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April 2013

Yarn Painting: Cilau Valadez tours New England


Yarn Painting by Cilau Valadez

During my internet sojourns this weekend, I found something new and undiscovered in the world of yarn (at least for me)- an ancient craft called yarn painting. At the most basic level, it is yarn pressed into tablet coated with beeswax and resin to create a painted effect. It is practiced by the Huichol people of Mexico, and it is utterly beautiful.

This spring, a Mexican restaurant chain in New England, Margaritas, is sponsoring a tour of a renowned Mexican artist from this tradition, Cilau Valadez. Cilau has exhibited his art  through out Mexico, the United States and Europe. The Valadez tour is part of Margarita’s Visiting Artist Series, which aims to share Mexican culture with the community at large (how great is that?!).

So what is exactly is yarn painting? To fully appreciate the craft, it is important to know a little bit about the Huichol people, and their history. Continue reading “Yarn Painting: Cilau Valadez tours New England” »

Become a Pink Warrior: Join Project Chemo Crochet


Project Chemo Crochet Blanket

After her mother died last year of breast cancer, Nicole Dow-Macosky wanted to do something to both to honor her mother’s memory and to help other breast cancer patients. Her mother, Marianne, had fought Stage IV breast cancer for 11 months before finally succumbing to the devastating disease. During her mother’s treatment, Nicole had been particularly struck by the “cold and lonely” experience of chemo treatment.

After Marianne died, Nicole signed up for a crochet class with her friend, Susan Milnazik, who is a cancer survivor. Crochet had been Marianne’s craft and Nicole wanted to learn it.  While learning crochet, the two friends struck upon an idea: they could make blankets for cancer survivors to use while undergoing chemotherapy. Not only would the blankets keep the patient physically warm, but they would send them a message of love and support. And so, the Pink Warriors and Project Chemo Crochet were born.

Continue reading “Become a Pink Warrior: Join Project Chemo Crochet” »

Friends & Fiber, LaGrange, KY

ff1Today’s featured place is Friends & Fiber, a LYS that sells not only beautiful yarns, but also the beautiful creations of its owners. They are located in LaGrange, KY. Our interview is with owner, Vicki Kinser.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your shop? What is the atmosphere like? Is there anything that makes your shop different from other yarn shops?

Welcome to Historic LaGrange. Our shop is on Main Street in LaGrange, Kentucky. A working train track runs right down Main Street about 25 times a day. We have a large following of regular customers who love our shop and each other!
We carry a complete line of yarn for everyones projects. LOTS of knitted projects at the shop to inspire.

Continue reading “Friends & Fiber, LaGrange, KY” »

Gearing Up to Yarn Bomb Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Bridge


Design Sketch for the Yarnbombing of the Andy Warhol Bridge

It seems that yarnbombing is just getting bigger and bigger, both in terms of popularity and the size of the projects. There’s been a museum bombed in LA, a bus bombed in Mexico City and a tank bombed in Dresden. But the Fiber Arts Guild of Pittsburgh may be planning the most ambitious project yet: yarnbombing a bridge. Now we are not talking about quaint little covered bridge straddling a creek somewhere, we are talking about the 1000 foot Andy Warhol Bridge which spans the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh to the Northside. The plan is to cover the bridge with a series of 34” x 72” knit and crochet panels. About 600 panels in all. That’s over 10,000 square feet of knit and crochet!

The project is the brainchild of Amanda Gross, 29, of East Liberty, who is now the lead artist on the project. She conceived of the yarnbombing as a way to celebrate Fiberart International 2013, a juried exhibition of fiber art  which attracts some of the world’s most renowned fiber artists.  The project will not only mark the festival, but will also celebrate the city of Pittsburgh, the most bridged city in country, with over 450 bridges within the city limits!

Continue reading “Gearing Up to Yarn Bomb Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Bridge” »

The Garden State Yarn Crawl Mapped


Yarn Wall at KnitKnack, Maplewood, NJ

So Mike had that handsome smile and a gleam in his eye again last night. If you are wondering who the heck Mike is and why he’s smiling and gleaming, you haven’t been keeping up with my posts 🙂 . In short, Mike is my husband and he smiles like that when he thinks about mapping things.

It happened over dinner. I was telling Mike about the Garden State Yarn Crawl, and, in general,  how a yarn crawl works, when he suddenly looked up from his plate, smiled broadly and exclaimed, “That’s mappable!”

“Yeah, I guess it is.” I hadn’t really thought about it.

“Let’s map it!” he said. “You write a feature and I’ll map it!”

“OK! Let’s do it!” I said, trying to match his enthusiasm.

So as Mike got to work on his map, I woke up this morning I did a little research on The Garden State Yarn Crawl :

The Garden State Yarn Crawl will be held April 18-21 this year, and is the third annual yarn crawl in northern New Jersey. A yarn crawl, if you don’t know, a self guided tour of the participating yarn shops (kind of like a beer crawl, only with yarn). There will be 15 shops from Hillsdale to Clark involved in this year’s Garden State crawl. The event will feature a raffle for a basket of Yarn Goodies at each store, and a scavenger hunt with a “fabulous prize”  for the winner. So far, no word on what the prize is, but be forewarned- you must visit all 15 stores in order to win it. No purchase is required to win any of the raffles or the scavenger hunt.

Continue reading “The Garden State Yarn Crawl Mapped” »

Knitting Guilds, TKGA and My Problems with Gauge


Cast-On: TKGA’s Journal

When I read about the good people of the Atlanta Knitting Guild and their project to provide chemo hats for children with cancer (see previous post), I got curious about knitting guilds. What exactly is a knitting guild, and how does it differ from the local knitting groups I see in coffee shops? I have never joined a such a group myself, being mostly a solitary knitter, and knew little about them. When I did a little research, I learned that the local groups I see about town may be  independent operators or they be affiliated with The Knitting Guild Association (TKGA), a national organization for knitting guilds in the US, founded in 1984. Incidentally, if you want to find groups near you, check out our Yarn Groups Locator.

Digging a little deeper, I learned that The Knitting Guild Association is quite the organization. It boasts 10,000 members, and has over 300 affiliated groups across the country. There will be two national conferences this year : one in Indianapolis this summer, and another in Charlotte, NC this fall. Membership offers a subscription to a respected quarterly journal, CAST-ON. But what I found most interesting about membership in TKGA were the educational opportunities.

Continue reading “Knitting Guilds, TKGA and My Problems with Gauge” »

More Yarnbombing and Hat Knitting For A Good Cause


Under-the-Sea Hat

The Atlanta Knitting Guild is planning to yarn bomb hospital areas of the Egleston and Scottish Rite campuses of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with donated hats and toys on April 11, 2013. Each child undergoing chemotherapy will receive an Under-the-Sea hat, a plain hat, and a toy at the event. See local  for a comprehensive article about the event.

If you wish to contribute a hat, you can contact Marian Rose of the Atlanta Knitting Guild at for guidelines.

Continue reading “More Yarnbombing and Hat Knitting For A Good Cause” »

Knitting Hats to Help a Boy with Cancer


Simple Rib Hat Pattern by Purl Bee

Do you have time to knit a quick hat? Doing so could help out a boy with cancer in Oregon.

Nine year old Jack Dorr of Ashland, Oregon has been diagnosed with a rare type of spinal cord cancer, and is looking at a nine week course of surgery, chemo, radiation and rehabilitation. Jack is a third-grader who loves to read, Star Wars and Legos, and loves playing his friends. When Cathy Woodcock of Lantern Moon  (a company that sells hand-crafted, sustainable products and yarns from developing communities around the world), heard about Jack’s diagnosis, she wanted to help.  After all, Jack’s mother had been her own  son’s all time favorite teacher.

Continue reading “Knitting Hats to Help a Boy with Cancer” »