Fellow fiber fanatics, this one’s for us: Local fiber artist Susan Kennedy of Pretty Peaceful Crochet is releasing a book of new crochet patterns inspired by the Southwest – and she’ll be at Maria’s Bookshop next week to talk about it.
And if you go, don’t forget to bring your latest WIP (work in progress), assuming you have only one, because there’s going to be a chance to crochet and knit during her author talk and book-signing.
Kennedy, who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and teaches college classes, has just published “Crochet Southwest Spirit,” a book of about 20 basic patterns that can be customized with different variations.
“Each pattern is inspired by a place around here,” she said, adding that there is a pattern for Durango pillows – “It’s kind of like a vibe I get from being in town.” There are also patterns for Rio Grande Stripe Towels, La Plata Rug & Pillow, Vallecito Blanket, Land of Enchantment Blanket & Pillow, Bears Ears Fringed Pillow and Sedona Knot Cushion.
Also notable about this book is the fact that Kennedy uses natural cotton and wools produced by Indigenous artists and shepherds. She respects the land she’s on, and when she started working on the book, she knew she wanted to feature artisans from the local Indigenous textile fiber arts community. So she started reaching out to shepherd to yarn makers..
She ended up getting in contact with Joe and Carol Benally, who ranch and produce Navajo Churro yarn in Pinon, Arizona.
“They’re so wonderful. The yarn is so gorgeous,” Kennedy said. “This herd of Navajo-Churro sheep has been in the family for generations. They were, I think, mostly his grandfather’s herd. You can feel the kind of the peaceful vibe, and we knit or crochet with it, it just comes through– like they’re following the kind of rhythm of the seasons where the sheep need to go up to the hills in the spring and connect in the fall; sharing the gathering of people that it takes for sheep shearing. That peaceful community vibe.”
WHAT: Author talk and book-signing: Susan Kennedy “Crochet Southwest Spirit.”
WHEN: 6 p.m. May 25.
WHERE: Maria’s Bookshop, 960 Main Ave.
MORE INFORMATION: Visit https://bit.ly/42Vbr0o.
Because their yarn is natural and undyed, Kennedy also had to look for yarn producers with color, which she found with other shepherds on the Navajo Nation.
Kennedy’s event at Maria’s will also feature some of the yarn she used in her patterns.
“I’m going to bring some samples from projects from the book that are made with local yarn and put those on display. I am going to bring a basket of each of the local yarns I’ve used here in the skein or the ball and pass them around– a little show and tell – and talk about what’s going on with the shepherds around here in the ranches. People don’t know that we have local Indigenous-made yarn options that are just so peaceful and gorgeous.”
Along with the talk and work-along, there will also be a giveaway of yarn and a copy of the book.
And for those who may be intimidated to pick up a crochet hook, Kennedy’s advice is just to jump in – what’s the worst that could happen?
“I think you’ve just got to give it a try and follow your desire,” she said. “I would say just follow your heart’s desire. You know, keep practicing – and aren’t we lucky? We have YouTube now. I learned to crochet as an adult; it’s doable. My first stuff wasn’t so pretty. You have to be prepared to accept that you’re on a journey and you’ll get better, more skilled and just have fun. It’s supposed to be relaxing, right?”