Finding Treasures

S0, as you Winnipegger’s may know, Wolsley’s Neighbourhood Bookstore and Cafe is closed (temporarily I am POSITIVE). I encourage action!

Anyway, I just read this wonderful post about finding fibre-love treasure in second-hand bookstores ad thought to share it with you.

Two of the best finds I ever made at the cafe were ‘Plain and Fancy: American Women and Their Needlework, 1700-1850’ by Susan Burrows Swan (found last week!) and the ‘Woman’s Day Book of American Needlework’, by Rose Wilder Lane. (Yes, Laura’s daughter!) It still had it’s companion box of patterns too!

Have you made any amazing finds second-hand?

A good second-hand book store is a pearl beyond price.:-)

The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fiber Arts

I enjoy roaming the aisles of used book stores.  Over the years I have found some amazing HandweaversWorkbookbooks for very little money.  Recently I came across a 1956 edition of A Handweaver’s Workbook by Heather G. Thorpe (originally published 1936, reissued in 1974).  Not surprising given its age, the book is hardbound, and the pages are printed on heavy acid-free pages. It is also in perfect condition, nary a pencil mark! What a find!

Browsing through it, I was impressed by its thorough yet not overwhelming approach to introducing weaving.  I learned some interesting facts I’ve not seen newer weaving survey books or learned in a weaving class.

Did you know (I didn’t!) that …

PorteeCrossThere are different names for crosses on warps made withe a paddle dependent upon their position:  The first cross at the end of a warp is called a porrey cross; the second cross is called…

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Chatelaines: The Original Multi-App Mobile Device!

My Chatelaine isn’t as pretty as the Victorian ones, but it’s just as handy.

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A Perfect Day, A Perfect Hook, A Perfect Book, And A Piece Of String.

Tea and crochet is a thrifty pastime, but good hooks, (and books!) are worth the money.

Today was one of the 10 or so perfect days of the year here in Winnipeg. It wasn’t too hot or cold, there were no mosquitoes to speak of, the sun was out and the sky was beautiful. In short, a perfect day to walk down to my local second-hand book store and coffee shop, the Neighbourhood Cafe, with my crochet.

I found and bought a wonderful book, “Plain and Fancy, American Women and Their Needlework 1650-1850” by Susan Burrows Swan.

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“Plain and Fancy, American Women and Their Needlework 1650-1850

It showed many of the tools our foremothers used, and it started me thinking about the tools that I use everyday.

Most of them are virtually identical. Any weaver from 1650 could sit down at my loom and be up and weaving in seconds. My spinning wheel may have a bike wheel instead of a wooden spoked one but it hasn’t changed in it’s essentials at all. And although my hoop, needles, threads and scissors are really wonderful, my very best needlework might be as fine as the average 17th century six year old’s!

Crochet in it’s present form is a very new type of needlework, only from the mid-1800’s, but people have been using hooks to pull loops of string through loops a lot longer. Netting is most likely crochet’s direct forebear. It really came into its own during Ireland’s Great Famine and then in North America, but that is a story for another day. Originally hooks were all very small, and were made of silver, pewter, bone, and ivory, and wood. A vintage hook is a real treasure today, but for everyday use, I prefer mine.

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The Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs of a Left-Handed Craft Teacher

It isn’t always easy, being a lefty. Especially when you are trying to teach a right-handed student to craft. But it can be done!

The Dreaded LHKRPTSD (Left-Handed Knitting-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

When I was 12, in grade 7, I had to take a class called Crafts, that nearly turned me off string forever. Sadly, the teacher didn’t “believe in” left-handed (aka backwards) knitting.

Now, as a craft teacher myself, I look back on that class and wonder if it would be even be possible to do a worse job of teaching a bunch of kids the joys of needlework. It took me 37 years to even try to learn to knit again. Thank  Habetrot, she didn’t try to teach me crochet! Teaching an opposite-handed beginner to do yarn-craft takes a little extra work but it can be done very successfully.

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Making Mobiles

Calder, eat your heart out!
Making a mobile in 14 fairly simple steps.

A few days ago I was at the centre where I teach various String Things, when I was asked if I could help someone make a mobile featuring origami cranes for her new apartment’s new Asian-inspired theme.

Now usually I wouldn’t be able to help as there are only limited amounts of string used in this craft but I did have a brief but extremely passionate love affair with kinetic art and thus have lots of experience.

Since I promised to teach her how to make her own version of my Cherry Blossom Mobile (above) I thought I might as  well share it here too!

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Zen and the Arts of String

I’m the kind of person that always has a piece of string in her pocket…just in case. You never know when a bit of calm might be desperately needed.

That’s actually not a flippant title. I really did find my zen (or mindfulness or peace if you prefer) through string. And now playing with string is pretty much the organizing principal of my life. It’s a large part of what makes my life worth living.

Well that and teaching my beloved Arts Of String to anyone who wants to learn. I will be sharing my thoughts, tips, and techniques for helping unsure beginners discover their Inner Spirits of String in this blog too. And yes, all of those caps were necessary!

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