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Off and running!

My customers are THE BEST!!

I sold 24 of the 26 towels I brought to the Guild Holiday Sale. Since then (less than 2 weeks ago) I sold those two.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Because I sold more towels than I’d expected at the Holiday Sale, I quickly warped up my loom for another batch of towels to put in my Etsy shop. I really liked the draft I’d used for those Autumn Beauty towels, and I wouldn’t have to change the heddles or tie up, so off I went with several shades of blue & green, using both color from my stash and my new purchases.

8 Sea & Sky towels

As soon as those were done I quickly warped the loom again, this time using a solid cream warp in one of my go-to drafts, twill blocks. I used a different color weft for each of the eight towels, again using both newly-purchased yarns and stash yarns.

8 twill block towels

I posted those towels in my shop on Wednesday morning and by Wednesday evening had sold 6 of them!!!

So although all the Sea & Sky towels are still available, you know as soon as the person who loves blues sees them, they’ll be gone, too.

I usually warp my loom for 8 towels at a time. It seems like a good number for me, as I don’t have time to get bored with the treadling or the colors. But today? Today I’m going to warp for at least 10, maybe 12. Why? I have a customer who wants 4 of them to replace towels she bought from me years ago. Her towels will all be in very similar colors, so I’ll want to liven things up and excite my visual cortex with very different options for the others.

I would have been winding that warp this morning instead of taking the time to write this post, but I’m sitting at the car dealer’s getting my 20,000 mile inspection. And my snow tires put on. So you’re getting a new post.

In closing, I finally got a new phone, after more than 5 years. The new one takes much better photos, especially of reds. Yesterday as I was getting ready to do my yoga I looked out the window and saw this beautiful sunrise. I just stepped out the door to snap this picture.

beautiful sunrise

I did a bad, bad thing

13 new cones cotton

You know my commitment to using up my stash? Well I went to Daft Dames yesterday and bought 13 cones of unmercerized cotton. The four cones on the bottom are cotton flake, which is a thick & thin yarn that makes for great absorbency in towels.

What possessed me? Sales. That’s what. In the last week I finished and listed 16 new towels in my Etsy store. I have two left. That’s all. Sure, I happened to hit the colors and timing just right, but I was motivated! Inspired! Roused!

You saw the mostly orange and pink towels in the last post. They are all gone. Here is one shot of my all of my Autumn Beauty towels. Two of these are left.

8 Autumn Beauty towels

Add to that the fact that the Weavers’ Guild Holiday Sale is right around the corner, and every single one of my previously woven towels is going there. That’s 32 towels. I think last year I sold around 20 of my towels. While I don’t necessarily expect to sell that many again, I know I’ll sell at least some of them. (And some of the ones I’m bringing are, IMHO, not so attractive.)

Then, we have the holidays coming up immediately thereafter. So I wanted my Etsy store to be stocked with colorful towels.

So I can’t stick around here on my computer. I’ve got to go wind a warp!

Short & Sweet

I have to be quick. Somehow it’s already after 1PM and I haven’t accomplished much on my list. That’s your win, as I can’t ramble endlessly. Only briefly.

Here’s what I’ve been doing of late.

I now pick up my grandson at kindergarten 4-5 days/week so that he can avoid an hour-long afternoon bus ride. It seems like that shouldn’t take so much of my time, but it does. Roughly 90 minutes a day, but it forces me to stop whatever it is I’m doing and pay attention to the clock. And then him, of course.

I am once again doing texting for the Democratic Committee. There’s a few hours a week.

I volunteered to be part of a Phase 3 trial for an RSV vaccine. Mostly only a one-shot deal (pun intended), but it ate up a few hours of my time last week.

I got my Pfizer booster (YAY!), which put me on the couch for a day, just as the 2nd dose did.

Regular meetings & volunteer work for the Weavers’ Guild of Rochester and our management team for the Weaving & Fiber Arts Center.

A few visits with friends. How wonderful is it that I do that, even on a limited basis?!?!

Preparing for the Weavers’ Guild Holiday Sale.

And so many things that simply go through the day and week that seem minimal but take time. A few hours here and a few hours there and pretty soon the day is gone.

I did manage to finish the Zinnias towels (plus 1 Asters), and today finally got them uploaded into my Etsy shop. I didn’t take the time to also save them small enough for this blog, so you can see the closeups of each of the towels there. I still have to figure out how to put my shop on vacation for the few days that I’ll have a bunch of stuff in the Holiday Sale. I don’t want to even think about determining what will got to Etsy and what to the Holiday Sale, so this seems like the most workable solution.

8 flower toels

UPDATE: I listed those 8 towels in my Etsy shop yesterday and before the day was out a woman purchased 3 of them. Perfect timing with just the right colors for her.

And after way too many hours in the planning I got one more warp of towels onto and off of my loom. I’m calling these Autumn Beauty. Here they are fresh off the loom. I’ve subsequently machine stitched their ends, washed, dried, and pressed them. They are now ready for my hand hemming, then a run through my steam press.

Autumn Beauty towels just off the loom

I still have to steam press those zinnia & aster towels. The hours just fly by! Gotta run.

Bad, okay, and questionable

Starting with the bad. Or maybe it’s not so bad, but it creeped me out a bit.

I was on my walk a few mornings ago and was stopped by bright splashes of red on a plant I was passing.

a few boxelder bugs

I thought they were interesting looking. Bright and cheery. And then I looked down. OMG there are about a million of these bugs.

LOTS of boxelder bugs

This is just a small sampling of the bugs that were there. I didn’t know what they were so had to do some googling when I got home. Apparently these are boxelder bugs. And they are only bright red in the nymph stage, turning more black as they grow. You can see a few adults if you look close, especially in the first image.

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Now for the okay. As planned, once I had that black & white chenille shawl of my loom, I went back to my rigid heddle and re-wove the diamonds in the graduated colors.

framed pickup diamonds

I have to say, now that it’s all done, I find it just meh. It’s okay. Nothing special, especially considering all the time it took. I do think I’ll enter it in the Guild’s 75th Anniversary Diamond exhibit, but I won’t have it juried. I can see what the problems are myself.

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Once I got that done, I wanted to weave some more real fabric. I debated and debated – would I weave more rayon chenille to help use up that stash? After all, the Guild’s Holiday Sale is the right time of year to sell that luscious fiber.

Maybe I’d weave another length of fabric for me to sew? I have a few patterns from Get Weaving to make.

But I found I didn’t want to do either of those. I wanted to weave towels. I can sell them at the Holiday Sale or in my Etsy shop. I haven’t put anything new up there in a while, so it’s time.

Once that decision was made, I spent HOURS playing with drafts, and just couldn’t get what I wanted. 🙁

So instead I went to my stash. What yarns do I have that would brighten my day? I found some yummy thick & thin yarns in pink, orange, and yellow variegation, as well as some other variegated yarns in similar colors. They remind me of the zinnias that are currently in bloom, so that’s what I’ll make.
plain natural warp

I generally prefer variegated yarns in the warp, but my reed would not like that thick & thin, so I changed plans again and warped a solid natty yarn. This is a 6/2 – an odd size, but I thought it would work well with the variegations, both of which are a bit thicker than my usual yarns.

I decided to thread a straight draw //// and let the colors do the talking. I also decided to just thread on 6 shafts instead of 8 to lighten the lift of the treadles. That made some subsequent decisions a bit more challenging, as I’ve got lots of 8 shaft drafts, but none for 6 shafts.

So I did some poking around and decided on a draft with 3-end floats. Got it on the loom, started weaving, and liked how it looked.

waffly zinnias, close up

Until I stepped back. Uh oh. This sure looks like a waffle weave to me. And I’d already made a plain weave hem, which will just pucker and ruffle like mad when that waffle draws in during wet finishing.

So for the 2nd towel I opted to do plain weave throughout. It’s fine, but the colors are SO much more muted, so that wasn’t the look I wanted, exactly, either.

zinnias, plain weave

I changed the tie up for towel 3, which is the last one I’ll be able to weave with this thick & thin yarn, but didn’t take a photo of it. You’ll have to be surprised when I get this warp off the loom.

Surprising myself

You know, I tell myself – and sometimes you – what I like and what I don’t. What turns me on and what leaves me cold. And then something happens and I change my mind.

Funny how that works, isn’t it? This latest work is an example of that.

Following my experience with that Fires Everywhere scarf, I wanted to do something similar but different for a shawl-width piece. After a bunch of playing around with various ideas, I decided on a black to white warp in solid colors, not gradients.

I also decided I was going to wind the warp out of 100% tencel, 8/2 sett at 24EPI, and even though 2 shuttle weaves are not my favorite, I would try out an alternating weft with tencel and rayon chenille. So I got busy winding. Here’s half of the width wound on my warping mill.

winding a tencel warp, black to white

As always with tencel, the winding, beaming, and threading went smoothly. No hitches. So it was time to try the weaving. Again, everything was working well. Here’s the simple twill threading and treadling, as seen from the top while I was weaving. The warp alternates that 8/2 tencel in tabby with a fairly thick white rayon chenille, only about 800 yards per pound.

weaving the black to white shawl

It is often the case that I like the ‘back’ side better than the ‘front’, and this was no exception. You can’t see much of it here, but I think you get the idea. Little crosses inside the diamonds.

underside of black to white shawl on loom

I had some company for a few days, and fringe twisting just takes time, so the pieces sat for about a week after they were cut off the loom. I finally got that all done and wet finished. This is where the surprise came in.

I had differential shrinkage. Or something similar that created strong vertical crinkles in the cloth. Which I surely didn’t expect. Here you can see the crinkly piece on the left and its fraternal twin that I’ve given a press to (needs more) on the right. Look at the width difference between these two pieces!

2 black to white shawls

I honestly liked that crinkly piece, which surprised me. I sent photos of both pieces to my daughter and a friend to get their input. Of course, I got two different opinions. And now that everything is totally fully dry I’m again second guessing. One piece will get mailed to The Copper Shop on the Roycroft Campus for sale, the other will go to the Weavers’ Guild Holiday Sale. I keep changing my mind and my opinion. Do I really like that crinkly piece, which is now a scarf and not a shawl? It feels so much different than the flatter, wider piece; harder/stiffer, of course, since it’s so much thicker. On the other hand, there are still so many wrinkles in the wider piece – will I be able to get them out if I use my steam press?

I need to move forward. I have one day to make a decision. Your input, dear readers?