Monday, April 30, 2012

Winding Warps

Here's that second royal blue warp I wove with a pale purple stripe and the rich purple section in the middle. The weft changes that purple and it blends it all nicely together. This warp has been woven, serged and washed. The pieces are hanging on the drying rack waiting for me to cut and serge the individual pieces before assembling them.

 On the loom right now is the first of 2 purple warps. I got a neat cone of accent yarn from Yarn Barn in their mailing every other month.  I do like the way this is weaving with the bits of color fluff showing up. It'll be interesting to see how it washes. This warp has a bit of blue and white in the warp as well towards the center of it.
 I had noticed that Amanda had mentioned in her blog that she was using a paddle to wind a warp. I don't use a paddle. She was interested in seeing how I wind my warps so I took a few pictures with DH's help to show my way. The first thing that I find important is a good stand to hold my cones. I wind either 6 or 8 threads at a time. It goes so much faster than if you were trying to wind just one or two at a time. Also, I use different yarns in my warps, everything from 8/2 to 8/8 in the same warp. This works for me.
 I separate the yarns from the stand into 4 sections with at most 2 threads in a group. I group the threads together that are across from each other on the stand.
 So in my case, I hold one thread between my pinky and ring finger and one next to my thumb. The other 2 "slots" hold 2 threads each.
 I never let go of these threads. My hand is controlling the tension of the thread as it comes off the cone. I think this is the best part about not using a separate paddle. I can nicely control the threads and if one gets hung up in the eyescrew down on the holder, I feel it and can immediately stop and fix it.
I use both hands to wind my warps. On the right side, my hand holding the threads goes around the peg while my left hand is above the stand keeping the threads coming straight up off the cones.
 Then I move to where my right hand is above the cones and my left hand reaches out, holding the threads as a group (having been kept apart by my right hand they won't tangle) and goes around the peg to place the yarns.  I guess I should have somehow taken a video but I didn't think of it. At this point, I will be moving back toward the right side again. My left hand will let go of the yarns as my right hand goes toward the peg on the right. My left hand will go below my right hand to kind of catch the group of yarns and holds it while my right hand goes around the peg. Then as my right hand comes back to the middle, I drop the threads in my left hand and grab them again above my right hand to then get them to the left side of the warping board.  My whole body moves toward the left with the yarns and my left hand pulls the group back around the next peg on the left.
 So my right hand constantly holds the group of yarns, separated between my fingers but my left hand will hold the group until it's around the left peg. Then lets the right hand control the complete tension as I go around the peg on the right. My left hand has let go of the yarn as I go around the right peg. Then the left hand holds onto the group of yarns from below my right hand to grab it just til my right hand gets back to the middle. Then I reach above my right hand to grab the yarn and go around the left peg.
This also allows me to keep from moving as far to the left side of the warping board conserving energy because my left hand is reaching out further than my body needs to go.
If I stop inbetween to answer the phone or something, I divide the yarns as shown above to keep the groups separate using the pegs to keeps my 4 little groups apart.
This is the way I've wound my warps for many years. It works for me. However, everyone figures out the way that works best for them. That's the great thing about weaving. Everyone does it differently. I like it that we can let each other know how we do it so that we can adapt what someone else does in a way that works for us.
It's like hem stitching. I teach my way but I know that within a few warps or at least a few placemats, everyone will figure out the way that works for them. The result is the same. The hems are sewn so that the yarn won't pull out and it's secure. I don't do it the way I was taught. I changed it to suit the way I thought worked best for me.

We had just come in from being out in the evening when we took the pictures. Our cat was down there waiting for us to come home as she often does. So, DH picked her up but she always likes to come to me so he took a picture of us. Molly is about 13. She was about 3 weeks old when we got her. We bottle fed her. We think her mother was wild and she wandered away.....not sure if mother or baby wandered away but the result was someone took her to the vet and we were the lucky recipients. Problem is she will only go to either me or DH. She will hiss at my daughter and has done so for the last 6 or so years since she left for a semester of college. She really is a sweet cat but it has to be on her terms!! She wasn't too thrilled to have her picture taken either.
Today I have to get a bunch of rugs ready and inventoried to take downtown to the Art Market Gallery on Gay St. Every month they have featured artists....a 2D and a 3D artist for their featured artist wall. I've been a member for about 25 years and have always sold my clothing there. This time I'm taking rugs for the first time. These are those rugs I wove in December and January.  It should surprise some people. I do hope to sell some. I'll have pictures next time of the exhibit.
Anyone in the Knoxville area is invited to our First Friday. The first Friday of each month the downtown galleries are open and people shop hop. We have food and wine, even some musical entertainment (altho it won't be DH this time). We are encouraged, as members to come and wear our nametags. I'll be there most of the time because I have to. Otherwise, if I have time I pop in for an hour or so each month. It's from 5:30 til 9pm each first Friday of the month.
Then it's back to weaving for me!! I am so much happier just to be in my studio working...
Til next week..

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Great Wheel Adventure

  I know in my heart that spinning will just take a lot of practice.  (I had so hoped that it would come naturally, but that's not the way life is!)  It would seem that I'm very good at making dread locks, but fine yarn is eluding me.
  But, I will persevere in my quest to produce usable fiber.

  As I told you last week, for my first spinning lesson, Tina had me on the spindle wheel at her house.  She usually uses her great wheel to teach spinning, but the wheel is being worked on by a friend of hers.  Tina sent me this video to watch this week:
  I was lulled into the dreamy quality of walking and spinning on a great wheel....

And, we were off.....I mean, we really set out to find a great wheel.
Yesterday was sunny and our to-do list did not include anything that HAD to be done.

  After several stops, we wondered into a little shop in Clinton, TN, Corner Antiques, which just happens to be one of my favorite places to go.  There was a little spindle wheel in the window, along with a sleeping cat.  Tina actually got up in the window to examine the wheel.  (But, it wasn't a Great Wheel.)
  I saw a scrap of a coverlet lying on a wooden shelf, and noticed that someone had crocheted an edging on it.  That made me a little sad, and I called Tina over to look at what had been done to a great piece of weaving.  Why, oh why, hadn't they just turned up the edges and hemmed it???
  Tina looked at me funny, and said, "Do you see what it is laying on?"
  A GREAT WHEEL!!!   That shelf was a spinning wheel!!!  I had focused in on the coverlet, and didn't see the wheel!!!!!  (It was a "can't see the forest for the tree" moment!)

  Yes, we're missing something:  the WHEEL!  It wouldn't fit in my car!!!  So, we are off to Clinton this morning in Tina's truck to load up the wheel and bring it home.  I'll post a picture later to show you the completed GREAT WHEEL!  The spindle needs some attention, but it's in pretty good shape!
  Oh, and in case you run into Tina, ask her about her "do-dad" that she found!!!

 TA-DA!!!!  Tina test drove the wheel, and she's SPINNING!!!!  What a wonderful adventure!!!!

Happy Weaving and Spinning!

Friday, April 27, 2012

White on White

I have washed and pressed the first towel samplings using the friendship twill pattern and the plainweave sample too!  They are really nice, and I hope you can see the details in the photos.

First the finished plain weave towel, no surprises there!

Then the central motif on the Twill towel, where the twills meet......

and finally, the Friendship Twill Table, one in each corner of the towel.  I think that they turned out rather nice.  Of course you could see it much better if it wasn't white on white, but I think you get the idea.

Now here is the clincher, I didn't enjoy weaving this pattern at all, and I can't see myself doing yards and yards of it!  As Ann said yesterday, "Life is to short to weave something you don't enjoy!

There is a bread cloth pattern in one of the Handwoven Design Collections, that I wove many years ago.  It has a center of lace weave, surrounded by plain weave with some stripes, simple yet effective, I loved weaving that project!  Even before these towels were off the loom I began looking at new patterns to try, and the Lace Weaves were calling my name.  I even spent a couple of hours on a weaving program coming up with the new design.  I think I will like it much better!

Huck, and Swedish Lace, are you my new best friends?

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Life is too short .....

I have been feeling a little guilty about not blogging recently. And I did get a little grief this week from my fellow Tuesday Weavers. But I already had an idea for today's I will save "Guilt, obligation and the joys of weaving" for my next blog.

Two weeks ago, I went on a retreat at one of my favorite places on earth - the Hermitages at Valle Crucis Conference Center. Here are a few picture from an earlier stay. For more information about the hermitages check out their blog -

The Thomas Merton Hermitage - one of four on the site
The living space

A tiny but full kitchen
My porch faces into the woods
This is my forth retreat in this lovely spot. This time I was there for four nights - once again it was not long enough. My soul longs for silence and solitude - I find it here. The first two days I spent brainstorming with two friends about creative work we might do together. The last day and a half I journaled, read, journaled, hiked, slept and wove. I spent Thursday in total silence. After journaling with my morning tea I began to weave.

My warp is natural bamboo - threaded for twill. The warp had been on for at least 6 weeks. I had begun weaving with two colors - also bamboo. The pattern was a tabby and 1/3 twill - fairly simple - but I was juggling those two shuttles and having to watch my pattern. I found that it was not something I could weave while watching television with my husband.  I wasn't really enjoying it but I thought that was because I was weaving with distractions. In 6 weeks I had woven maybe 20 inches. I thought - I can do this on retreat.....

So I began to weave on Thursday morning. Watching the pattern and juggling the shuttles. I wove for an hour - ten inches - at that rate I was going to have to weave non stop all day to get the scarf finished. I wove for another fifteen minutes or so and thought - this is ridiculous. Why am I taking my precious day at the hermitage to race through something that was bringing me no joy. That is when it hit me -


So I stopped - did a few throws of tabby and hemmed stitched that puppy. Who knows what I will do with that remnant - another blog post title for another day "Weaving remnants."

Several weeks ago, when I was at Great Northern in Kalamazoo, I picked up a neutral/natural rayon chenille. I had thrown it in my bag along with some extra bobbins and a winder. I pulled out Dixon's The Handweaver' Pattern Guide and found several Hopsack patterns that looked like fun to weave - simple patterns requiring only one shuttle. Within 30 minutes I was up and running with my new scarf. Happily weaving away - no longer feeling stressed to weave. So it was time for a hike. Here is a picture of my destination - Crab Orchard Falls.
A wonderful place to sit still
After I got home I quickly finished that scarf. (sorry no photos) Then  I chose another Hopsack variation and a peach chenille. I am most of the way though the second one.
My simple - "tactiley" interesting scarf

See 43 inches done!

Sorry the photos are of such poor quality - I left my camera at the center on Tuesday.

Lesson learned -


I will try not to be such a stranger.

Be well,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Complete Randomness, But Hey! I Posted!

Can you see the empty heddle?
 It's 9:48 on a peaceful, rainy Wednesday night, and I'm thinking it's about time I called it a day, when I realized, Oh, no!  I forgot to BLOG!!!  Oh, no may not be exactly what I said, but you get the idea!
  And this morning, I had a bunch of ideas for my entry, really good ones!  I can't think of a one now, so just bear with me, please.
  I woke up early, today being a work day, and threaded the reed on the huck lace pattern.  I got about six sets, 12 repeats, when I saw the empty heddle.  There's no missing thread hanging around out back, so I either have to hang one off the back, which I really don't want to do, or I have to rethread.  Don't want to do that, either, but I really hate the mess of stuff hanging off the back.  My plan of action is to start from the other end and rethread the whole thing.  Maybe there's an extra thread lurking on the other side!  You never know!
Katie's big stack of lavosh.
  My days off are split for the next two weeks, and I won't be able to come to the Center next Tuesday.  Big Bertha's new warp is ready to be wound on when I'm there next, all 552 threads, but she'll have to wait.  I hope I don't miss any heddles then!
  I'm not the only one who's been busy.  Two of our chefs are on their way to California this week, and they asked Katie for 18 sheets of lavosh, the flat Middle Eastern bread.  Here's half of it, made Monday.  It filled eight boxes.  We hope it gets there safely!
  Bella's been extra scratchy, allergy season keeping her busy, so she got some extra treats from PetSmart yesterday before she got a bath.  She loves pink as much as I do, and her new flamingo toy is her new favorite.  She's still a little itchy, but her oatmeal bath seems to have helped.
  Well, it's lame, but I made it!  Have a great week!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Full House

  This is not the best picture of the day, but it will give you a small idea of all the activity going on today.  (Pictured from l to r:  Pat, Shirley, Carol, Ms. Ila and Cindy)

  Welcome to our newest Tuesday Weaver, Shirley!  She got her thread chosen, warp wound and loaded onto the table loom.  (She's threading her loom in the first picture.)
  You might notice that she's wearing one of Carol's vests.  I guess that means she has good taste, too!!!!

  Pat got down to business with our's been a little while since it was given any TLC.  Pat found a few duplicate copies of the same title (how many copies of Davison's book do you need?)  But, Pat has great organizational skills, and she worked her magic on the shelves.

  Jinx reached the end of her first warp at the Center, and off it came!  She's working on a rug warp at home, and pulled together some warp and fabric to take home.

  Andy is making headway with her tangle...this might take awhile.  (Actually, she's just about worked it out!)

  In the meantime, Tina showed Linda how she combed the Nigora fleece.  (It's sooooo soft!)

And, Linda showed Allan and Tina how she spins on her cute little wheel.

Lanny is still threading his warp.....and Maggie is counting heddles.  She still has some additional warp to wrap on the board....this is going to be a lovely project.

Christy was calmly weaving her bookmarks on her Inkle loom....even with all the hub-bub going on around her.......great concentration!!!!

And, after the up-teenth broken thread on her scarf warp, Ms. Ila just took the scissors to it!  I can't blame her!

   Now, remember back last week when Ann had to unwind the white thread off of the warping mill?
  Well, she got her warp wound, and spread on the loom, and we begun winding it on the back beam.  And, since it's a rather wide warp, Tina helped on the front end while I wound on the warp at the back.  Team work!  Yeah!!!  But, I think you can say that Ann and Tina were "sitting down on the job!"

  I missed the shot of Carl sitting INSIDE the barn loom, and at one time, Ann was inside her loom, too!!!!  Sorry.....that would have been great pictures to post!  And, I seem to have missed Bonnie --she was hard at work on her loom today, too!  
Just another busy day at the Center!
Happy Weaving!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Which winter is this?

So which winter is this? We're having another cold spell for a few days with temperatures getting close to freezing at night. We generally have a few of them this time of year. We already had Dogwood Winter. So is this Blackberry Winter? Someone said they're not blooming yet.  However, our raspberries are so I'm officially (ha!) calling this Raspberry Winter, at least in our yard. Not sure what it is in yours!!

I've gotten one of the royal blue warps done. I actually got the accent yarn from Yarn Barn. It's in their regular catalogue and I love the way it works with the blue. I added an extra vest to this warp for myself! I've got alot of work finishing up other pieces I've woven before I'll get this one finished, but am so looking forward to wearing this vest!!! On the down side, blue buttons are hard to find. There are so many different blues. I'm not sure what I'll use for buttons on this warp or the next one that's already on the loom. That warp is blue, light purple and purple. I'll be weaving it this week as I can.

 Inspite of the weather, we did go to Stanley's last week to pick up a few plants.  This is our last try at a pot garden on the deck. I think we just don't get enough sun inspite of everything! I've planted 2 pots with red peppers, the nice sweet ones. The other pot has dill in it. We'll see how that works too..
 Something that loves my deck is my sorrel. This is the 3rd year it's on the deck, looking good!! I need to make soup.
We haven't brought most of the plants out from the greenhouse yet. We're waiting til later this week after the temps get a bit higher, back to normal. The ferns wintered through pretty well and will be added to the back deck. I'll probably pick up some new things for the door to my studio again. Not sure what it'll be this year but I'll post a picture of it when I get it done!

I had a time getting this blog to work today. I normally go to the site through aol. However, I tried multiple times this morning and it wouldn't work. I even emailed LouAnn to see if she could get on. The message I kept getting was that there was a problem with some module file and to expect more errors. So I rebooted the computer. Same thing. I hate internet explorer but I finally relented and got in there through that and it worked right away. I'm not sure what's up with that but at least it's done!!  I've got alot of projects pending in my studio and hope to have some decent pictures soon of a dye project I"m in the middle of.
I've got the heat on today in the house, at least for a few hours. However, later this week might turn the air conditioning back on again!! As long as we don't have snow, I think we're going to be ok!!
My view is all closed in again with the trees full of leaves. We won't have a view again on 3 sides of our yard until late fall. As long as you're not claustrophobic this is a great place to live!
I'm going to try to get alot of weaving done today. I"ve already got another warp wound and looking forward to getting it going too....
Until next week, happy weaving!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's All Fiber

  Say "Hello" to Little Marta!!!  Oh yes, she's my precious little Ashford Traditional spinning wheel that came all the way from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to play at my house!
  And, since I'm a novice to this fiber play, I'm getting lots of novelty yarn!  But, I love this new adventure!

  You might recognize Marta and Wally from an older Tuesday Weaver blog.  Marta returned to Santa Fe, and continues to weave and stay in contact when time allows.  A recent email from Marta was the announcement that she was letting her wheel go to a new home.  It came at just the right time!
Since Little Marta was due to arrive on Thursday, Tina schedule my first spinning lesson on Wednesday.  We had lunch and then we got down to business.  She had me on the spindle wheel, which gave me the opportunity to see how spinning really works.  Great idea, Tina!!!
  Then yesterday, Tina brought her Ashford Traditional wheel, and I had lesson #2.
  Here you see Tina fine tuning the tension on my wheel.  Then, we had our very own "Spin-In" in the kitchen.  How fun!!!!
  In fact, we had such a good time, we were thinking this might make a good TW retreat this summer.  We could even include some Kool-Aid dyeing in the afternoon.  What do you think????  Bring a wheel, or come and learn to spin.  A fiber day....imagine that!!!!
  Tina brought me a LARGE ball of roving (did I get that term correct?) to continue practicing my spinning.  I'm thinking that I will take Sharon's advice and spin for a bit every morning.  Practice, practice, practice!!!!

  My daughter, sister and I had a fiber day on Sunday afternoon.  We each had a crochet project to work on while we chatted away.  My sister is using my favorite hat pattern for chunky yarn (or two strands held together.)
  She is starting to make chemo-comfort hats to donate.  I had a lot of peaches & cream yarn left over from the mug rug class, and I tried out one of her patterns.

 (Sorry, I don't have a head I used a cone of mop cord.)  I even crocheted my first flower!!!!  She can add this to her collection to donate. 
  Fiber does that to you, don't you think?
  Or is that the love of fiber????
  Either way, it's so nice to be with folks who see the endless possibilities.  And, we join a long thread through the ages of people who created with fiber.

  I've got some weaving ideas that are percolating, too.
It never ends, does it????

Have a great weekend, and
Happy Weaving (spinning, knitting, crocheting, etc....)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Simpler is Better!

This week I finally got the 12/3 warp re-threaded for a much simpler design.  I had started with this design, which was nice, but it just seemed too busy for me!  It set my mind to re-threading, and so I did, a couple of times, but I got it right!   I basically took out the center patterns and substituted twill.  It makes a cool pattern as I kept the three twill changes.  I started weaving the pattern in white, I thought it would be pretty, but I couldn't see the design!  I switched to a darker weft to do a pattern check.

If you don't count the treadling error, everything was great! I switched back to white and started my towel/napkin not sure which yet!   After an inch of plainweave, I began to envy Carol and her yards of plainweave fabric, and I thought of my favorite towels from the store, simple plain weave, then I thought, why not!  I have hundreds of yards of this warp, let's take a look!

Isn't it beautiful, almost serene!  I say that for today, the fancy stuff can wait, simpler is better! 

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just for the Huck of It

This guy's going to Cindy's for a fried chicken dinner.  Yum!
Now that I have your attention with the pineapple upside down cake--no drooling on the keyboard, please!--I will explain my title.  As related last week, I was about to start working on Big Bertha, truly another set of B words.  My, she is large!  But my first project seems much smaller.  Seems, I say because I chose some Huck lace napkins from May/June 2011 Handwoven, Dotted Swiss Huck Lace.  They're so pretty!  And the thread is quite fine, 20/3.  It takes 551 threads for a measly 12 1/2" napkin!  Wooooo!  I wound half of the threads yesterday.  I need to move 200 heddles onto shaft one next week because the half of the design comes from shaft one.  Should be interesting!
  And on the home front, I cut off the first lace panel, destined for the front door, and began rethreading for the two side windows.  I chose the Huck Lace Sampler from the Weaver's book on huck lace, with the lace border treadling.  But it won't be a border; it'll be an all-over design.  If I like it, that is.
I've been knitting a lot, too.  These socks are for me, and I could have used them today.  I can't seem to get warm!  They also have lace in them, between the cables, but it's more of the yarn over, knit two together variety.
It's been too wet today to garden, but the front yard is coming along nicely without my help.  My azaleas are nowhere near as gorgeous as Carol's, but I do like the color.  They have some health problems, which means they'll get pruned as soon as they've finished blooming.  The climbing hydrangeas on either side of them are flourishing, but have no flower buds yet.  I wonder how many years before they start to flower?
  The beds on either side of the front walk are popping out with all kinds of color.  Well, mostly pink and purple, but still nice.  The sweet william seeds I planted last year have take off and are lovely.  Lantana isn't supposed to be perennial, but the pink ones from last year didn't get that memo.  A lot of flowers have yet to bloom but are getting ready.  I learn more about gardening in the south every year, and believe me, it's quite different from the desert southwest!  
So, I hope you'll follow me along with my obsession with huck lace!  It's the current bright shiny thing in my studio.  We'll see how long it takes for me to be over it!
Happy weaving!