Friday, July 31, 2015

International Flavors

   It has been the summer of discontent around here.  No weaving mojo, and no time to do anything about it!  I think my Friday blog posts have reflected that!  Sometimes, I must admit to rushing around trying to do something blog worthy, which is not good for my creativity at all.
      However, for the last couple of weeks you may have noticed a different tone, a bit of enthusiasm even, returning to my creative time.  It has caught me by surprise, really it has.  I  thought I was creatively stagnant because there was so much going on, and that my joy in weaving was being squashed because I just didn't have any time to devote to it!
   It turns out that I was just plain bored to death with it!  I have begun to doubt I will ever be a production weaver.  I couldn't even make it through 120yds of baby blankets, 40yds of bread cloths, or 16yds of the same placemats without losing my enthusiasm.  I may eventually find something that can hold my attention, but then again, I am not trying to fill a booth at the fall shows by myself.
  The first thing that peaked my interest as you all may guess, was Kumihimo braiding.  As I told you several weeks ago, it literally did a ninja move, and crept up on me in the guise of kids friendship bracelet set from the thrift store.  It wasn't until I had the little foam looms loaded that it dawned on me what I was doing!
   I borrowed a real Kumihimo loom that I knew was getting little use in the weaver's annex at the Center, plus some really fine shiny yarn, and the rest is history.  I purchased some Tama bobbins to get the full experience, the sound they make tapping against the loom reminds me of wind chimes somehow.

Here is my latest braid, I found this 20 bobbin pattern on You tube.  There is a woman, in Russia I believe, that has made a couple of videos for You Tube and this was one of them.  I believe this one may be my favorite so far.  Once complete, this will become bracelets for the fall shows.

(Be sure to click on the picture so that you can see the braid up close.)

I was looking through you tube videos to get more braiding ideas, when I stumbled across a video that showed Swedish Sami bands.  This is a weaving on either a Swedish band loom, or a backstrap type of device.  Of course there was someone who had taken it a step further and used their Inkle loom. (I have one of those!)
      I had just this week, cut off a very dissappointing project.  You know that project that just had too many strikes against it.  It was in fact, one of those projects that I had thrown onto the Inkle loom to have something to blog about.  The yarns were wrong, the width was too variable, and I had messed up the pattern.  (Three strikes and you are out!)
   I scoured the library at the weaving Center on Tuesday looking for more information about this type of narrow band weaving, and I came up empty handed.  I went back to You Tube and found a woman that had several videos, and she also had several books out.  Susan Foulkes is her name, and after a little searching I found a copy that I could download for a very reasonable amount.  It is a very basic tutorial called "Sami Band Weaving".   I looked through the book and I really liked the Swedish patterns and bright colors that were used.
      I chose my pattern and and yarns carefully.  this time I used a 8/2 cotton yarn that I have in several colors that would work for these patterns, though maybe not as bright.   I also thought that 8/2 might stand up a little better in the weaving.

 The repeat in this pattern is fairly short so that I can see where I am going, and I am less likely to get lost.  Once woven, this band, I believe,  I may turn into bracelets too.
I thought that I didn't have enough time to be excited about my craft.  I was wrong!  I work on these two different flavors of weaving in odd moments throughout the day, first thing in the morning, before the sun peaks over the ridge, (listening to audio books or podcasts) while I am waiting for the dryer to finish tumbling, while I am talking on the phone, while the grand kiddos are here working on their crafts, while dinner is cooking, in short, just about anytime.  From a Russian woman weaving Japanese braids to narrow Swedish bands

I am sure that it helps that both of these projects are in the living area of the house and not up in the Studio, which is a little warm this time of year, but I know that expanding my weaving creativity, by adding International flavors, starting with  a Russian woman weaving Japanese braids to narrow Swedish bands,  it is possible that more flavors will be showing up in the upstairs Studio s well this Fall, as the temperatures moderate.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Chocolate Cherry Cake (from Karen-In-The-Woods)
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can cherry pie filling
3 eggs
1 can chocolate frosting

  Lightly beat eggs and gently mix with the cherry pie filling.  Add to the cake mix and mix by hand until all has been incorporated.  Pour into 9" X 13" lightly greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
  Cool for 5-10 minutes.  I used a large pronged fork to poke holes in the top of the cake.  Drop the frosting by large spoonfuls on top of the cake.  As it softens, start to spread it on the cake until all has been covered.
  ***You can see the holes in the picture.  The frosting "melts" down into the cake!!!   YUM!
  I was thrilled to share my birthday cake with my fellow weavers....I guess you would call them my weaving family.  I have today and tomorrow to finish up my month long has been tons of fun!  And, to top it off, tomorrow night is a Blue Moon!  What a way to end the month!

Happy Weaving (and celebrating!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Totally Tuesday

  I apologize for the lack of pictures in today's blog.....lack of content, too!  I spent time counting thread groups for the napkin warp, so I was otherwise engaged.  After all, it's time that warp got threaded and wove!
  But, you can see we had lots of chances to catch up with each other, and do a little weaving, too!

  Karin was back with us today....she's doing much better after her fall!!!  Although Tina is looking at books in this picture, she spent most of the day doing coverlet repair.

Lanny was busy with his placemat warp.  He's really getting it done!  (Folks are still raving about his shortbread cookies!!!)

  Marie was upstairs and downstairs this morning.  (She did a heddle count for me this afternoon for the napkins....thank you!!!!)  Betsy and Sharon were on task at their looms.  In fact, Betsy finished the rug she was weaving.

  Carl had finished the rug he was working on, and needed the strips cut for his new rug.  Christy stepped in to help out.

Betsy and I celebrated our birthdays this month, and today we had cake!!!!  (Chocolate Cherry Cake from Karen-In-The-Woods' blog.)  This was all that was left at the end of the day!!!!

  Also, a BIG thank you to Bonnie for vacuuming the Studio at the end of the day.  It's amazing how much lint we can kick up!!!
  That's all for today folks.....I'll do better next week!

Happy Weaving!

Monday, July 27, 2015


I am in Canada again for my annual visit. This year is a bit different. I stopped at my old stomping ground for a few days, the town I grew up in. The barn my Dad built for Grandpa in the early 40s. It looks a lot more worn down than it used to. Dad planned it on a piece of paper, no blueprints. Long ago we wished we could convert it into a home but, of course, Grandpa sold it with the farm years ago. 

We stopped nearby to see the field by the road. Part of this, on the right, was Grandma's big garden. On the left was our playground. We had a huge yard to play in with a swing, etc. Now it's a field. Our home was on the main drag just out of town. Several years ago they must have bulldozed our home and built a business. There's a grocery store as well where Grandpa grew wheat for so many years.
As my sister and I drove around town, we passed the high school and I took a picture of the part I remembered. They've expanded it a bunch. I think there's a middle school as part of it as well. Town has expanded a bunch. But, it's still a small town. No traffic lights. Not sure if there's a 4 way stop either.
Elementary school hadn't changed much. I practice taught here as well. Before this school was built, the school that was here was grades 1 through 12. The school burnt down when I was in second grade, about 1959-1960. They built this one to replace it.
I could have and probably should have taken more pictures but these have the most meaning for me. I don't know many in town anymore. We don't have school reunions up here like in the south but I keep up with one friend from back then and that's good enough.
The main reason I was in the general area was because we buried Mom's ashes yesterday. I forgot my camera but memories are the best anyway. A bunch of Mom's friends came to share memories around the grave. It was good. Mom would have loved it and would have been in the thick of it all.
Then we went to see my nephew. Do you remember over a year ago my sister hand raised 4 kittens? Two of them went home with my nephew. Above is Didget. He's grown a bunch..

Here's Fluff. She likes to ride on my nephew's shoulders. They got big. 
We spent the day heading west to Moose Jaw. I forgot to post this morning and barely remembered to now. 
I'll have pictures of the others next week
 No weaving but having a blast with families and cats....
Until next week

Friday, July 24, 2015

Busy Week Photo

 Great book on all things braiding!

July has been a very busy month, but this week, I did managed to do a new square braid following the instructions in Roderick Owens book.  Next up some more complicated flat braids!

Until next week, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Checking In

   Did you think I had gone AWOL?  Or, maybe now you're thinking I have finally flipped!
    Knitting?  ME????
  I know that Tina and Maggie are in shock, but, yes.....I'm knitting.  (Not very well, as you can see....but, I'm knitting!)
  It's all part of my Birthday Bash.  Henry Ford said that "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young."  My plan is to stay young.  I do so love this scarf pattern, and Marie helped me pick out these lovely bamboo needles.  I found this yarn at the Smoky Mt. Spinnery on Tuesday (silk blend!)  Now I am stretching my brain cells by relearning another fiber skill.  (I have tried to learn to knit off and on since I was 10 years just never took.)  The scarf pattern may be the extent of my knitting attempts.  Besides, it's a great rainy day activity.

  Tuesday was spent with my sister... a drive-by to the Apple Barn to pick up apple butter,  to Arrowmont and lunch with my son, and then the yarn shop (her first visit!)   Lastly, it was Smoky Mountain time....a drive along the river is always a good thing.  We stopped several times at the pull-overs and just got out to soak up the atmosphere.

Take a listen and see what you think:

  Yesterday found us at the Knoxville Zoo.  Two of the silver back gorillas gave birth this Spring to babies.  As you can imagine, they have been very popular!

The babies are old enough now to cling to their Mommas when she moves around.  It reminds me of when my kids used to stand on my feet and dance with me!!!!  My daughter-in-law joined us for lunch at the zoo.

  Yes, the birthday bash continues on................Maggie and I have another day planned for Friday!  July will be over before I know it, and I'll have to get back to real life, again.  But, this has been a fabulous month!
  Just remember what George Bernard Shaw said,
"We don't stop playing because we grow old;
We grow old because we stop playing!"

  At the rate I'm going, I should be starting kindergarten again!!!
Happy Weaving (and knitting!!!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer is in full swing!

Me again!  I'm subbing for Lou Ann once again as she had out of town company!  Summer is indeed in full swing around here in East TN, with all it's summer bounty!

Bonnie begged us to take the squash, and Harriet brought the cucumbers.

There were comings and goings all day and I am sure I missed getting pictures of everyone, so I decided to get pictures of the backs of the warps, you know the blank canvas that is before us before we start to weave.

 Shirley, Bonnie and Miss Ila start the loom tour just as you come into the door.  Scarves and shawls are on their looms.
 Darlene has taken over this warp that is threaded as an overshot pattern.
 Carl keeps up a steady beat all day over on this rug loom.  Oh my!  It is almost time to wind a new warp!
 This loom was going to be Molly's but she is busy right now at work, so Frieda is going to get the loom loaded for it's next project, this is just a placeholder, the very end of the last warp.
 Next comes Carol's new project, threading is underway.
 Lanny has taken over the black placemat warp.
Betsy is on the rug loom in the background and Sharon is on the white placemat warp.
 On the tables in the classroom area,  Christy is busy putting on another of her fabulous bookmark warps.
Marie has put this warp in time out, until we can choose a new threading for it.  (Don't even ask!)
 Now there are a couple of looms that didn't have weavers at them today, this one is a scarf project.
 I believe this one is the one that Roz is working on.

While I was loading  these pictures, I realized how many white warps there are in the studio!  I had never really thought about it because I usually think about these warps as they are in the  finished project.  You really change the warp by adding the weft, and you can change the same warp by adding a different weft.  (You can also rethread a long warp if you get tired of weaving the same pattern over and over again, I have done it many times.)

 Back to the classroom tables, Frieda is working on a draw down of her next project at home.
 After lunch, the time came for show and tell,  Harriet had her napkins, that she had intended to bring last week, she said better late than never.
 Marie showed us how she turned a scratchy scarf into a lined sling bag!
Linda showed us a thrift store find.  She also said that there was still a mountain of yarn at the very local thrift store, really cheap!

Somehow, soon after show and tell, folks started drifting away, hmmm, I wonder how much yarn will be at that thrift store tonight, when we have picked through it all?

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Monday, July 20, 2015

Craft Fair

Twice a year I do the Southern Highland Craft Fair. This weekend was the July show. I pulled out items from 2 shops I have things in plus pieces I had woven and stored at home and headed to Asheville. 
I usually post pictures of what I see each day as I sit in my booth but this year it wasn't a very exciting view so instead I got some closer views of my pieces hanging. 

I really like my iPad because you can get close up views of things that my camera isn't happy focusing on.

I play with colors and try to put together ones that blend nicely.
Even though it's July, I bring the dark colors, too. Winter will be here before we're ready for it!
So, when we were loading up on Tuesday evening, we couldn't find my chair. Had no idea where it could be til the next day while driving over the mountain. We gave it away during winter sometime because it was in pretty bad shape and figured we'd buy a new one soon. That never happened. So DH went to get one. It worked fine until Friday when it showed us that it was defective and we took it back that evening. I do shows several times each year. Sitting on a low regular chair is just so weird!! I like to sit up higher so I can look at people's faces. On a low chair you are always looking up. It isn't fun. So in the next few weeks we will be ordering a good chair. Hope we don't forget!!
It's going to be a hectic week with no weaving. I shall miss my loom but hope that you have time to get some weaving done!
Until next week, weave on!!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Two Very Different Warps

There have been several projects filling my spare time this week.  I have found that I like to spend the first hour of my day, before the day really begins, sipping coffee and listening to an uplifting audio book, and doing something that my hands already know how to do, but that my mind doesn't have to give it's full attention to.  Spinning yarn fits this category, and I have spun a lot of yarn over the last few years.
Now, however there is another activity that will also be an option for those predawn hours.  If you read my post last week, I am sure you already guessed it.  Kumihimo, once you have mastered the movements for a particular braid, is automatic.  Now, keep in mind I am not at this time doing super complicated patterns, but I have advanced to using 8 bobbins on the high stand I borrowed from the Weavers annex on Tuesday.

 I also borrowed a book from our library, on braiding worldwide, by Rodrick Owen.  It is called simply ""Braids"  250 patterns from Japan, Peru & Beyond".  It is a great instructional book on all kinds of braiding.

 I found some mercerized yarn in the annex, that I thought would work well for these braids, and I really think they will be fantastic!  Some of the yarns are quite thin so I will use multiple strands of those.  Others are quite thick, and I think those will add some interest.

Here is my latest attempt with 8 strands.  I am using weighted film cannisters to keep tension on the braid as I weave.  (I have ordered a batch of the wooden bobbins , or Tama, that will make this an even more pleasant experience.  I found a really good deal on seconds on Ebay, and ordered 24 of the 70g. tama.  (I will let you know how they are.)

As I was braiding yesterday morning, I realized I had made a mistake.  I tried to undo what I had done, and I thought I had had success.  However, as the braid grew, I realized that I had changed the order of the warp threads.  The real trouble is, I like the new pattern just as well, if not better,  but I don't know how I got it!

The learning continues!

Another project that has gotten my attention this week is one of  the white 12/3 100yd warps I inherited.  The small Leclerc loom was running out of warp, something I had been waiting for, and it was time to tie on some of the previously mentioned white warp.  These warps are quite narrow, and it has been my practice to use two widths of the warp to make my towels and napkins.

If you ever wondered how big 100 yds of warp is, well here you go!  That is not a small tub!

This time, I got the bright idea of tying on from both ends of the warp, turning 100yds to 50 yds, at the bat of an eye!  I think that is my favorite magic trick!  (Somehow in my feeble brain, 50 yds is not as daunting than 100yds!)

Instead of tying on thread per thread, I used the 7 thread bundles that the new warp has, and tied each bundle to 7 threads from the warp on the loom.  I did this mostly because I felt that it might be easier to tied thread per thread when the bundles reach the back of the loom.  (We shall see!  I have had not so bright ideas before!)

See the cute little bundles!

Finally, you can see here the bundles as they are approaching the trapeze.  I will lengthen the cords that are holding the weights that I am using, so that they will stay on that side of the trapeze as the bundles move nearer to the loom below.  The weights I am using right now are water bottles filled with pea gravel, not lovely but it works!

This week has been full of summertime activities, as it should be, including grandkids, barn chores, and garden.  I hope you are enjoying your mid summer or winter, as the case may be,  as well!

Take time this week to learn something new, Tina