Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lazy Sunday--Sort of...

It's a gray, rainy day, again, and no one feels much like doing much around here.  It looks like nap time, pretty much all around the house, at least if one has a fur coat on.

 But I've been busy! Yesterday, Pam and I wound the warp for the baby wrap.  It sure is easier to wind a big warp when someone else is doing half the work!  And I love this warp.  It's going to be bird's eye twill with a black weft, in case I didn't already say that.  I'll start threading before I have to go to work this afternoon, and finish it up early this week. I have Wednesday and Thursday off this week, so I think can get some good weaving time in.

The dish towel warp has some issues, but I just figured out this morning that one of the issues is a treadling error, because when Lillian and I put the pattern into her computer program, it didn't show the tabby throws coming out askew.  When I put it into WeaveDesign, there they were.  There are some mis-threading issues, which I will fix later, but it's a relief to know it's not everywhere, which is what it looked like at first.  There are some throw errors, too, where I wasn't paying attention and threw the tabby twice in the same shed, but this is a big warp, and I can cut some off after I fix the mistakes.

And I just had to share this.  I was so excited to get such a good score, a little tear collected in my eye.  I have a great team, and am so proud of them for helping make this happen!
  Back to the loom!  Happy Sunday!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Back Sliding

pound cake
chicken & dumplings
 I have been very, very busy at work, limping along without two employees since November, so I haven't had a lot of time to work on my resolution of finishing things, but I do spend any free time I have working on fiber.  The school is not as busy right now, because people are afraid to travel with the recent violence of wintry storms.  But, many still do make it out here, and all need to be fed!

 I finished threading Tootsie and the kitchen towel warp, but right away, she was up to her old tricks, popping shafts above the top and sticking.  I have been waiting almost two years for a friend to create an elegant solution, making a tool tray for her top, but I can see he isn't going to come through.  So, I went for the un-elegant solution, a run-of-the-mill clamp.  So far, so good.  I haven't actually woven with it in place, but I did try all the shafts and they seem to stay where they should.  I'm afraid of starting it right now, because I have a feeling there might be threading issues that I am not in the mood to discover just yet.
weft's feet photo-bombing
I finished winding the dinner napkin warp to go on Jenny for the Brasstown weaving challenge, but then, this week, I realized my sous chef, Rachel, is having a baby in 2 1/2 months, and I have nothing for her!
 I asked her what she wanted, and she said, "Girly colors!"  Well, you know, those are my favorite colors!  So I started a new sweater, even though I wasn't supposed to be starting anything new.  Those are Weft's paws in the photo. He couldn't resist.
  Then, she said she also wanted a baby wrap, but she doesn't wear girly colors, mostly black.  I pondered that for a while, googled baby wraps and played with Weave Design.  The wrap I found on the web that I liked best was in hand-dyed carpet warp, but I don't have time to dye anything.  I do, however, have a big selection of carpet warp.  I think it'll be pretty with these colors in the warp, and black as the weft, in a bird's eye pattern.  I'll try to get that warp wound this week, and start threading on the weekend.  

Another resolution was to make time for yoga every day, which has not always been possible.  Sometimes there's traffic on the yoga mat that refuses to yield.  Most of the time, it's just needing to be at work at 6 am, but sometimes, there's a cat on the mat.
  I have found time to work on the fair isle I'm making for myself.  See my steek?  Oh, yeah!  I'm stranding, steeking, designing, working on ufo's!  I've almost finished the first motif, and I love it!

Purl finishes my muffin and reads Yarn Harlot's blog
Purl continues to grow and thrive, though I had a scare this week when she got her first set of baby shots.  I dropped her off at home after the shots, and went to knit night.  When I came home, she was asleep on the bed, and hardly able to lift her head.  She slept right up against me all night, and had trouble getting off the bed in the morning.  By the time the vet opened, she started eating, so I figured she was out of the woods.  I called them, anyway, and they said not to worry, but that next set of shots would be broken up, so she doesn't have to have them all at once.  When I got home that night, she was wrestling with Weft and dodging Bella and eating well.  Whew!  

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Status of the Finishing Resolution

 The finishing has begun!  I have finished this sweater!  I believe I actually finished knitting it several years ago, but had to re-knit the sleeve caps a few times, because the pattern as written makes the sleeve caps way too small for the armholes specified.  I have found this to be true a lot lately, and I have to say that it's annoying.  Consumers should assume that a pattern is tested before it's sold, and be able to knit an item according to instructions without fear!  But it isn't always so, and I need to pay more attention as I knit garments.  
  I don't like the color of this sweater very much.  I had a dye-day several years ago, and a friend wanted me to dye some wool for him in exchange for some dyed cellulose yarn.  I gave him this cotton-silk yarn, as well as a bamboo warp, and he chose lemon and lime.  I ended up liking the warp, weaving it with contrasting colors, but this sweater... It doesn't look good on me!  I need to try it with a navy shirt to get the lemon-lime away from my skin, I think.  But it's soft and warm, and best of all, finished!

 This morning, I finished the fuchsia-black warp, hemstitched and all!  I love this warp, one warp I'm sad to see end.  It's been fun weaving each scarf with a different weft.  I started winding the challenge napkin warp this morning, and hope to have it ready to thread by Saturday, my next day off. 

 And my next project to finish is this shell that I started knitting probably 5 years ago, a KAL from Interweave Knits Magazine.  I started out gangbusters, then something happened and it languished.  Then, the sleeves came out too small in the cap and a little too short for my chubby upper arms.  I re-knitted the sleeves, and they are ready to be sewn in.  
Purl "helped" assemble the green sweater last week.  She looks just like a teenager now, all legs and torso.  She learns new things everyday, like Treat Time and there's yummy things in the fridge.  She's beginning to be curious about the front door, which scares the daylights out of me.  If she gets out the door, she's gone!  

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Year of UFO's

No, this is not an UFO.  This is the newest member of my family, Purl.  This is her official baby picture, the one that will be framed and on the dresser, alongside Leo, Wally and Weft.  I finally had a print made for Bella's framed photo, and she'll soon be on the dresser, too.  
  Purl, true to her name, loves yarn.  Several times in the past few weeks, I've come home to, um, interesting rearrangements of balls of yarn in the living room.  It's been eight years since I've had a kitten, and I need to kitten-proof some things still.
  And, yes.  She is the most adorable kitten you've ever seen. At least since Weft, that is.

I did finally finish the lace pillowcases, though nothing else got done the last few months of 2017, fiber-wise.  They got into the mail in time for Christmas, and were seen with oohs and ahs.  I thought I was glad to see the backside of them, and then, a week later, I saw an intriguing lace pattern that I had to change and start knitting.  
  And I started a sweater for Mom, the Birkin by Caitlin Hunter.
 It's a gorgeous Scandinavian color work pattern, and I think my tension is too tight so far for it to fit.  There might be some ripping out, but not just now.
  And I decided to try to knit some Brioche stitches, because I never had, and there's a great podcast called Fruity Knitting that I love, and they just kept going on and on about it, so I had to try it.  If you haven't seen their podcast yet, and you love knitting, you must watch it.  So, yeah, I'm also knitting their brioche hat.
  And then there's the overshot scarf, one of which I did finish before Christmas but didn't give away, because, honestly, I think my friends and family are getting a little tired of my scarves!  But it's lovely, and I really liked the second weft, some leftover Noro lace yarn that swerves in and out of matching the warp in a way I liked. Unfortunately, I made some bad bead choices for the second hem stitching, and it will need to undergo surgery to remove and replace them.
 The third and final weft for that warp is black 6/2 bamboo, and I didn't think I'd like it, but I really do!  I didn't bead the hem stitching this time, because I couldn't find the proper needle.  I will probably go back when it's done and bead the ends, because I like the way it makes scarves hang on the wearer.  I'm about 1/3 of the way done, and then, I MUST start something else. 
  Because the whole point of the blog entry is to say that I am determined that 2018 will be the year I finish all these started projects!  I have two sweaters that are completely knitted, but not sewn together.  Both sweaters, by following the directions, came out with sleeve caps that are too small, and have to be re-knitted.  l WILL do that this month, and get those two done.  I WILL finish Mom's sweater, and that pair of socks over there, and that brioche hat, and that dress that's been lying unfinished on the sewing machine since the lace took over my life last summer, and I'd even like to finish that last quilt I started 12 years ago before I got my first loom.
  Because, don't you sometimes look around your studio and think, oh my gosh!  What's going to happen to all this stuff when I die?  Who's going to care about it?  Wouldn't it be nice to have this "begun" stuff finished?
  For example, this warp has been, I'm ashamed to say, sitting in a garbage can, ends threaded through the reed, for almost a year.  I only just put the ends in a garbage can a few months ago when I noticed Weft sleeping on it!  Well, it was a mess.  See how in this photo it's in a box?  That's because when I started to thread the heddles, Purl couldn't leave it alone.  And as soon as I put it in the box, Weft jumped in and got ready for a nap!  
  It's now threaded and wound on, and getting ready for its first weaving.  It's kitchen towels, in Swedish Lace from that book, Lace and Lacey Weaves by Mary E. Snyder.  
  After the black and fuschia scarf is done, I do need to start one more thing:  A group of weavers in Brasstown is having a napkin challenge, 8/2 cotton, 16" square, and due on Mother's Day.  I've chosen hand-manipulated lace, because you know I love it!  And there's a lot of plain weave involved to make them go fast.
Another thing I've started but decided I didn't like and won't finish is the KAL by Mason-Dixon Knitting, Log Cabins.  I made one square, and my heart is just not in it. Purl likes it very well, or just enjoys being in my lap, tearing up whatever I'm knitting.
  And you know, the year is young, and I must just even finish the tapestry that's been on the loom in the living room for the last 2 years.  You never know!  Happy new year!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Continued Laciness

 A rainy day here in Brasstown, NC, which is fine, because I always have lots to do inside.  I have a few more strips of lace to finish for the pillowcases for Christmas, and can I confess something to you?  I am tired of knitting lace!  So tired that I started knitting again on the lavender sweater that will be too scratchy to wear, and is scratchy to knit.
  But I must keep on knitting lace!  I am determined to finish, and I chose, silly me, to have inserts in each one, as well as edging.  I designed the daisy insertion shown here because I wanted a daisy insertion and couldn't find a pattern for one.  That was fun, and I even knitted a swatch, or two, or three before I got it right and carried on.
  I love the darker pink one, called Valenciennes.  I showed it last blog entry in black, which I inadvertently changed needle size and ruined.  It will be redeemed later, see below.  It's complicated and needs watching, meaning no t.v. or conversation or anything to distract, so it's taking a while.  I have about 18 inches so far, and need 40.
The lighter pink is called Leaf and Berries, for some unknown reason.  It does kind of look like Ginko leaves, but I don't see the berries.  Its insert is done, and I only lack about 10 inches of it.  Again, it needs concentration, so it's not going quickly.

I needed diversion, so my friend Lillian shared what she'd learned in a class at the Folk School on Boro stitching, a Japanese mending technique.  We spent a lovely afternoon stitching samplers and talking, and then I put it on the back burner to get back to the lace for a couple of weeks.  First, we had Fall Festival, I caught a bad virus, and then there was the Book Arts Building Grand Opening.  As pictured, it was not a gluten free menu.  But it was fun and went well.  

This morning, after weeks of collecting possibilities, I started a Boro project.  My softest, most favorite pair of jeans are becoming embarrassing, so they went first.  Traditionally, Boro is blue and white, but I say it's what I want it to be!  Pink silk with crocheted daisy, green perle cotton and green daisy it what I want it to be today.  It's kind of hard on the hands, but it's also kind of addictive and very meditative, so I will plug away at it today.  This is where the scraps of black lace, along with the swatches I've been working on.  They'll be incorporated kind of crazy quilt style onto other patches.
  But first, I have to go get the yarn I dyed yesterday with Lillian and Pam at Pam's house.  Pam had just taken a class with Judith MacKenzie on instant indigo dyeing and shared what she learned with us.  How lucky am I to have friends like this?!?!  Pam wound a warp of bamboo and cotton for me, and she taught us how to mix up the indigo, and away we went. 
I have one more warp of Alpaca, tencel and wool I need to go take out of its bath when there's a break in the rain.  It will be so fun to weave scarves out of the stuff we dyed!

And now I have to get back to "work."  I'll leave with some cuteness.  Weft loves all boxes and bags equally.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Mexican Lace insert.  See the Aztec Eagles?
 Maybe I should catch up from March, because certainly a lot has happened since then, but I feel the same way about that as I do about my current crafting:  It's too hot.  All I want to do is lace.  I want to knit it, think about it, Google it, talk about it.
  If I'd taken the time to blog in June, I'd have posted photos of all the sewing I've done, mostly for my vacation wardrobe.  But vacation starts on Friday--Yippeeeee!!!--and that's all done.
  All I want to do is lace.  
not my favorite...
 I started knitting lace about 8-9 years ago, when I decided it'd be fun to make lace-trimmed pillow cases for my loved ones.  Maybe I blogged about it before?  If not here, perhaps on Loomy Tunes?  But that was my first, and I loved it, but it seemed rather...slow.  And I don't typically go for handicrafts that are purely decorative.  I like stuff that does stuff!  Clothes me, feeds me, keeps me warm.  
  A couple of months ago, I finished Matt's cabled sweater, just in time to send it to him for his birthday, and my mother said she wanted a sweater, but it had to be Fair Isle.  So I obsessed about Fair Isle for a while, bought books, made false starts, and finally settled on making one for me first to see if I could do it. 
  Well, that's just too hot to hold in my hands, and boy!  Does it take every cell of concentration my brain can give!  I ain't got time for that!  And I can't remember exactly what happened, maybe I just moved a pile of knitting and the lace knitting bag appeared and I thought, hmmm, I'll do that for a minute...  

Altered leaf border
 That was a month ago, and I haven't been able to do anything else.  I finished a several-years-old piece of pink lace and gave it to a friend for her granddaughter's next dress.  I finished the unbleached linen lace to trim a blouse I haven't cut out yet, but know the lace will be perfect for.  And then, I just started working my way through Barbara Abbey's book, Knitting Lace.  It's an amazingly thorough book, full of gorgeous, and some weird, designs of knitted lace.  
New today
  I've gotten to the point where I can change the patterns a little to make them nicer for me and my purposes, but I haven't gotten to the point yet that I can design my own lace.  I'd sure like to learn that!  In the meantime, I'll just keep knitting tiny, frivolous, lovely lace and keep as cool as I can.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Before and After

It's been another long week at the Folk School, Scandinavian Week, full of happy people discovering crafts from that region of the planet.  It's been fun incorporating Scandinavian food through the menus, but keeping in mind that all-too painful Scottish Week fiasco of too much of a "good" thing.  I kept it in my comfort zone, using mostly baked goods to convey the theme.  Last night, in the finale dinner, sweet-sour cabbage was in the main menu, and dinner was finished with Danish Apple Cake, a lovely little item that will make it into the regular dessert rotation.
But the week started off with re-dyeing the jackets I dyed way back in the fall.  I used Procion dyes on polyester. Don't do that, dear reader!  It just leads to heartbreak and wasted dye.  This time, they came out--and stayed--vibrant and lovely, after 3 washings.  I love them.  No matter how bumpy the week got this week, and it got kinda bumpy, my jackets cheered me up.  They're drying in the sun on the deck after their second wash, and stayed those colors after their next.

I had to let someone go who I had come to consider a friend this week, someone who was very, very good when he was good, but who was very, very, very bad when he was bad.  It hurts to trust someone so much, and to believe that they can be great, if only they would let themselves be great, but that's not my doing, not because I didn't believe in him enough.  He's angry and saying mean things about me now, which is part of what happens every time I let someone go, but it stings more this time.   He's young, and he can still learn from this, I hope, and I do wish him well.  Someone else is training to lead the evening shift, and she is off to a rough start.  The seemingly never-ending quest for my own team to run the kitchen is again in search mode.
 When I came home early this week, a sure sign of spring was waiting in my kitchen window.  It's big.  Fortunately, it was between the window and the screen, definitely outside.  In the morning, she was gone, but there was a smaller version in the dining room window.  As long as they stay on their side of the glass, we can co-exist.  If they come in, and survive Weftie, they will be escorted outside.

After such a week, what do the crafty do to pick up their spirits?  They start a new project!  I'm almost done with the turquoise socks, but they're too fussy for this week.  Matt's sweater is moving along, but too much concentration needed this week for such a thing.  Oooh, look at the lovely pastel sock yarn sitting over there!  Maybe a simple lace pattern?  Toe up?  Okay!  Go!