Friday, January 30, 2015

Batts and Nests

I have not had a minute in the weaving studio this week, and very few in the spinning studio!  What I have gotten done has nothing to do with the reorganization that remains in process.  What I have done however is still on the to do list for January and February, washing fleeces and getting clean fleeces ready to spin.

Late last week I rewashed a Jacobs fleece that I had, that was still a bit sticky.  I had picked up 3 sweater drying racks that were stackable on Saturday and it was the perfect amount of space to put the fleece out to dry.  I spread it out and left it for several days to dry.

While that was drying, I started working on another dark brown Shetland fleece that I found while I was carrying the boxes across the hall.  This one is a nice toothy medium fleece that will be perfect for a sweater to wear out to the barn.  I must have washed it before I had my wool combs, because I was not careful to keep the lock structure.

I first combed this fleece on my combs to get rid of the short bits and trash, then I loaded  it onto the drum carder.  I stacked up the batts after the first pass, as I normally do when I want to blend a large amount of fleece.  Then I took each batt and split into 3 pieces and made 3 new batts mixing up the strips.  I must have had a dozen batts on the table when I started this afternoon.

  I wasn't able to finish this fleece today, but I will be able to make short work of the last 3 batts when I get back to it, which will probably be next Monday.
 Earlier today I was able to get to the Jacobs fleece that was finally dry.  In this fleece there is a lot of bits and pieces of hay and brush.  There is also something called kemp, which is small wiry hairs that you do not want in your yarn.  I thought that the wool combs might not be able to help me get them out and that the best approach would be to open up the locks using my hand carders.
 I take a lock and hold tightly to one side, sometimes putting a twist in the middle of the lock to hold it steady.  Then I carefully brush out the tip end until you can see through it.  All the yucky stuff is gone!
 I then do the other end of the lock.  This fleece is much softer than I anticipated, I am really pleased with it.
 I keep at it until I have a box full of fluff.  Then I took it over to the drum carder and made a couple of batts.  I ran the batts thru a second time, splitting them up first to blend this fleece well.

(I had to stop brushing the locks after a couple of hours, this part of the process is really hard on my hands.  That is when I turned to the shetland fleece posted above.  All very confusing I know, a bit like time travel.)
I have just recently taken to using the drum carder that I have had on hand for quite some time.  It is wonderful for some of these fleeces and I love the huge nests of fiber I am able to pull off of the carder.

I suppose if I had a big hackle for my combs I could use that instead for the same results.  I may look into that, but for now, I will use what I have.  This Jacobs fleece has 3 distinct colors, white, gray, and brown.  I will keep the colors seperate as I get it ready to spin.  What a fabulous fair isle project this would make!

Until next time, Happy Spinning, Knitting and Weaving, Tina

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Place Mat Challenge

  As we set up for our Fall shows, I was struck again by the lack of sets of place mats we had on the shelves.  So many times, folks want matching sets of 6 or 8.  We had a great selection....but not many that were all the same.  So, I issued a challenge to my fellow weavers to weave a set of 12 place mats by 29 September!  (I could envision the shelves stocked with a variety of wonderful place mats!)
  That means ME, too!!! 
  This is a great opportunity for me to do some stash reduction, so I took a good look at what needed to be used up and what threads I could use to get the job done.  I had two of these rolls of fabric that weigh 15 pounds....this would be a great place to start.
  I use a rolling laundry cart with a thick dowel through the cone to make my rolling station.

  My challenge with this fabric was the large white areas.  The pretty color print is near the selvedge edge, which also has a little fringe.  With my rag cutter clamped to the kitchen table, I cut two inch sections.  The last piece, which was close to the edge where the pattern was, got cut into one inch pieces for the mats.  I saved the fringe area for another project for other day!

  On Tuesday, Josie asked what I was using to cut the strips:  I have a Fraser Rag Cutter that I bought when I first started weaving.  I love rag weaving, and I soon tired of using my rotary cutter....and tearing the strips leaves a wee fringe.  Now, that's OK sometimes....but, not always!
You can read about the Fraser here:  Fraser Rugs
  You can sometimes find them on eBay, too.  And, there are other rag cutters out there....this is just what I use.

  While I was cutting my strips, I thought about the colors I wanted to use for my warp.  I tried out several combinations, but finally settled on two shades of green, two shades of blue and two shades of pink.

  I wound a 13 yard warp on the mill, and starting winding it on the loom Tuesday night.  The last couple of yards look like a tangled mess, but it went on like a charm!
 I use the "yank and crank" method.

  Threading started last night....and I just now realized that I have to rethread it today!!!!  No big deal....I meant to thread it using my plain weave-basket weave pattern!!  I can fix that.
  ***By the way....I'm still loving the stool for threading and sleying.  It goes down for threading and up for sleying!!!!

***Full disclosure:  this isn't my picture!  I borrowed it from the local TV station....but this is identical to what I saw this morning.
  Wouldn't that make a great warp!!!

  After this glorious sunrise this morning, and some lovely sunshine, the showers have moved in.  They should move out this afternoon....just in time for my daily run to the post office.  Isn't it great when a plan comes together!
Happy Weaving (and threading and sleying!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Day

  The Tuesday Weavers got a snow day!!! doesn't hold a candle to what Juno did in the Northeast, but we got enough to close Anderson County schools (the Center is in Anderson County) and a lot of the schools in the northeast part of Tennessee.  Carol sent out an email this morning, and told us to enjoy our day off and stay off of slick roads!

  We know what Carol is doing:  working on those curtains for the cabins on LeConte.

  I have been cutting fabric strips for my challenge placemats.  I hope to wind the warp this afternoon!!!

Tina spend the morning with Dear One's Mom, and I understand she's in her studio this afternoon.

  Betsy is with a granddaughter that is under the weather.  I hope she feels better soon!

  Carl told me that he has some weaving to work on at home.  He'll cut off those rugs at the Center next week.

  Sharen (who lives by Norris Lake) said that they had ice and snow, but she was cozy inside.

  Sharon, who lives in my neck of the woods, said that she walked her dogs this was COLD!


  Marie has tied on her warp, and it looks like she's ready to weave!  

The report from "Good, Ole Rocky Top" came from Shirley, who is celebrating the birth of her new GREAT grandson.  Kellin was born yesterday:  Congratulations to the happy family!

  And, Karin assures us that she, too, is safe and warm on Rocky Top weaving on her Bound Weave project.

  It would seem that the Tuesday Weavers are using their time wisely!
Happy Weaving!

Monday, January 26, 2015


Well, half done really!!

So, the last couple of months my blogging has shown that I haven't gotten much done. That's because DH's siblings decided we had to sell their parents We won't talk about how much of  a disaster that all is but since just before thanksgiving, every weekend except one we have spent 2 - 3 days down there going through the stuff. We worked Thanksgiving day, Christmas day and New Years day. DH and I were the main ones working on it. My poor husband had to haul everything down from the attic on those pull down steps, filling several rooms with stuff. Then the massive job of going through each box. My mother in law was a great organizer. I've given away about 300 clear shoe box size containers from The Container Store....still have a few.... to give you just an idea of what was up there. That's only a small part of what was up there!
I went through it all, keeping the good stuff that we craft people could use and sending some to Goodwill for others to enjoy.
Here's a good example of what I brought home a week ago.

There are 4 white bags. They contain towels. The black bags are full of sheets. I washed all the towels and divided them by wash cloth, handtowel and towel piles. The towels will go to my good friend's daughter who is a vet and needs towels to work with the dogs she helps. The rest I divided into 2 stacks. One stack will go to a friend who's a potter and the other I'll take to the center for the potters there to use. Apparently, potters like old towels for working with clay, etc.
That's just a small part of a van load. Each week when we came back, the van was full. Saturday evening when we came home, we had both vehicles full. My house is now, too.
So, we're half done. The place down there is empty. I won't have to go down there again for a long time!!
Now I have to find the time to go through all those boxes I collected and put the things into the correct ones again. We were in such a rush, it was just like, fill the box, move on. I already have almost a full office depot box of buttons, one of laces, notions.... I will never have to buy another straight pin, hand sewing needle or measuring tape again. Did I mention my mother in law was a hoarder of the coolest kind? My job is to figure out what I can use and then find homes for the rest.
Of course, in all of this, too, are pictures. There are several office depot size boxes full of pictures and negatives. DH and his sister were amazed when they found pictures they had never seen, of themselves as children and some of relatives. Now that we're done down there, he'll have time to go through them again, scan some to send to family and figure out where we can store the originals.
Hm, I think a scrapbook might be a good project to do. I do have a few things in my studio that would be helpful in creating one.
There's supposed to be a blizzard up north. I wouldn't mind having one down here, too. That way I'd have the time to go through a few boxes and see how many I could empty.....into the right bins!!

Do you know what kind of relief it is, knowing you don't have to go down to keep finding more stuff that you had no idea was there? Even though I've found some awesome quilting tools that I'd never have bought for myself, still in the original bag she purchased them in, that I'll really enjoy using when I work on another quilt, it's just overwhelming and sad to see.
Each week when we went down we'd go eat at The Original Pancake House, best place in Atlanta, and The Landmark Jr restaurant, also a wonderful place with amazing cakes. We've gone to both many times over the years. This time we said goodbye, we won't be back for quite awhile. Hugs. The lady who's almost always at the desk at the Executive Park Courtyard by Marriott was sad when I told her that this was it. She'll remember us because the other weekend, DH stuck his room key in his shirt pocket, next to his phone....and the 2 magnets he'd found that he thought our friend Pierre would like. That took 2 trips back down to the desk to get the room key re done before he realized what he was doing. I guess you make memories wherever you are. (Did you know that your phone can mess up the key, too?!)

What's on the loom? I am weaving the panels for the curtains I need to have done soon. I've got 7 done and hopefully 3 more on this warp. Then I'll wind another warp for the other 10. I'd like to get them done by early next week so I can wash and sew them. Then it'll be on to rugs.

So Saturday, would love to sleep in, but there'll be a box or 3 that needs emptying. I need more than just a path to my chair in the living room!!

I'm sure there's a lesson in here somewhere about having too much stuff, but really, we craft people need things to use to make things. Our daughter worries about what to do when we're gone. I just keep telling her to call Tuesday Weavers. They'll know what to do with everything. Could make some nice money for our bank account, right, Marie?! Only if you're sure you're never going to use something, should you give things away. Like all of us, I just need time to do everything on my list. I'm ready for the blizzard when we're stuck at home for a week but still have power, cable and plenty of food. We need inspiration and sometimes it's right there on the shelves of our studio. Sure, stash busting by weaving what you've got is great. That's what I do. I figure out a project, find my yarns that work and just order what I need to complete it, usually the weft. There's a continual rotation of yarn being used. Donations are always appreciated because they add to what we already have to make a project work plus they give us inspiration for more projects.

Until next week, keep weaving and stay warm!
Hope you're not affected by the storm that seems to be building up for tomorrow!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Evolution of an Inkle Project

I had a post planned about the progress I had made in the Studio overhaul.  The trouble is that, right now I am at that place where it is so much worse than it was when I started, and I want to get a little further along before I post update pictures.

I have been working a little bit more this week on the Leclerc Floor Inkle loom that I bought last year.  I am slowly increasing the length of my warps, and I am really careful that I use shiny slippy thread like yarn.  My Tuesday Weavers friend Christy, is the queen of inkle bookmarks, and I in no way want to infringe on her territory.  So I thought that I might see just how skinny I can go and keep my edges decent.

I am a bit limited on my color choices just now, so I grabbed a couple of colors and went to town.

I wove a little bit of ribbon (it is much smaller than it appears, maybe 1/2 inch.) and really, I wasn't happy with it.  I took out the heddles and had a little bit of fun with the color order, moving them around by two's but making sure to keep the same ratio of heddled and non heddled threads.
It was really easy to do!  It went from this…...

 to this!

I took my time replacing the heddles, I wanted to get it right the first no second time.  I moved the warp close to the edge of the loom so that I could easily get the string heddles back on.  As I finished each pair, I moved them back into weaving position.  Once that was done, I slowly moved the new thread order around the loom, moving from peg to peg.
If you biggify the photo on the right you can see the new pattern on the lower part of the photo and the old pattern at the top of the photo.

Next time I think I will add a third color, maybe a bit of white, either a stripe or maybe dots, but for this ribbon, I think I like it.  Once I finish redoing the studio, I will finish this weave and put on another warp, a little thinner and a little longer.

Onward and upward!

Until next time, Happy Spinning, Knitting and Weaving, Tina

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Throw Back Thursday

No....this isn't the project I started last week.  This is my very first overshot project.
  It was woven on my Harrisville 4 shaft loom that had 4 treadles.  It took me three times to get the threading correct....but, I was determined to do overshot.
  The project from last week is a complete failure.  I will be able to save the Peaches and Creme will become an oven mitt.  The 8/4 will become thrums.  I will try another turned overshot project in the near future....just not right now.
  Yes, my confidence is shot....but I truly believe that every failure is a chance to try again.  I will figure it out....just not right now!!!!

   While I was looking for the first picture, I came across this one....2010 I would guess.  The Weavers have been meeting on Tuesdays ever since the Center came to be.  But, our identity as the Tuesday Weavers has just been since we started blogging.  I know that I came in September 2005 to learn to weave, and I still show up every Tuesday.  We are often asked to demonstrate fiber skills at events, and we now have our own booth at two fall shows.  People come and go....but, they are still woven in our lives.

  And, I really love it that we like to learn new things, such as warp painting or basket weaving or inkle weaving. 
  OK....learn from the past and put those lessons to use in the future.  I'll take another go at the turned overshot....just not right now.
Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


  With all the noise going on in the studio, it's easy to guess that there's something going on downstairs!  Today we met a weaver on her way back home from a little Florida vacation!
  Say "hello" to Sarah!  She belongs to her local weaving guild in Cincinnati.  She's also a nurse!  We always enjoy telling folks about our weaving program here at the Center.

  Pat is winding a new rug warp for Carl on the warping mill.  His only request was that this one had NO knots in it!!!  She's using some New Zealand rug wool that we found a few years back.  Carol knew that we would use it sooner or later! 

  We also welcomed our newest weaver, Carol.  She has been coming on Tuesdays with her friend, Jocelyn.  I guess she has caught the weaving bug (just like the rest of us!!!)
  She got her warp wound on the warping board, and on her loom it went!  Threading will be next!

  Christy had a great set up going:  She clamped the swift on Sharon's loom and the ball winder on the table.  It didn't take too long to wind the skeins of llama she found at a local store. 

  When she finished, Carl set up the rag cutter and cut more strips for another blue jean rug.  He is ready to cut his warp off of the barn loom, but we wanted to leave the loom dressed for the weekend. 
  Sunday is the annual meeting for the Appalachian Arts Craft Center, and lots of folks will be downstairs.  (And, no one wants to see a nekkid loom!!!)  We'll be able to cut those rugs off the loom next week and get the fringes tied.  Then, we can get the new warp that Pat wound on the loom.

Carol always has time to answer questions for the weavers.  Those scarf warps are coming right along!
  Meanwhile, over in the kitchen area (because that was the only available space,) LaDonna and Ms. Ila put another scarf warp on the rigid heddle loom.  Yes...we're still using up the stash!

Linda brought her rigid heddle to work on today.  She has a lovely hounds tooth pattern on it right now.

Christy and Darlene got a chance for a little weaving talk!

  Linda got her new warp tied on and the header woven.  She's been thinking a lot about the design for the weft:  she's weaving two rugs for her family room. 

  Sharon rolled in around lunch time.........

 After lunch was also "clean up time."  With the meeting at the Center on Sunday, we wanted our weaving area to look nice.  (We all know that the looms always look nice!!!)  Those little threads had to GO!
  Thank you, Karin and the rest, for pitching in!  It was time for some of the stuff to go!

Many hands make light work!

  It's a welcome sight to see!

Happy Weaving!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Almost there....

It's been another long weekend of family stuff so I didn't get much done......again! However, I did find time to get a warp on the loom. It's natural carpet warp. 20 yards. 30 inches wide. 12 epi.
Curtains to replace ones I wove well over 20 years ago for up on Mount LeConte at the lodge there. Last year I wove curtains to replace ones in 5 cabins. This year they asked me to replace curtains in the other 5 cabins.

On a warp this important, I did have DH help me wind the warp on. It's the only time I get help. Otherwise, I do it all myself. My space isn't big for the loom, so I manage quite well warping alone but this time I didn't want any weird stuff to happen to it so he helped.
Carpet warp dye is a bit tricky. I will be adding some accent red again in the weft. I skeined off some cones of the red and rinsed them to remove excess dye, finishing with some retayne in the last water. They dried over the weekend so my first job will be to ball them back up and wind the shuttles.
Then I'll get on it.
Once this warp is done, I'll do it all over again because each warp is only enough for 5 windows, 10 panels. Each cabin has 2 windows. I'll be weaving a total of 20 panels again.
Good thing there's good stuff recorded on the DVR or I'll just turn on HGTV again.

I'm hopeful that the family stuff is over next weekend. I'm ready to be able to do things I"d like rather than obligations. I'll let you know!
Until next week, keep weaving and stay warm!

Friday, January 16, 2015

"Sick Bed"

It is amazing what a difference a week makes!  Last week I was sick with a cold or something like it, and looking at a mountain of half done projects and a half recognizable studio.  Once I had put it down on "paper" though, I all of a sudden, had the mojo to do something, even if it wasn't everything. (In truth, I was sick only from the neck up, no fever, and no other aches and pains, I never even felt like I could take a nap!)

I went upstairs and took a look around, I put all the spinning wheels that had been crammed into the studio, on the landing between the two rooms, so that I could hear myself think.  I have several shelving units in the main room, and two of them are the wooden type with two narrower shelves up top and two deeper shelves on the bottom.  For some reason I had put carpet warp up top and books down below.  Which makes no sense whatsoever!  So that my friends, is where I started.  I first pulled out all the carpet warp and put it on the floor.  Then I filled those shelves with weaving and spinning books,(I found books I didn't even know I had!) they fit perfectly!  Then I dusted off the lower shelves and filled them with the 8/4 carpet warp.  I even gathered more 8/4 from around the room and put it all together in one place!  Then I stepped back and took a very satisfied look, it was amazing!

 The next step was the bags of stuff that I had on the floor at my feet.  I picked up a bag and began to sort thru all the stuff in it.  I found knitting stuff, weaving stuff, spinning stuff and stuff that just needed to be in the garbage.  I emptied each bag and put all the things away as I did so, and I ended up with a pile of empty bags and containers in the corner that I can use as I organize my way around the studio.

I was happy with my afternoons work, and I made my way downstairs with the inkle loom and some really thin pearl cotton.  Ever since I got this loom, I have been second guessing my decision to get it.  I of course, tried to first put on a really long warp of 8/4 weaving, in a difficult "pick up" pattern, that I ended up having to cut off because it was too long and too hard to rotate around the loom.

This time around, I followed the instructions that came with the loom.  Imagine that! I used a variation of a pattern I found in "the Weaver's Inkle Pattern Directory".  It is a simple pattern, that is not "pick up" weaving or anything, just plain weave.  I started weaving and found that it wasn't easy to keep the band the same width, it seemed like the more I fussed with it the worse it got!  I decided that the best thing to do was to not even look at the edges and try to find the "zone".  Once I found the zone, all my edge problems disappeared!  I also found that I was able to weave at a much faster pace, in fact it wasn't long before I had finished the piece!
 If you want to find this pattern it is on page 22, at the top right of the page, it is called "Single flowers".  I adjusted the pattern just a bit by switching out 2 of the pattern repeats to make it symmetrical.  The finished band is a testimony to my experiment.  On the first half you can see that I started out good enough, but the band quickly got wider as I went along.  Then you can see where I decided to switch tactics, immediately the band was the width I wanted it to be and stayed pretty even the whole rest of the band.

In between studio work time (see more on   and inkle weaving time, I spent a lot of time this week working on some long white stockings.  These are the "above the knee" stockings that I am making for 3 of us crazy weavers that do demonstrations at the Museum of Appalachia, and other places as well.  I finished Lou Ann's pair in November, and started this second pair.

These go well above the knee, and if they fit my friend Linda, they are hers!  If not, they are mine, and I will get her measurements and start her pair right away.  (I need to get the 3rd pair started before I change my mind!)  The pattern is a free one I found on Ravelry.  It is called "Stockings in Rhyme"  It was written in the late 1800's, and it really is a treat to knit from a poem.   You can almost hear the mother patiently writting out for her daughter.  I will soak and block this pair this afternoon so that I can take them to weaving on Tuesday.

I woke up yesterday morning, and I knew that the worst  part of this cold was over, I have to tell you it was a relief!  I was thrilled to put on real clothes,  (I stayed in my P.J.s the whole week, I called it my cocoon once I was well enough to put real clothes on!) and go out and about once again, but I wasn't disappointed in my time on the "sick bed" at all, in fact, I was amazed at what I was able to accomplish when I was forced to stay quarantined  at home.

This afternoon, I am going to try another band on the Inkle loom, I want to go even thinner than before, but maybe a little longer, it will again be plain weave, so that I can find my "Zone"!

Until next time, Happy Spinning, Knitting and Weaving, Tina

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Aw, Shucks!!!

Don't you just hate it when real life interferes with your weaving life?  I really did think I would have this project tied on and sampled for today's blog, but, it just didn't happen.

  What is it?  This is the turned overshot mug rugs that I consulted with Maggie about.  The pattern is Snail Trail, and the pattern yarn is the Peaches & Creme that Maggie gave me.  The tabby warp and weaving weft will be natural 8/4.  I guess I was thinking that a six inch warp usually goes on fairly quick....I just didn't allow that there would be twice as many threads!!!!
  So, I guess you know what I'll be doing tonight!

  You might have noticed a little change to the look of the blog.  After our trip to The Woolery in December, we found out that we qualify as a GUILD, and we would qualify for a wee discount when we ordered from them.  They asked us to put a link on our blog, which meant that I did a little spiffing up to our appearance.  And, while I was at it, I added some of our local places as links, too.  If you know us OR follow our blog, then you have read of these places before.
  One of the links on the right is for the Smoky Mt. Fiber Arts Festival in April.  We demonstrated straw looms during the first couple of years.  And, Tina and I even taught a class one year!
  They have a great line up of classes being offered this year, and I went ahead and registered for the Dorset Button Making class on Friday, 17 April.  Townsend is so pretty in the spring, and the vendors always have something to tempt me!
  I'm going to get back to my threading....I have two inches to go.  So, let it snow outside all it wants because we are supposed to have a sunny day tomorrow!!!!

Happy Weaving! (and threading!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Weaving Friends

  Get those looms set up and you're ready to weave, right?
   No.....spend some time with your weaving friends!!!!  That's important, too!

  Weaving friends also help you get your warp on your loom!

  And, they like to talk about weaving!

Your weaving friends are always glad to see you....especially if you have been away for awhile.  And, they appreciate the items you wove while you were gone!

  Weaving friends will help you through the beginning stages when it all seems so confusing.   Then, they'll laugh with you when you tell them how you messed up on your latest project.

They admire quality work, like this queen size coverlet that Carl is donating for the auction at the Center.

It's a work of art by a great lady.

  And, boy!  Can they cook!   Potluck lunches are the BEST!

  Weaving friends love to see what you have been weaving. 

   And, they help you plan weaving for the coming year.
Just to be truthful, today's blog was powered by that blueberry doughnut on the left.

Happy Weaving!

p.s.   Weaving friends sometimes bring you fresh doughnuts!  (Right, Karin?)