Discovering friends who enjoy visiting textiles exhibits or knitting over a cuppa tea or a new Needle Arts book has occupied some of my time and given me happy moments during recent weeks.

I was inspired by the San Francisco Asian Art Museum’s two wonderful small textile showings; one on velvets with samples of how velvet is made and pieces dating 1500’s – 1800’s from the Middle East and the other on Pina cloth from the Phillipines.  “Woven Luxuries”, the velvet exhibit, will be on till November 1, 2015. If you are visually impaired, ask the museum ahead of time for a docent to show you the collection. The second exhibit, that is no longer, showed a description and beautiful examples of Pina cloth. This cloth is made of woven fibers from Spanish red pineapple leaves, naturally dyed and often embroidered with silk threads. The fabric reminds me of cotton or silk organza because of similar body and sheerness. There were samples of the cloth to feel along with gorgeous garments and accessories to look at. The velvets gave me inspiration for new pillows of velvet for my living room. The pina reminded me of my two pieces at home, a fan and a travel jewelry case, needing me to remove from a drawer to display and enjoy.

An encounter with a neighbor led to times of knitting over tea. Then led to the idea of a once a month time to gather with neighbors to do any needle arts. We can start, continue and finish projects, along with share creative ideas and skills with each other. As a result, new ideas and inspirations have come about to encourage me to work towards completing 5 unfinished sweaters. Yes, four of them are almost completed. It is time to face my mental blocks, get them done, so I can enjoy wearing them.

Through my inspiring, talented neighbor, Vanessa Yap-Einbund, I also came to know of and read an incredible knitting book for those who know the basics of knitting, “Sequence Knitting” by Cecelia Campochiaro. I think the concept of sequence knitting works well for someone visually impaired. Because the patterns are created by a repeat of sequence stitches. As a result, few instructions and no charts are needed for a particular stitch pattern. The book has stitch dictionaries for simple 1-row patterns to pattern designs for in the round or in shapes of triangles and parallelograms. I appreciate Cecelia’s technical background to be able to put together such a thorough book of stitch patterns. Most of the stitch patterns have never been written down in such a mathmatical formula. I like that Cecelia sees knitting as creating one’s own fabric of color and texture. This is what I have been telling my students for years why I like knitting. So go to Cecelia’s website to get the book to learn more and possibly gain a new needle arts friend.

Keep on enjoying textiles and stitching…