Saturday, April 30, 2011

And So It Goes.....

  Wheesseeee.....what a month!  What a WEEK!

  My heart goes out to all of those who were affected by the storms this week.  The storms trained through the South on Wednesday, and left heartbreak and destruction in its wake.
  My brother called from Texas Wednesday afternoon to check on me.....he was watching the Weather Channel and  thought I was right in the middle of a bad storm.  Wouldn't you know it, everything was calm outside at that point.  It seems that I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening checking on family (and about an hour in the downstairs when the storm got rather rough around here.) 
  Cell towers are out in Huntsville, AL, as well as power, but I was finally rewarded with a call from my niece on Thursday morning.  Thank goodness for those good, old fashion plug in phones.  She was able to let me know that they were fine there.  A tree fell AROUND my sister's car, but didn't hit it!!  My cousin from Chattanooga also called to check in, and they rode out the worst of the storm in their basement, too.


  Hail damage was severe here in this area, although it never did hail here at my house.  My peony, which I planted two years ago, was finally getting ready to bloom.  I just knew it was going to be shredded....but it was just bent over from the weight and the wind.  It's safely staked now to be enjoyed for awhile.  They have such a lovely scent.

  Thunderous hail caused a LOT of damage in Knoxville to cars, houses and businesses.  I was checking in with my daughter when it hit their area.  She and her husband went to their basement at that point!!!!

  I had been complaining about having to go up and down stairs all the time....thinking that maybe it was time to find a place that was all on one level.    After Wednesday night, I'm very grateful for my lower level!  I had my Coleman lamp and my go-bag with necessary stuff.  I sat and sewed for about an hour while I listened/watched the local station which aired continuous weather coverage. 

My warping board is also downstairs, and I got a warp wound for my next experiment.  I'm ready to start weaving today.....maybe I'll get to weave some this afternoon.

  I'll admit that I was one of millions that got up to watch the wedding yesterday morning.  I had BBC America on one TV while one of the networks played on another.  It was a lovely ceremony and the Abbey looked amazing.  I enjoyed touring the Abbey back in the mid '90s, and to see it all dressed up was a treat.

  Tomorrow is the first of May....a new month for new projects and events.  My calendar already looks busy!!!!  And, more storms are marching across the be prepared.  I think the Wolf Pup may get rolled downstairs..............

Happy Weaving!

Friday, April 29, 2011

New to the Family

The Royal Wedding------enough said.

The original Friday blogger is not able to blog today so I am for her.

The craft center got a call form somebody that had a tapestry loom they wanted to give to the center or to somebody that would use it and love it. I volunteered to pick it up. You got it. It is finding a place in my studio. What am I thinking?? Something new to learn. I am excited about it. I think that it will weave most anything. But then what do I know about it. Her name will be Louela, after the original owner. It was made for her by a furniture maker, George Mork, in 1978 and he signed it. I believe they were in Michigan. I have the letter from the builder to Louela's husband Ozzie about building the tapestry loom for his wife as a gift. There daughter is the one I got it from.

Meet Louela:
She is put back together but needs lots of clean up, maybe new strings and a couple of new hardware items.  Isn't she going to be beautiful.

On the weaving front. I have gotten Helen (my Macomber) ready with a very exciting warp. She has been warped for a week but I have not been able to work on it. It is not an easy thing to weave. Why do I do this to myself?

I have come to the conclusion, that if you can not start weaving as soon as you tie the warp onto the apron rod---wait until you can start the weaving process. This warp was already tied on and I start weaving about 2 or 3 rows and noticed that the center of the warp was very loose. Yes, I did. Unwove and retied. Then the machine acted up. The #2 harness was not lifting. Another undo. I did finally get it started as you see. I can't wait to see it finished.

I want to share this cute picture of this easter "Bug".
Isn't it cute.
Best of weaving to you.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Better late than never!

I have had a full day today and this evening while relaxing on the couch and checking emails I saw I had an email from my friend and fellow Tuesday Weaver Bonnie. She wanted to know if I had forgotten to blog. Yes, I had! Thank you, Bonnie, for reminding me!

I thought I would show you what I am working on. I threaded the Structo loom with pima cotton for a dish towel. I want to check to see how absorbant this yarn will be and then decide if I want to make a run of dish towels or something else.

I bought a huge cone of this yarn so I will have plenty to weave up whatever I decide to.

I have also been working on rugs. A few weeks ago I warped the Union loom with 50 yards of rug warp. Here is the latest rug. I think I like this one!

We have a cat named Socks. I tried to take a picture of her but she wouldn't stand still. She kept circling my feet. She likes to follow me wherever I go. I thought I was the only one who had noticed it. Today a neighbor came to the studio. Before she left she asked me if I knew that Socks was a good indicator of which house I was in. If I am home she is on the porch. If I am at the studio she is on that porch. She either really loves me or doesn't think I should be let out alone!

Socks doesn't purr. Instead she rolls her r's! She will make that sound and I will make it right back to her. We speak the same language! I have to wonder, though, what in the world are we saying to each other?


Wednesday, April 27, 2011


 Yesterday, I intended to go to Norris and visit my friends at Tuesday Weaving, but I also had an appointment with an electrician, my friend Dan Longo, to install a new microwave.  Dan is the best electrician in the universe, no exaggeration, and certainly the tidiest.  He covers even dirty floors like mine with drop cloths to keep from making them dirtier.  He took out my old, beat up microwave and replaced it with the nearly-new one Krissy gave me last month.  The new one is shiny stainless steel and none of my other appliances are.  I watch enough HGTV to know that is a big no-no, but I'm never selling my house, so I don't care right now.  A beautiful new stainless steel stove would be lovely, but there's nothing wrong with the white one I have, so it stays.
  Anyway, Dan took a few hours to install the microwave because I wanted the outlet in the cupboard that had been flopping around in the way of anything I tried to store in it out of the way.  He did that, and it looks fabulous.
  So, instead of going to Norris, I worked on the warp formerly known as the baby blanket warp.  I finished it today, and am ready to weave!  Here are the first few picks.  I've decided to make it into a shawl for myself, complete with crystal beading on the fringe, inspired by Sue at Thrums -- who beads the ends of her scarves so beautifully.
  And next to this loom is a dog.  No, I don't mean Bella.  I am referring to the 8 shaft loom with the turned overshot kitchen curtain warp.  I made some major mistakes on this warp, and I just can't look at it anymore.  Here is its parting shot.  I will cut it off when I'm done posting here, and it will be unwound.  I will be careful, because I can't stand to waste that much yarn.  I will try to figure out how to keep it intact enough to rethread it, but it will have to wait.  I really, really want to weave a shag rug for my son's birthday, which is only 28 days from now.  I absolutely love weaving shag rugs, and it's about time I gave up on that silly warp!
Have a fabulous spring week!  Happy weaving!--Maggie

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whoooooo Went the Wind!

We all had stories to share about the storm that came through late Monday afternoon!  Carol is still without electricity, and left early to go back home.  We always have lots to discuss when we're together!  There's another front headed this way for later today.....hold onto your hats!

At the looms:

Lanny is weavin' away on the scarf warp.

Ms. Ila has started another warp of incredible scarves!

Carl is winding more weft for his small tote bag warp...he finished another one today.  Ms. Bonnie is hard at work on her placemats.

Linda is loading a shuttle to weave rugs on the barn loom (she finished tying on the warp.)

Bonnie is still having trouble with the brake on her loom, but she's ready to start her next project on this warp.

Ms. Pat wove at her loom today, but she also helped Nada wind her warp.  Nada is putting stripes in her warp, and needed some expert help.  Pat is always willing to help weavers problem solve!

  As always, a lot going on at the Center today.  We are all hoping that Tina has good flying weather and we send BIG hugs to her for her big trip.

Happy Weaving!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ready to weave!

I have 4 floor looms in my garage studio. We used to have a garage. We really don't need one. Our winters aren't that bad here, so we closed it in and made it part of my studio! Right now there are 4 floor looms there. I've got my new ashford table loom in there as well, but it's still in the box!
All 4 looms have warps on them right now. Of course my baby wolf has the scarves that have been on there for months. They're done, ready to come off. I wove the last bit last week! I don't have another warp wound for it so they're just waiting for a new warp to take their place!

 My Nilus is my workhorse and I usually show a picture of what's on it. Is Nilus a guy name or a girl name? I think I should call him a he since we've been encouraged to name our looms. So, Nilus has a rich warm warp on him right now. I do hope to have him woven off today. There are just 3 vests left on here. I want to finish this quickly because one of the jackets on him is due to be finished and shipped to Asheville for the Southern Highland Fashion show that is later in May on Fiber weekend. I will also send one of the painted warp/weft vests I wove as well.  I really like the richness of this warp. The brown is a nice warm one plus the olive and brick make for a good combination. I might keep one of the vests from this bunch!!
 This is the other warp I painted using bamboo when I did the one on the baby wolf. I also painted the weft. I have this on my pup now that the woven shibori samples are off. I love the way this one is weaving. I've just started and there are a couple of scarves on here as well. It's going to be fun to see how they turn out once I've woven them all. This warp will probably be on here for some time. I weave on it when Nilus isn't demanding my attention!!
 About a year ago I got Thelma. Thelma is also a Nilus leclerc. I love jack looms and when this one became available I was so excited. The problem is that it's a sectional. There's also a second beam that I can add which can be sectional. This loom is from 1973. She comes from New Orleans and has seen alot of work on her but is in great shape. I dreaded trying to figure out how to put a warp on with the sectional on her since the sections are every inch. I finally tried last week. The threads just hung up on the metal and it took 3 of us to wind her on. My DD is still recovering from a couple of knee surgeries repairing her ACLs last year so she sat on a stool and wound it on and I had DH flip the threads off the dividers as she wound and I held that warp for all it was worth trying to keep it taut as it went on. I normally wind on by myself without tension and then pull each section tighter before I wind on the next part. I'm not used to having to ask for help. I may just unscrew the sectional part off the beam and add an apron!
My questions are: Anyone having luck winding a warp on a sectional beam without doing it the traditional way of a section at a time? I like winding my warps and then putting them on back to front.
Second question:  Anyone seen or added a second beam to a Nilus LeClerc? Seems like alot of weight for that poor back section! I have all the parts needed to do it, just need to drill a couple of holes and add the brake system...
I have a placemat warp on Thelma. I haven't started weaving on her yet but I'm planning to use the nylon fabric we got a few weeks ago. This cone was pretty huge and dirty on the outside round. So I wound 3 big skeins, tied them off well and put them in the washing machine on gentle. The dirt all came off nicely. However, in the machine those ties migrated together. I have 3 skeins but they look awful. I got one open and put on the back of a chair and it wound off nicely but I have 2 more skeins. I'll wait til I weave off this one before I try to separate the other ones so I can wind directly onto my shuttles. I hope that like this one, the ties will just have migrated and I can find the circle!!

We're already using our air conditioning since it's getting warm here during the day. Yesterday afternoon we were outside working on clearing the deck to get ready to bring our plants out from the greenhouse that we winter through. I know, we're a bit behind but it's been a hectic few months.  DH got happy with the clipper as he was cutting vines that grow around the deck. He went over to the air conditioner unit to clip some vines that were getting too close. He thought he was clipping vine. He cut the power cord to the unit......for the main level and basement!! Yup, no air conditioning here until we get that fixed! Good thing the basement where my studios are is cooler and I have a fan angled right to where I sit on Nilus!!
I do hear Nilus calling me. Gotta run! Have a good week!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

News coverage of one of our own!!

Cathy Clarke was one of our weavers coming each Tuesday to weave with us. She would sit back at the loom where Tina weaves now, wearing her headphones to keep out the chatter and weaving away. Once in awhile we'd hear a little colorful language just before she would have to unweave something and we'd all laugh. We loved having her there.
Then she was in a horrible car crash on her way back to the office from weaving a few minutes. She'd been on assignment and had a few minutes to drop by to weave on her way back. It was a Saturday in September and she was driving  in a horrible rain storm.
Today the Knoxville News Sentinel has a story covering her and a local basketball player. Both have overcome some pretty difficult physical problems.
The caption on the website is: one picture, two lives. If you get a chance, look at the story. It is on the website. I get there by googling Knoxville News Sentinel. I never remember the website address.
Cathy is an incredible photographer. I can't count the number of times we'd get the paper and turn to the sports section and see that all the pictures on the page were taken by her. She still takes great pictures, just a bit slower right now.
Part of Cathy's rehab was coming to the center to weave. At first, she came by taxi from south of Knoxville up to the center. She always had a smile on her face, happy to be with her friends. She finally talked Paula into changing her off day to so they could both come. Yup, we had Paula weaving too. Right now they haven't been able to come. Too many appointments and not enough time off.
We would love for them to come again when they are able to. Cathy's smile says it all and Paula's devotion to Cathy completes the picture.
We're proud to call them members of the Tuesday Weavers!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday Reflections

  Ah yes.....the scarf from Candee came off the loom last Sunday.  The fringe was simply knotted a few times and trimmed to the same length.  Since this was a mixed thread warp, I didn't want to twist the fringe....yet you don't want a big ole tangle.  The knots held up nicely for washing (which is what I wanted.)
  You might notice that the right side of the scarf looks a little different from the left side.  Hummmmmm........

  My son and I went to lunch last Saturday, and we made a quick side trip to Walmart for the new Harry Potter DVD.  I guess you could say that my beat got just a little bit firmer while I watched the movie!!!  Maybe I should save HP movies for weaving rugs????

  I want to try some more mixed thread warps for scarves....I even pulled out Davison to research spaced warps.  This will be fun to explore!  And I have some lovely bits and pieces to play with to add fun color and texture.  I'll let you know how it goes.

  We've had just enough rain to give the weeds a big boost...and they are starting to run a-muck already.  This iris (which I think is a little ahead of itself) bloomed this week.  This came from my Mom's collection at the farm in Grainger County.  And, this came from her Mom's iris garden.  My sister sent me a picture yesterday from her daughter's flower bed where she had transplanted some of Mom's iris.  They are starting to bloom, too.  I think Mom would be pleased.

   I've started my sunflowers under the grow light downstairs.  They don't tend to make it if I sow them directly outdoors (bunnies!)  I love sunflowers.....they just make me smile!  These are the mammoth sunflowers, and I'll start the others this week.  I'd love to have a bunch in bloom this summer!

  Today my goal is to organize my thread, and just tidy up around the house.  Sweetie Pye has been shedding like crazy, and the house has little tuffs of black fur here and there....I wonder if Tina would like it for spinning?????
  I've almost got enough mop ropes made to dye for Carl's tote bags at the Center.   I need to look and guess-timate how many more tote bags he'll get from that warp. 
  Plenty to do....I'd better get busy.
Have a joyous Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011


Today I am comparing the results of two vastly different ways to prepare fleece for spinning.  Not the combing versus carding discussion, but how you go from filthy to clean.   (I posted about my new attitude on farmsteadstudio a couple of days ago.)

In the upper photo you have .4 oz.  of what I believe is Romney wool, prepared by me in my old, got to get it done mode.  That means split the fleece in 4 parts and put them in net bags and dunk them in hot soapy water in the washer, then spin that out and repeat til clean, then rinse using the same method.  No agitation!  Just get it done!

In this photo is .4 oz of Shetland, prepared in the new way, that is lock by lock, over a period of days, (let's say weeks, maybe even months, or maybe forever!)

The first thing I did was load the Romney on the comb.

It was obvious to me that I would have to split it in half or I would get nowhere!

After combing the two batches and then combining them, here is the Romney ready for the diz.

Here is the waste from the Romney.

Here is all .4 oz of the Shetland on the comb.  I split this batch too, and I am glad I did, it just poofs up all over the place.
Here it is ready for the diz!

And here is the waste.

 (I will be taking all the waste and running it thru the drum carder to glean what I can for a non spinning project.)

 Two beautiful nests of wool ready to spin.  The old fast track prep yielded 1oz of spinnable fiber, while the new slow fleece prep yielded 2 oz!  Both of the cleaning systems produced a beautiful top.  I just got more top notch top out of the new method.

 So I think my new slow method of  fleece prep will pay off !  

The Tuesday Weavers of  the Appalachian Arts Craft Center in Norris, TN came to my rescue this week.  I put out a call for a certain size of bobbin that would fit my double shuttle.  I am ordering some, but I needed a few so that I could weave a whole blanket without stopping to reload!  I picked up a bunch on Tuesday, and none to soon either.  My Daughter asked me to make her a blanket for someone she knows who is going to have to undergo chemo.  Thanks to the TW, I cut my weaving time down by one hour!  Thanks dear friends!

I hope you are all being blessed with thankful thoughts on this Good Friday, I know I am.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Birthday thoughts

I have been dreading this day for a while now. Today is my birthday. A really big one. It has caused me to reflect on my life. Some of it has been sad and other times really bad but a whole it has been pretty wonderful.

I have a terrific husband. I have been married to this wonderful man for almost 37 years! He took this week off from work and we have been having some fun. We have eaten out a few times and even saw a movie yesterday. We don't seem to do that much. We have had the opportunity to have some long talks this week which is nice. We even drove a few miles down the road to watch the sun set!

Now that my birthday has arrived I have to tell isn't bad! Today feels just like yesterday and the day before. So the bottom line here is don't dread the future. It will be alright. God is right there with us every step of the way!

Well, I have to go now. Number one son just texted me and he is ready to know what I need done on the fence. Have a wonderful day everyone!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's Cooking

Hey!  Isn't that the photo I posted last week?  Well, yes, it is!  It's just to show that I haven't gotten any farther on the baby blanket/shawl warp, due to the inconvenience of my job.  Now, there I've been extremely productive!  Why, just this past Sunday, I made breakfast pastries for 125, bread for dinner for two restaurants and the cooking school dessert.
The guest chef was Michael Schwartz from Geniune Food in Miami, and his focus is on locally produced food.  What could be more local than the herb garden right outside my kitchen door?  There is a plethora of mint, three kinds and all gone invasive, as mints will do.  I plucked a lot of mint and steeped a quart of heavy cream with about a half pound of it.  I dried the other half pound in the microwave--try it; it's very cool!--and ground that up with sugar.  I made a Bavarian cream with all  that minty goodness and poured it into a mold.  Then, I took vanilla-infused Jack Daniel's, because that's kind of local, too, and made a Chibouste with that.  I poured that over the frozen mint Bavarian and froze the whole thing.  Then, I made a wafer that's similar to the center of a York peppermint patty to place the whole thing on.  The garnishing sauce is a Jack Daniel's sabayon.  What does that make it?  Why, a Mint Julep, of course!  Just in time for Derby Day!
  Monday, the focus of the cooking school was our chef, Joseph Lenn.  After his cooking demonstration, the students sat down to lunch, and I made a lavender honey cheesecake, from lavender in the same garden as the mint and honey from Maryville.  It had a chocolate crust and a lavender syrup, garnished with Johnny Jump Ups from our garden and rose petals from my front yard.  So pretty!  The chocolate candy was flavored with rose water, so the dessert was called Flowers & Chocolates.
  Last night was the finale dinner for the school, and even though there's not much local about chocolate and peanut butter, Little Debbie snack cakes are made right here in Tennessee.  Melanie has been working on duplicating the Nutty Buddy bar with dark chocolate and our peanut butter.  Here are her ideas combined with mine:

The slabs are chocolate blended with a little butter and some crunchy stuff from France called Feuilletine and some ground salted peanuts.  The bottom layer is filled with Melanie's peanut cream and the top layer is milk chocolate ganache.  The peanut butter cookies went on the plate, too, leaning against the dessert, sticking in a stripe of chocolate sauce.  We put a small icy glass of Cruze Farm whole milk on the plate, too, because everyone craved it when they tasted the dessert.
  So, no weaving.  Maybe this afternoon, or maybe tomorrow.  The house is a mess, it's pouring rain outside and I just need to sit and say, "Ah..."  I hope you can do the same!  Happy weaving!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rolling Right Along!

The weavers' hands have been busy....which usually means there cloth on the beam, right?

Take a look:

Carl's tote bags are building up on the beam....see all those handles????

Bonnie is on the last section of her first tote.

Tina's towels are building up on the beam. empty cloth beam.  Linda is tying the warp back on to the barn loom.  How many rugs did Allan cut off this warp?  We'll have to find out.

Ann has quite a few rugs wound on this cloth beam!

There's one completed placemat on Nada's loom.  Never fear, the warp will wait for you!

Lanny just keeps weaving away on the scarf warp.

And, Pat's warp is winding on, too.

This is the 4th scarf on my warp.....number five got started today.

Ms. Trudy has got a lot of fabric building up on her warp.

Ms. Bonnie's warp is weaving up nicely, too.

And, for awhile, we're saying good-bye to Ms. Joyce.
She's going to work on her looms at home for a bit, and we hope to see her again soon.

And to All....
Happy Weaving on this beautiful Spring Day!