Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Change of Plans

 I missed being at the Center yesterday because I had to inventory all the food in the Barn kitchen at work.  A boring but necessary job, so I sacrificed my favorite day of the week to get it done.  Today, I was to have dug up the plants at Mom's to move to my house, since she's moving back to Virginia, but with tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm alerts, I thought it might be nicer to stay inside.  It's still pretty blustery out there, but I'm warm and toasty with my sewing machine and my furry entourage, jazz on the radio and a frosty adult beverage by the computer.
  I began the day--sans frosty beverage--working on the two-tiered skirt I've been avoiding for weeks now.  I really feel I can't start anything new until I've gotten this skirt done.  I'm closer, but it still lacks its waist facing and zipper.  It's so soft and drapey, with its China silk lining.
  A woman came by the Center week before last and dropped off a bunch of sewing patterns from the '50's and '60's, and we all went through them.  They were so cute!  What blew me away is that they were mostly size 14's, with bust size of 32!  Now, a 14 has a bust measurement of 36!  How we have changed!  I still took three of them home, hoping to size them upwards to fit me, tracing around them on pattern paper.  Way up...
  My favorite is the blouse with the sleeve incorporated into the body.  The pattern pieces look tiny, but it's a good place to start.  The collar is also part of the body!  Very interesting!
  I have a couple of things cut out that will come next, but I just got a new Vogue pattern I'm excited about, especially since I realized the front and back center pieces would look fantastic in the "shawl" piece from the baby blanket warp.  Remember, I cut it off without finishing it because of all the problems I was having with the warp.  Today, I washed and dried it, and will find the right white fabric to make the rest of the blouse.  I think it'll be pretty!
I wove a little this week on the curtains, but am having problems getting a clean shed.  I think my tie-up strings are different lengths and are causing the problem.  I shifted some around and it helped a bit, but I really wasn't in the mood to weave today!
  I must tell you that I got my Dick Blick shipment last week of dyeing supplies!  When I saw how little dye came in their "bargain" bottles of dye, I realized why they were such a good price!  2/3 of an ounce!  So, I bought full size bottles--for the same price!-- from Dharma trading, and now I just lack safety gear to start dyeing at home.  I started winding a warp, but it'll probably be a couple of weeks before I start dyeing.   And then the weather needs to cooperate!
  Stay warm and dry!  It's really blowing out there!  And of course, Happy weaving!  --Maggie

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's A Beautiful Day In Our Neighborhood!

  Just in case you haven't figured this out yet....we are a multi-generational group!!!!  Jinx's grandson joined us for a bit today, and this gave Jinx some time to problem solve with Carol about her warp.
  Notice that the door is WIDE open, too!  That's because the sun was shining and it wasn't too cold outside!!!!

  Beatrice's grandson stayed busy today winding the strips that Carol cut into balls.  Just look at the size of that one!!!

This gave Beatrice time to work on her warp.  She is in the process of sleying the reed.

  Tina is a little under the weather today (Linda, too!) and just dropped by long enough to bring fresh eggs.

  Although Pat had to leave before lunch, she took some time to admire the center shelves that Allan finished in the Annex.  (I foresee a work day out there pretty soon!!!!  All the tubs will need to be labeled with contents!!!!)

  Andy's warp has not behaved it self!!!  She's had a doozie of a time getting it threaded....but she was hard at work today tying on the warp!!!!

  Ann announced that this was NOT the last rug on her warp!  That warp just keeps on coming off the back beam!  (I think she's already thinking about what will go on next!)

  No picture of Cindy's socks today....but they were colorful!  And, that napkin warp is also lovely!

  Bonnie has about eight towels on the cloth beam, already!  She's using just the off white for weft on this towel.

  Lanny spent the morning winding his new warp, and Allan got some weaving done on the bread cloths.  But after lunch, they moved the folding tables out of the hall into the front of the Annex.   That sure frees up that space!!!

I guess that is what you call MANpower!!!!

You've heard of digging up dinosaurs?  Well, Carl is making them into a rug!

  Kristy wove on her Inkle loom most of the day, but took a little break to look at one of the weaving books.

Ms. Ila is tweaking her warp....she had some threads that were not behaving!

Kaylee's job today was to bag up the loopers so they can be stored in the Annex.  That big box weighs about 200 pounds, so the loopers need to be put into more manageable bags so they can be cleaned and sorted.  But, it was a beautiful day to work outside!

I hope your day has been beautiful, too!
Happy Weaving!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Back, but.......

***News from our traveler!!!!

  After a couple of weeks of sewing and having a good time with my family, on Thursday we headed for the airport and I was fortunate.  We were between storms and my flights were all on time!  Flying through Denver is not my favorite thing, and I won't do it without having at least a 2 hour layover.  Flying in from the international area, customs, security, etc.... is beyond weird. There were about 5 people with tight connections.  I know none of them made their connections!!!  Half an hour after we landed, they were still waiting for their bags that would have to be handed back to the airlines for their last flight.  That's without having to go through security again, usually a huge line, and then taking the train, their new gate.  Having 2 hours makes it workable.

  Friday was spent making sure our daughter got to Florida to see a friend.  So, back to the airport, only this time there had been storms in the morning and the flights were delayed....a couple of hours...but all went well, and she made it since her connecting flight in Atlanta was also delayed.

  Friday evening, DH and I drove down to Atlanta.  I'm still here!  We came because his parents are moving into an apartment.  After being in their home for over 60 years, life is such that they can't stay there any longer.  His Mom had a hip replacement in December, and she is still in rehab.  His Dad is OK, but shouldn't be working around the yard, etc...   DH's sisters found a great apartment in a high rise with lots of paths and a lake nearby for his Dad to walk around.  The whole thing is pretty traumatic as we can all imagine.  So, they asked if I'd spend the night Sunday and be in place to help with whatever was needed for the move today.
  I'm sure I'll have stories to tell about this!!! 
  Frankly, I'm tired.  It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks and THIS on top of it all!  I'm glad to help DH's parents.  They have been wonderful to me all these years and I am glad to help them.  I'll be home late tonight and back the Center to weave tomorrow.  Maybe I can sleep in on Wednesday?
  I'll post pictures from my trip next week.
Hope to get some weaving done before then, and hope you can, too!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Zen of Plain Weave

  Most of my week has been taken up with class preparation.  Lil' Smokey got his harnesses in place, and the warp went on pretty smoothly.  Although table looms are not my first choice, I have to admit that weaving on this little beauty was fun!
  I made some changes to the threading pattern after working in the Weave Design program for a little bit.  Then I worked on the four treadling patterns I wanted to use for the class.  Since I have two table looms and two Wolf Pups, I wanted to make the decision on which pattern to weave on each loom.  I'm going to test drive this SIL has agreed to be my guinea pig, and he's going to weave a mug rug using my directions.  So, Lil' Smokey will get to go on a field trip in the morning!

  I pulled Parker Pup into the living room with the intention of putting on a mug rug warp....and I got side tracked. 
  Why not put on a quick scarf warp????
  I had picked up the variegated nubby thread at R&M the last time I was there.  You know how it is.....a cone will call to particular project in mind at the time.  I just like the way the colors played on the cone.
  What a joy.....just plain weave....just let the colors play as they make cloth.
Pure bliss!!!!

  I was finished before I knew it, and off the loom it came.  Since I was twisting fringes, I might as well finish up the fringes on the chenille scarf I wove on the rigid heddle loom last year.  (That was the project I put on the RH loom last spring when we were demonstrating straw looms at the Smoky Mt. Fiber Arts Festival.)
  I think I'll get them washed and pressed today so I can wear my scarf tomorrow!
  This weekend I'll be working on the handout for the class, as well as winding the other black warps for mug rugs.  
....but, truthfully, I'd rather be just sitting and weaving!!!

Happy Weaving!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hit the Reset Button!

It has been quite some time since I was upstairs in the studio.  It may have been a month, I know for sure it has been 3 weeks since I set foot to treadle.  When it has been that long it takes me a little while to get back to where I was creatively, in the various projects that are in progress.  As I was going up the stairs I decided to just do the first thing that blocked my path, and see where that led.

The first thing I saw was the carpet warp I had ordered with the other Tuesday Weavers.  I took those bags in hand and put them with the other carpet warp in the studio. ( I had to squeezed my way across the room to get to that shelf.)   Once that was done, I noticed that there were place-mats that  I hadn't serged yet.  I plugged in the serger and did that job.

Once the serging was done, I stacked them up, with the Waffle Weave towels and put them aside, to be hemmed later.  I then noticed some black and white fabric strips on the floor from my training session with the  rag cutting machine .  I gathered it up, and put some of the wider strips through the frazer cutter, to get the width I was looking for.

I say, a picture or two is worth a thousand words.  In the room across the landing I have a rug loom just waiting for some weft.  I loaded up a couple of shuttles and played with the black and white strips for 6 to 8 inches, just enough to be satisfied that this would really look good.

While I was doing all of the above, I was contemplating my real reason for being up there, and with all that success under my belt, I was able to tackle the white towel warp that was waiting for me.  I had finally decided to go ahead, without further sampling and re-sley to 20 ends per inch.  I then wove a sample, I made a slight treadling error, but it is just a sample.  I placed the two samples side by side, and I am really pleased that I made the change. The table element in the pattern is much squarer in the new sample, and  I think I will have a much better towel fabric with this new sett too!

That, my friends, is how I hit the reset button.   I work on what I know, those mindless tasks, while thinking about the problems I am facing on the more challenging projects.   Now if I  can just get my feet and hands to work together on this treadling pattern, it is a challenge as well!  I may even use the pattern motive only on each end of the first couple of towels, and twill for the middle section.  That may be really lovely, I will be sure to post pictures, possible this week on my farmstead studio blog.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Dog Ate My Homework?

Actually, the storm stopped me from posting last night!  A long line of thunderstorms came through Knoxville last night, so I had to unplug everything, right when I had planned on posting.  I hope Ann doesn't mind my posting on her morning, but I have photos I should have sent to LouAnn of the chaos in the annex before we moved everything off the floor.
  It was a dusty job, and I didn't think to take photos at the beginning, when all the spools of nylon were everywhere.  They now occupy the top shelves on both sides.  Here, we're just finishing up, filling bins with cones of wool and blended warp yarn.
  Next step is organizing it all!  We really just wanted to get it all off the floor so Alan can install the shelves down the center of the room.  Linda swept it all clean when we were done, and the room looks like a weaver's dream, full of fiber-y possibilities.

Speaking of possibilities, I learned to love the New Mexico Sunset warp again, when I mixed all the odds and ends of carpet warp LouAnn found for me.  It reminds me of a Chanel jacket, mixed but united into a lovely fabric.  I'm actually looking forward to making more place mats now!

Happy Weaving!
p.s. Sorry about all the rear shots, LouAnn! :-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blowin' In The Wind!

First of all, I need to apologize.....I missed a lot of picture taking opportunities today.  There was SO MUCH going on, and I got busy doing other things.  But, here are some of the highlights:

Think Wizard of Oz.
Remember the scene of the house when it came down on the Witch of the East????

Does this look familiar???

Oh's just Cindy under her loom!!!!

And through it all, Ms. Ila just kept on threading her scarf warp.  (I overheard her saying that she found an error last week....uh-oh!)

Be sure to click on the picture and look at the rug that is wrapping around the beam....don't you just love that fabric?
Needless to say, Carl is hard at work on his latest rug!

Long Warps:  Love them or hate them?
Maggie was getting tired of weaving on the place mat warp, and decided she needed some excitement!
A little time spent with the tubes in the left-over bin, and she found a whole new color combination!
Click on the right hand picture to see it close up!!!!!

Tina corrected the boo-boo on the bread cloth warp, and Allan is getting the treadling straight in his mind before he gets started.

Then she got back to work on the long warp for Ellen's pattern placemats.

Yep....Kaylee is STILL rolling balls of strips of fabric!  (Carol has cut a LOT of these!)

Ann needed some additional strips for the rug she is working on, so Kaylee got a chance to see how we cut the strips.

And this is our crowning achievement for the day!!!!

We lit into the Annex and got everything out of the middle of the floor so that Allan can build the shelves down the center.  

We know we aren't finished yet, but we are on the right road!!!!

Happy Weaving!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Unexpected Adventure!!

I brought along one project I really wanted to get done. A few days before I left to fly up here, I finally!!! pulled out the rubbermaids with my Africa fabrics and began to figure out how to use the 2 big pictures on fabric that I had. I needed it to be about 42 x 62 because I already had made a wallhanging with other African prints for Mom a couple of years ago. I thought she could swap these out as she wanted to. So, last week I raided my sister's stash of batting and machine quilted and finished the hanging. It looks great on Mom's wall next to her bed!
 I had already gotten my plane ticket to fly up here when Mom mentioned that she had gotten an invitation for the memorial service of her sister in law. It was scheduled for this past Saturday.... in Red Deer, Alberta. She had passed away just before Christmas so the family opted to wait for her service.  I was glad to be able to be here to help drive. The weather was great!!! and we were able to find a hotel room inspite of a huge curling competition that's going on now in Red Deer.
Mom has dialysis 3x a week usually starting at noon. We were able to swap with someone so on Friday morning we got her there before 7am and picked her up about 10. She needed to rest a bit so we didn't leave til after 11am. It's a pretty long drive from Moose Jaw to Red Deer. I guess it's about 8 hours or so if you drive pretty steady.
We stopped to a quick lunch at Tim Horton's in Swift Current and then kept driving through the rolling hills of Saskatchewan and into Alberta. By the time we were getting close to Calgary we could just sort of see the tip of the mountains in the hazy distance. We stopped at Strathmore Station Restaurant and Pub for supper.
This place was awesome! However, we got Mom out of the car which is a pretty huge deal because she takes awhile to get going once she's been sitting a long time and walking tires her out quickly. We came into the front door and said, oops. Can't come in here!! There were at least 6 steps up or 6 steps down into the place. A couple coming in as we did told us that there was an entrance on the side that they could open and it was right into the restaurant there so we arranged for them to open that side door and we drove Mom around to it.
There was a small section with about 10 tables that was a straight walk in. The rest of the place is all steps. Fun for carrying trays of food, I'm sure!! The atmosphere was nice and vintage, you know where they have a buggy hanging from the ceiling, etc. Food was plentiful!
 Very vintage decorations, posters reprinted that were very nostalgic. Pictures of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles from about 1952, needlepoint pictures..........
 and on the next part of the wall, a fireplace and bookcases. Nice ambience! I'd sure go there again if I was in that area. It's just east of Calgary.
 We continued on in the dark then up from Calgary to Red Deer. Saturday we spent with family. After the service we went to my uncle's home and visited til later in the evening. I met cousins I hadn't seen in over 30 years. We hope to try to keep in contact. Our parents have been the ones that kept us informed because they stayed in contact with brothers and sisters but as time continues, it's become obvious that we are the ones that need to take over the job. Hopefully facebook and email will do that for us!
Yesterday morning, Sunday, we got up early and planned to head back on straight back to Moose Jaw. This time the trip from Red Deer to Calgary was in daylight and you could see, in the distance, those wonderful Canadian Rockies. I kept having my sister stop so I could take pictures.
This picture actually was taken by zooming in on it.
 Even this one had to be zoomed a bit. Without that, the picture doesn't capture the look of the mountains.
 I kept saying how I was going to post these pictures and say, yup, I was an hour and a half from the mountains but didn't get there. Well, near the turnoff toward the mountains, my sister decided we needed to just go there! So we did, turned off and went to Hwy 1A. This is the old #1 highway that would take us to Canmore. It was only 2 lane but the way everyone used to drive to get to Banff and west.
We drove past a lake where they were fishing. That ice is thick! Not a ton of snow this year but the ice is thick and good for fishing. Those vehicles are on the ice.
 We kept looking for mountain sheep or any wildlife but didn't see any on that stretch. I did see a snowy white owl as we drove on Saturday sitting motionless on top of a hydro pole! But that's all we saw of animals. I don't know where they go when it's cold, those that don't hybernate!
Then we were there, in Canmore. It's about half an hour from Banff but also right in the mountains. We drove around there, stopping to take pictures of some snow or ice sculptures. This weekend is a long weekend in Alberta so it must be festival time there too.
 I knew there was a quilt shop in Canmore. Had seen it in a magazine but hadn't dreamt that it would be open before noon on a Sunday! Well, it was. We left Mom in the car with her book and we "quickly" went in to investigate. The shop is The Sugar Pine Company.  This quilt shop part is up on the second floor so Mom couldn't have gotten there anyway but we sure did!! They have about 8000 bolts so you know it's a good shop. Also, they have alot of Canadian patterns of mountains, etc. We could have spent half a day there but we went through fairly quickly since we didn't want Mom to actually get cold!
The famous mountain you can see from town is called Three Sisters. It's a cool mountain. By now the clouds were starting to come in but you could see the 3 peaks of the mountain.
 We ate lunch in town yet quickly before saying goodbye to the mountains and heading back east. We didn't get back to Moose Jaw til almost 11pm last night, the end of our adventure.
I'm so thankful that the weather co operated for us to be able to take this little side trip, totally unexpected at this time of year. They were predicting snow for today around Calgary so we probably just made it!
I'll be here most of the week before heading back south. It's great to be with family whenever I can. We make the most of the time we together and always look forward to the next time we meet.
So, no weaving this week but it'll be there waiting for me when I do get back home!
Stay warm!!