Sunday, September 30, 2012

Trying to Live with Intention and Joy

Today is the last day of September. It has been months since I have blogged. It seems that every week I have blogging on my to do list and then I get through a busy Thursday and realize that yet again I have come to the end of the day and don't have the energy to blog.

September Sunrise

I try to remember that I am a weaver out of enjoyment not commitment, I weave because it brings me pleasure and not because I have to do it to pay the rent. That goes for the Tuesday Weaver community and the blog. I show up because I want to (when I am in town) and I write because I want to. When it gets to be an obligation then I should probably find another creative outlet. That is not to say that I am not committed to the people who make up the Tuesday Weavers – they are a great group and wonderful individuals – I am there for them, too – because I want to be. It is about intention.

As we move in to the craft fair season, I need to keep all of this in perspective – I weave for fun. I know there are others of you who do this or want to do this as a significant part of your livelihood. I will be there to support and have fun but I need to remind myself not to over commit myself in the process or suddenly it will be an obligation. I have enough of those.

So here I am finally blogging – because I have slowed down long enough to remember to do it – on a Sunday. It isn't my day – but it is a free day on the schedule – at least last I knew.

So where am I and what am I doing. I am in Northern Michigan – looking out over beautiful Lake Charlevoix.

The View from in Front of the Cottage
The Cottage in the Glow of the Sunrise
Thursday's Sunrise
I have been here on and off for over 8 weeks since the middle of June. The first 5 weeks were work. I was President of a resort community and worked my tail off. This trip – 3 weeks in September and October - is purely down time and I have been very gentle with myself about making commitments to do much of anything.

But in the midst of managing staff and getting new Bylaws written and approved this summer I did get some weaving done. I have done a little so far this trip,too.

Just before I came up in June, I purchase a used rigid heddle loom. I knew that it would be easy to transport but more important easy to hide in a closet in my family cottage. In July, I wove three table runners for my daughter to take as host gifts in Japan. I tried a variation on what we at the center call Ellen's pattern. They are simple and basic – American – I thought. Two of the runners were packed in her suitcase – the third ready to ship mid October. The first host mother loved hers – my daughter will move in a couple of weeks – her next host mother will get the second one. I now understand that she may stay with as many as 6 host families – I guess I had better get weaving more table runners.

Prepping shuttles on the porch

Weaving on the porch

One of the table runners

Log Cabin Scarf

This trip I have woven a scarf. Trying to stretch my use of the rigid heddle I decided to do a variation of a log cabin structure. I used wool from a local fiber mill, Stonehedge Fibers in East Jordan. It is about 10 miles from the cottage. The colors are subtle and the pattern interesting but not over the top – I think I will like it when I get it wet finished at home. It will be very warm.

At the end of July there is a Fiber Festival at Castle Farms – an event venue about a mile from the cottage. Having completed my club obligations I treated myself to several hours at the festival. I talked to many vendors and touched lots of beautiful stuff. One vendor was selling rigid heddle looms. She had a her demo loom warped with a beautiful mohair shawl. Ooh, and then in the next room there was a vendor with beautiful mohair. Yes, I bought some – in two colors. I am ready to wind the warp this evening.....after I take a long afternoon walk on this beautiful Northern Michigan fall day.

From my walk...

The road behind the cottages

The road up from the beach

I will be back  - really I will - in a little over a week.

Be well, Ann

Friday, September 28, 2012

Better Days!

Last week I complained about spinning my wheels too much, and I wasn't talking about my spinning wheels!  I finished that post and true to my word, I went to the treadle sewing machine and did some of the finishing work that I so desperately needed to do.  Done are the placemats and table runners from the Hollywood warp, woven sooooo many months ago.  In fact, I got them hemmed, and washed all in the same day! ( I still have 12 napkins to hem and wash but that will be for next week.)

I also plied that lovely skein of Merino/silk  I have been bragging about for weeks, here are a couple of pictures, I will let you judge for yourselves.

See what I mean, absolutely smooshy goodness.
It starts with a purply gray, then purple, then blue, then teal.  I am not sure what in the world I am going to do with it.  I will take it on Tuesday to show everyone, and to pick some brains!  (even though you are reading this on Friday, I am writing in on Monday evening.  We are going to take one more camping trip this weekend, and Lou Ann said that she would post it for me!  Just call us crazy!)
I love how even this looks, if the truth were to be told, it is mostly fingering weight, with some slightly thicker bits, and the purple is probably light fingering. I ended up with 440 yds, enough for a scarf or a very skinny shawl!

Today (Monday) I decided to do inventory in preparation for the Museum of Appalachia Fall Homecoming.  We are going to have a booth this year, we will have stuff from the Appalachian Arts Craft Center where we weave on Tuesdays, and individual weavers will be able to ply their wares as well!

That means taking inventory, printing tags  and I printed some business cards while I was at it.  There were several pieces that were finished just not on the books yet, like the runners and placemats from the Hollywood warp.  I have my own inventory system, but we also will have another numbering system for this show.  Other items I have decided to label separately instead of in pairs, for example mug rugs and placemats.
I also got the main inventory binder together.  I needed pages to list the items, and section dividers to separate the different weavers inventory.  We will start this week getting things tagged for the show.

 My finished items are packed and ready to go!  Now, I will just need to add on anything else I manage to finish within the next two weeks.  I think it was a good plan, I feel like I was really able to make a difference in my stress level.

I will hem those napkins next week, as well as finish the custom bread cloth order I am working on, and I may try to get a couple of those done for this show.  If I don't, there is another show coming up in November that they will go to.

There was lots to keep me busy today (Monday) and the next two weeks are going to fly by as well, we will let you know how the show goes when it is all said and done!

Until next week, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Grandmother's Table

LA, Carol and Joyce
  My Grandmother had a beautiful dining room set in mahogany Queen Anne style.  As children, we were supposed to keep our fingers off of the table so we wouldn't leave smudges on its polished surface.  When we were packing up Grandmother's house, my sisters and I had a moment of rebellion and we left lots of smudges on that table.  That set went to my older brother's house for awhile, and now I'm keeping it until my sister has room for it. 
  I didn't know until I had the table under my roof that the table also has two leaves that extends the table to 80 inches!  It comes in very handy when the whole family is over OR the Tuesday Weavers are here for potluck.

My box arrived on Monday.

  I had decided to buy a rigid heddle loom to use for scarves and demonstration.  It's a lot easier to take a RH loom when you've got a lot of other stuff to take along, too.  And, I wanted one with all the parts and the directions.
  Once again, my woodworking skills were called into play.  But, thank goodness, I did not need to use a drill!!!!

And, wouldn't you know, the first thing I needed to do to start dressing this loom would be "Use a long table."


"Clamp the back rail of the loom to the table."
"Clamp the warping peg to the other end."

CLAMP?  On my Grandmother's table???????

  It was either use Grandmother's table, or rig up something with the kitchen table.

You guessed it.  I used folded napkins and place mats to protect the wood from the clamps, and forged ahead.

Let me just say that these directions were delightful.  I had intended to follow them to the letter, but I wanted to use some of my art yarn in this scarf.  It went very well, I think.

The warp got wound on the back beam and I got the holes threaded without any difficulty.
  Then it was time to weave.

  The art yarn was chenille, ladder ribbon and narrow satin ribbon spun together.  The warp is just black chenille.

  The back beam has a notch cut out so you can rest it on a table while you weave (the kitchen table this time!) and the front can rest in your lap.  Biscuit even curled up beside me as I wove last night.

I'm not sure what Grandmother would say about me using this beautiful table to dress this loom!  But, the results are going to be worth it, I think.

Nan and Suzanne

Liz and Miriam


The mug rug class last Saturday was too much fun!
These new weavers took off like rockets, and never looked back.  They are ready for new adventures in weaving!

Now, I need to take off like a rocket and get some things done around here!  There's lots of weaving I need to finish up and I have a cranky serger that needs some TLC.
Happy Weaving!
p.s.  I'm getting used to the new's tricky getting the pictures and text exactly where I want them!!!! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


During long formal dinners, we serve an intermezzo, a light, palate-cleansing course.  I've finished my large square shawl, bound off the silk shawl, can't seem to face the Weftie-bent lace warp and have had enough of the double weave sampler.  I need something light and palate-cleansing!
  Ah, yes!  This scarf is just the ticket!  It's more of the Mango Moon sari silk yarn.  It's lumpy, bumpy, colorful and very hard to take seriously.  I'm knitting it on big needles, with a loose lacy pattern.  It'll keep me warm on chilly days this winter, more so because of its vibrant colors.
 The beading is still chugging along, also light and easy, though it takes a while to see progress.  It's a great project to do while listening to the radio.
the sampler so far

 The double weave project keeps bugging me to finish it.  I'm up to the part of Jennifer Moore's book to start the pick up design, but a threading error that didn't matter during the rest of the sampler has started to bug me.  See where the two yellow threads bump up against each other?  I finally cut it off today to fix it.  It looks as though I have two consecutive 1's in the yellow that's throwing the pattern off.   As soon as I have the threading error fixed, I'll start the pick up portion, try her pattern for a while, then try designing some of my own.  The warp is a bit longer than I'd like, so I guess I'll have to make the most of it and make some pick-up pattern bags.
  In the meantime, I've done the math for the big version of Lee's Surrender, my next project at the Center.  One of the reasons I want the double weave project off Nancy is to try the Blooming Leaf and border sections of Lee's Surrender as scarves on Nancy.  Great Christmas gifts, and a chance to try out the pattern before going large on Big Bertha!
  And I've already picked out my first project on the Tools of the Trade loom, coming home with me soon!  I'd like to thread her up with one of  the 8-shaft twill patterns from Carol Strickler's book, the ones where you can thread once and treadle many ways for different patterns.  Now, what shall I name her?  Or is it a him?  Help me decide!  Until then, Happy Weaving!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gettin' Busy!

It was like this all day....busy, busy! 
Pat was already winding more warp for Carl's loom when we arrived this morning (and no, we were NOT late!)

There were stacks of fabric and wool skirts on the tables that were donated to the Center.  They will be taken apart and cut into strips for rugs and place mats.

As soon as Pat had it chained off the mill, Carl got busy at the barn loom.

Carl likes to sley the reed and thread the heddles before he winds the warp on the warp beam.

Eiko waited until this morning to cut off her warp of place mats.  There were 10 on this warp!  Maggie arrived weaving her Mango Moon shawl....she was admiring the colors of Eiko's warp!

Andy is weaving another shawl while Bonnie was finishing up another bamboo shawl on the dyed warp.

  Lanny got busy with his scarf warp while Allan stops by for a chat.  Bonnie and Andy just kept on weaving away!!!
  Liz came down to say "Hi" and show off her gift that she chose:  one of Lanny's scarves!

Barbara and Shirley were hard at work at their looms.  Barbara brought a little light to help her out with the threading.  (Smart!!!)  Carol was busy giving weaving tips to Marie.

After lunch, Allan brought us up to date from the Board Meeting for the Center.  Until Liz's position is filled, two of the members will be doing her job.  We had 16 weavers today....

  Since the Fall Homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia is only two weeks away, Linda, Tina, Pat and I took a quick trip over to the Peter's Cabin.  We needed an idea of what we needed to bring to set up for the event.  We'll be using the porch and the main room in the cabin.

I think our woven goods will look great!!!

Now, we all need to get busy and make sure we have plenty to sell!!!

Have a great week!
Happy Weaving!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Here's hoping.....

I know you're been waiting with "baited breath" to hear about my washing machine! It's been such a saga!! I had to leave weaving last Tuesday by 1:30 to get home to let the newest repairman in. Was this the 6th visit or the 7th? Thank goodness I'd paid for the extended warranty on the poor thing!!  I didn't think there was anything else they would replace on it. It just kept banging as it would spin, literally, the whole thing would shake and then stop so it was hard to get a load finished, even with playing with the dials.
So, a new guy. He looked on the computer at everything they'd done and he asked if they'd replaced the suspension rods. I said, yes, I'd been told that was done several visits ago. He took the inner tub out, checked all kinds of stuff and then replied that, well, these are the original rods in here. What someone had done was add a kit to make it spin quieter. Quieter? Give me a break!!! I wasn't complaining about it being loud. I was complaining about it quitting!!! So he changed the suspension rods and lubricated a few things in there while he was at it.
I like this guy!!
As he left he said, see you. I replied, hope not! We both laughed. He left. I've done about 4 loads of laundry. So far it's been wonderful, not a hint of the banging noise.....hopefully this is it!! I have to baby this machine because it has the warm rinse cycle that weavers like to have. Even if I can't get hot water in there any longer, I have the warm that helps wet finish my handwovens!! I do hope that this is the end of the saga!!
So what have I been weaving? I did a warp of black with accent yarns that give it a little sparkle and interest. There'll be a couple of tops and some vests from this warp!
 I also finished Charlie Brown. I machine quilted it. It's about 60 x 70. I was hoping to give it to my mother in law this past weekend but that didn't work out.
 The front looks good but I had trouble with layering it to avoid puckers in the back. Even taping it down to the table didn't seem to help enough at one spot. However, no one will see the back, right? The back is the dark green with the poor Christmas tree on it.
I know she's going to love it and, when she's tired of it DD wants it. Who couldn't love Charlie Brown?!

Our other saga continues. My fluorescent lights are out in my studio. It's been a week since the electrician was to call back about when he'd come fix them. For now I've raided my booth lights to clip on at strategic places so I can get some work done at least! It's less than a month til my next show and I've got to get some work done. Isn't it always something? I guess we've been fortunate that we haven't had problems with any of this before now. It's just the timing that's so crummy. If it was after this next show, I wouldn't care nearly as much. I guess we get a bit panicky before a deadline.

That's it from here. I'm heading down to weave for several hours. Then I think I'll take a break to go to Kohl's. I've got some Kohl's bucks that I don't want to waste! Maybe some new pillow cases to go with the Aussie quilt I made for our bed...hmm, something to think about while I'm throwing the shuttle!
Until next week.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Begins

  Summer is over...officially.  The family came over last Saturday for the last swim day before I closed the pool.  We swam and grilled and celebrated a great day to be together.
  Now, it's back to my regularly scheduled life.
  I took my poor excuse for a jig to the Center on Tuesday and showed my lack of drilling skills to Allan.  He took the dowels and my little board home with him to fix.  Tuesday afternoon he was ringing the doorbell with this little gem. (Allan is now my official HERO!)  So, in the meantime, I've been practicing my square knots.  This site recommended tying the square knots with surgeon's knots to make them stronger.  Since there will be lots of pressure on the knots, I think that might be a good idea.
  One thing for sure, it is easier to tie them with carpet warp....linen tends to want to I need to be very careful!!!!

  On my way to the Center yesterday to take the looms for today's class, I stopped by Clinch River Yarn Company.  (   I have used up all of my tiny mohair that I like to use in the art yarn.
  It does help having a specific item in mind before I go in a shop like Clinch River or I'll end up with LOTS of fiber goodness!!!!  I found this lovely mohair blend with bling!!!!  How perfect!!!  I wish I had had this black to make the yarn for my chenille would have added an extra level of loveliness!!!

  My basket is full of the stuff I need for today's class.  I revised the handouts and stamped new bags for the finished mug rugs.  Fabric balls were added to the stash and shuttles were rounded up for the class.
  I packed my lunch.....all I need to do now is get dressed and drive to the Center.  Another day of throwing the shuttle with new weavers. is good!!!!
Enjoy your Fall day!
Happy Weaving (and all other fiber goodness!)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Spinning my Wheels!

There are some days and even weeks where it seems that all is conspiring to keep me from the looms,  today was one of those.  I had just finished posting on my own blog, (farmstead studio), when I got a call from Dear One, he needed me to go get a master cylinder and brake fluid for the Rav4, and have it on hand so that when our friend came to pick up the car, the parts would be ready, Oh, and can I mail that certified letter?

I was pleased to be able to lend a hand, and I planned to do my errands in a little while anyway, I would tag his errands to mine, right after I posted here.  I soon got a call from our friend who was helping us move cars around, he wanted to know if I was home and could he pick up the car right then.  I told him that I didn't have the parts, but I would take the other car and get the parts, then take them to where the car was going to be worked on, where I would  meet him and bring him back to our house to pick up his car.  Simple enough right!

The trouble is nobody had the part I needed, but O'Reilly's could have it in the store by 1:30pm.  I ordered it and paid for it just in case I was not the lucky one to pick it up.  I took the brake fluid and the receipt for the master cylinder with me and luckily enough our friend has offered to pick up the part and deliver it for me, yay!

It took me so long to track down the parts, that I wasn't able to do my errands and had to go back out to mail the certified letter and to stop by my daughter's house to check on the spinning wheel she is borrowing from me, it isn't working right.  I ended up bringing the wheel home to work on, I am hoping that it just needs oil.  (I may try to get some plying done while it is here, it has such nice big bobbins!)

After I mailed the letter, I checked my emails, and found out that my great Nephew had had his tonsils out the day before and was having a hard time.  I swung by Micky-Ds and picked up a sweet tea for me and a Sundae to take to him, he is only 3 years old, bless him.  When I got to their house however, they were taking a nap, and there I stood with a melting sundae in my hands!  What would you have done?  Yep, I had a very unusual lunch!

That is how today, (and most of the week) has gone.  I wonder why I feel that, if I can't have a whole day dedicated to the studio, then the day is shot and I may as well not even go up there!   I know that it is totally and unbelievably wrong, but I am a bit wired like that.

I am back home again, and in for the rest of the day I hope, and it is 3:30pm.  I am going to get this post up, and then look at the spinning wheel to see if I can get it going, and then either start on some finishing work or go weave.

One thing I have been able to do this week, is to make some headway on that teal shawl I have been making.  The gray one has already been delivered and loved, so I am hoping to get the teal one done and delivered by next Tuesday.

I have made it past the time consuming border and am happily speeding thru the body of the shawl.  I love this color!

Also, an unexpected, but much needed find!  My daughter's in law's were over at her house the other day and saw the e-spinner she had borrowed, they mentioned that they had an electric spinner, and would she be interested in it, she of course said yes.

They brought it over the next week, and she sent me a picture.  She said that she wasn't sure what it was.  I knew immediately that it was an electric bobbin/pirn/spool winder!

I have been looking for one of those for it seems like ages.  I have fiddled with Lou Ann's for ages trying to get it to work, then I borrowed something from the Center that did not work either!

This one is perfect, it runs like a dream, smooth as silk, and very fast!  It is totally adjustable so that I can wind all my bobbins, pirns, spools and even load extra yarn back onto the tubes it came on!    I wonder if the leclerc tensioning attatchment to their winder would work on this one too!

I will be returning Lou Ann's device, and the Centers bobbin winder this week.  Yeah, extra stuff out of the studio!
 You can see the wicked looking pieces that fit on the left side and right side of whatever I am winding, I have a pirn on there in these last 2 pictures.  This is what gives the whole thing stability, nothing can come loose and get all wobbly.
Crazy days, and that lots I should be doing and not much of it getting done, at least not the weaving part.  Maybe today I will fight against my doubting self and go do a little weaving.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Spinning, and Knitting, Tina

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Oh, No! Not a New Hobby!!!

 Miss Etta couldn't believe her eyes tonight when she jumped onto the dining room table, her favorite illegal place to lounge, and found the evidence.  Yes, friends, I've found a new hobby.  It's actually one I've had the stuff for for quite some time.  My very first trip to Asheville netted me the beading loom, but the beads have been accumulating for years.
  There's the quilt I beaded the border around.  It took about a year, but I really enjoyed it.  I bought a few tubes of other colors then, but didn't really get around to using them.  Then, I quilted stamens and pistils on morning glories on another quilt--no photo--and liked that a lot.  I bought some more to embellish a sweater I've never finished.  I seem to like buying beads a lot more than using them.
  So the other day, when I'd had just about enough of knitting white lace, I pulled out the loom. I read the instructions and read The Beading Handbook.  I watched a few really unhelpful YouTube videos.  Then, I plunged ahead.  I tried the Peyote stitch first.  Yeah.  Didn't get too far with that.  How frustrating!  And really, there are NO clear instructions available!

 Then, I warped the loom.  I read the instructions carefully and slowly got started.  I did a few straight lines first, just to get the hang of it, then started a pattern, making it up as I went along.  Leo advised.  Actually, he finally ended up sitting on the loom, right about the time that I was ready to quit for the day.
  This morning before work, coffee nearby, I tried some more, and just had the best time!  It's a little difficult to see such small beads, but I think I'll try moving my lamp near the table, the one I use for warping the floor looms.  That should do the trick.
  Don't ask what I'll use this for!  For now, it's just plain fun, and I won't run out of beads any time soon.  Though, you know, beads are inexpensive, and the loom is small...
  Oh, no!  Not a new hobby!
Happy weaving!