It took three sessions for all of us (working furiously the whole time), but last Wednesday we all almost finished our baskets. We went home with lashing for the top rim to finish, and I just did that this morning. This was a great workshop; the instructor really knew basket construction and was able to go from person to person checking us to be sure we were following the directions. Everyone’s basket looked great. I ended the workshop with a much better understanding of basket construction, sore fingers, and a yen to do more of this.
Maybe this spring I will collect some vines (as I am clearing the beds for spring) and try a different kind of basket on my own.
I’ve been spinning for years, but I’ve never used a drop spindle. So when the historical museum offered a workshop in using the drop spindle I signed up. About 8 people showed up. The gal who ran the workshop supplied spindles constructed from old CD’s to those who didn’t have a spindle. My husband made me two spindles from wood he had lying around in his workshop; they are beautiful! I may decorate them with paintings of sheep, but for now I’m just practicing with them. The larger spindle worked more easily; it kept whirling for a longer period of time and I was eventually able to start drafting with a little speed. I think the drop spindle might be useful for spinning singles for fine knitting. But, I really appreciate the easy of spinning with my wheel now!!!
Spindles made by my husband
Here’s a link to a website called “Spinning Daily” where you can download a free ebook with directions on how to spin with a drop spindle. The first article even shows you how to construct a spindle from old CD’s.
I’ve started spinning a gray fleece that I bought over a year ago. It will make a nice fair isle sweater paired with some dark blue fleece that I’ve just finished spinning.
I love Elizabeth Zimmermann patterns. They always stretch your understanding of how increases, decreases, short rows and other techniques create texture from your knitting. The pattern creates a piece of knitting that looks nothing like a sweater until the end when, voila, you fold it into a beautiful baby sweater.
This pattern took about 4 ounces of my finely spun wool/mohair mix that was dyed using lichens collected along Cottage Road in Averill. A true Vermont sweater from beginning to end!
First half of the sweater
Complete sweater at the end of knitting
Folded into the sweater: the only seam is along the shoulders and arms
Finished sweater. There are buttonholes on both sides, so you can sew on the buttons once you know the gender of the baby!
It was a rainy/snowy night, but everyone turned out for the second basketry session. Turning the bottom up to the sides was a challenge for all of us new to making baskets, but with our instructor’s help everyone made great progress on the sides of the basket. I finished most of the sides (This is an 11″ tall basket); we were sent home with the basket and some extra spline to finish the sides at home and “pack down” the weaving after it dried. I have one or two rows to do and then I will finish with a tapered piece that goes 1/2 way around the basket. Next time (we had to add a third session) we will finish the top and add the handles. This is going to be a very useful basket! I can’t wait to post the finished basket in a few weeks.
I’m also working on some knitting for a new grandchild! I completed a white baby bonnet and am working on EZ’s Baby Surprise Jacket, made with wool I spun at Averill and dyed with lichens from the Averill woods. A very special knitting project!
Knitted Bonnet before it was sewn together
Beginning of the “Baby Surprise Jacket”.
The Woods Hole Historical Society again this year has offered a series of wonderful winter craft workshops to the community. Last Thursday evening I went to the first week of a two week basketry workshop. This is the first time I’ve tried any basketry and so far, in spite of a few pricked fingers and beginner’s confusion, I am having a lot of fun constructing a good sized market basket.
During the first session we assembled the staves and did the weaving of the bottom of the basket. We took home the partially constructed basket with directions to let it dry with the wood strips for the sides in an upright position. Next week we will weave the sides and (we hope) finish the basket. We learned that materials for baskets like these are in short supply, as the overseas supplies are scarce, and as a result the cost of materials is zooming. Below is the beginning of my basket!
Right side of the bottom of the basket
Sides being held in an upright position (by an ace bandage!) until the wood dries.