Myrna’s variations

Myrnas_samples2 So how many variations of Feather and Fan (a.k.a. Old Shale/Shell) are there? After taking Myrna Stahman’s class called “Variations on a Theme”, I learned that there are more than any one can probably count. Perhaps, the number of possibilities is what’s taking her so long to finish her next book.

This was a full day class devoted to discussing the basics of understanding the mechanics of stitches on the needle, reading lace charts, viewing samples of the variations and trying our hand at design our own variation. Overall it was a very informative class. Her samples were very inspiring and innovative. In the photo there’s the most amazing circular shawl (just beyond the brown scarf) made out of Mountain Colors yarn. It was made using a special technique that she developed which allows one to to knit Feather and Fan as a flat circular item. We were all dying to learn this special secret but alas she said that she’s saving it for her book.

While most of the other knitters in the class took on her challenge of attempting to design a new Feather and Fan stitch pattern, I just stuck to one of the basic variations. As you can see by this photo, I didn’t get very far. To tell you the truth, I’m anxiously awaiting her next book. Unfortunately the room was very hot and muggy due to some very strange weather at the time so it was too difficult for me to concentrate on designing anything.

To dress lace shawls Myrna uses dressing wires. Dressing wires that she helped develop are now available through HandWorks NorthWest. Since one of the vendors was offering them at the show with a small discount, I went ahead and purchase them. The kit comes with plenty of wires, blocking pins, instructions and a plastic tube for storage. I haven’t used them yet but I’m sure they’ll come in handy when I work on my next lace project.

NwRSA Conference 2006


This weekend NwRSA’s annual conference was held at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma.

Unlike last year, this time I commuted each day. Since it was quite a drive I just attended a couple of full day classes and didn’t have a chance to stay for most of the evening events. On Friday I attended Variations on a Theme, Part II  with Myrna Stahman (the Faroese Shawl guru) and on Saturday I took Spinning for Socks with Carol Rhoades (Spin-Off Magazine’s Technical Editor).

I’m still getting my notes and samples in order and plan to post about each class.

One highlight of the weekend for me was Sarah Swett’s keynote address and slide show on Saturday night. She’s an exceptional tapestry weaver from Idaho who’s had several articles in past issues of Spin-Off and was one of the featured knitters in Knitting In America (that’s her in the upper right hand corner on the cover of the book). She also has a new book out called Kids Weaving that explains how to create an inexpensive loom from PCV pipes.

While wearing a her beautiful long vest, Sarah showed slides as she talked about her work, her life and how unexpected surprises influence her creativity. She describes herself as a story teller that uses tapestries to convey stories of her and her friend’s lives. Here’s one with her friend sitting in a “dryer” dreaming about living some place where a dryer isn’t needed. Recently, her attention has shifted to painting with egg tempera, doing a bit of needlepoint and learning to play the cello.