Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quiet Tuesday

It was a quiet Tuesday once again.  Lou Ann had something she had to do this am, so she enlisted me to pick up Carl, and I brought my camera too, since I figured I would need to check in on the blog!

 I got there a little early, and one of the first things I saw were all these baskets on the kitchen counter!   Come to find out, were are to take them home and fill them with something for the fund raiser coming up next month.

Carl only has a couple of rugs left to reweave for one of our best customers.  She bought the rugs 20 years ago, and over the past year or so, she had brought several in for me to repair.  I finally told her that I thought we would do better to just weave new rugs for her, using the old weft.  She was thrilled to hear that that was possible!

These pictures were taken just as I got to the center.  By the time I left, we had unwoven another of those rugs, and Carl had already made some progress on that one too!

Bonnie was merrily weaving away on her newest warp.  These are rosepath placemats.  I think they are lovely!

Here is a close up of La Donna's newest wrap on her loom.

Shirley is making progress on her towel warp, I love how the weft color changes the warp color!

Right after lunch, Lou Ann showed up and started threading her loom, she got over the half way mark today!  

Andy came in for a little bit, and she decided that she should cut off the tangled warp that she had been fighting with for months.  She has enough on the loom to do a couple of hand towels, so that is something.  (There were several of us that took the cut off bits and began to untangle the ends and wind them onto bobbins to be used as weft.  I took no pictures of that whole affair, but we almost got the whole thing untangled!  The rest will be waiting for us when we get there next week.)

We had lots of weavers absent today for several reasons.   I heard Carol say who was doing what, but I really can't remember most of it, so I won't even start!  I did not get a picture of what miss Ila has been working on, but we will be sure to get that next week, and  the close up picture I took of Marie's latest placemats was not fit to post!

A quiet but industrious group today, who knows what next week will be like!  It is always loads of fun though!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Monday, April 29, 2013

Back to it!

We've had alot of rain this past weekend and even before that, lots of clouds that made the world seem very dreary. The best thing to do was stay inside and work on a loom!!
I did get a couple of projects woven this week. The first is the warp that I'd just gotten on last Monday, threaded and ready to go.
The weft is natural and it tones down the stripes of the accent yarns but I do like how it ties the colors together. The pieces in this warp will have a calming effect.
 I have a yarn I call colonial blue. It's actually not as purplish as it shows on the picture. I'd found a couple of balls of a yarn that had that blue and a bit of yellow in it so that was the start of this warp. I only had 2 balls so it's not as long a warp either.
The color in the middle is that accent yarn plus a couple of cones of yellow that match it. It's a nice yellow, not too bright.
 This picture shows the color of blue a bit better. Because this warp could only be a few yards long, it's got a top and 3 vests on it, that's all. I"ve woven it all and am about to take it off the loom.
So that's been my weaving week. I have another warp ready to go on the loom. I'm hoping to get it on today. It's a royal blue with a strong accent yarn. I'm looking forward to seeing how well it does.

On the washing machine front......technology is great but my almost 6 year old washing machine with all the bells and whistles (and warm rinse) needed a major repair again inspite of them having replaced everything when we were trying to figure out what was wrong last summer (under warranty which of course has run out). So we went to Home Depot and found one without the bells and whistles. It's a basic machine. There are only 2 things I'm not really thrilled about. First, it doesn't have a buzzer to signal when it's done. I'm really surprised about that. I forget about the laundry as it is, so having a buzzer might just remind me that I've got something in there!!
Secondly, it doesn't have a warm rinse. However, none of them do now. Even the really expensive machines. If I can't have a warm rinse, I might as well just get a basic machine where I turn knobs myself on the size of the load, etc. Hopefully this machine will last longer than the other one did, plus it has an agitator inside. Did you know that the new ones don't? How bizarre is that?!!

This week I only have 2 days to weave. Later this week I'll be taking a 3 day bobbin lace class with Louise Colgan again. I'm excited about this because we always have a good time, bending over our lace pillows and flipping bobbins, creating a tiny picture at maybe a square inch an hour, if we're lucky!! I'm making a little pansy this time. Hopefully I'll have a picture for you next week. It's a complicated design (for me) so probably won't get it all done in class.
Until next week, keep weaving!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

There and Back Again!

I went on an adventure recently.  I got to go to a new continent before Dear One did!  (That is unheard of!) Unlike Bilbo Baggins, I had been anticipating this adventure for quite some time, I wasn't at all sure when it was going to happen, but I knew it was coming.  I had been packed for awhile, except for the last minute things, of course.

Finally, word came to send for my visa, and book my flight!  I did both, and in less than a week, I was on my way!  Knoxville to Dallas, Dallas to London, London to Accra, Ghana.  ( I know one step backwards and two steps forward, it couldn't be helped!)  I was met at the airport by my SIL, we soon joined my daughter, and off we went on the adventure of a lifetime.

We were bound for the village of Cape Coast.   We stayed right on the beach, in fact this it the view from our front porch!

Here is the flip side of the previous photo.  Yes, that is a palm frond thatched roof.  On the inside they have woven mats as the ceiling.  There was a huge powerful ceiling fan as well, which worked wonderfully, as long as the power stayed on.  Since we were on the beach,  the constant breeze kept it from getting as hot as it could have been.

 On the beach, if you look one direction, you see some of the local fishing fleet.  They go out every morning early early, and are back by noon, when they pull the nets onto the sand, and gather their catch.

In the opposite direction, you can see one of the biggest slave trade castles in the area.  There are tours,  but I did not have a chance to do that.

The beach was beautiful and during the weekdays wasn't crowded at all.  The food was delicious!  Fresh fish and rosemary chicken were frequently on the table in our room.  I also saw many things that made my jaw drop, did you know that they actually do walk around balancing most things on their heads!

Men and women, from the youngest age I saw, to well on up in years!  I saw, the youngest little school girls balancing their water bottles on their heads as they walked home from school.  Suitcases, bags of feed,  the days market run, yep you guessed it, in a basket or on a platter on top of their heads!

At every red light in town, there were "merchants" of all ages selling food, drinks and trinkets, from containers on their heads.  One day our driver, got a bag of chips for us to try.  They were made from a yam, that is not the same as our yams or sweet potatoes.  Though the taste did remind me of some of the sweet potato chips I have tasted here.

Another thing that intrigued me was the fact that livestock wandered loose in the neighborhood.  Goats, sheep, and chickens were everywhere, eating any bit of green they could find.  Presumably they return home at night.  They don't use the wool in this tropical climate, so I suppose they raise the sheep to eat.

Among the livestock were a family of pigs that wandered freely around the neighborhood and on the beach as well.  There were at least 3 adult pigs and at least 3 half grown piglets.

All these interesting things however, were of secondary interest to me.  I was there for a completely different reason.  My youngest daughter and her husband are in the final stages of adopting 2 young boys.  My SIL wasn't able to stay as long as he needed to, so I was on standby to take his place, should the need arise.  I went as chief diaper washer outer, general gopher and snuggle stealer!

Once we made it through the court system and the boys were officially "ours", we finalized the arrangements for their care, and headed back home.  There will be a lot of paper work flying around the globe in the next few months, and we can't wait to go back and bring the boys to their new family and new home.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Spinning, and Baby Snuggling, Tina

Thursday, April 25, 2013

She's Back!

There she is....ready to roll (or weave, actually!)

  I pulled Tina away from the Center on Tuesday to do some fine tuning, and now she's all ready.  This picture was made before we got the treadles tied up, but you can see the warp all ready for its first rug.

You might remember these heddles that were on the loom last year when we started the restoration project.  We were really hoping they could be used again, but that wasn't to be.

  I need to make a poster for folks to see how they were made all in one piece.  That was the first time I had seen heddles made like this.

  Thanks to Allan and his wood working skills making the jig, I was able to tie the linen heddles to replace the original ones.  That is such a beautiful sight to me!!!!

  Tomorrow is Sheep Shearing Day at the Museum of Appalachia, and the first rug will be woven on this wonderful old loom.  I've gathered up some fabric strips for an old fashion hit or miss rug.
  They are expecting several school groups, so I should be rather busy!

  And, last, but not least, this double chariot wheel mug rug warp is almost done!!!!  YEAH!
  As much as I love these, I'm ready for something new on this loom.  I'm thinkin' that some Cross of Tennessee will be next!!!!  That is always a favorite around these parts!

Happy Weaving!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Not Another Loom Tale

No, it's not about a loom today.  Nothing with heddles followed me home.  But it's still a fiber-y item that's dear to my heart.
  Last night, as I "killed" the time between my doctor's appointment and a dinner date with a friend, I wandered into a vintage store I've been wondering about.  I saw the usual old clothes, old shoes, weird lamps, banged up dressers, you know the kind of stuff.  But hidden deep in the bowels of the shop was this sewing machine, a Bernina 730 Record.  Bernina produced this model between 1960 and 1982, according to a website.  Originally, it came with a legion of presser feet, but this one only has the one basic one.
  I wanted it, but felt that I shouldn't spend the money, already owning a perfectly good Bernina.  I went to dinner, went home, went to sleep and woke up this morning thinking about it.  I googled it, read up on it, and only wanted it more.

After I paid all my bills, I drove back to the vintage store and bought it.  It's all oiled up, and was already clean and pristine inside.

It has lots of stitches, a free arm and a knee presser foot lift.  Is it too soon to say I love it?  I gave it a run, and it's smooth and fast.  I read somewhere that it has two speeds, but I haven't found out how yet.  I don't have a manual for it, but I think I can download one online.

A knee presser foot lift!

I haven't actually sewn anything with it yet, but I feel the need coming on!  But that's a story for another day.  Stay tuned!  Until then, happy fiber-y goodness to all!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

From Around The Globe

  We got one of our globe trotters back safely from her journey--welcome back, Tina!!!  We all got a chance to hear about her adventure and see some pictures (which I'm sure we'll get to see on Friday when she blogs.)
  We also got a chance to stock up on her wonderful eggs!  (I was running low....these were just in the nick of time!)

  And, we had a visitor from Kenya today.  He was interested in learning more about weaving to share with those in his country.

  He spent some time talking to Carl about the rugs on the big barn loom.

And, Tina showed him the rug she wove using the plastic grocery bags.

  I hope he got lots of great ideas to take back to his homeland.

  But, there's still work to get done!  Pat set to work cutting more strips for Marie's place mat warp.  Allan was there to lend a helping hand.

  Roz was able to be with us today....she brought the special yarn order for some of the weavers.

  Cindy finished her sunny yellow towel, and started on the orange towel later in the day.  That will be a favorite in this neck of the woods!!!

Eiko brought some of the bamboo scarves she has been weaving at home.  She also showed us her newest painted warp that will get woven soon.

   Shirley continues to weave along on that lovely warp!

What a whirlwind day with lots of international flavor!!!

Happy Weaving!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Surrounded by.....

Some springs are like this. I"m not sure how it happens because I thought we'd cut them back last summer but we're surrounded by wisteria!! Just about all around the house up on our hill, we've got wisteria hanging off the trees.
It's hard to pick a view to show because there are so many of them this year.
 Maybe because we had a bit of a cold winter but not an extreme one?
 Or maybe wisteria just likes Tennessee weather and grows like crazy each year. At least it's prettier than kudzu!! I wonder if the vines would work for wreaths like kudzu vines do...
 And, my lone stand of lilacs grew a bunch this past year. The bush is at least 9 feet tall.
It had blossoms all over it too.
 Love the smell of lilacs!!
 In the studio I have to make a baby quilt this week. The shower was yesterday but I didn't get there. We'd been out of town. The mom to be is crazy about ladybugs and I found this applique set in my stash from about 15 years ago. So I figured out a little quilt design and headed to my favorite quilt shop to buy some fabric. I couldn't believe that they had a piece that had little ladybugs on it. That will back the quilt and also be part of the front as well. It's going to be simple but full of dots!! I think the baby's room is going to be mostly red and black with lady bug accents everywhere. I added the green and yellow to give it a bit of punch. The dots on the bugs are buttons so I suspect little Lillie won't be playing with it til she's a bit bigger but they will figure that out! It's going to be 36 x 45 or so.
 On the weaving front, this pale purple fabric is already washed and ready to be cut and serged again and assembled into pieces.
 The all natural is off the loom. It is a sort of boring fabric but I found several different wefts I could use to weave it with so that helped break the tedium of a solid, boring fabric. The end results will be lovely.
 I just put another warp on the loom. This is also natural but it's got bits of different tans in it as well, especially in the middle of the warp. I haven't woven on it yet. That'll happen in about 10 minutes after I finish this blog. I'd like to  get it off fairly quickly. I don't have alot of time to weave this week so will have to try to do as much as I can today and Wednesday.
The reason that the natural fabric is just sitting on a loom instead of being washed and hanging up to dry is because, yes, my washing machine is broken again. It broke yesterday. I started a load and it seemed to start and then quit, something else, another sensor, I suspect, is broken. Took forever for the machine to unlock the lid so I could get the clothes out. I ended up hand washing the load and letting the dryer dry it all. I can't quite do that with the handwovens.
Guess you know what DH and I are doing this evening. Enough of this machine. It may work ok most of the time but the internet blogs say that the model we got, 6 years ago, is a dud. Lots of things go wrong with it. I guess we were lucky to have it work as long as we did. It doesn't make sense to spend a couple of hundred bucks to fix it when we know now, that it'll just continue to break down. I like to have a machine with warm wash and warm rinse. They're getting rarer and rarer. I've come to the conclusion that we're going to get as simple a machine as possible and just deal with the warm wash and cold rinse. It's that cold rinse that can shock fabrics but with cottons it's not as serious and I'm not weaving with wools right now. When I do pull out those rubbermaids full of the wool yarns I have left, I'll just have to figure out how to wash them or find someone who still has a warm/warm cycle on their machine and go over there to wash them....not happening anytime soon.

So that's the latest from here. I'm enjoying looking out at all the spring flowers popping up and the leaves that are suddenly there. One day it's like there aren't any leaves on the trees and the next, they're full green!!
I'm heading to the studio and my new warp. Magnum PI is waiting for me. I'm almost finished watching season 4. It takes me back....
Til next week, keep weaving!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rambling Along

Kimberly Lang, Cristina Lynn and Joyce

  Forgive me if I ramble....it's been that kind of week!  But, let me bring you up to speed......

  The big unveiling of the table runner for my niece:  Kim had a book signing in Pigeon Forge on Saturday, so I was able to deliver her runner in person.  Here she is with her Sing & Sign partner, Cristina Lynn, and her proud Mom, my sister Joyce.  She will be at the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery this Saturday....wonder if the runner will go, too???

  It was a wonderful day watching Kim talk to fans, and Cristina sang and strummed her guitar.  Folks would wander by and stop and chat.  What a fun day!

  Then, on the home front, I've been weaving on the place mat warp and the mug rugs.  (Can we say, "Long Warps!")  Or, at least to me, they sure seem like long warps.  The end is not in sight on either one!!!
  And, I'm about to finish up making the linen heddles for the loom at the Museum of Appalachia.  My goal is to finish that tonight so that I can take them up to the Museum tomorrow.  This jig sure looks better than the one I tried to make!

"If I could talk to the animals...."

  As Maggie wrote yesterday, we met up at the Museum for lunch, then I did some cleaning in the Loom House.  (I think some critters spent the winter in that little shelter!)  While I swept the floor, Maggie stayed on the porch next door.
  We also replaced the REED (which is made out of real reeds) with one of my metal reeds.  I got to thinking that the original ones need to be used just for show...not weaving.  I beat very hard when I'm making rugs!
 The loom needs to be ready to weave for Sheep Shearing Day on April 26.

  I was also happy to introduce Maggie to the wonders of the Clinch River Yarn Shop!!!  I, too, found some goodness that needed to come home with me!  I love to stop in and talk with Sandy...and there is always some fiber that needs a new home!

  The paper whites have started their showy display.  The daffodils are gone, and they are the perfect replacement!

  And, finally, my favorite little wildflower:  Jack In the Pulpit! 

I'm always worried that it won't come back, but what a delight to see it pop up in the front bed.  When the tree service trimmed the maple in front of my house, I was worried that the extra sunlight would kill it.  But, so far, it continues to greet me each Spring.

Oh my....I did ramble a bit.  But, I seem to be in and out of house, depending on the weather.  And, I weave in spurts depending on my mood....and what has to be done.

Take some time to enjoy the newness of Spring....and, maybe a little fiber, too!
Happy Weaving!