Friday, February 28, 2014

A Day at the Museum of Appalachia

Lou Ann and I made our way to the Museum early this morning.  We both had to stop by the post office on our way, and our friend Mindy sure wanted to come with us to the Museum!  We would have taken her too, but she thought that she had better stay at work after all.  There was a local school field trip scheduled for us today and we love it when we get to talk about our ancient crafts to those youngsters.

It wasn't really very busy today, and every so often, during a lull we would have to go outside to see if we could find the new twin lambs that were born sometime Monday night.  They are coal black, but as they grow that wool will turn a lovely shade of brown.  There are several ewes that seemed to us to be just about ready to have their little ones.  We figured that by the time we go back there on Tuesday for lunch, there were going to be a lot more lambs to enjoy!

Lou Ann brought her inkle loom, and was busy weaving away on her Lady Vols inkle band.  I brought the Double flyer wheel, and some flax on the distaff.  (I also brought the Navajo Spindle and some wool that turned out to be the wrong kind of wool to use with that spindle.  It soon became a prop!)  I first put the wheel together and oiled it really well, then I spent about 5 minutes just treadling.  It is good to let the oil get to all the places it needs to be, and to get my foot accustomed to the rhythm of this particular treadle.

I was soon spinning with both fists as it were.  I can really tell that my skill level is improving.  I was comfortable, and as Lou Ann said, I can spin longer and longer without a mess up.

I did notice that as the flax on the distaff was being used up, there was a lot of fuzzy stuff in there that was making it hard to draft out the fibers.  I went next door to the loom house where they happen to have an old time Hackle that would take care of that problem.  I was amazed at how much stuff was left behind in the Hackle!  I took the good stuff back to the wheel and tied it onto the distaff, like a pony tail.  I soon found that I did not like that kind of presentation.  The flax tended to come out of the ponytail in clumps.  I finally took it down and placed the ponytail under my arm and had a great time spinning from it.  I could only spin to one flyer at a time, but I really liked the yarn I was getting.

I will continue to train using both flyers, but I think that for production, I may just use one flyer at a time, unless I get really good at it!

Our day was soon over, and we headed home.  I dropped Lou Ann at her house and went to my daughters house to see the grandkids, and also to see some new yarn she had spun up, it was Babydoll Southdown.  I had just ordered 8oz of it a couple of days ago, and when I told her, she reminded me that she had just finished a skein of it, and that I must come to see how elastic the yarn was!  It was amazing!  Almost as stretchy as a rubber band!

I headed home after my long day of fun, and I found a couple of things waiting for me.  That Babydoll Southdown roving,  I do hope you can see the picture of that lamb.

And a book I had ordered last week, to help me with a particular loom/warp problem I have.  It is a book by Kati Meek, and it is called Warp with a trapeze and Dance with your loom.  I will go into more detail about it at a later time, when I have had a chance to put it into practice.

I am plum tuckered out, and it is time to go out to feed my critters.  I hope your day has been as good as mine has.  Retirement is a wonderful thing!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Thursday, February 27, 2014


  After the Sunday afternoon meeting of the Lace Study Group, I feel so much better.  As I waited for the others to arrive, I had this feeling of dread.  I just wasn't getting it!  I knew they were going to sit me in the corner with the pointed hat on my little white head!  Then, guess what???  They were feeling the same confusion!
  With this sense of renewal, I'm going to start my lace gamp again....working through each example.  Then, the whole thing will get wet finished to see the lovely results!!!!
  Maybe the lightbulb will go on after all!!!


  In the meantime, I'm all packed up for my trip to the Museum of Appalachia in the morning.  Along with the Inkle loom, I've got the jig to make more heddles for the Rocker Loom.  The new warp will have 80 more threads, so I've got to get busy and tie those beauties.  I tied 10 last week....only 70 more to go.

  I did get a new warp on the Inkle Loom....Lady Vol colors once again. 

  I took the warp off of the little RH loom that I warped for last week.....I didn't like the way it was weaving.  Isn't it funny how some things don't weave up the way you think they will?  Not to worry....this yarn will get used in a later project...probably as weft.

  This is my favorite sign of renewal....spring flowers!  They are later than usual up here on the Ridge, but they sure are a welcome sign.  Would you believe the S word is even in the forecast AGAIN????  All things in their time, eh? 
  The good news is that the wintery weather is forecast for Friday night.....the Museum trip is ON!!!!  They will have a fire going in that big old fireplace, and it will be cozy inside in the cabin.  I'll get to weave and daydream about warmer weather!!! 
    Oh....and talk to the kids about weaving!!

Happy Weaving!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Heels & Toes

Liz's socks
Just the toes!
I've had a busy two days off, but it was all good fun.  I've sewn until I can't hunch over my sewing machine one more second, then knitted until my fingers cramped.  Then, I went back to sewing.
  My sister asked for hand-knitted socks a week before Christmas, remember?  I turned their heels today, only two months too late.  You can see the Noro issue, where two socks from the same yarn don't look alike, but I still like them.  And the best part is they're halfway done.
  A friend did me a HUGE favor, and asked for a pair of socks knitted from yarn she hadn't been able to resist buying.  Today, I cast on the toes, going from the toe up to make sure I had enough yarn.  We'll see how long I can make them before I run out of the lovely stuff.
 And I've been working on two blouses simultaneously, from the same pattern, using black China silk in both, but using variations on the pattern to make them different.  I've gotten the collars on, but the hand sewing hasn't been done.  Now, I'm working on hemming them, and binding the arm scye.  I keep plugging along on these two, but I keep thinking I don't want to do them, because the black is hard to stare at for hours on end.  But I really, really want them done before I start on the other five projects I have cut out, and the many, many more I'm imagining while I'm making them.  Almost there!

 My favorite project this week has been this blouse, a light cotton floral print, in a raglan-sleeved camp shirt.  I goofed a few years ago when I cut it out, using an adaptation of the pattern that didn't include the correct front facing.  I had put the sleeve and shoulder seams all together before I realized it, and when I saw the ugly truth, it got shoved into a box.  It resurfaced yesterday morning, and I saw the solution.  I cut a bias strip of satin, folded it into bias tape and finished the neck edge.  I found the perfect buttons, some shell buttons, put them on, made buttonholes, hemmed everything, and Voila!  A new blouse.  Alas, it must wait until the weather gets nice again.  The mid-30's are a little chilly for this spring time shirt.
  No weaving this week, but on Sunday, our Huck Lace study group had a good, productive and supportive meeting.  It was good to find out that none of us understood the book we've chosen for our group, and it now gives us a new dimension to work on.  It's wonderful to have friends with the same passions and questions, isn't it?
  Here's hoping your week is filled with what you're passionate about!  Happy Weaving, etc.!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Around the Studio

  I know that this is the picture you all are waiting for.....this is one happy weaver!!!!
  The new warp is tied on and ready for action.  The ball of weft on the bench beside Carl is from a previously woven rug that will soon become a new rug.  Recycle and reuse....our guide words!


Elsewhere in the studio, Cindy and Shirley discussed a draft for a new project.  We are so lucky to have each other to talk to about weaving.  There's a lot of knowledge to share in that studio!!!  Sharon got the opportunity to talk with Eiko about her project.  Our new weavers are making great progress!

   Jocelyn and Molly got a lot done today, too.  Karin is just about finished with her project on the table loom, and then that loom will be ready for another new weaver.

Of course, there's lots of catching up to do, too!!!  Sometimes we're sharing our projects on the looms at home....and sometimes we are sharing pictures of our new baby goats!!!  Congratulations, Linda!  She's the proud "grandmother" to two little kids born just last night!

  Yes....this is intense concentration on Betsy's face!  She is threading her first patterned warp.  (She's doing a great job!!!)

  Tina and I tackled the Straw Loom Kits...we needed to get some new kits ready.  Carol blogged yesterday about her adventure with Margi on Saturday. Sounds like they had a successful day.

  Roz is just about to get that warp tied on her loom....she should be weaving next week!

  No week is really complete without a warp coming off the loom!  Ms. Ila finished up her shawl warp!  What's next???

  And, there's always show & tell time:  Marie used her rigid heddle loom to weave this huck lace scarf from bamboo and silk. soft!!!!

  Now....get busy cutting those strips and ordering more thread!!! 
  There's lots more weaving to get done around the studio!!!

Happy Weaving!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pass It On

On Saturday, Margi and I were at Smart Toys and Books teaching straw weaving. What a blast!  The class at 11 am had 12 students from ages 5 to 10 and parent/ grandparent. After Margi talked about weaving and showed them all cotton, even letting them take some and try to twist it to make thread, we pulled out the kits and they went to work.
I brought along one of our little looms to show how they worked. I think some of the parents would have loved it if I had brought a pup and let them weave on it...
Having parents there made it really nice. We were able to assist and the parents learned how to do it as well. We gave good instructions on how to continue after they got home.
One grandparent that was there is thinking of retiring. She used to weave....and is thinking of joining us on Tuesdays, 
The Smart Toys folks were really good to us, even feeding us lunch during the short break before the other students came at 12:30. This time there were only 2 but, again, they were intrigued. The picture of the 2 is actually at the top of this page. I'm not sure how this iPad decides to set the pictures on the page..
Thanks to Margi for taking the lead on this project. They want us to come back in a few months to do it again. A good time was had by all!
This week I have to get my rugs woven. 
It's going to be a busy one!
Until next week, keep weaving!

Friday, February 21, 2014

First Woven Scarf

I was clearing my computer desktop the other day, when I realized that I hadn't posted about  the rigid heddle scarf that I did on Lou Ann's Sample it.  I only had it for a short while, but I did keep it long enough to use up some stash yarns, that I haven't been able to get into a project until now.

The rosy colored wool, is some Glen Gary Shetland that has been tried in countless knitting projects, but I always ended up ripping it out when the results were less than what I had intended.  The multi colored strands are from Knit Picks, City Tweed.  It was a kit for the Nonna's Flower Garden shawl, but I found the chart to difficult to read, mostly because they used colors instead of symbols.  These eyes just could not distinguish between some of the really close colors that were in the kit.

I had used the City Tweed in a woven shawl, but found that I had used a sett that was way too close, and it made a really dense fabric.  I ended up taking it apart so that I could try using it again in something.  I had some of the CT yarn that was 3 yards long.  I thought that would be a good length to use for a scarf.  I didn't happen to have a warping peg on hand, but I did have a distaff handy.  I first threaded the CT thru the reed, then I tied the end  in a knot and looped it around the distaff.  I tied the loom to a heavy chair and put enough distance between the two to hold it just tight enough but not stretch the CT, it worked wonderfully!  Beaming the warp was easy, and before you know it I was weaving.

Weaving on a rigid heddle is a little different than my usual.  It is faster to warp, because you are pulling thru the heddles and reed at the same time.  (Also, I am not going to put 40 yards of warp on a RH!)  The actual weaving on a RH is faster as well.  I suppose it is because I am using much thicker yarn than I use on my floor looms.  I realized just recently another difference, with short warps and different yarns, I was not bored at all!  There is no churning out the umpteenth yard of some fabric, or the 20th baby blanket with the same design!

I somehow don't have a picture of how the weaving progressed, so I cannot even show you the scarf fresh off the loom before fulling.  The weave was pretty balanced, I tried to match the 7.5 ends per inch of the warp.  Basically, I just tapped the weft in, paying special attention to the selvedges, and making sure I had a good arc of yarn in the shed so that the edges would not draw in.

I am very pleased with the finished scarf, and once I get my own Rigid Heddle loom, you can be sure that I will be weaving many scarves, shawls and ponchos.  All from my stash of commercial and handspun yarn.

The prospect of interesting new weaving projects with my handspun  is really breathing new life into my Studio.

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What A Difference A Week Makes!

  Just one week ago, I was snowed in up here on the Ridge!  Today the temps are in the 60's and they are forecasting strong spring storms for tonight!  They always say that if you don't like the weather here in East Tennessee, just will change!  In fact, you can get all four seasons within a 24 hour period!  Maybe that's why we tend to be laid-back, hearty folks!!!!

  I used my snow day wisely....that towel warp that needed to be threaded, sleyed and tied on got some TLC.  I used supima cotton for the warp and hems.  The body of the towel is crinkle cotton, and the overshot panel is 3/2 perle cotton.  I'm hoping these will be thirsty towels that will be enjoyed by my family.

  I also got the rigid heddle warped to take to the Museum.  It won't be long, and I'll be putting a warp on that wonderful old Rocker Loom!  My target date is the middle of March for the new warp there.....we'll still get some winter weather in the next few weeks.  But, the RH loom will be the substitute for weaving right now.
  The Inkle Loom is looking sadly at me.....where is the new warp for it? 

   I did get side tracked to the rug loom:  this is my crazy bathroom rug.  I had a bucket of T-shirt loops left from another project, and I just wanted to get them used and out of the way.  They are just looped together like sock just get longer runs of color.  Just a little bit more, and it will be the right size for my bathroom!

  I've had a lot of help while I've been weaving:  Biscuit is finally getting used to the thump of the beater.  That could also be because she makes a lot of racket on her own!  She likes to play with her ball chaser/scratching pad when I'm on the looms.  (She really gets going if I sprinkle a little of the catnip that Linda gave me on the cardboard!!!)
  Oh well....lots to do.  Batten down the hatches and get ready for the wicked weather tonight...and don't worry....the weather will change.

Happy Weaving!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What a Beautiful Day!

 Yesterday was fine, and I wanted to be outside in the garden, but the neighbors were putting on a new roof, and it was far too noisy in the back yard!  Today, they're still working on it, but I couldn't stay inside one more minute.  I pruned and pulled old things up and pruned some more.  I chatted with the landlady of the house next door, and met my two new neighbors, the tenants.
  Bella kept guard all day, just sitting on the grass and quietly watching everyone.  Leo escaped from time to time, but didn't like all the activity, so he stayed close to home.
  I noticed the buds on the roses, the tiny buds on the hydrangeas, some struggling radicchio pushing up from the muck in the garden.  The day was warm and moist and breezy, but promising to turn back into rain tonight.
I did manage to get the jacket I started last week finished, after a couple of mistakes.  The patch pockets it had last week just didn't look right. I took them off and replaced them with inserted welt pockets.  I liked them much better.  Then, I tried it on, and the sleeves were 6 inches too long.  Now, how did that happen?  I cut the cuffs and 3 inches of the sleeves off, and make the cuffs over.  I put a placket in the back, with a piece of elastic in it to make the back not quite so boxy, and put some fancy buttons down the front that I'd bought at Mood Fabrics, that amazing store they use on Project Runway.  If you don't follow their blog or get their sale emails, and you love to sew, you should sign up soon.  It's worth it.
  It's been a lovely weekend for me, and now, going back to work doesn't seem so awful.  There are storms coming, but I can't believe there will be much more snow in our future.  At least, the plants in my garden don't believe it.  I hope they're right!
  Happy sewing, gardening, weaving and whatever else you to make you happy!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Welcome To The Studio, Karen!

  If you've been reading Karen-In-The-Woods, you know that she and Steve have started their southerly trek.  They stopped-over here in East Tennessee to spend some time with Linda, and wound up at the Center to see our own brand of mayhem!
  It really was the perfect day to be here....temps soared up to the 60's and the sun was bright in the sky.  Karen got to see the warp on her former rug loom, as well as all the other looms in our studio.
  It was a short visit (Steve was ready to pull out at the campground nearby) but we really enjoyed meeting her!   I know she'll enjoy all that Florida sunshine for the next few weeks!

  We were busy at the Center this morning!  Pat and Betsy helped Carl keep the tension as we wound on his new rug warp. 

   I finally caught Linda at her rug loom (this is the loom that used to belong to Karen!)  Those blue jeans look so good as the weft, that I think she's going to make another one!

Cindy and Marie are already thinking about our Fall shows.  Marie had pictures of our booth to use for a reference as they looked at the supply catalog.  We need to add to our display equipment!

Carol checked in with Sharon and Molly.....our newest weavers are doing a great job!

  Bonnie has cut off her warp, and she'll be starting on one of the Pups next week.  Wonder what she'll work on for her first project???


  And, Shirley cut off the final scarf from her warp....that makes a total of three!!!  (I won't say what she calls this warp!!!!)

    Pat brought her overshot projects that she has been working on at home.  She's using up her stash of Harrisville wool!

Margi got busy collecting the supplies she'll need for the straw loom class on Saturday. 

Several of our Tuesday Weavers took part in the Nuno Felting workshop last weekend, and brought their finished panels in for us to see.  Here are Marie and Cindy's pieces.

  Ms. Ila brought her piece, along with LaDonna's finished piece.  I think they all had a great time. 

  Geri Forkner will be teaching Nuno Felting for Weavers April 5-6 at the Center.   We'll be seeing some more of these great pieces!  (You can register for the workshop by calling the Center.)

  Even though Julia has gone back to her job, she's staying busy weaving at home.  Marie showed-off the scarves that Julia finished at home.
  Keep up the good work, Julia.....and come visit us when you can!

That's it for today....another busy weaving adventure!

Happy Weaving!

p.s.  Drive safely, Steve!