December Sassy Holidays: Warmest Regards

Warmest Regards

Dear Sassy Holidays participants, 

We wanted to thank you, from the bottom of our colorful hearts, for being a part of this Sassy Holidays journey. Over the past two years, we’ve celebrated so many holidays, from the mundane (National Bubble Bath Day, January 8th) to the tasty (National Watermelon Day, August 3rd and National Donut Day, June 1st, to name a few) to the socially important (International Day of the Girl Child, October 11th; Indigenous Peoples Day, the second Monday of October). We’ve celebrated Bikinis (National Bikini Day, July 5th) and Hobbits (September 22nd) and friendship (both Galentines Day, February 13th and Best Friend’s Day, June 8th). We’ve made Bloody Marys for New Year’s Day, Lemonade in May, and Sandwiches in November. We’ve picked up Lucky Pennies (National Lucky Penny Day, May 23rd) and we’ve stopped and taken a minute just to look at the sky for National Look Up at the Sky Day in April. And now, for our December Sassy Holidays, we are sending a Thank You Letter to you for making this club such a fun journey. 

December 26th is known as National Thank You Note Day, a time to let folks know you appreciate them and you are thankful for any gifts you might have received. Our greatest gifts with this club these last two years have been hearing from you about how much you’ve loved the colorways, how the holidays have spoken to you (or just plain gave you the excuse to go out for donuts on a random day in June). 

Our December colorway, Warmest Regards, is inspired by a set of watercolor Thank You cards I had years ago, ones I relished writing thank you notes on. Just think, you could use this skein to knit a thank you to someone who means a lot to you (even if that someone is yourself!)

This will be our final Sassy Holidays missive, and more than anything, we want you to know that we thank you for being a part of our Knitted Wit community, and for supporting the fantastic yarn shop you’ve been picking up your Sassy Holidays yarns every month.

HerStory December 2019: Teri Rofkar

Raven's Tail

For the final HerStory of the year, we are honoring Native American artist-maker Teri Rofkar, whose Tlingit name was Chas’ Koowu Tla’a. She was born into the Raven Clan from the Snail House of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and was first introduced to traditional Tlingit weaving by her grandmother. It wasn’t until years later that she became, as she said, a “basket case,” consumed by weaving and immersing herself in traditional maker practices. Throughout her career, she explored the juxtaposition of the modern with the traditional, always striving for the connection of the traditional, but sometimes using modern techniques and technology to make a statement. Traditional Tlingit weaving is done on a very basic frame, not a loom as we know them today. For garments, mountain goat fur is the primary fiber used, and all of the dyeing is done using bark and lichen and moss that is found in the weaver’s natural surroundings. For traditional basket weaving, the weaver gathers spruce tree roots and ferns. The connection of the weaver and her materials to the natural world is just as important as the final pieces that are created.

A master at weaving in any medium, it was the traditional robes Rofkar wove that garnered the most attention. She would spend between 800 and 1400 hours on each robe, between foraging for materials, processing and dyeing the wool, using a drop spindle to hand spin all of the yarn, and then the actual weaving of the robe. She threw herself into learning traditional techniques, while retaining her modern sensibilities: “I listen to heavy metal when I work,” she explained during one interview. “Change is the one thing that is constant. Traditional arts continue because they adapt and change with society. I’m not changing the methodology. It is the same as it was thousands of years ago. My technique and my intent are still there.”

The colorway we created to honor Rofkar, Ravens Tail, is inspired by the robes she was best known for, the robes that took a year (plus) of her life to create. The Lituya Bay Robe that inspired Ravens Tail features a visual representation of the DNA strands of the mountain goat whose fiber was used to weave it. (Be sure to check out our website, so you can see the joyful photo of Teri Rofkar spinning in this stunning robe.) Rofkar passed away in 2016 at the age of 60, but her work lives on through a renewed interest in and passion for traditional weavings. When she first started weaving as an artist, there were fewer than 10 people exploring this art, but today there are many more, and they are teaching more (mostly women) to carry on this tradition. It’s what an artist like Teri would have hoped for; for an art so important to her culture to gain more ground and more practitioners.