Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sad News

Mary Kelly, artist, scholar, and teacher, most recently of Hilton Head SC, has died. See her lovely obituary here.

Mary did a wonderful program for Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild in June of 2014 on the topic she is probably most well known for -- Goddess Cloth. This was her academic area of study and she shared with us her recognition of common goddess design themes (related to feminine power, fertility, and protection) in "folk textiles" from widely dispersed geographic areas, eras of time, and cultural heritages.

See more about Mary's fascinating work here.

Mary Kelly was a fiber artist in her own right, as well as an academic. She wove, and spun, and dyed, and taught all of the above. She was an active and valued member of the nearby Fiber Guild of the Savannahs . Our shared fiber arts communities have lost a treasure. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Shell Chain Chain Shell, Shell Chain Chain Shell

Aretha sets the stage for this post.
We had a great meeting in March where Ashley Schifano guided us through steps to crochet granny squares. Our goal is to make a lot of squares and put them together as blankets or lap robes later in the year to donate. Several national and local organizations were mentioned as potential recipients -- research on this continues.

Comments heard around the room:
  • "My grandmother/mother/aunt tried to teach me this when I was little, but it didn't go well/I've forgotten everything."
  • "God Bless the child who gets this blanket!" 
  • "And we thought weaving was complicated!" 
  • "This is humbling."
One former school teacher said that when she was teaching, she and other teacher friends would make it a point to get together and learn at least one completely new thing each year. She said it helped them all remember what it was like for their students every day. What a great practice for a great teacher! (But I digress.)

All this talk about the awkwardness of crocheting for the first time. . . Here's what I made:

The nice tight parts were mostly done by Natalie by way of showing me how. I was mesmerized by her beautiful hands flying and looping, then patting down the new line or corner. "See, Like that." she said. The wonky parts were done by me by way of trying. Needless to say, my hands did not fly.

Ashley shared two good videos. This one shows how to do a granny square in a single color:

And this one goes at a very slow pace (which I found helpful) and shows how to change colors every row.  (This is how Chain of Fools started running through my mind -- she kept saying "Shell, Chain, Chain, Shell. Shell, Chain, Chain, Shell", my brain shifted to Aretha Franklin.)

Thank you Ashley.

Here's what I was able to do after watching videos:
Thank you You Tube. This square still has some tension issues. There's definitely some loosey-goosey going on. But it's better. . .  A lot better! At least it looks more like a square!

Here are a few more tips to remember  from Ashley:
  • There are lots and lots of ways to make granny squares. If you have another way, or if you find a video that shows a different way and it works for you, Go With It.
  • Ashley (and the "Jayda in Stitches" video) does one chain stitch on the sides and 2 chain stitches at the corner. Some people do two stitches on the side and 3 between the "shells" at the corners. Either way can work. Pick one and stick with it.  
  • A blanket can be lot of granny squares put together (that's another lesson). Or you can just keep crocheting around and around (single color or changing colors) until you get to the desired size.  
  • 36" x36" is a small blanket for a child. "40 x "60 is crib sized, or could be a lap robe for an elderly person in a wheel chair. 
  • More experienced crocheters -- do your favorite thing within these size parameters.
Send pictures of your first square to and we'll post them here. Fun! Again, thank you Ashley for getting us going on this! (And thank you Nancy for letting us meet in your garage!

And here's just a bit of Show and Tell:

Luanne had been to a workshop learning a new paper piecing technique. Look at those sharp points -- Beautiful!
And Sandy had a car trip to Florida to see Spring Training baseball games -- so this is the "Baseball Shawl" made in the car down and back. (Donna Griffin's Summer Flies, available on Ravelry, made with a variegated silk/acrylic/cotton/rayon blend. The ruffle is an undyed raw silk).

Sonia admits she usually just spins to "get it done" and doesn't focus too much on the end result. But this time, she purposely slowed down and intentionally tried have this skein turn out the way she wanted it to. She was quite pleased with the result of this "mindful" technique -- not for all the time, but a good tool for the toolbox.
Next month we meet in new space for the first time -- Looking forward to settling in at Fabulon in West Ashley!