Thursday, January 31, 2013

Groundhog Day

....I know that Groundhog's Day is on Saturday, but Biscuit seems to think that she could influence the outcome of the event by a little heart to heart talk with that whistle pig!  All this wishy-washy weather has limited her outside time big-time!!!
  I couldn't believe it when I caught her up on the divider...and wondered how she got up there.  But, later I witnessed her jumping from Grandmother's buffet to the ledge.  Mystery solved!
  Notice that silver bell on her collar?  I'm trying to give the wildlife a fighting chance since she LOVES to hunt!  She's been through quite a number of bells since she came here Memorial Day weekend, but this one seems to be a keeper!  It has been on her collar for about seven weeks!!!  The birds at the feeder get an advance warning when she tries to sneak up on them!!!!

   Mug rugs seem to be my "Groundhog Day" example (remember the movie???)  These are the Chariot Wheel rugs that I had started last week, and here they are finished.  These haven't been wet finished yet (or cut apart) but you can see how the multi-colored warp worked on this pattern.  I had a tension problem, so I cut these two off and retied the warp.  Now it's going great.  I'm still using the blues for tabby and pattern, but I think I will change to greens when I finish those bobbins.
  I'm already thinking about the next overshot pattern to try.  Hummmm...........

  My new project on Mz. Emily is a table runner for my niece, Kimberly Lang.  As a writer, she often goes to book signings, which can be small and intimate OR one that includes many writers all lined up at tables.  Last summer she asked me if I could weave a table runner for her that would define her space.  I wanted something simple yet elegant.
  I played around with Davison's Kirschbaum Design #3, and came up with a suitable plan.  I expanded the circle so that I can have her name embroidered on it, and it will be just plain weave on the table top.  Since it is woven in 8/4 carpet warp, it's 100% cotton, so she can throw it in the washer if anything gets spilled on it.

  I was going to start threading last night, but Cece had other plans.  I got the first heddle threaded, and up she jumps....cuddle me NOW!'s not like she hadn't been weaving round about my feet while I was winding on the warp, but once I sat down on the bench, I had to pay attention.
  She's like that.....she'll let me weave for a bit, then I need to cuddle her for a wee bit.  It's a trade off of sorts. 
Groundhog day....all over again.

Happy Weaving!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

From Icy to Red Hot

 This week has been a mixed bag, weather-wise, from freezing rain on Friday to 67 degrees, windy and thundery right now.  My garage was covered in ice Friday afternoon, and I feared for the stability of my 90-year-old red Maple in the front yard.  I took the day off because I was afraid to drive, and wondered aloud on facebook if dessert was really necessary.  But I was back at it on Saturday, and folks ate them up, so if not necessary, then at least wanted.
 The weather warmed up after the iciness, though cloudiness kept it from being truly nice, until yesterday.  The sun roof was open as I left the podiatrist's office, who finally announced that the third metatarsal on my left foot had indeed been broken, and was now on the mend.  Good news!  Soon, I can kick the ugly boot to the curb and wear normal shoes.  Normal with lots of orthotic and foot bed inside, but I can live with that.
a stray strand
  Soon, I will be back at the looms with both feet!  I've been trying to weave on the log cabin with one foot, but you have no idea how much my left foot wants to join in!  And then, a problem arose:  What is that stray thread of bamboo, and where is it coming from?  I'll figure that out later, when it's sunny enough to light the loominaria better.
  In the meantime, I've been knitting the flame-red triangle shawl, with it's lovely lace pattern.  I keep thinking I should have this pattern memorized by now!  But it keeps it interesting, and I've just tied on the second ball of yarn.  I want to use about half of it, then start on the border.  I think I'll chart my own border pattern, so the repeats match the squares as it marches up the sides.
  Time to brave the brewing thunderstorm and head back to the land of sugar, flour, eggs and butter.  Stay dry and happy weaving!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Carol's class "Weaving 201" is over, the Holidays are over, and you could almost hear someone or something say "Back To Work"!

We knew it was coming, so last week we put in a huge yarn order of 8/4 carpet warp to fuel the looms.  We ordered as a group for the Tuesday Weavers, and also, if anyone wants to order some, they are welcome to.  We have to get a certain number of cones of yarn to get the discount.  The big box on the left goes to the Tuesday Weavers.  You can also see how full the box is below.

 It took me several trips with my basket to empty that box!  The colors are wonderful, even though I was part of the ordering process, I still love to see the order come in!

 Lou Ann also put in an order for us to a different yarn store.  I was able to get a new temple to weave my Bread Cloths from that store.  This order was the 8/2 cotton yarn that we are going to use in Hand towels.

The shelves are now fully loaded, extra orders disbursed to those who ordered them and the proper persons have been reimbursed.  Whew, it was wild for a moment there!

Now, let's see what is going on in the rest of the room.

Andy is learning how to work a serger.
Ann is winding her next rug warp on the warping mill.

Pat is continuing to weave placemats on the black warp, that may never end!
Andy has her towel warp thru the reed and threaded, on the small Macomber.

Carl, back on the old Barn Loom, is almost done with this long rug warp!  Time to plan the new warp!
Shirley and Barbara are working hard to make sure there are enough heddles on the Baby Wolf to thread this towel warp.

After Ann had finished with the warping mill, I got on there and wound the first of 12 bouts to put on the larger Macomber we got before Christmas.  This too will be a Hand Towel warp.

 Just before lunch, Lou Ann and I ran some signage over to the local Visitor Center,  Linda had taken a rug and a set of placemats there last week, and we wanted to add something in print to advertise the Craft Center and the Tuesday Weavers!

Carol, spent the day with a couple of new students.  Margi had taken her recent class, and was looking for some hands on experience.

Margi is busy winding her warp for the beginning weaving class,

 and Betsy is too!

By the end of the day they both had their warps wound on the table looms, and next week they will be threading their projects.

As you can see we hit the ground running!  I somehow missed getting pictures of, Ms. Ila,  Eiko and Lanny.  The girls were working hard on their scarves, and Lanny is working on some Hand towels using variegated cotton flake for both the warp and weft!  We will have to check on them next week!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Monday, January 28, 2013

What a Weekend!

 A week ago we had snow and life stopped for a moment or two. We thought we'd be fine this weekend, we had an ice storm. It could have been much worse but it sure was bad enough. We woke Friday to rain that turned to ice on anything it touched. Everything shut down, even the University of Tennessee.
A state trooper died after he slid off the road on the way to work. He  had a heart attack during the rescue. To make matters worse, the rescue squad that came to help also slid off but then flipped on its side, on the edge of his car.

When things like this happen, you just have to stay home, if possible. There are so many hills here that the chance of sliding off is just too big. They had coated the roads the day before so the interstate was ok and some of the major roads were sort of passable but the secondary roads, not so much, and the tertiary (where I live) not at all!
 The fear was that the ice would stick to the power lines and cause outages. There was some but not in my area!! This time we were fine and warm! Since we couldn't go out, I headed to the studio and wove on my towel warp. I think these towels are going to be fun to use. I've already promises one to my sister because she doesn't quite believe that the towel will work like I said!
 We'd looked forward to this weekend for months. Anita Mayer was coming to teach a 3 day class. The first day was to be on embroidery and the next 2 on clothing. You know what an inspiration she is! Well, the class was supposed to start on Friday.....She ended up having a nice day relaxing at her hostess's home. I'll bet that's rare in her teaching routine! We hated to miss the day but she ended up doing about 2 1/2 days worth of class in the 2 days that we had. We took short breaks for meals but kept working and ended up with a nice notebook of samples and ideas.

Anita always brings a suitcase of clothes, many of which we could try on. There was a rack of clothes, tho, that were her current show pieces, pieces she submits to exhibits, etc. These we could touch but not wear. That's fine! Just looking at these pieces was wonderful. She is well known for her detailed work. She does very little machine work. She'd rather make all the pieces by hand!! This coat is made up of many small pieces. Each piece is completely finished before it's assembled into the garment. Imagine the number of hours she spends working on each garment!!
 The pile on the table were the ones we could try one. In our class notes, we got patterns for most of them. The ones that weren't included, she had the paper patterns for us to copy.
 How cool is it to see a vest that we've seen in Handwoven and the small piece of embroidery that inspired it!!
 The second day we were busy embroidering, making little samples of the things she embroiders onto her pieces. Because of the ice, there were some that we couldn't do but we have the pages of directions included in our notes that allow us to try it on our own.
I took many classes from Anita, over 20 years ago. It's been a long time but those classes still have influenced my work. Having a refresher course like this just hit the spot! Her work has changed, she's added more ideas to what she does and we learnt several new ways to embellish garments that she didn't used to do.
As Anita's been evolving in her work, I think that we should keep striving to learn more and include what we learn in the things that we weave. That doesn't mean that we forget everything we've done and go in a new direction. It just means, take what you've learnt and see how you can tweak something just a bit to expand your repertoire. It doesn't even mean that we should embellish like she does. Her class can spark something entirely different in our work.  It's why I go to conferences. We never quit learning!

Hopefully we'll be able to get Anita to come back sometime when her route comes this way again. There were several of us Tuesday Weavers in the class and I know that we all were inspired to try new things. I know that we all came out of there with our heads swimming with ideas! Guess there'll be a few orders to Dharma in the next few days.....

For now it's back to my royal blue warp that needs to be woven off.
Oh yeah, Friday was icy and nasty. Tomorrow I think we're supposed to be 60 degrees. If you don't like the weather in East Tennessee, just wait a few minutes, it'll change!
Til next week, keep weaving!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hot drink and Wood-stove Appreciated Today!

The forecast for today is freezing rain, sleet for this  morning, and for this afternoon,  it could turn to just cold rain if the temp rises a bit, but then again it could fall, and we would be left with, you guessed it more sleet and freezing rain, or maybe even an ice storm.

The wood stove is blazing and I can't tell you how many hot coffees and teas I have had this morning!  I worked on taxes this morning, unfortunately a sedentary occupation, so I felt the cold a little more than usual.  This afternoon I will be upstairs in the Studio, moving around a lot more so I think I will be much more comfortable!

This week I have begun to wind the short bouts of 8/4 carpet warp that I had pulled from the 45 Leclerc to make room for the Bread Cloth order.  I am loading it onto Lillian's back beam, she is my go to loom when it comes to the Baby Blankets, turns out the warp isn't as short as I thought it was. There has got to be about 9 yards of warp there!  I was thinking 5 or 6 yards max.

It may look like a mess, but every chain is numbered and in order.  I borrowed Kathryn's breast been to sort them out.  I take the chain that I need, load it onto the tension box, and wind it on!  It is taking a little longer than usual since I have to load the tension box each time, but I am pleased at how it is going.

I made it almost to the half way point on Wednesday, and I expect to finish up this afternoon, and I would love to start the threading.  I will be threading a new version of the Cat Tracks and Snail Trails this time around.  It seems that last time I threaded this loom I used the threading from the miniature version.  I had used it for mug rugs, and I forgot to check the other versions!

I have looked at the larger versions and I have found that if I follow their threading, I will end up with only 3 pattern repeats on the Baby Blankets, with the miniature version I had 12 repeats.  I have compared the two versions and I have come up with a version that will give me 5 repeats across, I think that is a happy medium.  I will have to check it out on the weaving program, but that computer is in one of our cooler temperature rooms, so that might just have to wait a day or two!

I am doing something a little different this time.  I am needle weaving a tiny cross into each bout.  Just as the warp chain is about to end, I put a knot in it so that there is a bit of tension between the tension box and the sectional beam.  Then I get down there and weave a tapestry needle among the 24 threads that are in each bout.  I think it may help me since I will be threading a new design.  I don't know if this will become part of my normal way of sectional warping, but you never know.

The icicles are dripping from the porch, the trees are covered in ice and I am snug in my chair as I type this post.  I hope that you are all staying warm and that you can pass what might be an extra day at home, because of the storm, in happy fiber pursuits.  I know I will!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Here We Go Again

  Finally....a warp of mug rugs on the loom!  I'm trying out the miniature Chariot Wheel pattern, and I  think it's lovely!  This was that warp I found from last summer that was marked as a 4 yard warp for mug rugs.  All I needed to do was add the floating selvedges, and we're off and weaving!  I do think that this warp might have been longer than 4 seemed to go on and on and on while I was winding it on the back beam!

  Once again, I find myself looking at both sides of the overshot piece just which one is the right side????  Who cares....both sides are interesting!!!
  Since this is a multicolored warp, I'm planning on changing the tabby/pattern colors along the way. 
  Now...if I can just stay on course and weave a couple of these a day, I'll build up my stock much quicker!

  And, speaking of building up stock....this was my tote bag when I came home on Tuesday from the Center!  Look at all those thrums....just waiting for me to ply them with other yarns to create NEW yarn!  Spinning is such a perfect activity to do on these cold winter days.

  And, to brighten up these winter days, my amaryllis is blooming again.  This is the one given to me last year by a dear friend, and I was afraid I had killed it.  There are 3 blooms right now, and one bud that will bloom out any minute. 
  Since we are once again under a Winter Storm Watch, this time for freezing rain and an icy mix, having this to look at is truly a joy.

  One of my biggest joys in my life is my "baby girl."  Every year at 7:20 a.m. on the 24th of January, I think back to holding that precious bundle in my arms for the first time.   Every year, I greet her at 7:20 a.m. with Happy Birthday.  She was already in her classroom when I talked to her this morning....and I reminded her to keep an eye on the weather, 'cause, here we go again.  Come to think of it, there was an icy mix that night as we went to the hospital.
Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

Happy Weaving & Spinning!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Winter Vacation

Weird snow photo
 This past week, I went to Virginia to visit Mom, so I hope I can be forgiven for not posting.  The drive up was uneventful, so much so that even Bella didn't throw up!  That is always a good sign.
  Many hugs and lots of catching up later, we went to bed.  The next day, Mom and I did what we like best:  find the nearest yarn store.  I got lost a couple of times, and it rained a lot, but we had a good time and spent too much money.
  That night, it snowed about 3-4 inches.  Bella and I still walked around the neighborhood, up to Liz's house, about two blocks away.  Mom and I hung around the house, but I had a promise to fulfill, making dinner for Liz and Deedee, Liz's choice.   Liz chose chili, a perfect dinner for a cold day.  I made red and green, and lots of buttermilk corn bread, and we had a feast.

  The next day, Liz could join us in our wanderings, and better yet, drive so we couldn't get lost.  We went from antique store to antique store, and had a lovely time.  We tried out some big chairs, and pretended to be royalty.  Tut tut!  Cheerio!

 Bella waited patiently at home, where she took over Mom's shag rug.  It must have smelled like home, of cats and cottage, because she kept it pretty much to herself the entire visit.

Bella also got to play with her cousin, Amelia, who lives with Liz.  Amelia is much smaller and faster than Bella, but is shy.  She's just learning to jump through hoops, and I wish I'd gotten a photo of it!
 Mom's new house is lovely.  Liz did most of the renovations, and worked hard to get it right.  The wood floors have all been refinished, and Mom's weaving studio is perfect, don't you think?  It's a sunny, warm room that has a crab apple tree right outside the window.  We got the Harrisville loom ready to go, and she promises to put a warp on it this week.

  I got back home on Sunday, in time to get ready for the Tuesday Weavers' Christmas party.  I made scalloped potatoes, which were fine, but so very beautiful before they were baked, I had to share them with you.
  And now it's back to work!  Have a wonderful, frosty week, and Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lots Going On...And A Little Weaving!

  Since we are busy during the Fall getting ready for shows, and we all get caught up in the craziness of the holidays, we have our Christmas party at the end of January.  It's a wonderful idea!!!!  We are relaxed and just take the time to share with our friends.
  We had a full house...even though we were missing five of our regulars!  Susan joined us today, and brought us lots of goodies that she has cleaned out of her attic.  Thank you, Susan.

Susan S., who is president of board for the Center, joined us today.  She is busy twisting the fringes on her scarf that she wove in the scarf class.  I'm glad she was able to join us for lunch, too.  (She brought some yummy brownies!!!)

  Just before lunch, we exchanged our presents...numbers were put on bags and gift boxes, and we drew numbers to see what we would get.  The gift criteria was "something handcrafted."

Hand woven towels......
   ......beautiful scissors in their own case.

Pot holders, wind chimes, hand towels, a monogrammed carry all and scarf in this haul.

Place mats, scarves, hand warmers, a bowl, a rag bag, a towel and a set of coasters rounded out this group.  I got one of Bonnie's waffle towels!

  Then it was time to eat!!!!
  You can't even see the big crock pot sitting on top of the microwave that had beef stew in it.  This is chili and scalloped potatoes.  (Christy even brought chips and cheese if you wanted your chili that way!)

  In the crockpot on the right is Tina's BBQ chicken....and the desserts didn't even make it in the picture!!!!  Needless to say, if you didn't get enough to eat, that would be your own fault!!!!

  Then, it was time to get back to work.  Tina wove off another placemat on Ellen's warp, and decided that the cloth beam was getting too full.  Time to cut those off and retie the warp.  There were 14 mats and one table runner.

  Carl needed some rug wool for a project he is doing at home, and Marie and Tina were in charge of getting it off the top shelf.  That's another blue jean rug on his loom that he wove on today.

  I think Andy's picture says it all:  Weaving Makes Me Happy!
  That's it for today!!!
Happy Weaving!