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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Awards


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Cynthia McCormick
Master artist Cynthia McCormick

Janet Dayrell
Apprentice Janet Dayrell

knitting machine
Close up of knitting machine

socks by Dayrell
Knitted wool socks by Janet Dayrell.

Photos by Emily Langenberg

Cynthia McCormick and Janet Dayrell
2011 master artist and apprentice
Grand Ledge (Eaton County)
knitted wool socks


A mid-Michigan resident her entire life, Cynthia McCormick first developed an interest in textile arts at age 13, when she assisted her grandmother in preparing yarns and rags to be loom-woven. Cynthia wove and braided rag rugs for many years before a student introduced her to antique sock knitting machines. Since then, she has become a passionate sock maker herself, refurbishes the old machines, and teaches others how to utilize them. She also continues to make rag rugs.

Janet Dayrell credits her grandmother, once a millinery worker for Marshall Fields department store, with developing her creativity with yarns and fabrics. Through 4-H and school classes, and from other seamstresses, she gained a variety of needle skills. Eventually she learned knitting from her husbandís mother. Janet first met Cynthia at an open house at Janetís alpaca farm in Grand Ledge. It was there that Janet was introduced to the potential use of alpaca fiber as yarn, and after a demonstration of Cynthiaís knitting machine, Janet began taking lessons.

During the apprenticeship, Janet will first learn how to refurbish and operate an antique knitting machine, and then the step-by-step process of making socks, from sizing to hand-finishing. Janet hopes to not only use her familyís alpaca wool, but also to eventually pass on the joy of working with fiber to her own granddaughters.

-Emily Langenberg

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