HTS Newsletter, February, 2012
Volunteer editor: Gary Lee Phillips, tivo.overo at gmail.com
Our next meeting will take place on Saturday, February 11, at 10:00 am at The Fold, 3316 Millstream Rd., Marengo (directions available here). The meeting will include a presentation by Deb Rock of Rock Farms, covering the fibers they produce and the tools they make. Reminder: Dues for the 2012 year are now payable if you have not already done so. Brown bag lunch optional, bring your current project to show or work on.
March 10 meeting reminder: To be announced.
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The deadline for the next newsletter will be February 25, 2012. If you are submitting material for inclusion in the newsletter, I really would appreciate having it by the deadline.
Our guild challange for 2012 will be to make a vest out of handspun yarn. This can be yarn that you are going to spin, or have already spun, just as long as you did the spinning. The vest can be knit, crochet, woven, ...whatever method you would like to use. We will be entering vests in the show held at the Harvard Library in September. We will need to have the vests completed by September 4th. You can make use of Labor Day weekend if you need to for those final details. Sooooo, that brings us to this months guild meeting. It is never to soon to think about the pattern that you might like to use. But what kind of yarn do you have to spin to make that pattern work? That is what we will be working on this month. I have selected about 6 different patterns. We will have the materials information listed and try to decide what kind of yarn that is telling us we need to make. We can also think about how you would change the pattern to accomodate yarn that you already have.
In addition to spinning yarn to meet a patterns requirements, we will have a guest presenter. She is Deb Rock. She is a fiber artists who does it all. Below is "her story."
"I am Deb Rock, an RN who has ALWAYS been in secret love with fiber... so after having moved to my new husband's farm, I decided to get a goat, as I make my own yogurt... and found Pygoras! YEAH! milk and lucious fiber, too... well soon afterwards, my wonderful hubby was on Craigslist,and found alpacas... and we were off and running!
"We both also love creativity, Ben's degree is in woodworking, (but the whole starving artist thing)so he has been in the machinery buisness for years. So... I took a glass bead class, so I could make use of our studio, also... and then came up with the YARN A LONG bracelet so that I could knit while I walked. We now have llamas, alpacas, Pygora goats , several types of sheep, and I do my own silk worms... yep, crazy! Now he is back to his love and making lovely lazy kates, spinning stools, and working towards his own wheel! So, in a brief and crazy nutshell that is Us, the Rocks... web site is ROCK-FARMS.COM (We are totally immersed in fiber!!! I haven't even mentioned the other animals...)"
Winter has come…again! December felt more like March, and many of us gave in to an early case of spring fever. However, January and winter has brought us back to our senses. Evening shadows still fall in the late afternoons, and as we relax in the evening we are no longer sitting in a small cottage heated and dimly lit by a peat fire. But we continue with the spinning and knitting that has occupied many a winter’s night for so many people over the centuries. The soft clicking of knitting needles can be heard as we still enjoy providing our family and loved ones with warm, woolen socks. Of course, Super Wash Wool is wonderful.
When did mankind start making socks and footwear? In the very early times man would bind his feet with small skins of animals to keep them warm and protect them. It is not until about the first century A.D. that some form of sock was worn. Socks made of fabric that was woven and sewn together were common during the Roman period. Fashions changed, leg coverings and socks of felt or fur became more acceptable for men to wear. Trade from the East brought along not only spices and rare fabrics, but also clothing trends and new skills.
The fall of Rome and the rise of the Saxons in Britain brought about more changes in how people dressed. Tunics with tight fitting pants, breeches with tight fitting lower legs that eventually gave way to being shortened to the knee, all played a part in the developing sock. Women were not left behind when it came to the new leg coverings. They often wore hose that would reach above the knee and fastened with ties, even though these were hidden by their long skirts or gowns.
By the fourteenth century hose of all different lengths were being worn. They were now more decorative then they had been in previous times. Hose were still fashioned out of woven fabrics that were cut on the bias so that there would be some stretch in the fabric. Scarlet was a fine elastic wool fabric. It was dyed in many different colors, but the more common color was red. This red has come to be known as Scarlet today.
By the late sixteenth century Spanish breeches became very popular. They took several forms, baggy, skin-tight, and even inverted pear-shaped. They ended just below the knee and were worn with stockings held up by garters. These stocking were different from those of cut and seamed fabric. They were made by a new remarkable technique known as knitting.
True knitting probably began between 500-1200 A.D. in Egypt or another Arabian country. Socks or stockings were the early knitting projects, and they were done in the round. The trade route through the middle East and the Crusades all brought new ideas and skills across the European continent.
As metal work advanced primarily in Spain and Italy, finer needles were produced for the knitters. This in turn allowed them to produce finer knitwork.
Queen Elizabeth I was very found of her silk stockings. Her original pair was of black silk. But, by 1588 she even had carnation pink stockings.
In the 1500’s the spinning wheel took the place of the spindle for many in Europe. Yarn was then produced in sufficient quantities that the usefulness of knitting stockings, socks, and caps as well as other clothing became a source of livelihood for many people. Hand knitting was very popular in many rural areas because it was portable and would be done while tending to other chores.
By the late 1700’s hand knitting had greatly declined. Factories making use of machinery and steam power were ushering in the industrial revolution and a hand knitter could not compete with the knitting frame. Knitting continued in rural areas and for one’s family, but sock knitting no longer supplemented family incomes.
Different cultures all made contributions to the stocking. The Scottish Kilt Hose in Argyle pattern looks very different from the Norwegian stocking. Every culture used the stocking as a pallet for their own sense of design and fashion.
If this has not completely satisfied your “sock curiosity,” much more can be found in the book: Folk Socks, The History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear, by Nancy Bush.
Time to throw another log on the fire and hear the clicking of knitting needles instead of computer board keys. Below you will find some other interesting web sites regarding socks. Yes, there really was a Bureau of Missing Socks!
See you at the guild meeting.
Sharon supplied some interesting web site references about socks:
As many of you know, the challenge for 2012 is to make a vest from handspun yarn. The choice of fiber, style, technique, and even size is entirely up to you. The one requirement is that you spin the yarn yourself and then weave, knit, crochet, or use any other method to make a vest from it.
We will again do a two week display, tentatively planned for the Harvard Library in the last two weeks of September. There will be no judging and no entry fees, and you are welcome to show whatever handspun projects you wish. The vests will be featured in this display, so start planning and get your sheep in a row now.
Sharon and Toni have big plans to revive the breed studies that our guild did some years ago. This will present an opportunity to learn about the characteristics of many different types of fiber. Be sure to come to this month's meeting to learn more about it. We hope to see you then.
Programs for the new year are listed below. Some events may still be tentative.
There are now Just 7 months left until all show and challenge projects for 2012 must be complete. Start your planning now.
If you know of an upcoming event, or have a press release or web link, send it to Gary (tivo.overo at gmail.com) in time for the previous month's deadline in order to make sure it gets into the newsletter in time.
Space permitting, members and their friends may submit notices and classified advertisements to appear here.
Did you miss a prior newsletter? It's still available online, right here. Past newsletters are retained online for one year before we retire them to reuse the space.
Are you receiving a monthly e-mail telling you that the newsletter is ready? If not, you need to sign up for the Hollow Tree Spinners e-mail discussion group.
We are running a Web-based newsletter instead of e-mailing the actual document. This should mean that anyone with access to the internet will be able to see the newsletter, regardless of the kind of computer or software they are using. Most public libraries now have internet browser access as well. An e-mail will be sent to members once a month when the newsletter is ready, reminding them to look at it and print it if they wish. Please let us know what you think. E-mail the editor, Gary Phillips, or guild manager Toni Neil with your comments or suggestions.
Meetings are on the second Saturday of each month unless otherwise announced. The newsletter should be ready by the Monday before the meeting. Please submit items, announcements, etc. to the newsletter editor, Gary, at least a full week in advance of the newsletter date (TWO weeks before the next meeting.)