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Newsletter of the Oasis Knitting Guild in Israel

Vol. 2, no. 5 (May 2001)
Editor: Avital Pinnick

Newsletter Index



The workshop titled "Drawing with Crochet," sponsored by the Jerusalem Fiber Craftsmen's Guild on May 5th, presented by Marget Sheffelovitch at Kibbutz Maaleh ha Hamisha, was a stimulating experience throughout. She began by inviting us to introduce ourselves and express the goals we had in mind for the workshop. Then she suggested a round robin on the group-selected theme of spring. Each participant began crocheting with her own hook and choice of yarns, and at a signal, we passed the work on to the person on our left. This continued several times and it was most interesting, the feelings that arose. One person felt that she'd prefer to work longer on "her" piece, another become possessive about each piece that passed through her hands, another who felt that she only knew how to follow written instructions became more experimental, another began to work into three dimensions, etc.

After a break for lunch, Marget began demonstrating ways to combine the varied and colorful sections--different arrangements, different backgrounds, spacings, no spacings, free form, geometric forms, humanoid figures, three dimensional constructions and more. She also showed examples of her own work, explaining that she selects all the yarns she'll use before she begins a project, but often develops the forms and textures as she goes along.

She then taught us some specific techniques by giving out paper in the shape of an eye (or leaf) and let each one of us work out a way to crochet it. Some worked horizontally, others vertically, some from a central chain. Marget demonstrated how to create a distinct point when one desires that shape. We then worked on small individual mono-colored pieces in a variety of textures.

The time passed too quickly, the workshop was over, and each participant went home with a variety of strong impressions and an eagerness to explore this "freedom" in crochet further. Edith Samuel volunteered to take home all the "spring" experimental units and to join them in a single work. She plans to bring it to the June 28 meeting of the JFC at the Israel Museum at 5 PM when Sima Selah of the Seam Gallery will be the guest speaker. Since we all feel that all the pieces are "our own" since we all worked on most of them, we are eager to see them together. Members of the OKG are welcome to attend the meeting.


Tasmanian Conservation Trust


Knitters Invited To Add To The Stockpile
Most Little Penguins have earned a guernsey after making it through an oil spill. And they need one! The penguins need to be protected from preening themselves and ingesting the oil, before they get their down/feathers washed.

There's a bit of a competition going on in Tasmania at present, between north and south, to have a stockpile of little jumpers to add to the Oil Spill Response Kits that exist in Hobart and Launceston. The Kits were developed by the Parks and Wildlife Service after the Iron Baron spill in the Tamar.

Launceston Library staff and volunteers report 170 jumpers pegged on a line in their foyer. Southern knitting coordinators report 75 finished and about 70 pairs of clicking needles in progress.

A handover date for the jumpers, to be stored with the Kits, is 'proposed for mid-May', so if any readers would like to knit a guernsey in time for the presentation, patterns are printed opposit..

Jumpers knitted after this date will definitely find a home too!

Jo Carswell, President
TCT Knitting Club

Jumper Update!!
1000 penguin jumpers have been made so far (21 May 2001). We hope to knit another 2000.


Penguin Jumpers - Pattern

Handknitted 4 ply
4 ply wool 1 pair No. 10 needles (old measurement)
1 pair No. 12 needles (old measurement)
With No. 12 needles cast on 50 stitches.
K10 rows in K1, P1 rib

Change to No. 10 needles and K2, P2 rib whilst increasing at the end of every row 6 times (62 stitches) then continue to knit in 2 x 2 rib until garment measures 15cm.

Decrease one st at each end of every row until 36 stitches remain. In the next row decrease one st at each end and also one st in the middle of the row to leave 33 sts.

Change to K1, P1 rib with Size 12 needles.

Knit 11 rows and cast off firmly on Row 12.

This is one side of garment. Make another and sew up from upper decrease to start of rib open for flippers. Add elastic to the top and bottom to prevent the penguins getting out of them. Top: 15cm of elastic; bottom 17cm (knots allowed).

Hand knitted 8 ply
8 ply wool 1 pair No. 11 needles (old measurement)
1 pair of No. 9 needles (old measurement)
1 set of No. 11 needles (old measurement)

Cast on 36 stitches using No. 11 needles.

K1, P1 to end of row. Repeat this row 7 times.

Change to No. 9 needles and K2, P2 rib. Work 4 rows increasing at each end of every row. (44 sts)
Continue until work measures 15 cms.
Decrease 1 st at each end of every row until 28 sts remain.
Decrease 1 st. in middle of next row (27 sts.)
Leave on needle.

Make second side the same.

Transfer the 54 sts from both pieces to 3 of the set of 4 No. 11 needles.(18 sts on each.) and work a round neck in K1 P1 rib for 10 rows.

Cast off.

Stitch up sides to decreasing to 27sts (opening for flipper). Add elastic to the top and bottom to prevent the penguins getting out of them. Top: 15cm of elastic; bottom 17 cm (knots allowed).

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For further information, see the National Post.



I call myself a typical "wandering Jew," having spent time in many parts of world. As a child in the States I went to at least two schools in two different states every year, until I entered the fifth grade. I then went to the same school until we moved while I was in the ninth grade. Perhaps I was influenced by all the moving as a child, but even as an adult I have had "itchy feet". I came to Israel five years ago for 3 months (one semester) and never left. Within two weeks, although I knew no Hebrew and not one person, I knew I was "home"--for the first time in all of my worldwide travels I truly felt safe. I became a citizen that first year.

Married for 30+ years I originally came to Israel as part of a seminary Master's program. I stayed in Jerusalem for four years while I continued my master's work at Hebrew University. A year ago, my family (a standard poodle and 3 cats) and I moved to Eilat, which I consider paradise.

Now that I am no longer a full-time student I am basically a bum. I
spend my days painting, knitting, reading, taking photographs, and exploring the desert. Interestingly, my move to Israel brought a forced retirement.

In the States I earned my living as an artist, a writer, and as an accountant. I had my own company and traveled all over the United States selling a hand-painted fabric I developed. I also designed and sold a line of patterns using my fabric, and produced two videos, one a fashion video showing my patterns in many different handpainted fabrics, the other a "how to handpaint fabric" video that came with an accompanying book. I also taught knitting seminars; my three most popular ones were knitting with fabric, sweater design, and knitting using multiple yarn weights, colors, and color runs in one sweater--or more accurately called, "Turning yarn shortages into designer sweaters."

My mother was a painter and a textile artist, but I am totally self-taught when it comes to knitting, crocheting, and sewing, etc. My mother offered to teach me, but when I lived at home I was more interested in dating, painting, and sculpting. When I went to university I taught myself to knit, followed by crocheting and sewing. For 17 years I studied with a Chicago textile artist by the name of Henry Stahmer. He inspired me to develop what I call "canvas work". I take handpainted needlepoint canvas and then work the design in both needlepoint and surface-embroidery stitches, using many different fibers. The result is extremely textural and resembles a stitched painting.

Having worked in textiles for over 30 years I have tried it all, tatting, weaving, knitting, crocheting, needle lace, macrame, embroidery, needlepoint, hardanger, rug-making, cross stitch, etc.--if it can be done with a thread I have probably tried it at one time or another--mainly out of curiosity. But in all of the forms that textiles can take on, I am most happy when doing my own designing--I find it impossible to color within the lines and have spent my life just "doing my thing".

I have two sons in the States, both are also artists--one is a painter who lives in Oakland, California, and the other is a well known glass blower in Eugene, Oregon, who works under the name of Hugh Glass.

My last year in Jerusalem I discovered a quilt group in Tel Aviv--I contacted them as I spent several years making and designing quilts when I lived in the States. I never made it to one of their meetings, but found out about the Oasis Guild from them. Soon after finding out about the Oasis Guild I moved to Eilat and now only make an occasional meeting--but my apartment door is always open to any Oasis knitters who come down this way.

I thrive on change and consider life to be an adventure. I am a very "spur of the moment" person and thrive best when I have no schedules in my life. On of my favorite activities is to poke through neighborhood trash bins, and pick up "junk" abandoned in the desert and then turn this trash into art. When I drag home these "found objects" I rarely know what I am going to do with them, but this is the fun--the challenge of turning someone else's trash into a creative piece of art.


POLL - What's the worst thing you ever knitted?

  • Jennifer: Hands down, my worst knitting experience was the "mistake stitch rib" sweater that I designed and knit for my DH in the beginning of my design days. The garment actually turned out very lovely, very textured, stand up collar and with a handsewn-in zipper. Only trouble was that the rib stitch kept growing, and growing and growing! After a couple of months the area across the upper back was so stretched out that the sleeves had lengthened by 8 inches, which is not good for my short-armed husband. I tried to stabilize the area with a knitted-in cord. When that didn't work, I tried grosgrain ribbon. When that didn't work, I unravelled the entire sweater put the yarn away. It is still sitting in balls waiting to be reknit. That was 15 years ago. :-)
  • Joan: How's this for a real mess. I wanted to try felting, and thought all wool felts equally. I had bought some mohair blend, and thought they'd make nice socks. Knitted the socks, extra big so there'd be lots of room for shrinkage and felting. Threw them in the washing machine and waited for them to felt. And waited. And waited. Mohair doesn't felt, as everyone but the most inexperience felter knows. It does however, shed, fall apart, and clog up the spinning mechanism in the washing machine of a rented apartment. I was finding mohair threads around my apartment and in the washing machine for months. My husband developed a severe reaction to my knitting for a while, fearing we'd have another 'wet furball' in our lives. Sigh.
  • Amy: I don't know if it was the worst thing, but I started making a cotton knit top for my younger daughter last spring--by the time I finished it, it was too small for her! Very frustrating. I've frogged it and am saving the yarn for the next time I feel up to knitting something.

  • Kesam: My one and only "sweater from hell" came into being when I decided, for once, to follow the written instructions. I always write my own patterns and use photographs for inspiration--but this time I decided to follow the pattern--total disaster, the sweater was supposed to be loose and easy, but the finished sweater would have fit about 3 of me. Since the sweater was knitted side to side, all in one piece, I was not as alert to how wide it was becoming until it was too late!!




  • Please note that the URL for our Guild site has changed from to

  • Kesam contributed the URL for the "Teddies for Tragedies" organization and thought it might be a worthy project for us in Israel, since, unfortunately, every day we have children who are struck by tragedy:

  • The Joe Alon Center/Museum of Bedouin Culture, beside Kibbutz Lahav, is offering "Desert Spears," an exhibition of sculpture in wool by Nomi Wind and a display of floor and wall carpets woven at the "Sidra" weaving workshop in the Bedouin village, Lakiya. Haya announced to the Guild that the Jerusalem Fiber Craftsmen were organizing a day-long excursion on May 30, 2001. This trip included a guided tour of the museum, demonstrations and tour of the Bedouin weaving and embroidery workshops at Lakiyah, with a talk about the changing role of women in Bedouin society today. A kosher lunch and transportation from Jerusalem were also provided. I hope that Haya will give us a description of the day trip in next month's newsletter!
  • TOP


    Haya's elephantHouston, Texas, 1971.
    Contributed by Haya Meyerowitz with permission of the designer.

    Starting at rear: Cast on 2 stitches. Knit 3 rows, increase 1 stitch each end of next row and every 4th row until there are 10 stitches.

    Legs and Body: Add 35 stitches at the end of the next 2 rows. Work even on 4 more rows. Then increase 1 stitch in the 40th and 41st stitches, finish to end of row. Work even on 82 stitches until there are 14 rows (7 ridges) on the extended part. Bind off 20 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows. Work even on 42 stitches for 6 more ridges. Cast on 22 stitches at the end of the next 2 rows, for the front legs. Work 7 more ridges. Bind off 23 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows.

    Shape head and trunk: Work across 28 stitches. Place remaining 12 stitches on holder. Turn and work on center 16 stitches for 12 ridges, Decrease 1 stitch each end.[Note: I place the other 12 side stitches on a 2nd holder while knitting the central portion. -Haya] Work 4 more ridges, Decrease 1 stitch each end, work 4 more ridges, decrease 1 stitch each end, work 4 more ridges. Bind off.

    Side of face: Pick up the 12 stitches on one side of face and decrease 1 stitch at inside edge of every other row till 7 stitches remain. Bind off. Repeat for other side of face.

    Ears: Cast on 8 stitches. Knit one row. Increase 1 stitch at each end, every other row, 4 times.
    Rows 9, 11, 13 and 14: knit.
    Rows 10 and 12: increase at one end only.
    Rows 15 and 16: decrease 1 stitch at each end.
    Row 17: bind off. Knit second ear.

    Tail: Cast on 3 stitches and knit 10 rows. Decrease 1 stitch. Work on 2 stitches for 6 more rows. Bind off.

    Fold piece in half, down the center back. Fold legs up in half so they meet on the inside. Do all sewing on the outside. Sew up hind legs. Sew up the triangle of the elephant's bottom so that its apex meets the back leg meeting seam. Leave belly open for stuffing and sew up front legs and chin. Bring down trunk and sew it down the front edges of the sides of the elephant's face. Then sew bottom of trunk so that it remains round and up the rest of the trunk to the chin. [Note: I will send you a diagram by mail if this is not clear. Haya] Attach tail and ears. Embroider eyes and mid-forehead decoration (in shape of diamond or daisy or what ever you prefer)

    Blanket: Cast on 1 stitch, Increase 1 stitch at each end of every other row until there are 15 stitched. Work even for 3 inches. [Note: or until there is a rectangle wide enough to fit across your elephants back. Haya] Decrease 1 stitch at each end of every other row until 1 stitch remains. Bind off. Crochet a border around this blanket. Place blanket across your elephant's back and bring it's points close together as possible under the elephant's belly and join them together with a few threads.
    © Phyllis Tucker, 1971. All rights reserved.


    © The Oasis Knitting Guild, 2001. All rights reserved (Past issues are available at "The Electronic Camel" is edited and distributed by Avital Pinnick to members of the Oasis Knitting Guild at the end of each month. In order to include your stories and announcements, please try to submit them to me no later than the 25th of each month (civil calendar).