Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Sunny Tuesday

     Remember this shawl????  Bonnie worked and worked to get it threaded on her loom, and this is the end result!
   Well worth waiting for, don't you think?
  The camera did not pick up the metallic thread used in the weft, but it adds just the right amount of "bling" for this shawl.  Bonnie also added some crystal beads to the fringe, which was the perfect touch!


  Liz is planning a white warp of twelve place mats and a table runner.  She started winding the warp on the little reel.  Ray was on hand to give her tips and tricks for winding.

   Pat is still hard at work on her colorful warp...how much did she put on that loom!  (I'll keep asking that!)
  Christy is trying to keep up with the demand for blue jean strips for Carl....that's really a full time job!  (I hate to tell her, but we'll have another load of blue jeans coming in next week...shhhhhhh....don't tell her!)

 Carl is already sleying and threading the loom for the next warp.  He's a "front to backer", which is perfect for our newer weavers to see.  (Chapter 2 of the Mary Black book is all about dressing the loom.  Carol teaches us the back to front method.)

  Don't let the phone fool you....Alyce really did get some weaving done today.  Sometimes you just have to take care of business.
  Sharon and Frieda were in on the action, too!


  Ahhhh....finally!  The black warp is DONE!  Linda had six placemats and two runners on the cloth beam.  We need to look back on the blog and see when we put on this warp....I know it's been awhile.  And, how many yards did we wind????  This means we'll be winding on another sectional warp, which our new weavers will get to see.

  Margi brought several projects to share with us today.  She belongs to an artist guild, and she has been having loads of fun repurposing woven pieces.
  (We need to work on her hammering skills!)

  Tina finished her tie-up, and wove a little sample looking for threading errors.  This is a turned twill from Strickler's book.  With this threading, she can do two versions of towels.   After she reworks the side patterns, she'll be ready to weave a bunch of towels!

  Just part of the job!!!!  Time to tie up the treadles, which means that Ms. Ila will be weaving next week.    Bonnie is a great friend!!!!

Happy Weaving!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Side Hobby

I haven't been weaving lately. I do hope to be able to get back to the warp on my loom soon, but instead I've been working on the project for a show in April.
Also, I have been finishing some embroidery projects. It's so easy. Sewing wool onto wool is pretty easy on the hands. You don't need a thimble because the wool is soft and you want to see the stitches. You use tiny pins to keep up with the pieces and I've learned a few tricks on how to make it work.
This is a pin cushion. It's about 5 inches tall. I used some wool that Tina brought to stuff it with. It's working out nicely. This was a kit but you end up making it the way you want anyway.
This little pin cushion I finished yesterday. It's about 5 inches across. Another kit but all they give you is the fabrics and a sort of picture. You decide how to position the pieces you cut out, colors to embroider them on with and how it's going to look. This one I filled with crushed shells, as in pecan shells. You can buy them at quilting shops. I like the way the cushion feels. I've got a couple of them that I filled with these shells and they hold up well.
This is just a little 12 inch wall hanging. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. When I got the kit, I got a little stand that it was supposed to fit on but it doesn't! Figures, eh? I may just pin it onto my bulletin board.
This wall hanging is about 24 inches long. I love the birds on this picture. I'm not sure what attracted me to the picture the most. I like the birds but those berries are cool and I discovered they're really easy to put on. Just one stitch.
See what I mean? Guess this little guy is ready to eat a berry.
A bird face on has a weird beak. French knits cover this little belly!
I hope to finish the stack of pieces for the show this morning. 
This weekend the invitation for a baby shower came. One of the boy quilts I need to make is pegged for that family so I need to get sewing. 
One of the quilts I posted recently was heading to Canada. The couple had chosen  not to know the sex of their baby. My cousin wrote that their new granddaughter was born on Friday! They're going to love that quilt.
I may not be actually weaving much and I choose not to knit, but there are so many things to make. My studio is always full of my projects!!
Until next week, keep weaving even if I'm not!

Friday, February 23, 2018


These two pictures show the last of the Jacobs fleeces.  These happen to be the lamb fleeces, though I think there are a small mature fleece or two in there.

I had the drying racks full last week and I promised Karin that I would wait for her to choose the fleeces she wanted before I washed any more.

Karin came by today and chose 7 fleeces that she would buy, which leaves me with only  6 small fleeces left to wash.   I have enough room on the drying racks to hold 8 lamb fleeces, so I am sure to finish washing Jacobs fleeces next week!

I took advantage of my wait time by pulling out some books that I have had in my library for years, all of them were written by Paula Simmons, and they are all about spinning and weaving with wool, with an emphasis on speed and economy of movement and materials, and the business end of a wool based business.

Paula has woven with wool since the 70's craft revival and I have enjoyed re-reading her experiences in those early years when it was all being rediscovered.

Paula talks all about how to spin a medium twist single in the weight you want but faster and softer than you are used to doing.  She also gives instructions on how to use these singles as both warp and weft.

I made some batts today to give her spinning method a try, I used some of the clean Jacobs fleece that I have all over the studio.  I stripped the batts into manageable  widths and set to work.
As  near as I can tell this method is what I would call "point of twist" spinning, where you draw back your fiber source just ahead of the twist.   You have to set the amount of twist per treadle just right and the "draw in" just right so that your finished yarn will not have too much twist.

After the singles are spun, you make a skein and wash it.  Then as you rinse it, you alternate hot and cold rinses.  This fulls the singles yarn enough that the yarn will be able to withstand the abrasion it will encounter on the loom.  Then you block the yarn so that you can wind a warp without having to fight the twists.  After the warp is wound you size the warp, again to make it easier to weave.

On the bobbin above is the two batts that I made today, I think another two batts will fill this bobbin.  Paula says that there should be enough twist in the single to make a soft 2 ply when it is allowed to ply back on itself.    I think I got pretty close.  I used my electric mini spinner and a "woolee winder" bobbin which automatically loads the single along the entire bobbin.  No need to stop and change hooks, which was another speed spinning tip.

 I am a little nervous about weaving with singles in the warp, but it would really speed up the whole process of making woven blankets and I think that the blanket fabric will be even more light weight.  I will follow Paula's guidelines, they have served her well for years, and I think I can't go wrong following her example.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Spring Showers

  The air even smells like it does during a spring shower...there isn't another scent like it in the world!   We also had some thunder....just like a spring storm!

  Only....this is the twenty-second day of FEBRUARY in East Tennessee!!!!  You KNOW there are more freezing days to go until Spring!!!!!

  The crocus always come up and bloom early.  That's a given.

  The daffodils usually come a week or so later.  Yet, this year, they have been blooming for over a week.

  This poor little hyacinth is in shell shock.

Record setting temperatures have done a number on her!!!!

  And, the stone crop is coming up like crazy!!! 
(Remind me to thin/divide these next month!)

    But, the Lenten Roses are right on time!  They started blooming last week.  I always look forward to seeing their blossoms this time of year.  It's that little pop of color even in the snow.  If only they could tell the other plants to wait their turn!!!!

My Lenten project is coming along.  In fact, I'm enjoying finding the articles written about linen.  Everyone has their own little tip to share.
  Along the way, I've also found several articles about the history of linen, which have been very interesting.
  I just keep reminding myself that folks have been weaving with linen for eons....surely I can, too.  And, I give thanks for publications that have an index....they are my lifeline.

Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Balmy Tuesday

  While parts of our country are digging out of the white stuff, we are having balmy, record setting temperatures in our neck of the woods.    Yet, here we were at Weaving!
  Carl supervised Marie as she wound the new warp for his rugs.  He's had his eye on this purple warp for awhile.  These outside stripes will team with a gray middle stripe for the new rug warp.

  Margi was all about getting skeins wound for dye day.  This is bamboo, which will be used for shawls and scarves.  Linda cheered her on as she wound!

  Bamboo for warps also needed to be wound at the warping board.  Joan volunteered for that duty.  An eight yard warp might be for shawls or scarves!

   Betsy found a threading error smack dab in the middle of the warp!  That calls for a repair heddle!  Thank goodness she's up for the job!

  Alyce is working on her overshot project...it's coming along nicely!  Frieda is threading her scarf warp.  Since this is an 8 harness pattern, I'm looking forward to seeing the pattern come alive!

  Helen learned about "unweaving and unwinding" today.  It's something we have to do from time to time.  The color bands in this warp look great!

    The Ladies all had plenty to do today.  Ms. Ila is finishing up the threading on the shawl warp...she should be weaving by next week.  Another pattern I can't wait to see!!!!

  Shirley is soooooo close to end of her scarf warp, but she keeps getting snapped threads on her right selvedge.  Just hang those repair threads until you can finish this warp!!!!
  Bonnie is threading...............
Another wait and see...............

  Bless Sharon's heart....she has done a wonderful job of organizing our library.  We are truly blessed with all this resource material, and it's so nice to be able to find a book when you're looking for it!!!!!

  Yes, we're all in this together!  Even when the weather beckons you to go outside and play in the sun.

Happy Weaving!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Creative Energy

I have found that I only have so much creative energy in me at any given time.  I go from one craft to another almost in a cycle.  I don't work on more than one or 2 things at a time and often just one project is taking all of my available time and energy.

That is the way it is right now, I went looking thru my recent photos for something to share and all I saw was photos of  the Jacobs fleeces laid out getting ready to be washed.  Unless you are a fleece hound like I am, when you have seen one Jacobs fleece you have pretty much seen them all.  Even I have had to resort to keeping track of the fleeces online on Ravelry.  I have to label and post the picture right away, or I will get all these fleeces mixed up, and I really don't want to do that!

 I wash one fleece at a time, and label it on the drying racks.  That label will follow the fleece throughout the processing, from washing to yarn to blanket.  That is the only way I will be able to put the animals number on the retail tag for the blanket or garment.  I think it gives a nice touch, if I can pull it off.

So back to the energy thing.  Right now I am only washing fleeces, (I do have a pair of socks on the needles for evening time)  I have finished washing the 31 mature fleeces and I am making good progress on the 18 lamb fleeces that are remaining.  I washed 2 fleeces yesterday, and I hope to wash 3 more fleeces today, then the drying racks will be full and it will be another week before they will be dry enough to move off of the drying racks to load up 6 more.  These lamb fleeces are so much smaller than the mature fleeces they will be washed before you know it!

This time of year, the fleeces spend about a week on the drying racks, a week in a cloth pillowcase and then another week or so in a plastic bag with the top open.  Only then, if it is truly dry will I vacuum pack it,  the label visible with all the info about the fleece.  Now I am working on where to store all of these fleeces, the vacuum packing isn't really keeping it's vacuum, but the fleeces still take up a whole lot less space than before.

I am keeping track, as I said of all this info on Ravelry, even down to where I am storing each fleece, which tub or cabinet can I find a specific fleece, also if there is anything interesting about the fleece.  Is it really soft or maybe it is a little coarser than some of the others.   Is the fleece two or three colors, or maybe it is lilac, which means that it has grey undertones, light to dark.  I figure all that info will come in handy, when I get around to processing.

For the next week or so the fleeces will continue to take almost all of my energy, but once they are all clean and stored, the fun will begin.  I do have some plans for the empty looms and hopefully I will soon be able to talk about those plans.

That is it for now, the timer just rang and it is time to spin out the first wash on Jacobs lamb fleece #2.

Until next time, Happy Crafting, Tina

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Hopscotch Or Leap Frog

  At our Fat Tuesday celebration at Weaving, Linda and I were talking about getting ready for Lent.  She asked me if I was going to give up something for the Season.  I'm not too good at giving up things.....I'd rather add something that makes me a better person.  I told her I was thinking about attempting linen.  (Our study group project with the The Key To Weaving is making me a little braver.)  Then, Linda said, "So, you're giving up your fear of weaving linen!"
   She's so smart!!!!

  I started doing my research, and found some great articles in Handwoven about weaving with linen.  In fact, the January/February 2016 issue is all about linen!  I'm still in the process of reading and making notes.

  I especially have enjoy Tom Knisely's article, For The Love of Linen.  I learned that he has a collection of antique linen items, as do I.
  Both of my great-grandmothers were spinners/weavers.  I have items from both of them.  They grew their own flax, and raised sheep for their woven items.  Thank goodness I don't have to produce my own fiber!!!! 
  When you think about how long folks have been weaving with linen, it just makes it more important to me to try and weave with this special fiber.  (And, yes, there is more to this story.....you'll have to wait a few weeks for the rest of it.)

  So, how do you approach a challenge?
  When you were a child, you might have played hopscotch.  You drew your pattern on the playground or sidewalk, and tossed the pebble to advance on the pattern, and turned around to hop back.  If you played leap frog with your friends, you took turns tucking down or hopping over as you advanced willy-nilly around the yard.  As much as I love a "plan" I also love the freedom of hopping around the yard.  So, my research is taking me here and there as I learn.  We'll see where I end up....I just want to give up my fear of weaving with linen.

Happy Weaving!


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

  For those of us who might have trouble with that phrase, it's pronounced "lazay lay bon tom roulay."

  Thank you, Christy, for providing King Cakes for our Fat Tuesday!  These cakes were complete with beads and doubloons in case someone wanted to start dancing and begging for more!

  And, not to be outdone, Ray MADE us chocolate strawberries with cream filling.

  Now this is the way to celebrate Fat Tuesday!!!!!!

  It was time for Carl's warp to come off the loom.

     That was SEVEN rugs that came off of his loom. 

I love how the different denim makes such lovely stripes in the rugs!!!!

   After the rugs are cut apart, the rugs have to have their fringes knotted.  Marie and I sat down with Carl and got the job done lickety-split!!!!

  Carl wasn't the only one cutting off a warp today.  Liz finished the towel warp on her loom, and now she tackles the job of hemming the towels.  Thank you, Marie, for sharing this pattern!

Yeah....we are getting our new roof!  The fund raiser for this roof began last Fall, and now it's a reality.  The only drawback are the nails in the driveway!!!  Polly ran her BIG magnet over the parking area here in the back of the Center and picked up a bunch of nails.  We all parked on the side road to the Center, needless to say!  Thank you, Polly.

  We DO have Good Times....just keep them rolling on!!!!

Happy Weaving!