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.

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.

Looking forward to teaching at North House Folk School

It’s January 2019 and the kids are back at school. In our house, we know it is “back to business” when the dog stops waiting for table scraps and finally eats her dog food without complaint. Today was that day.

I am back to the drawing board — literally — sketching sweater ideas for submissions to magazines. The year started on task with a magazine acceptance (hooray! I new magazine to me!) Interweave Knits), and two submissions to get out this week, plus a new callout in my email box today.

Last fall, I did not submit any knitting ideas. Instead, I created my first quilt. I built it around a theme and for teaching in a class for North House Folk School for their Northern Fibers Retreat (where I’ll also be teaching knitting classes). It is the Quilting the North Woods wall-hanging. I based it off of nine-patch based blocks with northern themes (snowball, sawtooth, sailboat, maple leaf, and an appliqué North House logo center block). We begin the wall-hanging with a class on triangles centered on the first blocks. For the next three months, six blocks and the sashing and borders will be mailed out. More information is found at the North House website, northhouse.org.

Here are some images of the fabrics used and the finished quilt top.

fabrics in the quilt kit

fabrics in the quilt kit

Quilting the North Woods quilt top, unquilted

Quilting the North Woods quilt top, unquilted

We have plans to have a community quilting bee at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota at the annual Wooden Boat Show, sometime between June 22-24. Depending on weather and crowding, we may be inside, outside, or both, but the quilting frame is portable and the wall-hanging is only 50 1/2” x 50 1/2”. If you are in the area, come ready to add your stitch to the quilt! Bring a thimble, if you have one, and see you there!

NHFS block, in need of some ironing…

NHFS block, in need of some ironing…

Czech Glass Buttons

Christmas and New Years are over, and I am currently working on a “me” project of a garter-stitch, top down cardigan. I need nine buttons for it. As I stitched away, I remembered some lovely single buttons I purchased from a yarn store I love in England. I rooted around in my sewing cabinet, and — voila! Czech glass buttons!

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I bought these dragonfly buttons a long time ago when I was considering knitting a Kauni, multi-colored cardigan and was thinking through button choices then. Still thinking, although years have passed.

After I pulled these delightful singles out, I got online and looked up that yarn store again. They have since moved to Ireland and gotten rid of a lot of button stock, but I put in a new order and got a few more Czech glass buttons. Here are some of my new treasures.

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The buttons in the first and third image are quite large — between 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. They would be great as a clasp on a lace shawl. These others…?

Some of the dragonfly buttons I am thinking of collecting and using all of them on a single garment. Unfortunately, I still don’t have the buttons needed for a maroon garter-stitch cardigan! But, isn’t that the way it goes?