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Fiber Friday: Why Flexibility Wins in Crafting... And Life!
This Friday, I'm reflecting on how crafting reflects life in so many ways + recs for reading, appreciating, listening & learning.
Hi there, I’m Jodie Morgan! Fiber Friday is a weekly letter from me to you with life lessons, crafting adventures, inspiration & links from the world of making.
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Have a lovely weekend,
Good morning from Chiang Mai!
Living in a hot climate, I’m knitting with plant fibers, something I’ve previously not had experience with. I knitted my Tara Top with 4 ply Milk cotton. The fabric is very different from the original pattern. (It uses 60% mohair/40% silk blend and 100% noil silk.)
My top doesn’t have as much drape and looks stiffer! This isn’t a bad thing, it's just different. And, because it’s cotton, I can put it in the washing machine and hang it on a coat hanger to dry. No detrimental effects to be seen. Happy days!
I’m currently swatching with a 70% Bamboo/30% Cotton yarn for my next project, the True Nature Tee by Stephanie Lotven,
As yarn in Thailand doesn’t use the Craft Yarn Council’s yarn weight system, I used the WPI (wraps-per-inch) method to tell which it might be. It measured 18 wraps-per-inch which is akin to fingering weight, but slightly thinner than the average commercial yarn.
Which is good news as the fiber used in the pattern, is also fingering weight yarn. (60% Superwash Merino wool, 20% Silk & 20% Yak). As it’s animal fibers the fabric is different.
It’s a steep learning curve to figure out how to knit a garment in a different gauge and fiber to the pattern! I hope the size I choose will be correct.
Thankfully, I found a post on Instagram byof Nourishing Things who discussed how she uses gauge ratios when using a lighter weight yarn than what’s recommended.
I’m noticing on US 4 (3.5mm) needles, the fabric is light and drapey. I don’t have a smaller knitting needle size so I’ll have to make do.
The fabric of the swatch is also a little see-through! So I might consider wearing a camisole underneath it, or not! I’ll see how brave I am.
I’ll practice the lace pattern for the Tee in another swatch. It’ll be interesting to see how that turns out.
On another knitting technique note, the video tutorial I have for an I-Cord edge on garter stitch received a question in the comments section: does it also work on stockinette?
The good news is yes! I created a swatch testing it out to make sure. There several ways to knit an i-cord edge but I find the way I do it works well.
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Yarn All Over The World
A little trip down memory lane…
I love going through old photos and reliving yarn shop adventures!
When I lived in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, I knitted dishcloths from the many free patterns that were available from Knit Picks.
I used Omega cotton yarn, bought from a haberdashery shop. There was a wall dedicated to yarns (pictured below.)
I planned to gift the dishcloths to the lovely people we met while living there.
I’d knit when my kids attended classes at Crece Verde, an outdoor school for home educated kids. It was a wonderful experience for my children, as they conducted the classes in Spanish, so their language skills improved quickly!
My Spanish also got better, as the kind and generous parents who helped with the classes corrected my pronunciation and mistakes.
One parent who taught the kids textile art, was an avid crocheter who created the most adorable amigurumi. I helped her teach the kids basic crochet skills.
Playa del Carmen holds a special place in my heart because of my deep connection with the people and the place.
I experienced exquisite natural beauty, the jungle, beaches and cenotes (natural limestone sinkholes full of crystal clear water). As I write this, I’m taken straight back to a memory of swimming in Cenote Azul and jumping off a cliff into the icy water below.
Fiber Finds: What I’ve Loved This Week
Anne Vally of Nourishing Things shared the lovely quote below in her recent post “Time Is The Real Luxury.”
In Jennifer Edward’s post, Intention & Flow, she describes moments as “must-dos” and “wanna-dos”.
Phosphorescence by Julia Baird: On awe, wonder & the things that sustain you when the world goes dark.
The author discusses keeping our light within to help us with the challenges we face. Awe and wonder in nature positively impacts our mental health.
On my daily walks I love observing nature: the clouds in the sky, what birdsong I can hear, and what plants are flowering.
When I draw with colored pencils, I try out different flowers. Blue cornflowers are a favorite of mine. The color speaks to my creative heart. I’ve put my sketches up on the wall above my work desk. They bring nature inside ☺️
Laura Nelkin, on an Instagram reel, shared a tutorial for saving yarn when swatching on circular needles to emulate knitting in the round. Instead of long floats behind the work, there are bits of yarn on one side of the swatch.
I tried this but found it too fiddly for the fine bamboo/cotton yarn I’m knitting with. So I opted for the more common method (long floats) for my swatch.
Which method do you prefer using?
I’m grateful for the expert knitters who share their knowledge and help me improve my skills and understanding. Thanks to their generosity, I can find most techniques I need to learn, in a tutorial on the internet!
If you have a local yarn store, I’m sure you’re thankful for the expertise of the owners and staff! I envy you. ☺️
Another thing I’m grateful for is sitting down to knit with a freshly brewed coffee always makes me happy! I’m loving the local Chiang Rai mountain coffee beans.
Akha Coffee, my preferred brand, follows sustainable farming techniques.
I use a French Press, and I scoured the internet for the best way to use it. There’s much debate about the best grind size! I’ve tried coarse and medium but I’m in the medium camp. I add cream to my coffee and I adore the flavors.
How do you like your coffee? Or are you a tea drinker?
A Mindful Moment
In 2021, I attended the online “Soul Craft Festival” created by Felicia Semple. During the pandemic, it was a joy to learn about makers and their practices in the interviews recorded for the festival.
I thoroughly enjoyed the weekly zoom group meetups. In one of these, there was debate about the mindfulness of knitting. We discussed whether you’re being mindful or mindless when knitting simple repetitive stitches?
I think knitting in whatever form is mindfulness. My mind feels clearer, calmer and quieter when I knit, but I’m not switched off as I would be if I’m in a state of mindlessness.
What do you think? Leave a comment below, reply to this email, or share your thoughts in Substack Notes and tag me:.
So, may you find joy in the things you have to do and want to do this coming week. You matter and so does your craft.
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