Friday, July 1, 2016

Good Tools

It is fleece washing season again here at my house, most of the fleeces are sheep wool that I have picked up here and there, sometimes free sometimes not.  There is also this years Nigora fleeces to wash as well.  I have been washing fleeces for several years and it can be back breaking work if you let it.  It can also require lots of water, something I am conscious of as we have had several drought years recently in East Tennessee.

Last year I got a piece of equipment that has made it much easier for me to use less water and at the same time it encourages me to do smaller sections of fleece at  a time, it is a spin dryer or centrifuge.  The spin dryer has cut my washe cycles down to 2 and my rinses down to 2 as well!  The secret is to use the spin dryer after every wash and every rinse, thereby getting rid of so much of the dirt and lanolin that would normally pollute the next wash/rinse.

You can use whatever method you are used to and this spin dryer will improve it.  I bought mine from Dharma Trading company, they have great customer service if you need it.

Now, one of my friends pointed out that you could use the spin cycle in your washing machine as long as you turn off the water to do it.  I agree that you could do that, but for me it is remembering to turn the water off that bothers me, what if I forgot!  Ruined fleece!  Also, my water shut off is so difficult to reach as it is behind the washer between the hot water heater and the washer.

I use the Spin Dryer primarily to speed up my fleece washing, but Carol uses it when she is rinsing warps and skeins of yarn that she has dyed.  If I get into something like that you can be sure I will be using my Nina soft Spin Dryer, from the Dharma Trading Co.



Back to the fleeces, Tina

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thank You, Pat!

  I found out first thing Tuesday morning....
Pat Head Summitt had passed away early that morning.  She was only 64 years old, and had battled Alzheimers since 2011.
  I first encountered Pat in 1974 when I transferred to the University of Tennessee.  As so often happens, they declared that I needed one more P.E. for graduation.  So, I took a folk dance class that was held at the old Memorial Gym on the Hill.  The ladies basketball team had practice in the gym after our class was over, and they would gather on the sidelines as we finished class.  The "new" coach didn't look much older than I was, which in fact she wasn't!  But, she had such an air of command about her....she was all business.

 
She went on the coach the gold medal team in the 1984 Olympic games.  She has the most wins of ANY college basketball coach:  1,098. 
  And, one of the most important things:  she had 100% graduation rate from her players.
 
  I could go on and on telling about her accomplishments, but they are all part of public record. 
  I can say that we are sad....even the sunset on Tuesday evening paid tribute to this special lady. 
  Yes.....that cloud looks like the great state of Tennessee.  How fitting.  Even the sky was orange.
  She was a great role model for us all, and she will be missed.

LouAnn

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

You Might Think.....

If you were to come on Tuesday morning to the Appalachia Arts Crafts Center, and come downstairs where all the looms are,






You might think that there really wasn't much going on.







For example, you might think that this group of weavers were just hanging around, when in reality they were preparing to do one of the most basic but indispensable chores that we weavers do.  They are getting ready to put a warp on this rug loom.












We don't usually use this much manpower to put a warp on a loom, but Irene has a loom just like this at home, and she and her husband were taking pictures so that they understood the process.

By the end of the day the warp was on the loom, and next week the threading will get done, and who knows the first rug may be underway.










While that task was being undertaken, I circulated around the room taking pictures of the different fabrics that were on the looms.




Miss Ila's 

Bonnie

Lou Ann

Carl

Joycelyn

Harriet

Pat

Sharon


Linda

Tina

Karin

Lanny

Pat's warp again after she added some weft



























































I was surprised that I can match up each weaver with their fabric.  I suppose it is because I watch each project happen from the very beginning.  Just like the warp going on the Studio Rug loom.

A casual observer may first thing we just stand around and chat, but if they were to hang around long enough they would know that we really do get some weaving done.

Until next time, Happy Crafting, Tina for all

Monday, June 27, 2016

Lace class

I spent Thursday,Friday and Saturday making bobbin lace. Lace is a slow process. It can be complicated, too. So many steps to be done in a certain order but once meticulously done, the results are pretty cool. We had two things going for us. Even if you have a ton of bobbins on your pillow, you work with only four at a time. The second is that we have an awesome teacher who flies out from California each year to teach us. Louise Colgan is the most patient person I know. If you lace, I highly recommend taking a class with her.
Instead of each of us bringing our lunch, Helen orders food trays for us and we sit together for half an hour or so, chatting and relaxing.
This year there were 11 students. Because we couldn't fill the class with just us, we spread the word and got 3 students from Georgia and one from Mississippi. Valerie's birthday was Saturday so we had to have cake!! Helen is on the right. She organizes the class for us.
So what can you get done in three days? I took some pictures Saturday afternoon. I didn't get pictures of all the pillows but here are a few. The iris is a beautiful flower. See the dots? Those are where pins will go. Your pattern is simply a series of dots. Thankfully we get a packet of instructions on how to connect the dots with our threads. We use silk  thread, like the kind you sew with, only strong silk which doesn't break easily as you manipulate it.
This is Louise's iris. It will take them ages to finish, but it's going to be beautiful.
Like me, Roberta doesn't have time to make lace. I think she's worked on this dogwood for three classes. I didn't get a better picture of it because you always cover the pins to on the pillow already to keep the thread from snagging. It's so close to being done!!
This seahorse is almost done. I made the seahorse years ago and started another one. I'm looking forward to being done with other projects so I can finish my second one. I'd like to make 3 and frame them. It's on my list anyway.
This is what I decided to make. The bluebonnet. Notice the beads? It's not the most complicated pattern but it does have its moments.
Melissa decided to be a rebel and do hers in rust tones.
I guess I'm more of a traditionalist because I do want to frame it. Plus, I used thread I had on hand and I had these colors. Once it's sat on the pillows for a few days, I can trim the threads and take out the tons of pins.
Yesterday we let the cats out of our bedroom. Their first birthday was Saturday. They were so excited to walk everywhere in the three levels of our house. After 2 hours, we walked them back to our bedroom. I suspect they didn't move for a few hours. Sensory overload had to be going on there.We let them out again after we got back and they kept walking. We'll let them out when we're here but they are happy and safe up in our room while we're gone.
This week will be interesting as well because they will see me weave later today. Hopefully they will pretty much ignore it once they inspect everything. They've been down by the looms already. Maggie has looms, too, so it's not new, but I weave a lot more than Maggie is able to, so hopefully they'll find a nice comfortable spot to curl up in and watch... I know, dream on. I'll keep you updated! Hopefully with pictures next time.
Until next week,makeup weaving.
Carol

Friday, June 24, 2016

New Kitchen Towels on the Loom

I have spent some time each week over the last month loading the 8 shaft loom with two of the narrow 12/3 cotton 100yd warps that I have.  I used up all of the warp sticks I had on hand and I even went to the big box store and purchased some more and used those too.  I finally decided that I was not going to purchase enough slats to get all 50yds of the warp on the back beam, and I cut the "chain" of warp from the bin, saving the cross with some lease sticks for the next time.  I don't know how much is really on the warp beam but that is okay, there is enough.  These will be Kitchen towels,  16 inches across and woven 27 inches long, that will include the hem on each end.

I have had some issues with this loom (Vintage 8 harness Binder from Pasedena, California) in the past.  Last year shafts 1 and 2 seemed to be stuck about 1/4 of an inch above the rest, but that seems to have resolved itself while the loom was between projects. ( I won't complain!)  The brake doesn't hold as well as I would like, but usually I can treat that as an automatic advance system, tightening the cloth beam as I weave.   There are also stiff wires that raise the shafts, and some of those want to come unhooked now and then.  I wrapped some blue tape around the hook on the wires  to see if that would help and it did.   I will probably replace the tape with some tiny zip ties that I have in the tool box, it would definitely look better!

I was searching for an 8 shaft pattern that would give me a lot of choices for borders on these Kitchen  towels, and I came across an 8 shaft rosepath pattern with what seems like dozens of choices, all you have to do is change the treadle tie ups and you are set with what seems like a completely new pattern, all of the holidays are covered, Valentines day thru Christmas.  It is a 2 shuttle weave, but only for the border, the rest is one shuttle zoom, zoom!

This is the first of what will be many border patterns I am sure.  I found this in Carol Strickler's "A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns".  This pattern is on page 29, tie up #100.  

Well,  now looking at it,  I look at the picture on  page  29 and what is in my picture, hmmm, a doubt arises in my mind!  I checked the threading and, yes indeed, I used the threading from  page 30 not page 29,  now I am going to have to make a note of what I have done, so that I can do it again if I want to.


Oh well, I have yards of warp ahead of me, and I can rethread if I choose to do so, and I may,  it wouldn't be the first time I have done that.  I do think I will do several towels with this threading first, it is the one with all the variations I was talking about earlier.

 Until next time, I hope that you are able to get some good crafting time this weekend, Tina


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Practice Time

  Sample, sample, sample!

That's my mantra right now.

Patterns, set, beats.......

I've woven so many inkle bands lately....and a bunch of placemats....and you can't beat wool the same!!!  I catch myself wanting to really beat in the weft, and that would not make a cushy scarf!
  I just want to keep up the practice and be ready for the big event!






  It's hard to tell from my picture, but this is momma and baby in the front yard early this morning.  It was breakfast time for the baby.







  And, and quick update on the bale garden:  it's not doing very well.  The corn in this picture was planted by the squirrels.  Yes, that's correct....I had ONE stalk that came up (out of the two rows I planted.)  The squirrels have corn coming up all over the yard!

I might try giving them some beans............


Happy Weaving!
LouAnn

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sweets And Salads



 Congratulations to Marie and her hubby!  They are celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary today.  He really scored points with this lovely bouquet that was delivered to Marie at lunchtime!!!  The note was super sweet!!!!












   Right before the excitement, Marie had cut off the napkins that were on the cloth beam.  She has a batch of natural ones and the green twill napkins.






  She is trying out this variegated 8/2 thread for the next run of napkins.  These would go with lots of different table settings.










  It seems it was a day to cut off woven material....Linda cut off her run of placemats to get them ready to go upstairs to the Shop. 








  She double checked on the number of placemats, then wove in the sticks before she cut off the warp.  (The sticks are then folded over and secured to the bar.)  She has a new color combination ready to go for the next run of placemats.



  What is Tina doing????  On the right you can see the painted weft on the swift....and Tina is winding that into "cakes" to use for the towel warp.
  On the left, you can see Connie and her hubby chatting as she gets a new warp ready to weave.



 
Here's a look at Tina's towel...she just finished doing the Monk's belt border on the first towel.  She will weave the rest of the towel in plain weave.  There are some lovely color combinations popping up in the weave!!!












  As always, it was a busy little hive of activity for the weavers.  We had several groups of folks who came down to the studio to see all the action.


 

  There are so many projects underway....and so many beautiful colors.













  Sharon is almost ready to cut off this batch of placemats, too.  Marie will be glad that they will add to the inventory upstairs.






  Pat is nearly finished threading the colorful placemat warp.  I'm looking forward to seeing these:  she's threading a huck pattern!!!










  Just look at that cloth beam on the barn loom!  Carl is a weaving machine!!!  And, he was told today that there are more blue jeans on their way! 

  Ah, Joan!  Don't fret!  Carol will get you fixed!!!!  That's how you learn!


   Margi took all those joined table cloths and cut strips to use as weft for a placemat warp.  We'll see how they look at a later date!


  Betsy has an interesting warp on the reel.  This will be her new rug warp.


  Marie was so worried that we would end up with all desserts...but, you can see that we had a nice mix of dishes for our potluck lunch.
  Tina even brought a special LASAGNA for our tasting pleasure....S'more Lasagna, that is!!!!

  I don't think anyone went away hungry!

  We need to do Potluck more often............just sayin'.

Happy Weaving!
LouAnn