Laura Ricketts Designs

"She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands..."

Laura Ricketts Designs is a personal and business website for Laura Ricketts, hand-knitwear designer, author, teacher, crafter, mother and wife.

Twelfth Night Spin

This has been a summer of spinning.

I am a part of several regional spinning groups, in one way or another. One group meets at MoonTree Studios, an outreach of the Center at Donaldson and the Poor Handmaids of Christ. On Twelfth Night (the 12th night after Christmas) we meet and exchange fiber. By midsummer we are all supposed to have spun it, and by the next Twelfth Night, we are supposed to have created something.

I received eight one ounce bits of fiber — various types and preparations. I spun three in one ply and three in another and plied them together. The other two I spun, but the colors didn’t go with these as well.

Here’s the finished skein.

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And, a close up…

And, a close up…

Now, I’m searching Ravelry for a shawl pattern for this. I kind of know what I want. I sure hope I find it, because I don’t have time to write one now.

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival

I must say, I love the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival.

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It’s only 4 - 5 hours away (depending on Chicago traffic), and it is full of wonderful crafters, artisans, wool lovers and cool people in general.

It’s a real honor to teach there! This year, I taught two classes with wonderful students. Since the first class was Saturday afternoon, I packed up early and hit the road so I could walk through the vending barns before class.

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Okay, so this first picture is out of focus and crooked, but it sends the right feel for the moment. With all that wool and yarn (and a limited budget and time on the clock), one’s heart races a bit and one finds oneself racing through the barn.

There were two vending barns this year, and, I don’t know — sixty vendors? Yarn of every color and fiber, roving, wheels and tools, patterns, art, cards, made clothing — it was all there.

Check out this picture from a wool artist’s booth:

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Pretty cool three-dimensionality, huh?

My classes were incredibly fun. Fiber students are the best.

I combine history and culture, fiber teaching and even music. Here are some picture from my first class, and Introduction to Twined Knitting.

Twined knitting samplers.

Twined knitting samplers.

Twined knitting samplers with the students

Twined knitting samplers with the students

Twined knitting is very time intensive and thus, the samples are never very big by the end of three hours. I was very proud of my students, though, for trying a new skill with an open mind and enthusiasm.

In my second class, we explored a traditional mitten from Karesuando, Sweden.

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Making a four-stranded, round braid

Making a four-stranded, round braid

Again — I really love the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, both the venue and the classroom. I’d love to go back and teach anytime!

Besides the class and vendor area, I had the opportunity to meet my first silk moth! I believe it is a bombyx silk moth (please, correct me, if I am wrong).

Slyvestra, the bombyx silk moth

Slyvestra, the bombyx silk moth

I named her Slyvestra. She was in the last day of her 7 day life of a moth. She may have been laying eggs on me as I took the picture. Gross.

Of course, this is the only moth I will willingly let touch me.

Leslie Odom, Jr.

Rachel and I went to see Leslie Odom, Jr. Friday night at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame. What a great event! Leslie’s voice is as smooth as silk. I loved the full set — three songs from Hamilton, several from his “Nat King Cole” inspired album, and a few from his winter album.

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Rachel played me his newly released song on the drive up. November 8 is the release date, I believe.

I was pleased that he quipped and was quite a comedian as well. And, his band was AMAZING. Even if I didn’t love Leslie, it would have been a great concert from the live music at such a professional level.

Spin Retreat

Spin retreat was a blast this year, as always. We meet on the last weekend of January, at the Center at Donaldson, Indiana. People from all over the region — central and northern Indiana, Michigan, and a couple from Illinois. We spin, we eat, we talk, we spin some more.

The block of pictures above actually has about twenty pictures in it. Spin it to the right and you can look around the room and begin to taste the wide variety of people, wheels and roving! It’s really a textile enthusiast’s delight.

To everyone out of the room when I took the pictures — I apologize! It was not with intent that you are not pictured. Send me your pictures and I’ll tack them on.

And, although the outside world was cold and snowy, that made it all the more inviting to be in the big meeting room, spinning wool and looking at the frozen lake, labyrinth and deer out of doors.