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Oct 16, 2016

Hand Knits in TV Land: The Craftsman's Legacy

Between Rhinebeck and I Love Yarn Day (ILYD), this is a fiber-filled weekend for knitters, crafters, dyers, spinners and fiber producers.

It seems only appropriate, therefore, to highlight Maple Smith who appeared on an episode of The Craftsman's Legacy, an interesting show hosted by Eric Gorges, a motorcycle builder and metal craftsman.

Eric travels around America, visiting expert craftsmen and learning more about the tools, techniques and objects they produce. Each episode features a specific artisan, and Eric spends a day or two in their workshop or studio, learning basic techniques and producing a finished item under their guidance.

Recently, he spent time with Maple Smith, a retired school teacher who owns and runs North Star Alpacas, a fiber farm located in Ithaca, Michigan. As a fiber producer, spinner, dyer, knitter and weaver, she's embraced the full spectrum of fiber arts.


      copyright: Maple Smith, North Star Alpacas

Maple introduces Eric to her alpacas, demonstrates the differences between huacaya and suri fleeces, teaches him how to use a treadle spinning wheel, and helps him spin fleece into yarn, dye it and knit a small scarf.

Maple has an interesting story to tell, so whether you're a full-bore fiber fanatic or a casual knitter, you'll enjoy watching fiber move from hoof to fleece, from fleece to yarn and into a finished object.

The Craftsman's Legacy appears on PBS, so check your local station for broadcast times and viewing options. You can learn more about Maple, her alpacas and fiber offerings by visiting North Star Alpacas on Etsy. To learn more about Eric Gorges and the artisans featured in the series, visit The Craftsman's Legacy.

Meanwhile, there's headway on the home front. My quick, simple mitts are done, Lucben Tidepool is ready to be assembled and finished, there are more Christmas Trees to make, and several new projects are waiting in the wings. 

For all of us, the steady ebb and flow of starts and finishes, challenges and rewards are often less about legacies and more about practical matters, but this, too, speaks to our life as makers.

What are you working on?


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