Pincha Shawl KAL!

I used to dislike knitting with variegated yarns, even though I thought they were BEAUTIFUL in the hank. I thought they looked strange as a fabric, too busy and chaotic for my taste. But the truth is, I just never knew how to use them! Some patterns were positively made for variegated yarns, and I'm so excited to begin my journey with them. And I'd love it if you wanted to join me!

The Pincha Shawl pattern, designed by Pinpilan Wangsai, is perfect for crazy, colorful skeins. The short row shaping (*gasp!*, it's ok, this is why we have a supportive community!) perfectly engages with the multi-colored bits, and turns them into deliberate stripes that give this shawl fantastic movement on many levels. This awesome pattern might almost be a calling for that Skein Too Beautiful To Use...

What you'll need:
1, 100g skein of fingering weight yarn (can be variegated, but it doesn't have to be)
Size US 5 (or 3.75mm) needles for working flat

Get the Pincha Shawl pattern HERE, and come KAL with us in the Woven Road's Facebook community!

finished and blocked!

finished and blocked!

Pincha in progress!

Pincha in progress!

Pincha in Progress!

Pincha in Progress!

Finished and blocked!

Finished and blocked!


If you don't have a special skein of yarn in mind, check out some of these fantastic dyers:
Lambstrings
Seawall Fibres
Witch Candy Yarns
Sock Obsession Yarns

Episode 22: How We Got the Blues

In this episode,  I share a new collaborative project I am working on with a fellow textile podcaster (hint, you are encouraged participate!), I talk about a great and simple shawl pattern I’ve completed this week, some other news related things, we chat about what the Slow Clothes Movement is, and a bit about the history of the color blue!

 

Show Notes:

Episode 21: A Wool Mill Grows In Iceland

photo courtesy of woolmakerlane.com

photo courtesy of woolmakerlane.com

In this episode, we do a bit of a reintroduction, since the show has been on for more than a year now! I’ll share some beautiful patterns I’ve been working with as well as some things I’ve been dyeing. We’ll do a little Lush Skein, and talk about what is in my textile reading Stash. I’ll also introduce a new regular segment about sustainability and ethics in the fiber industry.

Night Moves  colorway,  Sinew & Stone

Night Moves  colorway,  Sinew & Stone

A Constructive Revolution: The Important History of Craftivism

Craftivism is the practice of engaged creativity, especially regarding political or social issues. Fiber art and textiles have played an integral role in the history of our species, and the history of our contemporary cultures, and it is often impossible to imagine a time when clothing did not serve a multitude of purposes. Because fiber and clothing were valued so highly by communities everywhere, it is no surprise that textiles have, throughout history, been highly involved in social communication and political uprisings.

Craftivism both plays on and challenged the female stereotypes about domestic craft, but it also embodies and reclaims the value in this rich history of traditionally feminine culture.

Photo Courtesy of Centuries Past

Photo Courtesy of Centuries Past

Women have been involved with fiber and textile production for tens of thousands of years.
Clay Venus figurines recovered from France that date earlier than 20,000 years ago, depict a large woman with a shapely body, wearing a string shirt around her waist, covering a small portion of her backside. This tradition (slightly more modestly) has continued in a small way to this day. Scientists believe that this depiction refers to a very early adornment that sought to represent and emphasize the female’s sexuality, framed with the placement of spun threads.

Elizabeth Wayland Barber, professor at Occidental College in California and foremost authority on prehistoric textiles, says that it is only common sense that textiles became the responsibility of women. Since women are the only parent available to feed infants in prehistoric societies, it makes sense that their other tasks should be compatible with caregiving. These tasks needed to be stationary, safe, repetitive, and easily interrupted. Textile production certainly falls under all of those requirements, and the two tasks naturally went hand in hand.

Artwork by Antonio Coche

Artwork by Antonio Coche

As time went on, these gender roles, perpetuated by adherence to tradition, gave women an indispensable, yet overshadowed seat in history. They held together their communities by providing necessities, and doing their duties by caring for their families. They didn’t have time to start wars, they were too busy milking the goats and weaving clothes to keep their children warm and hope they all survived the winter. But when they were needed, when there arose a cause that was important to them, women spoke out; not with a campaign, or by running for office (since that was illegal throughout most of human history), but with their own unique skill set.

Knitting and activism dates back to the French Revolution, where women sat by the guillotine and knitted red hats during executions.

Knitting and activism dates back to the US Revolutionary War, when women began spinning their own wool, and knitted clothing for soldiers instead of importing them, a defiantly patriotic act.

Knitting and activism dates back to 1860, when UK textile designer William Morris created a crafting movement, to speak out against the industrial revolution in favor of a simpler lifestyle. He denoted 4 components of craft activism guidelines: unity in design, joy in labor, individualism or imperfection that comes with handmade objects, and regionalism, which basically meant sourcing material from a place that embodies your mission.

Knitting and activism dates back to the 1st and 2nd World Wars, when handmade goods were valued as the rationing of material goods was important for the ‘war effort’. American, British and Canadian women volunteered to knit and sew clothing for soldiers out of love and support. During the first World War, women donated over a million pairs of hand-knit socks to the troops. In the 2nd World War, soldiers received 26,000 sewn or knitted clothing items that were put together by female volunteers in just 6 days! In addition to that, 420 items of clothing were made and donated to refugees.

Fiber arts have been consistently employed as a political and social communication tool when women were not allowed to have a voice. It is inherently expressive, and to decide what art is or is not allowed to express would be to silence the human spirit.

Today, we remember this. We remember all of the love that was shown through the abstract looping of string around sticks of wood, through the mundane pressing of a needle through sheets of fabric. Whether for practical necessity, or for non-functional art, the value and meaning remains. Fiber art today makes just as much of a statement as it has for the last several thousand years. Fiber artists around the world are using their craft to communicate with one another as a symbol of community and hope, just as women did during the local-wool movement of the Revolutionary War. 

Barb Hunt, an artist in Newfoundland, is known for an exhibit they created in 2013, where knitted replicas of land mines were displayed. In an interview, Hunt said “There is a close association of knitting with caring for the body. Bandages for soldiers were once hand-knitted, and women still knit socks for soldiers overseas, and for the homeless. Thus knitting functions as a metaphor for recuperation, protection, and healing. In Antipersonnel [exhibit], I use these associations to contradict the abuse of power and the use of violence, by transforming a destructive object into one that can do no harm”.

Micaela Hardy-Moffat writes that craftivism is “a revolution that [crafters] hope will bring people together into peaceful, wholesome communities despite the immorality that weighs so heavily upon society. As well as featuring work by various knit artists across North America, [the Revolutionary Knitting Circle] specifies that people of all ages, ethnicities, classes, and genders are welcome to participate, articulating the significance of inclusiveness that craftivism upholds.” She highlights some groups that are currently working to encourage expression through fiber art. “The Revolutionary Knitting Circle calls upon people everywhere to take up the struggle through the tools of local production. We shall bring forth not only our voices raised for global justice, but we shall rise together, with the tools to liberate local communities from the shackles of global corporatism”

The lessons we can learn women’s use fiber craft as a tool for communication throughout history is universal. It is not longer only women’s work. Fiber art is being engaged with and used as expression by all genders, today.

Hardy-Moffat writes, “Craft artists and social action groups are thus driven to create their art in conjunction with a framework dedicated to political change and constructive protest. Through the manipulation and exploitation of stereotypes that lie in the assumed innocence of knitted artwork, the familiarity and gentleness of craft art has become a tool for assertive social action.”

Photo Courtesy of Rodrigo Isla OF THE HOMBRES TEJEDORES

Photo Courtesy of Rodrigo Isla OF THE HOMBRES TEJEDORES

Around the world, local groups are getting involved with using fiber craft as a means to change their society for the better, and reach out to their communities. In Chile, knitting men have taken to the streets in visual protest, and also host events to teach men to knit, working to breaking down prohibitive stereotypes and embrace creative hobby.

The PussyHat project has taken the world by storm, encouraging folks to wear handmade pink cat-eared hats as a visual statement in support of equality, but also in local, small-scale production as a bridge that brings communities together in creativity and compassion.

Fiber arts have been consistently employed as a political and social communication tool when women were not allowed to have a voice. It is inherently expressive, and to decide what art is or is not allowed to express would be to silence the human spirit.

When we engage in fiber arts, we honor the work and the risk that our ancestors took to give us a better life than they had.

As our foremothers and forefathers did, let us create. Let us stitch up a brighter future.

Episode 20: Festive Bling

The Woven Road

The Woven Road

In this episode, I’ll share some things I’ve been making, I’m just DYEING to tell you (yuk yuk), we’ll have a Lush Skein Special, talk all things holly and jolly with holiday gift ideas and winter themed projects, and I’ll announce a giveaway that is seasonal as all get-up! And we’ll do this all, with my guest co-host for this episode, Kayla!

A tad late, but who doesn't love a little belated holiday cheer?!

Don't forget to enter the winter stitch marker giveaway by leaving a comment below!

meadow's Onion skin dyed wool!

meadow's Onion skin dyed wool!

Photo courtesy of MountainCandi

Photo courtesy of MountainCandi

Win these winter wonderful stitch markers from MountainCandi! Leave a comment below to be entered to win!
Contest will end January 20th, 2017.

Episode 19: Lifelines, Dyeing, and Migrating Traditions

Photo Courtesy of the National Museum of Iceland

Photo Courtesy of the National Museum of Iceland

In this episode, I'll enable you to a lovely new pattern I’ve been working with as well as a great series of yarn dyeing tutorial videos. We’ll talk about what in the world lifelines are, and learn what the textile remains from a thousand year old burial in north east Iceland can tell us about the various places the inhabitants came from, and the kinds of fiber traditions they brought with them.

Top edge of the blue apron, with tablet woven decorative band of brown and white.

Top edge of the blue apron, with tablet woven decorative band of brown and white.

Fragment of a woven apron strap, a 2x2 twill from the Ketilstaðir burial.

Fragment of a woven apron strap, a 2x2 twill from the Ketilstaðir burial.

Preserved cheek from a woman who immigrated to Iceland and lived there over 1,000 years ago. Shout out to the copper brooches!

Preserved cheek from a woman who immigrated to Iceland and lived there over 1,000 years ago. Shout out to the copper brooches!

The Lush Skein


Each podcast episode, I discuss wine and yarn pairings in a segment called "The Lush Skein".  Here, you will find a complete list of all the pairings to date. If you want to know the reasons behind the pairing, however, you'll have to listen to the show to find out! Try them out (21+ of course), and let us know what you think!  Feel free to send some suggestions and I'll review them on the show!

1/2017
Finca Museum - Tempranillo, 2009 Reserva
Catch the Wind - Sinew&Stone yarns, 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Silk, 4 ply

12/2016
Cords and Cobwebs - Chocolate Covered Raisin fingering weight with sparkle
Masi - 2012 Campofiorin red

Sock Obsession - Bling colorway
Hot Coco with Orange -  non-alcoholic

11/2016
Van Gogh Riesling - 2013, Médoc France
SockObsession Yarns - sock weight, 75% superwash merino, 25% mulberry silk, Anastasia colorway.

10/2016:

Blackstone Winery -  2013 Pinot Noir
Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers - light worsted weight, 100% Peruvian highland wool

Rioja Vega Winery - 2013 Crianza; Tempranillo blend
Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino - wool, acrylic and cashmere, lightweight DK


5/2016:

Milkhouse Brewery
Miss Babs - Maryland Sheep and Wool Exclusive Colorway

4/2016:

Helderberg Meadworks - Heritage Mead, Navy Blue Wax 2014
Madelinetosh Tosh DK - 100% Merino wool, DK weight, Nectar colorway

Petite Petit - Michael David Winery, 2013, 85% petite sirah 15% petite verdot
Manos del Uruguay - Maxima, Worsted weight, colorway Flame/ Carmine

Faustino VII - 2012 Tempranillo
Þingborg Handspun - plant dyed, 2 ply, DK weight

Colorado Wineries
Outer Pines Co. - Aja's handspun and dyed, various colorways, worsted weight

The Woven Road

The Woven Road

3/2016:

Wool and the Gang - Crazy Sexy Wool -  200g, Super Bulky weight
Intipalka Valle Del Sol - 2013 Malbec

Root 1 Heritage Red - Red Blend
Lett Lopi - Worsted Weight

2/2016:

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, Whiskey Barrel
Johnnie Walker Red Label

Louise Harding Grace Silk and Wool; DK weight, 50% Merino wool, 50% Silk
La Fiera Salento Primitivo

1/2016:

Montoya Vineyards, Pinot Noir
Schoeller Essliinger, Fortissima fingering weight

Brassfield Winery, Eruption; red blend
The Fibre Co. Acadia Yarn, DK weight blend; 60% Merino wool, 20% Baby alpaca, 20% Silk

12/2015:

Museum; 2009 Reserva, Tempranillo
Blue Sky Alpaca, Suri Merino; Worsted/DK weight, in Crimson colorway

Bota Box; anything
Misti Alpaca

Green Mountain Spinnery, Weekend Wool; 2 ply worsted weight
Putney Mountain Winery: Rhubarb Blush

Moss Vinyards; 2013 Architettura Reserva
Solutute Wool; Llama-rama!, 2 ply, fingering weight, 50% llama, 50% Romney wool.
 

Episode 18: Loom-Weight For It...

Loom weights tied onto the warp threads on a warp-weighted loom at the National Museum of Iceland. The Woven Road.

Loom weights tied onto the warp threads on a warp-weighted loom at the National Museum of Iceland. The Woven Road.

In this episode, we say hello to a new guest co-host, review some wonderful indie-dyed yarn, share a new wine and yarn pairing in The Lush Skein, and talk about evidence for looms in the archaeological record!

Egyptian wall art depicting two women weaving on a horizontal loom.

Egyptian wall art depicting two women weaving on a horizontal loom.

Loom weights from a warp-weighted loom, from http://21stcenturypilgrimsprogress.blogspot.is/

Loom weights from a warp-weighted loom, from http://21stcenturypilgrimsprogress.blogspot.is/

Decorated bone cards used for tablet weaving.

Decorated bone cards used for tablet weaving.

Whale bone weft beaters. Look closely and you can see the perpendicular use-wear markings from being pressed against the warp threads.

Whale bone weft beaters. Look closely and you can see the perpendicular use-wear markings from being pressed against the warp threads.

Spooky Yarn-Related Halloween Stories

The Ghost of the Aran Sweater

Photo courtesy of MoMou Crochet.

Photo courtesy of MoMou Crochet.

There was a bitter wind blowing from the east
and I grabbed my work in progress
My husband was busy cooking our annual fall feast
And I was in the way; that was obvious.
So I headed out to a local park
To settle myself on a leaf-covered bench
It was evening, now, ‘bout an hour ’til dark
And raining a bit, though not enough to be drenched
Happily I sat, needles clicking away
The bright autumn leaves were whimsically windblown.
But the longer I sat, the sky darkened to grey
And I began to feel that I may not be alone.
As if some pending doom had sat down beside me
Some Sleepy Hollow spirit with a pumpkin for a head
It was then that this stranger revealed their identity
And cause for this sudden feeling of dread.
For my eyes drifted down twelve inches below
From the row that I was knitting,
And I spotted an large cable twisted the wrong way.
Come on! You’ve got to be kidding!
Then around this heinous new discovery,
I saw ten stitches had been dropped!
How was I ever to mend this to recovery?
So I sat there, staring, and shocked.
“How could I have missed this?! A mistake so far back,
I must be the worst knitter in the world”
I nearly gave myself an asthma attack
When I realized a row of knits had been purled.
I sighed heavily, breath condensing in air,
And held my nearly finished aran sweater at arms length
I knew deep down what I had to do now,
And searched my soul for the strength.
The sky grew darker, just one street lamp shone
The brisk autumn wind whipped in mocking.
I slowly pulled the wooden needles from the stitches,
And I sat there, alone, and began frogging.
- Meadow


The Unraveler

All the knitters in Yarnsville start to double check their ply
When the Unraveler slinks into town half-past-five.
This mischievous terror plays all sorts of tricks
Such as replacing all of your purls with knits!
It unravels those stitches you created with precision
Leaving a tangled up mess is its mission.
Just as you start to smooth out the heap
You realize the fiber isn’t from a sheep!
Yes, the Unraveler has hidden your cashmere and wool
All the vibrant colors are now woefully dull.
Any project you attempt will feel so pathetic
If all you have to work with is synthetic.
All of your hard work has been all in vain
You won’t finish holiday gifts in time once again!
The clock starts ticking
Neglected projects start twitching
The Unraveler thrives on your lack of progress – it’s sickening!
You begin to concede - you’re not worthy of tweed!
Unless…
You can find others who, like you, check the dye lot
To be sure the end result is what you sought.
So you can present a loved one with their new favorite clothes,
That warm their hearts, fingers, and toes.
Yes! With each other’s support there’s no fuss.
The Unraveler stands no chance against us!     
Now try a new pattern; questions and advice can be shared.
Knitters uniting = Unraveler beware!
- Kayla Pratt


Sheep with the pumpkins
Eating the grass and the weeds
Helping pumpkins grow

During Halloween
I wore a wooly costume
Sheep followed me home
- Paul, Age 11


The Skein From Hell

I am the blood red skein from hell,
Within your project bag I dwell,
Waiting my time to near,
To wreak havoc and sow fear.

Though I am but fifty grams,
And come from the purest coats of lambs,
I am evil to the core,
I’ll drop your stitches to the floor,
And with anguish you shall cry,
When your projects go awry.

Knots and tangles I have many,
And I cost a pretty penny,
If your game of choice’s “yarn chicken”,
With frustration you’ll be stricken,
For I’m too short (and yet too long),
Not quite right (yet not quite wrong).

Knitting lace? I’ll have you frogging,
I’ll give your fingers a right flogging,
You’ll work late into the night,
And you’ll awake all in a fright,
For your work will all have vanished,
All your effort will be banished,
Back into your project bag,
And your heart and hopes shall sag.

Of despair, I am the queen,
The meanest yarn you’ve ever seen,
And though my soul is most unclean,
I wish you Happy Halloween.
- Mike Red


Illustration by Ted

Illustration by Ted

There once was an old spinster that lived on Walnut street.  She was lonely and wanted a friend.  She bartered some sheep food with a young shepherd to buy his orange wool.  Unknown to her, the wool was enchanted by the evil wizard who transformed himself into the young shepherd.  The old spinster spun the yarn and knit pumpkins for the trick or treaters.  Halloween was the only time of the year the lonely old spinster ever had visitors to her house.
The old woman knit 15 pumpkins.  She put the first five in her yard and gave the remaining ten pumpkins to the children who came to her house.  She went to bed that night.  At midnight, the enchanted yarn turned the pumpkins into evil pumpkins.  Pumpkin vines grew and grew and grew.  Tentacles wrapped around every piece of candy that they touched. 
The two heroes took them apart with their weapons. Yeah, the pumpkins are gone.  THE END
- Ted, Age 8


Knit, Knit, Purl

It was a late winter’s eve and there I sat in my chair
All cozy and nice while outside a storm was in the air
Knit knit purl
Knit knit purl
I was working on a sweater, it was almost done
Just a few more rows now, knit two, purl one
Knit knit purl
Knit knit purl
The thunder thundered and the rain pittered and pattered
On my window, when suddenly the silence was shattered
Someone, something? Was knock-knocking on my front door
My introvert heart skipped a beat, it gave me such a fright!
Who’s there? what’s this? It’s almost mid-night!
I put my work down and snuck to see
Who’s outside? Why now? Why me?
I opened the door
 So gently
 Sile-ntly
and no one was there
Only the wind and the rain and nothing but air.
Then! Behind me I heard, upon the hardwood floor!
Skittering and scattering, claws on wood!
Oh no! I knew that sound, it was not good!
I ran back to my chair and my eyes opened wide
My sweater was gone! Where did it hide?
Under the chair -- I saw -- as I looked down
My sweater!
...And my cat, going to town
Rip! rip! purr!
Rip! rip! purr!
-Haukur Siguðarson


Arachne’s Legacy

Gossamer threads of a web
Remind me of Arachne
They send stories through my head
As I spin in the wind.
What will this weave?
Dreams are woven into each piece;
Good, bad, and unusual.
I bet Arachne didn’t expect her fate.
The thump of the lazy kate,
Out of my reverie.
Plying is done.
In my hands the wool will make. . . What shall be its fate?
- Victoria Boehmer

Episode 17: Enchanted Yarn Gourds

Image courtesy of Knit Picks

Image courtesy of Knit Picks

In this episode, we welcome a new guest co-host, share what we've been making, a wine and yarn pairing, and read the winners of the spooky yarn-related Halloween poem contest! You'll also be introduced to a fun new segment entitled "I Like My Yarn How I Like My Lovers." We also bestow upon you some of our best excuses for rationalizing yarn purchases, such as "if you don't buy it, then you won't have it..."

Knitting and Crochet as a Social Outlet for Introverts

the woven road

the woven road

Since knitting, crocheting, nalbinding (and spinning if you are bold enough!) are easily transportable, us fiber artists often find ourselves crafting in public. Whether we are making our string creations while sipping tea alone or merrily joining in a boisterous wine and twine, our minds and our hands live in a wooly world.

To some, the barrage of comments and questions that arise when knitting or crocheting in a social setting can be quite annoying. But for others, it can be a great bridge to pleasant communication with strangers, or even lead to *gasp* friendship! There is one large (but still minority) group that can benefit from this social yarn-crafting, namely, introverts.

As an introvert, I know the struggles of interacting in social situations. For introverts, socializing requires a ton of energy; energy we only produce while being alone. Because we spend so much delightful, cozy (and real AF in our pajamas eating snacks and drinking wine) time alone, we might not have as much social experience as our extroverted counterparts. It's not that we don’t like people, we just need a lot of alone time to recoup some energy, and can be easily deterred by social uncertainty.

Yarn crafts can be a great outlet and social catalyst for introverts. 

Working on a project takes a lot of time, most of which, will be spent on your own. There are a lot of fabulous online resources to help you find a pattern, or to help you create a cohesive piece of your own, and you can do all of this without talking to a person!

"You can decide how much or how little to interact, and you can do it all without pants!"

There are tons of online fiber artist communities if you decide you would like to interact with someone, share your projects, or ask for advice. You can decide how much or how little to interact, and you can do it all without pants!

Knitting and crocheting in public is a great conversation starter. If you are like me, and would like to engage with strangers, maybe make a friend, but are terrible at striking up a conversation, this solution may be for you. Some great places to bring your WIP are coffee shops, bars, your kids’ sporting events or hobby meet-ups, if you are dining out alone, or pretty much any time you will be surrounded by a bunch of strange humans. If someone is interested enough to ask you what you are making, chances are, you already have one thing in common.

Keeping your hands busy will comfort you.  The bamboo needles softly clicking away, and familiar rhythmic muscle memory will ensure that you always have an old friend by your side. Perhaps you can even harken back to those times when you were crafting alone, using some energy from your memory to take your hip fiber artist persona conversing and socializing well into the evening… maybe even past 9pm!

IMG_1019.jpg

Yarn-crafting while socializing helps to sooth inevitable awkward silences. They say that you don’t know someone well until you are able to sit comfortably in silence with them. That may be true for your oldest and dearest friends, but after walking in cold to a new craft group, silence can sometimes feel like a small failure. Of course it is not, but with all of the things going on in your lap (not like that, naughty), if there is a lull in conversation, everyone can look down at their WIP and pretend not to notice.

"I have been called out for being anti-social when I bring my knitting to a party, but that gives me an opportunity to explain why I see it as a kind of social lubricant."

You may find yourself more eager to attend social events if you know you’ll have your wool and sticks by your side. If the din of the other attendees becomes a bit tiresome or overwhelming, rather than whisking yourself off to the guest room with the jacket covered bed just to get a few quiet minutes to yourself, you can instead settle yourself into a corner of the couch, and proceed to turn string into things. You can chat when you like, and when you feel like being silent, just look down and engage with your work.

Of course knitting, crocheting, spinning, nalbinding etc. are not only for the introverted among us. But for those of us who spend a hilarious proportion of your daily energy just making small talk with acquaintances, yarn crafting can be a wonderful catalyst to friendship. True, I have been called out for being anti-social when I bring my knitting to a party, but that gives me an opportunity to explain why I see it as a kind of social lubricant. Knitting at parties is like having a combination of booze and a therapy dog, without the hassle of people trying to take either for a walk.

Are you a yarn-crafting introvert? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below! 

Spooky Fiber Art Poem/Short Story Contest!

Image courtesy of Knit Picks.

Image courtesy of Knit Picks.

What is the scariest thing us fiber artists can imagine?
Dropped stitches?
Breaking a DPN?
Not enough yarn to finish the project?
Cat peeing on the roving?

In the 'spirit' of October and Halloween, I'm hosting a spooky fiber art related poem and short story contest!


Image courtesy of Lucinda Guy.

Image courtesy of Lucinda Guy.

How it Works:

Your written piece can be in any format or style, and have any kind of subject, so long as it is Halloween-y and knitting/weaving/crocheting/spinning/nalbinding/felting etc... related.

Submit your entry (or entries) by October 20th to enter the contest! The winner(s) will be invited to read their writing on the show! If hearing yourself on audio isn't your thing, you can also choose to have it read for you. And thats it. Just kidding! The first place winner will receive their choice of a wooden knitting needle gauge from Storkurinn, (one of the best yarn shops in Iceland) OR two skeins of pure Icelandic wool yarn!

In the next episode, I'll be joined by a mystery guest (*ooooooo!*) and we will both be sharing our spooky tales with you as well! 

Please submit your entries to thewovenroad@gmail.com by October 20th.

Good luck!

Episode 16: Sustainable and Ethical Yarn

In this episode, I share a brief segment on my first few months living as an immigrant in Iceland, a fantastic new yarn and wine pairing, and some of the top sustainable and ethical large-scale yarn producers.

Green Tea Shawl Pattern in Miss Babs YOWZA

Green Tea Shawl Pattern in Miss Babs YOWZA

Nålbound headband.

Nålbound headband.

11 Problems Only Fiber Artists Have

The Woven Road

The Woven Road

In any hobby, craft, business, or field of study, you have folks that ‘get it’ and folks that 'don’t'. One of the best things about having a crafting friend group is just having someone around to get your ultra jargon-specific jokes, and maybe even laugh at the terrible puns (or is it just me in here?….). When you finally confess to a weird habit you think no one else has, they follow up with “Oh my goodness, ME TOO!”.

Here is a list of some of the top common problems that only fiber artists have.

1: People saying “I can just buy that in the store for way cheaper!” In general, it is difficult for anyone who is a non-crafter to see value in what you do.  A friend or family member sees you knitting or crocheting and says "Can you make me a sweater?!" My response is usually "Lets see, $75 for yarn, average of 100 hours of labor, if I pay myself minimum wage, thats about $800 for your sweater. So, sure!", or "I would be happy to teach you to knit." There are an infinite number of reasons why making your own clothing is better/more sustainable. You're not just sitting there whittling the time away; you are an artist. Your work ought to be respected.

The Woven Road

The Woven Road

2: The “I will hurt you if you talk to me while I’m counting stitches” look. 'Nah mean?

3:  Finding stitch markers or other small fiber-related items that have fallen down your shirt into your bra, stuck to your pants or hair. This assumption isn't confirmed, but I can only imagine how sexy I look and smell when my husband is picking the half-washed fleece out of my hair. 

4: Too many works in progress! But still not enough.  Sure, I have 6 WIP bags, something on the loom, a basket containing a primitive fiber processing half-done, and a bucket full of wet wool.... but this new hand warmer pattern though!

5: Stash guilt. This is also related to the struggle of using stash yarn, but not having quite enough so you need to buy more! 

6: All the bowls in your home become pretty yarn displays and centerpieces. Because yarn and raw fleece is a work of art in itself! And everyone in the household obviously shares this sentiment.

The Woven Road

The Woven Road

The Woven Road

The Woven Road

7: Project turns out to be the wrong size, so you think of whom you know that it may fit… and your random acquaintance ends up with a gorgeous garment! There are worse things.

8: Weird injuries! Forgetting you put your needles in your hair and poking yourself in the neck or the hand hours later, getting a needle under the fingernail/in the ear, and all of those strange bruises on your hands... 

9: Improvising cable needles and stitch markers; your WIP looks like a combination of a bird nest and a junk drawer

10: When you mistake song lyrics for some textile jargon.

11: Weavers, talking about “tying one on” can really confuse your friends.

What fiber art related problems do you have? Share them in the comments below!

August Update, I've moved to Iceland!

The Woven Road

The Woven Road

Summer greetings!

No, you haven't missed it, I have indeed been unable to record Podcast Episode 16 yet. I've explained a bit in this brief video update, as recorded from outside the Textile Museum in Blönduós, Iceland.

It is all very exciting indeed! I'm so happy to be reporting to you from a place with such a rich history and identity tied to fiber art. 

Hand carved knitting needle box. The Woven Road

Hand carved knitting needle box.

The Woven Road

For now, as I get settled in, unpack my recording equipment (yes I lugged it all over!), get my paperwork squared away, begin my studies, and find a routine, I'll be a bit focused on blogging and enhancing our community by socializing with all of you!

There is a new Woven Road Podcast group on Ravelry, so please join me there. I'd love to get to know more about you and what your jam is!


If you happen to be visiting Iceland, definitely contact me! I always love a friend to go adventuring for fiber with!

The Woven Road

The Woven Road

Episode 14: It's Not A Turmeric

The Woven Road

The Woven Road

In this episode, Meadow shares recent adventures in fleece processing, experiments with turmeric as dye, outlines some historical evidence of mordants, and shares some household and backyard things that can be used to dye yarn!

The Woven Road

The Woven Road


(These are affiliate links. If you would like to learn more about dyeing and prehistoric textiles as well as support this show, purchase a book through these links and I will receive a small commission.)

Episode 13: Pop Goes the Spinner's Weasel

In this episode, Meadow explains all the recent changes to the Woven Road recently, shares some brand new projects, and a new birthday addition to the stash.  Learn about the fibery origins of the nursery rhyme Pop Goes the Weasel!

(Note: I couldn't have the Lush Skein Special Guest on the show this time, but he will join me sometime in the near future! Stay tuned!)

Show Notes:
Hogwarts Crest Cross Stitch Pattern
Miss Babs Northumbria DK, Biker Chick
Pop Goes the Weasel

Why Textile History Matters

Unless you are among a distinct minority of nudists, you probably wear clothes every day. Clothing protect us from the sun, wind, rain, cold, and sometimes, judgmental glances at highbrow social gatherings.

While today's clothing serves as much more than utilitarian purposes, you may not often think about the rich insights that can be found in studying textile history. A great deal of symbology appears in motif and use of color, as well as choice of the fiber itself. It allows us to see the blending of utility and art. 

Clothing and textiles are one of the most outwardly expressive ways in which we share our societal values, on our sleeve so to speak, on a daily basis. Therefore, textiles have the ability to give researchers a window into the mind of people and cultures, past or present. It is also a type of work frequently associated with the the gendered role expectations of women. “The necessary compatibility of female labor with child care and breastfeeding led to women primarily engaging in repetitive, safe, and easily interrupted tasks.” (Barber, Women’s Work, 29-30.) Since women were primarily the workers of textiles throughout history, insights into this trade give us a glimpse into the lives of a huge portion of the population; a portion often invisible amongst the male-dominated stories of stone artifacts or history books. Men most often became a part of the textile fabrication process only after the industry became a part of a larger trade exchange network.

Textile production is and was an incredibly time consuming process. First, one had to grow and harvest fiber plants, or cultivate and collect fiber from silk worms, or wooly animals like sheep and alpacas. Then, this fiber had to be washed, beaten or carded, combed and spun. If the threads were meant to be colored, dyes had to be acquired, either through cultivation, wild gathering, or trading. Then, hundreds to thousands of meters of thread needed to be woven, cut, and sewn into just a single garment. Sometimes, lavish designs were embroidered , or card woven bands were used to trim sleeves.

From this very simplistic look at the process, we can already infer some of the kinds of information we can glean about how communities lived. In order to grow plants or keep livestock, people had to live in sedentary communities of relatively large size. In order to have production exceed the amount that just one family would need, there would have had to be specialized workers; meaning “I weave all the time, you make pots and pans all the time, lets swap”. If one needed to acquire a particular dye that was not indigenous to their region, we could assume they obtained it by trade, and were involved in an interaction sphere with members of other communities. Use of color and design can tell us much about self expression, social identity, religious belief or status, customs, trade, or the natural resources that were available in the area at the time.

The whole process was passed down to succeeding generations. Depending on the scale of production, we can assume that the knowledge was passed down through a family, or learned as an apprentice or at a trade school.

Exchange of these garments, especially the ones it was even more costly to produce, could be imagined as economic resources. Expensive, elegant garments or furnishings became so valued in some places, they were seen as a kind of currency. Some fabrics, such as Icelandic vaðmál, were so regulated in quality, that medieval manuscripts and law texts have their production standards and value preserved to this day.

Artistic expression was not limited to fashion and garments. We have a multitude of examples of expertly woven rugs and tapestries. Even the tools used to process fiber can be a craft themselves. Some of these examples include carved distaffs (a long spindle or paddle used to hold a cloud of fiber while the spinner draws from it), engraved spindle whorls (a small stone or clay weight fixed to the end of a rod used for spinning), polished whale bone weft beaters, intricately carved knitting needle boxes (that were also presented with marriage proposals), and hand painted lace bobbins, among others.

From a personal perspective, when I craft with fiber, I feel connected to a vast history that can be celebrated as a commonality of almost all humans across space, and one that reaches back far in time.

It brings us closer as a global community to learn about, not only the lives and minds of our ancestors, but also the universality of innovation that we all share.

Like any scientific field, our studies help us to learn the expanse of what we don't know. We are fueled by curiosity, and a deep desire to understand the reasonings and perspectives that lived in the minds of ancestral humans. It brings us closer as a global community to learn about, not only the lives and minds of our ancestors, but also the universality of innovation that we all share. The contributions of all the communities we identify with have brought us to where we are today. Our ideas shape the future and it may work to our benefit to cultivate appreciation for old things long forgotten.

Minoan woman picking saffron, from a fresco on the island of Thera

Minoan woman picking saffron, from a fresco on the island of Thera