‘Architectural’ knitter to discuss her art

More than 450 handmade scarves fill an office at Special Olympics Maine in South Portland last week. A call went out weeks ago for 800 scarves to warm the necks of Special Olympics Maine athletes, coaches and volunteers during the winter games taking place Sunday through Tuesday, Jan. 30-Feb. 1, at Sugarloaf. The scarf count by the time the games began was 800, most of which arrived within the last three weeks.
More than 450 handmade scarves fill an office at Special Olympics Maine in South Portland last week. A call went out weeks ago for 800 scarves to warm the necks of Special Olympics Maine athletes, coaches and volunteers during the winter games taking place Sunday through Tuesday, Jan. 30-Feb. 1, at Sugarloaf. The scarf count by the time the games began was 800, most of which arrived within the last three weeks.
Posted Jan. 31, 2011, at 6 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 31, 2011, at 7:32 p.m.

This information was sent to me in a news release by Christine Macchi, executive director of Maine Fiberarts:

Maine Fiberarts will present a gallery talk and reception with sculptural knitter and author Katharine Cobey on Sunday, Feb. 13, at Maine Fiberarts, 13 Main St., in Topsham. Snow date is Feb. 20.

An open-house reception will run 2-5 p.m. The “Knitting Great Shapes” gallery talk will take place 2:30-3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The gallery talk with Cobey is part of the region’s Longfellow Days, the annual celebration of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Cobey, organizers said, embodies this year’s theme, “Longfellow and the Maine Crafts Tradition: Virtue, Independence, Equality,” given her distinction as a 2010 Maine Master Craft Artist.

Nationally recognized for her contributions to the art and stewardship of American knitting, Cobey also is known for her large-scale sculptural knitting installations and as a teaching artist.

Cobey creates sculptural forms by the use of the knitted stitch.

“Knitting is a sculptural technique that can construct shape at the same time it determines the surface texture, color and patterns,” Cobey said. She said that an important distinction of knitting is that knitters build their own material as they shape their project, unlike sculptors working with marble or wood where the artist must adapt concepts to the grain of the material.

Cobey is the author of the new book “Diagonal Knitting: A Different Slant.” The book will be available for sale and signing at the reception. Several of the pieces found in the book are on view at Maine Fiberarts Gallery through Feb. 25.

Established in 2000, Maine Fiberarts is a statewide nonprofit organization advancing Maine fiber in all aspects — art, craft, farm, school and business — through education, display, celebrations and networking. Exhibitions at the Topsham center and gallery change every two months and are open to the public 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, or to see a preview of the artist’s work, visit www.mainefiberarts.org, or call 721-0678.

Snippets

The following information was relayed to me from Mary Bird of the Page Farm and Home Museum at the University of Maine:

Ewe Spinners will host the annual Newport Spin-in 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Newport Elementary School on Elm Street. Entrance fee is $2. Coffee, tea and refreshments will be available. Bring a mug and your lunch. The event, for spinners, will feature a fiber-related Yankee swap, a used equipment table and a show and tell table. Vendors who wish to reserve space at the Spin-in may do so by calling 474-0476.

Thanks, Christine and Mary, for keeping By Hand readers well-informed of needlearts and related events taking place in Maine.

• After the publication of an article in the Bangor Daily News about the need for handmade scarves for Special Olympics Maine athletes, the owners of Quilt Divas in Rockland received calls from local knitters looking for the yarn needed for the scarves. Shop owners Deborah Rogers and Doris Forcier ordered the yarn and worked with their Thursday evening knitting group, as well as others, over the last few weeks to create more than 20 scarves for Special Olympics Maine.

• The Bangor Area Sewing Guild will offer the class, Picnic Quillow, at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Hampden Municipal Building. A picnic quillow is an outdoor blanket that folds in on itself and has handles for easy carrying. It is made from shower curtain material, for outdoor use. The cost is $10 guild members, $15 others. For more information or to register, call Kathy at 941-8815.

• Cross-stitchers interested in putting a little edge into their creations can reach for “Love Kills Slowly: 30 Cross-stitch Patterns from Ed Hardy.” Hardy is known as the “godfather of modern tattoos,” according to information from the publisher of the book. Images are replete with skulls, snakes and spiders, but also butterflies, roses and birds.

The book contains images of original artwork and cross-stitch charts for creating each one. Check with your local bookstore for more information.

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