The Perfect Pincushion

Today’s quick blog post (before we see another rep) is all about pincushions. Yes, pincushions — those squishy things you stick your pins and needles into for safe keeping. I recently visited my sister and got a chance to see her workshop where she makes her amazing bags (coming soon to Archipelago in Rockland — I wish I could show you how gorgeous they are). While picking my way between the rolls of leather and fabric, I happened to notice that the floor was littered with pins! For my sake and hers, I’ve decided that she needs a pincushion. It’s going to be knitted, and it needs to be cute/fun/pretty so that it makes her smile when she uses it. To Ravelry!

© Gari Lynn

© Gari Lynn

I’m a sucker for traditional nostalgic designs, so this little tomato designed by Gari Lynn caught my eye right away. I remember seeing fabric versions of these by the sewing machines of my friends’ mothers and grandmothers. Pattern available here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/heirloom—tomato-pin-cushion

 

 

 

© Amanda Berry

© Amanda Berry

Since my sister shares my slightly kooky sense of humor, I was considering this adorable (but slightly grim) voodoo doll pincushion by Amanda Berry. Perhaps it would come in handy for those days where the sewing machine spits oil onto an almost finished bag, or when an order of leather gets lost in the mail? http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/voodoo-doll-3

 

 

 

© susan cornish

© susan cornish

But my favorite pincushion so far is the cactus. What a perfectly adorable item! There are several on Ravelry, some tall, some short, some knit in chunky yarn, some with flowers… The tiny terra cotta pot is a great touch. I especially love how the pins add to the cactus-y appearance, though it looks fine on its own, too. I really think that my sister needs one of these, and it seems like a super quick knit. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pin-cushion-cactus

 

 

Do you have a favorite pincushion at home?

Where the Magic Happens

I can knit or crochet just about anywhere, but when it comes to needle felting I’m very particular about the space I work in. For this blog post I’d like to show you where I work, and maybe give you a peek at some of the treasures I use in my needle felted pieces.

feltdesk

To start, this is the desk that I felt at. It’s technically a TV stand, so there’s very little space for material set up. Most of what I use is either under the shelves or in the closet behind it. (It may or may not have received a much needed cleaning before this shot.)

stuff

Now on to the treasures! On my desk I have an antique tobacco drawer (that’s been cleaned, thankfully). This is where I keep broken and unique buttons, various shell beads, and black spruce cones.

shellbeads

I carry more shell beads in a separate container, as well. These are shells I’ve found on beaches that have conveniently placed holes from hungry worms. These tend to be used more as pendants than as glued or sewn in textures.

thimble

Safety is important, and sometimes my jelly thimbles just don’t cut it if I need to be more aggressive with my felting needles. This is a very special thimble I received from my Papa that used to belong to my grandmother.

keys

These are some of my favorite things you can find on my desk (if you know where to look )– antique keys and iron nails. I have more of these nails, but at the moment they’re being soaked in water to create an iron mordant I’ll be using for natural dyes. I have yet to implement the nails into a piece, but the keys have already made an appearance with Essex, the Archivist.

featimage

 

As an extra little treat, this is my antique desk that I sit at when I’m drawing.  It isn’t all in this shot, but the top does lift up to a larger compartment and some drawers (which is a horrible, horrible mess). As some of you may know, I’m not only a fiber artist, but also a (professional) illustrator. It’s been a little while since I’ve done any of this sort of work, so I’m very excited and eager to have the opportunity to be working on the coloring pages you’ll be receiving in our newsletter!

drawdesk

You get a virtual cookie if you can guess where I went to see and get a print of that sculpture/memorial in the upper left corner. (No one should be surprised that it was one of my favorite parts of that place. 10/10 would go again).

Why Do You Knit?

I’ve observed that people make knitted things for different reasons. Some people only knit socks, and some people knit the things lacking in their wardrobe. Some people only knit gifts to give away to their loved ones, because hand-made gifts are imbued with significance that store-bought gifts can never possess. It doesn’t have to be the same reason every time, of course. But then there are the people who just knit because they feel compelled to knit – maybe they like the challenge or maybe they find it soothes the mind and passes the time. They may find excuses to make the things they make, or they may knit without any pretense. When asked how their current project will ultimately be used, they may shrug their shoulders. I’ve met knitters who know with certainty that the fruits of their labors will never be used, but still they knit. Those are the process knitters.
The Yarn Monster

The yarn monster in my closet is a plastic tote stuffed with hand-made items.

I respect all the myriad reasons that knitters choose to knit, but I am a process knitter. You might say that I knit to feed the yarn monster in my closet (see photo above), and to dress up (and up and up) my patient and reliable craft room companion, Amanda (see photo below). Knitting is most pleasurable for me when I’m trying out a new technique, combining colors and textures, or constructing an object that requires visualization and takes advantage of the peculiar properties of knitted fabric. Knitting is experimental for me, and the experience of touching and observing the yarn is more important than the thing itself.  The objects I make are often incidental and frequently never completed. When someone asks me what my favorite thing to knit is, I must confess that I don’t have a favorite, but I usually say hats or shawls. It’s not because they’re the easiest to knit, though they are – it’s because I find that hats and shawls are forgiving and straightforward canvases for experiments in color and texture.
Amanda_The_Mannequin

Amanda the Mannequin

I suppose some day, when the yarn monster in my closet simply cannot eat any more knitted things, I will begin to give things away or attempt to sell them off, but that’s never been the goal for me. Why do you knit?