Saturday, January 23, 2016

Snow Week

 Here in Knoxville, we weren't expecting the huge amounts of snow others are getting, or have gotten.  My son told me this morning that Nashville got 8 inches yesterday!  And my sister and Mom are probably still getting dumped on.  We closed the bakery on Thursday, but probably would have been fine  We have a great mayor, and a tremendous group of city employees who took good care of the roads and power outages, if there were any.  
  It's still lightly snowing, but I'll be back at work tomorrow, after a three-day break.  School was cancelled Monday, so we had a busy day in the kitchen yesterday, making lots of vegetable dishes.  The people who weren't in my baking class last semester will be in the new class in the fall, so it's great to get to know them now.  

I finished the beaded overshot shawl, and gave it to a lovely woman I work with at the bakery.  She brought back the most incredible silk shawl for me from Iraq when she had to go back this summer to renew her visa, and her birthday was the first week of January, so I had to make it special.  

She told me it was a winter shawl, because it's a bit heavier than the ones she usually wears, but I think she did like it.  I loved the way it came out, so soft and drapey, and I love the beads on the fringe.  I finished the last foot of the warp in a gold rayon, that will probably become a bag or an insert on a blouse I make later.

Now there are a whole lot of naked looms!  Jenny, Jennifer and Tootsie are shivering in the cold, and it's my goal to get two out of three dressed this week.  I wound on the white for the turned overshot curtains onto Tootsie this morning, and I'm going to have the pattern warp hanging separately off the back, weighted.  It's only 54 threads on the main pattern, and 16 on the top pattern.  I think it should be fine.  I had trouble with the tension when I wound it all together the first two times I tried turned overshot.  I'll report back as it progresses.
  Jenny will get the tartan warp, and I've decided to wind that one by warp stripes, to keep it from being too confusing.  I've got my threading pattern set, and just need the time and umph! to get it going.
  But my umph got worn down by winding on the warp this morning, and I had to sit and knit for a while.  You might remember that I was knitting a sweater for Matt, until he told me the color was too girlie.  Well, last week, Loopville was having a sale, and I just happened in to buy a set of double point needles to finish some mittens.  All the yarn was 15% off, and they never have sales.  They called it a Flash Sale.  Well, what an opportunity!  So, I bought new, much manlier yarn for Matt's sweater.  I'm keeping the pattern the same, with a Gansey-type pattern between the two cables, and a single seed stitch on the sides, rather than the original double seed stitch.  

Complete cat coverage for maximum warmth

I've had a peaceful afternoon, watching British mysteries on Netflix, knitting, covered with cats to keep warm.  I hope you're as fortunate, safe and warm!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Two Whole Days!

  My days off are Thursday and Friday.  When school is in session, I work one of those days, but in the last week before school starts, I have found myself with no obligations or appointments for today and tomorrow, a very rare occurrence!  I went to a chamber concert last night, and slept in this morning--past 2!--and have been weaving since I woke up.  Since I can do whatever I want for two whole days, I am filling them up with things I WANT to do! 

Beading Juliet2
 The Juliet 2 pattern is coming along nicely, though I did spot a treadling error 10 picks back, and decided to leave it.  Is that weaving heresy?  I don't know, but I feel the pattern is so subtle, it won't show, and who cares?  

From Iraq!
It's a gift to a dear friend at work who just had a birthday, and brought me back a huge, beautiful silk scarf from Iraq this past year.  She had to go back there to renew her visa, and I worried about her the whole time.  Bagdad is not a safe place to be now, nor has it been for some time, which is why she's here.  By not fixing the error, it doesn't mean I like her less, only that I want it done.  Remember, that warp's been on the loom for at least two years, and its new project is swirling around in my head already. 
I don't have enough of the dyed weft to finish out the warp, so I'll end up making a piece of fabric with the last 18 or so inches.  When I needed a break from beading this morning, I was rummaging around for orphaned weft bobbins to use.  I haven't narrowed it down yet, but I'm coming close.  I think it would be fun to plan a purse or trim on a sewn garment or...we'll see.
  One idea that's been swirling picked up new momentum yesterday, when I got Harriet Tidball's monograph on tartans in the mail.  I read it last night, as I settled down for sleep, and it is fascinating.  It has the history of how tartans came to be, and why they still exist.  The colors chosen came from what was around them, mostly red, green, blue, gray, yellow and black, whatever they could dye well.  And though they're bright, intense colors now, they used to be more muted.  I like that she points out that, while there are people who will lead you to believe you can't make changes, they were constantly evolving all the time.  It's perfectly all right to change them, and still call it your own.  I know that in another tartan book I have, there are three variations of the Davidson tartan.  She only has the drawdown for two, and Mom gave me the yarn to make one of them, but if I wanted to take artistic license, Harriet says it's okay.

 I don't want to, though, and will follow the pattern she sets out.  It's the same as one from Mary Atwater Black's monograph on the same subject, which I downloaded from, so I consider it official, and good enough for my family.
  Have you ever seen a color arrangement for weaving like this before?  I haven't, but it only takes a minute to figure it out.  Since most tartans--I hesitate to all--are "tromp as writ," one doesn't need the treadling.  They're always 2-2 twill, so no guess work there, either.  
  I'm excited to get started, but nervous about all the admonishments of 45 degree angles and perfect squares.  Enough of my lazy, easy-going weaving manner!  Time to get serious and accurate!  

 The sun will shine today, and the temperature should get about 15 degrees warmer than yesterday, so I'll be pruning and tilling and planning gardens later, but for now, it's back to the loom.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

What's Now and What's Next

As I weave, or knit, or sew, I'm usually thinking about what I'm working on right then, if it's new, but as I go along, and get farther into the project, I start thinking about what's next.  This morning, as I wove the Juliet 2 shawl, about halfway done now, I started thinking about what I want to do next.

 I thought about the Davidson Tartan that Mom gave me all the yarn for when I was visiting at Thanksgiving.  She wants me to weave a yard for each of us, 6 yards.  I like to use up my whole warping board, so it would probably be more like 8 1/2, if I have enough yarn.  That sounds nice, and I probably should do that soon.  But I need to think about it some more.
  Then, I thought about all those colors of carpet warp I have, and how fun it would be to weave something bright, with thicker warp and weft than I've been using for the past many years.  Which led me to think about how much I enjoyed the turned overshot for my bathroom curtain, which made me realize I really need a new one, and one for the kitchen would be nice, too.
  Turned overshot requires 6 shafts, so it would have to go on either Tootsie, currently naked but in need of modifications, or Jennifer, also naked but rather large for a 22 inch warp.  And I'd love to load Jennifer up with a wide fabric warp.

 Here are the colors I've chosen for the kitchen, some hand-dyed left over from a long-ago baby blanket project, mixed with collected carpet warp colors.  It reminds me of sea glass, and won't go with the butter yellow of my kitchen, but will cheer me up no end as I wash dishes.
  I need to pick out an overshot pattern, probably from Bertha Gray Hayes again.  I'm wondering if it's possible to have two different patterns on the same piece?  They'd have to have the same treadling, so I'm guessing not, but I will research that today.

 I've been knitting, too, when I feel like watching t.v.--Downton Abbey Premier!  Yay!--like mittens from some cotton-silk-linen blend, in a lace pattern I can't stop knitting.
 And I started a sweater for Matt before Christmas, but realized it wasn't going to be done in time.  Meanwhile, I made him a hat in the same color, which he pronounced, "Grandma-esque."  Okay, so no sweater for him!  I'll either continue for myself, or rip it out and make a different sweater.  The center motif should have another row of stockinette in each, which would make it pucker less, so I'm pretty sure "frogging" is what will happen to it next.  The photo doesn't show that it is, indeed, Periwinkle, and maybe not the manliest of colors, but I just thought it would look good on him.  I'll need to shop for some more MANLY wool, something in a nice, scratchy earth tone, perhaps.
Sunny on fabric
Weft on warp
 Life has not been without its cuteness.  Weft likes laying on warp, as is only right, and the kittens are growing up and in more trouble all the time.  Daisy has been banished from the Loominaria, but that leaves others out, too, which is lonely.  Daisy's a warp-thread ripping fool, and I need to find a better preventative than simply shutting the door.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Finishing on a High Note

As I lay in bed the other day, trying to rouse myself into an upright position, I reviewed the past year, and realized that 2015 has been a very good year.  One thing was missing, and that was finishing that dad-burned warp on dear Jenny.  Two years ago, it began as a baby blanket warp, I finished two of them, and decided I'd had enough, and there were no more babies forthcoming.  I rethreaded it once into a less intense Huck lace pattern, but it had 10 errors in it.  I pulled it all out again, and began an overshot pattern from Bertha Gray Hayes book on miniature overshot patterns.  Juliet 2, with a view revisions, is my new pattern, and I got up this morning determined to finish it.  

As I threaded, I kept the doors closed to the loominaria, due to the intense curiosity and determination of my new kittens, Sunny and Daisy.  Sunny likes to watch Daisy's feats of daring, and then follow, if there are no bad consequences, e.g. Mom yelling.  When Daisy got stuck in the neighboring tapestry loom's warp, Sunny came over to play with the brake handle.  Daisy was quite stuck for a few minutes, but managed to get free, and try it again.  In the interest of good warp health, I've decided to keep the room shut up, cat free for now.

My class, finals day!

One of the reasons I've posted so little this year is that I've gotten a part time job, teaching Baking Skills at the local community college.  I love teaching more than I ever thought possible, but it has taken all the rest of my time and energy.  I hope to keep up with my blog this coming year, but please bear with me!  I miss your comments and following all your blogs, and will try to keep in touch in 2016.  Happy New Year!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Where Did it Go?

I posted a new blog entry, the first one since March, on Thursday, and it disappeared.  Vanished without a trace!  I have no idea what happened!

 I've had a busy spring and summer, full of lots of sewing and baking and running the neighborhood group.  The summer began with a prelude to my new part time job, teaching pastry and baking at Pellissippi College.  First, I taught cream puffs and eclairs, and here is photo of my happy students.  Next, I taught pies, which ran too long, and made a couple of pie-makers unhappy.  Sorry!  They still got two luscious pies to take home, even though it was a bit late.
  Classes start in two weeks, and I'm a little nervous because I've never taught in this kind of setting, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Two of my co-workers told me they were expecting girls a couple of months ago, so I got busy knitting them girly sweaters.  It was so fun!  I wanted to make another!  So, my friend Cindy obliged by asking me to make one for her new granddaugher, Lilie Rae. She got a hat as a bonus, but I might have made it a little too small.  It's been a while since I've even held an infant, and had trouble gauging the size.
  I'm over my fascination with baby sweaters, certainly with pink ones for now, but it certainly was fun!

 And then, it was my birthday.  Bella and I headed north to Richmond to spend a week with Mom and Liz.  I made my own birthday cake, a Boston Cream Pie, which exceeded my expectations.  My lovely sister gave me a chop saw for my birthday, and taught me how to use it, which was very exciting.  I still have all my fingers, for those who wonder.
Mom and I went to Mount Vernon, and had a wonderful, if somewhat warm day.  The mansion is right on the Potomac River, and the back porch was the coolest part of the place.  What a beautiful view from the porch!  I could just picture George and Martha hanging out there with a julep on a summer day.
 This is Mom's first selfie, so I wish I could have gotten more of her face in the photo.  We're there with George, getting ready for our tour of the farm.

Of course, we had to go the Spinning Room, which did have two very large spinning wheels, but we liked the loom.  There are normally demonstrators, but not when we were there.  We walked for miles, saw everything we could see, and had a lovely day.
  I'm weaving for the first time in probably 6 months, so I need to get back to it.  I hope you had a lovely summer, too!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Tale of Two Blouses

 From the inside, today looks beautiful, but after a week of lovely weather, yesterday turned bitter cold and gross again.  Today is sunny but the wind will grab you right by the throat.  That's why aside from once around the park with Bella, I've been inside sewing all day.
  I started with the pattern on the right, a Rebecca Taylor design, full of ruffles and tucks.  I messed up the button bands, and have laid it aside while I picked up the newest project from Merchant & Mills, the Camber set.  I've started with the blouse, because I'm not sure how it will look on me as a dress yet.  I've chosen some coarse linen that I dyed a sage green last summer, and I decided to embellish it with some machine made lace.  It was my first try, and it didn't come out very well.  I think it needs a tulle backing.  The blouse will be a breeze to make up, though, and I'll do that after I write this.
  I've had an ideas while sewing all those ruffles on the other blouse:  wouldn't it be cool to make it again with lace instead of ruffles?  And wouldn't it be cool if I knitted the lace myself?  So when I needed a break from sewing, I started knitting some lace on fine needles with some linen thread.  It's fun!  It goes a little slowly, but I really enjoy it, and with only 6 rows to the pattern, I've already memorized it and can cruise along.

 Because of the fine weather earlier in the week, my Jane Magnolia has burst into bloom, and here it is, using the neighbor's stinky Bradford Pear as a backdrop.  I'm hoping tomorrow after work, I can finish tilling the garden without freezing, and get these pea seedlings in the ground.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Dress in a Day

The Merchant & Mills Factory Dress is another kind of frumpy, plain design, but there was something that made me want to make it anyway.   When LouAnn and I were out and about a few weeks ago, I got the end of a bolt at Gina's Bernina, a tiny print of pink flowers.  It wasn't enough to make anything, only 1.25 yards, but I had 3 yards of pink seersucker I bought last summer at Textiles in Nashville that was still uncut.  I put the two together, and made a frumpy, plain design cheerful and spring-like.  

It was almost warm enough to wear yesterday, and is seen hanging from the Red Bud tree that is about to burst into copious bloom.  But the garden beckoned, and is now about 2/3 tilled and weeded.  The leaves in the front yard finally got raked and composted.  I had to be content with admiring my morning's work--6 hours to finish the dress!--and enjoying the rest of a beautiful early spring day.