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Our favorite fiber arts

A picture’s worth a thousand words. Here’s a full color sampler of the fiber arts we’ll be exploring during our May 2012 Turkish trip, as well as here in Istanbul March through November. Watch for a separate post about each craft soon. Meanwhile, enjoy this taste!

Stranded knitted socks

Crafted from handspun wool, using natural dyes that were well-kept secret formulas in each village, we’ll take a look at the intricate craft of Turkish stranded socks. Our ladies with demonstrate the toe-up method and knitting techniques unique to Anatolia, plus introduce the abundance of patterns that speak a similar language to Turkey’s handwoven kilims and carpets.

The secret language of oya needle lace

More lessons in how women in a village would communicate with each other, by crafting needle lace in colorful silks and bits of fabric.

The healing power of cotton in the hamam

The culture of the hamam was crucial to Turkish daily living. Not just to keep clean, but as the center of social life, a place to meet, gossip and even pick future daughters-in-law! We’ll learn about the handcrafted items used then and now, including the cottons, hemp and linens used to make them, the minerals used for therapies and other inticing secrets of this ritual, passed down from the Romans, to the Byzantines, and finally to the Ottoman Turks.

The fibers we crave

Turkey abounds in natural fibers. It’s the perfect environment to grow cotton and to raise sheep and mohair goats. In fact, the name of the capital, Ankara, is taken from those Angora goats. Turkey was also the end of the Silk Road, and silk cultivation continues to this day. We’ll visit bazaars in Istanbul and Urfa, and sheep-raising nomads in the Southeast.

The handknits we love

Crochet we use to adorn

To come…felt, with a twist!