The eight regional artists came together to form a critique group in the fall of 2016 to support each other in their individual journeys.Each member uses fiber in creating her work but each has also developed a unique voice ranging from the abstract to the representational.
While all group members use color and fiber in their work, the materials and techniques offer a wide range of opportunities to explore and play. Members dye, print, weave, felt, paint with thread, and stitch, discovering new opportunities for textiles to turn into landscapes, emotions and messages.
Once a month, the artists bring work to a meeting, seeking either feedback from the rest of the group for a finished piece or advice on a particular aspect of a work in progress.The meetings end with a lively discussion of news from the fiber art world and from individual members.
Group member Alanna Nelson says, “In our first group show since March 2020, we look forward to the exhibit in Melrose. We’ve had a lot of zoom sharing of our work, and it’s great to share these colors and textures in person.”
The Beebe Estate, 245 West Foster Street in Melrose, is open Saturdays from 11 am to 3 pm. “Playing with Color” will be on view from October 7 to 29, 2022.Visitors are welcome to wear masks and practice social distance protocols.
With apologies to Thomas Oliphant and John Thomas…
"Deck the street with knit & crochet Fa la la la la la la la la They do mark "Clues from the Quilt " Fa la la la la la la la la Yarn and banners at seven places Fa la la la la la la la la Tis the yarn storm now in Melrose Fa la la la la la la la la"
Oh, yes, a December yarn bombing it was.
Seven locations in Melrose, MA were hit by a “yarn storm” during December 2018, as part of a the Melrose History Quilt homecoming celebration.
What is a yarn storm?
Also known as a yarn bomb or graffiti knitting, it’s an installation of knit and crochet items with a goal of expressing a public statement or to just personalize a sterile public space.
I’ve participated in a few yarn bombing and public art projects, but this was the first time leading one. From these experiences, here are five things I learned:
Define a goal to the yarn bombing (maybe your goal is just to brighten a place!)
Involve community ideas about the yarn installation.
Organize public knit and crochet sessions for contributors to mix.
Identify allies: craft guilds, knitting groups and yarn stores.
Ask for permission to install the yarn storm on private property. It doesn’t hurt to mention it to the public works department when installing on public property.
For “Clues from a Quilt,” the yarn storm (I chose a less violent term, although storms can be quite terrifying) kicked off in June, with World Wide Knit in Public Day). Thanks to support from Lucky Cat Yarns, there were monthly meet up sessions evenings and day time sessions at the Melrose Public Library. Winter yarn bombings could benefit from these tips…
Use large base components. Of course, you could have everyone make two inch squares or tiny sea shells and put your yarn bombing together, but similar sizing and larger sizes facilitate joining pieces and making an impact. We asked people to make squares and rectangles using multiples of six inches (i.e. 6″ x 6,” 6″ x 12,” 6″ x 18″), which was perhaps on the small side considering we targeted seven locations in town. Either fewer locations or larger base pieces would create more impact.
Use support structures that can be installed indoors, then set up quickly outdoors. At two locations, the yarn blocks and banners were installed on fences, which went up quickly. At other locations, old campaign yard signs, wooden shipping supports and wire tomato cages were decorated indoors, then set up outside. By joining pieces as they were contributed, it made installation at the end less daunting.
Stitch together contributions as they arrive. We installed the yarn storm during the week after Thanksgiving. Having snowed shortly before Thanksgiving, the soil was pretty hard. Cold temperatures and stiff winds reduced the amount of time mitten-less fingers could properly function.
Plan time for yarn bombing maintenance. Depending on the goal of your yarn installation, keep in mind that winter weather can be difficult on yarn bombings. If you can assign group members to check on the installation, many hands will make light work. For “Clues from a Quilt,” a 42″ tomato cage tipped over in high wind. There wasn’t enough top soil to truly support the taller structure (the 36″ tomato cage did just fine).
“Clues from a Quilt” also included banners to direct people to the web site. If I ever organize another winter yarn storm, those banners will be printed on fabric or mesh to better withstand the wind. Whew! This is one place where you don’t want to skimp on your expenses.
After the homecoming was over, we took down the yarn storm pieces, washing them and storing for the next opportunity to….
"Deck the streets with knit and crochet, Fa la la la la la la la la..."
Reserve your place by sending a check to Tactile Travel Fabric & Fiber, P.O. Box 761092 Melrose, MA 02176 or use the PayPal button below. Be sure to include your email address and/or phone number. Your payment is refundable up to three days before the class, provided that your spot is filled by someone off the waiting list.
Word is getting out! More people are learning about the Melrose Adult Education program’s topics and signing up to learn painting, acting, business skills, interior design and craft. Yours truly will lead a basic knitting skills class on August 5 and 12 from 7 pm to 8:30
Basic Knitting Skills: Learn 2 ways to cast on, to knit, to purl, and how to bind off. Understand some of the most common abbreviations in knitting patterns and get ready to work on a basic knitting project! Bring light colored, smooth (no novelty yarns, please) worsted or bulky weight yarn and appropriate size of knitting needle. This class works for those who have never knit before, or need a refresher class. With your MCAE registration confirmation Sit ‘n Knit Melrose offers 10% discount on your class supplies. 7 – 8:30 p.m. Offered on Mondays August 5 and 12, 2013. COST: $25.00
I’ll also lead morning and evening sessions for Sit’n Knit’s boot camp series. Seaming knits, buttonholes and new ways to cast on and bind off will be the feature topics. I’ll let you know when registration is open for these Tuesday classes that begin August 13.