Monday, December 31, 2012

Back to it!

Christmas is a time for family and friends, enjoying each other and relaxing, not working. So that's what I did. I relaxed alot! It's so good to be able to do that once in awhile. 
I did wind a warp and get it on the loom Friday. Not having done that in almost a month, it felt so good!! I got this feeling of security, comfort.  It was the weirdest thing. It was like this is what I was meant to be doing at that time. I loved it!!
We did go to Atlanta to visit DH's family for the weekend and only got back yesterday afternoon. Then one last party last night. That's it for this "party girl"!  Tonight I'm not sure we'll really even notice that it's midnight. DH'll be playing guitar and I'll be reading a magazine or dozing in my chair!
However, the warp is on and ready to go. This is an order. I never just weave one thing so there are 3 jackets and 2 vests on this warp.
 I like the combination of black, blue gray and brick (or cranberry, whichever color you like to name it). It's a breeze to weave and is a fairly cheerful combination. The jacket will be one that can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the mood of the buyer. I like that.
 I've got another warp wound but it's still on the warping board and it's all natural 4/2 cotton. Took forever to wind because I just had the one cone. I much prefer winding 6 or 8 threads at a time!! But, the warp isn't very long so it went fairly quickly and it's ready to go on the baby wolf once this order is woven off.
I've got plans to weave some bamboo scarves with leftover balls of yarn once I get this wolf pup together.
It's sitting at the edge of my studio patiently waiting for someone to cut the cardboard and plastic off and get the heddles out and on her. She's beginning to get into my brain.....she's lonely, right?!! With the holidays over, she's near the top of my priority after I get the order done.
I get to play in January. I don't particularly think about production. I'm going to fill my empty looms and see what I can make that will be great for gifts or sales that aren't my usual clothing. I'm excited about the possibility.
So this is New Years Eve. I guess we're supposed to think about what we've been doing and where we're going from here. I never have made resolutions. I'm happy just doing what I'm doing now and want to continue exploring colors and products that I want to make, quilt a few quilt tops that have been patiently waiting in the wings as well. I sure am never bored in my studio!!
It'll be 2013 when I write again. I hope you each have had a wonderful Christmas and are having a Happy New Year.
Keep doing things that fulfill you and make you happy!!
Until next week, keep weaving!

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Lull in the Action!

Yesterday, I had a few hours by myself at home.  It has been a very busy time of family, food and fun, so I was pleased with this lull in the action.  It was caused by everyone else having something to do and me not having a set of wheels!

I knocked around the house for a few minutes in my PJ's, not exactly sure what I wanted to do. I looked at my Email and the blogs that I like to read.  I drank an extra cup of coffee, mulling it over.   I couldn't get into the Studio because it is jam packed with all the  fiber supplies from the guest room, that had to be cleared out due to guest allergies.  They were not leaving until the next day!  I couldn't spin and I couldn't get to my yarn stash to plan my next knitting project, that stash is all the way in the back half of the Studio!

Then I remembered that I had a project on the little loom on the landing.  It is the Alpaca/Shetland wool Shawl that I put on there a couple of weeks ago.  I had already decided that I was going to use the black Shetland as weft and I had sampled a little bit.  I also had a ski shuttle loaded with yarn already!  I carefully did the unweaving, then wove a couple of picks, leaving enough weft at the beginning to do the hem stitching.  Once the hem stitching was done, I continued and actually got a foot or 2 done before I had to stop for the day.

It is really interesting to use such a different fiber,  I must be careful to weave in such a way as to develop an even loose weave, that I will full lightly once I get the fringe twisted.  I am pleased to finally be using this yarn, and to be trying something new!

I hope to get this shawl woven in a timely manner, I am not always quick on these non production pieces.  However, I just never know when I might find a new product to add to my line!

Now, back to the party!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Looking Forward To Looking Back

.....or maybe that should be "looking back to look forward."  Hummm.......

  Anyway, this is the time of year when we reflect on this past year and plan for the new year.  2012 has certainly been a fiber year for me, although I don't have a lot of woven items to show for it.  Learning to spin took some of my weaving time.
  Two of my teaching endeavors has led to a class that is coming up in January.  We often hear, "I've always wanted to weave."  That has led to little classes that give people the opportunity to weave.  My January class  will be a scarf class to introduce all the steps that go into weaving.  These are the flake cottons that I bought for weft for the scarves.  The students can choose two colors for the warp, and then we're off and running for a day and a half.
  My weaving notebook has several pages of projects I want to weave in 2013.  Some of the projects are for me to learn a new weaving structure, and several are items that I want to weave for the sales next Fall.  And, there are always the old favorites that I enjoy weaving!  (My cousin reminded me at the family get together that she didn't have anything that I had woven!  Uh-oh!!!  This would be a good time to do a set of mug rugs in double chariot wheels!  I've been wanting to try that one.)
  I got the chance to talk with Tina yesterday as we went to Kingston to pick up a loom.  Not only do we weave for the Fall sales, but there are all kinds of things we want to try.  The trick seems to be balance. Getting ready for the upcoming class cuts into my play time....but I do have more than one loom!
  I'll keep looking at my brand new calendar, and I'll pencil in reminders to try that double weave project.....and a little summer-winter project....and a few more that I'm dying to try.
  What's on your calendar for the new year????
Happy Fiber Fun!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve and time's flying by. I didn't do any baking this year. I'm blaming it on flying to Canada for the wedding! I also didn't get any handtowels or placemats woven like I try to do. This year will just be Christmas. No hassle of trying to get things done. Just enjoy the time with family and friends and remember why we celebrate Christmas.
So what would I have to post? There wasn't any "work" done this week since I got home.....just before the storms hit the midwest and Chicago where I changed planes. In fact, I flew out of Regina in the middle of "snow showers". It'd have been enough to stop everything here but up there, no problem. I am becoming such a wuss!!!
 I went through the pictures I took last week and found some that I thought you would enjoy.
See how much better the front of the reception hall looked with 40 plus yards of tulle just bunched up like snow? It was a very nice idea that we were able to use it this way. Now it's all rolled up and ready for the next wedding (which will be a wiener roast if all goes well and she finds someone to marry...)
 These pictures are all in chronological order. The two moms relaxing during the dress rehearsal. Not sure what the hold up was but they were both bushed by this point!! There was so much going on around that time that a moment of calm was just the thing for them!!
 Move on to Saturday morning. The hair dressers got to the house about 5:30am to get all the girls' hair ready. This was taken just before we all headed to the church. B with my Mom, her Grandma. Special times..
 They didn't stick to tradition. The pictures of the couple were taken before the wedding so they did see each other beforehand. My sister and her daughter got a moment to relax before they had to disappear before the wedding started. I liked this picture where they weren't posing.  My sister at this point was nervous because she was going to be walking her daughter down the aisle plus performing with her other daughters a couple of times during the service. My sister has a very good voice and she sang and played piano while her daughters either sang or played flute, etc.
 Before the wedding with her Grandma! C is so much taller than Mom. My poor Mom is now 4 ft 10 or so. She used to be 5 ft 1 inch but no longer. Mom is standing with stable help from C.
 Fast forward to the reception. B had made the cake for her sister. Originally there wasn't going to be a cake but you have to have a cake so B made it for her. Love the little flower girl wanting a slice...Oh, they had great desserts including cheesecake to die for. I'm trying to find out how to either get the recipe or have them ship one to my sister's next summer while I'm up there. It had the perfect flavor, not too strong or cheesy, just right!!
 Toward the end of the reception we finally got a picture of the 3 of us.  I'm glad because we never know how long we'll have Mom with us. We are the 3 musketeers in many ways!!
 Sunday we got the energy to work with the leftover food and the flowers. We put all the flowers that were in the vases together into just a few. My sister was able to enjoy them all week. We left the little flowers in the cracker barrel syrup bottle vases. She just spread them around the living room area . There were 26 of them!
 I liked how she placed them around some pictures on the side board. The picture in the middle is of my brother, me and my "little sister" back in 1958 when we were still living in the Belgium Congo. It's one of our favorite pictures that we have of the 3 of us siblings. Our brother passed away 25 years ago and we still miss him. Our Dad died 10 years ago. He would have enjoyed the wedding, visiting with relatives and regaling the other side's folks with stories of our heritage.

Shifting to Christmas did take a major swing in thought. It's amazing that it's here!! I do hope that later this week I have time to work on some of the projects I need to get done. I'm not sure where the time goes but it certainly flies by!!

So Merry Christmas and enjoy the time you have with family and friends!!
Until next week,

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Preparations!

There has been a lot going on around here.  The Christmas Day meal will be at my house, and we have taken the opportunity to get a few things finished.  Like painting the stairwell that I had started several years ago, spokes and all!  Dear One also got out the saw and finished up some trim that had been left unfinished for just about as long!  To help pass the time, I listened to the Hobbit on the Ipad. I will probably never be able to look at that stairwell without thinking of Bilbo Baggins!  While painting and sawing, and nailing and caulking don't usually go in the Christmas list, it was all very necessary, and a great accomplishment.

Cleaning has also been high on the list, deep cleaning down to the corners, I have uncovered a couple of treasures that have been buried for ages.  Like, for example $100 in a Christmas card and a Panera gift card from last Christmas!  The guest room has gotten particular attention since the guests that are due to arrive on Sunday cannot have any fibery goodness in there at all!  No wool, no drum carders, no spinning wheels, no nothing!  All of that has been transferred across the hall into the main studio, and the door closed tight!  There is the small loom on the landing, but I cannot do a thing about it, it won't fit in the studio!  I will dust and run the sweeper in their room again before they arrive.

Now for the fun part, the more Christmas like, kinds of things.  Today, I will take the turkey out of the freezer and pop that bird into the fridge to start defrosting, tomorrow I will do the same to the ham.  There they will wait until the proper time for roasting.  For the turkey it will be Christmas eve after the Church service, it will roast slowly all night and the tantalizing smell will wake me when it is done..  For the ham it will be late Christmas morning.  I will also be doing the mashed potatoes and gravy on the day, all the family is bringing side dishes and desserts to complete the meal.

 Today is also the day I will make all the cookies.  I plan on a double batch of gingerbread girls and boys, and a double batch of sugar cookies.  We will decorate them tomorrow to help celebrate a granddaughters birthday!  (That family was the first of the travelers to make it home.)  Today is my Birthday, (she missed it by about 3 hours!)  We will celebrate it by meeting for lunch with those that are already in town.  That will be 5 grandchildren, 2 of my children and their spouses, along with Dear One and myself, and who knows who else we can include in the fun!

 This afternoon then, I am going to make up the Cinnamon Rolls, ahead of time, for Christmas morning.  I will let the dough rise, form the rolls and then cover them really good and pop them in the freezer.  I will bring them out of the deep freeze Christmas Eve around the same time I put the turkey in the oven.  They should defrost and have risen just enough to be popped into the oven as the turkey comes out.

We will make our way to my Daughters house by 9am, for breakfast and presents.  Then the rest of the day until 4:30pm we will be in the final prep for the big extended family meal!  I am expecting roughly 35 folks to show up on my doorstep!  That is a lot of  mashed potatoes and gravy!

But that is getting a little ahead of myself, today, all I need to think about is the cookie dough and cinnamon rolls, then lunch with my kids, then get out the cookie cutters, and fire up the oven, here we go!

Until next time, Merry Christmas to all, Tina

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Weather Outside Is Frightful....

.....rainy and chilly...YUK!  They are even calling for possible snow flurries tonight.   That means that there will be a rush at the grocery store, but all I need to pick up is cat food!  This will be fun!

  This strudel arrived earlier from my brother in Texas.  It came from the Naegelin Bakery in New Braunfels.  Oh my!  I can't even begin to tell you how yummy this is!


  Since I need to get those errands ran before the weather gets worse, we thought we'd send Christmas wishes from our house to yours.....

Cece (a.k.a. Miss Congeniality)


Sweetie (my little Manx)

  Biscuit  (always on the hunt)

  and I wish you the very, merriest Christmas ever!!!!

Happy Fiber Fun!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Changing it Up

 I'm sorry to have missed the last Tuesday Weaving of the year!  But sometimes the spirit is willing when the body is not, and I had to listen to my body.  Instead of going to Norris, I cut off the purple and green warp, and then braided the ends of one of the scarves.  Do you know how you can't stop touching or looking at a project once you've finished it?  I keep fondling these scarves! They were so stiff when I cut them off the loom, worse when I washed them, but since they've dried, they're so soft and lush.  Notice how much darker and thinner the one on the top is?  It's the one I wove first, with the tighter sett. the other two are kind of wide for a scarf, but so soft and drapey.  I think their recipients will like them!

The next warp of scarves won't be done in time for Christmas gifts, but I think will be fun to weave.  The red chenille is much thicker than the black, so there's a thread of black bamboo running alongside the black chenille to give it a boost.  This is going to be a Log Cabin, and I'm very excited to get started.  I'm about half done with the heddle threading, and do you notice anything odd?  Yep!  I'm front-to-backing!  I didn't mean to, but I was so excited to get started, I had it set up before I realized it.  It's only 120 threads and nine yards long.  I'm wondering about the sett, maybe too close?  But it's off to the races soon!  I'll just hope for the best.
  It'll be Boxing Day next time I write, so Merry Christmas to everyone and Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

That's All Folks....2012

  It's hard to was the last day we would ALL be together this year!  We do-so love to share our lives and our weaving with each other.

We share little tips about weaving with our friends.  We help folks get warps on their looms.

We problem solve those little uh-oh moments that come up from time to time.

We share special moments with each other....Pat brought the books that were produced by her cousin from her family reunion this summer.  What a wonderful way to preserve the memories!

We tackle special projects together, such as cleaning out the shelves in the hallway.  Sometimes things just get "put" there!  But, it's time to deal with them!  We have to inventory all the looms for insurance purposes, so we might as well clean as we go!

And, sometimes, it just gives you a chance to finish up a project and let all the busy-ness wash around you.  We'll get to start all this again in 2013!

In the meantime, here's our wish for you:

Merry Christmas & a Very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A winter wedding

I flew to Canada for my niece's wedding. We spent the week getting ready for the big event....  I could tell you stories about wrong colors arriving in sashes for bridesmaid gowns and having to alter what the alterations person did.......but I won't. I'm going to show you how beautiful it all is in the end.
So, a winter wedding......walking out to the car to go to the wedding. It was cold but not terrible. The roads are all icy.
 My sister and her 3 daughters. I'm so proud of all of them.
 Nothing more beautiful than a bride in a beautiful gown.
 Grandparents. My Mom on the left and the bride's other Grandma on the right. I like how they were all holding hands. Both Grandmothers have health issues which makes then need walkers or wheelchairs to get around. |Having a bit of help standing for these pictures was awesome!
 We spent quite awhile getting ready for the reception. This wasn't a catered affair. The groom's friends cooked the meal. We got the hall ready for it all. That included putting up the Christmas trees on the stage. I'd shipped my sister a bolt of white tulle. Not on this picture is most of that bolt bunched around those trees, making it look like snow. It was the finishing touch for the front.
 My sister used various sizes of bottles for decoration. We bought bunches of flowers at Safeway and she just put a few in each bottle. There were 12 tables with 4 vases on each table. 2 of them were ones I'd brought with me, the tiny bottles Cracker Barrel uses for syrup. They were perfect for just a tiny flower and bit of baby's breath. That plus candles were placed on each table on a bit of tulle to make it all festive. Once the party was over, we brought them all home and put them into bigger vases to decorate the house.
 This morning I looked out at a bit of hoar frost. It just looks cold. Notice the cord on the rear mirror of the van. That's used to plug into the car when it's cold, to keep the motor warm. Also, look how cold the cars look. The van isn't used in winter so it's the perfect place to store extra food that doesn't fit into the freezer. It's the perfect storage space. My sister recently had to get a new washer and dryer. The dryer still worked and she's going to sell it. However, right now it's on the back porch. If you put a box on the bottom, inside the dryer, it's also a perfect place to store food. Nothing gets into it especially since the food we put in there is sealed in a container. You do what you have to do....
So the wedding is over. I'm hoping to fly out on Tuesday unless there's another snow storm. My sister is ready to crash for awhile. One of her other daughters has already declared that she is going to have a wiener roast for her wedding reception whenever she gets married.  I hope it's in summer.
I'm ready to fly back to East Tennessee where we don't see this much snow in several years.
U|ntil next week.....hoping to get a warp on my loom before next Monday!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Nice Small Warp!

One of my friends has ordered  12 Hand Towels for next Summer.  She then texted me to see if I could have 2 done by the 21st.  I said yes, but I wondered if I could!  She wanted me to use the Swedish Lace napkin pattern that I have been doing on the small Leclerc, only make it longer, and that loom stood empty, waiting for a different project to be loaded, though I was waiting for the final details for that one.

For the Napkins I have been using the 100yd, 12/3, white cotton warps that I bought during the great Weavers haul a couple of years ago. (you can read all about that in the archives)  I have to put 2 warp chains together side by side to get the width I want, and I wind on as much as I can get on the back beam, then I re do the cross with a second set of lease sticks and then I tie it off and back it goes into the tub until the next time.  I finally decided that all I had to do was to wind on a little, which really goes against the grain, and then I would be able to weave it off in time.

The reason it is a pain to do such a short warp is that, with these particular warps, I cannot just tie on the old threading and wind on, they are just too sticky to do that.  So, I have to wind on and rethread each and every time.  Swedish Lace is an easy but time consuming thread, that is all there is to it!

However, once it is on the loom and threaded and tied on, the fun begins!  One Shuttle, easy treadling sequence, no temple in sight, I am in heaven.  The inches just flow, and mistakes are easy to spot and correct on the loom.  I used the same threading as my napkins but I changed up the over all pattern.  I basically did a border at each end of the towel and then a simple alternating pattern for the body of the towel.

I also wove it in RED!  I love this towel!  If my customer approves these towels, I believe I will load the loom in January, and put that other project, in waiting, on the rug loom where it will do just fine, I only really need the 2 harnesses anyway!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The March

Cue the music!
Folks keep asking me about the "Little Men" in my life.

  The March continues.......

Later this year than in previous years.

  Up the stairs..........

  Up on the ladder.......

   Get in just the right spot......

  Ready to stand at attention for another holiday season!

  I always feel like I'm in slow motion while the world is on fast-forward this time of the year.  Thank goodness the plants have their own calendar.

  My poinsettias came in the house at the end of October and are starting to show their beautiful seasonal color.

  I think they will get pruned this Spring just to see what will happen.  Maybe they won't be so leggy next Christmas.

  The Amaryllis (that I thought I had killed) is sending up shoots.  I don't think the bloom will make it in time for Christmas, but miracles do happen this time of year!

  But, the red velvet cookies are baked and ready to be mailed off to the brothers far away.

The March will continue here on the Ridge as I get presents wrapped and ready for the family get together.

So.....are you marching along this time of year?  Maybe even a little behind....but you just keep chugging along????
  I'd rather be weaving...............
Happy Fiber Fun to YOU!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rookie Mistakes

Remember when you were just learning to weave?  When it all seemed like a foreign language and you felt like an outsider?  Because on the surface, weaving looks easy!  Weaving looks like fun!  Just look at those raucous Tuesday Weavers!  They always have fun!
  Well, as LouAnn says, we are always learning something new about weaving, even after nearly nine years.  And we usually learn from making mistakes.
  I started my first chenille warp, and really, my first "mixed" warp, using bamboo interspersed in between the chenille.  I started out trying to make the bamboo weave in huck lace and the chenille in plain weave.  Well, the chenille wanted none of that!  So, I wove the first scarf in plain weave, in just the purple chenille.  Wheeee!  How the weaving flew!  72 inches went by in no time, save the breaks for the sore foot.  I spaced between it and the new scarf, hem-stitched and wove about nine inches of just green.  Then I noticed a mistake:  two threads were next to each other, instead of plain weave skips between them.  I looked back at the purple scarf, still on the beam.  Yep, there it was!
Skipped heddles, on the far right
  I cut the warp off, sighed deeply about the flaw in the purple scarf and decided it would be my Secret Santa gift, given to a non-fiber person who will love it just the way it is!  It got washed up and hung to dry, and is still a little damp today, but will be lovely when pressed and fluffed up a bit.

 The fringe needs some attention, too, and it might entail a trip to the bead store.
 The first scarf was also quite board-like, which I think at first was just sizing, and then, due to rayon meeting water.  It's softened up quite a bit, but I decided to re-sley the reed to give the fabric nicer drape.  At left, you can see how much difference there is between a 12-dent reed I used originally and the 10-dent reed I have in there now.  Another rookie mistake?  Maybe, but I did wrap a ruler and come up with 12 epi for the chenille and 24 for the bamboo originally.  I think it was using just the chenille as weft that make it so thick.  The new sett should be nicer.
 To the right is the all-green version.  I am not green's biggest fan, and when I got this green yarn in the mail, I was sad, but I really like it with the purple, as well as with the bamboo.  It's softened down in contrast, and it looks beautiful in the sunlight.
  The third scarf is striped, in a blown up version of the Fibonacci series of the stripes in the warp.  Not sure I like it yet; it's certainly not as fast to weave as the solid!  But I will carry on and hope for the best!

This project has me thinking about the black and red chenilles that have been languishing in my stash.  Maybe a log cabin?  Maybe in time for Christmas?
Happy weaving, Rookies and Veterans alike!