colorful, cozy and so warm. A traditional Icelandic sweater is knit in the round with a circular yoke of stranded colorwork. The yarn used is known as lopi and comes from Icelandic sheep. There are two types of wool in this yarn, wind hairs and fleece. The wind hairs help repel water and the fleece is very effective insulation because it contains more air as it is not spun. If you'd like to read more and view many delicious sweaters, check out "The Iconic Icelandic: Past and Present" by Pam Peterson.

I love the colors in this sweater.
Intro to Icelandic sweaters, taught by Louise Harrison-Lepera, was one of the classes I took at Fiber Camp. I love these sweaters and so long to go to Iceland one day. The class was definitely tempting in the casting on of sweaters and saving up the dollars to eventually go to this magical place. The sweater above is one that Louise made for her husband after the family visited Iceland last August. This yarn is soft and lightweight but it has insulating qualities worthy of the cold Iceland temperatures.

Louise informed us that the Lopi yarn is very affordable and can be ordered from the Alafoss Wool store or Webs. The colors range from many shades of natural colors, to brightly dyed hues. Or if you aren't a knitter, you can order a sweater online or check out eBay. My daughter brought back Lopi yarn in shades of ice blue and deep burgundy when she went to Iceland two years ago. I haven't used it yet, I need to find the right project or order more to make a sweater.

Girl's sweater
Another sample Louise passed around was this colorful sweater she made for her daughter. It looks like a bowl of jelly beans! I confess I dropped the ball and did not get Louise's Ravelry name, but as soon as I do I will add links to her project pages so you can see which patterns she used.

Details of the colorwork
The other sweater shown in this class was made for her son and he has worn it throughout this cold long winter, forgoing a jacket as he swears the sweater is warmer. The skull and cross bones and the warmth of the wool are a cool balance between tough and cuddly. (I have been searching Ravelry for this pattern and so I must ask you to trust I will add it as soon as I find it. Unfortunately, my SD card maxed out during class and I did not get a photo. Forgive me?)

Later this week I will post about another Fiber Camp class taught by Julia Farwell-Clay, the Terrors of Intarsia.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cowichan Sweaters, a talk by Julia Farwell-Clay

Basic Salish Indian Sweater, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts
Fiber Camp Friday!!!!!!
The Guild is ever so grateful for Julia's contributions to the Fiber Camp weekend of events. Julia presented her informative lecture on Cowichan knitting, she taught a number of classes, and rounded up a clutch of her designer friends to model their knitwear in Saturday's Fashion Show.

Julia, wearing her Tacoma sweater.
Last Friday, Julia Farwell-Clay spoke to members and guests of the Common Cod Fiber Guild, kicking off the Guild's Fifth Annual Fiber Camp. Julia spoke about the history of the Salish People of British Columbia and the evolution of the Cowichan sweater. She shared images, stories, and sweaters she has collected.

The Cowichan sweater is knit in the round from a bulky, single ply yarn and is known for having a collared front closure with a zipper or buttons, and features bands of geometric and nature based images. Some designs sport a central image of an animal. (See Briggs and Little #5008 Canadian Pride 2010 for a free pattern). If you like to collect obscure knitting books, look for Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Salish Indian Sweaters, but know that this book is out of print; you'll have to do some detective work at your library in the hopes of tracking it down.  Julia has a number of pattern designs which were inspired by this style of knitting, including Tacoma and Fox Love.

Julia began the evening by sharing the tale of her dad and his "winter coat". They lived in a cold region of British Columbia and her dad chose to wear a Cowichan style sweater, never an overcoat. Over the many years that they lived in that climate, she recalled he wore it even in the coldest of weather. When it wasn't being worn, it was relegated to the basement, thanks to the distinctive odor. Just before retiring to Florida, the family had a ceremonial burial of the sweater in the backyard, it was that revered. Cowichan sweaters are truly the durable, insulating and dependable outerwear to choose.

The history of Salish knitting began before the arrival of European settlers. The Salish people used the wool of mountain goats and dog hair and organic materials to spin wool which was woven into thick blankets. These blankets were a form of currency; the number of blankets owned was a direct correlation to one's standing in the community. The Salish traded blankets for goods with people outside their tribe.

When the European settlers moved into the area, they brought sheep and a desire to domesticate and convert the Salish people. One group of nuns taught the women to knit, and women and children began to process more wool and created socks and mittens, and later, underwear and sweaters. These garments provided a source of income for the families. Eventually the Cowichan sweater became a distinctive style.

The samples of Cowichan sweaters that Julia brought were densely knit, with probably 3-4 stitches to the inch. The samples of Fox Love and Tacoma are knit with softer, less dense yarns and the drape creates a more flattering silhouette. Please visit Julia's Ravelry pattern page. Add some of these sweaters to your Queue and Favorites tabs as a way to show your appreciation of this tradition of knitting.