Friday, November 29, 2013

Knead until smooth and elastic

In the past I have always been in a hurry during the bread making process, just get it done!  That may be why I haven't made any in a loooong time.  I even tried to use my Kitchen aide mixer that is supposed to do a really good job of mixing, but since I was inexperienced with this method, I did not know when the dough was kneaded enough!  I tried using bread machines and while I enjoyed the bread, I was put off by the shape of the loaf. (I know silly right!?)  I also missed being part of the whole bread making process.  I even bought a grain mill and grain, thinking that using the freshly ground flour would make all the difference in the finished loaf.  Not surprisingly it didn't make any difference at all!  My loaves were dry and barely loafed shape at all!

Fast forward a decade or so, and I found myself on a special assignment for an unknown amount of time.   My duties on this mission were quite straight forward:

3 meals a day + snacks for a team of 4
laundry 3 X a week
and basic housekeeping

When I began this mission, I was sure I could keep up with the housekeeping and the laundry, but I was unsure whether I could step back in time, and cook like I did back in the day!  When my 4 children were small, I had no choice in the matter, if I didn't make it we didn't eat!  Now that Dear One and I are empty nesters, we take a much more relaxed approach to cooking.  We rotate between our 7 or 8 favorites, and are rarely home for lunch.

For the first week or 2 while I was getting my act together, we bought bread in the neighborhood, I was happy to leave that job to the local bakers.  In the meantime, I tried my hand at scones, which after a couple of tries, were a success!  I made Zucchini bread, and when I ran out of zucchini, I substituted grated apple, and added more cinnamon, which was fantastic!  With those successes under my belt, I tried an old family favorite, cinnamon rolls, which were also well received.

Well it is a small step from cinnamon rolls to a loaf of bread.  I did a bunch of looking at recipes on the different cooking sites, and I chose a whole wheat bread recipe for one loaf, mostly because I only had one loaf pan, and we didn't have much storage.

I gathered the ingredients together and realized that for the second time that week we had purchased something besides whole wheat flour.  ( We were in another country!)  I looked around to see what I did have, because I did not want to do plain white bread.  I did have some left over oatmeal that needed to be used.  After a quick calculation I spooned half of it into the proofing yeast mixture.  I left it to proof a little while longer, then I started to add the white flour, a little at a time, stirring really well after each addition.   I would even let it rest before adding the next spoonful, usually distracted by some other task that needed my attention, but also because I wasn't exactly sure how much flour it would need.

Finally, the dough was formed enough for me to knead.  Again, I took my time with it.  Letting it rest now and again, trying not to use all the flour called for in the recipe.  During the first rising, I tried to ignore it as much as possible until it was doubled in size.  I punched that puppy down and kneaded it a few strokes to get  all the air bubbles out.  It was then that I felt the truly elastic nature of the dough....I was thrilled!  Have I always been in such a hurry to get it done that I ended up with a brick instead of bread!  (Maybe I was always adding too much flour, or not allowing sufficient rising time, but more often than not it was a disappointing loaf!)

 I formed the dough into a loaf and left it to rise until it was well over the top of the pan, then into the preheated oven it went.  I baked that loaf until I could see that the sides and the bottom of the loaf were brown through the glass pan.  It took a long time!  In the end I had a loaf of bread that was well shaped, moist and chewy with a crisp crust!  The bread was so moist that it takes twice through the toaster to toast!  One loaf lasted us 2 days, since that is what we had for breakfast every day, so I got a lot of proactice in slow relaxed bread making. 

I wonder how many other things I rush through in a hurry to "get it done", only to settle for less than what It could be!  Not going for perfection by any stretch of the imagination, but something that would please my sense of accomplishment more.

Sewing comes to mind!!!!  Hmmmmmm

It is good to be back home, Happy Weaving and Spinning, Tina

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gobble Gobble

  Before we start this marathon holiday season, I'm thankful for this day that we spend with family and friends.
  Tomorrow, the little men will begin their march up the stairs to their appointed places to stand watch over my home during the holiday season.  But, today, I will just enjoy a wonderful meal with great company.
  On Saturday, my extended family will get together for Thanksmas.  Three generations of our family will tell stories, sing karaoke, play cards, eat too much (and maybe drink a little too much,) and wish that other family members could be with us.  This year we will be welcoming my new daughter-in-law's mom, sister and her husband to our little celebration.  Dirty Santa will be played....I'm always amazed at the cool gifts my family comes up with!!!!
  But, today, I will be thankful for my many blessings.......and, I'm sure I will eat too much!
Gobble, gobble.........
Happy Weaving (after lunch!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Big Smiles!

  YES, there were big smiles all around as our world traveler found her way back to the Center today!  It was a time for hugs and stories and catching up on all the news.

  And, just as Carol promised on Monday, we had a pile of variegated yarn just waiting to become Straw Loom Kits.  Some of this is from the donation that Carol received, and some of this came from the Tuesday Weavers.  But, it will all become kits to sell upstairs in the shop.

  Carl and Allan got the straws ready, and the ladies started threading the warp through the straws.

  Over at the counter, Julia and Tina were busy winding the multi-colored yarn into balls for the kits.

Carol is still working on the final inventory from the a list, there a list!

  And, after lunch, we had sharing time.  You can see Marie's scarves in her lap.  She's been very busy!

Tina brought some of her treasures from her trip.   LOVE the fabric!!!!

We finished up a bunch of Kits, and restocked upstairs.  The rest got stored until another day, when we'll hit it again and make more.

  Marie got back to winding her towel warp.  It was her first time on the warping mill. She'll be warping her loom next week!

  It was a quieter day than usual in the Studio, but we wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Weaving!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Love Donations!!

My last show is over. Life should be settling down for awhile before chaos hits my studio again!! It's not!
Friday I was at my lace guild meeting. One of the lacers sews draperies for a living. She'd been threatening to bring some of the fabrics she couldn't use anymore to see if we could use it for rugs. Friday she filled the back of my van. It's going to stay there til I have a chance to look at it before bringing any to the center. She brought me 4 boxes several months earlier that I haven't gone through yet either. It's on the top of my list of things to do when....
 Tuesday Weavers have this little kit we make to sell. They're straw looms, straws contain the acrylic yarn warp and provides stabilization for the weft to be woven around the warp threads. We sold a bunch at the museum show. We didn't think we'd sell a ton last weekend at the Foothills Show but we took most of what we had anyway. We came home with one kit! So during lunch Tuesday we decided that this Tuesday we'll make more kits. LouAnn is buying things like straws and baggies for the kits and is printing the directions. We were asked to each buy a couple of balls of Red Heart yarn, preferrably variegated because they look so cool and kids love them! Roz can't make it Tuesday so she dropped off the ones she'd bought and I picked up a few as well. If everyone brings a couple, we'll have the makings of alot of kits, just what we need for the Christmas sales!!
 At lace on Friday, I mentioned that we were making more kits and using Red Heart. Another lacer said that she had alot of yarn, esp Red Heart and would let me have it all to get it out of her house!! We met yesterday afternoon at McDonalds, had a nice chat while having some tea/coffee and I brought this big tub home. I'm waiting for it to warm up a bit and plan to go through it here as well to see what we can use. I have to do it this afternoon, hopefully inside! It's Tennessee's version of cold outside right now.
 So why am I kind of hesitant about going through things? Saturday morning I came down to the studio and right above a table that I use to do things like sort through stuff, well, there was water dripping down. Nothing was damaged but the quick grabbing of a garbage can, moving some boxes, etc and the removal of the ceiling tile to see what the problem was showed us that yes, we have a leak at the joint where the hose goes up to the ice maker on the fridge. Just what we needed........not!!
We turned the water way down Saturday evening when the drip was getting a bit intense so we still have water but sure can't do laundry (forgot to do it Friday!) or shower right now. A plumber's supposed to come this afternoon. If he can fix it quickly, I'll have my table back and can go through the things before tomorrow morning when the weavers meet again!!
I'm heading down to the studio to put a warp on the loom to weave placemats. I'm out. The weddings this past year cleaned me out so I'm weaving more. I know of at least one wedding for May so want to be ready. I'm also working on baby quilts that are easy, quick, fun, flannel baby quilts. They will be so welcome for someone. I'm working on 3 right now but have more on the list.
My week is going to be full!
Keep weaving and enjoy the rest of fall. We have the threat of snow for Wednesday but it probably will miss us. I like that!
Til next week

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Marvelous Technology

  Soon after I got up this morning, I received a text from a dear weaving friend.  She's headed home in a few hours.  That would not be so amazing, except that the text originated from across the Atlantic Ocean!  Isn't modern technology wonderful!!!!

  I resisted getting a cell phone for the longest time....I still don't think people need access to someone 24/7.  And, I have only been texting for about two years.  But, I have to admit that it's a nifty way to communicate with folks.

  Then, we have blogs that we read all the time.  I remember when I started weaving, Linda told me about Hilary's blog....then I added Run A Muck and Laura Fry to my personal list.  I learned so much from these folks! 
  It seemed like a natural progression for the Tuesday Weavers to start a blog.  After all, how many groups like ours do you know?  I think we're really lucky to have our weekly weaving sessions.  And, we learn so much from each other!


It's not totally unusual for someone at weaving to take out their iPad or tablet.....Marie uses one as a treadle minder!  And, Karin had her laptop at the Center on Tuesday working up the proposal for the Building Committee.

  Of course, many of us are friends on Facebook, and I also get updates from the group, 4-Shaft Weaving.    What a great way to get inspiration from other weavers.

  I know that several of our weavers are busy on Ravelry, but I haven't gotten too involved in that.  In fact, if I'm not careful, I spend way too much time online!!!!

  Lastly, thank goodness for weave design programs for our tablets and computers!!!  From really simple (like I use) to super-duper...there's a program to fit what you want to do.
  Weaving and modern technology:  a unique blend of the old and the new. does modern technology figure into your weaving (and your life?)

Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Time For Reflection

Our last show for this year, and time to reflect on what went right, and what we want to do differently next year. 

  It was neat hearing what items sold, and brainstorming items we would like to add to our stock for next year.

The first thing we did this morning was separate the items brought back from the show, and check off items that were going back upstairs to the shop.  Roz and Shirley stayed busy checking off inventory to go upstairs.  Tubs were emptied and stored away for next year.

  Then it was back to the business at the building committee meeting tonight!!!!
  Christy, Karin and Cindy have been busy putting together our proposal for additional weaving space.  (And, would you believe we might be adding two new students AND two new looms next week???)  They have pulled our loom inventory as well as volunteer hours and the income we have generated for the Center.  I'm looking forward to reading this document later!!!!

And, of course there was weaving going on in the studio!  Carl finished another rug today....that makes eight on the cloth beam.

Jocelyn cut off her first warp.....APPLAUSE!!!!!  Then, Carol got her busy winding a new warp for her loom.

Eiko and Ms. Ila went right back to the warps they had been weaving on.....I think they both finished those up today!

Linda was busy lining up blue jean legs to sew together for her next rug.  (Prep time seems to take forever!!!!!)

Marie went back to work winding her towel warp at the back warping board.  Is that an 18 yard warp???

Pat is taking over Lee's Surrender on Big Bertha.  She got a great start today. 

  Just look at that painted warp!  That is going to be a beautiful scarf, Julia!!!!!

I think we're getting back to normal (or whatever is normal for the Tuesday Weavers!) 

A BIG thank you to all the Tuesday Weavers who worked at the Foothills show this weekend.  They did a fantastic job!

Happy Weaving!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Foothills Guild Show

Thursday we set up for the Foothills Craft Guild Show. We had decided to have a 15 foot booth to hold all the items we would be offering for sale as Tuesday Weavers. Cindy, Christy, and Eiko set everything up with help from Allan (who hauled all the display pieces down to Knoxville from Norris) and Cindy's husband, Chuck. I think they did a very good job making it all look so nice!!
 They had made signs to show what we had for sale. I like that because it directs your eye to the pieces. I think we'll try to have these signs in the shop too. Not everyone knows that we do runners besides placemats!
 A big hit was a new design that Betsy had done, weaving bags for people using walkers. They were much admired and purchased.
 Their booth is set up right next to mine so that we could keep an eye on each other!
One of the reasons we have a bigger booth is because we demonstrate during the show. Eiko had put a narrow warp on the wolf pup and wove some mug rugs the day she was there. Others wove as well. With so many of us, there was a different crew each day taking turns selling the goods!
 It's always fun to look at the pictures I take before the show because of the number of things that don't come home with me after the show! It's so good to have items find new homes, people appreciating our work.
 My booth always looks kind of the same but depending on what I have going, different colors on the mannequins. Don't you love the blue tape around my rug? At this show, we can only use painters tape on our rugs. Makes for a colorful display!!
Tomorrow everything will come back to the center and time will be spent reorganizing our display upstairs in the shop. We'll have a debriefing at lunch time! Cindy's been keeping notes and is working up a list for us for next year. Plans already underway for the booth.... It should be exciting to see what the Tuesday Weavers plan for next year!!
So, once I catch my breath and organize my space here at home, I'm putting on a rug warp. My last show is done, I've got a minute to do what I want and that's going to be to use some of my stash and weave rugs for awhile. Nothing fancy, just fun!
Until next week, weave on!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Good Intentions

I seem to have a lot of those here lately.
  Take this shawl, for instance.  I was weaving it to wear at my son's wedding....the weather was a little iffy, and I thought it would be a good idea to have along.  I was right about the weather.
  I was wrong in my calculations.
  At 54 inches, I ran out of yarn.  Even a quick check on-line showed that this particular yarn was out of stock and no longer available.  I almost just cut it off....lesson learned!  But, after thinking about it for awhile, I've decided to look for a solid boucle to use.  I'm going to go by JoAnn's on Sunday...we'll see what is available.  Maybe this project can be salvaged after all.

Last week you saw this warp on the warping board....this week it is ready to put in the raddle.

Silly me....I thought I would have this woven by now!  REAL life does interfere with our weaving plans from time to time.

  This is one of the REAL things that is pressing right now.
LEAVES.....lots and lots of leaves!!!!

I was going to work on that Monday, since it was a holiday.  But, my plans got changed.  After all, they aren't going anywhere, right?

But, I really do need to do another run of leaf removal.  But, would you believe it....the trees aren't through yet!  They seem to be hanging on this year!

This is just one (of many) of the leaves that are just now falling.  They are from my neighbor's airplane tree (the only name I have for it) that is on the property line.  They are HUGE!  Most of them fall on my yard....and there are many more to come!

I've put this off long enough....time to pull out the blower and the mulcher.  That's where I will be the rest of the day. 
  My looms will have to wait until dark, I'm afraid.

   That is.....unless something else comes up!

Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Home Stretch

Marie, Cindy and Christy have gotten the situation under control.  (I think these ladies were efficiency experts in their former lives!!!)  Cindy even has a notebook started with LOTS of notes on what to do for next year!

  This is a sample of their inventory system.  Items were categorized and then listed in the notebook.

  They even have a list going of all equipment needed.  (We added binder clips to the list this afternoon....just wait...we'll have a picture from the show!)

  Maggie brought by some scarves she had finished at home, as well as one of the coverlets to take to the Foothills Show.  (Betsy wanted a tip on weaving overshot from Maggie.)

And, meanwhile, Carol continues to help the new weavers with their first warps.  (Don't you know they think they have been thrown into a whirlwind?)

  At the round table, we had last minute finishing going on items for the show.  We all pitch in to help.

  In fact, I think that helping each other is one of the best things about our group!  It goes so much faster when you have someone to help you wind on a new warp.

With all of this positive energy, you just know it's going to be a great show!

Happy Weaving!

Monday, November 11, 2013


This past weekend was wonderful! We left Knoxville early Thursday morning and headed east. By late afternoon we were on the coast. The ocean was right there, just beyond the dunes, a hundred feet or so from the villa we were staying in. We were on Kiawah Island for Earl Klugh's Jazz Festival.
 The festival kicked off with an outdoor event Thursday evening at Mingo Point. They had a big lowcountry buffet this year for us. We sat at picnic tables and listened to music. The guy performing is named Eugene Grove but his stage name is Euge Groove. Lots of sax but some guitar there too!!
 Kiawah Island is quiet, restful. Animals are allowed to be where they want to be. Just across from our villa we saw this deer feeding. We're afraid he got hit by a car or something because his left rear leg was injured. Otherwise, he seemed ok, wasn't afraid of us when I took these pictures as did other people that happened to be there.
 Friday evening the music began at 7pm. It was also outside but at The Sanctuary. Our seats were about half way down so I was able to get some good pictures this time with my camera. The first group was Spyro Gyra. Cindy, this one's for you! I'm sorry you couldn't have been there with us. You'd have enjoyed them immensely!! At least 2 of them are original band members and the others have been with them a long time so they definitely were in the groove, comfortable with playing their tunes.
 I thought this was amazing. He's playing both instruments at the same time!!! That's control!
 After the intermission we heard Al Jarreau, another guy who's been around for a long time and fun to listen to. His voice is something else!! He's also been married for 45 years to the same woman! He said as long as he brings home the milk and the money, it's all good!
 Saturday the concert began at 4pm. This was the view of the ocean from my seat. See the heaters? We needed them. Friday evening it was cooler and the heaters were going full blast. It was a bit warmer Saturday, partly because it began earlier but still, the concert went til 8 so the heaters were nice. People dressed for the cool temperatures and the music kept us excited but still, heaters were needed!!
 Starting this concert was the man himself, Earl Klugh. He put on a great show.
 Earl's a shy guy but he sure puts everything he has into the music he plays.
 You see them playing on stage and just by how they play, their expressions, you know they're having fun. It's so much better to listen to when you know that they're enjoying being there, having a good time, playing off each other. I didn't take pictures of all the others on stage with him that took breaks and kept the sound going.
 After intermission it was the one I'd been waiting for: Burt Bacharach.......he played for well over an hour with singers doing the vocals on some of them, he sang on others. You know, when you have about 500 people sitting there, most middleaged and above who know all the songs, when they start playing them, the audience can't be quiet. We sang too. There were some that you couldn't help yourself but sing. When he did the medley of movie tunes, of course when Raindrops Keep Falling on your Head began, we sang. So as that finished, he said, stop, we're going to do that song again and the whole song, not just the part that's in the medley......and he led the sing along! Fun!!
 He had his trademark scarf on and tennis shoes!
 After his encore, he brought out Earl who was honored to be there. Earl says that Burt is his all time favorite musician and I can just imagine how he felt being out there with him.
 Earl's favorite song that Burt does is Alfie. DH says it's got some complicated chords in it so that's what makes it so interesting.
 I like this picture. It captures the fun they were having onstage.
So we headed back to the mountains and over to Knoxville yesterday. It's back to reality now! Today I start getting everything ready for the show this weekend. We'll be setting up on Thursday for the 3 day show. Tuesday Weavers will have a booth beside mine and we'll do our best to sell some of the things we've made so we can make some more!
Until next week, carry on and listen to some Bacharach. It'll bring back the memories!!