Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Knowing when to throw in the towel, um, blanket.

 Yesterday morning, I was up in the air about whether to go to Norris to weave, or to weave at home.  I walked into the studio and found others waiting there for me.  Due to the heavy accumulation of fur on both these weavings, I believe this is a favorite hang out spot when I'm not here.  I gently placed Weftie on the floor, and got down to business.  Remember way back, over a year ago, when I cut the first baby blanket off this loom?  The one with the hand-dyed blue yarn?  After  I cut the first one off, the second one languished.  The recipient left the farm to go make cheese elsewhere without saying goodbye, so I thought I'd make it into a shawl.  Unfortunately, there are loose threads all over the place.  I had about 5 weights on the back, plus a couple of spools of thread to replace broken ones.  There were so many mistakes, the more I wove, and I just didn't have the patience for it!  Enough already!

 So I cut it off.  And it felt so good!  It's only long enough for a baby blanket, not a shawl, and the baby intended for it is too big, though his dad has come back to the farm.  And I'm not getting any grandchildren, I've been told.  So, I'm not sure what to do with it, even if I can get Weftie's fur out of it.  It's so dirty! I will hem it and wash it, soaking it with some nice baby detergent, and hope for the best.  Maybe someone I know will need it someday for a baby.  Maybe it'll just join the box of heirloom stuff I have saved.  Either way, I'm glad I tried that pattern, and I know now that I love monochromatic patterns in overshot.

Next project was to have been the group challenge of a hand-dyed shawl, and I thought this skein was 480 threads.  So I spent the afternoon yesterday threading away, listening to classical music, surrounded by my furry entourage.  I was almost done when it was time to meet a friend for dinner.
  Imagine my surprise this morning when I ran out of threads long before I ran out of pattern.  Imagine further my shock when I rechecked my math and saw that I thought 44 went into 480 20 times.  And that I only had 240 threads, not 480.  Sigh...
  So, this warp will look lovely as scarves, won't it?  And the shawl project will have to wait a little longer, because the other warp I have dyed?  Yes, it's also 240 threads, not 480.  And combined, they would be very ugly.  That just means I'll have to have another dye day, which I love, and design a new pattern, also very fun.
  Now, it's back to threading, and possibly weaving this afternoon.  Stay warm!  Wear fuzzy slippers while you weave!  And have a nice cup of tea!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Makin' A List......

  As warps come off looms, another has to go on, right????
  And, as we complete a project, it's time to plan another one, right???

  So, while some of us worked at looms, some of us were planning the NEXT project.

  I think Bonnie decided on towels for her next warp.

In the meantime.......

.....I was getting the tote bag warp ready to cut off Bonnie's loom.  (Those are now in my laundry room waiting to get cut apart and washed!)

  Carl is thinking he has one more rug to weave before his warp is ready to cut, and Lanny swears there is only one more scarf left on his warp!!!

  Ann was excited that the custom made brown rug was picked up by the was exactly what she wanted!  And, Cindy is going to weave off the warp on Ms. Bonnie's loom.

  Carol took a quick visual inventory to see what was on the other looms.

  Tina found a wee threading error....uh-oh!

   And through it all, Allan just kept weaving!

The new roof on the Annex looks great...all new and shiny!  But, we need a dry day to paint the boards... we'll just stay inside and weave!

  So, as we get ready to move into high gear for the holidays, we took a little time to make our yearly holiday picture.  Enjoy!
Happy Weaving!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Two years later...

I always post  my blog as early on Monday morning as I can so that I get it out of the way and can focus on the work of the day. Today is different. I waited until tonight because I wanted to tell you about our family.
Our daughter is adopted. She's always known she was adopted. We actually found out about her when her b'mom (birthmom) was 6 months pregnant. We were not allowed to meet her but it was a private adoption.
I knew our daughter would want to find her b'mom. She's always wanted to find that other part of her that would complete her. Because the adoption was private, we saw the birth mom's name on the papers that we had to sign. She also knew our names although she didn't know where we lived. Our daughter was born in Chattanooga so I always told her I'd take her down there to meet her mother when we found her.

Two years ago  Wednesday before Thanksgiving, she was on the computer and did a random search, again, for her b'mom. We have not been able to recreate that search but after 20 minutes she said, I've found her. It turns out that she lived 10 minutes from us here in Knoxville!!! Thanksgiving Day she called her. They were driving down the interstate when our daughter called and I can just imagine the emotions that were going on in that car!!
Long story short, two years ago  we met at Ruby Tuesday for the first time on the Sunday right after Thanksgiving. Talk about an emotional meeting. Her b'mom had since married a great guy and they have a son and daughter, my daughter's half siblings!
You know how you see on TV when b'moms meet their children for the first time after so many years, the tears, the hugs, the wonder of it all. Well, this could have been on television because it was all that. We were so thankful that she trusted us with raising her birth child. She only got to see her a very short time before they took her away. The tears that b'mom has shed over the years could probably fill a lake. As we raised our daughter, I would often think of her and try to telepathically reassure her that all was well, that she'd done the right thing and one day she would see her again. 
The emotions that day were incredibly high. We ate lunch together and marvelled at how similar they all were, how her brother looked like her pictures at that age. How her sister liked to eat food the same way she did, how our daughter looked like her b'mom did at that age, etc.....

The past two years have been filled with adjustments. All of us have had to find our place in this new family. I'm thankful that b'mom's husband is so willing to include us in his life. Having a brother and sister has helped our daughter know that she isn't an only child any longer. We don't see them often but it's all there. The feeling of belonging to a family that shares the same genes is important to her.
So today we ate dinner together at Ruby Tuesday by the airport again. Our daughter is on the left and on the right are her b'mom and her husband.
 I wanted to take some pictures to commemorate today. It's such a relaxed bunch this time!! Her brother decided to get involved with the picture taking!!
 So I took another one. There is a family resemblance, wouldn't you say?
 Her brother is now 10. He was so funny when they first met us. He knew she was his sister but what were DH and I to him and his sister? Well, I said, how about aunt and uncle. Good enough! We're not really but that's what we used to call people that were important to my parents that we would meet alot. I'm proud to be honorary aunt to them.
 Can you tell they're sisters? They automatically moved their heads like this, opposites!! Our daughter's sister is now 14. I'm looking forward to when they will spend more time together just hanging out.

I did weave today! I've got a long warp on my Nilus and I'm weaving rugs. I hope to have some pictures next week of them. Also have placemats on my Thelma loom. It was a very rainy day today and I got a couple of rugs woven and fabric almost together for a third rug. It's exciting to know that my Nilus is sturdy enough to weave a good rug!! I do need to get that warp off pretty quickly because I have to weave a top for LaDonna!! I didn't forget about it. I just felt this need to weave a rug! With all the loopers and selvedges at the house.....I do need to use some of them up. Anyone need a rug for Christmas??? They make great gifts!!
Until next week!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Business Saturday

I don't do Black Friday.
I know that some people enjoy the thrill of the hunt....looking for great bargains....jousting with crowds!

That really turns me OFF!
  First of all, I do NOT do EARLY!
(Just ask any of the Tuesday Weavers....I'm not the first one there!)  That's not to say I don't get up just means I'm not out and about early.  I conduct most of my business in my jammies, and I like it that way!  That's one of the perks of working at home.

  Needless to say, the Appalachian Arts Craft Center is one of my favorite small businesses.  I drove up to Norris yesterday to take some cookies for the Open House that's going on all weekend.  If you aren't familiar with the Center, here's the link:
  And, although it was Friday, I did some shopping for Christmas while I was there.  There are so many unique gift items made by local's easy to find gifts for people on my list!  And, of course, there is a mountain of woven items to tempt shoppers looking for gifts and items for their home.  A mug rug with a handmade mug....instant gift!!  Just add some tea bags and biscotti and you're done!
 But, the most important thing is that when you shop at the Center, you are supporting local folks!  And, the Center can continue operating a nurturing place for artist to gather and create.
So....there's my shameless plug for the Appalachian Arts Craft Center!!!

  I'll leave you today with a shot of the bloom from the cactus....we almost missed it since it opened during the Foothills show.  And, this picture doesn't really do it justice!  You can get an idea of the size of the bloom (that's my sister's hand holding it for the picture.)

  My daughter is coming over today to help me get the tall Christmas tree up in the living room.  I didn't put it up last year because of my shoulder, and I'm excited about getting it up this year.  And, we'll start the "march of the little men" as they get in position for the holidays.  Who knows, we might decide to bake some cookies, too!
Happy Weaving!

Friday, November 25, 2011

I have to admit...

I was a little disappointed that my Blankets and my "Just the Fleece" rug did not sell.  (I did sell 3 rugs and the last 4 bread cloths!)  I mean, they were ooohed and aaahed over, but then they just walked away!  I have to say, what's not to love?

There is color and texture...

..and down right luxury, all to be had for a competitive price!

So, disappointed I was, I chatted with Lou Ann and with Carol about it, and that seemed to help.  I am not looking to replace a full time salary, but I will insist on a good price for all my labor!   After all, I sheared those sheep!

When I got home Sunday night, I found that I had a sale on my Etsy shop, (I thought I had put it on Vacation Mode!)  and this weekend, I sold 2 blankets!  True they were at the friends and family price, (75%) but there is no booth fee or shop fee to take out.  I am also packing it all off to send to Nashville with Lou Ann's son, he is doing a craft fair there, and you just never know!  I suppose there is encouragement around every corner after all, I just have to keep looking for it!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey Day, Part 2, Coming Up!

For most of the U.S., tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, but for those of us in the food service industry, we have to take it when we can.  Mom and I had a lovely thanksgiving dinner yesterday, with everything that each of us wanted the most.  Mom brought most of the sides:  green beans with bacon and almonds, sweet potatoes withe apples, the fixings for the stuffing.  We put the stuffing together, smeared the turkey with butter and herbs and spent the roasting time reminiscing, hanging Christmas lights and hanging out together.
 My kitchen is tiny, and things like turkeys hang out over the edges, but here is Tom being stuffed.  And then there's the pumpkin pie.  I know how to pie, no doubt.  It was always my favorite part of the day, when Mom and I toiled in the kitchen from morning until late afternoon, carefully placing the pies in the oven, trying not to slosh the custard.  We tried to remember what we used for crust, and shamefully came to the conclusion that we bought the pie shells already in the aluminum pie plates.  We used can Libby's pumpkin, which I also use at work, I'm not ashamed to say.  Fresh pumpkin is stupidly difficult to use, and I refuse to waste my time on it when Libby's does it just fine, every single time.
  As we waited that final half hour while the turkey rested, we munched on olives, a family tradition, this time joined by pistachios.
  The turkey came out a lovely shade, minus the breast skin missing from trying a new roasting technique.  The person interviewed on NPR said that since the leg meat cooks more slowly than the breast meat, start the turkey out on its chest.  Unfortunately, the luscious skin stuck to the pan!  But it did work in evening out the cooking temperatures.
  It was a wonderful day, but now I feel funny spending tomorrow making Thanksgiving desserts for our guests!  Don't they know T-Day has already come and gone?
  I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow, full of family, friends and fabulous food.  We are so lucky to have so much to be thankful for, and so much to celebrate it with.
  Happy weaving, cooking, baking, chatting, being together...


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What To Do?

Place mats!

  We DID sell a few rugs and a few place mats during the Foothills sale, but we also brought more than a few back to the Center.  And, this has made us very aware that we need to think of another way to display them for the shop, as well as future shows.  As it stands right now, even if you knew what you wanted, you'd be hard pressed to find it!!!!
  So, today, we spent some time in reflection....what we liked and what we want to do differently.  
  And, we got to look at the final figures (thank you, Tina!!)  She did a breakdown on the sales by the different weavers as well as the items that sold.  Needless to say, it was very interesting.  But, it seems that we all would like to do this again next year, and we have some ideas we'll be working on in the meantime.
  So, for now, it's back to your "normal" weaving routine.  YEAH!!!!!
Happy Weaving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Show Time!

My show season is now officially done for the year! Getting that last show over with is always kind of bitter sweet. I don't do alot of shows each year but enough to keep me busy. As in the last show I did, I took some pictures of my view from the booth. Taking the pictures early in the morning shows some of the booths since during the day there were alot of people walking around.
Notice the lady at the spinning wheel? Her booth was about the same distance from mine at the last show I was at in Asheville.

 Having a corner booth allows me to have 2 directions to look while I have some down time!!
 I took my camera along on Satuday so  took a couple of pictures of weavers at our group booth! Ila and LaDonna wove alot! Because they gave us that extra 5 feet free if we'd demonstrate, I wanted to be sure that someone would be weaving all the time. They did, too!!
 Carl came for part of the day to see the show. His friend that brought him likes to look at everything slowly so Carl had extra time on his hand. I think he got tired of standing and Ila needed a break, so Carl wove for awhile. That little wolf pup got a real workout all weekend!!
LouAnn printed out the picture of the group that we have at the top of the blog. This was a great idea!! As people bought things she could point to the weaver who made the item. We just need to update the picture since we have so many more weavers now.
Having the looms there sparked alot of interest too in weaving lessons. It'll be interesting to see how many people come in January to learn. We can always teach another person. In talking to some of them, they would eventually mention that their great grandmother wove or someone in their family had and it had sparked the initial interest. This area has a rich tradition of weaving and we're doing our part to keep it going!
Our booth was a success. Just about everyone that had something for sale in the booth sold something. Ideas are already being expressed on how to tweak the booth for next year. In a way, it's amazing how good it looked for us having kind of thrown this one together. My booth took years to tweak but now I have it down to a science how it's going to look and set up. Our group booth can become that way as well. Of course if we figure out something new to weave that can change it but having a core set up plan will help.
I am looking forward to Tina's report tomorrow on really what sold. There was a real variety of things that sold from what I could see. 
I did spend most of my time in my booth but when I'd look around the corner they would usually be selling something to someone.
I think when any of the weavers goes to another show now, they will look at more than just what's being sold. Seeing how others display their items will help us figure out our display for next year!

I've been thinking about Hillary from Crazy as a Loom. Her show was a bit iffy this weekend. You know, you can be in the right show and still have an off show. I've done ok in my shows this year, one of the three was great and the other two were about average. However, I do know that at each of the shows there have been some people that did great and others that probably didn't even make their booth fee. Being an artist like this is really tricky. You are subject to the whims of your shoppers. You can have the greatest product in the world but if that day they didn't feel like buying it, you're going to have a bad show. You'll get tons of compliments but that doesn't pay the bills.
Laura from Prince George worries about having sold her items to everyone that wants them already and since they're well made they don't need more.
I worry about that too with my things. At this show especially, I see alot of my pieces walking around. It's neat to have a customer(wearing my vest) that bought the vest 3 years ago come by and tell me that as they were walking around the show people were saying to her, isn't that a Carol Pritcher? It is very humbling to know so many people have appreciated my work enough to buy it.
But, then it spurs me on. What new color combinations can I weave to tempt people again this year? How can I tweak it to change it enough so that maybe someone who already has a piece wants to add another to their collection?
My show season is over. I'm heading to the studio to finish packing away booth display and then working on the pieces I have left. Some will go to one of two shops and the rest will be inventoried in their rubbermaids so I can quickly access them to send to shops in early spring.
Then, I'm going to weave rugs and placemats til January, just for fun. I do have a top to weave for LaDonna and that'll go on soon as well but the rest of the time, it's going to be fun, not thinking about production for a bit. In the meantime, I'll be looking at my stash to see what I can pull out for production next year, what yarns do I need to order to complete the warps and how can I change what I've done, what did I weave several years ago that looked awesome and could be revisited.
It's going to be a relaxing month of weaving but exciting prospects for weaving production again in January.
I do hope that each of you has a good Thanksgiving and glad my Canadian friends had one in October before the snow hit!
Keep weaving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Many Hands Make Short Work

  If you had been a fly on the wall Thursday morning, you would have said, "No Way!"

  I'm sure we looked like a band of gypsies unloading and hauling all our stuff to our booth.  But, before long, it started taking shape.

  Pat and Lanny got busy taping the rug down before we started moving the tables and racks into place. 

  Carol started putting together the grid panels that would go in our booth and her booth.  Those panels have been a life saver in so many ways!!!

  Remember all those rugs from the back of Pat's car on Tuesday????

  The gang  started in hanging some on the racks and some of them got rolled up and put in the large basket in the corner.  And, some of them were put under the table to be brought out later.

  We sure had a lot of rugs!!!


  And, before we knew it, things were in place, and our booth was together.

Now, that's not to say we didn't do some tweaking now and fact, we are still tweaking!!!

  Tina and I brainstormed the whole way home last night about the placemats......we have so many, and people don't seem to even see them.  I can't wait to see what she has come up with by the time I go over this afternoon!

  So, after our booth was put together, we went to town on Carol's booth.  All of her coats, vest and tops had to be unpacked and hung up in her booth.  But, once more, when everyone pitches in, it doesn't take very long.


  Our little Pup has been a huge hit.....when I was weaving, a little boy (around 4 years old, I'd say) was totally mesmerized by the loom.  I had him stepping on the treadle and beating in the weft before too long, and I think he would have stayed forever!!!!  Ann took over the weaving and played around with the treadling on the overshot pattern.  I didn't get a picture of Christy and her Inkle loom, but she finished off two warps yesterday!!!!  As Tina was tying on a new warp on the Inkle, people were stopping and asking lots of questions!!!!  How fun!
  LaDonna, Ms. Ila and Tina are already over at the show this morning, and I'm headed there in a bit.  We've had so many people stop and ask about where they could learn to weave......and we TOLD them where to come......just head to the Center on a Tuesday.  Guess what we'll be doing?????
Happy Weaving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Foothills Craft Guild Fall Show, Day 1

Lou Ann and I were in the booth today along with Ann and Christy.  Lou Ann and I got there early to make sure everything was juuust right.  Here are some early morning pictures.

Then I went upstairs to get the birds eye view.

Right next door is Carol's booth, she said I could post the picture.

I was walking around later on in the afternoon, looking at all the other booths, there were lots of other crafts represented.  There was Pottery, Jewelry, Woodworking and several other fiber related booths.  When I returned to our booths I was struck by how warmth just radiated from them!  I suppose most of the other crafts have more of a cool feel to them, but our fiber just glows!

We also had a very good day!  We were very encouraged!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stash Busting - Living a Life of Abundance

Whether weaving or cooking, having a "stash" on hand allows for spur of the moment creativity. I start with the basics - a warp or a chuck roast - and then I look around for what is on hand. Do I want something safe, familiar and comforting or something new, bold, different.

My cooking stash is filled with staples and favorites condiments. My mother used to say she didn't know anyone with a better smelling spice cabinet. I also always have on hand Thai curry pastes, several cheeses, 4-5 kinds of beans, lots of pastas, ready made Indian sauces, and of course Tina's eggs. Having a variety of ingredients on hand allows for creativity when my husband comes home from the grocery with a pork roast or a roasting chicken or whatever. Lucky for me both my husband and daughter are adventurous eaters. 

Bedspreads and draperies

Last month, when digging in the center's storage annex for fabric for a custom order rug I found a rubber-made container filled with white chenille bedspreads and baby fabrics. The idea for nursery rugs was born. I put a pastel warp on my floor loom and started stripping bedspreads. Then I realized that I had stash perfect for use with the warp - nylon from the bulk purchase that we had made as a group last spring. I had even already skeined and washed a lot of "baby pink." Perfect.

Nasty nylon
Nylon ready for weaving
Lucky for me rug buyers come in all types - safe and comfortable - a little wild and crazy - and hopefully in the shape of some grandmothers looking for the perfect accessory for a nursery. 

When I weave I live in a world of abundance. There is always a stash and the creative possibilities are endless.

Be well,


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Complete and Total Randomness

  As I was driving home, I realized that it's my day to post, and I feel terrible every time I email everyone and say I can't post today because of work, lack of subject matter, fatigue, blahblahblah.  So I tried to think of a subject, hopefully fiber-related.
  Nothing.  Nada.
  But I was an English major, and I loved the free-association exercises our poetry professor made us do.  I never got any good poetry out of it, but I liked the freedom to write down whatever pops in my head.

  1. Why don't drivers in east Tennessee EVER use their turn signals?  A guy just nudged his way in front of me to turn into Burger King.  Was it so urgent that he ingest more calories than the average Belizian that he forego turning on his indicator?
  2. I'm downloading my entire CD collection onto iTunes.  I have CD's I've never even listened to!  It's really fun!  Especially when I download them onto my iPhone and plug it into my car stereo.
  3. Bella and I went to Brasstown, NC on Monday.  She threw up twice in the car and I asked if I could teach a class at John C. Campbell Folk School.  I have to fill out a form on line.  I'm going to do it.  I want to teach the world to bake.  I'm hoping they'll let me teach a class in exchange for taking a class.  But then I'll have to decide what class.
  4. I'm having Thanksgiving on Tuesday with Mom.  I'll post photos of the deliciousness.
  5. Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewery in Asheville is my favorite beer.  I'm enjoying one now.
I hope you all have a lovely, productive, lucrative, magical weekend!  Go, Tuesday Weavers!  Be successful entrepeneurs!  (spell check says that's spelled correctly.  i have my doubts.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We're In the Final Stretch!

With all the last minute details we are dealing with, we always have time to share new things!!!

  Tina brought her completed WOOL rug to share with us today......and it is just too wonderful!  You can see the bench pad to the left of the rug....that was her first project.  This rug makes you want to take off your shoes and socks and just dig your little tootsies right in!!!  I think she has something special right here!

  Bonnie and Linda were busy tagging items for the sale, while LaDonna worked on the fringes of her scarf. 

  And, since it was a rainy day, Allan got the chance to weave on his place mats.  The sewing machine was being very cranky with him, so Ann finished up his strips for today.

  Just like Santa, we checked our list twice to make sure we had everything covered.  Most of us have lots of little things to remember and bring on Thursday for set up for our booth.  (Where-oh-where are all the extension cords????)

  Ms. Ila got the thread together for the Wolf goes, too!!!!  She put an overshot pattern for mug rugs on the loom.

Beatrice, Carol and Cindy are still hard at work with weaving lessons.  Beatrice got her thread wound for her next warp, and Cindy is weaving away on her new warp.

  Lanny helped Carl cut the warp on the barn loom.  There were five rugs!

  A bunch of us dove in and knotted the fringes, and those rugs got priced and tagged for Foothills.  Ann put them safely in her car to take Thursday.

  Pat loaded up her car with rugs to take, too!!!!

What do you call a load of rugs?????

  And, finally......Tina and her granddaughter:

"Train them in the way they should go."

  We do love to share weaving .........

Happy Weaving!