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Showing posts from March, 2013

Wagon Wheels on the Road

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The wagon wheels I refer to are buttons - namely Dorset Buttons in the wagon wheel design. I've blogged about these beautiful little buttons before - how they were created in Britain in the 17th century. Button makers in Dorset, England, became so expert and productive in making these buttons that an entire industry developed, only to collapse in the 19th century when button-making became industrialized.
Dorset Buttons, specifically the wagon wheel style pictured above, can be highly elaborate and beautiful, almost like jewelry. I love to make them. And what's best about this technique - for people who make garments - is that you can create one-of-a-kind buttons using the same yarns that you used in your garment. (I don't think it's unusual for textile nuts like me to spend hours on the Internet - even worse, wandering around JoAnn's or traveling to New York or Toronto to visit one of those wonderful stores that sell only buttons, scouring the store, and then buyi…

S and Z Twist in the Vermont Woods

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My husband and I drove to Putney, Vermont, over the weekend to see our darling daughter and her fiancé. We took the dogs on long, slow walks in the woods. Blake - Eliza's fiancé - pointed out a birch tree that had been hit by lightning, which didn't kill the tree but left a big diagonal slice going counter-clockwise around the trunk.

Of course (of course?) I thought of S and Z twist in yarn. Crazy, right?
But it got me thinking: does lightning always travel counter-clockwise when it strikes a tree? You know, sort of like the principle behind water in a drain: in the Northern Hemisphere, it always circles counter-clockwise. In the Southern Hemisphere it travels clockwise.

Well, on our walk the following day, I got my answer.


Z twist! Lightning traveled down THIS birch tree clockwise. So lightning spins both ways. And the trees are still standing.

Wool, Silk, Stainless Steel, and a Bad Cold...

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For the past nine days -- nine days! -- I've had that cold everybody's complaining about. I've been out of the house twice for my job and, well, to look for my own shadow, like Punxsutawney Phil.

Staying home can be great, however, if you keep at your fiber work. So I've completed and/or photographed a lot of pieces that are now posted on Etsy. The scarf above -- I call it my "Taos Pueblo Scarf" -- plays with colors of adobe brick and pale turquoise, using two different fabrics.

The base fabric is a scarf of wool and silk, a blank purchased from Dharma, which I dyed in aqua, then overdyed in brick, and then shibori-folded and clamped and immersed in a discharge vat.

The upper layer is a machine-knitted scarf in wool/stainless steel that I purchased from Habu Textiles in Manhattan. (It's a really fine yarn, 70% wool and 30% stainless steel -- just one of the many wonderful fibers you'll find at Habu. If you don't know about this supplier, you need…