Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday

It is good Friday today, and because of that and the fact that the family is gathering on Easter Sunday,  all weaving has come to a standstill as we get the place ready for them.  On Monday however, I was able to get a good start on a commissioned rug that has been backlogged for way too long.  You see I took the order when I had LouAnn's rug loom about the place, and then I found out that weaving on that loom gave me bursitis of the hips.  It was really scary to lose the feeling in your leg for over a month!

Anyway, with Big Bertha in the studio, I can now finally get these rugs done and to their new homes. The first rug is a copy of one I made sometime last year or the year before.  The customer had bought the rug as a gift and ordered one for another gift.  They are made with recycled T shirts, one of my favorite rug ingredients.

Original T-shirt rug

The rug I did before had wide blue and white stripes with shots of black, red and green.  This time I am using a variety of blues in the blue sections. and I really like the effect.

Current rug project

In this rug there will be 5 blue stripes and 4 white strips, I am shooting for 40 inches or so in length and 30 in width.  I am just starting the second white strip.

Bertha is behaving quite nicely, I have found that I can weave standing up, and right now I have the treadles tied up  as 1-3-4-2, which I heard about on Peggy Ostercamp's website.  I am doing a regular twill pattern to make the Hollywood rug warp sing, so I am walking the treadles standing up.

This method of weaving will take care of the 2 concerns that I had about bringing Bertha here to my Studio.  She is really big and I am really short, her treadles have always been difficult to press, and reaching for the edges of wide fabric was really a stretch for me.  But I really wanted to weave some wide wool blankets.  I heard about someone who stood to weave on a loom just like this, so I took the chance.  Standing to weave does not hurt my hips or knees, and I will be able to easily weave full width, once I get the yarn finished for the blankets.  While I am spinning yarn for the blankets, I am weaving rugs.

I won't get much weaving time for the next week or so, I am going home to see my Mom and family, I try to get out there at least once a year.  I will be back home late on the 10th, so I am going to be missing 2 Tuesdays,  and probably will not post next Friday either, since I am leaving my computer here at home.  I expect to have this rug finished and the second one started when I post the following week.  The next rug is all about sports teams, and it has turned out to be at least 3 projects, instead of one.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thank You, Mary Black!

  The Tuesday Weavers have been reading one chapter a month of The Key To Weaving.  This month, we read Chapter 3, which was Plain Weaves-Loom Controlled. 
  Last fall I decided I would weave log cabin rugs at the Museum this year.  Using two shuttles would give added interest to my demonstration, and I have a lot of navy blue fabric to use!  I came upon this project this winter in an old copy of Handwoven (October 1997) and I was even more sure of my decision to weave log cabin rugs!
   I just wasn't sure I wanted to weave ALL of them with the orange stripes.

  Mary E. Black to the rescue!!!!
Wouldn't you know it....she waited to the END of the chapter to give this gem of a suggestion (and I almost missed it!!!)  Just add in the stripe as a supplemental warp thread!!!
  Well smack my head!!!!  That's doable!  And, I can use different colors for the stripes!!!! 

  She also played around with log cabin in Chapter 3, which I really enjoyed.  There are so many possibilities with this weave structure!

  Thanks to Tina, I also decided to use three different shades of blue in the warp to give added interest.  Tina is weaving a rug (which she might blog about) and she sent me a picture where she used different shades of blue in the really give more depth to the rug.
  I'd like to get this warp on the loom at the Museum in the next few weeks....but, first it has to be wound!!!!

  Since John has returned home, I decided to give him a little TLC....those wires need replacing on the harnesses!  It just so happens that my BIL has a tool belt, and he knows how to use it!!!! 
  He's coming by in the morning to take a look, and there might be a visit to Home Depot involved.  (You know how that goes, right?)
  I'm just so thankful for folks who have special skills!

Thank you, Mary!
Thank you, Tony!

Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

It's Just Like Magic

Do you wonder about all those warps that the Weavers do on Dye Day?  What do they "grow up" to be????

  Here's Ms. Ila's warp that she has been threading on her 8 harness Mighty Wolf.  You might think this is two different warps, but this is the shawl that was woven today.  It seems to change from one moment to another!!!!!

   Last week we saw a close-up picture of Betsy's placemats.  Today she finished the first one, and you can see the color change in today's photo.  These really are patriotic placemats!!!!


One minute they are cutting more strips of blue jeans for the rugs, and the next thing you know, Carl is back at his loom starting a new rug.


   A coverlet with a few treadling errors can fixed with a few carefully placed threads and a real, sharp eye!!!!  (Thank you, Tina!!!)

  And, just when you think you don't have enough dyed yarn to finish your scarf, it surfaces in your tote bag!!!!!

 What do you do with a whole drawer of full bobbins?  You get Marie and Pat to wind off the thread!!!  Thank you, ladies!

  When you sit down and start weaving, you can get a placemat finished before you know it!!!  Right, Liz?

Anna and Frieda have their heads together.  Wonder what they're up to???

  Another dyed warp for Sharon.

We'll have to wait for the magic for Ray's warp.  Right now, it doesn't look like much, huh?  But, you just wait and see!!!

Another magical Tuesday at the Center.  Join us sometime.....

Happy Weaving!

Monday, March 26, 2018


For the last thirty years or so, I've been weaving curtains for a lodge on top of Mount LeConte. The lodge is awesome. The only way to get there is to hike up one of several trails in the Smokey Mountains. I can see the mountain from my house and it's nice to know a part of me is up there. Hiking up is no small feat. The shortest is 3 miles, almost straight up. We've usually gone up Teillium Gap and then down Rainbow Falls. Both about 6 miles long.  It's been years since I've gone up but we've stayed up there a few times. Reservations are very difficult to get. 
I've woven curtains in bursts of time. The first time I wove for a few cabins each January. They have to be done by the end of February because they become part of the air lift each March. They get special permission and a small window of opportunity for a helicopter to fly up with huge skids of supplies, enough for the year. During the season a bunch of llamas goes up several times a week with perishables like eggs and laundry. They have this down to a science! 
After I weave all they need which takes 3 or 4 years, there's anywhere from 5 to 7 years before I need to replace anything. He calls in November to see if I can do it. I always have.
A year ago was the last time. I had replaced everything that needed doing. I suspect some windows have been done 3 times. They used to have kerosene heaters which were hard on the curtains...and yes, the kerosene was part of the air lift...but they've changed to something else that's easier on it all.
So I wove curtains. I actually used carpet warp because the lodge is quite rustic and the yarn is almost indestructible. I weave, wash and hem the curtains and they're ready to go. I learned to sew the casing on top with just a straight stitch but the hems, well, that's different. I sewed the sides as well so there's no chance of hanging them upside down. I have a fairly deep hem for added weight as a bonus. I get paid for just the actual finished length so the deeper hem is my gift to the lodge.  I pulled out a few pictures from past weaving times.
Mostly just natural with bands of the red or sometimes blue. The dining room used to be blue but may be red now. Haven't been up in about 15 years.
Near the bottom a double bunch of pattern and near the top of the curtain just one set of a pattern.
So in weaving you try especially hard to be accurate. For the curtains I was so careful. However, things happen like you weave five inches too short or you miss a repeat on about 3 panels, etc. So the last couple of years, I had to wind another warp to weave the panels correctly. That meant I ended up, now that I'm done for awhile, with about 6 panels that were not usable. You know us weavers.....we don't want to waste all that work. So here's what I did. 
I took the panels and cut them into lengths of about 8 x 24 inches and serged around them. All of it got cut up into these small pieces. Then on dye day in fall, I mixed the pieces up into pairs. No pair had the same pattern in it. Each of the pair was different. Then I dyed the pair together in a bowl of different colored dyes. The last month or two, I sewed them into little handbags. They're all lined with a different patterned batik fabric. 
Each has a pocket inside.
The handles, shoulder straps were all wound with my incredible rope machine using coordinating carpet warp yarns.
I ended up having to re dye about 10 pieces but so far I have 30 bags done. Each looking so cool. The dye isn't always smooth. I liked the mottled effect I got. 
What I also find interesting is how the red took the dye. 
Also, some bags have the pattern in the back because of how I cut the panels. It took a lot of work but I'm liking them.
I belong to a co-op downtown called The Art Market Gallery. They have featured artists each month. A 2d and a 3d use this one wall. I don't sign up for it unless I have something new. I signed up for April with the idea of the bags so I had to make it work. I set up this coming weekend and will post pictures of what it looks like. The 2d artist I'm with is so talented with her paintings. They flow and should look good with these colorful bags.
That's what I've been up to lately. Not weaving but using what I wove before.
Until next week, keep weaving!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Big Bertha

Last Tuesday, Big Bertha was dismantled, loaded up and delivered to my Studio.  The number of weavers involved in this escaped is impressive.  Pat helped round up the spare parts, Linda lent me her tools and helped to load, Betsy was there to keep track of the pieces and help load my car and the truck that Jocelyn had offered, Ray and Polly and I worked hard to take the loom apart, all the while hoping that I could reverse the process at home on my own.  The ladies in the back row, made sure that the path was clear so that we didn't hurt anybody on our way to the vehicles, and Bonnie vacuumed the space Bertha left behind and then some. (I know I must be forgetting someone!)

Before too long, before lunch even, the loom was loaded and since the clouds seemed threatening we decided to go ahead and take her right to the Studio.  Polly, Jocelyn and I ran through a drive through and were on our way.  Our goal was to have the loom under cover as soon as possible, so as soon as we got there we unloaded all of the exposed pieces into one of the downstairs rooms, then we took a look at the big central portion of the loom that was still on the truck.  It had taken 4 of us to lift and load it.  We puzzled for a minute or two, until finally we used one of my favorite techniques to move things the are too heavy for me to lift on my own.  We lifted it carefully end over end from the truck to the front stairs, then from the stairs up to the front porch.  After that it didn't take much to lift it just a bit to get if into the front hall, where we left it because we knew that we were not going to be able to get that piece upstairs on our own.

We had our lunch and then Jocelyn went to an appointment in Oak Ridge and Polly and I headed back to the Center.  Polly needed the ride and I needed to gather all of the stuff that I had left behind in the rush to get the loom under cover.  Soon I was on my way back home because I wanted to get all of the loom pieces I could manage by myself upstairs before the second team showed up to move the heavy piece.  I took my time, and left the heavy cloth and warp beam and the treadle assembly for when I had help.  When LouAnn came we made short work of those final pieces, but we waited for Karin to come to get the big piece upstairs.  Karin came and before you know it, the job was done!  To celebrate we went out to dinner!

When I got home from dinner, I did go upstairs to make sure we had gotten all of the pieces, but I didn't start putting her back together,  I had done enough lifting and pushing and pulling for one day  I would do it in the morning.  I had a hot bath and did some spinning while I watched a couple of episodes of "Father Brown".  I will say that I slept really good that night!

By 9am I had done my chores and headed upstairs.  I remembered the tricky bits, and only had to redo a couple of times when I put something in backwards.
As I was putting her together, she just got bigger and bigger!  Released from being a storage rack at the Center, it seemed like she grew to take over the entire Studio!  I had had thoughts of being able to move another loom in here from the room across the hallway, but I don't thing that that is going to happen any time soon.

Yesterday, I wound a warp, my favorite Hollywood rug warp, and I set up to thread the warp through the reed and then through the heddles, and finally to tie onto the back beam.

Then I wound it onto the back beam inserting sticks as I went to keep the warp from burying down into the previous layers. Once the warp was beamed,  I cut off the uneven bits to tidy the  warp and I tied onto the front beam.

Late last night I used a little bit of t shirt material I had handy to spread the warp, and I weighted the 4 harnesses to keep them from rising when they shouldn't.  It will improve the size of the shed for the shuttle to pass through.

This is a fairly short warp for me, only 7 yards.  I have a couple of commissioned rugs to make for a friend, she wants some runners too, I will do those on a narrower loom.

LouAnn and I were talking today on our way to the Museum of Appalachia, about how 10 years ago, I would have had the loom together Tuesday night and probably had a rug done by now, but I have learned to listen to my body and to be kinder to it too.  I want to have a lot more years at the loom, don't you?

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Back At It

  How quickly you forget some things! 
It's been a few months since I have been to the Museum to demonstrate, and tomorrow we have two school groups touring the Museum!  That means I had to find my Inkle loom and the tapes that I show the kids and get it all packed and ready. 
  I've been so wrapped up in pulling receipts and getting everything on the spreadsheet that I had not even given it a thought!  Time to get ready for the field trip season. 
  It will be a little nippy in the morning....I'm glad Tina is such a whiz at building a fire!

Ah, yes....the saga of the ornamental magnolia!

Two weeks ago it was in full bloom.....
Last week the freeze nipped the blooms....
And yesterday....I woke up to this!!!!!!

The snow was gone by noon, though.

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Bye, Bye Bertha

  Before we could even begin moving Bertha, she had to be cleaned off....lots of stuff ended up on her bench or on top of her castle.

****FYI:  Bertha is a 60 inch, 12 Harness, Nilart Leclerc loom.

  Then, the team got down to business.  Thank goodness the shafts just left out of the jacks!  That's a lot of weight off of the main frame.

  Since the loom would be going up narrow stairs at Tina's house, the goal was to get the pieces down to a manageable size.

  Part of the loom pieces (plus the bench) were loaded into Tina's car.

  Jocelyn volunteered her truck to move the castle and the treadles.  She and Ray got the load tied down and ready to roll.

  Look at all of that space!
Well.....look at it before it's gone!

   Bonnie took this opportunity to give the Studio a good once over with the vacuum cleaner!

  Even with all that activity going on in the Studio, Carl got busy winding on his new rug warp.  Anna and Helen jumped in to help.

   They finished before lunch, and Carl spent the afternoon tying on and weaving in the header.  Next week he plans on cutting more blue jean strips for the new set of rugs!

  Betsy got back to work on her loom after lunch, while Liz sat down to sley the reed on her placemat warp.

The weaving has advanced into the blue area of the warp, and the pattern is showing up very nicely!

  Since we need to order black 8/4 for the sectional warp on the Gilmore, it's a great time to get colors you need, too.    Helen got in a little weaving time, too.

Irene got a new warp wound for a project.

  The new dyed warps (and wefts) needed to be sorted and stored.  They will be waiting for their turn on one of the looms.

 At the end of the day, there was plenty of room to store the looms. 
  Now....doesn't that look great!

Bye, bye good to Tina!!!

Happy Weaving!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Dye Day Again

A couple of times a year we schedule dye days. We'd originally planned for earlier in the year but we weren't ready, so Thursday was finally the day! We worked hard the few weeks beforehand getting ready. Several people took cones home to wind for us. As a result we had quite a few scarf warps and a shawl warp plus skeins for weft.
We washed them all on Tuesday so they were ready to soak on Thursday. I forgot to take pictures until lunch time. It was quick with so much to do and if we got it all done, we wouldn't have to come on Friday. 
Ila and Frieda were busy working together on one table.
Ray got his skeins done. You can see Bonnie's warp wound out next to him. We're getting good about dyeing in small spaces thanks to Katherine Weber's class.
I love Joan's colors. She had an inspiration picture. But, this is even better.
Mixing master cups of dye and then figuring out what to do with them. Such fun!! Those of you who don't join us have no idea of the feeling when the colors mix on the warp as you paint.
So we got it all done!! That meant that most people had to paint 2 warps and the skeins to go with them. Plus, cleaning up everything since there was another class in there this weekend.

DD and I were invited to a baby shower on Saturday. The mom to be is a good friend so I had planned and made another Berenstain Bear quilt. I actually had  4 quilt tops for DD to pick from. This is the one she chose.
Turns out the mom to be loved those books as a kid. Good thing because we also gave her a book. Did you know that the couple that wrote them passed away but their son is now writing the books?
I'm glad he's continuing their work. Kids need books like this.

Then a week before the shower we finally checked what she'd registered for. Winnie the Pooh!!!
So we decided to add another gift. I had a piece of fabric from the stash I raided at my inlaws place in Atlanta when we closed the house. It was meant to be a book but instead, I cut them all apart, added fabric around each square and ended up with another baby blanket.
She loved it. She got a bunch of Pooh books so her child will be surrounded by love....and honey! Ha!
Still not weaving much here. I have a stack of rinsing left to do so that's going to keep me busy today.
Until next week, keep weaving!