Thursday, May 31, 2012

A little help from my friends …. and for my friends

On Tuesday, Luann posted pictures of my “Kentucky Mountain” Log Cabin rug. I am very excited about it – the next step in creative rug making. It is fun to see how you can do new and interesting structures on a 200 year old loom. To get to the point of actually weaving though I needed help from my friends. You may remember a month or so ago that I wound about 1/5th of my warp with white instead of natural. I did not think that I could explain the bright white in the warp as a “design element.” It took at least 4 different Tuesday Weaver friends (Carol, Trudy, Maggie, Kaylee, ?) to help me unwind so that I could change that warp thread.

Kentucky Mountain Rug 
For those of you who haven't been to the Appalachian Arts Craft Center in Norris where we weave every Tuesday, you need to understand that we work in rather cramped quarters. My big old barn loom sits between a storage case and “big Bertha,” the loom that Maggie is warping. There is may be 25 inches from my cloth beam to the storage shelves and maybe 30 inches to Maggie's space. This means that I end up getting into fairly cramped positions to wind on a warp. So to help get my 400+thread warp wound on, the Tuesday Weavers (Maggie, Tina, Luann) came to the rescue. Now, I am weaving and showing off – but I couldn't have done it without “a little help from my friends.” ( I don't know why there is an exposure problem with this photo - darn blogger)

On the home front I am weaving a “tartan” throw for my daughter as a graduation gift. I say “tartan” because it didn't come from the book of tartan patterns. She and I designed the colors and the repeated pattern. I started weaving on it about three weeks ago. I knew it needed to be woven in a twill structure but I didn't think it looked right. I talked with Lanny at the center the following Tuesday and he straightened me out on how I should be treadling 1-4, 1-2, 2-3, 3-4. Not only did it look better - it was an easier tie-up for my Cambridge counter balance loom. He also talked to me about managing my selvages, my color changes, and consistency of beat.

My Daughter's Throw
Two years ago, the Tuesday Weavers were part of a project at the Knoxville Museum of Art. They were part of an ongoing weaving demonstration. I was too much of a novice at the time to get involved. The designer of the exhibit instructed the many weavers (lots of folks beyond our group) about how she wanted it done – consistent beat – using a temple – things like that. In my memory – I could be totally off here – Luann told me that the expectation in that work was to throw the shuttle – beat – change the shed – beat again – then throw the next shuttle. Anyway, as I have tried to figure out a way to beat consistently and make my tartan squares close to "square" I have remembered that idea. So I am trying to be consistent – throw-beat-shift-beat-throw. I am close to square and I am mostly consistent. I am pleased with the graduation gift I am weaving – but I couldn't have done it without “a little help from my friends.”

The other side of the equation is that I often look on my weaving time as prayer time. Several weeks ago, a friend put a message on facebook that said something to the effect of “Share some warmth, love, and healing for all in need. Remember your friends – so many are dealing with difficult life situations. Some you know about - some you don't – just send supportive thoughts toward your friends and family.” Thinking about my friends – sending warm thoughts – holding them in my heart – is, in my world view, prayer. I do a lot of that when I ball yarn, wind warps, thread heddles, throw the shuttle. I can look at projects I have worked on in the past and remember the crisis I held in my heart as I worked on it. So when I weave – "a little help for my friends."

Be well,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

 What a crazy day off yesterday was!  I was getting ready to mow the grass, and had let Leo and Bella out with me to check things out first.  I was down on the sidewalk, and Leo was up on the slope above me, when I noticed two puncture wounds protruding from a bald, swollen circle on his chest.  I screamed, scooped him up, ran inside, threw him into the nearest pet carrier and ran out to the car.  I got to the vet's before the vets got there!
  When the technician teared up when she looked at him, I lost it.  I cried and tried not to, but Leo has seen me through the toughest times in my life thus far, and I've seen him through a few rough patches of his own.  He means a lot to me, and I'd like to have him around a lot longer.
Eeewwww! 6 stitches and a drain!
  I had to leave him there, but they called me when he went into surgery, called me again when he came out, and were kind and helpful when I picked him up.  He was a bit woozy and slow on his feet, but was able to work around his Elizabethan collar to get a drink.  Did you know that's what those upside down lampshades are called?  I laughed at that part of the bill, but not that one costs $20.
  He's being very clingy, but still wants to go outside.  I was hoping his unpleasant adventure would teach him otherwise, but he's a slow learner.
  Today, I drove to Cookeville to meet up with Dana and Matt.  Dana's mother passed away last week, and she was in Cookeville to help her dad deal with everything.  Matt has been asked to come back to Nashville to be the chef at Marche in East Nashville.  Do whatever you believe to be most powerful and wish with me that he'll accept the offer!  San Francisco is simply too far away, and unlike Tony Bennett, I have never left my heart there.  Matt is ready but Dana is reluctant, and I have every fiber in my being hoping to sway her into giving in.
  Mom and I got to Cookeville too early for lunch so we were told to go to the nursery down the road until Matt was ready.  Twist our arms!  I found the first rose to go into my planned rose garden, a climber called Joseph's Coat.  It's fragrant and beautiful, but I got home too late and too tired to plant it.  I will try to get it into the ground tomorrow, along with the Gardenia I bought as well.
  On the work front--no, no weaving this week!--I came up with a lovely early summer dessert that I wanted to show off.  It's a raspberry cornmeal pudding cake with poached rhubarb, rhubarb gelee and caramel corn ice cream sitting on caramel corn.  It's so yummy, and I have to say, I think it's rather pretty!
  Enjoy the not-quite-summer weather, and have a lovely week!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Last Tuesday in May!!!

  Oh my....time sure flies when you're having fun!!!  And, today was no exception!  The weavers arrived and got to work on their projects...all the while catching up on all the news!
  By the way, lots of good, healing thoughts go out to Maggie's kitty, Leo!  It seems that he had an encounter with another critter.  Maggie was at home waiting to hear more from her vet.  Hopefully he'll get to come home this afternoon for some TLC and a good rest.

Ann got the treadles tied under the loom, and got to work on her log cabin rug. 

It's amazing what you can do with a two shaft loom.   You can just see where she has started the switch in the pattern.  What a great pattern!!!


Cindy was busy winding a new warp back at the board while Eiko worked on her first warp.
  She got to hemstitch again today...she'll be a pro before long!!!

  Lanny's scarf warp is looking great!!!  Those colors look so nice together!  And, Pat is almost to the end of the warp on her loom.  Wonder what will be next????

Carl gathered more cloth for the stripes in his rug.  This will be a true rag rug!!!
  Ms. Ila wove today withOUT glasses!  Oh yes!  She is really enjoying NOT wearing her glasses anymore!!!  Did you know her eyes were that BLUE????

It happened this afternoon!  Roz got to cut off her warp!
  It's so much fun to roll out the complete warp to see all the pieces.

  And, I cut off my warp of mug rugs!!!!  There were twelve snail trail/cat track mug rugs in all.

  Ms. Pat had such a good time last week, that she came back to the Center today with Tina. 

Bonnie found some lovely floral print that was already joined to use in her warp.  This should just about finish it.

  And, she brought her blanket that she's been weaving at home.  It is done in "thick and thin" and it took a while to get it finished.  It's soooo soft!!!!

  This has to be my picture of the day!

Yes....I'm watching YOU!!!  
Cindy was working on her loom........

Happy Weaving!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Painted Warp 1

When we painted the warps and skeins a few weeks ago at the center, I had my own projects to work on. I'd wound 2 warps and 3 skeins for each of them. This warp is cotton. I wound it in 3 sections. Then I painted the 2 outside ones together and the center one by itself. I probably should have included a bit of the blues into the center section because it is a pretty stark contrast but I do like the way the colors play off each other. The photo above shows the skein that was a midtone of blues, etc.
 This vest was woven with yellow, orange and reds. I like the way the side panels change color with so much yellow and orange. It's almost like a different warp.
Then the last vest I wove with the darkest colors that I painted onto the skein. The vests will be much nicer than the pictures show. I'm going to have fun figuring out what buttons to put on them!
This warp is woven, cut and waiting in line to be processed. There's a warp or two ahead of it! Family is taking up a fair amount of time right now but I do have the other warp on the loom, just waiting for me to begin to weave on it. That one is bamboo. The colors are warmer, more earthtone, my colors! Hmm, I may have to keep a vest from either that warp or this one. Last time the vest I picked was literally taken off my back. I did get a pair of earrings for it but still....
I've enjoyed these so much that I hope to paint a couple of more warps before summer yet, depending on life!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Weekend Plans

And, so it begins!  The official start to our summer...Memorial Day Weekend!
  The pool is open, and we have plans to grill out later today after my kids arrive.  This is a weekend for outdoor activities and family.
  But, you can't stay outside in this heat all day!!!

  I've got the yarn spun for my sister's fiber project...we are having a crochet-along this weekend!

  I got to use my new Country Spinner to create this yarn.

  Yes, Tina and I went back to The Spinnery in Gatlinburg on Wednesday and picked this little jewel up...along with a 2 yard niddy noddy.  That's Nancy on the left....we had a great time playing with the Spinner.  I showed her how I'm spinning thrums into the fiber to create my art yarn.  It has a huge bobbin, so you can spin a lot of yarn! 


  I started on my triangle shawl already.  I wanted to test drive the yarn and the pattern before my sister got here!!!  This is the yarn I spun using some of Carol's thrums...and it's working up very nicely!

With the addition of the wheels to the forest of looms in my living room, my great-niece decided that she needed to know how to spin, too.  After practicing just treadling the wheel, I gave her some yarn to play with at the wheel.  It's a good way to get the feel for the take up on the wheel.  (I'm going to bring up the table loom later for still has the warp for mug rugs from the class in Townsend.  She can weave a few mug rugs while she's here, too!)

And, not to be out done, my sister introduced her granddaughter to crochet.  You have to learn to make a chain first, and she worked on that the rest of the evening.  Even with all the fiber goodness, she even took time for a night-swim last evening.  It's so relaxing under the stars....except when the local raccoon decided to investigate.  An uninvited guest!!!! 
So...let's get this party started!  We're running a few errands this morning, and then it's pool time!!! (and grilling and spinning and weaving and crocheting, etc......)
Happy Weaving!

Friday, May 25, 2012


I had planned to post about all the stuff I have woven this week, but something happened last night that took that right out of my head.  I had posted some months ago about my Great Wheel's wheel being in the shop to fix some loose spindles, some so loose they would fall out!  Well the wheel came home last evening.

My woodworking friend did a marvelous job, and he asked me some questions about how the whole thing worked.  Of course, I was more than happy to give a demonstration!

She spins like a dream!  I have decided to name her Lizzie, after the woman who used her more than a century ago.  I have to name her because I now have another Great Wheel, that I am putting together from random Ebay auctions.  (Those pieces are in Alans workshop for some repairs.)  I posted about that wheel on my Farmsteadstudio blog.

Isn't she a beauty! I am so glad, I was hoping that she would be back before our Spin-in the last Saturday in June.

On the weaving front, I plan to empty 2 looms by next Wednesday.  I am not far from that happening, really, maybe 1 baby blanket on one loom and maybe 2 or 3 napkins on the other.

I need to put on a custom order for 10 bread cloths with a Leno lace insert, of course, I will put on enough for at least 20 and do a Swedish lace insert on the others.  I love a loom controlled lace!  Much easier on my hands!  Never a dull moment around here!

Until next time, Happy Weaving and Spinning, Tina

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Where Did the Day Go?

Today was a lovely day off, full of day-off kind of things, like laundry, a hair cut, lunch out with Mom and a nap.  I have nothing accomplished to show you, no new weaving or knitting.  I did crochet this morning, and that certainly would have been something to show, since I really don't like to crochet.  It was necessary crocheting, a repair to my piano teacher's great grandmother's table cloth.  Jeannine, my piano teacher of endless patience, asked me to fix the table cloth's holes at least two years ago.  Every time I saw the table cloth in a to-do bin, I'd quickly push past it, the unpleasantness of crocheting rising in my mind.  I'm about to take a long sabbatical from piano lessons, though, and I am not sure I will go back after her summer break, if at all.  I love playing the piano, but work has been almost all-consuming this past year, and if I practice, it's for fifteen minutes every few days at the most.  All my weekly lessons make me feel is guilty, having to explain each week why I don't practice.  So, I repaired the table cloth, returned it to its rightful owner and lost one more piece of guilt!  Or two...
  Tomorrow is another lovely day off, with gardening on the agenda, and maybe a little weaving. Here at Kittywompus Cottage, everyone is winding down from a busy day of napping and eating, and I think I'll do the same.  Have a wonderful fiber-filled week!  Happy weaving!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What Visitors See

Visitors to the shop upstairs can hear us downstairs!
We are NOT quiet!
We had several visitors that wandered down the steps to see what was going on, and here are some of things that they saw.
Dye Day results:  look at the colorful warps!!!!

   Tina brought Ms. Pat to spend the day with us.  After the grand tour, Ms. Pat took over cutting up some work shirts.  We'll put you to work!!!!

    Cindy brought her finished napkins....they are study in mixed twills!!!!!
Ann is through threading the heddles, and now she's pulling them through the reed.

  When Lanny throws the shuttle, he THROWS the shuttle!!!!
  I think I heard it hit the floor a couple of times today!!!!  He really gets into weaving!

Christy was hard at work on her Inkle loom.  (Be sure to click on the picture to see the beautiful design of her bookmark!)

Carl is working on another rug back on the barn loom.  Don't you just love the way that print fabric plays under the warp!!!

These are the stripes that Linda is adding to the place mats on her loom!

  Now that Andy has the tangles out of that warp, and it's safely threaded....weaving has begun!

  Allan is going to town on those bread cloths!

  Someone asked today, "What do you get out of this?"
Well, besides lots of weaving advice and ideas, we also get a lot of fiber friends.  Life is good!

Happy Weaving!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Biscuit Festival

I belong to the Art Market Gallery which is a co-op of artists in Knoxville. We have a shop downtown with about 65 members. I have to work there about once a month. So, a couple of months ago, one of our members decided that we should have a booth at the International Biscuit Festival which was Saturday. I volunteered to help her. As always, it turned out to be just the 2 of us doing the whole thing.  I took a few shots of our booth before things got crazy. This was  before 8am yet....

With outside shows like this, we didn't have to worry about having drapes down to the floor, etc. It was just a one day show and no one cared if our boxes showed!
 While we were getting ready, who should I see walk across the park near our booth? Our own Maggie taking something to their booth.
There were alot of people downtown Saturday, alot of biscuits!! and the weather wasn't bad. The paper said that there were 20,000 people at the show. Not everyone brought their dogs...
We were in a nicely shaded area and didn't feel the heat til about 3. We were able to pack up about 4 so it turned out to be a pleasant day. With just the 2 of us at the booth, there wasn't time to go around and see any of the booths, the biscuits, or the many things to sample.  But, we had fun. Just decided that next time we need at least one more person to spell us......
Until next week.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In transition and a bit upside down and backwards

My Living Room - on a normal day

Last year when I bought by Cambridge floor loom from fellow Tuesday Weaver Linda Baldwin I thought a lot about where I wanted to place the loom. My husband and daughter both suggested the basement. But the basement has few small windows, little natural light, low ceilings, and is out of flow of family life. I opted for the living room – right in the middle of the life of the house and with windows looking out into our large front yard. Unlike many families we actually use our living room – my husband reads there, my daughter studies there and I do my journaling and reflecting there. Now I weave there, too.

Proud family
This weekend my daughter graduated from High School. 

To celebrate she wanted to have a dinner party with family friends. In order to seat more than 10 people for dinner we turn the house upside down and backwards. Our living room becomes our dining room and our dining room becomes our living room. And of course the loom is in the midst of the family event. 
My living room in celebratory mode

Old family friends were fascinated. After dinner, I just had to demonstrate how to weave. While I was explaining how a loom works, how to create a twill pattern, and how a loom is warped kitchen fairies did most of the dishes (a wonderful surprise!)

On the loom is one of my daughter's graduation presents. It is a study throw. It is my first attempt at a tartan. I know most people experiment with learning to weave tartans on small scarves – me...I go for a 40 inch wide throw. I am still learning how to beat properly so that I end up with square blocks. I think about getting compulsive about it then my daughter says, “Like that really matters to me.” I have enough for two throws. Maybe I will have it more under control when I get to the second one. I asked her what she wanted me to do with the second one – thinking she might want to give it to a friend. She said that she would like to leave the second one at home so that she knows that we have it when she is away from us.

Please look at the second photo of the throw. Don't look at the lack of perfection of the weave but instead at the note on top of the cloth.

On one of my kitchen cabinets
 Our house is filled with these tiny notes. Instead of heading directly to college my daughter is taking a gap year and will be going to live in Japan for 11 months as a Rotary Exchange Ambassador. She will live with three families during her time there and will attend high school. To prepare for her adventure in Japan she is working with a tutor. Together they are working on both language and culture.

Yes my life is busy, in transition and a bit upside down and backwards. In the midst of all of that I weave.

Be well,