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Icicle Shawl Pattern

Meduseld’s Icicle Trim Shawl was very popular at Shenandoah’s Fiber Festival last week, and I received numerous requests for the pattern. As promised, here it is, FREE!

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The shawl is springy and light and the icicle fringe gives it the appearance of winter, or even like dew on a spring morning.  The body of the shawl is knitted and the trim is an easy crochet pattern.

Materials:

2 skeins of Meduseld’s Lace Romney, approximately 500 yards

silver EE (#6) beads

US 6 Knitting needles

US G crochet hook

US 10-13 stainless crochet hook or beading needle

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BODY – Place one stitch on your left knitting needle. Make one YO on right needle and knit the stitch on the left needle. Turn. YO, knit the two stitches. Turn, YO, knit the three stitches.Continue with this pattern until you have 164 rows. Each row will have one stitch more than the row before, and very quickly you’ll have a shawl with large loops at each side from the yarn-overs. Bind off the stitches of the last row keeping the remaining stitch and do not cut the yarn.

ICICLE TRIM – Insert crochet hook into the remaining stitch. Turn the shawl so that the side is up. * SC in first yarn-over loop. Chain three. **SC three stitches, placing a silver bead in each SC (see photos). SC in third chain stitch, Chain two, SC in same yarn-over loop. SC in next yarn-over loop. SC in next yarn over loop, chain three, ** repeat stitches between ** until you reach the tip of the shawl where you create an icicle in all three of the yarn-over loops. Resume from * and finish the other side of the shawl. Bind off and weave in yarn end.

Place a bead on the #10 hook.  Pull yarn through the bead.  This loop forms the next crochet stitch.  Put the G hook through this loop and draw a stich through it to close the stitch.

Place a bead on the #10 hook. Pull yarn through the bead. This loop forms the next crochet stitch. Put the G hook through this loop and draw a stitch through it to complete the stitch.

 

Place three beads this way.  You can see that each is separated by the closing stitch.  Now SC in the third chain stitch, and chain two more to complete the "icicle."

Place three beads this way. You can see that each is separated by the completed single crochet  stitch. Now SC in the third chain stitch, and chain two more to complete the “icicle.”

BLOCK – wash gently with a mild soap and block or lay flat on towel to dry, shaping the shawl.

Special notes: You will have yarn left over. You can make the shawl larger by increasing the number of rows.  Just keep in mind the approximate amount you will need to crochet the edge.

For beading, I use a US #10 stainless crochet hook which is used for making crochet lace. The #10 size is fine enough to go through most of the beads and still has a large enough hook to draw the yarn through. Kate Rabjohns, our expert knitter, uses a #13, which being finer fits through more beads. Note that the hook is smaller though.

Meduseld's Icicle Shawl

Meduseld’s Icicle Shawl

Pattern by Patricia Culver, Meduseld

2013 Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival

If there could be a theme for this year’s Fiber Festival in Berryville, VA, I think it would be “friends.” 

We saw so many old friends and made so many new ones.  From one moment to the next, there would be lively chatter in the booth, and surprise visitors popping in throughout the day. 

Meduseld's 2013 Booth

Meduseld’s 2013 Booth

It was terrific to meet some of the other vendors that we had not had a chance to meet in previous years.  Kellie Tatem with Lizard Toes where they make awesome drop spindles, Allegra Studnitz with One of Kind making her darling fiber angels and fairies, Connie DeLamater, Andrea Thornock (who in addition to selling wooden yarn cubbies is also a professional singing instructor), and so many more interesting and informative vendors.

I was finally able to meet Kate Blaney with Gourmetstash.com who makes punis for spinning.

Kate Blaney with Gourmetstash

Kate Blaney with Gourmet Stash

Here are some of her punis.

Gourmet Stash Punis

Gourmet Stash Punis

Opposite our booth was Lynn Blake with Mayhem Farm.  In this picture you can see her stunning handmade shawl creations behind her.

Lynn with Mayhem Farm

Lynn Blake with Mayhem Farm

Fiber arts were not the only skills represented.  There were also some woodworkers who had gorgeous works of art.  If you are looking for a present for your spouse for Christmas, you might want to consider one of the wooden pens handmade by Becky and Dave Lloyd of Timber and Whimsy.

Becky and Dave Lloyd of Timber Whimsy

Becky and Dave Lloyd of Timber and Whimsy

Another highly skilled woodworker was Bill Hardy of Turnstyles.  He made exquisite boxes with drawers and hidden drawers, in addition to drop spindles, crochet hooks and even ice cream scoops!   Notice the butterfly box on the left.

Bill Hardy of Turnstyles

Bill Hardy of Turnstyles

We saw familiar faces such as Emily Estrada of the  Fibretown Podcast, and Judi and Clyde DeWitt, the historic bobbin lace makers.  And, we were delighted to have a visit from Sue Groundwater who used to have the locally famous FrogEye Fiber Emporium in Winchester.  Sue gave knitting, spinning, and weaving lessons there for years and has probably instructed half the fiber artists in Winchester.  She taught me to spin and taught our son Gavin to knit.

Patricia Culver, Sue Groundwater and Gavin Culver

Patricia Culver, Sue Groundwater and Gavin Culver

It was fun to watch all the creations worn by Festival attendees.  There were so many shawls and sweaters handmade by their owners.  It was truly eye candy.  Here is one visitor to our booth in a shawl of her own creation.  In addition to being loaded with stunning fall colors, it used up ends and pieces of yarns from other projects. 

Spectacular Shawl Creation

Spectacular Shawl Creation

We also had on hand to give advice our knitting expert Kate Rabjohns in one of her diaphanous beaded creations in alpaca.

Kate Rabjohns

Kate Rabjohns

Even Miss Clark County was there with her mother.

Miss Clark County 2013

Miss Clark County 2013

 

Sincere thanks to all who stopped by and especially to our repeat customers.  Thanks for helping to support our farm and our dream!

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Countdown to SVFF

Only 11 days to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival.  We are excited for this years event.  There will be more vendors, more food options, and hopefully, excellent weather!  Stop by our booth to explore the wools we have gotten in this year.  Fall weather inspires us to start warm projects, and this is a perfect time to pick up yarns.  Here are some fun colors for Fall.

Monet Rowan

Meduseld Store Back On-Line

Ok – So it took me longer than I said to get the Store open again, and I do apologize.  I have done some inventory based on some of the items sold or given away at our Open House.  You will also find some other changes – LOWER PRICES.

maple yarn

Yes, for the next month until the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival September 28 and 29, I am lowering the prices on many of the yarns to about cost.  You will find that several of the skeins are now reduced a dollar or more each!  Some of the yarns were already so close to cost that I was not able to drop them further.

Please share word about Meduseld’s natural wool and alpaca yarns!  Buying locally and supporting your local farms helps to keep the U.S. economy strong.  Buying natural fibers is better for your health and better for the planet.  It’s good all around.

Honey reserves are not as high as last year, and we are all but out of maple syrup – there are only six bottles left.  We will not be selling any at this years’ Fiber Festival.  So if you have a sweet tooth this would be a good time to purchase honey and syrup before it’s all gone.

For more information don’t hesitate to email!

Gratefully, Patricia

Meduseld Having Open House!

We are excited to announce that Meduseld will be having an open house on July 27, 2013, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm!

We have had several calls and emails asking to visit our farm, and thought we’d go ahead and make it an official day.

You will  be able to:

  • See the conservatory,
  • See the assorted animals, sheep, horses, cows, alpaca, geese, peafowl, etc.
  • Tour the gardens and hoop houses (tunnel houses)
  • See the ponds, walk in the vineyard, deer damage and all :(
  • Bring a picnic and hang out. 
  • Pick fresh peaches.

Please make the trip to see us.  We would be delighted to show you around.  This event is invitation only.  Please RSVP!  Directions are available by emailing meduseld@live.com

See you then!

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Judi Dewitt – Master Lace Maker

On Saturday I had the privilege of meeting with Judi Dewitt, Master Bobbin Lace maker.  I was able to meet her and her husband, Clyde Dewitt, at the Fort Edwards Foundation  where both are board members.  I met Judi five years ago at the Fort Edwards Family Frontier Day, and was impressed with her skill and the enthusiasm she conveys in demonstrating this rare skill.  Judi has received recognition from Tamarack, located in Beckley, West Virginia.  I interviewed her about lace making over lunch.

Judi making a lace ornament for Tamarack

Judi making a lace ornament for Tamarack

Culver – What inspired you to learn bobbin lace making?

Dewitt – I was at an Irish Fair at Wolf Trap in Virginia and saw a woman making lace which was beautiful.  I thought I could teach myself how to make lace, but life got in the way.  I still had children at home, and I was working, so there was not much time for my hobbies.  Fast forward five or so years.  I was living in Remington, Virginia and in a local flyer was an advertisement for a woman teaching bobbin lace in Remington.  I was dating my husband and we both signed up for classes.

Culver – How long did it take for you to learn bobbin lace?

Dewitt – This is a difficult question!  I was in a class of six students including my husband.  We met every Monday night for 1 1/2 hours.  We started by learning how to make the “stitches” which are made by crossing or twisting threads.  There are three “stitches” – the half stitch, whole stitch and whole stitch twist.  The braiding (plaiting) stitch is made by doing the whole stitch over and over again.  We learned how to start and end a piece.  The best project to learn on is a bookmark.  We made many of these.  Then we moved on to more complex designs.  We took lessons for about six years.  Then we moved to West Virginia.

Culver – How long have you been demonstrating your art at Fort Edwards?

Dewitt – It has been about five years.  We did our first demonstrations at the craft co-op at the Barn in Lost River, WV and have demonstrated in several places.

Culver – How was lace produced in Colonial America?

Dewitt – The way I make lace is the same way the colonial women made it – with a pillow of straw, pins, and bobbins.  Lace was being made during “our” time frame at Fort Edwards, so my husband and I can demonstrate lace making the way lace was made in the 1700’s.  Our equipment is all modern design but the techniques are the same.  We have a pillow made with a high density foam and covered with a cloth to protect it.  In the old days, the pillow was stuffed tightly with straw.  The firmness holds the pins in place.  We use brass pins because they do not rust.  My bobbins are made of wood and spangled with beads for weight and to keep them from rolling.

Culver – Why is the bobbin lace you make called “Torchon?”

Dewitt – Different laces are made with different angles.  For example, Torchon lace is made with 90 degree angles.  Flanders lace is worked on a grid with 45 degree angles, and Bucks Point uses a 60 degree grid.

Culver – How long does it take to make lace?

Dewitt –  On average, it takes about an hour to make an inch of lace, sometimes more if the pattern is complicated.  The lace Christmas ornaments that I am making for Tamarack are about four inches and they take several hours, usually about five hours.  More time is needed when the pattern is complex.

Culver – Do you have any of your lace on your cloths?

Dewitt – The only place I have any lace on my reenactor clothes is on my historically correct cap that I wear at Fort Edwards.  I would love to make flounces to go on dresses and jackets.

Culver – Have you ever considered writing a book teaching the basic skills to make lace?

Dewitt – No, this is something to think about. 

Culver – What is your background in the arts?

Dewitt – I have been an artist ever since I can remember.  I have drawn with pencil, pen and ink, I paint in oils and watercolors and am a published illustrator.  I am a knitter, crocheter, love to sew and quilt.  Since moving to West Virginia I have learned to rug hook.  I design and hook my own rugs.  My next big adventure is to dye my own wool.  I also love doing cross stitch.  For opening day at Fort Edwards next year I am going to design a cross-stitch pattern and teach the children the techniques of this embroidery.

Culver – You must be busy!  With all these skills of yours, why do you continue to make lace?

Dewitt – There are so many pretty designs to make.  I have several books filled with beautiful edgings for pillow cases, towels and clothing.  I have three grown sons and one day they asked me why I don’t just buy lace…I told them I make it because I enjoy it.  I work with simple thread, brass pins, bobbins, a pillow and a design and make something truly beautiful.  I am part of a group that is keeping an ancient craft alive.    I never run out of ideas or things to do.  I just get tired and need a nap so that I can continue making pretty things.

Judi in the historic garden at Fort Edwards, Capon Bridge, WV

Judi in the historic garden at Fort Edwards, Capon Bridge, WV

Judi will be teaching a bobbin lace making workshop at Fort Edwards on September 28, 2013.  She also provides private instruction, and prefers teaching only one student at a time so that the student will have her undivided attention.  I can personally attest that Judi is a superior teacher with a true love of the skill and the ability to convey it to others.  Judi’s ornaments can be purchased at Tamarack, and she also accepts commissions.  She can be contacted by emailing her at jadewitt@hughes.net.

Edit to add:  Emily Estrad shows amazing examples of bobbin lace in her fibretown podcast http://www.fibretown.blogspot.com/2013/07/episode-23-bobbin-lace-mind-blown.html Make sure you watch it to see the bobbin lace fan, clutch, necklace and amazing shawl, while must have miles of silk thread in it!

 

New Romney Fingerling Yarn Colors

Meduseld has added new colors to its high-sheen Romney fingering/Lace yarn.  They are sold in pairs of 500 yards, 5.5 oz for $25.00.  These vibrant colors called Royal, Full Moon and Titian are perfect for projects going into the fall.  They are in Meduseld’s Store.

Vibrant ROmney Fingerling/Lace yarn

Flower Fairy

As you know, I am inspired by Emily Estrada’s podcast FibreTown.  In a recent podcast, she showed an adorable knit tulip fairyshe made based on a whimsical and imaginative book by Susan B. Anderson, called Topsy Turvy Inside-Out Toys

topsy turvey

Emily’s work was adorable and I decided instantly to make one as a birthday present for our little Sprite.  Trouble is, I can’t knit like that, at least not in 3-D  shapes.  Rectangles and triangles are about my skill level in knitting, so I decided to see if I could crochet one of these little fairies.

I started foraging for yarn ends to use and found that I did not have the colors that were in my imagination.  I also wanted to make her with some sparkle and definition.  I settled on crochet lace thread and sequins.  Here she is, finished just in time for our own little fairy’s birthday.

crocheted fairy

 

I started at the crown of her head and worked single crochets down with gradual increases.  Her “nose” is two double crochets joined liked a popcorn stitch.

I liked Emily’s idea of adding wings.  I made these by modifying an Irish crochet lace pattern.  They have the Irish rose in the middle, and arches and picots that are so abundant in Irish lace. 

Irish crochet fairy wings

I attached over 300 pieces of “hair” hooking them like a rug through her crocheted “scalp.”  This will hold them tightly for a child’s use.

fairy hair

Since the theme of the book is Topsy Turvy, I also made this fairy to be flipped over, her dress becoming the petals of a flower.  I made the stem into a loop so that the fairy can be carried over a wrist.

fairy over

I recommend this book even if you crochet.  It is filled with creative ideas that can be converted from knitting to crochet.  And, these are excellent gifts and provide a terrific way to use up ends of yarn from other projects.  I am placing the book in Meduseld’s Amazon Store.

 

Meduseld Working Conditions

In light of the growing trend for fuller disclosure by retailers and suppliers for more information about the source of their products, the New York Times has written an article describing the clothing and textile manufacturers’ efforts to reveal  more information on how their textiles are grown and manufactured. 

As a result, we here at Meduseld decided that consumers may be interested in the working conditions of our wool producers.  In the following pictures, we will provide a brief tour of the “factory” including their living conditions, work environment, and “fair trade” compensation. 

 Meduseld’s wool producers have two different structures for protection from the elements as well as shade in the heat of the summer.   The larger building was brilliantly created to have a split level plan, which allows for air to circulate to the upper levels and provides very tall ceilings in the stalls.  This design keeps contact with flies at a minimum, and since heat rises, the wool producers enjoy the cool earth floor in the summer.   This is when sheep need protection the most.  In the winter their wool and lanolin ensure comfy warmth.  In the summer, the shorn sheep could hardly otherwise escape the heat.

 crew

Their work environment includes several pastures that they are rotated through.They enjoy diverse grasses and forbes and some of the pastures afford tree cover and shrubs to exfoliate.  They particularly like the “mountain olives,” which they devour like candy.   This is good news, since the Mountain Olive, also called “Autumn Olive” is an invasive species from Asia that is destroying pastures throughout Virginia and West Virginia.  It was intitally recommended by several government agencies for reclaiming land, but now we know better. 

mountain olive

 

It has been difficult to estimate the actual time that they get off for breaks and meals, since most of their day is actually spent eating.   Not limited by 15 minute intervals for breaks, they pretty much plop (is that a word?) down where ever is convenient to process their cud.  Is that technically work or pleasure?  Hard to decide.

 crew taking break

Conditions include full board and meals, full health coverage, and free haircuts every spring.  They don’t even have to pick up after themselves.  Not bad.

Meduseld Lace-weight Yarn Back-in-Stock!

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Meduseld’s lace-weight yarn is back in stock in our store!

This is the beautiful, high-sheen yarn that has been shown in projects on these pages and on Ravelry.   This yarn is ideal for making lace shawls and scarves.  It makes stunning knitted Estonian lace work, and yields a lace fabric with shine and drape. 

Estonian Shawl - Kate

 

Lace Shawl Romney Fingering II

It is also delightful made into crochet lace.  Here it has been used in a pineapple pattern to create a shawl that is diaphanous and catches every breeze, despite being bordered with glass beads.  This yarn would be ideal for making bridal shawls.

Lace Shawl

Lace Shawl

 Meduseld Lace Shawl

Romney yarn holds dye beautifully.  These two-ply skeins are 250 yards  and are $13.00 each.  Each skein weighs approximately 2.9 ozFor bulk purchases, please contact Meduseld directly.