Saturday, February 28, 2015


Snow is beautiful, it covers all the ice and mud underneath it!   I seriously love the way that snow can even make a pile of rubbish look good!   As you may have noticed we have had quite a bit of ice and snow lately.  Most if not all of the recent posts have addressed it in some way or another, from the dangers of the ice on the roads to the positive aspect of being able to work on things at home while we are cut off from our normal frantic lifestyle.

This post will be no exception,  I have taken the opportunity to take up my knitting needles once again and work on a pair of "Stockings in Rhyme".  This is a free Ravelry pattern that I have come to love.

You can take this pattern and change it to suit the wearer.  I have changed needle sizes if I needed to narrow the width, and changed the number of rows if I needed to shorten part of it.  I have done a pair with no seam down the back and 2 pairs with the seam in place.

 Late last week, because of all the snow days, I was able to finally finish the third and final pair of stockings!  You may have heard me whoop from where you are!  I had originally purchased 5 skeins of Knit Picks Bare sock wt yarn.  Each of those skeins is about 4 ounces, to make a total of 20 ounces of yarn.  When I weighed what I had left over from the 3 pairs of stockings I had only 2.7 ounces of yarn left!

The top picture is Linda's pair of stockings, then Lou Ann's pair of Stockings, then the final pair are mine.  I tried them on for my Mother in law, who has been following along with me as I knit them.

You might be wondering why I would knit so many pairs of such long stockings, the answer to that is that both Lou Ann and Linda were active in putting together my costume that I use when I am demonstrating Spinning at the Museum of Appalachia.  Without their help, I would have not been able to put it together quite so quickly, and so well.

I'll repost a video from last fall.  This was the maiden voyage of the outfit.  It is always fun to demonstrate, and it is definitely more fun to do it in costume.

Thank you ladies for all your help!

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

Thursday, February 26, 2015


  Sweetie has spent a lot of time at the back door, lately.  The birds have kept me busy filling up the feeder, and she seems to enjoy watching all the activity.  The robins have arrived, too.  But, they seem to enjoy the berries on the holly trees the most.  A flock of robins completely stripped the holly tree next door of ALL the was interesting to watch!

  The latest storm brought us some additional snow, but it is already melting.  Can you believe it?  Chattanooga and North Alabama got more snow than we did!!!!

   Besides bird tracks around the feeder, sometimes I see some interesting tracks near the house.  These came up on the front porch, and then left.  They kind of look like a raccoon!

  The last few nights, I have seen a small herd of deer coming through the yard.  This morning, I saw four of them bedded down!  They left before I could get the camera, but these are the spots where they had settled for the night.

  Inside, there's nothing wild going on....just weaving on the place mat warp.

  Sadly, we had to say "Farewell" to Cece, our 18 year old housemate.  She crossed the Rainbow Bridge yesterday afternoon.....just before the latest snow storm.  During the wake, we shared stories, shed some tears, and raised a toast to a life well lived. 
  The other two cats have not agreed to take over the job of holder while I twist fringes....nobody does it better than Cece.
This one's for you, Ma'am!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Good News

Museum of Appalachia-24 February 2015
  They are forecasting temps in the 60's NEXT Tuesday!!!!

  This latest batch of white was supposed to go south of us!  And more is forecast for tomorrow night into Thursday.

  We should all have plenty to show for our time away from the Center next week.  Show & Tell should take all afternoon!!!!

Stay safe & warm, my friends.....
Weave on!


Monday, February 23, 2015

It Was Sposed To Melt!

What a week we've had!! East Tennessee weather drives the meteorologists mad! We live right on the edge. It could go snow, it could go ice! I've lived here since 1980 and we've loved it. Other than a few blips in weather, it's been fine. Sure, there's been tornado or wind sheer episodes, the blizzard of 1993 and then the one in 1994 were epic but for the most part, we've managed to avoid most of the stuff that'd keep us home!
The past week has been the exception. 
I think I took these pictures on Tuesday. It doesn't look like much does it? Until you realize that it's not really snow, it's ice, that is!!
It started as rain, turned to freezing rain, ice pelts and then snow on top of it. The ice is probably an inch or so thick and the weather's been cold enough for it to stay that way.
My poor azaleas, the ones that bloom in spring with the biggest white flowers you'll ever see, were almost flat on the ground, weighed down by all that ice.
 This is some kind of vine that we probably shouldn't have allowed to get this big but it was pretty. Well, it's supposed to be straight up in the air, not hanging by a couple of anchor roots or whatever. DH's car was behind this so it was fun to drive out from underneath it. He did cut it off somewhat this weekend.
 Normally, esp back in 93 and 94 and then when we have wind sheer events, we lost our power. We've lost it for up to 5 days up here. However, other than a bunch of flickers last Monday night and the fact that we lost our cable for 36 hours, we've been fine! It's been amazing, almost like it didn't affect me at all except that I stayed home. I can't complain except that I will. My brake replacement part hasn't arrived yet so I haven't been able to weave on that warp.
The other thing about this past week has been some of the nighttime lows. We were close to 0 degrees and many pipes have frozen. We had water running all night but apparently in the kitchen we only had the cold running because the hot water pipe froze. That kind of scared us!! We opened the door under the sink and put a fan there blowing warm air against that wall. After a couple of hours, hot water started coming out of the tap again. What a relief!! We'll remember to open the door under the sink next time it's so cold and be sure there's warm water coming out of the tap as well all night!! So many people had it much tougher, no power or water. The guys that work for the power companies have been awesome, working 18 hour days to get people back online!! Losing cable for a night or two is nothing compared to trying to keep warm when it gets so cold.
Saturday we woke to snow again. It wasn't really bad and we were able to inch down the driveway to attend a funeral. Other than our subdivision, the roads were fine. I think all the subdivisions are like ours, covered in snow and ice inspite of them having treated most of the main ones. How fortunate we were though. We got a bit of ice as well but nothing like about 60 miles to the west of us where they got a major ice storm and many thousands are without power again on Saturday.

This morning our driveway looks like this. It's beginning to melt in the ruts but the temperature high for today is 34 degrees.....wonder what tomorrow will bring. 40% chance of snow overnight....and this part of the driveway is actually alot better than the other end which is a fairly steep downhill ride with a steep dropoff on the side and if we went too far, over a cliff! See why we inch down? I'm not driving out of here until it melts! The white that you see on the driveway isn't snow. It's ice.
 So what have I been doing this past week? Well, since I couldn't weave the rugs I'd planned, I did sew on some quilts that I've been working on, works in progress. Plus, we emptied more boxes. The good news is that all the boxes that were in my studio, under tables, shoved wherever we could find room, etc are upstairs. Most of them are in the hall right now. Understand that the hall had been full of boxes that I went through already. We keep bringing boxes closer to where I can work on them and as I do, bring more. We're organizing it all. My Mother in law liked teddy bears and had a bunch of them. I keep thinking of more places to take them but since we haven't finished going through the boxes and I still run across a box or two full of them, we haven't done anything with them yet. There's got to be somewhere that I can take these little 3 inch bears, too. The bigger ones are easy, the tiny ones are harder to figure out. I don't want to just give them to KARM (Knox Area Rescue) but I will and they will sell them unless I can figure out someplace that will have a good use for them.
School's closed today again, even some colleges, so we're not out of the woods yet.
Normally when we have episodes of weather like this, it'll melt in a few hours or at least the next day. This is one of those epic storms that will be added to the list of  storms of note here!!
Me, I'm heading down to the studio to work on some projects for awhile and then I'll come back up to empty another couple of boxes. No telling what treasures I'll rediscover since these boxes had been under my table for at least a year and we've seen so much stuff, it's hard to remember what was in them!
Here's hoping that we can meet tomorrow at the center but at this point, I'm not sure it's going to happen. It'll have to melt a bunch out here in the back country alot more than it has so far!!
Until next week, keep weaving and hope my brake arrives!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Placemat Challenge

Last Tuesday,  Lou Ann posted that I had finished 2 more placemats towards my 12 for the now famous "Placemat Challenge".  What she didn't know is that these are, actually the first 2 placemats I have managed to get done towards the challenge.  I have had the warp on forever, seriously forever!  I have had weft cut and sewn together to do 3 of them, I had even woven a couple of inches on the first one, but that was it.  I don't know if I knew at that time that I wasn't happy with how it looked, but I had not progressed any farther than this.

 When I got back to the project this week, I realized that as well as not being happy with how the weft was doing, (folding over to show the wrong side), there were several treadling errors.

The pattern for this project is called the Hollywood Rug Warp, and it is treadle in straight twill, (1/2,2/3,3/4,1/4 and so on)  I have cut it down to placemat size, and I keep the twill treadling even for the hem.

It seems that my left foot keeps straying to the two tabby treadles, (1/3,2/4) and that will just not do.  I thought it best to disengage the tabby treadles to make things much easier.
 Next, I had to deal with the back side of the blue jean material rolling over to the front side.  The only thing I could think of to do was to fold the weft in half and hit it with an iron.  It worked well, and I got the first batch of weft ready to go.
 I loaded this onto the shuttle, and took it up to the loom and tried it.  I think that this approach gives  a much cleaner look to the placemat, with the added bonus of making it reversible!
I quickly wove that placemat, and proceeded to iron the weft for the next 2 placemats.  I got the second one done that same day and I think that tomorrow I may be able to get that 3rd one done.  I will then work towards getting the weft ready for a couple more.  I would like to get a couple more done by next week.

Life has really gotten busy for me these last few months, and I am thankful for every moment that I am able to work on my weaving projects.

I am still working on  the fleeces across the hall, my list is now down from 13  to 9 batches of fiber to comb or card.  Though, I plan to leave some untouched to that I can comb it while I am demonstrating spinning at the Museum of Appalachia.  Sheep shearing day is right around the corner!

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

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy New Year! it the year of the sheep?  ram?  or goat?

  Since the powers that be are still debating that point, let's call it the "Year of Fiber!"  Of course, for those of us that are addicted, it's always the year of the fiber!!!!

  I've been trying to sort my fiber stash, and get it in a more usable order.  For instance, I know I have some natural wool yarn that was given to me years ago.  I am trying to put together 3 different natural colors to make a band on the tape loom.  Shearing Day is April 24 at the Museum of Appalachia, and there will be several school groups there for the event.  With the tape loom, I can be weaving down where all the action will be!
  The good thing about sorting all the fiber is finding yarns you had forgotten about.  The bad thing about sorting fiber is finding yarns you had forgotten about!!!!

  Playing with fiber is a good thing to do while you're stuck inside.  Although my street is clear, my driveway is a sheet of snow covered ice.  There is one little spot that melted off this afternoon, but, I thought I'd wait until tomorrow afternoon to get out.  That will be the last opportunity until next week since there is another system on the way.
  At the top of my list for tomorrow is getting sunflower seeds for the feeders.  The birds have provided a lot of viewing pleasure!
  I have cut more fabric strips for my place mats, and weave a little at a time (although I should be done if I'd just sit down and do it!!!) 

  Let's celebrate this Year of the Sheep Fiber, and work through some of our stash.   Sounds like a good idea, huh?

Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Day Report

   Actually, it is the ICE that is the problem!
Yes, we've been hit with ice and snow here in East Tennessee, and it has pretty much closed down this part of the state.  The local school systems have already closed for tomorrow, too!  And, when Anderson County schools are closed, the Center is closed, too.

  I sent out the email for "what are you working on at home?" last night, and here are the results:

Carl wrote me that he's working on an 18 e.p.i. linen warp.  (Can't wait to hear more about that!)

  Sharon H. is working on this shawl for church on her Bergere loom.

  Carol just posted her pictures yesterday, but she emailed me this afternoon and said that they still had power, although they lost internet and cable.  Thank goodness for smart phones!!!!

  Sharen just posted this picture on Facebook--love the handwoven mat in the background.  She's getting ready to make some soup!  She wrote me that she's thinking they might spend next February in Florida!!!!

And, speaking of Florida, Marie texted me yesterday that it was 67 degrees where they are!
  Not nice, Marie!!!!!

  Tina has finished two more place mats for her Challenge mats.  I think we'll hear more about that on Friday!

  I am now on #8 of my Challenge mats.  I cut more weft this morning while I watched the birds at the feeder.

  So....stay warm.  And, a big thank you to those folks who are working around the clock to restore power and keep us safe.

Happy Weaving!

Monday, February 16, 2015


I'm waiting for a couple of things but first, I was at the center last Monday and so were a few others. I took some pictures of those of us that were there working on things that needed more space. If you're ever in the area on  a Tuesday, please drop by. You'll be amazed at how we work. There really isn't a free inch in our small space. Somehow we all make it work, moving around as necessary to let people by. Even sitting at a loom, sometimes one of them will have to move so someone can get by. 
Because we had the new bookshelves (and more to come!) Sharon and Karin came to do an extensive catalogueing of the books we have. It was so fun to listen to them. They were discovering all kinds of books, some of which were old friends for me. I kept telling them things like, yeah, that book was one of the few we had for reference. 
 Because of all the discussion we had, it was decided that every week or so we should talk about a book from our library during our lunch break. Our library is organized and they will take care of shelving books! Imagine!! We have a basket or two to put the books in once we bring them back. Like a real library!!! I'm so thankful that our members come from so many backgrounds. We've got alot of things covered or have someone to refer to for information!!
 Marie needed room to fill the spools with yarn for our Macomber. You can see her red covered ipad on the table. Beside it is a grey metal spool.  She is filling them with about 20 yards of warp, 2 inches worth. The Macomber came with this system, metal winding apparatus, etc which our smart weavers were able to figure out (no instruction booklet!) and now they can prepare a warp while they're still weaving the one on the loom. However, you need alot of space to do this. So Marie came to work on filling what she needed.
 Sometimes on the weekend, I'll be emailing back and forth with beginning weavers. Sharon came for about 5 weeks over Christmas holidays. It was all the time she had because of her job. She had bought a table loom and wanted to learn how to use it. So we made it work. Now she's on her own and has questions. I am good with helping as I can. Because she was off last Monday and I was up at Norris, she came too. We got her problem solved and she could continue on.
 She misses our show and tell on Tuesdays so she showed the runner she had made on her loom. Looks great to me!! Carry on!! And email me if you get stuck or have questions again!!!
 Me....I pinned hems and casings on 20 curtain panels. I have to sew them today. It's the first day I have time to have a big block of time to sew. I also brought 5 baby quilt tops I'd made  and I pinned them as well. I know, I can use spray glue instead of pins but I don't know when I"ll have time to actually machine quilt them so the pins are a better solution for this.
 Why am I waiting? Two reasons. We're about to be slammed with ice and snow for the next 24 hours. It's calm now, nothing in our area yet. But people like Jocelyn, Shirley north of us and even LouAnn and Tina are feeling the effects of it all....we're about to get it! With my luck, we'll lose our power. Where I live power often goes out. I live in a very hilly, tree filled area which is awesome....unless it sleets or snows!!  We'll see what LouAnn ends up writing about tomorrow. I don't think we'll be able to get together for our usual weaving. I hate that because there's a bunch of stuff for us to do but it's the way life is in East Tennessee!  It is better than the 40 below my sister had a couple of days ago.
The other evening I was watching the weather and they were showing where this system we're about to experience came from. The big arrow was right in the middle between Calgary and Winnipeg. Yup, my sister lives right in the middle in Moose Jaw!! I was on the phone with her while they were showing it so I told her it was all her fault! ha!
The other reason I'm waiting? Well, Thursday I was weaving away on my rug warp. I had 4 rugs done with maybe 4 more to go when the warp just jumped loose. So I went back to check. Would you believe that the steel that goes around the break drum had suffered metal fatigue and snapped? Yup, I can't weave. See how little warp is left on that beam?
 See the metal end just hanging there? That end should go back underneath and connect to a screw that's attached to the loom. I contacted LeClerc immediately!!! and hopefully the part is already shipped UPS. All you have to do is email them with the part you need, they send you an invoice and you pay by paypal.
So we're waiting for the storm to hit. My question is will UPS be held up with all this weather? I hope not!! I have more rugs to weave!! Using stash is fun and I want to keep using my stash of rug weft. When you're on a roll the hardest thing to do is to wait for a part.
When I think of it, I bought this loom in 1980. It came Thanksgiving weekend and we picked it up in the several boxes it was in, put it together and I've woven on it almost every day since. Several years after I got it, they came out with a kit to add 4 harnesses so I have 8 of them now. I think that's what helps give it the strength to weave the rugs that I do every so often. I wouldn't weave rugs all the time on Nilus but it's fun to every so often!
Several years ago I had a problem with the advance lever for my warp and a friend helped fix it. This break is the first problem I've had with the loom in all these years. Well made loom indeed!
So I have enough food here for the week. I don't expect to leave here til Friday! The weather is going to be tricky til then at least. They're predicting we'll have below 0 lows this week and once this snow comes, it's not going to melt til the weekend so all of us are hunkered down waiting and as prepared as we can be for the week!! It's more than just having enough equipment to clear the roads. If I try to leave on my steep driveway and somehow it's too slick to make the turn to the road and I go off the driveway, it's a long way down the cliff. I live in a typical East Tennessee area and most everyone not in the city is in a similar situation where it's just not safe to leave until everything melts.
I've got lots of projects to work on (and boxes still to empty!!) so if my power stays on, I'm fine!
Until next week, stay warm and safe and if you can, keep weaving!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Not the Whole Story!

Lou Ann mentioned yesterday that she was on her 6th placemat.  For those of you who may not know, in JanuaryLou Ann put the challenge out to the Tuesday Weavers  to all weave 12 matching placemats to fill the shelves for our fall shows.  I have  had a warp on the loom for months that would work for this challenge, (I hope!)  I even have a plan and some of the weft cut and sewn.  What I haven't had is any inclination to sit down and weave!

 I went upstairs today, after reading Lou Ann's post, and I was determined to weave at least 1 placemat today!  But then I got distracted by my recent purchases, I had metioned them last week and I thought you might want to see them.

The 4 braids on the right are BFL and the single reddish braid in the foreground is Polwarth and the 2 blue and green braids are targhee.  All of those braids are well within the limits I have placed on my commercial top purchases.  It has to be pretty dyed colors and it has to be a sheep breed I haven't spun yet.
 Then my attention turned to my newest acquisition.  Last week I sold a piece of equipment I had not used in a long time, and turned around and bought something that I thought I would never be able to afford!
This is a hackle that you use when you are combing wool.   What you see on the hackle right now is the last of the Cormo I was processing last week.  I was able to fit 4 combs full of fiber on at once!  That means that instead of having small nests of finished fiber I can have a ball of combed top that it about the size of a large orange.

I will also be able to blend fibers of different colors and textures with this hackle.  I was looking at those braids at the top of the page, and I'm beginning  to think that I may be able to combine at least some of them together with this new toy.

Then I decided that I should really at least take a look at the placemat project.  I dragged my feet across to the weaving studio across the hall.

When I left some time later, you might say looking at these two pictures, that I didn't really get much done.  However, these pictures don't really tell the whole story!
The first thing I had to do was to measure the hem that is at the start of the placemat.  I can't tell you how many times I have gotten to the end of a placemat and forgotten how wide of a hem I did at the other side!

Next I had to find the grey 8/4 yarn I used for the hem. (it has been a long time since I sat down at this loom)  I then emptied out a rug shuttle and loaded it with the weft that I had already prepared a couple of months ago.  It took a minute or two to figure out which direction the twill was going, and then I was finally able to weave 4 or 5 inches of a 20 inch placemat.

By then it was time to go feed the animals and go to my daughters house for dinner.  At least I know where I am and where I'm going.

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

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thank You, Theresa!

  I have admired all of her sewing activity for quite some time...and fell in love with one of her new creations.  It was a simple top (more about that later) and I thought I would look into the company that makes it.
  Merchant & Mills | Made for Makers
  I looked at every little nook & cranny on their website, and decided to order some patterns.
  Did I mention they are in England????
  They got my order in the royal mail the next day, and sent me the tracking information so I could follow along....and that's when it got hinky.  The package got to customs at Kennedy....and there it stayed....and stayed....and stayed.  I even talked to the folks at my post office about what I could do about this.  (Yes, there is an 800 number, but I didn't need it!)
  On Wednesday morning, this is what I found in my mailbox!
  And, inside the mailing envelope, cushioned by bubble wrap was this.
  I LOVE it!
Even the invoice had a nice little handwritten note!
  Such nice little touches!!!!

  This is the pattern I fell in love with:  The Top #64.  I want to try out the pattern with some remnants I have on hand....let's face it, I'm not in my 20's anymore, and sizing can be a challenge!   Who might even be a pattern I could use with handwoven fabric.  
  So, thank you, Theresa.....I'm so glad you share your sewing adventures with us.  Not only do I love this pattern, but finding this wonderful company was priceless!

  And, to answer Theresa's question from Tuesday:  do we Front to Back or Back to Front????
  Carol teaches us Back to Front if you come to learn to weave.  But, we have several folks that dress their looms front to back:  Carl always threads first and then we wind on the warp.  I guess you could say that we just "go with the flow."

  Placemat Challenge Update:   I'm almost finished with #6.  I will need to cut more weft soon.

I wouldn't mind doing another set after this one!!!!

Happy Weaving (and thanks, again, Theresa!)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Monday & Tuesday

  This picture is worth a thousand words....and explains why some of our weavers were at the Center on Monday.  This was today....not much room around there, huh?
  Karin and Sharon have taken over the job of librarians, and they started yesterday.  With our new shelves, we could finally get the rest of our books out of storage, and get them sorted.  Karin is making a new data base, and Sharon is placing them where they need to be on the shelf. 
  Ms. Ila and Bonnie found a space for their looms, and were hard at work today.  (We missed you, Shirley!)  Andy came in later, and worked on the striped towel warp.

Marie also came in on Monday to finish winding the bobbins for the Macomber.  This warp is for some lace napkins, an eight shaft pattern.  The winding equipment has now been taken out to the Annex to get it out of the way.  You can actually walk behind the loom now!!!!

  Carol also came yesterday.....she put two tables together so she could lay out her quilts that she is working on.  It was time to pin the layers together.


  Our day started with the 8/4 order that Carol placed for us.  All the cones were sorted by color, then individual orders were filled. 

  Then it was time to stock the shelves with the thread that the Center needed for future projects.

  Charlotte wanted to make some "rope" for one of her projects, and Betsy and Pat stepped in to show her how it is done.  That rope machine is getting a workout lately!!!

 Ray has his warp tied on and ready to go.  And, Carl has started sleying the reed for his new rug warp.  (He started threading the warp this afternoon.)

  Barb is ready to put her warp on the table loom.  Carol got her started, and Roz came over later and helped get it in the raddle. 

  Can you believe that Tina got to actually sit down and weave today???  I overheard her saying something about having to "un-weave" some, though.  Uh-oh!!!

Ray got the opportunity this afternoon to break in our new heavy duty ball winder!  He said it works like a charm!!!!

  Pat has been busy at home (again) and brought some of her items for the shop.  Molly is modeling the vest that Pat wove and made and embellished.  It has a matching bag!
  There were several more bags in the items she brought, too.

  Carl brought the mohair and silk scarf he finished at home.  He made two:  one for a gift and this one for the shop.    It is a dream to feel!

  The Weavers have been busy this week......

Happy Weaving!