Monday, November 24, 2014

Passing It On

Knowledge, that is. As weavers, we have a responsibility to continue the tradition of learning and then passing on our knowledge to others, even if it is just as a group like we do on Tuesdays. I love hearing weavers help each other. You learn by doing. Even a new weaver has knowledge that can be passed on to someone just starting. 
Several weeks ago Kay Hultquist died. She was 97. I've known her ever since we moved to Knoxville in 1980. I'm not sure how long she'd been weaving before that but she was already someone to look up to who had knowledge that I wanted to acquire. We often had guild meetings at her place and workshops as well. She was in the thick of things, at conferences, meetings, etc. 
Her specialty was weaving coverlets. I'm talking about the old overshot patterns that are in the books. If you've seen the book Of Coverlets or Keep Me Warm One Night, those are the kinds of things she wove. She was a member of the Foothills Craft guild and she would have a booth at the show with a few things. She took orders for coverlets and then wove them according to the color and pattern someone wanted. I saw a list of prices recently. For a queen sized, 3 panel coverlets, she charged $400. $50 more if you added a color..... I sure wouldn't do that these days! Not sure I'd do it for triple the price! Her coverlets were awesome. Our own Carl has one of them that he had Kay make.

So, what does one do when a weaver dies? I got word that the family needed help. Saturday was the third time I was over there. This time was the final one. I'd already brought home her library, yarn and a bunch of her notes. 
It was so funny. When her son talked to me on the phone, he said she had so much yarn they had no clue what to do. When I got there, sure, she had some yarn but I'll bet I've ordered more yarn at a time than she had stacked there. Kay ordered just what she needed for a project. She kept scraps (like we all do), bits of cut fabric. 
Charlotte and Molly joined me at Kay's place in Maryville and with family help, we cleaned out the rest of her studio. Molly was able to get most of the things in her vehicle. We'll have a blast tomorrow going through it all. We really just looked at things and said, yes, we'll take it. Anything we thought the family would like was left there. They wanted pictures and bigger pieces of things she had woven. I don't blame them. Having gone through my Mom's things recently, I know how one wants to keep a piece of a memory.
 Kay had 2 looms. Both Harrisville. She wove all those wonderful coverlets on a Harrisville. Back in the day, that was one of the better choices for a loom that could be folded when not in use and was perfect for the overshot weaving that she did.
Here's the 24 inch 4 shaft floor loom that Charlotte will borrow. It's got a warp on it. It's a narrow warp to make a pocket purse to hang around your neck and hold your glasses, phone, or ipod.... She'll have good practice making some little things using scraps of yarn.
 The other loom is a 36 inch 4 shaft loom. I'm waiting to hear from someone to see if they want to borrow it. Also in the picture is a holder for 4 extra shafts for the 24" loom. I'm not sure why she got more of them but this one has a warp threaded on it. I wonder if it was a favorite pattern that she would just put on the loom, add a warp and go?
Kay didn't have a plan for what would happen to her things when she was gone. She had been battling cancer several times and beat it every time. If a blockage hadn't happened, she'd be here today, continuing the fight and heading toward being 100, I'm sure.
I like to think that she would approve of what we're doing with her things. I have the other boxes of her things at home. We plan to go through her notes, drawdowns for patterns all graphed out by hand, and make some copies for other weavers to use or have as inspiration or a starting point for their projects. Kay's work will continue as new weavers  get the chance to see what she did and we help them understand all those numbers.
I'd love to see someone weaving coverlets again, the way she did.
I'm so thankful that her family felt we were able to continue and protect what Kay had started.

It's getting to be a busy time of year and I'm working on some things that I can't post yet....It'll be Christmas before I post some pictures but I am having fun working on a few projects.
Until next week, hope you get some weaving done.
Carol

Friday, November 21, 2014

After the Show is Over

Now that the shows are done for the year, we get to reflect on how things went and plan for the next year.  We also get a chance to do some new things, read some new books and knit as well.

This week I decided to take a quick break from the long white stockings I am still knitting, and I cast on a color work hat.  It was quick to do, taking only one day, fitting knitting in between the usual things one has to do.

 This hat is called "Faux Isle" on Ravelry, and I am using some handspun I have had around for awhile.  The turquoise yarn is really a part of a gradient skein.  The color goes from this lovely color all the way to purple.  I had hoped that some of that color change would happen in this hat, but it didn't.  I will just have to make some more hats with the rest of it.  Variegated yarn would also be a wonderful yarn to use with this pattern.
 Another new thing that has come into my house is the new book that Lou Ann mentioned on Tuesday!  "Reflections From a Flaxen Past" by Katie Meek, is a book that I have been stalking ever since I heard about it on Ravelry.  It is out of print, and on Ebay it can be quite pricey!  I set up a search that would alert me when a new copy would be listed.  When I found one under $50 I snapped it up!
The book takes a look at Lithuanian flax weaving, from growing the flax to finishing the woven projects.  It is full of photos, many from pre WW2, and weaving project drawdowns.  It is going to take several sessions to really grasp everything that is in this book.
I have also begun to wash Ernie's fleece.  Ernie is one of Nigora wethers, that lost his fleece due to an illness.  He is now doing great, and I am carefully washing his fleece handful by handful, literally!  Since it isn't a sheep fleece there is no lanolin, so a simple swish in warm soapy water and a swish in warm clean water a couple of times, and it is done.  When you wet this fleece it really packs down, so what you do is you have to fluff it up every five minutes or so, if you don't it will stay in that clump and be impossible to seperate.  Once it is dry you can pick out the guard hairs, which is probably the most tedious part of this whole process.  I am seriously considering sending the clean fleece off to have it dehaired, but I still need to check that out.

I will probably be out of town for a little while, grand baby #9 is due any minute, and  I can't wait to welcome him into the world!  So, until next time, Happy Spinning, Knitting and Weaving, Tina


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thank You!

Cindy and Marie:  18 February 2014
Thank you, Cindy and Marie.

You started planning our new booth way back last winter.

You poured over catalogs and started a binder with all your ideas.

  You ordered new display pieces that would make our booth look polished and professional.



  All your hard work payed off!!!  We had a successful show, and more ideas to fuel us for next year.




  Many hands make light work.











    The Tuesday Weavers pulled together to make a smooth operation.





We shared the love of Weaving with lots and lots of folks.




  And, we may have discovered some new weavers!!!





We never say it enough:  Thank You!

Happy Weaving!
LouAnn
 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Oops

I know. I was supposed to write on Monday. That's my day. Well, I forgot!! 
This past weekend was the Foothills Craft Guild Show and you know the Tuesday Weavers are members and have a booth at the show. I do too. My booth is right next to theirs and it's fun to go back and forth between the two.
When I got home I completely forgot about writing the blog. This was the last show of the season and I take all day to go through everything, end of year stuff and where do I take things that are still here. What do I store. Those are the things I think about as I work. So I didn't think about the blog til I was falling asleep.
So I'm writing today instead.
The week before the show I tried something new. I used some scraps of handwovens and made some little handbags to sell. They kind of match the vests and jackets so I figured they'd look good in the display.
 I think they turned out nicely. They all are lined and have a button closure.
 It's always nice when you realize things have found new homes as the show progresses.
 Each bag is a little different. No two are alike. Just like the clothes I weave.
 I'm right next to the Tuesday Weavers. Their booth was awesome as usual. Alot of work went into getting it all set up nicely and they got alot of attention from the shoppers as well.
 I like to post pictures of booths that I look at while I sit on my chair. This year it was alot of glass.
 Flowers pressed between glass. Always a hit.
Sunday afternoon we had a power outage for  over an hour. The emergency lights weren't really working well. So everyone pulled out their phones and clicked on the flashlight app to see things. I think this was the first time that people really saw what was in the booth. We had to stay in our booths to be sure all was safe but it was interesting to look across at others in theirs. Huge sigh of relief when the power came back on and thankful that it did!

I'm still catching up on the end of show season. Just a few things to alter and ship and then I'll be looking forward to next year and what needs to be woven for the next show. Thinking about colors and designs will be fun to contemplate.
I do want to weave some more rugs, placemats and handtowels before I get back into the swing of production. Oh yeah, and that shawl on the rigid heddle loom that's been sitting there for months. That's first on my list to finish!
Until next week, keep weaving.
Carol

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Unpack & Reflect

  As the weavers arrived this morning, tubs were carried in, along with equipment that we used in our booth.  Each tub was unpacked and sorted in the stacks for the weavers.  Inventory that had been brought down from the shop was marked off the list and returned upstairs.

Marie was pleased....all was well with the inventory.



  Grid panels were stored back in the Annex until next year, and show supplies were stored in a large rolly suitcase so the little pieces are all together.  We don't need extension cords during the year!!!!








Carl enlisted Allan's help as he cut more blue jean strips for today's rug.









  Ray worked on his rug while we figured out where everything needed to go in the shop.








  Charlotte is finally getting to wind her first warp.....and, since there was no room for the little looms to be brought out, the LADIES got some "catch-up" time to talk.





  This is one of the reasons why there was no room for the looms:  Linda needed to wind her new warp for the rug loom!!!!  This was her first time at the warping mill, and Tina walked her through the process.  As you can see, she got it all wound, and later chained it off without mishap!  I guess we all know what she'll be doing next week!!!!!


  Charlotte did get her warp wound, and it's now on the loom!  Threading is next.....she'll do great!



  We all had stories to share about the Foothills show, and even heard of one lady that reads our blog in California that stopped by the booth.  WOW!!!!
  Christy took a few minutes to look at Tina's new book...maybe she'll blog about it on Friday.  It's a neat book.

Plans were made for the next few weeks...I think there's a field trip in the works!  Stay tuned....you never know what the Weavers will be up to next!

Happy Weaving!
LouAnn

Friday, November 14, 2014

While the Show is Going On

Today is the first day of the Foothills Fine Arts Guild Craft show in Knoxville Tn.  It is  at the Chilhowee Park fairgrounds in the Jacobs Building, right next door to the Knoxville Zoo.  A group of us spent a good part of the day yesterday putting the booth together.  At the end of the day, as we were getting ready to leave, we went over the booth worker schedule one more to make sure we had all the shifts covered.  It was then that I realized that I did not have to be back in the building until Sunday after church.  It really felt strange to not have to be there every day!

Lately, I have been doing a huge reorganization of my studio area, in anticipation of company coming in the next couple of months.  Since I don't have to be in the booth today or tomorrow, I can continue with this effort.  I sent 5 big garbage bags of junk to the dump today, plus a couple of broken down boxes.  If felt really good!  Next I decided to tackle the 2 raw Corriedale fleeces I bought at SAFF a couple of weeks ago.


Here is the first Corriedale fleece, be sure you click on this photo to make it bigger.  This is truly the most beautiful fleece I have ever worked with!
 You can almost see the lanolin dripping off of this light grey group of locks.


Here is a shot to give you an idea of the "unstreched" lock.  The length and crimp on this fleece is consistant through out.

 I seperated the locks into color families and length, though there was very little that was below 4 inches.
I wrapped the locks in tulle envelopes to make it easier to not handle the fleece too much.  This is the first covered fleece I have ever handled.  A covered fleece is protected from hay and dirt by a coat that stays on the sheep as the fleece grows.  The coat is changed as the fleece grows.  Now that I have seen what a covered fleece is like, I wonder if I could cover my Nigora goats?
 This fleece was covered and well skirted, so well skirted in fact that the only bit that I did not bother to wash is the lock you see at right.  I may have found 3 pieces of vegetable matter in the whole fleece.  Unbelieveable!  Now I know what all the fuss is about!

(It is not unusual to have to discard a good portion of an uncovered fleece because of ground in dirt and vegetable matter that is truly impossible to remove.)
Here you can see the variety of color in this first batch of clean wool.
You can see how these cleaned locks have really puffed up, and they are not even completely dry.









Corriedale is famous for a high lanolin content.  To see what percentage of lanolin there was in this fleece, I weighed out a pound of raw fleece and after it was washed (it took 3 washes!) and dry it only weighted 10 oz!  That is really close to a 38% loss.  This is the first time I have done the comparison, but I think that is quite a lot of lanolin.



Remember that lock at the beginning of the post, here is it, or one like it, clean and combed.  You can see  what a difference it makes when the lanolin is gone!

Over the next few weeks, I will be continuing to  clean out the junk from the studio, and I will finish getting this fleece washed and do the other one as well.  It may be after the holidays before I actually get to comb and spin this fleece, but I am going to try to get to it a lot sooner than that!

Until next time, Happy Spinning, Knitting and Weaving, Tina

Thursday, November 13, 2014

When The Plan Comes Together


  All of the pre-planning paid off!  When Cindy and Marie started working on plans for this year's booth right after the 2013 show, they ordered panels and shelves and lots of little do-dads that made the set up and display so much easier.
  Now, that doesn't mean we didn't ad-lib where necessary, but it all came together very nicely!



  With Marie and Tina acting as the team leaders, Christy, Ann and I put together panels, hung curtains, clipped on lights and ran the power cords.  Then the fun began!










  Even Christy's hubby was put to work putting the hangers on the rugs.


  We have plenty of scarves for folks to choose from this year, and the spiral display will come with Marie in the morning.  We have a wonderful selection of wool scarves that will come in handy for this arctic weather that has come our way. 





  There are more scarves on the right side of the booth, along with the placemats and runners.  Extra rugs were stored on the bottom shelves.  Book marks, mug rugs and greeting cards are at the check out table.






  The rugs take center place this year.  The walker bags are flanking them on the right.  You know there are always straw looms.....right there with the rugs!



  Ann had to leave around noon, but we continued to place each woven item where it would get noticed.  (I'm sure tomorrow's crew will "fluff" the shelves again!  Who knows what it will look like when I get there on Saturday!!!)
  But, for today, the plan came together!




  Here's to a successful show!!!  (Carol's booth looks great, too!!!)

LouAnn