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Friday, November 28, 2008

Book Reviews

My apologies for not updating sooner but, as you can see from the former post, life has been more than a bit unsettled lately.

There are a plethora of great books available for folks who enjoy handwork; if not for you than for a Christmas or holiday gift. The following books are all from Potter Craft; I dunno...it just worked out that way today but later on this week, other publishes will be featured. As to Potter Craft, sign up for their newsletter and have an opportunity to win free books.

The Expectant Knitter ~ 30 Designs for Baby and Your Growing Family
by Marie Connolly. As with so much of what captures our attention, having baby Nora did just that for Ms Connolly. Now, seven years later, Ms Connolly has two babies, another on the way and a Washington, DC yarn shop. From the beginning of pregnancy until the little one toddles, this book showcases lovely knitting designs.

Not so much just a knitting book as a pregnancy book, The Expectant Knitter takes one through the pregnancy in trimesters. The first trimester, "It's Official" shows adorable patterns for receiving blankets...what we used to call those baby blankets that wrapped, or swaddled, the babe for the ride home, a knitted pinwheel quilt and one of the most beautiful Christening gowns you'll ever lay eyes upon.

Weekly planners for each trimester take an amusing look at ways to incorporate, iow, sneak more yarn...fiber into your diet.

Other patterns include first party dress, a cashmere romper...OH MY!...sweaters, leggings, and, so the dog won't feel left out, a dog sweater. Toys, hats and socks round out the offerings.

This book is a delight even for those not expecting but for grands, aunties, uncles and others who have loved ones introducing new folks into the clan.

A little extra for cable fans...on her blog, she has a pumpkin cable pattern from Vogue Knitting.

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Stitched In Time ~ Memory-Keeping Projects to Sew and Share from the Creator of Posie Gets Cozy by Alicia Paulson. If you've never visited Posie Gets Cozy, get thee hence immediately! What a great site, full of fun stuff she's working on, her life, her book AND she has CORGIS!
How cool is that?!

Yeah, I know...too many exclamation points but you either get it or you don't. If you do, then you do and if you don't, then there's, probably, very little hope for you.

Potter Crafts. Again. I do tell you...Potter Crafts does the BEST books. So do other publishers but I truly love Potter Craft books and this is another one to love. Stitched in Time gives a look at the author's studio while showing how to stitch wonderful things like a Family Tree, a mobile for baby using all those delish little welcoming cards, turning a onesie into an adorable wall hanging celebrating baby's birth and a quilt using baby's outgrown clothing.

Handy tip - use cotton batting and when washed, the quilt will pucker, giving an antique feel of well lovedness. At least, I think that's a word.

One of my favorite projects is the Memory Game where pairs of photos are stitched into quilted squares, the tops all the same fabric, and used to stimulate memory. That's probably a great idea for us older folks as well and, lest we oldsters think we've been forgotten...a shoe bag, a photo pillow, a recipe book cover, place mats, laundry bag and a wedding guestbook wall hanging are suitable adult gifts. Especially appropriate this time of year is the Christmas stocking pattern and, when made with wool or flannel, warm twice over.

There are thirty projects in this book, every one sweet and intended to bring a smile, especially the Happy Birthday banner and the photos of darling Clover. Stitched in Time is a book I drag to bed with me...every time the day has been a bit frosty or someone a tad unkind...Stitched in Time reminds me of the good things in life, the warm and cozy things in life; the reason I stitch, knit, spin, felt, weave, quilt, bake, cook...all those things I do in the name of love.

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Knitting Noro ~ The Magic of Knitting with Hand-Dyed Yarns
by Jane Ellison. Eisaku Noro designs yarn. Not just any yarn but Noro yarn, the yarn bearing his name. In order to understand yarn, one must first understand wool and the sheep growing the fleece as well as how the wool accepts dye. Mr. Noro does this beautifully and Ms Ellison has designed thirty classic patterns to showcase Noro hand dyed, hand spun yarn. "Machinery is used only when necessary at a slow spinning speed by an expert craftsperson." As with all handspun yarn, Noro yarn is varied in thickness and thinness; you should purchase the same dye lot for each project with maybe an extra skein for safety factor.

Ms Ellison uses basic styles to give variation to her patterns. A tank top knits up into a ribbed vest, striped tunic, v-neck tank, basic and turtleneck tank. A chunky cardigan is knit into a bobble, long, chevron, ribbed and basic chunky cardigan while pullovers...ah yes, remember the old, very old, joke?...are designed into basic, v-neck, striped, tunic, chevron and ribbed v-neck pullover. Five styles for the classic jacket, five styles for the fitted cardigan and wraps carry one through to the end. Wraps include a shawl, chevron top, lace cover-up, scarf and a paneled top.

Every pattern is designed to showcase different Noro yarns including Silk Garden Lite, a silk mohair lambswool blend; Cashmere Island a wool, cashmere nylon blend; Kureyon a one hudnred percent wool. Substitutions are also suggested in cae you already have some Noro in your stash. All patterns are designed to wrap the wearer in beauty and gentleness; a winning combination every time.

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A Fine Fleece ~ Knitting with Handspun Yarns by Lisa Lloyd. Some of my knitter friends simply don't understand why anyone would take away from precious knitting time to spin their own yarn. Other knitter friends believe the project starts with the fleece, not with the yarn.

Ms Lloyd gives us the handspinning world in all its glory as well as the sheep breeds and other fibers used for the patterns in A Fine Fleece. The spinning process is explaned as spinning the right yarn for the job; iow, a handspinner knows what the commercial processor knows...the right fleece for the right yarn for the right job makes, or breaks, the end project.

A Fine Fleece has lush photographs and is a visual masterpiece. An abundant use of cables knit up sweaters, scarves, vests, jackets that are rich in detail and will provide increased warmth. Lacy yarn overs add charm to the Cat's Eye scarf and all patterns have charts and detailed drawings as well as the pattern to aid the knitter. All twenty-six patterns were designed for handspun yarn but millspun yarn may be used as well and substitutions are suggested.

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Shear Spirit ~ Ten Fiber Farms, Twenty Patterns, and Miles of Yarn by Joan Tapper. Two women, Joan Tapper, author and Gale Zucker, photographer have produced a visually breathtaking book on ten people who raise the animals that produce the fiber that knitters use.

Books featuring farmers, more specifically shepherds, rank among my absolute favorites. The ten farmer/shepherds/ranchers featured in this book have an obvious love for their lives and their animals. Folks who have long been associated with shepherding, fiber animals, fiber festivals and the like, will recognize the names of some of the farms.

The photographs are stunning and the fiber glorious with the patterns being icing on the, proverbial, cake. This book has it all...from fleece to finish and everything in between. One of my favorite patterns, Luna Lace Scarf, uses Goat Knoll Farm cashmere that knits into such a wonderful, fluffy piece I would be loath to give it away.

I have a minor dissatifaction...there are no farmers or shepherds featured in the traditional South. I believe that's a disservice to those raising exquisite wool, alpaca, llama and other fine fibers. There are those who maintain fine fibers aren't possible without cold weather; trust me...it's gets plenty cold enough in the Appalachian Mountains and my sheep fleeces are testimony that better quality can't be found anywhere.

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TWEED ~ More than 20 Contemporary Designs to Knit
by Nancy J. Thomas is a first ever guide to knitting with tweed yarns. Ms Thomas has edited Vogue Knitting, Family Circle Easy Knitting and Knitter's Magazine and served as Editorial Director of Lion Brand Yarn Company. She is currently Creative Director of Tahki Stacy Charles yarn company.

TWEED showcases more than twenty contemporary designs for what, initially, was yarn used for weaving cloth. Tweed is synonymous with Great Britain and, more specifically, Scotland and Ireland. Ms Thomas gives a clear and consise history of tweed...how it came to be, where it's milled and the rich, centuries old legacy. For those spinners who angst over the proper and correct definitions of woolen vs worsted, Ms Thomas enlightens there as well.

This is a book rich in photographs, history, explanations and the patterns serve to bind it, and us, together. Knitters reading TWEED will realize, some for the first time, why it's so important to have the right wool for the right yarn for the right project. Stitch patterns highlight the nepps, flecks, burrs and colors that make tweed unique and knit patterns include designs for beginners as well as more experienced knitters.

Pattern names bow to Scotland and Ireland - North Sea Hat and Scarf set, Lichen Ribbed Garter Scarf, Kilt Knitting Bag, Highlands Felted Bag and Beret, Gaelic Hat, pullovers called Tweed River and Carrick. The Outer Hebrides Sampler Throw use stitches called double seed stitch, cables, vine leaf and bobbles combined with a leafy border and stitched large enough for a two person snuggle. A Dublin Cabled Vest and Northern Ireland Peplum Sweater have intriguing details that add grace to beauty.

As much as I loved the patterns, I love the history lesson more. I love that women are bound together from beginning to now by the work of their hands. I love that women have gathered together from early days to spin, knit, weave, crochet, sew, cook, bake and love their loved ones. I love it when we put aside our differences and celebrate those things that bring us together, bring joy to our lives, warmth to our homes and, above all, add grace to our days.

As always, God's blessings upon you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

Posted by Thistle Cove Farm :: 6:55 AM :: 5 comments

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mary Crockett Bowen Bricker

Mrs. Bricker was known to her contemporaries and family as Mary Crock or, more simply, Crock. To her grandchildren and great grandchildren she was known as Brick Brick, her son and daughter called her Mother and she was my mother in law.

In her day, she did a bit of crocheting but was better known for her ability to teach hard science and math at the high school, college and university levels. During the war years, Mrs. B., along with her sister in law and her daughter's future mother in law, comprised the entire math department at Beaver High School in Bluefield, WV.

She earned her Bachelor's degree at Queens College, Charlotte, NC in 1934 and in 2004, Dave and I took her and a classmate to their 70th Queens College, now University, reunion! She earned her Masters at West Virginia University and was all but a dissertation away from her PhD when her parents became ill and needed her care.

She won several fellowships including a General Electric science fellowship and taught at Bluefield College, Bluefield State College, West Virginia University, University of Illinois, Emory University in Atlanta, GA and VA Tech.

She was extremely proud to have been chosen one of the very first cheerleaders at Tazewell High School, Tazewell, VA and would tell tales of those early days to all who would listen.

Mrs. B. supported the efforts of Fiber Femmes and, in past years, paid postage to have fifty or sixty boxes of yarn shipped to The Children's Home in Siberia, Russia.

She was the last of her immediate family and on 19 November 2008 she joined her parents, brothers and sister. In June 2008, we celebrated her 95th birthday and all but seven of the fifty or so guests were family members including children, grand and great grands, niece, nephew, cousins and me.
It was one of those rare, beautiful days...absolutely perfect weather and enough of the "old guard" in attendance to warrant a magical knowledge this was the passing of the torch. We all knew we'd never have this opportunity again and took full advantage of the day to build love and memories. We who were there have that day to hold against the dark nights and frosty world that push against love.

Blessings ~ a life well lived ~ birthdays ~ teachers ~ family ~ friends ~ memories

Posted by Thistle Cove Farm :: 10:00 AM :: 0 comments

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Contest for your business

Those of you who have a business might find this opportunity interesting.

Digital Growth Contest

Attention, women entrepreneurs...

Enter our Digital Growth Contest and you could win a free year of high-speed Internet and other prizes from a cable company, and a free one-year membership with Ladies Who Launch.

All you need to do is tell us an inspiring story about your business — and you could be a Digital Growth Contest winner!

It's easy to enter. We invite you, a spouse, friend or colleague to write an essay in 250 words or less, telling us the story of your business — emphasizing the opportunity, the challenges and the rewards of entrepreneurship. Each essay must also include an anecdote that illustrates how your business could benefit from a communications technology upgrade.

The deadline is Thursday, November 13, 2008, 11:59 ET, so don’t procrastinate!


Posted by Thistle Cove Farm :: 12:31 PM :: 1 comments

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Contests

Think Outside the Sox -
XRX Publications, most well know for Knitter's Magazine and their fine collection of knitting related books, is sponsoring a sox contest. They have more than $20K US in prize money so there are plenty of chances to win.

Art Quilt Walking
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Stampington & Company is offering several new challenges, one being...take an art quilt and incorporate it into...something else. Absolute deadline for received submissions - 15 Feb 09.

Quilting Arts -
Pokey Bolton, Quilting Arts Editor, always has a Really Good Blog. Check out her free turkey download...just in time for T Day.

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Posted by Thistle Cove Farm :: 2:45 AM :: 0 comments

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Nov 09 Quilt Shows

McCall's Quick Quilting page has a great listing of upcoming quilt shows; here's their list for November.

November 1 & 2, 2008
SILVER LEGACY 25TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW
Lodi , California. www.tokaystitchnquilt.org

November 6 - 9, 2008
A QUILTERS' GATHERING
Nashua, New Hampshire. www.aquiltersgathering.com

November 7 & 8, 2008
17TH VARIABLE STAR QUILT SHOW "WHAT'S OLD IS NEW AGAIN"
Souderton, Pennsylvania. www.variablestarquilters.com

November 7 & 8, 2008
PIONEER QUILT SHOW
Roseville, California www.pioneerquiltersguild.org

November 7, 8, & 9, 2008
A CELEBRATION OF QUILTS X Toronto, Ontario, Canada www.YHQG.org

November 8 & 9, 2008
VILLAGE SQUARE QUILTERS QUILT CELEBRATION X
Hartsdale, New York. www.villagesquaresquilters.com

November 9, 10, & 11, 2008
Arise Betsy Ross & Express your Patriotism—You Can Make a Difference! The Armed Forces Foundation has agreed to help spearhead the project.
Shelburne Museum, Vermont. www.HeavenlyPatchwork.com.

November 14 (9-3) & 15 (9-3), 2008
8TH ANNUAL QUILTS AND TEA FESTIVAL
Davenport, Florida www.davenportfl.org

November 14 & 15, 2008
HARVEST OF QUILTS PRESENTED BY HIGH COUNTRY QUILTERS
Palmdale, California. For additional information, contact Wendy Fullmer at dadokate@roadrunner.com

November 14 (4am-9pm) & 15 (9am-5pm, 2008
QUILTS TODAY, TREASURES TOMORROW
Lenexa, Kansas, www.bluevalleyquiltersguild.com

November 15 & 16, 2008
SCRAP HAPPY QUILT SHOW
Perkinston, Mississippi. For additional information, contact Wyvona B. Scarbroug by email clara31050@gmail.com


Posted by Thistle Cove Farm :: 7:34 PM :: 0 comments

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Fiber Arts News

The 15th Annual Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair is being held at Chicago's Navy Pier's Festival Hall Nov 7-9, 2008. SOFA bills itself as "The World's Foremost Fairs of Contemporary Decorative Arts & Design" and lives up to it. The opening night preview is 6 November. Dealers from sixteen countries and one hundred galleries will be represented and included in the admission price are lectures and special exhibits.

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Interweave Bead Fest in Santa Fe, NM March 12-15, 2009. Santa Fe Community Convention Center & Hilton.

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Interweave Bead Fest in Portland, OR September 24-27, 2009

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Fiberarts Studio Tour showcases the winners of Interweave Press artist studios. Forty-three artists studios are show...more than enough to cause fiber envy!



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Posted by Thistle Cove Farm :: 2:02 PM :: 0 comments

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Surface Design Auction

Surface Design Association is accepting donations for their on-line fund raising auction. Bids are accepted 1 - 15 October 2008; please visit their website for more information on donating an item or volunteering.

Donations must fit into one of the following categories: art to wear, sculpture, book arts, whole cloth, home decor and miscellaneous.

Proceeds from the auction will help support SDA's Creative Promise Awards, scholarships, grants and other SDA projects.







Posted by Thistle Cove Farm :: 6:14 AM :: 0 comments

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