Friday, April 18, 2014


It has been a busy week down here on the "farm".  I have been preparing for the big Easter dinner that will happen after church lets out on Sunday.  I decluttered the front of the house on Monday, then on Tuesday I went to the center to lend a hand to Shirley, on her beautiful towel warp.  On Wednesday I decluttered the back of  the house, and beat back the clutter that had already made it's way back into our living area!  Thursday is our day off, and we had lunch with our in town daughter, and started putting together some soccer goals for the kids to use this summer.  They are looking mighty fine, though not done yet!

About mid-day, I got a text from Linda.  She wanted to know if I could come get the Nigora doe and kid, that I am purchasing from her, this weekend instead of next.  We had already talked about me taking a look at her goats hooves, while I was there, and we were going to band the boys, so that we don't have any surprise pregnancies!  I had not intended to spend Good Friday with goats, but I felt like I could fit them into the schedule.  :)

So this morning, I ran by the Co-op and picked up a little extra fencing and a new pair of hoof trimmers.  Soon, I was at Linda's house, and we started trimming the hooves.  Tucker didn't really need much trimming, just a touch up, and the does, Ginger and Kami both were well within normal hoof trimming needs.  But I got a big surprise when I went to trim Kami's hooves,  she is definitely pregnant!

I had planned to take both of the little boy goats when they were first born, but Linda fell head over heels in love with the little dark spotted one.  She asked me if I would be interested in buying one of her does along with the little blonde boy, I readily agreed.  Kami had a miscarriage in late October, and while there was definitely time for her to be pregnant again, it is a little hard to tell with all that fluff!

We were in a bit of a quandary!  I told Linda that I would go ahead and take Kami, and that not only is the fleece on her back Linda's, but also the babies that she is carrying.  We will wait and see what she has, and let her raise them up for awhile, then Linda will decide what we will do with them.

After the hooves were done and the boys banded, I headed home with my two.  The first few minutes was quite noisy, but they soon settled down for the 25 minute drive home.  I brought Kami out of her carrier first and put the little goat inside the barn with me, but kept him in his carrier for awhile.  He was sleeping anyway!

I put Kami on the stanchion, she put her head thru the gate for her treat, and I fastened the gate.  While she nibbled on sunflower seeds and feed, I started combing her fabulous fleece out.  It is going to take several sessions to get it all out.  I think I got about 1/4 of it combed out in about 20 minutes.  It is wonderfully soft and I can't wait to see what Linda is going to do with it!

After the grooming session, Kami was let into her private pen.  You should have seen the resident does, the expressions on their faces was hilarious.  Kami was not impressed with all their shenanigans, in the least!  I left the young one in his carrier while I finished off baby proofing the last little bit of the fence with chicken wire.  Now that I know we have new babies on the way it is even more important that nothing can bother them at all.

Once the fence was secure, I let the little one out to join his aunt.  They are so cute together, one big and fluffy and pregnant, and the other just a little bit of a thing!  I left them after awhile, everything seemed to be calm, everyone was calmly eating grass and chewing their cud.  All was right with the world. (That little brown dog is another reason for good fences!)

Until next time, Have a thoughtful Good Friday,  He is risen indeed, Tina

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Weaving and Life (in general)

Shhhhhh.....don't tell! 
  I think that sometimes I go to the Museum each week just to see the lambs.  (Of course, their home cooked lunches rank right up there, too!)  The lambs have grown so much!
  Today there were several groups visiting the Museum:  140 first graders.....that was interesting.
  Also, there was a group of 40 high school students from Japan....very interesting.  We still have people stopping by on their Spring groups are always fun.
  I'm threading the Rocker Loom right now with a 12 yard warp.....just 250  threads....another rug warp.  The light was just starting to fade inside the Loom House when a group came in to hear about weaving.  (They were part of this church group pictured above.)  There was an adult with this group of teenagers, and he asked me to tell the kids about weaving.  And, as usual, the question came up about "how long does it take to weave a rug?" 
  My answer is always:  it just depends.
I told them about how important it is to carefully wind the warp, and then wind it on the warp beam of the loom.  (If you're lucky, you have a friend that will help you wind on the warp!!!)  Threading comes next, along with sleying the reed, and you tie it onto the front beam.......then you're ready to weave, which is your reward.   All the hard work is on the front end.
  The adult in the group took this opportunity to point out that it is the same with life.  Plan ahead and do your work so you can enjoy the rewards.

  While I was driving home, I was thinking about that.....and I was thinking about how sometimes, even though you've been very careful, things just happen.  A warp thread breaks....there's a mistake in the threading.....the tension is wonky.
  These things just happen.   They can be fixed.  No one starts out trying to make mistakes.

  How you deal with the mistake is important, too.  It would be so simple to just chuck it all, and start something else. 
  I went back to the Center yesterday to look at the mistake in the dish towel.  When I counted the threads in that A and B block, I found out that they each are 4 threads too wide....this maybe fixable by just rethreading.  I'll have to check my threading chart to see if this is the case.
  I think this is what is called problem solving.  It's a good life skill to have.

  The ladies in this picture made a career of helping children learn to problem solve.  We have all retired from that career now, but we are all active in other ways.
  I was so happy to see my teacher friends (one of them I have know for around 50 years!)   Yesterday was the first time I could join the group for the monthly lunch.  We are so much more relaxed now....wonder why???  There are others that usually come, but couldn't this month.  I'm looking forward to seeing them in May. 
  Our lives have been interwoven for many years.  We have lots of shared memories and laughter....and sometimes sad things, too.   I'm picking up those dropped threads of my life, and weaving them back into the fabric.
  It's a good thing.
Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

All In A Day's Work

  It was already busy when Carl and I arrived this morning!  Pat had jumped on the jeans that had been donated, and reduced the stack to usable legs ready to be cut into strips.  (Thanks for the pocket donation, Pat!!!!)
  Outside it was spitting snow....REALLY!  The temps were dropping and heavy gray clouds were trying to scare us away.  But, as folks arrived, they just got right to work.

    Betsy got the reed sleyed, and later she got tied on to the front rod.
  Margi wove on the black placemat warp.  (She's spearheading a straw loom day later this month at a local book shop.)
  Linda got a lot woven on her rug warp.

  Ms. Ila talked with LaDonna while she wove.  (Ms. Ila is leaving for Ireland today.....and she wouldn't let us tag along!  Have a GREAT time, Ila!)

  In the background on the right you can see Eiko getting the brown paper ready to wind on her newest warp.  Carol has been wanting us to come up with a woven baby bib for the fall sales.  Eiko has come up with a warp to try.

  Meanwhile, Bonnie, Shirley and Tina spent the day with some tangles......and all that hard work paid off in the end.  It will be a beautiful towel warp when all is said and done!!!

  We had a special Share Time after lunch.  Carl has been playing with a warp that was threaded with M&O's.  Just look at these lovely runners that are the result of his hard work.

  Now to the bad news......
  I was so excited to sit down and weave one whole towel while I was at the Center today.  I was so careful not to have any treadling mistakes on this one.  In fact, I used the blue so that I could see any problems quickly.
  I downloaded the pictures when I got home and was getting ready to do this blog when my attention kept getting pulled to the towel.
  What was I seeing?????
Yep.........a BIG threading error!!!!  AGAIN!!!!

I think Carol might fire me.

Happy Weaving! (or threading!!!)

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Spring!

I love how each spring it's suddenly here! One day the trees are still leafless, brown. Then the one day you see the sheen of green and the next day they are full of leaves! The same in our yard with the flowering trees and vines.
My favorite are the lilacs. It's not easy to grow lilacs down here but we have a small stand that so far is happy. The bushes are about 8 feet tall and it's hard to reach the flowers. It's easiest to stand on our upper deck and take pictures down into the bush. It makes me happy to smell the lilacs. Where I grew up they bloom in June. Here it's April!
 We have a tree here called a redbud. The flowers are really purplish and they seem to be wild because they grow all over our lot, coming up where they are happy. So right now they are in full bloom. Also in bloom are the wild wisteria vines that have invaded our yard. They get closer to the house each year. I wonder if we'll end up with vines on our deck?
 They are pretty kind of mixed together. However, the wisteria will kill the trees. I guess we'll have to go out and cut them back once they stop blooming.
 On the loom I've had a mixed warp of colors, mostly blues, navies, but one yarn is a lavender. It goes great with the variegated yarn I have.
 I wondered what it would look like weaving with navy on the mixed warp. Looks pretty good.
 My Mom reads my posts and I promised to post pictures of the scarves I made in the class last weekend. Here's the first one, all whites and naturals in the warp and then felted with a mixed color roving of marino wool. There was one yarn that didn't cooperate. It looked like wool but it sure didn't felt into the mix like the rest of the yarns. One other yarn was a kinky little, probably mohair mix yarn. It worked great and felted nicely. I have a bunch of wools and mohairs stashed away. It tempts me to pull those boxes out and see what I can do with them....
 It's hard to see in the picture, but the roving is a combination of all the colors I picked for the second warp. This scarf is so much fun. I'm still learning how to layer and felt the combination but this was a fun one.
I'd taken the class hoping I wouldn't enjoy it. After all, I don't enjoy knitting. It could have happened. Well, this is awfully fun. We hope to schedule a felting day for those of us who took the class. We figure we can help each other while we wait for another scheduled class to happen at the center.
So, what's on the loom now? I'm weaving some of the painted warps that we recently scheduled time to do. I want to get several done in the next week or two.
Today it's dreary, cloudly, windy and probably will be raining soon. It's the perfect day to get some work done in the studio.
Until next week, keep weaving!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Of Dust and Treasure

The overhaul of the Studio continues, I can't get to it everyday, but it is coming along.  It feels like I just did this not too long ago, but I know it has got to be several years ago really.  One clue to how long it has been since I got down to the floor, is the amount of dust bunnies and cobwebs I have been encountering!  Yuck!

I do clean under and around each loom when a warp comes off, but evidently, I either need to do shorter warps or weave faster!  When I last posted, I had cleaned the space that was left by the Leclerc I delivered to Bonnie this week.  That space stayed there until this morning, when I started rotating looms around the room.  (I had tackled a couple of tote bags full of odds and ends, and loaded some rag shuttles of fabric strips that would work with one of the warps in progress, but no real progress took place until this morning.

The first thing that needed to happen, is that the old TV had to go.  It was too big for the studio, and too old to have a good picture.

It was taking up too much room on my table too!  (and hiding dust!)  Once the TV was on the landing, I cleared off the table and moved it to it's new location by the window.

You can be sure it did not stay this cleared off for long!

With the table moved and all the tubs pulled out I was able to clear that corner of the room of dust.

These tubs (plus several more) hold 100yd warps of 12/3 cotton in white.  I got them several years ago, on one of the Tuesday Weavers escapades.  I now think that nobody else was crazy enough to want to fool with them!  They have been a challenge to warp, I don't have enough warp sticks and paper to load a full 100yds on any of my looms, and the warp threads like to stick together a lot.  Making it an "are we there yet" kind of experience. To top it off, the warp width is only about 7 inches, so I have to use 2 warps at a time to get a towel or napkin width.

This loom, at the same time, has a braking system that is, shall we say, interesting.  The brake, in fact does not hold very well, and I have been calling it my self advancing loom.  All you have to do is advance the work on the cloth beam a little more often than you normally would, or you could put a weight on the brake pedal, that would do it, cause it is a "lift to release" kind of brake.  Also, get a load of that warp beam, it is huge, and there is no crank, I have to load the warp by grasping the beam itself and rotating it.

I got a book recently about warping your loom with a trapeze, "Warp with a Trapeze and Dance with your loom", by Kati Meek.  I was looking at the pictures, when a light bulb came on in my little brain.  Why couldn't I set up a trapeze to warp this loom with those warps!  If I weighted the warps and used the warp beam as one of the pivot points, I would be bypassing all the things I do not like about this loom, and all the things I do not like about the warps!  Right now, that sounds like a win / win situation!

I already have a dowel to put near the ceiling on the wall behind the bench, the tubs will be on each side of the bench, just under that dowel.  I can then take the warp directly from the tub, up to that doweling, then over the top of the loom, and have a raddle there ready to separate and steady the warp.  I  will then pass the warp thru a series of pivot points, ending with going around that huge warp beam and up over the back beam,  thru the heddles, reed and attach to the front apron.  Once that is all set up and tied on, I can weight both of the warps as they come out of the tub, within easy reach of the weaver!

I bought some doweling and some closet rod hanger type things to attach to the wall and to the loom, but I hadn't gotten that far yet.  I needed to weave off the placemat warp that is on there now.  It was a good thing I hadn't done that yet because……...

As I was going thru some things, I ran across this raddle that actually fits the loom!  I will be able to  put it on the back of the loom at the very top, (there are already holes there) to serve as raddle and pivot point all in one.
I also had noticed these curious block pieces, at the back of the loom.  I could put a piece of doweling in there to serve as another pivot point, just not this piece of doweling!

By then, it was lunch time.  Time to heat up some soup from dinner last night, and time to post my progress.  I have one loom in place, 2 more to go, and an unbelievable amount of stuff to go through before I can truly say I am done.  I am sure I will find more dust and more treasure as I work.

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fiber Friends

10 April 2014

  Some might say it was meant to be.  After all, Tina delivered Bonnie's loom on Wednesday.  But, somehow that treadle hook jumped under the seat in Tina's car. 
  I think that it was meant to happen.....this way I got to go with Tina to deliver the hook.....and spend some time with Bonnie.  Can you tell that we all enjoy spending time together????

16 February 2010

  Bonnie started weaving at the Center before I came in September 2005.  She wove a lot of rugs on the big old barn loom where Carl weaves now.  But, she really loved the LeClerc loom that Betsy is weaving on now.  That weighted beater was her friend!!!!
  She was fearless trying out new projects at the Center and on her looms at home.  She was one of our fiber buddies! 
  Today was for catching up....and returning the treadle hook.

  Our time together was too short....but she has promised to come by the Center the next Tuesday that she's in the area.  As Tina and I started towards my house, I had her detour through the drive-through for a SMALL chocolate Frosty. 
  As we sat on the steps at my house enjoying our treat, we could smell the sweet blossoms from the ornamental magnolias by the driveway.
  A sweet treat all the way around AND, time with my fiber friends.
  Life is good.

Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

All In A Day's Work

There was a big surge of activity this morning as Betsy and Shirley helped Carol collate sets of of her weaving program.  It seems that Carol had exhausted her supply....we've had a lot of new weavers in the last year.  And, Carol was getting ready for a new weaver that was arriving today!

  Say "hello" to Tracie!  She quickly got to work with Carol, and chose her colors for her first warp.  She had wound her warp and was getting it wound on the loom by the end of the day!!!

   Eiko was busy hemming (by hand) her lovely handwovens, and Shirley was winding the color sections for her new handtowel warp.  I saw some of that warp stretched out in the studio at one point.  Hummmmmmm.......
  Carol and Ann checked in on Karin's rugs.....they were concerned that the beater wasn't hitting square on the rugs.  Roz stayed focused on her scarf warp!

  If you look carefully, you'll see Pat on the left on big Bertha.  She's almost finished with the coverlet she's working on.  You can also see Carl back on the barn loom....just weaving away on another rug.  His next rug will be another re-weave one.  The original rug was woven back in the 90's, and the weft is still in good shape!  That's Betsy threading another towel warp....intense concentration!!!!
Linda stopped by with her friend, Than.  She and her husband are visiting the area, and what a great place to bring them!!!!  I think she really enjoyed showing them the rugs she has woven in the studio.
   Marie did get some weaving time on the placemat warp.  We tend to keep her pretty busy with lots of little stuff around the studio.

       After lunch share time was a treat for the eyes!  Our weavers had a great time at the Nuno Felting Workshop over the weekend (see Carol's blog for Monday) and they brought their finished pieces for all to see.  Carol wants to do more felting later this year!  (I think she's hooked!)

                                                                                       Sharon has certainly caught on to this weaving thing....just look at her hounds-tooth check!     And, Linda had a new scarf in progress on her Cricket Loom.  The sequin yarn adds just the right touch of bling!    
   The time passed quickly (as it usually does at the Center.)  Before we knew it, it was time to go.  Cindy had cut out early to be at home in time for the delivery of her new loom.  We can't wait to hear more about that!
Happy Weaving!