Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Over the Bend

LouAnn's computer is on the blink again, so y'all will have to put up with me and my quirky perspective on looms.  I went around the room today, taking pictures of the warps as they came off of the warp beam, there was quite a variation as you might imagine, but there were  also similarities.

First off you will see several with slack threads which we all know means that some weavers are being "slackers" and are off galavanting across the country or the world.   (Miss Ila was working her shift upstairs in the shop, not slacking at all!)

They will be back at it as soon as they get back you can be sure.

You might think that the next two warps have nothing to do with each other, but you would be wrong!

Both of these projects are slated for the Christmas market for the fall shows.  The red and green towels are obvious, but the white warp, not so much.

All you have to do is remember those Towels with Christmas trees I was weaving last week.

There is a bevy of painted scarf warps being worked on.

One of which is almost finished!

There are more than a few white warps, I think these two are going to be towels.

I just love the look of a warp on the loom, all those threads all lined up ready to go.

Then of course there are the looms with one of our signature placemats in "Ellen's Pattern"  a warp spaced weave.

We sold 7 pairs of this pattern just this week, one of Ellen's relatives came and bought them.

Ooops!  What have we here!  Looks like there was a lamm on the lam!

Then of course there is Carl on the giant barn loom in the corner, coming to the end of another rug warp, what a trooper!

Remember that scarf warp that was getting close to being finished when I took the pictures early in the day?  Well before she headed for home Joan finish weaving and cut that scarf warp off of the loom.  I think Joan said that Irene wove a couple of the scarves and then Joan took over and finished the project.

A fitting end to a sweet day at the Appalachian Arts Craft Center in Norris TN.

Until next time, keep Crafting!!!!  Tina for all

Monday, June 19, 2017

Midwest Weavers Conference

I got home yesterday from Indianapolis. What a week!! Midwest is a wonderful conference. It's one of the best conferences. We love it. The instructors love it and hopefully the vendors did well!! 
So, I got there a week ago Sunday.
Class started Monday. When I sign up for Midwest, I've gone for the whole thing. Preconference is 3 days long. It's hard to decide on which class to take. I decided to take Daryl Lancaster's class on clothing. In 3 days we got 6 days worth of lectures, time to practice stitches on our sewing machines and she measured us for her pattern which we could then copy for ourselves. If we do things right, we should have awesome jackets to show in 2 years...or less.
Here Daryl is checking the size on her sample jacket. She spent the last year making samples using bed sheets. If it's a bit tight, it'll fit great in handwovens.  That striped jacket is a sheet. She brought a bunch of her things for us to look at, photo and get ideas from. She is a serious couture seamstress!!
She had samples of fabrics she'd woven, then cut into 3 sections. One section unwashed, one hand washed and one stuck in the machine with regular laundry. It reaffirms that, yes, you must wash your handwovens before they're considered ready to sew or use.
Thursday was a free day. They had tours you could sign up for but I like the break. Sometimes vendors are open on Thursday altho that hasn't happened in 8 years. We keep hoping....
This year they brought us an old quilt for us to see. This is old and time hadn't been kind. However at the museum where it was they also have a weaving/spinning room. Some of the ladies took pity on this quilt and decided to replicate it.
This photo doesn't show it well but some of those small blocks are made up of several pieces of fabric, using all scraps of handwoven fabrics.
This is the reproduction. They spun some of it, got yarn for some, dyed some, got some dyed. It looks good but the yarns aren't as fine as the original. You can see a lot that you can't see on the original, like that they used dinner plates for the pattern to quilt and that there were at least 8 different plaids. They used small looms for a lot of the pieces since they needed small pieces and a wider loom for the backing plaid. Pretty nicely done, for sure!!
I had a full day class Friday with Madelyn Van der Hoogt.  It was on blocks. We got good handouts and she explained it well. Turns out that this is her last class. She will be at MAFA but not doing a class like this. From now on, if you want to have her class, you have  to go to her school and take class there for a week. Tempting!
At Midwest they have guild exhibits. There were about 8 of them. I really found this one poignant. It was a tribute to Madelyn. I hear it made her cry. The shuttles each have words on there that are important to her like places she taught, etc.
Madelyn also did the keynote address Thursday evening. Memorable. 
Friday evening was the fashion show. If you go to facebook and look up Midwest Weavers, you can see some video of the fashion show. The people that were everywhere and willingly helping with anything wore aprons. Lots of different weaves. It was easy to find someone to ask.
Ok, so Friday  morning my class was with Robyn Spady. I totally forgot to take a picture but she talked about 4 shaft structures that are complicated looking but easy to weave.

Midwest is every 2 years, sometime in June. They announced where it's going to be next time....Grinell College in Grinell, Iowa. We've been there before, 8 years ago. It's a good campus, nice and flat and easy to get around. It was fun last time. I took Robyn's preconference class which included weaving velvet. 
One thing about Midwest is like it's a family reunion. You see the other Midwest junkies that come and you see and chat with lots of the same people and encourage each other. They're people who understand you. Then, you don't see them for 2 years when you do it all over again.
So, until next time, we'll all keep weaving and dreaming about possibilities.
Until next week

Friday, June 16, 2017

Yarn with Strings

This week, I have been spinning the yarn that I mentioned last week, for the next shawl project.  The fiber is Romney lamb (a long wool with some shine) / Alpaca (long and slippery) and Silk thrums (bits and pieces and threads of silk), it is from "Solitude Wool".  My daughter gave it to me for Mothers day, and I believe that this may be a record for the shortest time something has stayed in my stash!

I have never spun anything like this, with threads and flecks of silk fiber, and it took me awhile to figure out how to do it so that the bits an pieces would show up, yet be well incorporated into the yarn.

I have been working on this batch of fiber off and on all week and I have to say that I am pleased with the results.  I have almost finished the singles, in fact I should be done with the second bobbin today, and I will probably ply it later on this evening.  I will be adding to this skein of yarn,  with some silk yarn and some more Romney wool yarn for a shawl.  I need at least 2,000 yards of various yarns in total, for this  shawl project.

In my May 15th post, I mentioned that I was busy washing the many fleeces that I got from the "Sheep Shearing days 2017" at the Museum of Appalachia.  I am happy to say that I have washed all of the fleeces from the flock that are sometimes at the Museum.  Those 6 fleeces have produced 7 pillow cases full of "clean" fleece.

I say "clean" because getting the lanolin out is just part of the process.  I don't know what it is about these particular sheep, but they seem to have a fleece that likes to hold onto dirt, like a magnent!

The lanolin comes out easily, like I said but these locks like to hold onto bits of stuff, and it has to be combed out.

This is the pad that my wool combs sit on, and this is just a little bit of the stuff that comes out of the fleece.

I work through the fleece with my combs and when it looks good to me, I draw it off of the combs.  I can still see just a little bit of the "stuff" in there, but not much.  The rest of the "stuff" is on the table and on the floor around me, it is unbelievable how much of it there is.  I have combed through one bag of wool I have 6 more to go. (I will do that as I need the wool!)

From this "truly clean" state I can either blend the fleece further by working it once more with the combs or I may use my hand cards and make some rolags, to use on the great wheel for a more woolen yarn.

This wool will not make a good yarn to use on the looms, it is far too springy, so I  plan to use it for knitting, (it would be good for hats, sweaters or socks) or I might possibly sell it as skeins at our fall shows.  I probably won't be bringing it up on this blog much in the future, but I may show a skein or two as they are done.

I still have the "Scottish Blackface" fleeces in progress, and this week, I also pulled out a white Corriedale fleece that had been hanging around the Studio too long, and I washed it, though it still has a bit too much lanolin in it for me, I will be giving it another wash soon.

That is it for me, once these dirty fleeces are done, I will be hitting the looms, big and small.  So much to do, so little time!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Food, Fun and Weaving!


  Polly had an abundance of eggs that she needed to use up....that means WE get crepes!

 They are really yummy with lemon curd and raspberry jam!!!!!
  Thank you, Polly!

  Just to keep our strength up until the crepes are ready, Ms. Ila provided some doughnuts from a local shop!
  Thank you Ms. Ila!!!


 Marie was on duty upstairs this morning...that's a new student calling about weaving lessons on the phone!

Linda completed her sample weaving for the stole.  Twist the fringes????  That will be up to the recipient!

  A little impromptu spinning lesson from Tina!  Jocelyn is learning to spin!!!!!

  Ms. Ila tries to keep the Ladies on task....but, they just have so much fun!!!!


  We wouldn't want Carol to think that nothing got done....here's the evidence that we were busy little weavers!

Another fulfilling day in the studio!

Happy Weaving!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Midwest Weavers Conference

So it's that time of year again!
Yesterday was spent driving up to Indianapolis to attend the conference. It's at Butler University.
My preconference class is with Darryl Lancaster....three days immersed in clothing construction. Tons to learn!
That's preconference. 
The conference starts Thursday evening. I'm taking classes with Madelyn and Robyn...more next week!!
Y'all should have come with me!!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Gradient yarn

On May 26th I posted about the gradient yarn I was working on.  The fiber is from "Freckled Face Fibers"  and the breed of sheep is Blue Faced Leicester, or BFL.

I had divided 4 braids of fiber to fill 4 bobbins in a gradient fashion, light to dark.  I plied the singles to make 2 skeins of yarn.

I had weighed the bobbins after I had spun the singles and plied the ones that seemed to match in weight, knowing that there might be a surprise  at the end.  Sure enough, when I finished plying the first 2 bobbins there was quite a bit of single ply left on one of the bobbins.  I began to hope that this would all turn out for the better.

What was left on the 2nd bobbin was a lot of the lighter colors.  I left that on the bobbin and I hoped that I wouldn't have to "waste" it,  I so wanted this gradient thing to work!

I set up to ply the second skein, and I wondered the whole time if it was all going to work out.  I finally got to the end of the 3rd bobbin, and there was quite a bit left on the 4th bobbin, again!   I grabbed that first left over bobbin to replace the one that ran out, and I kept going!  The colors were going together really well.

If I could have crossed my fingers and plied at the same time I would have!  When I came to the end of what had been the second bobbin,  I had 1 yard on the fourth bobbin that I pulled off  in my hand and added it to the plying yarn for the last 18 inches of the skein.

What that all means is that one of the skeins is bigger than the other and the gradient progression goes a little lighter in the larger skein, I am okay with that.  The smaller skein will be warp and the larger skein will be weft in a woven shawl that I will offer for sale in the 2 Fall shows in which I participate.

There were 1,910 yards pre wash, the softness is pronounced in this yarn and the drape should be fantastic.  I have heard that you should use 40% of your yarn for warp and 60% of your yarn for weft.  Incredibly, these skeins are exactly those percentages!  I will be bringing them to the Center on Tuesday to get recommendations as to the sett I should use on my rigid heddle loom, I am thinking 10 ends per inch.

Next up on the wheel, is some Romney lamb/ Alpaca / Silk thrums roving that I am spinning to a lace wt 2 ply, to use in a shawl with a couple of skeins of Romney I have already done.  I may do some silk yarn to add to the warp in this shawl  as the silk thrums that are in this roving, match perfectly a silk single I spun up some time ago.  All I need to do is ply that silk single with some gold tussah silk I have in the stash. (Three cheers for the stash!)  It will make a great accent yarn.

It seems I am doing a lot of spinning lately, but in the end it is for weaving on the rigid heddle after all, Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Thursday, June 8, 2017


  I had another lovely day at the Museum of Appalachia.  Besides the sixty or so six to nine year olds there for a field trip, I met visitors from Seattle, California and Atlanta.  The family from Seattle was very interesting!  The daughter is a history education major in college...she was having a super time at the Museum.  Mom has taken up knitting and we chatted about all her lovely left over yarn.  I told her she really needed to take up weaving!!!! 
  I also told her about Clinch River Yarns in Clinton....I wonder if they stopped by?????

  I almost finished two placemats while I was at the Museum, but I ran out of weft about five inches from the end of the second one!  Since the buses had already left, I packed it up as well.

  I did have a little girl that wanted to stay at the Loom House and watch me weave.  She said she could just watch it all day long!
  Besides cutting more weft, I need to pack the mallet for the next visit....some of the pegs are a little loose on the loom.  It's time to tighten things up!!!


  We have been having some cool days for this first week of June, and I think my cactus is confused!  Can you believe it has set buds?????  I'll try to remember to get a picture of the buds when they open.  The blooms are spikey...not the usual kind.

  This was waiting for me in my mailbox--the Anderson County Fair!!!!  I need to go over the list and see what I have that I can enter.  Carl is going to enter some items, also.  We want to make sure they have some woven items to display!

  I've been getting daily pictures from my daughter (I think her little purse must be holding up just fine.)  I really love this one from the Sydney harbor.  It sounds like they are staying very busy!

  Oh, well....let's go finish a blue jean rug!

Happy Weaving!