How the West Was Wooled Part 2
By Hypatia Francis
Towards the end of the 19th century, both the United States and Canada were opening up the West. With western expansion, came a rise in wool production. Cotton might have been king on the East Coast, but in the West wool was an important part of the economy. “Wool production was vital,” says Jeanne Carver, who runs Imperial Stock Ranch in Oregon with her husband Dan. “In the early days of Oregon’s settlement, Oregon was the second leading state for wool production in America.” Sheep-raising had changed as people moved west, and was being done on a much larger scale than before. Sheep ranches like Carver’s, founded in 1871, were much larger than anything back east. “At one point Imperial Stock Ranch was the largest wool producer in Oregon, with 85,000 head of sheep,” says Carver.
It's Not Easy Being Green
By Fiona Ellis
As Kermit the Frog has often told us, “It’s not easy being green.” Likely, one of the reasons for this is that the shade is almost fully dependent on other colors— blue and yellow— to exist. So dependent in fact, that in some ancient languages, and texts green and blue are referred to by the same name.
Swatch it! Fall 2015
By Clara Parkes
People warn against using anything but the simplest of yarns for cable motifs. The more challenging the twists and turns in our pattern, the more solid your yarn's color and texture should be—the idea being that the pattern itself needs to take center stage, with the least distracting yarn possible. This might explain why Luise O'Neill's Ballyfaron tam and cowl set piqued my interest.
Swatch It! Spring/Summer 2015
By Clara Parkes
Dropped-stitch patterns are wonderfully deceptive. At first, your knitting looks dense and cohesive, a pretty piece of fabric that'd be right at home in a sweater. But then you reach your destination and release the designated stitches, and suddenly your fabric opens up to reveal something else entirely.
This "what you see isn't what you get" phenomenon can make yarn choices a challenge, especially if you want to substitute for something other than what the pattern specifies. Complicate matters by stranding two different yarns together, instead of using just one, and things really get fun. And since knitting is about having fun, that's what I decided to do, using Brenda Patipa's Acanthus pattern as my guide.
Let it Go: Zen and the Art of Crafty Minimalism
by Rachael Herron
I’ve been thinking a lot about minimalism lately, and I believe that to make yourself happier, you should get rid of your stash.
Whoops. That shook you up, didn’t it? I’m kidding! Kidding! Actually, I’m not kidding. But I’ll give you a minute to get your breath back.
I’ll start by noting that some people are truly not bothered by clutter. My better half is one of them, a soul actually soothed by leaning piles of books, papers, and artwork. If that’s you—and if that’s working for you—that’s fine. I envy you. The universe tends toward entropy and you are already comfortable with this fact of life. But if the size of your stash makes you feel stressed or if clutter in your house makes you anxious, stick with me. If you long for organization, if you wish you could catalog everything in your stash with a quick flip through the ol’ mental Rolodex but can’t figure out where to start, keep reading.