Friday, January 31, 2014

The Unexpected!

We have had an unexpected visit from our Texas kids and grandkids this week, so not much is happening in the fiber world here.   I did however have a very unexpected call from my neighbor yesterday afternoon.  He wanted to know if I had ever seen a steer in a septic tank?  I of course told him no.  I could see him in his field, and I told him I would be right over!

We had a small discussion about how to get the poor thing out, which ended with him going to get a canvas strap about the size of a fire hose, and another one of smaller diameter.  I in the mean time went to my camping supplies and got an extendable pole with a hook on the top of it.

I got back to the steer before he did, and I saw that it could get it's forelegs up on the rim, but it could not get any further.  Soon my neighbor got there, and we took advantage of one of these attempts to get the smaller strap under the steer, and then he tied the larger strap to the smaller one and I pulled it through.  He passed one loop of the large strap through the loop on the other end, making a noose around the steers middle.  I held onto the strap as he pulled his tractor into place, then he fastened the strap to the tractor, and started her up.

I took a movie of what happened next, (I do hope you turn your sound off, I don't know why I thought he was going to be able to hear me over the tractor noise!)

I had wondered how we were going to get the strap off the steer, but I shouldn't have, it slipped right off his back side to his feet and he was soon free of it!  I am not sure how long he was down in that hole, it wasn't much bigger than he is.  He wandered around for awhile, and soon his other steer buddies were around him checking him out, we will keep a close eye on him.  This morning, he still seemed a little disoriented, but there were a couple of the other steers, that are staying close by him, which I thought was mighty sweet!

The kiddos will be heading back home on Saturday, and I know once we are back into our normal patterns of living, that I will be getting into something fiber related one way or another, so maybe next week I will have something to show for it!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How I Spent My Snow Days

  I'm sure everyone has heard about the winter weather here in the has been a great topic of conversation on the morning shows and Facebook.  I feel for the folks in those places where winter weather usually means just colder temps....they got a dose of those plus frosty flakes and ice.
  The picture on the left was taken by Tomas Staffen at the Rainbow Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains.    The effect of below freezing temps for several days turned this waterfall into a giant ice sculpture. 
  I did not wander outside except to refill the bird feeders!    But, today I will resume my regular life, although my back yard still has plenty of snow.

  I would love to say I stayed real busy during these two days.....but, the truth is, I did a lot of reading!  And, it's all the fault of Weaving Today!!!!
  Oh, yes......I opened up an email from Weaving Today and saw:  5 for $5.

A video download for Anita Mayer made it into my cart.  Pat had gone to her workshop last year, and she came away with so many great ideas.  What a great opportunity to take a look at her creations!

Jane Patrick's book has lots of projects to weave without looms...what a fun book!

I had been wanting to see Sara Lamb's book, Woven Treasures, for a while.  I follow her blog, Woven Thoughts, and I am in awe of her spinning and weaving knowledge.  I can just see her out in her yurt warping her loom!
  Needless to say, I have really enjoyed this book!  And, I've picked up some pointers on finishing the bags that I want to try with my projects.
  And, since two of these are eBooks, they can just stay on my least I'll know exactly where they are when I need them.

My secret is out....I didn't get a lot of weaving done, but I did enjoy my time with some new resources.

  I hope you are staying warm, and doing just what you want to do!
Happy Weaving (and reading!)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Because it snowed 4 inches in Knoxville, starting just as I went to the back door to head up to Norris, I didn't get to interview any weavers for the new Tuesday Weaver profiles I want to write for this blog.  Instead, I was stuck in the house for the past two days, keeping the animals from running out into the single digit weather and trying to keep the furnace pan from filling up with condensation.  Ah, that's another story, but not one for us today.

 I should have been weaving.  I could have, but I have a warp that's too short for anything meaningful, a rug warp waiting for strips I don't feel like cutting and Tootsie being up to her old tricks.  The cords I replaced her old tie-up chains with aren't working, try as I might to get them all the correct length.  In desperation, I pulled out her old chain tie-ups.  Yes, Tina and LouAnn, I know I promised I wouldn't, but I needed a solution.  It was that or chop old Tootsie up for firewood.  As I tied them up, I noticed how more evenly the treadles hung, and when I'd finished, I noticed how much better Tootsie wove. 
 Well, I may have promised, but if you think about it, she was made to work with the chains, and it was probably for a reason.  There was a lot less popping up of shafts up over her top, and a lot more even rising of the shafts in general.  I did make a treadling error that I don't feel like fixing right now, so she sits idle, but I confess that I like the chains!
  What I have been doing for the last two frigid, snowy days is knitting.  I started out knitting socks for my sister.  You may recall that a week before Christmas, she asked for a pair of socks.  Hand knitted, ready in a week, minus the trip from my house to hers.  Obviously, my sister doesn't knit!  I have made steady progress on them, though, since then.  I had a ball of Noro sock yarn, and my mother had one she'd started some socks with, but torn out when she didn't like them.  They're the same colorway, but of course with Noro, it never looks the same.  I like the lace pattern, and I like that the colors appear in each sock, though not in the same order.  I hope she'll like them.  She's a hard one to please!
  And yesterday, I sampled with some black chenille to make a new sweater for myself.  You see, I had two large cones of black chenille, and then received another in our holiday party gift exchange.  Well, I've always wanted a black chenille sweater, and found a lovely pattern in Knit Wear (see the photo in yesterday's blog).  I sampled a few different needle sizes and gauges, and started the sweater yesterday afternoon while watching the new Sherlock Holmes series.  That's black mohair on the cuff.  I thought it might make it a little sassier.

After the chenille made my hands sore, I switched to a sweater I began last winter, another pattern from Knit Wear.  I didn't like the way the stripes differ on the sleeves from the body of the sweater, which is why I put it aside this past year, but I want to finish it.  It's soft--cotton, silk and rayon--and I want to wear it before this crazy cold weather is replaced by crazy hot weather this summer. 
  I will face the problems in the loominaria soon, but knitting and cold weather go together well, with a lap full of cats and my feet in a down comforter.  It's supposed to be all the way into the 50's this weekend, and maybe the looms will be ready for me and I for them.  Until then, stay warm, be safe and happy weaving!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Day Projects

It's still much for all the frozen stuff going south of us!!!
But, I did hear from some of the Tuesday Weavers about their snow day projects:

Tea, swatches and Netflix


Leciester longwool ready to spin.

Wheels before the Grandkids arrive....guess they are going upstairs!

Christy got her mohair warp on the loom.  (She's thinking about changing the epi from 8 to 6, though.)  What a lovely winter view through the glass doors!.

Ann is on the third (and last) cotton throw.  In fact, the end of the warp is in view!
  Today's weaving was helped along by her kitties........

  For me, it seemed like a good day to UNweave.  Yes, I'm still unweaving this shawl.  That's was fun watching it snow while I sat on the bench.

Stay Warm!
Happy Weaving!

Snow Day

  How funny.....we used to love hearing those words when we were in school....but, today's weather means that we will not be weaving at the Center!
  The call has gone out to my fellow Tuesday Weavers to send me pictures of projects at home....we'll see what we get.  I'll post again later today.
Stay warm!

Monday, January 27, 2014

North of the border

Thursday was a very eventful day. I was at the airport before 7 am. I was supposed to fly up to Regina, Saskatchewan, getting to my sister's place in Moose Jaw by 4 pm. Talk about best laid plans!  First, we all boarded the plane on time, ready to go. However, some sensor on the plane didn't allow them to know how much fuel there was, so we all got off the plane and they replaced the part. We all got in line to get our connecting flights changed. Thankfully there was another flight heading my way. I was afraid there wouldn't be.  So we finally took off and flew the 3 hours to Denver, getting there at 1 pm their time. My next flight wasn't due to leave til 7:52 pm. I read my book, bought another one. There is something about flying that tires me out and I usually don't get much handwork done. Finally it was time to board our plane. When you fly international they want to see your passport so we knew everyone was there. Everyone except the flight crew!  We didn't take off til 9 pm. Finally got to my sister's place after 1 am. 
The good news is that it was nice with the temperature around freezing. 
That changed Saturday night. Now it's really cold!

My sister has this runner on her trunk. I don't recall when I wove it but it sure is pretty and cheerful!
I always bring along projects. This one was almost done. I just had to attach the black fabric to the burgundy panel. My sister will hang it somewhere so it's easy to see. In the cold weather they have, thinking of spring and tulips is a promise!
Last year at Fiber Forum I won a skein of angora silk yarn. It's the softest most gorgeous yarn. I spent months trying to decide what to do with it. No matter what I thought, it kept coming back to the fact that this had to be knit. I went to a knitting shop and got some needles...and started to knit. I'd forgotten how to cast on. YouTube helped that. So at spots I was knitting. I'd done about 8 inches before I got here. I've done quite a bit this weekend. However, I'm not enjoying it. Once this is done, that's it. No more knitting for me.
I'll be here a total of two weeks. Here's hoping it doesn't get too cold. We have plans of things to sew, my Mom is doing pretty well at the moment and the house is warm. What more could you want? 
Until next week,

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Nuno Felting with Geri Forkner

Katie Aloi, the director at the Appalachian Arts Crafts Center, asked me to share this information with our blog friends.

 You can register by phone:  865-494-9854. 
The Center is closed on Sunday and Monday during January, but open Tuesday-Saturday from 10a.m. until 5 p.m.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Biggest Spindle Ever!

I had several tasks on my list this morning as I was sipping my coffee.  One of which was to keep the wood stove going, because it is really cold here right now, unusually so.  We were in the single digits last night.  I just heard on the news tonight, that this has been the 17th coldest January on record in our area.  So, wood stove is stoked and purring, and plenty of wood in the rack to get us well into tomorrow.

Next there was  the necessary chore of catching up with the laundry, it turns out that there were really only 5 loads in the baskets, but it looked like a lot more!  Along with laundry, and a good fit for that task, is the paperwork I need to wade through to get us ready for our visit to our accountant.  Each time the dryer let me know it was ready to be emptied, I would rise from the paperwork spread about me, very happy for the break!  By early afternoon, I had finished both tasks, well, at least I had done all the paperwork I could do for the present , and the laundry was down to todays offerings.

Finally the last task that I had to do was a post for the blog.  I pondered all day, about what I would blog about.  Unfortunately, I did not get up to the studio this week, even though I promised to.  So, I pondered through the woodpile, the paperwork and the laundry.  I ran out to do some errands a little later in the afternoon, still pondering.  It seemed that I wasn't going to be able to quickly do some weaving, to have something to post about! (Yes, that does happen at times)

All of a sudden, I remembered that I hadn't posted about the Navajo Spindle I picked up in Asheville earlier this month.  It is a spindle that I have looked at for a number of years, and really I did not have any interest in purchasing one for the longest time.

What got me interested in this spindle is the fact that the antique spinning wheels that I am getting interested in all have small bobbins.  This is fine for spinning singles, but when I want to ply 2 bobbins together, these small bobbins can't hold it all, so that I am forced to make smaller skeins than I would like too.   Even a couple of my more modern wheels have small bobbins.  Only my Louet S-10 has bobbins that can give me a great big 4oz skeins that I love.

 You can see the Navajo Spindle along side the Ashford student spindle, which is not a small spindle at all!  Dear one and I had gone to a retreat, where he would be doing some speaking, and I would have quite a bit of free time. :)  I brought some singles to ply, and wool to spin.

I was quite pleased with the skein of yarn that I plied that weekend, yes it was slower than plying on a wheel, but I enjoyed it.  It was almost as if I was able to take greater care as I plied each section, before winding on.

You may not have seen one of these spindles in action, but it is really quite simple.  I watched several YouTube videos to get an idea of how I was to use it, so I had the general idea.

 To spin a single with a Z twist, which is the most common singles twist, you start at your knee and roll the spindle towards your hip a couple of times to get up some speed.  At the end of the stroke, you can cradle the spinning spindle loosely in your fingers.  For an S twist for plying, you roll from your hip to your knee.

I had a little trouble with the tip of the spindle sliding on the floor.
I got around that by putting the tip in Dear Ones running shoes!  It worked fairly well, but I think I will be getting the "rock" that they use to keep cellos still.

So that is my post, my last task is done, just a little later than usual. :)

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Top Ten Things To Do....

.....during a Polar Vortex!

10.  Keep an eye on those temps!  These below freezing temperatures are hard on the pipes! 
***  Mike Witcher provided this 7 day outlook on this morning's weather forecast.

9.  Stay inside:  it's a good time to watch those DVDs you received at Christmas. 

8.  Keep those bird feeders filled!  Our feathered friends burn more calories during these cold snaps, and they need a little extra help.
  I also replenished the suet feeders!

7.  Weave by the fire. 
    Yes, I know I already used this picture, but that is where I am as I work on my huck lace sampler. 

6.  Bake some bread.  Not only does it make the house smell heavenly, it makes the best toast and grilled other words, comfort food!

5.  Finish that project on the RH loom.  (I actually finished the weaving last Friday while Tina and I were at the Museum of Appalachia.  Now, it needs to be cut off the loom, twist the fringes and then wet finished!)

4.  Find a sunny spot.  Yes....this, too, is a picture you've seen before.  But, it bares repeating!!!!
  We all need to make a little vitamin D!
  It will make you happy!

3.  Put a new warp on the Inkle Loom.  This is a great little loom to take to the Museum.  People are always fascinated by those little woven bands!

2.  Go through the yarn collection.....some of this will be scarves....some might be shawls!!

And, the Number ONE thing to do during a Polar Vortex...............

.....Think Summer..........Warm Weather......Days by the Pool!!!!

In the meantime.........
Happy Weaving!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Profile of a Tuesday Weaver: Carl Bretz

Carl Bretz is Tuesday Weavers' most experienced weaver, having begun weaving in 1971.  You'll see many photos throughout our blog of Carl weaving on an antique barn loom, weaving beautiful rugs from cast off wool warp and old jeans.  The rugs sell very quickly upstairs in the Appalachian Arts-Craft Center store.  One of his rugs is in my mother's living room, where it has a place of honor.
  I could tell Carl's story, but he has already written his weaving history, so I will simply quote from it.
" A Weaver's Yarn
By Carl V. Bretz"
"As a child, I helped my mother with her rug braiding by rolling fabric strips into balls.  It was magical to see her make beautiful and useful rugs from worn fabric.  She also did beautiful embroidery and crocheting.  My father did chair caning after he retired.
  "In grade school I read Silas Marner by George Eliot, the classic story of little Eppy and the weaver of Ravelo.  The story made a lasting impression.  I worked in several hospitals where weaving was used as part of the Occupational Therapy Program for recovering patients.  I was intrigued to see patients throwing shuttles.
  "In the 1970's I found myself under a lot of stress. I knew I needed a good hobby.  Weaving instruction was being offered in a nearby town.  I found weaving became a great stress reliever and a part of my religious practice.
  "Solo weaving gave me a great deal of pleasure throughout the years.  In 1994 I moved to Oak Ridge [TN] when Rosemary [Burns] and I were married.  Rosemary knew of the nearby Appalachian Arts Craft Center and suggested I check it out.  It was through the craft center that my involvement in weaving really took off.  Show-and-tell, problem solving, occasional workshops and great friends enriched the weaving experience immensely.  A workshop introduced me to the pleasures of tapestry weaving.
  "Recently I've downsized to fit everything into an apartment.  I made room for my eight-harness Macomber and a 24" Shannock tapestry loom.
  "I have a great debt of gratitude to all of the people who have inspired and taught me along the way.  I am especially thankful for the support and friendship of the Tuesday Weavers at the Appalachian Arts Craft Center."

Carl with his Grandmother's spinning wheel.
 We owe Carl a great deal of gratitude, as well, for his kind and gentle presence, and showing us that weaving is indeed a life-long pursuit worth following.  Happy weaving, for a lifetime!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The More The Merrier!!!

  We knew we were going to have guests today:  Cindy had commented on Carol's post yesterday.  But, it was still exciting to have Laura Fry, Nancy Thompson, Frances Fox and Cindy Dietzen walk into the studio this morning.  (Now you would have thought that I would have gotten a group picture of them at some point...but that didn't happen!) 
  They just joined in and took off on their own self-guided tour. 
  Oh my should have been there!!!

  Maggie commented that she wished folks could hear all the commotion on the blog, so, I took a little video so you could hear it!  Carol calls this "controlled creative chaos."

  Laura was kind enough to share some of her weaving samples with us.  It was a learning experience!

  Our Cindy was having her own kind of learning experience!  At least she sees the humor in the situation!  Yes, we did get a little weaving done today.

Marie was determined to get her towel warp on her loom.  Carl and Karin jumped in to help her out.

Tina finished threading and tying on the warp on her loom, and then fixed the pulleys that were slightly out of kilter.
   Can you see the wee touch of something shiny on the loom next to her?  That's fairy dust!!!  Oh yes, the loom fairy came last week and threaded my towel warp.    What a surprise!
           ****Thank you, Loom Fairy!!

  Betsy needed to cut off the five "walker pockets" on her loom.  After weaving in the sticks to tie the warp back to the front apron, out came the scissors! 
  In the background, you can see that Cindy Dietzen has joined in the fun on Marie's loom.

  There's always time to catch up with your weaving friends!

  Or make new weaving friends!

With the Tuesday Weavers-- the more, the merrier!

Happy Weaving!