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May. 3rd, 2015

purple socks


Mirrored from String Notes.

I’m only writing this once.

Apr. 5th, 2015

purple socks

And now we are two

Mirrored from String Notes.

My babies are two today!


It seems like just yesterday they were tiny and cute. Now they’re large and gorgeous.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Apr. 1st, 2015

purple socks

Welcome to town

Mirrored from String Notes.

Hi April! Welcome to town, lovely to see you again. Oh, yeah, March, the door is that way. Don’t let it hit you on the way out.

April, my dear friend! I missed you! Look, I got you flowers!


Or maybe you got me flowers. It’s so hard to tell. It’s all good, and thanks for melting that snow from yesterday. March was being such a pain.


I’m working on some flowers for your friend May. I’ll share them with you too, if you’re nice enough. Not the tomatoes, though, or the peppers. You’re wonderful, but a bit too fickle for those sensitive types.


I’ve definitely got some peas for you, and lettuce. Spinach too, just as soon as you warm up a tiny bit more. I saw you were still considering snow; I blame March’s bad influence. I know you’re stronger than that: don’t listen!

Anyway, I’m glad to see you. Really, really glad. I hope you’re settling in well. Let’s get together soon for drinks, maybe some food, and definitely more flowers. I see those daffodil shoots you’ve got hiding over there, you know. Looking forward to them.

Feb. 10th, 2015

purple socks

Sticks and string

Mirrored from String Notes.

In the distant future: I just submitted four class proposals for the PA Fiber ArtsFest in September. I taught at the first one two years ago, and was on the schedule for last year but had to cancel for health reasons. I hope they let me come back; I haven’t been teaching nearly enough.

      Proposal 1: Card Weaving for Anyone (Half-day)
      Proposal 2: Fingerloop Braiding (Half-day)
      Proposal 3: Ply-split Braiding (Half-day)
      Proposal 4: Sticks and String: Weaving with Minimal Equipment (Half-day)

That last is a new one. I’ve written about it here before but not taught it hands-on. But I just got the wonderful new book Norwegian Pick-up Bandweaving by Heather Torgenrud, and it has reignited my enthusiasm for that particular textile technique, including my desire to do it with the least possible equipment.

See, everything you really need to weave these bands is available at an office supply store: a box of unsharpened pencils, a package of rubber bands, a ball of twine, and two bulldog clips. I’m still working on the best low-equipment warping method, but I have time to figure that out.

I’ve started a new Flickr album for band photos, though there isn’t much there yet.

One of my great enthusiasms is getting people interested in weaving without forcing them to purchase complicated expensive equipment. Another is the way skill of hands and equipment complexity can be interchanged. And look: they overlap right here, in pick-up band weaving. Perfect!

Feb. 5th, 2015

purple socks

Yarnbombing and manuscripts

Mirrored from String Notes.

I have an enormous backlog of links and neat things, but wanted to get a couple of them out quickly.

The knitting group I’ve been a member of for some years has been engaged in a charity yarn-bombing project, and this has been noticed. Fun!

I’m taking a free online course thru Stanford University called “Digging Deeper: Making Manuscripts.” It’s on week three, but you can still sign up. I just did, and blew through the first three weeks in an afternoon. Fascinating stuff! I haven’t hit much new to me yet, but I like getting to hear and see the experts talk about and handle the books.

Jan. 28th, 2015

purple socks

Warm woolies

Mirrored from String Notes.

I’ve belonged to the knitting group at Schlow Public Library since its formation five or six years ago. We’ve always done a little bit of knit/crochet to give away – afgans, mostly, and some of our members do other things.

This winter I proposed yarn-bombing Downtown Eugene Brown, the statue outside the library and the CATA bus office, and the crocheting Sarah quickly chimed in with an even better idea: charity yarn-bombing! We’re knitting cold-weather gear and dressing Eugene with scarves and such bearing tags that say “Cold? Take me! – the Schlow Knitters.” The first scarf went to someone who even thanked the library for it, and I took another batch down today.


A lot of the chitchat about this project has taken place on twitter (where else can you talk to a library and a statue about warm woolies?), so let me share with you today’s conversation.

twitter screenshot

@phiala: Doesn’t @DTEugeneBrown look toasty in his new scarves and mitts? @schlowlibrary

twitter screenshot

@schlowlibrary: BIG THANKS to the #KnittingClub!

@DTEugeneBrown: Thank you, @phiala & @schlowlibrary knitters! You’ve warmed me all the way to my toes. #yarnbomb #RandomActsOfKindness

@phiala: @DTEugeneBrown I hope you and a few other people are toastier. We will try to keep them coming. @schlowlibrary

@DTEugeneBrown: #ManOfBronze will be here waiting! @phiala @schlowlibrary @CATABUS

twitter screenshot

@schlowlibrary: #SchlowKnitters #StrategicKnitwear has all found new homes as of 4pm today. :) #RandomActsOfKindness @phiala @DTEugeneBrown

So much fun! There are more things on the way; I’ll keep a tally (so far 3 scarves and a pair of mitts) and keep you posted.

Dec. 25th, 2014

purple socks

Wonderful things

Mirrored from String Notes.

Such things!

The Eddic Poem of the Vikinges Who Do Go Berserk

Oon Vikinge, al aloon
Carveth a bynde-rune on a bone.

Two Vikinges heed the calle
And steer their longshippes to hys halle.

God-night, Rune“: An Old English Translation
Cassandra Rasmussen

Goodnight, Rune. Goodnight, Stone.
Goodnight to the sleeping king, laid alone.

Goodnight goblets, and golden plates,
Wondrous workmanship, wrecked by the Fates.

The Cat in the Hwæt“: An Old English Seuss Translation
Cassandra Rasmussen

Hark! We have heard tales sung of the great storm,
And the raindrops that fell like cold, wet spears,
how they smothered the unshining sun!

And best!

Gloria the Cow

A cow in a Christmas sweater! Gloria was decked out for a charity fundraiser. There’s an interview there with the knitter responsible.

Dec. 11th, 2014

purple socks

Doing what we do

Mirrored from String Notes.

This essay by Sara Lamb resonated with me:

I told her I love textiles, I wish more people did, and wish more people understood what makes a good textile, what makes good technique, and in support of that, I am willing to share what I know. I know a very small portion of the textile world, but I know my part very well! It’s likely what keeps me writing this blog, that desire to expand our base of spinners, dyers and weavers. That, and the wonderful feedback I get from readers!

Yes! And for me, the desire to learn new things and share my knowledge. I try to always be coming up with new ways to teach, and new ideas to cover. FFF was a few weeks ago, and as I often do, I tried out something new and experimental: how to analyze and chart a tablet-woven band from an already-woven band or from a photo. Some of that process is intuition and experience, and some of it follows a systematic process that can be taught. At least, my students seemed to get the idea.

I’m also disturbingly happy to teach a class on something I don’t know that well, because I’m confident in my ability to figure it out beforehand, and to keep ahead with my students, and in my general teaching skills. (I probably shouldn’t admit this, should I.) You want a three-day class on something I haven’t done in four or five years? No problem!

But that gets more knowledge out there, more textile goodness, more people who’ve at least tried these obscure techniques. My great joy, you all know, is obscure fiber arts that use minimal equipment. Tablet weaving is sort of vaguely well-known, and ply-split is becoming more available, but there’s very little on sprang beyond what Carol James is doing, and some of the other odd techniques are mostly in technical publications rather than popular ones (fingerloop braiding, fr’ex).

Teaching is how the knowledge and the enthusiasm are spread, that hands-on face-to-face transmission of fiber arts. If you think about it, we’re carrying on something that’s been happening for millenia in not too different a fashion. Our skills aren’t the necessity they once were (but just you wait until after the apocalyptic crash of civilization!), but they still satisfy some need for many of us. The gathering to learn and to teach is part of that satisfaction.

Though if I had the time, I’d be writing popular books on everything Peter Collingwood ever wrote about, except rug weaving.

Sep. 4th, 2014

purple socks

Free Norse clothing book

Mirrored from String Notes.

Via Katrin Kania:

Aarhus University Press is doing a free ebook of the month series, it seems, and this month’s book is Medieval Garments Reconstructed: Norse Clothing Patterns by Lilli Fransen, Anna Nørgård and Else Østergård.

Jul. 16th, 2014

purple socks

Moving right along

Mirrored from String Notes.

The Archaeological Textiles group has the rudiments of a website now. If you are interested, please head over there to get information on how to sign up for the email list. While some parts of the study group will be restricted to Complex Weavers members, the email list is open to all.

Our first plans involve making the website prettier, and starting to pull together resource lists. Please be thinking about your favorite books, websites, museums with online collections, etc. I’ll be cannibalizing the lists on this site to give AT a good start, but there are lots of resources I’m not familiar with.

I need to close some tabs, so here’s a link round-up:

Currency collages
. Nothing to do with fiber arts, but I thought they were neat (via Nick).

Farming with 11th-century tools.

Laura sent me a couple links on a Bronze Age find in Dartmoor with preserved textiles, including a basket and a braided bracelet I’d like to see a structure diagram for, or at least a better photo.

Knitted sensors
: an interface linking fiber arts and technology.

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