Monday, August 8, 2011

Flowers & Fiber Flow at Maker Faire Detroit!

Maker Faire Detroit 2011 was filled with makers of many disciplines showing off what they do and inspiring people that they, too, have the power to make.

The waterfall and some flowers went up on the fence of The Henry Ford on Oakwood Blvd. on Friday night, July 29, in anticipation of the festivities July 30 and 31.

This year we were indoors safe from the heat and humidity so (unfortunately) typical of Michigan summers. We engaged Faire goers with the joy and love of knitting and crochet. We taught the basic knit stitch so people could add onto the waterfall as well as some basic crochet stitches to make flowers. Depending on an individual's skill level and/or determination, simple chain flowers to some very sweet picot petal flowers were made.

There were many Faire goers who graced the booth and project with their enthusiasm and generosity. It was fun to see different styles of knitting and crochet and to hear people's stories. I have to give extra special acclaim to a young man who himself was teaching circuit soldering with the Ann Arbor Hand's On Museum. Not only had he never crocheted before, he was left handed with only right handed tutors available. Nevertheless, he persevered with aplomb and surprising agility and made a wonderful flower. It is this spirit and energy that is the embodiment of Maker Faire. It should give us all hope for the next generation that will be in leadership. Thank you, Tyler, for your unwitting gift of optimism.

Thank you all for sharing your time and energy. I am proud to be in the family of fiber with you!

There was interest in the patterns used at Maker Faire. The following are links to the flower patterns used:
String of Flowers
Morning Glory
Picot Flower
(I divided the Picot Flower pattern into individual flowers, so that the inner flower and outer flower became two separate entities.)

I must thank with all my heart the team who pulled this all off. Lisa Cieri, for her work and artistry in constructing and installing the waterfall and flowers. Elizabeth Najduch, who hung in there both days taking pictures, providing tactical and flower-tying support and teaching even though she would have rather been poked in the eye (yet never gave that impression). Carolyn Lynett, who came to cover when there were volunteer cancellations and stayed when those who were supposed to show up never did. Her expertise during those long hours and help in the set-up was invaluable. Daisy Lovain, who heard of this crazy, whimsical project, signed on without question and shared her knowledge and good humor. I truly could not have done it without all of your help and I'm deeply grateful for your benevolence and goodwill.

Now I know why at the Academy Awards they start playing music to get the people off the stage. No project like this can be done in isolation and the collaboration that ensues is humbling and energizing. Thank you to all who infused this project with their self and their spirit. Even though I feel this phrase is overused, in this case it is exactly what I feel in my heart: I am honored by your kindness and thoughtfulness.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Water is full of fiber

At least our water is. As Maker Faire Detroit approaches, we are busy putting the final touches on the base waterfall that Faire goers will be adding onto. Lisa Cieri's brilliant artistic flair gave life to the plain rag fiber stitches.

Now, if you are saying to yourself, "That looks nothing like a waterfall" or "This heat must be getting to them," I want you to think Expressionism rather than Realism.

It's more Van Gogh's "Starry Nights"

(public domain)

than Achenbach's "Abendstimmung in der Campagna."

(public domain)

Put yourself in the mindset of Henry Moore's "Reclining Figure"

(photo credit: Andrew Dunn)

rather than Michelangelo's "David."

(photo credit: David Gaya)

Can you see it now? I knew you could.

(I'm in no way comparing this work to these masterpieces, just trying to give you a feel for our inspiration and approach.)

Flowers are also being made so Faire goers don't feel too shy when tying on their own creations. Plus, they're so gosh darn easy and fun to make!

Maker Faire Detroit will have something for everybody. It even has things that you didn't know you were interested in. It's an event where you can expand your vision of what is possible. You can say to the Maker at the booth "I can do that" and they won't be offended. In fact, you'll be encouraged to do so!

In our world where we're told all the time to buy, consume, repeat, it's easy to become lazy in body and mind. Maker Faire is that alarm bell (complete with LEDs and shooting flames) to snap out of it! Do something! Make something!

Visit The Henry Ford for more information or to buy tickets in advance (you can also buy tickets at the door.)

I look forward to seeing Yarn Geeks representing at Maker Faire Detroit 2011!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Plug in with Yarn: Flower Power!

We are plugging in with yarn again this year at Maker Faire Detroit, only this time with flowers and hydro!

In the interest of simplicity (and acknowledging that hindsight is 20/20 and making a site name very specific may not have been the smartest idea but embracing naivete and moving on.....) this site will be documenting the journey of Maker Faire Detroit 2011's project: Flower Power: Making Waves with Yarn!

This year we will be celebrating once again the magical crafts of crochet and knitting as well as celebrating Detroit, the city of "the strait." (The city's name comes from the French "de troit" meaning "of the strait," an endowment of the original European settlers of this area.)

We will be yarn bombing decorating the fence of The Henry Ford with fibery goodness in the forms of flowers and water.

(artist rendition)

Currently, we are hard at work constructing the base waterfall onto which faire goers can add their creation.

(Raw material for waterfall.)

The waterfall will be mainly knitted but this does not mean crochet stitches are not welcome. At Maker Faire we will be teaching people basic knit stitches if they are unaware they need to learn this skill.

And, as we all know, July waterfalls bring crocheted flowers. (OK, so it may be my own particular delusion a bit obscure, but, trust me, it's true.) Crochet flowers are easy and fun to make and they also are an excellent way to learn crochet stitches. In a short time, you can learn the enchanting craft of crochet and have a finished product!

(These take no time at all. And, yes, there are some knit stitches there.)

Again, we will be teaching these basic stitches and/or giving guidance if letters like sc, dc, and tc mean something to you. There will also be an opportunity for knitters to make flowers, too, as there are some simple, quick-to-make patterns. To be honest, knitted flowers are not difficult to make but they do take quite a bit of time to do (versus a crochet flower). They also are not the most beginner (as in never picked up a pair of needles before) friendly item to make. However, if you have some knitting practice under your belt, they are a fun way to learn increases and decreases.

So! Now what does one do with this flower or water once crafted? Tie it onto the fence! That's right, hundreds of mini yarn bombings adornments to create one large yarn bombing art intallation!

Last year's Maker Faire Detroit made it clear that:
1. People like to get loopy.
2. Those people are awesome.
3. If a bunch of people do something small for a general purpose, together they can create something great!



Get your fiber geek on at Maker Faire Detroit 2011 at The Henry Ford July 30 and 31!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Help keep Austin Blair warm

Knittas 4 Life, from Michigan's lovely capitol city of Lansing, are making a scarf for the statue of Austin Blair. Who was Austin Blair? Well, born in New York, he moved to Jackson, Michigan to study law and was Governor of Michigan from 1861 to 1864. He opposed slavery and was a champion for human rights. His statue graces the front lawn of the State Capitol that was dedicated on October 12, 1898.

They are inviting everyone who would like to be a part of this project to make a piece five inches wide and as long as you want. Information on where to send to your work can be found on their web site.

This is a fun project and the lazy way to be involved in a yarn bombing! Believe me, the knitting/crocheting is the easy part. We all have ends of skeins from projects that we're keeping for goodness knows what. Well, this is the goodness you've been saving it for! Make room for more yarn and be involved in a subversive project, what could be better?!

Send some scarf love to Knittas 4 Life!!

(Photo by James Tyler)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Scarf visits Neighborhood Knits!

The Purl St. Scarf is draped in the window of Neighborhood Knits! This wonderful local yarn store graciously provided support for The Purl St. Scarf Project. It is an honor to have it hanging there so more people can see it and be able to witness what a community can do. It will be up for a little while longer, so if you're in the area, please drop in and say hello to the terrific staff and have a look at the scarf! Live! In fiber!!

(Neighborhood Knits is located on 23305 Ford Rd. in Dearborn. Directions and information on their events and classes can be found on their web site.)

Before taking a lounge at Neighborhood Knits, Scarf visited Menlo Park to see the chair Thomas Edison used when working there.

and then sat a spell on the porch of Firestone Farm.

It also visited the sheep to show off its colors and fancy stitches.

They were not impressed.

Portrait of raw material and finished product.

(The cream striped swatch was made with yarn from the Greenfield Village sheep.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Helping keep Tom warm

From this

to this

to this.

Doesn't he look happy?

The scarf wanted to check out Tom's digs. It went to Menlo Park.

It went to the Edison Illuminating Company of Detroit.

It sat for a spell on the porch of the Mattox House.

It hung out with the mulberry trees.

(Stay tuned for more adventures of Tom's scarf!)

Here's a picture of the scarf laid out so you can see all of its 30 feet of glory!

For more pictures of The Purl Street Scarf Project at Maker Faire Detroit and the completed scarf, you can click on the Flickr link in the side bar or click here: Take me to see pretty pictures.

Thanks again to all who helped make this whimsical vision a reality: Carolyn, Char, Elizabeth, Elanda, Mary, Lisa, Carol, Dawn, Kathryn, Neighborhood Knits, everyone who donated yarn, local yarn stores that put up a poster, and everyone who knitted or crocheted a square, a rectangle, one row, several rows, a few stitches. It is your spirit that makes this scarf as amazing and marvelous as it is.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's a Scarf!

At times it was quite a puzzle trying to sew the scarf together. Because the pieces ended up being different dimensions, some creativity was involved in getting them to become a cohesive entity. At times, crochet edgings were added

and a few places needed supplemental units to fill in the gaps.

However, it was such a joy doing it all. I was able to work with all the lovely colors and types of yarn people generously donated. And it was delightful to get personal with everyone's work. I don't want to take all the credit for sewing the scarf together. I had help from outstanding volunteers both at Maker Faire and afterwards. (Many thanks!)

The completed scarf is perhaps not beautiful in a conventional sense, but it IS beautiful! In addition to the movement and texture that resulted from the various stitches and sizes, it has a beauty and charm which comes from the spirit of everyone who contributed. The allure of imperfection and the splendor of soul is manifest in this creative endeavor.

Here's a sneak peek of the completed Purl Street Scarf:

Soon, very soon, you'll see it without the Photoshop tomfoolery.