December 2020 Meeting Recap: Lori Patterson of Abstract Fibers presented Understanding Yarn Through Hand Spinning, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Melanie Chen
The December meeting marked an important milestone, the official transition from the outgoing Puddletown Knitters Guild Board to the new. Margaret Weddell noted that we have successfully come through a difficult year together, and wished everyone a happy holiday season, according to their beliefs, and spoke about how our Guild has been built upon principles of inclusivity and compassion, which are more important now than ever. Margaret then turned the meeting over to incoming Chair Kimberly Williams.
Kimberly commended Guild members for their dedication in making 147 toys sent to the organization Butterfly Boxes for area refugee children. Charity knitting is its own reward, but to make it even better there was a raffle for participants, and enthusiastic toy-maker Susan Plack won the drawing of yarn. Ann Howell’s noteworthy contribution of 34 bears and mermaids was also recognized with an appreciation prize. Congratulations Susan and Ann and thank you to everyone who crafted toys!
Kimberly noted the outstanding contributions of outgoing Board members Margaret Weddell (Board Chair), Natalie Sass (Secretary/Treasurer), Annette Caughman (Programs Chair) and Kim Winter (Volunteer Coordinator and Programs Co-chair). Zoom didn’t allow us to rise for a standing ovation, but the comments reflected our deep appreciation. We still need a Programs Co-Chair, so anyone interested in helping with special events like classes, annual brunch/destash party, as well as supporting monthly speakers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2021 Membership Drive is now ongoing, and an early bird discount price of $30 is offered to those who renew or join by Dec. 31, 2020. After that, the normal price of $35 will apply.
Pre-COVID, the Free Table was a highlight of our monthly meetings, and a new discussion thread Virtual Free Table has been started on Ravelry for those able to access it. The idea is one way to allow sharing of items, but still relies on individuals to practice social distancing, mask-wearing, and safety measures.
Do you want to be a test knitter or do commission knitting? The Guild is often contacted by designers and others in need of knitters, so let us know if you would like your name and contact information to be added to the list.
We have an exciting upcoming speaker and virtual workshop: acclaimed designer Cecilia Campochiaro will present an introduction to Sequence Knitting and Making Marls at our January 14 meeting, where you can hear about sequence knitting, marls as colorwork, and Cecelia’s journey from high tech to knitting-book author. There will also be a three-part Zoom class exploring Marls and Color, with registration (fee $40) opening Jan. 3, 2021 for members in good standing. Classes will take place Jan. 30, Feb 6, and Feb. 13, with a class size max of 20 people. Required materials, which can be done using stash yarn, are heavy lace weight yarn of six different colors. There will be a Ravelry page to help coordinate group yarn acquisition, given that only around 75 yards is required of each color. We also have been granted a 20% discount on Cecilia’s books at Schoolhouse Press, using promo code Puddletown Knitters.
If you are missing interaction with PKG members, consider dropping in on the Virtual Knit nights held weekly via Zoom on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 PM. The link changes weekly and can be found on the Events page of the website.
Anna Lorton’s Member Tips for December featured the Kitchener Stitch, aka grafting, which is a nifty technique for attaching two pieces of fabric together. Anna presented different ways to do it, and next month’s member tip will cover the dreaded appearance of ladders, and how to avoid them when using double-pointed needles.
Our featured speaker for December was Lori Patterson of Abstract Fiber, who spoke on understanding yarn through hand spinning. Lori believes that hand spinning your own yarn is positively the best way to understand yarn, and when you understand yarn you can genuinely make your knitted projects truly your own. By way of background, Lori shared that she went to an arts focused high school, Emerson College, and art school in Atlanta, prior to arriving in Portland. In 2018, she purchased Abstract Fiber and since then has been producing intense color through hand painted skeins of yarn. She calls hand painting a slow, peaceful, reflective process.
Spinning is something that Lori discovered almost by accident while she was at the Yarn Garden. She showed us her first spinning wheel, and gave us a glimpse at her extensive collection of spinning wheels and spindles. Lori likes to think of spinning as an extension of knitting. Most knitters think of it as a meditative process, and spinning adds the empowering feeling of making your own yarn, which gives you a sense of value that is beyond what can be derived from commercial yarn.
Lori noted that spinning allows you to make the yarn you want to knit in terms of color, weight/gauge. You can explore different breeds of yarn-producing sheep, other animals and even plants. Lori gave us an overview of the types of equipment involved in spinning, such as the drum carder, niddy noddy, control card, types of wheels, and also shared a list of websites for wheels and equipment including https://woolery.com/, https://www.paradisefibers.com/, www.etsy.com, https://www.dreamingrobots.com/, and https://www.heavenlyhandspinning.com/, as well as Ravelry. She also showed us spindles and how they are used and recommend the sites, https://bosworthspindles.com/, https://www.snyderspindles.com/, https://yarntools.com/ (Jenkins), and https://www.akerworks.com/. Having given us that whirlwind tour of spinning equipment, Lori then demonstrated actual spinning, and showed us techniques for drafting, controlling the size, ratios, twist, and treading.
Lori shared a helpful hint to practice with commercial yarn before you actually start spinning and also demonstrated spindle spinning. Her last slide contains great magazine and book recommendations, including the Fleece and Fiber sourcebook, reference book Yarnitecture, https://plymagazine.com/, and https://spinoffmagazine.com/, as well as YouTube.
All these links and a few more are consolidated here.
This month’s show and tell included Michelle Corcoran, Melanie Chen, Shannon Goffe, Sue Heck and Laurel Kaufman.
Happy Holiday season and Happy New Year! And a final big thanks to Margaret Weddell, who now gets more time to actually knit! See you next month!
Want to watch the full meeting? Click here.