Archive for the ‘fiber arts’ Category


Mr. DeMille? I'm ready for my close-up.

It’s been a great Christmas, even though it was nothing like the Christmas celebration we had originally planned. Before I started packing up for home this morning, I spent an hour on the floor of my son’s office going through some old family photo albums.  Turns out there’s a good reason why I spend so few days lounging about in my pajamas.

I like fancy.


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Phase one of the Mother’s Day Project, launched in April 2007, is complete.  Cross-posted with additional details at the MDP website.

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Confessions of a Bad Blogger

What? I have a blog?

Contrary to the privately expressed concerns of TW readers who fall into the category of “lurkers,” I continue to walk amongst you in my usual shadowy, stick-to-the-peripheral way. In other words, I see you. I feel your deep angst and concern. I don’t care.

Well, I care a little.

I care more about my job – which I love, but like most objects of affection can become a monster from time to time, requiring unwavering focus and soothing discipline.

I care more about creating things with dye, fabric, wax and thread. I care more about knitting – as in, must knit every single day. And, as this bitter spring refuses to cough-up a single spot of daffodil yellow, even scattering snow last night like salt on an open wound, I care more about creating color than I do about writing.

So, if you’re still with me, here is what I would have blogged about, but didn’t, during the past month:

  • the color blue
  • the wrongness of Timothy Geithner
  • the sublime-ness of Michelle Obama
  • that kitten in the Sarah McLachlan commercial
  • my anti-affair with Che
  • a new shoe moratorium
  • why I need to go to New Mexico

I know!  You feel cheated, and probably a bit surly.  Sorry, but I have to run.  I just received an email from Senator Al Franken, my coffee cup is empty and I have to order that Japanese knitting book from amazon-japan (and figure out the exchange rate for dollars to yen).   Sayonara, grasshoppers.

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The uninhabitable planet of my brain has recently spun itself off into a totally new orbit. There were memorable stops along the way, like this island where I spent a week:

and these new, inspiring and creative friends (who also happened to share the island with me and my brain)

and, we had a lot of fun with melted wax, fabric and dye pots, in a setting out of some Jamie Wyeth painting complete with bluebirds, spotted fawns, a full moon and island breezes

naturally, one island isn’t enough, so there was this island where Greatest Husband hiked with me

and a rocking fish boil to celebrate the end of seven perfect days

before returning home to:

  • welcome beloved family members from Denmark with their two new babies
  • pack and move my office (yes, I do have a pesky job)
  • pack and fly to STL for a reunion weekend, a bar mitzvah and to set a personal record of number of consecutive parties attended over the course of four days (to say nothing of the chocolate buzz that is still curling my toes from Sunday brunch at the Ritz – omg, they actually let people like me into the Ritz)
  • return home, but not before spending six hours in the STL airport and having my first experience being frisked in the airport security “pit” FUN!

But, my brain’s course is still a bit wobbly and this post is only a light beam. I’ve already moved six billion light years further along, so don’t get used to seeing much new material here. I’m off to another continent just as soon as I get the laundry done – one so far away the sun never sets there.

If you can zero-in on my coordinates as I pass over your town, you’re welcome to help me celebrate my birthday on Thursday. There will be cake, beignets and iced coffee – and I’ll be staying far away from black holes.

We’ll have an interstellar gas of a good time.

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Post Party Blues

What a mess. I may never get all the English Monkey out of the carpet. And, what’s with the underpants I found in the ice bucket? People, you weren’t even supposed to be wearing underpants. Keffiyehs ONLY.


With the weekend fast slipping away, it was time to really immerse myself in the blues. The real blues. Indigo, baby. Armed with three yards of washed, unbleached muslin and a small silk scarf, I set out to mess around with indigo dye and kakishibui , just to see what might happen.

Check it out.

Properly prepared, the indigo dye pot looks like a witch’s cauldron. The top is dark blue, bubbly and scummy where the dye meets the oxygen in the air. The water beneath, however, is a clear, limey green color.

I prepared the muslin for the dye pot while it was still damp from washing to remove any sizing in the fabric. Adopting a shibori technique, I bound Lake Superior stones into the fabric and secured them with copper wire. Then, I accordion-pleated the whole thing together, wrapped it with more wire and ended up with this bundle to dip into the indigo.

Here is the bundle after about ten minutes, being lifted out of the pot. You can see that the initial color is more green than blue. It is the exposure to the air that will turn the dye blue.

Oxidation has taken place in this picture where I am in the process of unwrapping the stones.

Here is the entire piece of fabric stretched out to dry before I retie it for a dip into a bath of kakishibui.

The kakishibui coats the fabric (it is not a dye so it doesn’t penetrate the fibers) with a pinkish-brown color that will darken over time. It also deepens the indigo hues.

I couldn’t be happier, even with underpants in my ice bucket.

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A weekend of minus temperatures inspired me to stay warm by cooking up a dye pot of indigo blue. The original dye project was some fabric I’m going to use for The Mother’s Day Project, but, because a good dye pot should never go to waste, I now have a lot of items dyed indigo blue.

I can’t show you everything, because I’m hoping some of the items will become part of a larger gift project for someone who regularly reads this blog. But, with a still full pot of blue, I grabbed a skein of wool from my stash – some handspun, hand dyed cotswold in bright, limey green, purchased in Maine two summers ago – and did this to it:

I used a roll of velcro plant support tape to bind and separate the skein for resist dyeing, not having any idea whether this technique would work or not.

The end result, now hanging to dry:

I’m thinking of a small tote bag, knit up in a firm linen stitch with some sections of paper and fabric collage . . .

Then it was time to settle into my living room nook in front of the fireplace and work on this mitten project while practicing lines from the Idiot Savant’s Guide to Football. By the end of the game, I had this to show:

which is considerably more than the home team could claim in the way of accomplishment. A pity since I was already composing (in my head) a special Super Bowl edition of the Idiot Savant’s Guide.

And, lest you think I exaggerate the excesses of fan-dom hereabouts, consider this: A lead NPR story on our local affiliate this morning included an interview with a professor of psychology giving tips to fans on how to deal with their devastating disappointment and manage to find a way to go on living.

I kid you not.

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It’s been awhile, but this blog has been known to rant political for long, long stretches. Remember the ThreadingWater tagline? “knitting and politics, together at last?” Well, the knitting side is demanding equal time.

And, that’s kinda funny because there hasn’t been a whole lot of knitting going on at ThreadingWater. The summer cotton sweater languishes beside an unfinished black scarf in a combination of knitting & crochet that I really, really like, but can’t seem to focus on long enough to complete.

I love seeing the emergence of fair isle as a popular fashion choice this season. It warms my homesick Scandinavian heart and makes my fingers nearly itch to pick up the needles, choose some fab colors and jump into the pot. Maybe that’s why I was so excited to get into Susanna Hansson’s class at Madrona in February. Susanna teaches an intarsia in the round technique, an irresistible magnet for knitting geeks.

The big problem is that I’m stuck on looping. Take a look at what I’ve been playing around with these past weeks.

That’s right. Colinette Point 5. Finally, a way to show off its texture and saturated color without the bulk.

Looping technique would allow me to fill-in those holes you see in the upper photo, but I like the open look.

I have some design ideas for this looping and Point 5 combination, but first I need to deconstruct the awful sweater I made with this yarn about five years ago. And, let me tell you, it’s been a slog.

Why? Because in order to keep the colors from pooling, I knit this thing by constantly switching between two balls of yarn – a process that makes unraveling a slow, methodical hell. So far, I figure I’ve spent four hours on it and I’ve only managed to tear apart the front and a small part of one sleeve.

But, what really intrigues me about this looping thing is how versatile it is. So far, I’ve been working in waxed linen – some of which I’ve hand painted – copper and silver wire, thread and yarn. It’s easily combined with beads, and I’m going to try working it around some Siberian Iris leaves that I have drying in the basement for a three-dimensional and very textured look.

At this point, I’m still playing with it – getting the feel for tensioning and practicing different stitch techniques.

I don’t know. Should I change my tagline to, “looping and politics . . . ?”

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