Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

  That phrase has something to do with the midday sun, right???  Well, I'm inside until the sun starts to go down a little!  I worked on my flower bed this morning...oh, the humidity!!!  I can't believe I let the grape vine, Virginia creeper and poison ivy get such a hold on that little piece of soil!!!!  But, weeds aren't the only thing that just keeps growing!  I love seeing the cacti and tiger lilies in their glory.  Even my red yucca bloomed this year!  The hummingbirds and butterflies are having a field day!

  My surprise plants continue to amaze me!  The tomato plant is the same variety that I grew last year.  I'm still not sure just what my vine is going to be, though.  I'm thinking little yellow squash....or maybe cucumber.  We'll have to wait and see a little longer.

  I've been weaving in the evenings after being outside during the day.  The blue jean rug is done!  And, since I've got a little time until we're ready to move the loom, I thought I'd weave a tote bag or two for the fall sales.  I cut the weft last night for the next bag.
  That reminds me....while I was weaving I watched a new BBC series on my Acorn account:  Loch Ness.  It's a mystery series set in Scotland.  There's a new episode every week.  INTENSE!!!!
  The final season of Broadchurch has started on BBC America.  That's another good one!!!!  After your ears get adjusted to the accents, you will quickly get involved in the plot. 
  It's nice being back in the 21st Century...although there are still some glitches in my computer.  It seems that malware had invaded my computer, but that still doesn't explain the problems with Windows 10.  I've got a lead on someone to take a look at that.  For now, I'll be happy with what I have.  That was a long week with only the Kindle and my iPhone as my link to the cyber world.  The good news is that I didn't buy anything online for a whole week!!!!

Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

That's A Wrap!

  Pat stopped by the Studio to touch bases with the Weavers, and ended up putting together some weft for a new rug!!! 
  Last week, Carol brought in 7 boxes of donated fabric that had been used for home decoration (drapes and upholstery.)  Pat fell in love with that piece in the front, and started putting other pieces with it....this will be a great rug!!!!
  Sadly, she couldn't stay.  It seems that she went by a  favorite nursery yesterday, and ended up with a load of plants for her yard.  Her job today was to get them all in the ground!

  Bonnie's plants are producing lots and lots of veggies!  So many, in fact, that she brought squash, zucchini and cucumbers to share with the Weavers!!!!
  Thank you, Bonnie!!!

   Meanwhile, on the porch, Irene and Ron are getting ready for Kids Camp in July.  Ron is busy making some simple looms for them to use to weave wall hangings.
  Frieda brought her knitting....but, only got here with one needle.  Hummmmmmm........

  You might call this HIGH STEPPING braiding!!!  This is an eight strand flat braid that she is practicing for Kids Camp.  (Love the technique!!!!)

  This was the view from my loom...Ray is working on the towels, Alyce is busy with her placemats.

  Across the way, I can see Anna catching up with Tina.  We're all glad that Anna had a good trip!
  Marie was finishing up the first shawl on this pink warp.  The next one will have a gray weft.

  Marie went ahead and cut off the shawl so she could retie the warp.  I guess there is some fringe twisting in her future!!!

  Tina finished a towel and got started on the next one.  You can just see the trees as they make the turn on the breast beam.

  Joan finished her scarf warp, so now it's time to twist those fringes.  Helen's warp is coming right along...she'll be ready to get on a floor loom before long!


  Shirley's back from vacation, too.  She had pictures to share on her phone (plus, she has a great tan!!!)  Carol and Carl got a few minutes to catch up....this is a busy time for them.

  Linda got her towels done just in time for her big trip "back home."  Don't you just love navy and khaki together????  These towels are from a 2014 issue of Handwoven.   What a thoughtful hostess gift, Linda!!!!

  Whoa!  I think that might be the end of the warp!  Carl will be cutting off this warp of rugs when we meet again July 11.  That will be just in time to enter one of the blue jean rugs at the Anderson County Fair.
  I guess that IS A WRAP!!!!!

Happy Weaving!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bit by Bit!

Last week was another special one. My lace guild flew Louise Colgan out from California again. We've done this for several years now to teach us Milanese lace. It's 3 days of uninterrupted lace making. From 9:30 til 4:30 each day with just a half hour break for lunch we worked on our pillows. By the end of each day our eyes and brains were pretty fried!
Remember we worked for three days. This is what my piece looked like at the end of the third day. There are 3 reds or 3 green colors plus a metallic in each section. I did pretty well. I only have a leaf and half the stem left to do. Lace is tricky. The tape patterns are intricate to make which slows us down.
Those of us that are weaves know about unweaving. Well, lacers do the same. Sometimes they have to unlace! Slowly the piece takes shape. The size is controlled by the many pins we use. We even have special tools to lift up all the pins once the project is done. The thread tails are trimmed then as well.

My piece is supposed to look like this:

Normally I take pictures of some of the projects on pillows during class. I didn't this time because none of the lace was showing. As we work, we cover our pillows with cloths to protect the threads from the pins already in the pillow. You only see just a tiny bit of the project, just the part you're working on. When you're done, it's a piece worth framing!
Not much weaving will happen in this studio for the next few weeks but it's going to be a busy time anyway.
Until next week, keep weaving, even if I don't !

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Over the Bend

LouAnn's computer is on the blink again, so y'all will have to put up with me and my quirky perspective on looms.  I went around the room today, taking pictures of the warps as they came off of the warp beam, there was quite a variation as you might imagine, but there were  also similarities.

First off you will see several with slack threads which we all know means that some weavers are being "slackers" and are off galavanting across the country or the world.   (Miss Ila was working her shift upstairs in the shop, not slacking at all!)

They will be back at it as soon as they get back you can be sure.

You might think that the next two warps have nothing to do with each other, but you would be wrong!

Both of these projects are slated for the Christmas market for the fall shows.  The red and green towels are obvious, but the white warp, not so much.

All you have to do is remember those Towels with Christmas trees I was weaving last week.

There is a bevy of painted scarf warps being worked on.

One of which is almost finished!

There are more than a few white warps, I think these two are going to be towels.

I just love the look of a warp on the loom, all those threads all lined up ready to go.

Then of course there are the looms with one of our signature placemats in "Ellen's Pattern"  a warp spaced weave.

We sold 7 pairs of this pattern just this week, one of Ellen's relatives came and bought them.

Ooops!  What have we here!  Looks like there was a lamm on the lam!

Then of course there is Carl on the giant barn loom in the corner, coming to the end of another rug warp, what a trooper!

Remember that scarf warp that was getting close to being finished when I took the pictures early in the day?  Well before she headed for home Joan finish weaving and cut that scarf warp off of the loom.  I think Joan said that Irene wove a couple of the scarves and then Joan took over and finished the project.

A fitting end to a sweet day at the Appalachian Arts Craft Center in Norris TN.

Until next time, keep Crafting!!!!  Tina for all

Monday, June 19, 2017

Midwest Weavers Conference

I got home yesterday from Indianapolis. What a week!! Midwest is a wonderful conference. It's one of the best conferences. We love it. The instructors love it and hopefully the vendors did well!! 
So, I got there a week ago Sunday.
Class started Monday. When I sign up for Midwest, I've gone for the whole thing. Preconference is 3 days long. It's hard to decide on which class to take. I decided to take Daryl Lancaster's class on clothing. In 3 days we got 6 days worth of lectures, time to practice stitches on our sewing machines and she measured us for her pattern which we could then copy for ourselves. If we do things right, we should have awesome jackets to show in 2 years...or less.
Here Daryl is checking the size on her sample jacket. She spent the last year making samples using bed sheets. If it's a bit tight, it'll fit great in handwovens.  That striped jacket is a sheet. She brought a bunch of her things for us to look at, photo and get ideas from. She is a serious couture seamstress!!
She had samples of fabrics she'd woven, then cut into 3 sections. One section unwashed, one hand washed and one stuck in the machine with regular laundry. It reaffirms that, yes, you must wash your handwovens before they're considered ready to sew or use.
Thursday was a free day. They had tours you could sign up for but I like the break. Sometimes vendors are open on Thursday altho that hasn't happened in 8 years. We keep hoping....
This year they brought us an old quilt for us to see. This is old and time hadn't been kind. However at the museum where it was they also have a weaving/spinning room. Some of the ladies took pity on this quilt and decided to replicate it.
This photo doesn't show it well but some of those small blocks are made up of several pieces of fabric, using all scraps of handwoven fabrics.
This is the reproduction. They spun some of it, got yarn for some, dyed some, got some dyed. It looks good but the yarns aren't as fine as the original. You can see a lot that you can't see on the original, like that they used dinner plates for the pattern to quilt and that there were at least 8 different plaids. They used small looms for a lot of the pieces since they needed small pieces and a wider loom for the backing plaid. Pretty nicely done, for sure!!
I had a full day class Friday with Madelyn Van der Hoogt.  It was on blocks. We got good handouts and she explained it well. Turns out that this is her last class. She will be at MAFA but not doing a class like this. From now on, if you want to have her class, you have  to go to her school and take class there for a week. Tempting!
At Midwest they have guild exhibits. There were about 8 of them. I really found this one poignant. It was a tribute to Madelyn. I hear it made her cry. The shuttles each have words on there that are important to her like places she taught, etc.
Madelyn also did the keynote address Thursday evening. Memorable. 
Friday evening was the fashion show. If you go to facebook and look up Midwest Weavers, you can see some video of the fashion show. The people that were everywhere and willingly helping with anything wore aprons. Lots of different weaves. It was easy to find someone to ask.
Ok, so Friday  morning my class was with Robyn Spady. I totally forgot to take a picture but she talked about 4 shaft structures that are complicated looking but easy to weave.

Midwest is every 2 years, sometime in June. They announced where it's going to be next time....Grinell College in Grinell, Iowa. We've been there before, 8 years ago. It's a good campus, nice and flat and easy to get around. It was fun last time. I took Robyn's preconference class which included weaving velvet. 
One thing about Midwest is like it's a family reunion. You see the other Midwest junkies that come and you see and chat with lots of the same people and encourage each other. They're people who understand you. Then, you don't see them for 2 years when you do it all over again.
So, until next time, we'll all keep weaving and dreaming about possibilities.
Until next week

Friday, June 16, 2017

Yarn with Strings

This week, I have been spinning the yarn that I mentioned last week, for the next shawl project.  The fiber is Romney lamb (a long wool with some shine) / Alpaca (long and slippery) and Silk thrums (bits and pieces and threads of silk), it is from "Solitude Wool".  My daughter gave it to me for Mothers day, and I believe that this may be a record for the shortest time something has stayed in my stash!

I have never spun anything like this, with threads and flecks of silk fiber, and it took me awhile to figure out how to do it so that the bits an pieces would show up, yet be well incorporated into the yarn.

I have been working on this batch of fiber off and on all week and I have to say that I am pleased with the results.  I have almost finished the singles, in fact I should be done with the second bobbin today, and I will probably ply it later on this evening.  I will be adding to this skein of yarn,  with some silk yarn and some more Romney wool yarn for a shawl.  I need at least 2,000 yards of various yarns in total, for this  shawl project.

In my May 15th post, I mentioned that I was busy washing the many fleeces that I got from the "Sheep Shearing days 2017" at the Museum of Appalachia.  I am happy to say that I have washed all of the fleeces from the flock that are sometimes at the Museum.  Those 6 fleeces have produced 7 pillow cases full of "clean" fleece.

I say "clean" because getting the lanolin out is just part of the process.  I don't know what it is about these particular sheep, but they seem to have a fleece that likes to hold onto dirt, like a magnent!

The lanolin comes out easily, like I said but these locks like to hold onto bits of stuff, and it has to be combed out.

This is the pad that my wool combs sit on, and this is just a little bit of the stuff that comes out of the fleece.

I work through the fleece with my combs and when it looks good to me, I draw it off of the combs.  I can still see just a little bit of the "stuff" in there, but not much.  The rest of the "stuff" is on the table and on the floor around me, it is unbelievable how much of it there is.  I have combed through one bag of wool I have 6 more to go. (I will do that as I need the wool!)

From this "truly clean" state I can either blend the fleece further by working it once more with the combs or I may use my hand cards and make some rolags, to use on the great wheel for a more woolen yarn.

This wool will not make a good yarn to use on the looms, it is far too springy, so I  plan to use it for knitting, (it would be good for hats, sweaters or socks) or I might possibly sell it as skeins at our fall shows.  I probably won't be bringing it up on this blog much in the future, but I may show a skein or two as they are done.

I still have the "Scottish Blackface" fleeces in progress, and this week, I also pulled out a white Corriedale fleece that had been hanging around the Studio too long, and I washed it, though it still has a bit too much lanolin in it for me, I will be giving it another wash soon.

That is it for me, once these dirty fleeces are done, I will be hitting the looms, big and small.  So much to do, so little time!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina