Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oh, NO!!!!

  Look closely.............
  Yes sireeee, John had a melt down last night!
  I was weaving the end section of my tote bag...2 inches woven, one inch to go.  I really did want to finish this tote and start on a new one.....I could finally show a picture of a new tote!  But, when I switched the shafts, there was a funky noise, and this is what I saw.

Who knew that the wire would wear out????  It has frayed just like rope!!!!

  Needless to say, I didn't get the tote finished last night.
  I released the tension on the warp, and tied the shafts to the castle beam for the time being.  I'm going to try a texsolv rescue this afternoon and we'll see if that will do the trick for now.

  John is NOT a spring chicken, and I don't know if I can even get a replacement....I guess I'll be spending some time on the internet!

  Tina and I put a 20 yard warp on John last summer, and I've woven a few totes and the cat mat from it.

That reminds me:  one of the Tuesday Weavers asked me on Tuesday, "I thought you had three kitties???"

  So, I finally got a picture of all three of them having a little snack.  (My cats don't pose for pictures....I just have to catch them in the act!)

  From top to bottom:  CeCe (14 years old), Sweetie Pye (2 years old) and Zuzu (14 years old.)

  They allow me to weave in our home, and keep me out of too much trouble.

  Last weekend, my sister was here for a visit.  She brought a lot of fresh produce from North Alabama (which we fixed for dinner on Saturday.)  There were a lot of cucumbers in the bag of goodies.....too many to eat!!!  So, we decided to make pickles!

  This is our other sister's recipe for Kitchen Floor pickles...they stay in the crock for a month, and then you get to slice them and put them in jars.  No peeking!!!!  The change can is to keep the kitties from accidentally knocking off the plate!

  Carol made these pickles every summer when her neighbor would gift her with a blue-million cucumbers...and we would all enjoy them at family gatherings.  I just hope they are as good as the ones we remember.

  I've got some repair work to do today!!!  So, I'd best get busy.  Enjoy your last weekend of July!

Happy Weaving!

Friday, July 29, 2011


I am keeping my promise to myself to not stress about how much weaving time I am able to fit into any given day. 

Summer time is just too crazy for that!

I have finished the 2 light pink "Kings Flower" Blankets and just yesterday was able to wind enough of  the light blue bobbins to do 2 blankets in that lovely color in the same pattern.  (For a change, I don't even have to cut the woven blankets off the cloth beam to fill an order or to give as a gift, I can just keep weaving. I suppose that means that I am caught up or something!)

I was working on something computerish, and it involved downloading a bunch of stuff, so a lot of waiting time.  Well, I thought, I can wind those bobbins and be ready to weave  when I can fit it in!  I pulled out my spindle wheel and popped those bobbins onto the spindle, and I went to town treadling.  I can fill the bobbins much faster like this rather than the handcrank winder.  I have had to start using the cork from the end of the spindle wheel to hold the bobbins in place, it is just too much friction for my skin.

I downloaded and filled bobbins for about 2 hours, no rush, I knew I wouldn't be weaving that day, but they would be ready when I needed them.

When I am done with the blue blankets I will switch over to my other loom that has the "Cat Tracks and Snail Trails" pattern, and repeat the process.  2 pink and 2 blue blankets.  Then I may branch out and try some of the darker colors that I have pre-treated so that they won't bleed.  I think I will do a good 10inch swatch and wash it in cold water. (I am really needing the confirmation that the pre-treating has taken care of the problem.) I have plenty of colors that I know are good, so I have been staying away from those others.

I am almost ready to rethread the Cat Tracks pattern to something different.  I had one chosen, but I can't quite remember it.  That will probably happen late September though.  I want to have several blankets in each pattern for the Foothills Craft Guilds Fall Show, in late November.  I plan to have at 12 to 15 blankets, maybe more.  That would be 5 of each pattern if I rethread.  Then Overshot mug rugs, and maybe a few rugs.  It should be a good show with lots of variety.

I am happy with my progress and my new found peace,
 Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hot Enough to ...

  We're still in the middle of a heat wave here in east Tennessee, which seems to be never-ending.  At the hotel, guests are complaining every day that their air conditioners aren't working, but when the maintenance guys check out the units, they're working as hard as they can.  It's just hot, folks, and we can't do anything about it!
  I did yard work this morning, trying to catch back up to the grass in the back yard.  I actually had to buy a new string trimmer, because my poor little rechargeable unit couldn't handle it.  Those exotic grasses that grow from overflow in the bird feeders have become invasive, and are really hard to get rid of.  I worked in 15 minute stretches, stop and drink water and go back out.  I must have gotten a lot of grass bits and seeds on me, not to mention lots of little six-legged hitchhikers, because I have been itching the entire afternoon.
    Yesterday at the Center, I had a great time dying my scarf warp for our challenge, and an even better time dying the fabric for place mats and rugs.  I felt very Jackson Pollack-esque, pouring all the cups of leftover dyes on the fabric bundle!  I can't wait until tomorrow for the "reveal."  I will try to get my phone to talk to my computer to post the pictures on A Sweet Thread.
  I finally got a photo of LouAnn into the blog!  Usually she's the photographer, and I was very excited, but now must apologise for the quality of the photo.  She's there!  She's just a little blurry!
  I also got a final version of the aforementioned plum tart.  It ended up needing the plums to be turned into preserves, because they were simply too tart on their own.  I made a cream flavored with Anise Hyssop, a licorice-like herb that has most of its flavor in the flowers.  I put it on a pistachio pie dough, stacked the preserves on top and served it with luscious plum sorbet.  The photos I have are of the pre-preserve version, but you get the idea.  Well, you will as soon as the photos send!
  And I will leave with a photo of a bizarre plant I'd fallen in love with driving around this area.  It's a non-descript shrub until late July, when huge downward facing blossoms open like huge bells.  Mine is a beautiful melon-colored flower, and it makes the rest of the flower bed light up, since most other flowers are tired and hot right now.
  Stay cool and happy weaving!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We Were Really Rockin'

Hold on to your hats.....things were rockin' at the Center, today!!!!

Today was Dye Day for the Tuesday Weavers.  LaDonna led the charge by mixing up the dyes needed for today.  Carl had his warp all ready to dye....just decide on the colors!!!!

Maggie brought some fabric to skein off to use for warp for a placemat warp.  Just set up the swift and let it rip!!!!!

Here's Carl hard at work on his warp.

And, here is Maggie working on her shawl warp.

This is the Maggie's skeined fabric.....can't wait to see how this works up in a warp!

  LaDonna brought some finished placemats to show.  Both the warp and the weft were dyed.

Say "Howdy" to Christy....our new Tuesday Weaver.  Carol put her to work weaving mug rugs with leftover thrums.

But, we put Christy to work even before she sat down at the Pup.....
  Bonnie and Christy chained off Bonnie's warp, and we all pitched in to wind it back on VERY carefully.  The tension was not very good before, but I think it will be OK now!

Your eyes were NOT deceiving you....that's Linda on the loom beside Bonnie!!!!    Yes, SHE WEAVES!!!!   (I don't know why she had Chandler's Learn to Weave's a mystery!)

Linda's son, William, came along today.  He didn't spend all his time on the computer.  He was a big help moving tubs out of the way so we could work on Bonnie's loom.  Thank you, William!!!

Allen and Ms. Ila got a chance to catch up.  Allen got his bamboo warp dyed earlier.

And, behold......this is combed fleece from Tina!  Remember the fleece that Tina had laid out on her kitchen floor????  Well, this is the combed top!  I wish you could feel the softness..........

  Yes.....we did get some weaving done today!  Tina was hard at work at the placemat warp, and I got about 16 inches done on my scarf warp.  I have about 20 inches more to do to finish that one.

  Carol was in and out and all about today...she's getting ready for her yearly trip to Canada, and she wanted to make sure all would be fine while she's gone.  Yes, can catch the blog next week to make sure we stay focused!!!!
  In the meantime:
Happy Weaving!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Guild Fair

Last week was CAAS in Nashville, so this week must be Guild Fair in Asheville. The Guild is the Southern Highland Craft Guild. I do the show twice a year. Before the show opened on Thursday I grabbed my camera and quickly took a few pictures to give you a glimpse of what my booth looked like. Looking at this picture, it's nice to see that several prominent items on this picture have new homes!

 What I looked at all weekend were these rocking horses made by Russ Jacobsohn. He's such a talented guy. He makes these incredible horses. I'm afraid this picture is a bit blurry. Sorry! The tortoise and the hare rocker in the background is awesome. I think he should have charged for picture taking. All weekend kids of all ages flocked to his booth and checked out the horses. The number of children who left screaming because they couldn't keep the horse was more than a few. Tons of pictures were taken with the child rocking happily on the horse. Russ is a great guy and always ready with a story or two!
A big part of each show is deciding where to eat when we leave in the evening. Staying at a hotel, even the Extended Stay where I stay, still means enjoying some company for dinner before heading back to my room to hide.  Wednesday evening Judy had to go to Lowe's to pick up some lights because hers weren't working. As she drove there she noticed that the chinese place we always go to had been bulldozed and they were building a 3 story building there! Will Chinese be back? We'll find out probably next year.
Thursday after the show we'd decided to meet friends at Three Brothers. We always go to Three Brothers. Great Greek salads and an all American kind of place. Well, we pulled up and the place was empty with signs on the window. After 52 years.....yup, closed July 1.
So, we waited for our friends to arrive and decided that on the way back to the hotel on Tunnel Road, we'd stop at Tripps. We've been there before, it's easy in and out and probably not a huge wait.........sign on the door, after 27 years.......they closed overnight one day. No one knew they were closing.
We didn't want to go to Cracker Barrel or a chain restaurant. We go there all the time. I was thinking about a restaurant I've driven by every day down there. Always there are cars there. It's Cornerstone Restaurant, another independent place. We tried it out of desperation, asked if they were planning to close, no!! So we ate dinner there Thursday and Friday. The food was great and we have a new restaurant to go to each time we're over there!
My other story is about my hotel room. I checked in Wednesday afternoon. They'd messed up my reservation but she remembered me calling the week before and knew it was their problem, not mine so I got a room. I hauled up the first load and the door was open. A guy was washing a paint brush in the kitchen sink. Yeah, he'd painted the bathroom door and the window sill. I'm not even going to ask why.
It dried quickly but I got concerned about the smell when you walked in. Even with the air conditioning on high you could tell they'd just painted, so I went down to the desk and asked about it. The hotel was full and I really didn't want to move anyway, so they gave me a nice discount for each night. I ended up just having the fan on and the windows opened at night. It was cool enough up in Asheville to do that. I have my reservation already for the fall show and had them print it out for me!! Hopefully someone won't go in their computer and mess it up again this time!
So that's my week. The show was interesting and I did sell things to people from as far away as Texas and New Zealand. I sent things to the Folk Art Center shop, Allanstand and have things set aside for several other shops. That means when I get back from Canada I have to really get to work and weave hard before the show in October!!
Thursday I'm heading north to visit my family for a few weeks. DH and DD will stay here with their jobs. I try to go home for several weeks each summer and I love the drive even if it is 2000 miles each way! That reminds me, I do need an oil change.......
Maybe I can get a warp on the loom yet before I leave.......

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cat Days of Summer

  If you've watched the news at all this week, then you've heard about the heat wave....or, if you've stepped outside this week, you might have experienced the heat wave!  The temps here in East Tennessee have not gone three digit, but with the high humidity and temps, it feels like it!
  The kitties and I are staying cool inside.....I finally got the woven cat mat fits exactly in the space!  (I'm not sure just how I pulled that off, but I like the way it looks!)
  My daughter has come over for lunch several days this week, and we've cooled off in the pool afterwards.  I'm really going to miss these lunches when school starts back for her!  We've taken advantage of all the fresh produce that's coming in...especially the okra!

  For my birthday this week, my daughter got me started with six of the Fiesta plates.  When I was growing up, my Mom had Fiesta for her everyday dishes, but with five kids, not many made it through the years.  I have three of her plates that are NOT chipped.  I can hardly wait to weave some special placemats to go with my new dishes.
  And, my son found me this really cool book about botanical dyes.  I know that Pat (one of our Tuesday Weavers) has done a fair amount with natural dyes, but this will be a new experience for me.


  We finished up the evening with Just Dance 2, which my son also got for me!  They are really good at this....I'm going to practice before we do it again!!!  Between swimming and dancing this summer, my shoulder rotation has gotten so much better!!!!  I just need to keep at it!

  I treated myself with Handwoven's 2002 and 2003 Collection CD's.  We have the back issues at the Center, but I have really enjoyed reading these back issues on the computer.  So many of these articles are written by names that I've come to know, and it has sparked many more ideas of things I'd like to weave.  But, I'm still plugging away with the two tote warps for the Fall show. 

  Of course, the kitties think I should be thinking about weaving a couple more Cat Mats for them.  After all, they'll need a replacement while this one is being washed, right???  I do need to get back to weaving a hour first thing in the's just a great way to start the day!

Happy Weaving! (and please stay hydrated!!!)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fits and Starts!

With all that is going on here this summer, I am just barely getting any fiber time in.  I have spun just a wee bit of linen, as well as a wee bit of cotton, though not enough to show!
I have completed 1 1/2 Baby Blankets in the "Kings Flower" pattern in pale pink.  I plan to do two of this same color in my other pattern "Cat Tracks and Snail Trails", then switch over to the very pale blue that you can see in the picture below, and do 2 of  each pattern in that color.
That however, is about all I have been able to manage this week!  It can be frustrating,  I may find that the summer time is not my most productive time.

The heat and humidity make it almost unbearable up in the studio in the afternoon this time of year.  Plus there are so many other demands upon my time right now that I am going to have to look at it all and reevalute the expectations I place upon myself. 

I will keep plugging away with the Foothills Craft Guilds fall show this November, in mind, some of my Etsy shop items will be cycling out of the shop and into the show as well.  All of the Weavers at the center are going to contribute our best items to make the Tuesday Weavers booth as varied as we possibly can.
That is about all I have for you today, I hope you are staying cool in all this heat, take care of yourselves.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baby, It's Hot Outside!

After Mom, aka Joyce, and I left the Center yesterday, I took a lovely, long nap, and when I woke up a little before 5, I noticed it was a bit warm in the house.  I looked at the thermostat, which confirmed that, indeed, it was 80 in the house.  I looked outside and saw the air conditioner working away, but nothing was coming out of the vents.  I called the first HVAC specialist in the Google listing, and they told me to turn the fan on and it would thaw the frozen unit and be good as new tomorrow.
  I'm not handy.  I don't have a mechanical bone in my body.  My sister got those genes, though from where I don't know.  We are the spawn of a man who taped windshield wipers on when they fell apart!  But I do as I'm told by those who are gifted in the technical areas.  I turned the fan on and nothing happened.  I went to home depot and bought two fans, opened all the windows and waited for morning, when the HVAC guy was supposed to call back.
  I'm a very early riser, so when they hadn't called back by 8, I emailed and called friends, got a recommendation and called him.  He got here an hour and a half later, diagnosed the problem in ten minutes, fixed it and coached and counseled me on ac maintenance.  He's drawing up estimates to replace ac and the furnace because as he said, "they're dead old."

  Meanwhile, I've been out tackling the back yard.  I'm always bragging about my front yard, but my back yard is shameful.  I've put off mowing it for the past 3-4 weeks, for various reasons.  It's been too wet, too hot, too much, and now it is completely overwhelming.  I've given up whacking and chopping and mowing, and called the guy who mowed my lawn last year.  He did a crappy job last year, but he has a very big, powerful mower, and if I'm here to direct him around plants, I'm hoping he can get it back to a manageable level.  I'm going out now to mow the front yard, weed whack the slope and come in to cool off and weave.
  I hope you're cool and comfortable on this hot hot hot summer day!  Happy weaving!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Totally Tuesday!

We had a very vibrant group today at the AACC.  I didn't get a formal count, but I am thinking we had almost 12 weavers there today!

When I walked in this morning, I saw that Ila and Ladonna had brought homemade biscuits and some wonderful homemade jellies.

Carl brought in a Tapestry that he did in honor of his wife Rosemary.

Now I would like to take you on a tour of the looms.  I will start with mine.  I have just tied onto the breast beam and have started a series of white warp / natural weft placemats.  They are always in demand here at the center and we are running low!
Lou Ann to my right, is plugging away at her huck lace scarves, I believe this might be her last one on this warp.
 Maggie is weaving on the Southwest placemat warp with a peach colored fabric.
Continuing around the room is Bonnie, back with us and weaving up a storm.  I just love this project!  This bag makes me think of the beach.
 This is her weft, hand dyed gauze!
Carl is at the rug loom once again and he is using dark bluejeans on this multi warp!
Ila was able to finish the triangle shawl in red.  She will take it home and wet finish it.
 Ila is working on another of her fabulous scarves!  Her treadling pattern has at least 26 steps!
Lanny is continuing his wonderful scarf warp.
And Alan is threading the warp based on greens.

All in all a busy day, we also had Carol with us today too, she is off again this week for the Ashville show.  We were glad to see her.
That is it for now, Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Monday, July 18, 2011


Every second week in July we move over to the Sheraton Music City in Nashville and host the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society convention. This was our 27th!!
I am really busy the whole time and don't bother taking my camera down to the registration desk because I know I won't have a minute to even think about pictures. However on Saturday morning I did bring it down and took this shot of the registration desk. We start on Wednesday with about 10 office depot boxes full of registration packets and by Saturday we're down to one. We register people coming the whole week and this year we had 1400 people.
It's hard to explain an event like this. A first timer this year just emailed me to thank us for hosting it and saying her Dad had told her for years how wonderful it was, but until she came she didn't understand it.
It is 4 days of music with 3 stages, 2 workshop rooms, 4 vendor rooms, a thumbpickers room and music everywhere in the hotel lobby and bar area.

 We have a grand finale on Saturday evening and that's when I sit down to listen to the music and this year I did bring my camera and tried to capture a bit of the moment. The music during the week is mostly finger style. It can be jazz, country, blues, whatever as long as it's played on the guitar. Singing is a very minor part of the event. We're done this so long and watched a whole generation grow up. For some years we were concerned about the legacy, would any young guys come along to take over. This year in a huge way, we saw that younger generation step up and show that, yes, they are playing, the legacy continues and, although Chet isn't with us anymore, his ambassador, Tommy Emmanuel is there encouraging young guys and they are working hard to learn their instrument.

The concert Saturday night started with George Hamilton IV. He's come before but each year we have new kids and we want them to hear the stories of Chet. George had to be first because he had to get over to the Opry for the second show. He is a funny man and so kind to come tell us about his friend. They all miss Chet so much.
 Did you ever hear of the Ventures? Well, Nokie Edwards played with the Ventures for years. Hearing that music is absolutely awesome. He comes, and our core group of players back him up each year during his set. For Saturday evening we also asked him to play with Brooks Robertson. Brooks has been coming for years. He was the protege of Buster Jones who, unfortunately, passed away a couple of years ago. We've watched Brooks grow up into an amazing player. He is a nice guy too. Couldn't be a better kid! You can't capture everything on the camera but I wish I had been able to get the grin that he would have sporadically as they played together. Moments like that are magic!
 Another gentleman that has been playing and recording for years is Bucky Barrett. We've gotten to know him the last couple of years and found him and his wife, Gigi, to be the kindest gentlest people. Bucky played Saturday evening and got amazing sounds out of his guitar. He also told a few stories about Chet.
 Last year Scottie Moore (remember him? He played with Elvis all over and recorded alot of songs with him) gave us a guitar that Chet had given him years ago. We brought it to the convention and Pat Kirtley played it on stage. I think this is a tradition we'll continue each year.
 John McClellan is from near St Louis. He teaches at a college and had this quartet come and play the Brandenburg Concerto for us. It was 5 minutes long and very cool, a change from alot of the other music that was played. On an aside, after the show was over and everything was being packed up, one of their guitar stands was still sitting back stage. We gave it to John to deliver to its owner. It is kind of like we're mother hens at this deal, making sure they don't lose their equipment. I could tell you stories....
 We had alot of young players performing at this concert. You have to understand that to play Saturday night is a huge honor and each one out there is rightfully on stage. The player on the left is Ben Hall. He won a guitar about 5 years ago and wanted to play right then which, of course, we said, sure. Well, we had no idea how good he was then already. Now, he's a real showman and someone to be on the lookout for. He's a solid player and a good singer. He was accompanying Chet's sister Billie Rose. Billie Rose sang a song she recorded years ago with Chet. Billie Rose just wrote a book about her life. I have a copy and can't wait to read it. I did steal an hour just to look at all the pictures in it. Fascinating. On the right side of the picture is Meagan Taylor, Billie Rose's granddaughter who is becoming a really good player. Chet's legacy is coming down through her. Seems like that guitar is too heavy and big for her, but she plays it well. Playing bass is John Nichols from California. He is a pro and we're thankful that he can take out a week to join us and back up alot of players.
 Oh yeah, also accompanying Billie Rose is my DH, Mark who spent a couple of late nights listening to a recording to get the part right for the mandolin. Mark is the president of CAAS and I help him with registration. He deals with the hotel and invites all the musicians that perform all week, does the schedule and keeps things running.
 Last year a couple of guys came that were a duo. On the left is Loren Barringer from NJ. On the right is Mark Mazengarb from New Zealand. The two are very good together but on Saturday night they also got to play with their hero, Tommy Emmanuel. This was magic. I suspect you can find some of their music, and in fact, any of these guys on you tube! It's worth a listen.
 Sean Weaver has been coming to CAAS since he was 12. We've watched him grow up, study at Belmont and now is making a living in Nashville. I think he's playing with Vince Gill's daughter's band, if I'm not mistaken. He's playing a Kirk Sand guitar that was heavily damaged in the flood last year in Nashville. He sent it back to Kirk who was able to take it apart and rebuild it. I hope others were able to do the same with their instruments.
 Do you remember Floyd Cramer? Well, his grandson can play just like he did. Here he and Meagen were doing some songs, recreating something Chet and Floyd were involved in. Backing them up is Jim Nichols, also from California who is our core band! He is a solid musician.
 The grand finale. I couldn't fit everyone into this picture but at the end of the evening, and it was a good 3 hour show, all the major players come on stage and play one last song to the delight of the audience.
That was my week. Sleep was optional. We do this once a year.. get together with friends and make new ones. We'll do it again next year. I have all the boxes from registration. I'll go through them, repack them, make my shopping list for next year and then pack them away for awhile.
No weaving this week. I did wear my new scarf to the concert. I'm not really a scarf person but I did enjoy wearing it. I hope to weave more of them. Did get an order for one.....
On to new challenges for this week!