Towels and gifts

I’ve got a run of 6 taquete blocks towels on my loom. Initially I thought they’d be for my stock, but then realized I’ll turn a few of them into Christmas gifts. I have time, right?

taquete blocks with pink weft

taquete blocks towels with a pink weft

Well, maybe. It’s not like I’m not making anything else. And it’s not like I’m not committed to hours of painting walls at my-daughter’s-house-that-my-son’s-been-renting, aka the flip house, starting tomorrow.

taquete block towels with gold weft

taquete block towels with a gold weft

And it’s not like I’m not doing a small amount of baking, too. Got 9 mini loaves of my grandmother’s recipe of date nut bread baked today. All of the bottoms are darker than I’d like them to be, so I may shave some of that off before I freeze them.

taquete towels, wine weft

taquete blocks towels with a wine weft

The towels use a combination of cottons, some 8/2, some 12/2. I thought the 12/2 was 10/2 when I wound the warp. Nope. So the towels are thinner than I’d usually make them, but c’est la vie. I’d initially sett the warp at 21 EPI. WAYYYY too loose. So I cut that off and re-sett at 24 EPI. That seems to be okay, but I haven’t taken any off to wet finish yet. It will be what it is.

taquete block towels, aquamarine weft

taquete blocks towels with aquamarine weft

That aquamarine weft is my least favorite. I’ll finish this towel, but won’t do a second one of this color. I really like the wine, so I’ll do a second of that. I did two of the pink, too. That will leave me one more towel. Who knows what I’ll choose for that weft? And who knows if there will be enough warp length for six towels after I cut off the first bit that was too loose?

Believing the impossible

I used to read Carmi’s blog every day. He’s a very thoughtful person, and a great writer and photographer. For some reason (time?) I stopped following him a long time ago. Today I decided to pop in.

Photo from Carmi’s post

And found a great post. Be the light. Believe in the impossible. Make a small step in that direction. Smile at a stranger. Give something to someone in need. Volunteer your time. Listen to and follow your heart.

If you have a few minutes, read more of his posts. They’re always worth it.

Holiday decorating

For the 3rd year, I spent an evening with my daughter and her friends decorating wreaths. Everyone had access to the same ribbons and the same dried flowers and other components, and the wreaths always turn out quite different based on individual creativity and style. I feel a little bad about cutting off their heads in the pix, but I didn’t ask permission to post them, so… no particular order, here they are.

Amaranth, hydrangea, pine cones, dusty miller, painted golden rain tree seed pods

Dried hot peppers, statice, crabapples, pine cones, bittersweet

Grasses, painted golden rain tree seed pods, rose hips, pine cones, viburnum(?) fruits

Rose hips, pine cones, painted golden rain tree seed pods, painted milkweed seed pods, beautybush fruits, amaranth, fake little cardinal

Pine cones, mums, grasses, milkweed pods & leaves, crabapples,

Grasses, hydrangea, pine cones, rose hips, dusty miller

Amaranth, love lies bleeding, painted golden rain tree seed pods, pine cones, dusty miller, beautybush

Bittersweet, pine cones, dusty miller, painted golden rain tree seed pods, grasses

We had some wet snow last night, and while I was giving Jack his nighttime walk I couldn’t resist snapping a few pix of my lights. First a not-so-well-focused picture of net lights on my dwarf golden spirea. (I also tried to get a picture from inside the house, as I liked the way the snow was sticking to the chain link fence and the lights were shining through, but all of the pictures made it look tacky, not nice.)

net lights on a shrub in snow

And now for my little Japanese maple with an entire spool of 240 lights on it.

lights on Japanese maple

Fresh snow makes everything beautiful.

After I get home from getting my snow tires put on today I plan to do a bit of cleaning so I can put up some indoor decorations.

A few more towels

Yep. I’m nuts. A few days ago I decided that I simply had too few towels & I just had to weave a few more before this weekend’s RALA show. I set the loom up for some color-and-weave towels with a natural and a cranberry cotton, hoping that the cranberry was bright enough for the holidays without shouting RED at you. I had (and still have) lots of 10/2 cotton, which makes a thinner towel than I like, so I used it doubled in both warp and weft.

Not only did I decide to make more towels, but color-and-weave towels?? This requires 2 shuttles, which in my world takes more than twice as long as weaving with just 1 shuttle. But it was what I wanted to make. At least I was smart enough to only put on a warp long enough for 5 towels.

These are the first 2 I wove. I kept losing my place in the treadling and likely made some mistakes. I decided I simply couldn’t take the time to go as slowly as this pattern required, plus it didn’t send me.
1st 2 cranberry color-&-weave towels

So I changed the treadling for the third towel. Straight 1-4 treadling. Should have been easy, but you can see I have a few float errors (where the cranberry is darker). I didn’t see them till the final pressing, and decided that I’ll sell them as is since it won’t affect their functionality.

cranberry color-&-weave towel 2

Again, the pattern didn’t send me so I changed the treadling again, and again made 2 of these.

cranberry color-&-weave towels3

Yesterday I finished weaving, washed, dried, pressed, and hemmed them. Today they joined the stack of all my other recent weavings that had to be measured and labelled.

Several hours later and that unloved task is complete. Now I have to pack all the weaving up, check my list for what all I have to bring, and make sure I’m really organized in the morning. I have, unfortunately, forgotten critical pieces of my display in years past, and had to either be bailed out by fellow artisans or make major modifications to my operation. I’ve done some of both. 🙁

I also finished a chenille ‘extra’ length into a short cowl with a bit of knitting to make it long enough to go over your head.

Autumn Joy small cowl

I have 2 more pieces that I can finish if there’s time. Plus other ideas. I always have other ideas. But I never have a clone, so plenty of things fall away.

Do come and visit me if you’re near East Aurora this weekend.

3 more done

Another new thing to try for me, suggested by a fellow weaver…using a mixed warp of cottons and rayons for the warp with a bit of rayon chenille thrown in, and then rayon chenille for the weft.

My warp contained four cottons in various sizes and colors, one vintage rayon boucle, and one commercially-dyed rayon chenille. I tried to wind them using a warping paddle, but I had no ‘paddle’ experience and felt like I needed at least one more hand to make it work. Then I tried simply winding all 6 together, but the rayon boucle was behaving badly. So I wound 4 strands of the cottons the length I needed, changing the colors of those cottons to some extent, and separately wound the boucle and the rayon chenille together. I used 2 sets of lease sticks and beamed them together.

mixed warp, forest shawl

Although my weaver friend setts hers at 12EPI, I wasn’t brave enough to go there, so I sett my warp at 15EPI. My friend cautioned me to not beat firmly or my fabric would be too stiff. Hmmmm, I said. I tied up the first piece as a point twill and set about weaving, beating gently.

This shawl is very cushy – thick and warm. I liked the way the weaving pattern looked, but wanted to see more of that warp. Plus the whole thing was darker than I had in mind with that weft, and I was concerned that I had some 4-end and 5-end floats so I decided I’d make this into a typical fringed shawl instead of the jacket I had planned.

mixed warp, oatmeal jacket front

For the second piece I changed the tie up so that there were shorter floats – nothing longer than 3 ends – and used an oatmeal bamboo chenille. Ooo la la, I really liked this, so wove enough length for this one to be the jacket. Soooo soft and drapes beautifully.

mixed warp, oatmeal jacket back

I had enough warp left for a big cowl. This time I picked a golden rayon chenille for weft, and really like this color, too.

mixed warp, big cowl down

And here’s the conehead picture with the cowl up.

mixed warp, rayon chenille weft

This makes 14 pieces completed this month! And still, from July to now, I’m just on track with my goals, on average. Sigh.

I can’t wait to see what the reaction is to my new pieces at the show this weekend.