Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here's To The New Year!

  What a great way to end the old year.....being with good friends!  We are missing a few of our regulars, but 21 of us gathered to weave together and have lunch at the Museum of Appalachia. 

  And, just like most family gatherings, the conversation was lively! 

  At the Center, we had a lot going on before we even went to lunch. 
  Ann rescued a mini-blind from the trash....one of our favorites for winding on a warp.  These are wider than the usual mini-blinds, which will be nice for heavier warps.
  Thank you, Ann!

  Maggie was busy hemming the napkins that she wove.....oh, those little tiny stitches!
  (She's wearing the sweater her Mom knit for her....it's so soft!  Hi there, Joyce!)

  Tina and Allan were busy checking out the extra pieces that had been stored together.  She was sure she could get one whole rigid heddle loom from all of that.

(Pat started the day by cleaning up a table loom that was donated to our group.  You just never know what you'll find around the studio!)

There was a lot of catching up, too.  We hadn't seen each other for TWO whole weeks!  That's a lot to talk about!

Some of us even got some weaving done while we were on holiday!
  Marie put a huck lace warp on her loom an wove these throws!  She used 8/4 and you can just imagine how soft they are!

  Carl is almost the end of the blue rug warp.  It won't take him long to finish the last rug.  I guess we'll be tying fringes next week.

Betsy spent some time in the Annex getting more of the light blue weft she's using for her walker bags.  It's a little chilly to be working out there!  And, Linda got more woven on the blue jean rug on her loom.

  Marie got lots of help to wind on her new towel warp.  It sure makes it go much smoother when you have help!!!

 Next week we'll have our Holiday Potluck lunch, and exchange presents. 

Happy Weaving & Happy New Year!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Rug Weaving

My sister has a friend that decided she would like one of my rugs. So she decided the colors that would work in her kitchen. Better yet, she gave me the fabric to make it with. I've not done that many rugs so wasn't sure how much fabric she should give me. She has alot of fabric. In fact, she has one of those long arm quilting machines and does the quilting for me when I make quilts up in Moose Jaw in summer. So the fabric she has most of is backing for quilts. The width of the fabric is 109 inches. She sent at least a couple of yards of 3 fabrics. I folded them nicely and cut a few strips of each with my trusty Chickadee cutter. Boy, that thing slices the layers like butter!!
The first rug, I just took the strips and wove them one at a time, without a shuttle, just laying them in as I pleased, keeping track of how many of each I did so I could flip the progression for the second half of the rug. That worked nicely but was rather slow!!
So I emailed her to tell her that I had the rug done, what should I do with the rest of the fabric? She said to keep it and use it somewhere in my work.
So, I wove 2 more rugs. This time, I cut the rest of the strips and then divided them in half so I knew how many strips per rug. Then, figured out a pattern of strip progression and took them to the sewing machine to join before folding and rolling them.

So how do you know which roll to grab when you've got a plan and you want the rug to kind of look organized, not scrappy? Well, I had figured out how to roll them to make that work, plus, I pinned the ends of the roll to keep them together. The first roll I planned to use had one pin in it, the second had two, third three pins, etc. Cool idea, don't you think?! Easy too.
 Normally when I weave rugs or placemats with a thicker weft, I grab my ski shuttles. I love those shuttles because, for me, they work the best. However, this weft was wider than would fit nicely on those ski shuttles so the rag rug shuttle it is! This is a nice one I got at a weaving conference several years ago, actually MidWest up in the UP of Michigan. It's a good one to use as well. I may buy another one next time I go to a conference where they're at! It slides nicely across the warp.
With the 3 rugs done, I've got enough warp for about 4 more. The rest I'll weave using selvedges I bought in Iowa a couple of years ago. It's time to use that up, stash busting! Then instead of the other rug warp I'd like to weave, I have to get an order done. It's a big one and will take me several weeks to do. My blog will be quite  boring then but I'll have pictures to show....

I do hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas. We sure did, which is why I only have a few rugs to show this time!! We don't have family in Knoxville, but we sure have some good friends. Family time will come plus I now have my ticket to fly to Canada toward the end of January!! Yup, I'm heading up to that cold prairie again for 2 weeks!!

Tomorrow is New Years Eve. Guess what the Tuesday Weavers are planning to do? You're right, we're going to be weaving. It's too long to miss 2 weeks in a row so the plan is that whoever is free will come to weave tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see who can make it. Some weaving might get done, lots of talking and maybe even planning will happen as we figure out what our next year will be like. I know I have a student or two planning to start in February.  Should be fun!!
So, til next week, when I hope to have pictures of the rugs I wove, keep weaving!!
And, Happy New Year

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Where are They Now?

Liz and Dee in their new finery.  How did I match their new coats?
The gifts I so carefully made for each person I care about and boxed up and sent far away have reached their destination.  I asked the folks now enjoying them to send me pictures so I could show you.  And here they are!

Matt wrapped up for the cold.
Now it's time to play in the loominaria, with no specific goal in mind.  I've pulled out lots of stashed yarns, and lots of back issues of Handwoven magazines.  I'm making plans and trying new things.  The looms are new clean slates, because that's what the new year is for. 

Mom's table set for company.

Have a wonderful new year, everyone!


Friday, December 27, 2013

And It's Friday!

Like all of you, I have been really busy with the Christmas Festivities.  Family coming in from afar, and Christmas Eve service at the Church, family dinner and play dates galore!  Before you know it it's Friday, and time for another post!

About a month ago, when Interweave had a lot of video's,  oop's I mean DVD's on sale, I bought several.  One of them was "Spinning for Lace" by Margaret Stowe.  She spins Merino wool, and she spins it very fine.  She has been doing it for years and years, and the video was fascinating to watch, and while at last count I have 10+ fleeces in the stash, I do not have any Merino on hand, so I couldn't put any of her advice to use.

Christmas day however, guess what I found in my stocking?  Right, it is some Malabrigo Nube, which is 100% Merino wool combed top. (I didn't know they had fiber as well as beautiful yarns!) The colorway is tonal blues and purples, just lovely!

 With all the family still in town, I will not be able to watch the video again for awhile, and I want to finish up a couple of the fleeces I have in progress before I start something new. (Right!?)  We will see if I can pull that one off!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Back To The Books

Uh-oh.....I almost forgot!
Today IS Thursday....my day to blog.  I'm still enjoying the holiday bliss, I guess.

  But, my weaving has been on my mind.  Maggie and I were discussing future weaving projects at lunch this week, and it reminded me that I needed to check my weaving journal and see how I did on my goals I made last January.
  I tried my hand at double weave.  My cat, Biscuit, enjoyed the catnip sachet.  I still need to try using double weave to get double width.
  Also on the list was weaving a shawl with wool.  Yes.....I did try that, but ended up cutting it off the loom.  I need to learn more about wool, and what structures work best with the wool.  It was a learning experience!  Still LOTS to learn.
  And, I did wade into block weaves.  I'll be having fun with those for a long time.

So, for this year, I want to add a study of huck lace to my list.  I have dabbled in huck, but I would like to look a little deeper.  I enjoy the rhythm of weaving lace.
  Enjoy this last week of the year....we'll soon be starting a fresh slate.  I'm looking forward to that.

Happy Weaving!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Waffle Weave

They're done!! The waffle weave handtowels are finished, hemmed, washed and ready to give away. I ended up with 9 of them!
 The predominant color is gold and that yarn was a bit larger than the 8/2 that the rest of them were. I don't know where the cone of gold came from. I had had it awhile and wanted to use it up with the rest of the 8/2 cones so I planned the warp around the gold.
Then I wove some of them with the other colors, chocolate, caribe, olive and shrimp.  Weaving waffle weave isn't hard at all but sure looks impressive once it's done. The threading isn't very complicated so you get into the rhythm of doing that. Then the weaving. Well, the worst part is crawling under the loom to re-tie the treadles so that you just walk them back and forth. It's pretty neat to watch the pattern develop as you go.
 Before I washed them, I serged off a piece of the fabric to show the before and after of waffle weave. Beforehand, it's flat, fairly long floats but not bad, just flat. After washing, the yarns shrink a bit and create the nice little pockets of air. The whole towel becomes really soft and cushy.
Our local weaving guild did a waffle weave challenge and this ended up being my sample for that. I've got to fill out the sheets with samples of before and after washing the fabric.
I'm already thinking of the next combination of yarns to make more towels. I think it's good to have some handtowels in the stash, ready to give away!

So, it's Christmas!! I've made my last grocery list, found a small quilted wallhanging I want to sew today and figured out which warp I need to wind today to put on Nilus now that the placemats are off. That's the first project that needs weaving next. It'll be rugs, an order for one plus some to have to sell.
But, I won't get alot of work done this week. We're staying home but hope to meet with some friends and enjoy the Christmas week.
Until next week, Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Time to Relax and Enjoy

With only two more projects to finish, and Tuesday afternoon as their deadline, I can finally relax and enjoy the holidays!  I still have that deceleration feeling, like when you get off the interstate going 75 and suddenly have to go 30, still finding other possible presents, other possible projects I could start.  But I am really, truly done with gifting for the next few months and can now work on whatever I want to make. 
  The dyed warp is coming to an end, and is about to be cut off, ends twisted, washed and blocked for one final Christmas gift.  I've loved this pattern, and the warp as well, with it's fading in and out, its intense colors.  It was a gift given and returned and has now found its purpose.  As much as I've enjoyed it, two new warps are vying for my attention to be next.  I think I'll adapt this lace pattern into a border for a wider warp, shawls, with either a vibrant orange-red or the more subtle gold-purple.  I have the perfect weft for the gold-purple, but keep being drawn to the orange-red.  Could be the gloomy outlook in the weather.

This black bamboo warp is going very fast during the second scarf, and the next scarf will have more color in the weft.  The manly gray weft served its purpose, but I'm ready for some contrast.  The simplicity of the three-shaft Huck lace has been fun, but I'm beginning to be bored with it.  I think I'm ready to put Tootsie's five other shafts to the test, now that I've fixed the brake problem and some other issues she's had. 
  The Colonial has languished long enough, too.  I've promised myself to get through that pile of fleece that needs to be cut into strips and become shag rugs in the next few weeks.

 Knitting has slowed down a bit, too, and I've recently become smitten with cowls.  I knitted a lovely lace one in some gray alpaca yarn for a gift, and wanted one of my own.  I just happened to have a ball of cream colored alpaca that will do just fine.  It's soft and yummy to knit, and I know I'll wear it a lot this winter.
  Happy Solstice to you, and I wish you all the Merriest Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

More Fibers, but not in the Pie!

I finally finished the "Tweed" skein yesterday, that I posted about last week.  It was slow going, and I have to say that my technique improved quite a bit after the first 1/4 skein.

 Here are two almost identical skeins, one with the bits of color, and one without.  It brings my total in this project so far to 1030yds of 2ply fingering.  I say so far, because there is still more roving!  Maybe another mondo skein or 2!  So possibly another 600 yds!

I am planning on weaving with it, on a rigid heddle loom.  I think I will do a couple of other wool weaving projects first, before I attempt to use this yarn.

 When Lou Ann and I went to the Smoky Mtn. Spinnery in Gatlinburg a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't resist picking up these really old flax stricks.  It was found in a barn in Kentucky,  It looks just like hair!

 Speaking of hair, I was sure to pull mine back when I set to making an apple pie for our dessert tonight.  We are going to some friends house for dinner.  We are bringing the dinner, and a movie.  These dear friends of ours have never seen "It's a Wonderful Life"!  We couldn't let another year go by without fixing that!  So we sweetened the pot with, some penne al forno, with a meaty tomato based sauce,  green salad,  some crusty french bread, and apple pie, for dessert.

  Watching this movie is one of our traditions, and now that the kids have all left home, we have to make someone watch it!  I think they will suffer through the film with us don't you!

I will be getting back into the weaving studio after Christmas.  I am just now feeling myself again after my 10 weeks in Ghana.  I know better than to weave when I am not feeling good!  It invariably leads to un-weaving!

Merry Christmas to you all,  Tina

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Countdown Continues

  I didn't write a lot about our day at weaving on Tuesday's blog....it was a mad dash to get home and get ready for the potluck dinner at the Museum of Appalachia.  Tina and I were invited as volunteers, and it was very well attended.  There were three stations set up with all kinds of yummy, homemade dishes that were just too tempting to turn down!  After dinner, there was a lively "Swap and Steal" present exchange.  For a $10 limit, there were some very creative gifts to choose from!

  Now....back to our day at the Center!
It was a great day for visitors:  Jocelyn's friend, Trulene, came along to see what all the excitement was about!  (Do you ever catch your non-weaver friends getting glassy eyed when you launch into a discussion about twills and block weaves and overshot?  And, don't even mention your problem with e.p.i.!!!!  We do have our own language, don't we!)

  We also had some visitors from upstairs that came down to see what was going on in the studio.  They seemed especially interested in Pat's loom bench, which slides from side to side.  On Big Bertha, that bench is a life-saver!!!

  Lots of weaving was taking place all over the studio in every little nook and cranny. 

  Betsy, Linda and Linda were weaving up a storm....a lovely sight for visitors to see when they come down the steps!

  Share Time after lunch showcased some wonderful projects done by our weavers.
  Julia has been busy weaving scarves at home.....sooooooo soft!

  Tina took the "arm knitting" challenge, and knit a scarf using fabric strips. 
  Are you surprised?

  Linda had a challenge too!  Her friend wanted some placemats woven using the colors in the Columbian flag.  This was a warp faced weave that fit the bill exactly!!!

  We sure have some remarkable weavers!!!!

  I'll leave you with my favorite group picture:  just say "hi" to Cindy!!!!

Merry Christmas......

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry Christmas!

The Tuesday Weavers
Wish You and Yours
A Very
Merry Christmas!!!!
***I'll post more pictures on Thursday!
In the meantime:
Happy Weaving!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013


Last week I was weaving whenever I could, trying to finish that placemat warp on Nilus. For weft I was using 5 strands of natural yarn, mostly carpet warp. Carpet warp is just great for things like placemats because they make them nice and sturdy, especially when the weft is nice and thick like mine was. Three of the yarns were from bigger cones that I had inherited recently from a weaver who had retired from fiber work. The other 2 were carpet warp cones I had on hand. I had several of them so thought I had plenty. Till I ran out of weft....
 with just a few more inches left to weave!!
One of the carpet warp cones ran out and I didn't have another cone. It's not a huge deal because we had placed an order for carpet warp from Great Northern Yarn in Kalamazoo but it wasn't here yet!! I could have wound off some yarn from the other cone I had but I didn't want to do that either so I stopped and worked on another project.
However, the yarn's just arrived. I will weave it off this morning!! Yes!! and be ready for those weddings happening next year!

Each year I love to go to Stanley's Greenhouse and pick out a few poinsettias for our home. I was talking to my Mom the other day and mentioned I'd gotten a Christmas Rose poinsettia and she hadn't seen one so I promised I'd post a picture for her to see. So, Mom, this one's for you. Isn't it gorgeous?! It sits in the window above the sink so I can enjoy it when I do dishes. Yes, I do dishes once in awhile!
So now I'm heading back down to the studio to weave the rest of the placemats. Well, it might be a runner instead but that works too! With everything happening this time of year, it'll be interesting to see how much time I can spend down in the studio. I'm hoping for quite alot!
Until next week,
Keep weaving!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Just Under the Wire

 My apologies to Carol, who will probably post early Monday, for posting so close to her time, but I laid down to take just a small nap at 4:00 Sunday, and just woke up!  I guess this week took a little more out of me than I'd originally thought.
  But I didn't want to sleep through Sunday without posting again, as I did last week.  It's been a busy week at the bakery, helping folks get ready for Christmas.  We've been making cookies for baskets for gift giving, lots and lots and lots of rolls for dinners, and keeping the restaurants supplied with bread and cupcakes. 
  These guys to the left will be delivered this morning to the restaurants.  They're ginger-stout cake, filled with butterscotch cream and topped with eggnog frosting.  I had a lot of scraps left over from the giant gingerbread people I made Saturday, so I cut tiny gingerbread men out of them, with these cupcakes in mind.  Sometimes I make stuff that just makes me giggle, and this was one of those times!

 I finished the table runners last weekend, or at least, cut them off the loom.  They still need to be hemmed and washed, as well as 6 dinner napkins I wove at the end of the warp.  I got three table runners, which will all get gift wrapped by Tuesday to go off to their final destination.  Who will get the napkins?  By the way, I wove those napkins so fast, I had to time one:  8 minutes, 33 seconds.  Not bad, eh?  I was surprised.  Have you ever thought about how fast--or slow--you can make something?  For a knitter and former quilter, weaving always surprises with its relative speed of accomplishment.  Sure, planning, winding and warping eat up a big chunk of time, but actual making, that seems to go quite quickly for me.
  So, with the runner warp gone, Tootsie got dressed in black bamboo, in another three-shaft Huck lace pattern, this time in a grid pattern that I drafted on Weave Design program.  The weft is lace-weight merino that I originally bought to knit a lace shawl for Mom, until she informed me that the only lace shawls she likes are white.  She got a white shawl, and I had grey merino to use elsewhere. 
  I think it looks wonderful, and feels even better.  It's weaving up soft and lofty.  I want it to be manly looking, as I'm weaving 3 for male recipients.  No pink or purple this time!
  I haven't used wool with bamboo before, and have no idea how it will turn out, once off the loom, but I'm plunging ahead and hoping for the best.  After all, it's only yarn!  They'll make more!
  Monday and Tuesday, my weekend, will be full of finishing, packing and visiting with friends.  Not too much resting, but I can always sleep after the holidays! 
   I hope you're feeling festive and enjoying this time of the year.  Happy Weaving!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fireplace and Fiber

Lou Ann and I went to the Museum of Appalachia today, we were demonstrating for several,  school groups of 3rd graders on their fall field trip, back in time.  We arrived around 10am and they were working on getting our fire started for us, in the Peters Cabin, to take the chill off out the room.   I spent the day spinning away on my wool, and Lou Ann was weaving Christmas book marks on her Inkle loom.  The kids were fascinate, and asked lots of question!

It was really fun working with the kids as they came through our cabin.  They came in in fits and starts, small groups, larger groups, some kids really interested in what we were doing, and others more interested in the fireplace than anything else.  As always you could spot the future fiber artist right off the bat.  One little girl kept coming back to see us, she even came up to us in the lunch room to tell us that they had planned to stop by just one more time.  We were sure to let her mother  know that there were places in her town, that could really help her get started with a spindle.

I managed to spin a couple of bobbins of that gray Jacobs fleece I have been working on forever.  I think that I will have enough yarn, when I am done with it, to weave a shawl, though I may do a scarf first to try it out.  I have been thinking about what I could use as an accent yarn for these pieces, when I ran across a video showing how to spin tweed yarn by putting in bits of colored silk or mohair as you are plying.

 Singles waiting to be plied.

Skeins of yarn with no accent added.
 I have several colors to add to the yard, most of it is the navy colored fluff, but there is also 2 lighter blues, and a couple of pinky colors.  I watched the video multiple times, until I felt ready to try myself.  I played it safe and used only 2 ply's for my first attempt.  It took me about 20 minutes to feel comfortable with the technique and I found I had to handle my colorful bits of fluff a little differently than the original artist did.  Mine wasn't drafting as easily, so I had to use both hands and not trust the pull of the wheel to do it for me.

I am really happy with how this yarn has turned out.  I really wanted to finish the skein before I posted today so that I could show it to you, but that will have to be for next week.  For now, I am comfy and warm by my own fireplace, and I am looking forward to an evening of spinning.  Maybe I will finish the rest of the gray Jacobs!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina