Autumn joy?

kousa dogwood fruits

Cornus kousa dogwood leaves and fruits in Autumn

If your life is like mine, Autumn brings beauty – gorgeous fall colors, crisp temperatures, beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It also brings some not-so-pleasant things. In this case, I’m referring to some serious family challenges. Thankfully, I have support from many quarters, which makes the problems easier to bear. We face the struggles together, carry the burden collectively. And for that I am very grateful. I also really appreciate the relief and support I get from my (Zoom) meditation group and my urban soul line dance class. So much so that I’m going to start going to line dance 2x/week instead of the 1x I had been doing. It does both my mind and my body good.

On the weaving front, I finished the ‘September’ hugs…in early October. (A handwoven hug is a shawl – I call them hugs to indicate that my intention is wrapping the wearer in a hug.) I’m pretty clear that I’m not going to get any October hugs woven. And I’m okay with that, since I’ve just cleared my existing list of people who want them. So I just put the offer back out to my BuyNothing group, and have 1 request so far. I’m sure I’ll get more.

Here are the 3 September/October hugs, in the order woven.

The first one happens to be my favorite. It’s a solid pink cotton weft, woven in plain weave, so it really shows the hand painted warp (not my work) to its best advantage.
Sept-Oct hug #1

The second one I wove used a rich purple bamboo weft, and I treadled it in a zigzag pattern. No, actually, I’d threaded the warp in a point twill, so just treadled it 1-8. It feels great, and I love purple, but somehow this one didn’t speak to me the way I thought it would.

Sept-Oct hug #2

For the third hug, I used various colors of weft, randomly changing colors. This type of weaving is so outside my usual comfort zone – I’m much more of a symmetrical/planning-type weaver, but I liked the finished product. And this was the first one chosen. You just never know.

Sept-Oct hug #3

After I got those hugs off I quickly warped my loom for a run of towels. Again, outside my comfort zone. 🙂 Some time ago (a year??) I’d acquired a cotton warp from another Guild member. It was already measured out and chained, and was in baby pastel colors. How long was it? How many threads was it? I didn’t know, so had to start by doing a lot of counting of threads (couldn’t get the same number twice, LOL) – it seemed there were about 320 threads – nowhere near enough for a towel width, so I’d have to supplement it with threads from my stash. But how long was the warp? So I set up my warping mill and attempted to stretch it on there, knowing that I couldn’t get a 320-end warp to stretch as much as a more narrow warp. So I picked some coordinating colors and wound them, 5 ends at a time, longer than I figured I’d need. 10 ends of my warp, 20 ends of the purchased warp, all the way across the width of the piece. Here’s the warp going on the loom.

beaming baby pastels towels

The towels are off the loom now and I’m hemming, so will take pix after that.

Now it was time to decide what I would bring to my guild’s Holiday Sale. You’ve seen photos of some of my handmade paper before. I made some more, in sets of 4, and used them to make inserts in cards. Almost all of the paper was created using old brochures from our Weaving Center, a twist I particularly liked. I don’t have pix of the completed cards or sets…maybe another time but I want to get this post up.

I also used an idea from another weaver I saw on Facebook, and created little pins from foam core board wrapped with leftovers of my handpainted yarn.

wrapped pins

I got my dates mixed up and thought all the paperwork had to be in by the 15th, so I was flying that last week. I realized at the last minute that the deadline was the 27th, but I’d made my pieces and my decisions, so submitted on the 15th anyway. Now I don’t have to keep obsessing on that. I will just have some tagging and pressing to do in the next few weeks. Easy peasy.

Oh, yeah. Then I sewed my 10 bead bags for August. October bead bags

And suddenly it’s October

An entire month. To the day. With no post. How does this happen, especially when I’m feeling so busy? Obviously too busy to blog. 😉

But then I should have a lot to show for it, shouldn’t I? Alas, that is not the case.

In chronological order – or something close to it…

Way back in late August I showed you the striped warp I was beaming for towels. They got woven and listed in my Etsy shop. A few have sold. Trust me when I tell you that part of me hopes that none of the towels I weave at this point sell, as I want to have plenty of towels to bring to the Weavers’ Guild Holiday Sale.

8 Striped Beauty towels

So why do I put them up on Etsy? Because a sale is a sale is a sale, right?

After those towels I put another warp on with all those luscious new colors. More dots.

September dots towels

That lightest colored one? It’s not dots – or at least not just dots. I really sort of hated it on the loom so didn’t make any more with that type of treadling. Off the loom? I like it and now sort of wish I’d done more. That’s how life goes, right?

Then I quickly put on rayon chenille warp for 2 rainbow shawls.

beaming Wrapped in a Rainbow shawls

Seeing these colors just makes me SO happy. And these will be my last rainbow shawls. This is the end of my yellow and orange rayon chenille and I won’t buy more.

Then I wove the two shawls, using black rayon chenille as I’ve done before. After the fact I wish I’d just used black rayon, which is substantially finer than the rayon chenille and wouldn’t have covered up so much of the warp threads. The black rayon chenille darkened everything up more than I would have preferred.

Wrapped in a Rainbow shawl

Instead of doing a self hem, I machine stitched on a bias binding I’d made many months (years?) ago of dupioni silk. Then I hand hemmed that down. You can just see the corner of it in the photo.

I sent one of the shawls off to the Copper Shop Gallery in East Aurora; the other will go to the Holiday Sale.

While those shawls were in the washer & dryer I stitched up the September batch of bead bags.

September bead bags

Then I planned, measured, and beamed a warp for my September hugs. On September 28.

beaming September hugs

On the 30th I got 1 and 1/3 woven. Today I’ve woven 1 full one, so about 2/3 left to weave. I had to leave the house for a few hours for another obligation, and *hope* I can get that last hug woven before the day is out. I’ll still be late for September, but that’s the best I can do. Besides, this is a self-imposed deadline, so….

Closing shot. While Florida & South Caroline are dealing with Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ian, we’re having pleasant weather here in western New York. Look at last night’s stunning sunset.

a lovely red sunset

September 1

11 cones of yarn in a bag

That probably looks like I broke my vow and bought more yarn. But I didn’t! Back in January I won a gift certificate to Daft Dames, a local yarn store, at the Weavers’ Guild 75th Anniversary Show. As I mentioned in my last post, I was in the mood to weave more circles, and wanted to make towels to bring to the Holiday Sale, but didn’t have colors that moved me. So I decided it was time to go spend that gift certificate.

I looked at my stash of unmercerized cottons, made a list of colors I needed/wanted, and took a ride. This is what I came home with. I plan to start winding a warp tomorrow.

Today I’m making paper…some series of 4 similar pieces to insert into aperture cards to sell as sets at the Holiday Sale. These pics are for 3 different groupings of 4. From the top, geranium petals, thread-leaf coreopsis petals, and cedar imprints.

paper with geranium petals

paper with coreopsis petals

paper with cedar imprint

More pressing of these sheets is needed. Had to leave to go host Open Studio at the Weaving & Fiber Arts Center. Plan to make more when I get back home. And I had to totally guess at how to position things on the paper, as only a portion of each sheet will show in the cards, so maybe they’ll work well and maybe they won’t.

While at the Center I’ll be hemming those towels I cut off the loom on Tuesday – you saw the stripes in the last post. No pix of finished towels yet.

Time keeps flying

Somehow I feel like time is moving faster and yet I’m accomplishing less. Everything seems to take so long! And I can sit at my loom, or in front of this computer, for just so long before I have to get up and move around. My bottom, back, and focus don’t last as long as they used to. I’ll tell you what I have done, completely out of chronological order, just what hits me as I sit here typing.

I have been getting some things finished. Easy peasy are the 10 bead bags for August. They work up quickly and give me a sense of accomplishment.

August bead bags

I do love my BuyNothing group. I got this large quantity of Mirabelle plums. I didn’t even feel piggy, as this was a small portion of the plums available.

Mirabelle plums

I went online, found a few recipes for plum jam without pectin, and made 11 half-pints, 1 pint, 2 peanut butter jars, and a half-mug of Spiced Plum jam. Spiced with cardamom, ginger, and star anise. YUM.

several jars of spiced plum jam

I’m guessing that plums have a fair amount of natural pectin in them, at least when you use the skins as well as the fruit. I did add 2 grated apples, as the recipe called for. But here’s the thing…the recipes I found said to boil the fruit-sugar-spice mixture to 220 degrees. And let me tell you, that was the PERFECT temperature. This jam is better jelled than most of my jams, which are made with pectin. My canner was full so the peanut butter jars just sat on the counter and will sit in my frig. Of the 12 jars in the canner, 11 sealed beautifully.

My urban soul line dance group had our 1-year anniversary. I worked with another member of the group to package 16 raffle baskets and 8 door prizes, making them all look beautiful. They included everything from handbags to scratch-off lottery tickets, tequila to barbecue tools. I was happy to donate two of my handwoven towels that went into baskets with other items. 🙂

Another reason I love my BuyNothing group. Members were so grateful to receive the August hugs. It’s such a pleasure to hand them over, being able to look into people’s faces and hear little bits of their stories. Here are the August hugs. I used what I call a huck-ish weave structure for them. (For you weavers out there, I threaded for huck and treadled just half of the lace blocks.)

The first one has a space-dyed weft that is a blend of rayon & cotton and is sort of a boucle and sort of a flake. An interesting yarn. The kind that I prefer or warp, but I used it here for weft. While not my personal favorite, it was scooped up first. 🙂

Mixed berries August hug

This one has a Tencel weft, also treadled in half-huck.

Blueberries1 August hug

And the last is a 20/2 cotton weft, doubled. Treadled plain weave.

August hug, blueberries 2

As I was finishing them, realizing how much I am *not* getting accomplished, I saw that November will be upon me before I know it. The Weavers’ Guild’s annual sale is in early November, and towels are great sellers there, so I needed to get on the stick and weave towels. I really was in the mood to weave more circles, but I didn’t have colors that moved me. So I switched gears to another well-liked draft – 728 from Strickler for you weavers. I got a warp measured and threaded yesterday.

Towel warp being beamed

I also really want to make some more paper for cards to sell at the sale, too. Small items go quickly. But so does time. We’ll see what I can actually accomplish.

Finally, I hemmed and listed a shawl in my Etsy shop that’s been sitting in my house for too many months waiting for me to get motivated.

Oh yeah, and I want to weave a rayon chenille shawl or two to send to the Copper Shop Gallery to sell.

I’ve gotta go spend some time with my little dog now. He’s feeling neglected.

August already?!

Honestly, I have no idea how I can seem (to myself at least) so busy and have so little to show for it. How does an hour, a day, a week just fly by?

Within two days of posting about my handwoven hugs in my BuyNothing group, I got 10 requests! The three July hugs were picked up by their new owners or family members by the end of two more days. And I have people waiting for my August & September hugs, plus the first person in line for October. I’m SOOOO glad I posted there!

I’d already decided that I needed to weave some colorful towels for my Etsy store – I haven’t been able to update that with new items in months. 🙁 So I decided on returning to the polka dots designed by the talented Susan Pogue.

How fun does this twist of thrums looks? All I can think of is Fruit Stripe gum. Although I liked their commercials, and could still sing their jingle for you, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the actual gum flavors.

fruit stripe gum thrums

Anyway, it didn’t take me long to weave those towels, but it took forever for me to hem them and photograph them. I was too busy! (Don’t ask what I was doing.)

I did get them listed in my Etsy shop today.

Lime Sherbet Dots towel

Oh, yeah, and I spent 3-4 days learning about loom-controlled shibori. First was a full day in class at the Weaving & Fiber Arts Center with a great teacher. Then there was the time at home: measure the warp, beam & thread the loom, and weave. I used three different threadings, so that meant threading the loom three times. And the pickup I did was MUCH slower than lifting shafts, even though this was all done on my little table loom.

After the weaving, the pattern/pull threads all had to be pulled, really tightly, and tied. I was amazed at how long that process took. Here’s what my 9 samples looked like when that piece of work was done.

9 shibori samples tied

Then back to the Weaving Center for the second day of class to do the dyeing. Then, of course, opening them up, rinsing, drying, pressing, and photographing. Ok, maybe it was more like 4-5 days all told. Anyway, here are my results. In each triptych you’ll see what the fabric looked like after it was taken off the loom, and then both the ‘front’ and the ‘back’ of the cloth. My warp and most plain weave weft was an undyed 5/2 bamboo. The pattern wefts were mostly embroidery floss. I’ve noted differences from that in the appropriate photos.

1st shibori sample

2nd shibori sample

3rd shibori sample

The blue pattern weft in the samples immediately above and below is rep weave filler.

4th shibori sample

5th shibori sample

The dark plain weave weft in the next photo is navy mercerized cotton. Then there’s some ribbon yarn for the pattern weft.

6th shibori sample

7th shibori sample

8th shibori sample

The darker weft below is a variegated cotton flake in tan-to-brown.

9th shibori sample

This was quite a learning experience. Will I do more shibori at some point in the future? I don’t know. But I think can assure you it won’t be in a piece I intend to sell – there’s way too much of a time commitment involved, and I don’t know that I could charge enough to make it worth it.

I also get the warp wound, beamed, and threaded for the August hugs. I’m loving it!

Beaming the warp for my August hugs