Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hat's Off to Maggie

  As a rule, when you tune in on a Wednesday, Maggie will be showing you unbelievable desserts.  She wows us with her culinary prowess and I usually end up drooling all over my laptop.

  Or, she's wowing us with her weaving (I still haven't tried turned overshot) or her beautiful knitting.  (How is that sweater going, by the way????)

  But today, instead of her Pastry Chef hat, she has on her Mom Hat.  For the last few years, her son has lived in Nashville, which is only a short three hour drive from here.  Today she is saying bon voyage as he leaves for sunny California and a whole new adventure.  What can you say?  He's Maggie's son..... he'll do very well!!!!

  Maggie was on my mind last weekend.  My brother's birthday is coming up, and he LOVES blackberry jam made from real East Tennessee blackberries picked in the summer heat.  (But, after I've picked blackberries in the hot summer sun, I do NOT want to heat up the kitchen, too!)  So, it was time to take those lovelies out of the freezer and make jam. 
  I decided to use Maggie's recipe, which is a two day process.  On Saturday, I plopped them into the large pan, along with the sugar and lemon juice, and brought them to a boil.  That's Sure Jell.  (This was a first for me!)  Then this mixture was cooled and covered in a bowl and put into the fridge for 24 hours.

  Sunday afternoon the lovely concoction was put back in the large pot, and with thermometer in place, brought back to a "rolling boil like lava"!!!  When it reached the correct temp, I filled my jars, screwed on the lids,  and inverted them for the correct 3 minutes before I righted them up and listened for the ping.
  Thank goodness there was a little left over....just enough for a couple of slices of toast!!!
  It was July heaven without the sun and the chiggers! 
  Now, two of those little jars are winging their way to Texas for baby brother's birthday.  My sister and I spoil him every chance we get....some things never change.'s to you, Maggie!  Wear your Mom Hat proudly, and give your baby boy lots of kisses and hugs and the best wishes from your fellow weavers and friends.  We are cheering for him on his new adventure!!!!
Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just Do It!

Welcome back, Sara!!!

We were treated to a visit from Sara today...she's on the road to recovery, and took some time to be with us today.  We have assured her that coming to the Center on Tuesdays can be counted as therapy (for the soul!!!)

  There was plenty for her to see at the Center today.  Ms. Ila is working on the last scarf on this warp....she's using dark blue for the weft.

  And, it wouldn't be a Tuesday if Ann didn't have to get under the loom AGAIN!!!! 

  I think the results of all that searching worked out just fine!!!!  This weft is really great with this warp.

  Allan got started on his placemats today.  He and Lanny had lots to talk about .....  Lanny is going to take a Scottish cooking class at John C. Campbell next week.  We're hoping that means he'll treat us to shortbread cookies when he returns!!!!

  We're down to 80 days until Foothills Craft Guild Show....and here we are discussing some of the "brass tacks" of our endeavor.  Booth tags....these are all things that we are hammering out.   Such serious faces!!!!

  And these are the fruits of our labors!!!!

Slowly, but surely, we are filling up the tubs with items to sell in November.    We're even planning a "mock booth set-up" in October.  We'll see if we're on the right track rather quickly!!!

In the's a shout out to Carl, Bonnie, Ms. Bonnie, Ms. Trudy and Maggie.  We missed you today and hope to see you soon!

Happy Weaving!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to work!

After coming back from Canada last Sunday, it always takes me a few days to get back into the swing of things. This time it's taken all week. Being gone a month meant having to reorient myself here at home!

Saturday I asked DH if he'd like to come with me to Gatlinburg to deliver some handwovens. Sure, if we'd go to Mel's Diner for breakfast. So we left quite early. That's the only time one dares go to Pigeon Forge. We got there by 9 before the crowd hit. It's a silver metal building, just like a diner should look like. Food was good too and they didn't mind that we split a meal, just like at Cracker Barrel!

 Then it was on to Gatlinburg to the Arrowcraft shop where they sell my clothes.  I love this building. It's right there in the thick of Gatlinburg but it's different from all the other buildings. It has character and the best quality crafts in the area! The shop is also in front of Arrowmont, another gem hidden there in Gatlinburg. Arrowmont is  a craft school where I went years ago to take classes on weaving. I went there again in spring for a weekend when South Eastern Fiber Forum had their conference there. When you're at either place you don't even think about all the touristy things Gatlinburg has!
We headed out of town and through Pigeon Forge by 11am. It's a good thing because the traffic going toward Pigeon Forge was heavy!! It really is best to get in early and out just as quickly!

 I haven't touched my looms this week. It's time tho!!! First, I had to go through the boxes we brought back from Nashville that had convention stuff in them. I always organize everything before I pack it up, including making a shopping list for next year's convention. That way I don't have to spend extra time trying to remember what we have to replace. That's all put away for the season! I also vacumned my loom. It sure needed it after my weaving several warps on there before July!!
The other thing I needed to do before I could think about weaving was sew binding on some quilts. Here are the 2 quilts I sewed in March when I was at my Mom's. I left them there for my sister's friend to quilt on her long arm. So yesterday afternoon I machine stitched the binding around both of them. I like to hand tack the binding to the back. That will happen, hopefully, this week.
 Sometime in spring I'd sewn 3 baby quilt tops. I'm really low on baby quilts to give to friends. I'd layered and pinned the tops ready to machine quilt a couple of months ago. The 2 tops with the small squares is really a cheater top that I added sashing to and then spent time machine quilting them this week. The other quilt top is very much like a quilt I made earlier for a friend and found that I could manage to make another one. I had to piece the backing but was glad that I had enough to get it done. Even had to piece some of the binding before I could sew it on and each side is a different color binding.
So I'll take these upstairs to my chair and if I end up relaxing in the evening, I'll have a stack of things ready to grab and work on.
Today I'll pull out my list of projects that need weaving and get started on a new warp. I also plan to tie my placemat warp back on. I'm afraid that all of this warp will have to be woven with the solid weft, natural and white placemats. Pretty boring but great wedding gifts. While I was gone we got an invitation to a shower (which I missed but need a gift for). So, I guess I will need to weave 16 more of these placemats so I have a few extra. I'm not sure there's that many left on the loom but I'll weave all I can, then put another warp on to play with more colors. I had hoped to have some done for the show in November to contribute to our group booth but I'm afraid  I won't have anything for the booth. Getting my own booth ready will be a full time job.

That's it from here!
Keep Weaving!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


  Yes, this is Hurricane Irene.
  No.....not the one that's hitting right now!

  My Mom's family planned a reunion in October 1999 at the beach near Wilmington.  Aunts, uncles and cousins converged on the area...and we did have a good time.  That is until an unwelcome visitor came to call!
  I'll leave out all the details, but I was thankful to get back home.  It was a bumpy flight!!!!
  And, now, she's back.  My thoughts are with all the folks on the Eastern Seaboard for the next few days.  Please be safe.

  This is #4 large tote on John.  The weft was the multi-colored cord that was sitting on the churn last week.  I used 8 strands of cord for the handles. 
  I really like the way it wove up, but the handles are a little thinner than I prefer.  I think I'll do another one with this weft, but I want to use the blue mop cord with one strand of the weft for the handles.
  I'll probably cut these 4 off the loom since the handles are building up on the beam.  There's no sense in asking for trouble!!!!

  I got the handles thrown for the green/tan tote, and started weaving on the center section.  A whole new pattern started to develop.....and then changed again!!!!  It's time to weave the handles back in....I can't wait to see what happens when I weave the last section!

  I have enough of this plaid to do another tote, but I think I'll use mop cord for the handles.  I dyed several hanks of cord brown earlier in the week.  It might be a good idea to do a run of tan cord, too.
  Let me add that to my to-do list!!!!

  Waiting in the queue is this lovely print I found in my stash.  It came with John and Sally, and I think it was cut for rag rugs.  I ran it through the rag cutter, and there should be plenty for a small tote.

  So, we're down to 83 days until the Foothills Craft Guild show....I'll keep plodding my way to my goal. I foresee some hours at the sewing machine in my future!!!

  In the meantime, enjoy your weekend....stay safe if you're expecting a visit from Irene.  She's not my favorite cousin!!!

Happy Weaving!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Finishing Touches!

I made some commitments on Tuesday concerning what I would contribute to our booth at the Foothills Craft Guild's Fall Festival.

I marked myself down for at least:
4 Rag Rugs
12 Mug Rugs
8 Baby Blankets
12 Hand Towels

I had already completed, ages ago, the weaving of the Hand Towels in question at the Craft Center.  This week I decided that I needed to do the finishing work on the towels, so that I could get them back to the Center next week.  I really wanted to complete something on that list!  So, for the last few days I have been putting a decorative hem by hand on these Linen Towel.

I now have them hanging up to dry a bit, then I will iron the life out of them, or should I say the sheen onto them! LOL!  I have 10 of them here at home and I have already delivered 2 to the center, so that makes 12!  I also have 6 towels in cotton with a decorative border, so that will make 18 in all.  Whew!

I think I will tackle the mug rugs next, since they go pretty quickly.  The rugs are already done, (unless they sell on Etsy).  That will leave the Baby Blankets to do.  I have 2 looms warped for those, so it will just be the weaving and sewing to do.  I am feeling better already! 

I am looking forward to cooler weather, cause that means a cooler studio too!  A cooler studio means that I will be much more comfortable working up there.  I tend to do less weaving in the Summer it seems.  I think that may be a common trend.

I am off to hem those cotton towels, I am on a roll!

ETA!  Done

and done!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Few Days Away

Nancy relaxing with her iPad
At the end of a very busy summer my husband and I have escaped for a few days to the mountains in Western North Carolina. We are here with old friends. The guys are golfing and we went in search of cloth and yarn stores. All we found was a quilting store and that wasn't exactly what we were looking for. So back to the porch and the rocking chairs.

Fringe twisting and Vacation Reading
This morning before breakfast I did some fringe twisting on the balcony. This is a simple scarf woven on a rigid heddle loom. The yarn is from Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan, MI. When my duaghter was little Stonehedge was a petting zoo that we would visit while on summer vacations. I love weaving with a bit of family history. Unfortunately, I think I was a bit overzelous in wet finishing the scarf. The hem stitching area and the fringe ended up a little "felted." A learning opportunity for me AND a scarf for me since I don't think it is gift or sale quality. 

Bamboo Scarf
I had planned to so some embellishment on a natural bamboo scarf while sitting in a rocking chair. My design is a variation of a scarf that was featured in Handwoven this past winter. But but I have hit several snags to that plan. I forgot the tapestry needle that I need to thread ribbon through the scarf. My other issue is that the bamboo just doesn't feel soft enough and it doesn't drape well. I don't really want to spend the time to embellish it until I get it feeling better. Several of the Tuesday Weavers have suggested that I press it with steam. (my room in the Inn doesn't have an iron, shucks!) Another suggestion is that I soak it in fabric softener. It is a fairly loose weave. I did it on a rigid heddle loom in a basket weave structure. Thoughts?

Too Much Contrast?
Just Right?
Meanwhile I am contimplating different ribbons to use for embellishment. All of these and more are from friends with amazing stash. Input????
Too Little Contrast?
I would love input as I am going to put this all away and pull it back out when I get home. Meanwhile, I am going to enjoy the view and one of my books.

Be well,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


 Today is HVAC day at Chez Davidson, and it's out with the really old and in with the new.  To the left is the furnace, with its half inch of 22 years of crud.  It's where the animal died last year, where the air conditioner drips all summer, the thing that sounds like Darth Vader with laryngitis when it turns on.
  Below are... parts.  Parts of the combined air conditioner and furnace, I think.  They're all from 1989, which doesn't sound that long ago, does it?  I mean, I was only 32; Matt was only 13--ooh!  not a good time for us!--and it couldn't have been that long ago, could it?
   But 22 years in HVAC time is more than a lifetime, and I was lucky to get by the last three years without needing to replace them.

 Here is the new unit, shiny and huge.  It's at least 33% bigger than the old one.  It's a dual-fuel heat pump and air conditioner, 45% more efficient than the old one, and a lot easier on the gas usage, since the gas burners don't turn on until the temperature is below 30 F outside.  The three installers have been working since 9:00 this morning and still aren't done at almost three, but they've made a lot of progress.  It's only just starting to get warm inside, too warm to weave.

  And I've been trying to weave, trying to make some progress on the shawl, but there are some "lazy" threads, threads that can't seem to pull themselves up high enough or down low enough to be caught in the tabby throws.  I'd take pictures, but it's white on off-white, and I can barely see it,  let alone capture it on the camera.  It's very frustrating, and I keep needing to talk myself into plugging away at it, unweaving and all.  I will round up some S-hooks to weigh down the lazy guys next time I have time to weave, and I will finish, but I need to find out what I'm doing when I wind the warp that makes the bamboo get lazy in some spots.
  So now I'm knitting some lovely tencel into lovelier lace, keeping my feet up and enjoying my only day off this week.  As soon as the HVAC unit is in, Mom and I are off to see Harry Potter's newest, then dinner at Litton's.
  Have a lovely, thread-filled week!  Stay cool!  I know I will!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vacation Time Must Be Over

  The Head of the Weaving Department is back from Canada (and they didn't keep her at the border!)  After taking a quick look at the CHART for Foothills Craft Guild Show, she declared that we should all get back to work!!!!  We've got 87 days to WEAVE....weave....weave like the wind!!!!!
  Thank you to Ann for making the chart....we need to see what we still have left to get done!!!!

  Of course we have a lot of items in the shop upstairs, and some of those rugs that were woven last winter will go with us to the Guild sale.  And, there are four placemat warps being worked on now.  We just have to stay busy!


  Tina got back to work on the neutral placemats.  There's already a roll of mats on the cloth beam, so she's getting a lot of weaving done.

  Nada has returned, and she got a quick review on hemstitching from Tina and Bonnie.  We all seem to have our own version of how to do it, so which way would you like to hemstitch????

  Pat was hard at work on her table runner.  This fabric works great with this warp.

  Carl was back at the barn loom....weaving that beautiful rug!  He really has "the touch!"

  Allan sewed this old sheet into a tube, and went to town on the rag cutter.  He's ready to start weaving those placemats now!

  Take a close look at Ms. Ila's scarf.  What a beautiful pattern!

  Even with all that's going on, you still need to take time to plot and plan!!!!  Linda got the chance to look at the new Handwoven, and catch up with Ms. Trudy.
  We all have a lot to finish between now and November.
Happy Weaving!

Monday, August 22, 2011

You Never Know...

Going to visit family, you never know what you'll get into.
This past week was no exception. We'd gone to Regina a couple of weeks earlier and had stopped at Value Village, the local version of Goodwill. We saw a sign that seniors over 62 get 20% off on Tuesdays so this past Tuesday we went back and Mom shopped. Actually, as long as one person is over 62 the whole price is discounted.
We got into the bedding area, sheets and duvets from $2.99 to $6.99 and we got a stack. Then spent time removing hems and seams. Nice stack of fabric ready to cut into strips for rugs!! Now just to find the time to weave them....
 Up in Canada they have chokecherries. The bushes grow wild kind of like blackberries do up here and about this time of year people used to pick them to make juice or jam out of. Well, the park my Mom and sister drive through a time or two a week have a bunch of these bushes, especially back in the far end. On Wednesday Mom decided that after dialysis we would go there and pick chokecherries. They looked about ready to pick. We spent over an hour picking them.

I guess it's only fair if I take a picture of my sister picking that I would post the one of myself too. We got those containers filled a couple of times. The bushes are high and we often had to work together, pulling down the branches will the other picked them. It didn't go badly, actually. I'd never done it before but what's to learn!
Once home we cleaned them and put about half in a big pot covered with water to boil til they were well done. Then strained the juice out which was put back in the pot with sugar just to boil enough "to be done" not thickened and then sealed into jars.
The big deal for us growing up was to have waffles. Mom made a white sauce that we put on the waffles and then some chokecherry juice on top. Another thing was when Grandma would make bubbat in a pan with farmer sausage and the juice was used on top of that as well. Ah, memories! I'll have some of the juice down in Tennessee to introduce my family to. Hmm, guess I"d better get that white sauce recipe before I forget.....

This week it's back to Tennessee and figuring out what to weave next!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tip Toe Through the "Mind" Field

  Warning:  this blog has lots of bits and pieces...projects underway and assorted thoughts!

  So....last Saturday, Joanna at Frigga's Loom wanted to know what I meant by "throwing handles" on my tote bags.  Through trial and error, I have hit on this method for making strong, sturdy, attractive handles on my tote bags.
  After I weave the header (which will be the side of the tote bag) and the first section of my bag, I throw four separate cords (mop cord or fabric strips) that have been centered to the middle of the piece.  (These cords are 4 times the width of the warp in the reed.)  I just leave these hanging for a bit while I go back to weaving the center of the bag with my fabric strips.  This way I know that the mop cord is locked in good and tight!  Now I'm ready to braid my handles.  I use a four strand round braid.....I like the way it looks and feels....just a personal preference.  I have found that a 28 inch handle works very well.  I do this on both sides of the piece and just clip them until I'm ready to weave them back into the tote.  After the middle section is woven, I take one strand from each side and weave them back into the tote.  I overlap the cords a little bit and cut off any extra so there won't be a lot of bulk.  I also try to stagger where they meet.....I don't want a lot of build-up in one area. 

  Each strand of the braid is woven back into the bag, meeting it's partner in the middle, and then the last section of the bag is woven along with the last side section.  In this picture, you can see the handles from the two previous totes wrapping around the cloth beam.  You need to make sure that they don't get UNDER the tote bag as it goes around the beam.  And, it works well if you tuck each handle under itself so that it doesn't tangle.
  I hope this answers the question....sorry I was a bit long winded!!!!

  This is the newest small tote on the cappuccino warp.  This is actually a medium weight plaid fabric that I cut into 1/2 inch strips.....and it's weaving up to make a zig-zag pattern on the tote.  I'm always amazed when I'm weaving and these lovely little patterns pop up.  Fun, fun, fun!!!!

  And, here we have a new use for a butter churn!!! 
  They had a survey on Handwoven Today about favorite weaving tools and one about favorite weaving stores.  As for tools that aren't really tools, this churn holds large spools of thread very nicely, thank you!  And, since it's sitting there, it might as well help out!
  We were laughing at the Center on Tuesday that Home Depot and Lowe's are great weaving supply stores!!!!  (When I first started weaving, the man at Home Depot called me the Stick Lady!)  If they would start carrying Texsolv it would really be a one stop shop!!!!  And, I'm a regular at the Salvation Army/Goodwill Thrift Store.  I can usually find blinds, buttons, and novelty yarn!!!! is Pickle Day at my sister and I put the cucumbers in the crock with all the spices one month ago, and today is THE DAY.  Keep your fingers crossed for us! 

Happy Weaving!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Date Night!

Sun and sea have been the name of the game since we woke up on Monday morning.   We have made it to the beach each day and sometimes twice a day.  My favorite time to hit the beach is  in the afternoon.  The sun is not nearly as hot, and it is low tide so that there are tidepools that have been so much fun to play in.
 The smallest granddaughter has gone from not wanting to place her feet in the sand or sea, to hopping from the tidepools to the surf just as fast as her little legs can carry her!  She keeps at least one adult running that is for sure!
Another great memory for me will be my 5 year old grandson taking a break from boogie boarding to catch a drink out of his sippy cup!  He is trying to stand on the boogie board, just like he has seen his dad stand on the surf board.  He told me that his dad made that up!
We take turns cooking each night of the week, but Friday night is almost always date night.  Tom and I watch the grandkids while the parents go out to eat.  We fed the 4 grandkids, the three P's.
Pizza, popcicles, and popcorn.  We watched "Finding Nemo", in honor of our being at the beach.  (We hid our heads under our blankets, at the scary parts.)  When the movie was over it was time to brush teeth, read books and tuck everyone into bed and sing songs til they fell asleep.

The grownup kids made the mistake of coming in, laughing, before the kids were asleep so we didn't really have to finish that up.  We handed the snuggle duties over to their parents, and soon we making our way across the street to our own beds.

It has been one fabulous day after another, we still have one more!
Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina