Textile Travels: Of Sheep and Shetland Wool
By Mary Jane Mucklestone
I fell in love with Shetland long before I visited it. I fell in love with Shetland through its wool, while re-stocking the shelves at the yarn shop in Camden, Maine, where I worked. It formed a glorious wall of color. I liked to sort the skeins, organizing them into color stories and marveling at the depth of color, the artful mix of various hues in the strands, and wondering how anyone could ever come up with such fantastic heathery colors. I loved the bounce of the fiber and its subtle sheen long before I attempted to knit with it. To tell the truth I was afraid to use it. I thought it was too fine, the needles required too thin. I thought that Fair Isle knitting was complicated. But I started to collect the yarn. Any ball in the sale bin, I’d nab. Sometimes I couldn't resist a color and bought it for full price, reasoning that it cost about the same as a fancy coffee. The day I started to knit with Shetland wool, a whole new world opened up and I knew that, someday, I had to visit.
Trick Up Your Sleeve
By Fiona Ellis
A sleeve is more than simply a covering for the arm. It is a complex part of a garment that adds style and interest and can also dramatically change its overall silhouette. A sleeve has several different components each of which can be modified. Combining variations of these components with each other has led to a seemingly endless number of styles.
By Daryl Brower
If you happened to be scrolling through the New York Sheep and Wool Festival website this past fall, one image likely caught your eye: A trio of humans dressed as sheep—complete with bells around their necks and grass in their mouths—and their shepherd dozing off in the distance. The sheep, named Julie, Marie-Louise, Bernadette and César, are the centerpiece of Les Moutons, a “wordless live installation” that’s been performed more than 400 times by the Canadian dance company Corpus in some 25 countries. (Red tape and visa issues kept the group from performing as planned at Rhinebeck in 2016, but hopes are they will perform at the 2017 festival.) In it, the sheep do what sheep do. They’re herded, penned, fed, milked, and sheared. They bleat, eat, and copulate (not too graphically), escape into the audience, let children and adults feed and pet them, or just stand and stare into space as sheep are wont to do. It’s all delightfully weird, funny, intriguing, and hard to define. Is it dance? Performance art? Interactive children’s theater? The Corpus performers aren’t telling. After all, they say, it doesn’t really matter.
Swatch It! Winter 2016
By Clara Parkes
The world is awash in contrasts, whether we’re talking good versus evil or a glazed donut versus a kale salad. We can’t fully appreciate one without some degree of exposure to the other. So go ahead, get yourself a donut. I can wait.
By Sandi Rosner
When drape-front cardigans without closures came into fashion, a collective sigh of relief was heard throughout the knitting community. No more need for buttonholes, an element that’s stymied knitters for years. But I personally don’t enjoy fussing with a cardigan that flaps in the breeze, and I can’t be bothered with pinning my sweater shut. I like buttons, and that means making friends with buttonholes. So if, like me, you’d like to find a better way to secure your sweater fronts, read on.
Buttonholes are a lot like air conditioning vents— rarely attractive, but functionally essential. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Let’s start by talking about what makes a good buttonhole:
In most cases, I buy the buttons to fit the hole rather than making the hole to fit the button. Of course, exceptions must be made for those occasions when you’ve come under the spell of a special button and want to make it a design feature. For everyday buttons, I take my swatch or nearly finished sweater to the store and play with the options until I find buttons that look great and fit my buttonholes well.