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Two Words: Rag Balls

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Dear Ann,

In this season of gratefulness, I’ve been thinking about how I’ve wished for a knitting group, and how funny it is that when it finally arrived (like a pony from the sky), it was a sewing circle. A bunch of women I didn’t know a few years ago.  We are the unofficial New York City branch of the Alabama Chanin Sewing Society and Fan Club.

Sometimes I knit at sewing circle. If the mutual support (aka gossip) is flying, I cannot be expected to reverse-appliqué.

One of our members, Lisa Fox, has a brand new shop on East 7th Street, LF8 (“Elevate”).  Such is the mutual supportiveness of the sewing circle that we were present in our numbers at the opening of the shop the other evening, when it was blessed by Buddhist monks, with sprinklings of water and rose petals in all directions.  (I got a little insight into what some of my bar mitzvah guests must have felt:  a lot of chanting. Lovely language. Are there snacks?)

Lisa has invited me to host a knitting workshop at the shop, on Thursday evening, December 19, from 7-9. I tried to think of a little project special enough for the artisan surroundings at LF8, and remembered my precious trove:  a box of rag balls that you bought for me at the Tailgate show in Nashville, lo these many years. So the workshop will be log cabin knitting with vintage rag balls from the Tailgate. Everybody will get a start on a Tailgate Rag Rug, and take home a piece that we are going to call a trivet or chair pad or Interesting Textile.  It will be fun.  Details and registration are here.

Please join me. I know it’s close to Christmas. We need a night of knitting.

Photo3.

Here’s to Interesting Textiles!

Love,

Kay

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Wow Kay! It’s like the opposite for me, we sew at my knitting group. Since we are allowed to use a space at the site of a local organization, we “give back” by making them a quilt, which they can raffle off at their yearly fair. I have been knitting and sewing with these good ladies for five years now, and appreciate them so much. Even if I can be there for only an hour, time stands still for me and I feel peaceful and rejuvinated when I leave. Our lives intertwine, and we support each other through the good times and challenging times, craft of choice in hand. Wish I could be there now, but it’s off to work time.

    Knit on!

    LoveDiane

  2. The December meeting of my Sewing Circle will commemorate 22 years of knitting together. Not bad for another “pony from the sky”. Congratulations! this may be the start of Something Big.
    Marilyn

  3. congrats to the both of you on your new site design, looks fancy!
    And I too am without a knit group for a few years now. Hanging in there . . .

  4. How I wish I could! MA is a bit too far away. Have fun, everyone, and let’s see lots of pictures!

  5. My friend Kay (another Kay) and I went to the Alabama Chanin workshop in Woodstock this fall. It was inspiring. I have a skirt kit but no guilt-free time for craftiness for a while, however, I really kinda NEED that skirt, right now.

    By the way,the first thing my eye was drawn to in the photo was the green sparkly guitar. Green! Sparkly! Guitar! I thought it was an Ann post (assumed guitars+rag balls = Nashville) till I read further.

    • Susan! I had to miss the Woodstock workshop (on Yom Kippur) and I am still sick about it. Of course you were there! We will have to get our Alabama on in the new year. I find it a close match to knitting in terms of satisfaction. Xo

      • It is very soothing, and compelling at the same time … so many ways to combine colors and textures!

        Do you know about Sew Woodstock (sewwoodstock dot com)? They carry the Alabama Chanin fabrics.

  6. looks like fun. I have signed up and invited my daughter as well.

  7. Heard about LF8 but couldn’t spell it/find it. Sew cool – I’m in ! I have a bunch of rag yarn to bring/share. More knitting, more sewing – yay.

    Are we supposed to be getting email notifications now? I am not.

  8. I just realized that I have not had an email from MDK in days/weeks, so am glad to see you are still going strong. Is the email thing not working? Doesn’t matter, I will still check in. Have never heard of rag knitting, looks interesting! Have not decided whether to watch the Sound of Music tomorrow, maybe just a test and then I will decide to stick it out or not. I saw the strage show a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it but it is impossible to get Julie A’s wonderful tones out of my memory.

  9. I feel like I once read somewhere about the proper “preparation” of rag balls. Can anyone refer me? I don’t actually have much in the way of rags – but I would be interested in making some (or taking something I have in my house and transforming it into a rag!)
    Can such things be ordered on the interwebs?

  10. GORGEOUS! I set aside some denim rag balls this summer made from lots of old jeans. I have been thinking about a little wayward swirl rug thingy. I hope you post pictures!

  11. Here’s to sewing circles! We just started one where I live — another woman and I teaching others to thread a machine and sew. Objective: a possible Downton Abbey themed party (there was an 1869 one this past summer) … I have access to gown we can (hopefully) make patterns from.

    Here’s to Textiles! and don’t miss the Global Textiles show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art! The catalog is gorgeous as well.

    p.s. – Happy Last day of Chanukah.

  12. Wonderful! I especially liked the part about how the bar mitzvah guests felt…no, I liked the part about you falling into a knitting sewing circle without knowing it…maybe I should come. It’d be good for me!

    • Come. Please.

  13. How fun. Will try to make the day work. If not will definitely check out the shop another time.

  14. Ooooooooooh, delicious. Once again the case for moving to New York. PS I think that those rag balls have probably marinated enough by now, but just barely. You need a certain authenticity to emanate from them, if you know what I mean.

    • You mean they should smell a bit musty, right? Perhaps they should be sprinkled with rosewater and rose petals before The Great Knitting.

  15. Oh that I didn’t live in the far north wilds of Ontario, or I’d be there. The knitting group here meets in the middle of the week, middle of the day. It’s walking distance from my job, and I can’t get there!! ;o( Enjoy. I used to knit rugs from rag balls of t-shirt strips. Such fun.

  16. My knitting group has been a lifesaver not just for me, but for all of us during various intense junctions in our lives. On top of the emotional support, we inspire each other & accomplish many creative projects. Oh yes, we laugh a lot also! V. sorry not to be able to attend your class because it sure sounds fun & interesting.

  17. Oh, to be in NYC that evening! I love the look of those rag balls. Though the rag rugs I’ve seen are mostly just braided.

    I know some Georgia Chanins from synagogue–wonder if they are connected to the founding or ownership of Alabama Chanin, of which I’d never heard before? Must ask them.

    Happy Chanukah and knit on!

  18. Re: “We need a night of knitting.” All of our collective knitting, sewing, and singing circles make me think of the Nikki Giovanni poem, The Women Gather.

    The women gather
    because it is not unusual
    to seek comfort in our hours of stress

    • I like this poem. Thank you, Laura. It is to the point, yet says it beautifully.

      LoveDiane

  19. Oooooh, rag balls! That ticking tells me what to do with a couple of worn sheets I’ve got lying around. Still waiting for that email notification thingy to work….

  20. Ah, I remember the post with the purchase of those lovely balls of strips… Lo so long ago! Xoxo wish we could all be there… Kelli Ann

  21. Oh, if only I was visiting my daughter at that time I would so be there! I will definitely visit her shop on my next trip to NYC. BTW, is the new blog notifier supposed to be working yet? Because I am definitely not getting notified and find I am late seeing new posts. Sadder about this than a no reader would guess.