Are you playing with a full deck?

By Amelia © March 29, 2011

Yes, the title of this post is a little tongue-in-cheek. But there have been a lot of decks of cards in my life lately, concretely and figuratively. Much shuffling. There has been the juggle of retail, writing, and teaching fiber arts; a temp job that has gone on for a while; and big changes coming at home.

The fan of cards above is a 4-decker. Yep, I've been bitten by Hand-and-Foot, a really fun card game. You may know it by another name, I was googling for the finer points to teach it to my daughter, and found some variants are called Canasta. That made me laugh - my older friends play Canasta. It is a nice way to while away time and have pleasant conversation with friends - a new friend taught me. I look forward to more pleasant conversations over the decks.

The knitting? That's a swatch for my Learn to Knit More class - my new knitters were keen to continue learning techniques, so we are pursuing fun topics in the "More": knitting in the round, lace, cables, and short rows. That, added on to their basic vocabulary from Learn to Knit should send them well on their way into knitter-dom.

In my fiber life, card decks also play a hand. I've been playing with stripes in weaving lately -- how to design them, what rules there might be, that sort of thing. Color theory plays a role, and patterns like Fibonnaci. But randomness can also be fun, as you see in the scarves here.

The blue one has no neighbors the same -- completely random to the human eye, rather than striped. It works because it's monochromatic, all in the blue family. The red one has stripes of random widths. Now, I admit, when I did this, I was mainly working with leftovers -- stripe width was dictated by how much yarn I had left over.

Decks of cards are a great way to randomize stripe width. Take a deck, turn over a card. Discard 2's, Aces, Jacks, Queens, and Kings. If it's a 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10, do that many lengths of your color. Then turn over another card. The number on the card dictates the stripe width. We tossed 2's because it takes 3 ends to make a clear stripe, and face cards because, well, 10 is wide enough for my scarves. Wa-la, random stripes.

You shuffled, right? If you want truly random -- shuffle 7 times. Whew!

There are other number randomizer or pattern methods out there, another I ran across was using your phone number. Pick the colors you don't like to be the zeros (grin!)

When I turn 52 ... that's still a bit of a ways away ... I am going to have a "full deck" party :-) because I will have one, in years!

So, what do the changes mean? You may see shifts in my focus, changes at The Bellwether, and, I expect, plenty of me! Teaching and writing are very important to me, so I am putting together a path that includes those activities while I meet my responsibilities. Sharing with you the techniques and ideas that excite my fiber-life is always a pleasure - I surely appreciate the kind remarks on the blog, feedback from my students in workshops and my virtual students, who purchase the e-tutorials. Our audience grew a little bit this month as well, with the acceptance of my e-tutorials by PatternFish. More of them will appear there until they are all available; The Bellwether will still also provide them.

I know I don't often put my actual face on things but changes are afoot, and you may get more than my usual logo sheep or Facebook/Ravelry teapot in future. Hello, world! This is me (grin).

Happy spinning, weaving, dyeing, knitting, and shuffling!

© March 29, 2011 by Ask The Bellwether, posted at


Unknown said...

Nice to SEE you!! Your stripey influence has led to a WAL (weave-along) with stripes as the main feature on Weavolution. It's in the Rigid Heddlers group so you need to join the group then join the WAL. We'll be starting at the end of April.
Thanks for all your inspiration (I tried to fit a stripe in there but it didn't work).
So pleased you are teaching on Cyber-Fiber. It's the next best thing to being in your studio. You get to teach in several studios all at the same time. How clever you are.

Kota said...

I have played canasta for years. Understand the juggling of life. All the best for the future and have a great birthday when the calendar rolls by

ChelleC said...

I am glad to learn that you are going to get out there more - especially in terms of teaching. You are such a wonderful source of info - would love to learn from you. And if you ever publish a book - let me know. I plan on taking your RH class next time. Love your blog. Keep up the good work, woman!