Celebrating the Funny in Fiber!

A knitter, a spinner, and a crocheter walk into a bar…

When someone asks me what my favorite trait in a person is, sense of humor is always near the top. I like to think that I have a good sense of humor (although "good" is certainly subjective, isn't it?); there's just nothing like a good laugh and I like to stack the deck with funny people to make sure I get in my giggle quotient!

We laugh all evening at my weekly knitting group, it's so much fun! I look forward to seeing my buddies every Wednesday and chuckling at what's happened during the week since we last met.

Speaking of humor, guess what? (If you say that to my mom, her answer 99 percent of the time is "Chicken squat!") Anyway…

Ready for the Beach, 2009; wool figure with wire armature, organza ribbon; needlefelted, handstitched; about 15" tall. Photo by the artist.  
Fiberarts editor Marci Rae McDade poses in knitted superhero goggles at the Handknit Heroes comic book booth during the Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon, 2009. Photo by Joshin Yamada.  

The September/October issue of Fiberarts celebrates humor in the world of fiber, and I thought I'd share some of the funny. According to founder Rob Pulleyn, "Humor has always played an important role at Fiberarts magazine. Taking oneself too seriously takes all the fun out of work—or art."

I love that quote. It puts me in just the right mood to write this newsletter!

My favorite items in this issue of Fiberarts are the needle-felted figurines by Kristen Walsh of Middle Haddam, Connecticut (photo at left). Kristen uses needlefelting to convey the "goodness, humor, hope, and possibilities that are within us all." With no formal training as an artist, Walsh's inspiration comes largely from her natural curiosity and from watching people interact with one another.

She has always been passionate about fiber, making most of her own clothes in high school, which led to knitting, and knitting led to spinning, which progressed to needlefelting.

Kristen feels the greatest compliment she can be given is when people stop and smile at her work or when the occasional observer is touched in a way that brings them to tears. The connection her work creates with its viewers gives her the confidence to delve more deeply into her creative process.

And did you know that there's a knitting superhero comic book being produced now? It's called Handknit Heroes, by Stephanie Bryant. Each issue (photo below right) contains a girl-powered superhero story starring twins Ana and Alex, their yarn-shop-owner mom, and their friend Sue (plus a knitting pattern!)

  Handknit Heroes, a comic book for knitters!  

According to Stephanie, "Together, they try to save the world one project at a time."

One of the pages has a character in her superhero outfit saying, "So, are we gonna fight crime, or what?" The other character, who's sitting and knitting, says, "Yep. Just let me finish this row." Hilarious!

Want to join the ranks of knitting superheroes? Fiberarts is happy to bring you a free pattern: The Secret Identity Mask by Stephanie Bryant!

On a more serious note …

As well as providing some fun, this issue of Fiberarts also gives us a chance to use our craft to help the homeless. Since May 5, 2010, artists Maggie Leininger has been placing one handknit miniature sweater in a public location every day hoping that it will be found and collected. She will do so until May 4, 2011.

Each collector will then be asked to place a monetary value upon the object and to donate that amount to the National Coalition for the Homeless, Washington D.C. Detailed descriptions and pictures of where the sweaters are placed can be found on the artist's blog at www.artivention.wordpress.com. For information on how to participate (knitting or placing a sweater), email Maggie at info@maggie-leininger.com.


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